The sky is a muddled grey in New York this morning. Cars drive by, honking their invariably impatient horns at passersby. People go to work and fret about their own lives. But there is a special kind of tension here as we gear up for Nokia World 2012. Simultaneously taking place in Helsinki, Finland and New York City, the weight of seven million Lumias is on Stephen Elop as he hopes to announce, or perhaps re-announce, the Windows Phone revolution.
Last year there was an enormous amount of hype surrounding Nokia’s foray into Windows Phone. The media was suitably impressed — the Lumia 800 was gorgeous, its design lauded as a brave new wave in smartphone design — but there was no escaping the fact that Windows Phone 7, even in its upgraded ‘Mango’ form, did not feel complete. Today, with the rollout of what is expected to be two high-end smartphones, along with the advancement of Windows Phone 8, Nokia and Microsoft are again on equal playing fields, at least in terms of capability, as their Android and iPhone peers.
Multi-core processors; high-resolution screens; NFC support; better apps; improved battery life. These are the minimum requirements for a successful operating system. Nokia has put a lot of cachet in its exclusive software lineup, but if bigger developers such as Instagram and Flipboard don’t get on board — and I use those because they’ve become de facto brand benchmarks — all the great hardware will mean little.
The @Nokia Twitter account put out this picture just now, saying “Today we dine on Jellybeans!” This is as forceful a statement we’ve seen from an established brand in a long time; it speaks to the openness and dare we say desperation Nokia is feeling as it tries to stay relevant in North America and indeed the world.
We’ll know more in a couple of hours — the event starts at 10:00am sharp — but this is Nokia’s time to shine.