What I like most in Nokia’s strategy is its constant ability to look forward and move ahead with the changes. Nokia Flagship Store announcements already positioned Nokia with an independant retail strategy, it’s obvious that once there, there’s a different world on top of selling devices…
There has been a lot of fingertip heating since Nokia launched its Ovi Internet Services, a predictable, but smart move by Nokia for regular mTrends readers The idea is to pull the Nokia Music Store, N-Gage, Nokia Maps, and all future Nokia services into a single gateway of integrated service offerings. You can view yesterdays’ webcast anouncements here.
Nokia has been very active in the convergent area’s of internet and mobility services. With a solid 38% marketshare (some 900 million active customers!), the company has always played a leading role in the mobile value chain and knows a lot about its consumer habits. Nokia also has been releasing some really great N-Series devices since last year, the experiences gathered from those popular high-end devices are now finetuned and sharpened resulting in 4 new mobile devices (to be released before year-end).
I have been lucky to be able to experiment with Nokia Maps and I like the service a lot, it’s actually an awesome experience available on a mobile phone. The N95 with its build-in GPS makes geographical search really context relevant and opens the path for a lot of new kinds of services linked to locations. Personally I believe more in a user-driven community services and tools build model for the future such as Plazes and Dopplr build on Google Maps api’s but time will tell which services consumers will finally choose for and use.
The N-Gage portal is all about Nokia’s next-gen games (reserve your player name now!) where game fans will have more and more options to play multiplayer games in a constantly connected world – Instant Media Now! Web 2.0 has had a huge influence on the game development with regards to user-generated content, social networking and general connectivity. Watch Digital Chocolate in this next-gen game content space, not to underestimate the – also yesterday anounced – Sony-Ericsson Playstation Phone, yes… real device convergence is happening!
Another great move into internet service offerings is that Nokia and Microsoft have joined forces to provide customers with a new suite of Windows Live services specifically designed for Nokia devices. Starting today Nokia customers in eleven countries with compatible S60 devices can download the new suite enabling access to Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Contacts and Windows Live Spaces. Smart move knowing there’s some 465 million Microsoft Messenger clients today!
The downside of that deal (and biggest surprise to me yesterday) was not the anouncement of the Nokia Music Store itself but the decision that Nokia will use Microsoft PlayReady technology for “flexible access to digital entertainment“. Flexible? How flexible is the next question to me then, while Apple unveiled a higher quality DRM-Free Music with EMI on iTunes in April, Nokia goes the opposite direction with Microsoft?
I tried to find more detailed information on how restrictive the DRM will be but couldn’t find anything relevant but this Microsoft PlayReady White Paper, despite the many anouncements yesterday. BoingBoing reported the new music store will allow for over-the-air downloads,
“currently priced at 1 Euro a song and 10 Euro-a-month all-you-can-eat subscriptions that will work on your PC. (It’s not entirely clear if you’ll be able to download songs to your PC on the all-you-can-eat and also sync them to your Ovi-compatible phone. The verbiage I’m seeing is “streaming,” so it seems unlikely.)”
Most probably Nokia will decide on a country-per-country basis, depending on the distributor. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound as a pirate protecter but I’m just worried as a consumer. mTrends readers know about my rants and experiences with this topic (for an overview check my DRM Free At Last! post).
I’m completely in favour of the OPEN DRM model (buy once, use everywhere!): I buy the digital content once but I am able to carry and transfer the song/video/movie everywhere on my different devices and pc’s and share it with my family and friends. Companies really need to learn to TRUST the consumers, illegal downloading always existed and will always exist in a minor form but as a consumer I can only urge to give us a fair DRM, especially for those consumers who want to buy digital content.
One more example here below of how DRM-restrictive content works for the consumer – and then I really hope I don’t have to write on this anymore
On my summer holidays, besides my fully stored N95, I took a 2GB USB-stick with me with full of music (legally bought CD’s imported as mp3′s) to be played wherever the occasion appeared. Now when compiling my summer music collection, I mixed up with some songs I bought on iTunes… At a certain moment, at a party, someone was asking for some kind of artist I had on my music-stick, we copied it to the iBook available connected to the speakers, when everybody around the pool was excited to hear that song, the machine responded “need permission to play this song, please fill-in your password” – hell, we weren’t even connected to the internet. Now, you think this is fair? Flexible? Helping the artists? Create more business? Come on (big) guys, please get real!
NOTE: it would be great if any Nokia or Microsoft rep could provide some details on the DRM restrictions that will be used (or not) using PlayReady
Enabling Next Generation Mobile Products & Services
Rudy De Waele is CEO & co-founder of Nyota Media - the world's first growth agency for innovative African entrepreneurs, start-ups and international companies that use technology to improve the lives of Africans.
He is a Mobile Strategist, Business Angel and Appreneur with over 18 years of experience in Internet technology, specialising in mobile innovation and start ups since 1999.
Rudy has curated ground-breaking presentations in Mobile Trends 2020 (2010), Mobile Trends 2020 Africa (2011), and most recently Mobile Opportunities in Africa - Engaging the next Billion (2012).
He has consulted for Telefonica, Vodafone, MTN, Orange, Telcel, Millicom, Samsung, Nokia, BlackBerry, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Admob (acquired by Google), Louis Vuitton, Philippe Starck, Young & Rubicam, Cheil Worldwide.
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