ESPOO, Finland – Chris Probert is the Product Manager for the new Nokia E6 – the person who’s ultimately in charge of deciding the specifications, looks and price, and takes responsibility for its success. I caught up with him in Espoo a few days before the launch and asked him to share some insider info about his new baby.
What features of the Nokia E6 do you use the most?
I travel a lot because of my work, so I of course use Mail for Exchange and Microsoft Office Communicator for keeping in touch with my colleagues. But in addition to the business features, one thing that I really like personally is the RSS news feeds – what a great thing that is! You can set up your own feeds from your favorite news sites, no matter how specialized they are.
I’m also running an app from Ovi Store called Podcatcher and that’s really cool as well; you can have up to 75 hours of music playback with the E6, so it’s excellent for listening to podcasts. I subscribe to podcasts from the likes of BBC and All About Symbian and listen to them when I’m driving the car or while my kids are watching DVDs. I don’t really watch the TV or read any newspapers these days, because I can get all the news that I want directly on the homescreen of my E6.
The Nokia E6 is made for business people who want to get things done, but I like to think that the same principle applies to your non-working life as well. You can fit up to ten mailboxes in the Nokia E6 and also access Facebook and Twitter from it. In fact, I haven’t used my laptop for any of these things for months.
Are there any cool hardware features that you’d like to highlight?
The USB On-The-Go comes to mind first. You can use it for transfering files from a USB flash drive to your mobile phone. The Nokia E6 has 8 GB of built-in memory, which can be expanded up to 40 GB with a memory card, so storing a huge amount of content on it is no problem.
The Eseries devices also have handy shortcut keys that give you quick access to a number of features, such as Calendar, E-mail and Contacts. When I want to call one of my contacts, I can simply start typing their name on the homescreen, without actually accessing Contacts. The Nokia E6 will immediately produce a list of people whose names include the letters I have already inserted. You can use the star key to switch calendar views between month, week, day and agenda. There is a navi key as well, which is very useful when you want to position the cursor exactly where you need it.
The flashlight is a nice little extra feature that is often overlooked. You can activate it by long-pressing the lock key when you’re on the homescreen. People who attend phone conferences will be interested to know that the Nokia E6 can be muted by pressing the mute key, which displays a red light when the outgoing voice is muted. It’s an excellent feature when you want to make sure that you are not disturbing the other people on the conference line with background noise. I also really appreciate the 1500 mAh battery – you don’t have to worry about recharging your phone for a really long time. The battery seems to last absolutely forever! Battery life is hugely important for business people who are always on the go.
What can you tell us about the design?
You can see just by looking at it that the Nokia E6 follows in the footsteps of the hugely popular Nokia E71 and E72. It comes from the same family and has the same philosophy, now with touch, larger memory and new software features. I’m very proud that we managed to keep this device only 10.5mm thin, yet pack in a touch screen and more memory. The sharp VGA glass display is another improvement; it has four times the pixels of the Nokia E72 (326pix/inch). You can use the Nokia E6 with one hand, which is something I find really useful. We took a long time deciding on the finish of the device, because tastes are different around the world. We ended up using glass and stainless steel with a satin finish on the camera surround and battery cover – two great materials to produce a slim yet robust device.
What was it like to contribute to this product?
I began working with the Nokia E6 immediately after the concepting phase, and many features have changed during the journey. I used to work with the Nokia Nseries devices before, so the first thing I needed to do was to familiarise myself with the needs of an Eseries customer. People like IT managers who want to do encryption or device management have specific demands, and you need to know what makes a proper business device. A lot of devices can do email, but doing it in a secure and controlled fashion is something that I think Nokia has done really well in recent years. It’s been good fun to work with this product and I’m excited that I can finally start telling people about it!