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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

July - 2007 - issue > India Development Center

The Nokia Verve And the Challenge of Connecting

Jaya Smitha Menon
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Jaya Smitha Menon
Connecting people symbolizes Nokia. Today it commands a leadership position—with a 42 percent market share—in the Indian mobile handset market. While it is seen as a handset company, the engineering challenges it encounters in designing futuristic models is engrossing, and the Nokia R&D center in Bangalore provides a sneak peek into them. The activities there reveal the complexities that go into the process of making the high-end phones which are flooding the market. Nearly 600 engineers in Bangalore diligently work towards churning out the best devices, with a wide variety of features.

Ajith Mekkoth, Head of India Operations, (Product and Technology Platforms) Nokia, recalls the time when he started his career at Nokia in the Silicon Valley 12 years ago; he was working towards the 2100 series of phones. At that time, the mobile phone market was very small, and it was possible to survive in the market rolling out just two or three products in a year.

The situation is starkly different today. Owing to stiff competition, the scale or the portfolio of products has become important and the company rolls out almost half a dozen models with multifold features in a quarter. In order to introduce products almost every other week, there is a paradigm shift in the product development model.

“Today, you cannot have life cycles of a year. They must be month-long. So we have to keep inventing and innovating,” says Mekkoth. “In the earlier times, the cell phone was centered on radio technology. Today, the radio is not the differentiating element any more. Multimedia is getting prominence. Hence the engineering processes are tuned in accordance with the market needs. Earlier, we used to work on individual products, but now we work on platforms or reusable blocks which integrate into various products.”

It is with this new philosophy—platforms or modularity of components—that the Nokia India R&D center works.

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