Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

Arrr, she be gone… (sad pirate)

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DHLDHL came by just a couple minutes ago to snatch up the N800. The photo on the right isn’t mine by the way…but it could have been since I live at an airport…on the coast… (!)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss it. There is a huge convenience factor to the N800 that feels pulled from me now that I don’t have it around anymore. As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, it’s great to be able to sit down on the couch and browse the web if my girlfriend’s using the computer or if I just want a more comfortable place to catch up on my email.

What follows will be my final thoughts on the N800 including where it is (as far as I’m concerned based on how I trialled it), where it’s going, and where it should be.

Where it is,

When I was using the device, I tried to take several approaches to how I would use it in a very personalized way. I wanted to see how the device would perform specifically to my lifestyle to see if it fits up with the uber-geek crowd. Going at it this way, I can easily say that it fits up pretty well, but only to an extent, and only if said uber-geek has an extra $400 laying around to spend an what can be called a laptop substitute. There was certainly more I could’ve done with the device, but I found it to be most functional as exactly what the name implies; an internet tablet.

I then tried to see how your average joe would use the device. I can tell you right now that this certainly isn’t the market the N800 was geared for at all, though it still has its niche all the same. I can imagine the N800 being most functional for business users who send and receive more emails in a day than take phone calls. It’d be great to bring out during a demonstration if something needs to be pulled from the web quickly or if instant transmission for emails is a must in a WLAN environment. With that same idea in mind, the N800 could easily replace a business line that would only be used in an office setting with a WLAN connection always available. The user would be able to take advantage of all the features it has for web browsing and email connectivity, and still be able to make calls as long as he or she were in the office. Then, once that person left the office, no business calls would be able to be received, which makes sense for most occasions since I don’t answer my phone when I’m not at work either. This can also be detrimental if work needs to travel with the person though. Continuing from there, the navigation kit can be added for that person to find his or her way wherever they need to be and effectively eliminate the need to buy a separate standalone GPS. The price is a bit questionable, but $650 for an internet tablet/navigation combo isn’t bad compared to a decent standalone GPS for anywhere between $300-500.

Where it’s going,

If you haven’t already read about it, Engadget has received pictures of what could very well be the next internet tablet (I believe they’re real) as well as the FCC filings for it. As I said above, $650 is a questionable price for an internet tablet/navigation combo, but that won’t be the case on the new one since it has a GPS unit already built in. Ricky over at Symbian-Guru.com seems to think this new tablet will retail for $400 as the previous versions have sold for at launch, which would set it in line for direct competition with a standalone GPS, especially with all the other functionality the tablets have under the hood.

The other change (based on the unconfirmed pictures) is the addition of a full QWERTY keyboard that appears to slide out. I think this will be an excellent addition to complete the range of text input on tablet series. As it is now, you have the choice of a stylus with a virtual keyboard (Windows Mobile style), handwriting recognition, thumb board (iPhone style, sans multi-touch), and the ability to connect your own external Bluetooth keyboard (yet another addition to your quickly filling Great Pockets). With a slide out QWERTY keyboard, you can leave the external keyboard at home. This opens the device up to the segment of the market who specifically avoided it just because there wasn’t an option for tactile feedback so that the device can appeal to anyone who’s using it. With this combination, the device starts to fill a lot of the ease of use gaps and makes it more desirable to a wider group of people.

Where it should be,

In my eyes, there’s only one more piece missing from the internet tablet puzzle. MAKE IT A PHONE. Give the internet tablet series the ability to make phone calls and it would be complete. One of my very first gripes with the device was about carrying two devices, and that is even more true after having played with it more thoroughly. As mentioned above, if I choose to use the N800 as my internet tablet and also buy an N95 as a high end smartphone, each device is going to get in each others way and neither could truly replace the other. Web browsing and email are above and beyond better on the N800 than on the N95, but I can’t leave the N95 at home if I need to make any calls outside of a wifi network. On the other hand, I have no incentive to purchase a navigation kit for the N800 if my N95 already has GPS built in, and I certainly can’t use the VGA camera on the N800 as a replacement for the 5mp camera on the N95.

The bottom line is that Nokia should stick to where they’ve been going with these devices all along, especially since the N800 is grouped with the N-series. There is such a wide variety of S60 smartphones tailored to various interests in lifestyles, but they all focus on the idea of convergence in one form or another. The N800 seems to make a very valid attempt at being a device based on the same principles, but the lack of a GSM radio throws all of that out the window if the device can’t do something as standard as making a call or sending a text.

I’m sure it would be a large effort to add this functionality to the device, but it would be money well spent and I think the end result would be excellent for both Nokia and the end user.

Once again, thank you to Lucy and Siobhan at WOM World for this great opportunity to see a different side of Nokias technoloy. You guys are the best!

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Written by Jonathan

October 8, 2007 at 9:20 pm

Posted in s60 Suggestions

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