Tag Archives: Nokia

Nokia Connection Is On June 21, Expect New Devices & A Possible MeeGo Unveil

Nokia Connection is an yearly event that happens in Singapore. Despite being regional in nature, plays host to globally relevant device launches, the biggest of which probably being the Nokia E72 in 2009.

This year its happening June 21-23 at the Marina Bay Sands. What is really getting the anticipation up is the broad proclamation of the event website which says:

“This is an exciting time for Nokia!

A solid strategy is in place and the execution of that strategy has started! Join Nokia Connection 2011 to experience first-hand, the new Nokia ecosystem that will be introduced to the world. This site offers a one-stop location for information on Nokia’s biggest event of the year“.

Biggest event of the year is something Nokia Connection has never been, that title always goes to Nokia World, which in all probability will happen during October at London this year. So what can we expect from an event just 3 weeks away. Lets look at the program:

The CEO will be there talking about the Windows Phone partnership, yes there will be a progress report, but not even the new Nokia can deliver a flagship in 3 months. So what next? New Symbian device? Definitely! Ghz CPU powered? You can count on it!

But what about Nokia’s MeeGo offerings? We were promised Jessie’s Girl in a few weeks, Nokia Connection seems like a perfect venue, specially considering there’s a Nokia Developer Workshop happening at the same time. After spending time at the MeeGo Conference, its clear there are still a ton of people interested in what Nokia has to offer.

Finally we have S40 devices. We might see some of those too, perhaps even dual SIM and Touch Type versions. There’s also talk of ‘related services’ that may be announced alongside the devices, given the new direction Nokia is talking, makes you wonder what it will be? Perhaps Nokia is ready to take the next step with Nokia Money and NFC?

This year Nokia Connection promises to be bigger than it ever has been, I still think Nokia World is Nokia’s prime event, but if its MeeGo what you care about, this one might just be the one you really care about. I really look forward to the announcements, is there something specific you would like to see?

First Look: Borg, A Promising Facebook Client For Symbian

There is a dearth of decent Facebook clients for Symbian devices, there is Kasvopous, but little else. Enter Borg, a promising new Facebook client written in Qt, that aims to fill this void. The client features notifications, photo and video uploads, the ability to browse the news feed, view and post on walls, view friends, groups, events, messages, public pages and posts. But the biggest draw is the place and checkin integration with Ovi Maps.

Borg Facebook Client Symbian Borg Facebook Client Symbian

The first screen presents a neat list of the various functionality that the app offers. Tap to enter any and you can tap on the ‘Borg’ button on the top to come back to the main menu of the app.

Borg Facebook Client Symbian Borg Facebook Client Symbian

The albums are shown in lists, with individual photos also being presented in a long list with the ability to like and comment. This does mean a longer initial loading time, but makes for a much smoother experience.

Borg Facebook Client Symbian Borg Facebook Client Symbian

The news feed is what you expect, a mix of posts and status updates from your friends and the pages you like. You can again comment and like the posts.

Borg Facebook Client Symbian Borg Facebook Client Symbian

This is the where the Ovi Maps integration takes place, you can check in using the Ovi Maps database and even tag your friends while you do that.

Borg Facebook Client Symbian Borg Facebook Client Symbian

The app also has a keyboard of its own, which is a relief if you aren’t on PR 2.0 yet.

Borg Facebook Client Symbian

There is no full screen mode for photos in an album, but it does fill the screen to a large extent if you turn the phone to landscape mode.

Borg is available for download from the Ovi Store, but it is not the latest version and lacks notifications and an exit button. If you want the latest build, get it from their Facebook page, direct links are here Symbian^3 or  for Symbian^1. Just make sure you already have Qt 4.7.3 installed.

The application is still in development and it is possible that you will encounter bugs and the odd crash, but as the situation stands today, I do recommend trying it out.

Microsoft Buying Nokia Rumours Abound, Nokia Steps In To Clear The Air

A comment by Eldar Murtazin on his personal blog about how Nokia will start talks with Microsoft about the sale of its mobile phones unit to Microsoft has put the web into a tizzy. That rumour has been picked up around the world with most sites citing Eldar’s ‘Nokia to use Windows Phone on its devices’ scoop to give credibility to today’s statement.

This isn’t good for Nokia, with their share prices being extremely volatile and prone to taking a hit everytime a rumour abounds. The thing about rumours is that when everybody runs with it, irrespective of the fact that its been circulated by just one individual, the world slowly begins to treat it as it being true.

Now, Nokia doesn’t officially comment on rumours, but this has forced Mark Squires, the Comms Director for Nokia to chip in with ‘We typically don’t comment on rumors. But we have to say that Eldar’s rumors are getting obviously less accurate with every passing moment’ from his Twitter account.

Its obvious Nokia wants to cull the rumour, but I would’ve loved to see stronger words than ‘less accurate’.

Nokia Shuts The Door On Ovi

The Ovi brand is dead. The services will continue to live on under the Nokia umbrella and will transition unaffected with no impact on future roadmaps. New Nokia devices coming July onwards will ship with the new branding in place and older devices will be slowly transitioned via software updates with everything being completed by the end of 2012. Nokia stresses that this is a pure re-branding exercise and that the transition should be smooth and seamless.

Nokia Kills Off The Ovi Brand

Nokia’s EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Jerri DeVard explains the shift:

“We have made the decision to change our service branding from Ovi to Nokia. By centralizing our services identity under one brand, not two, we will reinforce the powerful master brand of Nokia and unify our brand architecture – while continuing to deliver compellingopportunities and experiences for partners and consumers alike.”

Just when things like Ovi Maps and the Ovi Store were beginning to become household names, comes the change to Nokia Maps and the Nokia Store. This move is in line with Nokia’s decision to stop trying to be an ‘internet company’ and re-focus on what they do best, hardware.

Good thing Nokia’s email services never came around to being called ‘Ovi Messaging’.

Personally speaking, this makes a lot of sense. One brand means that millions are spent on popularising just one brand alone and that people clearly identify with Maps etc being Nokia’s and not as a third party app. Why Nokia chose to go the ‘Ovi’ way in the first place is a mystery, as an internet company it perhaps wanted two divisions to its businesses, services and devices. Now, that’s gone.

Nokia’s ‘Drop The Pin’ Campaign Takes On BlackBerry’s BBM With WhatsApp

WhatsApp is great, it lets you chat, share pictures, audio, emoticons and location to fellow WhatsApp’ers for free. All you need is a simple data plan. What’s even better is the way it works, you do not need to add people to your friend list, if they are in your phonebook and use WhatsApp, they will automatically show up in your friend list. You can even have group chats if you want.

Nokia's 'Drop The Pin' Campaign Takes On BlackBerry's BBM With WhatsApp

Compare that to BlackBerry’s BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). You pay a pretty penny just to get it work, no web browsing included. Then you go looking for people’s BBM PIN’s to actually add them to your messenger and the BBM pins being the eight character hexadecimal identification numbers that they are, are virtually impossible to recall.

So what Nokia is saying is that they might not have BBM, but they have the multi-platform WhatsApp, that’s in addition to Symbian, is available on Android, iPhone and even BlackBerry so you can chat all you want with all your friends irrespective of the smartphone they use.

Drop the pin they say, and I agree.

WhatsApp is that good! Needless to say, I love this kind of direct, in your face advertising.

EDoF Cameras May Not Be Bad, But Nokia Should Still Switch Back To Auto-Focus

The EDoF versus Auto-Focus camera debate has been gaining speed in the last few months, and Nokia’s recent announcements in the form of the E6 and the X7, both of which pack an 8 Megapixel EDoF camera, have made it a burning issue. Put simply EDoF cameras, or ‘Full Focus’ cameras like Nokia likes to call them are extended depth of field units which means that everything in photo taken at a distance of more than 60 cm is in focus.

What this means is that you cannot take pictures of documents and virtually replace a scanner, you cannot scan barcodes, no food pictures and so on. Basically anything which needs to be near the camera’s lens is a no-no. It does however have its benefits like Steve Litchfield points out in this wonderfully detailed feature on All About Symbian. There are advantages in the size of the sensor, video recording, there in no shot to shot delay and taking pictures is slightly faster, although compared to high performance devices like the N8, that’s hardly noticeable.

Back in September during Nokia World, I had a interesting chat with Nokia’s camera king Damien Dinning about EDoF cameras and Nokia’s reasons to use them. The major reasons were that it makes taking pictures easier for people by eliminating the two step shot process. Another advantage is that it lets Nokia make slimmer devices, at a lower cost. I was open to giving EDoF cameras a fair try and after having seen them perform on the C7 and now the E7, which otherwise is a great device I am sure of one thing, I will not be inclined to buy a device with an EDoF camera.

The argument against that is that I am part of that 1% of the population who is concerned about being able to take close up shots, while it may be true to an extent, it is definitely not the norm. A lot more people indulge in macro photography without realizing it. Within my own family and friend circle I have seen people click pictures of flowers, newspaper clippings, whiteboards and so on. Then, BlackBerry in India is running ads on TV showing how you can add friends to the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) just be scanning the barcode. I could have told them scanning barcodes has been possible on Nokias since 5 years, now I cannot.

Barcodes have also started appearing on ads in the newspaper, but just as they are getting traction, Nokia owners are loosing that ability. As far as the making it easier for normal people to take pictures story goes, they have become used to the two step process. All digital cameras do it that way, most mobile phones too and in the last 5 years a majority of the people have gotten accustomed to that.

Then there is the size argument. Nokia says it uses EDoF cameras to keep a slim profile, but I am sorry to say, I don’t buy that. If all the other companies are managing to do it, then you must try harder too. Push the engineering team, and I am sure they will do it.

The bottomline for me is $300. No device costing more than that much should have a EDoF camera, period. I suspect, the decision to use EDoF sensors was taken when the first batch of Symbian^3 devices was planned. The idea was to keep costs low, offer these devices at an affordable price point and hope they sell by the truckloads. They couldn’t price them at a premium because Symbian was already taking a hit and they couldn’t afford Symbian^3 being ignored just because devices that ran it were too expensive.

Looking at the internal hardware, it is also probably that the two new devices that have just been announced, the X7 and the E6, were also planned during the initial phase and thus carry forward the EDoF legacy. I am pretty certain Nokia has seen the public sentiment on EDoF cameras, and will probably push them into the lower price bracket instead of making it the standard Nokia camera. We might see it on a new Symbian device, but there is no way Nokia will be using one of these on their Windows Phone offerings.

That being said, Nokia, if you haven’t re-thought the EDoF strategy, now is a really good time – while people still equate Nokias to great cameras.