Nokia Has To Clear The iPhone's High Bar

Includes: AAPL, NOK
by: Yankee Group

By Carl Howe

After nearly a month of living with this phone and fiddling with settings, I've finally discovered how to make the Wireless LAN feature behave. People who have read my review know that I found the phone full-featured, but frustrating in many respects, many of which had to do with Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) odd wireless networking protocol implementation. One feature that was driving me up the wall was the phone's insistence in asking me to choose a new WiFi network, even if one had already been configured.

It turns out after much Googling and searching that I can make the problem go away by turning off power-saving in the Wireless LAN configuration screen. Now, I'd never even seen that screen up until a couple of days ago. That's because it is protected by a Nokia dialog box that says, "Changing advanced settings is not recommended. Continue anyway?" Silly me -- I told it no up until a few days ago.
Now that I've made the change, the phone appears to be working much more reliably and I'm no longer seeing those "Out of memory" errors. The phone still isn't as easily usable or fast as an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, but it is at least doing what it is designed to do.

I know some will say that IT or my local Nokia guru would have been able to figure this out for me in less than a month. Whether that is true or not, the reality is that most people will never bother spending a week or a month trying to figure out the setting that makes the phone actually work properly; they'll either return it or simply be ticked off that it doesn't work intuitively out of the box. That's not a good thing for Nokia's brand image.

At one time, the Symbian Series 60 looked pretty when compared competitively against other phones. But the iPhone has raised the bar considerably on how usable and functional new phones need to be. I would have considered the E61i a very functional and acceptable smartphone if I'd never seen or used an iPhone. But now that the iPhone is in the market, the E61i is just another smartphone that doesn't really clear that very high bar of user friendliness and usability. And Nokia is going to have to step up its game if it wants to continue to be a leader in that market.