Nokia World 2013 - "Connecting People"
Hotel & PeopleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Intro & Journey
So on the 20th October 2013 my great adventure continued, I set off from my Hotel in New York and headed for JFK Airport on the E Train from the 51st Street station. I was cutting my visit short by a couple of days as I had been lucky enough to be invited to Nokia World which was taking place in Abu Dhabi. The kind people from Nokia Connects had invited me and even gone out of their way to make arrangements to fly me from my vacation direct to the event, now this had doubled the flight time compared to flying from the UK, however I had a couple of things to keep me going. The adrenaline created by the excitement of attending probably the last trade event and product announcement by Nokia and the company of a certain Sicilian American and fellow Nokia fan Lenny Bonsignore, After a long wait to get through security at JFK I met up with Lenny for a beer near our departure gate and despite not being able to get our seats changed to sit together via Etihad staff, Lenny somehow, either by charm , wit or threat managed to persuade some one to swop seats with me and so we were set to spend thirteen hours sat next teach other. The flight itself was actually quite good and having flown with Etihad before , I must say they were up to their usual standard, even in 'Coach' the seats are quite comfortable and leg room reasonable and the entertainment system top notch. The biggest and most pleasant surprise to me was the in flight WiFi , this was the first time I had ever used the internet whilst flying and I was extremely impressed, there is something extremely Geeky and cool about tweeting at 34,000 feet LOL
Anyway the flight went reasonably ok, only one incident of a lady collapsing and having to have first aid and a sleep in the staff quarters for a few hours and a few movies to break the monotony ( I can't sleep on aircraft) and obviously a few long and enjoyable chats with Lenny. Quite a few people attending the event had arrived throughout the day of Monday 21st Oct but as we were travelling a little further than many it was after 7pm local time when we arrived. The customs and security at Abu Dhabi were really quick and as we exited arrivals we soon spotted several Nokia representatives and were in a car heading for the Dusit Thani in no time. After checking in and dumping our gear in what can only be described as opulent rooms, we made our way down, in my case , 20 floors in the panoramic lift to the dining room where there were already a good few bloggers, press, photographers and Nokia staff either eating or chatting in the restaurant. Having spent about ten to fifteen minutes checking out the incredible choice of food available, I managed to grab a plate full and found a space at one of the tables with a group of Americans. I also managed to catch up with my friend and companion from previous events Stephen Oiller, who would be my companion on the flight back to the UK after the event.
After dinner , people seemed to gather in groups and some , maybe the more professional ones, went up to their rooms to either work on preparation for the main event or rest. We, that is to say the guys I ended up with did a bit of 'networking' which I assume means chatting and getting pissed, and if it doesn't then we weren't networking !
Entrance Nokia World
My Tweet Screen Shots From EventClick thumbnail to view full-size
To The Event
So after a good few beers we all retired to our rooms to get some sleep before the big event on Tuesday 22nd Oct, Nokia World 2013. Now for anyone who cannot understand my excitement at the chance to attend the event, think of it this way, it's like your favourite team reach the cup final, the manager calls you up and says , "how would you like to come to the cup final as our guest and after the big game you can come and hang out with the team", at least , that's what it feels like to me and 'meeting the team' is as important if not more important than the actual game. Nokia is and always has been as much about people as technology and every time I have been honored and lucky enough to attend anything involving them I have met dozens and dozens of wonderful people. In Abu Dhabi I was meeting quite a few people for a second or third time, some people for the first time and sadly there were a few faces missing that I had come to expect at Nokia events. The atmosphere of camaraderie throughout the event was simply superb
After breakfast on Tuesday and with rising excitement and expectation we were bussed over to the St Regis Hotel where the main event of Nokia World was to take place, on arrival, anyone who hadn't already registered and got their passes could do so, the majority, me included could go straight to the reception area for coffee and a bit of mingling before the Keynote Speech at 11.00 O'Clock. This was the first event I had ever been issued with a Press Pass and so could sit pretty near the front of the conference room and also we were getting pretty good WiFi reception so were able to tweet throughout the event ( I couldn't 'live blog' as I don't type quickly enough, hell, it's taken over a week to start this ) and post a few pics to Twitter. It was great to see Stephen Elop on the stage , possibly for the last time at a Nokia event and I honestly thought every product , service and application announced was very exciting. I won't go into details, but will post links for those who want more in depth coverage. The rest of this piece will be mainly some screen shots from my twitter feed and some photos I took with my Nokia phones and a few thoughts.
Keynote Video I got from USB stick given to me in Abu Dhabi
Nokia Product Video From Nokia World 2013
Opening of Keynote
So the first announcement were the new Asha handsets, the 500,502 & 503 and the main update was the dual shot shells of the phones that had a clear exterior that give the impression the phone is encased in ice, they look really cool and are priced at ridiculously low prices, the top of the range 503 is only $100 with a 5 megapixel camera and 3G. The whole range is a pleasure to use with their swipey UI and these are the handsets that will connect the next billion to the internet. This is what Nokia are all about, they realize everyone can't afford £400-£600 for a phone and that the whole world isn't covered with 4G !!
Next in line came Nokia's first 'Phablet' phones the Lumia 1320 and 1520. Both with 6" screens but massively different in specification and price. The 1320 is a huge phone with a low price, and aimed at the lower end and good for media consumption and fantastic value. The 1520 on the other hand is equipped with specs to both blow the minds of the tech press and geeks and to show just what Nokia can do with hardware. It has a processor, RAM and screen to compete with anything on the planet at present, everyone that held or looked at it was blown away. Even if you are not a lover of massive screens you cannot help but be impressed with the 1520, I opened Here Maps on it, which were set to satellite view and it was like looking at an HD ariel photo of Abu Dhabi, simply stunning !! Also the speed on anything you tried was literally blink speed, opening apps, switching apps, opening the camera everything was too fast to time.
Lumia 2520 Tablet
Final pierce of hardware to be revealed was the 2520 Tablet. Now I am not the greatest fan of the tablet as a form factor whatever OS it is running or whoever makes it. That being said, the 2520 is really well put together , has a great screen and for me the most impressive thing was the detachable keyboard accessory that had a built in battery to extend the use of the 2520 from 11 to 16 hours, now that would allow for one hell of a lot of productivity !!
App amnnouncementsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Software and apps
Other big announcements were software and application announcements. The biggies generally, were official Instagram and Vine, along with Flip Board. But for me some of the Nokia stuff was much more exciting,Nokia Beamer, an advance on Photo Beamer which in effect lets you share anything on your screen via the web to any web enabled monitor or phone ! Storeyteller which basically organizes and adds your photographs to maps giving you a timeline story of what you have been doing on your Nokia Lumia and most impressive for me the announcement that the 1520 and 1020 Lumias will be able to take RAW photos and also the announcement of ReFocus for most high end Lumias, where you will be able to take photos and basically, using clever software, everything will be in focus or , in effect, everything can be Bokeh ! The demo on both the 1520 and on facebook were extremely impressive and as someone who is quite keen on taking photos I think ReFocus was my personal highlight of the event.
Product shotsClick thumbnail to view full-size
After the keynote presentations, there was a chance to visit all the demo booths and stands to get hands on with all the products, see demos of the new applications and software and to see many of the accessories available from Nokia along with great demos for services like Maps, Nokia Music and Imaging. As the afternoon progressed a few drinks and snacks were bought out prior to the after show party and from just after seven pm coaches began to arrive to take people to the evening event at the Monte Carlo Beach Club where an evening of food , drink and various entertainment was laid on. It was an absolutely fabulous night another chance to catch up with and meet people and terminating with a fantastic firework display.
Party ShotsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Well that is about half of Nokia World and most of the tech stuff, and this piece is probably long enough now, so I will leave day two and the sight seeing to another day. Thanks for reading and hope it was of some interest.