Wishful Thinking in a Time of Uncertainty

| February 13, 2011 | 28 Replies

I must admit, I’ve been finding myself at a bit of a loss in light of recent announcements. I’ve had a strong interest in mobile devices for well over half of my life now, it occurred to me. It all started with my Psion Series 5, and progressed through to my Nokia N900 where I am now. I’ve explored other devices over the years – including my iPAQ running Windows Mobile half way through the last decade, and that even tempted to try it in a phone on one occasion.

In general, I found myself gravitating towards Nokia devices running Symbian, and I was expecting my next upgrade to be a trip back to Symbian. As well as all the obvious advantages that we’ve praised Nokia devices for on this site, I think there was an element of it being my comfort zone. Symbian devices have their roots in Psion’s EPOC, and you can still just about see those roots if you dig deep enough.

But to look back at my loss, I revisit a topic I’ve talked about before: that of the time it takes for new devices to actually become available. With Nokia’s new alliance with Microsoft, Symbian based phones are likely remain a good choice for the next year or so, purely based on their current positions in terms of hardware and software. However, it feels like it’s a platform that just as it was picking up speed (with app developers) is now going to find itself stalling once again while developers step back and reconsider the future of the platform. Perhaps as a ‘franchise’ it’ll find new ways to flourish, but I suspect that when I reach upgrade time in May, it will still be unclear.

However, we might have some progress on Windows mobile, with some devices on the horizon that actually meet my personal needs in a device. In a nutshell, I would like the following in a device, each to a high quality:

  • Quality hardware
  • Camera, and accompanying software
  • Hardware keyboard (slider is fine)
  • Large, good/high resolution touchscreen
  • Exchange support, including email and calendar
  • Large capacity storage
  • Media player
  • Web browser
  • Apps…
  • Future development…

There are a number of other little bits and pieces, of course, such as a Twitter client, games and so on – they all come under ‘Apps’.

Now, the only manufacturer to satisfy the hardware points in my opinion is Nokia, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Sadly, it’s likely to be a while before all my points surface in a Windows Mobile device – though as a platform that may well be able to do things like Exchange better than Symbian ever did. And that last point about the future is a biggie, and with Symbian and MeeGo that’s not likely to reach a conclusion in the near future.

In short, I’m not ready to abandon Nokia just yet – I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised by what happens with Windows Mobile over the next year. However, I could end up skipping a mobile contract cycle (18 months) with Nokia. I’ve been thinking my expertise when it comes to Android is lacking, and I should give that a serious try.

But then again, MeeGo doesn’t seem to be quite dead yet. That presentation slide that showed Symbian being phased out specifically didn’t include MeeGo, and Stephen Elop keeps mentioning the ‘next disruption’, so perhaps there is a plan for taking MeeGo forward while Windows Mobile keeps Nokia afloat (whether I agree this was a good choice or not, I can certainly see why Nokia went this way).

Whatever happens, I will be following Nokia’s progress with interest. Jumping in bed with Microsoft was not entirely a surprise, given who is at the head of Nokia these days, but it’s still a bold move that make just give the mobile industry the sort of shake-up Nokia needs to get itself noticed in a positive light again and back on top, regardless of their choice of operating system.

So, I supppose it all hinges on what comes out of MWC over the next week, and what new devices actually hit the shelves between now and the end of Q2 2011…


Category: Nokia

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