With my T-mobile contract finally finishing yesterday, I am now looking for a new phone. However, despite having my N95 for 18 months, there is no obvious replacement.
Although there are Nokia phones with slight improvements, such as the N96 (or even the N95 8Gb), the improvements are not sufficient to persuade me to sign up for another 18 month contract. It is therefore necessary to look further afield, and at the moment I am thinking about O2′s Xda Serra (a branded HTC Touch Pro):
Although it includes my main two requirements (i.e., touchscreen and qwerty keyboard), will I later regret not waiting for the N97? I have no way of knowing whether the N97 will be worth it, or whether it will even be in my price range. And at which point do you stop waiting? There is always a better phone just over the horizon!
Any comments or phone suggestions are welcome…although iPhone suggestions will fall on deaf ears.
It would seem as though the blogosphere is getting itself into a frenzy all over again as Apple announced its much anticipated 3G iPhone. Of the 180 items in my RSS aggregator this morning, I would guess about 50% were about the iPhone. However, whilst the US-centric blogosphere spanks its collective monkey about the 3G iPhone, I will take the opportunity to put it in perspective.
Despite all the rhetoric, the original iPhone was for the fashionistas, whilst the more seriously technologically minded looked to the N95. Now the iPhone has caught up technologically with the inclusion of 3G and GPS, its glossy bits seem to give it a bit of an edge over the current competitors. However the competitors have not been standing still, and the forthcoming N96 looks likely be an extremely impressive beast (with the launch hopefully coinciding with the contract on my N95 coming to an end).
The problem with the iPhone is that it is difficult to distinguish between the reality and the hype. Will this “help usher in the mobile media revolution in a major way“? Only in as much as it is one of a group of major players whose competition is pushing a mobile media revolution, on its own it is not making half as much impact as noise.
I am probably the world’s biggest BBC fan, and think they have made some great moves on the internet, especially with the rolling out of the iPlayer. But now they have managed to annoy me. Just catching up on my RSS feeds, and found that yesterday the iPlayer became accessible on the iPhone. Whilst I look forward to the BBC rolling out on mobile devices, choosing the iPhone first is just annoying.
I appreciate that they have to roll the services out across the different systems one at a time, but I don’t understand why they chose the iPhone over the S60 based devices, specifically the N95 which would have made the service available to many more times the customers. It is not a repeat of the Linux/Apple/Windows debate as Windows was always the dominant platform. The iPhone is only the dominant device in the minds of certain sections of the blogosphere.
“We started with iPhone because it is the device most optimised for high quality video currently available”…seems a pretty lame excuse to me, especially as the N95 would have allowed for true mobile viewing as it could utilise 3G rather than being limited to Wi-Fi.
Obviously part of my annoyance is due to my having an N95, but in my defense I haven’t moaned about the lack of access on the Wii or the fact that when I try to access BBC files on the Netgear EVA 700 it refuses to give me a picture (unlike the Channel 4 programmes which work perfectly). I think this time it’s a legitimate whinge.
Over at GigaOm some statistics have been put up that show a fall in Facebook’s traffic, both in absolute user numbers and in the number of pages viewed. If it is indeed true, and I fear it may be more to do with the calculating of the figures, I would be very pleased indeed. I liked Facebook, but quickly got bored of it, and it would be nice if the fact its really ‘not all that’ was reflected in some sort of numbers. One of the things I hate about the web is the way surfers go crazy about the latest big thing.
OK, so the figures are not showing a ‘nose-dive’, and there may be a reasonable explanation for the dip in users, but more than anything it is a reminder to the blogosphere that there is a world beyond Facebook (and the other big current topic-the iPhone) and that we should really be keeping the iPhone and Facebook stories within reasonable limits. When Google bought Jaiku many bloggers felt it was necessary to explain what Jaiku was, surely if the blogosphere had been doing its job then the users would have already known what Jaiku was; unfortunately the blogosphere had been banging on about Twitter for months instead.
Hitwise have just published a list of the top hot christmas gadgets based on search term analysis, which provides “great insight into people’s habits and desires”. However when the iPhone fails to make the top 10 mobile phones you have to question the methodology.
the top 2,000 search terms that sent traffic to a Hitwise Custom Category consisting of the top 100 online retail websites in the UK during the four weeks ending 22nd September 2007.
Rather than listing the gadgets that people are after, it may be that the list shows those gadgets that: people are after AND online retail websites dominate the search results.
Hitwise’s excuse that: “The new iPod Touch and the UK release of the iPhone were announced too late to have a significant impact on the retail search data”, doesn’t seem to hold much water, as we can see from Google Trends that searches for the iPhone in the UK are up with the N95, whilst the Nokia 5300 doesn’t even register.
There is a lot of interesting data held in the logs of web servers, but it is important that we don’t get carried away with how much we read into them.
One of the many RSS feeds I subscribe to is that of ‘O’Reilly Radar’; the ramblings of Tim O’Reilly and some of his cronies. Whilst the thoughts are often thoughtful and interesting, the last thing you expect to find being blogged about is Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry belongs to the world of Sunday night television and documentaries on the legendary Delia Smith, not appearing in international technological blogs!
It seems, however, that beneath the intellectual exterior, he is fundamentally a geek.
His first blog entry is an EXTREMELY long piece about his personal history with smart phones…which has been going on for many years.
Whilst Fry is known to be a big fan of Norfolk, he could have taken the opportunity to sing the praises of Norwich having free wi-fi in the city centre (is it still going strong??), after all surely that is best place to have the new iPhone with its lack of 3G.
One of my quibbles about the launch of the iPhone on O2 was the lack of a decent data plan. According to engadget unlimited data comes as standard, so that is one of my objections dealt with, however it is finally revealed that the European version (like the US version) won’t be 3G either. So, would I now touch it with a bargepole maybe a very long one, and rather tentatively.
With the talk of a 3G iPhone in 2008 I may consider it at that point, but until then I will stick to the N95.
It sometimes feels as though every other story I read on the web is talking about either Facebook or the iPhone. Surely more than they deserve? Especially for a UK reader where the iPhone is not yet available and the last I head Facebook was in third place in the UK. Admittedly it is the fastest growing, but much of this is due to the extremely low starting point as it only recently opened up to UK users.
So has the over-exuberance of the web, and especially the blogosphere, for the iPhone addled the minds of those people at O2 who, its being reported, have paid through the nose to be the UK carrier of the iPhone. Whilst the iPhone has created enough of an internet buzz to really get people interested in the next generation of mobile phones, does this mean it is necessarily the best, or that it is good enough to draw people to the O2 network.
There is no doubt that the iPhone is a stylish looking bit of kit, but does it really compete with the functionality offered by the N95? Whilst it doesn’t look like it, it doesn’t have to. The majority who buy the iPhone will be buying it as a fashion accessory, and there will undoubtedly be plenty of them.
Personally I weighed up the option of waiting for the iPhone on O2 (it had been rumoured for a while) or going for the N95 on a carrier who offered unlimited web use for £7.50 a month, it was an obvious choice. Looking at the O2 site today, I still can’t see an unlimited web use option (the only price I could spot was £3 for 2MB of browsing), and unless it introduces an unlimited tariff for the iPhone (which they may not be able to afford to now), I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole.