Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Coming Battle of the Super Smart Phones: iPhone and N95

While I think it is great that Apple is coming out big with iPhone 1.0 this coming Friday, June 29th. It is very likely that the iPhone 2.0 will be out in 2008 and it could be much better.

I was reading a New York Post article by Seattle resident Glenn Fleishman who is also saying to not get "Hung Up on buying an iPhone" he says, "Oh, it's a technological marvel. But Apple's all-in-one handheld isn't the best cellphone - or even the best iPhone - that will be sold in the next year.

I hate to be the one to always fly against the wind of popular culture and this iPhone is a social and culture phenomena. It has been talked about and publicized so much that anything less then selling millions of iPhones will be considered a failure for Apple. The iPhone hype has set expectations very high and I just don't see how it could ever match expectations. I do think that it will sell well and that the reason for the sales will be the expectations being set so high.

Many bloggers and print journalists have said that if you compare the iPhone smartphone to a phone like a Nokia N95 that the iPhone fails the comparison on many key aspects. The N95 has also had very high expectations and mostly it has delivered on the advanced technology promises.

This is a very interesting time as mobile devices seem to be on the edge of a big break through in capability and technology convergence of portable digital and high speed wireless Internet access.

Here is a feature and function comparison between the iPhone and the N95 super smartphone:

  • The iPhone has a 2.0 megapixel camera while the N95 has a 5 megapixel camera. N95 wins.
  • The iPhone supports GSM/GPRS/Edge/WiFi wireless data speed and the N95 supports GSM/GPRS/Edge/3G/WiFi. N95 wins with overall data speed with 3G support (3G support is only European).
  • The iPhone touch screen software User Interface is unproven with users, but is very attractive visually and generally Apple users are very visual and are attracted to these clean software UI's that Apple produces. N95 is more of a conventional mobile keyboard that most users have used and is a slide out key pad. The conventional mobile keyboard works great for most people. I don't think we can declare a winner yet, but at this point Apple has the popularity lead and many tech pundits are unsure on this one as well.
  • The iPhone comes with either 4 or 8 GB's of internal storage. The N95 and most other smartphones do not come with that much memory. The only other Nokia phone to have that much memory is the Nokia N91 with 4 or 8 GB's of internal hard drive. iPhone is clearly the winner.
  • The iPhone screen size is 3.5 inches and has brilliant colors and sharp image resolution. N95 has a 2.8 inch screen that also has brilliant and sharp impage quality. Winner is again the iPhone.
  • The iPhone is $599 (8GB) and $499 (4GB) with two year ATT wireless plan. N95 cannot get it with a wireless carrier in the USA and to buy unlocked is $750. The iPhone wins here as well.
  • The iPhone supports Google Maps, but the N95 has built in GPS support. N95 wins.
  • The iPhone does not support Microsoft Outlook Sync and N95 does support PDA features and Outlook sync. N95 wins
  • iPhone audio playback quality is unknown at this time, but the N95 has stereo external speakers and a great clean sound processor. The iPhone is also an iPod and so you can assume that the audio quality will be very good as well. Both tie on this one.
When you compare features and function side by side like this the iPhone starts to look very good, but the things that are missing for me are significant. The missing 3G wireless data speed is important to have in the iPhone 2.0, but the N95's 3G support does not work here in the USA. I heard that T-Mobile's new 3G network will support the N95's 3G radio.

As for listening to podcasts and other portable media the iPhone and N95 are both powerful devices as the iPhone will side load from iTunes and the N95 will run applications like Nokia's podcasting application, Mobilcast, nuTsie for iTunes play list streaming and many other Java applications. The iTunes, YouTube and iPhone relationship is very powerful for music and podcasts. The N95 is much more diverse in alternative/open media application support. I tend to lean towards the more open platform of the N95 and java support.

It appears that writing this post has convinced me that the only real thing to wait for with the iPhone is 3G support and a second generation device that has all the firmware bugs worked out. the Nokia devices also have this issue. Go wait in line this coming Friday if you must, but realise that a better iPhone is coming.


  1. I also heard that the lowest monthly payment for an iPhone plan with AT&T is $60!!! WOW!!!

  2. Part of what's going on here is that Apple is raising the bar -- but only so high, because you can't do everything all at once. I wrote that the iPhone wasn't the best cell phone of the next 12 months, because it's being so widely compared to most current ones (and not the N95 because, as you note, you have to buy it at full price).

    It seems to me that with a two-year commitment and a high initial purchase price, there's no advantage except coolness (versus fun and utility) in buying the first release. We know the next iPhone will have 3G.

  3. Glenn, It appears that AT&T has boosted EDGE network speeds over 200K. I guess AT&T was not going to get beaten up anymore in the press about its bad and slow network speed with the iPhone. This boost should share up the biggest issue with the iPhone besides the cost. Thanks for the comment post. Good to hear from you again. Are you still doing the KUOW program? Rob Greenlee

  4. One advantage of the iPhone is that in many ways it is faster to build apps/widgets for the Safari browser (in Javascript) than to code apps in J2ME or Symbian.

    You don't have as many issues chasing down problems with threads or memory.

    It does work best with casual games for example, but you can produce some really nice apps.

    You can see some of what we have done at:


    Our Blackjack game is attractive and easy to play.foobar

    We have multiplayer games in development as well.