Okay, I rant so much on this blog, that now I'm not sure how I am going to possibly be able to communicate how completely psychotic I am about this phone. This is it. This is THE mobile phone. This is the one that's going to usher in the mobile revolution that's been building for years. Remember the promises of WAP? The wireless web? Games on your phone? The merging of the PDA and the mobile phone? Multimedia to go? The Nokia 3650 is the device that's going to actually do all this, and be launched at a price that's reasonable enough for adoption by the masses in the Western world. Mark this blog because I want you to remember where you saw it first. This is the insanely great device that'll be the Mac or Palm Pilot of it's generation. This is IT.
Am I getting the idea across? Okay, for you doubters, let me talk about the downsides before I continue to wax lyrically. It's big. I saw it at SIMO and it seemed large to me. Checking the specs, it weighs almost double my little Alcatel I have now. It's also a bit bulky. And the round keypad is going to take some getting used to. Also, even though it'll work both here in Europe and in the U.S., it's a GSM/GPRS phone which isn't nearly as popular in the U.S. which might be an impedent to adoption there and isn't as fast as UMTS/3G. But that's it, otherwise it's perfect.
Now let me make my case why this is the phone that's going to change the tech scene for years to come. Let's start top down with the marketing: The phone is aimed at consumers. It's got the customizable shell so the teenagers can swap out the plastic for cool custom designs. It's also going to be priced relatively low at first - around $400 - and that's without any sort of subsidized signup plan by the telecoms (compare this to the latest color Palms). And because the phone is designed specifically to send and receive Multimedia Messages, the telecoms LOVE it. Here in Europe the carriers are making tons of cash from SMS messages already - MMS messages are going to be more expensive and thus even more lucrative for them. The carriers are going to push the phone like crazy in a hope to bump up their revenue from the new multimedia services and connection charges. Remember, GPRS right now charges per byte, not per minute, and the carriers are dying for devices that'll get people to start USING those bytes. Not that the consumers are going to need a lot of incentive: The device is full color, has a camera and supports MP3s. All the things that a consumer would oooh and aah about.
Okay, so that's from a user perspective. Let's talk about the technical specs. It's got EVERYTHING. Symbian is a full-fledged modern OS, so it supports just about any spec and protocol you can think of: HTTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, XHTML/i-Mode, Java, WAP, MPEG4(!!), MP3s, RealMedia, Bluetooth, SyncML, SMS, MMS and more. Plus it's got all the things you expect from a phone including voice dialing, voice recording, vibration, long talk and standby times (4 hours/8 days). PLUS it has little bene's like a spot for a MMC memory card and includes a 16 meg card when you buy the phone in addition to the 4 megs of onboard memory. The camera isn't super-great, but it's passable at 640x480 VGA quality and can record video. The screen is 176x208 (which is more than a Palm) and supports 4,096 colors. Add it all up and this thing is a technical bombshell.
Personally I can't wait to start developing for it. It's going to be launched in the first quarter of 2003, so it'll be a few more months, but the market is already being seeded by the Nokia 7650, so there are apps already starting to appear for the phone. Checking these out you can start to see some of the potential and opportunity for development these phones have. Here's some links from Handango's Symbian section:
- Cosmic Fighters
- Terra Force
- Bowling 2003
- JungleJumbo (in Java!)
- Jam (in Java!)
- BubbleTots (in Java!)
- Handy Day
- Handy Safe
- Handy File
- Handy Tools (All)
- Screen Savers
- Active Desk
- Ximplify SeleQ
- Chess Genius
Are you excited yet? These apps are just the beginning, but some are pretty kick-ass already.
In addition to the downloadble apps, the XHTML support gives me the hots too since I'm a web developer first and foremost. Instead of horrid slow WML, this phone will be able to view XHTML and i-mode sites. That opens up a huge opportunity for developing custom sites aimed at mobile users like are already popular in Japan. Remember, if these types of phones are as popular as they should be, more people will be accessing the internet via these devices than via PCs. It's going to be a great platform to start developing your web apps for. (Right now all I'm thinking about is how to merge weblogs and mobile phones... first step: it's time to XHTML this blog.)
Here's a link via Erik which talks a bit more about MMS, Nokia's plans and the battle vs. Microsoft in the smart phone arena. According to the article, Nokia is predicting that their going to ship between 50 and 100 million Series 60 phones in the next year and has the track record to back up the prediction. It's interesting reading. If you're not convinced yet, you're not going to be.
Finally. I've been waiting for this for a while.