Nokia is making a big push around “wow-factor” features that it hopes will turn consumers’ eyes away from Apple and Android devices. Along with integrating the Pure View camera, Nokia is also pushing slick, wireless charging services, and it is kicking this off with some inaugural partnerships with Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Virgin Atlantic for charging ‘hotspots’, along with some new charging devices to use at home.
Taking a page from Apple’s playbook, a lot of the features, including the wireless charging, are about using your phone to make your life easier, and using innovation to make maintaining your phone as easy as possible. “All of the innovation you see today is based on a single-minded focus to get the absolute most out of your day,” said Jo Harlow, EVP of smart devices at Nokia.
Nokia notes that the wireless charging will be built into the Lumia 920. The smaller Lumia 820, meanwhile, will have the wireless charging as part of its removeable and exchageable shell.
The Virgin Atlantic deal is fairly limited: at launch it will only be available at its Heathrow Airport clubhouse business and first-class lounge, but it is then extending that to the clubhouse at New Yorks JFK at a later stage.
However Harlow notes that this is just “a first step in our plan to make wireless charging as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi is today.”
Meanwhile Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf deal will be a more mainstream offering. Potentially this could get rolled out to the company’s full 850-store, 24 country footprint, but initially it will cover wireless charging access points at “select major metropolitan cities” across the U.S.
The deal will also come with a special mobile app for Lumia and Windows Phone smartphone users (that is, those who are potentially using non-Lumia devices built on Microsoft’s platform). Nokia says the app will include social media feeds, a store locator, store amenities and contact information, as well as seasonal beverage selections, gifts, charitable initiatives and much more. But: no mobile payment services, which is surprising considering how this has been viewed as a cornerstone offering by another major coffee chain, Starbucks. ‘
The company also unveiled a range of accessories for charging, which double as secondary services. For example, a speaker from JBL that wirelessly plays your music also doubles as a dock for charging when you lie your phone on it. The Fatboy charging pillow, meanwhile, doesn’t look like its designed for you to use during your next nap.
The company says these devices will become available when Lumia 920 and 820 come to market, likely in October.