Did the N95 kill Nokia or revive it?

Rita over at Symbian Guru is Jaiku-crowdsourcing a feature she’s working on entitled ‘Did the N95 kill Nokia or revive it?’ The question really caught my attention — and, by the looks of it, a heckuvalot of others. Check out some of the essays she’s had in response to her question on her Jaiku stream.

Stefan was right in there with a huge, huge and well written response. I’m pretty sure he didn’t type that on his N82.

Vodaclone posted this comment — I found myself nodding away at the end of each sentence.

The N95 didn’t kill Nokia. Nokia killed the N95.

They saw all the buzz being generated by the iPhone and they didn’t apply any of that buzz the the N95.
They saw that the iPhone would auto-screen rotation and have only now started to add it to the 8GB model.
To Nokia, the N95 is just another device – one to be be given the same dreary managment attention as every previous Nokia phone. To Apple, the iPhone is an event. Apple’s success hinges on convincing everyone that it’s a viable player – and they have. Nokia rested on their laurels and have been punished for it.

Look at the (official)Nokia forums, the blogs, the software updates. It’s like they only paying half the attention that they should be.

New firmware for the N95 should be as much as an event as the iPhone firmware, the release of Vista or the new Ubuntu. Instead it’s shuffled out with an apologetic whisper rather than a triumphant roar.

Theoretically, the N95 kicks the iPhone’s arse. It has more apps, better technology and a more attractive price point.

What it doesn’t have, seemingly, is anyone at Nokia who cares.

I look forward to Rita’s published article!

  • Mike42

    What sold the N95 to normobs wasn't anything else except the 5MP camera with a Carl Zeiss lense.

    Everything else it could do is niche. Niche of a niche. What-Fi? Gp.s. people don't care?

    …and when they got that 5MP camera fired up, the experience was…wait for it….hang on kids…no, back into place…nearly there…snap.

    i.e. – pants. You pay

  • http://shkspr.mobi/ TerenceEden

    Thanks for picking up my post :-)

    After sleeping on it, something else strikes me. The N95 has so much packed into it – but there's no overall integration.

    Case in point, on my Blackberry 8800 when I go into my address book, there's a direct link from a contact's address to the Blackberry's mapping app. The same with the calendar – if I don't know where a meeting is, I can look up the address on the map straight from the calendar entry. Try doing that on the N95.

    The barcode reader doesn't recognise VCARDS, meaning you can't add a contact easily.

    The podcasting app…. oh god, it's so bad! I tried to download a podcast recommended by the app and it told me the codec wasn't supported! WTF?

    You can't download things from the web browser if they're not supported by the phone. If you want to download a DivX or a .torrent – the web browser just won't do it. Even if you've got an app that can handle it.

    The gallery blatantly can't handle the 5MP images. It takes an age to get a preview.

    What's so frustrating is that the hardware is all there. The software is mostly there. But there's nothing gelling it all together.

    and breathe…

  • http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/ krisse

    I think this whole debate shows how utterly, completely 100% out of touch the phone/tech community is right now.

    Arguing over whether an iPhone is better than an N95 is like arguing over whether a Bentley is better than a Rolls-Royce, it's a snobbishly irrelevant argument for the vast majority of people. To think that it matters is just silly.

    The new version of Ubuntu is NOT an event in the real world, most people don't even know what it is. The iPhone has sold something like 6 million, which is a market share of about 0.6%, yet some of the people in this debate talk as though it has taken over the world.

    The average phone sells for 100 euros, and that's where almost all phone sales are. It's the 100 euro phones that matter, it's the 100 euro phones where Nokia and other phone manufacturers get their profits and growth from. The phone technologies to watch out for are the ones that get nearer and nearer this 100 euro barrier, which isn't the case with either the N95 or the iPhone as they cost about 500 euros.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com smstextnews

    It's an issue for a lot of the SMS Text News readers though, Krisse!

  • Julian

    N95/iPhone comparisons aren't really about technology (the iPhone isn't that technologically advanced – it's cool enough but nothing special compared to the N95/S60). It is about, as implied above,
    * ease of use
    * style

    There are a number of discussions here about Whatley's or Ben's amazing phone usage – calandaring, twittering, maps, newspapers, CD playlists, email, booking flights etc (all on the train before getting to the first meeting at 9am) and about how normobs just don't get it. These use patterns implicitly emphasise why the iPhone is a breakthrough device and Series60/N95 is a technology bundle.

    Normobs on the iPhone do calandaring, twittering, maps, newspapers, CD playlists, email, booking flights etc all on the train before getting to work at 9am. You can watch them – sometimes in the cinema when you wished you didn't have to. All iPhone users are Google maps users out of the box. Normobs is a S60 term that doesn't exist in the iPhone world because it doesn't have users who can't/don't use all of its mobile connectivity when they want to.

    The style thing is important. Of the s60 phones, when I see somebody hold an E61 to the side of their head it looks seriously 1980s, when big was good and overt behaviour was in. The E61 brushed metal slapped to the side of the head is very seriously overt. The iPhone isn't much smaller but it looks moulded and ungeeky. The woman that I love has a serious East End haircut (from a small place in Artilary Passage no less). She does NOT want an E61 anywhere near it. The ultra-svelt s60 phones are different stories although the Nokia n95 is retro chunky so it might just pass.

    So what must Nokia do to raise iPhone like excitement? It must melt away 80% of the distinctions between the next generation of normobs and the next gen of power users and make them feel that they look good while they are doing it. For isntance, people talk about the Tube as an engineering solution to the [name-your-device] not a users' solution to the _problems_ that others solve.

    Can Nokia do it? Yes if:
    1. Its software ease of use is flawless
    2. It is problem/solution centric and not engineering/we've-paid-a-lot-of-money-for-this-UI-so-we-are-not-about-to-throw-it-away centric
    3. The SDK produces the funkiest third-party software that oozes onto the users' phone experience
    Will it?
    1. No – if the platforms like the N95 and tube and friends recreate the distinction off the bat between the power user who can solve their worldly problems and the normob who can't. This is the essence of the problem.
    2. No – but, in straight engineering terms, it will be far more advanced per sheckle per feature than the iPhone
    3. No – can people remember the Nokia ads in the early 90s with beautiful girls water skiing on the warrm Meditaranian while talking on their phone and urbane gentlemen watched sipping sophisticated drinks at cafe's while running the world: all using their phone and never compromising their style? Those ads are the use case of a top end mobile smart phone that offer an alternative to American functional useability with European sophisticated form-as-function. Nokia is no longer promoting itself this way.

    PS: Ewan, I am struggling with the new edit windows here – it is very small! Sorry for typos.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com smstextnews

    Noted, Julian… will see what we can do!

  • Mike42

    Some points:

    The iPhone BoM = $250 =

  • http://duanestorey.com Duane Storey

    I'm not sure I agree. Most of my friends at Nokia actually don't like the N95. In terms of internet traffic, 85% of iPhone users surf the web — I think it's only 13% with all the other platforms combined, and symbian based products are at the bottom of that list. Either Apple did something brilliant by only marketing the devices with companies that have unlimited data plans (like AT & T), or the Nokia isn't as good as everyone would like to think it is (the masses aren't using it for anything web related).

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    @Krissie: Disagree… The iPhone or N95 are the equivalent of the Mercedes S-Class in the car world – the technology will filter down and influence the mass-market devices. What is successful on these devices matters.

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    Maybe not 9am _every_ morning :-)

    Pot. Kettle… :-)

  • http://shkspr.mobi/ TerenceEden

    “The new version of Ubuntu is NOT an event in the real world, most people don't even know what it is.”
    Quite right. What I meant to point out is that if you have Ubuntu (or XP, or OSX, or and iPhone) you get notified that there is new software available. Not only does it keep your machine safe – it adds coo new features which enhance your use.

    The N95 does not tell you that there is new software available. Even if you have PC Suite, I think you still have to manually check for new software. For most normobs, there is no way of fixing bugs, adding features or improving their handset.

  • Gabe

    Point taken on the N95

  • John Campbell

    I think what most people are missing is the fact that there's a fundamentally different design philosophy behind the N95 and iPhone:

    The iPhone is a 'companion device', as the original Palm Pilot was. You can't even start to use it before you activate it by attaching it to a computer. The N95 on the other hand is a stand alone device – you could use it without ever connecting it to PC.

    Now of course the iPhone user interface (and hardware specifications) are such that it could be a stand alone device, however many of the things people like about it (e.g. being able to restore every setting onto a new device) rely on it being a 'slave' device.

    Some would no doubt regard a move backwards that the iPhone is dependent on a PC. On the other hand maybe this is what people actually want as no mobile device is really very good at data entry compared to a PC.

    Palm understood this and went on to sell a lot more PDAs than Apple and Psion. Perhaps Apple has also realised this with the iPhone.

  • John Campbell

    I think what most people are missing is the fact that there's a fundamentally different design philosophy behind the N95 and iPhone:

    The iPhone is a 'companion device', as the original Palm Pilot was. You can't even start to use it before you activate it by attaching it to a computer. The N95 on the other hand is a stand alone device – you could use it without ever connecting it to PC.

    Now of course the iPhone user interface (and hardware specifications) are such that it could be a stand alone device, however many of the things people like about it (e.g. being able to restore every setting onto a new device) rely on it being a 'slave' device.

    Some would no doubt regard a move backwards that the iPhone is dependent on a PC. On the other hand maybe this is what people actually want as no mobile device is really very good at data entry compared to a PC.

    Palm understood this and went on to sell a lot more PDAs than Apple and Psion. Perhaps Apple has also realised this with the iPhone.

  • http://shkspr.mobi/ TerenceEden

    “The new version of Ubuntu is NOT an event in the real world, most people don't even know what it is.”
    Quite right. What I meant to point out is that if you have Ubuntu (or XP, or OSX, or and iPhone) you get notified that there is new software available. Not only does it keep your machine safe – it adds coo new features which enhance your use.

    The N95 does not tell you that there is new software available. Even if you have PC Suite, I think you still have to manually check for new software. For most normobs, there is no way of fixing bugs, adding features or improving their handset.

  • Gabe

    Point taken on the N95… it’s big, hard to use at first, and the browser isn’t great.
    But to balance it out some, there is a vast range of apps available. As devices get easier to use and smaller, this ecosystem of apps will influence what phones people buy.
    I’m not sure you can say that “normal” people don’t/won’t want third party apps, or that everything will be done in browsers.

  • John Campbell

    I think what most people are missing is the fact that there's a fundamentally different design philosophy behind the N95 and iPhone:

    The iPhone is a 'companion device', as the original Palm Pilot was. You can't even start to use it before you activate it by attaching it to a computer. The N95 on the other hand is a stand alone device – you could use it without ever connecting it to PC.

    Now of course the iPhone user interface (and hardware specifications) are such that it could be a stand alone device, however many of the things people like about it (e.g. being able to restore every setting onto a new device) rely on it being a 'slave' device.

    Some would no doubt regard a move backwards that the iPhone is dependent on a PC. On the other hand maybe this is what people actually want as no mobile device is really very good at data entry compared to a PC.

    Palm understood this and went on to sell a lot more PDAs than Apple and Psion. Perhaps Apple has also realised this with the iPhone.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

Real Time Web Analytics

Clicky