Nokia, quit shouting at us

27 Oct 2011

Nokia chief Stephen Elop claims the firm’s first Windows Phone 7 smartphones draw deeply on the vendor’s Finnish roots and mastery of materials. If only the same could be said of the launch presentation.

The head-man covered almost every cliché possible in his keynote at Nokia World 2011, including such favorites as ‘a man I met on my way to the conference,’ and the near obligatory reference to a swathe of teenage children.

But he was outdone in the cringing stakes by smartphone product manager Kevin Shields, who insisted on randomly shouting at us in an apparent bid to appear ultra-enthusiastic in a way only Steve Jobs could really pull off.

Despite the ‘Finnish roots’ assertion, the whole thing felt frankly rather American. Only this is London, so the ‘whoops and cries’ that accompany an Apple launch in California were replaced with some typically muted British applause.

Still, I’m sure none of us will complain if Blanca Juti, vice president of product marketing at Nokia’s mobile phones division, wants to get back up and do another little dance like she did when unveiling the firm’s Asha line of feature phones (though I have to mark her down for referring to her teenage son during the presentation).

Lumia smartphones
So, after eight months of hype regarding Nokia’s new WP7 smartphones, were the two Lumia devices unveiled yesterday worth the wait?

Informa Telecoms & Media’s principal handset analyst David McQueen certainly believes so, noting the flagship Lumia 800 “has great industrial design,” while its little brother – the 710 – is priced “to hit the more cost-conscious smartphone user.” However, McQueen is less confident in Nokia’s ability to sell Windows Phone software to consumers, and believes the firm has dropped the ball by not getting the new smartphones into the US before 2012.

Ovum analyst Nick Dillon says Nokia has done well to differentiate its devices from other Windows Phones products considering the vendor “had very little (if no) input into the Mango release of Windows Phone,” but is also uncertain of the vendor’s ability to “convince buyers to shun Androids and iPhones.”

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, believes the answer to Dillon’s question is “not really.” She told The Guardian Nokia is more likely to win over Android users than Apple, because the former are attracted more by the user experience than the application ecosystem.

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