Flashback: Nokia N97 was an "iPhone killer" that helped kill Nokia instead

22 November 2020
Touch support on Symbian S60 was the proverbial lipstick on a pig. Neither Nokia's hardware nor its software were ready for the modern digital era.

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I would definitely so love to see a modern reincarnation of this device with a tiny bezel, front speaker, 6.0" to 6.5" 16:9 screen, 5G chipset, 6GB or 8GB RAM, and Windows 10 ARM or Linux OS. 11 out of 10 I would buy one.

    • c
    • ciquta
    • BR7
    • 23 Nov 2020

    Essen, 23 Nov 2020I am no CEO of Nokia or Blackberry. But when the iPhone did... moreNo way, I remember when the iPhone came out it was a TOTAL game changer, a hell of a different experience compared to the then-flagship HTC Diamond (a 900$ device who barely let you organize a basic agenda).

    Android didn't take long to fill the gap and then some, but the repository/app model was the right way to go.
    Besides, it's based on Linux which grew upon the exact same model.

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      • Alboooz
      • 6kh
      • 23 Nov 2020

      The Nokia 97mini was even better, i even was developer of the famous room CFW 'Alboooz CFW C6v40xx', i did for nokia express to, it's just time run fast and i cant remember much of this old days activities.

        Nokia mobiles were great when it was merely cell phone without smartness in late 90s and early 20. Later they started selling same tech, plastic policarbonate bodies fragine keys, but everything else was decent if not great. Considering today's tech what they were asking for their stale tech mobiles were bit high but they had good service network to cover repairs.Until Lumina Windows Mobile, their cameras were very average. I somehow liked Soney Ericsson mobiles though they did not have variety like Nokia and pricey.

          AnonD-948658, 23 Nov 2020Those weren’t smartphones what do you mean? thats exactly what they were

            • ?
            • Anonymous
            • ibb
            • 23 Nov 2020

            N97 did what it should've done at the time.. Being an evolutionary part of the Symbian ecosystem.. Sure it is a MASSIVE time and effort to convert the tried and true multitasking powerhouse OS that is Symbian from button-based interface to touch-based.. Symbian need time to evolve into touch interface.. Symbian was 3 days battery life multitasking copy paste smartphone compared to half a day battery life iPhone with none of the mentioned features at the time.. That is the difference.. By the time Symbian Belle the evolution is almost complete.. If only Stephen Elop did not announce the burning platform we will still see Symbian as the 3rd OS today.. This N97 may have been a stopgap in terms of software interface.. But it never skimp on hardware and even accessories that shames even smartphones of today..

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              • AnonD-948658
              • X%J
              • 23 Nov 2020

              Anonymous, 23 Nov 2020I had the 5800 xpress music (my first ever smartphone) and ... moreThose weren’t smartphones

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                • Essen
                • K8T
                • 23 Nov 2020

                I am no CEO of Nokia or Blackberry. But when the iPhone did come out, I admit I wasn't impressed. An all glass, only touch phone, sealed battery, no memory expansion. And an app store. It was shouting planned obsolescence right there.

                I am not sure about iOS, but Android started coming into it's own only by version 4-4.4, Jellybean/KitKat. Before that it was clunkier and ponderous than even Windows CE. Just in colour. I am not a fan of the app eco system where everybody needs to design an app for various platforms. It's the reason Amazon Fire, Firefox phone, SailOS, Windows, Blackberry all failed. When you are asking a company/service provider/developer to develop an app for 5-6 platforms, they are going to ignore everything after the two or three largest platforms. Ensuring, the guys who were just born late -- the third kid and after -- were always going to be ignored. I remember the anti-competition trust haranguing Microsoft for Windows all through the 90s and early 2000s.

                What Apple and Google do now to ensure a third competitor doesn't rise is worse. When they stop support for say, a Gmail, for Windows or BB, the writing is on the wall for other app developers. And whatever happened to Web 2.0? Devices were supposed to just be a portal to access an internet browser. Once there, you had the world on your fingertips.

                But Apple smartly bisected this by creating a platform where they have control over the apps, the app store and the revenue. So rather than going to Safari and typing www.whatsapp/banking/uber/whatever.com, they just made it imperative that each app had its own standards. Which I think is anti-competitive depending on how you look at it.

                The desktop versions of WhatsApp, Gmail, Facebook, your banking app run flawless on your browser. But if it has to run on your phone, you need an app for it. Have we thought why it is so? Please do not tell me it is interface and touch issues. If designed for a certain web standard, a well-designed app will easily adjust to a touch interface or a keyboard interface depending on the hardware. It isn't impossible for an Uber to settle into your browser and access your car's location than have to work only via an app.

                What we are looking at now is not competition. Not what's good for us money-paying consumers. But what we are looking at now is who can control the biggest app store and who can keep other players out. This isn't good. One bit. But we have brought into it in such a way that we have no choice.

                What really worked with Apple was Jobs. Symbian was okayed with essential functionality with some compromises. And in a Nokia kind of corporate set-up, you can't push your employees to the limit. Jobs could. He wouldn't let employees go home till he was satisfied with every aspect of an interface. That interface really helped pull in people. And if they had to sign up for an app store and download each and everything from an app store to have a functioning phone, they were happy to do that. Word spread, "Dude, the iPhone is so cool."

                If the feet of clay companies had to match up to Apple, they'd have to break company, employment, work policies.

                It's the same way we rushed into opening social media accounts. It's now that the pitfalls of it are rearing its head. We have rushed into this app ecosystem and wonder why Nokia, BB and the other giants missed the bus. What we need to wonder instead is have we created a duopoly.

                  • ?
                  • Anonymous
                  • PE3
                  • 23 Nov 2020

                  Firefox, 23 Nov 2020Nokia should have adopt Android for their flagship devices ... moreThey felt into microsoft trap...... if you see the lumia 900 lunch then you will understand why it died.

                    The keyword from article above is MINDSET. If we stuck in our success zone, don't have vision for future, less innovation then we'll be extinct for sure. And it happened with Nokia.

                      I bought my first touch screen mobile Motorola Motorokr E6 in 2007. Strangely almost every reviewer was then in favor of Nokia physical keyboards and gave bad reviews to E6 saying it's not the future. Of course it might be because the touchscreen is a resistive one not capacitive. But still Nokia and most of reviewers were in favor of physical keyboards even after iPhone release and HTC, Samsung's droid releases.
                      Nokia might be late into the game but not too late. At time of lumia phones and Pureview 808, still Nokia had a chance to jump into Android bandwagon, but sad because of the poor management it went down gradually for it's demise.

                        • ?
                        • Anonymous
                        • JT5
                        • 23 Nov 2020

                        AnonD-955101, 23 Nov 2020Really, do you remember those Alcatel one touch phones? 😅Cant be worse than Y, Ace, young etc ...

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                          • AnonD-955101
                          • 0sA
                          • 23 Nov 2020

                          AnonD-920712, 22 Nov 2020what is nokia ? A living fossil ?Either you are 9 year old or you are just trolling.

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                            • Rain
                            • 3xL
                            • 23 Nov 2020

                            Actually very bad touchscreen

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                              • AnonD-955101
                              • 0sA
                              • 23 Nov 2020

                              Anonymous, 23 Nov 2020Only ones from samsung. Really, do you remember those Alcatel one touch phones? 😅

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                                • Mzma
                                • KZK
                                • 23 Nov 2020

                                The OS kill the Nokia not whatever Nokia phone model.. Symbian OS couldn't think the future what IT can be.. How powerfull IT is today..

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                                  • DMX
                                  • JQm
                                  • 23 Nov 2020

                                  How ironic that Apple today is the one that is 3 years behind its competition hahahaha

                                    I have a N97 mini and typing with the even more cramped keyboard is difficult indeed.

                                      • ?
                                      • Anonymous
                                      • 7vb
                                      • 23 Nov 2020

                                      sadh, 22 Nov 2020Ugh, not this again. I hate when i must reme the freakin tr... moreNokia would not end well with android. Apart from Chinese manufacturers with their unique market in China only Samsung has done well going with android, LG HTC Sony all struggling with android. Nokia should have went harder into meego.

                                        • ?
                                        • Anonymous
                                        • JT5
                                        • 23 Nov 2020

                                        Firefox, 23 Nov 2020Nokia should have adopt Android for their flagship devices ... moreOnly ones from samsung.