Tuesday, January 01, 2008
My phone of the year for 2007
2007 was a great year for mobile phone aficionados. The much hyped iPhone arrived during summer, Nokia reacted with a solid variant of the N95, the N95 8GB, with lots of storage, bigger screen, bigger battery. The standard N95 shipped in significan numbers, since spring, just as expected. The Prada phone was the talk of the town in the spring, but then long forgotten. It really seems like a long time since I used it. Several 5MP camera phones emerged, the Sony Ericsson K850i is among the best The Samsung F700 is a great concept, and something I expect to see more of, meaning touch + slide out qwerty. My problem with the Korean phones is that the attention to detail in the SW is just not there, they all feel like lipstic on pigs. The SE K850i nor the Samsung F700 neither excited me enough to buy them, so they are off my list of the phone of my year award.
Without a doubt a new era started with the iPhone. Apple has done a formidable job at fusing the music player with a browser and a phone for a very functional and fun package. Not having 3G is a drawback. Here in Europe many of my friends have decided to wait for a 3G version. In my mind there is only one reason I do not want to give it the phone of the year, that is being locked to a 18M contract on 02 at a special ‘iPhone-skim your wallet rate’, Apple negotiates 20% rev share and users pay 20% more, at least that is what it feels like, validating it requires you to be a O2 customer and then call them to say you are interested in the iPhone plan and then ask, how much would my phone bill be with same patterns as in the past be, they might give this info, or try to steer you around it. I have heard so many say they do not like to pay for a phone and be locked to a contract. This was a big mistake from Apple and 02, and as a sales clerk at Carphone Warehouse admitted it is not selling that well. So if I could get a iPhone unlocked in UK for lets say GBP400-500, like the N95 8GB cost, then it would be my phone of the year. Lack of 3G and other small phone app issues I completely forgive.
The N95 8GB is a great device, it fixes all of the N95 shortcomings of being buggy and short battery life. At GBP500 it is expensive. However, you do get it free or almost free with a Vodafone contract at 18M. I strongly advice Apple and 02 to look at the types of contracts they are offering, consumers seems to accept them. Just copy with pride or come up with something more interesting. My criticism of the N95 8GB is that the iPhone exist, it simply is a completely new game. It is a great winner for the phone of the year award, but coming from me, it would be obvious, so I have to look further.
Fortunately, a black horse, the Skype phone arrived. Anyone who read this blog regularely, knows that I really like it. Now 6 weeks into using it, the novelty has not worn away. If you want a great package and want to have GBP 450 for something else, it is a phone one should look at very seriously, I think so seriously that I want to call it: My phone of the year. My rationale is: It is a small 3G phone, it is user friendly, they basically copied Nokia Series 40. But what makes it my phone of the year is the total package. Here handset provider, value add service provider and Operator is actually built something that has value for the user, without funky long contract. To deliver this you had to get 3, Skype, Qualcomm, iSkoot and Amoi aligned. This is very very hard to accomplish, trust me! To the consumer everything seems simple: You pay GBP49.90 for the phone and top up with GBP10 per month. If you like it you continue to pay. This is the type of service offering I think the 3G Mobile Internet should be made of. I cannot do anything other than award them phone my phone the year award. Congrats Skype, 3, Qualcomm, iSkoot and the Amoi folks in China.
Thanks for an interesting read! Just got a 3SkypePhone yesterday so I can't say much about it yet, but it certainly deserves to be among a small list of "phones of the year", if only for the extreme novelty value (though I'm sure you're right and there is more to it). Didn't know that about the N95/8's battery life - which let's me crave it even more, because it is the *one* shortcoming I see with my otherwise perfect old edition of that phone... unfortunately not really affordable if one switched to an N95 just months ago... :/
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