On the 22nd of October I was invited to be a part of an online conversation with the product manager of Nokia Email Services (NES), Andrew Mahon. It was a great opportunity to interact with him and get to know more about NES. I also got to converse with Davis Fields who works for feedback response for the same service. I have compiled a few important points below.

NES will initially be launched in about 20 countries and Nokia is working to make it a part of the data plan, this means that usage of this software will reflect in your billing statement. Nokia expects its market share in this segment to be commensurate with their market share in the handsets segment.

Nokia still is undecided on whether to have two applications for email viz. the native S60 application and NES. This application will be only for Nokia S60 devices, so all you Samsung and LG owners you are going to have to push your manufacturer for something like this. Nokia S40 users will not be getting a J2ME version. Sorry guys!

Andrew also revealed interesting finding from a research carried out by Nokia regarding mobile email.

“1. discoverability – people don’t even know that their phones can get email, even though it’s been on the phone for years”
“2. those who discover email on the phone have a very difficult time getting it setup and functioning.”
“3. Unpredictability of cost – users don’t have control over how many emails they receive, worry about receiving large bill at the end of the month”.

A question asked by jamespowell1989 about whether NES will be getting full HTML features implemented or not, was replied to in affirmative. Davis said that that were working on giving full HTML support to NES and haven’t disclosed when the fix would be released. Similarly Google apps support is also on its way. Folder support was also something that NES developers were looking to implement.

When asked if this was a true ‘push’ service this what they had to say,
“A few months back, another mobile email used the word push to describe its offering. By push, they meant that every 15 minutes the email service would poll the service provider and fetch whatever email was on the ISP server and then push that to the phone.

And, the negative reaction to the apparent misuse of the word “push” was quite severe. So, I want to be clear how I use the word push, and where it applies and where it doesn’t. For GMail, we have a relationship with the provider, and we have a true push implementation. The delivery is near real-time.For other IMAP providers, we also have near-real time delivery. For POP providers, we use a polling period of 15 minutes.”

Andrew and Davis also made it clear NES is slated to be a commercial email offering and not an enterprise solution, so there isn’t likely to be exchange support.

With regards to government concerns to security, Andrew made it clear that NES will comply with all government regulations when providing the email services in that country. This means that there won’t many government problems with regards to servers. Currently the server is housed centrally at the Nokia Network Operating Center.

Andrew also assured me that they were using good compression techniques and the data traffic was optimized on its own. Also the they truncate all message at 2k of data. So if any message is truncated it tell you so, and one needs to only scroll down and the application fetches the rest automatically. Users however have an option to change the settings for this if they want to. When asked to describe NES in five words, Andrew that this to say,
“Discoverable, easy setup, predictable price”.

The Blackberry comparison which I wanted to know about, got me this response…
“When a consumer walks into a phone store, and asks to see all the email phones, the clerk pulls out seven qwerty keyboard devices… three Blackberries, two Nokias, two other phones.
Today, chances are, the Blackberry gets picked quite often… they have a nice email solution with nice phones. But, most people come into a phone and say
show me your best camera phone
or your best music phone
or the phone with the longest battery life
or phones for active lifestyle
or phones with GPS navigation
or phones under $100
Chances are for those categories, there’s more Nokia’s in those categories than any of our competitors.
Nokia will win its generous share of these phones… and once they choose the Nokia, the operator has the opportunity to sell the consumer email on their phone. Our strategy is making email easy to say “yes to” and opposed to the reason someone buys a phone. Through our research, our design is focused on the five mail things: scanning inbox/reading/deleting/reply/composing email.
We’re spending our resources optimizing those core mobile email functions.
So we aren’t describing this service comparing it to Blackberry – but if there’s specific features you’re interested in, feel free to let me know.
When the user signs up for NES, he/she will get email pushed to the phone. That’s the basic and key benefit.”

If you want to read the entire chat, you can do so by going here. Note: This link requires you to have a Tangler account.