Today I did something I knew was going to cause me no end of trouble. I put my two blog entries regarding my experiences with the Nokia 770 on a public forum; OSNews. Reading some of the comments you'd have thought I was in league with the Great Satan Microsoft. In particular I was accused of spreading FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.
What is FUD anyway, and does it apply to my "rants"? Well, according to Eric Raymond, it is "any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon." Wikipedia defines it as "a sales or marketing strategy of disseminating negative and vague or inaccurate information on a competitor's product." Many of my comments are certainly negative. They were meant to be. After all, I purchased the device with my own funds (as opposed to having a demo device delivered). As such I have a very strong motivation in reviewing the device; my hard-earned cash is tied up in it. But are my comments delivered because I compete with Nokia or Linux, or work for a company that competes with Nokia or Linux? No. I'm an end-user. I have no stake in any competitor of Nokia and have no business connection with Microsoft (other than I happen to use Windows; I guess I'm guilty by association).
What convinced me to purchase the 770 in the first place? For many months I'd read many positive articles about the 770. The most visible I read was the article written by Doc Searls in Linux Journal titled "Linux for Suits - A First Look at the Nokia 770." No where in that article was there any indication that the 770 was, as poster CrLf commented, "targeted at developers, not consumers." No where did the article state that the 770's "sole purpose" , again as CrLf commented, "is starting a new platform..." Instead, Doc Searls wrote a very positive article about its available capabilities and features. The 770 was even featured on the cover of the February 2006 issue in which Doc Searls' article was published. With all the positive press the 770 had received up to that point, the Linux Journal article tipped my decision towards purchasing the 770.
The Nokia USA web site presents a very positive, consumer-oriented pitch for the 770. You can find the 770 easily enough. It's just one level down from the front page. The 770 section, with their sophisticated Flash insets, are designed to sell specifically to consumers. No where on any of the Nokia 770 pages is there any indication that this is a product targeted at developers, not consumers. You're seductively invited to experience rich broadband content on your 770.
Well, folks, I'm here to tell you, that the real thing falls far short of the "moving experience" advertised on Nokia's site. And it falls with a big flat dud.
Before anybody carps off, let me state for the record that neither Doc Searls nor any Nokia representative came to my house, put a gun to my head, and forced me to buy the 770. They didn't have to. I was in the market for something along the lines of the 770. I certainly wanted something better in the screen department than the current crop of PDAs. The 770 certainly has a gorgeous screen, one of the best I've ever seen in a device this small. The overall case is also light and strong with quality construction throughout. It's simple, elegant, beautiful. And I even like the color. My complaint is with the software bundled with the device. Without software that matches the hardware, the 770 is little more than a very pretty, very expensive paper weight. If I had known then what I know now I would not have purchased the 770. I did what I thought was reasonable research, but it looks like it wasn't enough.
Oh well. Live and learn.