In your face, k750i. In your face, i-phone.
Just when I thought Nokia was falling behind in the product development race, they show that the old horse can still fly.
Nokia announced a trio of S60 phones today
, indicating several things. First, S60 is becoming the base OS for Nokia multimedia phones, and the future is multimedia, so the future is S60. Second, Nokia is keeping up with the Joneses -- releasing phones better than competing SE products (K750i topped by N90; W800 topped by N91) and Motorola's (N91 topping the i-phone).
Release dates: N90 (twisting 2mp Carl Zeiss camera phone): 2Q '05
N91 (4gb music phone): end of 2005
N70 (2mp camera phone, smallest s60 phone): 3Q '05
It's a keeper. Not perfect, by any means, but it's getting there.
Top things I love about it:
1) Camera. This is the best I've seen, currently on the market. The SE 700i is sometimes better, sometimes worse, but tie goes to the phone with the better os.
2) Build quality. I have not heard a squeak, creak, or jiggle emanate from its body, something you can't say about most Nokia phones.
3) Automatic email pop checking built in. Goodbye activemail.
4) Screen. Gorgeous, and a huge step up from the 6600 (just as that was a huge step up from the 3650).
5) Sound quality (receiving): loud and clear.
7) Automatic light sensor (helps save battery life by dimming the screen display in well lit situations).
8) Easily removable memory card. No more digging under the battery!
9) Lifeblog - great tool to manage content on the phone.
10) Bluetooth implementation - superior to mrouter/6600 pc suite. Connects more easily on my pc.
11) XHTML browser. It keeps getting better. Within a year, Nokia's built in browser will be better than the add-on browsers.
12) RF. I think its even better at catching marginal signals than the 6600, which was near the top.
Top things I don't love about it:
1) Bugs. Even though its the second firmware version (3.45.113), it still has problems (screws up in call display, combines first and last names when texting to/from someone in your address book, occassional out of memory warnings). When will Nokia get its act together with Series 60 software? This just is not what one expects from a top-shelf consumer product company.
2) Keyboard. This keyboard is a step down from the 6600, imo. Figure out what works best and stick with it!
3) Sound quality (outgoing). Not as good sounding as the 6600 (for people you are talking to on the phone) -- a little muddied. A later firmware upgrade provides a better gsm codec (I'm on T-Mobile US -- no wcdma) which could solve this problem.
I'd give it a 9/10 overall... for some comparison, I'd score a 6600 at 8.5/10, and a 6230 at 8/10.
Barely a smartphone?
Today's NY Times has an article
about Ya-Qin Zhang, the new head of Windows Mobile software which is interesting. He seems like exactly what the beast from Redmond needs in this space - brains + a commitment to quality and innovation. The proof will be in the results.
MS's competitors get mentioned in the piece: "Symbian, whose partners include Nokia and Sony Ericsson, had 80.7 percent of the smart phone software market in the third quarter of last year, compared with 8.4 percent for PalmSource and 7.3 percent for Microsoft, according to the market research firm Gartner Dataquest. (Most of Symbian's market share comes from the Nokia Series 60 phone, which is more phone than organizer.)"
More phone than organizer? Sounds like the writer, John Markoff, is buying Microsoft's spin on this one.