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Nokia smartphone neep

I have found the new technical gadget that has my name on it.

My current phone is an old Treo 180g; my previous three phones were various flavours of Nokia. I don't hate the Treo; I do hate its battery life because, well, I forget to plug it in often enough. Which has meant, in the last few months, that I haven't had a phone handy. The upside? No annoying phone calls. The downside? No ability to make annoying phone calls.

So I went off searching, finally, for a new phone. Where new in this case means old enough that I can get it for Not Too Much money. I discovered, in this process, that fido has been purchased by Rogers. When did that happen? (As it turned out, I picked up the Sony T610 for not very much money, which has a lithium-polymer batter that runs for days, even by real test standards; it also has a crappy camera, which seems to be something that's required of the mid-range and up).

Ahem. Sorry. While searching for information on the phones that fido offers, I hit the Nokia site... and there it was, on the front page: the phone of my dreams. Well, except technically it's not really a phone.

It's a... 640x320 resolution hand-held Symbian OS platform that happens to also be a phone, a (crappy) camera, an MP3 player, a web-browser. I don't think it makes toast. But -- no chiclet keyboard. No thumboard. Just a stylus. There's apparently some form of handwriting recognition. If anyone out there knows more than I do -- which would be, if anyone sees one, touches one, or has used Symbian OS in smartphones -- that would be great. I've done all the internet/googling, so the standard information, the manual, the developers papers, etc., are now in my hands; I want a better sense of how it handles.

Some of you may know that my previous love-of-life was the Newton MessagePad 2000 (with the upgrade). It was and is large and bulky when compared to handhelds these days, but it was designed for actual input and use, and the OS was great for that. Steve Jobs killed it. I don't care why. I still use it from time to time, and travel with it when space permits, and I've been watching other devices to see whether or not one will appear that will, at last, be a suitable replacement for what was produced in, I believe, 1996.

This might be it.

Which is not, of course, why I'm writing. I'm writing because Nokia has no current plans to sell the 7710 in the Americas. Yes, that's the sound of me grinding my teeth to crowns. It's a (theoretical) 4Q Asia/Africa release, and a (also theoretical) 1Q 2005 Europe release... and there are no plans to bring it to where I can easily buy it.


Okay. I'll try to stop obsessing now.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 23rd, 2004 03:01 pm (UTC)
and I've been watching other devices to see whether or not one will appear that will, at last, be a suitable replacement for what was produced in, I believe, 1996.

That is *exactly* how I feel about my laptop computer, which was built in 98 or 99. It's a Sony Vaio. It's 12x8x3/4", with an 11x6" screen. It has no internal CD-ROM, DVD or disk drive. It has no wireless or net connection beyond a 56k modem which you must physically hook up to a phone line to connect it to the net. It has a slot for an ethernet card and has a USB port. It weighs, with its largest battery, 3.2 pounds. It is perfect for travel and for writing.

It literally cannot be replaced. There is *nothing* like it available; you cannot buy such a scaled-down computer anymore. I have *no idea* what I'm going to do when it dies, because I *love* that computer. It's *perfect* for my needs, and nobody makes anything like it anymore</a>. Argh!
Nov. 23rd, 2004 03:42 pm (UTC)
I love my HP Jornada 720. It's a cross between a pda and a laptop (it opens like a lap top and has an almost decent keyboard).

Instant on, only 32mb but can expand that with flashcards, it has small versions of Word etc, weighs only 18 ounces, and its battery lasts for about 9 hours on. I love it. And they no longer make them, or anything like them. I have a laptop now as well, but it's just not as portable, sturdy (I frequently drop the Jornada) or battery efficient (but it is, of course, way more powerful).

Amazon link with picture here
Nov. 23rd, 2004 03:50 pm (UTC)
So who are all the bozos who want Bigger Better Faster Stronger who are screwing up us low-end users, that's what I wanna know!
Nov. 23rd, 2004 03:59 pm (UTC)
And why doesn't someone create a company that only makes low-end (but not low-quality) computery type things? Oh, and with writerly discounts, too.
Nov. 23rd, 2004 04:32 pm (UTC)
Ummm. I will say that my current everything-but-games machine is the wonking great 17" Powerbook. And, I love the screen. I love being able to have two open full page word documents side by side if I'm going between versions (I hate hate hate hate hate the multi-coloured version tracking of Word. I'm just saying).

But I don't carry it with me many places; the Newton was great for that.

But look at the little X40...
Nov. 23rd, 2004 05:56 pm (UTC)
Guilty as charged. I love my great honking big old IBM A series thinkpad. It's got a 15" screen and weighs a ton. I'd buy another if they still made them.

For a while this was my primary development machine, so speed mattered a lot and I generally didn't go more than a couple hours outside home or office, so power consumption wasn't a big issue. My primary machine for work is a Thinkpad as well--- going 'bigger better faster stronger' makes sense if it's going to be the primary machine, with mobility as an extra feature rather than the main concern.
Nov. 24th, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC)
We have an A series thinkpad as well (I think it's an A20) with the 15" screen. It's heavyish. It's still working. Those things were built to be dropped from a distance, I swear.

My first portable -- the IBM portable -- had two floppy drives, and no hard drive, and a "super-twist" screen which was new technology; it came out before the Toshiba gas-plasma displays. That one -was- dropped from heights (by accident) several times, and I think it was about 14 lbs. But it could be carried easily compared to a desktop.

I like portability, but I tend to buy -- for the "main" machine -- larger & more powerful bulk. It takes longer for the tech to stale-date, and it is, as you said, a primary work machine.

I think it depends on how one defines work, though. Had I only wanted to use a computer to compose novels, the portable with the aforementioned floppies (Word 4.0 for DOS) would have been fine.
Nov. 24th, 2004 03:50 pm (UTC)
*cough cough*
I used to work for the Usability Group at Microsoft-- Usability being the dept that finds "regular people" to test their products on. (Yes, they really do test stuff before they market it.)

I would call people who had volunteered for the program, ask them a bunch of questions, and if they fit the profile, invite them in to test stuff.

What I noticed was:
1) They had kind of strict profiles, and if you were computer savvy enough to want a laptop (or you didn't have kids), you didn't fit their less-savvy Persona.

2) No one within easy driving distance of their labs (in Redmond, WA and silicon valley) fit their low-end profile. (I was calling little old ladies that knew the difference between RAM and ROM. That's more than *I* know.)

So the reason *they're* not making less flashy stuff is that no one has officially asked them to.

If you want to get involved in long-distance testing, sign up at http://www.microsoft.com/usability/default.htm

and tell all your writer friends. (You even get free stuff if you participate)

I also used to write for a computer trade magazine. (I had no clue about computers, but my cover letter was the only one without any typos. Sigh.) We only covered Big Exciting Faster Better More stuff. There is no story in cheap and simple. So if companies wanted to get in the press, they had to have big exciting and new.

And, at least last time i was involved (4 years ago) There Was No Margin in Hardware. The only people making money were people selling storage or writing software. And the only way to sell hardware, says received wisdom, is if it's sporting Flashy Expensive Hardware.

Because there's so little margin, they aren't going to take any risks in changing the form factors (um, that is, the physical shape of the computer and what you can do with it).


So, really long answer, and that may have been a rhetorical question, but in case it wasn't, that's the info i have. :)

Nov. 23rd, 2004 04:07 pm (UTC)
Well The IBM X40 series get pretty small comming in at 10.5"x9.32"x0.94" and 2.71 lbs. Don't know about the battery life or anything though.

Nov. 23rd, 2004 04:29 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that's the smallest Thinkpad I've seen. Cool! Thanks for the link!
Nov. 23rd, 2004 04:29 pm (UTC)
Well The IBM X40 series get pretty small comming in at 10.5"x9.32"x0.94" and 2.71 lbs. Don't know about the battery life or anything though.

Well, it's a Centrino chip, so the battery life should be fairly damn good -- boy is that an impressive set of specs. Also? We've had good luck with IBM notebooks and not-so-good with Dell, fwiw. I realize mileage varies, I'm just pointing out what mine is, and I'm not waving any flags.
Nov. 29th, 2004 10:27 pm (UTC)
This is what I have, and the battery runs about 3-4 hours; you can get a bigger one, I think, which should double the time without doubling the weight or width.

I still miss the Thinkpad 240s, which were even smaller (I could fit mine in my minibackpack), although it *is* nice to have a bigger screen.

FYI, IBM offers fairly new stuff at a discount through their refurbished/used program; I got mine through it a year and a half ago and have never regretted it.
Nov. 23rd, 2004 06:15 pm (UTC)
These don't have much of a screen, but I'd never heard of them before someone mentioned them on LJ, so I thought I'd pass it on:

Nov. 24th, 2004 10:15 am (UTC)
Interesting - as you say, not much of a screen. On the other hand, if the process for uploading to a desktop computer is efficient enough, this gadget might be handy for taking notes at meetings and conferences, which could then be cleaned up later on a larger screen. Certainly, it would weigh less than the laptop I cart around these days...
Nov. 24th, 2004 11:03 am (UTC)
not completely on topic, but when ever I think of hand writing recognition software, I think of this. It's what happens when you run Jabberwocky through an Apple Newton.

linked here
Nov. 24th, 2004 11:33 am (UTC)
Re: Jabberwocky
Oh, that sooo belongs on the Jabberwocky Variations.

Nov. 24th, 2004 12:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Jabberwocky
not completely on topic, but when ever I think of hand writing recognition software, I think of this. It's what happens when you run Jabberwocky through an Apple Newton.

LOL!! I've never seen that one; I've seen the famous Doonesbury strip. I owned a 110, which was older and much less ... apt at picking up handwriting. The 2000/2100 was the perfect machine. The only problem I had with it was that my handwriting quality declined in legibility over the course of its use, because it recognized my writing when I was writing quickly. I used the first version of graffiti on the 110, and also at times on the 2000, because I could use it with my eyes closed on moving vehicles; notably, I could never outwrite it on the Newton, but always outpaced it on the Palm Vx (which would cost me whole sentences).

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )