One Year of Nok-soft

MWC Launches

It’s been just a bit over a year since Nokia and Microsoft shook hands and decided to build an ecosystem which would rival the ones that have been an attraction to both developers and users. I still remember the day like it was yesterday; I was up early, had no idea what was going to happen, I was just another spectator, a diehard fan, a consumer, and a power user that wanted to know how things were going to change after February 11, 2011. Fast forward to this year’s Mobile World Congress, Nokia has clearly “changed the clock speed”.

During the past year, Nokia has been able to deliver on many levels. Hand in hand with Microsoft, Nokia was able to provide not one, not two, but four Windows Phone devices that are very special; iconic designs, great features, and targeting multiple price segments, the Lumia range is definitely a successful first step in this joint venture. On the other hand, Nokia has been able to innovate in the feature phone segment and put forth a very strong offering of Dual-SIM and Touch&Type devices for very reasonable prices, taking S40 to new heights, crowned by the sale of the 1.5 Billionth device earlier this year. And last but not least, after rolling out Anna, Nokia was able to roll out Belle to all the existing Symbian^3 user-base, bringing the much anticipated changes to the interface and improving the experience on devices like the C7, E7, and N8 which recently stepped down as king of the cam-phones to make way to another very special smartphone which I shall briefly discuss, in a bit. In my opinion, the optimizations that were made to Nokia Belle were tremendous; this version of the OS runs smooth even on 680MHz processors with 256MB of RAM while still adding a lot of visual improvements. It’s a major step up in terms of UI/UX coupled with a boost in performance. Oh, and let’s not forget PR1.2 on N9; big changes there, making the fun experience of using the device more fun.

A worthy successor to the cam-phone throne was also launched during MWC 2012 –the Nokia 808 PureView – which in itself is a breakthrough in photography, let alone in smartphones realm. The Nokia 808 sports a 41-megapixel sensor capable of producing the best images yet taken with a smartphone. In fact, it could easily rival point-and-shot cameras and put most of them to shame. Using oversampling techniques, the Nokia 808 PureView is able to capture up to 8 times more detail in one pixel, producing crystal-clear images with almost no digital noise whatsoever. It’s a brilliant shooter in low-light too, taunting a Xenon flash that’s twice as powerful as the one on its predecessor – the N8.

But if you zoom out on all of this – I’m excited about the 808, mind you, hence the 300% zoom on things during the past year – if you do and you look at the bigger picture, there was a huge shift in Nokia’s strategy and a turnaround that has generated the kind of positive feedback I’ve been seeking for a while now. As someone who works in consumer engagement, I like to watch, listen to, and learn from what our consumers are doing in order to constantly keep improving the end-result. If you think that big companies do not listen to consumers – especially nowadays with the social media craze (did I just rhyme?) – then you’re probably still living under a rock and you do not deserve to even own a corded phone! We listen. But when you have a huge ship to sail, sometimes it takes quite a bit of time and a lot of effort and manpower to change its course. That said, I would like to call out all the fans, non-fans (let’s not use “haters” shall we? 🙂 ) and all the people who are mere observers or industry enthusiasts to make themselves heard by telling me how they think this year has been for Nokia and Microsoft, and what they think the future will hold for this venture.

Was this a great idea or a really bad one? What thoughts do you have around Windows Phone and the partnership?

Make yourself heard – your insights are valuable. Let’s get this conversation going!

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