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Nokia Employees Forbidden to Use the Word Phone

From the Seattle Times:

Harry Santamäki vows to take a sip of cod liver oil from the bottle on his desk if he ever utters the word phone.

That’s odd, considering Santamäki works at Nokia, the largest mobile phone maker in the world.

“We are forbidden to call them phones,” said the vice president of multimedia strategy and business development. Instead, they’re “multimedia computers.”

And so they are.  Nokia’s products are some of the sharpest looking, most capable and popular phones in the world.  They’re also full blown multimedia computers, as are Microsoft’s Smartphones, the Treo, and (to a lesser extent) Blackberry.  Blackberry has most of the capabilities I use on a day to day basis: email, voice, contacts, calendar.  Do I need a PC?  For storage, certain applications, and lengthy document composition, absolutely.

The Times piece is worth a read.  Nokia’s vision is large, and compelling.  As a user of their very popular N70 and N90 products, though, I can tell you that two things are holding them back:

  1. Metered wireless internet access.  Rogers ridiculously low cap on their “unlimited” plan, combined with their egregious overage charges makes the it costly to take full advantage of the capabilities of Nokia’s products. 
  2. User experience.  These are complex devices, with many capabilities, that users are expected to manipulate with a standard 10 digit keypad and a few soft-buttons.  Most people won’t have the patience to delve deeply into the capabilities of the product.  Nokia has the right idea with the cameras in both of these phones — they come on automatically when the user manipulates the lens or lens cover.

Despite these flaws, Nokia’s N-series products are beautifully made “multi-media computers”

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