I’ve been looking back though my list of Nokia devices. All the NSeries I have owned over the years.
Then a strange thought hit me. With Nokia’s current portfolio of Nseries devices could this be the “N” of
Let’s take a look back.
The year was 2005, I was on my way back to Barbados from London. It was THAT morning.
What morning? It was the morning of the release of the much coveted and sought after N90.
There I was standing in front of the Nokia store (No, it wasn’t the Flagship store back then, as we now know it now).
There was a hype of activity in the store. Registers were ringing and bags were exiting. The N90 was here.
(ADD N90 PHOTO HERE)
I too joined this procession of “ringers and baggers” as I gleefully walked away with, not one but two N90’s.
(Ok one was mine the other for my better half)
My point here was that this device packed an awful lot of features which were unheard of before.
A 2MP camera, Carl Zeiss optics, Video recording, a swivelling flip, memory card, TFT display (65K colours)…..
Now you may laugh at me here saying to yourself those arent features to jump about. Alas, it was 2005,
and no other devices I can remember packed it all in like the N90.
Most devices then had a 1.3MP camera, which at best, was nowhere near a quality to do anything but look at on your device.
Here comes the N90 with a 2MP camera, Flash AND on top of that added Carl Zeiss optics. Unheard of back then.
Yes, it was the device we had been waiting on amidst delays and release dates changing. Nokia had outdone itself.
And the first Nseries device was mouth watering and everyone wanted it.
A few months later, Nokia dealt another blow to the market. Nokia introduced the N70.
It seemed many people galked at the size of the N90 or maybe with its swivelling ability some thought it was
“a bit too much”. The N70 entered the race as a candybar option.
(PHOTO OF N70 HERE)
Ironically, its only competion was; yes, the N90. I don’t have figures to hand, but I do believe the N70 was the most
sold smartphone on the planet. Not sure if that record still stands, but MILLIONS upon millions of N70’s were being boxed and leaving outlets.
It was even rumoured that the N70 produced better photos than the N90 which seemed to be photo-centered.
The Nseries became a bit quiet. With nothing happening. But we all waited anxiously for the next iteration of the N.
Then it happened. A new Nseries device was upon us. Rumours spread. “What will it look like? What are the specs?
“I heard it will be able to turn your car on!” The rumours were fast and to the extreme. Nokia kept this device in the dark.
Much to the excitement of everyone. What next will Nokia add to their Nseries? What new feature will make us go in a frenzy?
What new feature will make us not believe it was possible to add that into a mobile device?
Finally, Nokia let the cat out of the bag. Nokia introduced the N80.
Websites around the world baited every little piece of information they could get on the device.
The year was 2006. The N80 had it all. A 3.2MP camera, quad band, 64MB ram, 256k TFT display (which was one of the best screens
on a mobile device for a long time), Home network, connectivity unlike anything we had seen; Bluetooth IrDA, Wifi. Wifi? Yes.
Again Nokia stepped up and hit other manufacturers with the “left hook” of features. Wifi. Again, Nokia added something which other
Again, other manufacturers were playing “catch up” to Nokia.
(ADD PHOTO OF N80 HERE)
It is here where I will take a break. This is where I believe the “N” of the Nseries began.
The N80 was fantastic….on paper. Truth be told, I remember forums abuzz with software issues of the N80.
Crashing, random reboots and all the other mess that we still see today.
Nokia had to do something, and they did.
Enter the Nokia Software Updater. The what? Here Nokia took a stance and allowed users to freely update their devices.
Fixing all bugs and small or large issues in the comfort of your home. Genius. And so the N80 lived to fight another day and what
a battle it fought. Like the phoenix, the N80 rose from the ashes of crashes and reboots to a powerhouse of a device.
Even with this minor hiccup, we all still waited for the next iteration of the N. We kept the faith in Nokia.
Remember, I said this is where it all began to fall apart? From the initial Nseries device, there was always anxiousness
and the “what will Nokia add next?” factor. Each year, Nokia introduced a new Nseries device that we all waited for.
Nokia added something that we had no idea was possible before. Something new. A fresh feature.
The Nseries was exclusive. It was high-end. It was feature rich. It blew all competition away. It was the techs joy and
the regular mans pride. Owning an Nseries placed you into a niche catergory.
Then without a word of warning, Nokia introduced a plethora of Nseries branded devices.
It was still 2006 but instead of having one powerhouse Nseries, they were many. The N71, N72, N73, N91, N75, N93, N92.
(PHOTOS OF LISTED PHONES HERE)
Some were announced and just waiting to be released, others were already on the shelf by the end of 2006.
At this point half of you are reminicing about the devices I just listed and the other half are saying “There is an NXX????”
Thus, the Nseries was no longer exclusive or niche. It was just another line in the portfolio.
Why do I say this?
For example, the N72 brought nothing new to the table. Actually, it regressed. No Carl Zeiss optics, 2MP camera, moving
from the standard set by the N80, no secondary video call camera; it seemed to be a step in the backward direction.
The N71, much of the same. No Carl Zeiss, No wifi. To be honest, I cannot count 20 people I know who owned an N71.
The N92 boasted about its ability to watch live TV via Digital TV reception. It never took off. To this day.
Nokia had spread itself too wide and too thin. Maybe Nokia thought it was a good idea to broaden the amount of people
who carried an N. I honestly think this idea backfired. So, the Nseries lost its “touch, its magic and its appeal of exclusivity.”
However, there were some good to this. The N91 touted an inbuilt audio system which competed with the popular Ipod.
The quality was fantastic and listening to your music was, well, “music to your ears”. However, it was still an Nseries. With
that, it lacked many others features that we came to love about the Nseries. The N91, while still a fantastic device, was
off the mark as an Nseries device in my opinion. It is quite ironic that to this day, the system used by Nokia in relation to
the N91’s music ability hasn’t been replicated. I would have thought by now that the audio quality would have been inherited
by another Nseries device, plus all the other tid bits of the N which the N91 lacked.
Still on the N91, and actually on the N80 as well, Nokia again shot themselves in the foot.
The N91 was “revisited” in the same year, and lo and behold, out came the N91 Music edition. Any differences in audio quality?
No. The difference? Nokia increased the mass memory from 4gb to 8gb. Apart from that, it was your previous N91.
Now to the N80. It too was “revisited”. The N80 Internet Edition was born. Differences? A few applications which ironically
could have been downloaded from Nokia!
Amidst all these numerous devices, a jewel was found. That jewel was the N93. It had superb optics. Both in video and in still
images. It added innovation both in features and in design. It was an Nseries. Not like the rest who just mimicked the name;
but pure hardcore Nseries. It featured optical zoom, which to this day has not been replicated in another Nseries or maybe
not in another device (as far as I know.) It brought DVD-like video quality with stereo audio recording. I remember being
fantastically amazed when, by pure luck “someone” walked into my store with an N93. Way before release date. I had about
10 minutes to salvage with the device. I took photos, recorded a video and was truly amazed by the quality I had seen.
Then it all came crumbling down.
Nokia was running out of feet to shoot themselves in. Yet they did it again. Bad sofware hindered this device from becoming
a legend. This is the point that I think Nokia lost alot of “die hards”. It wasn’t only the bad software, nor the constant crashes.
Not even the cheap build quality. It was Nokia’s responses to the customers that really put a bad taste in alot of people’s mouth.
The N93 was focussed on photo and video. And when it performed, it performed well. Yet, many had issues with the N93 not
performing at all. Thus an update was emminent. What did it bring? A “new feature” in the shape of night mode “Black and white”
video recording. Yes, Nokia calmly told its followers “Black and White” video recording was a feature. (Yet no other devices had this
feature) The second aspect of the N93’s failure was the introduction of the “younger” model, the N93i.
The crowds went ballistic! Most people were not happy about the fact that only a few months prior, they purchased the N93,
only to find that their £500 N93 was replaced. Some people thought Nokia pulled a fast one. Some people wondered why the
N93 had the “Black and White video feature” while its younger iteration seemed to “lack this feature”. Tres Bizzare?
What really did it for most people and myself included, was that it seemed as though Nokia left us right there to figure
out what will happen for the N93. To this day I don’t know if the “Black and White feature” was ever rectified.
The last I heard of the N93 was it was as was running on V21; some 3-4 years ago, and was never heard of since.
The other downdfall to the N93 was the N93i. It was stunning. It looked better, was built better, lacked the “Black and
White” feature and overall responded better. Some Nokia fans felt “robbed” as they had already parted ways with £500
only a few months prior. To bring a better built, better looking and better performing device was a “slap in the face” most
people thought. Some people even felt that Nokia used them as “testers” with the N93, when the N93i was what was actually
supposed to be released and marketed as the finished product.
The N93i could not become a classic. Even with its style and dimensions, advanced technology; (which we expected from an Nseries)
superb video, still photos and optical zoom the N93i was bound to fail (somewhat) from its release. Why? It had all the elegance and
technology as its lineage of true Nseries devices. Why would it fail? Answer: The N93 was out there.
Again Nokia sliced their own cake too thin and adverently stopped themselves from having a true bestseller in the N93i. Should Nokia
have released just the “i” version as the original; rather than an original and an “i” version; the N93(i) would have raced to the top of
the charts like a new pop superstar.