We had to choose between three events all kicking off at 6pm on the eve of Mobile World Congress 2011 and we chose Nokia because we already had a pretty good idea what would be announced at the Samsung and Sony Ericsson ones. Luckily we also had time to cab it to Samsung, which we'll report on shortly.
We were hoping Nokia would announce its first WP7 handset, but it looks like things aren't quite that advanced with Microsoft. Instead, the purpose of this press event was to answer questions that had arisen from the big Nokiasoft announcement on Friday.
Elop had five issues he wanted to address before a Q&A:
- Why he chose WP7. The biggest reason seemed to be that he thought Nokia would have made Android, and thus Google, too powerful in mobile. Now it's a three-horse race, etc.
- Nokia will still be shipping Symbian phones for years.
- Similar reassurance about Qt, although it won't be introduced to WP7.
- With regard to MeeGo, it looks like the decision to sideline it was made as late as last Thursday night! Apparently he spoke to Intel about it as soon as he could...
- Some vague reassurances about not firing too many people and how great his team is.
Among the key quotes from the presentation were Elop saying "The value transfer to Nokia of this deal is measured in Bs [billions] not Ms [millions]." It's clear he's spent a fair bit of the last couple of days gauging the media reaction to the announcement.
Jo Harlow, the SVP of smartphones, said: "I can't tell you when the first WP7 will be launched, but my boss [Elop] said he would be much happier if it was in 2011." There was a brief look at some renders of a design concept (below), which effectively confirmed the legitimacy of the Engadget leak of two days ago. So much so, in fact, that it smells strongly of a controlled leak.
Into the Q&As, mobile-device.biz asked which was better: a WP7 with Samsung, HTC and LG, or one with just Nokia? Elop opened with his standard line about the greater good of the ecosystem, but expanded by saying "Our number one priority is to compete with Android." We find this believable, but still think that whatever the others bring to the WP7 ecosystem, Nokia would still be much better off if it had the platform all to itself.
There was apparently no discussion about Microsoft acquiring Nokia, with Elop stressing the software giant has no interest in the mobile market below smartphones. Regarding MeeGo, there was merely the reiteration of it being "an investment against future disruption," or something like that.
That's it really. The Q&A was quite prolonged, but Elop wasted little time in legging-it back to his hotel afterwards. We know this because we're staying in the same place, and he was overheard in the hotel lift, minutes after the event ended, muttering about the facilities. He must have been looking forward to putting his feet up after the past week.