#nw09: Nokia World preview. Part 1: Things officially (pre)announced
It’s just a couple of days left until the biggest Nokia event of the year – Nokia World 2009 in Stuttgart.
I am really looking forward to it, and hope Nokia will have at least some of the devices it recently announced accessible for us to play with.
But before I start packing my bags for Stuttgart, I’d like to go through all the official announcements, leaks and rumors, to have a better idea of what to expect at Nokia World, and the questions to look answers for from all Nokia staff there.
So let’s go through what we know and what was already officially announced, highly believable leaks and rumors, and wild assed speculation floating around the net and also in my head.
Things Nokia pre-announced for Nokia World 09
Contrary to our experience with all previous Nokia Worlds, this year there were a shockingly high number of the official (pre) announcements of various devices and services to be launched, demoed in Stuttgart.
Was that because of Nokia’s inability to contain the leaks about stuff they’ve been prepping for NW09? Did they decide to generate early hype and forgo the surprise effect, especially with IFA Berlin product announcements starting the same day as Nokia’s show? Or do they have something even more interesting and exciting in store for us? I have no idea, but I guess we will have the answer in a couple of days.
Be it as it may, one thing’s for certain, even from the official announcements. Nokia is finished taking all those pot shots from know-it-all bloggers, analysts and tech media about how it lost it’s mojo and is fading into irrelevance, unable to produce anything interesting to the market and will soon be replaced by a combination of Apple/ RIM/Android stuff. And Nokia is coming out swinging.
Let’s take a look at the official announcements.
Nokia N900 Maemo 5 mobile computer
Nokia N900 is probably the most significant device announcement of Nokia World 09’. It not only introduces the new full touchscreen device that, by the accounts of the people who tried it, will give a run for the money to any high end touchscreen competitor out there.
It also launches the next generation Linux (not Linux based) platform/OS for mobile devices –Maemo – which, from what I’m hearing, is the first to really start bridging the gap between portable computers and mobile devices.
Nokia itself is touting “desktop experience” on mobile device. And, from what I hear, Maemo might be able to run native PC Linux applications with very little tweaking, which sounds very interesting to me. I’m not sure how that works, how much tweaking is required, but I’ll surely be finding that out. As well as what does it really mean when people say “Maemo is real Linux OS” vs something like Android, which “only is Linux based OS” .
So yes, despite tons of info that was already revealed about Nokia N900, I still have some questions. But most of all, I just want to get my hands on it and play with it for a while.
Nokia Booklet 3G netbook
Nokia is trying to position it’s newly pre-announced Booklet 3G as something special from mobile world, created for Windows PC users. But unless there really are some new, genuinely surprising Nokia features in the new Booklet, let’s call a spade a spade.
Nokia Booklet 3G is a netbook. Nothing more. Nothing less. Well designed, highly specc’ed netbook, that comes with some standard Nokia PC software pre-installed.
From all the hints by Nokia execs and leaks from third parties, it seems that Nokia Booklet 3G is Nokia’s bid to cash in on the current netboook craze, using it’s extensive carrier relations and strong brand among consumers.
Even Nokia’s VP admitted that netbooks for Nokia is a “tactical opportunity” in a new high demand market. And that this direction “is not strategic” to Nokia. I detailed my views on Nokia Booklet 3G here.
It would be interesting to get all the details about price, specs and Nokia service integration in Booklet 3G, at Nokia World. I will be looking to find out more about how much of Booklet 3G product is really Nokia, and how much of it is Wintel/Chinese ODM.
Also, I would like to get Nokia to comment on that “tactical, not strategic opportunity” approach to netbook market. But I’m not getting my hopes up on this one. It’s one thing for Nokia exec to comment about some hypotetical project, and another thing to dismiss it at launch.
Another interesting thing would be to find out how Nokia netbooks might look in a few years. The main reason of going with Wintel for Booklet 3G, is that it looks familiar and is able to run all the traditional PC applications.
But if Maemo is really bridging the gap between PC and mobile, PC Linux applications are easily ported to run on Maemo, and it becomes true desktop like experience for average user, isn’t there an inevitable clash between the Booklet and N900 type of devices?
If there is, my bet is that Nokia Wintel product line would be a rather shortlived phenomenon, with Maemo based netbook type devices (10”+ screen, normal QWERTY keyboard, etc;) taking their place in the next 3-5 years. I doubt that anyone at Nokia would be very open on these issues, but I’ll see what I can wheedle out between the lines.
Nokia 5230 cheap touchscreen handset
Well, nothing much to talk about here. At the price of 149 EUR before taxes, Nokia XM 5530 is the cheapest full touch screen smartphone in the market.
Nokia continues it’s assault on a cheap touchscreen smartphone category with, for now, the only full touch smartphone out there, priced at 150 EUR. Given the fact that it also has the only full touch smartphones at below 280 EUR (5800 XM) and below EUR 200 (5530 XM) price points, Nokia’s cheap touch handset line-up looks pretty strong. It also does not seem to have any competition at the moment.
On the other other hand, at those prices, how many people care whether your full touch is a smartphone or a dumb phone? It’s all about coolness, touch UI and usability. And with the phones like Star, Preston and Corby, plus Touchwiz UI, that now is open for developers, Samsung seems to be as ready as they come to stand up to Finns.
So it would be interesting to see what Nokia has up it’s sleeve for a slugging mach in a cheap touch phone arena.
While not generating as much attention as e.g. N900, Nokia Money is potentially the biggest thing that Nokia is launching at Nokia World 09’.
IntoMobile’s Stefan has a very good take on why Nokia getting into financial service biz can be big, really big. If you want to know it too, get over there and read this post.
I myself haven’t really thought much about it yet, so #nw09 will be a good place to find out what Nokia is really up to with this thing.
That’s about it with the official info from Nokia. We’ll look at more interesting things rumored for announcement, in part 2 of the preview of Nokia World 09′.