Nokia: How mobile phones can connect people with more than words

Published by on januari 31, 2006 at 11:18 f m

nokia_mobile.gifThe Finnish company Nokia is a global market leader in mobile phones. The company has both strong technical development and is well-connected with other developers around the world. But what about their connection with consumers? Business is evolutionary and when a company has become as successful as Nokia it must take things one step further.

Nokia has spent many years building its brand around the slogan “Connecting people”. Early on, they took the lead in user-friendliness and eye-pleasing design. Everything about the brand breathed connectedness in a disconnected world. Today, however, mobile phones are becoming more and more similar and offer more or less the same features. “Connecting people” could just as easily apply to a number of competitors. This is a problem, but also an opportunity.

It is time to take connecting people to the next level and do something to connect them physically as well as theoretically. One way to do this, surprisingly enough, is through hardware design. One solution can be seen below, a new model that can literally bring people together. Two mobile phones in one, a sort of mobile yin and yang. (To see it in colour go to It is a known fact that it’s always hardest to get people to buy the first product. But what if when you buy one mobile phone, you get one free. One for yourself and one for a friend. Talk about connection. This not only potentially doubles the number of the company’s products out on market, but provides a physical link – the telephone itself. Here is an idea of what the new mobile phone could look like.

Phone features that connect people

• Magnets hold the two phones together. Two phones become one, two people are brought closer together.
• Free calling to the other person/mobile.
• Special offers and applications at Nokia club.
• Solidarity (sharing batteries and other functions).
• Stereo (impressive sound when the phones are put together).
• Wide-screen picture when put them together.
• Computer connection (sharing Palm functions).
• Games (special versions from leading game brands)
• Pictures (trailers from providers such as Paramount)
• Internet faster with bigger picture (more power)
• Events where you can connect phone with others
• Every sold pair is a small Nokia club
• Special collection of mobile accessories
• Alert sounds when your phone partner is nearby (of/on, practical to use in big cities, large gatherings, spying…).
• The separate digital cameras become a high-quality 3D camera.
• Offer technology that allows people to talk to each other in different languages such as German and Japanese. (If this sounds strange, remember that we will be able to mail in different languages in the very near future.)
• Offer technology that allows people to talk to each other in different time zones in the same way as you email across time zones (you always read mail when it is convenient for you in your time zone).

People need other people. People want to have fun. The Nokia brand can use the technology of their products, the magnet in the phones as a magnet for people. Nokia could “share the fun” and capture a large share of the “fun market”.
There are countless variations on the paired phones theme – matching astrological signs, find a partner theme contests, two player game tournaments – anything that will get people to connect. The key words are buzz and story telling.

Nokia is an excellent example of how products can bring people together at the same time that they experience the product and the brand. What kind of alliances and partnerships could Nokia form to make the most of this? What other products could develop these sort of values through new features and design? With an entire world that badly needs to connect, how can Nokia develop connecting people into a social responsibility program (corporate citizenship)? How can a satisfied customer recruit others?

These ideas are only one point of departure for finding ways of getting people to connect with each other.

More illustrations of how this Nokia mobile could loook (PDF).
How could an APPLE PROJECTOR look like and work? (PDF).

Illustration by Joachim Nordwall

Update 23 August:
Mehboob Kasim did kindly send me a good send this tips about an site that now writes parts of the ONE solution:

“This picture shows a dual-ended cell phone power connector made in Korea. The connector connects two cell phones at each end of it. It is for the occasion whenever your cell phone battery runs out of juice (hope not occasionally.) and one of your buddies is willing to let go off some of cell battery power for you.”