Has Apple put mobile innovation back at least 10 years?

Take yourself back to the days of the Nokia N95 8GB. It was a terrific handset: An excellent camera, super form factor, nice keypad — a true ‘Multimedia computer’.

Perhaps the best thing about those Symbian devices was that they could multitask properly. Hardcore Symbian developers could access almost every inch of the operating system’s plumbing to bring phenomenally useful services to users.

My most frequently used function on my Nokia Symbian devices was ShoZu. I wouldn’t shut up about it. This was (and still is!) a service that ran in the background on-demand. ShoZu would get your images off your Nokia really quickly. Many of my mobile friends had ShoZu doing an automatic upload. Snap a photo and boom, you’d see the little data indicator briefly switch on and off as the service sent your photo up to the ShoZu servers and then on to whatever services you’d configured (Flickr being a popular one). I opted for a little bit more control — so whenever I took a photo, ShoZu would immediately ask if I wanted the photo sent up to the internet. Again, if you pressed ‘yes’, that was it. Job done. Everything happened in the background.

You could get on with your day. I loved it.

Back at this point — 2005/2006, the mobile industry was looking incredibly exciting. There were considerable frustrations, particularly around the distribution of third party applications. The successful install attrition rate for developers was appalling. Discovering apps was quite a challenge. The whole process of developing an app/service was highly complicated and pretty expensive.

The answer from the operating systems was ‘yes’, though.

There wasn’t much you couldn’t do with a Nokia. You could seriously kit out your phone with some brilliant features and services.

The industry was heading in the right direction — albeit slowly. Too slowly, actually.

Today we live in an iPhone world and that’s bad news for innovation.

Let’s be clear: Apple’s done a brilliant job. This is undeniable. My issue is that much of the planet’s mobile mindshare is wedded to the single-app ecosystem.

There’s *so much* you can do with your iPhone. My frustration is that you have to do it sequentially. You can’t touch anything or change anything about the device experience. This ensures a familiar user experience for everyone. It also means nothing changes unless Apple says so.

Witness, for example, the basic swipe-to-unlock feature. I’d like to replace it. Well I can’t. Job done. That’s it. If you’ve got an iPhone, you have to swipe. You can’t change that because Apple says so.

Sit back and consider precisely what you can’t do: You can’t get rid of the ‘official’ icons. You can’t add a screensaver. You can’t add widgets. You can’t… you can’t… the list is endless.

Where’s the innovation going to come from?

Well, Apple.

The company has configured the iOS experience to ensure that the only people who can do anything really are the boffins at Apple. The only way you can deliver or configure a mobile service on an iPhone is through a third-party app. You can’t do ANYTHING to the phone’s actual operating mode. You can’t, for example, install a persistent little triangle at the top of your screen that you can tap to reveal your precise GPS co-ordinates. You can’t add a swipe-from-left function on any screen that will automatically take you into camera mode.

You can’t have your iPhone switch into ‘work mode’ at 9am on Monday with an automatically established VPN back to the office network. You can’t integrate home appliances or anything else into the user interface.

Everything — absolutely EVERYTHING — you want to do with an iPhone has to be delivered via a little square app icon. And whatever you’re doing, it cannot be persistent. The device does one thing at a time. That’s the rule.

This is a significant problem because it’s raised a generation of mobile minds who are only thinking in terms of single apps. They can’t think any other way. There’s no point.

Witness, for example, the talented chaps who brought us Cloud Photos. It’s an app that automatically sends photos that you snap up to DropBox, rather than storing them on the iPhone. Especially useful if you’re short on disk space.

Let me stop you there though. Any semi-geek will have wondered, “How does that work?”

For a moment your heart will have jumped with excitement: Have they figured out a way of doing it automatically? Surely not? But…yeah. No. Of course not. Because you can’t do ANYTHING with the standard camera app, Cloud Photos has to run as a stand-alone app. You need to REMEMBER to use it. You can’t just say, “Right, every time I take a photo, I want it backed up using this service.”

Unfortunately you need to remember now to stop using the standard Camera app and start tapping on Cloud Photos. Every time. Every single time. You have to do this because Apple doesn’t want you messing around with their user experience (for perfectly understandable reasons).

Can you imagine how cool it would be to simply be able to install an ‘app’ or ‘service’ that did precisely as Cloud Photos does, but without having to fit the whole experience into the app silo model?

And by silo I mean that all apps are completely separate. They can’t easily talk to each other. So everything’s highly limited.

Many will comment that this hasn’t stopped Instagram from being successful. You need to run their app in order to experience it and 30-odd million folk seem to have managed that. That’s not the point. The point is that there’s a veritable wealth of service and application possibilities waiting for us all: But we’re not able to manifest them yet. Not on the iOS platform.

Android is a different story of course. RIM too. You can hook your software or service into an Android phone relatively easily. This is fine. However Android doesn’t have the zeitgeist. The attention is with iOS first. iOS is the attention-leader. You launch first on iOS. Which means you configure your concepts to deal with the limitations imposed on you from Apple.

It bothers me that because certain concepts and services aren’t *possible* on iOS right now, we’ll never see them. Or we’ll see half-baked possibilities that languish away in the background on screen 8 of your iPhone having been used once.

I’ll give you an example of what we’re missing. On the BlackBerry there’s an excellent little app called I Love BlackBerry. It sits in the background with very low overhead and records what you do with your BlackBerry. By the end of the day, it’ll be able to tell you how many times you’ve picked up your Blackberry and used it and how many hours of continuous use you’ve spent BBMing folk. Across a week, the stats begin to get rather interesting. Across a month you can really start to see just how addicted you are. It’s a super little app — and it’s next to impossible on iOS. Because you just can’t get that data easily. You can’t have stuff like this running in the background watching.

There are so many amazing applications and services waiting for us as an industry. How many are being held back? What will it take for the damn to break?

It’s going to be incredibly difficult for Apple to part itself from the single-silo app ecosystem. Will you ever be able to customise your home screen or swipe-to-unlock screen beyond changing a photo? I wonder.

And what about the general experience of using iOS? The faster chip in the iPhone 4S hides the fact that it’s an utter pain switching between apps. Instant messaging in particular is highly frustrating when you keep on having to ‘load’ up the app every time you get a new message.

Since Apple is so dominant at the moment, I’ve resigned myself to expecting nothing significantly cool in terms of user interface and experience customisation for at least 5 years. This whole thing has to play out. (I fully expect to be ‘wowed’ by some more inventions from Apple in that time though — a la Siri!)

There’s an opportunity here for the other platforms to seriously step up and show the way. I suppose Android is already well on it’s way. Any HTC One X user will gladly show you their raft of customisable (and rather powerful!) widgets that enable them to access information immediately on-demand. So I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to see brilliantly smart customisations, extensions and modifications on Android that really begin to push the boundaries of what we understand by ‘apps’ and ‘services’.

I’m particularly interested to see what RIM does with BlackBerry 10. Despite the apparent malaise around the company, there’s no denying the company’s capabilities when it comes to delivering robust, scalable services on handsets. One report I read today — I’ll need to find the link — suggested that the company could, for example, easily integrate DropBox or Box into every part of the new operating system. RIM’s “BlackBerry Balance” features already separate out your work data from your personal data. Plus the pretty extensive hooks built right into the OS make it reasonably straight forward for developers to start to think outside the standard app framework. Even today the messaging capabilities of a BlackBerry (SMS, email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GoogleTalk and of course BBM) are second to none. If you haven’t seen a proper BlackBerry running messaging in anger, I strongly, strongly recommend you experience it — even the cheapest £100 Curve 8520 will do. When I’m having a busy day with a LOT going on, the BlackBerry’s messaging services make my iPhone feel last century.

There’s hope with Nokia too. Windows Mobile 8 could change the game. I’ve also got my eye on Nokia delivering something entirely new to the marketplace at some point.

Still. I am certainly thankful for Apple’s efforts over the years. It was really needed. The mobile industry has moved forward in dramatic steps thanks to their participation. Perhaps in future releases of iOS we’ll begin to see more APIs and a different basic OS framework that would enable (for example) the team at Cloud Photos to add their wares into the standard camera flow.

So: Has Apple put mobile innovation back 10 years? Well, however much you argue that this could be the case, you can’t argue with the millions of people they’ve brought into the ecosystem, or the far-reaching influence of everything from the App Store to the iPad. The industry is immeasurably more exciting than it was back in 2006 pre-iPhone.

I think it’s fair to say we’re stuck now with the single silo app approach from an iOS standpoint for some time — and that Apple is likely to remain the dominant influencer for mobile developers on-going.

Will we ever be able to customise our iPhones beyond a wallpaper graphic? I wonder.

How long will we be stuck with swipe-to-unlock?

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  • http://antoinerjwright.com Antoine RJ Wright

    I wonder if you are going to get folks who respond here with, “hey, I Googled that Nokia model, and its not a smartphone. You mean to tell me you could do all that with that thing? Whatever man…” Or something of that sort.

    Then you’d have the folks (like me), who’d admit openly that going back to an N95 (NAM in my case), with SkyQKey, Joikuspot, and ifttt via web/MMS/email saying yea, that’s possible and a ton more.

    Then there are those wise ones saying such: Mobile was in a different – perhaps better – place then. Its more acessible to some extent now. Cleaner. And miles easier than “hey, what site was that I got that app from, its no longer living.”

    Apple couldn’t have had the experience they’ve given without the control they’ve weilded. At the same time, there are some of us who have been around mobile long enough to know that fly-by-iOS/Android developers should know better and push harder. They can’t or won’t. And that’s probably the bigger handicap the iOS fun in mobile has caused. Developers are being led instead of doing the leading… nothing to great to expereince with that other than whatever the mobile/digi retailer allows (much like Walmart).

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Ah super insights Antoine!

  • Jerome

    Well everything you are requesting is already available on Android. You can have background services started automatically on certain events. You can have inter app communication so that the camera app can talk to the photo editing app and to all photo sharing apps. You can customize the UI, the lock screen etc. In fact my team has developed an app that automatically notify other users when I take a photo and automatically transfer it peer to peer, all in the background. And when you plug your phone the app starts automatically in screen saver mode. All using available Android APIs! So if Apple does not “open up” we will see Moore and more innovative apps that can only be developed on Android (winpho 7 is also restricted, even more than win mob). You should really give it a try Ewan, maybe on the galaxy 3 ?

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Jerome you are absolutely right — the big challenge I see at the moment is the fact Android is second in most mindsets at the moment. As you say the more development we see on that platform the better!

  • http://twitter.com/SimonAtWork Simon East

    As the founder of Cognima/ShoZu (thanks for the nice comments Ewan!) you might expect me to be against Apple’s silo approach too -  but I have some sympathy with Apple’s approach here.

    Symbian on the N95 did allow us to do all kinds of clever things – but if you had more than a couple of apps running in the background the phone would start running out of memory or clashing for resources.

    I think Apple is also very aware that lots of background apps will trash the battery life – and that people will blame them rather than the apps that are running.

    See also the Windows experience of everyone installing a widget in the task bar for no apparent reason at all.

    On restricing the APIs to UI widgets – well I agree that it makes it harder for app developers to customise standard functionality – but then it would make it much harder for them to keep updating the OS in a seemless way – and that is something that Apple have been peerless at so far.

  • http://www.marekfoss.org/ Marek Foss

    I dont get it – you seem to be a power user so why not just jailbreak your iPhone and get all these goodies you say you want ?

  • nacho

    It is very tempting to respond YES to the question the title, but it will be too simplistic and a tad unfair.   The first iPhone was retro in many ways, but Apple has come a long way since then. However, I’m yet to be converted to the iChurch. I’m all about Android and hoping WinMo and RIM can survive. An iWorld will be very sad indeed. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrispatten61 Chris Patten

    damn to break?
    Freudian Slip? Dam(n).

  • garethjames

    Because that is not the point. Just like rooting your Android device to get rid of or add something in is not the point. You never had to root a Symbian S60 Version 3.x device. And I would argue that no version of Symbian has ever needed to be rooted or jail broken.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    What he said!

  • http://twitter.com/nanilabaig Daniel Labaig

    Absolutely! Excelent piece, Ewan. You’ve put in words the diffuse feeling that keeps me away from iPhones and Androids and stuck with Nokia. Hope it doesn’t change with WP… :/

  • http://www.marekfoss.org/ Marek Foss

    I disagree. I could easily say that giving infinite amount of features and customisations out-of-the-box is not the point. If you look at any tech industry, computers, cars, home appliances – in each of them mass market products are firstly closed boxes which you can customise if you are a power user with either skills or money to hire a specialised person. It makes sense, because normal people don’t want to set things up, they just want it to work. Also, while the device is working, they shouldn’t accidentally change something important, which is bound to happen if there are a lot of customisable features in the device easily accessible.

    My point being here – it’s short-sighted to urge manufacturers to force pro-features on everyone, especially if you can easily root the device (seriously). Smartphones are still phones normal people use. Think OS X and Windows versus Linux, it’s like iOS and Android versus Symbian, in your case.

    And to answer the title question: i don’t think so. Many ideas that originated on a jailbreaked iOS made it into the original. Also, it’s trivial to pack the phone with awesome, “innovative” features. True innovation starts when the user experience of these features is bearable to normal people who don’t have time to dwell on them, they just have to work.

  • stewie325

    “Has Apple put mobile innovation back at least 10 years? ”

    Yes, if not more..
    The mobile phone industry has regressed into its current trend of ‘bland over-simplified UI comes first’, and will probably remain so for a long time. IMO, the public is to blame, as regular people are seemingly stupid enough to think anything without a big round button or square grid of ‘apps’ is TOO HARD to use (!!!)

    Imagine if people had the intelligence to learn how to operate a slightly more complex UI solution? Nah, that’s too hard. Let’s give them something idiot-proof and use a catchy name. “i” phone? More like “retard” phone.

    x_x

  • http://www.martinturner.org.uk Martin Turner

    You don’t seem to be using your iPhone to its full potential. If you have photo stream turned on, the iPhone uploads the pictures you take to the Cloud immediately, just like Shozu did. This is built into the standard camera app.

    On the main point, though, the iPhone was revolutionary when it came out, not because it did techy things better than the Nokia (it didn’t) but because it gave you a user experience like no other.

    Apple has never tried to encourage other manufacturers to follow its technological lead. In fact, it’s busy trying to sue people who it thinks have emulated it rather too closely. The reason everyone is trying to out-Apple Apple is because this is what the majority of customers want.

    The same was exactly the case with Blackberry. The Blackberry was intrinsically a less advanced device than the Palm Pilot. Instead of allowing you to gracefully write on the screen and select what you wanted with the stylus, it forced you to use a sub-miniature keyboard and painfully scroll backwards and forwards. However, it did one thing that the Palm Pilot didn’t: it synced seamlessly with Exchange servers, giving you your diary and email on the go. For a long time after the Blackberry came out, other manufacturers were trying to emulate that, not define a new generation of product.

    Let me question, though, why you think multi-tasking is ‘better’ in most cases than single-tasking. Noting Simon East’s points (below), multi-tasking always brings with it a price. As a 70s, 80s, 90s and on power user, there have always been things that technologists want, and believe the customer should have, even when there’s no real evidence that it meets a customer need. I remember running Desqview 286 with EMS memory to get me the multi-tasking I craved, whereas most of my colleagues couldn’t see the point. Even when they got Windows they task-switched rather than multi-tasked. It’s good to have some background features running, and Apple allows this, but unrestricted multi-tasking seems to me more something we think people should want than they actually want.

    Anyway, thought provoking article. Keep writing.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Martin, thank you for taking the time to comment!

    I do have Photo Stream turned on — that’s fine and I find it rather useful now and again — however I would like to be able to augment.

    In fact I think that’s probably what I should have focused on — augmentation. I’d like to be able to augment my mobile experience beyond the standard!

  • http://www.martinturner.org.uk Martin Turner

    It’s a fair point — if you love what your Apple app does, but want it to do more, then your options are limited.
    Change is in the air, though. There’s rumours that Apple is developing a new user-generated app system. More concretely, Filemaker Go 12, now free, means you can construct your own runtime apps and have them do an extraordinary array of things, without having to go through the App Store.

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  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    I will need to check that out!

  • Man

    They put back the industry so far back that the same industry cannot cope copying Apple fast enough.

  • ClockworkZombie

    Actually Symbian devices needed to be rooted or jailbroken or whatever you want to call it. Carriers in different parts of the world do not provide updates once the phone is released and you need to debrand and reinstall to get the later updates, this process can be just as painful as jail breaking an iPhone. Try getting the Nokia N8 Belle update in Australia. 

  • Rex

     It’s not about forcing pro features on end users. You could, for example, use an N95 without ever knowing what an app was and be content with the camera and GPS that were quite advanced and new for their time respectively.

    An N95 could accommodate a regular as well as a power user (seriously, to hear some of the detractors it’s as though the same identical grid of icons that Apple adopted requires rocket science to use on a Nokia!)

    An iPhone alienates the power user and even a casual customizer who’s not prepared to lose warranty by jailbreaking it.
    After looking at the iPhone/iPad for a few minutes, it just feels like a pretty toy.

    And Ewan is right – given the disproportional clout that Apple has in the mobile industry with half the US based tech sites worshipping everything they do, they are definitely swinging the industry towards closed, dummified, single tasking environments.

  • Rex

    I don’t think the two are related.
     Nokia’s problems can be summed up in 2 words: Stephen Elop.
    They could’ve come up with a strong open Linux based alternative in the form of Meego, with Qt as the bridge between the old Symbian and the new OS – but no, they’ve committed sepukku by getting into bed with Redmond.

  • http://www.AtlantSchmidt.com/ Atlant

    >  IMO, the public is to blame, as regular people are
    > seemingly stupid enough to think anything without
    > a big round button or square grid of ‘apps’ is
    > TOO HARD to use (!!!)
    >
    > Imagine if people had the intelligence to learn how to operate
    > a slightly more complex UI solution? Nah, that’s too hard.
    > Let’s give them something retard-proof and use a catchy
    > name. “i” phone? More like “idiot” phone.

    Generally, speaking, you *DON’T* win a marketing war by calling your (potential) customers “stupid” or “idiot(s)”. If the customers, in droves, stop buying your product and start buying the other guy’s product, there’s probably a reason. In the case of Symbian, there were at least a few:

    o Symbian, while wonderfully fully-featured for geeks, did *NOT* offer a well-integrated user experience. Even among the Nokia-provided apps, the UI was highly-variable, often requiring you to dive down many menu levels to do simple things. By comparison, you could (and people did) hand the iPhone to a child and those children could operate the device. You say this is because the iPhone is a phone for iDiots but in fact, it’s just elegant, holistic design, something no later-day Symbian/S60 version ever achieved.

    o When Nokia tried to graft a touchscreen onto S60, they broke the basic functionality of the phone. Not only was the initial implementation naive (by trying to do a cheap implementation that retained simply ported most of the D-Pad interface to the touchscreen), it was defective, leading to phones that no longer worked as phones. The N97 was the epitome of this age. By comparison, the iPhone functionality was implemented cleverly using its touchscreen from day one and the functionality, limited though it originally was, mostly worked.

    Nokia also chose poorly by in choosing to use resistive single-touch touchscreens; Apple’s use of a capacitive multi-touch touchscreen was far wiser; the moment you showed a user how to use pinch/unpinch zooming, they “got it” immediately. By comparison, Nokia tried a variety of touchscreen zoom/unoom approaches and none of them were even nearly as intuitive and they all wasted screen real-estate.

    o For all the talk about how easy it is to customize Symbian, Symbian’s ecosystem was rapidly overtaken by the Apple App Store. So the Apple apps are siloed from each other — so what? They still do nearly everything real users actually want them to do. The iPhone use cases match what 95% of the real users want to do.

    Why on Earth should/would people “learn to operate a “slightly more-complex UI” when a simpler UI suffices? The phone is meant to be a tool to be used not an intellectual puzzle to be solved.

    If you’re looking for where the stupidity lies, you might instead look to the PowerPoint Palace in Espoo: when the iPhone debuted, not only did Nokia’s leadership fail to understand the ramifications of what had just happened, they failed to react at all! The mobile phone world had shifted on its axes and they never realized it. So now we’ve reached the point where Nokia, as one analyst just put it, “is the dinosaur that stepped into a tar pit”.

  • ajck

    > ”Symbian on the N95 did allow us to do all kinds of clever things – but if you had more than a couple of apps running in the background the phone would start running out of memory or clashing for resources.”

    OK, but let’s not speak about that as if it were in any way related to today’s world. Symbian (Nokia) Belle is miles away from that experience, and I have seen testimony after testimony from people who upgraded their S^3 phones (N8 et al) to Belle and remarked how they no longer run out of memory ever, or slow down, and have more disk space etc. Even more so with Belle FP1 released the other day.

  • ajck

    ANDROID has also set back mobile innovation by at least X years (X being several, minimum).

    Technically it is very much a poor man’s Symbian, running on a virtual machine where Symbian hits the hardware directly, and thus Android wastes vast amounts of energy with that extra layer. It also doesn’t exploit GPUs (and I’ve heard multicores too) at all properly, whereas Symbian uses the GPU (market leading ones for each generation, incidentally) for everything it can.

    People don’t seem to realise there is actually a reason why you need an X.X Ghz CPU with Android to make it run at all usably and why the battery life lasts a day where a Symbian based Nokia N8 (for example) will give much the same performance with a 680Mhz CPU and offer 2.5 days of battery life, with smaller battery capacity too!

    Android is also slowly catching up with Symbian on featureset and quality of implementation.

    As someone who wants the biggest and best bang for my buck, I will keep on buying Symbian for as long as I can – the quality is simply unmatched, and the new 808 Pureview will be simply untouchable by anything else on the market (I’m considering the whole package not just the camera).

    Of course if you can’t live without the latest and greatest new apps every 5 minutes, then please, get an iPhone, or an Android.

  • ajck

    > Symbian … did *NOT* offer a well-integrated user experience.

    Glad to see you’ve used past tense. As we all know, this no longer applies, and Nokia (Symbian) Belle is more than a match for iPhone or Android on the user interface experience.

    Agreed with your other points, except for: “So now we’ve reached the point where Nokia, as one analyst just put it, “is the dinosaur that stepped into a tar pit”.”
    Agreed with respect to some of their senior management decisions – most notably the move to Windows Phone (which is clearly an ongoing failure that is embarrassing for both Microsoft and Nokia), but actually Elop has implemented some great efficiency measures in Nokia and cut out a lot of the dead wood, and on a separate note, you simply can NOT consider the entirety of the work of art and thing of beauty that the 808 Pureview is (OK, perhaps not the case shape! But the technical achievements are astounding) – I’m talking Pureview camera itself, Nokia Rich Recording, Symbian Belle and all the rest, and in the same breath refer to the organisation that created that as a “dinosaur in a tar pit”. That analyst has embarrassed themselves by not being more explicit.
    http://europe.nokia.com/pureview

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    This is a very good point!

  • http://twitter.com/SimonAtWork Simon East

    I’m sure the latest versions of Symbian are better at managing this stuff – but that is not really my point.

    Smartphones today have a lot more memory and processing power than an N95 for sure. But there are also a lot more interesting apps that might want to run in the background. So even if resources like RAM and CPU power are not as scarce as they used to be they are still finite – and battery life is definately still a very scarce resource on these devices.

    Getting back to Ewan’s original post – I guess my point is there are tradeoffs to be made in allowing lots of customisation and background tasks for power users against platform stability and battery life for normal users. So how about this question: would the iPhone have been as successful if they had taken a different view on that trade-off?

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  • Prasenjit Bist

     the best analysis in minimum words thanks Atlant, yes s60 5th edition and N97 damaged nokia’s credibility as a touch screen maker Nokia was always a great smartphone maker but most pundits now behave as if only a touch screen device is smartphone which is not the case Nokia invented and ruled smartphne world period.

    Instead of waiting for N97 and all fuck Nokia should have heavily promoted N900 and maemo and waited for symbian 3 rather than the crap s60 5th edition and when done moved symbian low end and already put maemo at high end.

    so the problems are:
    1. The shiit called s60 5th edition and N97
    2. lack of leadership in maemo strategy wat could have killed android and ioS there and then in 2009. N900 was always better than iPhone.

  • Prasenjit Bist

     S60 3rd edition was great problem was with s60 5th edition which brought an ugly touch experience, nokia’s crime is that they did not use maemo built for touch rather tried a phony called s60 5th edition to fool people and screw up themselves.

  • Gerhman

    Have you seen the Nokia 808 and Symbian Belle?

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Yes

  • garethjames

    You are talking about SIM locking. A practice that is, thankfully, illegal here in Finland. Secondly while I can only afford to buy a new phone once every 24-30 months, buy it is what I do. Outright. Direct from Nokia. Or off the shelf of a bricks and mortar store. Yes, Nokia’s customers are the MNOs. Well they were. Apple did an end run round them to give the customer the appearance that they are the just that. As far as I have read the MNOs and the way they are allowed to operate in Australia is the reason for the Belle update being rolled out so much later than it was in Europe. So while you are leaving Nokia for Apple it may be worth having a damn good rant at which ever part of the government down there over sees the running of the MNOs.

    Also, can you shed any light on the prompt availability, or not, of Android updates down there?

  • ClockworkZombie

    I am not talking about sim locking. If I want to unlock the sim I pay if I am still in contract and do not pay if I am out of contract. This is not an issue for me.

    I am talking about the carriers not allowing any firmware updates after they have sold you a phone. The carriers are not interested in improving your experience just selling you a new phone and Nokia lets them do it to the detriment of the brand.

    Apple are not interested in having another company ruin the user experience of its products which is why there are timely software updates whether you are in a contract or not. Compare this to Nokia who do not care whether I receive any updates or not.

    People in Australia that have purchased the Australian N8 direct from Nokia still cannot download the Belle updates you need to have imported a phone that gets them such as a British version. 

    Dealing with Nokia in Australia is like banging your head against a brick wall and I have decided to stop. I am glad you have a good experience a pity we in Australia do not.

  • Adam Duus-Boolsen

    The 808 might, just might, turn the tables.
    I realize it’s not a phone for everyone, but if it delivers a smooth experience overall, the extraordinary camera might just convince enough people to give Belle another chance. If so, Nokia still has time to consider a less pricey Belle alternative, and lure the app developers back…

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