My Nokia World 2013 Abu Dhabi Experience : From Arrival to Event Wrap-up

I'm not sure if you still remember, TP Friends, but when Nokia was still holding their yearly Nokia Connection events in the Asia Pacific region (usually in Singapore), Nokia Philippines used to always bring me with them as part of our country's delegation.

Going to this year's Nokia World media event held in Abu Dhabi really meant a lot to me not just because I wanted to be there to witness all the launches first-hand but more importantly, because I wanted to show Nokia that I support them all the way -- up to what could be their very last major event as an independent handset maker and beyond.

"This will be a full circle moment for me. It's been a while since Nokia had an event in Asia and they used to always bring me with them. Nokia has supported me since Day 1 of my blogging career and I will always love Nokia for that. Of course, I'd love to be there," I told Nokia Philippines' PR agency when they formally sent me the invite to Nokia World 2013.

It was only a two-day affair, TP Friends, but it sure proved to be one of the most memorable tech events I've been to. I always say I go tech events so I can bring the events to you so here are some photos from Nokia World 2013 -- hopefully, these images somehow captured the many special moments during my stay Abu Dhabi for our favorite Finnish company.

Nokia World 2013

The Philippine delegation composed of me, Sir Jong Arcano of Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Sir Kap Aguila of Philippine Star arrived in Abu Dhabi via Etihad Airways on October 21, 2013, 11PM (Abu Dhabi Time) or October 22, 2013 at 3AM (Manila Time).

Nokia World 2013

Although we arrived really late at night in United Arab Emirates' capital city, I was so glad that the Nokia World 2013 team was there at the airport to warmly welcome us after a long, 8-hour flight.

Nokia World 2013

We stayed at Yas Viceroy Hotel in Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. This is the first new hotel in the world to be built over an F1 race circuit.

Nokia World 2013

Nokia World 2013
This was my room, which was really cozy.

Nokia World 2013
You should know by now that I love taking selfies! So yes, I totally understand all the many young consumers who also like doing this with their smartphones. This one's taken using my Nokia Lumia 920.

Nokia World 2013
This was the Welcome Package, which included a card, our itinerary for Nokia World 2013 and three booklets (What to See and Do, Culture, and City Map) about Abu Dhabi.

Nokia World 2013
Nokia World 2013 was one of the most well-organized and well-managed major events I've attended.

Nokia World 2013
I call this my "destress station". Nothing like staying in the hot tub after a tiring day.

Nokia World 2013
The view from inside my room.

Nokia World 2013
Staying in the balcony, you can actually see the F1 race track!

Nokia World 2013

Yas Viceroy Hotel flaunts a 217-meter expanse of curvilinear glass and steel Grid Shell featuring a multi-colored LED lighting system incorporating video feeds that are transmitted over the 5,389 pivoting diamond-shaped dotted glass panes. The tiniest details of this complex shell is visible from my room.

Nokia World 2013

Day 1 of Nokia World 2013 was held at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi. A bus picked us up at Yas Viceroy at exactly 9AM and it took us around 15 minutes to get to the venue.

Nokia World 2013

There, we were given our press IDs. Here's mine:

Nokia World 2013

Nokia gives as much importance to tech bloggers as it does with traditional media. This simply shows how much Nokia is in tune with the changing times; Another thing to love about this legendary company.

Nokia World 2013

As I've shared on Instagram, in TechPinas Facebook Community Page, on Twitter and in previous TP posts, Mr. Stephen Elop - Nokia CEO - gave the main keynote during the event and introduced six new products: The Nokia Lumia 1520 - the company's first flagship phablet with a 6-inch full HD display and a 20 MegaPixel PureView camera, and running WP8 OS with a Quad Core Snapdragon 800 processor, The Nokia Lumia 1320 - the more affordable 6-inch phablet with swappable back covers, The Nokia Lumia 2520 - Nokia's first ever phablet with a 10.1-inch Full HD display running Windows RT with a Quad Core Snapdragon 800 chipset, and the Asha trio: Nokia Asha 500, 502, and 503, sporting a new dual-layer back case and a featuring an enhanced Fastlane and Camera application. All of these devices will be featured in TechPinas via separate or individual blog posts.

Nokia World 2013

After the keynote and the presentations by new key developers for the WP8 platform (including Vine and Flipboard), I got to have a one-on-one interview with Mr. Jim Mainard, ‎Head of Digital Strategy and New Business Development at DreamWorks Animation, regarding their company's new game for Nokia Lumia 2520 (with companion application for Lumia handsets), Dragons Adventure. This game incorporates Nokia Here Maps services making it the first title that can give users gameplay based on their actual location. Kindly stay tuned for my interview video with Jim, TP Friends.

Nokia World 2013

Following the interview, I entered the adjacent demo room to try out the freshly announced devices:

Nokia World 2013
Nokia Lumia 1520, which supports LTE, has a massive 6-inch Full HD display but it's very light for its size and very slim too; A total joy to hold or keep in the pocket.

Nokia World 2013
Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet transforms into a laptop substitute when you use it with the light-weight and foldable Nokia Power Keyboard - with chiclet-style keys and trackpad - that even wraps around the slate.

Nokia World 2013
Bumped into Mark Guim of The Nokia Blog. He's a New York based Pinoy blogger who runs one of the best sites for Nokia products and services around.

Nokia World 2013

To wrap up Day 1, Nokia arranged an Evening Networking Event or party at the Monte Carlo Beach Club. I had fun having a chat with members of the press from other countries and with fellow bloggers over free-flowing drinks. Oh, and the food was great too.

Nokia World 2013

Nokia World 2013

Nokia World 2013

I went back to Yas Viceroy Hotel at around 10PM and I was greeted by this gift from the Nokia fairies who secretly sneaked my room while I was out.

Nokia World 2013
Nokia DC-18 Portable Charger has 1,720 mAh capacity.

Day 2 of Nokia World 2013 was more like an excursion day for bloggers and members of the press.

Nokia World 2013

The official Philippine delegation was part of the group that had the Abu Dhabi Desert Safari Adventure. The desert location was around an hour's drive away from Yas Viceroy Hotel.

Nokia World 2013
Just a few bits and pieces of Abu Dhabi that I saw during the bus ride.

Nokia World 2013

Nokia World 2013

Nokia World 2013

Nokia World 2013

Nokia World 2013
They have lots of these palm trees -- lining the highways, in front of hotels, etc.

Nokia World 2013
We left the hotel at 10AM and arrived at the location at 11AM.

Nokia World 2013
We were greeted by this line of white 4x4 Large SUVs that will take us to the Desert Safari.

Nokia World 2013
These drivers were very nice and friendly.

Nokia World 2013

Nokia World 2013
With Sir Kap Aguilar of Philippine Star and Sir Jong Arcano of Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Nokia World 2013
My first time to see a camel in the flesh! They are truly magnificent creatures.

Nokia World 2013
They can follow simple commands like sit, stand, or walk. I think they are just about as smart as dogs.

Nokia World 2013
Nokia gave me my first Camel Ride. I won't forget it!

Nokia World 2013
And I even got to pose as a falconer.

Nokia World 2013
Riding the desert bike and conquering sand dunes is just as cool as riding a camel.

Nokia World 2013
Made me feel like I'm a kid again. Thankfully, I had my Nokia Lumia 920, which has a PureView camera good enough to capture these moments with sheer clarity.

At around 2:30PM, we took the bus ride back to Yas Viceroy -- officially wrapping up Nokia World 2013.

Nokia World 2013
I took a quick nap in my room then went up to the hotel's swimming pool area to take a dip and just enjoy the wonderful day (It's always sunny in Abu Dhabi.)

Nokia World 2013
My cousin visited me at Yas Viceroy after Nokia World 2013 and we drove to Dubai to meet our relatives and to see Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. I'll save that story for my personal Facebook page, though.

Overall, I think Nokia World 2013 is the best Nokia event I've been to thus far. All the devices announced were amazing, the presentations were engaging, the Nokia peeps who gave the product demos were knowledgeable and personable, the hotel was cozy, the accommodations were top-notch, the food was great and filling, the event managers were warm, the activities were well-organized, and the desert safari adventure was very memorable. Thanks for the experience, Nokia! I will never forget it. Thumbs up!

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