Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nokia's announcements today -29th Aug

The most interesting point for me today, wasn't the batch of new phones (N95 8G, N81 etc... the separate new n-gage gaming and music portals, the Search application from the idle screen, the revised multimedia menu or even the "copying" of apple's iphone touch interface for S60 in 2008(see the photo example in the webcast here).

All of this was pre-leaked, known already via the inter-galactic superweb or I previously had posted on it.

For me, it was the announcement of Nokia's umbrella brand Ovi which will bring Nokia's own n-gage and music portals, social networking and internet services all together in one place with both internet, desktop and mobile access (on the mobile under a single application and across multiple OS platforms S60, series40 etc....)

Why is this interesting ? Well it shows Nokia are aggressively moving into the content services space (again - remember Clubnokia) as they say the "Device is not enough". Experience of the service matters.
Traditionally this space has been occupied and owned by the Operators who have previously controlled the content services going onto the device (at least preinstalled). Think 3's X Series for example. Some might view this move as disintermediating the operators and nudging them further towards the bitppipe, although Nokia claim Ovi is complimentary to the Operators own content and services strategy.

We've already seen that this is potentially a sensitive issue with Operators who have invested in building and offering either (a) their own home-grown branded content services or (b) 3rd party content services as exclusives.
The Operators also often subsidise the actual handsets to attract and retain end customers ... relationships between handset manufacturers and Operators is finely balanced ...

It seems to me, not just from today's Ovi announcement from Nokia but from other sources too eg. internet branded services being preinstalled (Vox, Flickr, blogger, GMaps, MySpace, eBay) and integrated into mobiles, open unrestricted internet access with flat rate data and new entrants into the marketplace (Apple-iPhone with revenue sharing(?), Google-gPhone) that the aforementioned "traditional" operator/handset manufacturer relationship is likely to change markedly in the very near term.


Scott said...

Martin, it is time that the operators move aside (or at least make space for) others to have a run at inspiring users to use mobile data. The operators have had years to get this right and have failed. It is time to acknowledge that the role is one of a glorious and value enhancing bit-pipe and let a host of third parties seeks to engage users with what is available.

Rant, rant etc

I am glad to have that off my chest.

On a more considered note: there is hope for the operators. Nokia is transforming itself to an internet and media company. Can any large scale operator match it for ambition or execution of such a strategy? If so, then that operator will have a role to play as a continued (and potentially cherished) route to mobile services.


Martin said...

Hey Scott thanks for the comment, I agree and don't think most of the Operators can reinvent themselves quickly enough to compete - it's just not in their they may not even have a choice

The handset manufacturers have been sitting on the sidelines slowly creeping further into the operator's territory in my view and in the case of Nokia becoming an "internet" company, this was inevitable (they are also familiar with reinventing themselves, ie. it is in **their** DNA) - There were clues in hindsight like, Flickr, Vox, Youtube web services etc being put onto the n-series devices by Nokia doing the partnerships directly (not the operator).
The handset manufacturers ** have ** to move into software and services (again, in nokia's case) because the hardware is always on a commoditised downward spiral - it's hard to continually differentiate just on hardware when it is so quick and easy to copy...Will the handset OEM's make a better job of it than the operators - ?I guess we will not need to wait 5 years to find out...