iPhone vs. Symbian vs. Android

Tarek has written a well detailed post on why he prefers a Symbian S60 phone over the iPhone. Mainly he mentions technical reasons, such as lack of multitasking or the iPhone’s mediocre video and bluetooth features.

Google’s new Android phone, the G1, has gotten most of this weeks media attention. The funny thing is, it seems it’s even weaker on features than the iPhone, something like the mobile equivalent of Google’s Chrome browser. No Exchange support, no street view in Google Maps (remember – it’s a Google phone!), less memory.

I have to say, from an end user perspective, the iPhone is simply the best thing you can get. While some things may still be missing, you have to remember that Apple has not even been in this game for one year. Compare the usability of the iPhone with what Nokia came up with after 10 years of Symbian S60. I find it hard to believe that they will suddenly start seeing the light and making their phones user friendly.

User Experience has always been Apple’s specialty. The integration with an iPhone gives you music and entertainment capabilities that the competition will have a hard time catching up with. You may lament the forced link to iTunes, but frankly, I don’t get that – do people really prefer to manage their 16 GB music library by pushing mp3 files into folders manually? The there’s the music store, which lacks any comparable representation from competing vendors. Nokia is starting their music game with the Nokia Music Store, but even though they’ve had a 9 xear head start, they’re at least 5 years behind with that.

The App Store is another iPhone instant hit. True, banning the podcasting app is not good, and yes, it’s a kind of lock-in, but still: if you’re a developer, what do you prefer – put your stuff in Nokia’s Download Store with a horrible shopping experience (don’t get me started on Nokia’s strange certificate methodology, which will force you to reset your brand new phone’s clock to last year to make the phone accept your application), or Apple’s one-click App Store that might just make you rich pretty fast?

I really do understand all the anti-lock-in and Symbian-is-such-an-open-platform complaints, but think about it: what’s the system that makes life easier for you? Apple’s control over the iPhone user experience is exactly what makes it such a compelling offer for users. For me, that’s all what counts.

If I want to fiddle with stuff, I’ll buy a train set.

5 Things Apple Needs To Learn From Nokia. Really…?

Ricky Cadden has written a list of 5 things he thinks Apple should learn from Nokia (he also wrote about the other side).

While there certainly are a lot of things Nokia must be doing right, methinks those 5 are not the best ones to pick:

  • Unlocked. Yeah, sure. I think that Steve would like to do that, but that’s a carrier thing. Looking at the ever increasing number of locked or branded phones appearing, it’s quite obvious that the carriers want that. They just like lock-in.
  • Bluetooth. You have to be kidding me. How long did it take Nokia again to add A2DP to their N73 *Music Edition*…? If there’s one phone manufacturer who still doesn’t get bluetooth completely, it has to be Nokia. S60 phones are about the only ones that can’t even send their phonebook to my car kit. Really, that’s not the thing Nokia might be bragging about.
  • Development Community. Again, that’s something I’m sure Apple knows how to handle. Just look at all the cool stuff that has appeared in the form of iPhone specific web apps – surely a lot easier than getting your S60 3rd (or 4th..?) Edition application signed.
  • Standard ports.”and really you should look into moving to microUSB, but I can look past this”. Again, this is something that has been standard for Windows Mobile or Motorola phones, but Nokia is just catching up. To make things completely ridiculous, the new S40 phones come with MiniUSB, but “feature” an additional port for the proprietary charger (that only a few months ago changed to the “ant dick” and forced people to buy new car chargers). Can you tell me what makes it so hard for Nokia to allow charging via USB? Pleeeese…
  • Presentation. “Why on earth would you make such a nice, attractive packaging, with a black and silver phone, and then toss those tired old white accessories in there?” Simple one. It’s called branding. Have you realized you can identify iPod owners by the color of their headphones?

Again, I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff Apple could learn from Nokia. But I’m really not sure it’s these 5 things, sorry.

Handango Free App Friday: Get LCG Jukebox for S60 for free!

Just got this in the mail:

“Free App Friday!
Ever heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch?” How about a free app? That’s right, Handango is featuring a top Symbian S60 application today* for a grand total of zero dollars!

Maybe we’re crazy, or maybe this is the coolest deal you’ve ever seen. Get your free app today – 14 hours left!

Today’s free S60 app is LCG Jukebox for Symbian (S60) – get it NOW!

What would you change in the Symbian S60 phone book?

Via Darla – Tommy over at S60 blogs has a great discussion going about what people would want to change in Nokia’s phone book for S60.

My main point would be in usage aspects. When you look at the details of a contact, then do something else and later go to the phonebook again, it’s still in those details, not in the contacts list where you’d expect it to be. Also, the details screen wastes too much screen estate – you could easily put all the information on the screen at once, and add some color for readability (probably display it like a business card – now it’s more like the developer’s first draft after he pulled the fields from the database browser).

Another thing (which would need to be done in something like Outlook first) is linking of contacts. I may have different members of a family with their own phones, but they probably share a lot of the other data, like fixed line phone, fax and address. It would be nice to be able to link contacts to other contacts’ details like that, and just add stuff like mobile and birthday separately. Make that syncable online, and you have a killer app going. Add Plaxo and LinkedIn or Xing for added fun.