Monday, September 24, 2012

MeeGo Urge, Missing Nokia

Upon getting a Galaxy S3 from an AT&T upgrade, I am definitely excited and fulfilled as an Android user...but only to a certain extent. Being in public, I notice many more S3s in the hands of fellow Android users. This isn't surprising after considering Samsung made a manufacturing deal with seemingly EVERY American carrier, but one thing still remains so: loss of distinction. In the midst of becoming accepted by the masses, S3 is now the norm...and I am suddenly conforming to a part of the Android majority...another sect of the smartphone Borg. This is what inspired an impulsive thought this morning about being reunited with the Nokia N9.

When I look back at all those years I had spent with Nokia Symbian devices, I realize it was distinction that added a special sense of allure and exclusivity to the brand. I still remember my visit to a Cingular store in order to replace my Treo 680 running the Palm Garnet OS. That was when I first laid eyes on the Nokia E62, the American counterpart to the E61. The rep immediately suggested a different phone while claiming "Symbian isn't easy to understand for most people", but I wasn't "most people". It was as if I was being challenged on my ability to comprehend an OS that was different, and I naturally wanted to prove that rep wrong. I pointed to the E62, took it home, and eventually discovered unlocked GSM phones which lead to the E61i, E72, and so on. With every Nokia model I unboxed, there was an extraordinary sense of breaking away from the American majority. With the revolutionary moves Nokia had made at the time with models like the N95, I felt like I was participating in something special. That is what spurred my ultimate nerdgasm over a $1200 red E90 on release day and my longest duration with the E71. Unfortunately, destiny would not be so kind to Symbian in the midst of competing touch platforms continuing to excel. As a smartphone consumer becoming more comfortable with Google services, I eventually felt that I had no choice but to adopt Android.

Now that I've been with Android for some time, I find no more distinction amongst the countless touch slabs that flood the industry. No longer is there any hardware that stands out like the N93's fold out viewfinder, the N95's camera door, the E71's breathing light, or the E90's wide screen and spacious keyboard. The smartphone game seems to be reduced to a contest of who can build the highest specs for a boring, predictable touch screen form factor...and I've lost motivation in writing blog posts or making more TRENT SENSE episodes on YouTube. I simply miss those days with Nokia, where there were even specialized product lines with E-Series and N-Series. The N9 running MeeGo (and even the E7) isn't the most optimal choice for a device, but it retains a great amount of allure in regards to being apart from the Android/iOS pack. The new Nokias running Windows Phone have promise, but the OS isn't yet matured enough for me (meaning there's no Words with Friends compatibility).

However, the double-edge sword of not following the crowd is lack of overall compatibility with certain services I've come to rely on as an Android user. At the end of the day, being ordinary and assimilated into the smartphone Borg with my Galaxy S3 is something I may have to accept. Even if I took the plunge with both the E7 and N9 tomorrow, I'd end up lamenting over not having Words with Friends. Sadly, that may be the ONLY thing that could sour the MeeGo/Symbian experience for me. Who knows. Honestly, there's quite a bit of pros that come along with owning the S3 after the gargantuan Note...and I discover more of that when I pair it with my Freedom Pro bluetooth keyboard and Nokia BH-910 headset.

It's one thing to reminisce about the Nokias running Symbian during its heyday, but it's another thing to turn into a whiny phone snob worrying about what everyone else is using. As long as a device works and fulfills my wants and needs...that's all that should matter.

TRENT
Written from Blogger app on my Galaxy S3

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