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Why Nokia Why?

Posted by gvix on July 11, 2007 at 4:53 PM PDT

For a few years, I had a crappy mobile phone. I used it for what I thought was the primary function of owning a phone. You know, make and receive calls. For this purpose, the phone I had was quite satisfactory.

I had an ulterior motive as well for not wanting a new phone. I was waiting for multiple devices to converge and converge successfully into one device that would combine the power of a digital camera, a GPS and a phone, besides the other odds and ends. It seemed that the Nokia N95 was finally the answer. It promised all of that and more.

So I went ahead and bought it. Yes, it hurt my hip pocket a little. But hey, I am allowed to treat myself now and then!

The phone - works great! The camera - fantastic. 5 MP captures all my blemishes in great detail. The GPS - Morbidly unjustified piece of crap.

Yes, strong words. Strong words indeed. It's my frustration with using the GPS that has made me so disgruntled and annoyed with the powers that be at Nokia. What could have been the Pièce de résistance of this phone is a blemish of the highest order.

Ok, the GPS part of the application works fine (or used to work fine, as you will see later). So if I want to see what my current latitude and longitude is, the phone will tell me pronto (after locking onto satellites). But Nokia, why would any normal phone buyer want to just know their latitude and longitude? The killer application part of the GPS module would have been navigation with voice guidance. So can I do that with your phone? Maybe. More importantly, can I do that out of the box? NO!

Out of the box, the Nokia navigation is totally useless. It takes the skills of a hacker and internet trawler to know how to install navigation with voice guidance into your phone.

So here is my question. Why has Nokia missed the boat here? Why did they supply the basics and not make it a complete package by making the GPS a truly usable function. If I, with some computer skills, had so much trouble, I can't ever see a normal person bothering with using the GPS. Ergo, I can't see a normal person buying the phone because it contains GPS. Why would you when you have other phones that match it in its capabilities? Why wouldn't you just buy a dedicated navigation unit, that works out of the box?

It's a travesty of usability. The navigation should have worked out of the box. I shouldn't have to second guess the device. Don't make me think. Otherwise, take the GPS out. It's not selling your phone.

And this makes me criticize the general phone manufacturing industry on the whole. So blinded are they by the pursuit of easy money, that they forget to do the basics right. Yes, by purchasing voice navigation the phone manufacturer got me to shell out money for a value added service (on top of an exorbitantly priced phone), but they would have had better marketing karma if the only usable component of GPS (navigation) just worked. Instead, I now have a phone that does the same thing as my $800 cheaper old phone did. I know I am the sucker here, and that makes me mad.

PS 1: Once I did get the MAPS application to work, it worked well for all of half hour! After that, the application just plainly refused to load. Now I can't even get my latitude and longitude. Sigh! Can anyone help?

PS 2: Don't get me started on the manual that comes with the phone. So out of date it is with what's actually on the phone, that I threw it out after my first attempt at getting the navigation to work. Menus are not where they should be as per the manual, there is no knowledge of what's actually on the device and the whole thing feels like an afterthought. Why bother with a manual Nokia?

PS 3: There is something to be said about the purchasing module for the navigation part. It worked so smoothly, that it was the only redeeming feature of the whole process, even though I was disgruntled at having to pay for it. But that was the ONLY part that worked well. Yes, Nokia, make the part that takes my money well. The rest can take care of itself right?

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