Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The return of the Nokia phone

The Nokia Lumia 800 does all the things other smartphones do, while looking and feeling better than most.

It has interesting proprietary features such as Nokia Drive, which is a proper talking GPS like the kind you put in your car. Windows Mobile has come a very, very long way. Setting up and synching took only about the same amount of time as the iPhone 4 did. You can import many of the apps you have on other phones. The camera is good, and sharing pictures on social networks is a lot easier and more intuitive than other smartphones I’ve tried. And beneath it all is the almost irrational belief that since it’s a Nokia, it must also be more reliable, better tested than the others.

But I think the most amazing feature of the Nokia Lumia 800 is the social network one. All your contacts are linked to their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. For example, if you’re looking for your friend’s number, you also see under his name his latest FB post or tweet. And you can choose to call, text, send an FB message, mention him on Twitter or email him at any of his addresses. The listing reflects the real world where your friend is one person, with several ways to be contacted. So friends who have contact details under both married and maiden names, my cousin from Cornell who has about a million addresses and phone numbers, people who have both personal and company FB profiles, and even people whose phone numbers I don’t have, but have other means of contacting are all in one consolidated, streamlined phonebook. And a shining example of a product feature matching the brand promise. Nokia, connecting people indeed.

As with all good ideas, this one too has a simplicity to it that makes you wonder why nobody thought of it before. It makes me almost burst with pride.

Many years ago, I was a small cog in the teams that helped launch the first Nokia camera phone, the first music phone, several Communicators and many startlingly edgy models that were probably ahead of their time. There was much pride in being associated with them, a time in the life of the brand when it was a pioneer. It was a time when internet and mobile were just beginning to collide. The iPod had just transformed portable music. Brands had just started to get in touch with customers digitally. Online banking and bill payments were still pretty cool, not a basic requirement. Traditional ad agencies were talking of digital departments, old agency folk were introduced to new types of skills. Those who worked on the Nokia account were at the front of this revolution.

I moved on from the account and agency, and eventually succumbed to the lure of the shiny pink Razr, but never really lost the my-first-one affection for Nokia.

So it is with great pleasure that I now find I can give the Nokia Lumia 800 my highest praise – after working on it for a few hours, the iPhone felt clunky.


govind said...

I highly recommed my el cheapo Nokia X2. Lovely screen, qwerty keypad, intuitive interface. Great at fooling people that I have a blackberry.

Connects me as well as I want to be connected.

Thank you Nokia.

Gargoyle said...

hahahaha you have secret blackberry ambitions! And you just gave me a line for a campaign I'm working on right now.

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