Musings from Munkimatt

A flow of whatever tickles my fancy

Why my next phone won’t be a Nokia.

Those random few who have followed my blogging over the years will know I’m a big Nokia fan and specifically of their Symbian models. I have used their phones exclusively now since the N70, I have owned many of their Nseries models since then and my Symbian history goes right back to the 7650, a phone which I still hold in the highest regard and the one that made me fall in love with that platform.


Nokia 7650

I’m not too proud to say that my obvious preference to the Nseries range made me overlook some of the issues that hamper them. Build quality over the last few years hasn’t been amazing, the majority of people with an N95 can testify to that,  the OS is notoriously buggy and quite importantly it’s all starting to look a little dated, especially if you compare it to that of, for example, the iPhone.

Still I soldiered on and I would happily preach to disbelievers about the wonderful virtues of being a Symbian user. I think I’ve converted more people over to Nokia than missionaries have to Christianity.

When the N97 was announced I literally gasped for breath. A multimedia powerhouse, the QWERTY keyboard, the huge touch screen. To me, this is what I’ve been waiting for, the real successor to the N95 (especially after the abject disappointment of the N96). I squealed with joy, told every man and his dog about how amazing it’d inevitably be and how this would certainly be the perfect mobile device for me.

Which makes it all the more interesting that I’ve decided not to buy one and instead buy a HTC Hero, switching to Android, and in the process ditch the Symbian operating system that I have grown to love.


I’m finding it hard to explain why I’ve had this sudden change but I think this is the best way to do it; it’s like when you wake up to someone who’ve you’ve been with with many years, who you’ve spent many wonderful moments with, who you had imagined you would spend the rest of your life with and suddenly realise…

“I don’t love you any more.”

You keep going in the relationship. You loved the person once, surely it’ll come back again? Eventually you realise no, it’s done, buried, finished.

Time to move on to something fresh.

I can’t put my finger on exactly why or when this happened, but I think I can put this down to a few separate factors.

  • The N96 release. After the epic success of the N95 I waited and waited for the follow up and when it arrived it stunk to high heaven. The upgraded version of  S60 (Feature Pack 2) was underperformed horrendously, constant lock ups, reboots, general instability. Add to that some shocking build quality and you’ve officially got a crushing disappointment.
  • I’m no longer excited by Nokia. The N97 seemed amazing when it was announced…in December 2008. It’s June 2009 now and it’s only just hit market. Compare this to the Hero, announced 24th June and looks likely to ship in July. That’s one month. The N86 is following a tried, tested, and now very dull route. The Hero by comparison, with it’s jutting chin looks like it’s been designed by someone on acid. In my book that’s an overwhelmingly positive thing.
  • I’m no longer excited by S60. Maybe the final nail in the coffin was the 5800XM. Don’t get me wrong, I love this phone. It does a great little job. But S60 5th Edition just looks so horribly, horrifically dated next to it’s touchscreen brethren. Stick it next to the iPhone (or from what we’ve seen so far from the videos of the TouchSenseUI which is built on top of Android on the HTC Hero) and you may get that warm sense of familiarity but it’s certainly not exciting. Symbian as it currently stands (and I say currently stands because I expect exciting changes ahead with the Symbian Foundation)  needs a drastic UI overhaul because it simply does not compare aesthetically when put next to it’s rivals.

So fairwell Nokia, at least just for the time being. I have no doubt I’ll return at some point. I’ll expect I’ll miss the simply wonderful cameras that you cram into your phones. I know I’ll miss S60. If they change the top phones onto Maemo, as is rumoured,  I’ll no doubt dip back in to test the waters and use this exciting new development.

Fairwell Nokia, and hello Android. I must warn you, you probably have this one chance to impress me. First impressions mean everything, you’ve got the aesthetics right (you’ve given my inner geek the horn basically), now make sure this software works you may have a convert.

How do you feel about Nokia and S60? Have you too been tempted away?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m very excitedly off to place my pre-order.


June 30, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


  1. …and this is the first webpage I read on my brand new N97!

    Comment by Joe B-H | June 30, 2009 | Reply

    • There’s a certain amount of irony involved in that Joe!

      Comment by munkimatt | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  2. Matt, bang on. Precisely what I was thinking and why you and I have been swooning over the Hero on Twitter. The N97 just doesn’t cut it. S60 is not moving fast enough. It’s got dull and clunky. Android, by comparison, is fresh and exciting and it looks like 2009 is going to be the year it breaks out, with the promise of plenty more handsets on the way.

    So, I too, with a slight tinge of regret, will finally be slipping away from Nokia/S60. See you on Android!

    Comment by Mark | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  3. I can see where your coming from Matt, N-series build has been iffy to say the least, i had a G1 and loved it, the Hero looks promising, let’s see if it lives up to expectations 🙂

    Comment by mark webster | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  4. (As you know?) I was very nearly swayed by the HTC Magic a month or so ago..

    Not surprised to be honest, the Hero looks awesome.

    I wish you many years of happiness together.



    Comment by whatleydude | June 30, 2009 | Reply

    • If I’m honest it was your praise of the Magic that made me take a closer look at the Android platform.

      Comment by munkimatt | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  5. Quite honestly, Matt, I would imagine there are a handful of Symbian vets like myself who are thinking similar thoughts. The iPhone simply won’t do for us – partially because of our egos and how much we’ve bashed it along the way, but moreso due to the proprietary nature of the whole thing, the unlocking and jailbreaking nonsense, when we’re used to the comparatively free nature that is Symbian.

    We know WinMo blows, and even with TouchFLO, it’s still lurking beneath. Android presents the best option, and as we all use more and more Google services, the idea of logging in on the phone once and having all of our Google services tied in is likely what we have all been dreaming Ovi would be, eventually.

    Like you, though, I’m keen to keep up with Symbian (S-G not withstanding). I think that Symbian^2 will be disappointingly similar to S60v5, but I think it will offer hints as to what’s possible now that we have the Symbian Foundation. Beyond that, I believe Symbian^3 will be the first time that most people will feel like Symbian is competitive in at least half a decade. Given their current roadmap, that should be roughly 12 months from now.

    In the meantime, enjoy your hero.

    Comment by Ricky Cadden | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  6. Phones are like women? Mmm!

    Well the HTC Hero maybe the new stunning blonde in the office, but once you’ve plucked up enought courage to talk to her you realise she as thick as sh!t and its a quick shag and see you later?

    The iPhone is the long haired brunette with even longer legs that wears those sexy glasses and gives you those come to bed stares over the the top of her glasses, but you suddenly realise she’s all talk and no action or even worse all talk and crap in bed?

    Now we come to the Nokia N97, not the most stunning you’ve ever seen, but is in no way a boot, nice, elegant, intelligent, has her flaws, but they are minor so you overlook them and its not when you get her into bed do you realise you can do anything with her and I mean anything.

    If we are going to say a phone is like a women, I know what one I’d want to FECK every night 😀

    Comment by gerrymoth | June 30, 2009 | Reply

    • haha, I like GerryMoth’s analogy the best! I too have a similar pick-up story.

      After I sold my N73, I went to the dark side and bought a first gen iPhone. Mmm, she’s a sexy beast. But she can only do one thing at a time, and I find her scatter-brained and unable to finish tasks. Sure she always looks nice, but all that makeup comes at a price.

      I also fell to the G1 siren. She’s the bookish debate team girl that plays WoW and D&D. As a linux fan from way back, I want to love her. She’s a bit rough around the edges, but I’ll sacrifice usability for freedom. After we broke up, I remembered that relationships shouldn’t be that hard.

      WinMob lost me with the second Dell Axiom. Using a stylus sucks, and installing programs with Windows .exes only works on Windows. Not interested in this lady at all!

      The WebOS is an interesting librarian chick, who does accounting for fun. Sure she can cook pasta and do your taxes, and you know you can count on her. But she’s boring, and it’s tough not to look at other girls. Them jeans be workin!

      After I bought the iPhone, I still bought the N95-3. I’ve used a bunch of S60 devices since, but the N97 is the first Nokia that I view as an upgrade since the N95. So I can’t add 50,000 shiny jewels to make her more pretty, but she works pretty well out of the box. I know all the shortcuts to get her to please me, and she enjoys doing it for me. After multitasking for years, uploading giant files seemlessly in the background, and adding the widgets so I can see everything on the homescreen, ahhhh. I’m home.

      Sometimes you just need a little time off from a relationship. You may like it, or you may realize you blew it. I’m looking forward to hearing how you make out.

      Comment by norcalbarney | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  7. Great writeup, you hit the nail on the head. S60 and Nokia have stood still whilst others have moved on. There is only so far you can go with an old concept and with tried and tested methods.

    I hope Nokia can bring the wow factor back to Symbian via the Symbian Foundation (or any of the other manufacturers), but for now Android is the popular kid on the block and one that’s going places.

    Comment by Adonis | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  8. Cannot agree more.

    Comment by K FLYER | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  9. S60 touch is a bit like Margaret Beckett, no matter how much make up you apply, it’s never going to be truly attractive 🙂

    Comment by mark webster | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  10. I should add, the one thing that will really make me miss S60 is Gravity. I hope there’s a competent Twitter client for Android, but I fear nothing will come close to the excellence of Jan Ole Suhr’s Gravity. Those of us agreeing with Matt’s post can find out together over the next weeks and months…

    Comment by Mark | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  11. bah, even i’m into the hero and i have been known to show up in public with a sony ericsson (shock horror!)

    except phones are not really like women
    you wish (and i wish!)
    you could switch women off and get a break as easily 😉

    Comment by overpills | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  12. […] @munkimatt: Why my next phone won’t be a Nokia. Tags: fresh, […]

    Pingback by Mobiele Telefoons » Reading @munkimatt: Why my next phone won’t be a Nokia. | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  13. Have to agree with Ricky’s comments on the phone platforms…no interest in WinMo, no interest in iPhone…that makes Android new and intriguing. Looking forward to seeing what people have to say about it, and may have to give it a try myself. For the moment though, I’ll be sticking with my N97…like gerrymoth said–it may not be the prettiest or most elegant, but it does many jobs very well.

    Comment by martin_j001 | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  14. Like you matt my first taste of s60 was with the Nokia 7650, and I’ve owned an S60 Nokia ever since, also had the odd UIQ and WinMO device but always a Nokia as well. That was until I tried the iPhone and at first I hated it, mainly because of the freedom I was used to having with Nokia. But the more I used it the more I began to love it, and the more I used it the more I began to realise how much I was going off Nokia s60 and it’s long in the tooth OS. Besides the difference in the iPhone and Nokia UI they both have their pro’s and con’s but what has really put the nail in Nokia’s coffin and the reason I will NEVER go back to them unless things change is with app purchases. I bought the iPhone 3GS last week, plugged it into my computer for the first time, 50 something apps all transfered that I purchased for the previous phone, up and running in minutes. No pissing about looking for and downloading sis files, no looking for serial numbers, no realising “oh shit that registration was tied to the IMEI of my old phone”. Yes the apple app store has restrictions on what it can and cant (won’t) sell but I’m more than willing to sacrifice that bit of freedom for the ease of it’s use and convenience when it comes to restoring. I don’t know how the Android Market Place works but I do hope that it is something similar. Enjoy your new phone Matt, iPhone, Palm, Android, it doesn’t matter it should be a more enjoyable experience than using a Nokia. At least they are not last on the list, WinMo will always hold that position 🙂

    Comment by Steves71 | June 30, 2009 | Reply

    • I gather (from recent pre-Android purchase research!) that your paid-for apps are stored by Google (tied to your Google Checkout acc?) so you can simply re-download them when you restore or change a device. Exactly what we want. Look and learn Nokia/Ovi.

      Comment by Mark | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  15. I also find myself tempted by the HTC Hero, but I’ve got some pretty big privacy concerns when it comes to any Google product — I wonder if it’s a bit misleading when people refer to Android as “open source”…

    Comment by Andrew Currie | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  16. I could have written this post but lack the courage. I’m still in denial trying to make it work. Only difference is I haven’t got my eye on another bird…. yet. 😉

    Comment by Rob Toole | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  17. Nice article; reeks of the piece I did a year plus ago when I moved from Palm OS to Symbian 😉

    I’ve nearly considered a similar move (to Android), however I’m not nearly a fan of side-loading (I don’t use a PC unless I have to) and def not a fan of keeping life inside of Google (I prefer my own web server thanks).

    I keep my eye out there; but the Hero isn’t my hero; Palm’s webOS is better thought out in this respect and would be more likely to take my dough if I were in a giving mood.

    Symbian is an interesting beast though; especially with some of the louder proponents of the platform having second and third thoughts about moving on. Seems all too familiar to me…

    Comment by ARJWright | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  18. Dude, wtf? Please return all Nokia devices to Helsinki immediately, you’re out of the club.

    Comment by Nicky Nokia | June 30, 2009 | Reply

    • You can have them back if you refund me for the N96 😉

      Comment by munkimatt | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  19. I’m coming with you.

    I have an iPhone through work and it’s a very limited toy. The Hero looks set to provide the sleekness of the iPhone with the functionality of a more mature system.

    Comment by devolute | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  20. Great post Matt. Can I copy/paste it with a new title, “Why My Last 3 Phones Were Not Nokia’s”?

    I know I’ve been badgering on about it for ages, but I honestly think it comes down to this. Do you want a smartphone or a pocket computer? Nokia don’t make computers, but they *do* make the best phones.

    Here’s to hoping that Nokia can snag a ride on the Android bus before all the the good seats are taken. It’s not that Symbian is a bad OS, for from it, It just seems to lack any momentum right now.

    Comment by James Burland | June 30, 2009 | Reply

  21. I agree 100%, I will definitely miss the cameras though. Currently using an N82 so a Hero will be a big step down. Have you thought about the i7500 – Im probably plumping for that, the camera samples look very decent (although not the video).

    Comment by Chris P | July 17, 2009 | Reply

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