Will Context Aware Be Enough for Nokia?

Nokia has placed some big bets on location-based technologies, including buying a handful of companies and making a $8.1 billion bid for Navteq. The company’s vision of the future revolves around making wireless Internet more context aware. In particular, Nokia is betting on applications that, when married to location-based services, are going to keep demand for its S60-based phones growing, a point that it’s likely to trumpet at the S60 Summit in Barcelona later this month.

That may not be enough if Nokia wants to continue being the No. 1 mobile phone maker on the planet. The company sees the mobile phone as a computer and as a result has crammed many awesome hardware features into its devices. Their usability, however, is less than stellar. I’ve had some frustration with Nokia’s S60-based user experience. For instance, while I love the Nokia N95 8GB, it cries out for a simpler and more elegant music player, as well as for a camera interface that isn’t so confusing. What Nokia really needs to do — in addition to adding context awareness to its devices — is to simplify their usability.