Friday, June 24, 2011

Nokia Phone 7 'Leak' May Have Been Planned

The "leak" of a video showing Nokia CEO Stephen Elop demonstrating the first Windows Phone 7 device may have been intentional. The crystal-clear video of the Sea Ray device generated substantial buzz on the Internet, exactly what Nokia and Microsoft need. An analyst said Nokia and Microsoft knew the Phone 7 demonstration would be "leaked."

Nokia and Microsoft's first collaboration Relevant Products/Services generated a substantial amount of buzz this week after a video Relevant Products/Services of the smartphone Relevant Products/Services appeared on a Hungarian web site -- the kind of buzz Windows Relevant Products/Services Phone 7 will need to gain traction in the smartphone market. The device Relevant Products/Services, code-named Sea Ray, was unveiled at a Nokia Connections event in Singapore by CEO Stephen Elop and Jukka Kiiskinen, a Nokia sales manager.

"This is something that is super-confidential and we don't want to see it out on the blogosphere," Elop said.


Someone in the audience had other ideas.

A crystal-clear video with clear sound from what seems to be a fixed high-quality camera found its way onto, and then quickly made its way to tech sites around the world.

Struggling to catch up to Apple's iPhone and Google Relevant Products/Services's Android-powered devices, Nokia and Microsoft, who recently announced a major collaboration, can use all the publicity they can get to create a bigger market for the Windows Phone 7 devices they will release this fall, observers say.

"One thing Apple fans do for Apple and Android fans do [for Google] is create publicity," said Strategy Analytics wireless Relevant Products/Services analyst Alex Spektor. "It would serve Relevant Products/Services Microsoft well and serve Nokia well to build similar buzz since those are the ecosystems they are trying to fight in that space."

Photos of, and details about, Apple and Android products are routinely leaked to tech blogs. The most famous recent example is the iPhone 4 prototype that ended up on Engadget and Gizmodo last year, months ahead of release. The companies involved routinely decline to comment on "rumors," but in this case there is no disputing the leak since Elop is seen holding the phone in the video.

While Nokia may not have deliberately leaked the video, it clearly didn't make a serious effort to keep the device under wraps, Spektor said.

"They're all intelligent people," he said. "They know that anything you share Relevant Products/Services with the general public, whether its developers or any group, unless they are under a direct [nondisclosure agreement], it is liable to leak out. So they did this either knowing the risk Relevant Products/Services or wanting to build some buzz."

The Sea Ray demonstrated by Kiiskinen is almost identical to the MeeGo-powered Nokia N9 smartphone launched earlier in the week, with a slim form and pillow-shaped back, except for three mechanical Windows Phone buttons on the bottom of the 3.9-inch screen and a side button that apparently will control the eight-megapixel camera. Much of the demonstration was of features already seen in the release of the MeeGo operating system update last month.

Other specs of the phone, such as the processor speed, weren't disclosed, nor were details on price, release date, or carrier partners.

Carrying Innovation

"They are trying to show that the innovation that Nokia is bringing with the [MeeGo] form factor will carry over into the Windows space," Spektor said.

MobileTrax analyst Gerry Purdy also wonders if the video on the Hungarian site is really an unplanned leak.

"They need all the help they can get," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they leaked it. Their focus is on the European market, to begin with. This gets them publicity about the fact that Nokia Phone 7 is now becoming real."

The challenge for Microsoft and Nokia is to show that their collaboration is a good marriage, Purdy added. "Nokia knows how to make good phones better than anyone, and Microsoft is good at software Relevant Products/Services. They have to leverage that into a product people will want to use. The market adoption looks promising. We'll have to see how it goes."

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