Feeds

Nokia's Bluetooth CDMA phone draws iPod comparisons

Bland is back

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Nokia used the CTIA show last month to unveil a phone that's drawn comparisons to the iPod. The analogy can't be stretched too far, but it's a good one: after throwing all kinds of outré designs at the market, Nokia has produced a model startling in its banality. But this might be just what the company needs right now.

Much of the jittery reaction to Nokia's announcements is due to concerns about its competitiveness against low cost rivals. It's justified, as Asian manufacturers have a record of bringing cheap consumer technology to market and it's fuelled by the focus group belief that all people really want to do with phones is make phone calls. But as text messaging shows, if you put something will real value into people's hands, they'll find a use for it in spite of a forbidding user interface and expense.

Nokia actually pointed to a weak mid-range for its handset slip this week, and some of the company's most impressive handsets are at the low end rather than the high end open platforms we write about at El Reg. For example the 3200, a phone that allows people to print off their own cover designs, has a camera and an FM radio, and is currently being offered for free to new customers on the US networks.

Nokia's 6255 is a flip phone, which the company has been reluctant to bring to market, works on CDMA networks and is due to ship by in the final quarter of the year. It also has a VGA camera, MP3 player with removable storage for MMC cards, and a radio, and will be Nokia's first CDMA phone to feature Bluetooth. "It's not boring, it's beautiful," reckons Russell Beattie, who made the iPod comparison. Mobile Burn has a more information here. Boring it certainly is, differentiated from any number of steel trim Motorola or Samsung clamshells by a blue faceplate. Nokia has had a number of design accidents recently: 'sidetalking' being the most notorious. Add to that the 7700, a "media phone" with no conceivable purpose except to remind us what the aborted CX communicator could have looked like. And small annoyances too. We found the keypad to the 6600 to be fiddly: making texting difficult. Even worse is the flagship Series 60 consumer phone, the 7610, which gives great prominence to the 'Pencil' key - which is used far less than the Menu key, the most important key on the device and awkwardly to reach. By contrast, the 6255 is playing it very safe.

It would be a pity if Nokia, one of the few companies that take design experiments, were to succumb to the lowest common denominator. There's a fascinating discussion on why manufacturers lose their nerve marketing to the US market that follows a John C Dvorak column in which he asks, "Are we the dullest people on earth, or what?" Hopefully Nokia still has some much more interesting designs up its sleeve. We can live with the odd horror. ®

Related stories

Nokia blip prompts class action suit
Nokia to fix sidetalking, swapping with Son of N-Gage
Nokia's 7700 media device - first shot in the PDA wars?
Smartphone wars over, Symbian and MS both lost?
UI wars tore Symbian apart Nokia
Late-starting US pulls ahead in phone tech?

Related reviews

Nokia 6600 smart phone
Nokia N-Gage

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.