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  #1  
Old 23-05-2010, 03:10 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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A user writes: 'Where Nokia and Symbian need to improve'

Fired up by the discussions in the Phones Show Chat podcast, one of my listeners, Andy Weekes, took the time to write in a veritable essay on his experiences (ok, mainly frustrations) with Nokia, Symbian and the current competition. Some of his points are very valid, others more arguable, but you'll hopefully enjoy his essay and my (inline) responses below. Comments welcome, some of these topics could run and run!

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 23-05-2010, 03:58 PM
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On Nested Folders being not a system Android emulates, rather providing a scrollable alphabetical list of Apps, I'd take issue!
Folders can be set up on any of the Android HomeScreens and used in a productive way much like the Symbian ones. Granted, a Folder can't be put inside a Folder.
Apps you'd like inside the folder can be dragged and dropped inside and appear in the order they were added - no longer alphabetical. Again, once there, granted, they can't be moved around.
I take the point that Symbian can produce a true (dare I say) Windows (or preferably Psion!) File Management environment with 'folders in folders' but Android can, with some tweaking, produce a very productive method too leaving a MasterList of Apps in Alphabetical order (making them easy to find, one might argue) still there for when you want to change things around - by 'moving' them to a Folder, you're actually only copying them.
Furthermore, it's not just Apps that you can move/copy into Folders, but also ShortCuts for quick one-tap access to websites, for example, Contacts, PlayLists etc...

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Old 23-05-2010, 05:21 PM
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Rather desperate

I don't know this website, but chopping every paragraph and saying "I don't believe you" doesn't make great journalism. I found myself skimming over the Symbian apologist. I'm reminded of Stephen Fry's classic "my HTC TyTN can do more" line. Sure, it can - but no-one's ever gonna give it a look until they can get past the risible UI.

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Old 23-05-2010, 05:31 PM
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I had a nightmare today trying to read my iPhone screen in the sunlight. Seriously considering going back to real keypads.

  #5  
Old 23-05-2010, 05:46 PM
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Hopefully this has changed with Symbian^3, but when I had the N97, my biggest gripe with Ovi Maps was that it wasn't integrated with the other applications. I can click on an address in the browser or contact list in Android and map to it.

Also, I just downloaded Froyo and Flash 10.1, and it is very nice. It's caught up with the N900 on the Flash front (and ahead of Symbian^1). The browser is noticeably faster, and being able to use the phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot is nice (though I'm having issues with VPN). Plus, auto-rotate works in 3 directions now instead of 2.

Finally, and this is huge, with Froyo there is constant access to the Phone (and browser) icon. Google seems to have gotten the point that smartphones are still phones first.

  #6  
Old 23-05-2010, 05:59 PM
Andrew Weekes
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Red face A fair dissection

A fair (and spirited) article which I hope will further discussion.

Before I add any comments I'd like to make one thing clear if it isn't obvious from my positive comments in the text. I am not aiming to 'bash' Nokia, I genuinely believe they have the best balanced hardware lineup of any manufacturer, but for me personally the UI has such an over-arching effect that I'll (reluctantly)i sacrifice some hardware specs for a better user experience.

A few responses to Steve's comments:-

Tim has mentioned Android's folder capability, but in defence of the flat app directory whilst folders are a good idea for a user to create, in Nokia's case they are a hindrance the way the manufacturer configures them. The great thing about a flat application list is you *know* the app you want will be there and providing scrolling is easy its not too onerous to find.

For several weeks after I got my Nokia there was a mythical location called the 'Gallery' and it really is no exaggeration to say I simply could not find it on the phone. The phone kept saving things there but I had to use the file explorer to find them. It is a folder of course, but it's so deeply hidden in the folder structure, in folders that look like they are applications , that it is a challenge to locate.

With regard to inconsistency between Nokia models this will help illustrate the problem. I wrote a detailed set of step by step instructions on how to set up Mail for Exchange and posted them on the company intranet for others to use. Not one person has been able to use them unaided since the differences between my phone and the other devices in use is significant enough to need further assistance from me.

Finally on the N8 I have probably been unfair, basing my view on the very limited information available, I look forward to some hands on with one when it becomes available.

  #7  
Old 23-05-2010, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I don't know this website, but chopping every paragraph and saying "I don't believe you" doesn't make great journalism. I found myself skimming over the Symbian apologist. I'm reminded of Stephen Fry's classic "my HTC TyTN can do more" line. Sure, it can - but no-one's ever gonna give it a look until they can get past the risible UI.
If you DID "know" this website and DID know more about Steve, you would know that he is very open-minded (despite what some people say) and does try all of the different operating systems. And if you had read the article properly you would have noticed that he didn't say "I don't believe you" every time he answered a point, and in fact agreed with many of the points made...

  #8  
Old 23-05-2010, 06:12 PM
Ian 2
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I agree with everything Andy has written. I am ready to move on to Android or iPhone 4 (waiting for it's announcement).

Just to comment on one point - my summary of Ovi Maps experience:
1. interface is in fact very bad compared to TomTom. Try to do a simple task of reviewing the planned route.
2. route calculation algorithms are very simple (not comparable to IQ Routes)
3. problems with GPS on my Nokia 5800 with latest firmware (often gets stuck and requires phone restart, gives directions after the turn).
As a result I don't use it.

  #9  
Old 23-05-2010, 06:16 PM
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"Try setting up a mail for exchange account on a Nokia, then do the same on Android or iPhone as a clear example of this; the latter two are a pleasure, the former an effort, even if you can even find all the settings you need, and get through obscure error messages on the way. The really frustrating thing about this is it's relatively trivial to improve!"

I would take issue with this. About a year ago I tried to set up email on my iPod Touch, and my wife's. I couldn't believe how bad it was, and it resolutely failed, despite having been very easy to set up on my Nokia E90 and my wife's Palm Centro. Neither account was a MFE account, one being a POP account and the other being an IMAP account on our home-server.

Eventually, after a bit of digging, it turned out there was some sort of problem with Apple's port settings/encryption, which could be worked around; however, obvious it was not. While I'm sure this has been improved in the meantime, it was a good illustration that even Apple get things wrong sometimes...
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  #10  
Old 23-05-2010, 07:03 PM
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"As an engineer with a very technical perspective and a wealth of experience even I find it hard, how is poor old Mr. Average to cope?"


Well Andy, I'm no engineer but I know how to operate my phone...

  #11  
Old 23-05-2010, 07:05 PM
Andrew Weekes
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One thing I'll take issue with...

Steve wrote...

"At £330 (inc VAT) nowadays, around 80% the price of the Desire, the N97 mini has better build quality, a far better camera, plus that full qwerty keyboard - you'd have to agree that these make it a damn good alternative to the Desire's all-touch approach. "

But this is exactly my point and I believe your response shows you might be missing it too.

Yes the N97 mini has a fantastic set of hardware specs, but most non-technical users will care little about it if you gave them hands on experience with both side-by-side; the lure of HTC's luscious Sense UI with all of it's built in cleverness will, in my view, win over the under-the-bonnet hardware specs since these aren't visible to the end user during that first hands on experience.

Give the N97 that same user experience and I'd buy one tomorrow!

Andy.

  #12  
Old 23-05-2010, 07:08 PM
Andrew Weekes
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Well Andy, I'm no engineer but I know how to operate my phone...

Well of course so do I, the point is I don't *enjoy* using it...


  #13  
Old 23-05-2010, 07:32 PM
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Isn't this just the same old stuff that has been covered endlessly on forum after forum ever since the N97 came out? And by somebody who has had no hands on with a Symbian ^3 or ^4 device? Nokia and almost everybody else has acknowledged that S60V5 UI and its Symbian N97 implementation was not up to the competition. Time to move on and look at future.

Where is the value in this essay? And why does somebody who has made his decision and his choice need to spend time writing a diatribe on why an Android phone is better than one he hasn't used?

Personally, I have long since drawn my own conclusions and have stepped out of Symbian use for the time being (although not for Android because for me the Desire is the only Android phone I would consider), so I need to know what is wrong with Symbian ^3 and ^4 from somebody who knows. Not someone who has seen the same youtube videos that I have.

  #14  
Old 23-05-2010, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I need to know what is wrong with Symbian ^3 and ^4 from somebody who knows.
I will tell you what is wrong with Symbian ^3 and ^4 - they do not exist No final system, no phones, nothing you can see or buy. Just photos on the web (and looking almost the same as ^1). That alone shows the whole thing is 1 year to late (probably more for ^4 which seems to be at early concept stage).

Competition has made several great phones and new OS releases, very significant progress. Nokia showed one concept phone and asked to not switch it on

  #15  
Old 23-05-2010, 08:52 PM
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"Transflective screen" is not the only solution to making it more readable. Making it less reflective actually works for Super AMOLED.
 

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