Archive for December 2011

FUTURE PROOF or FUTURE POOF? Why your next mobile shouldn’t be a Blackberry:   Leave a comment

Why you should read this post:

Before saying anything about Blackberry, I know that I must first convince you, the reader, to read this post. If nothing else, please read the following 2 points:

– Make an informed decision, you might think Blackberry is all that, just like you thought SABC is all that before getting MNET. Maybe I’m wrong, and Blackberry is the best there is for you, but maybe I’m right and after two years you’ll be stuck with “7de Laan” on SABC while the rest of us watch the newest series on DSTV, in 3D, while sitting in a massaging chair. The only thing you need to do is read the rest of this post, make a decision, sleep easy and know you made the right decision next time you watch your favourite series on DSTV.

– More importantly: I’ll shut up. Those of you who know me personally know I always keep on harping on about how Blackberry’s really isn’t that good. During our next “braai” I’ll stop trying to convince everyone how Blackberry is stealing everyone’s joy, providing you read the rest of this post naturally 🙂

Let me start off by admitting to the obvious: “I am biased to Nokia”. That said I will really try my best to write this as objectively as possible.

Blackberry as a company:

Before dissecting that statement I think it’s important to note the precarious position RIM is finding itself in. Again I’ll use Wikipedia as a source:

“In June 2011, RIM announced the prediction of Q1 2011 revenue which will drop for the first time in nine years and also unveiled plans to reduce jobs. It is followed by the market which the stock dropped to its lowest level since 2006. Since June 2008 to June 2011, RIM’s shareholders lost almost $70 billion or 82% as the biggest decline among communications-equipment providers, from $83 billion at 3 years before to current $13.6 billion.

In July 2011, the company axed 2,000 jobs, the biggest lay-off in its history. The lay-off reduced the workforce of the company by around 11% in one stroke from 19,000 to 17,000.

On December 16, 2011 RIM shares fell to the lowest price since January 2004 and the stock has dropped 77% in 2011”.

Furthermore on the state of Blackberry; an anonymous Research In Motion employee has penned a devastating open letter to the company’s senior management explaining how narrow-minded management is damaging the company.(Click here for a quick read). Combine this with the fact that the next BIG thing in RIM’s arsenal, namely the Blackberry 10 operating system, has been postponed to late 2012, and that because according to a Blackberry insider: “Email and personal information management is better on a BlackBerry 8700 smartphone than it is on BlackBerry 10.” (Source: Click here).

And the more research I did the worse it got! RIM came 15th out of 15 companies in Green Peace’s guide to greener electronics. Nokia in turn came in 3rd. (Source: Click here). There app store is also behind the competition, both in the number of apps available as well as the speed at which the apps are added, meaning they won’t catch up anytime soon. As an indication, the Blackberry App World took 27 weeks to reach 50,000 app submissions, while the Windows phone market place (which the Nokia Lumia range will be associated with) only took 14 weeks, that’s slightly slower the Apple’s app store and 6 weeks quicker than the Android market. (Source: Click here).

The future is not looking all that rosy then for Blackberry. But let’s go back to the stuff you all like about Blackberry’s.

What Blackberry did right (in the past):

What did Blackberry get right to make the brand so successful to start off with. As a source I’ll use Wikipedia’s description:

“BlackBerry devices are smartphones, designed to function as personal digital assistants, portable media players, internet browsers, gaming devices, and much more. They are primarily known for their ability to send and receive (push) email and instant messages while maintaining a high level of security through on-device message encryption. Blackberry devices support a large variety of instant messaging features, including BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).”

BBM, the first thing I hear when shooting down Blackberry is always “BBM” and “free” internet. Let’s take BBM first. I know what you all are saying, “all” my friends use BBM. You’re probably thinking that you’ll be excluded from the social world if you move away from Blackberry. But think about that for a second. It’s just not true and here is why: With programs like “What’s app” EVERYONE, including your friends on Nokia’s, Samsung’s and Apple iPhones are connected. Hell, probably 90% of the Blackberry users reading this most have “What’s app” installed on their Blackberries anyway. Now if everybody just moved to one app, everything will just be easier J No need for pins or codes, just mobile numbers. It’s easy to use and even our parents can learn to use it, on WHATEVER platform they find themselves.

Next up: “Free” internet. No company, no not even RIM, will make a profit if they get the short end of the stick, period. Most casual users don’t use up the fixed fee they pay in data. If you use BBM/What’s app every day and browse Google & check out Facebook a few times a day and one or two other functions you won’t use up the price you pay in data upfront. If most Blackberry users did, they’d pay more – basic economics really. So in actual fact, for the most users it will most probably be cheaper to go with a normal data bundle. The only people who score are the 5% – 10% of users that use a lot more than the rest, by which they are cross subsidised.

Finally the user interface of Blackberries is behind the competition. Of course this is a personal opinion, but as an example I still know lots of Blackberry users who still don’t know where some everyday settings are when they need to find them quickly. Any Blackberry fan who doesn’t agree with me: take the time to test any iPhone, Android or Windows Phone interface and tell me I’m wrong. Most Blackberry interfaces look older than even the interface of my now almost ancient N97’s Symbian interface.

What now?

My suggestion: get a Nokia obviously. More specifically a Windows Phone based Nokia Lumia 800 or 710 or whatever gets launched locally in early 2012. It has been winning over users internationally from Blackberries, iPhone as well as Android based phones. Just two of those are Jon Rettinger, head at Techbuffalo.com (link) and Rich Trenholm, news editor at CNET UK (link). Both very well know IT sites not associated to any specific brand or operating system.

A small summary of his reasoning: “Windows Phone strikes the perfect middle ground between the two (the iPhone and Android). The slick, instantly recognisable and totally intuitive live tile interface is playful without being toy like, knocking Apple’s once-revolutionary front end into a cocked hat. And on the other hand, widgets and dynamic live tiles give you the flexibility that marks Android.”

In a following post I’ll go into some more detail as to why the Nokia Lumia range of smartphones is the way to go. Until then, try to decide which charity you will be giving your Blackberry to 🙂

Posted December 30, 2011 by allaboutnokiasa in Blackberry, Nokia, Windows Phone

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Lumia 800 vs N9: Which suits you best?   Leave a comment

Get the N9 now, or wait a month or two and get the Lumia 800? That’s the question on top many a Nokia fan’s mind.

I can’t claim to have access to the mentioned devices, yet (hint, hint @ Nokia), so after reading various reviews and comparisons I drew up the following table to serve as an easy summary:

Differences in Basic Specifications

 
Screen: AMOLED 3.9 inches AMOLED 3.7 inches
Weight: 135g 142g
OS: Meego, v1.2 Harmattan Windows Phone 7 Mango
CPU: 1 GHz Cortex A8 1.4GHz Scorpion
Chipset: TI OMAP 3630 Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
GPU: PowerVR SGX530 Adreno 205
Front facing camera: Yes No
Near field communication: Yes No

To see a more detailed comparison on hardware check out GSMARENA’s comparison @ link.

The largest difference between the two devices are the operating systems, Meego vs Windows phone 7.5 Mango. It is for this reason that the comparison below focusses mostly on the software side of things:

N9 & Meego OS:

Advantages:

  • Swype user interface: Easy and simple to pick up.
  • Double tap screen to wake up: Like swipe, it’s second nature.
  • Unique: It’s the only device of it’s kind.
  • Three home screens: These views are very easy to use.
  • Real multitasking: Apps run in the background and do not get freezed like on WP7 and iOS.
  • Screensaver: Just look at the screen and see the time, as well as any new email, call or message notifications. A Feature sadly missing from WP7.
  • Laminated Screen: It makes those swiping action so much easier and smoother.
  • TV out: This is a feature many use and which is sadly lacking from WP.

Disadvantages:

  • Dead OS: Although Nokia continually states it will get support, many are skeptical. This mainly impacts developers. No users, No developers, No apps. And consequently, No apps, No Users. a Very good example of this is What’s App. The very popular messaging app isn’t available for the N9.
  • Battery consumption: The N9 has decent battery life, but it is expected to be better. In the current times of smartphones, battery is a major part that influences user decision.
  • Ringer volume: It is found to be too soft, even on full.
  • Keyboard: It’s way better than Symbian anna/Belle, but one tend to hit the full stop instead of space quite a lot.
  • Messaging: Each service is separated. It would be nice if (like iOS and Mango) the services where in the same thread or linked contacts, just differentiated by a line across the thread saying “Text”, “Skype”, “Facebook” or whatever, or even, a thumbnail icon next to the time stamp.

Lumia 800 & Windows Phone 7 OS:

Advantages:

  • Very fast growing App market: The windows phone marketplace has reached 50,000 apps quicker than Android, Symbian and Blackberry. (Source: link) With Microsoft’s backing and multiple manufacturers using windows phone the martket place will cath up with iOS and Android sooner rather than later)

  • Live tiles: Okay, they aren’t the widgets you are used to on Symbian or Android, but they are still very helpful. Its simple, and elegant, looking a lot less cluttered than Symbian.
  • Metro UI and minimalism: It’s incredibly fluid and simple to use.
  • Camera interface: The swiping from the top(or left if in landscape), to view previously captured items is a really polished and fluid feature. Saves having to select gallery and scroll through items.
  • 270 degree screen rotation: It helps in bed sometimes as whilst it is charging, the phone can rotate so the cable isn’t being pulled as much.
  • Pictures: This is super cool. The gallery actually connects to your Facebook account, and populates itself with the albums you have shared with your friends.
  • Messaging: Mango groups your chat messages and texts in the same thread, and it is so simple to switch between the two.
  • Build quality: The glass on the Lumia 800 flows seamlessly into the body. One cannot feel the edge of the glass. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the N9.
  • “Me” tile: This is really handy. It retrieves notifications for you automatically, and will inform you when you have “new items”. Helps when your Facebook tile isn’t up the top and you forget to scroll down and look.
  • Keyboard: This is by far, by far the best keyboard on a touch screen the reviewer has ever used.

Disadvantages:

  • Arranging Live Tiles: When you arrange the tiles, there can sometimes be blank spaces where the tile once was, due to shifting it around. Tiles don’t just move to the next spot, pushing everything over one, instead creating a new gap. Live tiles do however have a scroll bar at the side so when the screen is filled with tonnes of tiles, one can quickly jump to particular group of tiles via the scrollbar.
  • No screen saver: Okay, one can tap the lock button on the 800, but it is just that one less task that would make the experience a bit more pleasant and refined. On the other hand it does extend the battery life of the phone.
  • Tethered software updates: Forcing the user to connect the device to a computer to update, is stupid. It will most likely mean that the user won’t update for a while, because of the hassle, or won’t update at all. It is important to note that apps update on the device.
  • Ringtone customization: The only way to add additional ringtones, is through apps. If the app doesn’t have the latest tune you’re looking for, you can’t set it as your tone.  (Note: it should be fixed with the next WP update, nl. Tango)
  • TV out: Sadly the feature is lacking from WP7.

Conclusion:

I could definitely go on and on about both for hours. But I think I have put you readers through enough torturous reading. You are probably thinking, “well, what is Japie’s verdict?” The answer isn’t simple. If you want different and can’t wait another month or two, you go for the N9. It offers a completely different experience (at least for now) than anything else you will find. If you want something with apps and a clean user interface and that will get all the love and support you want, go Lumia 800.

Here in lies a very large differentiation factor. Although Nokia is stating that the N9 will continue to get support I just can’t see it happening. Nokia has clearly stated that the N9 will be the last Meego based device from Nokia (link). They keep on stating that some of the features will live on in future Nokia devices, which does not say much. At the very most it implies that some features like NFC, swiping gestures etc. will be build into future windows phone devices by Nokia.

I am currently still using a Nokia N97 as I am waiting for the Lumia 800 to become available locally, and not getting support for your phone really sucks. The N97 last got a firmware update in July 2010, just a year after it became available and I see the same thing happening to the N9. I just can’t see  Nokia committing measurable resources to the cause, it just doesn’t make business sense.

This is an important factor, but I have also read a large number of articles by long-term IT experts saying that for the first time they are considering leaving their iPhones/Androids for a Nokia, a Windows Phone based Nokia that is. This just tells me that there is something about windows phone, something new, something fresh and something with one of the world’s largest software companies behind it…

Think about it for a bit, and please take the time to take part in the related pole.

Posted December 28, 2011 by allaboutnokiasa in Meego, Nokia, Windows Phone

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  Leave a comment

Posted December 27, 2011 by allaboutnokiasa in Polls

AllaboutnokiaSA’s first post!   Leave a comment

This will be AllaboutnokiaSA’s very first post. Hopefully the start of great things!

Why the blog? It’s my interest, my passion and I do spend quite a lot of time reading up on everything Nokia. Problem is that locally the news is pretty limited. There is the Ringaz blog, which is Nokia’s kind-of-official blog as well as one or two others but no one stop shop to find out everything you want to know, like:

– Which Nokia is best for me?

– Which Nokia’s will be released when?

– Which contract from which service provider suits you best?

– What new cool app’s are available?

– Millions of other questions…

I don’t claim to know all the answers off the top of my head and I will do my utmost best to answer all those questions as best I can 🙂

Any suggestions welcome.

Kind regards

Japie Fourie

Posted December 27, 2011 by allaboutnokiasa in Uncategorized

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