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ESPOO, Finland – I think I just want to be difficult today and point out some hard-hitting articles that have given me much to think about. There are issues that people bring up and focus on when the true problem is deeper. It’s kinda like folks saying the emperor has no hat, when in actuality he’s buck naked.

So, I’ll be be pointing lower than the hat.

Stuck in neutral

Matthew, on Darla Mack’s site, expresses his disappointment with Share on Ovi. He cites a lack of helper apps, a lack of users, a lack of simplicity, and lack of reasons to use it. Harsh.

Despite this, he received some comments supporting Share on Ovi (though Mr Scruff seems like some Nokia employee to me, he cowardly did not leave a URL or email address or real name – why?).

I don’t want to go into the features of the site. I’ll leave that judgement up to you. What I do want to bring up is that when one designs an online service, one does not know if it will be a hit or not. You do your best, deliver your best, and hope for the best. Consequently, if your company (like Nokia) is getting deeper into delivering online services, you have to expect a few duds or slow starters. Also, when buying companies that have been around for some time, there should be some indication of the future from the track record the company has had.

Share on Ovi used to be Twango and was already a few years old when Nokia bought it. It now has a specific place in the portfolio of services Nokia offers, is charged to provide a particular experience for users, and is slowly getting integrated into the Nokia world. I have seen how Twango became Share on Ovi, with significant changes, and it is hopeful that the momentum will continue. But, in the end, it is users like Matthew who will make or break the service. So, then, what does the future hold for Share on Ovi?

(H)Open for business.

I mentioned earlier how some of the Nokia Flagship stores were getting less than stellar traffic, despite prime locations. Well, another retail concept has someone doubting Nokia’s retail ambitions. Ricky Cadden, the Guru himself, discusses the Nokia Future Vision Showroom. He equates them to the (now-gone) Nokia Experience Centers. His frustration is that they are ‘exploratoriums’ not stores.

The real issue here is ‘what is Nokia’s retail strategy’. And I realize I have no clue (really, never thought of it). I think this calls for some digging and interviewing of the folks behind this.

As Ricky said, the US has been a challenging market for Nokia and touchy-feely vitrines of phones won’t cut it.

What do you think? Can you cite examples as to where Nokia should take its branded retail stores?

Washed up on the Left Coast.

Good news. I can pack up and go home now. Michael Arrington has called Nokia ‘irrelevant’.

Oh, darn, I spoke too soon, as all of the comments on the mocoNews post came to Nokia’s defense.

But that’s not the point. I don’t know if Michael meant it in the absolute ‘Nokia, who?’ sense or in the relative ‘crikey, Nokia, you’re a mess’ sense. But, what I hear is that Nokia isn’t part of the things coming out of Silicon Valley (where so much that has defined our world today has come from). Yeah, it might sound like hubris, but if Nokia is irrelevant in Silicon Valley, then a huge chunk of its influence in the future of the Internet and mobile just might not be there.

How do you read this? And I don’t want this to devolve into a Europe vs. North America thing (and I will step aside, since I’ve been part of this discussion for a very long time).

Going from hard to soft.

With that in mind, I did find some interesting articles on the software Nokia makes for their devices (and go read some of the comments, too).

Krisse on Allaboutsymbian compares the software on all the mobile devices Nokia manufactures in a large overarching review. Richard Bloor on SymbianOne does a litmus test of the platform promise of S60. And coolguy010 muses on how far things have evolved between the Nokia 6600 and the Nokia N95.

That’s a lot of software, a lot of devices, and a lot of platforms. And let’s remember that Nokia has had other platforms and software for mobile devices.

I wonder if relevancy in certain circles is a platform preference rather than usability of a platform. Also, examples abound of poor platforms dominating a market. So, with the three from Nokia, plus the various other ones out there, is relevancy of a single player actually possible? Is it such that at this moment, no one is supremely relevant, but only marginally ahead in mind-share at any one time? Do folks like Michael come back to us and say, “nope, not there yet. Go back and try again!”, egging us on to improve and impress. Could be.

As for me, it’s all up for grabs and things can flip in a blink of an eye. Y’know, the blink when you finally look down and see the emperor is way underdressed for the occasion.

Image from laihiu