IDA denies SingTel full regulatory relief

4 of 7 appeals over dominant licensee obligations rejected

By WINSTON CHAI

(SINGAPORE) After deliberating for 18 months, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is standing firm on its decision to deny Singapore Telecom full exemption from government regulations designed to keep the country’s largest operator in check.

The telecommunications regulator has officially turned down four of SingTel’s seven appeals to be freed from so-called ‘dominant licensee obligations’ relating to the provision of business telephony services.

Under Singapore’s Telecom Competition Code, SingTel is subject to these stringent operating rules in areas where it is deemed to have a commanding market presence. The conditions were put in place to ensure SingTel deals with other telecommunications licensees in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. For example, it requires SingTel to offer other service providers access to parts of its infrastructure under prices and conditions set by the government.

SingTel submitted two appeals for regulatory relief to IDA in October 2007. The first ‘customer segment request’ applied to corporate clients who spend more than $250,000 a year on telecom services, while the second ‘market-based request’ was for six business telephony services.

IDA reached a final decision this week after three rounds of public feedback and interviews with other industry players over the past 18 months.

‘SingTel’s request is far broader than its three previous exemption requests,’ IDA’s deputy director-general of telecom and post Andrew Haire said in a letter to SingTel on Tuesday.

‘If IDA were to grant SingTel’s request in its entirety, SingTel would be relieved from dominant licensee regulation for all telecommunication services it provides to government and business customers who spend at least $250,000 a year on telecommunication services.’

Full exemption in this customer segment would mean that SingTel would be unshackled from dominant licensee stipulations for most of the services it provides to businesses with a telecom budget below $250,000, he added.

Given these considerations, IDA decided to reject SingTel’s first customer-segment request. However, the regulator will grant SingTel regulatory relief for three of the six market segments contained in its second request.

According to Mr Haire, the backhaul and terrestrial international private leased circuits (IPLC) segments ‘are now effectively competitive’ and SingTel will be freed from its dominant licensee obligations in these markets. In addition, the regulator will continue to exempt SingTel in the international managed data services market.

These exemptions, however, will not be extended to the remaining three Singapore-centric business segments detailed by SingTel.

‘IDA has concluded that because effective competition has not yet taken root in the business local telephony service, LLC (local leased circuit) and local managed data service, IDA will not grant exemption in those markets,’ Mr Haire said.

The rulings are expected to kick in by June 16. When contacted, SingTel did not confirm whether it will appeal to IDA. ‘We are reviewing the decision. However, we welcome IDA’s decision to relieve us from dominant licensee obligations in respect to the terrestrial IPLC market and the backhaul market,’ a SingTel spokesman said.

Source: The Business Times

Launch of MSI X-SLIM X340

 

On 1 June, I was invited to the media launch of MSI X340 at Serenity Restaurant in Vivocity (thanks to Sally from CR MEDIA for the invitation).

MSI gained popularity in Singapore with its MSI U100 which was one of the more popular netbooks around. Now, MSI is launching with another exciting product that will grab the hearts of fashionistas who also look for functionality.

Welcome MSI X340, the latest addition to the X-SLIM series of notebooks. As the name suggests, the X340 is incredibly slim. It measures only 19.8 mm at its thickest point. The sleekness of X340 makes it a sure head-turner. And did I tell you it weighs merely 1.3 kg? (1.3kg includes the weight of the 4-cell battery that comes along with X340. You can also get an 8-cell battery if you want longer battery life.)

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MSI launch 003

For a notebook that weighs 1.3kg and is only 19.8mm thick, X340 does pack a punch. It runs on Intel® Core™2 Solo processor ULV SU3500 (1.4GHz), sports 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 VGA port. All your regular connectivity options like Bluetooth and wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n are available. X340 is also great for watching videos with its 16:9 screen.

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MSI launch 039 

In conclusion, this notebook is certainly a good option for those who want something slim and light enough to carry around without strain, something that looks sleek enough to make others look with envy, and something with more processing power than Atom-based devices. No doubt, fashion and function can exist together.

 

(blog post written by Poisonvine)

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SMAATO Press: Smaato releases new white paper on Mobile Advertising Optimization

Smaato releases new white paper on Mobile Advertising Optimization

NEW YORK, June 1, 2009 – Smaato, the leading global mobile Ad Optimizer, released today its new white paper on Mobile Advertising: “Higher revenues with mobile Ad Optimization & global Ad Network aggregation.” The white paper can be downloaded at www.smaato.com.

The white paper describes the opportunities mobile publishers and developers have to monetize their inventory world wide. It explores how different mobile fill rates can be expected from mobile ad networks and what types of pricing tiers are out there for mobile inventory. It also explains how ad revenue optimization works, and helps to realize the true potential of mobile inventory.

“Publishers of mobile websites & developers of cool mobile apps face the growing challenge of matching their expanding global popularity with the daunting task of filling their ad inventory associated with those very services. Smaato identified this issue many moons ago, and is capitalizing on the provision of global mobile ad optimization using its SOMA platform. Smaato has come from nowhere and gained significant experience and footprint in this section of mobile advertising and marketing in a very short, yet incredibly successful, period” states Nick Lane, Chief Researcher / writer, mobileSQUARED.

The information featured in the white paper is based on the experience of Smaato’s ad ops and engineering teams over the last years in order to boost mobile ad revenues and give mobile publishers the opportunity to maximize their Ad ARPU.

“The buzz in the mobile advertising space is around delivering the right ad to the right person – even better if this occurs in the right context. But the real issue publishers face is how to identify – in real-time – the right ad network to deliver the right results,” added Peggy Anne Salz, Chief Analyst at MSearchGroove (MSG). “Smaato, a global company whose own evolution shows its grasp of the key issues impacting the mobile advertising business ecosystem at all levels, has gained significant traction through its ability to dynamically identify the ad networks that monetize publishers’ inventory best. This innovation is core to Smaato‘s competitive advantage and pivotal in moving the mobile advertising industry to the next level.”

Meet Smaato at MMA New York: Harald Neidhardt, CMO & Co-Founder of Smaato, will moderate a panel at the MMA Forum: International Innovation in Mobile – What are the trends for the future? June 3rd, 12:30 – 12:50pm.

Press contact Smaato Inc.
Harald Neidhardt
CMO & Co-Founder
www.smaato.com
harald@smaato.com
Smaato Inc.
3 Lagoon Drive, Suite 170
Redwood Shores, CA 94065
Phone (USA): +1 (650) 286 11 98
Phone (Europe) +49 (40) 35 71 83 88

About Smaato Inc.
Smaato is a pioneering mobile advertising company that operates the mobile ad optimization platform called SOMA (Smaato Open Mobile Advertising) and partners with mobile publishers, developers, ad networks and operators.

SOMA’s unique feature is the aggregation of multiple leading ad networks globally to maximize mobile advertising ARPU in more than 200 countries. SOMA can be easily integrated with ad networks, ad inventory owners (publishers, developers and operators) and 3rd party ad technology providers.

Smaato is an active member of the Mobile Marketing Association, the dot.mobi Advisory Group and the German Digital Media Association BVDW. Smaato received a Top 100 Private Company Award by AlwaysOn Media (2009 & 2007) and was an Andrew Seybold Choice Awards finalist at CTIA 2008 for best Newcomer, among other awards.

Smaato Inc. is based in Redwood Shores, California. The privately held company was founded in 2005 by an experienced International management team. The European headquarters are in Hamburg, Germany.

About mobileSQUARED
mobileSQUARED offers the very latest bespoke research, analysis, forecasting, and insight on the mobile data market. From in-depth reports, to agile research in as little as 48 hours, business model analysis, unique market data, and contract publishing, our team of industry experts deliver it. Our complimentary research newsletter is published every six weeks, which offers in-depth analysis on key areas of the mobile data market – sectors, companies, territories and individuals. For more information, please visit www.mobilesquared.co.uk

About MSearchGroove
MSearchGroove is a leading source of in-depth analysis and commentary on mobile search, mobile advertising, and social media. Peggy Anne Salz, Founder and Chief Analyst, leads a committed team of industry experts, undertaking custom research and consulting projects. Her most recent series of practical how-to white papers covers the basics of mobile advertising and mobile analytics, indisputably establishing her as a mobile advertising authority. For more information, please visit: www.msearchgroove.com

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD 2009

 

The current crisis has wiped out the global market confidence but not the ambitions of the entrepreneurs.

 

And the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) and the Rotary Club are aiming to recognise those who have succeeded this year despite the many obstacles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is now into its 21st year. It seeks to honour successful entrepreneurs who have been able to recognise opportunities, take appropriate actions and accept the associated risks.
Past winners include homegrown firms like Charles and Keith, Breadtalk and Qian Hu.

 

What are the qualifying requirements? 

  1. The Candidate must be an entrepreneur who has been in business for at least three years, and has demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurial qualities in growing and developing the business.
  2. The Candidate must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident, who is above 21 years of age.
  3. The Candidate’s company must have a minimum 30% local equity.
  4. If the Candidate owns between 10% and 30% of the Company’s shares, he/she has to be nominated by the Board of Directors.
  5. Total fixed production assets of the Candidate’s company should not exceed S$30 million. Total number of employees must not exceed 400 if the Candidate’s business belongs to the service industry.
  6. The Candidate’s company must neither be a listed company nor a subsidiary of a listed company.
  7. The Candidate’s company must hold at least three years of audited books of accounts, which must be submitted for evaluation.

Submissions for the award will close at noon on June 30, 2009. Visit the website at http://www.eya.com.sg/

 

HTC UNVEIL MAGIC IN SINGAPORE WITH MAGIC SHOW

14 May 2009 I was invited for the media launch of HTC Magic at Raffles Hotel Ballroom. (Finally, Magic has come to Singapore!!Yeah!!).  Thanks to Rina from The Right Spin Pte Ltd for inviting me to this exciting launch of the 2nd Android Phone by HTC. The launch was accompanied by a magic show by Jeremy Pei. Watch the video below.

So what’s new for HTC Magic in Singapore? First of all, HTC Magic, unlike HTC Dream, will be made available to all 3 Telcos in Singapore. This is certainly a good news to non-SingTel customers. Furthermore, any upgrades on HTC Magic will be done directly through HTC instead of over-the-air provided by Telcos. You can save on your data charges :).

 

The HTC Magic is light and handy [113mm (L) x 55.56 (W) x 13.65 mm (T) and weighs 116g (with battery)] The 1340mAh Lithium-ion battery gives you a standby time up to 420 minutes in a GSM network.     

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Despite a small 3.2-inch TFT-LCD flat screen, typing on the touch screen has been reasonably comfortable (at least for a guy like me).

HTC Magic Launch@Raffles Hotel 022

We tried watching Channel News Asia Live on Magic. I was impressed by the fast HSDPA connectivity and the high processing power in this device. The graphic was excellent with 320×480 HVGA resolution screen. But, the picture quality taken by its 3.2 megapixel camera is poor.  

 

There are value-added application for this Android-powered HTC Magic. Besides Google applications such as Gmail and Calendar, business users will still be able to enjoy Microsoft Exchanges and other 3rd party applications such as Blackberry and Digital Compass. Digital Compass is pre-installed in the phone. 

 

With Google’s plan of providing street view of Singapore, the in-built G-Sensor will certainly prepare users for better street navigation in the future.

 

Initial impression

Likes:

– Responsive interface and good graphics

– Google applications

 

Dislike:

–  poor camera quality

 

The new HTC Magic will be available from early June 2009 at all authorized resellers at a suggested retail price* of S$1,048. Standard retail HTC Magic package will come with a 2GB microSD card.

HTC website: http://www.htc.com

 

*All prices are subject to pricing policies of individual operators.

 

 

 

Meet global business leaders at mobile marketing forum asia 2009 in singapore

Mobile Marketing Forum Asia 2009 is organized by Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and co-organized by Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF). Supported by Infocomm Development  Authority (IDA) of Singapore, the forum brings together the entire mobile marketing ecosystem to discuss developments and best practices in the industry at Suntec City Convention Centre.

IMG_6979

I was very glad to be invited by Joan and Jeff from the Rice Communication as the technology blogger for this event. The event is truly a cohesive community of mobile businesses. Within the short 2 days, visitors will be expecting more than 40 talks on mobile marketing and the available technology that has changed the way businesses communicate with their customers.

MMF@suntec 27 - 29 APR 119 (Picture above) Program Schedule

The 2-day event connects regulators, brands, agencies, content aggregators, carriers, device manufacturers, technology developers and other major players in the mobile marketing industry. The event also includes a special focus on Visual Code to highlight ongoing technology developments with barcodes, zap codes, QR and similar interactive modes of content capture.

MMF@suntec 27 - 29 APR 099

MMF@suntec 27 - 29 APR 100 (Picture above) Complimentary TCC’s Premium Coffee

Another interesting element of the event is live streaming where attendees can text in their questions via the live stream platform which are projected on to the event screen. The live streaming is done by bnetTV.com.

     MMF@suntec 27 - 29 APR 105 (Picture above) Live Questions from abroad

In my opinion, marketing is about communication with the customers. MMF highlights the key essences of mobile marketing in Asia and this has certainly benefited not only for those who are already in the mobile business but also, companies which are currently exploring mobile as the new channel to engage their customers. 

The event happens on 28 & 29 Apr 2009.

For more information about the event, please visit http://www.mobilemarketingforum.com/

Swarm, Share and Save – New Web Portal By DELL

I was informed about the launch of DELL’s latest web portal – DELL Swarm, an interactive website that serves to expand DELL’s business scope in the digital space. Thanks Tania from Ogily for inviting bloggers to attend the session at Geek Terminal. So what exactly Swarm is? A Swarm is a group that forms to buy selected Dell laptops powered by the latest Intel® processors for less.

 DELL 037

How it works?

BUY

Start by picking the laptop you would like to purchase.

Be the first buyer to join a Swarm and you’ll enjoy a price lower than dell.com.sg’s best discounted price (after cash rebates)

 

Join a Swarm after, and you’ll enjoy a new, lower price – as will all the other buyers. To see the range of prices, simply slide the Swarm price bar downwards.

 

When you’re ready to join the Swarm, click on the Buy button, register and we’ll contact you once the Swarm ends and the price is finalised. This happens once the limit of 15 buyers or 72 hours is reached.

 

Share

To get the maximum discount, grow the Swarm by Sharing with your friends.

 

 Follow

If you are not ready to buy, you can follow the swarm. You’ll then receive updates via email and SMS

 

So when is the launch of the site?

Currently, the site is in Beta and it will be up on 5th May 2009. The following will be the first batch of DELL products of Swarm.

 
a. Inspiron Mini 12
There’s a new kid in town. One that’s super thin and ultra-portable – the Inspiron Mini 12, weighing in at less than 1.1" thick and 1.236 kg.
• Intel® Atom TM Z530 Processor
• Vibrant 12.1" display
• Advanced wireless options for superior mobility
• Dynamic and customisable user interface

b. Dell Studio 14
Get creative and connected with this personalised, Hi-Def, 14.1" widescreen laptop with rich multimedia features.
• Powered by Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor T6600 for compact performance
• Experience intuitive interaction with multimedia keys, which illuminate when touched.
• Sleek and Stylish
Products on offer the 2nd week (12th May 2009):

c. Dell Studio XPS M1340
Blending power with elegance, the Studio XPS 1340 is designed to deliver the ultimate mobile laptop experience.
• The latest Intel® Core™2 Duo processors P8600 for blazing fast performance
• Premium design with genuine leather accents, anodised aluminum, edge-to-edge display and
backlit keyboard
• Optional NVIDIA® Hybrid SLI graphics deliver incredibly lifelike videos, movies and gaming
• Watch all your DVD movies in brilliant HD with automated hi-def up-conversion

d. Dell Studio 14
Get creative and connected with this personalised, Hi-Def, 14.1" widescreen laptop with rich multimedia features.
• Powered by Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor T6400 for compact performance
• Experience intuitive interaction with multimedia keys, which illuminate when touched.
• Sleek and Stylish

Visit http://www.dellswarm.com/sg/ on the 5th May 2009! Stay tuned!

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Get Unlimited Music Download By Sony Ericsson and SingTel

PlayNow plus logo

SINGAPORE, 23 April 2009 – SingTel and Sony Ericsson announced the exclusive launch of PlayNow™ plus, an all-you-can-eat music buffet service. SingTel Customers will be the first in Asia Pacific to enjoy the freedom to discover, download, play and recommend unlimited music wherever and whenever, directly from the phone.

 

PlayNow™ plus allows users to download as much music as they want from all major record labels – Sony BMG, Universal, Warner and EMI alongside with top regional labels like HIM, Rock Records and Ocean Butterflies and selected independent labels. SingTel customers will enjoy the service free for one year!

singtel sony ericsson 101 

With the revolutionary compression technology – eAAC+ music format, user can download music from PlayNow™ plus directly to their phone less than a minute. Equipped with the 4GD Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™), users can store close to 4000 songs (eAAC+ format) in the latest Sony Ericsson Walkman phone, SE W705. Through the Stereo Portable Handsfree HPM-77, the SE W705 delivers crystal clear sound as well as clear bass qualities.

 

PlayNow™ plus users no longer worry about the expensive data charges from the Telcos. For the music lovers who buy a SE W705, SingTel is offering them an additional free 12-month data bundle as part of their SingTel Mobile price plan, without them having to sign up for a new plan. The free data bundle of 200MB ffered by SingTel is equivalent to about 200 songs download every month.

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The SE W705 will be available in Singapore from Apr 2009 in Luxury Silver and Passionate Red (exclusive for SingTel subscribers).

 

The SE W705 with PlayNow™ plus is exclusively available only at SingTel at the following prices:

Price Plan Monthly Subscription FREE monthly data bundle (with unlimited data for the first month) Price of SE W705
iOne Plus $25.68 200MB $298
iTwo Value $48.15 200MB $198
iTwo Plus $82.93 200MB $98

 

For more information on PlayNow™ plus, please visit the website: http://playnowplus.sg/

Event review – Differentiate Yourself with the "IT" Factor!

I have been pretty busy writing proposal to potential speakers and exhibitors for the upcoming TAWA event.  Recently, I have just sent out sponsorship letters to some of the potential companies. Now, I manage to “squeeze” some time to complete my review for CISCO (stock quote – NasdaqGS: CISCO) event.  

 

Ever since the last TAWA event – “Wireless Security in Singapore”, the curiosity in IT has triggered me to learn more about network security. The opportunity came at the right time when Association of Small-Medium Enterprise (ASME) sent me an invitation to attend an event organized by CISCO – Differentiate Yourself with the “IT” Factor. 

 

I vividly recalled that I was rushing to the event thinking that I might lose my way to Capital Tower where CISCO office is. Luckily, the building is only a couple of meters away from the MRT exit of Tanjong Pagar station. I managed to reach there just before the event started.

CISCO IT factor 077 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banner (Picture above): “When  The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Smart”

The event is a series of talks targeted at Small-Medium Enterprises (SME). The profiles of the crowd are very diverse. I got to meet people from logistic, consultancy, IT and even beauty salons!

 

Although I am the youngest (I think so) among the crowd, I have managed to garner good business contacts. A very good business networking platform. I am surprised to see Christopher Lee from Geek Terminal. He was giving a presentation on how CISCO products have helped in his F&B business. Also, I got to know Nicholas Ng, Director of Small & Medium Business, CISCO.

 

There are many interesting talks but the one I like most is the live demonstration on computer hacking in the common network.

 

Amazing! It takes only seconds to hack into your computer and this can be done using free online hacking tool. (You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be a hacker. All you need to do is to google the phrase “hacking tools” and you will know the “how”) You think your firewalls installed in you laptop is safe. Think again.

 

A product that might interest the SME owners is the CISCO Unified Communication 500, a device that integrates telephony, voice messaging, automated attendant, security, VPN and video. Unlike those big machines you see in large companies, this system is pretty much designed for SMEs. Anyway, SMEs don’t need super-powered system for their operations.

 

The pdf brochure is available for download here. The information is provided by Comstor, a leading specialty distributor of Cisco solutions with specific programs and capabilities for advanced technologies such as Voice, Security and Mobility.

CISCO IT factor 079

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture above: Unified Communication System – Linksys Business Series

 

If you are interested to know how such product can help your business, you may wish to contact Mr Michael Long at michael.long@comstor.com.sg

 

CISCO event is more than selling of products. it is educational and provides relevant information for today’s competitive business environment.

 

However, the duration of the event is long and it is rather difficult to digest all the technical information.   

Read further down if you want to know more.

 

Hitachi Capital

CISCO understands the needs as well as the difficulties faced by the SMEs. Finances have always been an issue faced by all SMEs but I think that should not be the obstacle for expansion.

 

Hitachi Capital offers a broad range of products that will help companies to invest on their operations. If you have the intention to invest on CISCO products, you should talk to Hitachi Capital for assistance in financing your purchases (Drop me a mail and I can refer you to the relevant people in Hitachi Capital).

 

Want to win SG$25,000 worth of CISCO Small Business Solutions? Be a Game Changer!

If your company has less than 250 employees, you can participate the CISCO’s Game Changer contest and stand a chance to win SG$25,000 worth of CISCO Business Solutions.

 

Simply write in 35 words or less, how you would transform your business with Cisco Small Business solutions and you could be a step closer to outwit, outlast and outpace the competition.

 

Entrepreneurs! If you need to have a free secured network, you may consider this option. Who knows?! You may be the lucky one! Click here for more information.

 

So What’s Next? CISCO Security Techbyte – Network as the Security Platform

Cisco Security TechByte will address new and continuing threats to the critical corporate information security, as well as responses to the increasing risk of security breaches, data exfiltration, identity theft and more.

 

CISCO Security Techbyte – Network as the Security Platform. is opened to public. For more information, please visit CISCO website. Hope you guys will enjoy this upcoming session.    

 

 

 

Wow! NOKIA LAPTOP! sounds cool but…

 

It appears to me that Nokia (Stock quote – NYSE:NOK) has been pretty active in the market recently. They have launched their music campaign – Comes with Music and now they might be entering into the laptop (or maybe netbook) market. According to Reuters, Nokia CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo hinted that they are exploring opportunities in the laptop market(I am betting they are going into the netbook market).  

 

This move should not come as a surprise. Given the fact that Nokia has acquired Symbian for their mobile Operating System. They have the hardware and software capabilities to produce portable computing devices. By opening up Symbian platform, we will see developers creating applications. As a consumer, I would certainly love to see more choices in the Operation Systems market which is still dominated by Microsoft (Stock quote – NASDAQGS:MSFT).

 

The question here is whether Nokia’s move into portable PC is a viable one. I have came across this article from Business Daily Africa that the worldwide shipment of netbook is forecasted to 35 million and it is estimated to be 139 million by 2013. I believe, in a way, that these figures could be realised. We have seen people around us started to carry netbook whenever they go. It is not hard to imagine the amount of potential in this market. However, this is not going to be an easy game for new players like Nokia.

 

There are too many competitors fighting the same piece of pie. Many electronics giants are already in the game. They have the technology and business infrastructure to mass produce good-quality computers at a cheap cost.

 

Furthermore, competition has sliced away the profit margins of all the market players. So, why should Nokia diversify from higher profit-margin mobile sector to lower profit-margin laptop sector? Nokia had 38.4 percent of the global mobile phone market and this sector is still very lucrative in Asia.

 

It will only be worthwhile if Nokia has a disruptive strategies that can permanently change people’s way of using netbook or laptop just like the way Apple iPod (Stock quote – NASDAQGS: AAPL)change the people’s impression of portable music players. (Hmm…When Apple release their first netbook?)  

 

Some people have created their own Nokia Laptop. Come and take a look!

 

Video 1 by thoughtfix.blogspot.com

 

Video 2 by thoughtfix.blogspot.com