Living with Nokia devices is a lot like being in a nearly-realistic interpretation of Back to the Future. Many of the technologies that appear (beta and otherwise) in and around Nokia’s mobile devices are sometimes just out of reach of what’s happening with other devices. I’m talking of everything – they did touch screens, mobiles with all kinds of crazy form factors, high resolution cameras, way too many wireless radios, AI, open source technologies, web servers, on-board-blog-photo management systems that integrated with web services… I mean really, they’ve had bits and pieces of what’s happening now in mobile devices for a long time. And, true to form, they just weren’t able to put it in a pretty or accessible enough package that it made sense for everyone else. That was left for the Googles, Microsofts, and Apples of the world. That’s cool to an extent – but later it brings forth questions.
For example, I should be getting a “major” update to the operating system for my current mobile – the Nokia N8 – at some point in the coming days/weeks. Unlike many fans of this device, I’m not really anxious for it. I reviewed the C7/Astound which already has parts of the update, and it was a pleasant experience, There are certainly pieces of that update which would be nice. But, I’m not overly anxious about it. Probably because my time is split between the iPad and the N8, and I’m doing less “productivity” work on the N8 – its my communicator and adapts to my day without me really needing to do much of anything (via Nokia Bots).
But, one of the areas that I am wondering if I’m going to step up/out a bit is in that of using web apps. With that upcoming update, the N8 is supposed to get a much improved web browser – one that is similar enough to what’s on my iPad that I could consider using web apps for some of the sites/functions that I use. The question I have though is “how will my mobile deal with those HTML5 apps?”
For example, an HTML5/web app that I would love to have is Evernote. I have an incomplete alpha of the Evernote widget that Evernote made but never really finished. It would be neat if in a update to the web-interface for Evernote that it would have a mobile-tuned approach that would make it suitable for me to have (a) it saved as a bookmark, and also (b) pinned to my screen as a favorite app. That’s something I’d use pretty often – and would probably leave my iPad home a bit more often if it were there.
Nokia used to do something similar. They had two kinds of near-applications. One was called web-runtime apps and the other WIdsets. These were for the most part quite similar with just some slightly different implementations and wrappers. They were the same thing though – an encapsulated edition of a website, formatted for a mobile device. It was a bit cumbersome, and you had to download a special app to initially get it, or sign into a service. But, it was essentially this idea of taking the web that wasn’t formatted for mobile and getting it onto your device in a mobile-tuned manner. It was way ahead of what was happening in mobile at the time (folks were just getting going with thinking about coding for mobile to begin with).
When it comes to my N8, I really have moved to treating it like a communications server of sorts. It beeps on calls and messages, and in the AM it serves as my initial news/social network device. When in motion its music, photos, and exercise tracking aspects come into play. I wonder if, now with web applications becoming more mature not just on other platforms, but in use as a whole, if there’s a way for me to take advantage of them when this N8 gets updated? Or, will I be stuck asking/using native applications while I wait for the rest of mobile to catch up with how Nokia once showed me how easy it was to connect with people and life?