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July 28, 2008

Nokia Email hammers home simplicity

BOSTON, USA – Despite being Nokia’s most dynamic email service to date, Nokia Email beta is still hiding in the shadows, only available on a beta site tucked away on Nokia’s website. Why? Simple, it’s a work in progress, and one that the team behind Nokia Email is working furiously hard to get spot on. Soon it will be rearing its head on Beta Labs, and that’s when the serious attention, scrutinizing and tidal waves of feedback will start flooding in. With that in mind (and before the controlled chaos begins) I spoke to the man heading up Nokia Email, Andrew Mahon, to get a better understanding of the thinking behind the evolution of email for Nokia devices.

Interestingly, speaking to Mahon, it soon becomes clear that this is as much about awareness and smashing the mould of what it means to set up email on your mobile, as it is about ensuring your met with the smartest email experience when you do.

“People have known that they can get email on their phones for many years now. It was a new phenomenon about six or seven years ago, it’s not a mystery. So, what we have learned is what prevents people from adding email on their phone. The first thing is just awareness that it’s available. In the past there was email on your Nokia phone, but nothing on there saying “hey, come get email”, so what we’ve done about that is making it highly discoverable on a device that email is available. In some cases that means that on the homescreen of the phone there is a very visible icon that says “set up your email”, and when you click on that it launches you on your way to get email. That’s really important.”

He goes on to explain the second biggest hurdle for email, and what Nokia Email is doing to overcome it.

“The second barrier has been difficulty of set-up. Regardless of which email account you have, if you were going to set it up you need to know a couple of pieces of information, which almost everyone wouldn’t know – what is your incoming email server name, your outgoing server name, are you using POP or IMAP, whether SSL is turned on or off for security, what port is being used? It’s engineering language. I’ve yet to meet a human who knows what POP or IMAP is unless they’re in the business. You have to go and find the information, which would stop around 95 percent of people right there. And even when you do find it, it’s a little tricky. So it’s just a pain in the neck, an experience that’s full of tasks – complexity is imposed on the consumer rather than assumed by the solution. We’ve solved that, so when you click “set up your email” if you know your email and your password there’s an excellent chance that you’re done.”

I’ll be following up with more thoughts from Andrew Mahon on Nokia Email and insights into our behaviour and demands with regards to email on the move.

In the meantime, have you used the new Nokia Email beta? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below.