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|Ooops, sorry, Nokia — was that YOUR market?|
Apple just announced its new 3G iPhone — and I think it’s most of the way toward being a pro-level tool for journalists and mobloggers. I plan to get one as soon as they become available in early July.
I say “most of the way” because the 3G iPhone still has a glaring omission — no provision for an external full-size keyboard, either Bluetooth or docking. That’s a bummer. I’ve demoed the iPhone touch keyboard several times, and have found it frustrating to try to write anything more than a few words at a time with it. That may be fine for the vast majority of iPhone users — but for serious journalists, bloggers, and mobloggers, that’s a serious handicap.
But lack of keyboard support no longer a dealbreaker-level handicap as far as I’m concerned. Not like Nokia’s abysmal US service, which can leave users of the fancy, pricey, delicate N95 (a superior device for journalists and mobloggers, in my opinion) without a phone for up to a month — or longer, some users report.
In contrast, Apple offers prompt, excellent service at many, many US locations. I’ve used that service for other Apple products, and I’ve been impressed.
I’ve said it many times, but it bears repeating: For a high-end, can’t-be-without-it mobile device that people put their entire lives on, service quality is at least as important product quality. Nokia may still have the superior product for high-end users — but their service sends a clear message: We don’t really care about your experience after you buy our fancy phone.
Besides myself, I’m sure that the new 3G iPhone has swayed the opinion of many other would-be high-end phone users in the US who have been waiting (and waiting, and waiting…) for a mobile device that will let us create and share the kind of content we’ve always wanted to make on the go — with the confidence that if and when it goes awry, we won’t be stranded.
This is very, very bad news for Nokia USA. Because…
In addition to the 3G iPhone being nearly as functional as the N95 — it’s also available at fraction of the price. According to MacWorld, the new iPhone “will sell for $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB model. That’s a $200 discount from the previous $399 and $499 prices for the 8GB and 16GB iPhones, respectively.”
…Meanwhile, Nokia USA is still selling the N95-3 for $582, and the N95 8GB for $750. (You can save some money by getting them from Amazon.com: $496 and $629 as of today, respectively.)
Nokia, for about a third of your price I’m willing to get by without an external keyboard for now. I’ll hold out some hope that some smart iPhone developer can use the iPhone developer’s kit to hack together Bluetooth keyboard support — as well as, perhaps, cut-and-paste and built-in video editing.
So what’s that sound? I think it’s the death knell of Nokia’s N-Series in the US. Although Nokia’s PR team has tried hard to get the company to solve its glaring US market and service shortcomings, it looks virtually impossible that Nokia will turn that ship around before the 3G iPhone hits US stores in early July. And after that, who’d want to pay three or more times the price of an iPhone to take on far more risk?
It’s a shame, Nokia. I still think your product is better — for now. But it looks to me like you just lost your high-end US market. Unless you’ve got a hell of a rabbit to pull out of your hat — and fast — it’s probably time to say goodnight.