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Submission + - Nokia Targets the "Next Billion" Internet Users (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "What’s the difference between a smartphone and a feature phone? According to Mary McDowell, who is leading Nokia's feature phone charge in emerging markets, it's the fact that software applications can be written to run natively on the operating system. It’s a definition that average consumers likely don’t care about. Ms. McDowell is trying to blur that line with feature phones that surf the web and run applications (not natively on the OS) such as Facebook and WhatsApp. When asked why, she says it’s more about getting these consumers to pay a little bit more for their features phones—which help Nokia’s margins—and less about prepping people to trade up to smartphones. Nokia’s effort to “bring the Internet to the next billion” is an interesting strategy that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves."

Submission + - Nokia's Losses Powers Finland's Start-Up Culture (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "A few weeks ago Microsoft’s European chairman told TechEurope that the average amount of venture capital per head across Europe was just $7. Finland beat that with a single deal. The reported $42 million investment in Angry Birds developer Rovio translates to roughly $8 for each of the 5 million men, women and children in the country.
Finnish blog ArcticStartup has extrapolated figures showing the total average VC investment per capita for the country was $46 in 2010 while for national neighbors Sweden, the figure was about $45. But, in what the blog calls "Arctic Valley", it is Finland that is currently attracting much of the attention.
The question of why this country on the edge of the Arctic Circle should have such active entrepreneurs came up again in a conversation with Wilhelm Taht, the marketing director of Flowd, a social network for musicians and their "super-fans". It is one of several Finnish companies focused on the music business including Steam Republic and Hitlantis. "oeWith Nokia changing gear there is a lot of technical know-how all of a sudden which wasn’t available even two years ago," said Mr.Taht, diplomatically, about the savage job cuts at the struggling mobile phone giant. "oeThere's a culture of technically savvy engineers. Finns are not necessarily very talkative people, but when it comes to what they know about computers and programming it'(TM)s pretty staggering.""

Submission + - Nokia Sticks with Symbian as Rivals Turn Away (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: Nokia looks increasingly alone in its support for the Symbian smartphone platform, even as the global handset market leader is launching new devices based on an upgraded version of the system, which should be better able to match rival software. Apart from Nokia, which builds most of its smartphones around Symbian, phone vendors like Samsung and Sony Ericsson have also made use of the open-source system in their devices. But these two have now put their Symbian development on hold, focusing instead on other platforms such as the ever more popular Android. Is this the beginning of the end for the Symbian mobile platform?

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