Monday, February 12, 2007
3GSM Observations 2007
This week again is the annual 3GSM show, where the mobile world unites in a frenzy of messages, hype and reality. I think I have been at all the shows since 2001.
1. Touch is the new Thin
There has been a craze with thin in the mobile inductry since the first Razr. Samsung is touting that they done 5,9mm in a monoblock. This is not a utility in my book, if it is not used for utillity like Moto did wonderfully with the original Razr. Now I see that there is a new thing, it is touch. The LG Prada phone is beautil, they raise the HW, SW experience to a new level, and that phone is in my book mature, I did my 3minutes down the menus, and it is not alpha stuff or Build2 as one would call it in the handset. It is beta or Build 3 or Build 4. I loved the attention to detail they did on the graphics, general interactions like transitions. I like the general UI style, meaning the interaction architecture. Congrats LG! On the same tone is Neonode. I saw this some months ago and considering the size of Neonode I admire their courage. The launched device looked good and certainly underwrites touch is the new thin.
2. All enablers go mainstream
The Nokia 6110 Navigator, was launched a mid range monoblock, with built-in GPS, HSDPA, which means that it will have a fast processor. Spec from a man on the street it is not super far from N95. The 6110 number is a sacred number at Nokia, so they plan to sell alot of them.
3. More platforms, more headache
Motorola goes Symbian with Motorizr Z8 - this brings yet another SW platform for Moto. I am not sure more is better.. however Symbian must be happy. I really, really like the Z8, it has beautiful mechanics, great looking UI, amazing to see that UIQ became one-handed, it is surprisingly close to Series 40 from core interaction style. This phone comes out of the Sendo guys, who had good talents and now in the Moto arms have done even better than alone.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Nokia N95 is really a leap ahead for the mobile industry.
The Nokia N95 (pre-production proto) finally arrived a couple weeks ago and it is the most existing mobile device I have used in years. It has everything. The Camera is amazing and the device is lighter than one thinks. It does produce spontaneous WOWs. I think this is due to three things, weight, size and brightness of the screen and 5MP camera. It is much faster than N73 and the mechanics have a great clicketiclack feel to it. The stereo audio is good, the slide show feature is improved as the panning is smoother.
I love the fact that the video recording has matured to VGA resolution and 30fps. It is smooth and clips are really watchable, The pictures are crisp and the macro is as great as it has been on N90 and N73. If I ever buy another digital camera it will be a SLR. I hence pronounce the pocket camera dead. The Camera boot time is my greatest criticism of the device! This needs to be fixed it is unacceptably slow!
The GPS was cool, I was impressed how swiftly the maps came down over 3G. I also liked the graphics on them. Clean design. The N95 screen is big enough to make mapping useful. From utility point of view it is first generation and there is plenty room for innovation. I wish it was more, I am here, let me explore what’s around me. What makes the Maps app really interesting is the way they split it into product and service. The maps are downloaded dynamically, so where you move, a map corridor is downloaded and stored on the card. If you want turn-by-driving direction you need to buy a service. There are also point of interest services from several providers. This is real end2end management from Nokia’s point of view.
The N95 is a major upgrade compared even to the N73 launch last summer. For anyone who makes phones, the N95 must be a source of stress. The sheer level of complexity to engineer this device would make most engineers have sweat pearls in the forehead. This is the most sophisticated gizmo at 120g ever engineered. Congrats guys, my hat off. My very rough guess is that more than a thousand engineers worked directly full-time on the device around the world and across the ecosystem, most of them have worked very long hours. I am also sure that in the labs there are engineers and designers who already are bored stiff with it, busy making the successors, and like this they will blow your socks off when public. As an outsider I am constantly surprised by the seemingly acceleration of utility in some many domains. When I put the N95 next to my wife’s 6682, they seem to be from a different decade, and it is only two years ago. The N95 to me is yet again proof that we are living a mobile revolution that is about to transform society in a profound way. All that said would I recommend the N95 to friends and family the answer is yes.