Posts Tagged ‘Nokia’

Apple’s Next Opponents Will Be Tougher Than Sony And Nokia

August 25th, 2011

Steve Jobs capped his career with a decade that defies belief. Under his leadership, Apple took on and shattered the status quo in music and mobile handset industries; and right now, Apple is well on its way to beating leading computer vendors at their own game. Just ten years ago, Sony and Nokia seemed savvy, nimble consumer electronics powerhouses. Steve Jobs exposed the key weakness of these leading companies; their lack of comprehension about user interface development and content delivery. As powerful as companies like Sony, Panasonic, Nokia, Motorola and others seemed just ten years ago, they fundamentally misunderstood user experience issues as simple as how to avoid turning a menu-based UI into an impenetrable jungle of forking paths.

Many of Apple’s recent break-throughs look hardware-based – but flowing underneath is usually a deep vein of insights about software development. Synaptics offered its experimental new touch-screen technology to Apple, Samsung, LG and Nokia in 2005. Nokia balked at the $50 price tag – it was led by men who thought that high margins can only be maintained by keeping display price under $4.50. Samsung and LG went for this new technology – but did not have the foresight to develop a true OS and multi-touch UI to utilize the new display break-through. As a result, only Apple launched a phone in 2007 featuring not only a large touch screen, but also the content delivery machinery and thrilling user experience to maximize its potential.

Apple was lucky in its enemies during the past decade; engineer- and accountant-driven companies like Nokia and Motorola; rigidly managed Asian vendors like Samsung and LG; PC vendors unwilling to explore new form factors.

The next round of challengers will be more dangerous. Google is mutating rapidly, still wrestling with the challenge of finding strong hardware partners, but leveraging its search, mapping, advertising and messaging expertise in creative ways. Facebook is rapidly expanding to mobile devices, slowly but surely pushing email and text-messaging aside as it continues expanding deeper into content sharing and delivery.

Apple’s tight integration of software and hardware enabled it to shove aside hardware vendors with limited software expertise. But against emerging software giants, that integration could turn into a liability. Facebook and Google are spreading into a range of devices cheap and expensive, building user bases that dwarf even Apple. Apple’s next CEO will have to show at least some of the wizardry of Steve when he grapples with the thorny question of how much Apple should open its software world to other vendors and how deep into low-end gadgets the company should push in order to ensure enough market share expansion.

Negotiating deals with television and movie industries will be a much harder task now that those industries have seen Apple marginalize the music recording industry. Apple’s canny new software enemies are likely to put up a more spirited fight than Dell or Motorola ever did.

Steve Jobs vanquished basically all of his hardware enemies across a spectrum of different industries – he is leaving the new CEO a strong platform to repeat that feat against a wave of software opponents. It is hard to think of any other major CEO of the past century who has left his successor a stronger hand to play.


Nokia promises ’something new on Symbian’

August 23rd, 2011

Nokia promises “something new on Symbian” coming tomorrow. The Finnish phone company is counting down to a surprise for its feature phone software — will it be an update to Belle?

Nokia is heralding the surprise with an eye-wobbling pink and purple countdown on its Facebook page. As we feverishly type against the clock, there are less than 30 hours left to go. That means the countdown hits zero at lunchtime tomorrow.

When the counter reaches 00:00:00, Nokia will — probably — unveil Belle, the next update to Symbian. Belle builds on the most recent update, Anna, which first showed up in the X7 and E6 phones announced earlier this year.

Anna, then Belle? Yes, it appears Nokia is giving its updates alphabetical codenames — just like Google. Where Nokia is going for ladynames, Google’s Android software is named after tasty treats: from Donut, Eclair and Froyo to current versions Gingerbread and Honeycomb to the forthcoming Ice Cream Sandwich. But what will the next version of Nokia’s Symbian be called? We suggest Clarissa, who might explain what Nokia is playing at.

Belle is expected to draw on Android in terms of features too, perhaps in notifications. Heck, Android notifications are good enough for iOS 5, so why not.

We’d also like to see Symbian incorporate some of the clever features of MeeGo, the doomed operating system seen in the N9, sadly never to reach these shores.

Symbian is still Nokia’s bread and butter, especially in the developing world, where feature phones sell like heated baked desserts. But the real countdown is to Nokia’s first phone to use Microsoft Windows Phone software, hotly anticipated to drop before the end of the year. It’ll be those phones that demonstrate whether Nokia still has what it takes to compete in the new phone landscape dominated by Apple and Android.

Does Belle ring your bell? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. And check back after 1.45pm on Wednesday 24 August to find out all the news on Nokia’s “something new”.


Nokia’s software exits the US market

August 11th, 2011

Nokia is to give up on its feature and low-end business in America, making the company a Windows Phone manufacturer as it makes one last pitch to become relevant in the USA.

The news came during an interview with the President of Nokia’s US operation, Chris Weber, who was talking to AllThingsD. Explaining how the company was heavily focusing on the US market Weber said that Nokia Inc. would be dropping everything else as none of it mattered if the company’s Windows Phone handsets failed:

“When we launch Windows Phones we will essentially be out of the Symbian business, the S40 business … The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do”

Like many European stars Nokia has always coveted US success, and tried all sorts of things including opening offices in Silicon Valley and promotions based on an alternative reality (perhaps one where Nokia sells phones to Americans).

Nokia Inc., the company’s US subsidiary, has been having a hard time shifting Symbian, or Series 40, handsets which are competing with basic Android handsets, and Samsung’s Bada platform, as well as (even more) proprietary platforms.

Nokia still makes, some, money selling low-end devices into developing markets, but in the USA it’s the smartphones that matter.

So now the US division is putting everything into Windows Phone, and promises the biggest-ever marketing push in what must surely be a last-ditch attempt to get big in America.


Nokia issues software updates to users of older hardware, delivers a modern browser and updated Maps

June 29th, 2011

If there’s one thing consumers hate more than overpaying for goods and services, it’s buying something that quickly becomes obsolete. These days you need to do a lot of research before signing a 2 year contract and taking home a new smartphone. Is it running the latest version of Android/Symbian, will it get updates, how many apps are available, etc.? Owners of Symbian S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 and Symbian S60 5th Edition (which some people also call Symbian^1) have had their devices for several years now, and while Nokia has issued a few firmware updates to address bugs, they haven’t really added any new features. That’s no longer the case according to a recent post on Nokia Conversations that says the Nokia E72, E52, E5, C5-00, 6700 Slide, C6-00, C5-03, 5230, 5235, 5250, X6, N97 mini, 5800 XpressMusic and 5530 XpressMusic are due to get a new software update that will bring the built in web browser up to the same version that’s bundled with Symbian Anna devices, add support for emoticons, and an updated version of Nokia Maps that offers public transportation routing, travel recommendations, and the ability to checkin with your favorite location based web services.
There’s nothing bad we can say about this piece of news. For people who already have those devices listed above, they should be thrilled, but if you’re in the market for a new mobile phone you need to make sure it’s going to get support. It’s why many of the staff at IntoMobile carry either an Apple iPhone or Google Nexus device, because we know we’ll always have the latest up to date software running on our handsets. Apple’s due to release iOS 5 later this year, along with a new iPhone, and there’s also rumors of an ultra powerful “Nexus Prime” Android smartphone coming in time for Christmas. We say wait for those if you’ve got an itch to upgrade.


Nokia CEO Defends Shift to Microsoft Software

June 2nd, 2011

Nokia Corp. chief executive Stephen Elop defended his company’s alliance with Microsoft Corp. and said that the Finnish company would eventually enter the market for tablet computers.

Speaking at D9: All Things Digital, Mr. Elop said that Nokia is engaged in a “platform war” with Apple Inc. and Google Inc. for mobile devices, and that using Windows Phone 7 software will enable Nokia to differentiate its products. He added that “both companies will reduce expense and increase profit because of this deal. It is a positive thing fundamentally because consumers will buy more devices from Nokia.”

Mr. Elop’s comments follow Nokia’s warning on Tuesday that it might not book a profit in its core cellphone business this quarter, which sent the company’s stock price down. Mr. Elop said that shareholders will regain their confidence in Nokia when it executes well on its first Windows phones, which are expected to debut by the end of the year.

Investors say “take care of the short term, but make sure the implementation of that strategy going forward is flawless,” said Mr. Elop. He added that rumors that the Microsoft was looking at buying some portion of Nokia’s business were “baseless.”

Mr. Elop said he decided to make the deal to use Microsoft software earlier this year after determining the company’s existing operating system, known as Symbian, was slowing Nokia’s speed of innovation.

Nokia chose not to use Google’s Android software because the handset maker didn’t feel it could have enough “influence” over the software design and release schedule, he said. “Is there sustainable long-term differentiation with Android?” he said. “We felt like with Windows phone, there is greater opportunity for long-term differentiation.”

Mr. Elop also said that Nokia would need to address the growing market for tablet-based computers, but didn’t have any specific plans or a timeline to announce. He said that his challenge to his employees is to come up with a tablet that is “uniquely Nokia.”


Rambus, SAP, Microsoft, Nokia, Apple: Intellectual Property

May 16th, 2011

Rambus Inc. (RMBS) fell the most since 2009 on May 13 after a U.S. appeals court agreed that the company destroyed documents relevant to separate patent infringement trials with Micron Technology Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. (000660) and sent the cases back to a lower court to determine appropriate sanctions.

A five-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington vacated lower court rulings in the two cases, which centered on whether Sunnyvale, California-based Rambus should be allowed to enforce patents on computer-memory chips although it destroyed potential evidence.

The decision prolongs legal disputes that date back to 2000 for Rambus, a chip designer that has been suing companies that refuse to license its technology. The appeals court decision forces the judge in the Micron trial to reconsider the degree to which Rambus acted in bad faith and it throws out a $397 million judgment against Hynix so the court in that case can also revisit the document-destruction issue.

“Vacating awards or being convicted of spoliation is not anything anyone wants put out in the financial press,” said Jeff Schreiner, a Capstone Investments Inc. analyst in San Diego. “In the end, though, nothing has taken Rambus off the patent train express, nothing has derailed Rambus’s ability to collect on these patents.”

Rambus fell $3.44, or 18 percent, to $15.83 at 4:05 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading May 13, the biggest percentage drop at the close since January 2009. Schreiner has a $45 target and a “buy” rating on the shares and doesn’t own them. Micron fell 2.4 percent to $10.40.

“We are very disappointed with the decisions in these cases,” Thomas Lavelle, Rambus’s general counsel, said in an e- mailed statement. “We are hopeful when the district courts reconsider these decisions, they will find, as we believe, there was no bad faith and no prejudice.”

“Our view is that the district court truly believed that Rambus acted in bad faith and with sufficient prejudice,” Matt Powers, a lawyer at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP who represents Boise, Idaho-based Micron, said in a telephone interview. “That is the result that should happen and will happen.”

Representatives from Ichon, South Korea-based Hynix declined to immediately comment on the ruling.


Nokia launches new Symbian smartphones

April 13th, 2011

Nokia Corp. on Tuesday launched its first smartphones to run on the updated Symbian software with new icons, enhancements and a faster browser.

Nokia said the two models — the E6 and X7 — have longer battery life, better text input and new Ovi Maps applications with improved search and public transport routes.

The Nokia E6, with a standard QWERTY keypad and high resolution touch display, is aimed at corporate customers, while the Nokia X7 is an entertainment-focused handset with a 4-inch (10-centimeter) display made for games.

The world’s largest cellphone maker did not price the handsets.

Markets seemed unimpressed by the announcement, which comes as Nokia continues to struggle against stiff competition, especially from Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd.

Nokia stock fell more than 3 percent to euro6.08 ($8.80) on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

More than 200 million phones, with 150 million more expected on the market, use Symbian technology, seen by some developers as clumsy and dated. At the end of last year, it was surpassed by Android as the world’s No. 1 smart phone software.

Nokia said the new, faster Symbian software, known as Symbian Anna, will be available for previously released top models, including the N8, E7, C7 and C6-01 devices “in coming months.”

In February, Nokia and Microsoft surprised the industry by announcing they were joining forces to challenge major rivals. Nokia said it will use Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone software as the main platform for its smartphones but will continue to develop and use the new Symbian software.

But they have a tough battle ahead.

The iPhone has set the standard for today’s smartphones and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerrys have become the favorite of the corporate set. More recently, Google Inc.’s Android software has emerged as the choice for phone makers that want to challenge the iPhone.

A key challenge will be to produce quality devices with a hip factor that helps position Windows Phone as an attractive alternative in a market where image plays a central role.

Windows Phone 7, launched last year, has a lot of catching up to do both in the number of users and “apps” available for the phones.

Nokia, which claims 1.3 billion daily users of its devices, said it hopes the partnership with Microsoft will lead to capturing the next billion users to join the Internet in developing growth markets.

Last year, the Finnish firm retained its No.1 spot as the world’s top mobile phone maker — a position it has held since 1998, selling 432 million devices — more than its three closest rivals combined. But market share has continued on a downward spiral — from a high of 41 percent in 2008 to 31 percent in the last quarter of 2010.

Also, its share in smartphones has plunged — to 30 percent at the end of 2010 from 40 percent a year earlier. And, at the end of last year Nokia and the Symbian platform was surpassed by Android as the world’s No. 1 smartphone software, according to Canalys research firm.


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