Nokia E61

Ive just recently managed to acquire a Nokia E61 and its fair to say Im very impressed. For those that don't know the E61 is a cross between a PDA and a phone. Its a little like a Crackberry in design with a minature keyboard instead of a number pad and a larger (wider) than normal display. Those that know me will say its just a fad Dominic goes through gadgets faster than a scotsman goes through iron brew. Well the truth off the matter is it does everything I need it to do well.

At the moment there are four main players in the portable OS market. Symbain, Microsoft, Palm and just recently Linux. It appears that Microsoft is winning the day certainly in Northern America. Even Palm who I never thought would put Pocket PC on one of their devices has rolled over and given into Microsoft. Symbian is doing well thanks primarily to Nokia in Europe and Sony in the East. Palm OS still holds its own thanks to the superb Treo device but I think its days are numbered as Palm gets closer and closer to Microsoft.

I think most people would argue the point who cares what OS a phone or PDA runs as long as it lets me make calls or check my email. Well it matters to me, my phone is probably the device I use second after the PC in a working day and I have real issues with Microsofts mobile offerings. They like they are simply a port of a OS with mobile/phone functionality bolted on as an after thought. Using the phone feels foreign its not at the heart of the OS, it sits at the side like the black sheep of family. Its a bland uninspiring experience, simple things are made harder than necessary and require a knowledge of how similar tasks would be done on Windows XP.

Back to the E61. The thing you notice about this device is its dimuntive size weight and thickness. Most devices that pack the same level of the functionality are usually brick size in terms of weight and size. The E61 has bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G support and a hold raft of additonal connectivity funtionality. The interface works well and benefits from bright and clear display. The small keyboard works as well as any other Ive tried, so well in fact this whole blog (and the one before) was written on it. The battery life of the device is surprisingly good, about 4 days between charges. The reason for this easy to find when you take the back off the cover... Its mostly the battery which takes up the space but this begs the question where do they put all of the over "stuff".

I had the choice of the Treo 650 and the E61 and I think I made right choice. Sure it dosent have a camera but then I dont need a low res camera and infact some of the places I have to work it means I dont have to hand my phone in at their reception. One area I had some concerns is software, Palm OS has a huge library of high quality well thought through applications and to be honest with you Symbian doesn't. However the default applications that ship with the Nokia E61 pretty much leave you with the question "what else would I need?". Well theres one piece of software I do need and thats a decent GPS package.

After looking around I decide on Route 66 it had reasonable reviews and it worked with the Nokia GPS reciever Id purchased. As a package it worked out much cheaper than the TomTom alternative. Installing Route 66 on the E61 has to rate as one of the most unpleasant experiences Ive had with a mobile device. After insisting on formating my mini SD card in the phone it then told me I needed at least 16MB of free space... I tried other storage devices with same result, clearly Route 66 need to do some work on the installer. Theres no excuse for this level of software quality. The solution was to manually copy the software onto the SD card and even then a hard restart was required. However once the software was installed it worked like a dream and demonstrates the power of the E61s processor.

With the GPS software installed I have about all I need from a single device. I recomend the E61 to anyone thinking of upgrading their phone and PDA.
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