Yes, you read that right.
Anssi Vanjoki, one of the most influential people in Nokia’s rise to the top is back. He left the company shortly after Stephen Elop arrived and we haven’t heard too much from him since. But I’ve had my eyes peeled looking to see what, if anything, he would be doing next.
It turns out we might actually have something rather exciting to witness shortly.
Vanjoki doesn’t pull any punches.
He wasn’t a typical cut-n-paste Nokia suit. I liked the chap immensely whenever I met him. If only, I used to think, Anssi could just make shit happen. Because when you talked to him, he got it. He got the ramifications of the iPhone. He got the changing mobile world message when it seemed most of Nokia was pointing the other way. In fairness of course, he also presided over a rather negative period of Nokia’s history. Blame for the company’s predicament can’t be assigned only to Anssi of course. It was Anssi, for example, who was the first to actually apologise to the planet (on a Mobile Industry Review video interview, no less) for the utter disaster that was the Nokia N97. This, if you recall, was supposed to be Nokia’s answer to the iPhone. Well, not really. The N97 was heading along a different (shocking) trajectory and it just arrived into the iPhone world, looking like something from yesteryear.
Still, Vanjoki had the balls to admit the issue. His statements on the interview we filmed (and published also on Rafe’s All About Symbian site) went some way to calm a lot of seriously annoyed Nokia fans.
So. Vanjoki is back, according to TechCrunch — this time, at Vertu, the makers of ultra-high-quality stupidly-expensive handsets. Formerly owned by Nokia, Vertu is now in the hands of a new owner, EQT and we’ve been waiting to hear what that means.
I should point out that Jordan and Steve over at TechCrunch were careful to describe that they got the news from “sources”. Nothing has been confirmed as yet. These sources also reckoned that Vertu will shortly be switching from using Symbian to Android.
I’m not surprised.
I never bothered to buy a Vertu because of Symbian. Yes the operating system is reliable and proven. But when the device starts at £3,500 (or thereabouts), I want a little bit more than the same stuff running a £15 handset only differentiated by a theme and a few apps.
The Vertu devices, by the way, are phenomenally engineered. If you ever get a chance to check one out, I strongly recommend doing so — admire the weight, the build quality, the way in which the device oozes sophistication.
Symbian always let them down, in my view. Of course the Arabs and Russians who buy them like sweeties were doing so for status. Although I reckoned a lot of them also owned an iPhone or Android device just so they could do things with apps.
A Vertu device running Android — proper, decent Android — could well be rather exciting. That turns my head.
The TechCrunch chaps reckon Windows Phone might have been a better ‘quality’ option. I think they do have a point there too.
Either way I am hopeful — we might see some exciting fireworks from the company soon.