Thursday, February 10, 2011

iOS 4.3 Beta Hints at Apple TV Gaming

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Code in the iOS 4.3 beta 3 firmware hints that the Apple TV may soon support online gaming, according to an Engadget source.

Several references have been found pertaining to "ATVGames" and "ATVThunder" that point to a controller of some sort, leaderboards (think Game Center), a way to schedule games (multiplayer?), and a store front (think App Store, iTunes). We're particularly intrigued by two strings -- "com.apple.appletv.play.live.thunder" and ".play.archive.thunder" -- but what those actually mean in the grand scheme of things is ultimately ambiguous.

Additionally, the source found two codenames: Sedona and Flagstaff.

Based on references to director, episode, season, and the like, we reckon Sedona is all about video merchandising and streaming, something tightly integrated into the traditional iTunes experience. As for Flagstaff, aside from a nod to Account Types and Merchants (i.e. iTunes merchandising), there's really nothing else to say.

Their tipster found several other interesting mentions including feature_remote_screensavers.

Also in the report, using a Harmony Remote Alex Hisrbrunner inadvertently discovered this touch like iOS behavior on the AppleTV 2 that allows you to select an item (it starts to wiggle) and move it around using the direction buttons on the remote.

Check it out in the video below...





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HP TouchPad Brings webOS to the Tablet

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HP today enlarged the HP webOS world with the first webOS slate – the HP TouchPad.

With its vibrant 9.7-inch diagonal flush capacitive multitouch display, virtual keyboard, instant-on access, support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta in the browser and access to thousands of webOS applications, TouchPad works the way you do and is designed not just for fun but for mobile productivity. It’s ideal for anyone who wants the benefits of the amazing webOS platform on a much bigger scale.
TouchPad is one of the products HP announced today to introduce a unique experience for customers around connected mobility, offering a unified experience for the first time across a variety of devices. It’s one of the building blocks in HP’s vision to seamlessly connect all your worlds through the power of HP webOS.



TouchPad works the way you do
The TouchPad user interface is a visual representation of your workspace, so you can manage your workflow in a naturally intuitive way that’s easy and fun. The power of webOS true multitasking lets you have multiple applications running at the same time. webOS shows you your activities in the form of cards, not a sea of application icons on numerous home screens.

This helps you do all the things you want to do, all at once, so you can listen to music, update your status on Facebook, read email and chat on IM at the same time. As you launch new activities, webOS will automatically group related cards – for example, an email and an associated web page – together in a card stack, so you can easily track all related items together.

TouchPad also features a webOS communication suite powered by HP Synergy that keeps you connected and creative, making all of your communications simpler, richer and in your control. It’s a complete solution, including email, instant messaging, contacts, calendar, videos and a front-facing camera for video calling.(6) Connected photo albums make it easy to share and view your pictures directly from popular services such as Facebook, Snapfish and Photobucket. It works seamlessly with TouchPad’s user interface for a natural and efficient experience.

Around the house or on the go
TouchPad offers a great internet experience around the house or on the go, so you can manage your busy life, be productive wherever you are and stay connected with work, friends, family and social networks. It keeps you connected anywhere there’s Wi-Fi for easy access to the web and entertainment.

At home, whether you’re watching TV, relaxing on the sofa, at the kitchen table or in bed, you can check in with friends, surf the web, play games or read a book, magazine or newspaper. Amazon.com today announced that it will launch a free Kindle app for HP webOS tailored for TouchPad that will give you access to more than 810,000 titles from Amazon’s Kindle Store. You also can subscribe to popular magazine titles, such as Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and People, and download movies and TV shows through the HP Movie Store. The TouchPad music app lets you transfer and play all your favorites from your personal music collection, with amazing sound quality by Beats Audio™. You can start an email, create a message, update your status, search your favorite websites – all before you’ve even opened an application. Whenever you want to do something on your TouchPad, Just Type.

Buy and sell on Amazon.com, do your banking, buy movie tickets from Fandango or check the news. Whether your thing is Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, IM, video calling or email, TouchPad brings it all together with thousands of available webOS applications and the convenience and power of HP Synergy for integrated contacts and calendar to keep your busy life on track.

It’s great for road trips, on a plane, while commuting, in public places, while visiting friends and on vacation. It’s easy to pack, has a long-lasting battery and integrated GPS (3G only), and posting vacation photos is a snap.

Mobile productivity
When productivity is key, TouchPad makes an excellent companion. You can read and write email, view your work and personal inboxes together, or easily toggle between them. Integrated messaging conveniently combines all your text messages, picture messages and IM conversations with one person into a single view, and you can connect through SMS, Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo! Messenger.(4)

TouchPad’s virtual full QWERTY keyboard includes a number row, which reduces keyboard switching, making typing easy and fast. It powers on instantly and brings you back to exactly where you left off, whether you were in the middle of composing an email, playing a game or browsing a web page. With webOS true multitasking, it’s like you never left.

For maximum productivity, HP is working with Quickoffice to include the Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite, which lets you view and edit documents, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. It also comes with VPN support to connect to corporate networks.

With its 1.3-megapixel front-facing webcam, TouchPad offers video calling capability.(11) It’s also compatible with HP’s industry-leading printing solutions, so you can wirelessly print documents, photos and emails to compatible wireless and networked HP printers.(12)

TouchPad has built-in HP Touchstone technology for easy charging, so it’s compatible out of the box with the HP Touchstone for TouchPad (sold separately), and you can charge in either portrait or landscape mode, even without removing the TouchPad case (sold separately). The webOS Exhibition feature lets you run applications designed specifically for Touchstone. Set your TouchPad on Touchstone and Exhibition launches automatically, showing you anything from today’s agenda to a slideshow of your photos.(13)

TouchPad is one of three webOS products announced today (see separate announcements for HP Veer and HP Pre3). Each product plays a distinct role in the growing webOS family, designed to meet the varying needs of customers in a rapidly evolving mobile landscape.

Availability
HP TouchPad is scheduled to be available in the summer. Exact pricing and availability will be announced at a later date.

HP TouchPad features and specs
● HP webOS
● High-speed connectivity(1)
● Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 1.2-GHz processor
● 9.7-inch diagonal XGA capacitive, multitouch screen with a vibrant, 18-bit color, 1,024 x 768 resolution display
● The option of either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage
● High-performance browser with full access to the web, including support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta for access to rich, Flash-based web content
● Wireless connectivity:
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n with WPA, WPA2, WEP, 802.1X authentication
A-GPS (3G only)
Bluetooth wireless technology 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
● Multimedia options, including music, photos, video recording and playback, and a 3.5 mm headset/headphone/microphone jack
● Internal stereo speakers and Beats Audio
● Front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam for live video calling
● Email, including EAS (for access to corporate Microsoft Exchange servers) and personal email support (Google Gmail push, Yahoo!, POP3, IMAP)
● Robust messaging support
● Light sensor, accelerometer, compass (magnetometer) and gyroscope
● Rechargeable 6,300 mAh (typical) battery
● Micro-USB (Charging and PC Connect) with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
● Built-in HP Touchstone technology for easy charging (HP Touchstone for TouchPad sold separately) and HP touch-to-share to share web addresses between TouchPad and compatible webOS phones
● Dimensions: 190 mm x 242 mm x 13.7 mm (7.48 inches x 9.53 inches x .54 inches)
● Weight: approximately 740 g (1.6 pounds).



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Apple Releases iBooks Performance Update

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Apple has released an update to iBooks that brings a number of important stability and performance improvements.

iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books. iBooks includes the iBookstore, where you can download the latest best-selling books or your favorite classics – day or night. Browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to your favorite passages.

Features:
• Enjoy a complimentary copy of the beautifully illustrated classic, Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.
• Download many of your favorite books from the included iBookstore.
• Read a free sample of any book on the iBookstore before making it a part of your collection.
• Reorder your books on your bookshelf or browse them in a list sorted by title, author, or category.
• Organize your books and PDFs into personal Collections. Swipe left or right to jump between Collections.
• Easily adjust your screen brightness to find the perfect lighting for any environment.
• Change the font size and pick from six included type faces to make your books more comfortable to read.
• Find a word, character, or phrase anywhere in your book with the built-in search feature.
• Keep your bookmarks, notes, and your current page wirelessly in sync between iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with the new automatic bookmark syncing feature.
• Quickly find a specific page using the page navigator at the bottom of every page.
• Read your books on white or sepia colored pages.
• Choose left or fully justified text layout from Settings.
• Highlight your favorite passages and add notes with the built-in bookmarking features.
• Add books in the industry-standard ePub electronic book format to iTunes and sync them to iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
• Add PDF documents to iBooks from Mail, or add them to iTunes and sync them to iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
• Print PDF documents and notes you've written in iBooks using AirPrint.
• Use iBooks with the amazing accessibility features in iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch – such as speaking the words on a given page.

What's New In This Version:
• Includes a number of important stability and performance improvements.
• Experience fully illustrated books, from children's picture books to beautifully designed art books, available for download in the iBookstore.
• Organize your books and PDFs into personal Collections. Swipe left or right to jump between Collections.
• Print PDF documents and notes you've written in iBooks using AirPrint.
• iBooks now fits more words per page by automatically hyphenating text, available only on iOS 4.2 or later.

You can download iBooks from the App Store for free.














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RollingZilla Language Learning Game 1.0 for iPad

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Red Cat Group has launched RollingZilla Language Learning Game, a unique product for iPad users. RollingZilla is new, the first iPad game that focuses on language learning, using fun to facilitate fast, addictive learning in a competitive environment, making it an extremely effective learning tool for kids and adults, alike. There are twelve languages supported and the OpenFeint integration means that users can pit their skills against other language learners, when they feel ready.

RollingZilla Language Learning Game is a new launch bearing the distinction of being the first of its kind for the iPad. The application focuses on language learning in a way that's addictively fun.

Players study the words that they're learning then when they feel they know them, they play the game. The object is to translate words before the game's balls fall into the sea. Every ball that lands in the water represents an incorrect answer and points lost.

Everyone can use RollingZilla effectively. Players get to choose the desired level of difficulty, from kids to advanced. This makes it ideal for families, business people or those who are merely interested in learning an additional language.

These are some of the features found in RollingZilla Language Learning Game:
* Easy to use, attractive interface
* Fun way to learn new languages
* 12 languages supported; more than 1,000 words!
* New words are taught and tested by playing games
* OpenFeint integration for competing against other language learners
* All music developed exclusively for RollingZilla
* Select difficulty level, from kids to advanced
* Play using the keyboard or multiple choice
* Developed specifically for the iPad

To help further the learning process, Red Cat Group developers have integrated OpenFeint, which allows users to compete against a world of other language learners. Through practice and competition, players may find themselves at the top of the leaderboard. All the while the game playing and competing is going on, more than one thousand new language words are being learned almost effortlessly.

Currently, RollingZilla Language Learning Game supports twelve languages with more than one thousand words: German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, French, Italian, Portuguese, Hindi, Arabic, Korean, Spanish and English. Undoubtedly more will be added over time, as users discover that learning really can be fun.

Pricing and Availability
RollingZilla Language Learning Game 1.0 is only $4.99 (USD) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category. Promo codes are available for qualified reviewers. Please specify the website or blog you represent when making your request.


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RackMac mini Secures Two Mac mini Servers in a 1U Rack Space

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Sonnet Technologies today introduced its RackMac mini rackmount solution for the latest line of Mac mini servers and computers. Ideal for the office or transportable rack use, the unit supports the installation of one or two Mac minis into a 1U rack space. The RackMac mini manages airflow and provides a front panel power switch and USB port for each Mac mini.

Constructed of rugged steel with a black powder-coat finish, the 11-inch deep RackMac mini firmly secures the computers behind a smart front panel. For each Mac mini, the front panel includes DVD, IR sensor and power indicator slots; a power switch; and a USB port. Pressing each computer’s power button, connecting a keyboard or mouse, or attaching a USB drive is simple.

A padded locking bar securely holds the Mac minis in place for transportable rack use. Convenient cable tie points allow all cables to be secured as well. The RackMac mini comes pre-assembled.

Enclosed inside the RackMac mini, Mac minis keep ambient temperature chill for reliable operation. The Sonnet rackmount solution’s design prevents recirculation of hot air around the Mac minis, insuring that cool air goes in a one-way path through the front panel openings to the computers’ air intakes, exiting out the rear.

"The Mac mini server is a great server for most applications. The remaining challenges have been how to securely mount them, how to reliably cool them, and how to turn them on without pulling them out of the rack," said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. "The RackMac mini is the perfect solution. Just add Mac minis."

RackMac mini (part number RACK-MIN-2X) is available immediately with a suggested retail price of $169.95.



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AT&T Introduces Unlimited Calling to Any Mobile Number

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AT&T today announced customers can enjoy unlimited mobile calling to any mobile number in America. Unlimited Mobile to Any Mobile is available to AT&T customers with an unlimited messaging plan and a qualifying voice plan.

Beginning Thursday, Mobile to Any Mobile will be available to new and existing AT&T customers with a qualifying voice plan who subscribe to unlimited messaging plans. Existing customers with an unlimited messaging plan can activate Mobile to Any Mobile by visiting www.att.com/anymobile. The URL will be available beginning Thursday.

"Mobile to Any Mobile is an exciting offer that will keep our customers connected to the people they want to talk to, when they want to talk to them, without the hassle of watching minutes," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "We're giving customers more options and even better value. And when you include Rollover Minutes, a benefit available exclusively from AT&T that lets customers keep their unused minutes for all domestic calls, including to landline numbers, it's clear that AT&T offers the most flexibility in the industry."

Unlimited messaging is available for $20 per month on an individual plan and $30 per month for a FamilyTalk Plan, which allows for up to five lines.


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Wal-Mart Will Sell the Verizon iPhone Starting Today

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Walmart today announced that iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless will be available in select Walmart stores starting Feb. 10, 2011.

"We're excited to bring iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless, one the most anticipated mobile phone launches in recent history, to Walmart customers," said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Home Entertainment, Walmart U.S. "As customers continue to embrace smart phone technology, we've added nearly 20 smart phone models to our assortment, including the new iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless."

iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless will be available at nearly 600 of the retailer's in-store wireless areas starting at $199 for the 16GB model. Walmart will offer a variety of iPhone 4 accessories including cases, car chargers, wraps, and hands free accessories from variety of accessory manufacturers. Walmart currently carries the iPhone 4 on AT&T in select stores nationwide.




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Skype Updates iPhone App With Skype for TV Support

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Skype has released an update to its iPhone application that lets you make video calls to Skype for TV users.

With Skype on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, you can make and receive calls, and instant message anyone else on Skype, wherever they are in the world. You can also save on international calls and text messages to phones. Skype is free to download and easy to use. With the latest version, you can now call over 3G*, and keep Skype running in the background.

Features:
• Call Skype-to-Skype, wherever you are
• Great value international calls and text messages
• Instant message for an instant response

What's New In This Version:
You can now make video calls to a wider selection of Skype clients and devices, such as Skype for TV.

You can download Skype from the App Store for free.


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Adobe Releases Flash Player 10.2 With Stage Video

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Adobe has released Flash Player 10.2 which brings some important enhancements including Stage Video, multiple monitor full-screen support, and more.

Stage Video lets websites take advantage of full hardware acceleration of the entire video pipeline. This builds on the H.264 hardware accelerated decoding in Flash Player 10.1. Stage Video hardware acceleration means that Flash Player can play even higher quality video while using dramatically less processing power, giving users a better experience, greater performance, and longer battery life. In our testing across supported systems, we’ve found it’s up to 34 times more efficient.

Flash Player using Stage Video can effortlessly play beautiful 1080p HD video with just 1-15% CPU usage on a common Mac or Windows computer* – working across platforms and browsers, it will enable the best video experience for the most people.

Stage Video performance gains might not be visible right away. Websites and content providers will first need to update their video players before users experience Stage Video playback with Flash Player 10.2 on their sites.

Additional Features:
● Video at its best is immersive, so Flash Player allows you jump to true full screen playback with one click. With multiple display full screen support in Flash Player 10.2, you can now easily watch your favorite videos in true full screen on one display while you multitask on another and get some work done (or not).
● Added support for custom native mouse cursors lets designers and developers create their own static or animated cursors with silky smooth responsiveness, enabling richer game and application interfaces.
● New sub-pixel text rendering enhancements leverage Adobe typography research to further enhance text readability, especially for complex character-based languages.
● Support is included for the GPU rendering technology in Microsoft’s upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser.

You can download Flash Player 10.2 from the link below...

Read More



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Nokia CEO: 'We Are Standing on a Burning Platform'

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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has penned a brutally honest internal memo to employees which outlines where Nokia has failed and announces that a new strategy will be revealed on February 11th.

Elop had this to say about Apple...

For example, there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.

In 2008, Apple's market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

Some have speculated that Nokia will announce a partnership with Windows Phone 7; however, there is little real evidence to corroborate this.

You can read the entire memo below...




-----
Hello there,

There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform's edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.

As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a "burning platform," and he needed to make a choice.

He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times - his platform was on fire. The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a "burning platform" caused a radical change in his behaviour.

We too, are standing on a "burning platform," and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour.

Over the past few months, I've shared with you what I've heard from our shareholders, operators, developers, suppliers and from you. Today, I'm going to share what I've learned and what I have come to believe.


I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform.

And, we have more than one explosion - we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us.

For example, there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.

In 2008, Apple's market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

And then, there is Android. In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry's innovation to its core.

Let's not forget about the low-end price range. In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally - taking share from us in emerging markets.

While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind.

The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.

We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.

At the midrange, we have Symbian. It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America. Additionally, Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms. As a result, if we continue like before, we will get further and further behind, while our competitors advance further and further ahead.

At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, "the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation." They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us.

And the truly perplexing aspect is that we're not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.

The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.

This is one of the decisions we need to make. In the meantime, we've lost market share, we've lost mind share and we've lost time.

On Tuesday, Standard & Poor's informed that they will put our A long term and A-1 short term ratings on negative credit watch. This is a similar rating action to the one that Moody's took last week. Basically it means that during the next few weeks they will make an analysis of Nokia, and decide on a possible credit rating downgrade. Why are these credit agencies contemplating these changes? Because they are concerned about our competitiveness.

Consumer preference for Nokia declined worldwide. In the UK, our brand preference has slipped to 20 percent, which is 8 percent lower than last year. That means only 1 out of 5 people in the UK prefer Nokia to other brands. It's also down in the other markets, which are traditionally our strongholds: Russia, Germany, Indonesia, UAE, and on and on and on.

How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?

This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally.

Nokia, our platform is burning.

We are working on a path forward -- a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. But, I believe that together, we can face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can choose to define our future.

The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step into an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now, we have a great opportunity to do the same.

Stephen.


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