Yesterday I got myself a Nokia E71 to use with my T-Mobile SIM.
Opening the box I saw a Handset form factor that I liked and despite not being a Nokia user an OS that works well. A number of things seemed easy in terms of installing the bits needed to use the phone also managed to edit contacts from my address book in the process.
Then I went over to Ovi to see what might be of interest and saw nothing. Went on the web and looked at what widgets might make Twitter, Facebook and Flickr easier to use rather than via the T-Zones portal and was again disappointed.
After 24 hours use with the handset I have email up and running for the 5 accounts that I use. Have PIM working as I would wish it to on my handset. Am looking at using Opera mini as my browser so that I can make everything work on the device as I would wish. As well as Opera I have also installed Yahoo Go 3.0 so that I can deal with Flickr and manage the SPAM flow in my personal email.
So in terms of hardware design I have a form factor that I like and a need to tweek some of the software so that the experience is a little more like that of my iPod touch rather than my Sony Ericsson C905. Do I think the E71 is a smartphone? Well at them moment it does not seem that smart. I do think that it should be a second device that means the Laptop can stay on the desk as when out and about it can offer me the functionality needed.
The camera seems to me to be something I will not be using my SE has something better and it is not often used when I have a Nikon available! The Maps function looks more interesting than the service I have tested from Orange.
The biggest issue with the E71 however is not the software or hardware it's the service provider. With T-Mobile seeking to manage costs in line with its revenues the coverage is woeful. Despite having had Planning Permission for over a year to build a new 3G mast close to my home the Local School reports no sign of construction starting. Thus I revert to using WiFi in the home, I am glad that I am on a SIM only contract which includes web n walk because if I was paying consumer contract rates I might have to start stalking the new MD.
I know that all Networks have an issue with coverage in my location and so accept blackspots but in the last year T-Mobile seem to have discovered deadzones! I would hope that investment can be made into femtocells so that the coverage issue can be resolved. WiFi is not the solution because of battery consumption. If we are to replace voice spend with data services first off we need coverage.