Ideally Merge Phoneness and Flexibility

Its kind of weird. I sort of sit with two platforms as my current: Symbian and Maemo. Both are featured on Nokia’s devices, which I guess makes me more or less a fan of Nokia than the platforms themselves. But, both offer two sides of use that I really like, and wish that could be merged for something better.

Symbian’s Phoneness

I like the portrait-centric aspect of the Symbian platform. Not so much because I’m on the phone all the time (meaning voice calls), but it seems a simpler and more appropriate type of use. Even when doing things like browsing or listening to music, I find that I hold the device in a portrait mode and use it efficiently there. It was originally designed for buttons and one-handed use, and even with the badly grafted-on touchscreen artifacts, it still remains to be the kind of paradigm that just makes sense for a lot of mobile uses.

And this is where Symbian shines. Its user interface is built to respect this paradigm and from there all of the user’s needs are addressed. Now, there could be fewer menus, and a better usage of screen elements – for example, on-screen buttons are too large for some items – but its solid and just works well.

Maemo’s Flexibility

On the other side of that Maemo has shown me how a flexible mobile platform can be better tuned to how you use a mobile device. Some time ago, I embarked on re-using my N800 and simplifying my use of it. What I found was that the Maemo platform responded very well to this kind of flexible, targeted use. It wasn’t so much that a Symbian device couldn’t do that – I’ve got an N97 now that has mostly assumed this role – but that the Maemo platform afforded a better opportunity to tune a more personal usage of mobile so that I could be more productive and better utilize the limited resources of a mobile device.

With the newer Maemo platform, things have taken a considerable step up. There’s a much more vibrant/loud/responsive community, and a ton of work to be done to make not only the platform, but everything that it touches more malleable around the idea of open/transparent/refined processes. Its been here that I’ve had to be more flexible with my perceptions, as well as with how I perceive mobile. And in return, I’ve seen all kinds of seeds for growth.

So Where Does That Land Me

Depending on the day, I think I waver too much. Having had plenty of time with the N900 and in using the N97 as my personal device, I can see the advantages and blurring lines that are happening with both of these platforms. In a respect, you could say that they are pointing towards the same goals, but from different directions.

In my spare time (what little there is), I interact with the Ideas.Symbian and Talk.Maemo communities. In both places, I look for viewpoints and perspectives, engage with developers and usres, in the hope that I could better see out of a mobile platform the kind of use that I (personally) need. I lend a thought or two where I can, but mostly just sit and watch and think through how these two platforms have enhanced my perceptions of mobile.

Weirdly enough, I started with the Palm OS. This platform had the best mix for my needs then. It was also so simple (designed to respond to simple uses simply) that it just felt natural. I’d love to see either or both Symbian and Maemo get to that point. Then I think that I’d see from mobile exactly what got me sparked with this genre in the first place.

Carnival of the Mobilists #208

Greetings to all and welcome to the 208th Carnival of the Mobilists. While I’m quite excited to be hosting the Carnival once again, this one contains a bit of bittersweet news as its also the last week that Nokia’s Mobile Web Server service will serve as my mobile platform. Nevertheless, there are some refreshing reads within this week’s slate. Here’s where we have under the tent:

We start off with two submissions from MobiThinking. The first is a while paper which talks about how Real Madrid and Everton (football/soccer) use mobile for fan engagement activities. This theme of mobile engagement is sure to pick up steam with the World Cup 2010 coming up in June, and so MobiThinking’s second submission deals with how to glean lessons from these clubs especially for those who are new to mobile engagement marketing.

Ajit Jaokar brings us an interesting perspective on the psychological meaning of mobile to younger mobile users, and why this world is altogether parallel, constant, and personal all at the same time. Being one who lives in my thoughts, I can totally vibe with this line of thinking.

You can be assured that many will be talking about the psychology and marketing of mobile Valentine’s Day weekend. From M-Trends, we’ve got some updates on the happenings with the Mobile Premier Awards and Mobile Sunday Barcelona. If you will be in Barcelona, Spain for the Mobile World Congress event, then both of these need to also be on your radar for attendance and networking.

And though this one wasn’t submitted formally, in preparing for this carnival it definitely passed as something suitable: the Vision Mobile blog has posted an interesting broach on the subject of the smartphone craze/trend and what it really looks like in respect to the total mobile marketplace. When the numbers are put out there, things get a lot clearer (pun not intended).

Lastly, I’d like to just point to my reflection on my time with Nokia’s Mobile Web Server. Having a server and hosting your connections to people and objects on a mobile is a type of enablement and control that’s just hard to connect/live without.* Its been a fun ride. For me, what I will do next needs to be a step or two beyond this 😉

Thankfully, not all mobile services have ended. Don’t forget that you can also use SMS services, such as mGive, for giving donations to those organizations which are assisting those in Haiti and other areas of need. The best part about doing this mobile is that it doesn’t take long, just text-and-give.

Thanks for visiting with the Carnival of the Mobilists for this week. Next week, the Carnival will be hosted over at Wap Review. Be sure to get your submissions in for that Carnival before midnight GMT on Friday to ensure that you will be included. For more information about the Carnival of the Mobilists, check out the website or follow via Twitter.

For those blogging/tweeting this Carnival, I’ve set up a TinyURL for it:

*This Carnival, and the past ones that I’ve hosted, will be accessible via the URL (a temp. WordPress blog), beginning next week – that is, until I find something beyond.

10 Outdated Features of Desktop Operating Systems

This is good. This is really good. And points out where modern mobile devices have gotten the usage paradigm of computing right.

Too bad I’m sitting on a laptop typing this because my mobile can’t stream the concert that I’m watching/listening to while browsing this article and other pages I’ve got open at the same time. But, it is playing the modem (since the power went out a bit ago).

Just Stupid (Purchasing Music)

This is just stupid! I’ve got a mobile device with a browser that’s better than Internet Explorer (v6, most days), and I can’t purchase music and download it right to my mobile from Amazon – I need a player. Stupid I tell you.

And from places that I would be able to purchase the music (not naming sites), they don’t even stock the digital release. Yea man, stupid.

All I wanted to do was purchase my brother’s excellent, latest project. But not happening. Because I’m not getting off the mobile, and I’m not finding it elsewhere.

Purchasing music shouldn’t be this hard.