Nokia N95 8 GB and the era of ultraportables

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Along with some new research projects where we look into the service distribution models of games, my new primary work phone has changed into Nokia N95 8GB model. So far I have been mostly satisfied; and in contrast to E70, this time it is possible to connect my Sony DR-BT50 headphones to the mobile phone (N95 supports A2DP over Bluetooth). N95 is also a decent media player and it is possible to listen to mp3 music and watch videos. Internet browser has improved and social media sites like YouTube and Flickr are taken in with some special consideration – image upload from the camera application to Flickr is now just one click away.

Games are still perhaps the biggest question mark of the upgraded N-Gage brand. I am not particularly enthusiastic about rally or sports games, and those feature visible in the opening portfolio. More games should be arriving soon, including pet simulation (Dogz), more pets simulation (Sims 2 Pets), golf, yet another Worms and Snakes, plus action: Brothers in Arms, ONE. The service in itself looks interesting, with player profiles, buddy lists and other social service basics in place.

All in all, it is surprising how powerful contemporary mobile phones already are. Yet, the usability of Nokia OS is still seriously behind e.g. that of Apple iPhone. Where you just want to have one thing to happen, N95 will still ask you verifications for this and that, get stuck in dialogues or wait for input from softkeys, where iPhone would automatically just have started the default action. But I have not yet used iPhone for anything beyond most casual first impression, so a more thorough comparison needs to wait for later. (Timetable for 3G iPhone launch, anyone?)

I must admit I am so text oriented user, that the biggest drawback of N95 for me is that it does not have a QWERTY keyboard. The size is compact for that reason, of course, but this means that I still need to carry two devices with me always.

The happy note is that ultraportable laptops like Asus Eee PC, HP’s 2133 Mini-Note PC and other UMPC and upscale/next gen PDAs are blooming and a gadget freak will have happy times ahead. (Asus Eee PC 900 review here: http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2008/04/asus-eee-pc-900-video-review.html)

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

2 thoughts on “Nokia N95 8 GB and the era of ultraportables”

  1. The implementation of Bluetooth stereo is not perfect yet, though; while I can get faultless sound from my iPod (through Sony TRM-BT8iP Stereo Transmitter), there are quite often gaps and stops in the sound when listening N95. Sometimes connection is better, sometimes worse. Regular headphones are thus a safer choice if listening with a Nokia player (or, possibly, a Nokia manufactured headset is more compatible with N95). Standards, ohoy?

    Another feature of N95 that I did not yet mention above is GPS positioning and map applications. I did not mention them because I have not yet get them working; the device has A-GPS which should be faster than the older non-assisted version, but every time I have needed positioning, the situation has been over before N95 has been able to get a location. Real shame. I suspect this will be in the future one of the most useful areas of application/services in mobile phones.

  2. Oh-o. Yesterday my N95 suddenly broke down: almost all of the keyboard stopped responding. The repairman said that fine, he will send it back to the factory for maintenance, and that unfortunately they have long queues, so it will be two weeks, minimum. No replacement phone available. So: please do not call me…

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