“Flawed flagships and mediocre mid-tier mobiles”

All About Symbian is a website about, you guessed it, the Symbian mobile phone operating system. This devastating piece by Steve Litchfield looks at the flagship handsets running the OS and finds the lot of them lacking.

There are some pretty fundamental issues in the high end devices above, to be honest, some of which should have been caught by even a cursory examination by anyone with their head screwed on straight… it does rather seem as if Nokia and other Symbian partners have gone out of their way to shoot themselves in the foot, time after time – not one of the above is remotely close to being perfectly conceived (never mind implemented).

When your best friends say you’ve got a problem, you’ve really got a problem.

In other news, it appears that Apple is finally investigating the iOS 4 issues that render many iPhone 3G mobiles useless. Not only was the problem overlooked during testing – did they bother testing on the 3G? – but it’s taken more than a month for Apple to start investigating. That just isn’t good enough.

5 thoughts on ““Flawed flagships and mediocre mid-tier mobiles”

  1. Squander Two says:

    Far be it from me to be the resident Nokia defender, but I didn’t think that article was devastating, exactly. He makes the point that all Smartphones, Symbian or not, are problematic, and he seems very positive about the N8. And some of his criticisms I don’t think are right — like small screens, for instance. That’s an issue for someone like Apple who only make one phone: it’s either right for everyone or not. But no Nokia users are going to be pissed off by a too-small screen, because any who’ve bought a small-screened phone have chosen that over one of the large-screened Nokias.

    I like this from one of his commenters:

    Also, what the hell is this about Symbian not having a good UI? My E71 is pretty damn easy to use.

    Yeah, I think the latest Series 60 phones are a dream to use. Picking someone out of the address book and calling or texting them is absolutely perfectly designed these days.

    Not that Nokia don’t have problems, obviously. This is dead interesting. Short version: they’ve turned into a massive self-crippling bureaucracy.

    In my opinion, one of their biggest problems is the bizarre insistence on ring-fencing off their “business” phones and not marketing them at the masses. They never stopped making truly great E-series phones, and I don’t use mine while thinking “Oh dear, this is a bit too businessy for calling friends.” But for some reason they try to compete with the Iphone using their second-rate plasticky N-series things.

  2. Gary says:

    > he seems very positive about the N8

    He does, yeah. I think it’s a make or break handset. If it’s as good as it could be, it’s going to be a superb device.

    > one of their biggest problems is the bizarre insistence on ring-fencing off their “business” phones and not marketing them at the masses.

    Yes, definitely. I think the distinction between a business phone and a consumer phone is pretty arbitrary. Often it’s as simple as calling it a business phone because it has a shite media player :)

  3. Squander Two says:

    Just read the other day that Nokia were suffering from the classic business segmentation problem — “Battlin’ business units” as Scott Adams called it. Apparently, the N-Series team and the E-Series team were viewing each other as the competition. Explains a lot.

  4. gary says:

    Sounds entirely plausible to me.

    It’s interesting, over the last couple of days there has been loads of changes at board level and there’s a distinct whiff of dead wood being cleared. Right now I think nokia’s message is a bit muddled, but next year could be really interesting.

    Mobiles are fascinating right now, I think.

  5. Squander Two says:

    The N8 looks good, but the other brand new ones are getting lacklustre reviews — along the lines of “Why buy this instead of the N8?”. I can’t understand why they’re persisting with this Symbian S^3 thing when they’ve already said that they’re discontinuing Symbian next year. What’s the point of releasing a new OS for just a few months? If Meego’s the future and it’s based on Maemo, why not start getting users used to it by putting Maemo on everything till Meego’s launched? They’ve certainly established that a Maemo phone can work well: the N900 is absolutely superb — a genuine Iphone rival, had they only bothered marketing the thing.

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