All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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Old 25-03-2010, 01:39 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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The evolution of the smartphone: Who moved the goalposts?

Two years ago the Nokia N95 8GB was on top of the world, the N96 was the newest offshoot, the E61i was the best bet for the common man in the business world, and their 2.8" screens were deemed massive. And, the oddity of the E90 notwithstanding, we were happy. Weren't we? These phones did all we asked them to and the the world was good. And yet, less than 24 months later we find the smartphone world dominated by 4" screened, touch-only devices that bear little resemblance to the champions of 2008. Is it all the iPhone's fault, or is there more to the change? And where do smartphones go from here?

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 25-03-2010, 02:20 PM
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I think as usual Nokia have got it right with their future direction, touchscreens and touch + qwerty. Certainly larger screens will be seen across the board in all market segments - even the lowest end S40 with their small screens will continue to increase in size - just as all handsets grew in colour depth too. Non smart phones will continue to have keypad layout as will low end smartphones. medium and high end will be touch, or touch + qwerty. Xenon flash or something equivalent will inevitably make a comeback. Why? Because the current LED solution simply isn't in line with convergence, and is holding it back. There's a reason standalone digital cameras don't have LED flashes, and do have Xenons. Better quality TV out, e.g. HD level will arrive soon en masse.

One current failure point in media is there is no DivX-compatible media player for S60 5th edition, which is a bit of a shocker really. This clunky and unnecessary need for a media conversion process will not last much longer. I should be able to take a DivX encoded film (and I don't necessarily mean pirated though that is the current biggest source, but hopefully the media industries will embrace DivX more too, a DVD quality film for playback on a TV doesn't have to be 4.5GB, it can actually be 700MB with no noticeable quality loss as DivX has shown) and stick that DVD quality film on a microSD card with no conversion, and play it back via a TV out cable. CorePlayer on S60 (pre-5th edition) is almost there - it can just about cope, but we need official support in the OS.

iPhone was merely a kick up the behind for the mobile industry - the future is most definitely not pure touchscreen model, capacitive or not, though of course that will appeal to many.

We will see more awareness in hardware and software design of people using their handsets as CPUs for full size computing work, so UIs that scale to full size screens and so on. This is the inevitable evolution and convergence. The PC (/laptop) is dead, long live the PC! (which is why unless Microsoft have a major hit with Windows Phone 7 they are on the road to nowhere too).

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Old 25-03-2010, 03:03 PM
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I think as usual Nokia have got it right with their future direction, touchscreens and touch + qwerty. Certainly larger screens will be seen across the board in all market segments - even the lowest end S40 with their small screens will continue to increase in size - just as all handsets grew in colour depth too. Non smart phones will continue to have keypad layout as will low end smartphones. medium and high end will be touch, or touch + qwerty. Xenon flash or something equivalent will inevitably make a comeback. Why? Because the current LED solution simply isn't in line with convergence, and is holding it back. There's a reason standalone digital cameras don't have LED flashes, and do have Xenons. Better quality TV out, e.g. HD level will arrive soon en masse.

One current failure point in media is there is no DivX-compatible media player for S60 5th edition, which is a bit of a shocker really. This clunky and unnecessary need for a media conversion process will not last much longer. I should be able to take a DivX encoded film (and I don't necessarily mean pirated though that is the current biggest source, but hopefully the media industries will embrace DivX more too, a DVD quality film for playback on a TV doesn't have to be 4.5GB, it can actually be 700MB with no noticeable quality loss as DivX has shown) and stick that DVD quality film on a microSD card with no conversion, and play it back via a TV out cable. CorePlayer on S60 (pre-5th edition) is almost there - it can just about cope, but we need official support in the OS.

iPhone was merely a kick up the behind for the mobile industry - the future is most definitely not pure touchscreen model, capacitive or not, though of course that will appeal to many.

We will see more awareness in hardware and software design of people using their handsets as CPUs for full size computing work, so UIs that scale to full size screens and so on. This is the inevitable evolution and convergence. The PC (/laptop) is dead, long live the PC! (which is why unless Microsoft have a major hit with Windows Phone 7 they are on the road to nowhere too).
You expect all of this when? Surely not the next 3 to 5 years.

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Old 25-03-2010, 03:10 PM
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Touch is a fad.

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Old 25-03-2010, 03:14 PM
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Considering the evolution that we have seen in the smartphone (and otherwise) world in the last few years, the points put in by the 1st unregistered (yes Steve it would be better if everyone logs in ) do not seem unreasonable at all. All these seem very, very achievable.

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Old 25-03-2010, 03:19 PM
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One thing I would like to say - we keep saying if digital cameras have Xenon, then the Smartphones that claim convergence should have it too. But Smartphones have something that digital cameras dont (I dont mean the camcorders) - the video light. Tell me which digital camera can record a decent video in total darkness...

Score one up for the smartphones... yay!

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Old 25-03-2010, 03:28 PM
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Touch is a fad.
Really? Is this just really subtle sarcasm? It's like saying disk is a fad for computer storage, or CD is a fad for music, or the mouse is a fad for computer HID, or DVD is a fad for home video. Maybe you're a REALLY LONG TERM thinker and think anything right now is just a fad

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Old 25-03-2010, 03:40 PM
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Let's be honest about something - video isn't really a selling point for many smartphones manufacturers because there's no money to the end-supplier of video content providers. I don't see ppl willing to pay for portable video on the go, unless it's bundled with the home video equivalent of the same content, while at the same time making the hardware for portable video continues to be very expensive. So, without solving that gap, you'll never see premium video solutions break out of niche products - e.g. Samsung will probably be the only provider for Divx for a while, and Apple will NEVER license the iTunes business model out to 3rd parties, while Flash still seems like a fun novelty as ppl like Time Warner and Viacom start pulling OUT of streaming video. Can we talk more about the low hanging fruits in these type of articles?
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Old 25-03-2010, 03:50 PM
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In my opinion, growing popularity of texting on mobile device added to the fashion of phones becoming monstrous. I mean, even in 1999 sending SMS was much easier from Palm via IR of nokia phone using stylus. In 2003 it became even easier with 4inch Toshiba e800 with fullscreen SPB keyboard via bluetooth of nokia phone, some 6 years before Iphone.

  #10  
Old 25-03-2010, 04:25 PM
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This field is moving so quickly, at such a head-spinning rate, who knows where it is even two years from now.

Where I *think* it's headed is, smartphones will truly become portable computers/laptops. You'll carry the equivalent of an Intel core 2 duo processor on your hip, and when you actually need to sit down and do work, you'll go to your home or work dock, plug your smart phone in, the screen lights up with OSX or Windows (7/8/9....?) and you'll be computing away with gestures, like Tom Cruise in Spielberg's 'Minority Report'.

Like some else above me said, it's why Microsoft needed to re-enter this market and play to win. Smart phones will be one of the linchpins in the future of the PC.

With the technical specs of the HTC Evo, just recently announced, the smart phone is already about a year or two away from being as capable as a netbook. It's only a matter of a short time.

Specifically, I think Nokia realizes this, which is why we saw the N900; *that's* their future, not good but 'yesterday's' phones like the N86.

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Old 25-03-2010, 04:47 PM
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There's a general trend I see - and that's the widening of the type of devices. This is inevitable as phones beging to play a wider role.

Traditional - QWERTY - Touch only... with hybrid Touch + traditional and Touch + QWERTY being important too.

What I mean by this is we will still have traditional phones, and older style form factors, but we get new ones too. I too think hybrid devices will be most common. Keys+Touch (QWERTY likely being the biggest), but that could be disrupted by the emergence of some unknown technology and will vary geographically.

That widening of types of devices is translating is because device with SIMs in are playing a greater variety of roles. Phones + Smartphones + Connected Mobile Devices.

Incidentally, as post 1 mentioned, I think you can see this in the way Nokia has segmented their software strategy - Mobile Computers, Smartphone, Mobile Phones... of course it is not a simple clear cut boundary, but rather a continuum from one end to the other. What we're seeing now is both an evolution of smartphones (or rather an extension) and the emergence of a 'new' mobile computing space.

The only thing I would say is people tend to get carried away by the high end - just as they did with smartphones. Relatively speaking it is a pyramid in customer numbers. But what may be different is that both smartphone and mobile computers are being built on openness and therefore both can be fully exploited.... the smartphone, will have more numbers, and will therefore, for some time to come, represent a bigger market opportunity than the emergent mobile computer.
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Old 25-03-2010, 05:51 PM
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Form factor is dictated by function, plus technical limitations.

The numeric keypad was fine while it was only used for typing phone numbers and short texts. Email needed a Qwerty keyboard; the full web needed a larger screen. I suspect once it's possible to have a side-sliding Qwerty keyboard and still have the device no more than a centimetre thick then that will become the next standard for the top end devices.

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Old 25-03-2010, 06:15 PM
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No matter how cheap, small, connected and powerful your phone (computer) becomes, you are still the most important part of the human-computer experience.

In all honesty, it's this aspect of Nokia's future that seems, to me at least, to be their biggest weakness. I'm not suggesting for one minute that Nokia are alone in harbouring this weakness, practically all the large players, especially those who are involved in developing both hardware and software, are looking somewhat lost of late.

Note the recent performance of two companies that have shown that they have a good understanding of human-computer interaction, Nintendo and Apple.

Both companies have scored massive successes by focusing on humanity rather than technology. The DS, Wii, iPod and now iPhone are loved mostly because they require very little new understanding or specialised knowledge. Practically all the skills you need, you already know, they are part of your everyday life.
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Old 25-03-2010, 07:45 PM
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Touch screen !

@ widehead, 'touch screens are a fad' , could have been from the mouth of the record company exec, who thought The Beatles would never make it !! They are here to stay, for phones I think they will max out bellow 5 inch, for pocketability, but once pandora's box has been opened it cannot be closed, people love them , use them and won't give them up. I was very 'anti touchscreen' but having used an N97 for 8 months, I wouldn't go back, and wouldn't buy a phone without a large touch screen (and a physical qwerty !)
Just my two penneth

  #15  
Old 25-03-2010, 09:01 PM
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Article screen size.

Whatever about touchscreen, larger screens are not a fad. Much as I love my N82, the screen is tiny. You can browse the web using it, but it's not a pleasure to do so. The phone, which is far from a touch phone would still be considerably enhanced by having a larger screen, and a higher resolution.
 

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