Nokia's Windows comeback: Great but what's next?
Lumia 800 arrived in the nick of time
Reviewer's Notebook Back in February, people muttered that Nokia's new CEO Stephen Elop was a Trojan Horse sent to destroy the company and deliver the remains of the chopped up cadaver to Microsoft. Those mutterings continue. But having used Nokia's new Windows phone (here's my review) it doesn't look quite like that. Microsoft's software has given Nokia a quick and vital competitive advantage.
If it feels strange reading that – imagine how strange it is writing it. Microsoft steps in to make Nokia competitive. Let's let that sink in for a moment.
Nokia loyalists in recent years have had to put up with a lot of grief, as the once promising Symbian OS was bound up in spaghetti code, mired in Nokia's bureaucracy and had custard pie thrown at it in the form of poorly written applications. Nokia never shipped a competitive email client with the S60, and made do with memory-guzzling and barely functional widgets for its social media story.
Windows Phone really excels at both. The Office functionality is better than anything cobbled together by QuickOffice. Photos and videos are handled as well or better than before. And the user interface is clean fast and functional.
Windows Phone is not only one of the most original pieces of design Microsoft has done – perhaps the best – it has executed it really well. This is a strong candidate for the best piece of technology Microsoft has ever produced. The platform also has an ace up its sleeve: the remarkable People application.
I'm most certainly not the target audience for a social networking-based app. Perhaps you're not either. Yet, even so, while writing the review, I found a lot of utility from a piece of software that united contacts with their recent communications with me.
I don't need to see all of someone's Facebook Wall; to be honest, I don't need to see any of it. But a record of SMSes and recent emails and prior meetings is useful when you're about to call them and catch up. There's huge value here if your online social networking is just the obligatory professional presence on LinkedIn. Or even if you don't use any social network at all.
No, this isn't an original idea and applications from Act! (24 years old this year) to SalesForce take the same idea and build on it. This is simply so well done, it's useful right away.
So all in all, you can't really see Mango as anything other than a huge step up.
So what now?
Next page: The Hard Sell
Fight for the right to have an N9
The "sheer novelty of having a nice smartphone with 'NOKIA' imprinted on it" came with the Nokia N9, which is a properly designed phone by Nokia's chief designer with "a coherent design story" and not a hack like the L800. Have Nokia UK take its finger off its botttom and ship you an N9, if they can't be bothered to supply all the UK buyers with a proper phone.
No gaudy colours? Check.
Proper Nokia reception, call quality, and battery life? Check.
OS design melding with the OS design? Check.
Outside of El Reg fora and their population of Linux enthusiasts (admittedly, I don't visit other IT related fora much), I have yet to hear anyone say anything AT ALL about Linux on phones. Just deal with it, Linux just isn't what *consumers* want, hell, even Android is seen by some as too techy.
Remember OpenMoko? Every Linux fanboi was so busy ejaculating in their pants and posting on every bloody forum they could get their hairy palms on about how great this will be, they forgot to buy the damn thing. And surprise surprise, it tanked.
A vocal minority does not a commercial success make, and Nokia seem to have finally realised this.
(Another flashback: Nokia N95 vs iPhone - oh, the geekdom was rolling on the floor with derisory laughter when the iPhone's spec sheet, about the length of my private member, was compared to the Nokia spec sheet, which was the length of a porn star's trouser Saturn V. Which one sold better, I wonder?)
Re: Must ... fight ... bias
I'm not buying one, either: judging from the Lumia 800 ads, I am completely the wrong demographic, ie. not a 20-something party animal living in the big city for the first time. Ditto most of the folk here, I suspect.