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Thursday, 17 February 2011

Nokia: no comment

I used to like Nokia phones.  Actually I still do, because even though I am a sucker for a new gadget, I usually just want a mobile phone to do two things: make calls and take calls.  Texting is a bonus, as are diaries, cameras, GPS and web browsing. In fact they are a malus because they suck battery power, and I dont really need them. Oh, and I like a phone to have a clock on the ront (I think they all do), because I haven't worn a watch for the last 20 years.

Which is sort of why I liked Nokia phones, neat simple, didn't break etc, and which is why our family has had nearly a dozen of them over the years.  But causes of the recent gnashing of teeth from the Intel CEO and the tie up with Microsoft should have been obvious to all for many years.  Nearly twenty years ago we were all pleasantly surprised when a tech company from Finland seemed to be one of the most innovative and dynamic companies in the world.  Now it seems they are having a combination of midlife-crisis, menopause and stroke.

My first disillusionment came a few years ago when I was offered an upgrade to some glizy all-singing, all-dancing phone, which I took home and loaded up with all my contacts (I have many many thousands, some of whom are quite likely dead).  The phone had the capacity to store them all, but ground to a halt, so back to the shop it went for a lower grade phone that I still have.  I can't get all my contacts on it, but who needs to call the dead anyway.

But worse bloatware was to come with Nokia's Ovi Suite, which I never really understood.  This is the single most annoyingly bad piece of software there ever was. I really dislike bits of software that think they own the real estate that is my computer.  You know the ones, that launch applications when you boot up to monitor whether they need to download updates, or more annoyingly updates to the updating software (take a bow, Adobe).

But worse than those are the programs that grab large chunks of memory and just sit there.  Ovi suite (NokiaMServer) was the worst of those, grabbing up to 300Mb and hanging around with nothing to do like an unemployed teenager on a sink estate. 300Mb?  To sync with a phone?  That's half a CD's worth of data, what on earth does it need that for and why did nobody at Nokia do anything about it?

Simple fact is that to survive in the mobile phone (read consumer electronics) you have to move fast and be lean and mean, because the market (not me) buys the phones with the biggest and best features.  Nokia lost "lean and mean" years ago.

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