Of course everyone and their dog has been posting about the new Nokia phones (I probably would have done the same, but returning from vacation and picking up where I left off was a mite more important...).
I honestly can't say I was impressed, though (I am still not impressed with the 7610 I've got today, so more of the same in clamshell format isn't really news). But let's take a look at the new lineup:
- The 6630 is dubbed a "tiny" 3G phone. Erm... Tiny? The Z105 is the same size - mine measures (without the antenna, which adds an extra centimeter and a half) 93 x 52 x 27 mm. Sure, it's a Series 60 phone. Or a "Series 60 Second Edition" phone (which sounds eerily like Microsoft's spin on Windows 98). It has a megapixel camera (fine), plenty of RAM, but yet another media format: the Reduced Size MMC, which is basically half the length of a standard MMC and pretty much impossible to find right now (even for the 7610). And it doesn't do video calls, so I sure hope it performs well as a Bluetooth modem. Oh, and IrDA is gone, it seems.
- The 6260 is eerily like the SonyEricsson/Z1020 concept. But (and here's the interesting bit), it actually looks better than the 6630. since it has a lot of business-oriented extras like Office viewers and the like (plus a "VPN" feature that nobody can quite explain what it is. If this had come out a couple of days earlier, it would probably have found itself near the top of my Perfect SmartPhone piece. Despite the fact that it has the usual crappy VGA camera, I like it. As to the Bluetooth keyboard it's shown with, that's a useless gimmick as far as I'm concerned, and I won't discuss it further.
- Finally, the 6170 looks like a decent Series 40 phone (which, given Nokia's previous design trends, is a godsend). It's clearly aimed at the mid-range clamshell market, but would surely sell better if it was a bit thinner (88 x 46 x 22 mm is small, yet it's definetly not thin). I actually liked the 2650 better.
All in all, there's nothing truly revolutionary about these phones. The 6630 is a logical step forward but eschews video calls (which will be frowned upon by several operators running UMTS networks). It does raise the bar on what people will expect from a 3G phone, sure (I bet accessing my e-mail on it will be plenty fast), but without the 6260's software feature set, it feels a bit bland.
The rest of the lineup shows that Nokia has been feeling pressure from the clamshell groupies, but there's nothing truly innovative. Again, the 6260 is the one that stands out, but looking at the 6600 and the 7610's software, it doesn't feel like a quantum leap - it's just more polished (although the Second Edition is supposed to have SVG support, for one).
Finally, I've grown more and more weary of the Series 60 platform. It's getting slow, kludgy, and cluttered (both in software and UI terms), and I honestly don't think a phone is something I should spend time taking care of like some sort of tamagotchi.
But getting back to the new phones... We got a lot of polish, sure, but also a lot of Q3-Q4 availability dates. Which means these won't really be the Summer line up, but more the Fall line up.
Not good. Not good at all...