I am here in London at my first Nokia World event and writing about it both here and on my Nokia enthusiast site, Nokia Experts. This particular Nokia World is quite pivotal IMHO with a new CEO coming in soon, the VP of Mobile Solutions resigning within a six month period, and Nokia's huge smartphone market share lead on a fairly steady decline with small profit margins showing across many recent financial reports. I am pretty device agnostic and use devices across just about every mobile platform, but am also a big fan of Nokia devices due to their RF reception, hardware quality, customizability, and media creation. I have spent thousands on Nokia devices and events though and am looking closely at Nokia World and talk surrounding the event to see if I will continue to spend money on the company.
Niklas Savander kicked off the keynote by welcoming Stephen Elop and thanking OPK. He then went on to talk about Symbian and the popularity of the platform around the world. He stated that there are 1.3 billion Nokia phone users around the world and that Nokia sells 260,000 Nokia smartphones every day. Nokia has signed up 100 operators to offer the Nokia N8 soon with pre-orders exceeding all previous orders for their devices. He also confirmed there will be NO MeeGo announcements made at Nokia World, which is a bit of a bummer for high end smartphone fans like myself. Niklas closed by stating, "Nokia is back."
I understand that Nokia does extremely well around the world and they do have solid products, but they never should have gotten to the point where they had to make a statement about "being back." Nokia had a significant lead in the smartphone world and could have continued this trend with more forward thinking and aggressive development. We will have to wait and see if the new leadership changes things, but it will take some time.
Anssi Vanjoki was up next with his last Nokia World address where he talked about the four latest Nokia devices, including the Nokia C6, C7, N8, and E7. The E7 is the newest device that is focused on the enterprise user and continues the Nokia Communicator tradition that many people loved a few years ago. The E7 has a 4 inch touch screen display and slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It looks like a Nokia N8 when closed too. Anssi closed by talking a bit about how conscious of the environment Nokia is, for example using biopaints in the C7 and recycled metals in the C6.
The C6 and C7 will probably appeal to the new smartphone buyer looking for inexpensive devices and the N8 will appeal to those who want a great camera phone. The E7 may appeal to the smartphone enthusiast who wants a QWERTY keyboard. However, I don't see any single device standing out as their "flagship" device like they had in the past with the Nokia N95 and Nokia N97. Maybe after the failure of the N97 they decided not to label any device a flagship and instead make sure people know they offer devices across a range of prices and form factors.
Purnima Kockikar, VP of Forum Nokia & Developer Communities, then appeared on stage to talk about development on Nokia devices. The Nokia World event is combined with the Nokia Developer Summit so there are many developers that were targeted with this part of the keynote. Development is not as exciting as the user interface and new devices and since I am not a developer I didn't follow this part of the keynote as closely. I was pleased to see the updated Webkit-based web browser. Nokia was one of the first to launch with a Webkit-based browser on the S60 platform and I loved that browser before the new iOS and Android operating systems brought even better browsers to the forefront.