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Nseries three new models introduced during Nokia Open Studio
Nokia has shown its strategy of pushing new models from N-Series ever since they got announced. Until today we had 6 models in total. Most of them are already available on the market, in Berlin during Nokia Open Studio three more models were announced, which should cover holes in product line-up, and create competition for other products from other companies.
This event was held in traditional Nokia style, including a tradition when Nokia gives out new handset during opening party to journalists so they get acquainted with it during press-conference. This time it was black Nokia N80. We already had a review of this device based on prototype, this means that in nearest future we will update it once we get commercial sample. Well, speaking briefly: this is an interesting device, one of top solutions on today’s market. It’s interesting to see how a special web-site was created prior to this event, it had schedule of press-conference, several programs for N80, any journalist had the chance to download them and use for his own good, as well as get additional experience of this device. Even greeting speech by Nokia was already pre-recorded in N80’s memory, as well as several tunes. Company put maximal effort so that all its participants could feel total potential of Nokia N80, use its strong sides (instead of standard 128mb memory card, 2gb one was put in every package). It turned out that by giving out for temporary use N80 to every journalist, the company managed to cover a lot of goals, main one was to show how new technologies can be implemented in practice and used in daily activities. Believe me, this presentation is worth a lot, since user sees what he likes, and what not, he’s free to decide weather this device is cool or not.
But let’s move on to presentation of new models and main ideas that were spoken out by company’s representatives. Although, before we move on to that part, let me show you a photo that shows a sign which tells you the way to toilets. Sometimes branding of everything everywhere turns out in amusing results. Trust me, there were no N-Series phones inside WC.
In the beginning of presentation a lot of things were said about part that Internet takes in daily life, and what role it has in office. Another point was the way how PCs evolved, how big they used to be, and how small they are now. Logical conclusion was statement “Nokia N-Series is not only handsets, these are multimedia computers”. One interface familiar to user allows getting access to completely different services: television, e-mail, Internet, games, multimedia, and so on.
In terms of design, newly introduced models, as well as previous ones from N-Series are sort of hybrid phones. This puts certain limitations to their design, since a maximally comfortable phone that would fit various people (different physical parameters, palm size for example) should be created, it should also be adapted to consumer’s experience. Speaking in free retelling style, company is worshiping Social Media, which means will of ordinary people to self express. For example, if you take photos, later on put them on remote server (like Flikr) – this is Social Media. You want not only to save those photos on your device, but also share them with the rest, show them to your friends and other people too.
No wonder that interest to such possibilities is paid by traditional medias, like BBC. BBC’s spokesperson was Justen Dyche, who told about company’s attitude towards mobile phones in his company. I’d like to point out that at the moment BBC is actively pushing forward free and paid features for mobile phones, and by this parameter BBC is well ahead of its competitors and has great popularity. In one of sections of BBC web-site you can try to become a reporter, even if you don’t have special skills or devices. In case you become a witness of some interesting event, you can take a photo of that or make video clip, later on send it via e-mail or defined phone number via MMS. BBC’s editors will decide if this material is interesting or not, and in case if it is, it will be in today’s headlines. It’s clear that even biggest news agency cannot have its reporters all over the world, especially this becomes actual during crisis conflict, which pops up unexpectedly. Usually people who are around at that moment act as reporters, which provides bigger trust credit to reports by viewers who are not professional journalists either. This is the way things will be done in future. I think that most of you had already noticed that in news programs you often see videos made by cellular phone being shown, this does not look extreme or wild nowadays, does it? Evolution of technologies gives new turn for evolution of handset usage. Improving picture quality and remaining compact size allows making shots that are good enough to be used on television, and even paper press.
Part of BBC presentation was dedicated to thousands of images and video clips being received daily, basically this is new type of media. Russian news agencies have an open possibility to enter the market now, it is not yet formed in Europe, this allows gaining advantage now by becoming pioneer in evolving market.
From this we are moving on to models themselves. First phone is Nokia N72. This model is special not due to what’s inside, but to what’s outside and how this is positioned. This is the first handset in N-Series line-up that has “fashion” element in it. Let me compare this device to Nokia’s collections, latest L’Amour Collection for example. For the first time we see a smartphone targeted for trendy young people, who care about how their phone looks, not what it can do. Past experience in this area is more of an attempt to see what this market segment is capable of, not more than that. Great success of Nokia’s L’Amour Collection initiated introduction of such “fashionable” smartphone.
Nokia N72 adopts two cutting edge concepts of today – innovative Nseries solutions and attraction of fashion device’s design. The major advantage of the introduced cell phones over all the competitors, as they claim, is music part. The entire trio has acquired XpressMusic support, in other words capability of plugging in 3.5 mm earphones through adapter, availability of online music uploading, Janus DRM by Microsoft support (Windows Media Player 11 and older, synchronization of music folders with the handset, songs purchasing on credit). Nokia intensively shows itself off as a manufacturer dealing only with top music powerhouses. To cut a long story short, the company keeps referring us to Nokia N91, as all the new models, in fact, haven’t too much of difference default sound wise (playback of a music file without any extra effects). The distinctions lie in method of storing data (hard drive or memory card), earphones and package. Thus there are not so many new solutions to all these devices, actually user gets excellent sound quality with any of them. As a matter of fact, I have already warned you about this, yet only now this has become official – the difference in sound quality is non-existent.
The N72 is similar to Nokia N70 in many ways – the list of improvements includes only varied design and a couple of other adjustments, not vital for potential users; that’s why we are going to cover only the design side of the new device.
Nokia N73 flaunts its photo capabilities, providing a huge display with 2.4 inches diagonal and a 3.2 Mpix CMOS camera module. The smartphone is targeted at taking sharp shots and further sharing of them via various networks service, for example Flickr. The optics is of Carl Zeiss, production, with auto-focus enabled, yet without optical zoom – only x20 digital one. The maximum resolution of a single shot is 2048x1536 pixels allows the manufacturer to claim possibility of getting photos 20x25 cm in size in photographic quality.
As to other innovations incorporated into the device, the mechanical shutter applied in this one is not a rarity, but a unique case nowadays, since most companies prefer using electronic shutter. The extent which it will affect output shots is still to be examined, though it appears to be another smart marketing move, like the one, announcing replacing standard optics with Carl Zeiss glass lenses, nevertheless they do not grant any obvious benefits as compared to good plastic lenses. Worldwide famous brands make all the difference in course of advertising company, persuading a certain part of possible consumers to become loyal to the promoted device, even if the used brand resides in a completely different sphere of industry.
Spec wise, The handset is pushed away for Nokia N80 as much as possible, which carries a 3 Mpix camera, although without auto-focus and with lens of plastic. I suppose they will manage to provide sharp distinction in quality of taken shots of these two devices. The N80 is more likely to remain a business model, since it supports WiFi connectivity. Both phones run one and the same Symbian 9.1, S60 3d Edition. The strength of the N73 is similarity to Nokia 3250, Nokia N91 hardware wise and presence of a CPU working at 314 Mhz on-board, while Nokia N80 is powered by an out-of-date CPU type, providing only 214 Mhz. Therefore those who are not interested in WiFi connectivity options should peer at this solution, furthermore the device houses two stereospeakers on its upper rim.
The model will hit the stores in August without any delays, in fact, all current Nseries handsets did – the platform is well-studied, so there are no obstacles left to release it on time. The model will be sold at the price of 450-500 Euro in three possible color schemes - silver grey/deep plum, frost white/metallic red and frost white/mocha brown.
Next Story in Video – that’s the slogan, Nokia N93 was followed by. As you might have guessed the device is aimed at those who are desperately seeking for splendid video recording quality on mobile phones. Over at Nokia they ensure us that this very offering is going to be the top one in terms of video capabilities in this year.
The model’s design reminds of Nokia N92 – the upper flip rotates in two planes, thus it can be used as a compact video camera, the principle always remains the same. The built-in optics in similar to Nokia N73’s one on no account – the distinction manifests itself when it comes to included 3x optical zoom function. The camera’s specifications are provided by Carl Zeiss Vari-Tessar lens – 30 fps and VGA-resolution what is already pretty good for a handset. Stereo-sound recording and digital picture stabilizer are also on place.
Don’t get frustrated by the amount of available storage by default – 50 Mb, as there is a slot for miniSD cards. A memory card with the capacity of 2 Gb may contain up to 90 minutes of video with all options set to maximum values. The device is armed with TV Out, so that it can be linked up with a TV set and used for demonstrating captured video clips. For those, who aren’t going to keep the video files on the phone for a long time, there is a program for burning them to a DVD disk.
When you hear talks of DVD video quality provided in this model, keep in mind that this regards only played back files, not the ones you record on your own.
The model is scheduled to begin shipping this August at the price of 500-600 Euro.
Other announces featured three Bluetooth-handsfree sets. Those were standard models without any groundbreaking technologies with the exception of design and slightly increased life time. All there offers will become available this summer - BH-700 will have the price about 80 Euro, this is one those accessories, which weights 10 grams and is meant to be plugged in ear canal. The BH-600 is equipped with a DSP processor, suppressing all outside noise and according to the company’s representatives lasts for 170 hours in standby mode, and in light of the fact this headsets is 18 grams in weight, it’s quite good performance. Its price will be in the range of 70 Euros. The last introduced mode, the BH-300 completely lacks any peculiarities and obvious pros.
The company has taken a very tricky step and slightly altered the key points of the Nseries line-up, as now the devices offer top functionality, and precious design (for example Nokia N72) – this opens certain possibilities to extend current market share owing to attracting previously uncovered audience.
The introduction of Nokia N73 is an obvious answer to the release of Sony Ericsson’s flagships in June, namely Sony Ericsson K790/K800. On the whole we witness another round of competition between two giants, as it was in case of Nokia N90 versus Sony Ericsson K750i. As to me, I think the real difference between qualities of imaging capabilities of these handsets will reduce to miserable, what will certainly stir up disputes.
By releasing its N93, Nokia has become the first manufacturer to demonstrate a new possible direction of mobile market development. In 2007 exactly video capabilities are promising to become the sticking point, having replaced music options, which is extremely popular nowadays. Other manufacturers have scheduled announcements of similar solutions only for the second half of 2006, while such devices will hit the masses only in the third quarter of 2007.
Pointing out noteworthy facts, I shall stress that a number of
devices were endowed with the label “computers”, not handsets –
it reveals the plots of the company to release a full-scale line-up
of tablet computers, and the intention of paving the way for this
is easily read. So when they will actually release their all-new
solutions, they will be able to claim that they have already dealt
in similar fields. A well thought-out and wise move, which will
help in taking over even larger market shares.
Published - 26 April 2006
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