Nokia president and chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo sounds confident, even defiant. His company’s strategy to set itself as a kind of hardware and software conglomerate in the new mobile internet space appears to have frozen out certain of its partners in its early days.
But Kallasvuo considers it the only way forward for Nokia, if it is to retain its brand supremacy in mobile. And he regards its content provision drive to be an inclusive move for its network protagonists to share in new wireless revenue streams, rather than a divisive and antagonistic affront to networks’ bread-and-butter solutions.
He says: “The bottom line is, Nokia, more than any other company, has the opportunity to put the power of the internet into the hands of more people in more places around the world, and that is what we intend to do.
“We have seen a huge explosion in innovation and we see Nokia as a catalyst to enable providers, our partners, to shape this reality.”
World of change
Nokia World 2008, in Barcelona, is in its fourteenth year. The subject matter has changed radically, even compared with the same event two years ago, to go beyond straight manufacturing and devices into new data streams and content provision.
Kallasvuo makes clear Nokia’s strategy is a global one, and that both emerging and mature markets are poised to make good use of data services on mobile devices. “We are getting closer to the day that the entire population of the planet will be connected,” he says.
By the end of the first quarter of 2009, more than 60 per cent of the global market (four billion people) will be hooked up to mobile, he remarks.
Nokia’s success is unsurpassed. 226 million devices running Symbian (the operating system Nokia took a 100 per cent stake in last week) have shipped to date, and Nokia is responsible for more than a billion devices across the world. But going forward it’s about more than device sales, despite there still being a 40 per cent growth potential in the global market.
Nokia is looking to overlay service subscriptions on handset sales, and much is made here of its vision beyond devices. However, a global Nokia event such as this would not do without some handset cheerleading, and vice president of markets Anssi Vanjoki obliged with details of Nokia’s latest multimedia behemoth, the N97.
According to Vanjoki, this product is the first ever genuine mobile computer, and as such a souped-up vehicle for the kind of content delivery the company is heralding. The N97, due in UK shops midway through 2009, comes with HSDPA, GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity.
It features a wide touchscreen that dominates the exterior and a full QWERTY keyboard hidden underneath, to swing out at a 30 degree angle (like a slicker version of the Google Android-enabled G1 from T-Mobile and HTC). It also has an Android-style customisable and personalisable menu system and user interface.
For the full report, see Mobile News issue 429
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