MWC preview: Nokia

MWC preview: NokiaAt last year’s Mobile World Congress, Nokia came over all antisocial and decided to have its own shindig away from the main conference. What a weirdo. However, the Finns have been lured back to the main fold this year, and we can’t wait to hear what they have to say for themselves.

So what the heck is going on with those Nokia dudes? In recent weeks we’ve reported on tumbling quarterly profits at the tail end of 2010. Sure, €745 million might sound like a lot to you and me, but the final quarter of 2009 saw Nokia pocket €950 million. Which is more. Obviously.

Shipments were said to drop by 3% while the smartphone market grew by 12%. Nokia now estimates its smartphone market share at just 31%, probably the lowest figure since the halcyon days of the N95.

To add insult to injury, The Register reports that Nokia has received warnings from two credit agencies about its credit-worthiness, citing competitive pressure from Apple and Android.

CEO Stephen Elop, who took over the reins last September, has had little to say in terms of concrete plans, though he did manage to placate stockholders with a vague: “We must build, catalyse or join a competitive ecosystem.” Exciting stuff. Personally, I can’t wait to see some Nokia catalyst action. And don’t forget the building and the joining. Brilliant.

All in all, things are looking grey for Nokia, so what can we expect from them at the conference? Officially we have six hours with the Finns, in which they’ll discuss:

  • Taking apps to the mass market
  • Connecting the Dots – A 360˚ View on Consumer Electronics
  • Mobile Innovation: A Vision of 2020
  • Mobile Money: Mobile Strategies for Financial Institutions

Sadly, no ‘Check out our new smartphone – it’s friggin’ awesome!’ Having said that, there is a press briefing scheduled for Sunday, February 13, the night before the conference gets underway. Interesting…

So that’s the official stuff. Meanwhile, over in rumourland, there’s strong evidence that we might finally see the Nokia N9, which failed to show face at CES. And why does that excite us? The sequel to the Symbian 3 N8 will run MeeGo, the OS revealed almost a year ago by Intel and Nokia. And the one everyone thinks it should ditch altogether.

Spec-wise we’re expecting the Nokia N9 to pack a meaty 4.3in screen, a side-sliding QWERTY keyboard, and an N8-style 12MP camera.

There are also rumours that Nokia is already working on a 1.6GHz sequel to the 1.2GHz N9, but we won’t hold our breath for an MWC appearance.

Stay tuned, Mobotniks. We’ll be bringing you all the latest MWC news from the frontlines, as and when it happens.

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