Antaysia.com, UAE Appoints MI Digital As Its Digital Agency


Feel Beautiful Underneath

UAE based lingerie brand Antaysia has appointed MI Digital as its first Digital Agency for handling the UAE region.

Antaysia.com is looking to boost sales ahead of Valentines but also intends to build up its activity online to grow sales in the long term.

MI Digital will be responsible for growing the brand’s presence across PC and Mobility Based devices including handling creative & design, infrastructure, media buying, email, search, social networks, including the production of web and mobile applications.

Antaysia.com is particularly looking to invest in mobile, particularly via apps on phones such as the iPhone, while MI Digital will run paid ad campaigns for the brand to boost sales ahead of Valentine’s Day.

MI Digital will also use its network companies such as MI Events & MI Productions, Thailand to launch Events & handle photography and productions for the brand. The launch was handled by the Media Idee Network.

Antaysia.com Launch Event

Antaysia.com Launch Event

Nokia 5230 XM Launched In Pakistan. Nokia X6 Announced.


Nokia 5230Nokia’s launched it’s budget line of smart-phones with the 5230 Xpress Music phone in Pakistan on Wednesday,  5th of November, 2009. Following are its specifications:

  • 3.2 inch touch screen display with full-screen QWERTY keyboard and handwriting recognition
  • 2-megapixel camera
  • A-GPS navigation and the latest version of Ovi Maps

    Nokia 5230

    Ambiance At 5230 @Copyright iStratagem

  • Memory expandable up to 16GB via a microSD card
  • 33 hours of music playback time
  • Bluetooth 2.0 and a 3.5mm AV connector

Like the 5800 XM, it runs on S60 5th Edition and therefore is touch-enabled. It also means that you get access to the same GUI, with a Media Bar with quick access to your favorite media and applications, such as music, photos. The Contacts bar features thumbnail images for up to 20 close friends and provides easy access to them and their communications history including emails, phone calls, photos or other social media updates. It’s priced between 8000 PKR to 12000 PKR.

 

Nokia 5230 Launch

Shot With A Nokia 5730 Copyright@iStratagem

Nokia X6

It was also announced at the launch that the X6, Nokia’s new, top of the range, Xseries mobile phone, will also be launched into the market soon and that along with it, Nokia is trying to launch the  ‘Comes With Music’ platform in Pakistan too. The X6 phone was announced by Nokia around two months ago and is likely to cost around the 50,000 PKR price point. Nokia’s broken away from its brick form factors and used a long chassis for the X6 which now (thankfully) supports a healthy

Nokia's Brand Ambassadors

Copyright@Nokia

capacitive 16:9 aspect ratio display, measuring 3.2in along with a built in 5-megapixel camera complete with a Carl Zeiss lens plus a dual LED flash. The built in memory – 32GB, while other features include a TV-out socket, A-GPS, a web browser and support for Flash Lite.

Cristophe Corsi

Copyright@Nokia

Nokia’s Head Of Marketing For Live Platform, Cristophe Corsi was also present and gave Nokia’s understanding of the new multimedia platforms that are being enabled due to the digital revolution, though how it’s different from Apple’s Strategy & platform, still beats me. They also have a ‘Music Manager’ (erm!…like ITunes) in place complete with DRM.

Is Nokia The Next Motorola?


Nokia LogoNokia recently posted its Q3 2009 results and to say they’re disturbing would be a gross understatement. While net sales and operating profit didn’t fare well being down 1% and 4.4% from the previous quarter, the real startling figure is how Nokia is doing now compared to the same time last year. With a net loss of some 559€mm ($833.9mm USD) and sales tallying 9.8€bb ($14.62bb USD), YoY net sales were down 19.8% while operating profit plummeted a jaw dropping 57.8%.

Last year too in the smartphone category,in Q4 2008, Nokia’s smartphone sales had dipped a whopping 17 percent to 15.6 million units. As always, one company’s loss is another’s gain and no two companies highlighted this fact more than more than RIM and Apple. Both more or less doubled their smartphone market share, which than stood at 19.5 percent and 10.7 percent respectively. Apart from the big three, sales of HTC devices were then up 20 percent while Samsung saw its sales increase by an amazing 138 percent to 1.6 million units. Still, they each only commanded modest stake in the smartphone market at 4.3 percent and 1.8 percent respectively at the time.

This year, In terms of market share, Nokia neither lost nor gained ground having managed to hang on to its estimated 38% market share despite pushing approximately 108.5 million devices. Still, this does not change the fact that Nokia’s handset sales are down 8% as the world’s consumers focused their attention on devices made by other manufacturers.

The biggest gainer overall this year…Apple. Its financial results for the fourth quarter 2009, have beat out the predictions. This quarter has seen Apple hit its best results in the history of the company, boasting a rather hefty $1.67 billion profit. The results, found here, show that Apple managed just short of $10 billion in revenue, at a total of $9.87 billion. Apple sold 3.05 million computers during the quarter, giving it a 17 percent unit increase over the previous Q4 results. Additionally, the company sold 10.2 million iPods and 7.4 million iPhones, representing an eight percent unit decline and a seven percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter, respectively. Even LG’s managed better. Now with Palm’s amazing Pre and Android taking over almost all manufacturers, will Nokia will go the same way as Motorola especially since their initiative to make Symbian OpenSource has thus far proven ineffective?

This was the reverie I was in whilst at the launch of the new Nokia E72 Handset at Karachi, Sheraton today. Anyway, first the formalities:

nokia e72

Summary

Built on S60 3rd Edition FP2, the Nokia E72 is optimized for messaging and e-mail with a full messaging keyboard and support for EGPRS, WCDMA, HSDPA/HSUPA (3.5G) and WLAN. The device features two customizable Home Screen modes, active noice cancellation and a 5 Mpix autofocus camera. You can write messages with intelligent text input, enjoy videos, music, and graphics on the 2.36” QVGA display. Additional features include GPS and Nokia Maps 3.0, UPnP, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, and USB 2.0 High-Speed.

About Nokia E72
The E72 builds on the formula from the hugely successful Nokia E71, Nokia’s best selling QWERTY device to date. This latest arrival in Nokia’s Eseries family maintains essential elements of its predecessor, whilst still improving its capabilities in a number of areas.
“Despite the outstanding market performance of the Nokia E71, we still continually look for ways to enhance the device,” said Trude Gajland, Category Head Nokia Eseries, MEA. “So we included the desktop like email experience from the Nokia E75 and gave it a new optical navigation key for more intuitive scrolling through menus, emails and fast panning of images. We also upgraded the camera to 5 megapixels and added a standard 3.5 mm audio jack.”
On top of these developments, for the first time, owners will be able to set up instant messaging (IM) accounts provided by Nokia Messaging direct from the homescreen. In just a few steps, device owners will be able to connect to their favorite IM accounts such as Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk and Ovi, amongst many others.
These new IM features are complimented by Nokia’s range of email solutions with a lifetime license for Nokia’s mobile email and IM service, Nokia Messaging, as well as onboard clients for Mail for Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes Traveler. Accessing popular accounts such as Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, Ovi Mail and thousands of other email service providers is simple through improved on-device email setup, with the same easy to use UI integrating all of the owner’s corporate email accounts as well.

Other notable features which have been included in the Nokia E72  include A-GPS and compass with integrated Maps, including lifetime walk and 10 days of turn-by-turn navigation if activated within the first three months. Conversations are also clearer with active noise cancellation, and a torch can be activated with a single press of the spacebar key. The office capabilities have been updated with a new version of Quickoffice, which delivers Microsoft Office 2007 compatibility as well as free version upgrades when new features become available.

For further information, the RAM is 256 MB and the processor is clocked up to 600mhz but it is still an arm 11. Finally Nokia arrives to the 600 Mhz category and even then half-heartedly. Whew! Now let’s review what I think of the launch.

According to the Imran Khaild, GM Nokia, Nokia is not trying to displace the 25000 or so Blackberry users in Pakistan. Instead Nokia wants to use a 40,000 PKR phone to cater to the ‘Consumer Market’ as well as the ‘Corporate’……

Correct me if i’m wrong here. It’s one thing that Nokia’s having trouble penetrating the Pakistani corporate market (and even international i’m supposing) due to international policies, IT Policies and the first mover advantage by BB with the Pakistani telecoms. However, the belief that the E-series can cater to a  consumer market requires serious re-thinking. In a world dominated by affluent teens and young adults who thrive on IMs, SMS and increasingly social networks on their phone (incidentally Facebook App on Nokia is the worst i’ve used) are being targetted via a 30 year old technology whose behavior requires that a person think

Copyright @ SenseApplied 2009

10 Points For Guessing Right. Which Is The New Phone? Copyright@SenseApplied 2009

and reply in a more fuller answer than 160 characters. Not the behavior observed in our youth.There’s also a reason why though 300 million people have tried mobile email, only 10% have retained their accounts there (source: Gartner). Mobile behavior is just not conducive towards email messaging beyond short messages and reading. Yet Nokia believes it can cater to the 80% of the people who still don’t have email accounts when they (the people) have already jumped to technologies like SNN and SMS for most of their needs. Anyways, let’s see if this strategy would work.

The other thing observed at the launch was regarding the nature of the questions and general discussion over lunch. The most popular questions asked at the launch were direct comparisons to the iPhone or its features especially touch (to which Imran replied they want to produce touch for the mass market than an elite market…..). This reminded me about Apple’s recent stunt. In a question as to how Apple viewed its increased competition for the iPhone, Apple COO Tim Cook said “they’re still catching up with the first iPhone”. Nokia… you just cannot do Touch. Touch is a nightmare on Symbian, no matter how cheap it is. I’ve used both the 5800 XM and a 5530 XM in my lifetime and neither gets marks for ease of use or accessibility. Both still require a stylus to use properly.

One of the FAQs often thrown at Nokia’s events is regarding number of iPhone Apps vs. number of Nokia’s Apps. Nokia’s answer usually is that we have countless apps and thus more than Apple. However, that is side stepping the issue very neatly. Apple just crossed the 100,000 Apps for ONE PHONE only. Nokia’s apps are spread over so many series and models, that none of the phones probably has more than 10,000 at best. I counted around 4000 for my Nokia 5730 on http://www.getjar.com.

Also If i were the brand manager at Nokia, i’d be getting serious nightmares. Instead of one of my phones being the benchmark / standard in the industry (e.g. N72 vs. Nokia 97) or even the current E72 phone being launched thought cool enough to define a new standard, i’m nowhere in the tech leader’s category. Instead for free my main competitor is gaining publicity at my expense. Though the questions were handled very deftly (full marks to Imran), it just shows that people belief that Nokia’s losing its technology lead to its competitors. Even during lunch the general conversation centered around a lot of topics but what was launched.

The problem is being multiplied moreso. The upcoming phones by Nokia are just more of the same. These include the Nokia N97 mini, Nokia X6 and Nokia 5230.

Now I agree completely that most of the sales for Nokia comes from mid-low end phones especially in the sub-continental and Chinese markets. Unlike the west also, we simply can’t afford iPhones or most smart-phones. We pay full price for ‘Unlocked’ phones rather than having them subsidized through telecom packages, thus Nokia’s offerings really makes sense in our price conscious markets. However, does the strategy of keep pumping out so called “new models” with minor differences (e.g. 6303, N95, N86, 7310, 7510 etc…) really work? Do potential customers of these phones really care if the cam has been “upgraded” or not? If sales are increasing whilst profit is shrinking, so does it still make sense to keep pumping out so called “new models” constantly? More importantly when YOY the sales results are showing that the strategy is not working, why is the strategy not being changed.

In marketing, we have a saying that ‘Less Is More’. Yet Nokia is increasingly trying to ‘cater to all markets’ and segments, not noticing that these are not the markets of a decade ago. GM had the same problem with low end Japanese imports (Chinese mobiles anyone) and premium brands and tried to get out of the situation then by launching Saturn.

Fundamentally, there are two ways to increase sales: (1) Expand the brand, or (2) Expand the brand’s market share.

Most companies focus on the first way, expanding the brand. While this might seem to work in the short term, expanding the brand will eventually weaken the brand and leave it in worse shape than before the process began. While it’s more difficult to expand a brand’s market share, this is the better way to go. The larger the market share, the more powerful a brand becomes. When a brand reaches 50 percent or more market share, it becomes so dominant that it is almost impossible for a competitor to overtake.

Perception dictates reality. Does Starbucks coffee tastes better because the consumer thinks it tastes better or is it really better?

The larger the market share, the more dominant the brand, the greater effect the brand has on the consumer’s perception of reality. All candy bars are pretty much alike, because no one brand dominates the category. Every one percent increase in a brand’s market share does two things, both favorable. One, it increases the power of the brand in the mind of the consumer and two, it decreases the power of competitive brands.

The ultimate goal of a marketing campaign should be to dominate the brand’s category so the brand itself becomes a generic name for the category.

Which brings up the sad saga of Saturn.

Here is a brand introduced by GM less than 20 years ago in a highly competitive category. In 1994, just four years after its introduction, Saturn hit its high-water mark, selling 286,003 cars. That year, the average Saturn dealer sold more vehicles than the average of any other brand. That was the year the Saturn spirit was in full bloom. That was the year 44,000 owners and families attended a ‘homecoming’ at the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. So what did Saturn do next? Did it try to expand its market share? Or did it try to expand the Saturn brand into larger and more expensive vehicles? You’re right. Expand the brand.

A typical quote from that year: ‘Many analysts feel that Saturn will eventually need a bigger model to retain customers as they older and more affluent’, reported The Wall Street Journal in its June 17, 1994 issue. In the February 9, 1998 issue of Automotive News, Ron Zarella, then vice president of GM’s North American sales, service and marketing, was quoted as saying, We’re doing everything we can to get them a wider product range. In the March 9, 1998 issue of AutomotiveSaturn goodbye News, Charles Child, news editor, said: GM has to bite the bullet and let Saturn spread its wings. That is, give Saturn a full line of cars and light trucks as soon as practical. In January 1999, Cynthia Trudell took over as head of Saturn and as you might expect, one of the first things she said was that Saturn is definitely looking for ways to expand the portfolio. (Ms. Trudell was the first woman to head a car division at any domestic or foreign auto maker.) Two years later, Ms. Trudell was gone and Annette Clayton took over. The strategy didn’t change, however. My focus for the immediate future, said Ms. Clayton, is to prepare us for the SUV launch and to position us to grow the portfolio. The larger Saturn (the S series) was introduced in 1999. The sport-utility vehicle (the Vue) in 2002 and a replacement for the original Saturn (the Ion), also in 2002. When Bob Lutz arrived at GM as vice chairman responsible for product development, he sounded the same tune. In the December 13, 2004 issue of Fortune, he was quoted as saying: We’re investing in Saturn’s future because the inherent health of the brand is quite good. It just needs a bigger, more exciting product portfolio. Nothing helped. Saturn sales fluctuated over the years, but never reached the high-water mark of 1994. Then in 2004, in spite of the fact that Saturn dealers had three models to sell, as opposed to the original one, sales were only 212,017 units, down 26 percent from 1994. Average sales per dealer were only 483 units, half the level of a decade earlier.

The E-series is starting to sound like GM’s Saturn. In catering to the Corporate Category, Nokia’s losing its focus on the consumer markets (My Nokia 5730 does not sync with OVI Store and doesn’t work with OVI Suite 1.4 out of the box). Worse, it’s not even doing corporate well. There’s virtually no distinction between the different phones in the E-series. The hyped up Nokia-Seimens venture NSN is going the Nortel way. (Do read up on http://www.cn-c114.net/577/a452043.html). The technologies being deployed are starting to sound old. On the consumer smartphone front, Samsung Star has swept the market in our part of the world because of which Nokia’s launched a mega-campaign promoting the 5530 to contest it. Nokia Pakistan is also not bracing for the fact that operators are starting to bundle phones with their packages and whilst it’s going to be impossible to route Nokia from the low-end phones market in the immediate future (they make up over 80% of Nokia Pakistan’s Revenues), over time the sexier technologies being bundled with Chinese (TV anyone?????) and other OEMs manufacturer will create a dent in the market share as the category shifts from voice to other forms.

Granted there’s a huge difference between cars & phones and markets and times… however in my opinion Nokia is starting to sound the same tune. They’ve lost what made them Nokia in the first place ‘Connecting People’ and are trying to expand the brand into areas where it doesn’t belong using the same technologies over and over, pushing them to death in all their series until there’s virtually no differentiation – a death knell for the brand. Here’s an excerpt from their press release ‘… we make a wide range of devices for all major consumer segments and offer internet services that enable people to experience music, maps, media, messaging and games….’. Sounds like a serious lack of strategy. For what customers really think about their Flagship N97 check out http://www.intomobile.com/2009/10/27/video-dear-nokia-the-nokia-n97-blows-and-you-know-it.html. Toshiba’s recently announced that they’ll be mass producing a 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor for fones in Q3 2010. Compare that to the highest Nokia 8 megs.

With the new enterprise / corporate trends like cloud computing devices, Enterprise 2.0, android, Winmo 7 (i’m really excited about this one), mobility computing, social applications, HD on phones and so much more, where do we place Nokia’s products in the upcoming smarter world especially its E-series?

B&O Beosound 5 – Launched In Pakistan


Beosound 5Bang & Olufsen have officially announced the BeoSound 5 in Pakistan, a digital music system intended to bridge the gap between the company’s high-end hifi systems and music stored digitally. Priced at Rs. 500,000, the system is aimed at two segments – the high flying bachelor (rettes) looking to impress their friends (esp. at parties) and particularly mature music fans –  who are tentatively making their first move towards digital music (which also explains the lack of compatibility with lossless formats such as monkey audio and FLAC).

Beosound 5 Controller
Beosound 5 Controller

The Design

Designed by Anders Hermansen, the main interface to the system is the BeoSound 5 controller, a 2.65kg table-top or wall-mounted remote dominated by a 10.4-inch 1024 x 768 LCD and an aluminum scroll wheel. The BeoSound 5 exhibits trademark B&O industrial design ethics – the sleek, minimalist lines, and use of aluminium in a reassuringly solid construction that oozes class – and is controlled at the colour display panel by a trio of metal rings that respond to the lightest touch. A Graphical User Interface provides the user the ability to navigate their entire music collection smoothly and quickly whilst displaying crisp graphics and album covers. An Aluminum and black wall bracket is included with the Beosound 5 and as an option you can have an extended wall bracket, a table stand in black and a floor stand in aluminum.

Beomaster5

Beomaster 5

Providing the power to this setup is the BeoMaster 5, a 500GB music server with internet connections. This allows the user to transfer uncompressed or ‘lossless’ binary versions of their favourite sounds onto the 500GB hard drive housed inside the BeoMaster 5, which can be secreted away in your media room or linked to the outside world by an Ethernet cable (though why not just make it WIFI compatible is something that’s really made me wonder).

That 500GB capacity means you’ll get around 80,000 songs (or digital photos), all without that trade-off between the accessibility of having music stored digitally and the accompanying audio quality. It plays internet radio, too.

Beosound5 Menu

BeoSound User Interface

Beosound 5 with Beolab 9

Beosound 5 with Beolab 9

The Sound

Beolab9

Beolab9

In most cases, that move to digital music comes with a huge drop-off in quality sound reproduction, given the highly compressed nature of most digital music tracks. What Bang & Olufsen have achieved with the BeoSound 5 is the perfect balance. In action, the B&O always sounds good and occasionally great, although as with all such devices, sound quality depends on the file types in which you choose to store your music.

My system was linked into a pair of BeoLab 9 speakers, where WAV and Lossless files naturally worked best: here, the sound is at once assured and impressively ‘hi-fi’, and has little truck with the high-frequency hardness that can plague many digital music systems.

Service Menu
Service MenuTo Access The Service Menu on the B&O Beosound 5 , Press Right Arrow – Left Arrow – Right Arrow Again – Left Arrow Again- Then Go, Very Quickly

Even more impressive is the fact that B&O have also done this without losing the tactile pleasures associated with handling a beloved music collection. The entire experience of handling and selecting the tracks is reminiscent of going through a record collection, searching for the perfect song to complement your mood.

Transferring the music via connection to the PC was problematic initially, but we finally resolved this by connecting a USB Flash Drive to the Beomaster and copying the music onto the HD directly.

The supported formats by the system include WMA, WMA Lossless, MP3, WAV, ASF and AAC, together with internet radio streams in WMA, MP3, ASX and M3U.  It will also display video in MPEG, MPE, MPG, AVI, WMV and VFW formats.  500GB is enough room for over 28,000 songs stored losslessly.

When the music comes to an end, BeoSound 5 will continue to play ‘More Of The Same’ (MOTS) – that is, it will find other music on your system that complements what you’ve already been listening too. MOTS analyzes tracks by rhythm, syncopation, key tonality and vocal harmonies, and creates automatic playlists that evolve as you choose music and add to the list.  It’s impossible to tell without experiencing the system how well this works, but B&O apparently have at least two patents pending.

Beosound5
Beosound5

In Summary

To sum up a system like this is not easy. However if you can afford it, we do envy you.

HP ProBooks Launched In Pakistan


Philip Lau, General manager, Asia Emerging Countries, Personal Systems Group, HP.

Philip Lau, General manager, Asia Emerging Countries, Personal Systems Group, HP.

I recently participated at the HP launch of their new brand of affordable notebook PCs, at the Karachi Avari, that merges business functionality with sophisticated design – the HP ProBook. The HP ProBook series joins the award-winning HP EliteBook series to form one of the most versatile business notebook portfolios in the industry.

The new HP ProBook family, is a low-cost business notebook designed specifically for small and medium businesses. Translation: this desktop replacement notebook has a good balance of performance, security, reliability and extras all at an affordable price.

HP Probook

HP Probook

First Look

Inspired by minimalism, the design of the new HP ProBook series combines matte and glossy surfaces while stripping out the extraneous, leaving only a stylish and clean look. The Probook is also distinguished by a choice of merlot or glossy noir finishes, a unique keyboard design and a set of professional innovations previously found only on higher-priced models.

The outer shell of the screen casing, like the rest of the notebook, is made of plastic. The lid is made of reflective, glossy plastic with the HP and ProBook logos printed in silver. The laptop screen housing it is a mixture of firm and flexible materials.

The full-size keyboard is a new design that HP has unveiled with the launch of the ProBook series. The keyboard provides extra spacing between the individual keys to help reduce typos and even includes a dedicated number pad (a major plus for businesses that use their computers for number crunching or data entry). Each key is relatively flat with a nice matte texture and the keys sit above a glossy black support frame. The support frame surrounding the keys is quite firm thanks to the design of the chassis which adds additional support for the keyboard. The only obvious area of flex in the keyboard is when you press on the number pad keys. Usability is the same as with traditional keyboards and the raised surface means fewer places for dirt and dust to hide making it easy to clean and more maintenance free than ever before.

HP Professional Innovations

HP Professional Innovations included on the ProBook s-series include:

1. HP QuickLook 2 software, which provides access to e-mail, calendar, task and contact information within seconds at the touch of a button.

2. The HP SpareKey feature addresses the hassle of forgotten passwords by using a sequence of three predetermined personal identification questions to gain immediate entry into the system.

3. For added data security, File Sanitizer for HP Protect Tools permanently deletes individual files, folders and personally identifiable information from the notebook, which also allows customers to recycle the notebook with confidence that their business data has been removed.

Pricing and availability

HP ProBook - Black

HP ProBook - Black

Estimated street pricing in Pakistan begins at a little over Rs.60,000. The glossy noir (black) option is available now and the merlot color option will be available from August.

The standard series (s-series) of the new HP ProBook models incorporate a mercury-free design, and features high-definition (HD) LED backlit displays in a choice of 13.3-inch, 14-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch diagonal widescreen sizes.

See Tuesday’s Flickr Page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tuesdaydigital/ for more pictures of the event.

Nokia N97 Launched In Pakistan


The Nokia N97 has been announced in Pakistan together with the global launch in 75 countries. The N97 comes at a retail price of Rs. 58,000 only, much less than the expected Rs. 65,000 price point.

Despite all the ‘hype’ about this ‘Mobile Computer, the N97 isn’t a device that will trigger knee-jerk hysteria (we have seen all those cool features before in other phones… especially the Nokia 5800), but it does give you a sort of cool-headed excitement at the prospect of ushering in a new era of personalized mobile revolution in Pakistan, which the phone promises to bring – access to the internet, music, games and even maps for navigation can be fully customized according to the person’s location and individual likes & interests; this could be access to social networks, online videos, local weather updates or RSS feeds from favorite publications, putting the user in control of their online world.

Nokia’s saying however that the phone is not meant for technophiles (that’s what i over-heard anyway). People like us keep comparing it to the iPhone, Pre, G1, Blackberry storm, etc and since it’s a flagship phone expect capacitive screens, faster CPU than the E55, more on-board phone memory and the like. No! for Nokia, the N97 is meant for the other 97% of the population which doesn’t know how to install freeware applications, doesn’t know about Fring, Facebook applications or Google maps, etc. This basically means that for the N97, Nokia is targeting the upper income mature market in Pakistan who has a lot of money to spend, primarily uses voice only and want to show everyone that they’re rich and in the know. Well can’t argue with that. :)

For those who’d like to know, they’re calling it a mobile computer now because it can be upgraded and new components / software can  be added in just like in  your desktop. After having success by bundling small applications and games, Nokia is now actively engaging the developer community and I think it is from this initiative the concept of a mobile as a computer will really take off.

Anyways, the Nokia N97 comes with Ovi Store in Pakistan too and comes preloaded with ‘global applications’, so you’ll be able to pick up any apps you like, and unlike with the iPhone, it’s not a walled garden, so you can get your programs from wherever you like online.

Photos: At the Nokia event, held at Karachi Mariott, two European models brought the phone to the venue and the Finnish First Secretary, H.E.Miia handed over the phone to the GM Nokia.

Now though i’m waiting for the N86 to be announced in Pakistan soon. It was announced back at Mobile World Congress in February and is Nokia’s first 8 megapixel cameraphone, and while it’s late to the party (Samsung and Sony Ericsson are moving on to 12MP), the Carl Zeiss optics should keep quality high (i personally loved the N82 and N85 both) and the HSDPA and Wi-Fi will let you get on the web at speed, and there’s GPS to guide you around like any self-respecting smartphone should. Now that’s something I actually want…

Pakistan Crosses 92 Million Mark In Cellular Subscribers


Cellular subscribers cross 92 million mark
Source: Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX

The cellular subscribers are showing an upward trend and the cellular subscribers crossed the 92 million mark as the month of May touches its conclusion, the APP has learnt reliably. Though the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) sources confirm that the cellular subscribers have crossed 92 million mark, the officials say they would post the latest digits within a weeks time. However, the PTA spokesman said the telecom sector registered a total of 91,978,760 in the month of April, 2009. The telecom sectors upward growth brings a sigh of relief for the telecom sector. As per latest stats issued by the PTA, the Month of April showed a upward trend with 0.6 percent growth – thats second highest since November 2008.

As per details, Zong stood first by capturing most customers in April 2009, while all the cellular companies collectively added 536,419 customers. In Pakistan, currently five cellular mobile operators i.e. Telenor Pakistan, Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (PMCL/Mobilink), PTML (Ufone), Warid Telecom and China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak/Paktel) are providing services using GSM technology whereas the sixth operator i.e. Instaphone is providing services using D-AMPS technology.

Instaphone has, however, internal issues and could not launch CDMA/WCDMA as originally planned by the operator. The GSM operators have also launched GPRS services whereas Telenor and Mobilink are also offering EDGE services in most part of their networks. In the core network, some operators have deployed and some are in advanced stage of deployment of R4/NGN network. As a result of progressive network rollout by the operators, the facilities are now available to over 90 percent population of the country. In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) and Northern Areas (NAs), there are six cellular mobile operators, five Pakistans GSM operators and Special Communication Organization (SCO) providing services.

SCO is the incumbent mobile operator since 2003. After the earthquake of 2005, mobile licenses were issued to operators of Pakistan. Now, the AJ&K and NAs are at par with the Pakistan in terms of mobile facilities and competition in the sector. The operators have covered most part of the AJ&K and also extended services to main localities of NAs. Now, as a result of this, mobile services with GPRS facilities are available in far flung mountainous areas of the country.

Since GSM technology is used by the mobile operators in Pakistan, therefore, UMTS is preferred for 3G mobile. Frequency Allocation Board is in the process of clearing the core 3G band/spectrum and will complete the task very soon. Information Memorandum is being prepared and will be forwarded to existing mobile operators of Pakistan. The spectrum is arranged in blocks of 5 MHz each and will be auctioned amongst the existing operators.

Through auction spectrum would be assigned to only three operators. The spectrum so assigned through auction will contain certain condition regarding rollout, QoS, etc. It is expected that soon the process of 3G spectrum auction will be completed and, thereafter, the PTA would launch 3G mobile services in Pakistan.

Nokia E75 Launched In Pakistan


Disclaimer: The following is a personal opinion after watching the launch presentation of the E75. I haven’t used the phone personally.

I was at the launch of the E75 Business Messaging Phone today at the Karachi Sheraton. During the course of the presentation, i couldn’t escape this nagging thought that this phone would have been awesome had it been the year 2005 or 2006 but in 2009, it feels like too little too late.

For those who don’t know… the Nokia E-series phones enable you to manage your business and personal life. With the E75, you can type quickly with the side slide design, check email on the fly and browse the internet in your phone. Users can also easily access personal and corporate email accounts like Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, IBM Lotus Notes Traveler and Mail for Exchange. The enhanced email user interface supports most common features like one-click reply, expanding views, folder support and HTML support. The phone is meant for Enterprise, Consumers and Emerging Profiles. I can understand the enterprise or the consumer segment, but have a problem with the emerging profile though.. Question:- How does a Rs. 39,900 ($400+) phone (more than 6 months salary for greater than 50% of our people) satisfy Nokia Pakistan’s vision of “First Email / Internet Experience Being On A Nokia Device”. Especially given the fact that a Pentium 4 system in our country only costs Rs. 7000 (<$100).

Anyways, the phone is unlike any other enterprise version launched by Nokia – much much different. It supports N-Gage so us corporate types can now seriously waste time with Tetris and Snake, it supports music for those bored times waiting for people to show up however there’s no way to edit office documents without paying extra, so i’m not sure how we can increase productivity whilst on the move. I also really don’t get the 3.2 Megapixel camera, especially for a phone in this price range.

Nokia-E75_6839

The integration with OVI also left me wondering “Why do i need another email account, that too which i’ll need to pay for in a few years, if not months”. Also, there’s nothing great about OVI in Pakistan at least. I’m already saving my contacts on my laptop & Online, i have a free Skydrive which i can access from any mBrowser, i like Google Maps over Nokia Maps (especially since this feature doesn’t work in Pakistan) and so forth. Nokia  said that they will be giving us more services over the next few months but… I remain a skeptic. Most of the things that they will do for money, i’m already doing for free on my phone. Maybe this OVI service is targeted more towards the emerging profiles, since it’s estimated that only 25% of the population has an email account, so that’s a big chunk of the market still which hasn’t discovered the joys of ‘constant connectivity’.Will that chunk buy an E75 is another matter.

Word of Advice: Don’t lose the phone ever. If you’ve saved your passwords on the phone, it can remote access your PC. Talk about security nightmare.

Net Take-Away: It is my personal belief that Nokia E75 is more suited for teens than corporates. It’s main selling point is aimed at people who are heavily into mobile mail services and multiple IM clients and therefore could use a full-sized keyboard. That’s mostly the youth segment of our country. I think this is why they’ve incorporated music and gaming into the phone too. There’s no Facebook App for it right now though Nokia’s promised to rectify this soon. Why they’re calling it an enterprise phone though, i don’t know?

Conclusion:

All in all, i’m not sure why Nokia has launched this phone in Pakistan. It’s nothing like the E71 and especially given the price conscious market that we are, the E55 is better suited for this market than the E75. Messaging / media wise the Nokia 5730 XpressMusic is probably a better buy.

What do you think?

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