When Real Phones are Objects of Change

What is a mobile phone? How do we ascertain the benefit of a mobile phone? There’s currently a lot of noise going on about ‘smartphones’ and which is the best. And most of the time, the Apple fanatics seem to be the loudest. But in a world of over 6 billion people, the story is very different when one steps out of their comfort zone.
The real value of a mobile phone is not the shiny icons that comes with it, but it’s ability to transform lives, add value to the lives of the less fortunate. The following videos show when real phones, not expensive iPhones or Androids, but very low cost phones, help transform lives. 
Next time when you take out your phone and want to brag how nice your shiny icons are, remember that there are very low end phones doing amazing things out there. Let’s also give credit to the companies that produce affordable phones that meet the budget of everyday people like those in the videos.

Dear Nokia, I was not completely right

I used to be one of those people that actually believed Nokia still has no device to match the iPhone. But it apparently turns out that I was consuming too much news from American journalists who mostly get free iPhones and thus have to justify it by singing the hell out of it.
The view I actually hold now is that Nokia has a device that Apple will never match. Yes. Apple will never produce a device to match Nokia’s N900 running the legendary Maemo OS. It’s not that Apple can’t produce the hardware or software, it’s that it’d be against their business strategy.
A portable netbook, with phoning functionalities, and everything in between, right in your pocket. That’s the N900. Apple is a company that makes money by selling incremental things to people that love to buy things in bits, well sort of. The first iPads did not have camera, USB and other things. The next gen ones will spot all of that. That’s the Apple game. Extract money from customers through the sale of ‘dysfunctional’ things and then charge them extra to make the thing whole.
Also, I’ve now come to the realisation that it’s really pointless comparing the N900 to the iPhone. One is a device that knows you bought it with your hard earned income and so it completely submits to your will. The other is a device that has been told that you loaned it from Cupertino and thus it only obeys what it’s told by Uncle Jobs. That’s a huge difference between the two.
Then again, on the issue of price, buying the N900 for approximately $442 beats the iPhone hands down, which goes for between $1000 and $1300. That’s a small fortune in my part of the world. I could go on and on. The bottom line is that Nokia has a completely different market strategy from Apple. One aims to satisfy a broad range of users with varying budgets. The other aims at the cream of the market with half baked but well marketed and highly hyped products.
So yes, the iPhone is a nice, well polished phone with some computing capabilities that resides in a nicely walled garden. The N900 on the other hand, is a portable computer with phoning capabilities that asks you, “what next do you want to do with me?” Perhaps the Oatmeal explains better what it’s like to own an Apple product.

2 Nokia Handset Annoyances that Need to be Checked

Being the largest handset manufacturer, Nokia undoubtedly has lots of work on their hands. There is also no doubt that they manufacture the most superior handsets in terms of hardware in the world. However, there are two annoyances on Nokia phones that I cannot understand why they should be there in the first place.

First is the inability to charge my battery via the USB cable. As to the wisdom behind such a decision, I do not know, but one thing is for sure: it is very annoying. I live in a part of the world where the power supply is not consistent or reliable. In times when I cannot use the charger, I expect to be able to transfer some battery juice from my laptop to my phone. Nokia however, thinks otherwise. Why so Espoo?

Then second, why do I need to reset the date and time whenever I take out the battery? Of course some of the phones have auto-update of the date and time, but it’s still pointless to be nagged to reset the date and time anytime you take out the battery. 

Nokia already has a Herculean task ahead, given the rapid ascension of Android. Checking certain petty annoyances would come in handy in their new fightback strategy. 

Dear Steve Ballmer, why not fight Android like a Champ?

My friend calls him Steve “I’ll fcuking kill Google” Ballmer. And I think he is right. Microsoft has been rattling the saber at Android in the last week, demanding patent payment for all Android phones. To say this is an absurd claim is being very gentle. 
There’s one reason I can think of Microsoft going after Android- to scare handset makers away from the platform and possibly onto its own Windows Phone 7. It seems the Microsoft of 20 years ago is still the same old one we have. No change whatsoever. 
What Uncle Ballmer does not get is that the times have changed. There is a rising tide called change that is sweeping all stagnant companies aside, and no amount of saber rattling and lawsuits will save any firm that does not change. Ask Nokia.
My piece of advice to Mr. Ballmer is this, rather than adopt the same old strategy of scare mongering of potential Android users, why not bring out your WinPhone 7 and let the market decide. If it is any better than Google’s, the handset makers will willingly run to you in their numbers. 
The days when you could get a stranglehold of users through insidious agreements with OEMs to shove your mostly crapware down our throats are gone. There is a tide riding through the tech industry, and unless you adjust your strategy, you might get hit very hard.

Dear Apple Fanatics, the World is Bigger than America!

There seems to never be an endless Apple (or is it crApple?) fanboism from so called tech bloggers/reporters out there who go out of their way to discredit anything that looks a little bit like competition to anything Jobsian. Nokia has not yet released its N8 phone and already we have articles going up trying desperately to tell the world how crappy the phone is compared to the iPhone (or is it hypePhone?).
Take a look at this piece on the Motley (ahem!) Fool and this on PC World. Is this some form of Apple fanaticism or what? What really amuses me is the myopic view most of these writers take. To them, when we talk of a market, it is a group of buyers and sellers of a given commodity in North America. If it’s outside America, it’s no market. 
Last time I checked, Nokia, even with the current crappy SymbianOS, still has over 40% of the TOTAL smartphone market share around the WORLD. And then too Android has managed to displace the iPhone as the third place platform. So what are these writers telling us? That there is nothing better than the iPhone or what? Or is it some form of addiction to anything that falls off the table of Jobs?
To be honest, it is very funny and sometimes irritating at the same time when you get bombarded over and over with such crappy articles that always tend to think the world is America and America is the world. Please Apple fanatics, we all know Lord Jobs is good at producing very shiny and likable UI, but please spare us the mostly baseless and frantic effort you devote to tearing apart anything that looks the least bit like a decent phone compared to your hypeDevices.

Can Android be the answer to Nokia’s Problems?

 With a slew of new handsets, Nokia hopes to maintain- and hopefully regain- its position as the most dominant handset brand in the world. With it’s “fight back” strategy, it is clearly pointing its guns at Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms.

I have been wondering if it can really succeed against the tide of the two platforms that seem to be causing uncontrollable stir and insomnia to all parties in the industry. Losing 10% market share in just one year to competitors to me sounds like a lot of trouble.

With a resigned CEO and the head of the smartphone division, all is not well with Nokia. What I am actually wondering is, how impossible is it to manufacture Android based devices? Yes Symbian is great, but it looks more like a dying breed to me. Is it at all possible that the two platforms could be marketed side by side to the myriad of markets that Nokia is found in?

Of course it is always easier said than done. But with almost every strategy ever failing to attract the very market that Nokia cannot seem to let go- aka North America- I am firmly convinced Android might help with some magic in winning what the politicians call hearts and minds of our American friends. What do you think?

Get this Anti-Virus for your Nokia Smartphone!

Using a smartphone, unlike a feature phone, is like running a computer, complete with its attendant security risks and headaches. For Nokia Symbian S60 phone users, Netqin mobile AV available from the Ovi Store or GetJar should be a must have if you are interested in having control over the security of your phone.
I personally like this one for its simplicity, resource efficiency and cost. It’s features include
  • Realtime monitoring
  • Fast scanning
  • Firewall
  • Anti-spyware
  • Anti-Virus
  • System Optimization management 
  • Light footprint
The simple interface also makes finding your way around the app a breeze. Working in the background, it scans all the files you work with to make sure nothing untoward happens on your handset. The parameters for the real time scan are customizable to individual preferences. 
If you are interested in security on your Symbian powered Nokia phone, you might want to take a look at this app!

Can these Phones Save Nokia?

Nokia has announced a number of sleek new handsets at its on going Nokia World 2010 in London. These devices are clearly aimed at going after both the iPhone and Android, two platforms that are bent on eating up all of Nokia’s smartphone market share.
The question that begs for an answer now is can these devices really save Nokia its market share and help it win some more, especially in the very competitive American smartphone market landscape? 

The Apple iPhone 4? – I’d rather have this one!

While everyone is excited about the new iPhone 4 which now has a front facing camera, bluetooth, support for UMTS and GSM 3G among others, I sit quietly here in my room and dream about the phone in the video below. In case you do not know, there is a bigger, better and more innovative phone maker out there called Nokia that also unveiled their N8 phone not so long ago.
Oh and here is some info to accompany the video

The Nokia Point and Find- Add more usefulness to your phone

Unlike in North America where the iPhone is the dominant player, in most parts of the world Nokia still rules. A few hours ago I had an email from the Nokia Ovi service (I’m on the mailing list) introducing me to the Point and Find Application.
It is a really cool application that could make using one’s Nokia phone more fun and useful at the same time. Basically what it does is you point your mobile device‚Äôs camera at a landmark or barcode and receive immediate information such as descriptions, phone numbers and reviews, no typing required. 
With Point and Click, you can get instant information about restaurants, landmarks, scan barcodes to get product reviews and price comparison, tag your favorite locations and more. There is also a “growing database of user-generated and third-party content” to add to the mix. 
The best thing about the Nokia Point and Click is that it is free and available worldwide for download to compatible versions. If you have a compatible phone, just give this application a try and tell us what you think. 
Before the iUsers jump on to lambaste me about how there is an app for that, please know I am not doing any comparisons whatsoever. I just saw an application that I think may be of interest to Nokia users.