Today, Nokia is reborn. The once-great company is, after months of floundering with the Symbian millstone strapped firmly to its neck, throwing its lot in with Microsoft. It’s the smartest thing Finland’s finest could’ve done, and heralds a new dawn for the Big N. The chance for Nokia to be better, brighter and bigger than ever before.
Windows Phone 7 isn’t just an operating system for Nokia, it’s a differentiator. While HTC, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung, Dell, Motorola and a host of bargain basement manufacturers busily crank out handsets in the same vein, Nokia has the chance to make something unique.
It’s true that Windows Phone 7 is available on other manufacturer’s hardware, but none of them have the manufacturing capabilities of Nokia. This is a company with enormous economies of scale, and with Windows Phone 7, an enormous opportunity to catapult itself back into high gear.
At today’s announcement of Nokia’s new direction, the Big N’s CEO Stephen Elop said the firm had “explored the opportunity with the Google ecosystem…there’s some attractive elements but our fundamental belief is that we would have difficulty differentiating.”
In Elop’s words, there’s a risk of Android “commoditizing” by manufacturers, with a race to the bottom pushing it into cheaper and cheaper hardware and deadening the experience. With Windows Phone inside, Nokia can keep perceived quality high, while reducing costs with its massive buying and manufacturing power. It is, as we’ve already said, a smart move.
But there are two sides to every story. While we’re cheering Nokia’s long-overdue recognition that Symbian is dead in the water, we can’t help feeling a pang of regret that Europe’s last sliver of large scale mobile technology is going the way of the dodo. Nokia says it’ll still ship Symbian products this year, but without a Symbian device in its top tier, and with a swathe of redundancies looming, it’s a sad day.
For gadget fans though, Nokia’s new direction is a shot in the arm for the mobile industry. The battle between Apple, Android and BlackBerry just got a lot more interesting. Nokia plus Microsoft is a powerful combination, and one that’ll spawn a heap of new innovation. Sit back, relax, and maybe get set to re-think your next mobile upgrade.
Steve Jobs is disappointed in you. Maybe he always will be. No matter how many iMacs, iPads and iPhones fill your home, and it’s all because you’re not one of these people.
Meet Apple’s secret family. They’re the finely honed faces of Apple’s marketing drive. Used to humanise Apple products, they’re seemingly fictional, and completely perfect in every way. Except, well, they’re not.
Read on, meet the family, and we’ll show how they highlight weaknesses in Cupertino’s otherwise faultless promotional prowess.
MWC: Get the skinny before anyone else!
Mobile World Congress kicks off next week in Barcelona. Tons of phones, a slew of tablets, and a fair few surprises are in store. You can follow all the news at our MWC hub as it happens, but read on and we’ll give you the skinny on what to expect early.
Smartphones and tablets will march into Barcelona like an army of touchscreen Terminators next week. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is high on the agenda after that Super Bowl advert with the disturbing Android surgery. The big question though, is whether the gaming experience holds up, and if it can go head to head with HTC, which has just invested big money in gaming, with support for OnLive.
HTC will be making a big noise itself at MWC with the HTC Desire 2, the HTC Wildfire 2 and tablets on the cards in a raft of new devices from the Taiwanese titans. We’ve seen some leaks of what HTC has in store but the firm has hardly been sieve like meaning we’re bound to be shocked by at least a few of its smartest new smartphones.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s offerings are being unveiled just before the show proper beings, and we know at least two of the devices its planning to boast about. The Samung Galaxy star system is expanding with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (reportedly with a larger screen, 3D smarts and Android Honeycomb on board powered by a dual-core processor) and the Samsung Galaxy S 2.
And then there’re the tablets… Android Honeycomb will inevitably be one of the biggest sources of chatter at the show with new tablets running Google’s tweaked Android OS in their masses. They’ll join the Motorola Xoom, which first broke cover at CES in January.
LG too, looks like surprising with the world’s first 3D tablet, the LG G-Slate, boasting a glasses-free 3D screen and twin cameras for stereoscopic photography.
There’s also LG’s Optimus 3D to look forward to, bringing all those multi-dimensional talents to your shirt pocket.
Finally, outside of the device deluge which MWC will send our way, there are some high profile talks to look forward to. Despite having slipped sideways from his role as Google’s CEO to become Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt is sure to say something outrageous and with acquistion chatter getting louder, Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey and Ev Williams (who are giving seperate speeches) will be in high demand.