Mar 26, 2008

An Open Letter To Nokia : Buy An Atlas!

It has been building up inside for months now, but today, I simply can't hold it any longer. Nokia, you need to open up your Atlas or your World Map and start looking more closely at it. Head to the east shore of the Mediterranean sea, right below Turkey and right on top of Israel, there, you will find a small area, called Lebanon.

This is where 4 million people live, and this is a country you have been neglecting or forgetting or not noticing for years now. No we are not Europe, we are not the States, we don't fatten your pockets every year with billions of dollars. But if there was a study of your marketshare here, if you could find one, then you would be astonished by the numbers. We have been loyal, very loyal to you, Finnish company, we swear by your built quality, we ravish over your designs, we have thousands of phone shops that have one of your devices in their logo or on their displays, we carry your devices religiously, we always ask about Nokias, and it's not unless there's a bigger motive that we buy another brand. Yet, you don't seem to notice that we exist.

Let's start from the beginning, Nokia. If I buy a new device, when I first fire it up, it asks me to input my country. My country, as far as I can tell, is Lebanon. I type L, and there I have it: Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania and Sri Lanka. No Lebanon. No Lebanon! Are you kidding me? In order to have my time set right, I have to choose Egypt as a country. I have nothing against Egypt, but I am Lebanese!

Second problem. I recently got to try your Download! application. I admit, it's not the brightest thing I have seen, but it has some good potential. I guess I was too optimistic thinking I might just find half of the content that other countries have, with the same device. Oh how wrong I was. Just a couple of links, nothing special. I look at screenshots for other countries, and then look at my N95 and think "if only they filled one screen"(ie 12 icons). No they don't.

Edit: Another problem I have been facing is with Nokia Maps. When I first got the N95 8GB to trial, I searched the Maps website and saw that Lebanon wasn't amongst the countries supported for voice navigation. No problem I said, I don't need it, I just want to see the roads. Well, what do you think I found? Ah, one road. ONE freaking road in ALL of Lebanon! Would I ever be able to tell my friends that my device has GPS? NO! Because they would want to see it in action, and to tell you the truth, I don't think we can take a lot of action out of ONE road!

Third problem is the one that pushed me off the edge today. You know Share on Ovi, the new sharing service that Nokia just launched as a part of their Ovi bundle. The day it was launched, I clicked through the website, I got a "This service is not yet available in this region" message. I thought it still wasn't launched worldwide and held my breath. As the days passed, I kept checking to find the same message every single time. I filed an email to the Ovi product manager, and received a reply that there were social limitations that were preventing the launch of Ovi in the region. I thought "crap, here we go again, the Arab sticker is once more on our forehead!". A couple of days later, I clicked by mistake on some link that led me to Share on Ovi, and this time, the page loaded. I was ecstatic and created my own account, without uploading any picture. Two days later, I opened my account to get some picture uploading and there it was, the white screen of death, staring me in the eyes, again: "This service is not yet available in this region".
From then on, it was a one-day on, several-days off catch up game with the service. I only got to upload 4 or 5 pictures, just to see how it works. That's until a couple of weeks ago, when the service just went unavailable for the longest time. I gave up, I honestly did.
Then came my trip to Jordan. After coming back, I thought that Flickr would be a nice idea for uploading, but I needed a backup plan. So I tried Share on Ovi and yesterday, I was in heaven. I uploaded about a 100 pictures (from Day1 and Day2) using Shozu to both my Flickr and my Share on Ovi accounts. I was using both of them for the first time, and to tell you the truth, I found Share on Ovi to be a MUCH better solution. It gave me the choice to upload via email to a specific channel, it kept the picture in its original size, it gave me an organizing possibility right from my images pages, it allowed me to upload endless file types, it had a very very visible embedding link (with options to embed one image or a whole channel)... well it was Apple'esque. Yeah, you read that right, it had the simplicity of an Apple product. And for once, I was totally totally in love with a product from Nokia. I couldn't find anything wrong with it, from tutorials, to usability, to learning curve, everything was well thought. I had a glimpse at the future of Ovi, and I knew great times were ahead.

Being this pleased with the service, and being that I have enrolled in the S60 Ambassador program (with Share on Ovi being the first mission), I thought I would share the pictures I took with my friends from the trip. I sent them all links to my channels on Share on Ovi (and not Flickr). It was almost midnight, and I think none of them managed to catch it by then, since we were all still worn out from the trip.
I woke up today, and launched Share on Ovi again, to create my "Jordan Trip - Day 3" channel and start uploading, to get spanked in the face by the "This service is not yet available in this region" message, again! And a couple of hours later, the SMS's started arriving "we can't see the pictures on the link you sent us, what's the problem?".

What do you expect me to answer, Nokia? Huh, what do you want me to say? That you simply don't give a damn about us? That you are teasing us Lebanese with a one day service every now and then? How do you expect me to explain to people the philosophy behind Share on Ovi for the Ambassador program? How do you expect me to endorse that T-Shirt you are sending to everyone, if I know that if someone memorizes the site and visits it from my country, there's a 95% chance he/she will find himself/herself with a "not available" screen? And you know I love you, you know I will always support you, you know I have already been your Ambassador in Lebanon, I don't need a T-Shirt or a keyring to prove that. You know I will keep on typing every single day, and I will sigh every day I get the terrible message, and make good use of the day when I find my home page open. I will, I swear I will. But I don't guarantee other people will. They are loyal, but they are not stupid. They know when they are being laughed at!

Nokia, look at us, and don't forget us like the rest of the world has. Don't forget there's a small country called Lebanon, with 4 million people who have been faithful to you, for years. Don't forget that we are here: we don't have a president, our country is on the verge of disappearance, so it would make us a little bit glad if for once, someone, just someone noticed that we, as a country, exist.

Mar 19, 2008

Picture Of The Day

I have previously asked you whether I should get an N81 8GB or a P1i. Well I ended up buying the N95-1. I also got the N93i to trial from WOMWorld and I am excited about using them both.

I am headed to Jordan tomorrow at midnight. It's a 4 day trip, with a bunch of friends, by bus (Jordan is very close to Lebanon) and we're going to exciting places like Petra, the Jordan river, and Amman. I will be using the N95 and the N93i mainly, will be looking for WiFi spots everywhere to upload pictures and keep in touch.

Anyway, here is a picture I took today. I took it with the N95, aimed at the N93i reflective cover, and tried to align the O in Nokia as much as I can. The picture is cropped and the resolution is changed, but you get the idea ;)

Mar 1, 2008

P1i Or N81? You Choose!

In one of the weirdest steps ever, I am putting my destiny (not that much) in your hands. I was looking for a second-hand Nokia N81 8GB when I stumbled upon a second-hand Sony-Ericsson P1i. I tried to weigh the pros and cons of each device, and ended up even more confused.

Nokia N81 8gb
- It's S60 3rd and I am used to it
- I know all applications that I can install and where to get them
- Has 8gb of internal memory, can serve as a great music player replacement
- Has 3.5mm plug so can be used on any headset or earphone
- Has dedicated music keys
- Supports Ngage, and allows me to get on the action
- Has dedicated gaming keys
- Should cost about 250$
- Has only 2MP camera
- Build quality isn't impressive
- I can't find one right now :s

Sony-Ericsson P1i
- Is a new platform, Symbian UIQ3 so promises to be interesting
- Is available now
- Has touchscreen, should be great for accessing links in eBooks and web browser
- Has 3.2MP camera
- Build-quality is AWESOME, feels rock solid
- Has the Track ID system (record a part of a song, and it tells you the name)
- I can get it for 1 month and re-sell it without losing much money because SE phones don't drop prices quickly.
- Only 512MB memory card, and it's Sony's proprietary MemoryStick Micro so I won't buy a memory for it (it's not worth it)
- Has proprietary music plug, no 3.5mm plug
- Costs 360$

So, what do you think I should get? There's a poll on the left column, please vote :D I am placing my future month or so in your hands :D The poll will go for about 10-15 days I think