Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

An epiphany, and waiting for the Samsung OmniaHD

with 7 comments

Back in January, I came to a firm realization. While I thoroughly enjoy mobile technology, I enjoy it for the wrong reasons. When I was a young teenager, I enjoyed buying the latest and greatest mobile phones because of a “my phone’s better than your phone” attitude. As I have been living my life around the actions and ideas of this lifestyle for several years, doing so became habit to the point of no longer enjoying it. I had been wasting far too much time pouring over mobile tech sites and forums waiting to hear about the “next” device that I would buy that would have more features (many of which I probably wouldn’t use) and perpetuate this lifestyle. The motives of a habitual childish interest started to bleed into the aspects I genuinely liked about mobile devices, even as far as this blog. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. As of 3 months ago, I’m done, and after I get my hands on an OmniaHD, I’ll really be done.

Since the middle of January, I decided not to visit any mobile-related forums anymore and keep my interaction with tech sites absolutely minimal. I originally put together a plan to finish the N96 trials (which turned out to be impossible on the last challenge), buy the N97 NAM for no more than $700, and allow myself 3 new phones (the 5800XM NAM+2 misc slots), one headset, and one pair of Bluetooth headphones in between. Once I bought the N97, the significance of the plan was to use it as long as I could, truly enjoy it, and stop the neverending cycle. That plan has altered slightly, as I feel, for the better. I have decided to buy the Samsung OmniaHD instead of the N97, I sold my 5800XM (Euro), and have been using a friends AT&T branded Sony Ericsson W580i. I have not purchased any additional Bluetooth accessories and probably won’t unless I truly need them (my current BH-602 and BH501 are doing just fine).

Using such a basic phone has really tuned me into my real needs as opposed to all of the addition things I thought I wanted and also help me find out what I would miss. It’s been a pain not to be able to have a decent camera, mp3 player, or voice navigation at times, but not having those features has helped me focus on things that are happening right in front of me instead of tuning out and finding something with which to preoccupy myself on my phone.

I feel that I have come a very long way in the short amount of time already and I can’t imagine how much further I’ll be in another three months. I’ve already started new activities and hobbies. I play my PS3 much more than I used to and have gotten involved in the online gaming community. I also started going to the gym in my apartment complex to start getting in shape. I drove up to Chicago for half a week about a month ago and have made more appointments to see friends and family more frequently. I’ve started reading again, which I haven’t done recreationally since high school. I still spend a fair amount of time browsing tech blogs, but usually I’m just looking for the release date for the OmniaHD. Instead of living my life for mobile devices, I’m just living my life, and after almost 8 years of cycling through phone after phone, it feels absolutely refreshing.

All that said, I’m absolutely stoked for Samsung’s OmniaHD. Mr. X at FinestFones said “it feels like 2006 again” when it was announced at Mobile World Congress this year and I agree. I haven’t been this excited about something new since the original N95 was announced. For anyone who hasn’t heard about it yet, here are the better highlights:

  • 3.7″ AMOLED 640×360 Capacitive Tempered Glass Touchscreen
  • 3G with HSDPA 7.2 mbps (900/1900/2100)
  • WLAN, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS
  • S60 9.4 5th Edition
  • 8mp Autofocus Camera +Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Blink Detection, and LED Flash
  • 720p Video Recording at 24fps
  • 8/16gb Internal Memory+MicroSD Card Slot
  • ARM Cortex-A8 600 MHz processor with 3D Graphics Hardware Accelerator
  • DNSe 2.0 (amazing sound), DLNA (wireless HD streaming), and DivX support
  • 1500mAh battery

I’ve decided to use this device to fulfill my plan instead of the N97 for two reasons.

1) The camera.

As I use my basic SE on a day-to-day basis, I find myself wishing I had a decent mobile camera more than most other features. Also, since the original N95 came out in April 0f 07 (two years ago!), there have been only minor improvements to Nokia’s 5mp sensor and the same one is STILL being used on their unreleased flagship N97. They only have one device planned with an 8mp camera while the competition has had them plus more features within the camera since the iPhone craze started. I can’t justify spending another large sum of money on a device that has not improved its camera in over 2 years.

2) The screen.

My favorite feature of my late 5800XM was its beautiful touch screen, and the OmniaHDperfects it. It is half an inch larger to support finger navigation properly. It uses capacitive technology rather than resistive, so it’s not only more sensitive to fingers, but it’s also much more durable than a resistive screen. Even with extreme care, the plastic layer on the 5800XM scratched and seemed like it would fall apart over the course of several months. Compared to capacitive glass screens where people have filmed videos of testing the durability against keys and sharpened knives, I’d prefer it to resistive any day.

You can read more about it on Samsung’s official OmniaHD i8910 site and see the full spec list on GSMarena.com. Also take a look at the videos posted below if you’d like to get a taste of what’s coming. I don’t want to spend more than $700 on anything right now, but I would probably make an exception if it wasn’t too much higher.

I also want to thank everyone who visits for their support. I still plan to keep this blog alive (and hopefully well) in the future, though I doubt I’ll be covering mobile news as frequently as I would have liked when I started this blog.

Please drop me a comment or an email sharing your thoughts. I’d love to hear from other people who have gone or are going through a similar stage as I am.

(Be sure to click the HD button for both videos)

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Written by Jonathan

April 20, 2009 at 5:57 am

7 Responses

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  1. what do you think is would be more useful: touchwiz or nokia widgets?

    iam thinking touchwiz from what i see on the youtube videos!

    thefailingstudent

    May 15, 2009 at 2:11 am

  2. I think it’s largely going to depend on the user. For the people who can’t live five minutes without checking their Facebook, having the FB widget on the N97 is probably a pretty crucial selling point.

    The only info I would like to be updated on my home screen is the weather, and it looks like there’s a widget for TouchWiz to do just that.

    Jonathan

    May 15, 2009 at 2:24 am

  3. Actually, thefailingstudent, if you want to know which is more “useful” I definitely would say the Nokia Widgets. Johnny singled out the Facebook widget as if that’s the only one. Whereas Touchwiz is mainly a graphical interface that looks snazzy, it does little in the way of actual function. Its so-called widgets are actually just shortcuts to applications. Samsug has only stated that they are in talks to develop actual wrt widgets, but we’re probably looking at a few months down the road from now, if ever, as samsung does not have a good track record when it comes to software and firmware development.
    Nokia’s widgets, on the other hand, give you a wealth of information instantly, simply by looking at the homescreen. You can customize it to give you whatever information you like, whether it’s through a dedicated news site app such as AP news, Facebook, the rss reader, or your emails; all updated in real-time. the difference is those all ready exist, with plenty more to come. Not to mention the brand new Ovi store app which will make finding and downloading said apps that much easier.

    thereminboy

    May 26, 2009 at 3:51 am

  4. I just read that someone managed to get the N97’s widgets onto the i8910, so it may not matter.

    Jonathan

    May 26, 2009 at 11:34 am

  5. The i8910 community has so far only gotten general s60 apps to work on it. As far as someone getting N97 widgets on an i8910 I don’t see how that’s possible yet as the widgets aren’t even available anywhere, and once they are they won’t even be compatible with the 5800. So the only way they will work with the i8910 is with some serious hacking, which I think will be more trouble than it’s worth (if it even becomes possible). The reason some s60 apps are working with the i8910 is because they’re simply compatible with s60 v5, but the N97 widgets are designed specifically for its UI which is unique only to the N97. Getting them to work on the i8910 would require a programmer to rescale and format them for compatibility.

    thereminboy

    May 27, 2009 at 2:24 pm

  6. Yeah, I read the source of that info and found out that it’s only the wgz files that are working on the i8910.

    I wouldn’t disqualify the N97 homescreen working on the i8910 though. I remember reading that the 5800XM was hacked to be able to use the N97’s firmware altogether, including the home screen.

    I think TouchWiz is going to to be a different way of accessing apps faster in S60. Rather than updated information that some of us simply don’t need, it seems like a more direct way to get to the apps you use most rather than having to dig through layers and layers of folders hierarchy to find what you want. It’s also much easier to customize than moving those applications in and out of various folders. And again, if you don’t like it, you can still turn it off.

    “Not to mention the brand new Ovi store app which will make finding and downloading said apps that much easier.” -I think you’re gonna have to eat crow on that one. The Ovi Store launch seems to be been very poorly received to the point where an apology needed to be made by Nokia.

    Jonathan

    May 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    • I agree that at some point it might be possible, but most people, myself included, don’t want to bother with hacking their phone. I will give credit to touchwiz though for probably being a faster way to access apps. That’s one thing I hate about the 5800 is the lack of shortcuts on the homepage, and the i8910 does look like a better alternative to that.

      As far as my comment on the Ovi store, I was talking more or less about the availability of more widgets for the N97, which I think will probably get more attention from developers than basic s60 apps. And the Ovi store does do a good job of giving you access to apps directly from your phone. The hiccups being experienced on launch day are to be expected, and while the number of apps on there are now are perceived as low to current s60 users, any newcomer to the platform will find plenty of stuff to download and as has been noted only close to a thousand of the 20 thousand apps are available right now.

      Also, the Ovi store seems to have been optimized for touch as I have had no problems with it on my 5800. Scrolling and load times are fast, they just need to continue adding already existing apps such as Facebook, Sports Tracker, Ngage, etc., all things that current users already have, but new ones are unaware of.

      thereminboy

      May 27, 2009 at 2:56 pm


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