humane computing

25 April 2008

Nokia N82 Software Impressions

In my last post I wrote about my impressions with the N82 device itself. Because I normally still use a Nokia 6230, the software impressions below are also that of a Series 60 newbie:

Being new to Series 60, I was eager to try out multitasking. And I am not disapointed. Location Tagger, Sports Tracker, Podcasting, Music Player, ConnectaFON and Internet Browser were running concurrently most of the time and it was no problem to start even more applications. That is very cool! Switching between applications on the other hand is a pain because you have to press the menu button for a second or so. I don't want to wait for such an important function to be activated. I'll write a blog post about a possible solution soon.

I find the menu structure not really nicely balanced, some functionality is buried unnecessarily deep. But you can rearrange the applications menu, so that is not too big of a problem.

The applications itself are very usable. The internet browser is very cool. Nokia Sports Tracker is very innovative, it even looks for pictures taken during your activity and uploads them along with the track itself. It also supports live tracking, which is very nice for doing live position art!

The podcasting application is very cool. It loads new audio or video episodes automatically in the background when a wireless network becomes available. The only catch is that the N82 can't play all H.264 profiles and thus not all video podcasts made for the iPod for example, which is a pity.

The calendar application lacks the quick and simple appointment types "reminder" (just text and alarm time) and "call" (just contact and alarm time) from Series 40, which I missed quite a bit. I also missed the timed profiles feature. I hope this functionality can be provided by some third party software.

The copy and paste feature of Series 60 is very useful, but you can only use it where there are respective menu items, which is sometimes frustrating. I'd love to have the edit key functionality of older Series 60 devices instead of the multimedia key, which I didn't find very useful.

Usability-wise, the N82 nearly always required more key presses to accomplish a task than the 6230. This is mostly due to the active standby screen. The 6230 standby screen allows you to reach six important features with just one key press. The N82 has only two plus the camera shutter and the gallery key, all other shortcuts are point and click which requires you to focus your attention on the standby screen. I haven't googled for alternatives to the standby screen so tell me if you've got an idea.

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