Friday, June 16, 2006

Orange N80s Sleeping With Fishes?

Reading the last few posts you could be forgiven from thinking that we're committed anti-Symbian people. That's not actually true - Thelf loved his last three Symbian phones and I think he even quite liked his Ericsson R380 - he certainly used to show it off a lot. And I'm waiting for Orange to stock the Nokia N80 so I can upgrade, though I think after getting used to the excellent current Sony-Ericsson UI I'm going to regret this decision.

The problem with working in phones is that you have every phone on current release in a drawer on your desk, and you know how bad most of them are, so you get attached to your own and cease to be excited by new releases. Well you do when they're as lacklustre as most of the current lot anyway. The SE W950 looks great, but it has been pushed til Q3 (didn't they say mid 06 originally?); I know people with D600s so that's boring, and the LG Chocolate is pure marketing hype and big price markup wrapped round a fairly poor spec and UI. And it's a bit gay. So when I saw the N80 had WiFi, UPnP and a ridiculous 352x416 screen I thought yes - I want that. I want 10 mins talk time, 30 mins standby. I want to feel like throwing my phone against the wall every time I try to write a text, just like every other S60 phone I've used. Autofocus - overrated, with 3Mp you can downscale and sharpen in Photoshop, and anyway I've got an SLR. Actually I didn't say the last three points, but they did nag me from the back of my mind as the technolust took over my concious decision making process. To be fair on the positive side I also kind of liked the new S60 look (if not feel) when I played with an N90, and the N80 is almost mobile phone sized which whilst less useful than the N90 in a self defence situation will suit my pocket better.

So when Orange offered me an upgrade 9 months into my contract (that tells me I use my phone far too much...), and then told me I could get the N80 for the minimum fifty quid (ditto), I had to say yes. Excellent, gadget utopia and usability nightmare here I come. Or not, because it turns out Orange has withdrawn all N80s from sale and refuse to give a date for when they'll come back. Gentle interrogation of Orange shop satff suggests that this means there are serious flaws with the phone, and they won't be touching it again until they are fixed. Two weeks later, despite being on the waiting list at two shops in different parts of London and ringing various others that don't do waiting lists, still nothing. "Try again tomorrow, they don't tell us nothing guv." I think a few people got the early editions, but that may not be a good thing.

Is this just the same story as some of the other landmark S60 releases like the 6600 (MontyThread anyone? Don't let the marketing department set the launch deadlines), or the 6630 (and even better its much delayed relaunch in Japan as the NM850iG)?


Blogger raddedas said...

Interestingly, the new official line from Orange is that the phone sales team alone have a backlog of 1100 of these things to deliver and no idea when Nokia will catch up, in which case Nokia are probably very happy bunnies. They might be covering for a faulty phone by attempting to generate some buzz, but in the shops I visited half the names above me had N80 listed next to them (vs only one of anything else)... then again, if everything else has good availability...

5:35 pm

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