Today’s tech community is somewhat buzzing over new announcements from two of the mobile industry’s leaders; RIM and Nokia. Both companies announced nice phones that will surely sell by the millions, but none of the announced phones are going to shock the mobile market.
A few days ago I was fortunate enough to receive a nice surprise from Nokia, their flagship Maemo mobile device, the Nokia N900. To be honest, I had lowered my expectations for the device as a result of a friend’s opinion, who told me I was not going to like the phone. Before I get into details about the phone with all its shortcomings and industry-leading features and specifications, let me just state in one sentence that overall I am extremely pleased with the device and pleasantly surprised by its endless capabilities.
As I was browsing through my content over the past few months, I realized that the vast majority of posts are about social media. In fact, if someone only recently started reading my blog, they would never know I was a mobile geek. The truth of the matter is there are mainly two reasons I have written mostly about social media and not mobile developments over the last few months. For starters, it is what interests people and it is what interests me. Social networks and the industry supporting them are evolving and changing daily in a major way. While the mobile industry is booming and there are new phones introduced hourly, there really is nothing new to speak of. The technology is really all the same, some phones have better processors, some better UIs, but all in all, nothing revolutionary. Social media on the other hand is renewing itself on a regular basis.
One of the companies struggling most in this hard economy is Motorola. Now, I am sure the economy has some part in their hardships but I am pretty convinced Motorola itself is not exactly innocent. I cannot remember the last handset coming out of Motorola that even remotely excited me, since of course, the Razr (you know you loved it the first time you saw it too). So now the people over there at Motorola have to be thinking how to get back in the game. What does Motorola have to do to become relevant again?
Here are some live videos from MWC Barecelona. Some really cool stuff here, check em out.
Before we discuss the latest and greatest cellular developments, I just wanted to say that this is the first post on the new hosting, it took long enough, but it is finally live, so congrats.
There have been various things going on in the tech world and specifically the cellular market, but I think everyone agrees that one of the biggest and most important pieces of news is the N97. I know I wrote a lot about it already, but a lot more is known to us now, so I think another N97 post is in order.
Mobile-review had some time with the N97 and although the commercial device is not available yet, so the final version of the software cannot be analyzed, the amount of time they spent with the device is more than the rest of us are getting, so it is pretty exciting.
I read the whole review and what I came away with is that the N97 is first of all a very impressive device. It is not as thick as I originally thought, the screen is pretty outstanding, the widgets are a cool idea, and the battery life is phenomenal.
On the flip side of things, and I guess the flip side is what matters because these are the aspects that will prevent me from buying it (yea right, as if I could afford it), there are more than a few things that bother me about the device. Let’s start with the design. I would have liked it if the entire thing was not made out plastic, a little metal would have made things a lot more impressive and serious.
Not sure I am feeling this 35 degree angle thing, did not work for the Tilt, not sure it will work for this. Then there is the whole resistive screen issue, which to be honest, I do not fully understand yet, but it is supposedly a big downside for the N97. From the video below (might as well put your volume down, unless of course you speak Russian), you can see that the interface, which by the way sorry to say, just cannot be compared to Apple’s (I wanted to see if I could write a review without the I word) is a little quirky, but again, this is not the commercial version, so that might change.
I am not getting why the N97 cannot be charged via USB, why would Nokia do that? Am I missing something? As for the widgets, it is a cool idea, but if I wanted widgets, wouldn’t I want them fully customizable? If I were so inclined to have home screen widgets, I would turn to Cellogic to design em, and use Flyscreen.
Two more things I do not like about this phone is of course, the price, but more importantly, Nokia’s marketing strategy really bothers me. The 5800 just came out! I have heard of competition between cellular superpowers, where one outdoes the other and makes consumers forget about the first one’s phone that was recently released (did you get that?). What I have NOT heard of is a company stealing its own thunder. This is something Apple would never do. Why would anyone in their right mind go out and buy a 5800 now, knowing its big brother is right around the corner? Nokia would say they are targeting different audiences with the two phones and to that I say, B.S. Are you telling me there are 5800 people out there that do NOT want a full QWERTY, 5 mp camera, or home screen widgets? Cmon.
I, for one, was very excited about the 5800, but now that the N97 has a bigger screen, a better OS, and a full QWERTY, I would not consider getting the Tube anymore. Correct me if I’m wrong, did Nokia just convince me not to get a Nokia phone? Now, that’s good marketing.
There is a picture of an unknown Nokia touch screen device floating around the Web. The picture is actually taken from a Nokia presentation given in Nokia’s Capital Markets Day 2008, so you know it’s not fake. The phone looks pretty awesome, and I am hoping Nokia is really taking its gloves off and getting in the ring with Apple. The N97 is nice, there is no doubt, and the addition of a full QWERTY is a blessed one, but in terms of hardware, it does not compare with the iPhone. Very few phones do.
However, this new phone, pictured below, does compete, and in my opinion, blows the iPhone out of the water. It also looks like it offers some pretty cool features. Sorry there is no more information available yet, but knowing Nokia and the way they work, there will be an announcement soon. I hope.
As more details emerge about this cellular giant, I found myself wanting to keep adding to the last post, so instead I figured I would just post again about the N97.
The N97 will be the first high-end device powered by the latest touchscreen Symbian S60 OS and will include goodies missing from other high end devices, such as a 3.5mm headphones jack (cough cough, G1), full QWERTY (cough cough iPhone and HD), stereo bluetooth (cough cough iPhone, OK I think you get the coughing thing), an FM radio, Nokia Maps enabled by touch, a digital compass (similar to the G1 I am guessing), an accelerometer, and a proximity sensor so the screen turns of during calls.
Usually, when a new phone is announced, my first instinct is to try and determine what it is missing. WiFI, 3G, good camera?
The N97, as far as I can tell, is not missing anything. Who said there is no such thing as a perfect phone?
I think it is safe to say that until someone invents some sort of new technology for cellphones, the N97 will remain on top.
Gizmodo just posted an article stating that Nokia has unveiled the Nokia N97. What is interesting about this piece of information is that it is nowhere else besides Gizmodo (unless you count all the ridiculous results of a Google Search, which produces tens of fake pictures and descriptions of a future N97 that is not nearly as nice or impressive as the actual device). GSMArena has no such device and no other sites are reporting this scoop. Not sure what to make of that, but an N97 was an expected device that seems to have exceeded all expectations.
The device has a tilting screen similar to the Tytn2 or the AT&T Tilt, a smart idea that has not been adapted by any other device since.
The display is a 3.5″ 640×360 resistive touchscreen and the device has a full QWERTY keyboard, something missing in phones like the iPhone and the HD. The phone has the standard WiFi, 3.5G, 5mp camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens and dual LED flash, a-GPS, and supports up to a whopping 48GB of storage with 32GB on board.
Not much else is known about the phone besides a strong battery life of up to 1.5 days of continuous playback and all sorts of other location-based and social networking goodies that are pretty unclear right now.
Now the big question is, was this Nokia’s big announcement or is there yet another one? Something bigger than an N97? I am doubtful, but if they are revealing this today, what’s with the countdown timer to tomorrow?
Update: After doing a little research, turns out this is Nokia’s big announcement and they are not going to be introducing any other big handsets. Not sure why people kept talking about it all happening on Wednesday, seems like a mix-up in timing (might have to do with different regions and time zones), but in any case, I think this announcement will satisfy anybody and everybody. Oh, and more thing, all the sites now have the N97 up, including GSMArena, but I was first. Nice!
A mysterious little countdown timer just appeared on Nokia’s website. 14.5 hours is the time that appears as I am writing this. That is 14.5 hours until Nokia announces their new and highly anticipated device that will either take away all of Apple’s glory or turn Nokia into another Palm.
Nokia executives are very proud of the fact that there is no indication on the Web anywhere what this device will be or what it will offer. I, on the other hand, do not like surprises and I also do not think total secrecy contributes anything to the marketing aspect of this announcement. No leaks, no hype! Am I wrong?
I have to say though, that the 5800 XpressMusic left me wondering how Nokia became the market leader in the first place. When first reading about the device, I found myself asking “This is how Nokia intends to compete with the iPhone? Nokia? This?” Well, I guess my suspicions were right on and they had more up their sleeve the whole time.
I really do not know what they will be announcing, but my wild imagination says it will be a device with a touch screen display similar to the HTC Touch HD, an interface similar to but better than the iPhone’s. It will offer all the functionality missing in the iPhone, such as copy and paste, MMS, video camera, Flash and Java, a 5 or 8 mp camera, stereo bluetooth, and it will be no thicker than 12 mm. I say if there is anyone out there that can pull this off, it is Nokia.
If the above described device is really announced by Nokia in 14 hours from now, all my contemplation about which handset to buy will have finally come to an end.
Nobody was surprised today when Nokia officially announced the release of the Tube or the 5800 XpressMusic handset. It is an OK looking handset, I guess. I think, like many other recent announcements, it would have been huge news prior to the launch of the iPhone. I am sure Nokia is kicking themselves now that they did not release this earlier. There is no avoiding the iPhone comparison, and from the short reviews that are out there, it looks like the Tube is just another touchscreen that will stay in the shadow of the iPhone.
It is true the specs on the Tube are not too shabby. It boasts a 3.2 inch display, 3.2 megapixel autofocus Carl Zeiss camera w/ dual-LED flash, a secondary front camera for video calling, stereo Bluetooth, WiFi 802.11 b/g, and integrated GPS. Those are not bad specs, but do they compare to those of the Omnia for example? Would this phone be generating so much hype without the Nokia branding on top? Not so sure!
Even with its decent specs, CrunchGear spent a few minutes with the phone and was not impressed. What was most unimpressive was the crowded UI and the Web browser. As I have said many times, in today’s market, with pretty much all the big players making amazingly impressive touchscreen devices, what separates the men from the boys is the user experience. Seems that Nokia has their work cut out for them if they want to maintain their market share for much longer.