The new Nokia N9 UI

Nokia Marketing Manager Jussi Mäkinen explains the new Nokia N9 UI in this video. I found myself going “huh?” a number of times watching this – maybe you have an explanation.

Watch this video on YouTube or on Easy Youtube.

0:06 He taps the screen of the blue N9, but it doesn’t wake up (it requires a double tap, right?)

0:23 After waking it up it needs another swipe to do something productive other than displaying the clock. Isn’t that on the application screen, too? What’s on that screen that can not be had on the other screen? He never comes back again to this screen during the presentation; at the end he specifically only goes through the three other screens.

0:46 Event view has all the social feeds, nice. Can you filter them by origin? Jussi says this would also have missed calls and messages – is there another information other than event view? I fear they will simply disappear between tweets and RSS feeds…

1:20 The multitasking view is nice – but I wonder how useful it becomes when you have lots of open apps. Is there a way to close apps from this view? If you select an app it slides in from the left edge, which nicely fits sliding to the left to get back at the multitasking view.

2:23 Video starts in horizontal even though you need to turn the phone to watch. The iPhone does the same thing sometimes, but I would really prefer to start the video in the correct orientation, in this case zoomed to the vertical orientation (i.e. smaller).

2:37 Why do I now swipe from the left to go back to the multitasking screen??? That feels wrong.

2:52 Most recently used app goes to the top left corner. Nice.

3:11 When he opens Facebook from the multitasking screen it slides in from the bottom. Huh?

I also noticed that quite often the screen wouldn’t react to what he tried to do (I had to watch the video three times because he also talks a lot with his hand, which I first mistook as trying to do something on the phone).

I quite like the UI (apart from the things mentioned above), it’s certainly an improvement over previous UIs, and a good step towards catching up with other touch screen UIs.

The Nokia strategy still puzzles me – as a consumer I’m confused about what the future platform will be, and I’d be hesitant to invest in apps for a platform that they may decide to leave in favor of the next one. At this time I would have expected them to show a Windows Mobile 7 device.

Mobile OS winners: iPhone, Palm WebOS, Android

At least that’s what Aral Balkan thinks, and I’m tempted to agree.

greenshot_2009-11-03_23-10-03

“WTF?” I hear you say – what about all those years of Symbian and Windows Mobile dominating the market?

Well, these are great operating systems, and they deserve a lot of credit. But from *today’s* perspective, they bet on the wrong horse.

What makes the iPhone, WebOS and Android different are three main things:

  • As stupid as it sounds, the fact that you could only buy the phones with a data plan finally proved the point that connected devices are far more usable as non-connected devices. Yes, you could use all those other smartphones online as well, but people only seriously started doing this (in numbers) when they were ‘forced’ to buy proper data plans.
  • Having many more users with ONLINE smartphones paved the way to app stores and mobile consumption of online services. They also had proper browsers that you could really use on the go for the first time (don’t give me Opera Mobile now – please….).
  • The three mobile operating systems above were designed with ONLINE in mind, and they only make sense in online scenarios. This point is made very well every time I leave the country and can not afford the rip-off data roaming rates, which turns my great iPhone 3GS into a quite bulky iPod that can’t even do GPS without data.

Now the next step is affordable data roaming. I’m pretty sure this will happen over the next few years.

The first step towards this may be – strangely enough – that Amazon started selling the Kindle (US version) in the rest of the world. I heard someone from the US say yesterday that he’d be buying an international Kindle in the US (!) to use it on international trips.

If that kind of madness doesn’t trigger innovation nothing will.

Smart and not so smart uses of Twitter

More and more companies are using Twitter as an infrastructure to built new services on, most focussed on marketing related issues.

The latest one I stumbled upon is The Symbian Foundation’s Screen Saver that seems to pull in mentions of the word “symbian” from twitter and displays them on users screens.

greenshot_2009-09-07_14-46-37

I can think of soooo many ways how this could backfire – I guess being a security consultant just makes me think in weird ways sometimes ;)

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.

Nokia S60 and bluetooth car kits: FAIL

I have owned and used 20+ Nokia Symbian Series 60 phones, and the one thing that always kills me is how badly they work in conjunction with my car kit. In that time, I have also had the opportunity to use more than one car kit, and the results are equally disappointing.

  • Network display: some S60 phones will correctly show the network name, others will show the phone name instead. Some do show signal strength, other don’t
  • The worst thing: phone book handling. Most S60 phones will not sync the phone book at all, others will only sync one number per contact.

Looking at this, there is only one suggestion I have for Nokia: fire the guy who writes the bluetooth code. How can you explain that the behaviour with the same car kit is different with every S60 phone? Isn’t that supposed to be a standardized platform? How are you guys managing your code???

I recently read an official statement by Nokia where they say that the reason for this is that the phone book handling in non-SAP car kits depends on some non-standard bluetooth extensions, which is the reason why they will not support it.

Bullshit.

How does that explain the difference in how S60 phones work? And why will EVERY Nokia S40 phone happily work with the car kits, supporting ALL phone book features?

Makes me furious – and then they claim leadership in the business phone market…

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Game Emulators on Symbian S60 Devices

Krisse has written an exellent article about the available retro-emulators that work on S60 devices.

“If you remember when Snickers was called Marathon, when Twix was called Raider or when Coca-Cola became New Coke, then you’re probably old enough to remember some or all of the computers and consoles described below.

You may also like to know that you can emulate all of the systems below on your Symbian S60 3rd Edition phone, so you can enjoy your own golden age of gaming and computing whenever the urge to travel back in time strikes you.”

42.

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.

Nokia E61i: Advanced WiFi configuration?

I’d like to configure an Access Point with certificate based authentication (IEEE 802.1x P-EAP, EAP-MSCHAPv2) and automatic key distribution for WEP.

Unfortunately, the E61i keeps asking me for the WEP password.

Is there a way to do that kind of WiFi configuration on a Nokia S60 device?