Last Monday marked the first time I spent less than 24 hours in a foreign country that isn’t a flight transit. I left KL on the 3:40pm flight to attend Showcase Nokia 2009 event at Singapore, and took the 6:45am flight back home the very next morning. In all I spent about 14 hours in the city state but it was fantastic.
The only regret I have was not being able to spend more time with the fantastic hospitality offered at Mandarin Oriental Hotel. That luxurious king size bed with the most comfortable mattress, the excellent city view (free upgrade to deluxe or something), and that bathtub.
Oh well, lets get back on topic lest I digress.
Showcase Nokia 2009, Singapore
The event was held at Zirca, Clark Quay, a more fashionable part of town when it comes to night life. As the name suggest, Showcase Nokia is traditionally an event where Nokia showcases their upcoming products and services. Even amidst the currently gloomy global economy situation, the company did not fail to impress with their upcoming product planned for release later this year.
Chris Carr, VP Sales, SEAP Nokia
Chris Carr, the VP of Sales from Nokia delivered the announcements of new products and services with a somewhat lengthy but very informative presentation.
Instead of merely flooding the market with more and more handsets of different configurations and ever increasing capabilities. Nokia seems to be taking a slightly different approach by offering services that works in conjunction with the devices. A very good blue ocean strategy if you ask me.
Mobile Messaging for the Masses, mobile IM, and Ovi Store
Nokia target in the near future is email for the masses. Most of us was thinking why would Nokia start concentrating email while almost everyone who is reading this already has several email accounts.
Well, apparently we aren’t exactly the core target. Mobile phone penetration is much higher than computer/internet penetration and that is where a lot of people could be getting their very first email account. If it works out well, a lot of people are going to have an Ovi email address soon. (over 100,000 new sign ups in beta test alone)
At the same time, Nokia is also working to bring other mail services on their devices. Personally I am already using Mail for Exchange and loving it, give me the ability to log into multiple email accounts in one interface and I’ll be a very happy person. I can’t wait for that.
The other messenger centric announcement was the ability to log into multiple IM accounts with a single device. Something meebo and ebuddy is already doing, but I am hoping Nokia would do a better job in merging the different protocols together.
Another service announcement from the company is the Ovi store. Something that is long overdue if you compare to Apple and it’s iTune store, but it is finally here nonetheless. The store will incorporate some social networking elements in it, this could be interesting.
Nokia E55, N86, and 7610 Nagivator
Of course, a showcase Nokia is never complete without the announcement of handsets, and this time around we have quite a few offerings.
On the business front there is the E55 and E75. There’s the N86 as the latest addition to the impressive N series product line. The 6710 Navigator for the road warriors. The 6710 Navigator with the slightly curved profile as if the second coming of the old banana phone that so many adored. There are also 3 other classics – 6700, 6303, and 2700 to complete the range.
these models are too tall!
The N86 is a successor to N85, but to me, not a very pure successor to my trusted N82, which is still the only offering from Nokia with a Xenon flash. The reason given by the head of marketing, Bambos Kaisharis was that the dual LED flash in the N86 are strong enough for normal photography and yet still be able to operate while shooting video. Something out of Xenon flash’s capability.
N86 comes with a whopping 8 megapixel camera with variable aperture (a first in mobile phone, but unfortunately we aren’t allowed to adjust the aperture manually) and up to 1/1000s shutter speed. Together with the 8gb internal memory and OLED display, it certainly look pretty impressive, but I’ll have to test out the production version when it comes out before (maybe) relegating my N82 to second place as the best camera phone.
Nokia 6710 Navigator:
The Nokia 6710 Navigator is the first phone that comes bundled with ‘drive and walk’ navigation software that works with Nokia maps. Previous navigator (and N series) phones are bundled with Maps but you have to purchase the navigator add-on separately. I wonder why it took Nokia so long to do this, shouldn’t it be obvious from the get go that navigation software is essential for GPS?
The ‘drive’ capability is limited to the home country while the ‘walk’ works everywhere in the world. The capabilities come with the device and does not have an expiry date. Too bad they don’t offer the option to buy a one time license for the ‘drive and walk’ navigation software to be installed in other Nokia phones.
Nokia 6720 Classic:
Don’t let the “classic” in 6720 fool you into thinking that this is a low end device. It comes with 5 megapixel camera, GPS, and that slightly curved side profile for better fit to your face. I think the curve is a little too minor to actually offer any significance, but it sure looks nice.
To me, the most important feature in 6720 Classic is the active noise canceling and it’s huge battery that allows up to 20 days standby time. I would love to see active noise canceling technology in future XpressMusic range too.
The Nokia E75 looks like a winner to me
The most promising device of the evening must be the E75. This baby offers traditional alphanumeric keypad as well as a slide out qwerty in a normal phone size that does not make you look like you’re talking to a water bottle (E90, anyone?).
The phone also comes with 3.2 megapixel camera, GPS, and a 4gb memory card, which is sufficient as a business oriented phone. I can’t wait to play with the production model that should arrive within Q1 this year.
The E55 looks like an improved version of E51 and with similar size and a mini qwerty keypad that supports predictive text. Standby time is a whopping 28 days (GSM). Again, GPS and a 3.2 mpegapixel camera are included. This is the smallest E series phone
myself and Vlasta Berka, GM Nokia Malaysia
As for the 3 classic phones, they are just devices to cover the lower end of the market, I shall not bore you with the details.
Overall the event was pretty interesting, we even had a Q&A session with 3 experts from Nokia (Sirpa Ikola, Raj Sambwani, and Vincent Julien), each of them in charged of a different category (navigation, software, connect). We talked about how data charges remain an obstacle to wider adoption of mobile phone as a data accessing device and cleared up many questions we had.
Overall it was a pretty interesting and certainly informative event. I’d like to thank Hazel from Nokia and David from text100 for the invitation.
I’m heading to Bangkok tomorrow, this time on a personal chillax trip with Mell. Can’t wait!