Nokia N85 just announced by Nokia as "The definitive entertainment package". Indeed, there are quite a few cool features such as:
– 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics (when the N81 it is replacing only had 2MP) with a nice 2.6" OLED screen + 30 fps for video
– 10 pre-loaded N-Gage Games (needless to say this will make a difference in terms of adoption)
– Music playback of 30 hours with dedicated media keys, connection to Nokia Music Store, plus availability to connect to RDS Radio.
Nokia also announces the N79 (replacement of N78) with pretty much the same features but with less memory (4 instead of 8 GB inbox microSD memory card). Both phones are expected to begin shipping in October 2008.
Interestingly N79 and N85 comes with in-built GPS receivers and support for A-GPS. In-built A-GPS providing turn-by-turn navigation – for walking or driving – comes with a three month integrated license. Images can also be geotagged to specific locations and then uploaded directly to Share on Ovi or third party services.
Nokia has made it clear that in a few years time half of its device portfolio will be satnav / GPS enabled and that in 2008 alone it expects to ship 35M SatNav / GPS phones worlwide.
In a report published last week, Jupiter has quantified some of the needs of mobile upgraders (consumers willing to upgrade their mobile phones). "Accessing maps" ranked quite high on the list, actually in 3rd position just after "sharing content" and "listening to music".
Otherwise, it seems like other functionalities are becoming more and more standard and that key differentiation will increasingly come through improved design, aesthetics, and user interfaces. It will also come from both improvements in and smoother integration of existing capabilities.
Satnav GPS is thus one of the few really new functionalities on mobile devices. Well, not necessarily that new when you realize first LBS offerings were launched in early 2000s and that pionneer WayFinder's history (Itinerary Systems at that time) comes back to 1995 when it was created by the former head of R&D at Ericsson's mobile phone division. Conceptually, it has always made a lot of sense to assert that "location is the defining element" in mobile (to reuse Loopt' CEO own words). However, execution has improved dramatically over the last year or so and a range of new services is emerging, not only location-based services (such as turn-by-turn directions, child trackers or traffic alerts) but also existing services improved by the ability to be located.
Jupiter will publish a new report on location-based services in the coming weeks. So if you want to brief me, chat about it or simply let me know your thoughts, please reach out to thusson at jupiterresearch dot com.