Today was all about the Nokia N8, but before we get to the details, some good news first. The PR 1.0 for the N8 is final and now its only a question of getting the device to the market, Nokia said Q3 and it looks like they will ship the N8 before the end of this month for sure.
I have just got back from ‘An Evening With Ovi’, a successor in spirit to an event called ‘An Evening With S60’ if you remember. It was basically an informal aggregation of Nokia people and some of the folks who have flown in for Nokia World tomorrow. There was a ton of N8 chatter, some demoes and even interviews. I also played with production software on the Nokia N8 and it feels pretty good from the brief time I spent with the device. The capacitive screen along with the new Symbian ^3 is makes the N8 a pleasure to use as compared to, say the N97 experience. A lot of people on first glance see the homescreen and say its the same old deal, but if you dig in deeper, its way better.
Anyway, back to bits from the evening. Here a few pictures to give a better idea of what was happening. You may recognize some Nokia people from the Ovi Blog, who all were taking about the various facets of the N8 and Ovi in general. We saw a clip of Tron playing in HD over HDMI, some beautiful photos the N8 took, some briallant video from concerts and so on. Stuff the keeping amazing you when you consider that its all coming from a tiny phone.
- Kick starting with a general N8 talk.
- Surya talking about Ovi Maps. (Looks like we’ll see something new with Ovi Maps tomorrow).
- Chat about Music and how Nokia’s working with local people around the world to get the best music in. How music is social and finishing with a few music apps like Gig Finder, Shazaam and so on.
- The Ovi Blog team, Saara and Pino.
Last, but certainly not the least – here’s a picture of the N8 homescreen on a large TV via HDMI and the good part is that it doesn’t look pixelated and horribly scaled up at all. It is pretty crisp, a far cry from the TV-out we’ve seen on older Nokia devices.
One more thing before I wrap up, I also caught some gaming action on the Nokia N8, its sweet. The video’s uploading to YouTube right now, check back soon for the post.
[Update – NFS Shift on the Nokia N8]
At the time of writing this I am 35,000 ft in the air, flying over Asia and headed to London for the biggest Nokia event of the year, Nokia World. To say that, I am excited is putting it very mildly. There has been so much happening around Nokia in the past few months. They’ve just got a new CEO, there have been last minute reshuffles in the keynotes and there is a general air of ‘ I wonder what will happen’. Update: Anssi Vanjoki has just resigned!
Meanwhile there have been quite a few positive developments for Nokia. The Symbian ^3 OS should have matured by now thanks to the testing the N8 must have underwent, MeeGo already looks great of paper with its UI ready to wow. The services (Email and Maps) have improved considerably since the time they were launched and the Ovi Store v2 is waiting in the wings. With this in mind lets get to the hopes section of this post.
- More than anything I want to see a powerful, aggressive and bold keynote. Take the competition head on, show off what you have in style and wow the pants of the world. People might say that doing is more important and words will only get you so far and that Nokia’s been all about words recently, but I differ. Words are powerful and really help Nokia in the mindshare department.
- What I really wanted to see was a MeeGo tablet, perhaps even more than the MeeGo phone. Why? Because now is the time to capture the market. Apple has opened this segment up, cash in. Not when there are 100 Android tablets already present to give you competition. Sadly, I don’t think this is happening, there was even a statement to the effect if I recall correctly. What next, a rehash of the Booklet 3G, a more powerful variant? I don’t think so. Making a Windows 7 machine when you already have MeeGo brewing makes little sense.
Okay, time to move onto predictions.
- Lets start with the givens. The E7, which is the E90’s successor in spirit. 4″ touch display, N97 like slide up design, full QWERTY. Symbian ^3, possibly with a 8MP camera (with an LED flash) and HD video capabilities.
- Next up the C7. A cheaper N8 in spirit, without HDMI and a 12 MP camera. Might bring 8MP, Symbian ^3 and HD capture to the masses.
- The N9. The phone everyone wants to see but one which Nokia might not announce till later this year. They said there will be a MeeGo phone in 2010 and there will be; the question is when? This Nokia World might be all be about Symbian ^3 and letting the N9 loose now might just hurt the other announcements. I don’t know if the management change will affect such decisions.
- We will also see a few (two?) lower end devices launched in a press release. Nothing ground breaking, but at very attractive price points.
- I also get the feeling that Nokia has been able to keep at least one announcement (device) completely under the wraps. That announcement is the one I will be specially looking out for!
- Services. We will see a lot of re-branding, everything will come into the Ovi branding with some degree of consolidation. The Ovi Store refresh is a strong possibility, so is a new version of the Nokia Messaging which might become Ovi Messaging. With Ovi Music, an announcement to the effect that individual purchases are DRM-free will probably be made, we have already seen it happen a quite a few countries now – India, China, UK and so on. I also hope to see the pinch to zoom Ovi Maps demo on the N8.
- A Nokia N8 for every Nokia World attendee? Heh! Nokia is not the sort of company which does that, but with the developer summit happening in connection with Nokia World, I think that becomes a possibility. Such a thing is not a huge expense for Nokia, but generates a ton of buzz for the company and for the product (N8), both which I’m sure they’d want. The 700 Euro entry fee for Nokia World might also help sway their minds.
I will be at #NokiaWorld covering the event live! So bookmark thehandheldblog.com/nokia-world for the latest.
What do you thing will happen?
As you may be aware, this year’s Nokia World is happening in London in conjunction with the Nokia Developer Summit which makes September 14 and 15 two very exciting days to look forward to. Nokia World is the time Nokia announces its flagship devices and lays down its strategy for the year to come, it is always an exciting event and its 2010 variant promises to be bigger and better.
The 9 am keynote on day one is generally when the device announcements take place and sure enough, Nokia’s CEO OPK is slated to kick things off.
What is interesting to note is that Anssi Vanjoki, EVP, Mobile Solutions, has his keynote on day two and I will not be surprised if we see some action there as well. For more specific information, jump over to this page and if you are after general Nokia World info then this is the page to look up.
Oh and if you would like to win a trip to Nokia World, the Ovi Blog might be the place to check out.
Nokia knows that the world is not looking at it too kindly right now and what is good to see is that they are ready to acknowledge it. Anssi Vanjoki, the head of Mobile Solutions at Nokia has just penned a post on the official Nokia Blog with a simple and affirmative message – ‘The Fightback Starts Now‘.
He comes across as determined and if you have ever liked Nokia, you will want to believe in the company after reading what he has to say. However since Nokia has not been having a great run recently, most people will want to see some real action before their trust in Nokia is restored. Here are a few excerpts from his post on Nokia Conversations:
- It’s my aim to ensure Nokia stays as the market and intellectual leader in creating the digital world. I’m under no illusions; it’s no small task.
- I am committed, perhaps even obsessed, with getting Nokia back to being number one in high-end devices.
- I have been testing the N8 and I believe it is going to surprise a lot of people with its power and speed. And MeeGo has me buzzing.
- The Nokia N8 will be our only Nseries devices on Symbian^3. Of course, we ‘never comment on future products’, but a Symbian^4 Nseries device is a strong possibility. A very strong possibility ; )
- As Symbian gears up to compete with the likes of iPhone and Android, MeeGo is taking clear aim at the computing space.
- There is no denying, that as a challenger now, we have a fight on our hands. The first battle is to bring you products and services you will want to own and use, to inspire you to create and do new things in this ever changing digital world.
His statement puts to rest a lot of rumors and speculation as well. There will be no Android device from Nokia. Symbian will still power Nseries after the N8, Symbian ^3 won’t, but that was expected, wasn’t S^3 after all only transitional? I am also happy to see that Nokia admit that they are the challengers now, there is no arrogance and the usual rant about having the biggest market share is not there.
I personally believe that Nokia’s strategy of having both Symbian and MeeGo is sound because of the sheer amount of different devices they ship. An average mid-end device cannot run MeeGo and with the Symbian overhaul things will improve. QT will help them bridge the gap between developing applications across platforms.
Their problem is time and perception. The overhaul and transition is taking too long and their brand continues to take a beating. What people are wondering about is that why is Symbian taking so long to reinvent itself when Android has progressed so quickly in the same time.
I have a feeling this Nokia World will be huge. We’ll see a MeeGo tablet, a MeeGo phone and a really tempting Symbian device. But if the world is not wowed at that time, I am afraid it might just be too late for the fightback. No more promises for the future, action!