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back to article Nokia puts hive mind to work on Best Phone Ever

Nokia's "Designed by Community" project is intended to find out what a mobile phone feature set should be, but even the Finns aren't promising to build it. The site, which is part of Nokia Conversations, offers visitors the opportunity to vote on various aspects of the "perfect" handset with user interface elements being this …

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A flying start

It would be nice if Nokia could remember how to make a phone which worked, didn't stall/freeze/lock up (all late series 60 phones) didn't drown in phantom keypresses (the zoom bar on that 58xx whatever Navigator), didn't drink battery like mad (N900), and was running a platform that wasn't about to be discontinued/rebranded.

Oh, and also halfway decent industrial design too, build quality more like the 6800 classic or iPhone than the current shitty selection...

..oh yeah, and backup software that doesn't crap out all the time..

I swear that the E72 was the last good phone that they made..

(wanders off into distance, ranting)

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FAIL

yes

O2 just replaced my 3109 classic ;cos the sound quality was terrible, and it hung up in the middle of syncing to Nokia's desktop software. The replacement - which had to be the same model - has exactly the same faults.

Ho hum.

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Boffin

You kidding me?

I actually enjoy the N97... as long as it doesn't crash on me. And oh, if only it has better 3G support. I have the ROW N97 and am dismayed that the phone will not work with AT&T's 850MHz 3G signal. Which stinks. Who uses the 900MHz range for 3G anyway? None that I know of.

Geek. Because geeks like me prefer radio connectivity, touch screen and qwerty keyboard phones to triPhones.

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FAIL

@You Kidding Me?

"Who uses the 900MHz range for 3G anyway? None that I know of."

Let me introduce you to Europe. Hint: It's not in the US.

http://www.3g.co.uk/PR/July2009/900-MHz-Frequency-Approved-for-3G-in-Europe-3G.html

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HTC x7500

Similar form factor to the x7500 please, respect my privacy and no walled gardens. Root access and native SSH, VNC.

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A phone that you care about for more than 6 months?

How about commitment to a phone. At the moment it is all about the very latest bells and whistles phone. If you have the bells and whistles phone from 6 months ago it is all but abandoned. My 5800 has dozens of 'things' that need fixing from a usability point of view but Nokia's view seems to be 'fix' it on the next model.

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Actually...

It depends. A lot of firmware updates are delayed or just blocked by the carriers. Every Nokia phone has a ID code, different carriers have their own code, so can control the release (or not) of firmware updates. Even "unbranded" phones in the UK do not have a generic ID code, they have a UK CV (Country variant) code, which again is subject to a delay, although nobody seems to know what faceless bureaucrat is responsible for giving firmware releases a thumbs up for the UK CV models.

This is why I change the ID codes of all my Nokia phones to that of a generic Euro one. Unfortunately talk of doing such things is forbidden on the Nokia discussions forums, which is a pity as most of the complaints seem to centre around "Where is version xxx for my phone" and complaints of bugs which are resolved in a firmware release the victim isn't privy to.

I recently used my original N95-1 (not an unpleasant experience), and was amazed to find a firmware update for it was issued this year!

I think it only added the OVI store, but it was nice it wasn't forgotten.

I don't think the problem is long term support, I think the problem is they got caught slacking a bit and now they are rushing things out the door and not testing them properly before they are released.

Then again, maybe this isn't such a new thing. I remember the N95 was slated for it's battery life and various other issues when it first came out with early firmware... A few months down the line, a few firmware updates, and there was nothing wrong with it.

Just hope the same can be said for my N97!

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Bez
FAIL

Utterly stupid

Apparently the stuff I want from a phone is "not adventurous enough" for Nokia to consider it. Apparently I either need to have a screen so big it won't fit in my pocket, or with an aspect ratio that makes it useless for most applications such as web browsing, or - seemingly - do away with the on/off switch (which, I'll concede, is adventurous but perhaps not useful).

Capacitive screens are allegedly adventurous, but no use if you want to use it as a GPS in the outdoors with gloves (without the need for a sausage) or within a waterproof sleeve - which counts as me being adventurous perhaps, but clearly not the phone.

On the other hand, doing away with hot keys and replacing the touchscreen kepboard with a numeric keypad is considered adventurous. Both of which are technologically backward steps, no?

If this is Nokia's idea of how to progress then I worry for their sake.

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Anonymous Coward

@Bez

"If this is Nokia's idea of how to progress then I worry for their sake."

The problem is that they don't have any idea how to progress, hence why they have to ask people what they would like. Ergo, I'd worry now.

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Is it called the Homer?

It will be powerful like a gorilla yet soft and yielding like a NERF ball.

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Joke

The Homer

I can't believe it took this many posts before someone referenced "The Homer"

What is wrong with you geeks anyway?

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Too guided

My ideal phone (from that pathetically small set of options) is "Not out there enough" or some other hip talking bullshit. How can they hope to get a true idea of what people want from their phone?

This is a sham and should be ignored as such.

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hive-mind?

Asking the hive-mind to design their new phone...

This couldn't possibly go wrong for nokia now could it....

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FAIL

"This is a straight run thing - should this device of the future have Symbian or MeeGo?"

No. :D

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hmm

I thought I selected a reasonable set of features, but it was slllightly too 'out there'. So I had to scale back the screen size a bit. That or I had to give up combination hot key + one touch, which pretty much every hardware button ever should be, as long as I'm interpreting that correctly as "customize this button to 2 functions, one for a short click and one for a long click."

Also who in the fuck wants a 21:9 (or whatever it was, closed the page) phone screen?

@AC:

"""I swear that the E72 was the last good phone that they made.."""

As far as I know the E72 was released pretty recently, and I fully expect them to release another incremental update to it at some point. If the E71 --> E72 transition can be expected to happen again then the E73? should be amazing.

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Anonymous Coward

For once, I hope that a reg comment poster is right

Yep, I'm completely with you there, bring on the E73, if it can be as much of a stodgy, charmless, boring, powerful, flexible, dependable workhorse of a machine. Unlike the current crop, most of which crash with terrifying regularity, have engineering and industrial design flaws, and are very poorly supported, and shipped in a barely usable state.

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E73

"If the E71 --> E72 transition can be expected to happen again then the E73? should be amazing."

It isn't.

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Go

That's a poor excuse for a survey.

It won't accept options that are "not ambitious enough" or "too out there". Basically then you just have to 'tweak' until it fits what they've already decided.

I can see why they need to apply some sanity checking to it though. I'd imagine if you asked the internet "what specs do you want in a phone?" You'd end up with a concept design with a phone the size of a playing card, with an HD screen, three week battery life, every connectivity option under the sun including wireless charging and the ability to recharge your ipod.

Still, I don't rate modern nokia phones very highly at all so I guess it's good that they're trying to improve.

They'll have to do a lot to pry my little 'droid out of my hands though. (-:

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fch
Joke

There goes that old computer industry joke ...

now if Nokia made a phone that weighs 20 grams, is malleable into any shape the user wants while containing a shape reset button, has a fold-up screen bright enough to be read 1000 miles from the surface of the sun as well as a projection unit that can illuminate a football stadium screen, reacts with less than 1msec delay on user inputs, doesn't crash nor hang, runs purely on energy absorbed from ambient electromagnetic noise, stores a petabyte of data, and costs 50 quid, what would people ask first ?

==> Does it run iPhone apps ?

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WTF?

Nokia should join the Android movement before it's too late...

As a nokia man of some 14 years, this month I ditched it after the Mrs got a Galaxy Portal and I finally saw how bad symbian was. I had to ditch my N series, and until the HTC Desire lands on T-mobile UK, have got a Hero to tide me over.

First time EVER tempted away, as hardware wise they make great kit. Nothing out there fulfilled my needs out of the box, to a quality I've been used to long before Apple thought of phones.

Everyone else has at least one android handset, and that's all they need at a time if they really want.

Most Nokia owners that have left I'm sure have only done so due to the OS, not the hardware quality. Make a decent interface and they'll return.

This can only be done quickly, and prevent a trouncing in 2010 by embracing Android - if only to help recover ground on Apple ;)

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All of it

You want to know what I want in my phone? I want all of it, and it must be fast, cheap, reliable, durable, small, lightweight, and have a keypad that fits my fingers. Now get to it.

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Back in the day..

My vote would go for Nokia to resurrect the 6120. That was a cracking phone. Haven't seen anything to beat it.

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Anonymous Coward

Focus group mentality

If you ask a focus group what they want, they tell you what they have now with a few tweaks.

You will never come up with anything inventive because the focus group is not inventive. Worse they kill inventive ideas because the *need* becomes 'deliver what the focus says they want'.

Meanwhile inventive companies come up with new stuff, and they steal your market.

Nokia right now, (IMHO) should be bold and inventive and put aside the focus group. Look at the Xperia x10, that's quite a design, well if Sony/Ericcson ever stop pussying around kick it out the door.

http://mobile.engadget.com/2010/01/30/xperia-x10-officially-headed-to-t-mobile-in-germany-this-april/

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Wanted in a telephone ...

A strong transmitter, and a powerful receiver. Long battery life. A user programmable address book. A double handful of "speed dial" numbers. Call logging. A clock with alarm. Ability to lock out the keyboard. That's about it. I don't even need/want a color screen in my phone. Hands free ability optional.

My ten year old Nokia 5185 nearly fits the bill, but apparantly it has a couple games on it (I have never even looked at 'em), and it can do text messaging (which I see no use for).

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Anonymous Coward

In an ideal world

..Nokia would f*ck off, and give me a voucher good for a Nexus one or iPhone, for the disasters that were the last few phones of theirs that I have bought, and their non-existent support, which never keeps its promises.

Yeah, I are st00pid, I learn slowly. Phones plural, triumph of hope over experience and so forth.

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Pure Agile!

this is just Phase Two of Agile Methodology.

in Phase One, a load of Techies redefined Product Development to be based around "Techies identifying small nuggets of probably-relevant-work, coding them, putting them in front of people and saying "er well?", and so on round the loop, till someone says "we need to ship, you idiots!"

this is now Phase Two, where the techies crowdsource a starting point, since their previous starting points were so hopelessly far away from anything normal people might want.

imagine if (Phase One) bricklayers had defined the process of making large, complex buildings as "we'll knock up some brick-based structures and then see what people think". And then (Phase Two) they said "hm that didn't go too well, let's ask people what they want first, and then try to build that".

Meantime, a bunch of architects are sat there saying "er, hi guys, we can design something wonderful that will work, hello, that's what we do, we're trained an' all, we understand how to do that - hello?"

Techies are the bricklayers of the technology world. But there are human-savvy designers here too.

In Phase Three, we will hopefully go back to the idea of letting the designers (the architects) (a) design it, and (b) manage it.

I know you techies don't want to hear that. Contrast your firms with Apple, the one and only big firm where "Engineering supports Design - no exceptions" (see here - http://bit.ly/cry5RC - how are they doing, for normal people? Why not ask some normal people?)

Until you run your projects with the architects in control of the bricklayers, instead of the other way round, you'll continue creating the awful machines you do. And as for the bricklayers asking the semi-brick-savvy segment of the populace to help them - hm, anyone think that's gonna work?

But hey, you ElReg readers are the bricklayers. You like being in charge of your bricks. Oops: there's the problem. You don't understand how to build for normal people. At all.

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FAIL

Requirements

Works as advertised on the first release.

Uses open standards so can sync with other, common products.

Doesn't suddenly change its name for no apparent reason.

Has a touch screen that actually works.

Has a backup procedure that doesn't delete all of your data.

Has an email package that doesn't crash and delete all of your settings and data.

Has an option to ignore 3rd party app certificates that, when selected, does actually ignore 3rd party app certificates.

Clearly indicates whether you're on a wifi or 3G connection.

Only has one 3G options instead of two slightly different ones that no-one understands.

Provides some sort of support when you call them complaining that the very expensive box you've just bought appears to contain a very shiny chunk of mainly inert plastic.

Doesn't start writing random crap to your SD card for no obvious reason.

Doesn't build up such huge amounts of cruft in normal day-to-day use that, when you try to use the built in updater, it tells you that it's run out of storage.

Has a keyboard that gives a least a small hint that you've depressed a key.

Has predictive text that doesn't try to guess punctuation, ffs!

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Interesting Site.

I gave this a thumbs up.

The key here is to see what you're willing to give to get the features that you want.

You want a 5" screen? Ok, but its not going to be a touch scree but it can do 21:9.

The key is that if you gave the choices to everyone and said 'tell me what you want in the next phone...' everyone would say that they want the world.

What this site does is try and figure out what you're willing to live with to get the feature that you want the most.

In the end they can say that people who want a 21:9 screen are willing to give up x and y. Or that z is the most popular phone feature based on a 'random' sample of people. Or rather a random sampling of the targeted demographic.

Where's the feature that with a breathalyzer that will stop you from drunk dialing your girlfriend? I know a number of people who could use that feature.

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Paris Hilton

Can we start with

* Superb audio quality when making phone calls

* does not go straight to 'missed call' instead of ringing

* the error message 'operation failed' is replaced by one that tells you what the problem is.

* Nokia phone can talk to Nokia desktop sync app every time

* battery life >10 days on standby

* When it rings, I can hear it

+After that, two sims would be nice, both active.

+Then reliable charging from mini-usb

+And all data accessible in USB storage mode e.g. from Linux. So I won't have to care about syncing ever again.

Games? GPS? web browsing? adverts? cameras?watching TV? X-ray vision so I can see through people's clothes? Not interested in any of them.

Oh hang on, can I think about the last one again? Look who just arrived.

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