Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Spillikins ¹168. Re: Stop Calling Me!
Hello, Folks! I hope you are enjoying the spring. Last week presented us an innumerable quantity of Samsung Galaxy 3 fakes. I understand the public anticipation but we all just have to wait until May 3 to finally see it. And I don’t see any reasons to waste your time discussing groundless rumors.
You might have noticed that our website has got the Disqus commenting system. Many people prefer comments to posting on the forum so we got it made. Discuss, comment and enjoy the conversations but remember to be civilized – we would hate to apply sanctions against users. But enough for that, let’s get down to business.
Last week I was invited to Radio Russia to comment on how electronic gadgets have affected our life and social behavior of people. I presented a couple of talking points on which I want to elaborate in this issue of the Spillikins and the forthcoming ones as I find the topic very interesting.
Tell me, have you ever been dumped? In what manner did your relationship end? Arguments and tears or quiet drifting apart when feelings turn into a habit and you only wish to end it? There are thousands of books and tons of celluloid about unrequited love. He moves to another city, she receives a letter every day and tears them in pieces – you know the story. Sometimes it is a third party who conceals letters. Anyway, the common denominator here is that someone wishes to cease all connections with another person. Out of sight – out of mind. For ages people have been avoiding others by moving someplace else but in the XXI century we have quickly acquired new habits and customs that allow us to solve this problem more effectively. Our mobiles phones are now our valets on which we often bestow the task of ending a relationship. The phone is a hub of communication with other people: calls, texts, social networks, photos. The mobile phone has become the interface of the real world. Many of us cannot imagine their lives without a mobile phone and its value changes social norms unthinkable just a few decades ago.
I was watching a movie the other day and in one scene there was a group of girls discussing whatever girls talk about when one of them receives a text that says ‘I won’t be seeing you anymore. It’s over’. The girl get really furious not because she was dumped but because she was dumped with a text. ‘Who he thinks I am?!’ she shouts. The way the relationship ended in this case is a characteristic of the relationship in general. And this scene is now mundane in the real world. Some people want to avoid all the negative emotions they would experience by breaking up personally. The phone becomes a neutral and a very convenient messenger. And not just the phone: email, chats IM services in social networks etc.
I asked my friends whether they had ever ended a relationship or had been dumped via an SMS. The number of them who admitted such experiences surprised me. The historical norm for ending a relationship is, naturally, a private conversation. The telephone allowed you not to look him or her in the eye while delivering unpleasant news. Now we can just send a short text.
I think that this sort of behavior is just infantile and partly it is motivated by unwillingness to see a person. What is important is that the phone becomes a part of our inner world and our emotions. The mobile phone is more than a personal belonging – it is a rather intimate companion that is why to lose your phone is a heavy blow and the money it costs is not the main factor. If you lose your phone it is not just a missing gadget it is all your emotions, memories and knowledge associated with it that are gone. I remember getting into a cab in an African country and the cold sweat when I realized that my phone was gone. It was not that it would be a strain on my wallet or the SIM. I had a spare phone and I could restore all the data from the SIM. What hit me was the feeling that I lost all the memories I had been collecting on the phone for months. As a matter of fact there wasn’t any important data stored in it and it is now lying in a drawer of my table and I never copied any data from it. However, when a few moments later I discovered it on the cabs floor I felt a wave of relief. On the other hand, I felt almost nothing when I had my car stolen. I am not a gearhead and I had no emotions associated with the vehicle so I only felt the inevitability of forthcoming inconveniences of having to deal with the police.
The joy of getting a text from a friend, congratulations, arguments, break-ups and much more passes through your phone. Don’t believe if someone tells you that a phone is just a phone and means nothing else. The phone has become a charm that reflects our feelings, wishes and disappointments. Sometimes those feelings can make you toss your phone in anger like killing a messenger who brought bad news. Curiously, the custom of killing messengers with unpleasant news used to be practiced in most nations. The messenger was associated with his message and killing him was a ritual solution of a problem. We have it on our genes only since mobile phones came around there is no need for bloodshed – you can smash phones against the wall all you want and let off some steam.
What I think is important to understand about the mobile phone that today it is no longer just any electronic device, a cunning contraption. It has become a part of our personalities, a screen we project our emotions onto. It is the contemporary charm that we can endorse with positive or negative attributes.
I would like you to share any personal stories in the comment section about roles the mobile phone has played in your life. Have you ever ended a relationship via a mobile phone? Next week I want to discuss how the mobile phone can be used to avoid unwanted company.
Last week I devoted the 166th issue of the Spillikins to Nokia quarterly results so I will be brief this time. I pay so much attention to what is going on with Nokia because the fall of a giant the size of Nokia is a very rare occasion that only happens on markets once in several decades.
The final financial data turned out to be so bad that Nokia stock have once again depreciated dramatically in a few days. A week after preliminary results Nokia told us there were actually 300.000 fewer handsets sold (including 100.000 smartphones). The final figures look like these: 11.9M smartphones sold (including 2M Lumia smartphones) and 70.8M regular mobile phones sold.
The operational profit of the Nokia's phone division is -3%. Nokia is beginning to feel upcoming competition from small manufacturers coming from China and other Asian countries and it is loosing the European market. This is due to the lack of goof competitive products in Nokia's arsenal. Look at how sales are distributed in different countries:
In cash the sales went down by 30% in average on the biggest Nokia market and by spectacular 70% in China. And that despite the average Nokia phone price going down throughout the entire 2011. The price is not the problem – the problem is that no one wants Nokia products.
In these circumstances Nokia for some reason decides to resort to blood-letting and fired a Nokia veteran Colin Giles who knows all markets like the back of his hand. He worked for Nokia for almost two decades and at the time of resignation was Nokia's executive sales vice-president and a member of Nokia Leadership Team. He is a very respected person in the company and was one of the personifications of Nokia until Stephen Elop got there. It was thanks to him that Nokia sales have not been falling as fast as they should have been. He used all his expertise to slow them down and he knows every market trick there is. Unfortunately, he was faced by two impossible obstacles: Stephen Elop ruining the Nokia brand which also ruins sales and the lack of really good products. Colin was made a scapegoat and had to resign even though he did nothing wrong. I am sure that by dismissing one of the most valuable employees Nokia will only begin to lose sales even faster because last two years Colin clung to partners like bulldog making them sell Nokia phones.
The new Nokia top management structure now does not have the position of Global head of sales and the regional vice-presidents will now be reporting directly for situation with sales. Nokia's press release claims that it will allow 'senior leaders greater visibility into market dynamics'. But I think it is a cheap trick to avoid Stephen Elop being accused in incompetence.
I think that a CEO who deliberately takes steps to destroy his company is at least unprofessional and there are many people who agree with me. There is a big conflict brewing inside Nokia because the current management sets course for further lowering prices (since Nokia is now -3% profitable it is not clear how they can allow it). Stephen Elop commented this decision to analysts and investors explaining the recent losses by being too slow on the cheap touchscreen smartphones market which Nokia is now going to offer. Seems to me like the story with dual SIM phones which Nokia completely overlooked when they came around and when they finally got onto that market they could not compete due to a lower quality level than their rivals offered. And this new course is another step towards annihilation. Today Nokia offers Symbian smartphones as cheap touchscreen smartphones and they want us to believe that even simpler S40 phones can also compete on that market. Naturally it will never happen and Nokia will be losing even more.
Another point that alarmed me is that Nokia no longer call the Lumia series a success and use the term 'mixed results'. Nokia is now working on a new promo campaign for Lumia and Stephen Elop promised that they will review the promo model. Last December Nokia spent an obscene amount of money on Lumia ad campaigns around the world – the next wave of ads might be even more expensive.
Another curious fact: Microsoft is now paying Nokia $250M a year and continue to for several years amounting for several billions in total. In the same time Nokia licensing fees for Windows Phone 7 are much smaller so in the end Nokia is going to make some profit off of Microsoft. This is good news. The bad news is that Q1 2012 operational loss of Nokia amounted to one billion and three hundred and forty million euro. Nokia is now losing its cash reserves too which melt like snow in the spring.
Charter Equity Research compared the situation of Nokia with other phone manufacturers who experienced similar problems. The chart shows that big quarterly losses are followed only by another big losses, no exceptions. I think that 2012 will be a year of losses for Nokia (add also the recently lost patent lawsuit against iPcom in a German court leading to another drop in Nokia stock price). As of now I don't see any news that could give Nokia any hope. Alas, but Nokia is done and will keep falling down.
Soon we will post an article on the best Tower defense games for iPad. Meanwhile check this video I made on this topic. If you have a different opinion or have something to add don't be shy to use the comment section below. Thanks!
P.S. Have a nice and productive week and don't forget to smile!
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Published 27 April 2012
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