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My Take on iPhone 3G versus Nokia Nseries

2008.03.17 - Share on OviTed Wallingford did a “smackdown” comparison between the Apple iPhone 3G and the Nokia Nseries devices. His assessment, while the Nokia Nseries has more functionality, the iPhone gets the nod “for those who want a frustration-free, minimal-hack cell phone experience.”

While regular readers know I have a dog in this hunt, and I’ll admit I haven’t spent a lot of time looking the Apple iPhone (i.e. the competition), here’s what I’ve been able to piece together based on my limited use of the device and what research I’ve been able to do.

The Apple iPhone is a media consumption device. Clearly the interface lends itself to easily consuming media, be it music, videos, photos, or web pages. However, as a media generation device, it is not so great. The camera is bad, typing on the iPhone screen has been described as hard by some, and certain classes are third-party apps are simply not available because Apple hasn’t (or won’t) approve them.

The Nokia Nseries are also media consumption devices. They can sync with Windows Media–complete with DRM. They support downloading podcasts direct from the phone using Nokia Podcasting, and some models even support the FM radio. The interface is not as refined as the iPhone, but the basic functionality is there and, in some cases, surpasses the iPhone. Nokia’s Music Store–available in only a few countries–allows purchasing of tracks over the air from the handset.

Unlike the iPhone, though, but many of the Nokia Nseries devices–particularly the newer ones–are media generation devices. The Nokia N95 and N82 can take videos in 640×480 and pictures in 5 megapixel glory. For me, that’s good enough to replace my dedicated video camera and still camera for “everyday” stuff.

I tend to agree with Alec Saunders on Squawkbox, who discussed this topic ad-nauseum on yesterday’s Squawkbox. He said that comparing these two devices was a bit like comparing a hammer and a screwdriver. They are different tools that do different things. Bravo.

Meanwhile, the problem that all of these devices have is quite simple: battery life. (Yes, Sheryl, I noticed the comment you made on yesterday’s Squawkbox). When you bring 3G into the equation, it seems like they both fall flat. Perhaps that’s why the Blackberry has better battery life at the moment–there isn’t a 3G version available (at least in North America)! Wonder how they will compare with 3G.

Edit: If my “dog in this hunt” statement wasn’t obvious before, I work for Nokia. However, my job has nothing to do with mobile phones except as a user and occasional beta tester. This is my own blog and my own opinions.

#Cybersecurity Evangelist, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.