Friday, August 24, 2007

Cargo Cult Communicator Stalls on Runway

Production of Nokia's troubled E90 "Communicator" has been halted, the company has confirmed to Dutch trade paper Telecom.

The device has been plagued by small production problems, but one rather larger design problem. Early adopters, some of whom have paid over $1,000 for the latest incarnation of the "brick", have complained about dust getting behind the fascia, and uneven feet (that's the phone's rubber feet, rather than their own).

Nokia says a microphone glitch is responsible for this delay, however, and that production will soon be back up and running.

Fixing such minor mechanical issues should be trivial for Nokia's fabled engineers, but the bigger problem is that the company has alienated much of the core business market that made the Communicator a profitable niche.

It was never a volume business for Nokia, but large enterprises liked the mature support for IBM and Oracle middleware, while enterpreneurs and sales forces appreciated the fax and sophisticated messaging.

The E90 is the most powerful hardware Nokia has ever assembled in a phone, but by throwing out a sophisticated, designed-for-QWERTY user interface and replacing it with a Noddy replacement, and less functional applications (as well as omitting much-valued features), the E90 represents a downgrade in almost every practical respect (for example, this more modern "upgrade" can't even display HTML messages properly, while the one it replaces could).

Read complete news HERE