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Nokia at 3GSM Congress
Judging by forums and the feedback circulating around the web, nobody expected much to come from Nokia at this exhibition, it seemed that there was nothing new to showcase in light of the recent launch of Nokia N76 and N93i. Although, some snaps and specs of a couple of enterprise solutions were floating around the Net – specifically the mythical E90, semi-mythical E61i, a quarter-mythical handset with support for DVB-H and a handful of other devise. Just like always all these rumors have come true, to a certain extent, and as regards this “extent” – we are about to find out. I have to warn you beforehand, that this article is nothing but a digest on what is “interesting-boring”, “cool-dull”, “hot-or-not”, more depth and analytics are to come in the reviews on these solutions. So, let’s start with the arid things and then slowly move on to the main highlights of our show.
A smartphone for the company’s enterprise line-up, housed in slider-style form-factor and quite doubtful casing trim – it is more likely that less flashy colors will make it to the market as well. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the E65 is an attempt to sign up the audience of business-women; successful or not – it is hard to tell. One thing is for sure – inside they will find Symbian S60 3rd, FP1, but that’s pretty much about it. For me personally this is the most tedious device of all announced – as a matter of a fact it packs the same painfully familiar features in a new form-factor. The design was given “satisfactory by a few women I asked, while men said it was run-of-the-mill, lacked some “flavor”. And I support them in this.
Nokia 3110 classic
This “semi-entry” solution is called “SonyEricsson K750i-esque” by many, right after they look at the shots. In practice, though, they share absolutely nothing in common – these handsets are indeed totally different. “Relatively low price” they mentioned, may turn into 200 USD plus on our market, and let’s see what kind of punch you can get for the money. First, it is a remake of formerly popular the 3110 – purchasing it, you might feel nostalgia for the good-old days of your youth. Then, the casing is dubbed as durable and that’s great, but apparently doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be extra levels of proof, so we end up overlooking this spec. Third, the new 3110 comes included with music player, support for memory cards, radio, 1.3 Mpix camera and Bluetooth – it’s nice to find all this in a relatively cheap device and really crucial, especially in Russia, where most consumers want to squeeze much out of the handset for little money. As for design, I find it appealing, as it seems the 3110 will be placed under Nokia 6233 in the line-up.
Nokia 6110 Navigator
Quite fetching device, whose major “flavor” is bundled GPS receiver. Much like Nokia 5500 Sport, this smartphone, coming not from the N-Series line-up, has its own codename. I’m curious when we will see Nokia XXXX Telephone? Guess, never. What can we say looking at the 6110? It is a pretty bulky slider running on Symbian S60 3rd with somewhat display, which still proves to be insufficient for usage in car, to my mind. Maybe, it is all about my preference for tailored devices, and I don’t deny “combines”, but only when it comes not to looking out for my route on a small-sized (for this particular situation) screen. On the other hand, if you happen to find yourself in a foreign country and rent a car, than the 6110 will definitely help you to make the way. The device will be retailed for 450 Euro.
«Hey, it is Nokia N73!» Yes, the N77 is indeed looks much like its photo-heavy predecessor. Apparently, the casing has undergone only minor shape-changes, but has become more appealing this way. Anyhow, it is not N73TV – Nokia N77 is a wholly different model, so let’s leave alone all these speculations. As you might have already found it out from our news posts, the handset’s major attraction lies in «Live TV when you want it» motto, which implies an built-in DVB-H tuner, enabling you to watch telly on the go. For Europe it is all the rage, for Russia – a waste. For the rest, the N77 is a typical N-Series offspring that can be used in many other ways: you can by a remote and listen to tunes, install required software and watch movies (by the way there is no word on hardware support for DivX). The camera module here is inferior to that found on the N73. Suggested price makes up 370 Euro. Briefly speaking, this is a “Cheap TV receiver for those who are totally bored at work”.
«Spy» photos of this model have been around on gadget-related sites for a long while, and this update comes as no surprise, one could even say “we’d asked for it – we got it”. Faced-off against the E61, the new Nokia E61i wins by having revamped design, camera (ok, we won’t mention how many mpix it packs), but regrettably the operating system version has remained untouched. The foremost rival of the E61 – SonyEricsson M600 – now loses to Nokia’s offspring in the sense of both the feature craved for by many users (we mean camera, of course), and looks. However the rumor has it that the M600 is being updated soon with an offering boasting WLAN support and imaging capabilities. What is my personal opinion on the E61i? They have patched up the things that used to ward many off, but more importantly, the business aim has gradually given its place to the multimedia, which seems to be still vital for enterprise users.
Incidentally, it is good to see that the design revamp has touched not only the casing’s color (to me, this combination is truly alluring), but controls as well, specifically addition of new buttons onto the faceplate – take a look for yourself at the keys flanking the joystick. Now, instead of two functional keys we have no less than four – what’s the upside I hear you ask? This reduces the time you might spend for calling up a specific application. Over and above the joystick’s design has been changed as well, so that in its present state it is handier than that found on the original model.
And of course we can’t just overlook the brilliant sales package – we only wish it wouldn’t be spoiled with that mono-headset. Since the E61i comes boxed with a 2 Gb memory card, why won’t they just allow us to listen to music right after pulling the handset out of the box?
Nokia E90 Communicator
Wrapping up a digest with its major highlight is, to tell the truth, a very unoriginal move. I’m most positive that you have missed everything written above and scrolled straight down to this part – at least I would do that. Because the E90 couldn’t not die on the vine, not a single fan of Nokia’s bulky communicators didn’t believe that after the 9300i there wouldn’t be any folding powerhouses. And the company simply couldn’t leave a narrow circle of rich techi and gadget-addicts, seeking the ideal wherever they can, without a brick-shaped solution. But this was only a gas, now let’s check out the facts about the E90 and its photos, of course:
- Dimensions-wise it is more comparable with Nokia 9500 (personally I say “hooray”), rather than with the 9300. Brick-esque forms are on place, nothing to worry about.
- The internal screen is NOT touch-sensitive, don’t even dream of that. In return, its widescreen setup is better than that of the 9500 (bigger resolution), so watching movies will be a great experience.
- miniUSB socket. It is good, but what accessories employing this jack will come boxed with the E90? Basing on the previous experience and the E90’s, I could say there would be a cradle, charger, mono-headset and a memory card. I would really love to find a stereo-headset and a pouch (even the simplest one) in there as well.
- microSD memory expansion slot – with all this bulk, the E90 could easily handle full-size SD. Nevertheless this one is good too – thinking of average price for 2 Gb cards, you can buy three of them at once and have fun.
- 1500 mAh battery is more capacious than that of the 9500 and keeps the E90 up and running for about a day at frequent usage of the internal screen, which is much like the 9500. And if you tend to do without the inner display, the charge may last for a good 2-3 days (the 9500 once managed to stay on for four full days in this mode without overnight turns-offs at minimal amount of calls).
- As you can see, the controls of the phone’s interior have undergone some changes. The keys flanking the display are well-spaced, I feel better about the joystick now, the thumbboard is easy to use as well.
- On the 9500 you could unfold only to the right angle, while the E90 shows off three positions: closed, 90 degrees and 180 degrees – all these positions get fixed smoothly. How good the mechanism will do and how long it will last – we will tell you when you get our hands on the E90.
- The E90’s design is pretty appealing; it seems that dark brown has gotten to be Nokia’s trade-mark color in 2007. Developers once again went into various tricks to make the E90 appear visually smaller – edging of the front panel, a sort of “color sandwich”, if you look at it sideways. The E90 has better looks to it than the 9500 – make no doubt about that.
- The E90 comes included with an FM transmitter, whose absence was the reason why many didn’t even put the 9500 or the 9300 on their shortlist. On top of that the communicator carries a 3,2 Mpix camera (which is a breakthrough compared to the 9500) with auto-focus (which is surprising), and a forward-facing camera for video calls onboard, as well as a GPS module. The only question remains: what is the downside? Since the 9500’s lackluster performance in multimedia department was the talk of the town back then, and now here comes the E90, featuring up-to-date functionality… Are we dreaming or what?
- GSM, WCDMA, HSDPA, WLAN. All joys of life for a real business-professional. This offering will definitely make it to gadgets-related glossies with “for well-off gentlemen” phrase in the preamble. Personally, I think such “do-it-all” functionality is all we could every wish for.
- We are pleased to see that with the clam closed, we have a run-of-the-mill Symbian 60 3Rd based smartphone standing before us, which has a full-size, rather than rudimentary, display. Being able to perform on the external screen the same functions as on the internal one, is a great thing as well. What is more, the “inner” smartphone is powered by the same OS version, rather than a variation incompatible with other applications. But when it comes to working out the scenario of usage, everyone is on his/her own, since you will inevitably encounter the issue of the extremely power-hungry internal display. In other words, mediocre battery life is a price to pay for viewing photos, watching films, reading books on the widescreen. But these things can be done on the outer display as well. I hope you have caught my idea.
- Announced price – 750-800 Euro. In Russia, though, the E90’s price tag will be a “tad” heftier (1000 USD and a little over – 200 USD or so), and one more time forums will get overloaded with messages such as: “For this much money I can buy a handset, player, home stereo, second-hand notebook and a bag to put all this stuff in and throw it out”. But, naturally, the E90 will have its own audience, for example if a CEO will go for it, then all his deputies will go and get it too – at the end of the day it is an enterprise device for imposing business-users. As regards others who have some coins in their wallets – the scenario will be pretty much the same, when someone’s neighbor buys it and then it spreads all over the place like a plague. And when the price falls down, then techi, craving for a replacement for their 9500, will step onto the scene as well.
- Is the E90 worth picking up as a replacement for the 9500, for those who just don’t accept any other sort of communicators? Absolutely, after all, are there any other options?
Specifications for Nokia E90 Communicator:
Also, Nokia showcased Nokia Bluetooth Display Car Kit CK-15W, due out in Q2 at a price of 180 Euro or so.
Published 16 February 2007
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