The Nokia 6230 and the Success of Clean Design


I just read an article in CNN about how Nokia is having trouble keeping up with demand for the 6230 and with good reason, the phone simply rocks. Yes, I'm a Series 60 aficionado, but I'll make an exception for this phone. I mean, Tom Hume mentioned how great this phone was in a comment a month or so ago:

I moved to a 6230 recently, but had been on a 6100 for a few months before that - and really liked the form factor. It didn't fill my pocket or feel bulky like my old 7650/3650, it felt like a *phone*.

6230 does everything I want and more (J2ME/BT/radio/WAP/etc), screen size is adequate (more would be nicer but it's not a killer), it's *responsive*, and stats I see for WAP traffic to some services we run indicates that S40 handsets generate 2x the traffic of S60...

Tom is an expert in the field - if he says a phone is good, it's good.

Though I can't say I told you so as I've been pushing Series 60 phones over the Series 40 models, this mobile does meet much of what I always felt the obvious keys to consumer product success are: create a "Model T" like device which is simple and clean in design and yet packed with features. In fact, I went on at length in April about how cleanly designed phones would win - I was talking about the 6225 at the time, but this phone is along the same lines.

The 6230 has just about everything you want in a mobile including lots of memory, external storage card, advanced Java, WAP 2.0, GPRS/EDGE, MP3 *and* FM support, Bluetooth and it's a triband World Phone. And say what you want about the S40 (okay, I will) it's still an incredibly well designed User Interface which is beats the hell out of the competition like the standard Moto API (which I've been forced to use more and more lately and am not happy about). It'd be nice if the screen was larger (like the amazing Moto v400) but that's soon to be address with the Nokia 6230i, so even that won't be an issue for this model for long.

No over analyzed market segmentation, no wacky keypads, no gimmicks - Just a well designed phone that people want to have and use. I wonder how much money Nokia would save per year, and how much they would increase their sales, if they just cut down the number of models they sell and just focused on this type of model to sell to the public? Make six differently colored shells like the iPod mini and just market the hell out of that one model. Judging from Apple's relative success, I'd say that'd be a winning strategy.

It's really a shame that American carriers - specifically AT&T Wireless- aren't selling this phone yet as it is a perfect model to take advantage of the nationwide EDGE network (here's the settings from a with-it VC). I wonder if the delay is because of network issues, the merger with Cingular, or just the general focus on flip phones now in the American market. Probably the last one.

Neat phone, but I wonder if it's the last great Nokia candy bar phone?


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