Feeds

HTC design cleans Nokia's clock

And Apple's too

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Get these three right, and you're punching

Three things plague Nokia's product design and development today. One is bureaucratic inertia - and this has been so well discussed here at El Reg and elsewhere, I'll not elaborate here. The other is the fit and finish of the software and services contains such rough edges and loose ends, you wonder if the product managers are on permanent sick leave. Again, this has been observed so many times in so many products, repetition is unnecessary.

But curing those won't save the day. The third issue is a stultifying blandness and conservatism. In the 1990s Nokia had the courage to bring some radical designs to market. Here's one you'll know:

From 1998, the Nokia 8810: the absence of 7,8,9,0,# and * keys didn't stop it being a runaway success

The Nokia 3210, which sold 160 million, received just as much attention to detail, and was the result of different disciplines coming together under that elusive magic that's great design.

Today very little differentiates one E series (Nokia's best traditional phones) device from another, and the four new Symbian^3s are only differentiated from each other, rather than from the competition. The design doesn't do them justice. Rather like the old Soviet Politburo, the goal is internal conformity, rather than exciting and surprising the punter.

This is particularly noticeable in the software design, with Ovi a prime candidate. Was it really necessary to spend so long designing an icon set that didn't offend anybody, when the user can't tell whether the icon opens a folder or an application? Nokia really prides itself on its global cultural savvy, and when you consider that it conquered the world from the base of a tiny home market, you can understand why. But the savvy counts for nothing if the design looks like Esperanto sounds. Nokia aspires to a uniform "design language" - but sometimes, that language sounds like Engrish.

.

Now if I knew the answer, I wouldn't be sitting here. But recognising the problem should be a priority for the new CEO. HTC has shown what you can do with applied design. It's quite scary. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
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.
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?
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.