One of the key new features of our latest mobile phones, the Nokia Asha 205 and Nokia 206, is a new technology called Slam.
This cool addition is made for quick and easy photo sharing. You select ‘Slam’ from the sharing menu and the phone sniffs out the Bluetooth-enabled phone extremely close to you using a super-fast trick that takes around one second.
You see your friend’s phone, bring them close together and press ‘send’. They’re asked if they want the file and if they accept, it’s sent. If your friends’ phones are already Bluetooth-paired, it doesn’t ask anything.
But where did Slam come from?
Like so many other good things, the answer lies in Tampere, Finland. And, in this case, the space between the desks of colleagues Mika Kuulusa and Henrik Hakala.
“We’re cubicle partners and we’ve worked together on a number of projects,” says Mika. “Yeah, I’m a sort of a PowerPoint guy, whereas Henrik is the hard-core coder.”
Henrik (left) and Mika celebrate their invention’s arrival on Nokia phones.
It goes back to 2009. “We wanted to do something about sharing. The options seemed kind of clunky and old-fashioned. We wanted something cool and fast.”
“Henrik was messing about with Bluetooth code and I wanted to try something out. Henrik did one day of coding and bam – it worked – he’d sent me a file without all the usual send-search-wait-stop-select hassle.”
Mika explains that the technique uses Bluetooth at close proximity, where the signal is really strong. “Slamming something to someone is like an act of friendship. It’s almost ritualistic. Like the way business cards are passed over in the Far East. Or like handing someone a framed picture as a gift.”
Henrik reckons that the hardest part was coming up with the name. “We started off with ‘Bluetooth Direct’ and other engineerish expressions, but that didn’t sound right at all for something that was so cool to do. We finally chose – hey it’s… ‘Slam’ – about ten names later.”
“Bluetooth has developed a bit of a bad reputation. Some people find it tricky to set up and people still think it sucks all the juice out of your phone’s battery.
“The battery thing is not really true. But we want to think of Slam as ‘Bluetooth Rediscovered’: just shoot and it does the job!”