Tag Archives: 2009

Will 2011 be make-or-break for Nokia?

As many know I was recently privileged to attend the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit 2010 in San Francisco, California.  After running out of juice trying to maintain community enthusiasm at maemo.org while simultaneously whipping it up for MeeGo, I was reinvigorated by the fresh energy permeating the conference.  Seeing old acquaintances again, finally greeting others in person for the first time and making new friends always helps… as did the endless talks at various pubs and eateries about MeeGo’s future.

One aspect that renewed my faith was that even though 2009 did not turn out to be the breakthrough for open source that I had hoped, it looks like 2010 is setting the stage for this to be the case in 2011.  For one, Nokia and Intel’s MeeGo venture strengthens the possibilities in my opinion.  True, proprietary solution drivers are hardening their positions more now than ever, setting the stage for an eventual showdown that’s long overdue– but I expect open source to ultimately prevail and allow us to move past that exhausting argument and into the next awaiting world.

But even with its 5-year Maemo (along with Moblin) legacy, MeeGo still represents a beginning of sorts, and it will indeed be 2011 at least before it truly bears fruit– especially if recent product launches are any example.  Meanwhile, what else will Nokia be doing to ensure its continued relevance?

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Nokia World 2009

Nokia World 2009 in brief

There’s been plenty of coverage already on this eye-popping event so I’ll limit my analysis to just a few points.

Nokia N900

The rundown:

This impressive Maemo-fueled touchscreen phone (aka mobile computer) is the new flagship device and comes laden with highly compelling features.  Even though I find the small screen size disappointing I understand the politics behind the design decision.  This is after all a phone more than tablet.  Rumors combined with my own common sense continue to encourage me that this is indeed part of a product platform and we will ulitimately see some sort of “slate” variant (a la N800)… by early next year at the latest (possibly CES?).

My verdict:

I would buy this multifaceted device save one factor: advertised price.  I won’t quote any numbers (there’s already too much confusion over this) BUT if it comes to the US at much over $400 unsubsidized, I’ll wait.

Nokia Booklet netbook

The rundown:

This is the product I personally find more exciting as it represents a new adventure for Nokia.  The brand will finally sit on shelf space alongside Dell, Acer, HP and others which should help further Nokia’s recognition as a new player in internet services.  This will be solidified by the option of a cell radio modem (for data only) and the future placement of Windows applications on Ovi Store.  That’s right, penguin lovers, the netbook will come with Windows 7 installed by default.  Reformat and repurpose with the OS of your choice.  😉

My verdict:

This is another gadget that would easily be on my list (my youngest son is in the market for a netbook) were it not for a higher-than-expected retail price of ~$800.  Although as usual Nokia has packed this portable PC with useful features like HDMI output and a purported 12 hour battery charge(!), at typically twice the cost of entry netbooks this is a bit prohibitive.  A subsidized version from my cellular service provider might help.

Another showstopper for some is the hard-soldered 1 gigabyte of system memory.  If this is indeed limited, that means no heavy business usage.  Of course, many could argue that this is a consequence of the 120 gigaybte hard drive and 10.1 inch screen anyway.  Cramped viewing real estate and storage space notwithstanding, the netbook does come with a version of Microsoft Office except that, curiously, it is a 60 day trial.  Buying the full version of course increases the actual product cost.

In appearance this aluminum-bodied product holds its own against the best netbook or notebook designs out there, including Apple’s.  Kudos to Nokia’s industrial design team!

X Series phones

The rundown:

The trademarking of new series designators C and X had a lot of tongues wagging prior to the show.  There was plenty of wild speculation over just what this advent might mean.  Pundits who identified the X designator as a likely series of new music phones were right on target, as Nokia announced the X3 and X6 music-oriented devices.  I’m impressed with the appearances and features of both (moreso with the X6).  Both will be available at Christmas.

My verdict:

Another product line perfect for my teenage sons.  The X3 is even affordable at a listed 115 Euros.  I think this line has potential!

  
Summary

I found the atmosphere around and during this event to be more electric than last year’s event.  Nokia does seem to be seriously trying to battle the growing skepticism over its high-end prospects.  I am just concerned that pricing may interfere; let’s hope there’s a significant difference between proposed retail and actual when these sleek beauties all hit store shelves.

There were other announcements such as formal acknowledgment of the N97 Mini but nothing else I felt compelled to cover here.  Visit the official Nokia World 2009 site for more in-depth coverage especially as the event continues.

The event itself has rekindled my faith a bit.  Now if Ovi can just get the same degree of much-needed attention, maybe Nokia can stifle the doubters…

Theory of relative pain

There is nothing like being laid off of work to make one really appreciate steady income.  I had gotten too used to a budget on autopilot, one that just worked, and since my position at Nokia was eliminated I am questioning the little purchases that used to be reflex.  “Can I have a bag of donut holes, Dad?”  Depending on behavioral trend, that used to be an easy “yes”.   Now I have to consider the larger scenario: Donut holes, about $3 per bag.  Uninsured visits to the dentist: priceless.

So I am not sure if I am relieved or discouraged to read that millionaires in the United States are suffering, too.  After a few years creating more than ever, our fickle economy has now stripped many of up to one-third their worth.

On one hand it is easy to dismiss their situation– so someone’s net worth declined from a cool one million or so dollars to a cold $700,000.  Yawn.  Let me know when they lose a little more.

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Not fit for publication in Oklahoma

As a Texas Longhorns fan my most recent favorite things were watching them win against Ohio State in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl and then reading about Florida’s win over the Oklahoma Sooners.

And I’m not sure why, but at the end of the Florida story one of those typical “Test Your IQ” ads caught my eye.  I highlighted the important part for Sooners fans (for reasons that should be self obvious to the rest of us):

Sooner Fan IQ

Sooner Fan IQ?

Based on the average player score of 130, I’d say that at least Oklahoma’s college educational process is working well.  The goal now is to start enrolling more fans.  : p

Now please excuse me… I need to go get my free Gators jersey…

New Year’s resolutions, 2009

  • As I noted on jaiku, to be less cynical and more optimistic
  • Become gainfully employed again
  • Work more on my fiction than I did last year (but no less on fact)
  • Figure out what makes my teenage sons tick
  • Worry less about what makes the wife tick
  • Lose at least 10 pounds (in process)
  • Get outdoors more (have already set up porch laptop station!)
  • __________________________________ (left blank for wife’s input)