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August 31, 2009

Talking about what counts

moneyBOSTON, USA – While everyone is over in Stuttgart for Nokia World, I’m stuck on this side of the world, following things online. What’s more, I just realized that last week was quite busy, despite being the week before Nokia’s biggest event. Three devices in three categories were launched last week (recapped below) and one service (a service?). Alas, we chose to focus our efforts last week on the devices, since they demanded the most of our energy to write, video, and follow.

Today, before everything gets buried in Nokia World news, I’d like to give the wee service the attention it is due. So, keep reading to learn more about this new service.

Quick recap
Last week saw the launch of the Nokia Booklet 3G, the Nokia N900, and another Nokia 5800 descendant, the colorful Nokia 5230.

It goes without saying that the Booklet and the N900 have the whole Web a-buzz. These gadgets are extending Nokia’s product lines into new areas, closing gaps between mobile computers, like the N97 or Nokia 5800, and full-fledged desktop computers. We had written earlier about the area where computers and mobile phones collide. The Booklet and N900 sit right in this area and stand a good chance to change our expectations of mobility, the fusion of mobile and Web, and how we expect to access our online life at a desk or away from one.

I am sure folks at Nokia World will be making a bee-line to these two products and reporting back on the reality (not filtered through advocates such as us here at Nokia Conversations).

Uncounted, but not forgotten
The service, mentioned above, that was launched last week was Nokia Money. It’s a mobile financial service, designed to be used through voice calls or SMS. Users can send money to another person just with that person’s phone number, pay bills, pay merchants, and even recharge their prepaid SIMs. The service is based on Obopay (the press release has a few more details).

The key thing is that this new service is targeted towards many people who have never had access to financial services and who have one of the billions of simple voice-SMS phones, such as the Nokia 1100 (remember The 1100 Club?).

Ken Banks, a leader in builiding and promoting voice and SMS services in emerging markets, wrote a thoughtful piece on Nokia Money. Also, the nice people at Experientia have a great round up of quotes from those who have written about Nokia Money. Thanks, folks.

Like everything else last week, Nokia Money will be demoed and get a more thorough viewing at Nokia World. If you see it there, feel free to leave a link below to your write-up.

For the rest of us, let’s go make sure we have our popcorn ready for the start of Nokia World.

Image by Martin Kingsley