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Spillikins №160. You Are in the Army Now

During the week our website will be in the exhibition mode and Mobile World Congress will make us all busy. Three journalists will report daily from the ground. Hopefully, we will be able to offer similar presence effect to that of CES coverage, so bookmark the appropriate section of the website. It promises to be intense and captivating.

Mobile World Congress 2012


  1. How I Joined Nokia Army
  2. Personal Computers and Personal Phones
  3. Samsung Galaxy S2: 20 Million Units Sold
  4. Panasonic: Comeback to Europe

How I Joined Nokia Army

To feel better what I am going to say next it is useful to listen to the famous Status Quo track You Are In The Army Now. The song is excellent in its own right anyway. Spend five minutes to get into the right mood.

After the triumphant announcement of Nokia 900 at CES the President of Nokia in North America Chris Weber addressed the employees in a fiery letter. I am not sure he was listening to Status Quo before writing it, but he definitely watched a Hollywood action movie before. He said that Nokia is starting its own army and their first operation will be Ignite. Weber underlined a miserable position of Nokia in North America, but promised that the manufacturer will return with the bang. He suggested all employees to become free promoters military officers of Nokia together with T-Mobile US. The main point is to explain sellers that Lumia is cool. First you need to join the army here. You can familiarize with the letter in the screenshot.

The website is far from interesting, but if you sign up you will join Nokia training camp where you will be explained in a foolish and grim way advantages of Lumia and Windows Phone 7 over other mobile phones. Registration protection is pretty low, so anyone can join, but do not do it if it violates your country's legislation.

Having studied the program, which less than 15 Nokia employees joined so far, I questioned the purpose of the whole affair. This activity changes nothing. T-Mobile boasts a successful system of motivating sellers, but it does not work for Windows Phone 7, because customers won't buy it. Then Nokia 2012 constantly compares itself with rival companies and says that Apple iPhone is not that good after all, while Android is inferior to WP7. Other OS do not compare themselves with WP7, as they have already proved everything. I think the operation Nokia Army is the pinnacle of stupidity, low level of professionalism and waste of resources. When the company is losing its market serious measures should be taken instead of games playing.

Speaking about military movements we have to mention that internal conflicts in Nokia reached another level. One of former top managers leads a faction of employees, who believe that you only have to replace Stephen Elop and all troubles will end. So far members of the group are hiding in order not to lose their jobs, but the climate in the company is different from previous years. It feels like a US corporation. NASE (Nokia After Stephen Elop) initiative resembles anti Hitler coup, which failed to topple him in 1944. I hope that Nokia employees will be more apt. Top managers and ordinary workers are getting ready for resurrection (return of MeeGo, adaptation of WP7 for US and reopening of Symbian). Everyone does their bit for the company to continue its existence and even move further. It is clear that Stephen Elop will leave ruins after the end of his reign and the company may struggle (without the Microsoft money). I was amazed how people believed in the chance to change everything, I thought Nokia was not capable of such organized and planned resistance, but it did happen. I think the sabotage of WP7 by employees is not a coincidence. This is their contribution to changes in the company. The sooner Nokia realizes its mistakes and Elop goes the higher chances will be for the Finns to survive. It is as simple as that.

I have a plain advice for Nokia staff members. Learn who knows about NASE and contact them. It is illegal to fire people for different ideas. Do not be afraid to voice your opinion. It is your right, which the management cannot take away. The future of Nokia is only in your hands, because those at the top are destroying it day by day.

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Personal Computers and Personal Phones

I have been thinking about the etymology of the term 'PC' – the personal computer. It was first used in the New York Times November 3, 1962 issue in an article that covered the possibility of owning a computer. Back then people could only access mainframes via terminals. In 1968 HP used the term in a commercial of HP9100A. In the 70s the term became common as well as computers themselves.

But what was meant under 'personal'? Unlike mainframes used by a number of people 'personal' stood rather for personal propriety. It was a giant leap for the computer industry and it were personal computers that became the driver. But were PCs actually personal?

I remember that in the late 80s we had a few PCs at home. Before that we had had Macintosh computers. Then we got 286s, then 386s and so on. My father was a computer programmer so I was getting familiar with the machines. Back then computers were rather a toy to me. I remember the first PCs after 'Minsk': separate key boards and 5” floppy drives – they were a completely another level of entertainment for me. Those PCs were used by my father for work and my pals for gaming so we had to share them and they were not really personal, more like 'family PCs'.

A bit later computers became ubiquitous in house holds but still were use by several people so operating systems were designed to work with different accounts and profiles that allowed separate desktop settings and password protection of folders for a number of users. This was by no means a trait of a personal thing but necessary at the time.

I think that computers became personal only with the rise of laptops. However, as laptops reached the peak of their popularity people began talking about the post PC era.

It was the other way around with mobile phones as they have always been personal and even intimate. But early mobile phones were so expensive that only a handful of people could afford them. In some countries like India even a $50 phone was a luxury for most people so they used to buy one handset for a family or even a village. As a result, manufacturers added special features for affordable phones designed for developing markets like several phone books in one phone so it can be used by several users. In this case a really personal thing was converted into something for public use.

History repeats itself but today I can hardly thing of anything that isn't becoming personal. Even TVs, something naturally designed for public use, are receiving new features that allow several people to watch different channels on one screen. I don't think that this technology has a future but it's an interesting case. We are living in the time when every device is striving to become more and more personal – it has become a compulsory feature of modern electronics. All this leads to a number of features they develop but it is a big topic and deserves a separate discussion. I though it would be interesting to look into the matter of what personal means and what associations it brings and I hope that you find it worth your while.

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Samsung Galaxy S2: 20 Million Units Sold

This piece of news might not be that big but it is very interesting nonetheless. 20 million handsets of Galaxy S2 have been sold as of late February (10 months since the release, 10 million sold for the first five months). Taking into account how popular this phone is its life cycle will probably be about one and a half year giving the total of 50 million units sold. This is the first achievement of this scale for Samsung. For the market in general Galaxy S2 is the biggest thing after Apple iPhone. We may say that Samsung succeeded in replacing Nokia in this price range and is continuing to increase sales pretty aggressively.

20 million of Galaxy S3 are expected to be sold between May and December 2012 and I think this number is a bit underrated. However, it gives us an understanding of the rate at which Samsung sales are growing (despite Galaxy Note which is stealing a bit of sales from the S family) and of the company's near future.

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Panasonic: Comeback to Europe

Japanese manufacturers are preparing their comebacks to the European phone market. So far Sharp and Fujitsu have voiced such plans and Panasonic is already back with a new smartphone with a strange name 'Eluga'. During the press release of this phone the company's reps did not say anything about the name's origin but a few days later Panasonic issued an additional press release which explained that Eluga stands for 'ELegant, User-orientated GatewAy'. That is just rich. Comments on the web show that users and journalists don't fancy this name very much.

The specs of this phone are pretty ordinary: 8GB of storage, an 8MPix camera, a single core 1GHz (TI OMAP4430) CPU and Android 2.3.5 on board (update to ICS will be available since June). It seems like a very plain phone for the modern generation of Android devices with little chances of becoming popular. Why? Firstly and most importantly, Panasonic is a rookie on the phone market and they don't have connections with the European carriers. Secondly, this phone is a niche product playing against Sony Xperia S in its price range while the latter has a much better design, a better camera and better screen (4.3” 960x540 OLED).

What Panasonic are thinking of? I suspect this is a case of playing tag. They decided to get to Europe before their Japanese rivals Sharp and most importantly Fujitsu do. The competitors have to offer more powerful and more interesting phones at better prices. So Panasonic wants to simply outrun them. Anyway, this Panasonic comeback leaves a lot of important questions unanswered: they did not voice any strategy or name any partners. It means that they don't really have anything to tell us on these matters. It reminds me of Sharp's last attempt to make a comeback – they offered a number of very interesting phones which never became popular mainly because of a different mentality. They lacked attention to details and did not care much for adapting their phones for the European market and the European user. This issue is a lot more serious than it probably sounds. That is why I don't believe that Eluga is going to be any success.

P.S. I think it is time to wind up and wish you a nice week. Anyway, I am guaranteed an interesting week at MWC 2012. Don't forget to check out our articles from the Barcelona expo.

Mobile World Congress 2012

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

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Related links

Spillikins №157. 2011 Ranking According to IDC

Spillikins №158. The Invisible War for Components and Production Costs

Spillikins №159. There is a buyer for any merchandise

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net), Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 09 March 2012

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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