Yesterday, Nokia announced the “Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition”,
“an entertainment hub that combines mobile broadcast TV (DVB-H), social networking, music and gaming in one compact 3G device.”
Let that sink in: it is – apparently – not a phone. Mentioned nowhere. Well, it is of course but one might ponder if that is the message you want to get across. Focus?
Be not mistaken though, it offers some rather incredible specs: a full six hours (!) of mobile TV broadcast without re-charge. That is 3 football (my US readers, scil. soccer) matches (although I am not sure where, when and why one would do that). Compare that to the iPhone where you could watch maybe 30 minutes of highlights IF you have downloaded the respective clips when you were in a WiFi zone last. The headset doubles as an antenna.
QVGA on a 2.4″ screen, 3.2 megapixel camera (presumably with the trusty Carl Zeiss lenses, LED flash, video, free music via the “Comes with Music” service. It also says (well in the punchy headline above anyway) that it will also have specific gaming capabilities.
Phone calls? That is so last year… It is not a phone, it is an entertainment hub, baby!
The device but even more so the press release exemplify the challenges Nokia faces. It is not the technology; the Fins are good at that. It is not distribution network; they have excellent carrier relationships the world over. But the package and its presentation makes it almost anti-climactic – and probably unfairly so because the thing does even look pretty neat!
Now, if one needs TV broadcast is a discussion all by itself (the fact that you can set reminders “to make sure key episodes aren’t missed” sounds almost quaint in the age of TiVo and the iPhone’s Sky+ app).
But even apart from this, it is an example that demonstrates the approach: Nokia tries to answer calls querying its continued leadership by building monolithic technology beacons. But that is not why users flog to the iPhone; they merely want something that looks good and works beautifully. Dear Nokia, IF you equip a phone (a phone, not a multimedia hub!) with every gadget under the sun, this is cool – it really is! But do not sell it on technology, sell on user experiences. Users do not generally care much for tech talk (well, maybe some boy racers and hardcore coders do), they care for ease. Give them ease!
Apple’s overriding design goal is (and has been for a while) to de-clutter the user environment and experience. Then they execute nicely on it. That is what makes them so superb. Try to emulate this. You have all the tools. Now get the pitch right, will you?
What’s mobile in the following? Well, Nokia is involved and it is a development that would surely affect the mobile screen! A survey commissioned by Nokia found that, by 2012, one quarter of all media will be created and consumed from within a circle of peers rather than from traditional media. The ongoing rise of social media then, which the survey dubs “circular entertainment”.
In the course of the study consumers from 17 countries were interviewed about their digital behaviors and lifestyles signposting emerging entertainment trends. Combining views from “industry leading figures” with Nokia’s own research from the 900m people that use their phones , Nokia apparently “constructed a global picture of what it believes entertainment will look like over the next five years.” Bless them…
Nokia’s VP multimedia Mark Selby said that “[t]he trends we are seeing show us that people will have a genuine desire not only to create and share their own content, but also to remix it, mash it up and pass it on within their peer groups – a form of collaborative social media.” So the NY Times‘ executive editor, Bill Keller, was right when he suspected that the “media tsunami” that is aggregated and re-purposed content today is threatening the place of traditional media.
The chaps from the Future Laboratory, who conducted the survey, went even further: “Key to this evolution is consumers’ basic human desire to compare and contrast, create and communicate. We believe the next episode promises to deliver the democracy politics can only dream of.” So Bush and Putin aren’t all that scary after all? Phew!
I have some doubts if the survey really captures the mainstream, or otherwise society is further than I would have thought. These are the numbers they posted (based on the 9,000 consumers they surveyed):
- 23% buy movies in digital format
- 35% buy music on MP3 files
- 25% buy music on mobile devices
- 39% watch TV on the internet
- 23% watch TV on mobile devices
- 46% regularly use IM, 37% on a mobile device
- 29% regularly blog
- 28% regularly access social networking sites
- 22% connect using technologies such as Skype
- 17% take part in Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games
- 17% upload to the internet from a mobile device
A simple test: if the above was representative, then a cool 1.1 billion (!) people regularly upload to the Internet from a mobile device and we would have more than 1.8 billion regular bloggers and mobile TV is a massive reality with 1.5 billion consumers using it (that would be 55% of all mobile users today). Hmmm. Hey guys, where are you???
It goes on: as part of the research Nokia says it has identified four key driving trends, which are – apparently – Immersive Living, Geek Culture, G Tech and Localism. What? You don’t know what G Tech is? Yes, it is derived from the coveted G Spot and here’s what it is (according to Nokia): “G Tech is an existing social force in Asia that will change the way entertainment will look. Forget pink and sparkly, it is about the feminization of technology that is currently underway. Entertainment will be more collaborative, democratic, emotional and customized – all of which are ‘female’ traits.” Localism of course is the intrinsic interest in the locale (which is easy when you live, as I do, in the town of Ian Curtis, the unforgotten lead of Joy Division but what do you do when you live on Exit 7 of the Interstate 40 West in Oklahoma?).
With all due respect to Nokia, a company I really and truly greatly respect: this looks both a bit airy-fairy to me and bears succinct resemblance to a result-driven PR release. Or am I wrong in suspecting that Nokia has a certain vested interest in pushing location-sensitive content and information? What was the price of Navteq again? $8.1bn? Ah, I see…