Nokia has had a SXSW presence for a few years now, but because they did not have flagship devices on sale in the US with major carriers, they had to put the focus on a ton of other cool initiatives like a Green Zone, Angry Bird projections, a human hamster wheel for charging devices and so on. But this year, Nokia has the Lumia 710 on T-Mobile and the Lumia 900 on AT&T and I have no doubt that they will be going all in.
While Nokia’s exact SXSW plans are still a mystery, a few details have trickled out thanks to a posting on the Nokia Developer blog. It appears Nokia is building ‘a one-of-a-kind, free-standing structure’ called the Nokia Lab near the convention center for SXSW Interactive. They are also holding a Nokia Developer Day on March 12th, and are giving 10 developers a chance to showcase the application to hundreds on people during SXSW at the Nokia Lab.
If you have a ‘amazing, cool, or unique’ Windows Phone application, then get in touch with Nokia.
I cannot wait to see what else Nokia has planned for SXSW, it is definitely one of the coolest events of the year and a perfect opportunity for Nokia to reinvent its brand in the US.
It isn’t hard to put a finger on why South by Southwest (SXSW) is going from strength to strength with each passing year. Its about film, music and of course interactive, this means we have the film premieres, seminars, panels as well as all the glorious parties. It is also not your typical tech event, but still is the epicenter for any startup trying to make it big and a place where all the big brands are trying to out do each other. It is understandable, as for those two weeks anybody who’s anybody heads to Austin to see the next big thing.
(The Nokia Green Zone at night)
For good measure, Nokia over the last few years has been slowly increasing its presence at SXSW and this year bore witness to a ton of fun activities, a green zone with charging stations for everyone, a Chris Cornell concert, the famous Angry Birds projection, parties and of course their now famous, random acts of kindness, treating random strangers to some pretty cool Nokia swag, phones, invites to parties, concerts and even free beers!
But there is nothing like video to tell a compelling story, and here is a video I came across (via @biggfill) which captures the essence of SXSW, in just over four minutes. See for yourself.
“Michael Richards, the producer, myself and Joe Binks our multi-talented production manager were lucky enough to get commissioned by Nokia to travel down to SXSW 2011 to make a film about the festival and the people it attracts, both contributors and visitors. Austin is an astonishing city that really explodes during the festival. We met some amazing people, really talented, really likeable people who were kind enough to give us some time and answer a few questions. The basic premise was simple, we asked just one question really. “Why are you here?” and then just saw what fell out of that”.
Nokia promised something big with Angry Birds and they delivered! At the #NokiaConnects SXSW party in Austin, Texas they showed of a very slick Angry Birds video on a 20 storey building. The only adjectives I would use to describe it are awesome, wicked and super cool. Considering the size of the high-rise, half of Austin saw it. You should see it too.
I was fortunately there to see it happen and could record my own version on the N8, so if you want a different camera angle, here’s one.
This is where the N8’s video recording capabilities really shine, the ability to zoom in so much without loosing much quality is great for occasions such as these. The dual microphones also do justice to the 720P video.
If you are in Austin on the 15th, keep your eyes open for a repeat performance. This is something you should see in person.
As you can see from the trailer, Rovio Mobile, the makers of Angry Birds are clearly involved, but very little hints are given as to what is really going down at 9 PM on the 12th and 15th of this month. All we know is the date, time and the venue (The Belmont Stage) .
In other Nokia @ SXSW news, Nokia is also taking part in a panel on the future of social location along with Foursquare and Pepsi. I suspect, this is also where @NokiaResearch will demo the all new context based service ‘Nokia Find & Connect’ which will allow people to network without meeting face to face.
I am in Austin for SXSW and will be keeping you upto date with the latest, but you can also follow the #NokiaConnects hashtag on Twitter to track Nokia @ SXSW.
Day 3 of SXSW and the brilliant folks at WOM World had something incredibly awesome planned – the Ovi Maps Route Race. The idea was simple – navigate around Austin with Ovi Maps. The fun part was that we were going to be doing it on Segways and on a ‘confrence bike’. The experience was incredible, but that’s not really why I am writing this post. It is to share the navigation experience.
As you are aware, Ovi Maps navigation just went free worldwide for quite a number of devices, including the N97 and that’s the Nokia we used today. Austin, Texas dosen’t have many tall buildings and today was a clear day – perfect conditions for a good GPS connection so the N97 had no problems keeping a lock.
A route was already planned using the http://maps.ovi.com/ page and then sync’ed to the N97 from within the Ovi Maps app. This is important, because in a new city you could sit back at the hotel, ask for the city’s landmarks and then put them in your route and give yourself a nice tour.
Once we got navigating we realised that Ovi Maps has amazing accuracy, it won’t just stop navigating near the landmark we’d set, but it would only stop when we were exactly there. This caused a lot of delays in our trip as we had to wait for everyone to checkin before moving on, but if I were on my own I’m sure I’d appreciate that.
Since the route was already sync’d in, we just had to select it to get going. Like it is while using driving navigation, the app would recalculate when we missed a turn or over shot it. The audio directions were clear and perfectly timed. To sum it up, we used Ovi Maps to use create a route, sync it, follow it and reach our destination- all without much fuss and for free. I will have to say it delivered. What more could you ask for? Bettter search perhaps?
I am at the South by Southwest festival here in Austin, Texas and things are just getting started. Here are a few observations and experiences that I had on day 1 of the festival.
Picking up a device – Since I had decided I would not be lugging a laptop to the convention center, the first task at hand was to pick the equipment I was going to take along. I ended up with the E72 and the N900. The E72 decision was simple, I do not have a local SIM and the Boingo plus Truphone combo negates the need for one. Since both these apps work well on the E72, it became an obvious choice because of dependable battery life. The next question was N86 v N900. Since I was not taking the laptop, the N900’s power was very tempting and the camera on the N86 was tempting too. However, the E72 can do most things the N86 can and I wanted a large screen device, the N86 took a back seat.
Of Macs & iPhones – The moment I entered the convention center all I could see were Macbooks and iPhones. On my way to Austin I did see a lot of Droids and Blackberrys which made be think that Amercica was changing, but no. Its all about Apple here. (Just so you know, I use a Macbook as well).
Sessions – Inbetween all the fun we were having I was able to attend a few sessions here and there. One of which was about how technology is affecting relationships and another was a discussion between developers about making games for the iPhone. Between all the cribbing about the approval process the one thing that stood out for me was the fact that they acknowledge that the golden age of the App Store is over as far as the devs are concerned. With a billion apps, its just too hard for your app to get noticed.
Symbian – Oddly enough, while I was at the Apple discussion, I also noticed a pretty ‘out there’ invitation from Symbian. In every SXSW goody bag, Symbian has managed to put in one of these awesome cards. Ideally we should have seen something like the Apple roundtable for Symbian as well, but this is not a perfect world, at least not yet.
Its 9 AM here in Austin and we are just about start day 2 of SXSW and if the first day was anything to go by, today is going to be even more fun.