Nokia N8 Reviews Show Lack Of Attention To Detail

The Nokia N8 has been out for a week or so, but reviewers for major sites have had their units for around 2 weeks, so we’re starting to see reviews pop up all over the Internet. I’ve done my best to read as many of these reviews as I can. Since I have yet to see the N8 in person, or hold one for myself, I’m in a unique position, and I want to take advantage of that. In reading these reviews across various sites with differing degrees of bias (all reviewers have bias), I’ve noticed a few key things that I hope Nokia has also picked up on:

Nokia N8
photo courtesy of Engadget.com

1. Everyone wonders why it doesn’t have a portrait QWERTY keyboard. Every smartphone platform now – from iPhone to Android to BlackBerry, even WebOS – has a portrait QWERTY keyboard, be it onscreen or hardware. It’s just the way we prefer to input text nowadays. The Nokia N8 doesn’t have a portrait QWERTY keyboard, and that’s a huge complaint in most of the reviews, and with good reason. Another common complaint is that the alphanumeric keypad that takes its place on the N8 covers the entire display, which can be frustrating when filling in forms and such.

What’s sad is that Nokia had a solution to this on their first touchscreen Symbian-powered smartphone, the 5800 XpressMusic. This keyboard (seen below on the left) was an option in addition to the alphanumeric, and as a bonus, had an option for the user to simply drag the keyboard around on the display – easily moving it out of the way if necessary. Unfortunately, it was nearly unanimously hated on by users, which is why it’s not available on any of Nokia’s other touchscreen Symbian-powered smartphones.

5800xmhtc_ime

What’s sad is that if Nokia had listened closer, they would have heard that people liked the keyboard, but the funky slanted lines separating the keys made it nearly impossible to really use – either with a stylus or a fingertip. Had Nokia simply changed the layout of the keys to something more user-friendly, like the HTC keyboard (seen above on the right), for instance, they could have killed two birds with one stone, and easily corrected a serious issue plaguing their new handset in its first reviews.

2. The Ovi Store isn’t pre-installed. I’m sure someone on the Ovi team has a really logical and sound explanation for this, but the fact is, it doesn’t matter. When every other smartphone on the planet comes with its respective app store pre-installed, it’s a complete joke for Nokia to require users to download and install (old-school-style) the Ovi Store on their brand-new N8.

3. The N8 doesn’t have Share Online built-in. Share Online debuted several years ago as a built-in solution for sharing your media (pictures, videos, etc) with online destinations. Last I checked, out of the box you could use Share Online to upload content to Vox (now a discontinued service), Flickr, and Ovi Share. Flickr integration’s not bad, and a recent entrant to the Symbian field, Pixelpipe, quickly came along to offer plugins for every service you could think of. It’s interesting that almost none of the reviews specifically mention that Share Online is missing, only that there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to share your media with any online destinations.

Today, even free featurephones support uploads to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and more, so it’s completely absurd that Nokia would remove the barebones offering that it had to upload photos and videos to these destinations from its brand-new smartphone. Very few of the reviews that I’ve read mentioned Pixelpipe, which has put together a fantastic solution, especially built for the N8. If Nokia had been smart, they would have pre-installed Pixelpipe on the N8 and then boasted about it from every rooftop (or just bought the company, either way).

Of course, the different reviews have more specific niggles and pain-points here and there, but these are three of the most common ticks that I see mentioned against the Nokia N8 in reviews that I’ve read. What’s sad is that all of these are simple software fixes that could probably have been addressed in a matter of a week that would have eliminated the three most common issues that people find.

Obviously, fixing these would not have made the Nokia N8 an ‘iPhone Killer’ or ‘DROID Killer’ or whatever you want to kill, but it would have made the experience so much better. For many folks, the Nokia N8 is the first real smartphone from Nokia since the N95. It’s sad to see Nokia failing to execute on such minute details.

Also, this doesn’t make the Nokia N8 a complete fail or anything like that. It’s just a lack of attention these little details that gets the company in trouble on most of its new products and prevents Nokia devices from getting rave reviews.

Here are the links to the reviews that I’ve read thus far: Engadget, Matt Miller, TechRadar, Mobile Burn, GSM Arena, SlashGear, Forbes.

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

23 thoughts on “Nokia N8 Reviews Show Lack Of Attention To Detail

  1. The bes tone I have read has been Matt Miller’s and I added some comments. He listed a lot of great benefits, but hit on the of my main deal breakers for buying a device.

    1. Mail for Exchange is not what it used to be and sounds shoddy from what he said

    2. As you have mentioned the common theme of the keyboard challenges. Like Android, if Nokia installed SWYPE with the release then this would be a non-issue

    3. Again, and as you mention, the lack of Sharing is a deal breaker too. Matt Miller suggested Pixelpipe, but as other Nokia devices have the Sharing feature why should I go to a 3rd party app? Android and iPhone don’t need a third party, so Nokia blew it here.

    Hopefully when the E7 is released they’ll address number 1 and 3 that I listed. If not, then I think it will be some time before I go back to Nokia, if ever.

    1. Thanks for chiming in – I definitely use Pixelpipe on my Nexus One, but mainly for the ability to upload photos to multiple destinations with one shot – I very rarely upload only to Facebook or only to Twitter or only Flickr.

      It sounded like M4E was far more limited than what I used in the past, too, which is a darn shame.

      1. so…has pixelpipe indeed uploaded all your stuff? if it’s finally bugfree, i’d use it again.

    2. iphone (at least iphone 2 and 3, i don’t have 4 yet) does need third-party sharing, at least if you share much at all. not all sites do upload by email, and cut-paste is rather tedious if you share like i do (sometimes over a hundred things a day, of all types and to a wide range of sites and friends).

  2. The bes tone I have read has been Matt Miller’s and I added some comments. He listed a lot of great benefits, but hit on the of my main deal breakers for buying a device.

    1. Mail for Exchange is not what it used to be and sounds shoddy from what he said

    2. As you have mentioned the common theme of the keyboard challenges. Like Android, if Nokia installed SWYPE with the release then this would be a non-issue

    3. Again, and as you mention, the lack of Sharing is a deal breaker too. Matt Miller suggested Pixelpipe, but as other Nokia devices have the Sharing feature why should I go to a 3rd party app? Android and iPhone don’t need a third party, so Nokia blew it here.

    Hopefully when the E7 is released they’ll address number 1 and 3 that I listed. If not, then I think it will be some time before I go back to Nokia, if ever.

    1. iphone (at least iphone 2 and 3, i don’t have 4 yet) does need third-party sharing, at least if you share much at all. not all sites do upload by email, and cut-paste is rather tedious if you share like i do (sometimes over a hundred things a day, of all types and to a wide range of sites and friends).

  3. Ever consider that hobby as a reviewer of mobile reviewers 😉 Well done sir, and definitely items that shouldn’t have been missed by the respective teams responsible for those aspects of S^3 or the N8.

  4. Ever consider that hobby as a reviewer of mobile reviewers 😉 Well done sir, and definitely items that shouldn’t have been missed by the respective teams responsible for those aspects of S^3 or the N8.

  5. Indeed, those flaws show what might be considered “lack of attention to detail” from Nokia. But, like someone said when commenting on Forbs “My Week With The Nokia N8”, ‘software can easily be upgraded’, whereas ‘If you do not have a 12Mp camera, xenon flash, HDMI output etc etc it will not just magically appear’.

  6. Indeed, those flaws show what might be considered “lack of attention to detail” from Nokia. But, like someone said when commenting on Forbs “My Week With The Nokia N8”, ‘software can easily be upgraded’, whereas ‘If you do not have a 12Mp camera, xenon flash, HDMI output etc etc it will not just magically appear’.

  7. Only complaint I have so far with the N8 is the web browser, it’s the exact same browser as the one on 5800 but actually perfoms worse on the N8, Nokia is working on a qt based browser and will probably not update this browser anymore, we’ll just have to wait.

    Initially the phone was also filled with shitty apps like CNN, facebook…. took me about 20min to uninstall them. As a symbian user from day one I still say this is by far the best device Nokia has put out yet, also software I less buggy than it usually is with nokias new phones. Great device!

  8. Hey Ricky, I can’t give you an N8 but I can send you a dummy if you want 🙂 For whatever reason Nokia decided it would be a good idea to send me four dark grey dummies for a phone that comes in five different colors. Go figure…

  9. Hey Ricky, I can’t give you an N8 but I can send you a dummy if you want 🙂 For whatever reason Nokia decided it would be a good idea to send me four dark grey dummies for a phone that comes in five different colors. Go figure…

  10. i’m in love with your blog! exactly what i’ve been wanting the whole two years i’ve been online with iphone (now ipad), and possibly soon android. and thanks for the tip on keytoss — wow, best portal ever.

    pixelpipe: unless they’ve improved, nokia was right not to add them (but all the rest of your nokia observations are spot on). why? because pixelpipe barely functions, and gives no indication of it. you’ll think you uploaded to all these sites — only to find out later that maybe one of ten actually went thru. the rest vanish into the ethers. seriously. i’m not alone in noticing this. maybe you’re luckier? so far, my solution (on idevices) is to sync shareaholic onto mobile safari, and also to upload by email. sites are starting to include more ways for mobiles to share from the site itself as well, as i see on yours right above this comment.

    keep up the great blog!

  11. Hi Ricky,
    Nice to see that you still pay attention to Symbian, although like you, This is probably my last Symbian device. I have two of these now, and I hate the missing Share Online app for a different reason – no feeds app from Flickr. Uploads to Flickr isn’t a big priority anymore, as you can simply email your photos to Flickr, and even tag it, caption it, drop it to the appropriate album, etc. But Share Online actually provided a presentation of your content, as crappy as it was. Just to defuse some fanboys, the built-in RSS reader doesn’t count as a content presenter for Flickr – it’s just too basic. The old Share Online even provided ways to comment the photos, tag stuff, etc. This gripe, on top of the missing QWERTY portrait keyboard and lack of 3rd party developers’ enthusiasm so far, made the N8 kinda disappointing as a connected multimedia device. It’s still a great ‘phone’, but it just doesn’t compete with the big guns in the smartphone arena.
    As for Ovi store, I guess they didn’t want to make it part of the firmware, which would have meant that new releases would have to go through an actual firmware update, which makes the release alot more expensive than just a sis file installation. I kind of agree with the move if that’s the case, as Ovi Store isn’t really an integral part of the OS, unlike other things like the browser. But maybe they should’ve put the sis file into a new device instead. But they should’ve baked Qt into the firmware. Right now, hard resetting the device also wipes out the Qt installation that was installed in a new device.

  12. Hi Ricky,
    Nice to see that you still pay attention to Symbian, although like you, This is probably my last Symbian device. I have two of these now, and I hate the missing Share Online app for a different reason – no feeds app from Flickr. Uploads to Flickr isn’t a big priority anymore, as you can simply email your photos to Flickr, and even tag it, caption it, drop it to the appropriate album, etc. But Share Online actually provided a presentation of your content, as crappy as it was. Just to defuse some fanboys, the built-in RSS reader doesn’t count as a content presenter for Flickr – it’s just too basic. The old Share Online even provided ways to comment the photos, tag stuff, etc. This gripe, on top of the missing QWERTY portrait keyboard and lack of 3rd party developers’ enthusiasm so far, made the N8 kinda disappointing as a connected multimedia device. It’s still a great ‘phone’, but it just doesn’t compete with the big guns in the smartphone arena.
    As for Ovi store, I guess they didn’t want to make it part of the firmware, which would have meant that new releases would have to go through an actual firmware update, which makes the release alot more expensive than just a sis file installation. I kind of agree with the move if that’s the case, as Ovi Store isn’t really an integral part of the OS, unlike other things like the browser. But maybe they should’ve put the sis file into a new device instead. But they should’ve baked Qt into the firmware. Right now, hard resetting the device also wipes out the Qt installation that was installed in a new device.

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