After we’d dealt with the N97 issue in Part 1 and then the way ahead of Symbian and MeeGo in Part 2, Rafe asked Nokia’s EVP for Markets, Anssi Vanjoki, to speculate on the future of mobile 3-4 years out. Most executives when faced with this kind of question will either shrivel up and look to their PR handler for advice, or spout some drivel about ‘ubiquitous connectivity’. I’m well practiced in the art of fake-smiling and nodding at these kinds of situations.
So how did Annsi handle that question?
He got stuck right in. He wasn’t sitting back and trying to remember the talking points, no. I witnessed a chap who sincerely believes (and, has most probably seen) in his vision for the future. It makes really, really interesting viewing — especially his assertion that the generic mobile interface for consuming ‘media’ will be a map.
I really was impressed that this ‘grey-haired’ executive could talk-the-talk. I really hope that he continues to galvanise the team at Nokia (and, to a lesser extent, the Symbian and MeeGo teams) to deliver the vision he described in this video.
I don’t think Anssi was being creative when, in Part 1, he commented that (in relation to the N97 failures) his ‘sleepless nights are now in the past’. For someone as enthusiastic and as excited about the possibilities of mobile technology, it must have been a galling experience watching the utter derision with which consumers and the media greeted the arrival of the bug-laden disappointing Nokia N97.
What the hell were Nokia doing delivering the N97 into the marketplace as a high-end top-of-the-range device when it was going to get immediate comparisons to other bleeding-edge devices (and be found wanting, by everyone but the die-hard Nokia fans).
Of course the N97 and the N97 mini were a total success. Commercially. Annsi was careful to point this out. They shipped millions of them to their customers. But remember, the customers, of course, were the mobile operators, who, frankly, couldn’t-give-a-damn. They’d already committed to adding the ‘next’ Nokia device into their range whether it was good, bad or entirely rubbish. The end-consumers, however, well… I’m reasonably sure a lot of them fully intend not making the same mistake every again.
I think Annsi is right, however, when he makes the point that consumers really do trust Nokia. Or at least, they want to do so. They will, as Annsi maintains, “give us a second chance.” But just once. I think Nokia really must work hard to make sure that the high-end devices they ship into the marketplace this year are fantastic.
Anyway, to the video. If you’re even half interested in Nokia, if you follow the mobile industry, I strongly recommend sitting and watching Part 3 of the interview.
I’m willing to bet that even the most ardent iPhone and BlackBerry fans reading are closet Nokia fans too…
For convenience I’ve put all the parts together here: