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The times they are a-changin'

ConstructionGLOBAL - This is just a short note to mention that we are updating some things on the site today and tomorrow (4-5 Feb 2009). Things might break, feeds might die, and your sensibilities might be offended... but, everything should be restored hopefully by the end of the week and you can go on to enjoy the stories and videos we post here.

What's happening? We're moving to a new platform so that we can better serve you and others who have come to count on our work here (can you believe it, respect!). We also want to change the design to something prettier, so we're doing that at the same time.

What we ask of you is a bit of patience as we move everything over to the new look, platform, and server. Also, it would be great if you could have a good rummage around the site and let us know, in the comments below, how things are working, if there are any bugs or irritations, if somethings is amiss, or better, what you think of everything we've done.

Now, strap yourselves in, as the times they are a-changin'.*

Image from Matti Mattila

*Hat tip to the great Bob Dylan for the title.

05 February 2009

Calling all innovators - ECO-Challenge showcase

Calling-all-innovators GLOBAL - As we promised last week, we're taking a peek at the 11 finalists in the Forum Nokia CallingAllInnovators competition, ahead of the final results being announced at Mobile World Congress on the 17th. First up we have the finalists from the ECO-Challenge category. With the simple strapline "Make a difference", giving ECO its own category highlights the importance of improving our ecological lot. The four finalists took dramatically different approaches to the Making a Difference challenge. Read on to find out what they were.

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NokiaConnected champions local social storytelling in Nigeria and South Africa


NIGERIA & SOUTH AFRICA - We've just had our heads turned towards an interesting new website called NokiaConnected. It's an online destination focussed on encouraging Nokia users in Nigeria and South Africa to connect and share their Nokia related stories and experiences with devices and services within its virtual walls.

It's great to see that over 200 members have already signed up to become part of the community and begin sharing their Nokia tales. Click through to find out more about NokiaConnected.

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04 February 2009

Nokia 5800 tips and the big advice question

Nokia5800XpressMusic GLOBAL - As is the nature with these things, since the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic entered the wild we've witnessed a flurry of wonderfully helpful tips for the device emerge from expert sites and online community hubs. Now, I'm a huge believer in the power and uncapped value of communities getting under the skin of a device to help the anyone get more from that product, but this most recent blizzard of bite-size tips for the 5800 made me question why?

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Nokia N96 and Bruce Lee

Bruce-Lee-N96 CHINA - When Nokia China wanted to launch the N96 it went for none other than Bruce Lee. The kicker for this is a YouTube video viral of Bruce Lee battling two opponents at the table tennis table, and winning! Released late last year, isn't the kind of battle we might normally associate with Bruce Lee, it is an actual game of table tennis, but that doesn't make it any less fascinating. Check it out after the jump.

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03 February 2009

Nokia Dreams Workshop aids eco education via art

Dreamworkshop ISTANBUL, Turkey - Nokia is tremendously aware that improving sustainability and raising eco awareness, when it comes to mobile devices, can't solely be addressed with the introduction of environmentally-minded products and practices - it has to stretch further than this, both internally, externally via projects such as we:recycle, and more gradually through the education of children and projects such as the recent Dreams Workshop recycle-themed art exhibition in Turkey.

Read on to find out more about the Recycling Dreams exhibition, and click through to see a gallery of the artwork created by the kids involved.

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02 February 2009

The story behind Nokia's smallest Bluetooth headset

Johanfrossen ESPOO, Finland - Small things can slip through the cracks, and indeed this little one did. The Nokia BH-804 was announced back in October as Nokia's smallest Bluetooth headset. But it was only today that we found out that the designer, Johan Frössén, had stepped in front the camera for a video interview, talking about his thoughts behind the industrial design of the headset, and the materials used.

So, we'd thought we'd share it with you. Catch the full video after the jump.

More » - asking questions, sharing ideas

Ideas-project GLOBAL - The freshly launched has rolled out with a raft of thought-provoking questions answered by industry experts and thought leaders. Designed as an interactive platform (a fancy website) where users can contribute ideas and experts contribute thoughts and answers to a range of quite interesting questions. Experts include Wired Magaine editor Chris Anderson, Xprize Foundation CEO Peter Diamandis, Nokia's VP of Maemo Ari Jaaksi amongst others.

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30 January 2009

Twitter begins to shriek in the UK. But why?

Twitter GLOBAL - I'm sure many of you will know what Twitter is, so I'll keep my summary for those that don't to less than 140 characters: "Twitter is a micro-blogging social network, where you write updates limited to 140 characters, and follow anyone's 'tweets' via mobile or PC". Wow, that's 140 characters on the nose! Anyway, I've been aware of Twitter since back in early 2007, when I first tweeted to the world, but admittedly I've not been a hardcore committed Twitterer, although more recently I'm beginning to get into the rhythm of it. However, in less than a month there seems to have been an explosion in Twitter activity in the UK. Sure it was popular before, but this swell in interest and people using it seems (at least where I'm tweeting from) as somewhat of a UK second wind.

This sparked a few questions, so are you sitting comfortably? Good, then let's begin...

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Calling all innovators - finalists announced

Calling-all-innovators GLOBAL - Eleven finalists have been chosen to go forward to the finals of Forum Nokia's Calling All Innovators global developer competition. Three categories, ECO-challenge, Emerging markets challenge and Technology Showcase, attracted almost 1,000 developers from across EMEA, Americas, APAC and China. The final winners will be announced on the 17 February during Mobile World Congress 2009.

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29 January 2009

The smart way to have some fun

Audio-smilies ESPOO, Finland - Smart phones are fundamentally, well, smart. But that doesn't mean you can't have some fun with them. Audio Smileys might be designed for kids to have a bit of a laugh with their devices (it's available on S40 and S60) but I have an inkling that this could take the place of the office whoppee cushion. Well, why not? The latest release from the Beta Labs team, Audio Smileys offers an easy way to turn your keypad into a festival of laughter - simply assign your own choice of funny sounds or tunes to each key, and you can irritate and cajole colleagues, friends or even enemies at the click of a button.

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Nokia 6700, Nokia 6303 and Nokia 2700 classics uncovered

2700 ESPOO, Finland - The Nokia 6700, Nokia 6303 and Nokia 2700 classics have just been unveiled. This svelte trio of handsets are unabashedly pushing the performance ceiling on mid-range devices, yet it's clear from their price tags that Nokia is keenly and crucially focussed on delivering top-end value at low cost.

We imagine many online tech pundits will rightly be shouting about the most feature-packed handset of the three, the Nokia 6700 classic with its GPS talents and 5-megapixel camera, and working down through the list of new arrivals towards the least feature-packed phone, the Nokia 2700 classic. But we think the real story and star of the bunch is indeed the 2700 classic. Here's why...

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28 January 2009

Nokia internet services gets another rocket strapped to its back


ESPOO, Finland - It's no secret that Nokia is swiftly evolving its internet and location based services, built on the original vision set out by CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo back in May of last year. So today sees Nokia stoke that engine for an extra performance boost with news that it's acquiring Bit-side GmbH, a cutting-edge mobile software and services outfit that promises to help propel Nokia's context-aware services, including Nokia Maps, to the next level. And fast.

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Nokia Fellows - innovating, but not in broad daylight

Valtteri_Niemi HELSINKI, Finland - Here on Conversations we're always on the hunt for those engaging untold stories behind a product or service, the unlikely heroes pushing innovation, and ultimately stories that we hope give you a genuinely interesting glimpse under the increasingly transparent skin of Nokia. With this in mind we want to tell you about the Nokia Fellows, a collective of unsung minds within Nokia who'd normally (and now here's the exception) go about their business untouched by limelight.

A bunch of the brightest and most influential technological experts working within Nokia, read on as we briefly shine the torch on how the Nokia Fellows affect widespread innovation within Nokia, and watch a video interview with Valtteri Niemi, the latest person to be named a Nokia Fellow.

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27 January 2009

New Beta Labs live and buzzing with chatter

New_beta_labs GLOBAL - A couple of weeks ago we brought you our first impressions of the new Nokia Beta Labs site. Now the new-look site has been officially switched on, and already it's awash with community debate and the co-creative juices are flowing.

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Look who's counting...

500Million KOMAROM, Hungary - As Charlie likes to say (sometimes too frequently), we're not usually ones to toot our own horn. However, sometimes big things happen that just need to be mentioned. Far less frequently than mentioning horns, do we talk about factories. Well "no more", we say. For the Nokia manufacturing plant in Komarom, Hungary has just produced its 500 millionth device. (An N79, in silver, in case you're wondering).

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26 January 2009

Nokia backs young entrepreneur combating pharmaceutical fraud with mobile phones

Mpedigree GLOBAL - One of the most rewarding aspects of being a writer on Conversations is that we get to bring you the smaller stories that often slip through the cracks of the main stage - worthy tales of the unsung heroes working both within Nokia and outside, with Nokia's support. YouthActionNet is one such example, a program set up to support young social entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for social and sustainable projects across the globe. Backed by Nokia, already a number of interesting stories have emerged, including support for one young person looking to combat pharmaceutical fraud in Africa via a phone-based drug authentication system.

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Nokia Conversations, now available in audio


GLOBAL - We don't like to stand still here at Conversations. The team have been busy working behind the scenes to put together something of a world first - the Nokia Conversations Blogbite. Together with Dan and Rob at Blogbite, a brand new service which takes the essence of a blog, such as Conversations, and turns it into an entertaining audio show, we're bringing Conversations to an even wider audience, including the visually impaired, as well as enabling regular readers to listen at your leisure.

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23 January 2009

1 million Nokia 5800s shipped

Nokia-5800 GLOBAL - Yes, that's right folks, the 5800 might have just landed in the UK, and is yet to see American shores but already 1 million units have been shipped. The device, launched last October, has actually only been on sale since December in Spain, Russia and Hong Kong. Today saw the popular launch of the Nokia 5800 in the UK, with hundreds flocking to the Nokia Flagship Store on Regent Street to be amongst the first in the UK to have the handset.

"The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic has been received very positively and this milestone is just further proof that people all over the world want a device that is not only a great music experience, but also makes the most of touch screen technology," said Jo Harlow, Vice President, Nokia.

UPDATE: Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo reported recently that 500,000 5800s had shipped in the first thirty days. Today's announcement means the second 500,000 units shipped in less than that, highlighting the increasing popularity of the 5800.

Contacts on Ovi goes live

Contacts-on-ovi ESPOO, Finland - There's no stopping the folks over at Beta Labs, today sees the launch of Contacts on Ovi, the latest app to plug into the Ovi framework. Designed to keep people close, Contacts on Ovi is the place on your phone where you can easily find your friends, see where they are and what they're up to.

Similar to Nokia Chat, the app provides a range of enhanced features kicking off with the basic ability to chat via IM, and see whether your friends are available or otherwise engaged. You can also broadcast details about yourself including what you're listing to and "important scenes" though we're not certain yet what the last one is.

We're in the midst of downloading it now to try it out, so do the same and let us (and BetaLabs) know what you think.    

Rain doesn't dampen first 5800 customers' spirits

Nokia-Umbrellas LONDON, England - The bad weather didn't dampen spirits at this morning's 5800 launch on London's Regent Street. Nokia staff were on hand to ensure the gathering crowds stayed both warm and dry. For those without protection, Nokia umbrellas were handed out (no, we're not sure about the colour either) along with hand warmers to help stave off the elements.

Weather in London has been shocking with rain coming in overnight, offering those who queued since the early hours little respite. Thankfully it's easing off now and with the doors open and phones moving, the queue too has eased off.

The 5800 has landed, and the people are happy.

Nokia 5800 hits London, to waiting fans

5800-first-customer LONDON, England - Hundreds turned out on London's Regent Street this morning to be the first to buy the new Nokia 5800. Guy Browne, from Waterloo, was the first in the queue, having had his place saved by friends, who'd queued since midnight last night. Guy arrived three hours before the doors opened at 8am and was the first one out the door with a 5800 in his hand. Guy said of the device "It's good value for money" and "I like my electronics".

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The Nokia 5800 hits Regent St, London with great expectations

5800queue LONDON, UK - James, Mike, and I have been harping about how the Nokia 5800 is the real sleeper of 2009. We've been hearing reports about how many have been sold in the past two months, and that's with limited availability (hopefully more news later).

But today's news is that the Nokia 5800 has come to the Nokia Flagship store on Regent St. in London. And, in contrast to other device launches there, we are pretty happy with the crowd.

Read on for more on this story.

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