Nokia announces that it’s working hard, on something

MWC 2011: No Windows Phone 7 handsets on display

EARLIER TONIGHT LOCAL time we wasted about two hours of our life listening to Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop explain in some detail, although by no means in any specific terms, as to why Nokia decided to go down the Windows Phone 7 route. Pretty much every journalist at the Mobile World Congress has turned up, as everyone expected Nokia to at least show off its first Windows Phone 7 handset, but alas, it was not to be.

In fact, most of what was being said was a repetition of what was said on Friday during the analyst day, just more emphasized. Elop was very keen to point out that thanks to Nokia joining the Microsoft camp, there’s now a three eco system race, where the three major players are Microsoft with Windows Phone 7, Google with Android and Apple with iOS. We’re not quite sure what happened to RIM and its Blackberry platform and when asked during the Q&A session Elop dismissed RIM without much further ado. On top of that HP and its webOS wasn’t even mentioned which we’d say is a little bit hasty, especially as the company has just announced three new devices based on webOS.

What about MeeGo you ask? Well, Nokia has told Intel about its plans to go with Windows Phone 7, but didn’t go into any further details, but promised a single MeeGo device this year and the company is still considering keeping MeeGo on for what it calls its next billion project where the company looks into other viable options for future devices. However, it’s very clear that Nokia doesn’t take MeeGo seriously and it won’t become a mainstream solution from Nokia in the foreseeable future.

With regards to Symbian Nokia will launch new devices and these devices will features GHz+ processors and improved graphics compared to the current crop of handsets. Nokia is also committed to the platform for the time being and will issue software updates and continue to work with developers for the platform, although the focus is to transition its customer base from Symbian towards Windows Phone 7, although this is a process that will take time, maybe even years.

As far as Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft, some of the key reasons seemed to include the fact that Microsoft was willing to offer Nokia a better deal on ad revenue than Google was willing to do and considering that Nokia doesn’t have a solution for ad revenues, this is something the company is keen to get involved in. On the other hand, what Microsoft is lacking, at least according to Nokia, is a system for handling micro payments, something that Nokia has set up in co-operation with network providers around the world and it’s something that Microsoft will be able to take advantage of.

Nokia also claims that it can reduce operating expenses by moving to Windows Phone 7, as Microsoft will be doing the bear’s share of the software platform development which enables Nokia to spend more time working on its handset designs. This is indeed grim news for Nokia’s software developers which will most likely be thinned out quite extensively.

Elop was also keen to point out that Nokia’s number one priority now was to beat Android and the way to do this is to create a better Windows Phone 7 eco system that can compete with Android on equal terms. Nokia also believes that it can offer benefits to the other Windows Phone 7 device manufacturers and that it’s good that there’s internal competition between the various device makers within the Windows Phone 7 eco system.

As mentioned at the beginning of this news piece, no devices were announced today and all we got to see was a crummy render of what may or may not be what Nokia is working on. The gathered media was told that the pressure was on to deliver the first Windows Phone 7 device from Nokia, but no further details were given. What was said was that Nokia aims to shorten its time to market from announcement to retail availability, something that the company has had problems with in the past.

We’re not much wiser in terms of what Nokia is planning, but it’s clear that the company has considered Android as an option but for whatever reasons decided that it wasn’t a match. Microsoft was said to be a better suited as a partner, although at least to some degree this seems to have to do with development resources where Android is a diamond in the rough when delivered to Google’s partners, Nokia seems to think that Windows Phone 7 is a shiny gemstone ready to be set. What is certain is that we’re not the only ones that thinks it’s an odd move that might have long term repercussions for Nokia.S|A

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