Does anyone remember Mosh? How about Twango? You must remember Navteq, right? Just a few names to give you a hint of what Nokia is up to. There’s all this talk about Google these days and what they may be up to what comes to social networks and social media and challenging Facebook, so Nokia, Microsoft, and all the others are flying under radar with their plans in exactly the same field. Here’s a little insight to what Nokia may – or may not – be up to.
Nokia launched their Mosh service, bought Twango in 2007, and merged these and so much more under the brand Ovi. Everyone was comparing the Ovi store to iTunes, but has anyone noticed other resemblances? Does anyone even remember what Mosh and Twango were all about? Sharing, people, sharing! Sharing media, apps, inviting friends to see your uploaded family photos, advanced ability to upload directly from the mobile terminal… Did someone out there just whisper ‘Facebook’?
Mosh had already years ago eye on the content; shot, uploaded and for sharing with others. And so had Twango – all your photos online as soon as you take them and upload immediately, for all the world to see, and BTW, invite your friends and relatives to join the system as well. I guess this is the part where Marko Ahtisaari said, ”A-ha! Let’s mix this with travel!” And went off to start up Dopplr. Or perhaps he spoke about it long enough while still at Nokia, but no one listened. Until it became a success and Nokia decided to buy Dopplr for themselves. Nokia has quietly bought several small companies and start-ups with social media status, but as the purchases have been mostly concentrating on very small companies and with reasonably low price, no one has really paid attention to the big picture behind it.
The only big purchase that Nokia has made in the recent years was Navteq, a map/navigation company. And to general surprise, they give away map info for free. What’s wrong with them!? I’ll tell you what’s wrong.
What’s wrong is that Nokia has quietly collected all the pieces to a puzzle that soon is to be called a Social Network, with a pocketful of Mobility in it. In short, they have (at least) the following pieces ready;
- Navteq + Gate5 + Plazes = Maps/navigation data (location-based advertising),
- Dopplr (microblogging, travel data, networking),
- MOSH (apps),
- Twango (file/multimedia sharing, some networking),
- Ovi music store (Loudeye – well… music/multimedia),
- Instant Messaging (the OZ company, integrating IM tools),
and the so-called old school pieces like
- text messaging (read: microblogging!),
- push-to-talk (voicemail, voice messages),
- mobile gaming (N-Gage),
- video calls, multimedia messaging, calendars, mobile email, mobile file editing tools and what-not, and of course they have Your address book!
It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out they have all the tools to build a top-notch social network with ALL the location-based data one can have, the BEST package of patents in the field to block anyone bulding similar mobile tools, and they have just about zillion old clients they can start convincing.
The question is, does Nokia really want to jump in the territory where they most likely end up competing with not just Facebook and all the other current networks, but also with Google and Microsoft – where is the comfort zone? It looks like Nokia has already started testing the idea with the release of a couple of interesting new applications; Nokia Labs has released mobile apps for e.g. Facebook and Twitter ’to ensure ease of use’ for these networks via mobile terminals, and they have just launched Nokia Listings for developing markets. The Nokia Listings service is said to be targeted for developing markets, are only available in India at the moment (expanding to other markets soon), and are more or less mobile advertising at its purest. You can find there listings for jobs, buy, sell, etc. Just like good old newspaper listings. Furthermore, there’s the Nokia Life Tools trial available in India - also focused on developing markets - where local farmers can reach information online regarding education, aggriculture, and other special services. More or less an experiment how low-income poorly educated people could benefit from accessing online information suited for their needs in areas where normal Internet connections and landline networks are almost nowhere to be found.
Combine all this with the rest, and we’ll soon be looking at a network with location-based listings and specifically suited services, pushed on your mobile added with multimedia, your location comes directly from your phone, and accepting an advertising message means you’re being sent a map with directions to the nearest relevant store – please bookmark this for your friends to find or update your ’Nokia Foursquare’ location and earn a badge… or something.
What do you think, is it going to be Nokia or someone else? Who´s the one to take social networking mobile? I mean FOR REAL, not just iPhone mobile! Throw me an idea!