Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

I’m tired of buttons.

with 2 comments

S60 Touch DeviceBefore I continue, I just want to help my few readers understand what my blog is all about. I’m not a die-hard mobile phone news junkie as you’ll see a lot of on most other blogs. I titled my blog “Thoughts On S60” with the idea in mind that I wouldn’t be updating daily with every tiny piece of information leaked by Nokia or their competitors. Instead, I started this blog with the intentions of getting some larger ideas on paper to share with people and to post about anything that particularly sparked my attention about Nokia and S60 in the wireless industry. I’m certainly not trying to say that’s an excuse for updating so infrequently, but even if I were operating at maximum capacity, I still probably wouldn’t be posting on a daily basis. For the light amount of traffic that comes through here, I hope you enjoy the small bits I post and have yourselves a good read with an open mind.

Now for something completely different. I’m tired of buttons and the picture has to do with it. Keep reading (warning, rant).

Birthday Cake Today is my birthday and the only reason I’ve been looking forward to it is because it’s an excuse for me to dig into my account for a new device, even if it happens to be the last thing I need. I’ve done this before with phones like the E61i being purchased specifically as a backup phone only to have it end up being sold on eBay a couple days later. I try to justify such things to myself like they are a sound investment, when the truth is, I just want a new toy to play with.

Nokia CakeThat being said, I find myself completely uninterested in everything that is currently on the market right now and craving something completely different. I just bought and set up an E51 for my dad as a late Christmas present, I purchased an N82 for my girlfriend for Christmas (which I’m tired of playing with), and every time I consider waiting for the N95 8gb NAM or biting the bullet for the Euro N95 8gb, I can almost vividly imagine myself getting bored with the new features either would have over my N95-3.

See, with every next generation phone I’ve purchased or played around with, there’s been a new feature that changed the way I used my mobile device. With the 6260, it was my first mobile video player that I used to play old Dane Cook clips before he blew up. The 6670, 6630, and N70 were the jump into mobile photography and where I really started to be very critical of the camera that was built into the phones I purchased. The N80 was my first device with WLAN built in and the first device where I started to heavily use my phone for web browsing partly because of the fast wifi speeds, but also because of the excellent 3rd Edition browser. The N73 and E70 were improvements upon combining those various features and attempting to approve upon the experience of both a great camera and an excellent mobile browser until the N95 outdid them all. For me, the N95 officially became my all-in-one. It was my MP3 player with the convenience of the 3.5mm audio jack, it was my GPS since I needed one in what was an unfamiliar state, it was my new camera since I lost my Sony Cybershot during the move down to Georgia, and the -3 variant finally gave me a stable solution to such a powerful all-in-one device with the new battery and quadrupled RAM. Despite all of these upgrades and changes, there has been one thing that has remained consistent with every single device; buttons.

Aside from messing around with touch screen devices at a local T-Mobile or Cingular store (at the time), my best experience with a touch screen device was when my cousin bought an T-Mobile branded iPaq. It was fun in and of itself for the fact that it was something I had never used before, but anybody who has ever used Windows Mobile for more than 20 minutes knows how blindingly frustrating the interface can become and the experience quickly turns into anything but what I would describe as “fun”.

When WOM World sent me the N800 to trial for a couple weeks (thanks again), I had a blast with it, even if I was still carrying around two devices. I looked forward to my lunch breaks where I could pull it out and if nothing else, draw random pictures if I were so inclined. I still stand by my original opinion that the tablet series from Nokia would do ridiculously well if they simply put a quadband GSM radio and an earpiece in them.

iPhone CakeEnter the iPhone. I don’t want one, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. Regardless of what background you come from with smartphones (if at all), there’s no denying that the iPhone is a FUN device. Its functions may not be as stacked as the N95 or most other phones for that matter with the minor basic things it’s missing, but that doesn’t keep me from snatching it from anybody who may have one in a crowd of people just to browse the web for a couple minutes or just mess around with its menus. It’s black, chrome, thin, sleek, and it uses the least amount of buttons of any multimedia device in its class with an obnoxiously easy to use interface with 8gb or now 16gb of storage space. It brought something completely new to the table that no one has ever done before in the way that Apple did it and it has changed the way people perceive mobile phones entirely. I already know from hands on experience that the iPhone could never replace my N95 for all that I do with it, but I want that same experience on an S60 device. I want an S60 Touch device.

S60 Touch was originally supposed to make its first appearance at the S60 Summit in Madrid in April of 2007. For whatever reason, the announcement was pulled from the itinerary. The next time anything came up at all about Nokia and touch devices was a video demonstrating the future of S60 technologies in August. It was only a couple seconds long, but it reaffirmed that Nokia was still in the market to eventually bring touch screen devices to the masses. Finally in October, Nokia presented a video at the Symbian Smartphone Show in October of what their Touch UI would officially look like. Other videos have come out giving more details as to how S60 Touch will work and what new features it will implement. It’s been almost a year now since the public has been at least aware that Nokia’s iteration of this technology is in the works and who know how long it has actually been in development. Rumor has it that Nokia is going to present yet some more features of their Touch UI at Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona next week. On top of all that, we have yet to see a FP2 device, which announced a year ago to the day!

Now, I consider myself a patient person. Working at a fast paced job like I do that eats away at your days like they were minutes makes it very easy for time to pass by very quickly and painlessly. The waiting game is something I’ve grown accustomed to following companies like Nokia and Nintendo take their sweet time delaying products for months, if not years at a time. As of late, Nokia has been doing a much better job keeping up with their deadlines in regards to new devices being announced and launched, but they still need to step it up a notch. Apple didn’t beat around the bush when they announced AND released the 16gb iPhone a couple days ago, but the only thing that’s relatively close to such a device from Nokia in terms of storage space is still just a pipe dream for now. To remedy the user experience, Nokia has done an excellent job with their S60 devices when it comes to ease of use combined with functionality…but with buttons.

I am craving an S60 touch device right now. Every time I run through the thought process of getting a new phone that retains the functionality I’m used to while still keeping the experience entertaining with a completely different type of handset, all of the signs point directly at a touch S60. Almost every other manufacturer snapped to attention when the iPhone came out to give it some competition and the only player we’re still waiting on is Nokia. What are we waiting for? It would take a very minimal amount of changes to give the iPhone the upper hand over the N95-3 or even the still unreleased N95-4 (and in some ways, it already does). Should Apple beat Nokia to the punch and release a device that has the powerful features I need from my N95 with the touch experience of the iPhone, I will have no problem whatsoever spending $800 with Apple instead of Nokia for my next device. I’m tired of waiting, I’m tired of buttons, and I don’t think I’m alone.

Thanks to intomobile.com for keeping such great archives of past S60 related news used in this post. Discussion is more than welcome on this post.

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Written by Jonathan

February 8, 2008 at 7:26 am

Posted in s60 Suggestions

2 Responses

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  1. JB:
    Nice article, and more importantly a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    Hope you had a blast, and got yourself a new toy!

    Al

    ArLequin

    February 10, 2008 at 3:54 am

  2. While I am tired of buttons as well, given the current condition of a S60 Touch device, I think I will pass – – although I sincerely hope that it will become far more pleasing to the eye. It literally is a touch S60 – – boring -_-*

    I too crave a new device, and everything out at the moment seems like the same old, same old – – except for the iphone. I could never bring myself to buy one at the moment (especially if a 3G will be out soon), but it is fun to use and interact with.

    My N95-3 is such a boring device…

    …I’m at the point where I want a SE again just so the phone feels “fun” to use –

    newtype2011

    March 10, 2008 at 4:35 am


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