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Nokia 5800 XpressMusic faces some tough tests
January 5, 2009 at 8:07 am

5800Tests RUSSIA - We wrote at the back of last year about the myriad tests Nokia devices go through. Well, some clever peeps in Russia have come up with their own tests, devised specifically for the 5800 XpressMusic. Testing devices rigourously takes a lot of time, effort and ingenuity to get right, make sure the tests are consistent and that the product is improved in the process. Testing finished devices happens on a regular basis - even after the device goes on sale - but the process is somewhat different to what one 5800 went through recently.

The tests on the 5800 XpressMusic were conducted by the people behind mobile.Mail.ru. Things started off gently enough with a simple drop test, followed by a "walking on" test, where someone, erm, walked on the phone. Everything was fine, and remained so as the device was heralded, and we kid you not, into a washing machine (on a spin cycle), a freezer (at -20 degrees centigrade), dropped into a jug of champagne, held under a running tap, placed in the dustbag of an electric sander before being placed under the wheel of a car. Whilst the phone itself survived this final test, the screen didn't, unfortunately.

Not surprising, reckon the testers and an easily repairable fix should such an event occur (in 15 years of owning mobile phones, I've never had one go under a car). It's worth a look for the entertainment value of the tests, which whilst not conclusive, and vastly different to Nokia's own rigourous testing, the videos do make interesting viewing.

Via Tube5800

Read the original in Russian

Read the original, translated by Google

Image from Mobile.Mail.ru

Getting what you pay for in free online services
January 5, 2009 at 6:26 am

Free_hugs ESPOO, Finland - I used to be one of those people who would say "you get what you pay for," and tell folks to quit complaining when one of their "free" online services was having some service issues. Think about it: you are using a service for free and it breaks down. Why should you get mad? You don't pay anything for it. That makes you a free-loader of some sort, right? Beggars can't be choosy.

Wrong. And I've finally realized why.

The many shades of free.
Recently, I has some issues with a few free online services. Also, I realized how much I use free online services for work and personal life. that got me thinking that there are all sorts of "free" and that in most cases I do pay for the service, though not in a blatant transaction or subscription fee.

An easy example is Google. The services I use from there are free, in that I don't pay Google a penny of any money to them. But I do pay by using the services, feeding the giant android in the Cloud with behavior, data, and attention.

You must be thinking, "Duh, Charlie, that's an ad-supported business. What's so special about that?"

What's special is that I am a user tied to their business model and as a user, I do pay for the system, as much as if I forked over cash. Hence, I should have a service level any paying customer would demand.

The same goes for a service like Twitter. No, they are not ad-supported as Google is, but there is no doubt that offering a service where the users do not pay a transaction or subscription fee is part of their business plan. OK, so there may be doubts. But the point is, the user pays in other ways that bring the company money.

Paying with blood, sweat, and tears
Companies are not set up to charitably give away a free online service. They have only shifted the cash to another part of the service. And the user is still vital and is still "paying" in some form. In the end, we are important customers for the business and should expect level of service the same as if we were paying with cash.

This issue will only get bigger as we move more of our work and personal life to free online services. "Free," as in "no cash exchanged," should not be an excuse for losing user data or breakdowns in service provision. "Free" is quickly becoming the norm, so as users we need to re-evaluate our role in helping "free" providers make money. We do help and that makes us as paying customer. There is no "free."

So, next time Feedburner stops working or Share on Ovi is inaccessible for a long time, I should be able to complain under regular consumer rules. I should get what I pay for, even in I don't pay for a service in cash.

What do you think?

Chris Anderson is writing a book called "Free". Here's a video from Nokia's IDEAS Projects where Chris talks about four forms of "free":

Image from kalandrakas

Hottest Nokia topics for 2009
January 5, 2009 at 3:30 am

Crystal-ball GLOBAL - So, what's going to be hot this year? Well, we're no astrologers, but to be fair, it doesn't take a genius to work out what will be tripping off the tongues of folks around Nokia, and the wider Nokia community, this year. We've been scratching our heads, and come up with our little list. Feel free to add yours at the end. Full rundown, after the jump.

Before we kick off, can we just qualify that we're not commenting on, or referencing, future unannounced products or services here. It's simply a list of what we think will be popular topics for the year that is 2009, along with a little reasoning as to why.

Product: N97
There's no need to explain this one, to be fair. The world was wowed at the launch last month, we've been impressed every since. The product folks say we can expect to see it fully in the flesh sometime in 2009. We can't wait.

Product: 5800 XpressMusic going global
Right now only available in a few countries, the 5800 XpressMusic is already proving to be a huge success. And, with wider availability on offer through 2009, we're excited at the prospects for Nokia's first touchscreen.

Concept: Phones without chargers
There's no telling where this one is going to go right now, but the environmental folks at Nokia have high ambitions around the concept of selling phones without chargers. Why? Well selling phones without chargers means phones can ship in smaller boxes (saves energy, packaging and money) and consumers only get what they actually need - this is for those who already own Nokia devices. A definite talking point.

Service: Maps
Already evolving at a pace even we didn't expect to see, Maps, navigation and GPS will all continue to be hot topics in 2009. Why? Well, the proliferation of GPS-enabled devices will be a start. The evolution of the Maps app will keep it on people's lips along with the range of cool new GPS-enabled apps. Bring it on.

Service: Ovi
What's in store for Ovi this year? Lots, if 2008 is anything to go by. Take a look at what we have in Ovi right now against what it was 12 months ago. Comparable? Of course not. So what's it going to be like 12 months from now? We don't have a clue, other than it's going to be nothing like it is today - simply put, even better.

Thought: Peak Phone
Charlie asked this one at the back end of last year. Have we hit Peak Phone yet? Did we hit it last year? It'll be a long time before we find out for sure, meanwhile it'll make one hell of a geek dinner table topic, from now right through to December, for sure.

Global: Financial crisis
The second half of 2008 was consumed by little else than the words credit, crunch and various negative adjectives. The immediate future doesn't sound any more fantastic with caution paving the way through to what could well be a brave new world. What's it to be like? Time will tell, meanwhile expect to spend plenty of time having fun guessing.

Service: Music
Comes with Music attracted plenty of coverage during 2008. As we move across 2009 it's sure to be doing the same, as the service is predicted to roll out in more countries. It isn't just about CwM though, the Nokia Music Store too should give us plenty of topic-fodder for this year, along with the myriad music devices we're bound to see through 2009.

Service: Mobile Email
The ambition for Mail on Ovi is simple - connect the people to the Internet who aren't yet connected. Through their phones. The concept makes sense to us, and as the service rolls out through the year we'll be getting a clearer picture of how it's being recieved. As big as Hotmail, Gmail and all the rest? Ask us this time next year. The predictions right now are pretty clear - 400 million email enabled handsets by 2010.

Thought: Sustainability
This crosses every part of our lives though seems to have evolved out of environmental issues and is now rearing it's head across all parts of our lives and business. That's a good thing. It's at the centre of what Nokia is all about, with new questions about Sustainability being used to improve life and business across the planet. That, we think is a good thing, and will, we reckon, continue to be one of the hottest talking points of 2009.

Now, how about yours. What's on your agenda for the next 12 months?

Photo by 12218772@N00

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Samsung's 8MP Pixon gets real, more mysterious


Right, so we were already pretty sure that Pixon we were eying earlier wasn't a KIRF of some sort, but just in case you still had your doubts, Samsung has stepped in to wash them away. The 8-megapixel Pixon is for real, as evidenced by a teaser site with an absurdly long URL name. As for confirmed specs, we're looking at a 3.2-inch touch panel, 13.8-millimeter thin enclosure, 8MP camera (with Auto Focus, twin LED flash, face detection, and shake reduction), a built-in accelerometer and 7.2Mbps HSDPA. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the linked site is going to spill any other details until October 2nd, but you can still kill some serious time there just rolling your cursor on and off the lens.


Apple’s secret iPhone kill switch


An iPhone enthusiast discovered a kill switch that enables Apple to wipe a malicious or unauthorized iPhone application even after it has been paid for and installed on a user's iPhone. It did not take long for the information to spread and questions over the secrecy and purpose of the feature are being asked. While some argue that the blacklisting feature isn't in best interest of iPhone users, others believe it is effective weapon that can quickly kill potential malware and viruses hidden in legitimate applications. And yes, you guessed it right, Apple has not said anything yet.

Read the Rest

FCC Passes Nokia N85


The FCC has just given its nod of approval to the upcoming Nokia N85, which means we ought to be able to see it hit retail stores sometime in the near future. The N85 is strangely enough, the successor to the N96 despite bearing different numbered prefixes. Just to recap what the N85 offers, it comes with :-

* 5 megapixel camera
* Symbian S60 3rd Edition
* Wi-Fi connectivity
* Integrated GPS navigation
* Photo-geotagging
* Quad-band GSM 850/900/1800/1900
* Tri-band WCDMA 850/1900/2100

I wonder how much this will cost - hopefully not too much more compared to the N96.

Nokia and Microsoft in alliance to make Zune phone?

Etichete: ,

Speculations about Microsoft’s iPhone beater are about as old as the iPhone itself. Rumors that both Microsoft and Nokia are worried about Apple’s advances aren’t dying down and if we believe the latest wave of speculations then both companies could be working together to prevent Apple from repeating even a fraction of the success the company had with the iPod. Microsoft's effort to integrate Zune Marketplace content with Windows Mobile and Nokia handsets is seen as part of this effort.

Microsoft remained conspicuously mum on the possibility of a Zune phone, neither confirming nor denying Zune phone speculations. Whenever media presses Microsoft executives on the matter, the same answer is given: Microsoft is more than happy with its position in the mobile phone space. In addition a Zune phone may make no sense at all, given Microsoft’s less than impressive Zune music player and the general consensus that Microsoft might remove the device from the market soon. There could be room for a new Zune device, but the brand name needs to be cleaned up.

A Zune phone remains only a rumor at this point but there are signs that Microsoft will at least leverage the Zune brand and Zune Marketplace content to slow down the iPhone.

According to a report published by UK tech site Electric Pig, the software giant is now teaming up with Nokia to launch an "all out assault" on Apple, while there is still time. The report cites an unverified "well placed source within Microsoft" that revealed details behind Microsoft-Nokia partnership to the Zunescene web site. The Zune team is reportedly working with Nokia to integrate the Zune Marketplace with Nokia smartphones. This should not come as s surprise as most industry watchers have been repeatedly calling Microsoft to expand the Zune Marketplace content (music, movies, TV series, etc.) to Windows Mobile platform, PCs, Xbox, etc. It is unknown at this time if the Nokia Music Store and the Zune Marketplace will merge or will coexist.

The non-exclusive deal appears to be limited to content delivery only at this point. However, a Zune phone would be a conclusive move. Yes, we are speculating but you must admit that such a device may make sense. Microsoft already knows how not to create a MP3 player, how not to create a Zune cellphone (see Motorola Rokr) and how a successful Zune cellphone could look like (iPhone). The software giant first partnered with Nokia two years ago to bring its online services to Nokia handsets (such as Windows Live search, Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail.) It was a limited collaboration and it never reached the operating system realm.

Microsoft and Nokia have the same rival to battle. Other handset vendors have failed to crank out iPhone killers or have delayed potential competitors. However, the combined resources of Microsoft and Nokia present an interesting opportunity to challenge Apple in a highly profitable market segment.

At the moment, Microsoft seems to be content with expanding the Zune brand and the Zune Marketplace content into the Windows Mobile space and Nokia mobile phones. Most analysts do not believe that Microsoft will make a Zune mobile phone at this time. "The business model of Windows Mobile is totally different than Zune," Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg wrote in his blog. "Zune worked to some extent since the technology Microsoft was licensing wasn't getting them anywhere. As it was, hardware partners were taken aback by Microsoft's actions but were still comfortable licensing."

According to the analyst, Microsoft now has 20 million Windows Mobile licenses out there and is "gaining traction." It also has "a great stream of partners" that make more and more Windows Mobile-powered phones for business and personal use, so Microsoft's entrance into the handset hardware business would potentially affect this scenario in a negative way. "Windows Mobile is a core platform and OS. No one has ever been successful licensing technology platforms to others and then competing with a device of their own. Apple failed (twice), Palm and Nokia all tried it and it just can't be done," Gartenberg wrote.