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June 24, 2009

Why don’t they make phones like these?

ESPOO, Finland – Of all the manufacturers of mobile phones, I feel that Nokia produces the most varied range. There’s a phone for every taste, price range, personality. But, despite that, Nokia doesn’t make phones for everyone, hence there are a few folks feeling they are missing that “something extra special” in their phone. Read on and join us in a romp across phones that Nokia doesn’t make, and let us know which ones you might miss.

Feature freaks
OK, so, before we start, this article is not about all of you who want the ultimate über-gizmo with all the latest features and a coffee maker to boot. We don’t want to get into a discussion about the latest SIP or security feature or so on. We just want to focus on the simple things like target market or coloring.

Senior phone
We’ve been asking the phone guys for ages why Nokia doesn’t make a senior phone. A “senior phone” is designed with aging baby-boomers in mind. Of course, we don’t mean insultingly simple phones with big buttons that have few functions. We mean a phone tailored to the needs and physical constraints of older people. For example, there could be apps and services tailored to the senior set. Or, while still stylish, the device could be more readable and easier to handle for eyes that usually need reading glasses and hands that are a wee less flexible.

Camo phone
The Nokia 5110 might have been one of the first phones with exchangeable covers. Indeed, the Nokia N79 and the Supernova range still ship with different color battery covers. But, Ricky at The Symbian Guru once wished that there were a camo-colored phone.

That got us thinking. Nokia used to make TETRA phones, which were for law enforcement departments throughout Europe. And Nokia used to have a tough phone, the Nokia 5140. But no more.

A Nokia Conversations reader sums it up:

… When a diesel engine is screaming nearby, it’s raining, and the location is vibrating, and the phone falls into the mud I want to hear it! Just imagine the appeal of a Nokia commercial where a guy like me, amid the noise and deplorable weather conditions mentioned above drops his ugly cell phone two stories onto a concrete floor where it bounces through the mud and water and gets squashed by truck tires even deeper into the mud. AND IT RINGS! REALLY LOUD! AND I PICK IT UP AND HEAR MY GRANDDAUGHTER TELL ME HOW PROUD SHE IS TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY! …

I guess there’s still a market for a “tough” phone. One in camo colours as well, I suspect.

Flights of fancy
A few months back we stumbled upon the Nokia E97, a concept device by Fabien Nauroy, done for a masters degree project. Called “Envelop”, this Is “just” a study case, he says, but shows that talented fans can capture our imagination as to what a phone could look and act like. Check out the images below.

What do you think of “Envelop”?

In the end, Nokia can’t be all things to all people. And Nokia does come out with a range of amazing devices (OK, so I’m biased). But sometimes, I guess we all wish Nokia made us a particularly special phone for our particularly special needs. Isn’t that so?