Nokia World 2010 – Nokia's back!

Thanks to the Nokia India team, last week I was in London to attend the Nokia World 2010 event which was held in London.  Here’s the highlights of the 2 packed days of events in one post.

Niklas Savander, kicked off the event with a bang, in which exclaimed that “Nokia is back!”, their target this year is to stay on to of the market. In the number games, Nokia is still the leader selling 260,000 devices a day, ahead of Apple and Android devices worldwide.

Featured Devices and Launches

Nokia N8 had the centerstage as far as devices went during the event. The folks at Nokia did mention that they got an exceptionally good response from the N8 pre-orders, and it was beyond their expectations. Apart from the N8, they also announced the launch of two C-series devices the C6 and C7 which should be in the markets in the fourth quarter of this year.

They also announced the successor of their communicator line of phones, the E7, which is the sleekest yet. It’s got a huge screen and a side out QWERTY keyboard and is just slightly bigger than the N8, quite a feat. I’ll give you more details of the E7 in a later post. The three devices run on Symbian^3.

Apart from these, Nokia also demoed some great new accessories in the Experience Zone like the the BH-905i Bluetooth Stereo Headset with Active Noise Cancellation and the DT-600 Charging plate which can charge multiple devices at once.

Experience Zone

The experience Zone in Nokia World was an interesting place to spend the time between sessions. You could just walk around and check out the newly announced devices, services and developer stuff all in one area.

I was totally blown with the N8 Home Theatre experience where they had the N8 playing out HD video in surround sound, and also samples of videos shot using the N8. There’s no denying it, the N8 is a multi-media power house. They also had an N8 gaming zone, where people could take the gaming capabilities of this device on a test drive.

Apart from Nokia’s own devices and services they also had other software developers and service provides show demos of their wares. I got to check out the native Foursquare Application for Symbian which should be coming out shortly on Symbian^3 followed later by the support for the older Symbian versions. The Morpho folks were also demoing the QuickPanorama app for Symbian^3 there, and I found it quite easy to use on the N8 to get decent panorama snaps with minimal effort.

I was hoping to see something from Swype over here, but was disappointed to find it missing over at this event.

Meeting the Folks at Nokia

George Linardos & David Rivas

During the course of these two day, I got to meet with some great folks from Nokia. The first meeting on day one was with George Linardos and David Rivas – who gave us a low down on the new devices, and some background on the styling of the N8 and the E7. We also had discussions on the why Nokia was releasing more devices like the X3 Touch and Type, which features a numeric keypad with T9 capabilities along with a touch-screen. An interesting fact he mentioned that a lot of school kids love this phone because they could type out SMS’s without having having to look at the screen, with the phone held under the desk, and they still wanted some of the ease of use which touch enabled on applications. An interesting fact about George Linardos, did you know that he helped produce Hollywood movies like “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Zoolander”?

Henry Tirri

Henry Tirri is the flamboyant Head of Research at the Nokia Research center was great fun talking to, and we got some ideas and Henry’s thoughts on what the future holds for mobile devices. Of course, Henry couldn’t give us the top-secret stuff he and his team are working on but some of the ideas he gave were quite exciting to imagine up. He said that the main impediment for mobile users today was the hunched down pose while using these devices. This could be prevented by using gestures to control and use the phone, and projection and on-eye displays so we don’t have to be hunched up over the phone. With more processing power in mobile devices these days, gesture recognition and these so called “futuristic” interaction methods are not to far in the future.

Gerhard Romen & Teppo Paavola

Gerhard and Teppo took us through this very interesting demo of Nokia Money. Nokia’s been piloting this service in collaboration with Yes Bank and Obopay here in Pune, India. They’ve just started rolling this service out into the next city, Chandigarh, and expect to start rolling out into the rest of India pretty soon. This service aims to make the process of money transfer as easy as just sending an SMS. Next year, we should see the Nokia Money application bundled with the Nokia handsets we purchase. Of course, Gerhard did assure us that they have enough levels of security to prevent unauthorized use of the service even if we loose our phone, and it’s easy enough to transfer it to a new handset. If you want to read about how Nokia Money works, here an good article from Nokia Conversations. I’m excited and am waiting to see this service rolled out here in Bangalore.

Developer Community

This year the Nokia World event saw the Nokia Developer Summit as well, which was a good idea. I as a web developer (in my day job)  could also look at the development aspects of Nokia’s various platforms while at the event.

It was quite evident from this event that Nokia takes their developer community quite seriously. In fact, they are cutting down the cost to market for developers to get their apps to the consumers. They announced that even the Java application Signing process is now free. Symbian app signing was free for some time now.

Other takeaways for developers at the event were:

  • In-app purchases enabled for apps on Ovi Publish
  • Release of the new QT SDK with support for S40 Touch and Type Phones
  • Improved revenue sharing for developers
  • Improved in-app analytics for developers through Nokia’s acquisition of Motally

Apart from these announcements, Nokia had a Hackathon contest where developers had to hack out apps based on some of the best ideas submited by Nokia users, in just 36 hours and present their apps and the business plans for the apps to the judges. Video of that just at the end of this article. The Nokia World 2010 and the developer summit came to a close with a surprise appearance of the new CEO Stephen Elop who summarized their support for developers on their eco-system with the rally  Developers, Developers, Developers!.

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Vinu Thomas

Vinu is a Technical Architect working on Web technologies and a mobile enthusiast, who likes trying out new gadgets and apps. You can follow him on Twitter @vinuthomas

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