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Eseries Nokia conquers enterprise market

The company of Nokia gathered a small group of journalists on the 12 of October in London. The goal was to demonstrate its new enterprise products of the Eseries. This day can surely go down in history since three leading companies on various markets (mobile terminal market, PDA market and the market of MP3 players) represented their new products. And all this on the same day. Besides Nokia, the company of Apple demonstrated its iPod video, and the company of Palm officially announced its Palm TX and Palm Z22. I do not remember such precedents before. Also Id like to remind that just a day before the company of Sony Ericsson had officially introduced its new communicator and the company of Palm had demonstrated its Windows Mobile communicator.

The Nokias press-conference was relatively modest; it gathered several journalists and carried out a business presentation without a pomp and agiotage, just a short briefing. And considering the hysteria about newly announced iPod models and the scale of the Apples enterprise, this event was just a drop in the ocean. The reason is plain that is a target group. Gradually the company of Nokia changes numbers within the limits of its model line. And after a multimedia Nseries (the emphasis put on the camera quality, music playback) Nokia launches its Eseries. These models are targeted at enterprise market where a decision about the purchase is made not by an end-user, but by an IT department of the company. And essentially, the determining factors are total cost of ownership (TCO) and security level, but not design or a qualitative display. Undoubtedly, these models will be available on retail market as well.

The newly represented three Eseries phones completed forming the strategy of the Finnish company on the corporate market, now it is clear. And this step is a logical addition to the September Nokia Business Center announcement.

Having watched a rapid growth of a rival company of Research In Motion (e-mail BlackBerry devices) on the corporate market, the competitors are preparing their measures in answer only now. In a short period BlackBerrys communicators actually managed to become a corporate standard. Certainly, some countries remained uncovered, but still the market has been developing. E-mail is a standard function for mobile devices, and then what is the secret of the success? The answer is push-mail technology, comfortable keyboard input, and a capability to answer on an e-mail quickly. As soon as a message comes to the main server it is instantly delivered to the mobile device. Thus you do not have to check the server manually or on the schedule. A QWERTY-keypad (or its local versions) provides comparatively comfortable input. Plain and obvious for first sight solutions provided rapid ascent of Research In Motion, and now the company is a leader of the corporate sector (enterprise mobile e-mail), while Nokia holds 25% (according to the company representatives).

Not only Nokia, but Motorola with its Motorola Q encroaches on the RIMs popularity. The rivals actions significantly influence the RIMs stock price, which falls before the official announcement of the rival models (drains, insider information available to the players even before the official announcement). Moto Q was announced on the 25 of July, and gradually the market digested this information reducing the RIMs stock price since the end of June. It fell to the minimal value in 9 weeks, which was exactly on the 25 of July. And the same concerns the presentation of the Eseries by Nokia. A regular sharp turn of the price fall was observed from the middle of September till the Nseries presentation (and now the minimal value was achieved in 7 months). However, in this case a patent lawsuit with NTP influenced much.

This tells in favour of Nokias high chances for success. The company expects to have taken the leading position by year 2008, and truly it has the necessary potential. Now lets try to analyze the facts present. The launch of the models was anticipated by the market research by Simpson Carpenter by request of Nokia, and you can acquaint with the main results.

BlackBerry Connect or MS Exchange?

The company of RIM not only releases devices, but also licenses software. For now Nokia supports all the significant solutions in enterprise e-mail including BlackBerry Connect, GoodLink from Good Technology, Inc., Nokia Business Center, Seven Mobile Mail, Seven Always-On Mail and Visto Mobile. Also support for push-mail is expected in MS Exchange 2003 SP2 (if you remember in the beginning of the year Nokia announced licensing Microsoft ActiveSync). Thus Nokias smartphones are not strictly bound to any certain solution for the enterprise mobile mail. For the sake of justice, Id like to note that there is no strict binding in MS Exchange in Windows Mobile smartphones, thus you can use BlackBerry Connect and other solutions. Moreover, own solution Nokia Business Center is not strictly bound to Nokias terminals; you need only certify a phone supporting Java MIDPI 2.0 in Nokia and then use it.

We think this support for the main mobile enterprise e-mail solutions is a right step for Nokia. Thus companies using BlackBerry Connect will be able to change BlackBerry terminals for Nokias communicators with no great expenditures. And companies planning to integrate mobile mail can now select of a wide range.

Security, camera

High security level became almost the most important parameter influencing the decision. And here everything seems done surprisingly right starting with remote control of access rights, engaging companies working in a sphere of informational security, DRM, and finishing with the absence of integrated camera.

Now Nokia finally understood that a good phone for business has to be at least issued specially without a camera. More and more companies in the world forbid carrying in devices with integrated cameras. And really, why to forbid USB drives, diskettes and writable CDs, restricting access rights to follow security measures, if you can take a photo of all necessary information from, for instance, internal ERP system (balance, top mangers pay, contractors list, turnover data, payments and details on other transactions). During negotiations with a rival you can accidentally take a photo of a document you noticed, and only then consider if you can benefit by it. Even a photo of a monitor hang with stickers can give a lot of information. With the growth of camera capabilities, its owners will have more and more troubles, various restrictions will appear avalanchely. And that is why only one of the three introduced models is equipped with a camera. This is Nokia E70. So, not always the interest of IT department coincides with the one of end-users. Many of them have taken in Nokia E60 and E61 coolly due to this very fact. It seems more logical for the company to produce two variants of each model - with a camera and without it, for instance, the Taiwanese company of HTC (the main maker of Windows Mobile devices) has been practicing this for long.

Interfaces

For today the models are equipped with all possible interfaces. Starting with these phones Wi-Fi (802.11g, and security standard is supported 802.11i) becomes a general standard. And by the way, communicators do have a client for corporate IP telephony installed (calls inside a corporate network, using a 4-digit number, call transfer to another number). Now VoIP support from Cisco and Avaya is claimed.

IrDA had been gradually vanishing from Nokias smartphones, and it seemed we would never meet it in new models. However, the Eseries has it back. Many business users posses phones without Bluetooth, but equipped with IrDA. The company carried out a research, which revealed that IrDA was still used; Bluetooth did not force it out completely. Naturally, Bluetooth, WCDMA 2100 and EDGE are present; USB devices connected to the phone can work as mass storage device without any drivers. It is curious a program for GPS navigation is preinstalled; however, GPS adapter should be connected via Bluetooth. All interfaces can work simultaneously, and Bluetooth provides about 6 connections at once. Thus you get the maximum equipment with interfaces, and an integrated GPS is a question of time, such devices will be available later.

All the models are based on Nokia Series 60 v3 (Symbian OS 9.1 kernel).

The models are designed as strictly as possible, not a hint at excess. The three models represent three various form-factors, and now let us consider each in details.

Nokia E60

The model is a classical candybar with dominating straight lines and almost absent roundings in design. At first sight, it raises strong associations with a white Sony Ericsson T630 even being larger. The device was represented only in one colour solution and it is silvery. And its not hard to guess that some time after the launch a black version will appear to spur on the interest to the model (like it was with Sony Ericsson T630 and Motorola V3).

The body size reduced coming closer to HTCs smartphones (the smallest smartphones in a classical form-factor), you can see it on comparative photos the device is longer but thinner, the weight is slightly more.

  • HTC Tornado (Business edition): 109x47x19 mm, weight 109 g
  • Nokia N70: 108.8x53x17.5 mm, weight 126 g
  • Nokia E60: 115x49x16.9 mm, weight 117 g

The screen is the best on the market considering the quality of the image (16 million colours, 352x416 pixels). However, do not give in to euphoria, the diagonal forms only 2, you can see the screen is much smaller than in HTC Hurricane. Even more, you will not see real difference between 256K colours and 16 million (the difference is felt like between 64K and 262K, but it is almost unnoticeable). Hot change for MMCmobile (DV RS-MMC) is provided, and internal memory forms 30MB. The company announced battery life from a 970 mAh (BL5C) battery equal to 6 hours of talks and up to 8 days of standby time. That is a good value, we only should test it. Interface capabilities described above are common for all the models.

Nokia E61

That is a new form-factor for Nokia. After the press-conference the Nokia representatives were asked why the E61 looked like BlackBerry so much. And the answer was that this form-factor was then demanded on the market, potential customers wanted exactly such a device. Truly, the design is much close to both BlackBerry and Motorola Q (a candybar with horizontally oriented screen, a keypad under the screen). The model is thin with the dimensions of 117x69.7x14 m, and weighs 144g. It is not as thin and light as Motorola Q, but the screen is much larger at that.

And about the screen, also it shows 16 million colours, the announced resolution forms 320x240 pixels (this way problems with compatibility with old software are practically granted). About 75 MB of memory are available to a user, and a connector for miniSD is integrated (which is also one more innovation, since before it Nokia preferred RS-MMC). Hot change is supported; however, you will have to remove the battery cover.

The keypad turned out rather comfortable, and when typing, mistakes are almost impossible. Its well-distanced keys are pressed neatly. The weight of the device is well-distributed, and so it rouses no discomfort when entering data. In comfort the keypad is comparable to Palm Treo 650, however, gives way to Nokia 9300/ Nokia 9500/ HTC Wizard (you can compare with the latter one on the photo). Light sensor automatically controls the keypad backlighting. The only serious minus is the number of keys is not enough for placing Russian layout.

The battery capacious of 1500 mAh is claimed to provide up to 7 hours of talks and up to 1 days of standby time. That is impressing, but we should only check it.

Nokia E70

Judging by the number, we are now considering the top model of the line. Nominally, that is right. Here is a camera, which is absent in other models, a combination of two form-factors, a larger keypad than it is integrated into the E61 (despite this fact, it is less comfortable than in the E61).

The design is based on the Nokia 6822, and the model has a folding body. Some time ago the market turned out very cool to Nokia 6800, then 6810, 6820 and 6822. And the E70 has the same fate. It will be least popular of the three models.

The dimensions of 117x53x22 mm, and the weight is 127 g. This smartphone features the same 75MB of internal memory and miniSD card as the E61, and the screen is of the same resolution as Nokia E60, however shows 262K colours. The camera is equal to Nokia N70. The company announced battery life (1150 mAh battery) equal to 7 hours of talks and up to 9 days of standby time.

Conclusions and impressions

The models will be available in the 1Q 2006, and the prices will vary from 350 to 450 Euros. End-users treated new Nokias phones coolly; some told about an absent camera, others pointed the copied design. However, these models are targeted at enterprise market, which demands sometimes do not repeat the ones of end-users. And Nokia really can take the leading position in this segment. Then RIM will lose terminals suppliers positions inevitably, but as a supplier for software it will be afloat (even here the RIMs role will reduce, however, less intensively, since changing a terminal is much easier and cheaper than integrating an e-mail solution in a corporation). Here are the factors we are based on when telling that Nokia has high chances on the market of enterprise e-mail solutions:

  • Great attention is paid to security, remote control of access rights. Id also like to mention these are the first products to support wireless security standard IEEE 802.11i.
  • The two models have no camera, which makes them more attractive in the eyes of IT department
  • The maximum functionality for today (only a touchscreen is absent). In specification they are close to HTC Tornado only.
  • High compatibility with various e-mail solutions, which widens the range of potential customers, including those who have already integrated mobile e-mail.
  • Enterprise VoIP telephony is supported.
  • Attractive design and various form-factors for various demands.
  • An executive who worked for HP-Compaq for 17 years, and the most of this time as a General Manager of Industry-Standard Servers, used to working with corporations and understanding their needs. We speak about Merry McDowell.

Anton Kotov (anton.kotov@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Mitina (maria.mitina@mobile-review.com)

Published - 17 October 2005

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