Nokia, long time mobile phone juggernaut, now turned underdog due to the iPhone and Android onslaught, held their “Nokia Connection” Event in Singapore on June 21. Similar to other Mobile “Events,” new products and services were introduced. If you’re a mobile fan like me, watch the event video linked below. Warning though: don’t expect the flair of Steve Jobs, but the services and devices did speak for themselves, in my opinion.
Here are some highlights from the event:
- New Dual SIM phone, C2-03 (Don’t worry, if the Nokia model numbers confuse you, you’re not alone). It’s powered by Nokia’s S40 operating system, and is considered a ‘feature’ phone, not a full fledged smart phone. But, you do get: 2 SIM slots – one under the battery, and one via a convenient side slot. The phone can remember up to 5 different SIM card’s settings. Most Americans may have no clue as to why one would want 2 SIMs, but many around the world use different SIMs for voice and data, or travel to neighboring countries often, which makes 2 SIMs very convenient.
- Nokia’s S40 feature phones, while inexpensive, are used by millions worldwide, especially in Asia and Africa. Nokia announced that the S40 platform will have a new browser, which allows fast web browsing while using very little data, which is important in those markets. I can attest, as we live in Thailand most of the year, that these feature phones are used widely, and data plans are often charged by the megabyte.
- Nokia’s famous Maps application will be made available for these S40 phones. Even though (most of) these phones don’t have a GPS built-in, the maps are loaded onto their memory cards, and routes can be planned offline (no voice -turn by turn navigation, of course). That’s a very robust app for this class of phones.
- Okay, enough of the cheap stuff – the main event was the unveiling of the Nokia N9. Many of you know that Nokia – earlier this year – partnered with Microsoft and their “Windows Phone” operating system, replacing Symbian in their top tier of smart phones. However, “Meego,” another OS, was originally thought to be the top tier OS, is now considered an “experimental” type of phone offering. Not meant for the masses necessarily, but can allow Nokia to take design risks and provide hints as to what future Nokia Windows phones might look like. I suspect this phone will have its own cult following as the N900 (Maemo OS) did. Here are some brief specs:
- - Hardware: 3.9 inch AMOLED capacitive screen; one piece polycarbonate body, no buttons, 8MP autofocus Carl Zeiss camera; 16 or 64 GB internal memory.
- - Software: Meego OS with 3 homescreens (Event, Apps, Multitasking), and with a swipe gesture start at the edge of the screen, always brings you back to the Multitasking screen showing active apps. This is a huge (but welcome) departure from any existing Nokia OS, and from initial hands on videos, looks like a very user friendly software design.