Dear Nokia Design Team,

At Nokia World 2011, two great phones for Nokia as a company were released. Some may criticize you for not bringing anything new to the table when compared to your competitor’s offerings on the Windows Phone platform, but I for one understand that you’ve been working mostly to fine tune hardware compatibility with Microsoft’s platform. In addition, reusing previous designs, is both efficient and practical for a company that, let’s be honest, is trying to stop losing money as opposed to making more of it. This is not meant to be a criticism or an insult, but an acknowledgement of your current predicament. I personally find that reusing an old but nonetheless good design, especially that of the N9 was a brilliant business decision.

While I cannot wait for your first truly Metro-inspired designs to come to fruition, I write this letter to implore you to, at least for now, continue that fine sound business strategy of modifying another previous design for compliance with Windows Phone, the Nokia E7. I think the E7 is easily my favorite design so far from any manufacturer. The only thing holding me back from buying one is the fact that it’s still running Symbian and I’ve had a terrible time with Symbian on my N97. But lets not dwell on the past, and look to the future instead. If you could bring the Windows Phone OS onto the E7, I think you will have yourself a killer device, especially for an early 2012 US launch. There are currently only 3 Windows Phone devices I know of that have a physical QWERTY keyboard. All 3 of them have sold poorly, either due to horrible design cues (LG C900), being locked to a small network like Sprint with almost no retail support from stores (the HTC Arrive), and horrible firmware/quality control issues (the Dell Venue Pro). If you can make a splash with a high-quality slider, in addition to a good low/mid-range device like the 710 you will have an instant hit with American Windows Phone users.

The Lumia 800 is a nice phone, and I think it looks great. It looks like it’s positioned to sell well throughout Europe. But you at Nokia know all too well that what sells in Europe isn’t necessarily what sell’s over here in the US. US critics seem to be the most critical of the Lumia series and what they see to be a lackluster revival of your smartphone portfolio. Americans prefer metal over plastic, even really high quality plastics like those used in the N9/800. We’re a stubborn bunch, and even if you tell us it’s more durable we will still choose the shiny one over the plastic one. The E7 has this covered, The 8MP camera with dual-LED flash makes it essentially the same specs as the Lumia 800. But do us all a favor and leave the beautiful 4” AMOLED ClearBlack display on the E7 untouched. Instead cut out 2 additional buttons to flank the single button on the E7 and give us high-end owners some premium tactile buttons. I absolutely HATE the capacitive touch buttons on my Dell Venue Pro. I accidently press them at all the wrong times and it’s frustratingly annoying. Almost considered importing the 710 just because of the physical buttons had it not been for the standard LCD and minimal local storage space. Finally give us 32GB of internal storage space, and I’m not including SkyDrive…that cannot replace real physical memory (thanks for the reminder Jim, completely forgot how many people want this). Without the ability to add microSD cards like on Symbian and Android devices, users of Windows Phone look very closely at storage space. With most current models only supporting 8GB or 16GB, a 32GB device from Nokia would easily mark it as a high-end device. Some would ask for a 64GB model, and I would love that if it were an option as well, but I don’t recommend only shipping a 64GB model. Simply because it will increase your price point, and that could drive away customers. 32GB is bigger than anyone else without going too overboard with cost.

In summary, do to the E7 what you did to the N9 and the 603 and you will have a major hit in the US. A high-end device that offers not one, but three key features that no one else has: a premium QWERTY keyboard, an 8MP Carl-Zeiss Camera, and 32GB of built-in storage space. Combine that with the dazzling display that is the 4” ClearBlack screen, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone choosing another phone over this one save for price point. But that’s what the 710 is for!

Your Proud and Ever Optimistic Supporter,

Danny Lam

21 COMMENTS

  1. Not a bad idea. And I would add 16, 32, and maybe 64GB models for those who need to have their 7000+ songs nearby at all times.

  2. WHY WHY WHY have Nokia not included Micro SD support on their new Windows phones? I WANT to return to Nokia when my HTC HD2 gives up but Nokia have to help by giving me the facilities that great phone has. Micro SD card support is ESSENTIAL.

    I also want a Wi Fi Router facility. The HTC HD2 has it.

    Nokia make great phones. I still keep my Nokia 6310i as a reserve and for long trips in Africa.

    The Nokia design team frustrate me though.

    • I’m glad nokia doesn’t use microSDs. MicroSDs perform significantly lower than NAND memory. In addition, I dont see why Nokia’s Lumia wouldn’t support tethering since they’re using the same chipset as the HTC Radar which does.

  3. I love the WP E7 idea! Just ditch the fixed focus with the camera. Also, I would love one based on the C7/ 701 design and the N8 (same camera but bigger screen please).

    • I would love if they added a xenon flash to the E7 (my favorite thing from the N8), but figured not to push my luck with a new camera module. Additional models would be nice, but I’ll be more than happy if they just give me an E7 with Windows Phone! If they make it pentaband, I won’t even care if they gave it a US release! But I will have me my E7 Windows Phone damnit! hahaha

  4. The availability of a Micro SD facility enables me to to take with me lots of specialised data when I go on trips, without taking my laptop. It is very useful in a serious business phone.

    • This is true for android devices, and seeing as your icon is the android logo this is probably why you desire a removeable card slot. However, since Windows Phone does not support removeable media, if Nokia chose to use a microSD like HTC or other manufacturers, the cards would still not be userremovable. Any swapping of the cards would void all warrenties and require a hard-reset of the device before the OS can take advantage of the card due to the way Windows Phone is structured. Therefore if Nokia included a microSD slot, it could not be hotswappable which is the main benefit in having said slot. All microSD cards on the market have slower random access times than NAND memory and thus could potentially cause performance degredation. I would much prefer Nokia use high-performing NAND memory chips than a cheap microSD card. The only other benefit I can see from a microSD slot is that users could upgrade their device to 32GB for a few bucks more if Nokia decides to ship their US version with anything less.

  5. The android sign is accidental. I have never used android.

    If newer versions of windows mobile than 6.5 do not allow hot swappable micros SD or even cold swappable micro SD that is a design error by MS. I do not know, I bow to your knowledge.

    It is not about speed of access, not everything needs great speed. My SD contains Navigation software, music collection and stored work data.

  6. David,

    Yes, many would agree with you, including myself, that it is a flaw, and many have criticised MS for doing this, especailly when Windows Phone was initally released 1 year ago. However, MS has stated that this design was intentional. Whatever the reason, it’s built into the underlying storage structure of the OS, and it’s all but certain to remain unchanged until Windows Phone 8 arrives (and even then it’s very unlikely).

    In regards to speed, benchmarks tests of devices with NAND memory(eg: the Samsung Focus) outperform devices with only microSD memory(eg:Dell Venue Pro) in read/write operations to the storage drives. Whether or not this signifantly reduces actual realworld performance can be debated, but many users have reported that when adding a microSD to their Samsung Focus (forcing the OS to utilize both NAND and microSD) the device performs worse than without the microSD. This of course only affects loading times and not overall system performance.

    Just out of curiosity, what device are you using? The HD2?

  7. Yes an HTC HD2.

    It is a great tool. The large screen is particularly useful for reading documents or web browsing. The included tethering facility and removable swappable memory were absolutely key to my buying it. I will not replace it with anything that does not have those facilities

    I notice some people are experimenting with the Mango version of windows mobile on the HD2. They do not mention that the SD card is deactivated under the new OS-that I have seen anyway.

  8. David,

    From what I understand, the port of Windows Phone to the HD2 does not deactivate the SD car per se. It does, however, disable its ability to be hot-swappable. Again, this is a limitation of the OS, so there is no way around it, even in a port. I understand your reluctance to give up your hot-swappable card, and it’s really something you cannot live without then Windows Phone just might not be for you. I have learned to live without it, in all honesty. Yes, it’s convient to be able to swap cards, but it’s more of a luxary than a neccessity, at least for me. Have you considered Android? I personally do not like it, but for a Windows Mobile aficionado, it might be more your cup of tea than Windows Phone in your case.

  9. Hot swapability is not as important as just swappability, that is removable memory and even (i phone!), a replaceable battery. I travel a lot and a spare battery is very useful.

    Designers just do not seem to understand what users want or in Jobs case, conspired against the user not to give what was generally wanted.

    I have no rush to change just now. If My HTC HD2 breaks I will buy another.

    Let us end the exchange there.

  10. If Americans love aluminum over plastic, then why are Samsung selling the most phones? Their phones are made of plastic.

  11. @Joe
    That is because most of the Nokia phones are not carried by American Carriers, ie. because American Carriers make good money on cheap plastic phones. So we have no option other than choosing best of junk.

  12. Joe,

    I’m going to have to agree with Ram here. How many aluminum phones are there on the american market? Besides Nokia and Apple, you will be hard pressed to find anything from a major player. Nokia isn’t a major player in the US and they don’t push any highend devices here. Apple’s non-plastic device outsells anything Samsung has out. Samsung only outsells as a whole because they have more devices and can hit lowend/lowmargin sales that Apple could care less about. Last major metallic phone in the USA market was the Moto RAZR…and we all remember how well that phone did…

  13. Wrting from Europe I wanna second your opinion.
    The Lumias are great and Windows Phone is awesome.
    Only why is there no WP Nokia with slider keyboard.
    The E7 as WP7 would be THE perfect phone and I would buy it instantly.

  14. I put my name under that open letter as well.
    E7 + Windows Phone = Killer device

    You don´t need anything else. But Nokia still does not listen.

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