Fast and Fluid Future at Mobile World Congress 2012

The biggest names in the fastest-moving industry gathered for the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, in what has been another eye-opening telecommunications industry event. From 27 February to 1 March, more than 3000 industry CEOs joined 60,000 attendees to see the latest products and ideas from the likes of Microsoft, Google, Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

With tablets and smartphones taking centre stage in recent mobile technology, many of the latest apps and products catered for these users, although mobile and laptop technology is also seeing some major developments.

Microsoft had techy hearts a-flutter with the launch of Windows 8. The company’s two-hour conference presentation featured the phrase “fast and fluid” enough times to drive home their new focus on the latest operating system model. Windows 8 will allow users to access multiple apps at any one time, and, keeping current user trends in mind, is synchronised for social media. Users will also enjoy smoother functionality for both touchscreen and mouse/keyboard.

Meanwhile Nokia had several new mobile phones to showcase, including the Luma 610, an simple, affordable smartphone designed for the youth market. Yet what is really creating a lot of Nokia buzz is their new high-res smartphone, the 808 Pureview. This is the first mobile to take photos at up to an extraordinary 41 megapixels, and cutting-edge Carl Zeiss optics to boot. This is one to lead the way in the evolution of smartphone photography.

Google is making waves with their latest additions to the Android family, despite pressure from their Apple competitors. As well as revealing plans for more affordable smartphone, their Android Honeycomb sees a brand new app for budding movie makers. Movie Studio is a slick app designed to enhance the 3.0 Android’s current video and image technology. Users can create their own short videos, using music, text and other such features, much as you would with other video-editing software. Except this can all be done from your smartphone.

High-definition seems to be the big trend at the moment; LG, HTC and Huawei all have big, high-def mobile screens in their latest releases. Certainly HTC was keen to preview their latest smartphone, the HTC One X. This super-slim mobile is less than 1cm thick and weighs a mere 130 grams. An impressive camera, dual core processor and 4.7inch screen makes it one to watch.

Sony Ericsson revealed their new Xperia Play, a mobile phone/game console hybrid. Despite being one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry this year, it has managed to impress the critics so far. This is an interesting design, yet it does do both the gaming and mobile sides justice. It has a slide-out gaming control pad, much like the Playstation hand control, while the phone itself also features a 5.1 megapixel camera with flash and auto focus, video-recording, Bluetooth, GPS, and the usual mobile features you’d expect from Sony Ericsson.

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RIM turned down acquisitions overtures from Amazon, Microsoft AND Nokia?

RIM is headed for a very difficult 2012. It seems that it can’t even GIVE it away…

Case in point – RIM has been a huge player in the PDA/Smartphone market for more than 10 years. Its closer to 15, really; but not quite. Anyway, in 2011, it was stated that RIM’s stock lost 75% of their value, and while that loss still leaves them with well over $1.7B in cash, it’s not clear how long that cash will last when they are constantly losing market share to both Apple and Google’s Android. Big decisions need to be made, and made quickly.

One thing is very clear, however – RIM needs to get their act together…quickly.

One thing that really puzzles me is that RIM has turned down acquisition overtures from a number of really big players in the tablet and smartphone markets, including both Amazon and Nokia. They seem to have scared off Microsoft and their interest in the Ontario handset manufacturer more than once. They also don’t seem to care. Their co-CEO’s appear hell bent on trying to right the company. While I applaud them for their tenacity, they really just need to knock it off. The party’s over.

Not only is the party over, but the the BGR reported rumor that sparked a 7% uptick in the company’s stock on 17-Jan-12, has been emphatically denied by Samsung. They have CLEARLY stated they have NO interest in RIM, and have never considered or formally discussed any interest in them. At this point, I not only expect the market to give back yesterday’s ample gains, but for the company to lose additional value in the immediate future’s trading.

Nearly every industry pundit that I know of is predicting RIM’s future to be dismal at best. C|Net’s Buzz Out Loud podcast recent 2012 Prediction’s Show also spelled out a bleak to dismal 2012 for the once dominant RIM.

Everyone else can see it…why can’t they?

Any way you try to look at this, RIM needs to act, and act now if they are going to do save something, anything of themselves. The company lost 75% of its value in 2011…75%! It can’t stand to have that happened again. If their board is paying attention, much of the tech industry is chiming in on their rather pronounced misfortune, and they are making provision for that continued misfortune. Unfortunately, most everyone thinks we are past the water bailing point. According to the industry, the ship is going to sink. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s just a matter of determining how much value for their shareholders can be saved.

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Nokia Windows 8 tablet to hit the stores in early 2012

With analysts predicting an explosion in computer tablets sales over the next four years, Nokia have joined forces with Microsoft in a bid to break Apple’s iron grip on the market.

The new Nokia Windows 8 tablet which is set to hit the stores some time in 2012 has been designed to seriously challenge the might of the iPad.

Yet, exactly what special attributes will this “new kid on the block” posses to make it a serious contender for Apple’s heavyweight belt. And will its potential success dramatically alter the course of Nokia’s future and fortunes.

Nokia have already tied their colors to Microsoft’s mast and launched a number of Windows Phone handsets in a bid to rejuvenate its smartphone line-up and keep pace with not only Apple, but other rivals such as Samsung that use Google’s Android operating system.

Now the two technological giants are yet again pooling their impressive resources and attempting to make inroads into Apple’s dominance by launching their very own tablet.

Nokia is no stranger to tablets. In 2007 they introduced the unsuspecting public to the Nokia N810, but the keyboard sporting device was always doomed to failure in the same year that the iPhone was busy revolutionizing technology and the way we interact with it.

Other rivals of Apple have already lost millions trying to compete on level terms with the iPad, so how will Nokia’s foray into this difficult market be any different.

For a start the Nokia tablet’s operating system will be the yet to be released Windows 8 software, which will attract hordes of die-hard Microsoft adherents and bait the curiosity of those slightly disappointed with the limitations of the iPad.

Microsoft is still to confirm the exact release of Window 8, but with the company promising to update the platform every three years, it will be due for release some time in 2012, and all Microsoft updates generate mass interest in the technology loving public.

Microsoft has already committed itself to the tune of one billion dollars in ensuring that Nokia’s Windows Phone competes on a level playing field with Apple’s iOS and the Android, and it is guaranteed they will maintain the same levels of focus and commitment to make the Nokia Windows 8 tablet a success.

Since its launch in January 2010, Apple has led the charge in the tablet market and has shifted more than 40 million units. It’s only rivals to date have had an appalling reaction in terms of sales. At the last count, BlackBerry maker RIM had only shipped 700,000 of its PlayBooks and after only 48 days Hewlett-Packard canceled its ill-fated TouchPad.

The last time Nokia made a major foray into the world of computers, was in 2009 with the small laptop – Booklet 3G, and that has remained a niche product, but with the backing of Microsoft and the excitement being generated by Windows 8, the market is Nokia’s for the taking.

As Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said earlier this November, “There’s a new tablet opportunity coming. We see the opportunity. Unquestionably, that will change the dynamics of the tablet market.”

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Nokia and Microsoft announce plans for a broad strategic partnership

Nokia and Microsoft today announced plans to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Nokia and Microsoft intend to jointly create market-leading mobile products and services designed to offer consumers, operators and developers unrivalled choice and opportunity. As each company would focus on its core competencies, the partnership would create the opportunity for rapid time to market execution. Additionally, Nokia and Microsoft plan to work together to integrate key assets and create completely new service offerings, while extending established products and services to new markets.

Under the proposed partnership:

  • Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.
  • Nokia would help drive the future of Windows Phone. Nokia would contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.
  • Nokia and Microsoft would closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.
  • Bing would power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.
  • Nokia Maps would be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience.
  • Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements would make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
  • Microsoft development tools would be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.
  • Nokia’s content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

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