Nokia to dial up silver linings in gloomy times

LONDON: Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia hasn’t had the best run-up to its annual Nokia World event this year with news that its top two executives will be leaving the company.

Nokia has announced that its chief executive officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will be replaced by Stephen Elop, who was previously the head of Microsoft’s business software division.

This was followed by news that the company’s vice-president and general manager for mobile solutions, Ansii Vanjoki, tendered his resignation on the eve of Nokia World, which runs from Sept 14 to 15.

According to reports, Vanjoki was widely tipped to be the internal replacement for Kallasvuo before the Nokia board decided to hand the reins over to Elop, who will take up his new position on Sept 21.

Both Kallasvuo and Vanjoki were slated to be keynote speakers at the event but a Nokia representative told In.Tech that Kallasvuo is now unlikely to take part.

However Vanjoki may yet appear at the conference as he is scheduled to serve a notice period of six months before moving on.

“I am 100% committed to doing my best for Nokia until my very last working day,” he said in a statement.

Vanjoki did not give a reason for his resignation other than “the time has come to seek new opportunities in my life.”

These management shake-ups are widely seen as an attempt by the company to address its apparent missteps in the high-stakes smartphone space where it is facing increasingly stiff competition from the likes of Apple, Google and soon, Microsoft with the impending release of the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

These departures also come hot on the heels of a recent Gartner report which predicted that Google’s Android operating will move into second place behind Nokia’s Symbian in market share by this year.

The report further forecasted that by 2014, the two competing mobile operating systems will be neck and neck — with Symbian having 30.2% and Android 29.6% share in terms of sales.

Product announcements

Despite the dark clouds, Nokia World will present some silver linings, in the shape of new and exciting products.

Widely tipped to make an appearance is the Nokia N8 smartphone that runs on the new Symbian ^3 operating system. The phone, which was first announced in April, has a 3.5in capacitive touchscreen (640 x 360-pixels), 12-megapixel camera with Xenon flash and the ability to record 720p high definition videos.

The 16GB phone also has a memory card slot for expansion and comes with HDMI output that allows users to watch their videos on an larger screen.

The N8 is scheduled to be available via Nokia’s online shop in Britain from the last week of this month and in physical stores here on October 1. There is no word yet on when the N8 will be officially available in Malaysia.

Other possible product highlights from Nokia World will be the E7, which rumours say will come with a 4in touchscreen, a Qwerty keyboard and will run on Symbian ^3.

There is also a possibility that Nokia will provide more information on its Meego operating system, which is a joint project with Intel.

Meego was announced in February and is supposed to be an adaptable mobile operating system for smartphones, netbooks and Tablet devices.

We will bring you more news from Nokia World as the show gets underway so make sure to check back here for updates. You can also follow us on for the latest announcements as they happen.

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