Bangalore: Almost two years afterApple Inc. unveiled its iconic iPhone, Nokia Oyj has launched yet another smartphone, trying to catch up with iPhone’s rich features and ease of use. The competition is tough in the segment, with Apple reportedly ready to slash iPhone prices and Sunnyvale, California-based Palm Inc. unveiling the latest smartphone Pre last week.
According to research firm Gartner Inc., out of the 120 million mobile phones sold in India every year, 4-5% were smartphones as of November, and Nokia has around 60-70% of the market share in this segment.
Argentinian Axel Meyer, head of design of Nokia Nseries phones at Nokia Corp., Finland, is the man putting together the Finnish phone maker’s range of multimedia devices. He says smartphones will kill devices such as personal computers and cameras and 10- to 15-year-olds from Argentina, China, Brazil and India will lead the charge.
Ready for the charge: Nokia’s Axel Meyer says gestures, being natural and intuitive, will be the common DNA of future Nokia phones.
The world’s largest mobile phone maker is preparing a raft of touch-screen devices, some of which could even be positioned for the mass market. Gestures, being natural and intuitive, will be the common DNA of future Nokia phones, Meyer said. Edited excerpts from an interview:
Your latest smartphone (N97) borrows from social networking sites such as Orkut. What elements have you borrowed from it?
It’s not about borrowing, we do immersions. What we do is (that) we observe what people do and how they connect with each other. We personalized the home screen. There is straight access through the widget to their favourite service, their favourite people—accessing your people, that is the most important, who are relevant for you, and having an immediate history of the exchange (of communication). I think this is the future, the future of understanding how people access content.
With design playing such a central role, tell us something about your design team.
We are part of a 320-member team at Nokia design from 40 nationalities. My team has 17 nationalities. There are sociologists, colours and material designers, product designers, multimedia designers, visual communication (professionals).
Do you see the mobile phone replacing the personal computer in the future?
I see it already today, how these converged devices are, basically eliminating everything. Why? Because I can take it with me all the time, because it fits in my pocket. More importantly, the power that I have here to create content on the Web. I can actually get all my emails and use it to make presentations if I need to. I could also use a big screen (such as a projector or TV). For some people this is the first computer. They are leapfrogging (the computer) in many countries, including India.
Do you see touch-screen and intuitive phones becoming more mass market?
They are already... Definitely, it is natural. We always try to introduce more natural behaviour. 5800 (XpressMusic model) is a very good example (of a mass market product). It is a natural path, just as 15 years ago a mobile phone was a luxury item.
Will gestures be used more in future designs?
This is just the beginning. We have accelerometers and sensors. We will introduce new ways of doing things—like gesture-wise, how to give information, how to open or close something.