LONDON-Nokia is back!
Well, it’s sure enough trying. So said the head of sales for the company in an opening address at the Nokia World 2010 conference here. And bringing the company back are four new smartphones that Nokia launched at the show: the N8, the C6 and C7 siblings, and the E7 business-oriented device.
Nokia came out swinging at the event, taking shots at Apple, Google and others, and jokingly hinting at the possibility of an improved relationship with Microsoft now that the company has hired Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop, who will join the company on Sept. 21.
Niklas Savander, executive vice president of markets at Nokia, kicked off the event and drove home the point that Nokia is a global company. This is important, as the majority of Nokia’s 1.3 billion users are international and in emerging markets-that is, outside the United States.
Indeed, Purnima Kochikar, Vice President, Forum Nokia & Developer Community at Nokia, said when she attends developer events at locations all around the world she walks into packed houses and feels like a rock star, “but back home in Silicon Valley, not so much.”
Savander poked fun at the competition, particularly, Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS software at Apple, who said of the company’s OS, “it’s all about connecting people,” However, “for Nokia, connecting people is more than just a feel good tagline; it’s our mission,” Savander said.
“Yes, Nokia is going through a tough challenging transition,” Savander said. “We have a lot of work to do. We’re not going to apologize for not being Apple or Google or Samsung or anybody else,”
Moreover, Savander said Nokia will continue to provide a variety of devices to meet different needs, tastes and budgets. “We’ll continue to expose smartphone features because everyone, not just the well off, should have access to smartphone features.”
In addition, Savander said Nokia sells more smartphones than anybody else. “Last quarter, more people bought Nokia smartphones than Apple and Google combined.” He said 260,000 Nokia smartphones are sold daily.
“Today we shift into high gear in Nokia’s fight back in smartphone leadership,” Savander said.
Nokia’s executive vice president of mobile Solutions, Anssi Vanjoki, who recently announced his intent to step down, then took the floor to show just how Nokia is beginning to fight back in the smartphone market against the hot platforms from Apple and Google.
Vanjoki announced a family of smartphones powered by the new Symbian platform that brings significant enhancements in speed and ease of use. The new devices, which are tightly integrated with enhanced Ovi services and apps, reinforce Nokia’s vision of a mobile industry that is increasingly being defined by socially connected, location-based devices and experiences, he said. The latest version of the Symbian platform brings more than 250 new features and improvements and retains the familiarity enjoyed by millions of smartphone users worldwide;
The Ultimate Business Smartphone
The N8 provides a high-end entertainment experience and camera with 12 megapixels and Carl Zeiss optics. Nokia offers the availability of a richer Ovi Store experience – starting with the Nokia N8 – that includes a friendlier look and feel, and more popular and unique apps and games. And Nokia announced the latest beta release of free Ovi Maps with new pedestrian and motorist features.
“Despite new competition, Symbian remains the most widely used smartphone platform in the world,” Savander said. “Our new family of smartphones introduced today feature the all-new Symbian OS, rewritten to be faster, easier to use, more efficient and more developer friendly.” Savander also commented on the high level of anticipation for the Nokia N8. “Based on the level of consumer interest and the highest online preorders in Nokia history, we expect big things from the Nokia N8.”
Vanjoki said the new Nokia E7 is the ultimate business smartphone. With Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync on board, the Nokia E7 provides direct, real-time and secure access to corporate email inboxes and other personal applications. Equipped with a 4-inch touchscreen display featuring Nokia ClearBlack technology for improved outdoor visibility and a full keyboard, business users will find the Nokia E7 is the perfect shape and size to work on documents, review spreadsheets, or read and edit slides. For corporate peace of mind, a combination of business grade security solutions is available.
Nokia also announced the Nokia C7, a sleek social networking smartphone that enables users to get live updates from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and keep track of new email from their Yahoo or Gmail accounts directly on the home screen. The Nokia C7 features a 3.5-inch Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display and a stunning combination of stainless steel, glass and soft edges.
The Nokia C7’s sibling, the new Nokia C6, is a small and stylish smartphone. Sporting a 3.2-inch AMOLED display with full touch capabilities and Nokia ClearBlack technology for improved outdoor visibility, the latest Nokia C6 benefits of social networking and mobile entertainment in a stainless steel and glass design. Users can stay connected to email, access millions of tracks through Ovi Music, and download apps and games from the Ovi Store.
As a smartphone family, the Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia C7, Nokia C6 share several similarities. All are built on the new version of Symbian, the world’s most popular smartphone platform. It strikes a balance of innovation and intuition offering a variety of improvements and features such as support for multiple home screens, visual multitasking, gesture-based interactions and a noticeable reduction in prompts — all while presenting a familiarity that means millions of people can pick up one of Nokia’s new smartphones and instantly know how to use it., Nokia said in a press release on the phones. People will also discover free Ovi Maps, access to Ovi Store, messaging, social networking and other experiences that come standard across all of these smartphones.
The Nokia E7, Nokia C7 and Nokia C6 are all expected to begin shipping before the end of the year.
The new family of Symbian smartphones will include a completely updated Ovi Store experience. The new store experience is driven by a friendlier user interface and a new collections feature to quickly access popular apps and games available now, or soon, such as foursquare, Angry Birds, Need for Speed Shift and Real Golf 2011. Additionally, Ovi Store will continue to offer exclusive apps including Audiotube, Tesco and others along with favorites such as Fring, Shazam, and Asphalt 5.
For developers, the uniform Symbian platform together with the Qt development environment enables easy smartphone application creation and extensive reach, Kochikar said.
Meanwhile, free access to Ovi Maps, the world’s most comprehensive walk and drive navigation, to Nokia smartphones was only the start, Vanjoki said. With the latest beta release of Ovi Maps, available for download today, people will benefit from new features and even greater map detail. Ovi Maps beta adds visibility to subways, trams and trains in 85 cities around the world, real-time traffic, safety alerts in or out of navigation mode, visibility to parking and petrol stations, and speed limit warnings. In addition, people can use the improved search capabilities and share their location immediately via text messages or email to other browser-enabled phones.
Nokia also showcased the Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-905i offering an improved audio experience with active noise cancellation and a collection of five unique new Bluetooth headsets designed for a variety of needs, including hands-free multitasking, talking and navigating in the car with voice guidance.