Nokia World was the opportunity for Nokia to make a positive change. And they did.
Lets start with Nokia’s leadership. CEO Olli-Pekka is out, Stephen Elop is in. This change is a very significant one because Elop is a totally unexpected person to come in and take the leadership at Nokia. The fact that he is the first non-Finnish person to direct the company already assures that there will be change in Espoo. The North American mentality surely differs from what Nokia is used to. By talking with some Nokia employees at Nokia World, we discovered that they aren’t sure what they are expecting, and they are right: no one knows what Elop will change during his first months at Nokia. What we know about Elop is that he is a software guy, and is exactly what Nokia is needing. He highlighted the importance for “Developers, developers, developers” at the closing speech of Nokia World, which by the way was a fun and fresh speech to hear. Another important change among Nokia’s lines is the entrance of Peter Skillman as the head of MeeGo User Experience and Services. Skillman is a renowned designer, responsible for designing and creating WebOS.
With this leadership change we will see that Nokia will start doing things differently in the future.
Next, are devices announced. Nokia announced three new Symbian^3 devices at Nokia World, which proves that Nokia World was all about this platform. MeeGo, however, was named at the conference several times. When the press was entering the conference room for the keynote, the speaker announced that they had some cool things to reveal, and that they would let us know about MeeGo “later this year.” This, in other words, means there will be a MeeGo device announced anytime soon. But lets talk about Symbian^3. Devices built on this platform differ radically from previous Nokia handsets. To start, these new generation of devices are FAST. And we mean iPhone, Android fast. The menus and overall UI is like nothing you have seen before on a Nokia phone, it just works! Check out the image below, you can see that the UI was going so fast that my Nikon produced a blurry screen! The hardware is also an upgrade of anything we have seen before. The new Nokia devices are built with solid aluminium; the tradition that Nseries devices have a cheap build quality ended with the N8. This device doesn’t crack, or produce sounds when pressed. The phone is one solid unit. Nokia also put very welcomed features on new devices like penta-band 3G, AMOLED (CBD) displays, and finally, capacitive displays. We will see whether the N8 is a winner the next couple of months when the N8 ships worldwide.
Services and software is next. We have seen now how Nokia has organized its mess of developing software. A simple visit to Forum Nokia shows how everything has been redesigned and put in an easy way for developers to use. The fact that they no longer charge to sign apps published through the Store, and that developers can enjoy cross platform compatibility with Qt, is a huge step towards a rich selection of new apps. The proof are the apps that were developed during Nokia World in a period of 36 hours. The results looked professional and powerful at the same time. The app that won the contest is an app that uses biometrics to protect your phone, it lets you use your face to unlock your phone. We also saw new apps like Ovi Maps v3.06, and Foursquare which will be available shortly.
Nokia changed a lot of things during this Nokia World, but the interesting detail is that change is just starting. Nokia has a future in which Symbian^3, Symbian^4, Stephen Elop, and MeeGo will determine the position that Nokia will hold for the next couple of years.