Nokia’s moving fast to catch up with current tech memes: As well as leaping into the smartbook and netbook fray, it’s also getting into social net “lifecasting” thanks to a new Ovi app that connects to Facebook.
That all sounds pretty normal, since every man and his dog is leaping aboard the social networking bandwagon at the moment. Check out Nokia’s promo video to see how it all works (assuming you aren’t too distracted by the overly-sleek Clark Kent-alike robo actors):
Does anything about that strike you as slightly odd? It’s all branded as a Nokia Ovi vehicle, and presented almost as if lifecasting is something wonderful Nokia’s invented. But in reality this is a simple Facebook front-end app, like one on any other smartphone. Sure, there are some geotagging extras, thanks to Ovi Maps (itself getting a touchscreen and capability update just now) and A-GPS tie-ins from the N97’s hardware, but frankly that’s nothing terribly amazing. Basically Nokia’s trying to make itself sound all cool and down with the latest social meme, by saying Nokia lets you keep up with your friends and share your experiences live…when actually all it is is a channel to someone else’s clever social net. And Android phones, Palm’s Pre, and the iPhone do most of this already.
And there’s something else that clangs a bit here. Nokia’s spin implies all those short dialogue chats, geotagged imagery, and social lifecasting are best done through Facebook. Whereas Twitter’s entire raison d’etre is exactly this sort of activity–and geotagging will soon be baked-in at source-code level on Twitter long before Facebook does. Maybe we’re missing something, but Nokia’s stance on this does all seem a bit odd.
Still, if you’re an N97 owner you can snag a beta-test version of the app here. Let us know how you like it.