Monday, October 31, 2011
Nokia Lumina 800 meets the iPhone 4s. Magenta trumps black glass.
The Nokia Lumina 800 is like a fresh breath of air in the black world of smart phones. I got a Magenta test unit from Nokia and it feels very good. In the past 3 years I have not really used much else than an iPhone, every time I switch to Android I get disappointed, the experience is simply too unpolished in the details, and then it has typically too much customisation whipcream, so that you cannot taste what the flavour is. I hope Motorola/Google will clean it up.
I of course got an iPhone 4s when it came out and upgraded to it. It was more painful than before. I ended up using my iPad back-up to restore, it took a whole evening, and I was not happy. The iPhones 4s is better, but marginally less better than the 3gs was at the time. The 3gs felt like a big step for an upgrade. The 4s feels like a small step. I understand that much has changed under the hood and particularely in the cloud. But doing the whole iCloud, and being a paying MobileMe user, filling up my iCloud with BackUp got me simply to say no thank you to iCloud. Please let there first be some iSunshine. Only the camera got me excited. Despite fighting back, I got bored, very bored. I think we will see some iPhone fatigue creep in this holiday season.
My last hope was to get Siri to fall in love with me, but when introducing her to the family thought she was well - blond… I just do not have that much to tell her, and when I do she does not understand me. I do have an accent, sort of Finnish, Scandinavian, Swedish, some people think Dutch. It is not as strong as many other non native speakers of English and yet she has problems with it. I think she would learn over time, but in this relationship there is not much time, when I am bored.
Just as I got bored I got a hot looking Magenta Lumina, it does illuminate my everyday. I was really jazzed up after Nokia world, not since the N95 have I seen the Nokia guys as fired up. Stephen Elop has been like a fresh breath of simplicity at Nokia. Less of that big word mumbo jumbo delivering next year; simply more of less everywhere. I really liked the new service strategy of calling the services, by the natural language name. Music is music, drive is Drive. No more branding, just deliver the stuff that matters.
The phone is very responsive, the basics work. The camera is great. We did a bit of comparing of displays, loaded the video cover for Coldplay’s Paradise, which essentially has all colours in a picture, and the display outshines the iPhone display in every way. The iPhone on the other hand is louder. The kids liked the new Nokia, particularly to videos on, 15 seconds to get to a video on YouTube got a spontaneous WOW. This comparing led to a spontaneous family focus group on what phones kids desire, at this point we had two 16 old boys, 14 year, 10 year old and 7 year old girls. One of the 16 year old boys was a guest The conclusion was unexpected. No one craved these new hot phones, and I sold hard. I even offered to give them, but gave them the chance to get €700 and use it as they wish. They opted for a ZTE Blade, which was what our guest had. It does the essentials, rest would be spent saving, partying, buying stuff for the moped, buying dolls. One of the iconic quotes, ‘I want a HTC Galaxy’. Seems it is not only me who gets confused about black phones with touch screens. Or is ‘ZTE and HTC not same company’. Or ten year old saying phones are not interesting. Time to step up innovation, the phone industry is in an incremental phase if there is any insight to be drawn from the family focus group.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Moved back to Finland after 6 years in London
On October 1st I moved back to Finland to be closer to the family and to Fjord Nordic team, our largest studio with fantastic buzz from the 24 different nationalities, it is like a buzzing United Nations of Innovation and design. I took on a new role of Chief Innovation Officer of Fjord. Commuting from one place to the rest of the world is easier, the biggest benefit with Helsinki is simplicity of life, and fastest access to Asia. The drawback is the darkness and the lack of people, there are only 5M people, making Helsinki a gigant village, but that has distinct benefits. Most livable city according to Monocle. What exicites me most is the reboot of the country that the country got forced into through Nokia's new strategy. There is a fantastic pool of experienced talent that learned to think global through Nokia and its subcontractors, combined with a very international generation of students, not afraid to change the status quo. We have a bit of a Hippie movement emerging around entrepreneurship. The government fused the the three leading schools, the Technical university, the Business school and the Design school into Aalto University, fostering cross functional education, a bit similar to what I carved out for myself 15 years ago. The students created Aalto Entreprenurial Society and is building top notch relationships globally. There is an increasing amount of start-ups funded with clever early stage government support and internally savvy investor entrepreneurs. This enabling very interesting start-ups to emerge. There is world-class mobile, gaming, wearables, design and embedded SW talent in the area. I am sure we will see some amazing companies emerge that will change the world. In short it is great to be back, let the reboot continue.