In London at Nokia World this morning CEO Steve Elop launched the new line up of Nokia devices telling the audience how Nokia have been “agonizing over what we left out” and claiming the Lumia to be the “first real Windows Phone”. As someone who remembers Nokia when they were all about “connecting people” I’m dumbfounded to find the new flagship device will be shipping without a forward facing camera especially as it’s so similar in design to the MeeGo packing N9 (which does feature a forward facing VGA camera).
From the execs I know at Nokia it’s clear they know what it’s going to take to move the direction of the company and in 2011 it’s going to be designing their products and services to impress end users not appease the Mobile Operator customers (or even worse their own accountants).
Whilst it’s obvious that this concession has no doubt in some way helped Nokia sign up 31 operators and retailers (the most in Nokia launch history we’re told) and that there would have probably been another significant share price drop if they’d even mentioned “Skype”, I think it’s obvious that the best smartphone experience isn’t going to be acheived as a result of concessions and some “exclusive deals” with the likes of ESPN as a customers perception is now being formed over an increasingly long tail of services.
As Nokia competitors continue to advance the video call experience by adding value via “facelock” functionality, end-to-end security assurances and automatic shake correction is there any sense in a “real” windows phone that isn’t capable of connecting it’s customers via a rich visual connection to Microsofts half a billion Skype users?
Note: Asides from the presence of a forward facing camera there is nothing technical preventing Skype video calls being made from this device. It is available on other Windows devices (eg. Mango on Samsung Focus) and it also runs on millions of other non-Microsoft owned smartphone OS’s from the likes of Apple (eg. iOS on iPhone 4/4S, iPod touch and iPad 2 devices) and Google (eg. Android on Samsung Galaxy) and Nokia (eg. Symbian on Nokia N8, MeeGO on the N9).