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

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  #16  
Old 09-07-2010, 11:52 AM
UnregAli
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@Ifanboy
One year ago as Iphone 3gs introduced, i say to my brother (who is also an Iphone user): Look at the Screen Resolution it is lower then Nokia 5800 and other Symbian Devices. His answer was: Don't count to the spec sheets, IPhone 3gs display is far better then anything else.
Now Iphone 4 is released and you say: Look at the screen resolution. :-)))))
PS: Sorry of my english.
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  #17  
Old 09-07-2010, 11:57 AM
iFanboy
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Well that didn't work, hopefully this link will work for the iPhone 4 image:

<http://profile.imageshack.us/user/IainsTheName/images/detail/#697/imageqwl.jpg>

  #18  
Old 09-07-2010, 12:06 PM
iFanboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnregAli View Post
@Ifanboy
One year ago as Iphone 3gs introduced, i say to my brother (who is also an Iphone user): Look at the Screen Resolution it is lower then Nokia 5800 and other Symbian Devices. His answer was: Don't count to the spec sheets, IPhone 3gs display is far better then anything else.
Now Iphone 4 is released and you say: Look at the screen resolution. :-)))))
PS: Sorry of my english.
I bet your English is a lot better than my version of the language you speak :-)


However, you go on to say that something your brother said, was something I said? I've never said the 3GS has a better screen than the 5800 Ali ;-). However I will say that whilst the 5800 has a sharper image, the 3GS does have better colours, outdoor readability and use case for me thanks to the tech it uses and it's capacitive screen :-).


However I will go on record and state that the iPhone 4 has the best damn screen I have ever seen on a mobile device to date, and I hope other Manufacturers start to copy, as that'll only make Apple innovate quicker :-)

  #19  
Old 09-07-2010, 12:07 PM
Solnyshok Solnyshok is offline
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UI is not only about "how it looks" but also about "how it feels". And by this, I mean that 600Mhz Omnia HD (S60v5) takes 1-2 seconds after each letter to filter contacts in my address book (ca.1000 contacts). C'mon people, use RAM caching for christ's sake, make device fly. SPB can do it, time for Symbian to get rid of such abrupt stops in the UI ride.
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  #20  
Old 09-07-2010, 12:14 PM
Jejoma Jejoma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iFanboy View Post
. . . the apps are CLEARLY better. There is literally (To use the phrase) an app for everything. And don't even get me started on games, does ANY Symbian phone have a FULLY 3D MMO for thier phone? The APPS are 100 times better than anything Symbian has to offer.
What a rant

But seriously, Symbian is catching up with the iPhone on the app / interphase front. I've just downloaded Rotary Dialer to my i8910 from OviStore. The ultimate dialling interphase - it should be standard on all mobile phones. I'm sure the iPhone had it first but as I said, Symbian's catching up fast.

  #21  
Old 09-07-2010, 12:15 PM
UnregAli
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@IFanboy I just give my brother as an example. Many Apple fans dont count on specs if the IPhone is not better in tihs sepfication. If IPhone in a Statistic or in a Spefication (like screen resolution) any better all fanboys screams that out.

  #22  
Old 09-07-2010, 12:17 PM
jonquirk jonquirk is offline
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I came to S60 after a run of Palm devices (Pilot, m500, Tungsten|T2 and Tungsten|E2) when the hardware reliability issues, and charging on the E2 in particular, became too much to bear.

I went for the E61i and was struck by how little information was on that 2.8" screen compared to the Palm devices.

Once Palm added the D-pad they became very versatile devices that could be operated purely as touch screen or almost totally one-handedly with the D-pad: really the best of both worlds.

Symbian needs someone to take charge of the UI in the way that Palm had a "tap Nazi" whose job was to enforce a way of doing each operation with the least number of taps on screen and find a way cough* copy cough* Palm's PIM apps to get more on each screen.

Failing that just get Janole to extend Gravity to run the whole phone and have done with it!

  #23  
Old 09-07-2010, 12:29 PM
froschy
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Good article Ewan, I think you're spot on with Symbian needing a focus on the UI consistency but I would also add that it needs some tweaks in areas like the notifications system, etc... (maybe this will be addressed in S^3 or S^4) and also attention on the design aesthetics of the UI (icons, fonts, button desin, etc...).

Apple and Google are much better at this aesthetic and understand the value for marketing their devices, I just don't think Nokia understands this.

  #24  
Old 09-07-2010, 12:34 PM
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I understand the the iPhone 4 has a very high res display, and I've looked at one and its very nice, but I can't see any benefit of the higher resolution over the old iPhones. I can read everything on the old one. What's the advantage? Can't see tiny pixels? Great, but so what?

Emperors new clothes. Again. These phone makers (all of them) should put their efforts into real useful enhancements instead of chasing high spec numbers to seduce increasingly gullible and stupid consumers.

  #25  
Old 09-07-2010, 01:01 PM
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A case in point

This is a very well written article that points out exactly what needs doing (On the UI front) if Symbian is to "come back from the dead".

I think it speaks volumes that I've 2 Symbian devices over the last 2 and a half year (s60v3 and s60v5) and I've only just discovered the organise feature to make the menu system work how I want it to. Why was the organise icon not present in the settings menu item where I'd expect it to be?
If these features were better advertised or a little easier to get to I'd have realised that it's possible for me to have a logical icon based user interface on my s60v5 device much earlier than a year into usage!

I honestly believe that with some under the hood work on Symbian to improve it's memory print, fluidity and speed, Symbian would be very competitive, there are only a few tweaks needed to the UI to make it consistent the whole way through.

  #26  
Old 09-07-2010, 01:34 PM
gadget freak gadget freak is offline
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I could bore you all with all the smartphones and pda's i've owned but surffice to say i've been buying them since the xda, p800 etc and the Htc Desire is truly a amazing device there is nothing on symbian that comes close and i've seen nothing in the N8 so far to make me think different.

Now thats not to says the Desire is perfect, battery life is mediocre and the PIMS are dreadfull.

Forget fancy icons symbian 3 & 4 need to just make it easy to set the device up in the first place s60 was way too complicated. ( though not as bad as UIQ what a shambles)

  #27  
Old 09-07-2010, 02:15 PM
boxieblue boxieblue is offline
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All i'd like to say is, thanks! I love this post and all the comparisons you made. Never realised it before.

  #28  
Old 09-07-2010, 04:32 PM
expalmandse expalmandse is offline
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Consistency: App folders / Cut&Paste / Exit

Consistency is really key. I own a E71 workhorse and administer my wife's 5800. This are some expamples of consistency issues.

App folders: My E71 came with a system of folders for the apps. Quite intuitive. I saw it and made some samll changes to my liking. Then I was quite gobsmacked finding that all apps in the 5800 are were just thrown in there. No organisation whatsoever! My wife, being new to smartphones (although coming as me from Palms in the past as well as able SEs) just hated the amount of effort to find anything. And because there was no folder system to begin with, it was difficult to think it could exist. Then I created folders similar to my E71: Comms, GPS, Social, Tools. My wife really appreciated it and was very happy... and disappointed when we needed to upgrade the OS and the organisation got lost.

Cut&Paste. I feel sad with all the battering iPhone got received becasue not having C&P. I do not consider Symbian has it because it is so inconsistent that most of the time is useless. And for God's sake, this is soooo basic that anyone with a PC experience and Palm experience (I mean 15 year old Palms) would expect this. Now I have a "Smartphone" that is not capable of receiving an email with a tel number, copy it and paste into a contact file. E71 has a marvellous Copy (Ftn Ctr C) and Paste (Ftn Ctr V) that does not work in several areas - does no twork at all or one need to go though an obscure lethany of menus. Also, contact telephone numbers should accept commonly used separation symbols, i.e.: (),.- to enable better C&P.

Exit
The rule in Symbian is that apps are closed by either the red button or menu/down-to-last-line/exit. Can you use it in Nokia Maps? No. Can you use it in Nokia Messaging? No. Can you use it in opera Mobile?No.
Several Nokia apps

  #29  
Old 09-07-2010, 04:53 PM
Richard L Richard L is offline
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Terrific article!

Consistency throughout the Ui is the reason why people are happy with Blackberrys - they don't have many of the bells and whistles of an iPhone, Droid or, say, N8 but the UI is ruthless in its implementation: figure out how to do something in one place, and you can do it in another.

Of course, how you do something usually isn't elegant or enjoyable but it is consistent and that really is more important to the user.

That being said, my Corporate Bold gives way to my iPhone the moment I'm out of the office! I see some comments here stating that the iPhone doesn't offer a better user experience than Symbian^3 or even "60 5th but that's just nonsense - usually I try to respect other views but that really is just not true.

For those of us who are used to using Symbian (I go back to the Psion era myself, up to and including the E71) devices then it may be useable but it si not enjopyable - hasn't been for years. That someone with 10 years experience on the platform or its forebears should still have to think twice about where a main option is, is just unforgiveable.

When I realised that I wasn't absolutely certain where the option to change a ringtone could be located on my E71, I went and got an iPhone and never had that problem again.

N8 may win me back. I hope it does as I have a huge respect for Nokia's hardware and radio tech.

But I'm not holding my breath having seen the iPhone4.

  #30  
Old 09-07-2010, 05:07 PM
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Efficiency is just as crucial as consistency

There's no doubt that a laser-like focus on consistency - in both look *and feel* - is an important aspect of a quality UI/UX, along with visual design (although I do think eye-candy for its own sake gets too much praise/attention).

What often seems to be overlooked or marginalised is that a third aspect - efficiency - is equally important (as jonquirk referred to above).

To take just one example: given the ever increasing amount of infomation stored on / accessed through today's smartphones, protecting access to the device with a PIN (or equivalent) must increasingly become the norm - at the moment, however, this comes at a large cost in usability.

One of the most important use cases for a (smart)phone is to quickly capture some information; whether in a brief text note, as a voice recording or with the camera. With PIN protection, however, simply getting to the point where you can begin such info capture probably takes longer than actually capturing it!

Leaving aside hardware solutions, such as the fingerprint-reader-D-pad of the WinMo LG Expo device (how I'd dearly love such things to catch on!), there seems to be little attention paid in the software to streamlining this scenario... take the E52 - so S60v3 - I've been using recently:

1. Having pressed left-then-right soft-keys to unlock the keypad (~1 sec), and then entered the PIN and pressed OK (~1-2 secs), I then have to stare at a "code accepted" message for almost 4 seconds!! (3.8 when I timed it) before I'm actually able to do anything.

There should be absolutely no need for this message to even exist, let alone waste 4 seconds every single time the phone is accessed. I would assume success anyway (confirmed by then gaining access), unless I actually get a "incorrect pin, please try again" message - and if it needs a further 4 secs CPU time on top of the ~2-3 secs elapsed between starting the keypad unlock and confirming the correct pin entry in order to prepare the screen to be displayed then I'd suggest there's something very wrong in the way the OS is written! At the very least there's a huge area for improvement there.

2. If the device is both pin-locked and keypad-locked is it absolutely necessary to go through a two-stage unlock process or could they be combined somehow?

Obviously you need to prevent accidental key-presses "using up" invalid pin # attempts, but could it be enough to use only the pin-unlock with the following rules (or similar):
- only certain keys activate the unlock process (& screen), e.g. only the D-pad/send/end/soft-keys but none of the alphanumerics.
- the OK key/option to enter the pin isn't available until at least 1 (or 4 if that's the minimum pin length?) potentially-valid characters have been entered.
- once intiated, the unlock process is automatically cancelled if a pin attempt hasn't been submitted within X secs (anything entered is not tested and it doesn't count as a failed attempt)
- after a failed pin-unlock attempt the keypad-unlock process could be required before another pin can be attempted

3. Why can't the OS allow certain functions to be accessed without unlocking the device? (Preferably with at least a little ability for users for choose which functions are so blessed.)

This would be useful for some apps in their entirety (e.g. a torch app), and "data capture" apps - e.g. at least text notes, voice recording and camera - should have a "secure mode" accessible without unlocking the device whereby a new item (note/recording/photo) can be created but existing items cannot be seen/modified/deleted (trying to do so would require the pin to be entered). Then, for example, when I'm walking down the street and think of something I could simply hold down the hardware 'voice' key and and record it - total time a few seconds, or probably less than half the time currently required, and not requiring the attention on the screen/keyboard required to enter a pin.

Just off the top of my head, these would be 3 significant improvements to the efficiency/fluidity of the user experience. There may well be reasons I've not thought of that'd make them impracticable, but the sad thing is there doesn't seem to be much evidence of real consideration being given to any of these sorts of concerns!

[Note: Symbian isn't alone in this, barring minor differences the situation doesn't seem to be different on any of the other platforms from all that I've seen/read.]

Sorry for the long-ish rant!
-SteveB
 

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