16 questions to Rafe Blandford of

I first met Rafe, All About Symbian founder, at Swedish Beers in October and it was super to catch up with him today at Nokia World 2006 — especially as I can now remember who he is as I completely forgot that we’d met 😉

Right, let’s get to the first question:

1. What was your first mobile & network?
It was a Phillips pay as you go and I can’t remember any more — I can’t even remember what network it was on! I didn’t get a phone until quite late on — probably about 2000/1999 or thereabouts.

2. What’s your current mobile device strategy?
I always have lots of different mobiles for testing or to see what they are like. Although recently both the Nokia E61 and the Sony Ericsson M600 are working their way into my current affections on a regular basis. That said the E50’s a great can’t-be-arsed-to-carry-a-brick-smartphone-device.

3. And what network?
Orange and o2. But I am likely to change to one of the networks with unlimited data shortly?

4. What do you think of Three’s X-Series announcements — would you join them if they did a proper unlimited data plan?
I think what Three has done is not particularly unique in the technical detail but they have made a compelling consumer offering by bundling in a number of services. I’d be interested in getting an X-Series device once I have Three reception at home!

5. What’s your background?
I’m the head of All About Symbian which is the leading source for information on Symbian S60/UIQ phones. I started the site as a part time thing — it really began to take off as mobile devices became more sophisticated — it’s growing with that trend.

6. What’s your ringtone?
I’ve got no idea. I mean it’s whatever is on the device at the time really — I don’t get into the customisation thing, most of the time i have my devices on silent. I have themes and stuff, but I don’t really see the appeal of having my phone go off to the Bond theme tune. It’s in my jacket pocket. It vibrates. I answer it.

7. What’s the last thing you saw at the cinema?
Casino Royale. I’ve certainly got no problem with having a blonde Bond.

8. What’s the best Symbian mobile application you have ever seen?
I don’t think it’s possible to choose one ‘best application’ — the best thing is being able to add any application to your device — the ‘killer ap’ is being able to install third party applications to your phone.

9. What applications have you seen recently that caught your eye?
[Scrolls through his handset, ‘Can’t talk about that one….. or that one… or that one…] Hmm, he says. Any one of the GPS navigation applications. I think they’re impressive. We’ve seen sales of standalone GPS units skyrocket — why buy one of them when you can get just the same facility on your phone.

On a smaller scale: Oval Racer shows what can be done with games. Applications like Gmail and Widsets show what can be done with Java.

10. Most used feature of your handset?
Making phone calls. No, actually thinking about it, I probably use it more for browsing now.

11. Are you not getting nailed for your data costs?
Yeah. When I was in the hotel last night, I elected not to use my data because of the charges. In the conference today I’ve been using the wifi network — incidentally, I actually think having WiFi in the phone only makes sense for some customer segments. I generally only ever use WiFi when abroad (and at home).

12. How can you tolerate not using something like T-Mobile for unlimited data when you’re in the uK?
imple: It’s a combination of the inertia factor of switching and getting a signal in certain places.

13. So if T-Mobile PR phoned up tomorrow and offered to swap you to their best unlimited data plan, you’d say….
I’m always open to trying new things and product pitches — it’s part of what I do.

14. What’s the best site built for mobile that you’ve used recently?
With these third edition Symbian handsets, you’re not really limited to just mobile sites nowadays — but just as on the PC, I use Google a lot.

15. Pick three random blogs from your feedreader?
Well SMS Text News, OBVIOUSLY 😉

But I suppose that the others are alright too. For example, just naming a couple: MobHappy, the blogs and quite a few friends and family blogs.

16. How have you found the Nokia World 2006 conference?
It’s always a good opportunity to meet people face to face to hear about the latest trends and strategy — plus Amsterdam is a nice city to hold it in. I’ve had a super time.

Thanks very much, Rafe!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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