Nokia vs iPod
April 27, 2005 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Nokia's iPod killer. Nokia today introduced their new N-series multimedia-centric phones (dropping the 4-digit model numbers they've been using for ever). The N91 in particular looks like it's shooting straight for the iPod crown: 4GB hard drive, 3G, global GSM, WiFi b/g, Bluetooth, USB mass storage, FM radio and a claimed 12.5 hrs of battery time. The N90 isn't too shabby either.
posted by costas (87 comments total)
 
I had a nokia that worked perfictly untill it failed, and the cellphone company person somehow conned me into getting a new contract and a new phone. This one a cheap motorolla. It's absolute shit. *sigh*

Anyway, Motorola has a ipod-based phone which none of the major US carriers want because they want to charge people $2.50 for a 'ringtone'.
posted by delmoi at 10:16 AM on April 27, 2005


Sorry for the PepsiBlueFilter, but this is the first time I think we have a very respectable iPod contender enter the market. Of course, the €650-750 price range has to drop first --although it's more likely Nokia will come out with cheaper phones that share features with these attention-getters first, as is their custom.
posted by costas at 10:16 AM on April 27, 2005


Sorry but that's dog UGLY. Looks like a universal remote I bought at Sears six years ago and sometimes find under the sofa cushion.
posted by Peter H at 10:17 AM on April 27, 2005


Yeesh, a ~$1000 phone with 3G of my personal data on it? No thanks, I've lost one too many cell phones to fall for that. I'm more of a "free with calling plan" phone man, myself.
posted by gurple at 10:19 AM on April 27, 2005


This oughta be good.

*gets a front row seat for the inevitable iPod-inspired arguments and name-calling*
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 10:20 AM on April 27, 2005


Nope. 4GB is too small. I've got the 20GB and I'm eyeing the 40GB pretty hard. Besides, unless it works with iTunes, I'm not interested (I don't use the store but I love the program).
posted by doctor_negative at 10:25 AM on April 27, 2005


Yikes. Is there even still a market for companies that want to make devices that do... you know... just the one thing I care about them doing? I just want something that plays MP3s. The problem is my bare minimum for storage and quality is an iPod that costs $400. I need that, but for half the price. I don't need an eight hundred dollar phone.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:28 AM on April 27, 2005


It sure is ugly. Also, some information on things like battery life and interface (besides vague worry and "good enough") would have been useful.

Also, is it just me or are people sick of the shit they put in cell phones to sell them? I mean, I see all these ads with "custom ring tones", games and other bullshit. You know what I want in my cellphone? A GOOD FUCKING SIGNAL regardless of where I am in a major city. Give me that and you can keep all your other "features" and I'll pay through the nose for it. Don't give me that and the thing is useless.
posted by dobbs at 10:28 AM on April 27, 2005


I had been wondering when MP3 players and cell phones would be combined - I hadn't heard of the Sony Ericcson one before. But I am a bit surprised - I knew they would have the capability of doing this, but thought the companies might purposely not do it in order to sell people multiple devices. But then, they are different companies - how many would make cell phones and MP3 players, any?
posted by jb at 10:30 AM on April 27, 2005


On second thought, I believe this is really a Palm killer. It's a Series 60 phone with a hard drive. Meaning, it's nearly a PDA already, and has more connectivity and multimedia features than most PDAs right now. When the inevitable business version of this phone comes out (Nokia always releases the fashionista versions first, and they have already licensed Blackberry technology), Treos will be in serious hurt.

As for the looks, yeah it's not a looker. OTOH, it does more than my 6yr old spare laptop; an iPod needs only 5 buttons and a scrollwheel, so of course it can be designed to look much nicer.

On preview: jb: I travel a lot worldwide and iPods are really a common sight only in the US and the UK. In most other places, esp. Asia it's far more common to see people running a stereo headset to their phones. Plus, the local carriers can roll out local-music stores much quicker than Apple can.
posted by costas at 10:37 AM on April 27, 2005


Anyway, Motorola has a ipod-based phone which none of the major US carriers want because they want to charge people $2.50 for a 'ringtone'.

Is that 'they' referring to Motorola or the US carriers?
posted by jperkins at 10:39 AM on April 27, 2005


Also, is it just me or are people sick of the shit they put in cell phones to sell them?

I am. A camera in your phone, wtf? When I want to take pictures, I will use my camera. I just want a phone that will hold the numbers of all my boyfriends, and has a good signal everywhere I go. I'll take whatever extras I can get in the free-phone-with-plan, but beyond that.... forget it. Why anyone "needs" to *buy* a phone for kicks is beyond me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:41 AM on April 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


Slightly off-topic: I still long for the simple days of the Nokia I bought back in '97. It had number keys, arrow-up, arrow-down and the Navi-key (sort of a Select key). That was the last cell phone for which I learned all the features and was able to use them. Every phone I have had since then has had more keys, more crap I don't need and has been significantly harder to use. The only improvement I have noticed in cell phones over the last 8 years has been battery life.
posted by Triplanetary at 10:45 AM on April 27, 2005


I want an LED flashlight in my phone, but otherwise yes, nothing.
posted by fleacircus at 10:47 AM on April 27, 2005


One of the most important aspects of an iPod is that it is only an iPod and nothing more.

On review: what ThePinkSuperhero said.
posted by basicchannel at 10:59 AM on April 27, 2005


I want a phone that gives crabs to ex-girlfriends.
posted by crank at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2005


I don't know how I feel about the trend towards merged devices. On one hand, it would be nice to only have to carry one device around. On the other hand, it seems like devices that can do a little of everything do no single thing very well. This phone, for instance, can never "replace" the functionality of my iPod: the hard drive is too small, and the price is too high. There's also the question of user interface: these multifunctional devices get pretty unwieldy.

Still, if there were a phone/mp3 player/PDA/camera out there with WiFi, bluetooth, firewire/USB, a 60 GB hard drive, 4-6 megapixels, 3-5x optical zoom, 20 hours of battery life, a big enough screen for practical web browsing, and good text entry functionality, and it all fit in my front pocket, I'd be sorely tempted. Even at a price of €650-750....
posted by mr_roboto at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2005


You know what I want in my cellphone? A GOOD FUCKING SIGNAL regardless of where I am in a major city.
Then go back to using the larger ones, like the old brief case or brick in your car cell phones. Seriously, the smaller phones have smaller antennas. While indoors stand near a window as you may notice radio’s have poor reception there, especially in business offices.

Besides the cell tower locations & quantities, I believe there is one other variable.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:06 AM on April 27, 2005


One of the most important aspects of an iPod is that it is only an iPod and nothing more.

Except now it's also a stupid color photo album.
posted by dobbs at 11:13 AM on April 27, 2005


I dislike all these Überdevices - allthough I like the idea of a PDA, eMail, phone, camera, music and storage machine - it ain't practical.

They hardly do one thing very good (being a telephone) and they do the other jobs only very badly.

Plus: when the bloody thing is stolen or damaged you are pretty much f*****. I prefer a good cell phone with no gimmicks ... and a good music player with no gimmicks ... and a good camera with no gimmicks ...
posted by homodigitalis at 11:13 AM on April 27, 2005


Unless you actually like carrying around a Palm Pilot, an MP3 player, and a cellphone, consolidation makes sense - though, as some have pointed out, it makes loss of the device traumatic. But is fear of loss enough reason to carry a bunch of different gadgets around?

Where do you put all that stuff? Wearing a bunch of pouches on my belt makes me feel like the building super, which I'm not. One gadget is plenty, if it does all I need it to. I haven't worn a wristwatch since I started carrying a cellphone. What's the point?
posted by QuietDesperation at 11:15 AM on April 27, 2005


mr_roboto
Would like the same. Then you realize like stereo components it’s better to buy each component individually incase a unit breaks like the CD player unit. Though technology today should wear out less, you have other factors that make policies for an all in one cell phone useless. An example would be companies or laws that forbidden camera phones on the premises because taking pictures are forbidden.
So it looks like the all in one device will never materialize for full use everywhere.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:16 AM on April 27, 2005


and Nokia will also provide a dedicated application for music management.

I hate players with 'music management' software. I don't need some stupid software to tell me how to organize my music.
Give me a file system player or beat it.
posted by HTuttle at 11:24 AM on April 27, 2005


Sorry but that's dog UGLY.

It sure is ugly.

I can maybe understand my mom wanting her electronic tools to be "pretty," but come on, if you're under 60, that's just hilarious.

(not that I care about this particular doo-dad, but people who choose electronics based on how the outside case looks crack me up.)
posted by BoringPostcards at 11:27 AM on April 27, 2005


*gets a front row seat for the inevitable iPod-inspired arguments and name-calling*

iPods are the AOL of portable music listening.
Happy now?
posted by HTuttle at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2005


4GB hard drive, 3G, global GSM, WiFi b/g, Bluetooth, USB mass storage, FM radio and a claimed 12.5 hrs of battery time.

and if you call within 30 minutes we will throw in a bamboo steamer.
posted by caddis at 11:30 AM on April 27, 2005


I hereby vow to never buy any product ever touted as "an iPod killer."
posted by spilon at 11:30 AM on April 27, 2005


I hate players with 'music management' software.

Completely agreed. It's like marketing a bicycle on how cool the training wheels are.

I love this feature. You know, instead of simply turning the phone around, now you can glue it to your palm and just rotate the screen. Isn't that useful? /sarcasm
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2005


(not that I care about this particular doo-dad, but people who choose electronics based on how the outside case looks crack me up.)

Are you kidding? For many people, this is the main reason to purchase particular devices.
posted by wrongbutton at 11:41 AM on April 27, 2005


Lots of people buy iPods to use on planes. You can't turn on your cell phone during the flight. Can you turn your Nokia on?
posted by b_thinky at 11:43 AM on April 27, 2005


Why do all these products touted as "iPod Killers" have ridiculously non-catchy names like "N91" or "Network Walkman NW-HD1"?
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2005


b_thinky: im pretty sure you can. why else would alot of cell phones have airplane mode in the options menu?
posted by Iax at 11:58 AM on April 27, 2005


As for the looks, yeah it's not a looker. OTOH, it does more than my 6yr old spare laptop

Considering the price, god I hope so (wrist watches can do more than 6 year old laptops). That's not exactly a convincing argument. I can basically get a new laptop for the price of this phone.
posted by justgary at 12:11 PM on April 27, 2005


It's by Nokia?

Let me guess, you have to take out the battery in between songs.
posted by shawnj at 12:11 PM on April 27, 2005


i doubt Jobs is losing any sleep over this announcement. for the past year I used my Treo 600 to play mp3s during my commute to work. I recently got an ipod and a new mac - screw" convergence!
posted by cbjg at 12:11 PM on April 27, 2005


I like the idea. Maybe i'm in the minority but i frankly find the thought of carrying 5 or 6 devices annoying. Yes, there's the potential for loss, but that's a tradeoff i'm willing to take for the convenience of having a one for all item!
posted by ramix at 12:13 PM on April 27, 2005


(not that I care about this particular doo-dad, but people who choose electronics based on how the outside case looks crack me up.)

I'm with wrongbutton, I think you're ignoring a huge market. I will buy products that are a pleasure to use, not ones that have so many "features" (and buttons) that they become unusable. Sometimes function follows form.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:14 PM on April 27, 2005


I hereby vow to never buy any product ever touted as "an iPod killer."

The thing is, other than Creative, who actually *calls* their device an iPod killer?? I've never seen this in ANY press release, it seems like this is a term thrown around by the media more than the actual manufacturers. Any new device that has similar capabilities to an iPod is automatically labelled an "iPod killer" - if I was marketing these devices I would make sure that any reviewers would only get a review copy if they agreed not to use that stupid term.
posted by antifuse at 12:15 PM on April 27, 2005


I love that Nokia is predicting these new phones will be the death of both Canon and Apple. That's, um, confident thinking.

Totally off base and wrong but confident.

I want my cell phone to have an led light in it too! And a garage door remote. And a little space to put my weed.
posted by fenriq at 12:21 PM on April 27, 2005


I can maybe understand my mom wanting her electronic tools to be "pretty," but come on, if you're under 60, that's just hilarious.

Admittedly, I am a girl, but I definitely factor looks/design into the equation when I'm purchasing a new device. It's the reason that the iPod was the only mp3 player I even remotely considered - the ease of use goes hand in hand with the simplicity of the design. It's why I chose my cellphone over dozens of others with more "features." It's part of why I choose Apple over PC. Aesthetics are much more important than most companies (ahem, everyonebutapple) think, especially outside the uber-geek market.
posted by salad spork at 12:22 PM on April 27, 2005


costas writes " Sorry for the PepsiBlueFilter, but this is the first time I think we have a very respectable iPod contender enter the market."

Oh please. This has been around for a while yet, and I think it's superior to the iPod, especially in music format support. It would cost nothing for Apple to integrate OGG into the iPod and many have been clamoring for it since the early days of Apple's popular device, but of course since we're talking about Apple we can be pretty sure it's not going to happen.
posted by clevershark at 12:24 PM on April 27, 2005


ramix: I like the idea. Maybe i'm in the minority but i frankly find the thought of carrying 5 or 6 devices annoying. Yes, there's the potential for loss, but that's a tradeoff i'm willing to take for the convenience of having a one for all item!

I'm with you ramix. Even my ample waist has a hard time finding places to clip two cell phones, an mp3 player, a digital camera, a PDA, a belt knife, a step counter and a ring of keys that would make a gaoler proud. I'd love for HP to bring out a 5MP camera iPaq combo that would get 12 hours of battery life when playing oggs and had 4GB of storage so I didn't have to mess with SD cards.

fenriq the Treo has an SD slot. I don't know how much weed you could store there but if you took up acid instead you'd be set.
posted by Mitheral at 12:27 PM on April 27, 2005


Now that I own both an iPod and a Dell DJ - I would say that the only thing that will kill the iPod is some sort of ingenius marketing scheme.

Why? Because the iPod has some user interface and technical issues that frankly make me upset that I own one. It's a hunk of crap but so many people are so into "OOH SHINY!" that they worship it like it's the seocnd coming of jesus christ. Sorry, but when it can play two consecutive tracks without a gap, and its "on the go playlist" is actually usable/accessible - I'll change my tone.

And iTunes.. ugh.. don't get me started. It's only good to people who haven't used anything decent. Try MediaMonkey if you have a PC. You'll crap all over iTunes, especially if you have a reasonably large music collection.

I look forward to the day when a mobile phone and iPod and palm-like device are integrated well. I agree with people that too often these consolidated devices try to do too much - but if someone did it right, or even close to right, I'd buy it. I don't like carrying an iPod and a cell phone. One fits in my pocket -- two do not.
posted by twiggy at 12:28 PM on April 27, 2005


I like ubergadgets. I don't want to heft around twenty-eight pounds of sixteen devices. Gimme one good all-rounder, and I'll be quite happy.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2005


Yay! That's better!
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2005


I can maybe understand my mom wanting her electronic tools to be "pretty," but come on, if you're under 60, that's just hilarious.

Maybe you haven't noticed but very often the outside of a product reflects the care the manufacturer put inside it--especially when it comes to electronics. The iPod, as salad spork notes, is a perfect example.

If the company doesn't give a shit enough to make sure it ain't ugly, I highly doubt they've spent time making an elegant UI. Perhaps that's a ridiculous generalization, but in my experience, it's true.
posted by dobbs at 12:31 PM on April 27, 2005


All that I am asking is for sharks with freaking laser beams on their forehead.
posted by esquire at 12:32 PM on April 27, 2005


The same Nokia that engineers at least some of its phones so that, if you use an aftermarket (non-Nokia) battery, the phone switches into full power consumption mode? No thanks.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:32 PM on April 27, 2005


Let me clear some things up...this is a good thing. For starters, all Series 60 phones can use *.wav, *.midi, and *.mp3 soundfiles as ringtones. Secondly, and apologies if someone else said it and I missed it, but there will be NO DRM in this/these phones. Thirdly, there are a gazillion apps out there for Symbian phones, including a DIVX player, controller for WinAmp over MP3, TV Remote Control over IR, Gameboy, NES, and eMame emulators.

Oh, and they fixed the MMC/SD thing...it's not under the battery anymore (like on my 3650). It's on the side.
posted by rzklkng at 12:37 PM on April 27, 2005


esquire: [lol]

I just want music and phone, i do not need calendar, or bluetooth or PDA-wannabe...just music/phone...preferably with a HD around 40GB, but i wouldn't kick 20GB outta bed for eating crackers.
posted by schyler523 at 12:41 PM on April 27, 2005


five fresh fish writes " I don't want to heft around twenty-eight pounds of sixteen devices."

16 devices? Your problem isn't the lack of an integrated solution, it's attention-deficit disorder, mate.
posted by clevershark at 12:44 PM on April 27, 2005


Sorry, but when it can play two consecutive tracks without a gap...

If you'd done a bit of research you'd see that this is a problem with MP3s, not the iPod. It's something inherent in the technology.

As for on the go...? How could it possibly be simpler? You highlight a song, album, artist, or playlist, press a button, and it's added to the OTG playlist.
posted by dobbs at 12:50 PM on April 27, 2005


"I would say that the only thing that will kill the iPod is some sort of ingenius marketing scheme."

I agree completely. When I was researching before buying my MP3 player, I found the iPod wasn't even in the top 3. So many others had it beat on feature set and/or price. But they didn't have a commercial with that cool U2 song running every 10 minutes for six months straight.

"Gimme one good all-rounder, and I'll be quite happy."

Me too, but I think we're still a long way away from the all-in-one being done well. In the meantime, I've invested in a decent bag.
posted by 27 at 12:59 PM on April 27, 2005


But they didn't have a commercial with that cool U2 song running every 10 minutes for six months straight.

Indeed. In future dictionaries the definition of "overplayed" will refer the user to U2's Vertigo.
posted by clevershark at 1:02 PM on April 27, 2005


dobbs - it's not a problem with mp3s - that article is DEAD WRONG. my dell DJ plays consecutive mp3s flawlessly - no gaps. If you like, I will record examples from each player by piping them through speakers, and recording from a Mic.

Unless you want to tell me that Dell must have done something special with their software to accomodate for this gap - which still does not make me despise Apple's inability any less - since they too should be able to do this.
posted by twiggy at 1:05 PM on April 27, 2005


Re: Mp3 Gapless Playback

dobbs is right in that there is a fundamental technical issue: mp3's include silent buffer frames that leave gaps between tracks when they're played straight. A lot of modern players, however, implement a detection and buffering strategy that allows for gapless playback. I know that Rio devices, at least, have implemented this. I wish it were implemented on the iPod.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:14 PM on April 27, 2005


One possible niche for this thing is people who can charge it back to work or an expense account. I know I could never get away with charging an iPod to work, ("external storage device" maybe if it didnt say iPOd all over the fricking receipt), but maybe I could get a fancy-ass phone. A stealth mp3 player that sneaks past the bean-counter's radar would sell, I think.
posted by Rumple at 1:21 PM on April 27, 2005


Well, I'll stand corrected, but say that despite my wide range of experiences, I've never had a problem until using my iPod. The Dell DJ doesn't seem to exhibit this behavior, nor does Winamp when I've ripped/encoded the tracks myself. I can't speak for the stuff people download off of Kazaa etc...

A little more research reveals that my songs, encoded with a recent enough version of LAME, should be gapless -- and are -- just not on my freakin' iPod.
posted by twiggy at 1:27 PM on April 27, 2005


The only reason I would purchase an iPod is for aesthetics. From a human factors perspective, I consider the iPod to be inferior to several other devices currently available. I would still put it in the top 5, if only because it is good overall - but it is not very good overall.

I received an iPod for xmas. I am glad to have it, but I would not buy it myself.

I do not, however, underestimate the lure of aesthetics. I purchased the Motorola i830 on looks alone and am hugely disappointed to discover that it is a total piece of shit. Worse phone ever.
posted by wrongbutton at 1:45 PM on April 27, 2005


It's the reason that the iPod was the only mp3 player I even remotely considered - the ease of use goes hand in hand with the simplicity of the design. It's why I chose my cellphone over dozens of others with more "features." It's part of why I choose Apple over PC. Aesthetics are much more important than most companies (ahem, everyonebutapple) think, especially outside the uber-geek market.

Ahh yes, the uninformed consumer.
posted by angry modem at 1:46 PM on April 27, 2005


clevershark's link above fixed -- This has been around for a while yet

Online music lovers 'frustrated'
posted by thomcatspike at 1:48 PM on April 27, 2005


I love how Americans always girn on about wanting "phones that are just phones". I'm sick of carrying a camera, iPod, phone and paper notepad everywhere. If you fit them all into one device I'll be happy.

This looks damn close, and also has my must-have of a hidden keypad. Sold. Especially when Orange subsidises it.
posted by bonaldi at 1:49 PM on April 27, 2005


re: mp3 gaps - it's called a short crossfade, and any mp3 player worth it's salt should be able to do it.
posted by stenseng at 1:59 PM on April 27, 2005


iPods are the AOL of portable music listening.

Brilliant. Can I borrow this?
posted by DuoJet at 2:32 PM on April 27, 2005


If you fit them all into one device I'll be happy.

Jack of all Trades, Master of None.

Maybe if Canon or Nikon put an MP3 player in their SLR's I'd be enticed, but holding a two pound camera up to my ear to talk to someone on the phone would probably get me funny looks.

I guess all-in-one's are good if you don't give a rats ass about the quality of any of the parts of the whole. Oooh look! A crappy cell, crappy camera, crappy organizer, etc., etc. all in one package! How do I give you my wallet?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:55 PM on April 27, 2005


I don't get it. I have a treo 650. It plays all formats of music, and streaming-music as well and it is a phone.

Only thing bad about it, is that it can only hold music as big as the memory card (limited 2GB)-- wouldn't that blow this nokia out of the water?

And it costs ~$350...with plan.
posted by countzen at 3:07 PM on April 27, 2005


thomcatspike: Seriously, the smaller phones have smaller antennas.

No, they all have small antennas (full wavelength at 1.9 Ghz is only 15.8 cm)... :-)

A "normal" phone is limited to just below 1 watt maximum power (I think it's officially 0.7 watts) to prevent you from cooking your gonads and other precious things.

A bag/transportable phone is normally limited to about 3 watts maximum power, since it's unlikely you'll be sitting on the antenna. Of course, if it's big enough, I suppose it could double as a seat... :-D

I have to say, I like the look of this phone compared to the iPod. But then again, I'm all about the buttons being idiotically obvious.
posted by shepd at 3:30 PM on April 27, 2005


I believe there is one other variable.

3 watts maximum power
Thanks shepd as the smaller watts is the difference and where I went wrong remembering the difference between my phone and the smaller ones.
Do you know if the older model cell phones with an antenna that could bepulled out, have better reception because of it?
posted by thomcatspike at 3:59 PM on April 27, 2005



I don't get it. I have a treo 650. It plays all formats of music, and streaming-music as well and it is a phone.

Only thing bad about it, is that it can only hold music as big as the memory card (limited 2GB)-- wouldn't that blow this nokia out of the water?

But the Treo is not a 3G phone. This one is. Not that any american would care, but in Europe, more and more people do.
posted by mr.marx at 4:03 PM on April 27, 2005


I was pretty amazed at the Treo's ability to play the streaming content of online radio stations. If you can get an "unlimited bandwidth" deal with your phone provider, it should be seen as an instant sell, really.
posted by clevershark at 4:17 PM on April 27, 2005


Also, 3G is still a fairly distant dream in North America.
posted by clevershark at 4:17 PM on April 27, 2005


I agree with the bias against the swiss army knife approach, but I wonder if it would be possible to converge devices by creating interoperable modules. You get one UI/Screen/Input device which wirelessly interoperates with your PDA / mobile phone / music player / medical device / Glob. Sat. / video jukebox modules. All the modules hang from your 'utility belt' which is also a battery / power bus. International interoperability standards ensure that different manufacturer modules all talk the same language, and lock-in periods for backward compatablity ensure that you can upgrade one module at a time as long as they are in a five year window.

The big problem would be the aesthetic mismatch.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:48 PM on April 27, 2005


Jack of all Trades, Master of None.

Jack'll do fine, thanks. When I'm cutting about town, good enough is Good Enough. If I'm taking pictures seriously, I'll use a camera. If I'm word processing, I'll use my computer. If I'm listening to music in a big way, I'll use the hi-fi in the living room. If I'm making important calls, I'll use the crackle-free land line.

but when I'm out for the night, I don't want seventy-two bits o' gear. I want my phone, and that's about it. If it lets me take relatively good pictures of my mate doing something embarrassing, all the better. If it lets me send a drunken email to my far-off missus from the pub loo, even topper. If it's got a ton of MP3s for the night bus home, get the fuck in. All this in one package? Yes please.
posted by bonaldi at 6:01 PM on April 27, 2005


Isn't a mite bit expensive? $1000 for a phone and a 4GB music player? A comparable iPod runs about $250.

I have the 60GB iPod, and I don't see Nokia making a 60GB phone any time soon, so I'll hold off a while. Plus, like many, I like my portable devices to be dedicated to one thing.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:35 PM on April 27, 2005


thomcatspike, I would say "yes", since a full wavelength is going to transmit better than less than a full wavelength. However, having actually used a couple of phones like that, the difference isn't as marked as I expected.

It is there, though. I'd probably say since the antenna is inside the phone it probably is still a full wavelength, and that instead it is the phone blocking the signal that lessens the reception/transmission a bit.

But I'm no HAM radio expert (although I suppose I should be... I do have my license).
posted by shepd at 7:00 PM on April 27, 2005


Bonaldi nails it. Or pegs it. Or spanks it. Or whatever the hip term is these days.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:32 PM on April 27, 2005


My phone is currently a 2yo free with contract Nokia. It lasts almost two weeks on standby, gets superb reception, and is seemingly invulnerable to the abuse I subject it to. It doesn't have any fancy features, but it works well as a phone.

That said, I can see myself buying a phone like this, and not simply because I am addicted to gadgets. Bonaldi certainly nails it, but the clincher with this phone is that I have not been dissapointed by Nokia when it comes to making a phone that works exceptionally well as a phone. I can't say this of any of the other phones I have used.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:49 PM on April 27, 2005


I'm a bit fuzzy on all the ipod hating turning up here and elsewhere on the net.

angry modem writes "Ahh yes, the uninformed consumer."

HTuttle writes "iPods are the AOL of portable music listening.
"Happy now?"


I've looked at other solutions, but salad spork really does have it right -- the aesthetics of the ipod stem directly from the phenomenally well-designed user interface. I mean, short of voice-controlled and/or jacked-into-brain class interfaces, there's not a lot you can do to make it simpler. I'll grant that there are a few nitpicks -- the on-the-go playlist comes to mind right off, but seriously, the ipod remains the best one out there by a reasonable margin. And I've looked at a lot.

It's like the people complaining, much like the knee-jerk MS-haters and such, have to slag the front-runner in order to maintain their sense of one-three-three-seven, or else somehow they'll be emasculated(/effeminated?) by the fact that the "unwashed masses" want to use the same things they do. Childish crap, if you ask me.
posted by ChrisR at 8:57 PM on April 27, 2005


I've been using a Pocket PC phone for some time, and I've been incredibly happy with them. The single best purchase I've ever made has been my XDA II, which can do most of the stuff this can and some other things besides. Plus, I can write my own software for it, which is nice! While it does fall into that "jack-of-all-trades, master of none" category, it does each of those things well enough for most uses, like bonaldi said. I never thought I would like convergence devices, but I was so wrong.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:01 AM on April 28, 2005


re: mp3 gaps - it's called a short crossfade, and any mp3 player worth it's salt should be able to do it.

The iPod can. It's in the iTunes preferences.
posted by Tlogmer at 1:15 AM on April 28, 2005


I'm already using a Nokia MP3 playing phone - the 6230 with a 1Gb MMC card. I know I'm not comparing apples with Apples, but it does most things I'd want from a iPod shuffle or similar box, and I have it with me all the time. That fact alone makes the N91 something for me to consider. Having said that, if Nokia don't improve their PC software there is no way I will buy it...
posted by flameproof at 2:23 AM on April 28, 2005


Oh, sorry - in addition, it is intended to have DRM:

Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) DRM 2.0
For 'protection' and digital right management of music files
DRM Watch go into techy detail, too much for me to understand- what do others think?
posted by flameproof at 4:36 AM on April 28, 2005


(Blank) is the "iPod killer" is becoming the next "(Blank) is the next Michael Jordan" or the next "Osama Bin Laden thought to be hiding in (Blank)"
posted by jeremias at 7:02 AM on April 28, 2005


See, my problem with this is that I don't want to take my entire music collection and personal info everywhere I go. I have a cheap crappy phone and I feel comfortable taking it out to bars or mountain biking in the rain or using it on public transport: places I don't take my ipod or expensive camera in case I break or lose them.
posted by fshgrl at 10:10 AM on April 28, 2005


All I want is an HP 6300 series successor with a built-in hard drive. That'd cover just about all of it.
posted by linux at 10:26 AM on April 28, 2005


I hate carrying more stuff, I have a iPod Shuffle and a phone and a digital camera. I don't think this phone is it yet, but eventually there will come a day when this whole discussion will seem like people in the 50s arguing over which punch-card system is better.

Unified hand-held devices are the direction that the industry is taking. Very few people are interested in carrying around a utility belt a la Batman. And it makes sense that cell-phones are where the integration begins. As many people as there are that have MP3 players, there are exponentially more with cell-phones. Not only that, but cell-phones are becoming normal, it's coming to the point where you think people who don't have a cell-phone as some kind of Luddite.

Just like iPod revolutionized the MP3 player market, and made it OK to have an MP3 player, there will come a product that integrates everything and works easily.

I don't think the market is there yet. Battery life needs to be extended to take the more rigorous power requirements. 5MP cameras need to become smaller and easier to embed in a cell-phone. Storage mechanisms need to evolve to conveniently store +100GB of data in a very small form factor. And finally, someone needs to seriously design a product that everyone can use instinctively.

So this is a good first step, and it is the direction that will be taken. But like the initial VHS/DVD learning curves, in 3-5 years, these products will become ubiquitous, and this discussion will seem moot.
posted by patrickje at 11:33 AM on April 28, 2005


when I'm out for the night, I don't want seventy-two bits o' gear. I want my phone, and that's about it.

The phone would be the last thing I'd take with me if I went out for the night. After all, who wants to be interrupted by phone calls when you're having a good time?
posted by kindall at 12:24 PM on April 28, 2005


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