HTC Android versus Nokia N97 Symbian (en)

I had two  HTC Android terminals in test: Magic and Hero, after a very long history of Nokia Symbian. At this moment I am  looking at a Nokia N97 and a HTC Hero, both peaks of spearhead for their producers.

Here are my arguments AGAINST TOUCH Symbian / NOKIA N97:

1. Editing text on Symbian touch is obsolete: virtual interface window for text editing replaces the application window (either mail, messenger, browser). Android uses the lower half of the screen, leaving the application visible, very useful in a discussion in real time on messenger, eg.

2. A Symbian touch interface is totally unoptimized for … touch screens, in general. Scrolling using sidebars, tree menus, options text instead of ergonomic buttons, soft keys permanently occupying 1/4 of the screen – are not in the spirit of a touch screen. For a physical keyboard such things do not matter but for a touch screen they are absolutely aberrant.

3. 75% of  third party applications for Symbian are offered either implicitly in HTC Android, or for free, via Android Market: eg, MS Exchange client for the Magic is already excellent, the N97’s is impossible to be  consistently used, or it costs 49 euro (RoadSync).

4. The management of the system partition and RAM of N97  is precarious. After my or Nokia’s desperate attempts to optimize the little remaining space in the system partition, now I have 6MB free on C: / /, which does not allow me to do update to QuickOffice 6.2 for cache space reasons.

I know that problems arise with G1 RAM management, with Android pre Cupcake, but with only 64 MB RAM as they originally put in G1, this is normal. Magic has 288 MB RAM, and after boot 150 MB are available . With N97, after boot, 50 MB available …

5. Physical aspect and materials on the N97 are much lower and cheaper than  HTC’s and this is something you can tell only after you get your hands on  HTC. That’s right as ergonomics (physical) of the N97 is superior to HTC, but almost nothing is polish or quality, even when you comapare Nokia N97 to HTC Magic. HTC Hero, on the other hand is wayover iPhone, which is already a model for quality materials.

6. Functional Architecture of the OS: Nokia has no clue of what “integration” means. Basically, you feel that each system application, menu or interface are made independetly by somebody else, with different purposes and different tools.

On the other hand, Nokia still does not know how to manage a client /server architecture: three-quarters of the applications work offline, and only 20% of them know what a synchronization server is (you’d say that widgets on the N97 are a good start? well, look into Android to see real widgets. And … Android is 8-9 months old!).
Nokia knows no sync and the only good part here is the battery savy.
This point regarding system architecture is based on a strong premise: a smartphone without an internet connection is not smartphone.

7. Nokia is proving incapable of adjustment by feedback. They do not listen to their users or developers at all. Nokia does not produce bearings for machine tools that you never see directly, and that thing Nokia does not know. They are making “tools” that come directly in the hands and eyes of the end user or software developer. Those ones are absolutely and irrevocably the only ones who know what a smartphone should or shouldn’t do, what goes right and wrong with it.

Nokia has used groups for studying N97  ergonomics and they did a great job. Still, N97 is not just a console, with a good physical ergonomics. It lacks software ergonomics!

On the other hand, regarding the feedback, I wrote to Nokia at least 5 times in couple of years about some reparable bugs (among them: N-Gage credentials loss, faulty Romanian dictionary etc..). Since 2007 I have received only automated responses: “You will receive a response within 15 days”. Nokia’s online forms and feedback are a total mess.

At HTC.com we referred yesterday the absence of a Romanian dictionary and they answered in 2 hours with the direct suggestion to return the terminal if the lack of Romanian language is a major drawback. Nokia Romania did not find out  the concept of “returning a terminal because the client is not pleased with it”, although everyone returns Nokia phones they don’t like, in countries where respect for the consumer really exists.

Best parts of Nokia were and remain: excellent telephony, good ergonomics, good locale integration: maps for Romania, the Romanian language text input, excellent physical keybord. All these qualities are a direct result of the experience, seniority and Nokia’s expansion in Europe as a market leader in mobile telephony, but I expect HTC, Motorola, Samsung, SE and all the other that have announced powering their terminals with Android to achieve the same standards in less than one year.

I can only hope Nokia will not remain deaf, although their changing  pace and will are disappointing.

Posted by Wordmobi

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