Tag Archives: iPhone

Nokia’s Design for the Future: Focus on What Works

There’s been a crazy fog of speculation surrounding my previous employer for the past few years, and I’ll admit I’m guilty of contributing.  Many of Nokia’s moves during that time have been unusual, counterproductive and even downright bewildering… so it’s hard to blame anyone for wondering what the heck platform-torching CEO Stephen Elop has really got in mind.

Nokia has always been a leader in hardware.  That’s not even open to debate.  Their serious failures have been, increasingly of late, in softer areas.  Operating systems.   User experience.  Marketing.  In no time Nokia’s failure to execute on iPhone-driven paradigms caused it to fall from leader to follower to company-with-a-questionable-future.

No need to rehash any more history, though, right?  Let’s talk about the company’s future… and why my pessimism started to evaporate tonight.  Continue reading

Mobile Computing: What’s in a Name?

source: maemo.nokia.com

Smartphones (aka “converged mobile devices) have been around in one form or another since 1992.  The moniker itself has elicited snickers and outright derision, but the mobile industry grasped for a good description of where cell phones were headed and this is what stuck.  It still sounds silly, but has defied reason by surviving… but probably only due to lack of a clear competitor.   Continue reading

Nokia and the Art of Fulfillment

The current analytical buzz about Nokia’s mind and market share issues tends to be pessimistic, presupposing that the company has no chance of reclaiming its former glory days due to the unwitting tag-team onslaught of Apple and Android.  But this negative assumption arises from ignorance and forgetfulness.

It’s certainly true that customers have a stubborn inclination toward brand loyalty that can be difficult to unseat.  But Nokia was once on the positive side of that equation in areas where it now struggles (or has given up altogether).  What could keep it from returning to that former glory?

Nothing, actually.  Continue reading

Giving users what they don’t know they want

I spent many years as a product designer, in various fields.  I even had some cool inventions for consumer tools and medical devices that sadly got hung up in former employer bureaucracies.  It’s been so long though since I was heavily immersed in the world of design that I had forgotten some key principles.

Reading Juhani Risku’s clear and well-considered thoughts on Nokia’s survival brought it all back to me.  On page three of the online Register article, he makes the following point:

“There is a philosophy called Contextual Design, every designer at Nokia has been trained in it by the guru Karen Holtzblatt.  Everybody has attended her courses and got her very expensive book signed.  The idea is that you ask the users what they are doing, then design something.  If you think about Apple, they don’t ask anybody.  The idea of users as designers is a catastrophe!

It’s only relevant to evolutionary products, it’s not relevant to blue-sky products.  When you have a blue-sky product, there are no users, and so there are no users’ opinions.  We have to rely on what the desires of users are and trust the designers.”  Continue reading

Apple vs Adobe: a messy divorce

Anyone just entering the world of animation technology in recent years could be forgiven for thinking Apple and Adobe have always been at odds.  Their escalating battle over Flash gives all the appearance of two hardened combatants who have had difficulty sharing the same planet, much less overlapping technical spheres.

But in the distant past, in computing years anyway, Apple and Adobe were a cozy couple.  Apple’s Mac computers were seen as the must-use platform for graphics and desktop publishing, a niche Adobe has for all practical purposes owned forever.  Macs received Adobe’s doting attention, and other platforms such as IBM-flavored PCs were lucky to get a second-rate look.

Over the years this has turned around as Microsoft’s Windows advanced in capability and PCs proved to be the default corporate workhorse of choice.  The market spoke, Adobe listened, and Apple found itself in the lesser suitor role.  Surely this didn’t sit well with the Cupertino crowd.

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Why the first MeeGo device needs to launch BIG

With each major variant in the Maemo Device line, Nokia enjoyed incrementally increasing success.  Its conservative “test the waters cautiously with a toe tip” approach cultivated a small but determined community eager to demonstrate that mobility and open source were a match made in electronic heaven.

This is okay for skunkworks and limited release projects.  Not so much for paradigm-shattering advents.

The relatively tiny Maemo citizenry found themselves strongly challenged by the Apple iPhone and its committed evangelists.  Few in the burgeoning Apple ecosystem have been overly concerned with the default restrictions (that grow steadily stricter), including developers.

You see, commercial developers are largely concerned with one thing:

Sales figures.

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MeeGo: the premise and promise

The shock of the Maemo + Moblin = MeeGo development has subsided and I think I’m now ready to offer some analysis as I see it.

Religious battles over application packaging aside, much of the conversation has centered on what this melding means for cell phones… dragging in Apple’s now-venerable iPhone and Google’s up-and-coming Android operating system for contrast and comparison.

But in poring over the OS framework (below) tonight it hit me harder than ever that mobile computing really isn’t just a buzz phrase for Nokia– it’s the real deal.

MeeGo Software Architecture Overview

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