Nokia is back on the radar

Ever since the iPhone launched in 2007 and thereby kicked off the era of real smartphones as we know them today, Nokia has been pretty much dead for the geek crowd.

Today, I’m not so sure anymore.

Nokia has been struggling quite a bit with the smartphone market. Their products just didn’t live up to the competition, their platform choices seemed poor to say the least.

And still: More recently Nokia has put out some quite noteworthy products. They few and far between, but things are getting interesting once more. The top end of the Lumia series (particularly the Lumia 900 phone) is a package of both gorgeous hardware and a pretty cool interface. Nokia’s new route planner incorporates public transport data in ways far superior to Google’s attempts so far. The WebGL-based Google Earth-style Nokia Global Maps 3D is – despite limited geographies – fantastic, particularly for something that runs in your browser.

In Berlin, we’re close to where a bunch of Nokia’s mobile services are based. I would hope that there’s a connection there, Berlin influencing Nokia’s folks as Nokia’s talent imports influence the city. If that connection exists I don’t know, but I find it a strangely comforting thought.

It’s hard to tell if these positive hits recently have been more or less lucky or if they are the first manifestations of a larger change inside the company. And if it is a larger change, is it too little too late? We’ll have to wait and see. I just know that there’s something going on there that brought Nokia back on the radar – in all the good ways.

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