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iPhone, Nokia and Mobile Rethink

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iphonescreenshot.gifWhether you agree with my reasons about why iPhone is going to change the mobile business, it is already leading to major rethinking amongst large handset makers, on how they approach the handsets. Apple is making it okay to experiment with new ideas, and throw out previously taboo notions. Like touch screens and optical sensors.

Nokia CTO Tero Ojanpera speaking at a conference in Asia said that “Optical sensors and touch will be the next big things….”I believe there will be a lot of innovation around these.” LG’s Prada phone, Apple’s iPhone and the upcoming touch phone from High Tech Computer Corp could be the start of a major trend.

Now Apple isn’t the first one to use touch screen technology, but they certainly have added a sheen of cool to it. The big question is why didn’t Nokia develop phones based on touch screen. After all their CTO seems to be a believer. Plus, do you wonder how durable this glass screen is really going to be? Judi Sohn is worried.

there is no way I’m buying a glass-covered cell phone for $500 without accidental protection or some assurance that this thing can take everyday bumps and bruises without a problem. I want to use this thing…not display it on my wall for goodness sakes.

Additional Reading: Mobiles get the Synaptics Touch

20 Responses to “iPhone, Nokia and Mobile Rethink”

  1. “IMHO the iPhone will be ‘revolutionary’ in the sense that users (as in ‘real people’) will actually USE the many features that it offers — it’s as simple as that.”

    So the millions of palm, blackberry and WM users are fake people? Over half the people I know have a PDA that’s comparable to or better than the iphone.. and that’s just in Tennessee! Bottom line is the technology has existed AND been used widely before the iphone; the apple crowd just wasn’t aware because they only pay attention to things that are 1) made by apple and 2) shiny.

    “…and it’s something of a statement about the maturity of the tech industry, and it’s attitude to product development.”

    How so? Seems to me like a statement about how apple had a chance to come into the mobile market with a new and innovative product, but instead created an over-priced, under-featured copy of devices that existed 5 years ago.

  2. IMHO the iPhone will be ‘revolutionary’ in the sense that users (as in ‘real people’) will actually USE the many features that it offers — it’s as simple as that.

    …and it’s something of a statement about the maturity of the tech industry, and it’s attitude to product development.

  3. Subhash

    tnwake, Finally, I find someone expressing my sentiments. Thank you!

    I have frankly had enough of the “revolution” already – that for a product that most reviewers haven’t even touched yet. None of the announced iPh functionality is new or truly innovative.
    For all the iPh-anatics, Cellphone market is a wee bit different from the then evolving MP3 player market. Also, the price point seems to be a bit prohibitive for teens and college students to drive the volumes.
    So lets us all welcome a new player and a good looking phone into the market but do we really have to go over-board with it?

  4. For the millionth time, what is the iphone going to “revolutionize”? It doesn’t do anything that a smartphone doesn’t already do (and has been doing for years). I’ll take my Cingular 8525 with WM6 and a slide out keypad (for half the price) over the iphone any day!

    It doesn’t require a subscription to any music service, lets me change the battery when i want to, has a keypad, costs half as much, runs the mobile version of the OS I work with every day at work and home, isn’t made of glass, has 3G, has wifi and the list just keeps going on..

  5. The Nokia 7710 ( a mobile phone without a keypad ). I had the experience of lugging this around for almost a year ( ). It had a screen resolution 640 x 320 pixels that would put the iphone to shame.

    Did it work out for me? Well answer is no, too bulky and the lack of a keypad made the voice call experience a lot more difficult.

    I’m however still going to try the iphone, but my expectations are muted.

  6. Do people honestly think Apple is gambling a huge mobile introduction and they haven’t thrown the iPhone against every imaginable object in the world testing the glass?

  7. Well, maybe Apple’s big secret is that it has tactile feedback. It’s been worked out that to provide tactile feedback on touch screens that the display must stretch a little to give the sensation like a button has been pressed.

  8. francis idada

    I can never resist commenting on this iphone thing. What is soooo big about a touch screen? Do you know why that tech never took off?

    Ppl prefer responses to actions, when you type on a keypad, you feel the keypad go down and that signals you have done the job, try typing this blog on a touch screen and see how soon you get tired, not to mention ease of your fingers slipping and pressing another key inadvertently.

    The only thing that the iphone has going for it is the enhanced voicemail system but since this is network dependent, it wouldnt fly.

    In any event, cell phones today are more of an accessory than functional devices, so many ppl would get the iphone just to show off, I have an iphone, not that it adds any new functions.

    So please could bloggers let up with this how the iphone would change the mobile business, because it wouldnt change it one bit, it would only attract lots of money and attention like its doing now, to one company.

  9. Brian S

    Hmmm. Apple may not offer an extended warranty but I bet AT&T will.
    Last time I got a phone there (3 months ago) they put on a full court press trying to get me to buy “insurance” on the phone.

  10. There are several reasons for switching to glass from plastic:

    1. More resistant to scratches. Scratches can mean degraded touch screen accuracy. And ruin a beautiful phone.

    2. Glass has better touch screen performance than plastic in terms of tactile sensitivity.

    3. The iPhone’s case is metallic, which provides a very rigid support for a glass panel. If properly supported, it won’t break any easier than plastic when compressed. If you drop it…well, then all sorts of things can break besides the plastic.

    I would take care of this phone just the same as with any other $500+ device…don’t drop it, don’t wipe it with sand, don’t sit on it. Do people expect the iPhone (or the Nokia N95 for that matter) to survive heavy use? The failure modes may be different, but they are probably both just as fragile. Remember, the N95 has moving parts :)

  11. I’d like to hope that the glass is near-bullet proof. But I also know how many times folks have complained about dropped MacBooks that Apple charges a fortune to repair, or how easily scratched the iPods can be (yes, I know that’s the reason why the case is glass instead of plastic).

    I don’t expect the iPhone to be crystal delicate, but it would be nice if Apple mentioned just how durable this glass is considering the fact that they don’t offer an extended warranty that covers accidental damage.

  12. I just read an investors report about Balda, the company maiking these screens for the iPhone. It said that this glass-surfaced screen for the iPhone is more durable, far more sensitive and thinner while also harder to scratch or smudge than plastic displays.

  13. coleman

    the n800 shipments are not that meaningful, and secondly, the impact is on wireless phone business. of course, there are others who have touch screens out in the business. many windows mobile and palm phones for instance.

  14. I agree with PXLated. Come on people, Steve Jobs works with a guy who knows a lot about industrial design and his name is Jonathan Ive. Does anyone really believe that Ive and his team have not learned from the plastics material used in iPods, and that they have not studied material sciences? Especially with Apple’s future banking in part on iPhone? Pullleeeezzze!

    Note: if Nokia’s N800 has a touchscreen then why has the world not heard about it in a big way? Nokia at one time had the attention of the world with the movie The Saint when Val Kilmer was using the Nokia 9000 (remember that brick?).