Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Where's that sense of perfection you just never got anyway?

Over at The Nokia Guide, there is a list of 15 things (he's) wondered about the Nseries.

They are, all of them, (well okay, except maybe for one or two I wasn't aware of), things that I've wondered as well. And it got me thinking.

With one or two exceptions, most companies that can lay claim to any sort of leadership or dominance of any market - Nokia, Microsoft, Shimano... - demonstrate, time after time, that they can do absolutely fantastic work (yes, even Microsoft!) but, month after month, don't. The sense of perfection and constant innovation (there's that word that Microsoft do so love to butcher!) that the exceptions display - Apple, the Segway mob, Dyson... - is missing from the daily operations and run-of-the-mill products. And it's only when they're seriously challenged (Microsoft accelerating the development of Internet Explorer or Office on the Mac, or building hardware to compete with Logitech) or they have a moment of inspiration (Nokia N95 - how the hell did they put that much hardware in such a small case?) that they really do something good, and even then there are problems, such as the build quality of the N95 or the massive security flaws in IE. And some people just can't seem to have an original thought, although to give Microsoft their credit they don't always crib ideas from Apple, sometimes they crib ideas from NeXt Inc. or Opera instead.

Plus, when the companies that are ahead of the curve on excellence do something odd, there's usually a good explanation (why did the iPhone not have 3G? Because then the battery would only last for 6 hours, instead of 12. Why did they cripple it by insisting that applications run through Safari, incurring you data charges? Because they're douchebags who are in league with AT&T to get more money out of you). Whereas with most companies, the most you can do by way of explanation is roll your eyebrows. Why doesn't the Nseries have USB charging? Gee, I dunnow, maybe they forgot to put it in?

What's really said is that Nokia, who I thought was the only company who can consistently make competent and finished mobiles... isn't. Don't get me wrong, I still love my N95 and think it's so far ahead of my old Samsung that it may have cost four times as much, not twice as much, but even it isn't finished.

Incidentally, I would add to that list of 15 things to wonder about:
  • Why doesn't the N95 (and other GPS Nseries phones) do geotagging of photos natively?
  • Why did they remove geotracking from Maps2.0?
  • Why did they make directions a subscription service in Maps2.0? (Oh, that's right: Because they're douchebags who are trying to fleece you for everything you've got).
  • Why did they put an accelerometer in the N95 and then not use it for half a year?
  • Why haven't they taken the slightest look at text entry and investigated actual predictive text instead of basic text disambiguation?
Link to The Nokia Guide post "15 things I've wondered about the Nseries".

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