N-Gage mini-review


I saw the Nokia N-Gage today. I confidently predict that it will be a dismal failure, based on the following features:

  • The size of an original Game Boy Advance.
  • Needs about 2x the pocket space of a Game Boy Advance SP.
  • Tiny screen, about 2/3 the size of a Palm device, half the size of a GBA-SP.
  • Complicated. I fiddled around with it for a while trying to work out how to make a game start, then gave up.
  • Bigger than any other phone on the market, and you’ll look a complete tool if you try to use it as one.
  • $300, meaning you could get a GBA-SP, a mobile phone with organizer built in, and still have just enough money for a refurb iPod, instead of buying this monumentally ill-concieved toy.

I love gadgets, but the N-Gage is an even dumber design than the Nokia 3600 or the Nokia 3595. Those at least were functional and reasonably sized, even if their keypads were carefully designed to be unusable.

It’s not just Nokia employing specialists in user-hostile industrial design; take a look at the HP-33s. What’s with this idiotic diagonal keypad crap? It was a pretty bad idea when Atari did it in 1985 for the ST’s function keys, it’s a really stupid thing to do to an entire keyboard.

Update 2004-10-04

One year on, and Nokia are still getting crack-smoking monkeys to design their phones. I think the 7610 is the worst yet. The 7280 at least has the benefit of looking like something from a Gerry Anderson TV series, even if it does lack any reasonable way to actually enter phone numbers. I would have thought that was a fairly basic requirement for a telephone, but apparently not.