Marko Ahtisaari, the director in charge of Nokia’s Industrial design, was just on stage at LeWeb and talking to Loïc Le Meur at a fire side chat afterwards. Ahtisaari talked through many different aspects of Nokia’s business and most importantly to us, at least, he opened up and shared his thinking on Nokia and its future. Below are our notes and key takeaways from the talk.
Ahtisaari began his talk about two issues on his mind, the state of the smartphone market as well as the collective intelligence, how platforms get better as more people use them. He’s key point was, that while the smartphone market is hyped a lot in media, there is a ton of action elsewhere in the mobile space that is seldomly reported on. But he did say that Nokia is now on very impressive growth curve with its Ovi Store. Daily downloads are around 3.5 million, when they were around 3 million just 3 weeks ago and around 2 million in September. Furthermore, 250 000 people sign up each day.
Secondly, there’s a lot of collective intelligence being built into applications, for example the Ovi maps. They can receive a ton of information from people using the navigational tools, for example when cars go off piste, they know they might need to update the data on that map. But according to Ahtisaari, this is just the beginning.
One of the most interesting issues he disclosed on stage is that Meego will see a new UI in 2011. He did not say more specifically when this would be, but in 2011. He shared his thinking regarding touch screens and UIs also. Currently, touch screens are very immersive and require full attention from their users. Ahtisaari said that this will change in the future and Windows Phone 7 has already taken steps towards this direction. Essentially, these mobile devices can become more useful and valuable when you aren’t required to give full attention to the device itself, but you can focus on your friends for example.
Furthermore, Ahtisaari shared or perhaps reminded us about some of the reasons why developers should be looking at Nokia as their platform. Nokia is still the most global, yet local platform out there. Their phones work in over 180 countries, in close to 50 languages. Back in November we shared some of the Ovi store statistics and Nokia has one of the most impressive payment mechanisms for developers out there as well.
Finally, Ahtisaari mentioned that he believes Nokia has a responsibility to work hard towards a European based ecosystem in mobile – consumers deserve a choice. Loïc Le Meur, the founder of LeWeb finished off by realising that he hasn’t seen Marko Ahtisaari this excited in ages.
I’ve had talks with some Nokia people as well and many share these views of a new Nokia bubbling under.