All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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Old 31-08-2009, 09:25 AM
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AAS Insight 85 - Booklet 3G, 5230, Money, N900

In All About Symbian Insight 85 (AAS Podcast 147), Rafe, Steve and Ewan discuss the glut of Nokia nes ahead of this week's Nokia World. We cover the Nokia Booklet 3G, Nokia 5230, Nokia Money (an under appreciated announcement) and the Nokia N900. There's also some discussion of Maemo 5, service strategy and the Sony Ericsson Satio. You can listen to AAS Insight 85 here or, if you wish to subscribe, here's the RSS feed.

Read on in the full article.

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Old 31-08-2009, 10:32 AM
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Smile you must expunge "going forward"

from your vocabulary .. its evil!!

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Old 31-08-2009, 11:45 AM
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Wondering if Nokia fanboys will say "MMS is thing of the past" now that we know the N900 does not have MMS...

  #4  
Old 31-08-2009, 11:53 AM
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Rafe, the N900 automatically shifts to portrait and the phone application when rotated. Sounds like a smartphone to me. This mobile computer distinction is pretty artificial - all phones are mobile computers but the primary reason they are in our pockets is to make calls.

Also you say that the N900 can't actually do that much more than an N97:

- WVGA vs VGA video capture
- multiple, highly configurable user desktops vs single desktop
- Adobe flash 9.4 vs flash lite
- XVid / DivX video playback (almost all TV shows etc. are encoded in these formats)
- 256 + 750MB virtual RAm vs 128MB - pretty fundamental requirement to "do" anything in a milti-tasking environement
- much more powerful CPU with graphics acceleration core - again pretty fundamental for handling rich graphically intensive apps (maps, photos, videos, games, etc.)
- mozilla based browser - looks like a much more powerful and natural experience than the current generation Nokia S60 browser

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Old 31-08-2009, 12:27 PM
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Thanks, great insights (esp. Rafe's this time)!
Oh, MMS should have been a thing of the past from day 1.
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Old 31-08-2009, 01:32 PM
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Thanks GJW, you proved my point very quickly: if its Nokia doing it, it must be true

  #7  
Old 31-08-2009, 02:37 PM
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Rafe I would appreciate some clarification on some of your thoughts from the latest podcast primarily concerning the N900.

I've asked before and I'll ask again: the distinction for Maemo devices being 'handheld data centric devicess with telephony features' whereas Symbian devices are 'handheld telephone centric devices with computer features' - is that the official Nokia line? Please clarify.

Or is this something that you and the guys have coined? Regardless of it's origins I seem to recall the N95 being heavily promoted under the tagline 'it's what computers have become'. Not any more if the Nokia/AAS lines of demarcation are to be believed.

Next up is that Nokia believe that there is a commercially exploitable niche located between netbooks and current smartphones? Hence the N900 and Maemo. You even say that the iPhone exists in and because of this niche.

What utter and total rubbish. Rafe, you are reaching. You nearly allude to why the move Maemo - in that S60 UI cannot handle the screen candy high-end users now expect, but you seen to brush over it hurridly and tow the party line again.

Despite Nokia's proximity to Russia Rafe, they are not going to shoot you in the morning or send you to a gulag (where those resistive screens will come in handy) for not being a good citizen.

Go on, just say it... "Symbian can't cut it at the high end anymore. And the N97 sucks and do I really want to be writing about hundred quid prepay handsets? NOOOOOO!

You will be able to live with yourself in the morning :-)

Last edited by morpheus2702; 31-08-2009 at 05:12 PM. Reason: typos

  #8  
Old 31-08-2009, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Rafe, the N900 automatically shifts to portrait and the phone application when rotated. Sounds like a smartphone to me. This mobile computer distinction is pretty artificial - all phones are mobile computers but the primary reason they are in our pockets is to make calls.

Also you say that the N900 can't actually do that much more than an N97:

- WVGA vs VGA video capture
- multiple, highly configurable user desktops vs single desktop
- Adobe flash 9.4 vs flash lite
- XVid / DivX video playback (almost all TV shows etc. are encoded in these formats)
- 256 + 750MB virtual RAm vs 128MB - pretty fundamental requirement to "do" anything in a milti-tasking environement
- much more powerful CPU with graphics acceleration core - again pretty fundamental for handling rich graphically intensive apps (maps, photos, videos, games, etc.)
- mozilla based browser - looks like a much more powerful and natural experience than the current generation Nokia S60 browser
I think the point Rafe was making is that in terms of 'real world' tasks (like checking and responding to an email, finding your way to a meeting in a strange city or updating a word document), it is hard to think of something the N900 can do that the N97 cannot.

Although, this comparison only works on paper, as the N97 and it's problems like the crash happy browser and lack or RAM, mean than many real world tasks end up being aborted as apps crash or shut down due to low memory.

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Old 31-08-2009, 09:50 PM
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Unregistered - celios is right. I'm not saying its same in the technical sense, but in terms of actually carry out a task. Both do web, video etc. etc. How well they do the tasks is of course another issue.. and its not possible to comment on at this stage. I agree with all the things you list.. yes they will make things better, but how many will be noticed.

And I would dispute you need fast graphics for most things. Video yes. Games yes. Maps and web - no. Yes it can make it look nicer and therefore make things feel nicer... but for the latter two I would argue connection speed (for OTA maps) and GPS speed is fast more critical to real world usage.

morpheus2702 - this was my own distinction - and please remember the podcast is recorded without any scripting / prep (beyond a few bullet points). Nokia have, however, emphasised that Maemo is about PC like computing on mobile devices (see press release).

I'd actually question the computer marketing terms (both for the N96 and N900). I still laugh at the multimedia computer term. Really they are marketing constructs. However I think it is far to say that the N900 (like the iPhone incidentally), is more about the other ('computer') functions first and the phone is second. I'd also point out these are convenient categories - the reality is of course the device range along on continuum.

You could apply a similar one hand versus two handed usage categorisation. None of these are completely satisfactory, but it really a way of trying to explain that these devices are something different. Like netbooks and laptop maybe.

Sorry if this isn't very clear. Bit late here.

There are many reason for the Maemo move (of which the S60 UI is one) and I am hoping to learn more this week at Nokia World. I have my own views and will be writing a series of commentary on this (you could say I'm still digesting it). I agree the S60 UI can not currently do what Maemo 5 can do. However this is not because Symbian (the OS) is incapable, but rather the UI layer is not implemented. The distinction between the OS and UI is very important.

Oh and thank you for making me smile with the post
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Old 31-08-2009, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morpheus2702 View Post
I've asked before and I'll ask again: the distinction for Maemo devices being 'handheld data centric devicess with telephony features' whereas Symbian devices are 'handheld telephone centric devices with computer features' - is that the official Nokia line? Please clarify.
I think such a distinction is accurate based on my experiences. I would be happy with a description of an iPhone as a "handheld data centric device with telephony features" and I would also be happy with the following description for my N95 "handheld telephone centric devices with computer features"

I think you can split the market, maybe the type of keyboard can be a starting differentiator. Qwerty for the first class and T9 for the second. Lets face it, unless you are going to add a BT keyboard, or USB in the future perhaps, you would not want to spend time creating large documents with a T9 keyboard.

  #11  
Old 01-09-2009, 01:33 AM
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Why the N900 actually has a chance in the US Market

Rafe,

I think you miss the real point when you compare the N900 as "Nokia's response to the iphone". The N900 is certainly not Nokia's first "Mobile computer", the N95 and beyond certainly are equally as capable if not more than the iPhone. What makes the N900 a real iPhone competitor is that hopefully we FINALLY get a device with the power of the N97 with a usable interface. That's why nobody in the states will touch S60 because its just not fun to use. It's slow and stutters and doesn't have smooth transitions etc. The N900 can finally compete because it (hopefully) gives us that fun factor -- the factor that gave the iPhone its tremendous success.

And also its Linux, open source and has a vibrant open community which really is a tremendous benefit to end users. For example, EAP-TTLS/PAP support (a type of wifi encryption) has been missing from S60 for years despite tremendous demand (do a quick google and you'll see what I mean, its the top request on the S60 feature wishlist). Thats the kind of thing that, if it were missing from Maemo could be easily added by the community. The kind of feature/community robustness is what hopefully will make this platform actually work as a mobile device.

I firmly believe S60 was a great stepping stone in the evolution of mobile devices. But its almost 2010, it's time the best mobile hardware (the N97, N900 etc.) finally got an operating system worthy of being put on such a device and was designed for a device that powerful.

S60 was the latest and greatest maybe in 2005, but it just does not meet the needs of users and compete successfully in a world where the choices are S60 (feature rich but difficult to use, frustrating, slow, not pretty) or iPhone/Pre/Android/.....Maemo.

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Old 01-09-2009, 02:26 AM
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Rafe,

I agree with 'ZGold550'.

As great as S60/Symbian was in 2005 I'm afraid it simply can't do the job anymore in 2009. Let's all move on, shall we? Nokia had to do something for their high end products. It's called evolution, you can't be stuck in the stone age forever!

I am actually glad that Nokia will relegate Symbian to the mid tier devices and Maemo will become the OS of choice for the top end.

  #13  
Old 01-09-2009, 07:34 AM
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The people talking about transitions and eye candy are missing the point... big time!

Nokia used to have a reputation for fast, responsive user interfaces (they eventually got the N95 into this state) - once you have an S60 phone set up the way you like it (icons in the right place, folder, etc), it should just be a matter of press button --> almost instant response --> press button --> launch app.

This is where they have gone so badly wrong with the N97. Whether it's just to the lack of RAM or the CPU, the interface reacts too slowly.

I don't want to be waiting half a second or a second for my phone to change from one screen to another, even if it is showing a whizzy scroll or rotate effect while I'm waiting. This is why the iPhone appeals to an older audience - they didn't use their phones very quickly in the first place, so a few delays while the screen rotates, or the selected app slides onto the screen isn't a big deal.

S60 is optimised for use one-handed (try using an iPhone while you are holding your coffee in the other hand on the train) and should be able to react to most input (certainly changing from the home screen to the folders and then selecting a sub folder) so fast you don't have time to think about where the transitions are.

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Old 01-09-2009, 11:26 AM
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"As great as S60/Symbian was in 2005 I'm afraid it simply can't do the job anymore in 2009. Let's all move on, shall we? Nokia had to do something for their high end products. It's called evolution, you can't be stuck in the stone age forever!"

I don't think that's really fair. There's no technical reason why S60 can't cut it at the top end of the market, and the fact that the N97 has not been as successful as it should have been probably says more about its design than S60 or Symbian. If Nokia finally manage to get the S50 v5. touch interface working as it should do, there won't be any practical reason why S60 shouldn't continue to do well and evolve...

I still don't believe that Nokia would have paid all that money to get control of Symbian just to let it fade away...

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Old 01-09-2009, 05:39 PM
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I believe the matter of which OS will be dominant for Nokia's high end devices will largely depend on the feedback they get from the N900. If that is received well it may well be that Maemo gains the momentum it needs.
And by the looks of it, it will. I can't remember any Nokia device for which initial reactions were so positive since the N95. Even on sites that are normally not exactly fond of Nokia.

Of course Nokia will have their strategy set out already, but it I'm sure it allows for adjustment either way.
 

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