Nokia Beta Labs
Business Week reports on how online aps such as Sports Tracker and Nokia Beta Lab, allow the Finnish handset giant to gather customers’ ideas from around the world, and virtually for free.

“Sports Tracker is an example of how Nokia has begun experimenting with user-generated innovation. That’s the premise behind Nokia Beta Labs, a Web site where the Finnish handset maker lets users test the latest smartphone software. Instead of people recording silly Web cam videos for YouTube or inventing frivolous advocacy groups on Facebook, they can help make the mobile Internet more useful.

“Beta Labs is part of a broader push by Nokia to harness customers and partners in the service of innovation. At the company allows users to share and rate applications they have created such as screen-savers or games. And over the past year, Nokia designers have traveled to the developing world to ask users to sketch their own dream cell phones. By yearend, more than half the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas, so to exploit this mega-trend Nokia’s researchers visited shantytowns in Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, and Accra in Ghana.”

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