Looking to grab its next billion users, Nokia has launched a new, entry level mobile phone aimed at "growth markets", or the developing world. The X1-00 will retail for less than €35 (or $48 bucks), and has special features that will make it appealing for those markets. Oh, and it's orange. Read on past the cut to see more specs and info.
What looks to be the new Symbian homescreen layout has been briefly previewed, ahead of the promised Nokia update later in 2011. Shown briefly during a presentation by Nokia SVP of smartphones Jo Harlow, the refreshed UI - demonstrated on an N8 - has a slimmed down status bar with Android/iOS-style operator, battery, signal and time iconography, and a much narrower call/menu/options bar at the bottom.
In-between there are new widgets, no longer imprisoned by the traditional blocks fitting six to a screen. Instead it all looks more flexible and streamlined, taking a leaf out of Android's book. The end result is a far more modern looking smartphone, with a UI that actually begins to live up to the N8's slick aluminum chassis.
Last week Microsoft and Nokia surprised the world with their partnership announcement that has been quite an episode. Nokia chose Microsoft's Windows Phone over Google's Android platform, pretty much sending Nokia's old Symbian to the retirement home and dumping Intel--now the single parent raising MeeGo. Intel's CEO, Paul Otellini, held a meeting today with analysts in London to express his thoughts on Nokia's decision and his plans for MeeGo's future.
Mobile/tablet OS platforms are duking it out for survival as platform updates, new product launches, dubious alliances and speculations continue to brew. Android OS is increasingly dominating the marketplace, with Apple's iOS attempting to regain momentum and stirring up the media with plenty of rumors. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and Nokia's Stephen Elop just made a surprise announcement last week to put Windows Phone 7 on future Nokia phones--seemingly a take-over of Nokia and an imminent demise for Symbian and MeeGo--a move that blindsided Intel and slighted Google. And still earlier last week HP/Palm introduced new phones and tablets to push their own webOS platform. The competition's getting rough. Can all the operating systems at least just allow us to truly multitask our apps for now?
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has revealed that the company's board only settled on adopting Windows Phone and a Microsoft partnership the night before the Friday announcement last week, a last-minute decision that hugely impacts the future of the Finnish company moving forward. Speaking to SlashGear at Mobile World Congress 2011 this week, Elop confirmed that Android - and sticking with the Symbian and MeeGo roadmaps - had remained on the table up until the last minute, with the chief executive having to make a number of calls, including to Intel's Paul Otellini, in the few hours between the board's decision and the London event.
It would appear, according to Finnish paper HS.fi Uutiset that workers at at least one Nokia development location in Tampere, Finland, are walking out in protest of the deal made official this morning between Nokia and Microsoft. While a member of the senior staff at this particular location, Kalle Wedge, noted "Aika moni käytti joustavaa työaikaa," aka "Quite a few people used their flexible working time [their break] to do this protest."
Nokia's news today that it would be adopting Microsoft's Windows Phone may have fit in with the rumors, but it still met with significant surprise among industry and users alike. On the surface it looks a lot like the Finnish company has sacrificed independence for short-term survival, though both Nokia and Microsoft argue that this is in fact the beginning of a far more symbiotic relationship. After the cut, everything you need to get up to speed on the new Nokia Windows Phone agreement.
Google hasn't exactly had words of support for Nokia and Microsoft in the run up to today's Windows Phone deal announcement, and the search giant has been quick to step in amid Stephen Elop's confirmation of Nokia job losses across the world. Google EMEA recruiter Aidan Biggins gleefully pointed out that Google was hiring, and invited Nokia software engineers to apply.
Nokia will use hardware, industrial design work and chipsets intended for MeeGo devices for Windows Phone handsets instead, it has been confirmed, as the company "repurposes" its investment into bolstering what's expected to be a "large number of Windows Phone devices" by 2012. According to CEO Stephen Elop, the same is true for Symbian devices, suggesting that "you may see some similar devices that launch with Symbian and Windows Phone," though existing devices are unlikely to see an update to Windows Phone 7.
The writing for Symbian is on the wall - or on the slide, at least. As part of its financial presentation today, Nokia has illustrated the diminishing role Symbian will play as Windows Phone takes over its space in smartphones. The company also expects Windows Phone to eat into Nokia's Mobile Phone business.