Video: Anssi Vanjoki on the future for Symbian and MeeGo

Published by Rafe Blandford at 12:26 UTC, February 26th 2010

In part 3 of our MWC interview with Anssi Vanjoki, EVP of Markets at Nokia, we discuss the future. How "for the great masses of the world, the first computer they will have will be an extension of the phone based on Symbian". How MeeGo's rich contextual crossing of the real and virtual world will use a map-based user interface and will create "the possibility for people to live in the media." 

In the second half, we hear about the three "buckets" (types) of competitors, the importance of open standards and ecoystems, and a three-fold answer to how we should judge Nokia's future business performance (KPIs).

Key points

  • Nokia will be driving Symbian downwards in cost: "it will allow us to make computer type of product for the great masses in this world"... "the first computer they will have will be an extension of the phone based on Symbian. So we are driving Symbian, cost wise, to India, China, Africa, Russia, Turkey, you know, everywhere."

  • Nokia are, with MeeGo, "creating devices that go beyond the personal computer and actually create, what I call, the possibility for people to live in the media." These devices will connect the real and virtual world through rich contextuality. The generic UI for this will be map based.
     
  • Nokia belief in open standards is in the company's DNA. It will create the mobile ecosystem with many companies involved, but Nokia "are going to be a big player in that ecosystem. We [Nokia] believe that's its going to be so big an ecosystem, that being big will be enough for us [Nokia]."

  • Nokia's competition can be divided into three "buckets": infrastructural (Google), vertical players (RIM, Apple, Microsoft) and branded handset makers (Motorola, Sony Ericsson, etc.) "In our transition from being a mobile phone company to becoming a platform and solution company we have to take on all these fronts. And that's what we are determined to do."

  • We should measure Nokia's future success in three ways: number of handsets shipped, number of active users of Nokia solutions and money being made by others on top of Nokia's ecosystem.
     

Video - Anssi Vanjoki - part 3

Comment

The future vision for MeeGo (Maemo) and Symbian has been well documented. Both platforms are critical to Nokia's future. The importance of map centric user interfaces shows that Nokia's Navteq acquisition has deeper strategic implications than is appreciable at first glance (i.e. the idea that free navigation means Nokia is 'writing off' its Navteq acquisition is clearly erroneous).

Nokia's strategic belief in ecosystems and open standards is also well documented. However, it is noteworthy that one of the three performance indicators which we should judge Nokia on, going forward, is the amount of money other companies make on top of Nokia's ecosystem. This can be seen in contrast with some of Nokia's competitors whose business models are driven, to a much greater degree, by the use of their own channels and solutions.

See also:

Video: Anssi Vanjoki on the N97 and Symbian^3 (part 1 of this interview)

Video: Anssi Vanjoki on Symbian, MeeGo and N95 form factor (part 2 of this interview)

 

Transcript

Anssi Vanjoki [Nokia], on being asked where he sees thing going in five years:

Two things. I see Symbian going [points downwards]... and when I go down it does not mean functionality goes down, but it will allow us to make computer type of product for the great masses in this world in the developing markets. So the first computer they will have will be an extension of the phone based on Symbian. So we are driving Symbian, cost wise, to India, China, Africa, Russia, Turkey, you know everywhere. Then with MeeGo we are creating devices that go beyond on the personal computer and actually create, what I call, the possibility for people to live in the media. Where our real world is going to be as real as the virtual and vice versa. So we are here in this room, but we also will be residing in here. So I'll see Rafe is just in front of me, this was all the communication I've always had with Rafe and I can zoom in, pan out and see other people go here and there.

The generic user interface for all of this will be a map. You will see on the display always yourself in the middle. And then you see yourself in geographical context and then, but because we are marrying co-ordinates and IP addresses you see what is real in the map as co-ordinates, but [also] everything that is related to the co-ordinates [from the virtual world / web]. For example, for a hotel, you will see the hotel, but you'll also see all the stuff that is connected to the hotel on the web. The you can zoom out to extend your geographic coverage and you can pan to move to a different country and then zoom in again to some person, situation, whatever it happens to be. That is what I see moving to the future and this will be created on MeeGo.

Anssi Vanjoki on how this will happen giving much of it requires a 'tipping point':

We ship 500 million boxes a year and I'm doing everything in my power to see ensure that continues and that what is inside is higher value to the consumer that the previous box they got. And that's the only insurance I have.

We have a history, at Nokia, of open standards, you know like GSM is something that enabled the company to become what it is. We believe in that deeply in our DNA and this is what we are contributing in this business. In that way we make a very vivid, very competitive environment, but we are use to the game where you play 'let the best man win', so we are not going to be the only player, but we are going to be a big player in that ecosystem. We believe that's its going to be so big an ecosystem, that being big will be enough for us.

Rafe Blandford [All About Symbian]:

So, in that sense, who do you see as your biggest competition and will there be links within the rich context web between them through open standards.

Anssi Vanjoki:

I classify competition in three different buckets. We have infrastructural level of competition - and there is only one guy we are competing with there and that's Google. That's infrastructural - the basic principals of business. Then you have companies who are approaching the same market, but more in the vertical manner - Apple, RIM - perhaps in some sense Microsoft - and people working with them. Then we have the third bucket of competitors, who we use to compete heaviest with, which are branded handset makers. In our transition from being a mobile phone company to becoming a platform and solution company we have to take on all these fronts. And that's what we are determined to do.

Anssi Vanjoki, on 'how should we measure your success?':

You should be looking at how many device we ship because we monetise most of our know-how based still on how many devices we ship. Secondly, we report this, how many active users we have for Nokia solutions - that's a very important KPI. Thirdly how much are other people making money on the ecosystem that Nokia has created - and there are methods on how this will be calculated. And those a rthe three most important measures.

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