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Nokia at 3GSM – navigation, video and again, navigation
As far as I understand, the exhibition in Barcelona is of some importance to Nokia after all, though not nearly important to make it take all the aces for 2008 out of its sleeve. Of course, they demoed “Touch”, rolled out a couple of nothing-out-of-the-ordinary handsets, but where are the gadgets for tech freaks? Where did updated E-series devices, or even more music and imaging-savvy than ever N-Series behemoths and others go? None had made it to 3GSM. And that’s a pity. For starters, let’s see what Eldar Murtazin has to say about the most anticipated showcase of Nokia’s.
The abilities of the S60 Touch and upcoming devices were demoed at Nokia’s booth not with real prototypes, but rather on a tablet specially brought for these purposes, sort of a proving ground, as that’s how new software is tested in most cases. With this OS, Nokia is really focusing on delivering the user experience similar to that of today’s phones. That’s the foremost thing the developers are setting out to achieve – no revolutions, and no need to try to get a hang of your phone all over again. The other task is even more ambitious – they want to design the OS in the way that regardless of what control the user has pressed, a reaction from the phone should ensue immediately – for example, tapping the profile name while idling, will get you into the Profile menu; similarly, pressing the clock will bring up the Time function. Very straightforward and intuitive.
The impending products will support both finger - (for example you can tap and hold on the display, and then drag windows around), and stylus-based navigation; the user will be able to take his/her pick. There is no onscreen keyboard as of yet, so using hardware keys is inevitable, but, it’s only a matter of time untill it will get implemented. They already have handwriting recognition in, with over 15 languages supported, but, this is nothing new, as this technology has already stood the test of time on some other Nokia-branded phones.
The key aspects of the touch-sensitive interface includes easier navigation through gallery, and list,s by dragging your finger back and forth, to get to the desired item or index letter.
On balance, the development process of the S60 Touch hasn’t gone beyond experiments as of yet, but it will morph into an interesting branch down the road. Given what they said at the demonstration, no commercial products will be available earlier than late 2008 at best.
I have certain doubts whether this particular announcement can generate any hype at all – first snaps picturing the N96 popped up on the Web, even before the New Year, and, dare I note, those were not fakes or photoshoped images, on the contrary, they featured exactly the same thing they have just rolled out at the booth. Honestly, I don’t quite catch the meaning of this handset – naturally, they can tweak and tune the Nokia N95 for as long as they want, but we would really like this smartphone to pick up some new smarts along with its higher index. By the way, if we are compare it with something, it should be the N95 8Gb, rather than the N95, as for the most part, the newcomer doesn’t differ from the former, all subtle details aside.
I suppose no further ado is needed, this handset is supposedly a flagship… Exactly, “supposedly” – I have nothing against it, actually, it looks good, packs a lot of features under its hood, and carries a top-notch display, but if only it had the S60 Touch onboard… or N91-grade sound quality… If the N96 packed in all of these features, it would have a different name, obviously. And for the time being, it is an 800-dollar device, that tech buffs may get interested in, plus it gives a slight hope that the “dated” N95 8Gb and N95 will have their prices cut shortly.
Technical specifications of the Nokia N96:
Frankly speaking, I liked this one better – a conventional candy-bar with an unsophisticated, yet stylish design. I’m slightly worried about its cramped and rice grain-like buttons, which resemble the Sony Ericsson W880 in a way; however the N78 is bigger, so its keypad should be a breeze to handle. As you can see, it looks much like the hyped N73, and, in some ways, continues the traditions of the 7x-series – affordable (SRP – 350 Euro) and brimming with features. The N78 supports all OVI services (music, games, etc, the same routine), packs in WiFi, FM-radio, 3 Mpix camera with Carl Zeiss lens, and, similarly to the N96, it runs the Series 60 3rd FP2. Another feature of note is its FM-transmitter, which will beam your tunes to a car audio syste, or home stereo wirelessly, and, it seems soon it will be a must-have for every multimedia-ready offering. On top of that, the new N78 comes bundled with AGPS, which makes it a very interesting device altogether – as for me, I consider it as one of the market’s most balanced offerings, and, perhaps in terms of price/quality ratio, it will be among the best solutions out there. The phone is set to launch in Q2 2008; it is hard to think of any rival for the N78 – probably the G900 from Sony Ericsson, but it doesn’t sport GPS, but comes with a superior camera.
Technical specifications of the Nokia N78:
Nokia 6210 Navigator
This device comes in to update the relatively popular Nokia 6110 – it is housed in the same form-factor, yet has its looks altered a tad. It now features an e-compass, although, I suppose they would’ve been better off implementing it in ruggedized devices, which are frequently used by travelers. They have also introduced a new app for navigation, now it is Maps 2.0 – the review on it is already in the works. Generally speaking, that’s pretty much it, as the rest of the 6120’s hyped abilities are pure marketing tricks. I’m not really fond of this phone, especially given its suggested price of 300 Euro. The 6210’s release is slotted for May. And yes, I still like the Nokia N78 better.
Technical specifications of the Nokia 6210 Navigator:
Nokia 6220 Classic
And, the last announced Nokia’s device – the 6220 Classic, which is in fact the update of the 6120 Classic that had debuted at 3GSM 2007. The new feature pack is something worth talking about – 5 Megapixel camera, with geo-tracking, AGPS, and, enhanced call quality in noisy environments. Interestingly, the design of the most Classic smartphone doesn’t live up to its name – just like the N96 and the N78, it has taken some cues from the N81 (glossy plates). The 6220 Classic’s RSP is 325 Euro, the phone is to become available in Q3 2008. All in all, it is sort of a device for calls with an advanced imaging department for those who don’t want to shell out for the truckload of features found in the N96 or the N78’s Wi-Fi. And, it is very likely that this phone I’m talking about will go on to become a true bestseller in its class (though the thing is, I have no way of knowing that today).
Technical specifications of the Nokia 6220 classic:
In summary, what’s the bottom line? All the devices that Nokia has rolled out run FP2, come with AGPS, and, almost all of them can handle OVI, but the main focus is on navigation, imaging and video. It is very likely that Nokia closely follows the products delivered by the competition. Plus, another thing of note is that the company’s CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, said that Nokia had no plans for Windows Mobile devices, meaning that most resources are going to be allocated to the S60 Touch and the next exhibition in Barcelona will probably surprise us with a whole boat of marvels.
P.S. I can’t overlook a strange thing that happened with me this year – normally, these are flagship solutions that get a great deal of my attention, but in 2008 mid-tier models seemed to be better buys. By “mid-tier” I mean the N78, SE’s G900 and the Motorola Z6w with its WiFi module. As far as I know, no big announcements are scheduled for Tuesday, so let’s see what Wednesday will bring.
Published 13 February 2008
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