Busy making things: tinycast, github, links, photos, @mc.

Thoughts on Mobile Multimedia

Posted: November 26th, 2003 | Author: | Filed under: Web Services | Comments Off

I sat in on part of the Nokia 2003 Capital Market Days last night, along with Russ and other scattered throughout the world.  Particularly I caught the end of Enterprise Solutions [pdf] and all of Driving Consumer Multimedia.  This is good, since I’m a one man 7700 fanclub.

I was thoroughly impressed with the way the webcast was handled.  There was a small but bearable image of the webcast on the left, the current slide to the right, and resources (pdf files) below.  It made sense, I didn’t have to guess what was on the slide, and it was fast.  During one presentation, the speaker asked to go back to the previous slide, and the webcast did too.  I think I was 10 seconds or so behind Russ on the feed, but this was Close Enough to realtime for me.

A few things screamed out at me during the presentation.  I’ll try to go in semi-chronological order as I look at the slides again. 

Some of their stats were impressive, but they’re just stats, so you can go ahead and read them too.  They’ve definitely got their market share and are taking the long haul approach.  It looks like Nokia is trying to divide devices up in to several categories while at the same time noting that the lines are blurry and that there is tons of convergence.  I think it’s more of a safety net for the suits: show them that revenue is coming from more than one ‘section’ of the ecosystem.

Interesting note: According to Nokia, there are two types of fun: active fun and passive fun.  A little shocking, I know, but interesting nonetheless.  Of course, this really just means that Nokia sees that different people use different devices differently, but the wording was interesting.  I believe that this is the point where Mr. Vanjoki noted that rowdy teenieboppers had different usage scenarios than say business users on a train (Hi Jim!).

Slide 11 has some goodies.  There is a new word in my vocabulary now: Multiradio.  The near-term next-gen mobile media devices are going to have to deal with many different ways of connectivity.  You’ve got your cellular based voice stuff, your cellular data, Bluetooth, digital video, and WLAN, among others.  Multiaccess is going to be key in any mobile device of the near future, but is a necessity for a mobile media device.  Time will tell if some more ways of connectivity sneak their ways in to media devices on their way soon (like the 7700 perhaps?).  Eventually you’re not going to ask if a phone can connect via WLAN, it will be a given feature on all but the cheapest of phones.  Ideally I’d be able to connect via my home wireless network to stream the latest news report from the BBC and catch up on my RSS feeds via EDGE when I’m away.  I can’t wait.

I think they’ve pegged the digital camera industry pretty well, but they’re a little too focused on themselves to see the big picture.  I am almost certain that they have underestimated 100 million still and video camera devices annually.  The figure is just too low.  I don’t really think that the megapixel race will ever really be over, just like the Megahertz race will always be around in one form or another.  Granted, you’re probably going to get a less noisy picture from a 4 megapixel chip as compared to a 5 megapixel chip, but customers have been taught that more megapixel == better quality.  It’s going to take a lot for them to think otherwise.

Which reminds me, why does my cel phone still take images in 640×480?  The image quality sucks compared to my little 2 megapickle DSC-U20.  I think that Nokia is going to have to put higher quality imaging sensors on their phones in order to stay competitive.  If they know what is going on, they will.

Anothing thing that jumped out at me while watching this presentation is that Nokia “gets” blogging.  I don’t remember Mr. Vanjoki using the word ‘blog’ but he definitely referred to it many times.  They know that posting pictures and annotating your life is going to become commonplace.  They know that you’re going to keep track of your friends and what they’re doing via your mobile phone.  Clue++;

Again on slide 19, they’re alluding to high speed connectivity (including WLAN) with several screenshots of series 90 devices.  Can I safely infer that at some point in the semi-near future, Series 90 will mean WLAN connectivity?  I sure hope so.

Now to the N-Gage.

During the question/answer session, a reporter asked Mr. Vanjoki to elaborate on the 400k N-Gage units that Nokia claimed to have sold/shipped last quarter.  I don’t remember his exact words, but it came across as there are 200k happy N-Gage users out there.  So did he admit that they have only sold 200k units to end users by accident?  Did he mean to say 400k?  I’m not sure, but Russ and I both heard 200k.

Another interesting development on the N-Gage front is Nokia-as-game-distributor.  He spoke many times of having to deal with a distribution system that already had its ways and its royalties.  They way he spoke of it, he made is sound like the game industry is as bad as/worse than the music or movie industries.  Nokia has a long way to go on the gaming front.  Hopefully N-Gage Arena will both boost sales and add to the positive gaming experience.  GPRS is too slow for all but the least network intensive (read: turn-based) games.  EDGE is the logical worldwide gaming solution, but I think that Bluetooth gaming is going to become the Next Big Thing in mobile gaming.  If I were a kid on a playground right now, I’d so be playing several friends in some locally mutliplayer shooter or strategy game.  Comeon now, you would be too.

That’s about all that I had to write up after watching the press conference.  I’m really psyched about mobile multimedia, series 90, and the 7700.  I’m also excited to see the lines of device categories blur more and more.  I might end up being off on some of my predictions, but it’s going to be a cool world if I’m not.

Now where did I put my 3g transmogrifier?


Comments are closed.