Posts Tagged 'smartphone'

It’s raining men

Started another army reserve duty this week, and I have to ‘thank’ technology for keeping me updated with the world. My DELL XPS and Cellcom HSPA USB Modem are keeping me connected about once a day, with quick ‘refresh’ intervals on my Nokia N95 – I have both my private and work email, as well as twitter, all hooked up in a single device. I’ve written before why the N95 is one of the best smart-phones available today, even without the touchscreen.. still holds.

In any case, I have lots of stuff to do, and little time to complete them, so I’ll leave you with this Geri Halliwell song – fits the current weather conditions we’re experiencing here. Enjoy!

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Nokia N97 Review: Big leap, small step

Feedback is an important part of any learning, in both personal and business life. I have a serious problem with people who think they are perfect and have nothing to learn from others – that’s a red flag. And if you ever gave or received feedback, you know the 2 basic rules:

  • Start with the positive, to ‘break the ice’, and then go negative (up to 2 points in each)
  • Say something new – don’t ‘strengthen’, ’emphasis’ or ‘agree’ with points already mentioned.

I do hope some folks over at Finland are reading the reviews and taking notes. Regardless of all the people around me carrying an iPhone – I’m a Nokia lover deep down. The Nokia N97 has been with me for 3 weeks now, and now it’s time for my official review, which I’ll open with the bottom line:


  • Great multimedia phone (audio, video and online), with superior technical specs
  • Intuitive Nokia UI wrapped in a very cool package.


  • Resistive touchscreen is a mistake. Multi-touch rules and resistive fits the ‘Palm Pilot’ era, not 2009
  • I can do without the QWERTY keyboard. iPhone killers don’t need a physical keyboard.

Nokia, much like the rest of the mobile world, was rudely awakened by Apple’s iPhone (can you believe it’s only 2.5 years old?). The idea of a phone with only a touchscreen and no keyboard was revolutionary and innovative, and kicked Nokia/LG/SE/Samsung where it hurts: the bottom line. So Nokia was forced to answer, thus came the 5800, which didn’t even tickle the iPhone but gave the Finns some breathing room to design the proper adversary – N-Series Touch.

Someone at Nokia took a bold decision by introducing the first QWERTY keyboard into the N-Series, and for me at least – it’s not working and I would boldly state even un-necessary.
The side-sliding keyboard is very roomy (unlike the E71’s), but sports only 3 rows of keys, along with a left-mounted Nav-Key which acts like a mouse. After 3 weeks of usage, it’s still not intuitive for me, and Nokia is usually very intuitive in other stuff (Menu, UI, etc). The ‘spacebar’ is located to the right of the ‘M’, and all punctuation marks require ‘Shift+x’ to operate. But wait, why put a keyboard in an iPhone killer to begin with?! Even in the 5800 you get an on-screen QWERTY keyboard when tilting the phone into landscape – so why not adopt it at the N97 as well?
On the bright side, this 150gr device packs some serious specs, looking the iPhone in the eyes, with some advantages even: 3.5″ resistive touch screen with 16.7m colors, 640×360 resolution, oreintation sensor, internal compass, 434MHz ARM CPU with 32GB internal memory and microSD support of additional 16GB, BT 2.0 with EDR, 3.5mm headphone, microUSB for charging and PC connectivity, 5MP Carl-Zeiss lens with dual LED flash and auto-focus, 30fps video quality, A-GPS, FM reciever (with RDS) and transmitter and much more.
The N97 has nothing to be ashamed in, and although it shares the same optics as the N95 – pictures and videos are amazing, day or night. Storage is virtually unlimited, with the 32GB in-house and infinite (in mobile terms) when adding microSD card. Casing may look fragile, especially the side-sliding keyboard, but it’s solid enough, and even ‘survived’ a 1m fall (by accident), straight on its screen. My only feedback is aimed at the CPU – it struggles under pressure and even with just 2-4 apps running in the background, response time is slow, slower than the N95 and definitely than the 3G/3Gs.


Similar to the keyboard, I fail to see the logic behind the decision to go with resistive and not capatitive touchscreen (like the iPhone has). Nokia’s reason of appealing to the Asian market that prefers handwriting recognition to keyboards is understandable but somewhat un-clear, especially when iPhones grab #1 and #2 in a recent Smartphones best sellers survey in Japan. The 3 impacts of using resistive on the N97 are: a) no multi-touch feature, like using 2 fingers to zoom-in/out; b) the screen ‘responds’ with a feedback to your touch; c) some menus will work with a single click – like launching an app from the Apps folder, while other menus need double-click – like picking ‘Inbox’ from your Messages folder.

Software and OS
This N97 has the first Symbian S60V5 Touch OS, and Nokia are trying to do what worked so well for Apple and its iPhone: building a developers’ community that will enhance the phone. OVi now comes built-in and there are some nice free apps there, and you can also share any content you have in your OVi place. Building such community is a MUST for Nokia, as the iPhone’s massive success should be greatly attributed to Apple’s App Store and its 65,000 applications.
For Nokia’s sake, I only hope this rumor isn’t true.

The N97 is a big leap for Nokia, but a small step compared to the mobile scene and the market’s expectations of the device. I can only hope Nokia will accept my feedback, because I believe the N98 can lead the pack, instead of merely joining it.

All screenshots are from my own device, the N97 White Keyboard shot is from All screenshots are available at this facebook album.

I recieved the Nokia N97 for 1 month, as part of N97UnboxingNokia Israel campaign. I was under no obligation to post anything regarding the device and all the content I created and uploaded was my decision only. Nokia Israel are not paying me in any way and the device I got will be returned to Nokia Israel.

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Palm to big for your palm?! and Google goes offline

I Read yesterday Palm’s latest announcement, of Palm Foleo, a new appliance, which is basically a very small factor laptop, 1.3 Kg (2.5 Pound), with a 10-inch screen.
The Foleo serves as an external display, with larger keyboard, and syncs instantly with smart phones using Bluetooth technology. An update made in your smart phone will instantly appear on Foleo, and vise-versa (giving both products are in Bluetooth range). Why? because ‘sometimes you need a bigger screen’, according to Jeff Hawkins, Palm’s founder. Will that reason suffice? not sure. In my opinion Palm are taking a big (and costly) step in entering a flooded laptop market, with a product that is inferior to most others, and only advantage being its ability to ‘always sync’ to smart phones.
In an era when everyone are seeking smaller, faster, do-it-all gadgets (like Nokia N95), I’m not sure if adding a 2nd product to a person’s bag is really the correct way… Even now people are trying to minimize the amount of gadgets they carry: mobile phone already serves as a camera, email client, mp3, calendar and address book, GPS and more.. so why go against the trend? And you have to carry both products, your smartphone and the Foleo in order to enjoy the benefits they offer..
If Palm would offer their always-sync technology as a 3rd party software, that would be interesting – and an interesting way to expand your market, with current products, but new technologies.

Google goes offline
Imagine reading your rss feeds in reader, checking your Gmail and editing a Google Docs document – offline. No internet connection needed… This is cool. In an on-going trend of making software as a service (SaaS), that requires an internet connection, the next logical step is making SaaS-O (Software as a Service – offline).
Google Gears should do just that. Announced today, Gears is still in Beta and an Open Source application that allows the community to do some testing and mock-ups, while improving its abilities to accommodate their needs.
If you plan on testing this new application, pay close attention to the install instructions..

Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at]



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.