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Nokia the Next Gizmondo? 115

Posted by kdawson
from the just-wanta-make-a-call dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "Yesterday Symbian announced that 100 million Symbian smart phones have shipped to over 250 network operators worldwide since the company's formation. According to a CNet article, however, Nokia phones running on the OS are actually worse than their non-Symbian predecessors. From the article: 'The fact is, Nokia's phones are in danger of turning from the iPods of the phone world into the Gizmondos — from devices dedicated to doing one thing well to jacks-of-all-trades that do too many things poorly. The S60 3rd Edition interface has received tons of criticism from veteran Nokia users for being far too complicated to use. It's great that there's new stuff to play with, but not so great that the old stuff, as in making calls and sending texts, has been made more complicated.'"
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Nokia the Next Gizmondo?

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  • by gregmac (629064) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @02:39PM (#16897674) Homepage
    ..that people want phones in order to make phone calls?? Psh..
  • Re:Hurry up Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by viniosity (592905) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @02:49PM (#16897760) Homepage Journal
    I call fud on this. I did a review of the Nokia N73 as it relates to OS X some time ago (search for it.. this isn't a plug) and found absolutely no problems with the 3rd edition of S60. I hadn't used a Nokia in quite a while so if things were significantly worse I think I would have picked up on it.

    As it stands now, I'm extremely happy with my N73. And since it syncs with my iTunes, iCal, and address book I effectively have a serviceable iPhone already.
  • ummm, no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 18, 2006 @02:50PM (#16897774)
    Ummmm, no, Nokia won't be the next Gizmondo. This is because they make more than one phone. They make a whole range of phones, so if one model or family of phones doesn't succeed, it doesn't mean it will be the end of the company.
  • by grimJester (890090) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @02:58PM (#16897858)
    I don't know what to make of that. Obviously there are phones sold to end users by companies that, you know, sell phones. Vertical integration / vertical monopolies are, at least internationally, the exception rather than the rule.
  • I for one wouldn't mind small cell phones, if their battery lasts enough.

    The point is being able to call someone and carry it.

  • by Iloinen Lohikrme (880747) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:06PM (#16897926)
    This article is no news. Since after the half of the 90's there has been a constant complaining about phones getting new features and them becoming harder to use. This is just one complaint more.

    What I don't understand why the article writer wants to paint so grim image of where Nokia is going. Nokia is a very big firm with biggest selection of mobile phones. They have more advanced models that are the cutting in the edge and then they have simple basic models. They also have a very short product life cycle. What this means is that Nokia can try new things with their cutting edge models and if they succeed, trasfer the innovations down the line to other phone models, and if they fail, they just try again and again until they succeed. This is what the article author should have remembered. Nokia is not like other mobile phone companies, they don't play with just one card, they have massive collection of phones and if few phones flop, that doesn't matter because they still have a big collection of phones that work.

    It should also be noted that this isn't the first time when a mobile phone is not a mobile phone but something else. I can remember the end of the 90's and my Ericsson R380e which was by the words of Ericsson not a mobile phone but a terminal. Actually that phone has been the best phone that I have ever owned. It's just sad that Ericsson didn't follow with the design but moved to a more bulky design, the P-series.

    On a different note, Nokia's management doesn't have any other direction to go than make mobile phone more than a mobile phone. If they would just stop and say that these features are all that users will ever want, eventually chinese no name manufactures and computer companies would get them. There is only one path to Nokia and that is to make mobile phone more than a phone.
  • by _marshall (71584) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:12PM (#16897974) Homepage
    Disclaimer: I used to work for Nokia, and I own a N73 and it is a great phone IMO.

    The article is pretty short, and it's main criticism is the fact that Nokia's flagship smart-phones (or as they say "multimedia computers") have too many features and aren't good at "one" thing. First, let's look at the market.

    Phones are marketed to all different types of demographics, age groups, technological needs, price points, etc. Nokia, being one of the (if not _the_) biggest phone manufacturers on the planet, has a huge selection of phones that appeal to all kinds of different needs. There are the cheapo phones that make calls, send text and that's it. There's the mid-range that have some memory, include an MP3 player, and maybe have a decent camera too. Then there's the high-end ("N series") which are generally meant for high-end business users and tech-heads like your's truly. To claim that Nokia, as a company, is slipping into Gizmondo territory is either ignorant or wishful thinking.

    TFA also makes claims about making calls and sending text messages with the new S60v3 being too difficult, yet provides no argument for "how?" or "why?". Using the N73 let me show you how "unintuitive" it is to make a phone call:

    1) Type in the number
    2) Press the green button on the left

    As you can see, this is real rocket science not intended for every day cell phone users =). Ok, now let's take a look at writing a text message:

    1) On S60v3 devices there is a small row of quick buttons on the Standby; one looks like an envelope with the caption "New text msg". Click that button.
    2) In the To field you can type a number manually or just hop over to your contacts by Options >Add Recipient
    3) type your message
    4) Options>Send

    Admittedly, writing a text message is a slightly more lengthy process than making a phone call, but you're typing on a numpad, so that is to be expected IMO. I think at the end of the day, it all boils down to what your needs are. If you want a simple user interface without feature bloat, don't buy a cell phone with a full blown operating system! There are plenty of *great* phones from Nokia that have simplistic user interfaces and do certain things very well. See the Nokia 6233 [gsmarena.com] or Nokia 6131 [gsmarena.com] for great examples of Nokia midrange phones that are highly functional (without feature bloat) and also extremely easy to use.
  • by adinu79 (860333) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:18PM (#16898020)
    Please stop acting like everything revolves around the US. As far as I know your providers are the only assholes in the whole world that cripple their phones to such extent that you can't even connect to your mobile phone to download some pictures off it. I'm happy with having a camera phone. I just connect it to my laptop via my INCLUDED USB cable and software or use a bluetooth connection and can get anything on or off the phone in no time.

    And the article is nothing but PLAIN AND SIMPLE FUD, I have an older S60 Series 2 phone and love it. Will switch to a Series 3 phone soon because it's a great mobile platform to use. I have everything I need on my phone, E-mail reader, Web Browser (Opera for Symbian is a great piece of software), IM, organizer. And it doesn't drop calls or anything similar. Your problems must be related to the crap CDMA 2000 technology your providers most likely still use.
  • by _marshall (71584) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:30PM (#16898100) Homepage
    People who want "Lifestyle phones" are in a specific demographic. Maybe it's a large demographic, or maybe it's one of the largest demographics, but that still stands. Just because you want this for your phone does not mean everyone does! This is why companies like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, etc have a wide range of offerings to suit different needs. If you don't want a phone that works like a computer than for god's sake don't buy it! As you pointed out, The RAZR is probably one of the best "lifestyle phones" on the market, but IMNSHO the RAZRs UI is completely inconsistent, and was one of the hardest learning curves I've had for a midrange device in years. Of course, so many things about software and phone looks are personal taste, so I don't want to get into a pissing fight over who's opinion is the right one =).

    My main point is that the "lifestyle phone" segment is covered by every manufacturer, as is the "PDA phone" segment, as is the "low end" segment, as is the "Music phone" segment, etc, ad infinitum.
  • by tbradshaw (569563) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:35PM (#16898140) Homepage
    I was following you 100% until you claimed the RAZR as an example of a phone that "got it right."

    The RAZR is the worst example of form-over-function that I've seen in recent memory. The form factor is fantastic, but the user interface is horrid. It was clear that all of the work on the RAZR went into the slim and beautiful exterior while an interface was cheaply hacked together.

    I had the sad occurance of my Nokia 3660 (running Symbian 60) dying on me, and I followed up the phone with a RAZR. I was stunned at the horrible inadequacies I faced when transitioning from the 3660.

    I have a ton of contacts synchronized with my laptop. (Which didn't work properly with the RAZR, but I don't know that I would blame the OS directly, more like just poor support for the OS from synching software.) If you have say, 500 numbers in your phone and you want to look for Bob Smith with the S60 contact list, you just type say, "Bo" or "Smi" and there you'll be. With the RAZR, the best I could do was hit "S" to get the "Smith" and then scroll from there. (With 50 numbers in the S's, it was promptly a hassle.)

    Most importantly was a core deficiency with text entry. They try the seemly intelligent method of determining likely words by the frequency that you have typed those words via T9. For example, "if" and "he" are the same numbers on the number pad. If you've typed "if" more often than "he", then 43 will give you "if". If you've typed "he" more often than "if", 43 will give you "he".

    It sounds great until you use it in practice. In practice the interface to the RAZR is so damn slow that even an elementary student can type text faster than the interface can keep up with. When that becomes the case on a typical T9 system phone, it's no big deal. You learn that "he" is 43 and that "if" is 43# (were # is usually "next word"). So you can really go just about full speed, even though the interface is just trying to keep up.

    Sudden with the RAZR this was impossible, because to the user the results of 43 (and other such common sequences) became nondeterministic! You couldn't type faster than the interface could render!

    Coupled with very deep nested menus (no reason to take 7 nested menus to get to a commonly used feature), poor sync-ing (using iSync personally), and horrific text entry, I was fortunate enough to just straight up trade my RAZR away for a Nokia 6600. And while I agree that the newer versions of S60 haven't gotten all that much better and perhaps a little more annoying, nothing compares to the amazing inadequacy of the RAZR interface.

    The current phones on my wish list are T-Mobile Sidekick (even as just a phone and nothing else, Danger have designed a beautifully easy to use interface) and the forthcoming iPhone (because I trust Apple's iBrand to make an efficient and effective interface).

    For me now, software comes first. The RAZR was scarring.
  • by tbradshaw (569563) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @06:44PM (#16899772) Homepage
    I did notice that exact situation. They all blow. It's still an example of an extremely poor interface. The fact that they put an existing crappy solution shoe-horned into a sweet form factor further illustrates the case.

    "Slapped together" doesn't necessary mean "from scratch" or even "for the specific purpose."

The only thing cheaper than hardware is talk.

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