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 | , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

How much is ‘nicer’ worth to you?



Not a lot of money you may think.

But my word it caused an almighty storm this morning.

Recently there has been a lot of buzz on Twitter regarding Gravity, which is being billed as the first fully featured Twitter app for S60 devices. Beta testers have been giving glowing reports, and when news came out last week saying that it was to launch this today there were a lot of people looking forward to finally using it.

This morning I saw a tweet from Gerrymoth (writer on the excellent Nokia Addict blog) announcing that it was now available for download. I instantly headed over to the site, eager to get Twittering from my 5800 XpressMusic. But then I was stopped in my tracks by something I didn’t really expect.

Two button. One saying ‘Buy’ and the other ‘Download trial version’.

I have to pay? This I didn’t expect.

Now, I’m 26 and a salesman by trade. I know that very rarely anything in life is free. However over the 7 years of using S60 devices I honestly can’t remember ever paying for an application.


Because there’s nearly always a free alternative.

For Twitter, there’s Dabr, an excellent mobile friendly site that offers everything I need. I can upload pictures, direct message, reply, retweet, everything.

I clicked the buy link out of interest to see the price. I was thinking £5 at the most. Up it popped, to buy Gravity it would set me back £7.27. Cheap, but why pay when I can do the same for free?

So I posted this to Twitter, asking if it was worth the money. Gerrymoth fired back instantly with his response but it was one word that caught my attention.


So I loaded up the app and yes, it’s a lovely, gorgeous, clean interface. It’s quick, the scrolling on the touchscreen 5800 is fantastic and it does exactly what it says on the tin, it’s fully featured just as they advertised. But did I really want to open my dusty wallet and spend £7 on what effectively is just a prettier way to post to Twitter from my phone?

Turned out I wasn’t the only one asking this question. James Whatley seemed shocked at the price and at one point ended up having a fairly forthright discussion   regarding its value and later echoed my thoughts of a £5 price. Later we realised that the beta testers, who at this point were strongly defending the application, received the officially released version free of charge, therefore they paid nothing to use it.

Without wanting to sound terribly aggressive here,  how can you place a value on something when you’ve paid nothing to use it, especially when it offers nothing over the free alternative than it being ‘nicer’?

I’m not a particularly tight-fisted guy, in fact I’d go as far as to say I’m positively liberal with my money. Despite that though I can’t see the point of paying extra for something that will not contribute extra to my overall user experience.

So my question to you Tweeters is this; Are you happy to pay extra for nicer? Are you moving to Gravity (or another paid for client) or are you happy using free alternatives?

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments