- 11 Feb 08, 17:00 GMT
I've spent the day searching for one real stand-out innovation at Mobile World Congress - and I'm afraid it wasn't on the Nokia stand. (I'll tell you what did make an impact in a subsequent post). What seemed to excite Nokia's Niklas Savander when I asked him which was the outstanding product in its new line-up was the 6210 Navigator which has a built-in compass and is aimed at helping pedestrians rather than drivers. It's obviously part of the whole drive - which I seem to have been hearing about for years - to make location-based services take off, promising an advertising bonanza as bars and shops try to lure passing pedestrians with ads on their Nokia Maps.
Maps are certainly useful on mobiles - though on the last Nokia handset I tried they drained the battery miles short of my destination - but this year's efforts look like evolution rather than revolution. Perhaps though, the big thinkers at Nokia are not so focussed on new gimmicks for jaded European customers as on the huge potential of markets in the developing world. In our interview, Niklas Savander talked of the excitement of bringing the internet to a village that had never heard of it.
By the way, during this video you'll see Mr Savander facing the usual live demo nightmare - but when we filmed the navigation handset later it seemed to work pretty well.
- 11 Feb 08, 13:04 GMT
Robbie Bach is the man who launched Xbox - and as well as continuing to run Microsoft's games console business he's now in charge of mobile too. He is also a very patient fellow. Last night I interviewed him on a mobile phone - and somehow failed to press record. So he agreed to let me try again this morning.
Funnily enough I think we got a more relaxed interview second time around. But I still don't quite see how getting Windows Mobile onto 20 million handsets a year after six years is quite such a triumph....after all Apple's OS is on schedule to be on 10 million phones within 18 months. But Mr Bach, who's now been interviewed three times by me in a visit where he'll see nothing of Barcelona, is one of the industry's nice guys.
- 11 Feb 08, 12:13 GMT
Nokia is a smart company - you don't have 40% of the global mobile market without being clever, of course.
But it's clear the Finnish firm is learning from the successes of other companies. Take the company's new flagship store in London, for example. Take a look at this short video I filmed at the store this morning.
Remind you of anything? It reminded me of an Apple store. Coincidentally, Apple's flagship UK store is on the other side of the street.
Nokia has learned from Apple that customers want to play with technology. All of the handsets and all of the different types of experiences you can have with a phone are available in store.
There's even a psuedo-Genius bar, where customers can get problems solved by well-trained staff.
And it's not just at retail that Nokia is learning.
The company has seen the weather forecast and knows that the web 2.0 revolution of creating and sharing content is changing people's online experiences and that users know expect that freedom on their phones.
And so Nokia has launched share.ovi.com, a portal where you can dump files - from video to photos to documents - and exchange them with friends.
What makes share.ovi.com is that Nokia has made it very open - you can share 100 different file types you have created and access it from any connected device. It doesn't matter if you are using an N95 or an Apple iPhone.
This is a smart move by Nokia. It shows it is learning the lessons that digital content should be set free, not tied to one platform or one website.
- 11 Feb 08, 09:26 GMT
The question people want answered is: when will Nokia react to the Apple iPhone and bring out devices that have touch screen capabilities?
The answer is: not yet but it is coming.
Niklas Savander, head of services and software, said: "We have said that we are platform-ising touch and we will bring out touch products.
"It's important you don't bring out gimmicky touch. We want to take the heritage of the applications we have today - over 5,000 - and make sure there is some reasonable migration path.
"Absolutely the user interface will evolve. It will be different for different categories - some will have a lot of touch, some will have little and some none."
He added: "It's an over simplification to say touch is the answer or not the answer."
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