Nokia’s Smart Devices Chief On Instagram, Android, Phablets & The Continued Lack Of A 41MP PureView Lumia

Posted: May 15, 2013 in Apps, Europe, Gadgets, GT, Mobile, Nokia, Social, Technology
Tags: , , , ,

Nokia has added another device to its burgeoning
Lumia portfolio of smartphones today, with the
introduction of the Lumia 925: a sleek, PureView-
branded handset that will be its first flagship on T-
Mobile U.S. At today’s London launch, Nokia
executive VP of smart devices, Jo Harlow, sat down with TechCrunch to field a few questions. TC: Despite all the focus on your camera
technologies with the flagship Lumia devices,
Windows Phone still lacks Instagram. How much
of a blocker is that, what are you doing to get
round it and why is it proving so difficult to get
this app? Harlow: Obviously our goal is to brings great apps to the Windows Phone platform. We have a huge
amount of respect for Instagram and we continue to
work in that direction and in particular with Microsoft,
and with apps like Hipstamatic and the ability to share
your pictures on Instagram. But the importance of
Hipstamatic isn’t Instagram really — it is the great capabilities that Hipstamatic brings and the
community that Oggl represents because they’re a
community of people who love photography. And so I
think in inspiring that world of consumers then that
brings attration from others as well. I would characterise the competition in
Android as more of a spec race than
anything else… it’s open but that doesn’t
make you first. We worked very closely with Hipstamatic and shared
our portfolio with them, we’ve shared our imaging
APIs with them, and that’s where we’d like to work
with the developers who can bring even more greate
experience to our imaging story. TC: Are you going to be helping to usher in more
new camera apps like Oggl or make more of your
own new imaging apps? Harlow: The first thing we’ve done is make our imaging APIs accessible to developers — whether
they’re developing imaging specific apps or in other
ways could use the camera in their app — that they
could get all the way to the performance of the
camera itself. If you look at what’s happened with
photography with mobile devices and just how we use pictures you see that what is today is unlikely to be
just what is in the future. It’s constantly evolving —
now hundreds of millions of pictures are uploaded
every day just to social networks. Yes there are
imaging specific apps, and there will be more imaging
specific apps and communities in the future, but all communities have a deep relationship with pictures
because that’s part of the social fabric of our lives
these days. And I dont think that changes, that only
gets bigger and bigger. TC: Is the original 808 PureView 41MP
technology a bit of a unicorn now with the
Lumias? Or are you working toward it with each
iteration of the devices? Or is this something that
you think you might never have because you’re
going for thinner devices? Harlow: I can’t comment about our portfolio coming in the future, but what I will say about the PureView
technology that we developed that uses a 41MP
sensor is that it delivers a consumer experience in
terms of zooming after you’ve taken the photo. That
is a phenomenal experience. That’s something that
we think is very interesting to continue to pursue. TC: So you’re not ruling it out? Harlow: I’m not ruling it out. TC: You talk about how you have been able to
differentiate on Windows Phone — with hardware
design, camera technology and so on — but why
couldn’t you have done that on the Android
platform? The reality is that Android is dominant,
and Windows Phone is very far behind. Harlow: The dominance of Android is led by Samsung. I think you can see the difficulty that
others have in standing out from Samsung even when
they have really good devices. I think first of all it
comes down to partnership and the partnership that
we’ve had with Microsoft in terms of bringing new
experiences to the platform as well as our own differentiating experiences. We did not believe we
could have that level of partnership with Android —
and that’s a key difference. TC: But Android is open. You can do what you
want… Harlow: To a certain degree yes. But I think I would characterise the competition in Android as more of a
spec race than anything else and so there is one
partner who is the development partner for any new
release of Android and everyone else come some
time later, so it’s open but that doesn’t make you first
and that doesn’t make you necessarily the most competitive. TC: I know you can’t comment on future roadmap,
but what could Nokia bring to a phablet device,
i.e. a larger form factor smartphone, if it decided
to play in that space? Harlow: I think the word is ‘experiences’ because as we are investing in great experiences on our
smartphone range it’s logical to think that those
experiences we would look to take into other types of
form factors and make them compatible with each
other. Obviously what we would want in any portfolio
is that there’s some consistency in the experience that consumers have of a Nokia product.

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