Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

I’m not buying the 5800XM NAM and neither should you

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Well, maybe that’s a bit strong. Let me be a bit clearer. You shouldn’t buy it if you already own the Euro version and/or are waiting for the N97.

Nokia is having a one day sale for 10% off the preorder of the 5800XM NAM or the E63. You can also snag yourself an additional 5% off your entire order if you include an accessory with your order (though good luck sifting through the accessories that are actually in stock and available through their online site). As Boy Genius Reports, “throw in another handset or even an accessory such as a Bluetooth headset and you’re looking at $339.15 – not bad at all“, and I agree. I’m not upset at this deal at all. I’m upset at Nokia’s piss poor history of not being able to release US devices at the same time as the Euro counterparts and they’ve been banking on it every time. Read on to understand what I’m talking about.

While not entirely conclusive, these are the handsets I remember having purchased (or had the opportunity to purchase) both the Euro and a subsequent NAM version that better supported US frequencies in some way.


The first handset was the E70. Nokia released the Euro and Asian versions almost everywhere except the US in the middle of 2006, while the US was just seeing the Nokia flagship stores open. Several months later, Nokia released the E70-2, which was the same device in a black variant with GSM 850 instead of the Euro GSM 900 frequency. I don’t think Nokia intentionally turned a profit from releasing these devices separately, however, since the Euro and Asian versions were only available through online importers.


The next was the N95, which is where they really started to collect. I received a phone call on April 4th, 2007 from the Nokia flagship store in Chicago alerting me that they had it available for $749.99 plus Chicago tax (10%, if not more, I don’t remember). The only way to obtain this device prior to the stores carrying it was to spend even more from an online importer. I ordered mine for a little over $820 and they overnighted it to me in Atlanta for free.

A little more than 6 months later, Nokia announces the N95-3, which not only supports US 3G for AT&T’s network, but also included a much needed larger battery and a significant increase in available RAM on the device to drastically improve its performance. Again, I put myself out another $630+ to order this version.  Nokia carried this version in their flagship stores alongside the Euro version until it eventually replaced it.

Simultaneously, Nokia released the N95 8gb (N95-2) for the European market that added a larger screen, 8gb’s of (slow) onboard memory, and the same battery/RAM upgrade as the N95-3. This phone was also made available at the Nokia flagship stores as well as several reputable online retailers that trade in the US for at least $700 if I remember correctly.

Following this update, Nokia released the N95 8gb NAM in January of 2008 for another $700+. So, if you follow the complete history of the N95 in all its iterations, anyone eager to take advantage of each upgrade as they were made available would have easily spent over $2500, if not more depending on when the devices were purchased. I myself went through the original, N95-3, and N95-4, spending a total of $2100 (though as always, I sold my previous device to purchase the next, suffering only the difference). Either way, that’s 3 handsets that Nokia tallied off as sales from my credit card when all of the countless complaints about the N80’s battery life and ALL of S60’s lack of available RAM at the time should have prompted them to release the N95-3 the first time around with those issues resolved.


Next was the E71, though these releases were “better” than previous devices. I held out on buying the E71 when it was released due to a lack of interest and only decided it was worth purchasing when the NAM version was available a month later for a decent price. Again, anyone who had been waiting for this device since its announcement was probably prepared to spend the extra money for the Euro version as soon as it was available only to be slapped in the face the following month when the US version was released.


The only exception to Nokia’s pattern seems to be the N78, which is the only device to date to have seen a simultaneous release in Europe and the US. A shame considering the issues people endured with the device as the first S60 handset running FP2.

5800 XpressMusic

And now they’re doing it again with the 5800XM. My girlfriend was kind enough to buy me the Euro version as an early Christmas present in the middle of November, spending more than she probably should have, with both of us being fully aware that a US 3G version was supposedly around the corner. The Nokia flagship stores even had a “pre-release” sale on the device, where they were not advertising it, but had the device available to sell should anyone be looking for it. While I appreciate the gesture of being able to experience the touch enabled version of S60 for the first time on a device that was not intended to be used with the native 3G, we shouldn’t have to beg like this. I can’t believe I have had to wait over three months for the NAM version to finally see the light of day, and this time I’m going to show my disappointment with my wallet.


Not to mention Nokia’s about to do it again with the N97. The Euro variant of the N97 is expected to launch anywhere between now and the end of June (first half of ’09) with the NAM version supposedly “within weeks” after. I have another post to write about what the N97 means to me, but it’s important enough that I’m not going to buy the Euro version just to have it sooner than I would the US version. Nokia waited too long to release the 5800XM and at this point, I would much rather tough out using the Euro 5800XM with EDGE speeds only for another couple months than spend another $350+ on what’s almost the same phone. After waiting more than a month for ANY device, another 3 weeks to a month and a half is well worth the wait to get the correct device for the correct region where it will be used most (even if the Euro N97 partially supports US 3G).

As Zack suggested in Ricky’s post “Why sell you one device when we can sell you two?” For anybody who still reads this, don’t waste your money on two devices. Nokia’s not going to stop doing this until we stop spending our money like this, and I certainly don’t have the income to afford this kind of mobile lifestyle during these harder economic times.

If you’ve never used the 5800XM before and also happen to have AT&T as your carrier, then I strongly urge you to pick one up if you have no intentions of spending a small fortune on the N97 in a few months. The device has been a wonderful experience thus far and only gets better as apps are developed and ported. Otherwise, have patience. In a few months, you’ll be happy you waited for the device you really wanted.

Once again, I apologize for going off on a rant. Off topic, I mentioned I have another post about what the N97 means to me, but that’s for a different day. It will help explain why I haven’t been posting as much and why I don’t see myself posting as much in the future either.


Written by Jonathan

February 15, 2009 at 7:03 am

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