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May 22, 2008 / Marco

Nokia and the Missing Nseries Features

If you own a high-end Nseries handset like the N95, the N82 or the old but much revered N73, its multimedia capabilities might have electrified you time and again. After all, Nseries devices are known for their fabulous cameras, stereo speakers and multi-tasking capabilities. With the debut of each Nseries handset, Nokia does a good job of raising the bar. For instance, take a look at the upcoming N78 specs. It has everything you might need: a 3.2MP camera, a 1200 battery, extended playback capabilities and, last but not least, an FM transmitter. The same can be applied to the upcoming N96 which would make many people happy with its expanded video recording capabilities.

As an Nseries fan, however, I think these aren’t enough to create a perfect handset. In other words, Nokia should also go beyond the so-called multimedia-specific features in order to be able to convince Windows Mobile and UIQ users to gravitate toward Nokia handsets in general and toward Nseries smartphones in particular. What are these features, you might ask. Let me explain a bit.

A good keyboard, please

I’d be happy if someone can solve this riddle: why hasn’t Nokia built a single Nseries handset with a standard keyboard so far? Put differently, what’s wrong with, say, an N82 with a side-mounted sliding keyboard? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean all Nseries handsets should have QWERTY keyboards – many individuals might not like such devices. However, with so many customers and with such a wide range of Nseries handsets, it would be a good idea to equip a few of them with such a keyboard. Now some Eseries handsets do have my desired keyboard, but the problem is that they are either expensive (like the E90), or they don’t have the features you might like to use upon selecting a handset. Even the E90 doesn’t give you dedicated music keys along with the best camera and a 3.5 mm audio jack despite its astounding price tag. Furthermore, many Windows Mobile handsets offer on-device keyboards, so Nokia should bridge the gap in this regard.

To sum up, I’d like to see a few Nseries handsets with standard keyboards in the future. It’s up to Nokia to come up with a good design for such devices, but I don’t think Nokia would face difficulty achieving this goal given its ample experience with Eseries smartphones.

Micro-USB charging

I don’t necessarily want this feature to avoid moving a charger around, but it would be handy to re-charge the battery whenever I connect my handset to the PC via the micro-USB cable. Imagine being able to re-charge your battery when you transfer music to your handset or when you start updating your firmware. Again, I don’t think Nokia should bend over backwards to implement micro-USB charging in its Nseries handsets because the market offers a good number of accessories which enable handsets to be re-charged this way.

On-device document editing

Do you think those who buy expensive Nseries handsets don’t need to edit or proofread documents? I know that it’s perfectly possible to purchase a Quickoffice license to make Nseries handsets capable of editing MS Word and Powerpoint documents, but who wouldn’t thank Nokia for offering a full-fledged copy of Quickoffice with Nseries handsets? I don’t think all Nseries handsets should offer this feature, but offering a few devices with built-in document editing would generate a good deal of awe and admiration in the community. Even giving away a Quickoffice copy similar to what can be found on the E90 is enough to improve the status quo. This makes a lot of sense if we see an Nseries handset with a QWERTY keyboard, and Nokia can use something like OfficeSuite apart from Quickoffice.

Enhanced audio recording

Without a third-party application like ALON Mp3 Dictaphone, my N82 fails to record audio files in MP3 format. What’s more, the WAV files it records have a ridiculously low bit rate. These are, I believe, Nokia’s faults because Nseries handsets are already capable of producing artistic video files with a perfect audio quality. Now why can’t the built-in sound recorder produce high-quality audio files? Nseries handsets should be designed with audiophiles in mind, too. On the other hand, why can’t Nseries handsets record beep-free conversations when an increasing number of call recorders can remove beeps? Finally, don’t you think the rather old N93 shouldn’t remain the only Nseries handset with two microphones?

To put it in a nutshell, I believe Nokia does a good job of catering to customers’ varied needs with its Nseries and Eseries handsets, but a lot more should be done to create feature-rich handsets if Nokia wants to gain more market share and force existing users to stop thinking about migrating to other mobile operating systems. The nice point is that Nokia has everything it needs to implement the aforementioned features.

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6 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Jonathan Mosen / May 23 2008 9:13 am

    Hi Amir, my big number 1 on this subject is this. The N-Series phones play Windows media content, so why on earth can’t it stream it! This is a huge limitation.

  2. Yusuf / May 23 2008 11:40 am

    A proper screen resolution would be my first want. QVGA 240 X 320 is just not good enough. No wonder I Keep my 352X416 N80 for so long!

  3. Amir / May 23 2008 4:15 pm

    Hi Jonathan, I missed this very important issue in my post. Have you found a solution to take care of this issue?

  4. Jonathan Mosen / May 25 2008 3:44 am

    Hi Amir, the only way I have found to circumvent the lack of Windows media streaming is to use Orb to transcode the streams. It works, but obviously requires you to be running Orb on a broad band connection at home.

  5. Pommobiel / Jun 5 2008 3:46 pm

    why not a good working voice to text appl. like nuance T9, integrating in Quickofice 5.0 and PFD Pro from mBrain!

  6. Amir / Jun 6 2008 1:09 am

    @Pommobiel:
    All good suggestions! At a more basic level, I’d like to see the inclusion of a simple text editor/navigator which would be capable of creating/editing TXT documents. That would be something like Notepad on MS Windows. Currently the Notes application can open TXT files but getting it to see TXT files is a pain and it offers no navigation/search support.

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