Mobile Phone: Still waiting to Replace Nokia N97

I was an “early adopter” of the Nokia N97 about 18 months ago.  It has been one of the most disappointing – in fact iunfuriating – phones i ever owned.  For teh first 6 months it was bug ridden, crashing and running out of memory and then the slide to unlock switch on teh side would not unlock the device!

The web browser was really poor, the camera+flash had a severe design flaw,  the music player was horrible to use, email was vile and Ovi-Suite (the PC software) was  slow and buggy – I had to stay with PC Suite.

The only redeeming factors were the good voice telephony and text messaging – with excellent “Remote SIM” mode for advanced car phones – and the OVI maps, which have all the data in the device. Also I use Opera as teh web browser and the Gravity Twitter client. Basically the hardware is good, but the software is embarassingly poor.  I have used a Nokia since switching from Motorola in 1998, going though devices including 7110 (banana), 8110 (WAP), 6680, N93, N95 and N95 8Gb. I temporarily switched to the Sony P800 back in 2001. All of these devices were relatively reliable and  were class leaders.

Back when the iPhone was launched, I realized that I could not tolerate the poor web browsing that Apple was pushing – nor the need to sync things with iTunes, so I was up for a change to something new. I chose the N97, which seemed great from the (as it turned our exagerated) video promos.  I wanted the device to work, waiting for new software updates. I bought a Nokia direct – avoiding operator tinkering – expecting to get the latest software fast.

In mid 2010 I was about to smash the phone to smithereens when its lack of memory stopped me sending text messages, but a “Nokia VIP program” person invited me to courier the device back and get a “reflash”. Which I did. That reduced my pain for a few months but I am now in teh market for a new phone.

Current Candidates are:

iPhone 4 – closed, needs iTunes, lack of innovation, expensive, poor web browser (with no alternatives allowed), Bluetooth file transfer does not work, proprietary docking.

Blackberry Torch – Slightly heavy, small screen, but actually looks quite good – and has benefit of a keyboard.

HTC Desire or Desire HD – got one for my 11yr old daughter and it looks great. Slightly worried about the bluetooth software.  Samsung Galaxy was a candidate but it has no LED-flash for the camera.

Nokia N8 – Actually its not a candidate.  I tried one out for a few days. The software is still really poor. Sorry!

Nokia N72 – My wife and 2 colleagues have these.  For mail, text, voice and maps they seem great. Problem is the size of the screen for web use, and i am now addicted to touch interfaces.

Windows Phone 7 – COming Soon.  I don’t expect this to be much good in its first iteration, and from what I hear Microsoft’s team for this phone is following Apple’s “closed” philosophy – Bizarre!

My plan is now to wait till Xmas and then decide.  Current front runners are HTC Desire or Blackberry Torch.

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