Does anyone understand Nokia product management?

No, I’m not talking about the colors and shapes of their phones. What continues to puzzle me is how they manage (or don’t) phones’ technical features.

Take the Nokia 6230: You can’t possibly put more multimedia features into a phone, it even has MIDP 2.0 support, and yet the MMAPI implementation doesn’t allow you to acces the camera. I could understand that for first release versions of the firmware, but apparently they don’t even plan to fix that.

Then there’s the Nokia 6600 – damn fine phone, MIDP 2.0, Symbian 7.0 – all the latest whizbang stuff. After you’ve spent all that R&D money for this, why oh why do phones appearing after the 6600 feature older versions of Java and the Symbian OS???

Let’s talk about the N-Gage QD. This is a phone I really liked. Excellent battery, perfect phone features, good game deck, Symbian – what more could you ask for? As the USB port was left out in comparison to the “Taco”, Bluetooth is your only option to connect to a PC or a headset / car kit. Unfortunately the bluetooth stack in the QD crashes every 5 minutes and you have to manually stop / restart it. Why is it so hard to copy the (working) bluetooth stack over from the Taco? Doesn’t anybody do QA anymore?

PC Suite. One of my favourites – where should I start? Connecting to it via bluetooth is next to impossible. Nokia’s BT implementation insists on initiating the connection from the device, ignorant of a connection initiated from the PC, which results in an error on the PC in the best case. Even if the devices are connected, the BT symbol on the PC does not always reflect that. Synchronizing contacts on Series 40 devices: Nokia’s address book is still one of the best implementations I’ve seen in a mobile phone. What makes it so hard to include an option to sync “last name, first name” instead of “first name last name”? It’s about swapping two strings! Customers have been forced to buy third party software to do this for years now.

N-Gage again: you can’t find any information for the N-Gage or the QD on the main Nokia web site. Nokia’s marketing experts insist on redirecting you to a special N-Gage site, which means that you can’t look for stuff (manuals, drivers, PC Suite, accessories) on the otherwise excellent Nokia product pages. I know you’re trying hard to position the N-Gage in the mobile entertainment category, but neglecting the fact that it’s also a damn good business phone (imagine a more business like cover on the QD – why would that *not* sell???) is turning away potential customers, IMHO.

I could go on, but my experience with Nokia over the last few years is that in working to be a trend setter in design and usability, they may have left common sense behind. Each and every Nokia phone I had has disappointed me due to one or more of the problems above. I wouldn’t bitch about that if fixes were not so simple. I know that a company of that size has many things to worry about, but a small focus group of mobile enthusiasts <hint, hint> would have discovered these problems early in development (and I’m sure people have reported these – so it seems to be a problem of nobody caring) and fixes might have been cheap.

Can anyone explain to me why this is not happening???