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The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

Mat Newman  February 12 2011 07:14:00
I am a Nokia fan-boy.

Around Lotusphere this year, whenever I pulled out my trusty N97 and used it in front of people (of course, no-one had ever seen one, hardly anyone at Lotusphere had a Nokia) there were always questions; What is that? What does it run? What are the features?

Yeah, not bad for an almost 2 year old device. Front camera and back 5MP DVD quality camera, LED flash, Native video calling, 48GB of storage, online AND off-line GPS including voice-guidance with maps loaded on the device for Europe, Asia and North America, FM Transmitter, touch screen and Flip-up keyboard, TV/Projector out, USB, Full web-browser, Traveler, SameTime, Skype, Facebook, Sportskeeper, etc, etc...

But it runs Symbian.  The biggest difference between Symbian and iOS are Menu's.  And this is where iOS has been a hit from a user perspective.  On Symbian, instead of moving forward through several screens to get to preferences and options - as is the case with iOS (Back <- Back <- Back, anyone) - Symbian uses a menu based interface to navigate through applications.  Not a big deal for someone like myself who is slightly more technical, but obviously not as popular with the general public as the iOS implementation.

The true benefit of Symbian is the ability to do real RAD, just like in Notes.  Using the API's and tools available it is easy to create powerful, extremely functional applications that run in a true multi-tasking environment, with the ability to access any function on the device, with an extremely small footprint.

Playing music/podcasts through a rental-car's radio, while getting email, while driving with the voice-guidance from the GPS and maps is something I do regularly.  Add the solid Phone performance - it IS after all a phone FIRST, right! - and I often found myself handing the phone over to my passenger to make calls long after their iThing/Blackberry lost signal.

So what was after Symbian?  According to Nokia: Meego.  The game started with Maemo, but lets not go there.

I had been tooling up to write Meego apps, and had already begun playing with the API's and tools available since November last year.  WildFire! for Nokia has been my first project.  BTW. I run Linux as my operating system, so it was GREAT that the tools were available for my platform from day 1.

Then appeared the 'We're standing on the burning deck' memo a few days ago.

Yesterday came the announcement.

Followed quickly by condemnation from the Nokia developer community.

Nokia is now abandoning Symbian and Meego on their SmartPhones for Windows 7.

My initial reaction was disbelief and consternation: (modified for a 'G' rated audience) "No way, you're kidding me ... right?"

I have completely abandoned Microsoft, and joined the growing Linux/Mac fraternity looking for a 'better way'.  My evangelical passion for IBM Lotus software, and the appearance of Symphony for Linux/Mac made the transition easy.  No big deal on my mobile device, I've never owned a Windows mobile, but have had to (shudder) support many users who suffered on the platform.

The promise of QT on Symbian/Meego showed the path ahead for extending Lotus technology easily to mobile devices.

And now that's gone.

I'm not completely surprised that the new North American CEO of a European company has decided to get into bed with an American company (Microsoft) in an effort to boost Nokia's profile in the USA, which is virtually non-existent.

Time will tell if this decision marks the resurgence or death-knell for my favourite mobile device manufacturer.

Take note Nokia - as I discussed with a senior exec at Lotusphere a week ago - the E7 would have been my next phone if it had at least the equivalent features as my 2 year old N97.  It doesn't, so I'm not buying.

IF
I ever buy another Nokia device, it will have to be functionally superior than the one I already own.

And in case you haven't already guessed, the implementation of Windows Mobile on the device had better be rock solid and have lightning fast performance.

I've already stated you've lost a customer.  You've also lost a developer, and a fan-boy.  

It's completely in your hands to win me back.  

It's up to you to prove that the Windows 7 decision isn't the beginning of your demise, but the promise of a brave new world...



Comments

1Michael Beaver  02/12/2011 8:48:54  
The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

This should definitely be interesting to watch, and I'm not really sure where all the cards will eventually fall. I think that companies like Microsoft, Nokia, and even RIM absolutely must do something drastic to change the nature of the game if they are to survive. Nokia has a reputation for bullet-proof handsets, and Microsoft is trying to straddle the 2 extremes of control and openness that we're seeing with iOS and Android respectively, so maybe it will be a good thing in the end. Only time will tell.

PS: you misspelled "favorite". :)

2Andy Donaldson  02/12/2011 8:57:59  
The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

Microsoft is like the cylons. They will wait. Wait until so many people have moved away from Nokia for one reason or another, the company will become weak, and MS will swoop in for the attack. They'll buy them up and MS will be in the phone business. Micronokiasoft. I've long heard the rumor that they were interested in RIM, but it looks like they found their target in Nokia.

Just the two cents of a redneck geek.

3Mat Newman

02/12/2011 9:52:45  The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

@1, Michael: It's the bullet proof handsets that is the basis of my love for Nokia. 5 devices in 16 years, not one case, cover or wrapper on any of them, and they all lasted the requisite technology time-frame. My spelling is fine, thank you - who is your town named after btw ;-)

@2, Hoss: That's either a conspiracy theory in the making, or the premonitions of a wise man :-) Time will tell, but my gut feeling is that you are correct, and this is just the preamble. I see your 2c, and raise you a NokiaSoft.

Mat Newman IBM Champion

4Adam Brown  02/12/2011 10:33:03  
The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

Well you might just have to build Wildfire for Windows 7 then mate.....Allthough i dont suppose Visual Studio will run on Linux now will it;)

5Mat Newman

02/12/2011 14:16:05  The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

@4, Brownie: Just when I thought I had wiped that part of my brain dealing with VB, J++, C#, ASP, .Net - oh MS pick one already! - it looks like I may have to restore from backup, or run a brain utility to see if there are any memory segments to recover. What is Microsoft's language of choice these day's for WoMo7?

I might wait a few months anyway before reinstalling Visual Studio, just to see how things play out ...

Mat Newman IBM Champion

6Michael Stokes  02/12/2011 16:43:35  
The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

Mat, I was equally as shocked. I've been a Nokia fan boy for years. I only recently went to an iPhone 4 after the trusty e71 of ~2 years failed to charge. I did replace it with a Nokia however once I loaded VPN and Traveler the battery life wasn't workable hence the iPhone 4. Mind you it wasn't a business grade Nokia like the e71 etc.

I would have thought a shift towards Android would have made more sense for Nokia. Android was a serious consideration for me over the iPhone 4 however with iPod Touch (x 2) and iPad (x 2) in the house the iPhone 4 was a logicaly next step.

Maybe if Nokia had an app store that was usable (like Apple) and I had invested in enough apps like I had with the iPod and iPad I would have stuck with Nokia.

7Mat Newman

02/13/2011 7:33:59  The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

@6, Michael: I agree, if Nokia were going to dump their own development environment, it certainly makes more sense to go over to Andriod, which - like Meego - is linux based, rather than completely alienate their developer base by switching to WoMo.

This is actually starting to look more sinister than I first thought.

Mat Newman IBM Champion

8Keith Brooks  02/14/2011 13:23:16  
The demise of Nokia, or a brave new world...

The demise of Symbian was obvious 2 years ago when Nokia became owner of it and really no one else uses it anymore. I remember the Psion fondly.

I had some interesting meetings back then but that is not the point.

The reality is MS will take over Nokia at some point, in one way or another. My bet is they buy the telephone side and Nokia goes on to reinvent themselves for at least the 3rd time in their existence.

Truly a shame that MS could not accept Symbian was worth keeping over winos7, but MS has NEVER chosen someone else's way over theirs.

Mat Newman

THE IBM Notes (formerly Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. IBMer. Views are my own.

#GetProductive #GetIBMNotes

Mat Newman

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