Nokia's had a storming year. Now, with the doors about to close on 2013, it's time to look back at the highlights, and look forward to what's coming next...
2013’s been a year to remember in the world of mobile, with a huge number of brilliant smartphones and tablets popping into existence. Few manufacturers have been as busy as Nokia, though, which is why we’ve caught up with Conor Pierce, Nokia’s Western Europe general manager, to ask about the highlights and standout moments from the Lumia stable.
What has 2013 meant for mobile? What are Nokia’s biggest achievements? And what big innovations are looming in 2014? We asked Conor to reveal all…
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“I’ve been with Nokia for 10 years and at Nokia UK for two and a half,” Conor says, “and this year’s been especially exciting. Not just in terms of the turnaround of Nokia in the UK, but also in terms of the changes that the mobile market has undergone.”
Cutting edge tech
“One of the privileges of being a clear challenger in the smartphone space is the opportunity to break new ground, and I can see two or three clear innovations that we’ve brought to market this year. The first one is our camera technology, which you can see so clearly on the Lumia 1020. We’re really proud to have broken the mould by introducing a 41-Megapixel PureView-capable device.
“It’s been heralded as a new era in imaging technology.” And as Conor tells us, it’s the product of a huge amount of research and development. “That type of leap forward doesn’t come about in a heartbeat – it takes many, many years – so it’s a big technical breakthrough for us.
“Another thing which we’ve led on in mobile is bringing colour into the conversation. Whether it’s a technical breakthrough or not, it’s certainly something that’s now very different to when I arrived. Stores a few years ago were a sea of black and white devices. We had the opportunity to break the mould again here, which we’ve done using our colour-injected polycarbonate technology. We have our Lumia range that goes from green to blue to pink to yellow, etc.
“It’s very important for us to stay ahead of the game…”
“The colour trend is a big one. There’s definitely a bigger appetite from people to consider coloured devices now, and a colourful phone is more of a personal choice.”
That’s no exaggeration, either. Since the Lumia range entered the scene, the mobile market has noticeably woken up to the idea of colourful phones – in a big way. The iPhone 5c being an obvious recent example, but that’s just one example of many.
“It’s very important for us to stay ahead of the game,” says Conor. “Most innovations launch on flagship devices in any industry, so we’ve put a lot of effort into building a very strong range of devices in the high-end bracket. From the Lumia 925 which we launched in the summer time, and following through with the Lumia 1020. They’re two very clear flagship devices. High-end is obviously incredibly competitive, but it drives the leading agenda for smartphones.”
And when you continue to launch new technologies, people tend to sit up and take notice. As a result, Nokia’s scooped its fair share of awards this year. We pushed Conor to name a few of the ones that’ve meant the most.
“Every award is important. It’s two years this month that we launched our first Lumia – the Lumia 800. I’m really happy with what we’ve done in terms of momentum, and most importantly, we’re happy that Lumia has been so well recieved in the industry.
“Most recently, the Lumia 620 has been awarded the best value phone for 2013. The Lumia 520 has won Best Budget Phone. PC Pro and Recombu have both given the 1020 awards recently for innovation. When you’re breaking new ground and bringing innovation as we do, it certainly gains attention, and we’re really proud of that.”
2013 trends that’ll shape 2014
So what does Conor think are the big stories of mobile in 2013?
“The biggest trend for 2013 for me is that people are becoming more interested in the ecosystem behind the device. The device can be beautiful and do all the things you want it to, but what’s now important is how integrated it is to all the other things in your life. This is the beauty of what Nokia and Microsoft are bringing to the table – the devices work really well together.
“The Xbox One has just been launched, for example. That’s an incredible home entertainment gaming platform that you can control with your Windows Phone device.
“People are becoming more interested in the ecosystem behind the device.”
“That ecosystem trend is really important for both manufacturers and networks. Vodafone’s got a really strong 4G offering with Spotify and Sky Sports, and with the Netflix deal that’s available with some Vodafone Nokia Lumia devices. They’re all services that are great on mobile, but they’re also ones that let you enjoy content across multiple devices like tablets, consoles and computers.”
“That’s going to be a big part of the conversation next year.”
Since the conversation turned to the future, we asked Conor to reveal what’s coming from Nokia in 2014.
“I can’t say anything specific,” he said, “but what I can say is that our most recent devices like the Lumia 1520 are an indication of what’s coming. We’re very confident that we’re carving out a very strong place for Nokia, both in terms of devices and ecosystems.” Expect big things.
A glimpse of the future… What’s coming next from Nokia? We’ve had another one-on-one to find out.