Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Apple rocks, Nokia sucks

The Apple iPhone has finally arrived. And boy, does it every look good. The interface is gorgeous, it plays audio and video, it makes phone calls, it surfs the web with a standards-compliant web browser (Safari)... here, let me list what I've found so far.
  1. Wireless: quad-band GSM, Cingular’s EDGE network, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR.
  2. Accelerometer: detects when you rotate the device from portrait to landscape, then automatically changes the contents of the display, so you immediately see the entire width of a web page or a photo in its proper landscape aspect ratio.
  3. Proximity sensor: detects when you lift iPhone to your ear and immediately turns off the display to save power and prevent inadvertent touches until iPhone is moved away.
  4. Ambient light sensor: automatically adjusts the display’s brightness to the appropriate level for the current ambient light, thereby enhancing the user experience and saving power at the same time.
  5. OS X: a fully multi-tasking embedded version that supports true desktop-class applications and software, including rich HTML email, full-featured web browsing, and applications such as widgets, Safari, calendar, text messaging, Notes, and Address Book.
  6. Intelligent touch display: lets you control everything using only your fingers. So you can glide through albums with Cover Flow, flip through photos and email them with a touch, or zoom in and out on a section of a web page — all by simply using iPhone’s multi-touch display.
  7. Video: Real honest-to-Betsy video. No jitter, no halts, fully synchronized with sound. And what you like to watch from TV shows.
  8. Audio: It comes form iTunes, and requires iTunes to set it up. If it's still using AAC and DRM, then it's inferior to MPEG. Oh well.
  9. Storage: four or eight gigs of FLASH storage built-in.
What does the Nokia N800 give us (and we won't even waste our time to look at the brain-dead Nokia 770)?
  1. Wireless: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.0. Woopee. That means you get to struggle finding a hotspot, especially if you're moving around town.
  2. Accelerometer: nope. If you want to take advantage of potrait vs. landscape, it's totally dependent on the application, just like with the 770. It's already in landscape, so I guess 50% is better than none.
  3. Proximity sensor: nope. You get to set the brightness of the screen on your own, and if you use the better-placed microphone to make phone calls, then you better make sure you fat face doesn't touch any keyboards that happen to be up at the time.
  4. Ambient light sensor: nope.
  5. OS X: nope. Instead you get Nokia's hacked version of Linux. Now Linux in and of itself is not bad. But shoe-horning Linux into the N800 along with an X server and Hildon, the UI based on Gnome, gives you something that pales compared to the UI on the iPhone. Go ahead. Find all the pretty pictures of the N800, then go to the iPhone section of Apple, and compare. The N800 comes up mighty short. And those fabulous N800 applications. You get Opera's browser, but version 8, not the version 9 currently shipping on just about everything else. You can make VoIP phone calls, but only if you can get an 802.11 hookup. I can't say for certain, but based on my 770 experiences I'm willing to bet good money that the N800 applications can't even touch the overall quality of the iPhone. They won't even come close.
  6. Intelligent touch display: nope. More like a dumb-ass touch display. I've had my taste of the Nokia display via the 770. No thanks, I've had enough.
  7. Video: you must be joking. No, seriously. If you want to see what the Nokia video playback is like, then gaze at this example of an N800 lamely playing a YouTube video on YouTube. By the way, the clip the N800 is poorly playing is SNL's "Lazy Sunday" parody of "The Chronicles of Narnia".
  8. Audio: the only thing that comes out half-way decent. It plays MP3s, and you can just drag and drop them onto the device. Better than an iPod and iTunes.
  9. Storage: you must be joking. First of all, the bare N800 comes with 256MB. It has two slots for up to two (count 'em, two) MiniSD-compatible slots, for up to 2GB each. That gives you 4GB of storage. And you gotta go hustle up the cards, because it only comes with a single 128MB (yes, MB) MiniSD card in the box.
  10. Built-in video camera. The one thing that the N800 seems to do well is the built-in video camera. I say seems, because what little I have seen it in action doesn't allow me to make a recommendation one way or the other.
  11. Freedom. The Linux zealots will tell you that the Linux-based N800 gives you freedom as in speech, as well as in beer. Well, to quote Kris Kristofferson's "Me & Bobby Mcgee", "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose." What good is free when it's a distant second best? Especially when you have to pay $400 for the device to enjoy said freedom?
The Apple iPhone costs $500 for the 4GB version or $600 for the 8GB version. You can only use it with Cingular, which is a bummer for me since I use (and like) T-Mobile.

If nothing else, I can see why Nokia kept a low-profile and just shipped the N800. The N800 looks damn poor when compared to the iPhone. I don't know how Nokia knew, but they must have had some indication that the N800 was going to come up real short when compared with the iPhone. I learned my lesson well with the 770. I won't be buying the N800. I got better ways to spend $400; add another $100 to it and get an iPhone.


  1. I kind of agree with you, iPhone seems to be quite interesting. But I still have some different thoughts on this subject.

    First, you are comparing two little different products here. One is already available internet tablet with big high resolution screen, hackable open platform and some great software. The other is a hype product that can not be bought anywhere, does not have FCC authorization, lacks openess and locks the user to Cingular for two years. And is a phone.

    I think iTunes is one of the features people are going to love on iPhone, but unfortunately it is limited to usb only. So even if iPhone has both edge and wlan, they can not be used. It's bad.

    But like I said, I totally agree with you that iPhone has some great features and is interesting. I still love my 770 and I don't consider changing it to iPhone. It's because what I need is an internet tablet, not a phone, I need programmable and open platform and there are other reasons too. If I needed a phone, I would go for something smaller than iPhone. My current phone is a cheap basic one with several years of age and it is smaller than iPhone. iPhone is thinner though and it's of course a great thing.

    You say (about wlan on N800) "That means you get to struggle finding a hotspot". I am afraid it's not true. With iPhone you can use the phone to get internet access. Same thing with N800. Only difference is that since N800 is an internet tablet, it does not have a phone integrated, so your internet connection would lay in your pocket and communicate via bluetooth with N800.

    Maybe you are interested on
    this review of smartphone from 2003
    also. It's very interesting. Small Finnish company had a smartphone several years ago and it had many of the features that are now praised as new and innovative after Steve's keynote. Swithches automatically from landscape to portrait, used with fingers, motion sensing, mp3 player, real internet browser... And one quite interesing: some kind of force feedback on touch screen. I would love to see and try it. You could really feel the buttons when you press them.

    The UI of iPhone looks smooth, but I still wouldn't say that the UI of N800 pales in comparison. I believe both of them are easy and intuitive to use and both of them look beautiful. Apple has great eye for usability, I hope the lauch of iPhone makes competitors to pay more attention to ease of use.

  2. The iPhone has two main flaws, in my opinion, and for some people these flaws may override all of its huge advantages:

    1) You must use Cingular (I used to, don't anymore, and there's a reason for it)

    2) Jobs claims they aren't going to allow 3rd party software on the device. (or non-controlled apps, hard to decode between Slashdot and the original article)

  3. not even Java on the iPhone... by my experience, you get bored with phones very fast, no matter how sophisticated the tech is... all i really want is good voice quality & texting capabilities... does combination of iPod+Phone solve that?? time will tell...

    and what is the use of OS X if there are no 3rd party apps? you could put lotsa eye candy on any other OS for the same effect...

  4. iPhone sucks because of DRM/Fairplay garbage...lack of 3g makes it even worse.

    $600 for an mp3player/phone w/no 3g? I don't think so.

    I want my phone to be different device than my pda/mp3player. Usages are different and I don't want to be jamming to mp3s and then realize I can't place an emergency call. Convergence is good...but until batteries get improved stay away.

    You're mistaken on N800 capabilities also...it holds 2x8GB SDHC. Display is stellar as are speakers and wifi signal.

    Only mistake from Nokia is not marketing it as "developers" device...it's not for end consumers at moment due to lack of applications.

    The PepperPad3 is where it's at...streams ALL forms of a/v isynchronously, has builtin bt 2.0 w/edr and wifi, camera, 2xusb, backlit keypad, linux, 20GB HD, JDK 1.5, the list goes on and on...

  5. NO third party apps, no adobe flash? Gosh, it sucks.

  6. Considering how long ago I wrote this, and the history that's transpired since, your comment makes little sense. The App Store has since allowed third party apps (in spite of the controversy surrounding the acceptance of a half-dozen of them), and Flash, in spite of still missing in action, isn't missed all that very much.

    No, the Nokia 770/800/810 still continues to suck greatly. And the iPhone/iPod Touch continues to rock on.

  7. I retired my aging LG phone after 4 years of great service and replaced it with a Nokia, thinking I was stepping up to something better. I just returned the Nokia after the most frustrating month of my life: non-intuitive mystery menus, with the common items 6 or 7 levels deep; forced advertising at the root menu level that you can't move or get rid of and must click past in perpetuity; photos kept in non-sequential order with no thumbs to scroll by; keypad designed so that your mis-keys will launch you into additional cost service areas; vibrate mode can't be felt, resulting in missed calls and texts. What was simple, intuitive and required few clicks on the faithful old LG was complicated by extraneous and frustrating menu navigation and many, many clicks on Nokia.

    Conspiracy theory #1: Nokia was designed by hyper-obsessive safety fanatics to reduce cell phone use while driving, as it takes both hands and 2 minutes of concentrated effort to do what other phones do easily and quickly with one hand, by touch.

    Conspiracy theory #2: Balrogs and Orcs are heavily invested in Nokia stocks until Frodo completes his journey someday.

    Well, my wife convinced me to get an I-phone -- already lovin' it! For starters, I can pull it out of my pocket, still locked, and with one single click, see the date and the time. Wow -- simple and effective. Wow -- intuitive and easy to use. Doesn't take 20 hours a month to figure out what used to be simple.

    Go Frodo!!!

  8. Had nothing but Nokia Phones for years. N90, N95, N95 8Gig. All great phones. Waited a year for the flagship N97, pre-ordered two months in advance. Finally got it. It crashed after a day and a half. I mean CRASHED. Have you ever had a phone CRASH? Called Nokia, and it took them a week to finally issue an RA. They issued a Call Tag with FedEx. Pickup turned out to be the same day I also had FedEx delivering a package. Well, the delivery guy picked up the package by mistake and the pickup guy came too late. After two days screwing around with FedEx, I finally got the package back. Now I have been on the phone on hold with three different Nokia departments since they will not re-issue the Call Tag that Fed Ex cancelled. And nobody can give me an address to send the package to on my own dime! Can you believe it? One guy flipantly told me that it was on the web site. Well, it is NOT. Not only was the N97 a HUGE dissapointment, the experience of returning it has been a fucking nightmare. So what did I do? I bought an iPhone 3G-S. WOW!!! What a phone. Awesome. Sorry Nokia, you guys have shot yourselves in the FOOT. Nokia used to be great, NOW YOU SUCK!!!


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