Here is why I am a Nokia fanboy and will always be one

Here is why I am a Nokia fanboy and will always be one

As you know I wrote up my Nokia World 2010 closing thoughts on Nokia Experts and also posted thoughts on the lack of any effect of NW 2010 on the US market and have to admit I was a bit cynical in those posts. I am an admittedly a Nokia fanboy, why else would I run this site?, and was caught up in the joy of awesome hardware last week at Nokia World while hearing little talk about the US market. I had some time to stew over this a bit and wrote these posts last night while fighting off a nasty cold that is overtaking me after returning from my trip to England. On the advice of a friend, Ricky Cadden, I went back through some of my posts here on Nokia Experts and realized I will always be a Nokia fanboy and I cannot be too harsh on Nokia when it comes to the US because honestly it is quite a bit different than other markets and I will give them more time to figure it out.

CDMA and multiple WCDMA frequencies

At first I was going to let Nokia off the hook by agreeing that the CDMA vs GSM and multiple frequencies used by US carriers is a good excuse to skip the US market. Then I realized that HTC, Samsung, RIM, and others have been able to make devices for all of these carriers so there really is no excuse for Nokia not to spend some money and work hard with US wireless carriers to get their devices out into Americans hands. Surprisingly Nokia is doing well supporting the add AWS (1700 MHz) frequency of T-Mobile USA, but T-Mobile is also one of the best carriers for Nokia with limited crapware installation and excellent data and voice pricing plans.

You might be thinking that Nokia will have a better chance when LTE is rolled out, but I believe we will see the same multiple frequency issue even if every carrier will then have SIM cards. To have an impact in America, Nokia will have to work with the carriers to offer subsidized devices or they will always be a niche player with devices only bought by those of us astute enough to understand the power of a Nokia smartphone.

Nokia works with media and bloggers

I have some good carrier relationships with Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile along with relationships with HTC so I have the chance to try out quite a few devices for ZDNet reviews. That said, I have never had any better relationship than with Nokia who sometimes lets writers use their devices for long term loans so that more complete coverage can be provided. In the days when the Nokia Nseries Blogger Relations program was up and running there was no one that could stand up to the way Nokia allowed us to check out early devices and provide honest feedback, both positive and negative.

Best flexibility for the consumer

You can regularly read about why I think consumers should honestly consider buying SIM unlocked devices as it offers you the most flexibility when it comes to contracts, pricing plans, and upgrade options, but the US consumer just doesn’t get it yet. This is actually a bit strange since people paid $599+ for the first generation iPhone that could barely be considered a smartphone with all the limitations it had and now these same consumers squawk at the low $549 price of the N8 that blows most other smartphone out of the water and is contract free. I don’t think I will ever change too many minds on this and doubt the US buyers will ever see the light since it is the monthly costs that rule and not the initial phone cost.

Familiar OS is not a bad thing

So many in the US media write that the Symbian OS is old and tired and I chalk this up to the fact that they simply do not understand it and are unfamiliar with it. As I wrote about before the S60 UI is not that different than other mobile operating systems and is familiar to millions around the world. Symbian^3 takes that to the next level with a slick UI and aspects of the very familiar S60 all in one device. I don’t think Nokia needs to be revolutionary with the UI on Symbian and can leave that to the MeeGo platform where the enthusiasts will push the limits.

Good and bad devices

We read a lot about the failed Nokia N97 flagship, but as I go back and look at some of my many posts on this device it actually performed quite well for the most part and is not so much of a failure as we seem to remember. I know that Nokia has had devices with issues, but which manufacturer hasn’t? The first couple of iPhones may have had pretty UIs, but honestly they were pretty lame smartphones. Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, and others have all had devices with checkered pasts. Let’s not forget the great devices though, such as the N82, N95, N86 8MP, N900, and E71/E72/E73. I think everyone is going to be quite happy with the upcoming first generation Symbian^3 devices and if this is any indication of the future then we will be even happier with future Symbian devices.

Nokia cares about the world

Those who know me personally know that I am a fairly conservative person, but I still care deeply for our planet and as a Christian I care for the people on this planet. Nokia truly does as well and reaches and enables people across the globe with their devices and services. I know this means very little to many people, but it touches my heart and encourages me to know I am writing about a company that is making things better in this world and leaving the planet in good shape for my daughters and future grandchildren.

The people of Nokia

I have met some of the greatest people in the world through my coverage of Nokia devices, from the Nokia social media and communications teams of Molly, Joe, Mark and Ray, fellow bloggers and writers like Rafe, Ricky, and Phil, Nseries Blogger Relations team of Andy and Danielle, and so many others that I would not have had the pleasure of knowing unless I was writing about Nokia. Our lives are enriched by the people we meet and I couldn’t be happier with the group of people, most who I now call friends, I have met through Nokia.

Nokia made some major changes in leadership and followin the fiery keynote at Nokia World I think there is going to be some shaking up at the company that results in a bright future for Nokia.

Frustrations and joys of being an American Nokia fan

As you can tell when I write about my life with Nokia here on Nokia Experts life can be good and bad as a Nokia fanboy. One of the benefits of using Nokia high end smartphones in the US is that you are actually part of a fairly small community so you and your device stand out from the millions of Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices. Other positives about being a fan of Nokia in the US include no contract plans, ability to tether at no cost, freedom to upgrade when you want (thanks in large part to Craigslist), very few (if any) dropped calls with the best RF reception around, FAST HSPA downloads (the N900 is a screamer on T-Mobile), and outstanding free Ovi Maps functionality. Some of the negatives are limited support for problematic devices (thankfully I have not have experienced this with units I purchased), lack of subsidization for the intial cost, lack of support for some Ovi services (like Ovi Music), and lack of respect from the US smartphone media.

I may be one of the harshest critics of Nokia at times, but that is because I know they can do better and sometimes they frustrate the heck out of me. I can also be one of their biggest cheerleaders and hope that the people of Nokia understand where I am coming from.

Overall, I enjoy being a Nokia fan in the USA and appreciate all of you awesome readers coming here to encourage me when I am down, keeping me honest when I am too enthusiastic, and interacting with me as I continue to pursue my passion and spread the word about Nokia smartphones in the USA.

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23 Comments to Here is why I am a Nokia fanboy and will always be one

eserrano250
September 21, 2010

well written…i couldn’t agree with you more..i would love to see Nokia more involved in the US but for now we will enjoy our unlocked phones…

Antoine RJ Wright
September 21, 2010

I like this (and the previous) piece you’ve written. And at the same time, I’m not a frustrated Nokia/Symbian user here in the US. I’m actually pretty happy. I’ve been using my N97 as a literal laptop replacement since I purchased it in Summer 2009. There’s still nothing available that does this type of mobility as efficiently.

And like you’ve I’ve had the benefit of reviewing/owning several mobile devices. I’ve got solid relationships with many carriers and manufacturers. But, what stays in my pocket is a Symbian device, and usually my N97 is that device. Are there aspects that other devices do better you bet. But, as a whole, Symbian still fits better for a mobile phone then computer than many of these other devices.

I’d not call myself a fanboy. I could care less if this or any platform stays working the way I want it. Things happen where platforms rise and fall in their relevance to us personally. The key is always to find what it is you need to do, and just do it. If your device or platform of choice can’t do it, move to what works best and deal with the other compromises.

Its healthy to express our discontent in what’s not more popular or better for us. But you know, having the ability to speak intelligently about the entire mobile market, and especially why you prefer one platform or device over another is the kind of maturity that’s missing in a lot of mobile commentary. People might not comment or hand-clap you often for it, but maturity is certainly the better long term win than constantly switching to the opinion of the month.

Tim
September 21, 2010

I know how you feel Matt about being a Nokia fanboy in the US…. Nice post, I really enjoyed reading this. I’m hoping that with all the pentaband phones Nokia is putting out that T-Mobile (my carrier :-) ) will pick up at least one! It would be nice to finally buy a nokia smartphone at a subsidized price. I currently own a 5530 XM, but I’m not sure where to go next. I’m torn between the C7 and the C6-01. I always wanted Nokia to bring out a touchscreen phone based on the E71 form factor and the C7 is the closest thing to it…. I hope one of those 2 will be out before Thanksgiving.

Rafael
September 21, 2010

I’m a Nokia Fan too, and my reasons are my own. One of the major perks, is not having a phone that everyone else has, lol. I don’t pick my phone based on what the media tells me; instead I pick what’s right for me. Apple is too restrictive to their services, android is too intrusive with it’s google services, and windows mobile just another juggernaut os for the masses from microsoft. Symbian on the other hand, takes a different route all together, and offers the right mix of what I use from the other companies while remaining to my own liking =).

Clinton Jeff
September 21, 2010

Great Write-up there Matt! And it’s true, there’s no beating Nokia’s blogger relations. More brands can learn from them.

Omagus
September 22, 2010

As a fellow US Nokia fan, I can relate to everything you say here. I do find it a bit amusing that you were prompted to write this after speaking to Ricky Cadden, who left dumped Symbian for Android.

Plinio S Filho
September 22, 2010

First I’m not American, I live in Brazil, so don’t expect a perfect English, I’m a user of Nokia devices for a very long time. I agree with your points, Nokia offer us a total independence from the carriers, it’s very easy to make bad critics, but I would ask you :was BB OS5 revolutionary ? is BB OS6 revolutionary ? I have a bold 9000 and although it has good features its memory and battery management are so terrible, it requires a daily reset, my Nokia E61i doesn’t require that, it’s old, reliable and has a big keyboard. So every company/product has advantages and disadvantages, you must choose the one that will offer the features you need to do your job. I’m planing to buy a N8 just to have a device faster than the one I have now. If runs the Profimail e-mail software I’ll have all I need. I think that the Americans are wasting a good change to buy a excellent phone, 5 wcdma band, 4 GSM bands, what else, unlocked !

Eric
September 22, 2010

I couldn’t agree more. I think Nokia is TOTALLY miss understood and under rated here in the U.S. Keep up the great work and reporting. It helps me know I am not alone in my feelings about Nokia.

Briggs
September 22, 2010

I want to be a Nokia fanboy so much. The hardware always draws me in drooling, but when it comes down to it, I use a lot of google services, and for that reason alone, I had to go with Android. I was mere seconds from ordering an N900, but at the time, there was no Google Voice integration, and that pretty much made the decision for me. In a perfect world (sorry for blaspheming)I would have Nokia hardware running Android. I don’t necessarily think android is better, but for my personal use, it’s just the logical choice. Sigh… oh well, I just need to make more money, so i can own both.

Dustin
September 22, 2010

This is a well put together artical, but I understand where the other articals were coming from. Due to that fact that I’m in Canada all your pervious points about the lack of love from Nokia ring very true. Your first point about the radios wont stand in Canada because we use the same radios as most european countries. I’m a new Nokia fan after I got to use a Nokia N900 and N97 mini, but the resistive touch screen was really holding me back from getting my own. When I saw these new devices I was excited and rushed to Pre-Order. Sadly no, I’m Canadian and I will never know the love of a new Nokia device. I was even planning a trip to the Chicago store, but found out that its closing at the end of the month. Pretty much what I’m getting at is your previous posts about Nokia and it’s not-so-US business made sence and I think really reflect the feeling among the North American Nokia Community, even if you a Fanboy like any relationship it has its ups and downs. But believe me its WAY worse in Canada.

greenteeth
September 22, 2010

“I do find it a bit amusing that you were prompted to write this after speaking to Ricky Cadden, who left dumped Symbian for Android.”

Awesome! I love how the Nokia fanboys/bloggers/ex-bloggers have turned to other devices as primary. Ricky and Guim use a Nexus One. And are you using the EVO as primary?

steve forbes
September 22, 2010

I am a longtime user as well, but the mounting frustration at the lack of services – I use Google and can’t be locked to OVI, as it’s terrible and I want to use the same service on all my devices, I have a Palm Pre too. Still no proper support for the n900, STILL no support for OVI for Mac (after promising it three years ago). Decent hardware is no longer good enough. I have also had an N8 for the last week after the Dev conference and I am not at all impressed, it’s very disappointing.

Madhu Eadara
September 22, 2010

I totally agree.

phreaknes
September 22, 2010

I’m an American Nokia user but travel internationally alot and I couldn’t see using any other phone but a Nokia. I had a 6230 that came out of a small plane crash in China better than I did. I now have an N95-1 and its been a tool that is always near me. Nokia has done me well. Though I’m disappointed in the recent developments in the shipping delays with the N8, I will continue to live with my N95 and wait for my N8

Great article but I wish there was a way of work with Nokia to spread the gospel of Nokia to silly Americans. Once they see what a Nokia offers over everything else on the market.

[...] about Nokia and North America, but then wrote the post about not caring too much because I am a fanboy who is sticking with them anyway. It turns out that Nokia wasn’t just giving lip service to North America and is actually [...]

SAABoy
September 24, 2010

Thanks for writing this, i share a lot of the frustrations, as a USA nokia fan :) but one of the perks that we all seem to apprectiate is the exclusivity of our smartphones among others… i used to be one of the very few with a smartphone (started with 6682 from “cingular”) and now im still unique with a nokia… thanks again Matt!

icebike
September 26, 2010

The frequency problem is becoming less and less of an issue. Chipset manufacturers no longer need to choose between 1700 and something else, they can include 1700 and 1900 in the same phone and let the carrier configure this or let the radio software lock out those not needed.

Nokia needs to get its engineering in order so that it can do what Samsung just did: Come out with the exact same phone for 3 or 4 of the big carriers with slightly different wrappers. This is an engineering and marketing master stroke. Its the same freakin phone.

This is hard enough when you have all your eggs in one basket, but being in the linux world and the symbian world is just a huge drain on their resources.

They need to choose.

The work with AT&T to have a third arrow in the quiver makes a lot of sense for AT&T, but I’m not sure it helps nokia.

[...] Why I am a Nokia Fanboy [...]

Ricky Cadden
September 28, 2010

Sorry it took me so long to come back and comment. I’m glad my words helped you out. Despite carrying a Nexus One, I’d still call myself a Nokia fanboy. They continue to build the best cameraphone experience, without equal, and they like to push the limits in ways that other manufacturers aren’t. Unfortunately for Nokia, that doesn’t really equate to sales or mindshare, especially in the U.S. market.

Your points are all spot-on, though. If Nokia can just work on their execution, I think they have all the rest of the pieces to build an intriguing puzzle.

CHRIS
September 28, 2010

Thanks for the post. I bought N900 3 months ago after a lot of research and i have no issues with it. I am happy it came unlocked and i owe no man any contract obligation. I have been a Nokia fan since I started owning a cell phone- from the almighty 3310 to this N900.

Amit Deshpande
September 29, 2010

Congratulations! Very well written article, and I thoroughly agree with you!

bonzitor
November 3, 2010

great one man. Nokia is my life here in South Afrika. Ovi maps,ovi music, ovi store, fb,ect….

GT
December 1, 2010

FTW

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