Advertising agencies used to have an ad as the end prodcut of their efforts. Mobile phone manufacturers had a...well, a phone.
Some history...back when the video iPod came out, I remember thinking "wow, game changer." Not because it was a portable video player, but because at its core, the video iPod was a portable hard drive. A massive multi-gig storage device. with a USB cord. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.
And I got salivating imagining a future in which we'd walk around with our media libraries in our backpockets. And when it was (as I hoped) wirelessly enabled, we'd head to our friends house with '300' merrily downloading to our backpocket via WiMax while we stocked up on big slurpies and red vines (= crazy delicious). When we got to our friend's place, we'd jack in (or not, since they'd have an 'airport') and we'd watch the hi-def gore on our monster-ass-big, wall-mounted, flat screen plasma fusion video playback unit (alright, dammit, TV)...
That was before we heard rumors about Google's not quite yet materialized GDrive and with unlimited gigs of tasty storage space floating in an awe-inspiring, cross-tabbed, ad sense enabled data cloud...but that's another story.
So now, before Apple could do it, Nokia throws down, pulling an Apple on Apple.
"Nokia said on Wednesday that it would soon introduce its own digital music service, along with an easier-to-use Apple-style mobile interface and an Apple-style touchscreen handset.
The Nokia Music Store, to open this year, will let users download songs from the Internet to their computers or directly to mobile phones over wireless networks, which Apple’s recently released iPhone cannot do.
In offering direct downloads, the Nokia Music Store goes beyond iTunes, which requires users to download songs to their personal computers before transferring them to an iPod, music player or an iPhone.
The music store also potentially puts Nokia into conflict with operators of mobile networks, which in many cases have developed music services of their own.
“Now Nokia is saying, ‘You guys had your chance to run music stores, or whatever, and it didn’t work, so now we’re going to give consumers what they want,’ ” said Paul Jackson, an analyst at Forrester Research.
And folks were wondering what they were up to when Nokia acquired Loud Eye? OOOOOOOOOOohhh. It's ON.
As an OEM, Nokia's been working to develop software and services accessible outside Carriers' walled gardens for some time. Which those carriers haven't appreciated. Unsurprisingly, those carriers like owning their customers and charging everyone a toll to access them. And some have tried to slap around Nokia for its efforts.
But is a smackdown in the wind? Nokia's ex-president is part of a management team piloting a project in Europe under the name of Blyk, which is effectively an ad subsidized FREE mobile carrier targeting 16-24 year olds. Here's what Business Week had to say about Blyk:
"If the company's approach proves successful, it could dramatically affect the mobile phone industry and pose a serious threat to existing operators."
"It's going to change the business model for mobile telephony in a big way." says Falk Müller-Veerse, managing partner at Cartagena Capital, a Munich-based boutique investment bank specializing in the mobile phone industry.
Oh, and did someone say "Gaming"? heeeeeeeeeeeeeere's N-Gage! It's back, and it's better - much better. More than a device, its a system playing across N-series ass-kickers starting in November and rolling out to S60's...well...not soon enough, but it'll be worth the wait. EA has already said they are in for this one, so expect this to get interesting.
In an impressive feat of corporate transformation enacted on a global scale, Nokia is becoming more than a manufacturer. It's a data company. A company about mobile software and services.
A device has gone from being an end point to being the start of a beautiful relationship.
And you can put that in your pocket.