Event: Nokia Connection 2011 – Unveiling The Next Chapter
Fast forward to the present after Nokia had outlined its new product strategy last February 11, the Finnish company introduced new exciting updates at the recently-concluded Nokia Connection 2011 in Singapore. Headed by its President and CEO, Mr. Stephen Elop, Nokia kicked off the event by emphasizing the value of the Southeast Asian region as a market. In the end of the first quarter of this year, the rate of Internet consumerism in Singapore reached 141%. Indonesia is the second largest market of Facebook, second only to the United States. Malaysia is home to the most active users of social networking sites – a Malaysian spends an average of nine hours on these sites per week. Facebook’s reach in the Philippines is the highest in the world at 94%.
Mr. Colin Giles, Nokia’s Executive Vice President for Sales, expressed his confidence in the upcoming release of the company’s first Windows Phone smartphones later this year. In actuality, these devices are already at hand right now – internally. A CEO of a leading retailer, according to Mr. Giles, stated that this device is an absolute beauty with a very fast user interface. The CEO even forecasted that with the combination of the best of Nokia and a great user interface, the upcoming Windows Phone device will have a tremendous impact on the market. Those who already handled this upcoming smartphone from Nokia expressed their optimism.
Commitment To Symbian
While Windows Phone remains the top news of the day for Nokia, Mr. Elop reinstated once more the company’s commitment to the Symbian platform. In spite of Nokia’s adoption of Windows Phone to its flagship portfolio, Nokia will continue to support the 225 million people and Qt developers who are still using Symbian at present through software updates, maintenance, customer care, and after-sales services. Over the next 12 months alone, Nokia will bring up to ten Symbian-based devices to the market.
On top of these, as the most concrete manifestation of the company’s support to Symbian, Nokia is introducing the E6 and X7, both of which are now running on the company’s latest version of Symbian called Anna. The software release known as Anna presents a refreshed user interface, improvements to the browser, enhancements to the mapping and navigation service, and higher security. The latest version of Symbian, for the very first time, is integrating Nokia Maps. In July, Nokia will start shipping the C7, C6-01, E7, and the N8 with Anna. A month after, Nokia will extend Anna to owners of the handsets mentioned that has an older Symbian version as a software update.
Connecting The Unconnected
Mr. Elop also gave relevant figures that provided us with a larger picture of what is going on to the communications industry. While smartphone represents an important part of Nokia’s business, the reality is 90 percent of the world still do not have or cannot afford a smartphone. Out of 3.7 billion people who have a smartphone, 1.2 billion have only maximized its use through data plans, whereas one and a half billion people do not use the Web on a smartphone.
This huge gap has created an opportunity for Nokia’s s next strategy of connecting the next billion to the Internet. With the Finnish company’s vast reach and comprehensive product portfolio, Nokia is optimistic in realizing this wide scale ambition. Ms. Mary McDowell, Nokia’s Executive Vice President for Mobile Phones, forecasted that 75 percent of that next billion people will come from populous countries like India, Indonesia, China, and Vietnam, not to mention Nigeria, South Africa, and Brazil. Consistent with this prediction, Nokia has already sold 17 million C2 handsets in just about a year, in which a large fraction of the sales volume came from Southeast Asia.
In line with this strategy, Nokia is aiming to entertain, to educate, and to better people’s lives with products that are affordable and easy to use. Targeted at those people who are not yet on the Web, Nokia Life Tools provide consumers with helpful services in the fields of agriculture, education, entertainment, and health care through SMS on Series 30 and Series 40 handsets. As of last week, more than 2 million people have already experienced Nokia Life Tools in countries like India, Indonesia, Nigeria and China. In addition to Life Tools, Nokia has also introduced Nokia Listings which is an SMS-based client selling tool.
Ms. McDowell admitted that Nokia has arrived late in the dual SIM party but she assured that they are in the full swing now. Part of the Series 40 lineup, Nokia is bringing to the market the C2-03, which is the company’s third dual SIM handset, after the X1-01 and the C2-00. Similar to the latter, the C2-03 features Easy Swap that allows users to change the secondary SIM card through a slot on the side without having to turn off or remove the battery. The C2-03 can recognize up to five SIM cards, where settings can be personalized by users. The C2-02, on the other hand, is a look-alike of the C2-03 but comes as a single SIM solution. The C2-02 and the C2-03 (both around USD 105), as well as the C2-06 (USD 116), another dual SIM handset, are touch-and-type mobile phones that will hit the market in the third quarter of this year.
The Nokia N9
The Nokia Connection 2011 concluded with the unveiling of Nokia’s latest flagship product, the N9. Sculpted from a single piece of polycarbonate using a precision machine, the N9 features a laminated deep black, 3.9-inch AMOLED display which makes the user interface look like it's floating on the surface. As the world’s first smartphone with Dolby Digital Plus decoding and Dolby Headphone post-processing technology, the N9 also promises great performance in terms of audio.
A touchscreen smartphone, interacting with the N9 starts with a simple swipe – a gesture that is inherent among different cultures. By just swiping from the edge of the display while running an application on the N9, it will bring you to the home screen. From the main home screen, the N9 has two additional home screens that provide users with fast access to their applications. Speaking of applications, it features turn-by-turn drive and walk navigation with voice guidance in Maps so users can get to their destination faster while driving.
Packed with an 8-megapixel autofocus camera that uses Carl Zeiss wide-angle optics and features a f2.2 aperture, the N9 can capture great photos even under low-light conditions.
Featuring Near Field Communication (NFC) techonology, the N9 allows users to easily share images with other NFC-enabled devices by touching them together. Additionally, with the NFC technology, pairing the N9 with other Bluetooth accessories, such as the Nokia Play 360° wireless music speaker, is made simpler. Just tap the N9 to the device and it will be ready to go – minus the hassle of entering a pass code.
Slated to be available in black, cyan, and magenta with storage options of 16GB and 64GB, the Nokia N9 is scheduled to be in stores later this year with availability and pricing vary depending on the country. An actual demo of the N9 is available here.