back to article Nokia slips out Designed By Community handset

Nokia's has published drawings and specifications for the perfect handset, designed by the user community and bearing a striking resemblance to the existing N8 handset. The project started back in March, and was intended as an information-gathering exercise rather than laying down the specs for a real handset. But with …


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  1. Tom Richardson


    It's only really similar to the N8 in that it's a touch screen slate. And I'll bet the OS they're referring to is not Symbian (hint: come on it's really obvious what it is).

    1. Raumkraut

      The spec sheet proclaimeth...

      In the "Enhancements" section of listed specs it says:

      "Multiple OS support"

      So my guess is that it works with both Symbian and Meego, and they haven't yet decided which one to use as the primary OS.

  2. Gordan

    I couldn't disagree more

    "customers need to be surprised and impressed, not consulted"

    There is a LOT to be said for creating a product that customers want. I for one commend Nokia on their approach. It should be adopted by more manufacturers. It would avoid expensive product failures and reduce the number of disappointed customers. The way I see it, consulting the customer community is a win-win situation.

    Remember that Nokia just make the phone. New, surprising and impressive features are down to the software. That part isn't down to Nokia, it's down to Google (Android) and MeeGo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      a) Nokia don't use Android

      b) Are there any serious numbers of developers apart from Nokia's and Intel's contributing to Meego? Who do you think contributes most to the UI? ditto Symbian

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Right and wrong

      If you design a product by consulting what people want then you deliver the phone that people want about 18 months after they want it.

      All big tech companies are doing research into what is the next big thing, what the future holds.

      The public aren't largely technology experts, they're not privy to the information on future unreleased hardware like the industry is.

      Nothing would change if you just asked customers all the time. You end up with non-risky designs from current technology, not new and fresh approaches to thing.

      1. nosbor
        Thumb Up

        spot on

        excellent point totally agree.

    3. RichyS

      I couldn't disagree more with your disagreement

      Asking customers what they want in the future is the worst thing you can do.

      To labour the whole car analogy meme, I remember Ford launching the last of the Escorts to much fanfare about how much customer research they'd done, and the number of clinics etc that the car had been through. Inevitably the car stacked up well. Against the Astra and Golf from 3 years ago. As a contemporary car, it was crap. To push the analogy further (and back in Ford's time) Henry Ford once said that if he'd listened to what his customers had wanted, he'd have built them a faster horse.

      Customers are notoriously rubbish at knowing what they want in 12-24 months time. Apple never ask customers what they want, and I hear they're doing quite well at tue moment...

    4. Bonnie

      Tail fins and horns that play "La Cucaracha"

      Reminds me of a Simpsons episode which saw Homer bankrupt his half-brother's car company with his 'ideal' car design:,_Where_Art_Thou%3F

  3. HighlightAll

    I think I want one

    Love the concept. And if the OS is without walls ala Maemo then in the immortal words of Tony: Great.

  4. Alastair Dodd 1
    Thumb Down

    afte taking part in this whitewash

    I can assuredly say the options were horribly restrictive and it was well funnelled into what Nokia thinks the community wants - Blatantly designed as a marketing tool for the N8 from the outset.

    1. chr0m4t1c


      I think I did one of the design questionnaires and basically it showed you a series of form factors (candy bar, clamshell, keyboard+screen, keyboard+touchscreen, etc.) and asked you questions about what you liked and didn't like about the idea of owning a phone with each one.

      The most interesting one was a clamshell design that had three touchscreens - one on the outside for basic stuff like answering/rejecting calls or quickly reading text messages and e-mails and two on the inside so you could have all sorts of different virtual keyboards tailored to whatever you were doing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    They got what they wanted

    Like you said they wanted an N8 and that's what they got. Symbian is both open source and multitasking. Some of the other features like USB 3 are pretty much pointless on a phone (I'd argue Dolby Stereo and HDMI fall into the same category).

    1. Tom Chiverton 1


      HDMI is useful in as much as for me (and others) it's the only plug type on my TV apart from an old school S-VIDEO with a Wii in...

      1. RichyS


        And having to plug your phone into your TV is useful because...?

        1. The Daddy

          HDMI - its obvious why?

          Its a good way of showing the pictures and videos you've taken? They definitely look better shown in 720p on a 42" screen than they do on any small mobile or laptops display.

          1. robin thakur 1


            I own several devices where you can hook them up with a cable to a TV to view images on the big screen. Have I ever done so in over 10 years? Not once...If I were to want to do that, I'd just access them through my internal network or bung a memory stick in the PS3/TV. Granted, not everyone has the latter options, but I can't imagine very many people doing this in the real world. Perhaps with HD Video on the iPhone 4 it might be worth it, but viewing it on an iPad is more convenient ultimately.

  6. Ivan Slavkov

    Welcome to the world of modern innovation management

    Well, c'est la vie.

    That is what you get when "innovation" is managed by people who have not attended or slept through that boring course where the prof explained the idea of a Paradigm Shift and how does the history of world progress and innovation map onto a series of those.

    So instead of a breakthrough, a paradigm shift or anything the like you get an organisation that is capable _ONLY_ of gradual progress. As anyone who has attended said course knows such an organisation is guaranteed to be outcompeted by the ones who are not bound by such constraints.

    Nokia is a prime example. It can produce a gradual evolution on its own (N8- U1) or someone else's (iPhone - N97 and onwards) ideas. It cannot produce a true Paradigm Shift. Its own governance, internal structure, management practices, salary structure, bonus structure GUARANTEE that. Not that most other EU high tech companies nowdays are any better either.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've had several weird ideas...

    ... but mostly didn't manage to find manufacturers that wanted to talk to me about wonderful new phone designs. I don't know why, it wasn't as if I was talking Chinese. Or maybe that was the problem. At any rate, I went back to a nokia design, and that reduced my wishes to just one: If only the bleepin' fone would work, nevermind as advertised.

  8. Wibble

    Camera cover?

    Pity there's no cover over the camera lens. As it sticks out, it gets covered in grime which somewhat affects it's performance. How strange!

  9. Chris 211

    customers need...

    Products that work, I am so fedup with leading edge innovation that fails.

    "customers need to be surprised and impressed, not consulted."

    Yes, Yes, OH SO WRONG! Please consult me, ask the community what should be maybe prioritized! Why do manufacturers think they know best, why do some people expect manufacturers to know what they want? I want a stable operating system using standards based formats. Try that for a starter!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why don't we ask consumers?

      "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." — Henry Ford

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Henry Ford...

        Really would they? Henry Ford was just another PT Barnum in the classic US tradition. Ford are and always have been a crappy car company exploiting the mass market with the innovation of other designers and engineers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Logical fallacies...

          "Ford are and always have been a crappy car company exploiting the mass market with the innovation of other designers and engineers." That is capitalism. That is free market economy. It doesn't mean that the quote is wrong either.

    2. robin thakur 1

      I doubt Nokia would listen to you then

      Lol fair enough with your stable OS request (although why would Nokia actively offer one which wasn't?) but both those requirements are not the kind of feedback Nokia wants. It desperately needs to tie people to Nokias with proprietary formats, or their remaining loyal users will simply migrate en masse to iPhones and other smartphones taking their content with them.

      Nokia has no 'leading edge innovations' which make it to market, not because they fail to consult the public, but because their interface is rubbish and people expect to be able to use all the phones features easily these days without needing to negotiate fiddly menus with too many options and many different ways of doing the same thing.

      This 'survey' (more of a marketing gimmick, like a disclaimer for when the N8 fails to sell the numbers expected saying "but we gave you what you wanted?!?") is pure PR guff. There is already too much risk aversity within Nokia and a far too relaxed attitude to the competition they face since the iPhone hit in 2007 changing the mobile landscape. That was three years ago, and pretty much all Nokia has managed since, like the N97 and the other handsets presumably aimed at Comp Sci users and those with aperculiar loyalty to the company have been rushed, undertested running what seems like beta software when compared to their competitors. Most of the reviews of the Nokia N8 I have read might as well say the same thing (for the past 3 years) "Nice hardware, shame about the software"

  10. Andy Hards
    Thumb Up

    The project was really just for the shape

    It offered 3 basic shapes, one a bit like the N8 (which won), one a bit like the 5800 and another that I can't remember, so it was hardly designed by customers, you just had to chose which of the three shapes you liked best. Most people went for the N8 as it was around the time that pics were starting to leak and so guess what most people chose, 2 that looked like other Nokia's or one that looked like a nice new Nokia?

    Still, I want an N8 or an E7 and am looking forward to getting it.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    just make something that works.

    speaking as a not now proud owner of an N900, this is just going to be more of the same.

    its a business phone. so why, oh why doesnt the contacts and calendar and email not work amazingly well? because frankly i dont care *that much* about anything else

    they hung us out to dry - their flagship product as it was.. its the ONLY phone not to get free navigation with nokia maps. the interface isnt finished. the contacts/email/calendar is a JOKE.

    its not difficult. i cant believe it even got through beta testing. using it for 5 minutes you think...well why doesnt it do...this, that, this...oh this doesnt work, oh i cant select an existing contact into an appointment, i cant see what appointments are coming up for this contact, if i open the contact from, say the recent calls list its not the same detail as opening it from the contacts list, i cant edit it from there. WHY??? its more difficuklt to make more calls to different routines to display the same, but not quite , information. just make the routine do it properly and call it! how difficult is it?

    the date entry sliders are just so crap to use, really fiddly.. doesnt show days of the week on the calendar entry.

    the calendar "upcoming events" daily view will jump to a day 3 weeks in the past.- DUHH

    virtual keyboard is so slow its not funny.

    IT IS SIMPLE, at least for the contacts/calendar/email. and this goes for all p.i.m.s everywhere.





    im used to be a programmer. i would test my code before its released. i would make sure its a pleasure to use. my code was, nearly always, bulletproof because i would test it from as many angles as i could think of try and anticipate what the user would want.

    take some pride in what you do for gods sake and stop messing about.

    i used to love nokia, but now, well. whats the alternative? and no, im not buying a f*king iphone.

    1. robin thakur 1

      I hear you

      Whilst I understand all your points, what you clearly need is either an iPhone a W7 phone or a Blackberry, not a Nokia N900, which was a peculiar case of a company as large as Nokia releasing a weird public beta project to sound out the reception it got from spotty comp sci. students and traditional IT workers. Most people understood this when it went on sale, you clearly didn't. I'm sure its great if you want to write your own Outlook client to use on it though. Using either that handset or the N97, you see what the mobile industry would have been like had the iPhone not come out when it did...and this is Nokia trying?!?

  12. Watashi

    Meego ago-go

    Nokia really needs Meego to work for them. Some will say Nokia should go with Android... but Android looks like it's buggy and hard to get working reliably on handsets. Android really is the linux of the mobile phone industry and anyone whose ever treid to use linux on a custom made PC will know all about its hardware support infexibility. With such a large current consumer base, Nokia really should be looking for a new OS of their own tailored to work on Nokia handsets alone.

    For all the hype, iOS 4, Windows 7 (mobile) and Android 2.2 still have their failings compared to that old Symbian beast. Symbian apps may be limited, but the ones that do exist are really, really useful. For example, Nokia's Mail for Exchange is still be best native non-MS exchange client and quite a lot of the celebrated Android functions are old news to Nokia owners. If Nokia can bring out the follow-up to the N8 with hardware as good as the N8 looks to be but with a user-friendly, fresh looking OS that capitalises on their technical know-how they'll be onto a winner.

    Nokia were unlucky to be the entrenched market leaders when the young upstarts of iPhone and Google came along. It's possible to be unjustly unfashionable just as it is to be undeservedly fashionable.

  13. Lars Silver badge

    customers need to be surprised and impressed, not consulted

    I agree, but then again, why not ask the customers too. Why not do both.

    Right now it is Apple that "surprised and impressed" while Nokia fell a sleep.

    Android, I suppose, is not an option for Nokia as they want to continue developing themselves.

    And MeeGo is at least a "platform" that has all the necessary abilities for any features needed.

    Then there is design and the UI, and if they can fix that, then they might recover.

    And I wish they do.

  14. tim-e

    I like the N8

    It's just a pity it runs Symbian.

    1. The Daddy

      I like the N8 as well

      And there's nothing wrong with Symbian on it - it works, its fast, has decent contacts/calendar/mail integration. The camera is fantastic. Some surprisingly decent apps in the Ovi store.

      I've come to it from Android, and it easily feels as good as Android as long as you aren't a rabid fanboi.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Been using one for a little over a month now.

      And it's quite a nice handset, the camera is pretty good - to the extent that I might stop carrying a compact camera around with me - and the usability is streets ahead of older Nokia handsets (e.g. N97).

      Symbian^3 is definitely a step in the right direction, but my pre-release handset does have a distinct feeling of some cracks being papered over i.e. the interface is responsive, but with some odd quirks and gaps. It needs some work to get it up to the standard of Android 2.2 or iOS4 (oh noes, I mentioned Apple; quick - downvote this post).

      The real question is whether or not Nokia throw some proper support at this handset to not only finish and polish S^3, but issue firmware updates for the N8 so owners get the best out of what is pretty good hardware. (Plus, of course, the brain-dead providers need to keep their "specially-ruined for us" variants up to speed too.)

      I don't think the N8 will be Nokia's saviour, but it does show that they are at least facing the right way now.

  15. RegisterThis

    "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." TOSH!

    "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." — Henry Ford

    ... But he didn't, so we will never know ... this really wasn't fact you know ... just an ego-maniac trying to say how uniquely brilliant he was ...

    There *IS* a place for both and a company that stops listening to the market place *WILL* fail eventually. In fact you can argue that this is the reason Nokia find themselves 'have-runs' currently! Apple didn't *force* the market paradigm shift in 2007 ... the consumers voted that the proposed shift was good and Nokia mis-read what was going to be important for consumers going forward!

    You may also dare to argue that Apple will eventually get here as well if they continue in their apparent increasing arrogance!

  16. whatsa


    customers need to be surprised and impressed, not consulted.

    Well then you should have just read it and said nothing ...

    after all your opinions are nothing....

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