I’ve been thinking recently about Nokia and my general feeling is that they are missing many simple opportunities to retain leadership in mobile development.

Apart from one crappy Panasonic and a dog-slow Sony-Ericcson T610, I’ve always used Nokia phones. They have been solid workhorses with just the right combination of features for me. Until last year, that meant Series 40 phones but I then finally succumbed and bought an N70 a year ago.

With the right attitude from Nokia, the N70 and newer similar phones could be flying off the shelves and changing how we communicate. Instead they seem to take the attitude of “well this is the way we have always done things” and they show a total lack of vision. This is presumably a symptom of having to work with the closed mind-sets of mobile operators for the past twenty years. Unless Nokia changes soon they are going to be also-rans.

Nokia seems to view the world in terms of phone+desktop. The horror that is the totally unreliable Nokia PC Suite plus cable continues to limit and frustrate users.

A few simple problems:

  • To sync contacts I need something like Outlook. Why?
  • Why give me a multimedia player just so I can play 3GP movies rather than a tool which converts them as they are transferred from the phone?
  • USB USB USB. Dump that idiotic mechanically incompetent Nokia connector now on ALL phones
  • 3.5mm audio jack. It’s been a standard for decades, try it, on ALL phones
  • Nokia Lifeblog. Potentially a killer app. But only works with Typepad or “blog software that is written to be compatible with LifeBlog”. Seriously? Not “Lifeblog conforms to the ubiquitous standards XMLRPC and ATOM APP”. A bad joke but the only easy way to get all your latest photos, movies and SMSes off your phone.
  • Music Player - how about an MP3 player that understands how to navigate 60 minute podcasts and not just three minute songs?

To thrive, Nokia needs to totally embrace phone+web. LifeBlog should be totally revamped and become the input/output route from your phone to your online life.

It needs the following (by yesterday at the latest):

  • Google Calendar Sync (no not crappy SMSes)
  • GMail/Yahoo Mail/Hotmail/AOLMail Sync (mail and contacts)
  • Remember The Milk or similar To-Do sync
  • Flickr/Zooomr/Photobucket sync/upload
  • Wordpress, Blogger, and all standard blog platform integration
  • YouTube/Blip.tv/etc integration
  • Twitter and Jaiku integration

With the resources they have, none of these things should be hard, particularly considering you can cobble some of this together from third party apps written by people in their spare time.

Of course you have great phone apps like Shozu but uploading my media at the current extortionate mobile rates should only be a last resort. All of the features above should be in a desktop app where the desktop only acts as a cheap gateway between my phone and the web. _ My phone is not an extension of my desktop, it is an extension of my online presence_. Forget the jesusphone, cheap combo GSM-Wifi phones from guys like HTC with flat-rate pricing from 3 could kill Nokia and their buddies in Voda and O2. I’d switch to in a second once I know I can do reasonably priced roaming. Open beats closed every time, wake up and smell the coffee.