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September 14, 2009

Excitement at reading tea leaves

tea leavesBOSTON, USA – One of the benefits of knowing the unknowns, the things that are unknown to the public, but known to the company, is that it gets exciting when folks start speculating – about launches, devices, direction, moves. And I like speculating as much as the next guy.

Of course, we don’t substantiate rumors or talk about those known unknowns (that’s usually called a leak). And it’s a hard balance to say enough to show where we are going, without giving the game away. In some cases this can put us in an unfavorable light. For example, it’s sometimes foolish to suggest we released a solution in response to a competitor device or service, when in actuality, solution timelines were long set before the competitor revealed its solution. Or, all of us have to wear a Finnish poker-face, because we can’t really to talk about a leaked product everyone is excited about.

Today, there are some links we’d like to share. In the past week, we’ve had more than enough concrete stuff to be excited about. But here are three articles that are examples of the hopeful speculation we usually like to read. There is also one, to remind us that even when we do reveal something, it might not be so exciting in the end.

Hoping for a Booklet bonanza
Here’s an example of a launched product leading to speculation of future products of the same category.

There is no doubt that folks are excited about the Nokia Booklet 3G. But there have really been no indication how far Nokia will go, or if it’ll make another one. The folks at NokNok have been passing our comments through a sieve and got all excited by a Nokia Booklet Team comment soliciting feedback on things to improve.

I have no idea if there are more booklets coming (not that I could tell you, anyway). But, one way we could tell Nokia to make more is to leave suggestions for future booklets, if Nokia were to make another one. What do you think?

And I’d say the Nokia N900 is also one of those that begs the question: Will more of the same come? At Nokia World 09 Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President of Markets at Nokia, called the Nokia N900 the fourth in a five-step evolution. This was an open statement that highlights a continuing effort in bettering a particular breed of product.

Wrapping one’s head around it all
Here’s an example of a writer trying to make sense of all the solutions Nokia creates.

The writer, from the Bangkok Post, enumerates all the major solutions Nokia has, then reads closely what executives have said and tries to make sense of it all. The conclusion is that the Ovi Store is key in a major makeover for Nokia.

Hm, indeed, the company is going through a major makeover, shifting from being a device manufacturer to a solutions provider. And indeed, the Ovi Store is a major part in that. But, why headline with that? Maybe that was what most grabbed this one writer’s attention and expectations. What grabs yours? What do you think is the most important part in Nokia moving forward – the devices, Maps, or something known to be unknown?

As an aside, the writer drops a jaw-dropping stat. We know that about 1.1 billion people use Nokia phones. But, compare that to about 1.6 billion bank accounts and 1 billion credit cards. What if the, Nokia Life Tools and Nokia Money were the real keystones for Nokia’s drive into the future?

Reality upon reality
Here’s an example of trying to see where Nokia is going when Nokia itself says what it sees the future is like.

ReadWriteWeb points to an interesting video that Nokia released on Augmented Reality (see below). The video focuses mostly on devices to aid in the interaction with data while on the go, showing examples of listening to music, reading incoming messages, browsing widgets. But it was clear that the video was light on the concept of augmented reality of data enhancing interaction with the physical world through such devices.

For curiosity’s sake, what do you think could have been added to this video?

No need to speculate on this
Sure, there are a ton of things folks are speculating about Nokia, its solutions, and what next bomb-shell it’ll drop. But, sometimes, when we do get around to making an unknown known, it might not get any big reception.

Om Malik clearly is expecting more out of Nokia, and that’s a good thing. In a recent post, he says that a recent acquisition elicits no more than a yawn. He also mentions that folks at his Mobililze 09 confab were comparing Nokia to re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.


Om is someone who knows a lot more unknowns than most folks and can see where many of the trends in the industry are leading. Such feedback suggests Nokia could do a better job in not only communicating what it is doing, but also showing, through actions, that it means what it says.

What do you think?

Image from J Winia