Monday, November 3, 2008

Some thoughts from Symbian Smartphone Show 2008

I had the opportunity to participate to Symbian Smartphone Show 2008 for the first time. It was work-related so I spent quite much time on S60's stand but still had free time for exploring the rest of the area. Now someone can ask why a Nordea employee would spend time on S60's stand? I'll answer to this question after a while.

I'm not going to give you a full coverage of the conference, just some miscellaneous thoughts:

I know that you've heard this before but Symbian is going open source. It will be interesting to see how this will affect Symbian development, smartphone market share and number of services.

User experience was seen extremely important. This is really good news, users are not interested in technology (well, some are), they want useful services.

Different kinds of widgets were popular topic. There are a number of companies that offer a widget platform, e.g. Microsoft, Apple, Nokia and Opera. MS and Apple weren't in the conference but they are also supporting widgets. It is interesting to see if widgets will keep their original purpose? I would say that companies will misuse widgets by thinking that it is the main thing now and everything users want is widgets. This shouldn't be the case, widgets are "small services" that provide you important information, not everything. A good example would be a financial widget that provides basic stock information, and when you want to sell or buy stock you are following you would open your desktop or mobile browser.

Be proactive, not reactive. Mobile users don't have multiple browser windows open for checking if something has happened. This why it is important to tell the user if there has happened something important. If I had to advertise Nordea's proactive products, I would mention account alert.

Nokia's Kai Öistämö mentioned in his keynote that Nokia offers an innovative platform to developers and they are not disdaining anyone. He actually mentioned Apple a few times and how they are behaving toward developers. I believe this kind of approach is really interesting and most probably there are lots of discussions internally when some service is competing with Nokia's own service. On the other hand, this keeps everyone awake and improving their services.

During the conference it was also mentioned that "Qt is going Symbian". Qt will be supported in S60 starting from S60 3rd edition Feature Pack 1. Qt offers real cross-platform support. Read benefits of Qt.

Overall Symbian Smartphone Show was worth participating and I can really recommend it to anyone who is working with / interested in Symbian / smartphones.


poju said...

I attended Web2.0 Summit (the classic one) in SFO 5-7 Oct (still sitting here) and the message was clear - Apple's iPhone/iTouch is considered to be the most important application platform for the next 2 years!

poju said...

Actually, it's 5-7 November, but still sitting here ...

Teppo said...

Sounds interesting. Probably this is a message for companies providing services in US, because Nokia/S60 is relatively small there?

When you are saying "platform", do you mean the OS or the browser? Were there any discussions about these different approaches?

Was there any discussion about Android? I used G1 for few seconds in Athens and the device itself was really poor, but the OS/SW seemed ok. First impression was that they are utilizing the idle screen quite well. It has "3 horizontal pages" that you can use and you can freely add a shortcut to any service or a special widget. I'm not 100 percent sure what Android means by "widget". Is it a widget that uses HTML, CSS, JavaScript and AJAX or just a small program.

The browser had a tactile feedback, but for example browser menu / settings didn't have any feedback method.

Screen didn't rotate in normal mode, so you had to "open the keypad" for rotating the screen.

Device had only micro-USB connection and nothing else. It also felt and looked "cheap". The screen / keypad functionality didn't look/function too nice.

Hude said...

Apparently there's more power for the Webkit and Gecko local widgets now:

I also stumbled upon an interesting article criticizing widgets: