Thursday, October 18, 2007

computer in my pocket

Nokia had really excellent earnings today. Apparently their third quarter net profit rose 85% based on their growth in emerging markets, and they hold a steady 39% share of market.

39%. That's huge more than its next three competitors put together.

With all of the hype of the iPhone, I think it's easy to forget that the cellphone market is really global, and nokia is the predominant global player. I guess the battle between them is set to play out in the UK in the next few months: Nokia is unveiling a new music service and music-oriented phones just as the iPhone is coming to the mother country. Ultimately I think the Nokia is going win here -- they really are great phones, and they're totally open. Nokia also just has such a huge foothold in Europe.

But I really hope Nokia takes the lessons from the iPhone to heart... I want to watch tv and movies on my phone, but the E70 just doesn't make this easy -- it has real player, but that's it. The Tivo program on my desktop can output video in the ipod video format, why can't it do it in a nokia phone compatible format as well? I spent like half a day trying to convert an episode of the Colbert Report to play on my phone. I ended up with this tiny grainy version of Stephen Colbert and I couldn't even see his world of the day :(. I can browse the internet on my E70, but it doesn't seem as seamless as the experience on the iPhone. Also, more websites tailor to the iphone web browser -- though both these phones can load full webpages (javascript and all) it takes a ridiculously long time to do so on any non-wifi connection, and most pages are not meant to be seen on a 2in x 3in screen. I want to see more websites create mobile phone versions based on what device the request is coming from that are optimized for the device's screen size and interface (I think a lot of sites have already made iphone versions, including GMail. Where's my nokia-targeted GMail, huh?). It's sort of frustrating how many services jumped on the iPhone wagon as soon as it came out, when these places haven't created binaries or services for Nokia phones, which have been out a lot longer. I think this is a hugely US-centric view, which is a mistake.

I love the competition among the high end handsets, but I HATE the way carriers lock down the market in the United States. They're basically evil incarnate. You can't run Google Maps for Mobile on a Verizon phone! How crazy is that! There's no way we'd let ISPs control what we put on our laptops, so why do we let carriers control what we can run on our phones?

Eventually there's going to be a collision between the global and US phone markets -- the business model and compatibility issues are just going to start pissing more people off. I will only buy unlocked GSM phones since I travel internationally, and that basically means I have to buy my phones out of pocket. I just want to pay for service and an unlimited data connection and be left alone! Figure out some other way to make money!


  1. I'd hazard the guess that the reason everyone is rushing to support the iPhone is because it is, by most accounts, the first phone that kind of doesn't suck. Brad told me the other day that Safari has never crashed on him. Compare that with the E70... :-P

    I know that you're happy with your Nokia, but mine still fails incredibly hard for me on the usability front, ranging from the tiny default font on the web browser (with a single step of zoom?!) to the dialog boxes that incessantly pop up whenever I try to do anything.