Video: Anssi Vanjoki on the N97 and Symbian^3

Leave a comment

Published by Rafe Blandford at 10:32 UTC, February 23rd 2010

At Mobile World Congress, I sat down with Anssi Vanjoki, EVP of Markets at Nokia, to talk about the Nokia N97. The highly anticipated device was released last summer and while it has been a commercial success for Nokia, it has been subject to a great deal of criticism from consumers for its software and underpowered hardware.

With the release of version 20 and 21 of the firmware, many of the software issues have been resolved. In the video, Anssi Vanjoki acknowledges the issues and explains how Nokia has learnt important lessons, which have been fed into the process of creating Symbian^3 and Symbian^3 devices. He says that “we have taken the learnings and when Symbian^3 comes out you can rest assured it will be perfect”.

Key points

  • The N97 was a success for Nokia in terms of sales and the margins (money collected) on the device, but “it has been a tremendous disappointment in terms of the experience quality for the consumers”.


  • This was not anticipated by Nokia. Nokia has been able to repair the situtaion through the release of version 20 and 21 of the N97 firmware. Nokia acknowledge that it “has been an unbelievable cycle of things for us, that has taken far too long to repair and mitigate”. Moreover they say, with regards to Symbian^1 / Symbian^1 family hardware platform, that “we stretched for too long, something which should not have been stretched”.


  • Nokia have learnt from the experience. The lessons learnt have been applied to both Symbian^3 generally and individual Symbian^3 products. The timescales for changes of this type are between major point releases of the platform (i.e. not between different devices within a point release). Nokia say, “we have taken the learnings and when Symbian^3 comes out you can rest assured it will be perfect”.


Video – Anssi Vanjoki – part 1


Over the years I’ve spoken to many Nokia executives, but this was an unusual interview. Having such a frank discussion about a device and its relative merits in in terms of consumer experience is almost unheard of. Think of other personalities and companies in the mobile industry – can you imagine them going on the record with such a statement? It certainly demonstrates Nokia willingness to listen and their belief that they will not mistake such mistakes again. It also constitutes a considerable endorsement for Symbian^3. 

At the end of the session I asked Anssi Vanjoki how confident he was that the processes were in place to ensure a similar occurrence did not happen again. “Extremely sure”, he said, “check back with me next Januray and you will see”.

We’ve got further parts of this interview to come including a section of how Symbian and MeeGo fit together in Nokia’s software strategy, a future vision for mobile computers / devices, the importance of open standards and the three types of competitors for Nokia.


A rough transcript of the video is provided below:

Anssi Vanjoki [Nokia]:

So we’ll start with the N97 and I’ll give you some current stuff on what we are doing there. The N97 has been a tremendous success for us when it comes to how many we have shipped and how much money we did collect, but it has been a tremendous disappointment in terms of the experience quality for the consumers and something we did not anticipate. It happens every now and then in a big company, like Nokia, even if you have the most stringent quality control mechanisms. Something slips, and you notice one thing, [it] leads to another thing, you fix that, and actually you make things worse and so forth… and this has been an unbelievable cycle of things for us that has taken far too long to repair and mitigate.

But now I can tell you that it is over. Now we have a software that is properly tested not only by our engineers and labs, but [also by] normal people out in the marketplace.

We actually launched this, before we let it to any other market, in a market that is very easy to control and is very distant: we launched it in Norway! So the Norwegians have had the software in their hands before anyone else, and now we have all the feedback for it. Both for what it does for the product – so how much better N97 comes. As well as for the firmware over the air delivery to those people who have bought the product and who had been wondering ‘how did Nokia release anything like this’.

So finally we are at the place where I can put my sleepless nights behind me and say that the agonising experience is over. So your readers and other readers of other places will now see that we are able to repair the situation we have caused and moving forward what a tremendous experience for learning this has been. We have taken the learnings and when Symbian^3 comes out you can rest assured it will be perfect.

Rafe Blandford [All About Symbian]:

The obvious question, with the N97 it was a combination of hardware and software. Have you made any changes to the quality control process to make sure this does not happen again? 

Anssi Vanjoki:

Yes, actually, it is exactly like you say – it is quality control process. These things are not quality control at the end of manufacturing; they are quality control measures that are taken at the outset of setting up a program to deliver this whole thing.

And that is exactly the learning we have taken and that has gone into Symbian^3 as well as the products that are coming based on Symbian^3. 

Rafe Blandford:

And do you feel that the timescale to doing that sort of thing is between the major point releases of the underlying platform?

Anssi Vanjoki:

Absolutely, that’s where you need to do it. Because, you know, what we did in terms of the software that was there for N97, we stretched for too long, something which should not have been stretched. And when you stretch from every single corner, the thing does not hold together any more. And therefore even the patching of this was much more laborious that what we ever thought.

Baptiste Martin [Symbian France]:

Regarding the N97, most of the users do not understand why they did not get any answer from Nokia. When you are an early buyer, you spend a lot of money on this device, and you get no answer…

Anssi Vanjoki:

Like I said, that was a surprise to us. It was not expected. When you are taken by surprise you usually say er… er… er… er…er. And now, painstakingly slowly, we are in position where we can both answer and remedy the problem.

Good to know that Nokia has taken notice on their screw ups and seem to want to improve. Now wanting to improve and actually improving are different things. I hope they do improve though as more competition is ultimately good for mobile consumers/users.

A claim to educate – I am living fiction.

Leave a comment

A claim to educate

This post should make up for the long hiatus. It is Chinese New year, and if you don’t know, the festivities last fifteen days, and it is a celebration signaling the start of the Lunar new year. (duh)

But I assume people know this. I guess the explanation is part of my ‘never assume’ habit that I am trying to build. They say assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups, and hey, this shouldn’t be an exception.

Which brings us neatly to the subject at hand.

Recently I have come upon a book in which it claims to educate on important matters that the national education system has failed to teach to the people in the country. Impressive stuff, this, as the author goes deep into the annals of time to dig out facts that had been shrouded and skewered by years and years of political crockery.

The book goes on to disprove some of the very elements that are prevalent, yet exist solely to further increase the gap in between the multi-cultural and the multi-racial people that inhabit Malaysia. In fact, halfway through the book, I was convinced that the better part of the people in this country should pick the book up and do away with the ignorance.

The book is also marketed very nicely; there are nice graphic elements on the front and the typography inside is interesting and compels readers to read on. Sometimes, the subject matter is a little heavy, but you never get boggled down as the reader gets shipped along the text at a briskly pace.

I found no problem reading it. I liked it very much.

There are a few odd and peculiar things that I must nitpick lest I forget. The thoughts coming into my head are a bit fleeting at times. I have to write this down.

Why does it claim to want to educate the masses when it is packaged inside such an exclusive package? What I mean is, why is it written in such a way that, excuse me for my crudeness, only the higher educated and those in the know would know about it? I am not discriminating anyone or any class for that matter; this is such a general statement and if anyone is offended then it is their problem.

The book is sold in most bookstores and is targeted at people who probably read a fair bit. The language used is English, and the standard of English is proper.

My question is this: If the author is indeed truly sincere in sharing such information with the masses, should he/she have marketed it in a way that will only appeal to certain people? I really despise the use of this word, but I am inclined to say that it was targeted at the ‘elites’.

The pretentious twats.

The Yuppie playing the activist.

The college closet blogger.

The overseas student.


The scholars.

The Urbanites.

You get the idea. But what about the Village dwellers? The farmers, the fishermen, the lesser educated ( please bear with me here) in the country?

Your average person is NOT going to pick up a book filled with English terms too hard for him/her to understand. Let’s face it, the standard of English in this country is sub par at best. Do not argue, because if you assumed that ours is a country of sophisticated English speakers, you need to be checked.

Our local graduates from local universities can barely speak English. The students who graduated from our system’s government education systems struggle to be multi-lingual. I live in a more fortunate part of the city, where children grow up to receive education overseas and are raised to speak English but this part of Malaysia is but a speck in the big picture.

There are plenty of students who do not receive tertiary education at all, and even more who are forced to do them at local institutions, where they are taught in Bahasa Malaysia. I am not saying this is a bad thing as after all the national language of Malaysia is well, Bahasa Malaysia.

All I am saying is that If you set out to try to educate the masses, shouldn’t you do an edition in the native language? Shouldn’t you release an edition more digestible by the common people? Because, the point of the book really, is to enlighten people on the injustices that litter the economical, political and the social scene in Malaysia today. Shouldn’t the point of the book really, be to reach as many people as possible? Because ultimately, it is the masses that the book has missed out on that will change the nation, be it by casting votes over the next election or as activists, or revolutionists.

Now, let it be known that by now I am not just referring to the book I have read, but to all academic publications that have been published in Malaysia that bring light to both recent and on-going injustices in Malaysia.

What we have then in Malaysia, is a bunch of ignorant patriots who ride onto ethno-centric religious bandwagons that will ultimately shake the foundations of the harmony that we have struggled to uphold . A majority, poisoned by political propaganda ( read: racial nonsense) that parade the streets claiming to have the right of way.

It is imperative then, that publications make themselves more accessible to the masses. They need to rid these false patriots of their ignorance with proper facts that come from reliable sources. It is high time for academics and scholars to stop hiding behind their writing and come forward, not to like-minded people but to the public en masse.

The book is a good read. But without proper exposure to the people, it remains nothing but a pompous display of verbal masturbation.


Feb 23, 2010
Benjamin Wong said…

Maybe I missed it but what is the name of the book?

Leave a comment…

Interesting post by a longtime friend. Good read 🙂

Chinese Medicine & The Road In Life

Leave a comment

While doing house chores for the new year, I realized that life is very much like Chinese medicine. As those who have taken Chinese medicine know, traditional Chinese medicine is a bitter and bad tasting thing and takes a very long time to take effect. However, when it does take effect chances are that it would have a long lasting and high effective result. There are also plenty of Chinese remedies that do not work as differing people have differing reactions to the herbs used in the medication which leads to some getting less affected than others and some just don't work at all. The latter being medication fueled by superstition, false beliefs and tradition rather than hard science.

Life is like that, its a long and bitter road, filled with bumps and false starts. If you persevere however, the fruits of the hard road are sweet indeed. However like the differing people having differing reactions to those medicines, results may vary. Some might have wildly successful lives, some have comfortable lives and some end up bitter and sorrowful. There are also those who WILL fail in life because they road they took was based on false beliefs, tradition and superstition. Those will blame the world for their failings and see fault in everything around them rather than the choices they made.

How do we know which road we are on? I guess that boils down to the ability to listen and formulate ideas of your own. Chinese medicine itself is a cocktail of multiple herbs that have differing properties depending on the ratio of the herbs in the mix. Think for yourself, read, kaizen/continuous improvement and be open to new ideas, alter the mix as you go on. If you keep on the road you are on, stagnating and only worrying on the moment, you might not end up where you want to be in the long run. Stagnation was what caused the collapse of the later Chinese dynasties.

Whats road are you on? Only your mind and time can tell. It is your choices that determine the mix of herbs and how effective it will be. Herbs have defects too and some may not be the ideal herb, its up to you to work around it.

South Korean iPhone users turn to sausages as a cold weather ‘meat stylus’ ROFL

Leave a comment

This is what I call innovation !! ROFL

Kuala Lumpur Gets First Symbian Stammtisch | Sounds like a cool laid back event.

Leave a comment

Our friend Asrial Baker at shot us an email to let us know that the first Kuala Lumpur Symbian Stammtisch is happening soon, on February 10, 2010. Stammtisch is German for ‘regular get-together’ and is reportedly something we’ll see often in future Symbian Foundation stuff. It’s basically a meetup. Get the details below:

Kelantan Delights
1-5, Level 1, Sooka Sentral
Jalan Stesen Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur

February 10th 2010 (Wednesday
5.00 to 7.00 PM

Who should come?
– Symbian users
– Symbian and other developers
– Symbian Enthusiasts
– If you are in Kuala Lumpur or near Kuala Lumpur
– Just for fun

What is the Agenda?
– Talk
– Eat/Drink
– Have fun!

Why I should come?
– Meet cool people
– Talk about Symbian and it’s ecosystem
– Discussing ideas to improve Symbian
– Have fun!

They’ve setup a Facebook Event here, too.

Hmmm, should prove to be an interesting get together. Wonder if I should go?

How Dreams Die | I know whats hes driving at, dreams shattered with age & circumstances.

Leave a comment

FEB 4 — Hello, fellow readers. Chances are quite high that you are reading this in an office on a lovely working day; thus based on this assumption, I wish you good morning and good day.

Let us take out some of that productive working time of yours to focus upon something other than work or the usual exercise of blaming Barisan Nasional for all of your


I’m pretty sure the company won’t mind you spending some time using the Internet to read this article, after all it takes only a few minutes and it eats up much less bandwidth (and time) as  compare to watching porn or playing Farmville on Facebook.

Dreams by definition is a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep. Or in a simpler explanation, that drama you saw while you were sleeping which are nice or scary while some are rather… wet in nature.

However, it is not that sort of dream that we are going to be discussing today. Indeed it is still the same succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through your mind, but instead of during sleep, it happens when one is wide awake.

The dream that is associated with words like aspirations, goals, yearning and “if only”.

When I was a young boy back in primary school, students would have to fill in their information on a yellow academic card which was the size of an A4 paper.

It was used as a record of our academic achievements throughout the six years in primary school. One of the things that I distinctively remember was that each year we would fill in three answers as to what was your ambition “Cita-Cita Saya”.

Boys being boys, the usual answers you’d get would be “Firemen/Doctor/Soldier/ Fighter” and sometimes things like “Batman/Kesatria Baja Hitam or Ultraman”.

Then these boys would grow up and realise that it is not that easy to be what they wanted to be back then.

For instance they learn that they are not that fit or just too lazy to exercise to be a firemen, or that a Police Officer’s payroll is too low, or that Rangers in brightly coloured costumes with summoned robots fighting aliens do not exist.

After that these boys attend secondary school and a whole new world open.

They realised that life was more than just about cool looking guns, uniforms and killing alien monsters that invade earth on a weekly basis.

They fill up the questionnaire again and answer, “Musician/Lawyer/Inventor/Computer Programmer/Architect”… It’s the romantic thought that they want to create, build, design and do something interesting.

They dream of doing something great, building something big, experiencing something good or producing something beautiful. But as they grow older some of them may come to the conclusion that they are not smart or talented enough; pay was too low or the job market was not that good for that industry and pressure from parents or society.

They attend college and due to the restrictions of their grade, cash and other obstacles, they opt for something more realistic. They study Business Studies, Marketing, Finance, Mechanical Engineering, Statistics, Human Resource, Foreign Language, Psychology, Graphic design, constitutional law and etc…

And still they dream of making something out of life using the path that is beyond them. The dreams stay strong.

They graduate but due to the economy, failed interviews and available vacancies they again re-route their path to something no longer based on their dreams but by necessity to survive in this society. Some become white collar workers, some go into private sector and a small number may decide to be an entrepreneur or inherit their family business. They become production engineers, multi level marketing members, insurance agents per se.

So now dreams are no longer about being someone, making something, doing or experiencing. Dreams now merely focussed on getting promoted to becoming an assistant manager before 30; getting 3 months bonus by the end of the year; achieving this month’s sales target, looking cool at Zouk this weekend, buying a new LV bag, going home by 5.30; gathering enough money to get married next year or simply getting new rims for the car.

And before you know it, that eight year old who once dreamed of becoming an astronaut now sits in a cubicle, facing a computer screen, clicking the mouse and reading an online news portal cursing at some Doctor who gets into space on a Russian rocket.

And that is how folks, most dreams die. A slow and quiet death. Written on its tombstone is the excuses for its death.

Good day folks. And have a great productive day at work.

Reading this article does make me look back and relive all my regrets and sadness. The latter especially when I realized that my dreams can never be achieved, not here anyway. However I will endeavor to make the best out of what I have and have a new more achievable dream. In the end that is what we have to do rather than wallow in self pity and regret.

Random Pictures @ Stawberry Fields

Leave a comment

Just some random pictures that I snapped using my N97.