A recent report on U.S. sales of Apple’s iPhone claimed that the biggest losers have been Palm, T-Mobile and Motorola.
According to the NPD Group’s research, initial iPhone buyers were ten times more likely to have previously owned a Palm Treo, three times more likely to have owned a T-Mobile Sidekick, with many iPhone purchases also replacing a Motorola Q. In contrast, RIM’s Blackberry appears to have dodged Apple’s bullet, with the iPhone’s lack of corporate email support being cited as one possible reason.
Nokia also went largely unscathed, perhaps because the Scandinavian company doesn’t have the same presence in the U.S. as in other parts of the world.
However, not one to rest on its laurels, and with the iPhone set to launch in Europe next month, Nokia today unveiled the next version of the Symbian-based mobile operating system, S60, which will offer the option of an iPhone-like touch-screen user interface, and includes support for Flash video. S60 currently powers mobile devices from LG Electronics, Lenovo, Samsung, and Nokia themselves — including the company’s showcase N95.
Despite paying homage to the iPhone, the new enhanced S60 sports a few innovations of its own.
Top of the list is tactile feedback.
S60 touch user interface comes with support for tactile feedback, which means that there is a physical pulse and feedback when the user taps on the screen. This provides better awareness of the device’s response improving the user experience.
The lack of tactile feedback on the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard has come in for much criticism. While physical keys will always provide a better, and arguably, more accurate typing experience, by providing a tactile feedback mechanism on a touch-screen, S60 might go someway to address this shortcoming.
The second area where S60 trumps the iPhone — on paper at least, since new S60 devices won’t debut till next year — is through the inclusion of Flash Lite 3, which supports Flash video. Nokia claims that this means that future devices will be able to access online video on sites such as YouTube, without the need for on-the-fly or pre-transcoding. In contrast, the iPhone doesn’t currently support Flash video, with some reports claiming that doing so would be too much of a power drain on the device. Instead, Apple has partnered with Google to create a special, but limited, version of YouTube that employs the H.264 codec optimized for the iPhone and iPod Touch.