Home » Cloud client SW platforms » Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan

Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan

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Update as of August 10, 2012: After acquiring the Qt commercial licensing business in March 2011 from Nokia, the Helsinki based, ~1000 people strong Digia, with 2011 sales of 121.9 million Euro,yesterday acquired all the rest of the Qt business from Nokia. More details in the Digia extends Its commitment to Qt with plans to acquire full Qt software technology and business From Nokia [Digia’s Qt Commercial Blog, Aug 9, 2012] and Digia Committed to Thriving Qt Ecosystem [KDE.NEWS, Aug 9, 2012] posts from Digia’s R&D director Tuuka Turunen. With this all pre-Windows Phone software platform commitments except the Java based S40 (evolved in the new Asha range) have strategicallybeen revoked by Nokia.

Nokia N9 Journey [Oct 24, 2011]:
A story about the making of the most beautifully simple smartphone.

Follow-up:
Designing smarter phones–Marko Ahtisaari (Nokia) and Albert Shum (Microsoft) [Nov 23, 2011]

Updates:
3 Minutes with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop [YouTube, Oct 27, 2011]

[About N9 and Qt:] Elements of N9. The things that really define that product you will see continue on. The reason we continue with N9 is because we believe we could learn a lot about certain things that actually make the N9 unique in the way that it is. … What remains unanswered, and will remain unanswered for today, is when I say ‘elements of the user experience’ or ‘the Qt environment’. What does that mean? That’s still something you’ll see ahead from Nokia.

Goodbye MeeGo, Hello Tizen [Sept 28, 2011]

By now, you may have read that The Linux Foundation, with the support of several other companies, announced a new project, Tizen [tizen.org], to build a new operating system for devices. This new project is first and foremost open source, and based on Linux. So it begs the question: why not just evolve MeeGo? We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn’t just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment.

More info [meego.com]

there is not mentions of Qt in the article 😦

Limo Foundation And Linux Foundation Announce New Open Source Software Platform [Limo Foundation press release, Sept 28, 2011]

 LiMo Foundation™ and the Linux Foundation today announced a new open source project, Tizen™, to develop a Linux-based device software platform. Hosted at the Linux Foundation, Tizen is a standards-based, cross-architecture software platform which supports multiple device categories including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and in-vehicle infotainment systems. The initial release of Tizen is targeted for Q1 2012, enabling first devices to come to market in mid-2012.

Tizen combines the best open source technologies from LiMo and the Linux Foundation and adds a robust and flexible standards-based HTML5 and WAC web development environment within which device-independent applications can be produced efficiently for unconstrained cross-platform deployment. This approach leverages the robustness and flexibility of HTML5 which is rapidly emerging as a preferred application environment for mobile applications and the broad carrier support of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC). Tizen additionally carries a state-of-the-art reference user interface enabling the creation of highly attractive and innovative user experience that can be further customized by operators and manufacturers.

About LiMo Foundation
LiMo Foundation™ is a dedicated consortium of mobile industry leaders working together within an open and transparent governance model—with shared leadership and shared decision making—to deliver an open and globally consistent handset software platform based upon mobile Linux for use by the whole mobile industry. The Board of LiMo Foundation comprises ACCESS, Panasonic Mobile Communications, NEC CASIO Mobile Communications, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, SK Telecom, Telefónica and Vodafone. A full description of LiMo Foundation can be found at www.limofoundation.org.

LiMo & Tizen FAQs

How does Tizen relate to MeeGo and LiMo?
Tizen builds upon best practices and technologies from MeeGo and LiMo to deliver a complete cross-device open source software platform and will result in broader, stronger ecosystem support from leading service providers and OEMs. Intel will be working with partners to help them transistion from MeeGo to Tizen. In order to enable successful transition, sustainng engineering support will continue for MeeGo v1.1 and v1.2 releases into 2012. Intel will fold its ongoing MeeGo development efforts into the new Tizen project.

What are the key differences between MeeGo, LiMo and Tizen?
The key differences are Tizen’s comprehensive, standards-based HTML5 application solution, broader industry support and a hardened mobile device stack.

Nordic System Integrators Welcome Open Source Initiative Tizen [Sept 28, 2011]

According to Pasi Nieminen, CEO of Nomovok, the leading MeeGo integrator, “For the past two years Nomovok has been working on Steelrat, a commercially optimised version of MeeGo, and today we are pleased to join with this industry-lead project to help make Tizen a commercial reality.”

Notes taken on Qt Dev Days 2011 in Munich [Oct 24-26, 2011]

Nomovok has a stand there. I discussed with the guy and he confirmed that they are providing the integration of Qt into Tizen. They see Tizen as MeeGo + the HTML5 additional overlay, and clearly not as MeeGo minus Qt. To them,
there is no reason why things we were able to do with MeeGo should not be feasable with Tizen. They meet every second week with Intel to work about the integration of Qt into Tizen. Looks damn promising!

Talk by Marco Argenti (SVP Developer Experience, Nokia) about “Qt and the broader strategy”.
– 100 millions Qt-enabled smartphones on the market.
– Strong emphasis on N9 being the best ever device for developers.

– Big opportunities for developing apps for the “next billion”
– ex[ample]: India: 800 millions mobile suscribers => those users will mainly experience the web through apps => Qt is core to achieve this!

“Qt Roadmap, Open Governance and Qt5”, by Lars Knoll, Qt Chief Architect:
– Nokia definitely is backing up Qt! That has been said and hammered extensively during this talk.
– Nokia has a growing interest in Qt, increasing its investment into it. Plus, there are job openings.
– Transition from Qt4 to Qt5: will not be as painfull as the transition from Qt3 to Qt4, as most of the stuff is implemented all right. Basically a matter of running a script for adapting header files and minor tweaks to the build system.
– Qt5 to be split into “Essentials” and “Add-on odules” (including widgets, Qt Webkit, part of Qt Mobility,…
– Qt Quick 2 built and optimized for OpenGL, with dramatic performance improvements
– Qt5 timeline:
>> Feature freeze by early 2012
>> Beta by March/April 2012
>>  Done by 1st half of 2012
– Qt Widgets supported in Qt5 (but to some extent, development on widgets is shifting towards community efforts, through Qt-Project)
– After Qt5: plan is to release twice a year, at fixed time periods (more predictable)
– In response to a question about Symbian and MeeGo:
>> Symbian STAYS on Qt 4.8 = Symbian NOT supported on Qt5!
>> MeeGo: tests done, works well so far, so shouldn’t be a problem. (He would not tell more than this)
– Development opportunities:
>> Desktop: yes, clearly in the focus
>> Mobile: You will see something coming… This is all Nokia is ready to say now! (Seems clearly to indicate some big announcement by tomorrow at the Nokia World event!!)

[Later the same person:] Apparently nothing as of yet. The Nokia World has been sharply focused of the Lumia (WP7) and Asha (S40) launches.

Session about developing with MeeGo on N9, by Yoann Lopes. Quote: “N9 is awesome, but it misses one thing: you, your apps”. 75 minutes is a too short time to go very deep, but the guy basically showed the whole process, step by step, and some of the possibilities (demoed: applications “MeeSpot”, “Trafikanten”). A few security-related questions were raised (about preventing an app sending over-priced SMS’s), which didn’t lead anywhere, by lack of enough informations about the topic. Again, question asked about the incentive for developing for a “dead platform”: “Can’t say anything about this, but if you develop for MeeGo now, you definitely will be able to reuse your skills.” (not quoting exactly, just what I remember from it). He mentioned also again “next billion”…

Tizen Summit Asia 2011 coming! [Oct 27, 2011]

Nomovok organizes Tizen Summit Asia 2011 at Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall 8-9 December. The event gathers together Open Source Vendors, OEMs, operators and other Tizen project contributors, together with local Open Source contributors in China. Check the event website and register here!

Dear Intel & Samsung, Can Tizen have some Qt ? [Oct 24, 2011]

So Qt Developer Days is kicking off in Munich today and I feel sad. As if something is not right. Something is missing. Tizen has recently began its Qt-less journey and this does not seem like a sensible move to me. Many would argue that Qt is supported in the Netbook version and yes it is for now, but there are no guarantees that it will survive for the future.

Is alienating a whole group of Developers that bought into the MeeGo dream the best way forward? These are Developers that have invested time, money and effort into the integration of MeeGo and Qt and now are floating away to develop for Android / Symbian and possibly iPhone. Surely having YOUR developers developing for the already established competition a bad thing ?

Is banking everything on HTML5/JS/CSS3 the best way forward ? I think Not. Could we not have HTML5 + Qt Support in Tizen ? Already Nomovok have announced that they will provide Tizen with integrated Qt, but for this to work we need it to be adopted by the project as a whole. If we lose Qt then we Lose a lot of Developers that believe in it and NOT in HTML5 and have not bought into being able to make the move to HTML5. For the wholesale of applications HTML5 seems like the one, but for more specialist applications Qt is a Development Framework that a lot of development companies prefer and that is a fact that you can’t get away from.

Tizen launched with it trying to appeal to the same target audience as MeeGo, Everyone, So shouldn’t we also try to appeal to as many developers as we can ?

With Tizen we also now get Samsung which has been the silent giant in all of this and that makes us all nervous. Very nervous. No press releases, Nothing actually stating what Samsungs vision / Intentions are for Tizen. Samsungs existing Linux Platform uses EFL (http://www.enlightenment.org) and Tizen will also use this. Is there an issue with trying to support both EFL and Qt / QML on Tizen? Surely it can be overcome.

When Nokia Dropped MeeGo on Feb 11 it caused major rifts between them and several companies including intel but now with the recent move of Qt being an Open Source Project with Open Governance can we not overcome issues of the past ?

There are many that are fighting the Qt cause in Tizen. I wish them good luck and hope Tizen has a Qt future.

….

sleeve says: October 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm

@uncle steve: now intel says no to qt?

no, samsung says no to qt as it is open source LGPL and any improvement or deployment would help Nokia tiny 1% – Samsung afraids. Samsung is happy with its vaporware BSD-licensed englightement without even one stable release in 11 years because the license allows to close any single bit if needed. If enlightenment fails samsung will use the backup tech aka HTML5 as already plans and no qt at all. Again, because in their flawed perception that would give nokia a point. All in samsung’s SLP/Limo – 4 bloody years without even single flawed release. The korean giant is strong in pushing hardware that’s all about it. Otherwise bada would be such a success for them.

Yeah Intel apparently HAPPILY supports qt on its part of tizen on its hardware and in AppUp stores. Intel wants apps SO qt will give what enlightenement wont.

Marko Ahtisaari’s speech about ‘Patterns of Human Interaction’ at Copenhagen Design Week [Sept 8, 2011] EXCELLENT!

– Very detailed summary of the above presentation: Video Marko Ahtisaari On N9 – I know We Have Out Simplified The iPhone [Sept 9, 2011] EXCELLENT!
– N9 is becoming available on Sept 30 for ~ US$700 list price
as per Предварительный заказ на Nokia N9 [excerpted on Aug 17, 2011]
See also the PDF copy (in case when the page is not available anymore):
N9 with Swipe in Kazakhstan — 17-Aug-2011
(99.999 Kazakhstani Tenge is US$683 as of today’s exchange rate. Samsung Galaxy R is advertised for the same price, note that Galaxy R is currently available in Sweden for US$634)

Nokia Styles Comeback Plan [Aug 30, 2011]

With the release of its first Windows-based smartphone coming soon, Nokia Corp. is making a big bet: that the innovative design of its new phone will help it stand out and draw attention away from software problems the company has faced as it struggles to compete in the lucrative market.

Anyone interested in the look and feel of Nokia’s future handset design should examine the N9 launched in June—the first smartphone to replace the traditional home button with a swipe of the hand. It is made from a colorful polycarbonate material and although it appears rectangular, it has a curved glass screen.

The N9 features the MeeGo operating system, in which Nokia has already lost interest. But Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s head designer, says the design is an indication of where the company is headed. “We will drive this trend toward reduction and more natural forms. Compare that to the black, grey and metallic rounded-corner rectangles you are seeing in the market,” Mr. Ahtisaari says during an interview.

Mr. Ahtisaari says today’s touch-screen phones are inappropriately immersive, and that he would like to design in a way that allows users to keep their heads up again.

“When you look around at a restaurant in Helsinki, you’ll see couples having their heads down instead of having eye contact and being aware of the environment they’re in,” he says.

Designing for true mobility…makes it easier for people to have more eye contact and be aware of their environment, and is an example of what people would not explicitly ask for but love when they get it,” Mr. Ahtisaari says.

For Mr. Ahtisaari and his design team, which numbers several hundred people in Finland, China, the U.K. and the U.S., innovation is about designing better and more natural ways to use a phone through careful observation of users and their environments. Mr. Ahtisaari adds that frequent prototypes, from paper sketches to 3-D wax models to real phones, are crucial to achieve the simplicity and precision needed.

Nokia’s hardware success stems from distinguishing features that often depend on the types of materials used in handsets. Polycarbonate with inherent color is key to the company’s current designs. “The inherent color in the polycarbonate allows us to do color in an interesting way, and that will continue to be important as a simple symbol of choice,” Mr. Ahtisaari says.

Customers can expect more touch-screen phones with physical keyboards, such as the E6 and C3 handsets. “It’s a very rich area for Nokia to innovate in years to come, as many people still want keyboards,” Mr. Ahtisaari says.

He also plans to add value by “linking the phone experience to maps and information about where you are, mapping the world in a way that we have not even imagined possible.”

End of Updates

The Nokia N9: a unique all-screen smartphone [June 21, 2011]

Nokia today announced the Nokia N9, built for people who appreciate a stunning blend of design and the latest smartphone technology.

The Nokia N9 introduces an innovative new design where the home key is replaced by a simple gesture: a swipe. Whenever you’re in an application, swiping from the edge of the display takes you home.

The three home views of the user interface are designed to give fast access to the most important things people do with a phone: using apps, staying up to date with notifications and social networks, and switching between activities.

So, going to Windows Phone 7 or not it has happened as communicated back in last December:
Nokia to enter design pattern competition for 2011 smartphones with MeeGo [Dec 9, 2010]


Note: Version 1.2 of MeeGo OS is scheduled for April 2011 but the smartphone product won’t happen, either on Intel or ARM until around June 2011. See my post on Intel Oak Trail to beat ARM with MeeGo specific prices [Nov 25]

This is all according to its SVP Design and User Experience, Marko Ahtisaari [the indicated timing is for the video record of his plenary speech at LeWeb 2010 on Dec 8, also linked later on]:

1. [2:25] Elegant, simple, extremely blown out – the iOS design pattern. Essentially a screen or screens full of apps and a physical homekey like the mouse key. You click it, you take your hand off the screen to do something on the screen, then may leave to go home. Beautifully elegant, extremely simple to learn with a few steps. And think of a forefront of a house where if you want to go from the kitchen to the dining room you know how you go to the front door. And if after dinner you want to go to the living room you again know how to do that, you go to the front door. Of course the physical button is this mouse click has been loaded with more and more functionality, but essentially a beatifully elegant system that is fantastically constrained. [3:18]. 2. Multiple personizable homescreens where the bet is that the process of personalizing (filling out these home screens) is so simple and organic that it just happens over time and you end up using the device by these home screens – the pattern shared by both Symbian and Android, also the fastest growing pattern. There is not only one physical button but there are many, in fact there are many different configurations that are quite fragmented, as many people commented. And there is some way to flip to where you launch apps, but essentially it is about these personalizable home screens for both shortcuts and live information, or using tabs or so on those widgets. [4:08]
3. [4:20] Windows Phone 7 has introduced an interestingnew pattern, too early to tell [how successful it will be]. But it just shows that there is demand for other patterns. [4:26]One important remark by Sofpedia’s Nokia Poised to Change Mobile UI Approach with MeeGo Devices [Dec 8] report: “Marko Ahtisaari suggests that the future would bring different UI patterns to devices, and that one of them would be based on notifications.Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 OS was built based on notifications.” 4. [4:28] This is basically what is the design team in the Nokia Design Studios is spending most of its time on doing: is introducing a new pattern. This will be launched with MeeGo in 2011. … [To give the idea:] … If you look at touchscreen immersive experiences, so most touchscreen devices, and what you start thinking is this way: you will see this at every single moment – so you walk in Paris, you see in cafe, [where] you see a couple [who] have been together for 10-15 years – they will be there head down, pitching and zooming. Touchscreen interfaces are immersive, they require our full attention. [5.15]I think we are missing a trick and also we are not doing good enough design unless we give people their head up again. What do I mean by that? Better one-handed use, better ways to use the devices, without them demanding our full attention. This means more eye contact, more ability to be present both with the people you are around, with right now the physical environment, as well as when you are navigating the physical environment and using maps. I think this giving people their head-up again is extremely important. [5:45]

This is how Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia talked about Nokia’s smart phone strategy on the Nokia Connections 2011 event in Singapore (from a 3d party video record [June 21, 2011]):

[0:05] I’am going to jump right in and talk about our progress and talk about the progress and advances in smart devices. As we’ve shared our primary smartphone platform strategy is the focus on Windows Phone. I have increased confidence that we will launch our first device based on Windows Phone platform later this year. And we will show our products in volume in 2012.

Now I’ll tell you we have these devices in hand now, we have them working and those who have viewed our early work are very optimistic about the devices Nokia will bring to market. In fact — to quote — the CEO of a leading retailer, and I quote, this device is an absolute beauty with a very fast user interface. The combination of a best of Nokia with a great user interface will have a tremendous impact on the market. [1:00, then in the record comes Marko Ahtisaari with N9 intro, but in reality Marco Argenti was preceding him with Qt [cute] related announcements which are well expressed on the following post on the Nokia Developer]

The future of Qt: Bringing apps to the next billion [June 21, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Exciting news for the developer community today, and in particular for those who are focused on Qt: At the Nokia Connection 2011 event in Singapore, Nokia Senior Vice President, Developer Experience Marco Argenti confirmed that Nokia will “make Qt core to bringing applications to the next billion,” and he reassured developers that investments made in Qt today will live on in the future with Nokia.

During his presentation, “Qt and the Next Billion”, Argenti noted the following:

  • “Qt-powered Apps have serious momentum on Ovi Store. Our consumers are downloading more Qt-written apps on over 100 million devices worldwide. And today I’m happy to announce that we will make Qt core to bringing great applications to the next billion.”
  • “Why did we pick Qt? Qt is a great cross-platform framework. Qt is modern and efficient. Qt Quick bridges the design phase with the production phase – making it incredibly easy to design, prototype and develop new applications. With QML, the interface markup language, web developers can feel right at home creating great UI’s.”
  • “Qt is widely supported by an active community of over 1/2 million developers. And Nokia will continue to invest in Qt, as we’ve recently released Qt SDK 1.1, and we’re actively involved in contributing to Qt 5.”

This means developers will have both a large existing audience to target with Qt-based mobile apps (100 million Symbian-based phones, plus our first-ever pure touch smartphone, the Nokia N9).

Argenti also noted that: “We will disclose further details in due time; today we want our developers to see the opportunity that the future of Qt brings as part of our mobile phones strategy.”

Learn more about developing for the Nokia N9 and developing with Qt.

And before Ahtisaari was invited by Elop to introduce N9 he actually said according to the official webcast (emphasis is mine):

[42:23] When we’ve determined that that we will shift our strategy we’ve assessed we could bring our innovation and technology to the market three times faster than we’ve had in the past. … [now he says that Symbian Ana, Windows Phone, dual SIM products are showing that] … But we are also breaking through with new forms of innovation. As we’ve said on February 11 we intend to launch an exciting experience around user interface, the industrial design and the developer platform. As part of that work we’re exploring technology to create a better phone. [43:10, after which Ahtisaari is invited on the scene and delivers what could see from the already mentioned 3d party video record from 1:00]

Then, at another event [for the employees] after N9 introduction by Marko Ahtisaari and before the first Nokia Windows Phone 7 has been shown (from a 3d party video record, the 2nd embedded into Engadget’s Nokia’s first Windows Phone: images and video, codenamed ‘Sea Ray’ [June 23, 2011]):

So, I have to say a special thank you as Marko did to everyone working in and around the MeeGo effort. It’s been a challenging time for that team as well. And yet look at the quality of work that’s been done.

Now one of the big questions we get is, yes you’re launching this device but we know you are transitioning to Windows Phone, what’s the point? What is the point?

The point is this. There’s a whole collection of innovation available in the N9 that is going to live one. So — for example — Marko talked about the work in and around Qt [cute] and the development of Qt applications [see between 13:20 and 13:55 in the N9 announcement video record embedded below], and as we’ve already said  yesterday, Qt lives on and actually strengthenes because of its engagement in the next billion. So that’s really good. Innovation in that device lives on.

Another example is the user interface and user experience. We’re not saying precisely what device, and when and how. The user experience you see here is something that will live on as well.

A third example of innovation that will live on is the beautiful industrial design. So now I’m going to just ask everybody to put away your cameras, turn off all of the recording devices. I’am serious because I’m going to share with you something … because this is something that is super confidential and we do not want to see out in the blogosphere, wherever it is. We think it is important for all of you to understand how this innovation lives on, and how well we as a company are today executing.

Let me show you another new device from Nokia. … So what is it? It’s sort of looking at it and then say that is what Marko has shown us. Beautiful design, Gorilla glass … Carl Zeiss” 8mpixel camera … you notice there is as one extra button on the top. So you notice that is not the same device. … What this is, is a product that is code-named Sea Ray, and it is Nokia’s first Windows Phone device. [2:34, then comes a quite detailed WP7 part, until 21:45]

So from all these it is quite obvious that with February 11 decision the only thing which Nokia immediately had thrown out of the boat was the MeeGo operating system itself. And indeed in an interview to Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday Elop delivered a a quite clear message: Nokia CEO Stephen Elop rules out possible comeback of MeeGo [June 3, 2011]

Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop promised that the company will soon introduce a range of new inventions and innovations, with which it will improve the competitiveness of its mobile phones.

As an example of new inventions, Elop mentioned the brand-new N9 handset launched in Singapore on Tuesday, which will come on sale in the autumn, a year behind the original schedule.
“The N9 features many new breakthroughs related to its usability, design, and materials, which we will be utilising and developing further in our upcoming models. I cannot speak of them more specifically just yet, but they will soon become apparent”, Elop said.
According to Elop, the N9 is a handset that relies more on the Qt application framework than its MeeGo operating system. Thanks for the Qt environment, the used applications can be programmed to work with three of the platforms used by Nokia, though not with the Windows Phone system.
In Elop’s words, there is no returning to MeeGo, even if the N9 turns out to be a hit.

The switch to the software giant Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system has frustrated many of the Nokia staffers.
Some are afraid that the company will turn into a mere equipment manufacturer and a Microsoft subcontractor.
Elop roundly rejects this interpretation.
“Nokia will continue its research and development on the software side, as well as in services and equipment design. We will build inventions for our Windows phones that will make us stand apart from our competitors and bring significant additional advantage to our application developers”, he declared firmly.
According to Elop, in recent months Nokia has launched several different software development projects.
“Those working within the software R&D sector are more and more motivated thanks to our achievements. I am continuously in touch with them. I constantly receive emails that tell me how the pace of problem-solving has quickened.”

Nokia N9 details

Nokia N9 Design Story [June 20, 2011]

In this video, Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s SVP of Design, talks about the design of the Nokia N9 http://nokia.ly/iGrtvJ. It only takes a swipe to get to what you want with the Nokia N9, and it all floats beautifully on the large, curved display. Stay in touch with people, news and events. And browse the web. Quickly. Get around with free maps and navigation. And take great pictures with the 8MP camera. The Nokia N9 makes it all smooth, effortless and gorgeously stylish. Learn more about the new Nokia N9, visit: http://nokia.ly/jUnOCP.

Nokia N9: the designer’s story [June 22, 2011] (in paragraph emphasis is mine)

I love sitting down with Nokia’s designers. There’s not one square millimetre of each phone that doesn’t get refined and revised a hundred times. They always have a mind-blowing story to tell about each aspect of the design. It’s never, “We chose blue cause that would be cool”; it’s always like, “We chose cyan, not blue, because the design is pure, so colours need to be pure, and…” at which point, my head explodes. I sat down with the Nokia N9′s lead designer, Anton Fahlgren, for a chat about his epic two-year project

How did the Nokia N9 begin?

I headed up a team in Copenhagen during the summer of 2009, and that’s where it began. The brief was to evolve the story from the previous Nokia Nseries/Eseries devices, and define it moving forward. We chose to work with an Nseries product as it was interesting times at Nokia – things were bumpy in the high-end market. Extreme numbers on a spec sheet was not the way to win. We knew we needed innovation at every level.

I’ve had the option to do this before, but those occasions didn’t feel so very exciting: here we had a blank canvas. I wanted to define what high-end means today and take a more software-driven approach, and show people it’s not just the hardware that makes a great phone: it’s the UI and platform and how it all works together.

Did you know you’d be creating for something other than Symbian?

The MeeGo stuff had started bubbling, but we hadn’t seen it. We tried to simplify and distil the existing story, because there was a lot of good in the work that was done. That was the starting point – no compromises. We tried different styles; we did a range of devices like slide-and-tilt; we did a couple different sizes, but they were all based on the same design family. But the one that made it to the market was the Nokia N9.

What makes the Nokia N9 unique?

Above all, it’s the continuity that you feel from the shape of the glass continuing to the side profile. It just feels right. The basic concept is that seamless continuity of the form, and I think it was something we refined with the UI. It’s just something nice about interacting with a device that has a gentle curvature. Once you have something that’s more continuous in your hand, it’s just more pleasant to interact with it, all the way to the edges. Try to swipe stuff on other phones, and you’ll soon see that the edges will bother you.

When you see it in three dimensions, there’s not a single straight surface on the product. It’s actually really difficult to model in CAD. It’s almost like a pillow. In concept, a pillow is a simple form. It’s not hard to understand. But if you have to build those surfaces on a computer, you’ll realize how complicated they are. So the concept is simple, but as a piece of geometry, it’s quite elaborate.

No buttons! Just swipe!

Once you’ve got a flavour of life without buttons, it’s hard to go back. I find myself with other devices trying to swipe, but I can’t. Phones with keys feel old now, in some respects.

Last question, how would you like consumers to feel when they first pick up a Nokia N9?

That’s a good question. What’s important for us is that if this becomes a hardware story, we’ve failed. It needs to be in context with the UI. I hope the first point of delight will be about the interface, the button-less navigation. I hope it’s not only about the hardware design. The idea was to create a canvas for the UI and the user to shine. When you watch TV, you don’t want a frame, you just want the content.

The Nokia N9 Announcement by Marko Ahtisaari at Nokia Connection 2011 [June 21, 2011]

In this video, Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s SVP of Design, announces Nokia N9 http://nokia.ly/iGrtvJ.

The related press release: The Nokia N9: a unique all-screen smartphone [June 21, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Singapore – Nokia today announced the Nokia N9, built for people who appreciate a stunning blend of design and the latest smartphone technology.  To learn more about the design of the Nokia N9 visit: http://swipe.nokia.com

One swipe and you’re home
The Nokia N9 introduces an innovative new design where the home key is replaced by a simple gesture: a swipe. Whenever you’re in an application, swiping from the edge of the display takes you home.

The three home views of the user interface are designed to give fast access to the most important things people do with a phone: using apps, staying up to date with notifications and social networks, and switching between activities.

The industrial design of the Nokia N9 is an example of extreme product making and craft. The body is precision-machined from a single piece of polycarbonate and flows seamlessly into beautiful curved glass. The laminated deep black display means that the user interface just floats on the surface of the product.

The Nokia N9 also packs the latest in camera, navigation and audio technology for a great all-round experience.

“With the Nokia N9, we wanted to design a better way to use a phone. To do this we innovated in the design of the hardware and software together. We reinvented the home key with a simple gesture: a swipe from the edge of the screen. The experience sets a new bar for how natural technology can feel,” said Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s head of Design. “And this is just the beginning. The details that make the Nokia N9 unique – the industrial design, the all-screen user experience, and the expressive Qt framework for developers – will evolve in future Nokia products.”

Innovative all-screen design
With no need for a home key, the all-screen Nokia N9 makes more room for apps to shine. The 3.9-inch AMOLED screen is made from scratch-resistant curved glass. The polycarbonate body enables superior antenna performance. This means better reception, better voice quality and fewer dropped calls.

Camera, maps and multimedia
The 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss autofocus sensor, wide-angle lens, HD-quality video capture and large lens aperture enable great camera performance even in lowlighting conditions. This makes the Nokia N9 one of the best camera-phones ever produced.

The Nokia N9 features free turn-by-turn drive and walk navigation with voice guidance in Maps. With the new dedicated Drive app, you can get in your car and start navigating to your destination right away.

You can watch videos in true 16:9 widescreen format. And because the Nokia N9 is also the world’s first smartphone with Dolby® Digital Plus decoding and Dolby Headphone post-processing technology, you get a surround sound experience with any set of headphones.

Touch just got better
Fitted with the latest in wireless technology, Near Field Communication (NFC), the Nokia N9 allows you to easily share images and videos between devices by touching them together.  Pair it with Bluetooth accessories like the new NFC-enabled Nokia Play 360° wireless music speaker only once, and you get a great surround sound music experience with just a tap.

Colors and Memory
The Nokia N9 will be available in three colors – black, cyan, and magenta with storage options to accommodate plenty of content: 16GB and 64GB. The Nokia N9 is scheduled to be in stores later this year, with availability and local pricing to be announced closer to the sales start.

More information about the Nokia N9 can be found at: http://swipe.nokia.com.

Video: Diving into the Nokia N9 UI and specs [June 21, 2011]

The Nokia N9 is fresh out of the oven and we think it’s pretty hot. We’ve received quite a few questions from our readers about this newcomer’s technical profile and user interface. To give you a better idea of how the product works, we grabbed Marketing Manager Jussi Mäkinen and asked him to give us a guided tour of the Nokia N9 UI on video.

Nokia Marketing Manager Jussi Mäkinen walks us thru Nokia N9. Nokia N9 is designed around the things people typically use the most.

Here is some geeky data on the technical specifications:
– Networks: Pentaband WCDMA 850, 900, 1900, 1700, 2100, Quad band GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900
– Speed: HSDPA Cat10: 14.4Mbps, HSUPA: Cat6 5.76Mbps
– Display: 3.9” WVGA (854×480) AMOLED display with curved Gorilla glass, no air gap, anti-glare polarizer
– OS: MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan
– Memory: 1024MB RAM, 16GB/64GB storage
– Camera: 8Mpix auto-focus Carl Zeiss, wide-angle lens, 2x LED flash, Video capturing MPEG-4 SP 720p @ 30fps, 2nd camera for video calls
– Size / Weight: 116.45 mm x 61.2 mm x 7.6–12.1 mm (L x W x T) / 76 cm3/ 135 g
– Connectivity: BT 2.1, GPS, A-GPS, WLAN 802.11abgn, NFC, 3.5mm AV connector,  micro USB connector, USB charging
– Processor: ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 1 Ghz, PowerVR SGX530
– Audio: MP3 player, Audio jack: 3.5mm, Supported codecs: mp3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, FLAC.
– Battery: 1450 mAh

Operating Times
– Talk time: (GSM/WCDMA) up to 11 h / up to 7 hours
– Standby time: Up to 450 hours (WCDMA), up to 380 hours (GSM)
Video playback (720P): up to 4.5 hours
– Music playback: up to 50 hours

Other information from the official Nokia blog:
Introducing the Nokia N9: all it takes is a swipe! [June 21, 2011]
Nokia N9 – photo taking and sharing [June 22, 2011]
Nokia N9: what would you like to see? [June 22, 2011]
Getting up close, with NFC on the Nokia N9 [June 23, 2011]
Nokia N9: Drive & Maps [June 23, 2011]
Blogbite: let’s talk Nokia N9 [June 24, 2011]

Nokia’s N9: Cool, Cruel and Unusual [by Randy Arnolds, June 23, 2011]

source: http://swipe.nokia.com

Unlike many friends and former Nokia colleagues, I have not had the pleasure of fondling a sexy new N9 so this won’t be a product review as much as a process and philosophy review.  That means something a little less structured than usual and loaded with unabashed opinion, pontificating and ranting.

So buckle up, this should be a ride that would do Tomi Ahonen proud.

We have ignition…

Maemo and MeeGo community advocates didn’t begin with high expectations for the Nokia Connection 2011 event in Singapore on June 21.  Lacking the presentation pizzazz of Apple or even Microsoft, Nokia has a mixed history with this sort of thing and has too often bombed when it needed to blow something up.  So when we were bored with a Symbian Anna demo followed by an even more tiresome spiel on S40, the peanut gallery in a freenode.net IRC webchat augmented Nokia’s endless warm-up with the usual locker room antics.  CEO Steven Elop had promised a disruption; we were just distracted.

Then Marko Ahtisaaricalmly and quietly claimed the stage.

Speculation had run rampant over who would more likely stun us with the allegedly disruptive device, but the consensus had correctly pinned Marko as the man.  He sealed the deal by very quickly getting down to business.

A presenter’s presenter, the well-spoken Ahtisaari peeled away layers of the slick N9 with the deftness of a professional magician.  I can’t speak for anyone else but our little web gathering was enthralled.  The catcalls and comic relief abruptly ceded to what amounted to geek sexting.  That’s the magic of what Nokia has pulled off here, with impeccable industrial design and a clever UI just begging to be swiped.

That’s also the problem.

The MeeGo Mambo

When Elop announced Nokia’s head-scratching new strategy (and I use that last term extremely loosely) back in February of this year, there was the promise of an undescribed MeeGo device to be produced at some point, to be followed by an anticlimactic year-long ramp-down of the project once hailed as Nokia’s high-end salvation.   Never mind that the N9 isn’t running pure MeeGo (but rather a mish-mash of Maemo 6 and MeeGo parts now curiously labeled as MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan).  To any end user, it’s MeeGo enough.

But the question becomes: why?

Why release something designed to run what is, for Nokia, a dead-end OS?  Elop says this otherwise-seductive N9 is intended as a test-bed for future Windows Phone 7 devices.  But how many consumers tolerate being tested? Those few who fell in with Nokia’s steps 1 through 4 with Maemo can be forgiven for feeling too defeated to step up for number 5.  That would make the N9 a profit sink at a time when Nokia’s stock (NOK) is severely depressed.

Is this just a stopgap until Windows Phone 7 graces similar Nokia hardware?  If so, will enough purchasers succumb in the meantime to this obviously alluring work of art to at least cover its costs?

Conspiracy theorists are having a field day with this, pointing to admittedly mind-boggling statements and steps that, like the pieces from different puzzle sets, do not fit together.  One of the more prevailing and extreme speculations is that the N9′s strange release is actually a deliberate move by Microsoft-via-Nokia to torpedo the prospects of MeeGo– not just within Nokia’s domain, but in toto.  The old Fear/Uncertainty/Doubt (FUD) machine grinding up another competitor.  I’m resisting this line of thought, but… but…

The Maemo Legacy

Nokia struggled with its last Maemo device, the N900 mobile computer, both in terms of consumer adoption and reliability issues.  Can the company afford to repeat that with the N9?  And will the life of the typical N9 exceed Nokia’s willingness to support it?  The track record isn’t good there.

It’s all… bewildering.

Back to the device unveiling.  Again, Elop referred to this little beauty as disruptive.  He even went so far as to invoke his favorite word, ecosystem, although the N9 doesn’t appear to come with one.

So what could the N9 disrupt?  Well, so far it’s done a number on the MeeGo and Maemo communities, particularly the latter.  maemo.org members are largely polarized on included or excluded features like hardware keyboards, Adobe Flash support and HDMI.  Nothing new there.  But this is likely the last time the Maemo community could survive a foundation-fracturing device.  It’s already on shaky ground as legacy Maemo devices and long-standing community leaders run out of steam or just plain run out.

Long Limbs, Thin Ice

Many Maemo/MeeGo fans are looking at the glossy N9 with a glint of hope.  Maybe, just maybe goes the logic,  success for the N9 could change Elop’s mind on MeeGo.  Maybe the Linux-based operating system really is a Plan B– one that advances to Plan A under the right circumstances.  If Windows Phone 7 falters, and that’s a reasonable conjecture based on current sales, what else is Nokia going to do?  Stay with Symbian, which it tossed over to Accenture?  Elevate S40?  I don’t think even bringing Qt to S40could happen fast enough.  If the N9 sells out completely, or close enough, will that trigger a slow-down in Nokia’s ramp-down?  If so, does Nokia have the ready staff for it, or have too many abandoned the wayward ship?

Detractors are saying this is all pointless, that there’s no room for MeeGo in a two-horse Android-plus-iOS world. How selective amnesia can be; there wasn’t room for them, either, a few years ago when Symbian owned the playing field.

MeeGo could actually succeed with a similar approach to Apple’s: highly target a select demographic comprised of, say, fifteen to twenty percent of a given population and please them to no end.  But instead of the same demographic, cater to those at the complete opposite end of the open-closed spectrum.  In other words, the Maemo/MeeGo crowd in addition to those largely invested in Android because it isn’t iOS.  Then let Android, WP7, and the rest battle for the middle.  Select markets generate higher margins than mass markets, as Nokia has learned the hard way.

Summing Up

I found the Singapore event a crude juxtaposition of a lethargic Singapore (and similar) market address awkwardly combined with a brief, exciting N9 reveal.  This was the wrong venue to introduce this device.  The better one would have been the MeeGo Conference 2011, which sorely needed it.

Those who read here regularly will expect me to be completely candid, so I won’t disappoint.  There are aspects of the N9 I don’t like.  Sealed-in battery, lack of memory card slot, last year’s CPU, and a few others.  But I’m not the type to lose the forest for the trees.  From a big picture perspective, I love the Nokia N9.  Yes I drooled over its renderings.  Yes I find that uniquely-curved screen to be cool enough to touch.  Yes I want one NOW.  I will forgive the known shortcomings.  Heck, even Engadget likes it.

And as for MeeGo: it still enjoys strong support from Intel and partners.  It just needs a high-profile, lust-inducing handset to improve its consumer recognition prospects.  The N9 shows it can be done in spades, despite Elop’s disputable claims to the contrary.

My disagreement with Elop on MeeGo [by Felipe Contreras, working in Nokia (Maemo), June 21, 2011]

Some time ago I received a private email directly from Elop (just me, nobody else in CC, I am not going to go into details as to why), in which he explained that the biggest problem was the small amount of MeeGo devices in the years immediately ahead.

This is simply not true.

Before explaining why, I’ll quickly say that I actually work on hardware adaptation, so if somebody knows the amount of effort needed to adapt MeeGo to different hardware platforms, it’s us. Plus, I closely follow Linux related mailing lists (linux-arm, linux-omap, linux-media, etc.), and know a lot of people in different companies that work precisely in this area. I have quite a few years of experience doing this, so I know what I’m talking about.

Update: To avoid confusion, I am a mere software engineer. And when I say “us” I’m talking about the bigger team I am part of.

Nobody I know believes what Elop said, and let’s keep in mind that Elop is not an expert in this area, we are. So my guess is that he got his information from some upper management guy who didn’t know what he was talking about either.

As I explained Elop, if we wanted to ship 10 devices with OMAP 3 (the same platform of the Nokia N9) today, there is absolutely no problem from the software point of view: all the UI software remains the same, and the hardware adaptation would probably require few modifications, if any.

The problem is when porting to an entirely new hardware platform, say Snapdragon. Suppose only 3 devices are planned on the “years immediately ahead”, well, then it makes sense to have 3 different hardware platforms, and each one of those requires work from the hardware adaptation team, not from the upper layers, though. However, that’s not a technical limitation, it could very well be 30 devices instead of 3, it’s basically the same amount of work for us. IOW; what matters is the hardware platform, not the number of different devices.

Note: all these are merely examples, not actual plans

Funnily enough, Windows Phone only supports one hardware platform: Snapdragon (and in fact only certain chips). So MeeGo alreadyhas an advantage over Windows Phone; you could ship more devices on more hardware platforms. All we need is the word.

Not to mention the fact that most of the hardware adaptation is already done by hardware vendors. They do it because it’s the easiest way to demo their hardware (it’s Linux). I tried to explain that on an earlier post where I show many examples of people porting MeeGo to a plethora of devices(it’s easy and fun).

Another advantage of course is that MeeGo is already here (Nokia N9).

Not to mention the fact that MeeGo is open source, and Linux is a synergetic endeavor; there’s man more than one company (Microsoft) working on it, in fact, almost everybody else is.

Elop’s answer? “I am simply going to choose to respectfully disagree on multiple fronts”. He didn’t even bothered to mention exactly what was the disagreement.

So there you have it, if there’s a reason for ditching MeeGo, it’s certainly not a technical one, and most likely not a good one either. I hope the people out there like what we did with the Nokia N9 and ask the though question “Why exactly did you leave MeeGo, again?”, specially when there are no signs of any Windows Phone device.

Note: as usual, this is my own personal opinion, and it’s based on publicly available information

Texrat the Crypticum Keepersays:

June 21, 2011 at 20:03

As a former engineer (for Nokia Maemo devices) and product designer (elsewhere) I can vouch for everything Felipe says. Elop’s comments about MeeGo device development are disingenuous and simply designed to reinforce his decision to go with Microsoft. Maemo was run on a shoestring budget yet managed to make incredible progress– put serious resources behind MeeGo and Nokia or any other company would outperform competitors in device innovation. The retreat from MeeGo points to the success of FUD more than anything. Sad that we have allowed that and risk aversion to stifle innovation.

another adaptation guysays:

June 22, 2011 at 10:01

I’m not a big fun of Elop or WP7 either, but …

It’s not only about the number of platforms or number of devices made on particular HW platform. There is important factor – time to market. You have to be on time to the market to sell your stuff.
MeeGo Harmattan OMAP3 adaptation work is brilliant. It is also late. And who needs OMAP3 devices anymore? Market is looking forward… Tegra, OMAP4/5, Snapdragon.

If Nokia would start working on adaptation of a new HW platform that’d mean another 1-2 years from now (and there isn’t any decent adaptation layer from chip makers available on the market yet). By the time they are done existing UI would go out of fashion, so they would have to change it too to stay competitive. Once again Nokia would end up in situation as in all OSSO/Maemo/MeeGo – changing the HW platform AND the whole SW stack. And being late to the market by years.

WP7 was chosen simply because they believe MS adaptation layer closer to the completeness on their HW platform of the choice than Nokia would be with MeeGo in 1 year. Is that right ? Intel’s chip is far from ready… MeeGo on ARM SoCs is a joke^Wdemo.
Nokia needs LOTS of new devices on the market ASAP. Or it will be too late.

Ready application frameworks, SDK, ecosystem and services – all this comes as a bonus. Of course this might be pretty far from reality, but check how cool it all looks on paper. Too good offer to pass.
IMO the real mistake they made by going with WP7 is the choice of business model and ecosystem structure. Closed, royalties based SW. Last century.

“Not to mention the fact that most of the hardware adaptation is already done by hardware vendors. ”
Name a single decent one ? Sure they try, but they are not quite there yet.
Ability to boot linux on your SoC doesn’t count as “adaptation”. Besides that’s only for SoC, without peripherals. Just adding a new USB transceiver to your device can generate some man/months of SW work in adaptation. Let’s not even start talking about power management.

“Another advantage of course is that MeeGo is already here (Nokia N9).”
MeeGo ? Yeah, right. Common ppl, for the 100th time N9 != MeeGo.

“…MeeGo is open source, and Linux is a synergetic endeavor”
From Nokia experience – synergy was seen only in a handful of open source components in OSSO/Maemo/MeeGo Harmattan. Adaptation contributions went mostly one way – upstream.

FelipeCsays:

June 22, 2011 at 14:04

@another adaptation guy The hardware adaptation in Nokia has been ready since a looong time. The problem has always been the UI. Maybe not perfectly, but in a competitive level compared to current Android devices.

And no, WP7 is not closer to completeness. What makes you think so? See the list of chips supported by WP7, it’s basically only QSD8250, which is 2008 technology. That should make you think how easy it is to support different chips, forget about platforms, or architectures.

Sure, hw vendors don’t have perfect adaptation for Linux, but they have something which is better than what WP7 has; nothing. There’s no OMAP4, Intel, Tegra, Sh-Mobile, or anything else, not even booting. Not to mention the fact that Android kernels are already shipping, and most of that work can be re-used, as it’s still Linux.

I’m sure it would have been easier and faster for Nokia/Qualcomm to finish up the adaptation of a Snapdragon chip that it is for Microsoft to provide OMAP4 support, or even worst: Intel support.

FelipeCsays:

June 22, 2011 at 16:59

I never bought that story, and I am kind of shocked that elop (and the other management) actually believes that this is a legitimate argument. Maybe this is just what they say to you? There are of course other, more relevant reasons for the adaption of wp7.

@oli Yes, that’s also my thinking; whenever the official reasons don’t make sense from any point of view, there’s probably some secret reasons. However for now that’s speculation.

What I am interested to see is how much people like the Nokia N9, and how much pressure does Nokia gets to continue working on MeeGo. I don’t know if anything will change, but we in the Maemo/MeeGo team did all we could to make the Nokia N9 a success, now it’s the turn of the consumers :)

Although i love maemo/meego and the n9. its the ecosystem that elop is worried about, and one of the key factors why its so limited at this stage.

@Anthony Well, that’s another reason that can also be debunked. For starters, “ecosystem” seems to me more like an invented term from Elop rather than something consumers are actually looking for, so it’s hard to tell exactly how important such a thing is, or even what exactly does that mean. Also, you have to remember that a few years ago Android didn’t have any “ecosystem”, which is exactly how all platforms start.

I believe MeeGo’s “ecosystem” would have been bigger than Windows Phone’s, in fact, if the “ecosystem” is supposed to be that important, why does WP7 has so small marketshare?

It just doesn’t make sense from any point of view.

FelipeCsays:

June 23, 2011 at 15:28

Does WP7 support multicore?

@Guest It doesn’t. I heard there’s a new WP release that does support it, but that hasn’t shipped on any phone yet (AFAIK).

It is amazing that 95% or comments do not understand basic market(ing) facts. Today, we are not buying phones because they are great. At least smartphones. We are buying them, because other smart people can write amazing apps for them and there is big existing market of these great applications. It is called ecosystem.

@Dantius Palpatine I call bullshit on that. For the ecosystem to matter, first you need good phones. If your assertion was true, WP7 would be gaining market, not loosing it as it is.

sorry but another adaptation guy is right. First and foremost, Harmattan has nothing to do with MeeGo, and I’m still wondering how this marketing trick went through.

@crowbar MeeGo, Maemo, Harmattan, who cares? The software is good. What I want is to see the consumers buying the device like crazy. Sure, it would have sold much more if it wasn’t the last of its kind, and there was a believable developer story, but it’s still a great device (specially if you compare to others in the market).

FelipeCsays:

June 24, 2011 at 3:03

When Elop said that Nokia wouldn’t be able to produce many Meego devices before 2014 I’m sure he was correct.

@jii Great, a statement without any argumentation. What makes you think so? How difficult do you really think it would be to take the software of the Nokia N9 and put it into another device? I’ll tell you how; not at all, it can be done in a few months.

FelipeCsays:

June 24, 2011 at 3:53

@Son of a Finn

Seems like so many posters here are children. Does anyone really believe that Elop does not want to see Nokia succeed?

Of course he wants Nokia to succeed, but he wants it to succeed based on his own decisions. Do you really think he would say “you know what, I was wrong, this WP stuff is not going to work”? That’s not going to advance his career.

Most of what people call “conspiracy theory” can be explained in systemic terms. Maybe Elop truly never thought on crashing Nokia so it can be sold cheaply to Microsoft, but humans are social creatures, we rarely make big decisions without talking to other people — I’m sure he talked with some friends in Redmond, and they tried everything they could to sell the idea of WP7. They might have thought about the possibility of Nokia crashing, and they didn’t care, they pushed Elop to make the move that benefits Microsoft the most, even though it’s the most risky for Nokia.

At the end of the day Elop’s intentions don’t really matter, what matters is what he does, which is most likely influenced by a lot of hidden agendas of other people.

The real question you have to answer is: what happens if Windows Phone fails?

Really, what would happen to Nokia? The stock price is already in ruins, and that’s just because of lack of good news, imagine what would happen when really bad news arrive. What would happen to Finland?

It is rarely a good idea to go “all-in” like Nokia is doing with Windows Phone. It only makes some sense when you are completely sure, but look around, everyone is asking the same question — Why WP7 when you have MeeGo? — that alone should raise some questions regarding the “all-in” position, and then the next question arises — Why not try both?

Let’s suppose Elop is right and I’m wrong; it would only be possible to develop a few MeeGo devices in the next coming years. Well, even if that’s the case there’s nothing wrong with that, it would be a good backup plan if WP fails. Somebody might say, but it takes too many resources, but that’s not true, the Maemo team never took that many resources (it’s kind of efficient), and with a reduced scope, resources could be decreased.

Nokia's Investment

Microsoft is all about partnerships. They do not make hardware or very many end products. Microsoft’s success has come from partnering with many many companies and enabling them to be successful. Every PC manufacturer and 93% of VARs are Microsoft partners. Every PC peripheral or PCI card vendor needs to be a Microsoft partner to succeed.

You call that “partnership”? Then I guess mafia bosses “partner” with their debtors, and when somebody becomes somebody else’s bitch on jail, that’s also a “partnership”.

Strictly speaking they are partnerships, but that’s not what everybody would consider a good partnership.

FelipeCsays:

June 24, 2011 at 12:59

What’s your opinion about needing more than the 3 devices in 3 years that Elop claimed was the problem? Apple has been doing well with an average of 1 new iPhone model a year. I look at the N9 and can’t figure out what hardware would be outdated before 2014. Maybe a next model with a sliding keyboard, but what beyond that?

@Pat That’s a good point, I think Nokia could have done the same as Apple, and concentrate on a few excellent phones. Regarding hardware I would add a sliding keyboard, but also a camera button, and micro HDMI, probably with a dual-core Snapdragon. Something more interesting would be to have a docking station like the Motrola Atrix, but helped with the fact that MeeGo already runs on laptops and so on.

FTR I didn’t claim Elop said 3 devices in 3 years, that was just an example.

Do you know if the number of N9 devices will be limited or it will depend on sales?I hope Nokia promotes this phone with operators because the biggest amount of sales comes from operators, with that in mind, if N9 is promoted the same as N900 it’s impossible it will be a big hit.

It’s hard to make a great phone, but it’s easy to destruct its sales.

@Fran Excellent question! That is something everyone should ask Elop.

FelipeCsays:

June 24, 2011 at 19:41

@Son of a Finn

Read my postings carefully, you will see that I agree with you that Nokia should continue to invest in Meego (as Elops R&D chart shows). I would love Meego to succeed, though I have doubts based on the mobile operators not wanting another platform to support (regardless of the OS being great or not).

Operators want a counterweight against Android. I don’t think they care if it’s WP7, or MeeGo, but something.

Where I differ from most posters here is that I believe if Nokia is not successful with WP7 then they will not survive. Yes, it is an “all in” bet. Success with WP7 will generate the cash to support investment in Meego, failure leaves no hope for Meego at Nokia.

Let’s concentrate on the idea that WP7 fails. If that happens either Nokia starts from scratch, or somebody buys it (for cheap BTW), and given that Nokia already transitioned to WP7, it would be an interesting option for Microsoft. BTW, I do believe that a merge between Nokia and Microsoft would produce decent WP7 phones, because all the traditional barriers for collaboration typical of Microsoft would disappear.

Also, my definition of partnership is when the parties work together and mutually depend on each others success for their own. The examples I gave fit that. PC vendors can and do make PC’s with Linux variations, they can choose to work without Microsoft if they wish. Microsoft would die if no PC vendors used Windows. The truth is that they need each other and are partners.

Nokia and Microsoft’s Windows Phone division (the new name for the Mobile Communications Business division) also need each other and are partners. Nokia has a strong position in this relationship and I expect them to use that to their advantage.

Do you seriously believe that if WP7 fails, Microsoft would be in serious trouble? Nokia is betting the house, but Microsoft is not risking anything; WP7′s humble marketshare is already decreasing. Not that their mobile division is that important, they can survive comfortably without it.


8 Comments

  1. […] teljesen a nyáron bejelentett és már komoly piaci sikert felmutató N9-nak felel meg. Persze teljesen más SoC (sokkal gyorsabb: Qualcomm Snapdragon, S2 […]

  2. […] külső megjelenésében teljesen a nyáron bejelentett és már komoly piaci sikert felmutató N9-nak felel meg. Persze teljesen más SoC (sokkal gyorsabb: Qualcomm Snapdragon, S2 MSM8255, 1.4GHz, […]

  3. […] hints on N9 and Qt are in the Sept-Oct “Updates” parts of Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [June 24, […]

  4. […] – Nokia to enter design pattern competition for 2011 smartphones with MeeGo [Dec 9, 2010] – Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [June 24 – Oct 27, […]

  5. […] information: Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [June 24 – Oct 27, […]

  6. […] to enter design pattern competition for 2011 smartphones with MeeGo [Dec 9, 2010 – Jan 31, 2012] – Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [June 24 – Oct 27, 2011] – Designing smarter phones–Marko Ahtisaari (Nokia) and Albert […]

  7. […] for 2011 smartphones with MeeGo [this same Experiencing the Cloud, Dec 9, 2010 – Jan 31, 2012] – Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [this same Experiencing the Cloud, June 24 – Oct 27, […]

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