Nokia and Flickr, Sitting in a Tree...


Also via the spool, here's a press release regarding Flickr integration in the new Nokia phones that were launched today (the N93, N73 and N72).

They pretty much earmarked the link for me, so I figured I might as well share my thoughts on this (please forgive the crummy footnotes, I broke the PhpWiki markup for those quite some time ago, so there aren't any fancy links for them - honest, I tried).

Some people are likely to point out that Nokia's announcement follows hot on the heels of the SonyEricsson "Blog This!" feature (which is prominently displayed in many of the K800 screenshots), and that in itself is true and to the point - there is a trend surfacing here, and one that ought not to be ignored.

But it also indicates a different posture from the one we saw when they launched Lifeblog (which I'm guessing to have a user base numbering in what, the thousands?). Nokia has had image upload support for ages, but the inclusion of Flickr support is not just another hint that phone manufacturers are keenly aware of how people want to use their phones...

Remember, this is a business, and altruism isn't really their strong suit - they're doing this because adding support for Flickr is a very good selling point for the younger generation.

Which leads us to the main point - phone manufacturers are finding ways to leverage the popularity of Internet sites that are not mobile-centric in themselves 1 to sell their wares, and they will keep on doing so as the computational power of the devices increases.

I, like Om Malik, fully expect something like MySpace2 integration to follow.

No, don't worry, I won't turn this into a Web 2.0-goes-mobile lovefest - I still think Web 2.0 is bunk, but more to the point I think that anything that uses TCP/IP is either on the Internet or pointless, so mobile phones that evolved from the WAP 1.0 "dark ages" have always been a web-oriented device as far as I'm concerned, and the new generation of mobile browsers is making that even more obvious, even to carriers that operate WAP portals.

Mind you, "convergence" between the Internet and mobile worlds is going to be touted as a great driving strategy for Nokia during this year, but it bears reminding that Nokia has always been keen on pushing the services envelope, and this time they're deliberately (and quite openly) reaching beyond the carriers 3.

Only time will tell if they will be successful (since carriers are still their main channel to the customer, and carriers tend to do some "feature tailoring"), but I, for one, wish them luck.

The mobile data services arena has been essentially dominated by the telcos over the last couple of years, and the competition - as well as the paradigm shift - is sure to make it a lot more interesting for everyone.


1. Sure, Flickr has always had some sort of support for posting from mobile phones, but MMS-to-mail is pretty much a dead end - MMS usage is still very much dependent on the peculiarities of carriers' systems, which often make it impossible to use MMS-to-email due to limits in image size (which make it pretty pointless to send 2 megapixel images), anti-spam features, and conversions to HTML e-mail.

2. Maybe Motorola? a crummy, confusing, badly designed web site deserves to be wed to crummy, confusing, badly designed phones...

3. Shrewd readers - at least those that can withstand Nokia's Flash site - have probably noticed by now that the N73 can work just about anywhere, so this is truly a global move.