Rants Of A Frustrated Smartphone User

Okay I’m really fed up, in fact I’ve been seriously frustrated for a while now and no matter where I turn, or what I try, to coin the Rolling Stones (AKA: Strolling Bones), ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’!

I’ve been trying hard to make it work for a long time now but really can’t keep throwing money at new systems in the hope that something will satisfy all my needs, but that is what I appear to be doing.

So I started my real smartphone journey with the wonderful N900 (I tried a Windows 6 HTC phone before that but soon reverted to an old fashioned Nokia as I found it frustrating on the whole), and ever since then, I have been trying to find something that could leave me feeling content on a similar level.

Nokia N900: Setting the standard

Nokia N900: Setting the standard

As great as the N900 was/is, the lack of support from Nokia and the now underpowered processor coupled with the fact my USB charge port developed a fault leaves this impossible as an option for me to use although I still do use it occasionally and it’s my back up tethered 3G modem if the main internet goes down.   The Maemo community were the only reason why I used the N900 as long as I did (2yrs) for my main phone and I would like to thank them greatly for that!

My follow up device the N9 was/is super, but for some reason would not pick up reception where we live (where the N900 always picked up 1-2 bars, the N9 struggled to get 1 bar), making it unfortunately also unusable unless I was travelling.

Nokia N9: Stillborn but even now still an icon

Nokia N9: Stillborn but even now still an icon

Due to a lack of reception I was forced to get a UMA enabled Android device (HTC), which aside from being able to make/receive calls, left me pretty uninspired.

Following this I tried the Symbian based Nokia E7 to fill in for the lack of physical keyboard on the N9 and also improved reception (which took me by surprise considering it’s made of aluminium vs. polycarbonate).  This was good but the lack of autofocus/macro in camera mode, the missing sd card slot and fm transmitter left me lusting after the N8.

The N8 was a keeper to some extent and had everything I needed from a hardware perspective but fell down with it’s seriously limited RAM and again the lack of ongoing software support.  I really really tried to make the N8 work for me because like the N900, I loved it so much and things like the camera and TV-out functions were simply fantastic.  The problem which I could not ignore was that the dreaded ‘crucial memory’ message started grating more and more and inevitably triggered a search for something more stable.

Nokia N8: Close but no cigar

Nokia N8: Close but no cigar

It was with some reluctance at first I decided it was time to at least to give a Lumia a chance for the benefit of remaining objective in my opinions and in vain hope that it might prove the antagonists wrong.  The Lumia 620 looked the best match for me (sd card support, replaceable battery, perfect size, reasonably priced) and on the whole it has been a very nice experience – certainly from a software POV, there is a lot of what I need and more.  The memory management is streets ahead of Symbian, the apps themselves are really well designed and the phone chugs along without batting an eyelid – perfect for someone looking for a smartphone that works as it should with minimum learning curve.  But. where all the Lumia range fall down for me though is missing features which I had grown to rely on from previous Nokia phones such as TV/HDMI out, FM transmitter, notifications center, live multi-tasking, USB otg.  On a side note, I do get the feeling that M$ are really holding Nokia back here from making not just a good phone but a great phone and it frustrates me hugely as I am left wanting more and considering other options I would never normally consider.

Lumia 620: Nice UX, but lacking in key features

Lumia 620: Nice fluid UX, but lacking in key features

So it really pains me to say this, but I have finally decided to give an Iphone a shot… I really didn’t want to but felt that maybe it could offer at least a better balance of the features I had grown to expect.   It does do TV-out but is slightly limited in that it cannot ‘mirror’ like the old Nokia phones unless jail broken.   But I cannot deny that all the apps I need are there and that is strangely a relief.   On balance, I prefer the Lumia 620 (in terms of  size and feel) and what WP8 offers, but I cannot deny that the Iphone also ‘just works’ and does its intended job very well with a few extras thrown in.   Even though the Iphone does work, it feels stagnant – the OS is seriously static and basic (read: boring) – after the magic of Maemo/MeeGo and even Symbian Belle.   I feel guilty even using the Iphone and when I do use it I don’t feel inspired at all.  Considering Apple is one of the biggest Tech companies in the world, I am gobsmacked at how little the OS has changed since conception.  One of the biggest complaints I have with the Iphone is that Apple have gone for a nice aesthetic without much consideration for ergonomics, which to me make it quite uncomfortable to use unlike the rounded Lumia 620 which sits really nicely in the hand.

iPhone 4s: Dull, static UX combined with awkward ergonomics

iPhone 4s: Dull, static UX combined with awkward ergonomics

So I guess what I am trying to say is I am very frustrated at the moment – every smartphone I have tried since my N900 became unusable has been missing some feature whether hardware or software and that’s one of the biggest reasons I am such an avid fan/follower of Jolla.

For me Jolla could be the answer to all my problems – I know I’m not very easy to please but I hope that their open methods of communication with the people who count will result in something at least close enough to match all of our needs.

Jolla: The answer to my prayers ?

Jolla: The answer to my prayers ?

So far, Jolla have proved me right and with every new piece of information we get on their developments, I feel confident in my decision to back Jolla as I have done for the past year.

The ‘other half’ leaves the hardware implementation completely open and virtually limitless and gives me confidence that my needs here can and will be satisfied.

The software implementation is also perfect for my needs and this is already publicly documented and obvious for all to see – anyone who doesn’t think Sailfish is an out-and-out awesome OS, and a perfect evolution of Maemo or MeeGo needs a reality check.  The app issues (which plagued my experiences with some of the Nokia phones) should also be less of an issue with the inbuilt Android compatibility layer and my hope is that we will get some serious commitment to make sure all the most crucial apps are accounted for on release or shortly after.

With all that said, I believe Jolla will be the first company to give us the perfect balance of features combining unlimited hardware capabilities with – likewise – a very solid software feature set.   Given how long I have been waiting for something like this to come along I cannot hope to get the new Jolla phone in my hands quick enough!

Sail On…

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