Looking for a career change? If you have the right background, perhaps you can land a gig at Nokia as the new chief executive. Word on the Web is that Nokia is looking to hire a new CEO, which won't come as good news to Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the current CEO struggling to keep the company relevant in the growing smartphone wars.
Nokia still sells more cell phones than anyone else, but hasn't been able to keep up with the likes of Apple, HTC, and others who are active in the smartphone arena.
"They are serious about making a change," The Wall Street Journal quoted a person familiar with matter as saying.
WSJ's source says that Nokia is "supposed to make a decision by the end of the month," which now looms just around the corner.
Motorola managed to find a company willing to purchase its wireless network business, and that company is Nokia Siemens, who has agreed to cough up $1.2 billion for it, the two companies announced this week.
"This is an exciting acquisition that I believe has significant benefits for customers, employees and our shareholders," said Rajeev Suri, Chief Executive Officer of Nokia Siemens Networks. "Motorola’s current customers will continue to get world-class support for their installed base and a clear path for transitioning to next generation technologies while employees will join an industry leader with global scale and reach. Nokia Siemens Networks will see the benefits of a deal that is expected to enhance profitability and cash-flow and to have significant upside potential."
The deal nets Nokia around 50 more customers, while also strengthening its position with China Mobile, Clearwire, KDDI, Sprint, Verizon, and Vodafone, Nokia said.
As part of the deal, Motorola will shuttle about 7,500 employees to Nokia, including large research and development sites in the U.S., China, and India.
Apple took a pretty risky approach by pointing the finger at competitors in response to perceived antenna issues on the iPhone 4, and both RIM and Nokia are fighting back. According to Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion: "Apple's attempt to draw RIM into Apple's self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple's claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public's understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple's difficult situation." The strongly worded statement urges Apple to take responsibility for their poor design decisions, and reminds everyone they don't need a case to get the most out of a Blackberry.
Nokia wasn't specifically named by Apple at the press conference, but they still took advantage of the situation to remind everyone that antenna design is the most important design consideration they make. "In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That's why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design." The most damning statement in Nokia's release was "we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict."
Steve Jobs may have believed that he could take the spotlight off the iPhone problems by naming a few competitors with the same issue, but all he did was draw a bullseye on his back attracting the ire of some pretty big names within the wireless industry. Gutsy move.
We keep hearing about all these tablets that are supposed to come out by the end of 2010, which makes us think it's going to be a very busy (and competitive) holiday shopping season. Go ahead and add Nokia to the ranks, which also wants a piece of the tablet pie and is slated to launch it's own branded unit in the fourth quarter.
There aren't a whole lot of details to go on, other than it will sport an ARM processor inside. Nokia is said to be in talks with various upstream component makers and has already completed about 100 engineering samples, but no one seems to know (or is wiling to say) whether the panel size will check in at 7 inches or 9 inches.
And that's really it. No definitive word on the OS or other specs, though there's chatter Nokia will tap into Meego and sell the device through its carrier partners.
Things aren't looking so hot over at Nokia, which is still the world's largest maker of mobile phones. According to the company's recently updated full year 2010 outlook, Devices & Services sales aren't going to meet expectations.
"Nokia now expects Devices & Services net sales to be at the lower end of, or slightly below, its previously expected range of EUR 6.7 billion to EUR 7.2 billion for the second quarter 2010," Nokia said. "This update is primarily due to lower than previously expected average selling prices and mobile device volumes."
According to Nokia, industry mobile device volumes will shoot up by about 10 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. Unfortunately for Nokia, the handset maker doesn't expect to make the most out of it, saying that its market share will likely remain flat for the rest of 2010.
When I signed up for T-Mobile one year ago, I didn't expect to sit around in envy halfway through my service agreement as other wireless vendors pump out one awesome smartphone after another. The G1 I snagged was supposed to be a precursor of things to come, only it hasn't quite worked out that way.
Maybe things are getting ready to change, or perhaps it's just wishful thinking, Either way, T-Mobile is now offering the Nokia E73 Mode smartphone built around the Symbian platform. It's the thinnest full QWERTY keyboard smartphone in T-Mobile's stable, and with the Switch Mode feature that let's users switch between customizable home screens, T-Mobile's billing this one as ideal for both work and play.
Some of the other features include a 5MP camera with flash and auto-focus, 3G support, Bluetooth, microSD memory card slot, built-in GPS receiver with Ovi Maps and Nokia's turn-by-turn navigation service, Microsoft Exchange support, a 2.4-inch QVGA (320 x 240 display), and of course Wi-Fi.
The phone costs $70 with a two-year service contract, or $300 by itself. As for me? I'm still holding out for a compelling Android phone to entice me to stay with T-Mobile 12 months from now.
What smartphone are you rocking, and are you planning to upgrade anytime soon?
Nokia tried putting a positive spin on its quarterly financial results by pointing out gains in year-on-year net sales and operating profit growth, but it can't mask the poor quarter performance in both of those areas, which were down 21 percent and 44 percent, respectively, from the fourth quarter of 2009.
"We continue to face tough competition with respect to the high-end of our mobile device portfolio, as well as challenging market conditions on the infrastructure side," Nokia said.
Part of the problem for Nokia is that it's still missing a flagship smartphone to go toe-to-toe with Apple's iPhone, which has been on the market for three years. The last time Nokia came out with a high-end phone was in 2006 with the release of the N95 (pictured below).
Following news of the lackluster numbers and revised profit outlook, Nokia shares dropped nearly 13 percent.
The first buile of the Intel/Nokia joint OS venture known as MeeGo is now available for download. The operating system will run on almost any Atom-based netbook as well as the Nokia N900, which currently runs Maemo. There is also support for the Moorsetown mobile Atom chips, but you probably don’t have one of those yet. You can download the netbook version right now and run it via a USB drive.
MeeGo promises to support the Qt development framework, which is a cross-platform development interface that makes it much easier for developers to port their work to other platforms. It’s still unclear if combining the lackluster reception of Intel Moblin and Nokia Maemo will result in a good product. This version isn’t going to settle anything either. It doesn’t have any of the UI elements you’d expect. In fact, it’s mostly just a command line.
MeeGo has potential due to its largely standardized Linux build. This is much the same in the case of Maemo, but MeeGo has the backing of tech giant Intel. We’re very interested to see where they take this platform. A 1.0 release of MeeGo is expected around May. So, anyone planning to run this preview build out of curiosity?
In January 2009 Vodafone made what seemed like a good investment buying mapping software maker Wayfinder for about $30 million. A year later it’s looking like a pretty awful deal in the wake of free navigation solutions from both Google and Nokia. Facing the inevitable, Vodafone is closing Wayfinder saying, “We could not charge for something that others gave away for free.”
Vodafone has also invested several million additional dollars in Wayfinder, so it can’t be easy to walk away. It’s unlikely they’d do so without being sure they could not compete with Nokia’s Ovi Maps. This really isn’t much of a surprise, especially considering Nokia’s huge presence in Europe. Google Navigation isn’t even available yet in Europe, but clearly Vodafone wasn’t going to sit around and wait for two free solutions to start eating their lunch.
This may be the eventual fate of all the carrier branded navigation apps. Considering the poor quality of many of them, that might not be a bad thing. Would access to a free navigation app from Google or Nokia sway you in your next phone purchase?
Nobody really talks a whole lot about Nokia anymore, not with sexy smartphones like the Motorola Droid and Google's Nexus One stealing all the spotlight. Part of the problem is that Symbian, even though it dominates the market, hasn't kept pace with other OSes. Look for that to change with Symbian 3.
According to Nokia, "it is about renewal" with the upcoming OS and the new phones that will be built around it. Symbian 3 should be "functionally complete" by the end of Q1. It will include a more polished UI that's easier to use, an improved homescreen, a podcast manager, and a bit more pep, among other features. According to David Rivas, a vice president at Nokia, Symbian 3 will help get his company back on track.
And as for Android? Rivas claims his company has a more "open" stance around Symbian and MeeGo than Google does with Android.
"Anyone can go to the Symbain website and see what features will be coming months in advance," Rivas explained. "Show me where you can do that with Android."