Sixty phones
news and opinions about Nokia Series 60 Symbian phones and other high-priced Finnish trinkets

Tuesday, February 28, 2006
  Origami vs. N770
Microsoft is going after the tablet internet device market that Nokia identified with the N770.

Interesting to see how Microsoft and Nokia are going head to head in several different areas -- on the mobile device os (Symbian vs. WM 5), push email (Nokia Business Center vs. Exchange Server), and now tablets. It's sad for me to say, but it's hard to see how Nokia can win any of these fights for a couple of reasons: first, Microsoft's natural advantage because of dominance on the desktop plus dominance in the email server market leading to easier transition for end user and IT staff; second, Microsoft's ruthless price competition -- basically giving away WM5 for free in order to get a foothold in mobile email; and third, getting quantity of devices to markets in more channels than Nokia can accomplish (witness the new WM5 quadband/wifi devices released simultaneously in both T-Mobile and Cingular retail outlets -- and where's the N61?).

They need to flood retail channels with Symbian devices in the US, fast, or risk being shut out. They are behind 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, to use a football analogy. While I haven't used Symbian 9, I'm confident it will be a better product. The question is, will most people in the US ever get to see it?
Sunday, February 26, 2006
  Big N80 news
Friedbrains on Hofo, who always spots the S60 phones the SECOND they get Bluetooth certification posted, saw that 2 variants of the N80 got approved - one with 2100 band WCDMA and one with 1900 band. That means the US will likely see the phone sooner rather than later (before Cingular gets a dual 850/1900 WCDMA band phone to sell) and the whole world may see it by the end of March.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
  Nokia's Blackberry Killer - from Red Herring
Article on 9300i and E61 in Red Herring.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
  Yahoo! Go? Yahoo! No! (from the Reg)
This post by Andrew Orlowski is largely on target. I also found Yahoo! Go to be a massive memory suck that didn't do much that I couldn't already do with other services and utilities (push email - using the built in 6681 client and Seven Always on mail -check; Yahoo! news and info - using my wap browser - check; synchronization of my snaps with my desktop using Nokia PC suite - check). I liked the Yahoo! messenger software as well, but this can be done about as good as with IM Plus that also does other IM services as well. I do think that v2 of Yahoo! Go could be better if they listened to users and made it less intrusive regarding alerts and slimmed down the memory usage so it doesn't interfere with other apps.

(And by the way, email push on a more frequent basis would make that function more useful.)
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
  Times article on Yahoo go phone
The NYT covers the formal release of the Yahoo 6682 phone by Cingular/AT&T. (What's the deal with that -- are they still marketing as AT&T anywhere, or did they start doing it again?)
Saturday, February 18, 2006
  Skype calling on a 6680
All About Symbian gets the scoop on Skype. As I've said, Wifi + Skype on an N80 will be very, very good to me. I hope it's available to all on Monday, because I'd still like to use the chat function over gprs.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
  Skype "coming soon" for S60?
Om Malik says 3GSM is buzzing with rumors about a Skype client for S60. After futzing around with the T-Mobile SDA and pondering the real use of wifi on a phone (it would be nice to be able to check email in weak reception areas by hooking onto a wifi net, and faster surfing would be a pleasant benefit), I realized that Skype would probably justify my main use of wifi on a phone. (Hopefully, the Skype client will work well on the new S60 wifi devices without memory errors and other such occurences.)
  T-Mobile SDA - Thoughts
I ambled over to the T-Mobile store during lunch hour today to see what the newest combination of US software behemoth Microsoft and Taiwanese company HTC cooked up. I found the device intriguing and wanted to check it out for three main reasons: it is a)a "smartphone; b) quad band; and c) wifi enabled.

Hardware: The phone is a lot thicker than I thought. The width is what I'd describe as chunky. It's still a heck of a lot smaller than the T-Mobile MDA/QTEK 9100, though. But it still is what I'd describe as pocketable, though less comfortable than my 6681.

The button layout is a real drawback. There's a set of softkeys on the top row that are tiny, a set of buttons for music playback underneath and a joystick in the middle. Below that is a conventional numerical layout. The problem is, the keypad has been shrunken to make room for the other less useful row of music buttons, making it hard to comfortably text on the phone. And I already think the 6630/6681 are verging on unusable for most people because of the small keys -- this device is much worse. I had a hard time texting quickly because of it.

The screen is beautiful -- much more clear and vibrant than the 6681, though smaller.

Software: I found the Windows mobile software to be pleasantly surprising. There was not a long a lag time between choosing functions as I find on the current (8) version of S60 phones. The home page is spare and neat; you can navigate the icons on the top row or hit the start button to go to a full screen of icons.

There wasn't a ton of built in apps. Pocket IE and Outlook, and an IM program. The IM software allows access to AOL, ICQ, Yahoo! -- and looked pretty cool (I assume MSN was there somewhere, but I didn't see it on first glance). The menu structure seemed basic and intuitive to me.

The biggest drawback other than the buttons was T9. I didn't like the implementation of text prediction -- the space bar is the pound key, and you get a drop down selection of words that you have to choose rather than being able to cycle through a selection with the * key. I don't know if this is a MS adaptation or the way it will be implemented by all T9 licensees in the future.

I couldn't get connected to either GPRS or to any of the available wifi networks to test the speed of the browser - I'm sure I was doing something wrong on a very basic level, so I can't really blame MS for it.

Conclusion: I think this would be a very successful phone with a larger keypad, but as it is, it just whets one's appetite for the MDA with a qwerty keypad. After playing with the SDA for a half hour, it is clear: I still prefer the layout of S60 and the finish on Nokia phones -- the HTC devices are fairly soulless and industrial to me. Not switching yet.

I probably was looking for a reason not to buy and found them, but Microsoft is gaining on Symbian with this device.
  Nokia copies Ericsson; hooks up with Japanese phone maker
This is fairly big news. Nokia is combining with Sanyo to create a new CDMA only joint venture. I find this interesting because when I was a Sprint subscriber, I really liked Sanyo phones. The combination of the two companies could create a really attractive product that might bring people to CDMA networks in the US and Canada who otherwise like the Nokia selection on GSM providers.
Monday, February 13, 2006
  T-Mobile SDA "Outpaces" 6682
This paragraph sticks in my craw:

"The SDA outpaces our previous Editors' Choice, the Nokia 6682 from Cingular. Though the 6682 is a fine phone, the SDA's Microsoft OS is glossier and more fun to use; the dedicated music buttons are welcome; and the Wi-Fi capability is truly amazing. We'd also give the SDA the nod over the RIM BlackBerry 7105t, which doesn't have any of the SDA's media capabilities."

Nokia probably has a superior product in the N80 - quadband slider with WIFI and a 3mp camera and Symbian 9 vs. the SDA's candybar with wifi, 1.3 mp cam and Windows mobile. But they've dropped the ball, getting beaten to market by a two-bit Taiwanese manufacturer. Jeez, even I'm tempted to pick up one of these dogs for a walk around the block... I want a quadband smartphone already, dammit. Is that really asking too much?
  Sammy got a new S60
Quad band flip with a 2 mp cam. Running on Symbian 8.1. Nothing cutting edge, but looks like a solid choice for those clamophiles among us.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
  SGH-D720 is here!
I've always been dying to get a Samsung S60... they really know how to make fine phones even though their ui really is not up to par in my opinion (one step above Motos, though). If it was a quad-bander, I'd be in.

(This is not an ad or endorsement for Plemix).
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
  Another sign of imminent arrival of S60 v3
My Symbian is discounting current (meaning soon to be outdated) versions of S60 software by 25%.
Monday, February 06, 2006
  N80 on Cingular? claims to be in the know. I hope so.

According to Rich Brome at Phonescoop, it won't be the exact model that was approved -- Cingular wants a model that will run 850/1900 wcdma instead of the 2100 band wcdma model that the FCC approved.

For all of us who want to buy a grey market phone and don't care about wcdma for now, yesterday's announcement indicates this phone will be available in its current incarnation very soon despite Cingular's plans.
  N80 info from the FCC
I guess we will be seeing the N80 this quarter, after all. It received FCC approval today. See the links here.

The manual here. Lots of interesting info about setting up WLAN connections - the phone treats them like any old access point, and enables simultaneous voice/WLAN connections so you can browse away while chatting.

Thanks to Toolhead for the catch.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
  E70 Approved by FCC
Now all I need is for it to spread it's wings and fly on over to my pocket.

The manual is online here. Nothing beyond the usual S60 stuff, though.

Thanks to my symbian for the heads up.
  Speed doesn't kill: 9300i review
Ewan at All About Symbian posts a 9300i review.

It's fairly positive, but yet again a nice device gets let down by having too slow a processor. Given the complaints about the N770, the N70, and the N90 in this area, I hope Nokia is starting to take notice that powerusers want speed on mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops. It will be a pity if the N80 ends up being slower than last generation devices such as the 6630/6681/6682.

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All About Symbian
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Feet Up: Getting Started with Series 60
Flickr - firmware upgrades for many S60 handsets
Future Perfect
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Moby's Phone Pics
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Nordic Wireless Watch/Nokia Watch software
Phone Scoop
S60 Blogs
Series 60 devices
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Smudie's photos
Symbian Freak
Russell Beattie Notebook
Wikipedia Series 60 entry

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