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Posts tagged nokia 808 pureview

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What was the strategy behind the Nokia 808 Pureview’s announcement?

Technology

The technology used for oversampling, and the inspiration taken from satellite imaging techniques is the main innovation. It needed a 41MP sensor to be able to create high quality 5/8MP photos. Strategically, this makes perfect sense, where everyone else in the smartphone battle has been focused on screen size, CPUs and other iterative minor improvements, this implementation has made people stand up and take notice. 

We must remember that this is a Technology innovation, therefore it can be carried forward to any of Nokia’s future portfolio, as such, if they have ringfenced the IP around the tech, it bodes well as a competitive differentiator.

Focus on Camera

In terms of people not buying this because of the current OS that the tech sits on, this only affects one part of the mobile phone purchasing market. This is about targeting a certain niche. In terms of buyer preferences, different segments have different critical choices. If the rest of the package is good enough (Speed, Social, connectivity), those who hold a higher purchasing priority for camera will go for the camera capabilities. Likewise, those who prioritize apps will go for iOS or Android (or Windows Phone). In this respect the rest of the phone just needs to be good enough to capture the target camera market, which Symbian Belle seems to be (not outstanding but good enough).

Marketing

This has been a mixed bag. Many initial reports focused on the 41MP headline. and failed to read further into where the real innovation was. For example, this is the first time i recall digital camera fanzines reporting about a smartphone camera. However, many tech ‘blogs’ have dismissed it due to the headline marketing number.
But! The headline marketing is essentially “linkbait”. To market pureview as producing super-high quality 5/8MP photos wouldn’t have the same marketing impact. Therefore, to get more eyeballs, and to attract the correct niche market, the headline MP count was the most effective. The con is that people report about the MP rather than the technology. The major pro is that it grabs headlines.

Timing

The technology has been in development for 5 years, waiting to release it on Windows Phone would mean delays. The technology is almost ready, and the window to announce was good. Amongst all the quad-core CPUs and high resolution screens, this announcement clearly grabbed mindshare for Nokia. Therefore it was important to announce the capability that Nokia still has, and the value they add as a manufacturer (irrelevant of platform) to smartphones. By announcing now, any future product’s camera by any manufacturer will be compared to the pureview. It has become the ‘de-facto’ comparison. Effectively giving Nokia some long-tail marketing.

Setting up the pipeline

Hidden amongst all the messages is that Pureview technology is that it will be released on future devices in different configurations. Effectively opening up an ‘upgrade’ path for people who want the camera tech. Want it now, buy the Symbian device, App ecosystem too important that you want to skip it for now, wait for it on another platform. Announcing it now builds up anticipation for future releases of pureview, essentially giving people a different reason to buy a Nokia Windows Phone. It also give Microsoft impetus to ensure their platform is capable of handling the hardware requirements for this tech.

Target Sales

Releasing on Symbian means that sales expectation can be lowered. If this was released on Windows Phone, expectation of sales would be higher. This gives Nokia a leeway for sale figures, allows the to gauge initial demand with lower risk than delaying, potentially 1 year, and then announcing it to an unknown market situation for Windows Phone. I would expect Nokia would use sales of the N8 as a benchmark for sales of this device.

Summary

The fact that it was released on a symbian phone is irrelevant. The technology is not binded to Symbian only, it is Nokia IP and means whatever platform they develop on, potentially has this technology differentiator. It has now become the de-facto comparison that smartphone cameras have to aspire to and ensures Nokia remain relevant, so strategically, it was absolutely the right thing to do. The cons are minor (negative press about it being released on Symbian, the 41MP headline vs the technology implementation) when compared to the longtail benefits.

Image from http://conversations.nokia.com

Filed under nokia pureview nokia 808 pureview marketing strategy mobile strategy cameraphone Symbian pureview

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Evolution of the Cameraphone: From Sharp J-SH04 to Nokia 808 Pureview

Nokia recently announced the 808 Pureview in Barcelona at the Mobile World Conference and have drawn excitement to their pureview camera technology. They’ve re-imagined how zoom works by working backwards from a large Megapixel picture and focusing in on an area of the sensor. Zooming in expands the area of the sensor which you are looking it, which means a bulky optical zoom mechanism is not required. This works also for video recording. How have cameraphone evolved to reach this point? 

The very first commercial cameraphone

In 2000 Sharp produced the J-SH04 for J-Phone (now softbank) in Japan. It cost $500 and produced 110,000 pixel images (0.1MP). It was followed by J-SH05 which used  a 65,536-color semi-transmissive TFT LCD on a flip phone. By 2002, Sharp had sold 5 million camera phones covering 40% of J-Phones users.


Out of Japan and turning international

In 2002, Vodafone picked up the Sharp cameraphone and remodelled it into the GX10 for European release. One of the few times that a Japanese phone manufacturer successfully sold their mobile phone offerings to a non-Japanese carrier.

 

Sprint brought the Sanyo 5300 to the US market in November 2002. 

By 2003, KDDI released the first CCD 1 megapixel cameraphone, the Casio A5401CA. 

In 2004, Sony Ericsson released the S700 with a 1.3MP CCD Camera, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung quickly followed suit,

but in 2005, Samsung went a little crazy releasing the SCH-V770…. a 7MP camera phone with 3x optical zoom and autofocus. Take a look at the picture to see how ‘ridiculed’ it was. 


Nokia vs Sony Ericsson enter the battle

By 2004, Nokia had become the worlds most sold “digital camera” brand, but did not have the “best” camera phones. Sony Ericsson took that mantle when it released the S750 in 2005 which could be considered the first ‘regular’ camera phone that had autofocus… with a 2MP sensor added.

Nokia’s attempt to take the lead came via the N90 which used Carl Zeiss lens with their 2MP auto-focus phone with a rotatable barrel.

But Sony Ericsson’s response was the K800, the first with a xenon flash. Released in July 2006


Nokia March On

First the N73 with 3.2MP, followed by the N93 with 3x Optical Zoom and the first camcorder phone with Carl Zeiss lens both in the Autumn of 2006. (photo is of the N93i)

Than in 2007, the N95 with 5MP and the N82 with 5MP and Xenon Flash were released. By now the megapixel battle was in full swing, but we all know that Megapixels are not the only equation in cameras. Sony Ericsson released the K850 with a poor 5MP camera.

Samsung Enter the frame

With the i850 and M8800 Pixon the 8MP phase of the camera phone battle opened up. Nokia upped the technical capabilities by introducing variable apertures with their 8MP N86 in 2009.

Samsung released the first 12MP camera phone with 28mm wide-angled lens and Xenon with the M8910 Pixon12.


The current best camera phone was released in 2010. This is the Nokia N8, with a very large 1/1.83” sensor.

Nothing was released in 2011 that could beat the camera quality of the N8, but 2012 sees a quantum leap with the release of e Nokia Pureview.

Filed under nokia 808 pureview J-Sh04 Sharp GX10 Sanyo Sprint Casio A5401CA Sony Ericsson S700 Sony Ericsson S750 Nokia N90 Camera Phone Evolution of the Cameraphone