I was about to fall a sleep for the Nth time last night, our baby has been sick for few days, when I realized that the two “Largest Mobile Device Manufacturer in The World” (preferably said by Mr. Jeremy Clarkson, the Duke of Top Gear) both have launched a mobile device for similar tasks. I will not go deeper into Apple iPad, you can read about it all over the web or check out my previous post about the iPad. I am going to talk more about the Nokia Booklet 3G.
As I have stated before in my blog, I think that Nokia’s strength is the hardware. Through out the time I have been using Nokia handsets I have never encountered a hardware caused problem that was not caused by something I have done myself to the device. Even the latest models that have had problems have had more software related than harware related problems. Also the specs are superior to many other manufacturers’ models. Nokia has realized that “good enough” is not enough when we are talking about the camera quality and so on. I am not saying they have superior hardware, they just have been able to shine with their hardware bit more than many of the other companies. This brings me to the Nokia’s Booklet 3G.
The Booklet 3G is a mini-laptop or netbook, what ever you want to call it. It is just what Steve Jobs thought were not good enough to justify their existence between smartphones and proper laptops. When Nokia announced the Booklet 3G I was not impressed at all. It was too obvious decision to be anything revolutionary. A bit boring, if I may say. Despite this, Nokia managed to come up with one of the best netbooks there is in the market. The hardware is awesome, the device feels professional and looks professional. ..which means it look bit dull, like the Nokia 9500 Communicator had grown up to become a netbook. By the way, I did like the 9500 a lot, it was the device that convinced me to get back to using Nokia handsets, at least on the side of something else. Anyway, the bit boring and obvious launch of this Nokia Booklet 3G. Nokia decided to follow the other manufacturers who had been successful with their netbooks. The problem was that they were extremely successful for extremely short period of time, and Nokia introduced their product just when the tail of the netbook craze was going by. This is something that should have been obvious also to the people at Nokia, but apparently it was not since they introduced regular netbook. I have no idea how many of them Nokia has sold, but according to the price tag and what else is out there, I assume it’s nothing close to what they expected. Unfortunately.
Why did they decide to follow the crowd so late? It is not always about who is the first with the new thing, but who does it the right first. Netbook market had been filled with different spec and price devices already. I got myself a (HP) Compaq Mini 735 3G as my “beach-book”. It has everything I need, including integrated 3G modem. The cost of the device was at the time approximately less than half what the Nokia’s netbook costs. This all in mind I can only wonder why Nokia felt necessary to come out with the Booklet 3G. I could have understood it if it also came with a touchscreen (with the same price tag as now) or if they had introduced another device with the touchscreen. In the last quarter of 2009 it was almost certain that Apple would come forward with their tablet very soon. I assume that it was “known” even earlier around the industry. Nokia could have then come out with renderings and plans or prototypes of their tablet. No matter if it would have been less revolutionary or “magical” than the iPad, they would have had the buzz out. After that they just needed to get their product out before the mid-summer when iPads will be available in all markets (according to Apple).
This is yet another sign that Nokia has lost its focus. They have had Maemo for years now and it has been left without attention despite the fact that everyone has qgreed that it has potential. Now, am I the only one, or can anyone else see Maemo running on a device like iPad? It has what it takes. As evident from the iPad Keynote, being able to use the same applications in the iPad as you use in your iPhone gives extra value to the device. If Nokia had realized the enormous potential in Maemo already years ago, they would have OS that is capable to scale up and down way more easily than Symbian. I have heard from more than one developer that it is really painful to develop for Symbian and Symbian devices compared to all of the other mobile operating systems available today. I would like to hear from a reliable source what is the reason behind the decision to stay with the Symbian this long and this tight. I know Nokia has put a lot of money and effort in the development of Symbian, but the end result is less than impressive. In many cases less than useful, sorry.
To end this ranting, I will just arrange my point here a bit. The launch of Booklet 3G was one more evidence that Nokia does not know where the mobile world is going, but they rather try to keep up with the competition. They missed the opportunity to be the king of the hill with Maemo. Symbian works well with the entry level phones and less complex phones, when smartphones need more advanced OS. I will you with these thoughts and would like to hear what you have to say about all this.