[Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]
In this morning’s opening remarks and keynote sessions, Olli-Pekka Kallasvio introduced the theme for Nokia World and the primary driver of Nokia’s: To translate the internet into *your* internet. This means not only enabling customization of sites or content, but of course literally getting any information *you* need to live your life directly into your pocket.
Phrased differently, Nokia wants to put in your hand the power to be more in tune to the world around you.
Toward this mission, Nokia announced today three new products:
1) The Nokia n97 — a 48 GB, 3.5 inch pocket computer complete with touchsreen that tilts up to reveal a full keyboard.
2) A new Nokia Maps — a mobile mapping technology which provides global navigation, travel guides, multiple mapping types and location-based content. It is intended to have dedicated utilities for drivers and walkers, and links to Nokia Ovi to allow for collaboration with any of the management activities consumers conduct via Ovi.
3) Advanced messaging — Nokia will now support mobile email and text messaging via Yahoo, MSN, Google, AOL and thousands of smaller or local ISPs.
The buzz around the event is that people are enamored with the n97, and I will admit (non-gadget person that I am) I thought it was pretty cool. But, not as a substiturte for my laptop (which is how Nokia introduced it). The n97’s value is that it enables the types of socal and entertainment behaviors consumers inherently value. It introduces the concept of ‘social location’ ("So-Lo") — that is it can identify where its user is and where contacts of that user are. It also is specifically designed for social networking, email, messaging, music, photos, video playing and content sharing.
The mapping capability is less splashy than the n97, but indicates another strategic priority of Nokia’s: to provide rich content to consumers, as well as devices. This device also revolves around tying location to communities and social activities; its not just another GPS tool. And, as a pedestrian commuter, I loved the special features for walkers. For example, walking directions are based on wifi location sensors and will direct you through buildings, parks, on pedestrian pathways…not just on the main roads of an area.
Messaging came off as the most altruistic of the three announcements. Nokia’s mission: "to bring messaging to developing nations." Conversation got a little carried away (Specifically Lee Williams Nominated Director of the Symbian Foundation — an organization focused on managing and launching an opensource mobile operating system) — described Nokia’s announcements as applications that will bring communications to "people in developing nations who spend their days searching for clean water for their family") around the political and social cure-all that this tool could be. But, cutting through all of that (unnessary) loftiness, it does seem a practical and simple utility that will aid business and consumer messaging — regardless of your existing messaging platform.