Today I had brief but interesting discussion concerning Nokia. It is somewhat a hot topic in the mobile field right now, well has been for a while. Apple has been the buzz king with it’s different iPhone models from the first one until the latest iPhone 3GS. Samsung has been launching new interesting products as well as HTC, Palm and even motorola (the Droid). How about Nokia then, let’s concentrate on on them for now.
Nokia has two decades worth of experience how the mobile phones should be manufactured. They have fine tuned many of the features and, in my opinion, have most of the time superior hardware. The phones have feature anyone choosing the particular price range can imagine. I have been satisfied, if not even happy, user of the E71, N96, E90 Communicator, 9500 Communicator and especially the early GSM models like 6110 and 6150. Now, the N96 had some peculiarities, but all in all it did work just fine. I never had major problems with it and only had to reboot the device between every 4-5 weeks. This is good, since I never switch off my phones. Never. Well, except when I am flying, but that happens rarely enough to not matter in the big picture. I have had to reboot my iPhone 3GS now every 2-3 weeks since it tends to freeze totally or start slowing down significantly.
I have also liked the battery life of my Nokias. They all have hold up around 2-3 days in my use, which is quite extensive. I use different social media related apps, location apps and have my emails also in my phone. Not to mention the camera usage: I take approximately 5-8 photos per day and send them out via mms, email or upload via Pixelpipe to where ever. With this kind of usage I have had to charge my assorted Samsungs at least once a day and iPhone even twice a day at times.. Now that’s a lot of charging!
This translates to good hardware to me, of course it has some to do with the OS. I also Think that Nokia models have had superior camera compared to many of the other phones I have used. Not only the megapixels, but the photo quality at the given mpix and the speed of the cameras. Well the speed is an issue with few models.
Now, all this said we get to the Nokia N97, the model that was intended as the über Nokia. It was supposed to be the iPhone competitor until the N900 hit the market and with that N97 was supposed be one of two phones to fill the gap. But.. Even though that the touchscreen was major improvement over the old clickety-click with keyboard, there were few oddities. Why the double click to activate choice and sometimes just the one click. Why the scrolling with scroll bar in the menus and kinetic scrolling in apps and web browser? The touchscreen has good picture quality and after a while it was relatively easy to use. On the other had I had been using the N810 Internet Tablet which had similar feel on its touchscreen. But it just wasn’t good enough.. It was bit sticky to use, the touchscreen was hardly sensitive at parts of the screen and the backlight was not even. There is a noticeable bright spot in the middle of the screen! And the camera lens cover!! It did scratch the plastic between the camera and the flash, so it does make a bright white stripe on the left side of the screen. This happened even before I took the device out for the first time!!
As obvious, I was hardly impressed. I did like the phone over all, but there were too many little things. Including the slow locking to the satellites with Nokia’s map software. It takes 2-3 minutes at least, when with Google Maps I get the first network cells aided lock within seconds and the full satellite lock under a minute! But, I could live with that since I was hardly using the Nokia’s map software. Now, was this something that was supposed to be the flagship of the largest phone manufacturer.
My experiences with the N97 killed the desire to get my hands on the N900. I did have an opportunity to swap the N97 to N900, but did not feel the need. I did not want to get disappointed again as much as I did with the N97. I have heard from friends who have or have used the N900 that it is a bit better, but still not even close to where it should be. Now I have read news like the Engadgets news: Nokia Promises to take “Symbian user interface to a new level” in 2010, Maemo 6 in 2H. To quote a quote in the article:
To quote CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, “In 2010, we will drive user experience improvements, and the progress we make will take the Symbian user interface to a new level.” To bolster this proclamation, the very first bullet point listed under Nokia’s Devices and Services operational priorities is “improve our user experience” — something that would thrill us to no end if it happens.
Now, aren’t they a bit late? If the N97 was launched even in the end of 2007, it really would have been an important phone in the market. Now it is just an effort to desperately try to hold their spot in the limelight. Not a good effort, I must add. Which is a shame. I would LOVE to LOVE their product. I have friends and family who have worked or works in the company. My first mobile phone was a Nokia, I like to think they are still Finnish company. But unfortunately the magic is gone..
I am not saying that the iPhone is superior to the Nokia products. It does have inferior hardware, has few problems with the features and does not even have a proper file-system. Despite this the user experience is so much better than in any of the other phones I have had the pleasure to use or even try. The user experience makes you forget the flaws and find a way to work around them, it makes you think that it is just a phone even though it is NOT just a phone.
Now that I have opened the can of worms, I will let you know that I will continue with pt2. where I will talk about the services and mobile experience Nokia has been talking about so much. The Ovi services, Comes With Music and so on. I will also be doing a N97 vs. iPhone 3GS comparison as well as look at the devices individually. ..and of course I have tons of other topics to post about, but I cannot promise you exactly when this stuff is going to end up here in my blog. Unfortunately I have lot of other things to do, at work and at home.
So stay tuned, pop in now and then to see if there’s something new, or follow me on Twitter to find out when the “New Blog post:” tweet appears in my feed. Oh, the Original post image via Vladstudio!