Tag Archive | "Nokia"

Nokia Entering the Tablet Game With Windows 8?

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Nokia may be working on a Windows 8 tablet, due out by the end of the year, according to some sources. We’ve long wished that Nokia would jump into the tablet game as their hardware design has rarely managed to disappoint. However, with Nokia’s commitment to Windows Phone 7 last year, the company was put into an awkward position.

Microsoft built Windows Phone 7 from the ground up as a phone operating system. Even though I’d love to see the beautiful and smooth Windows Phone 7 operating system on a 7″ or 10″ tablet, Microsoft doesn’t intend for the operating system to be used that way. Thus, Nokia at the time couldn’t rely on Microsoft for a sufficiently touch-friendly operating system.

Nokia had been involved for a long time with the open-source operating system, Maemo, which ran on their ‘internet tablet’ series of devices, but Maemo failed to achieve anything close to mainstream success. Since then, Maemo was merged with Moblin (and Intel project) to form Meego. As you may know, Nokia formerly abandoned Meego in favor of Windows Phone 7.

So what’s Nokia to do? Well, for a long time, they did nothing in the tablet realm. But now, with Microsoft offering Windows 8, which is half-dedicated to touchscreen computing, there might be hope for a Nokia tablet indeed.

Digitimes, which has a so-so record of truth in rumors, claims that Nokia may be launching a tablet that will arrive in Q4 of 2012. Interestingly, Digitimes also claims that Nokia’s tablet will be a 10″ device and use the ARM platform. Windows 8 on ARM will only be compatible with applications specifically designed for it, so you won’t be able to run any existing x86 or x64 desktop applications.

I’m a bit worried about the divide between Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 when put in the context of a user who wants to buy into an ecosystem. Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 share similar looking interfaces, but deep down they are significantly different and do not have apps that work between the two operating systems. It’s possible that Microsoft is working on Windows Phone 8 which will bring the two in line with one another in terms of app compatibility, but currently it doesn’t appear that Microsoft wants to do that.

This will create a big problem for your average consumer who, given the way that Android, iOS, and even WebOS, work, has every right to think, ‘I’ve got a Windows phone and a Windows tablet, I’ll be able to use all the great apps from one on the other, and vice versa, right?”

via: Phone Arena

Nokia: More Relevant in the US Than Ever (Maybe)

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Nokia has only been relevant for me once in my smartphone life, and that was when I was overseas. Since returning stateside, I have not given Nokia news more than a miniscule glance as I pore over the day’s tech reports. In fact, I have not honestly cared about a Nokia phone release since the mid-90s, when they were one of the top name brands in the US. Until this year that is. Nokia has become relevant again, although not quite in the way that you might think. And while their partnership with Microsoft may be doing a little-bit to correct their sky-diving financial position, I question whether Redmond is doing the best thing overall for increased adoption of Windows Phone.

Before we continue on with the editorial, let’s hit some of the facts of the last week’s announcements. At Nokia World 2011, Nokia introduced two phones that are expected to eventually make their way to US carriers. They are the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710. The latter has a 3.7” display with a resolution of 480×800, a 5MP camera that can shoot 720p video, weighs in at 4.4 ounces, has 8GB of flash storage, 512MB of RAM, runs on the Qualcomm MSM8255 chip, which is a 1.4GHz single-core CPU, and communicates on GSM bands.

The Lumia 800 also has a 3.7” display, a high resolution 8MP camera, weighs in at 5 ounces, has the same 480×800 resolution on an AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass, 16GB of storage and 512MB of RAM, and an identical processor…in fact, much between the two phones is identical.

Back to the editorial. There are a few things I see as positive about Nokia-Soft’s announcements. Kudos to them for getting the product out on time. We did not need another smartphone-delay storyline to track across months of PR apologies. And the big thing? People are talking about Nokia again, and not only in negative terms. At least not entirely.

Nokia needed to hit one of the park last week at Nokia World, but there are a few areas where these announcements fall well short of that. The announcement of these two phones, to me, is more like a “we’re still hanging in there” level of effort. It feels very analogous to the Palm Pre release, which offered some compelling potential. But from the announcement of the Pre through the first several months up to release, I felt like I was watching a once great boxer taking jabs in the ring, wobbling, unable to put his hands up and protect himself, but still able to remain standing and even dodging a jab from time to time. But I knew that the other guy was eventually going to land a haymaker that the former champ would just not be able to take.

I get the same sense from the Nokia announcements last week. Maybe the better analogy would be watching a once great boxer through the last few bouts of their career. They keep losing, but in each bout there is a round or a few moments when you think they are on the road back, before they finally succumb each time. While the Lumia product line shows promise, and seems to offer a steady, work-horse level device, neither of the two devices are game-changers. Nokia is in the same position that Android tablet-makers are. They cannot afford to bring a device or devices that are within arm’s reach of the current benchmark products, and offer them at the same price. While there is no pricing information on either of the Lumia devices, I cannot see them being offered at less than $199 and $149 price points for the 800 and the 710 respectively. I believe this based on the pricing of Nokia’s handsets in the past within North America, and the fact that, for some reason, they have struggled to land on carriers with subsidized prices. The Nokia Astound debuted back in April on T-Mobile at one of the most affordable release prices for a Nokia smartphone in North America ever — $79.99. But I do not see Nokia being able to match that pricing for either one of these phones. If they come out at or near the same $199 price point as many premium Android handsets or the $199 iPhone 4S model, when the Nokia phones do not have front-facing cameras or equally high resolution screens, their ability to compete will be sorely lacking.

If Nokia can get the Lumia 710 down to a $99 price point, and slug it out against low-end Android phones, then maybe this maneuver has a chance of gaining traction. As for the Lumia 800, I expect it to come out at $199, and likely on T-Mobile as I do not see AT&T having a lot of interest in this device. So it will go to the smallest of the big four US carriers. But it will also be on the one carrier that does not have the iPhone, so for its current customers who enter the market for a new phone, it could very well be a viable choice. I was on an HTC HD7 on T-Mobile at the beginning of the year and was very happy with that selection. But right now, the only thing Microsoft seems to be touting as the differentiating, breakout feature of Windows Phone is Xbox Live integration [ed. note: that integration is majorly lacking and painfully bolted-on]. This was a nice hook at the beginning of the year, but the Xbox is six years old now, and even as a gaming platform, its pre-eminence as being a new place to go is not as shiny as it once was. As for hardware, Nokia phones have always been appealing to photo buffs for their excellent cameras. But great photos and Xbox Live are not enough to bring Nokia back to relevance in the US.

Overall, this does not feel like the mass offensive that it needed to be. Nothing out of this announcement was anything that was not entirely predictable. At the end of the day, it feels like less than what Nokia needed to do to right its burning platform. These are not devices that will save Nokia’s bacon. Nor is it indicative of a strategy that shows a glimmer of things to come that will make sweeping changes in Nokia’s business position within the market. Nokia seems to have generated much more buzz about their one-off Meego phone, the Nokia N9, than their just-announced Lumina series (though it may still be too early to call).

While falling short of what is needed, I also felt like Microsoft and Nokia weakened Microsoft’s position with its other hardware partners. If I were HTC or Samsung, I would have had sharp words the following day over the use of statements that proclaimed the Lumia line as the “first real Windows Phone(s)”. The hardware manufacturers that stepped out with Microsoft for the launch of Windows Phone, at very high risk to their own earnings, should not have suffered the suggestion that their efforts and their hardware designs were of little value. While not all CEO’s make decisions out of spite, I think the Microsoft and Nokia statements would have at least caused me to ask my CFO for the most recent accounting statements on my Windows Phone product line to evaluate how much value-adding it was really providing.

Microsoft took a risk when it migrated its smartphone strategy away from an Enterprise-focus to a consumer-centric one. Without the old corporate in-roads to lean on, they now have to compete in the same arena with the same rule-set as the iPhone and Android products. I do not see the Lumia has being a huge crowbar in that battle. I like Windows Phone, and would not have a problem selecting it as one my next devices. But I still do not see the operating system, the ecosystem, or the new Nokia devices as converging recommendations that I would give to non-techy customers looking for advice on their next smartphone, or first-time smartphone buyers. It is not clear to me where Microsoft and Nokia are heading in terms of starting an offensive that will lead to all of this increased market-share that so many analysts are claiming Windows Phone will achieve in 2014/2015.

The Lumia devices appear to be beautiful hardware, and I thoroughly enjoy Windows Phone 7 when I use it. But this is about what Microsoft and Nokia are doing to convince the consumer population that is not already on their side that the Nokia devices are viable and competitive alternatives to the iPhone and premium Android devices. Based on last week’s event, I am having a hard time convincing myself that the two companies have done enough. This smells very much like the Palm Pre launch (except for fact that Nokia’s phones appear to be arriving on time as promised). Microsoft and Nokia will need to come in at lower price points than the competition, and quickly get to offering compelling, differentiated features and offer unique service partnerships to compete against Apple and Google. Seeing as how it appears that they have missed those targets within this window of opportunity, I am not sure when they can pull this trifecta off before suffering that aforementioned haymaker that could be in the works. An iPhone 5 announcement in the spring, or arrival en masse of Ice Cream Sandwich phones could quickly push Nokia off the stage of relevance if they and Microsoft cannot push some major offensive in the interim. Oh, yeah, and after scoffing at everyone else’s Windows Phone devices, I would not expect help to arrive from the camps of HTC and Samsung anytime soon.

The Anticipated Nokia N9 Not Launching in the US… Perhaps Ever

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All I can say right now is “wow”. The Nokia N9 is the only high-end phone from Nokia that has drummed up significant interest and anticipation for some time now. Recent information indicates that it may not even launch in the US.

The US certainly isn’t the only country in the world, contrary to the belief of some, but I’ve personally seen lots of people here who are more than excited by the Nokia N9, even if it is at severe risk of poor after-sale support.

Now Nokia says that the N9, which is expected to launch on the 23rd, isn’t currently planned for for the US, and may never find its way to US shores:

“After the very positive reception to the launch of the Nokia N9, the product is now being rolled out in countries around the world. At this time we will not be making it available in the US. Nokia takes a market by market approach to product rollout, and each country makes its own decisions about which products to introduce from those available. Decisions are based on an assessment of existing and upcoming products that make up Nokia’s extensive product portfolio and the best way in which to address local market opportunities.”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this is upsetting as someone living in the US, but this has implications outside of the country as well.

The fact that the N9 will only be launching in a limited number of countries means less people with their hands on the device which means a smaller demographic for developers. This is bad news for the platform as a whole. If developers don’t’ have a large demographic for which to develop and sell, it’s unlikely that the device will ever reach a critical-mass of applications that, in this day and age, are key to the success of mobile devices.

Whatever Nokia has up their sleeves for a new high-end device, it had better be pretty awesome, otherwise people will be mighty disappointed.

Engadget is the source of this information, and they’ve got a few links for additional reading that might want to check out. Go have a look!

Microsoft + Nokia Event Planned for the 17th, What Should We Expect?

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Nokia Sea Ray (alleged; photos courtesy of product-reviews.net)

It seems like we cannot go a full calendar month without one of the tech companies holding some event to make a major announcement. Not that I am complaining one bit. This month we have not one, but two giants partnering to bring us some new juicy gadget promises. At least that is what we assume Microsoft and Nokia’s intentions are for the press conference they have just called for the 17th of this month.

The event is to take place in Cologne, Germany, just as the Gamescom convention kicks off. The truth is, we have no idea what M&N intend to announce at this event. But it is a safe bet that it will have something to do with the Nokia Sea Ray and Windows Phone 7. The announcement Flyer, at least, indicates that they will be giving away 3 vouchers for a Nokia handset running Windows Phone “as soon as available”.  If the announcement is profound enough, it might just pull Windows Phone and Nokia out of the funk they have been for the last several months.

That is the optimistic view. Now for a little pessimism. What concerns me is that this announcement does not have the feel of a planned reveal. It feels rushed and reactionary. So it makes me wonder if this press event is being held in response to pressure. The pressure of Samsung and Apple’s quarterly earnings statements. The pressure of increasing rumors of an impending fall launch of potentially two new iPhone models. The pressure of Nokia continuing to hemorrhage money.

This is not to say that doing something to staunch the flow is not the right move. It is more a recommendation to temper expectations of what may come out of this announcement with a good dollop of skepticism. It is likely that this is just another announcement confirming M&N’s previously advertised timeline for the release of the first Nokia phone running Windows 7. Nothing new.

It will be great if I am wrong. Nokia’s handset arriving early would be an awesome way to bring in the final quarter of the year. I spent the better part of the first half of this year on a Windows Phone 7 handset, the HTC HD7. I am a big fan of the OS and rank it second on my personal ranking of mobile OS’ for phones, behind Android, but ahead of iOS. Still, it is hard to envision M&N pulling off a major reveal at this juncture given what we have seen of the pair in the mobile space so far this year. A big event that does not really reveal anything new or unexpected could be just as harmful to the Windows Phone movement as a delay in the Sea Ray. Let’s hope that whatever M&N have planned, they do it right. The launch of the Fujitsu Toshiba IS12T may be reason to hold on to hopes for something great.

Either way, you can rest assured that we will cover the story here on Carrypad. See you on the 17th (and hopefully every day in between).

Source: Engadget

Can Nokia Earnestly Sell the N9 When They’ve Publicly Abandoned the OS?

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nokia n9By now you’ve certainly caught wind of Nokia’s N9, their first, and only, Meego handset.

I want to be excited as everyone else is about the phone, after all, it looks great and Nokia has never disappointed me in the hardware department. However, the phone is running Meego, an OS that Nokia has publicly dropped in favor of Windows Phone 7 a few months back.

If this was happening prior to the app store movement, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Today, however, phones and their operating systems live and die not only by continuous first-party support, but by third-party developer backing as well.

Without a critical mass of applications, a new smartphone OS is destined to fail in the face of contemporary operating systems. What message is Nokia sending if it has already abandoned the OS in favor of another?

As a consumer, the message it sends to me is “don’t buy this phone!”. No matter how well crafted the hardware is, and even how well the software works from a technical standpoint, I wouldn’t invest my money and time (moving all of my music/contacts/life/etc.) into a platform that I know won’t be seeing long-term support from the company that is responsible for it.

Interestingly though, and the only reason I believe that Nokia is going ahead with a Meego N9, is that Nokia isn’t entirely responsible for it. Meego is a merger of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo efforts. Meego exists as its own entity, and will live on through Intel and the open-source community even if Nokia has dropped it.

This means that it’s possible that the Meego-running N9 will still see decent application development, and perhaps even long term support for the OS from the Meego community, though I doubt that it’ll be at a level necessary to reach critical app-mass; just take a look at Maemo, a predecessor of Meego, and you’ll find that the OS never even came close to taking off (into the mainstream realm, that is).

Sadder still is the fact that Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, says that Nokia is dropping Meego regardless of how well the N9 sells, according to an interview with a Finnish newspaper (via Engadget).

If I was in the market for a new phone, I would stay away from the N9 thanks to Nokia’s resolute desire to abandon Meego.

Engadget’s Vlad Savov has an interesting piece on the N9 and Nokia’s decision to abandon Meego, and one sentence in particularl nicely sums up my feelings:

If Nokia isn’t fully invested in MeeGo and Qt, why should you be?

What say you, dear readers? Is there anything that could convince you to buy a phone with an OS that you know won’t see long-term first-party support, and likely won’t hit that ever important critical mass of apps and third-party developer traction?

Nokia’s N950 Developer Phone is More Appealing To Me Than the Recently Announced N9, Too Bad Consumers Will Never See It

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n950Over the last few days, the internet has been abuzz over Nokia’s first (and only?) Meego phone, the N9. However, more appealing to me is their recently uncovered developer phone, the N950, which is very similar in design to the N9 except it has a cool flip-out QWERTY keyboard. The real shame is the fact that the N950 isn’t designed to be sold to the public, instead, it will be released to developers as testing hardware, prior to the release of the N9.

The N950’s keyboard-flipping mechanism is extremely similar to several other phones that use the form factor, such as the HTC G2 and the Sidekick 4G. Mobilenet.cz (via Engadget) has a hands-on video of the N950:

The N950 shares most of the internals with the N9 with a few changes here and there (the most significant being that the N9 uses a nicer AMOLED screen). Here’s what we can expect from the phone:

  • MeeGO 1.2 Harmattan OS
  • 4” capacitive TFT LCD screen @ 854×480
  • TI OMAP 3630 (ARM Cortex A8) CPU @ 1GHz
  • PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Possibly 16GB or 64GB of built-in memory (unconfirmed)
  • 8MP rear camera with 720p HD recording
  • front-facing cam (unconfirmed MP)
  • 4-row QWERTY keyboard
  • WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS
  • Sensors: dual-mic, accelerometer, light sensor, magnetometer (compass), proximity sensor
  • Micro-SIM slot (interesting)
  • Aluminum body, around 135g
  • 1320mAh battery

I’ve been waiting for Nokia’s N series of Internet Tablets to break into the mainstream one of these days, but time and time again I’m disappointed with what I find. I owned an N810 back in the day, which was just one iteration prior to when Nokia would begin to cross it’s N-series MIDs (which they called Internet Tablets) over into the phone realm. First was the N700, then the N800, then the N810. All of these devices ran an open-source Linux-based OS called Maemo. With the release of the N900, which we revived back in January of 2010, Nokia merged their Internet Tablets with phones, and the result was the phone-capable N900 running Maemo 5. Unfortunately, both the N810 and N900 shared the same problem – beautiful hardware, but weak software that wasn’t ready for primetime. Every once and a while thoughts of the N810 and N900 pop into my head and make me happy. They were gorgeous devices. Then they make me sad as I come to the realization that they never took off.

Now along comes the N950 running Meego Harmattan, a merger of Maemo and Intel’s Moblin, and it actually looks pretty good. The only problem is that Nokia decided to drop Meego in favor of Windows Phone 7 several months ago, and the N9/950 is the only device from Nokia that’s ever going to run the Meego OS.

The circumstances surrounding the N950 very similar to what I witnessed with the N810 and N900 except this time Nokia is specifically branding the N950 as a developer phone, something they probably should have done with the prior two devices. What strikes me as extremely odd, and perhaps even stupid, is the fact that Nokia is offering developers a dev device which has a huge difference (they keyboard!) than the phone that they are presumably developing for. The N950 doesn’t require an OSK that takes up much of the screen for text input, while the N9 does…. You’d think that Nokia would want to give developers a phone that at least shares the same input method as the device they are developing for. Seems like turbulent times ahead for Nokia as they attempt to market the N9 with an OS that we already know is dead to the company.

Ultra Mobile Video Editing Part 3 – ARM Solutions with iPad2 and Nokia N8

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In Part 1 of this series we put aside the idea of ARM-based video editing based on the requirement for higher levels of CPU processing power and tight coupling of hardware and software. Two very interesting solutions have just appeared that could dovetail together as an ARM-based solution  and possibly enable 720p video editing on-the-go. Even if you haven’t got an iPad2, some new software for the Nokia N8 will enable netbook-level H.264 editing.

ipad2-usbnokia_n8_camera

Last week Apple launched the iPad2 and it turns out that it’s quite the performer in terms of rendering 720p videos through the iMovie application. Based on the measurements we can only assume it’s got a hardware H.264 encoder that iMovie is using to speed up the encoding process. Because of the CPU and GPU inprovements, the editing process looks smooth too. You won’t be able to do b-roll cutaways but I bet you’ll see that included in the next iMovie release for iOS.

This morning I’ve also learnt about a new camera application for the Nokia N8 which enables 480p H.264 recording and continuous auto-focus. As I write this I’m rendering a titled, cross-faded 480p video taken with the CameraPro N8 application in Windows Live Movie Maker. It was a smooth editing process which might surprise some of you because I’m using a netbook to do it.

Put the two together and, if iMovie can import and work with Nokia N8 videos (they are .mp4 files containing H.264 videos but there are some interesting advanced settings in the CameraPro app that can teak bitrates, codecs and sizes) then you might have the most flexible, ultra-mobile video camera, editing and posting solution yet. The iPad2 weighs 600gm (possibly 630gm for the 3G version) and the Nokia N8 weighs 135gm. That’s an amazing, seriously amazing sub 800gm, 1.7lbs and the total cost of both, with 3G, is under 1000 Euro. 720p-capable, 480p when on-the-go and direct posting to YouTube.

Ongoing and outstanding: Does the iPad2 import videos from the Nokia N8 and can iMovie work with the imported videos without conversion? One would need to connect the N8 via the camera connection kit either via USB or by removing the Micro-SD card, slotting it into an SD card adaptor. I’m waiting to have this confirmed. I’m hoping that this author has the answer soon.

Even if the Nokia N8 files don’t work with the iPad, it enables netbook usage which opens up the user to more software options. Windows Live Movie Maker can handle the 480p files without re-rendering for editing and output a 480p WMV file at a time ratio of 3.24 mins per minute of video rendered. For clips of 5 mins or less, as are many mobile videos, this is acceptable.

Here’s a 480p video posted directly from the N8 to YouTube via Pixelpipe. It was a 92MB upload and the bitrate was just over 3Mbps. It would make sense to try this at 2.5Mbps and via a service that posts direct to the YouTube API to cut down time and failure-points.

Obviously you should watch this in HQ and at full-frame size.

Here’s the same source video edited in Windows Live Movie Maker with titles and crossfades. The output format from Movie Maker is WMV which means there could be some degradation in quality as the file is converted back to H.264 at YouTube. Update: I see some frame-rate and smoothness issues. You too?

I used the Acer Aspire One 522 for this and the rendering time ratio was 3.24:1 (3 mins 15s per minute of video)

As a camera, the N8 just keeps on getting better and with developers continuing to write specialized apps for it you wonder why there aren’t many other good quality internet and app-enabled cameras around. It’s these sort of enhancements that just aren’t possible on closed-firmware dedicated cameras.

I plan to buy a 3G-enabled iPad2 when they become available here in Europe but I’m sure others are going to test out the N8/iPad2 combo beforehand. When they do, I’ll try and link the information in below. If you know of any articles or videos on the subject, please feel free to link them in the comments below (one URL per comment otherwise the comment is held for approval.)

Meet:Mobility Podcast 64 – NoWinTel or IntelNow?

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Meet:Mobility Podcast 64 is now available.

Sashca, JKK and Chippy discuss the Nokia news from Fridays announcement and how that impacts MeeGo. We cover new netbook news and discuss MWC 2011

Listen, subscribe and download at MeetMobility here.

MeeGo, Qt and Nokia – Feb 11th 2011

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Today’s announcements by Nokia (there are many to sort through) have shocked a lot of people. The major focus here is that Nokia will now use Microsoft (Windows Phone 7) as their primary platform for smartphones. I want to emphasise that this is a revenue generating strategy. It doesn’t include disruptive computing devices which indicates the removal of risk elements within Nokias strategy.  Symbian gets turned into a ‘franchise’ platform (cheap, stable and, probably, with less focus on corporate support.) Important for the financials is that R&D spend drops. Symbian –related spend drops away completely. MeeGo will get hit very hard here too. Whatever way you look at it, near-term investment in MeeGo from Nokia will drop.

This slide says it all.meegorandd

The message is clear. MeeGo isn’t ready to be used for a smartphone platform in Nokias portfolio. Perhaps if Nokia had continued with Maemo, it would be ready now? Other potential partners in the MeeGo ecosystem will take note of the money spent on R&D by Nokia during this partnership and will look to see what Nokia develop over the next 12 months. Adding to the financial hit, this knocks confidence levels in MeeGo.

MeeGo remains in Nokias strategy but the message we see is that it will be used to experiment with the next generation of disruptive products. Open-source is gone from Nokia’s revenue-generating strategy. We’ve heard nothing about an expansion into tablets, smart-books or other non-phone devices so clearly, this indicates that either Nokia don’t want the financial markets to speculate about this or that they really don’t have a strategy at all here. Nokia have re-affirmed their commitment to delivering a Meego ‘Device’ this year and we suspect that this is an Intel-related commitment for a tablet in the 5-7” range to match focus on mobility, clear separation from WP7 devices and to match Intel’s Moorestown platform design limitations. Other MeeGo development work including chipset and industrial design (wait for it, this bit will hurt MeeGo fans) will be ‘repurposed’ in Windows phones.

Where does that leave MeeGo?

The Linux Foundation own the MeeGo brand, take care of the contributions and offer it out as an open-source solution. That hasn’t changed. Linaro, the ARM-focused organisation that can assist ARM product designers to match MeeGo to specific ARM-based platforms is still there. Nokia are still contributing. Intel are still contributing. Intel are still building platforms and services for MeeGo. MeeGo remains one of the best cross-product solutions based on Linux and is the only solution that includes dedicated hardware, development environment and (if AppUp for MeeGo launches at MWC as we expect) applications store. It is still the ‘complete stack’ solution I mentioned last week. What does happen is that Nokia now can’t be relied on as someone that will put a strong brand on a range of MeeGo products. Intel lost a launch partner.

Where does that leave Qt?

Qt will not be used on Windows Phone 7 devices. Without a doubt it waters down the proposition of developing for Qt and as a result, for MeeGo. Todays announcements reduces the potential of Qt to attract developers. On the plus-side, it probably removes OVI as a competing application store leaving Intel to focus on AppUp as the primary application store for MeeGo. A lack of direction for Qt is probably the most significant issue for MeeGo now.

Intel “remain committed “

We asked Intel for a statement and we got this.

While we are disappointed with Nokia’s decision, Intel is not blinking on MeeGo. We remain committed and welcome Nokia’s continued contribution to MeeGo open source.

Our strategy has always been to provide choice when it comes to operating systems. MeeGo is one of those choices. We support a port of choice strategy that includes Windows, Android, and MeeGo. This is not changing.

MeeGo stability.

Right now, Intel need to secure some significant product partners for MeeGo, Moorestown and Medfield and to shore-up the development ecosystem by pulling together partners that will also use Qt. Qt is now the burning platform which means AppUp on MeeGo is at risk too.

MWC starts in just a few days and we expect this to be a huge software event for Intel. MeeGo, Appup, IADP, AppLabs and other activities are being showcased. Intel, more than ever, need to use MWC to announce partners.

Stay tuned to Carrypad and we continue to follow this important story over the next week.

Nokia / Intel / Meego Phone at MWC – Highly Unlikely

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I’ve been seeing a lot of talk and getting a lot of questions about a possible Nokia / Intel / MeeGo phone that could be launched at MWC. Rumors center around the Nokia N9 which is a slider phone said to be running MeeGo and to be launched at MWC. While it might be launching, I doubt very much it’s got Intel inside.

Intel MeeGo Phone

I’ve already predicted 2012 for Intel/MeeGo smartphones because Moorestown’s 2-chip solution isn’t quite perfect for a high-end smartphone. Especially one with limited space for battery as in the slider design you see. I’ve also had private hands-on with MeeGo on Moorestown and seen the work that needs to be done on the MeeGo core before it’s ready. I doubt Nokia want to release another developer-focused ‘demonstrator’ phone in the way they did with the N900

Report: Timeline for MeeGo Devices

With Moorestown not quite right and MeeGo not quite ready, can you imagine the risk of Nokia would have to take showing a beta product or prototype based on MeeGo? No. Nokia and Intel will have agreed to make a splash with the first smartphone and I expect them to wait until later in the year.

Could the N9 be a MeeGo phone on a Ti platform? Yes. Ti were a Gold sponsor of the MeeGo conference in November.

Could we see it launched soon? I’m guessing May based on the fast that Nokia could be working with MeeGo 1.2 beta releases.

Will Nokia pre-announced the N9 at MWC? Assuming it’s a MeeGo product, I doubt it. Nokia have stated that they don’t want to ‘leak’ or preview devices any more.

And here’s another data point:

I spoke to Intel at the end of November about Moorestown and Medfield progress. Here’s what they said:

  • Is Moorestown in full production now?
    Yes, Moorestown has been in production since we rolled it out in May 2010. Our tablet and smartphone customers are using the platform to build their own devices and this is the current focus on Moorestown.
  • Target was 2010 for products, Why the delay?
    You can expect Moorestown based tablets in 1H’11 and smartphones later in the year.
  • What operating systems options are you planning to offer for Moorestown?
    Moorestown supports both Android and MeeGo.
  • Are you accelerating Medfield?
    Medfield is on track and scheduled to launch in 2011

There’s a hint of of a Moorestown smartphone in the answer to the first question but look at the timescales in question 2. ‘Later’ than 1H 11 sounds like 2H 2011 to me. If a Moorestown smartphone is going to happen, it’s not happening until the second half of the year. Medfield isn’t being accelerated as far as I can see based on the answer to the last question.

Finally, my native Finnish-speaking co-podcaster JKK of JKKMobile doesn’t read any solid fact in the Finnish article that started this rumor.

MWC is going to be big for Nokia and big for Intel. Look at the floor space that Intel have this year. Two booths, a Meego hospitality suite, the Wind-River subsidiary and a keynote with Paul Otellini. Rene James , head of the Software and Services Division says this:

There are things we’ll announce at Mobile World Congress that will shed a lot more light on why the value proposition [of MeeGo] makes a lot of sense for consumers and device manufacturers. [ref]

MWC will be all about software for Intel. AppUp on MeeGo. Tablet UI. Major ISV partners. MeeGo V1.2 beta announcement. Major brand joining the MeeGo partnership. All these things are more likely than the Nokia/Intel phone.

As for Intel hardware, expect to see tablets based on Moorestown running MeeGo 1.2 beta and Android. If that’s done right, it could be big enough news to keep the momentum going until later in the year.

Video Recorded Entirely with Nokia N8 Shows Off Its Camera Capabilities

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n8 macroNokia has a long history of building quality cameras into it’s phones. Chippy swears by his trusty N82 as a pocket camera, and I was very impressed with the N900’s camera. Nokia’s latest phone, the N8 is certainly living up to the family name.

We’ve seen the N8 used to shoot the cover of a magazine, and now it’s been used to shoot a short but entertaining video with impressive quality. Using a macro lens and a telescope, the entire following video was recorded with the N8, check it out:

N8 dreams ["Night" dreams] from keirux on Vimeo.

This makes me want a pocketable steady cam rig!

WebOS Tablets in Sept = Time for Partnership on ‘Cute’ Devices

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hp topazFalling leaves, an Indian Summer and a brand new HP WebOS tablet. That’s the scene we could be seeing if the information coming via Engadget is correct. HP will have two WebOS tablets available in 7 and 9-inch variants called Opal and Topaz.

While we expected the HP WebOS Tablet project to hit in 2011, September seems a long way away and falls behind the early Honeycomb Android, further iOS and possible MeeGo tablets. The timing will give HP a chance to ramp up the developer community so we’re expecting SDKs to be out before summer. In order to attract those developers though, something special needs to be announced. WebOS and product renders just won’t be enough.

On that topic, I have a theory that I first mentioned in Dec 2010. [For the record - You know if it happens I'm going to be Mr Told-You-So! ] It’s based purely on the need to battle against Android and iOS that HP, Intel and Nokia could get together on this.

Qt has already been ported to WebOS, it made it to the WebOS 2.0 build and it makes the perfect layer for Symbian, MeeGo and WebOS to join forces in attracting critical development interested. Without that developer interest, what chance do these products have? Partnerships could be taken one step further too with Intel providing early Medfield samples and with Nokia providing Qt skills for the WebOS SDKs. Take it one step further and WebOS could actually be built on top of MeeGo. There’s nothing stopping HP doing this, even outside a partnership.

How about Intel and Nokia helping to combine Ares, the WebOS SDK, and QT as a multi-product SDK? I think developers would be very happy indeed. It will be just another SDK like the .net, AIR and JAVA environments that already exist. Intels AppUp back-end could be unified with the other applications stores too and combined (especially with tricks like Intel Insider that I hope make the jump to Atom) there’s a better chance of negotiating major video, tv, book, game and music deals. Wi-Di technology could also be a USP.

I’m not a professional software developer and I know that a lot of these thoughts are idealistic and totally ignore the difficult tasks of cutting deals but I can see that Qt could be one very important pivot-point and with three major brands behind a single core OS, MebOS?, there’s a better chance that the dev community could be ramped up quickly. I also love the idea of a Cute-Devices brand. Without a partnership of some sort, will Symbian, MeeGo and WebOS survive?



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