OK ok, so I admit it, I’m a huge Nokia fanboy. It’s not a short-lived love affair either,but rather, one that has spawned a century.
Being a huge geek, I got my first mobile phone in 1999. Now, for Canada, that’s being an early adopter. Back then, the only peeps carrying mobiles were either construction workers with huge carphones or douchey business man with Motorola StarTACs. It was very uncommon for someone not in business er… business to acquire a mobile phone.
I was living for a summer in Vancouver and was rarely at the house, so, as a way to keep contact with the family, I got myself a sweet Nokia 252. Oh how I loved that little beast. It had an antenna that you had to pull out to make call. You could change it’s faceplate and actually make it yours. It was awesome. Most of all, I was smitten with the idea that I could place a call from pretty much anywhere. It was a freeing sensation, one that felt like the future.
I, sadly, never had the chance to own an Nseries device. That pertains mainly to the way phones are sold over here and how one model oftentimes ends up being carried only by one carrier. It turns out my carrier didn’t actually carry any phone of that series. I still lusted after them though, from the brilliantly ahead-of-it’s-time N95 onwards.
After the N97 announcement, I think I must have watched the design video for it about 10 times, salivating. There was something so unique about it, so ergonomically perfect, almost timeless. Then there was the awesome little beast of computing that is the N900. An actual computer in your pocket, one that even the manufacturer encourages you to hack (see: tracyandmatt.co.uk’s unboxing of the N900 hackerbox edition). And now, we have the imaging marvel and multimedia powerhouse that is the N8. I mean, forgodssake, how can one not be entirely charmed by having a carl-zeiss-optiqued 12 mp camera in their pocket. Especially one that makes calls, records HD video, plays to TV in HD, has an FM transmitter, etc.
Of course, one might be enclined to point out that (almost all of them) share a common, near-fatal flaw: Symbian. To a certain extent, they are right. Most of these devices (save for the Maemo 5 powered N900) are Symbian based. But that’s not really a bad thing, I say. Despite the clunkiness of certain UI aspects of that OS, it’s still a nice little piece of software. One that has an entirely different view of what a smartphone should be. Yes, it looks a bit dated, but I think it’s a charming, almost retro characteristic (especially the S60 3rd Ed). Also, while it might not have seen such a huge market penetration over here in North America, it’s still being used by millions of peeps around the world. That’s an impressive feat.
What I really like about the Nseries is the fact that they always delivered two very important aspects of a smartphone: Power and Choice. Power in the sense that they empower you to actually go ahead and create content instead of being a mere spectator. Choice in the sense that it’s the entire opposite from the one-size-fits-all view of what a smartphone should be (here’s looking at you, Apple). While one could say that they manage to find choice of form-factor in the other smartphone ecosystems, I would be quick to point out that we seem to be living in a black-square-mobile era. Everything looks quite the same.
So yes, unfortunately, there’s still no Nseries in my life. Maybe soon I’ll get to lay my hands on one of those content-creation powerhouses. In the meantime, there’s youtube to satisfy my gadgetlust.