Editorial: A little late to the party, a little slow on reality, Nokia starts talking about mobile HD voice

Nokia’s official blog, “Nokia Conversations,” has discovered the wonders of mobile HD voice.  The company has recently posted a pair of articles discussing the technology, but reading though the pieces makes me wonder where the company’s head really is.

The first piece, “What is HD voice?,” comes posted from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7, 2011.   Reading through the article, it sounds like that the company has just discovered the technology’s power, but Nokia phones were the among the first handsets to support AMR-WB when France Telecom started rolling out HD over a year ago.

As a matter of fact, the piece goes on to list all of its devices that support AMR-WB, “including the Nokia N8, C7, C6-01, X3-02, and C3-01 in 2010, and will be supported by a vast majority of Nokia devices in 2011 including the Nokia E7.”  Oh-by-the-way, the blog continues, check out the September 2010 review of HD voice on Orange’s UK network across a pair of Nokia E5 prototypes.

*sigh* Nokia, you had leadership on this issue and you’re just now coming to terms in your official blog that you support AMR-WB? 

But wait, there’s more!

A new piece, “HD voice – hear the difference,” appeared yesterday.  It seems to be based around a Sky News video piece where Martin Stanford makes a call on an “HD voice-enabled Nokia phone” and another “competitor’s phone” without HD on Orange’s UK network.  

Orange is being described as “currently pushing this new technology” – a fair statement, but not really the wording I’d expect to see from a vendor who is supplying them with handsets, followed by what I would consider to be rhetorical questions at the end.

“Is HD voice something that would make a real difference to you? We’d like to see it on every phone, so what do you think?”

*sigh*

If you haven’t tried HD voice in a mobile environment, you can’t really make the definitive statement that it would make a “real difference” to you.

For Nokia to say “we’d like to see it on every phone” is another head scratcher.  France Telecom said back at Mobile World Congress last year that all of its phones should have AMR-WB by the end of 2011, so if Nokia wants to keep on selling phones through Orange, AMR-WB support better be there.

Maybe this is all a big build-up to Mobile World Congress in February, but Nokia could/should have played the AMR-WB card a lot sooner – like a year ago. 

Instead, it will be sitting in a sea of new handsets from across the globe (with the exception of Motorola, who is more into tablet lust than high-quality voice these days), and another face in the crowd.

— Doug

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