nokia

Last Friday marked a massive change in Finland. The by far largest Finnish company announced that it would drastically change its direction. Stephen Elop decided to jump from a “burning platform” into the unknown, but realized that by doing so he could not take everyone with him. Nokia’s decision to adopt Windows Phone 7 as primary operating system and terminate all long-term development of Symbian will result in many Nokians having to look for new jobs. But it’s not just the Nokia employees that will suffer, but also the countless contractors that worked for Nokia. The Minister for Economic, Affairs Mauri Pekkarinen, expects 20,000 jobs across Nokia’s sites in Finland to vanish: “You’re talking about 20000 people, it’s a big number”. One of those sites is Oulu. Nokia’s R&D facility in Oulu is currently the home of approximately 2000 engineers, of which 1500 have been working on Symbian and MeeGo. Most of them will face their jobs being axed.

Having been to Nokia in Oulu, I have met some of the most amazing people I know. And it is one of them who has come up with a rather nifty idea. Kristian Luoma, Product Manager turned Entrepreneur decided to do something about this situation.

What would happen if an extreme incubator would be set up in Oulu, where these bright minds can work together on the next big thing. Nokia started out as a small Finnish company and became the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturer with an annual revenue of €42.45 billion. What would stop the Finns from reclaiming former glory?

If there’s something that every Entrepreneur I’ve met has said to me, it was: Dream big! Achieve the un-achievable! “Oulu Fifty” is a vision for a programme with the insane goal of producing fifty start-ups in twelve months. That’s roughly 1 start-up per week! It would be a programme giving these talented people all the tools they need, such as shared office space, legal advice, exposure, chances to get in touch with VCs and much more. The goal is to create a vibrant community that fosters innovation and spins out seedable companies.

“Oulu Fifty” would run innovation and idea exploration sessions which would be open to anyone to attend. It would regularly have hackfests to perform rapid prototyping. It would seek out to consumers to vote on the best ideas – every week. It would educate its members on technology and other necessary skills – by mentoring and by leasing inspiring speakers to visit the campus occasionally.

This could be an amazing opportunity for both the Finnish government which is strongly encouraging entrepreneurship and the Nokians. But such a programme requires a few things to be successful. On one hand, “Oulu Fifty” would need support from the industry. Getting Entrepreneurs and VCs involved that would be willing to visit. On the other hand, this programme would need financial support to pay for facilities as well as a limited staff running the programme which would approximately be €0,5 million for 1 year of operation.

I personally love this idea, but all the credit has to go to Kristian Luoma who dreamt up this idea. This programme could bring Oulu back to the forefront of technological innovation and save the by Nokia abandoned local community. I sincerely hope that there is a future in this idea, but we will see what happens in the next few weeks.

Just in case you have €0,5 million lying around, and want to support this programme, do contact me: florian at florian jensen dot com

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Finally! I’ve got my own N900.

To be honest, it was just a matter of time, until I would get one. After having had one for 4 days, and then having it taken away from me after the XMPP Summit, I had my mind set on getting my own.

Now, the problem was the price as 649€ are not something I was willing to spend on a phone. Thankfully Vodafone UK has a great Webrelations Team, who were willing to give me the N900 for 15£ / month! Thanks guys!

So… Why Maemo Rocks and Android Sucks:

It was obvious that I wouldn’t go for another Symbian device, as S60v5 is just a hack, and S60v3 outdated, these were out of the race. That left the iPhone (which has just gotten video recording and doesn’t do multi-tasking?! .. even my old 6260 from 2004 was able to do that), an Android device (I still can’t find a reason to get an Android phone – No USP! There is no point in Android. It does everything, but nothing very well.) or the shiny toy packed with the power of full Linux and Maemo, the N900.

The beauty of Maemo is, that it’s a full Linux OS. It uses apt-get, I’ve got root access without hacking it, and allows me to run more or less anything from Asterisk over Nmap to Wolfenstein 3D. Oh, and it does Flash! During the XMPP Summit, we even went so far as to run rm -rf /* on it, which it executed without complaining.

The N900 is by far not ready for end consumer, but it’s the perfect device for people who want a Linux machine in their pocket, with a shiny UI. Maemo is like OSX. It has a very shiny and nice UI, but if you want, you can open a terminal, and do whatever you want, without anyone or anything stopping you.

As with every developer centered phone, there are some things that need to be improved:

  • Ovi Contacts Sync support
  • Better Ovi Maps with free Navigation
  • Video Calling (not only for Mobiles, but also for XMPP / Ovi, MSN, Skype…)
  • Better Battery life! It’s kinda poor at the moment. Having 3G connected, it’s about 1/2 a day
  • An official Spotify client (Yaspot works but isn’t great)

However, there’s some really cool apps on the N900 already.

The apps I’d highly recommend for anyone with an N900:

  • rootsh – Because being root is so much better
  • Hermes – A nifty little tool to sync info from Facebook and Twitter to your address book contacts
  • Angry Birds – I just love Rovio Games, but Angry Birds is by far the best game around for the N900 (In the Ovi Store for free)
  • Adblock Plus – No one likes ads.

So, I guess that’s it. My first impression of the N900: It’s a must have for every tech and gadget fanatic. It just doesn’t get better than this. Symbian^3 won’t be able to measure up to Maemo!

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So, I stumbled upon this little Video from Nokia World

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

If this is a bit more than just a fancy video, this might just be the next thing. Would this explain that Nokia hasn’t really worked on Multitouch for their mobile devices?

I am convinced that Augmented Reality is the next big step, and looking at this Video, Nokia has figured it out!

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e71First off, I have to say that I love my E71. I think it’s a great phone. The 2 year old design still kicks most of the new phones’ asses. It’s just stylish, beautiful, slim … just great. But like with all good things, there’s drawbacks. The E71’s bigget drawback is Symbian. It’s not too bad, since the E71 is not a touch screen device, but I was thinking about getting the N97 as a follow up.

The N97 looks amazing. Again, very very stylish. I love the slightly tilted screen when the keyboard is showing, it’s just great. But while testing the phone, I noticed that Symbian is just not good enough for the phone. The hardware is amazing. The design is amazing. The OS is shit.

So what’s next? The N900!

Nokia finally realized that it’s time to move on.

The N900 looks amazing. It has nearly everything that a phone needs to compete with the HTC Hero and iPhone.

First of all: No more Symbian. The N900 is Maemo powered. Maemo is Nokia’s Linux Distribution, based on Debian and Gnome. Maemo was a great OS for the N800/N810 for geeks to hack around on. You could literally run nearly anything on it. The formfactor of the N800 series wasn’t great though. It was more a Tablet PC, than a Smartphone. But now Nokia is back, with Maemo 5!

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

All I can say about that video: Wow! The UI looks very slick. It looks extremely fast and like something people would want in 2009. The OS has a lot of Web Integration and being Linux, it would allow to be extended to whatever you want by using apt.

There is one thing missing though: Multi-Touch. All the competition has Multi Touch. Why not add that to the N900 too?

Design wise, I would prefer a more N97 look, especially with the tilting screen. But I guess, the N900 will be the first of many Touchscreen phones by Nokia.

But to say the least, it looks like a very promising phone. So if anyone from Nokia is reading this, pleeease give me a test device 🙂

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As promised, here’s a post about my new E71.

It has everything the E61 had, and a lot more! The battery life is amazing, 3G or 3,5G works very well, Nokia Maps is very useful, and all the Symbian “Problems” are gone.

A thing which a normal person would expect with a Symbian Phone, is that it’s a bit slow. Not the E71! It loads the applications lightining fast. Best phone ever!

As I’m not really in the mood of writing a lot more, I have found by coincidence a post by Jim Louderback, whom I met this Friday at FoWA, which describes my feelings for the E71 perfectly.

You can read the post here.

On the way back from London, I talked to some guys in the Tube, one of them being an Solutions Expert for Apple, and they all agreed that the E71 would be the better phone, if you would compare it to the iPhone.

The iPhone has been beaten!

Over and out.

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Nokia E71

Nokia E71

Finally! The phone I have been waiting for has been released! About a year ago I bought the Nokia E61, and I have been extremely happy with it. It’s a great phone, and there are a lot of cool applications that run on it.

But now, Nokia has released the E71! If you haven’t heard of it yet, you should definetly read the full report over at boygeniusreport.com.

In short, it has all the features you could ever dream of. A 3.15 Megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, a secondary video call camera, built in gps, MP3/AAC/MPEG4 player, a normal headphone Jack…. it’s a dream phone!

Now, you might think, thats nice, but I will never be able to afford it. And thats where you’re dead wrong! Nokia.de officially sells it at 459€. Thats quite ok! I will try to get one for less ofcourse, but 459€ is very ok for that phone!

The full phone specs can be found over at gsmarena.

Over and out!

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Hey,

yesterday I acquired an Nokia E61, which turned out to be one of the best investments I ever did.

My E61! My E61 … again!

It’s a great mobile phone. You can install a ton of applications, and it has WiFi. Here is a small list of the things I currently do with it:

E-mailing

I have setup my E-mail account on it, using IMAP. It even supports IMAP IDLE, which is a really great feature if you have to pay for the data connection traffic. I use my WiFi mostly though, so I don’t really care.

My E-mails

Jabber-ing

I installed Talkonaut 3.0, which is a great Jabber client for Symbian OS. It supports alot of features, such as File Transfer and Jingle Audio. The key feature though is, that it supports data compression. This is very nice if you use it via 3G.

Talkonaut 1 Talkonaut 2 Talkonaut 3

As you can see on the last screenshot, Jabber is the perfect IM Platform. Thanks to Jabber data compression, you can chat for nearly nothing using GPRS or 3G! That was actually the result of 1 day chatting.

Vodafone Live! and Proximus Mobile TV

You’re bored? Well just go onto the Vodafone Live! portal and watch TV on your E61! The screen is big enough, and it is quite cheap. Just 0,49€ per session. You have a choice of 30 live TV stations and alot of on demand content. I just watched the Looney Tunes! Great fun.

VoIP!

I call quite alot to foreign countries, which leads to a very high phone bill. But now I can call via my VoipStunt account on my Mobile Phone. The quality is as good as via the GSM Network. All that routed via WiFi means that you don’t pay anything for the calls. If you want, you can also call via VoIP over the 3G network. Haven’t tried that yet, but I will in a bit. Atleast VoIP calls via WiFi are that good quality, that you don’t notice any difference! And it is integrated seamlessly into the general OS.

A Keyboard!

You actually have a nice Keyboard on the E61. I hate writing SMS with these numbers, like on the normal GSMs. Now I have a full keyboard on it. Very easy to type. Even with my fingers.

A really good Webbrowser

There actually is a very good webbrowser on the E61. It’s based on Webkit, and even runs complicated JS. It’s very nice to browse the Web from your mobile phone.

E61 Webbrowser

As you can see, it displays perfectly!

iPod Video without stupid iTunes.

I wanted an MP3 player with Video support. That was why I was thinking of getting an iPhone, but that is not available in Belgium at the moment. A hacked one, would be a possibility, but it’s also quite expensive. But now, with the E61, I have a MP3, OGG Player and Video Player.

Music Video

As you can see, I still love The Simpsons 🙂 I need to tweak my encoding quality though, as in Fullscreen it isn’t that nice.

Google Maps & GPS

I also installed Google Maps on the E61. It is a really great app. The next thing I am going to buy, is a TomTom GPS adapter, so that I can use it in my car as a GPS.

Google Maps

What other application would you like to see on your Mobile phone? For me, I have everything I want on my E61. I can just recommend it.

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