Why do I enjoy using Nokia S60 devices and what could Nokia do better?
If you read through my introduction post you will know a bit about my device history and why I wanted to kick off this site. I was recently asked what appeals to me with S60 and put together a rather lengthy email response that I decided I should share with you all too so you know more about my perspective and thinking on S60 and Nokia devices. So after adding a bit more commentary here are some of my thoughts around the S60 platform.
First, here are several reasons I enjoy Nokia S60 devices (in no particular order of importance), especially the Eseries and Nseries:
(1) Outstanding RF reception: On just about every Nokia S60 device I have tried in the last few years I have never had a dropped call and always see the best signal strength when compared to my other operating system devices.)
(2) Outsanding phone call quality: Calls always sound crisp and clear on my Nokia devices.
(3) Rock solid hardware: Nokia can make some slick devices with my E71 serving as a perfect example of phone that is tough to put down with its sleek metal design and construction. Did you see Rafe’s article where his went through the water for about 10 minutes and still works like a champ? I also have a solid Nokia N85 that improves on the N95 quality. Now, this being said, there are a few S60 devices that have issues and I have to think many of the issues are manufacturing related rather than designed to have issues. In today’s mobile market Nokia needs to keep up on quality control to keep their name in good standing for quality devices.
(4) Media creation: I don’t think there is a mobile OS today that can match the still and digital photo capturing capabilities of the Nseries devices.
(5) Integrated and 3rd party apps: In this area S60 is much like Windows Mobile with some great integrated utilities (Podcasting, QuickOffice, and Nokia Maps come to mind) and a huge developer community with awesome applications. BTW, the default S60 web browser is a very good default browser, especially the visual history. RoadSync is also a must have for Exchange syncing.
(6) VoIP support: When traveling overseas it sure has been handy to use VoIP services from my phone to call home. Nokia is the leader in supporting VoIP on handsets.
(7) Choice in form factors: Again, like WM, Nokia lets you choose a device in candy bar, QWERTY, slider, flip, etc. form factors so there isn’t a one-design-fits all mentality.
(8) Stable operating system: I load a TON of 3rd party applications on my S60 devices and after using about 10 different models over the last 6 months I can honestly say that I have not had my devices reset on my even once! There is no reset button that I know of on S60 and if you do have an issue you pop out the battery. The thing is, even for a power user like myself, the dang OS just works without me worry about a reset or failure during a call.
(9) Services: Nokia has some great services (Nokia Maps, Nokia Email, & Share Online for example) with even more coming soon. Like what we will see from Microsoft soon, services integrated into the OS and handset can be what sets devices and companies apart in the future and gives users a connected experience.
(10) OTA updates: Nokia’s latest devices support OTA firmware updates and these work like a champ without even erasing any of your data. These also work across the carriers, but still have issues with regions at times.
(11) Customization: I LOVE the fact that I can completely control and customize my menu folder structure and application shortcuts. This gives me the ability to optimize my menu system to my own personal tastes and I can’t believe I forgot to put this one in here in the first place. BlackBerry and Android also gives you this kind of folder management, but forget it with the iPhone and Windows Mobile. I can also customize themes and background images with my S60 devices and really personalize the device.
Now, I think every OS has its issues too and here are some things that bug me about Nokia and S60:
(1) PIM apps suck: Sorry to be so blunt here, but Nokia needs major work on the Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks programs. The E71 has a better calendar, but they really need to come out with something better soon.
(2) Current email and messaging client: The new Nokia Email service is nice and looks/works great, but the default Messaging application looks horrible and just barely gets the job done. Nokia also needs to implement threaded text messaging NOW so I can keep track of what my teen daughters are saying to me when they are out and about.
(3) Application storefront: Nokia’s Download utility is lame and inconsistent from device to device and from region to region. Why can’t the leader in smartphones come out with an amazing on-device application store? Let’s hope there is an Ovi Store or something coming this year from Nokia.
(4) Embracing social media: This one is really in the court of 3rd party developers, but with Nokia’s focus on their devices connecting people I think Nokia may have some influence here. With Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites taking off in popularity why can’t we have really good Twitter and Facebook applications for S60 on the devices? The iPhone is only 18 months old and there are something like 10 different Twitter applications.