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Nokia the Next Gizmondo? 115

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 Anonymous Coward
  • It's getting worse and worse.
    • 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.
      • by Ajmuller ( 88594 )
        Have to wholeheartedly agree. I have an E61 (not an E62) that I absolutely love. I've not had any problems with this phone at all (save getting it to sync when I first got it -- there was no sync software (for OSX) at all since it was too-new but that was solved by time)
      • by Rytr23 ( 704409 )
        I wholeheartedly agree.. Same with my N80.. and the browser on this version of symbian is nothing short of amazing.. pocket IE is an amateur hack by comparison..
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Ajmuller ( 88594 )
          Indeed, i should have mentioned this specifically. The pocket browser on here is amazing. It even beats the mobile version of Opera by a long-shot. Mostly in how it *doesn't* render pages "properly". When absolute widths are specified, it will automatically minimize them so that no column of text is wider than the screen, meaning: no side scrolling, this and about 1000 other little tiny things makes this the absolutely best mobile browser i've ever used.
          • by dfghjk ( 711126 )
            Yes, the Nokia browser is great but, sadly, it's only one of two browsers on the platform and the other, mediocre one is the default that's used when you follow links from other apps. Furthermore, a web browser isn't the primary app that you run on these devices and the rest of the platform, in the E61 case, is worst of breed. Great browser or no great browser, the E61 isn't worth owning.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Seconded. I'm reading/typing this on a N80 and it doesn't cost me a dime (that "default" guy seems to have an open access point everywhere ;)
      • My list of flaws (Score:4, Informative)

        by EvilNTUser ( 573674 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:27PM (#16898080)

        No, I love my N73 too, but there are several problems. I'm sure someone somewhere is going to post about how all they want to do is make a call, but that's actually implemented fairly well, although not perfectly. People who want to use the hardware to its full potential are the ones who will suffer! Here are some real issues I've found, and they amaze me:

        • Simple yes/no-toggles are implemented with dropdown menus. Unforgivable in a mobile device. One press should change the setting, not open a menu. To add insult to injury, the active option is the one that's selected when the menu opens.
        • The music player is retarded:
          • Instead of listing your songs, it wastes the whole screen on empty space. You have to open a menu to get to a playlist.
          • Instead of mapping playing functions to keys, you have to select virtual buttons on the screen.
          • It doesn't let you set it to a specific folder, so if any game uses mp3 sound effects, they will be added to your playlist. That would work on a dedicated mp3 player, yeah, but not on a goddamn general purpose computing device. Jesus Christ, morons!
        • The photo/video viewer does the same thing. Want to hide porn or just some boring diagrams you copied onto the memory card? Nope, can't do it, they'll all show up when you're trying to show someone the cool photos you got.
        • Not a single application including the main UI tries to use the keys that are available. The interface designers seem to be completely in love with menus and virtual buttons you have to select on the screen. What happened, did they fire everyone who worked on Series 40? I want my quick to access alarm clock back.
        • The calendar is obviously NOT designed to minimize button presses.
        • The clock has lost its timer and countdown timer for no reason at all.
        • The phone will display a picture of the person who is calling, but it'll be a 10x10 thumbnail at the bottom of the screen. WTF??

        I could go on and on with this crap, but in summary: The hardware is great, but I'm looking to replace every single official application that came with the phone. Oggplay already takes care of my music, and it's brilliant. I hope the application UI designers are out of a job by the time S60v4 comes out.

        Although I must say the web browser really shines, to be fair.

        • Re:My list of flaws (Score:4, Interesting)

          by gilgongo ( 57446 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @04:58PM (#16898874) Homepage Journal
          No, I love my N73 too, but there are several problems. I'm sure someone somewhere is going to post about how all they want to do is make a call, but that's actually implemented fairly well, although not perfectly. People who want to use the hardware to its full potential are the ones who will suffer! Here are some real issues I've found, and they amaze me

          I recently saw Christian Lindholm [], head of Yahoo! Mobile (and former Director of Multimedia Applications for the Nokia Ventures) give a talk entitled "Mobile Usability" at the Neilsen Norman Group's User Experience 2006 in London a couple of week ago.

          He used the N73 and other recent Nokias as examples of state of the art devices: full-specced in every aspect (memory, CPU, pixels) and a remarkable device because of it. Nokia are selling more cameras than Kodak (or something like that). Yet despite the subject of his talk, he didn't mention the usability of the phones at all. In fact, I was rather amazed at how uninspiring this man was in talking about mobile phones and their use. For example, he described how Yahoo! designed a mobile portal for the UEFA 2006 World Cup - the most popular sporting event on earth. His description of their design process mentioned some user tests in passing - something like they built the system, showed it to some users, made a couple of tweaks, then went live. I later asked him a question about this. To what extent is user testing a part of what they do at Yahoo! mobile? He fluffed it with some meaningless crap about keeping the user in mind when they design. I kept one eye on Jakob Nielsen sitting in the row beside me - I thought his face twitched rather more then usual while Lindholm said this.

          My opinon? People who design mobile devices - or at least this guy - are mesmerised by hardware: the size, the spec, the pixels, the memory. They care very little, if at all, about software and its usability. Take a look at the guy's blog: it's all about hardware, battery life, picture quality, etc. Yes, I know he invented the "navikey" (although not exactly a huge mental leap), but I don't care if my phone produces great pictures if it's hard to take them in the first place. What good is a wonderful screen if you're looking at shit software, or hitting the wrong keys or having to remember arcane menu sequences just to turn on Bluetooth?

          Designing software for phones is hard (device compatability, shipping cycles, marketing issues etc. etc.) but in my opinon, if people like Lindholm continue to all but ignore mobile usability, things are not going to get much better very fast.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by synx ( 29979 )
            This comment is revealing, as well as the GP. The GP talks about the amazing memory, speed, etc, etc the lists a whole HUGE list of UI problems that demonstrate the designers were thinking of a mouse-interaction paradigm, not a cell phone. Meaning any action is not very efficient - you need to look at the screen too much to activate simple functions, you need to press too many buttons to enable simple functionality, etc.

            As for the yahoo guy - well 'keeping users in mind' is not really enough when it comes
            • "Making users delighted is all about doing what they expect. The technophiles are clearly in control at Nokia. I hope Apple puts them out of business, because Nokia will have earned it."

              I'm not so sure about that; real technophiles would appreciate a good UI. It seems more like the engineers are in charge of the hardware, but the software is controlled by the marketing department - why else would it ship with a completely unusable mp3 player if not to look good in a checklist? The hardware is more than

            • So you really have no idea what you're talking about? You tried a Symbian phone a few years back and thus know how well current versions perform? FYI the later versions are faster and look better; and Symbian is written in C++. Granted, it uses a slightly odd dialect but it's C++ nevertheless. Yes, you can write Java (J2ME) apps as well, but the core OS X is certainly not Java.
            • I know that steve jobs will REFUSE to put the Apple brand on anything as poorly usable, weak willed as the current Nokia/Symbian phones.

              So I take it you've never used a Motorola iTunes phone.

        • Simple yes/no toggles *are* handled with a single button. Press the joystick in. Bluetooth on/off, etc. perfect.

          Gallery is stupid, thats for sure. No proper sequencing either.

          Wish that Nokia had looked at the SE walkman player for the music app, the Nokia one is retarded.

          SMS - no way of putting emoticons or animations into messages, which isn't particularly useful.

          Back to the original article though, my last S60 phone was v6.1, a Siemens SX1, and the UI is practically identical in almost every way. Ver
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by karoliina ( 977670 )
      Well, Nokia does also simple mobile telephones for those who can't understand the complexity of the high end models. They are called the Series 40-phones and they are not running Symbian OS. If you are not a gadget freak that wants all the new features of Series 60 OS and N-series plus possibility to use a large number of 3rd party applications, you propably better to get a Series 40 phone which is not based on Symbian. And if you really want simplicity and lifestyle and status, you can always get a Vertu-p
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by stewwy ( 687854 )
      I've had an old n-gage(the first one) for a few years ....until it was lost/stolen a few days ago.
      It's OS was pretty intuative everything worked well the address book was useful, and well laid out and its bluetooth connected to my car,computer and headset quickly and easily.

      I replaced it with a motorola l6,because it was cheap,but bare in mind this is one of the latest models.
      The address book is stupid you seem to have to have seperate entries for each persons phone no. mobile no, email etc
      It took me
  • by gregmac ( 629064 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @02:39PM (#16897674) Homepage
    ..that people want phones in order to make phone calls?? Psh..
    • Yes! Screw text messaging, cameras, video games and cell phones smaller than a baby's hand! There's a market for cell phones that make reliable phone calls consitently without all the bells and whistles. Not everyone need to upgrade their phone every 90 days. I personally average four years between phone upgrades since I only make phone calls.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by marcosdumay ( 620877 )

        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 Threni ( 635302 )
          > 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.

          How long do you want the battery to last?
    • by dabadab ( 126782 )
      If someone wants such a phone then why on earth would they get a smartphone? If you need something simple then, for God's sake, get something simple. For example, there's the Nokia 1112: B&W display, big buttons, simple features. That's it.
      • Yeah, I've never got that either.

        There are plenty of "dumbphones", phones with little more than my Motorola Graphite supported in 1997. A quick look at the prepaid section in most supermarkets will show you what's avaiable, generally they're all in the $10-30 range.

        Perhaps the objection isn't that there aren't "Voice and rudementary text messaging support" (yes, I know some complain they support text messaging. C'mon! The hardware overhead of supporting text messaging is nil, and it's usually ONE extra

  • 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.
    • Having read the Wikipedia [] page, I'm none-the-wiser about how Nokia's Symbian stuff is like Gizmondo.

      It looks like Gizmondo produced something that worked and was much liked by the people who bought the product, but the combination of having what apparently was a major crook on board, together with absurd business decisions (varying from massive promotional spending on launch parties to a complete absense of publicity for the product in the US) sank the product. Quality certainly doesn't appear to have be

  • by Corpus_Callosum ( 617295 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @02:52PM (#16897788) Homepage
    The stakes are high, the players are mammoth and everyone is making the same damned mistakes.

    Today's smart-phones are actually very stupid; The interfaces are cumbersome, the features over-hyped while underperforming, the battery and performance problems legendary and yet, the mistakes are accumulating rather than being corrected.

    In my opinion, the primary problem is that everyone is using the wrong metaphore for these phones. These phones are not mobile computers and should stop being treated as such. They are supposed to be lifestyle devices. Lifestyle devices need to be simple, elegant and stylish. The only manufacturer that has come close, IMHO, is Motorola with the Razor.

    Nokia has some nice features, but as the article correctly posits, the interfaces are simply hideous.

    Motorola has taken a shotgun approach and has such a wide variety of different offerings that it makes your head scratch. The Razor is a good phone, but it has yet to be seen whether Motorola knows how to parlay that into a spectrum of lifestyle devices of a higher generation.

    Sony Ericson makes hideous phones, in my opinion. They may have nice hardware, but the software is simply terrible.

    Samsung has a decent compromise in all categories and their phones are quite popular in Asia, but nothing stands out as outstanding.

    Windows Mobile? You have to be kidding. I would rather shoot myself in the foot and use the blood to write on big signs that I hold up than navigate through a start menu on my mobile.

    But alas, we are shown a possible beacon of light in the smartphone race. Can Apple offer us some innovation in the lifestyle smart-phone department? I certainly hope Apple teaches these other companies what style and simplicity actually are. A device that quickly morphs from one purpose to another, represents each purpose flawlessly and innovates outside-the-box. Simply the addition of iChat compatibility over WiFi would put the iPhone in a class by itself.

    But anyhow, let the arguments begin.
    • Sony Ericson makes hideous phones, in my opinion. They may have nice hardware, but the software is simply terrible.

      I, for one, managed to get used to my very simple T100 [] even though the software does have a couple of terribly idiotic issues.
    • 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" o
      • 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!

        Regardless of what you want to do with your phone, the point of a lifestyle device is that it looks good and very quickly and effortlessly performs it's functions without hassle (it does not cause stress or aggravation to your life, it just works). I agree with you only

    • Nokia has some nice features, but as the article correctly posits, the interfaces are simply hideous.

      I own a Nokia E series phone which I use among other things as an organizer. In my opinion the design of the E-series is pretty nice from a hardware standpoint. The phone is ergonomically well designed and compact. What most irritates me about this phone is not so much the complicated interface but rather the other thing the article pointed out which is **core features** that are either lacking or badly desi
      • by dfghjk ( 711126 )
        I owned an E61 for 9 months and its construction is inadequate. After a short time it because flexy and creaky. What made matters worse was the daily freezes that required me to remove the batter to reset. The E61's UI is also the worst of all smartphones (unless you love lots of keypresses) and 3rd party apps are nearly nonexistent. Configuring it was a pain in the ass because the organizational structure was arbitrary. In contrast, my WM5 smartphone Samsung i320 is a breath of fresh air. Yes, the Sa
    • 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I was following you 100% until you claimed the RAZR as an example of a phone that "got it right."

        I should have specified, I currently use the RAZR V3i, which has a slightly improved interface, a megapixel camera, iTunes and a much faster processor. The original RAZR was indeed a bit harder to use.

        Even so, the RAZR is far from perfect. My point is just that it tends, for me at least, to be quicker and easier than any other phone that I have owned (and I have owned samples from all major smartphone man

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tbradshaw ( 569563 )
          Right on. I would imagine that the faster processor alone would have been an amazing improvement in user experience.
      • I don't know if you have noticed, but most of the Motorola phones released around the same time as the V3 (i refuse to call mine a RAZR) had nearly identical interfaces. Hence, they didn't sacrifice the interface for from-factor. They made a kick ass form-factor and put the same interface they had already built and ready-to-go.

        Even the internals of the phone (having played around with p2kman and PST) are similar.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tbradshaw ( 569563 )
          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."
    • In fact the best interface i ever came across wast the Siemens M35*'s. And it featured a stupid piezoelectric (iirc the tecnology, anyway same of the cheap alarm clocks) sound generator. Programmable melody (not so easy composer interface but easier than the cubase (!) integrated in some later siemens), so I had a loud and clear sounding tone which beats all the crappy low rate multichannel mid players of the following generation phones i tried. Pity it's bulky.
    • Moto RAZR? Have you actually tried to use it or are you just speaking from the marketing pictures? No, really???

      1) RAZR (pebl, k1, whatever... any recent moto it seems with the positive exception of E770, they all are the same shit) is not a smartphone. far from it. It don't even attempts. That would be fine, actually - not everything has to be one.

      2) It actually couldn't be called a phone ether - you are expected to be able to call from a phone, not fight with the interface. On the other hand it probably
    • Seduced by a list of features, I just got myself a Windows Mobile smartphone. Huge screen! Skype! Opera! Wi-fi! I could barely contain my excitement.

      Till I discovered it has a few other features we all know and love from desktop versions of Windows - slowdowns, crashes, bizarre UI...
  • I want my DynaTAC 8000X back!
  • sorry its completely OT, but I had no other way of trying to work this one out.

    i was looking for some adware related info from a while back, and I came across this story: 4239 []

    what i couldnt work out was why a new article had zero replies - till i checked the date.

    31st December, 1969?!? Zonk, are you feeling okay? or is this some crazy slashdot bug?
  • Although the addition of Sybian maybe be a good idea [], I can't help but wonder if the added functionality will impede the use of the phone. [NSFW]
  • 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'm always reading the same biased opinions here in slashdot about the usability of mobile phones. I agree with symbian being pretty nasty to use, slow and ugly. The models equipped with symbian tend to be high end models, just get a series 40 nokia or a samsung and shut up already.
    • by tjansen ( 2845 )
      Have you tried any of Nokia's S60v3 models (N73, N80..)? They are much faster than the old ones, and IMHO the UI looks quite nice.

    • by jas203 ( 942742 )
      I'm always reading the same biased opinions here in slashdot about the usability of mobile phones.
      Spot on!

      I agree with symbian being pretty nasty to use, slow and ugly
      Nasty to use? Ugly? Those sound very much like comments on the UI. Symbian doesn't do the UI, just the base OS. For UIs see S60 and UIQ.

      And while in some peoples opinion Symbian may be slower than propriety phone OSs (which with my experience of some v9 based phones is not the case), it is because it is a complete multi-threading, real-time
      • by pendruo ( 973351 )
        All right, I was referring to series 60 because that's the symbian I've tried. Anyway the sony ones using uiq didn't look any better in my opinion. Altough they're getting better with time they just can't compare to samsung. I know it is an open platform and that it multithreads but we're talking about usability here. With all those millions spent by nokia I would spect something better, in particular faster. And there seems to be people that finds these phones useful but without a touchscreen I find them
        • by jas203 ( 942742 )
          I haven't used a "unsmart" phone for a while, so I cannot say how they perform compared to the smartphones I've been using for the past few years. They've always seemed pretty useable to me (I must be used to them), but they could be much more intuitive (I know my gf wouldn't have a clue how to use it).

          I am assuming (and hope) the UI guys are taking a long hard look at usability for smartphones as they continue to get "smarter"
  • .. wasn't so much the sidetalking thing, but that someone at Nokia thought that the way forward with the N-Gage QD was to fix the sidetalking feature but remove two appealing features. So the new N-Gage QD did let you talk into it like a normal phone, but you could no longer play MP3s or even listen to game sounds in stereo. The former is a fixture on virtually every phone that costs more than fifty quid. Now if that same person is still making design decisions at Nokia, that's definitely not a good thing.
  • by GekkePrutser ( 548776 ) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:06PM (#16897922)
    Nokia's Series 60 phones are much better than this article is claiming. I have used them since the first generation (Nokia 3650) and never looked back. I currently own a Nokia E60 and use most of its features, including automatic email retrieving through WiFi, VoIP (it automatically logs on to my SIP provider when I'm home), and even navigation (TomTom), although for that I prefer my Windows PocketPC for its speedier CPU and big touchscreen. The new and improved user interface in the 3rd generation Symbian is also beautiful and much handier than its predecessors.

    It's just stupid to say that these phones are bad because they try to do too much. Of course, they do a lot, and if you want a phone to simply call, then just get another phone! Even Nokia makes simple phones for both consumers (3220) and business users (6230i). I have used them both and hated them, they feel so awfully dumb after using a Symbian. Just simple features of Copy & Paste, or the excellent call log feature of the Series 60 phone makes it worthwhile.

    These phones have their market, the same market that has embraced the blackberry when everyone was saying it was a chunky overpriced device. Nokia is the biggest mobile phone manufacturer in the world and it only stands to reason that they have a wide range of phones with something for everyone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xenna ( 37238 )
      That's why I like the Nokia Communicator line of phones. When closed they are pretty basic phones that work like the simplest Nokia's of old. When open you get all the power (and complexity) of Symbian S80, a big screen and a pretty usable keyboard. I started out with a 9110 and after a short detour to a phone/pda combo I'm very glad to be back.

      I heard that Nokia plans on running S60 on future communicators. I'm looking forward to getting one after my current 9300.

    • I have a N80 right now.

      The main UI is okay, although very slow. The settings are completely incomprehensible. Sometimes you go to an item and it says "this setting is set in prefs > blah > blah > blah", instead of taking you there. Worse yet, the specified path doesn't even exist, it's incorrect.

      Oh, and the battery lasts me two days, even if I don't use WiFi or UMTS. My W810i went 7. And the phone crashed on me in the middle of my last call. And it takes like 40 seconds to boot back up.

      They're terr
  • 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.
  • (This is going to sound like an ad - so be it, I love the thing)

    The only device I've seen that really makes is all work easily is the Palm OS-based Treos. Their phone functionality is excellent, the proven Palm interface continues to work well for the PIM tasks (and it's integrated very well into the phone and internet features), and you can extend its functionality with the interface scaling and still making sense.

    The phone itself has no compromises. The PIM apps that support it are refined over a decade.
    • The only device I've seen that really makes is all work easily is the Palm OS-based Treos.

      I fully agree. After more than 2 years with my Treo 600, I switched to a SonyEricsson M600i. Very nice, small, classy, UMTS, UIQ 3, it has all the features you could wish for. Guess what? After one month I gave up and went back to my good old Treo because, contrarily to the M600i:
      • it works
      • it works fast
      • if it crashes (about once a month and not once a week), at least it boots in 10 seconds and not one minute


      • by Xenna ( 37238 )
        Of course not. The Nokia Communicators are the best phone/pda combo's, hands down. Treo's are outdated. You can't put one loose in your pocket for fear of scratching the screen. The keyboards suck. When the battery runs flat you lose your data.

        A Communicator is a phone when closed and a pda when open and the memory is permanent. []

        • The Nokia Communicators are the best phone/pda combo's, hands down. You can't put one loose in your pocket for fear of scratching the screen

          At least, you can put a Treo in a regular pocket. Try this with your brick...

          Treo's are outdated.

          I don't care, as long as it does the job.
          • by Xenna ( 37238 )
            You're probably confusing the 9300 with the 9500.
            The 9300 is a lot smaller than a 9500 and smaller than a treo (it's a bit thicker though).
            It fits in all my pockets so far (except for the small change pocket in my jeans).

        • Treo's also use non-volatile flash - a dead battery means nothing more than that - memory is permanent. Keyboard is fine for my hands, with good button feel (purely subjective, of course). Had a 650 for two years, have yet to get a scratch anywhere.

          The Palm OS is outdated - no argument there, and I believe I said as much. However, it also has by far the most refined user experience, and THAT is the topic - what is holding back most smartphones is their functionality is all but unusable.
  • 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 [] or Nokia 6131 [] for great examples of Nokia midrange phones that are highly functional (without feature bloat) and also extremely easy to use.
    • Disclaimer: I own a Nokia N91, and don't work for Nokia.

      The phone is generally nice - it's big, but has 4gb of space for the inbuilt mediaplayer. Which is also nice.

      The problem with Symbian isn't the complexity - it's the complete lack of logical organisation.

      You can do some cool things with it. For example, you can customise the functionality of the two face buttons. These allow you to instantly jump to a specific function from the 'desktop' (the main default screen which shows ya agenda items, time etc
      • by jas203 ( 942742 )
        Symbian doesn't mandate the organisation you are complaining about, they produce the base OS. For a phone a UI is built on top of Symbian, normally you'll see Symbian based phones operating S60 or UIQ. In this case it is the UI that is "lacking organisation", not the OS.
      • The N73 is different on that setting - Settings/phone/standby mode/left selection key. Quite easy. At least on the N73, everything is pretty logical. In fact, the majory of options are exactly where they were on S60 6.1, as it was on my ancient Siemens SX1 (I'll have to bring that back to life just to compare the two).
    • When typing a text message, you can also just enter the first letters of your contact name in the To: field and press the center key, it will then autocomplete the name (or present you with a list of matches). My 6681 is the fastest phone for texting I've ever had. I love the Series 60 platform, it totally fits me. However, I wouldn't recommend it to my grandfather or even my girlfriend ;)
      • by XMyth ( 266414 )
        Also note that you can just hit the green call button to send a text message...Options -> Send isn't necessary...not on my 6620 at least.
  • If people can't handle a S60 phone they should get a S40 based model instead. Its not like they are being forced to buy them. That makes about as much sense as saying that Apple forced you to buy that iPod.

    I don't understand why there is always this whinging about phones on Slashdot. All companies make models ranging in capability from the plain old B&W screen ones to the full "multimedia devices". If you can't get the low end models from your operator then maybe you should switch to another one or buy
  • "Does too many things" is different from "too complicated to use". Until the Mac, computers were both. After the Mac, they've been accepted as at least sometimes simple enough to use, even though they do way more things than they ever did when they were "too complicated".

    We need an iPhone ASAP. Did Xerox PARC demonstrate a mobile "phone" UI in the magic 1970s that Jobs somehow missed?
    • I'm not a mac guy. So I'm not up on the latest mac rumors. But the following it 100% real.

      I was sitting in a cafe quietly eating my food and this guy was sitting at the table behind me talking with a female friend. He was saying that he tests products for mac and is waiting till early 2007 to buy the new mac phone. He said the thing is really cool for several reasons. He said it has no buttons only a touch LCD screen. When you hold it a certain way it acts like a cell phone. When you type the numbers on
  • These complaints -- these phones are too complex, they're not lifestyle enough, they should be pretty and focus on phone calls -- look to me like they're based in the assumption that everyone uses their phone like the authors do. This is clearly not the case.

    I've got a relatively early Nokia Symbian phone -- 7610. I've been enjoying using it for about two years now. I like that I can track mileage and manage my calendar on it -- it's critical to my success as a manager (yes, manager. I know, I know, fou
    • Exactly. Basically if you want a pseudo blackberry phone which does email well then the S60 series is the way to go. I have just got the E70 and it is simply amazing. The screen is clear and dense enough that web browsing is a charm - a far cry from my experiences of WAP 5 years ago! Now I can do online banking on the move, look up topics on wikipedia whilst in lectures, put bids on ebay, etc... all using public hotspots.

      Granted the interface is slow and fairly cumbersome, plus vodafone is taking a while
  • Just curious - are these interface problems something that enterprising Python hackers might be able to fix by writing their own []?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No. The Symbian OS API is the same on every phone, but every manufacturer implements a GUI of their own. You can't replace the GUI from an user application. The great idea was that every manufacturer would get a distinctive look & feel, while porting applications to each platform would require only minor GUI changes. Of course this is not the case in the real world.

      The major problem with Nokia and Symbian is that the Symbian "C++" dialect has grown beyond retardation. It was designed back when C++ compi
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jas203 ( 942742 )
        I've posted a few comments in this thread already....mostly clearing up mis-conceptions.

        Also, there are no nice and clean C++ exceptions in Symbian, you've got to manually write your exception cleanup stack using ugly macros.
        Pre-v9: Correct
        Post-v9: Incorrect - infact Symbian "leaves" are now done in terms of C++ exceptions! (try it out yourself using intrumentation)

        Symbian is archaic enough to assume that all software has to be able to run in ROM, which has introduced all kinds of resource & me
        • I can appreciate Symbian's effort involved in trying to eliminate raw string errors, but trying to figure out how to convert my HBufC into a TDes8 (or worse, a const char* to a HBufC16) is like reading the Bible without the Rosetta Stone. No matter what, you're going to come away from the experience seriously warped.

          how much space is on the stack?

          Very, very little. You can blow the stack easily with a few recursive calls. The heap is the only real way to go except for very short-lived variables.

          What's nice
          • by jas203 ( 942742 )
            but trying to figure out how to convert my HBufC into a TDes8
            some psuedo C++ to keep things quick

            TPtr8 ps = HBufC8::Des(); // TPtr8 is derived from TDes8


            TPtr16 pw = HBufC16::Des();
            TPtr8 ps(pw.Ptr(), pw.Size(), pw.MaxSize()); // maybe cast the pointer

            or worse, a const char* to a HBufC16
            In this case I'm assuming a standard C string (although there is TPtrC constructor that will take a length too).

            TPtrC8 ps("This is my example");
            HBufC16* hw = HBufC16::New(ps.Length());

      • I've spent the last few days doing development on a Nokia N93 in Python. It's pretty good, for certain things, but the python API is lacking all over the place. Sound is the worst - all you can do is record or play files, and you have no control over format. There is no direct access to an audio buffer. The only way you can, say, synthesize a sine wave is by writing to a .au file (hey, they're simple) and playing it. So forget about realtime.

        The module implementation is messed up right now, and has been
  • I am a happy user of a S60-based Nokia N80. It's true that the phone is a bit more complicated than non-S60 phones I had before, and the battery hardly lasts for 48 hours (I just connect it to the power adapter every night - problem solved). But on the other hand, those other phones simply lacked features. The most important smartphone feature for me is the music player. On my previous phone, an S60-based SX1, I used Oggplay, but I never bothered to download it on the N80, because the N80s built-in player i
    • The only way I can get 48 hours battery life out of my N80 is by not using it. The N80 is a great phone in many ways but for someone who is used to his phones lasting 3-5 days between charges this is simply unacceptable for me, especially if I'm away for the weekend an I've got few places to plug in my charger. I've been told that Vodafone stopped distributing these phones shortly after launch for this very reason.
  • I Love my A780 from Motorola. I think any device that has so many functions has some type of learning cure. Every time new things come out people complain about how hard they are to use and slowly but surely things get worked out. The A780 has an external keypad and is much like a simple phone when closed. Open it up to the touchscreen and you can do everything else. text to speech and voice dialing could use some tweaking but it's still cool to grab the phone in it's holster press the voice command bu
  • Until the Linux phone we all dream about arrives.

    S60 has []
  • As a long time Nokia fan, I just switched this week to the HTC TyTN (Cingular 8525) which is (and I'm sorry to say) a much better phone. My 4 phones were a Nokia 6230, 6682, 9300, and then E62. I went from S40 to S60 to S80 and then back to S60v3, but none of them really were able to fill the needs of what I wanted in a phone. Everyone values different things in their phones; some want a handset that will just make phone calls whereas some want a handset that will do everything, but pretty much everyone

  • Our workplace got a bunch of E62's and the users couldn't swap them for Blackberries fast enough. Nothing worked as advertised, was too complicated and slow. They're basically "bloatware" which is sad seeing that they had the lead in the phone market until recently.
  • I've got a Nokia E70 (Symbian 3rd Ed.), and I find it spectacular. I've owned S40 Nokias and Motorolas previously.
  • This shows that you should only buy phones where you, as a user, can choose to download 3rd party software to replace any part of the phone software pertaining to the user interface and apps. And this, without any obligation for the developer to have to register his app with the phone maker and/or telecom operator.

    This way your phone will become more and more usable following the advances of all the smart developers in the world.
    Actually, you do not want a smartphone. You want an open phone where you can i
  • ...are the Nokia execs crashing a Ferrari Enzo?

    I really want to be there to watch it first hand.

  • ...which I believe also runs Series 3 on Symbian. While the phone is mechanically very well made and robust, and the software does everything, the human factors are a joke. Buttons that rely on the touch screen are too small and one is constantly hitting the wrong function. There is little consistency between applications - and of course, the thing crashes all the time. If you want an example of how to do smart phones right - try the latest PalmOS based TREOs. The 680, while lacking a good camera, looks lik
  • . . . just to clarify. In Japan, for example, Symbian is sold with the MOAP environment.

    I am a Symbian employee though what I say is purely my own opinion:
    The fact that firmware updates are freely available for the newer Nokia phones is a fairly new phenomenon and has a major effect. Problems are being dealt with swiftly.

    Symbian is a much much more powerful operating system than it's competitors and it's really quite sophisticated inside. The pressure on us employees to get things right simply gets more
  • I haven't kept up with the mobile phone market since I got my 6210, which has exactly the features I want out of a mobile phone (plus WAP, but I think I can handle that amount of bloat ;). However, UMTS is going to become the new standard Real Soon and there might be a time when I have to get a new mobile.

    My question is: Is there a 3210/6210 equivalent that dows UMTS? My requirements are:
    - Candybar form factor. Everything with moving parts is too damn fragile. See next line.
    - Somewhat rugged. I want the

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