As one could have guessed from our ranting and raving about the Press WiFi (and the UK cellular network), we had little opportunity to cover what was being presented on stage. However, don't be fearful about disappointment as we have summarised the entire morning in easy-to-digest chunks. Should you be confused about what actually happened and what was presented to the audience then head on past the break.
Opening up was Colin Miles, part of the Nokia Sales team, who briefly spoke about how Nokia was looking to the future and what the strategy is for taking the company forward in this difficult times. Quickly handing over the baton to Stephen Elop himself, Elop spoke about an individual he "knew" who was from Beirut. This entrepreneur disliked the unorganised city, but loved it for being exciting, glamorous and sexy.
"People all over the world, you and I, are shaped by our experiences"
We took this as a superb metaphor for how Nokia has learned from previous experiences with the mobile market advancing beyond the reach of the manufacturer. The announced handsets today reinstates the brand as a force to be reckoned with once again.
Elop continues to explain how he made tough decisions for Nokia to advance onto Windows Phone and leave both Symbian and MeeGo behind (more on the success of the N9 later). A few slides transitioned on-screen:
- Connecting the billions
- Creating a unique experience
- Changing the way we operate
It's a major shift in the company's strategy from actively developing their own OS, to slipping into bed with Microsoft. Users who knew of Nokia back in the lighter days knew the brand stood for usability, stability, connectivity and solid hardware. Something that has been behind in recent times.
Elop talks about Symbian development and the advancement we are going to witness with the Nokia 700, not to mention NFC (Near Field Communication) being used by the numbers. The N9 saw some success, especially in Russia. Elop spoke about how their Moscow store sold out in the opening sale and turned out the be the handset with the highest number of pre-orders. Not bad, let's see how the 800 sells.
Windows Phone already provides ample social integration and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive, SharePoint and more. Nokia plans to expand on this technology to ensure consumers are connected to what they want to connect to, and whenever they desire. Facebook, Twitter, Live are just a few examples as to how the OS can help Nokia bring a feature rich experience to consumers who may not have it at present.
We recently covered Nokia's strategy change and how they plan to target a younger audience, specifically the 25 year olds. The savvy mobile users. Elop went onto say that the next billion (referenced a fair bit) is the youth, the 25s. Twelve phones will be produced per-second, one million a day, 365 million a year, and Nokia looks to increase this capacity. when we witness the rollout in early 2012, it should be higher.
The Nokia Asha, running Series 40, was the family of handsets announced alongside Lumia, and consist of the 200, 201, 300 and 303. These devices will be targeting developing countries and the highlight of the morning was - they have Angry Birds pre-installed, nice! Blanca Juti, VP of Mobile Phone Marketing at Nokia, took the reigns from Elop and spoke about how only one in ten families in Mexic has a phone. The manufacturer plans to change this, and bring affordable connectivity to everyone.
"What does it mean to give the internet to the billion people?"
It feels pretty darn good, we suspect. Juti continues with asking the audience to imagine life without Amazon, eBay and WPCentral (she didn't actually mention us, but we know we'd be upset if there was no WPCentral) and how this could negatively impact our lives. Youth, back to the 25 year olds, live in high economies and with technology growing at a stable rate. They expect to access Facebook and Twitter from a smartphone, they expect to be able to install apps and customise the experience. So what will it take to give the youth the Internet?
- Just great!
- It's Nokia
Elop jumps back up to the stage, once Juti completed her dancing to Shakira's Afrika, and talks about the Asha some more. Now it's time, with some gasping and excitement in the room at an all time high - the Nokia Lumia 800. It's shown in black, cyan and magenta, obviously taking the design of the N9. No problems there as our Daniel Rubino explains in the hands on coverage. The 710 is also unveiled with multiple colours available including bright lime.
"The Lumia 800 is the first 'real' Windows Phone"
So soon after jumping back up onto the stage and presenting the Nokia 800, Elop introduces Keven Shields, Senior VP of Program and Product Management. Before we continue, this guy had too much coffee in the morning, to say he was 'psyched' about the products is an understatement. Shields picks up where Elop left of and talks about the 800, with how elegant it looks, it just fits and feels great to hold.
After announcing that it's a Nokia and therefor is destined to have an uber-camera, Shields moves onto talk about what he loves about Windows Phone (lets not forget that there are WP skeptics still around). He demos Nokia Drive, the turn-by-turn navigation app that enables the user to avoid high data usage charges and features full speech directions. Nokia Music is up next, which is a free music service allowing users to listen to and create radio mixes. Offline downloads are available. Let's not forget ESPN Sports hub, exclusive to Nokia, is the sport fans number one stop for the latest news, results and much more.
Shields summarises the introduction of additional software as unique assets that will combine Windows Phone with innovative hardware. speaking of innovation and hardware, the Nokia 710 sports replaceable back covers and the manufacturer will be releasing colours to match the themes of the OS itself. The Lumia family of handsets are the "saviours" of Nokia.
We're back to Elop. Maps and navigation are just mere building blocks to connect the real and virtual worlds together. As well as Nokia Drive and Music, we have a public transportation app, which features the status and departure times for buses, trains and other public transport in a number of countries.
Enough about the hardware and software, let's talk demand and availability. 31 operators and retailers are on the demand list for the Lumia handsets with Nokia planning to engage in more staff training with the stores. More live demos will be ready (and working) on display for potential customers to browse and test.
Stephen Overman, VP Marketing Creation, is last picked to pop up on stage. He talks about the reasoning behind targeting the 25 year olds.
"The Amazing Everyday"
That's the message and theme from Nokia. That's what will be driven into the minds, hearts and souls through effective promotion and marketing. The OS provides the user with more choice and live tiles creates a unique experience. Overman explains that it's not the same boring and lame grid layout of app icons that do absolutely nothing at all.
As a quick break from the presentation, we are shown a video featuring the 800. A second commercial is ran, which will be loaded in cinemas while the adverts are rolling out. We're now back to Elop, short and sweet. To finish off the presentation, Elop goes into pricing, availability and when we can expect to see the handsets launch. If you're desperate to get your paws on the devices, they're available for pre-order as we speak from the Nokia website. The 710 and 800 will be available from launch in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
The likes of China, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan will follow suit later in the year and into early 2012. The U.S, unfortunately, has a small wait for the volume roll out, which is expected to occur early 2012 along with mainland China. As for the prices:
- Nokia Lumia 800 (SeaRay) - €420
- Nokia Lumia 710 (Sabre) - €270
Last from Elop is the thanking to consumers and the audience around the world for both supporting Nokia and believing in blue. Now, times for hands on! check out our videos that will be uploaded today for a look at what's new with the 710 and 800. There you have it folks, we have two super Nokia handsets coming out and things are bound to get exciting, marketing wise.