Hi everyone! This is a place where I share my experiences with the devices I come across and use. Hopefully, you'll find the info here helpful in your search for geeky stuff...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

SMS: a good way of life...

Text messaging.

What a wonderful thing indeed. Instant, concise communication that spans the world, without the need to expose your voice or face. It's the last part that makes this way of communication so attractive.

Yeah yeah, it's gonna squash whatever humanity there is left in this world, yada yada... But there is no denying, text messaging has a very important place in life.

SMS (short message service) communication gives you time to think. You don't have to answer someone immediately like a tele-conversation on the premise that you were "busy". Even if you encounter a difficult situation, it is much easier to project an image of calmness in wisdom beyond your natural capability.

Maybe that is why people in my country are addicted to it. It has become the default method of communication. Of course the telcos help in throwing hundreds of free SMS's a month to consumers. For example, I'm on a plan that gives me 2000 SMS/MMS per month. But of course, I exceed that limit without fail. My monthly SMS count is 3 to 4000.

I know in certain countries, text messaging costs an arm and leg. People in these countries tend to be resistant to the idea. I met up with a friend who has migrated to Australia and he says over there, he never sends any SMS's because it costs 50 cents per SMS. 50 cents for one SMS?? Who can blame them? I'm so glad that I'm living in Singapore, where it costs next to nothing to use this wonderful way of communication.

90% of my mobile phone usage is text messaging. 4000 SMS's per month works out to be 133 SMS's per day. I spend around 12 hours a day being active on my phone, which means I am typing out one SMS every 5 minutes that I am not in bed.

So, you can see why the SMS interface on a phone is so important to me. That is why for many years, I never touched an alpha numeric keypad phone. In my eyes, Palm Treos gave us the best ever SMS device. I have not come across a simpler and more effective device that I can SMS on. 

The thing that was crucial to me was the chat thread style of organising SMS's. I don't have to keep saving SMS's as drafts and going back to the inbox to look at the points I have to address while typing out an SMS. Then after that go to Drafts and reopen the saved SMS to continue typing. Bloody irritating. Hence I owned every Palm platform (no Windows rubbish, sorry Windows users) there was.

The combination of a QWERTY keypad, touchscreen and elegantly simple interface made this the best SMS device ever. Alpha numeric keypads with T9 cannot even come close. Before Apple released the iPhone, I was hard pressed to find a device with a similar text input interface. The iPhone came close, but that touchscreen keypad isn't very nice to use. But the most glaring omission on the iPhone is the inability to cut, copy and paste text.

So, for the past 2 years, since I switched over to alpha numeric keypad phones due to Palm's inability to keep up, I have been living with, what I'd call, CRAPPY, texting interface of mainstream phones,


sometime in September last year, Nokia Beta Labs released an application called "Conversations" for S60 phones that provides chat style SMS'ing.


It's a decent piece of software. It integrates with the Address Book and creates a new tab where all your SMS are arranged according to contact. But as usual, Nokia being Nokia, the implementation ain't too great. Some things that bother me are:

1) it does not display full SMS's but scrolls to let you read them. I'd rather have the text in smaller fonts but be able to see the whole SMS at a glance.

2) no instant access to predefined replies like "Can't talk now". On a Treo, it is one single touch away.

3) it's a bit buggy and slow

4) no emoticon support

5) it only displays SMS from 4 contacts at once

6) it's easy to confuse my own SMS's with the SMS's that I receive with icons that are almost identical to differetiate them

Oh c'mon Nokia! You are the largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world! Surely you can come up with something better than something Palm came up with more than 5 years ago?

But as they say, some beer is better than no beer...



Chris said...

Hey, I just came across your blog. I'venoticed you've gone through a LOT of Nokia N-Series phones, and wondered if you might be able to help me with my next purchase.

I'm considering the E90, N82, and N93i.

Things that are important to me are camera quality (mostly video recording, as I record video nearly twice as much as I do photos), battery life, and ease of use. (I ruled out the N95 because I don't like the slider form-factor.)

Any advice?

chickenbackside said...

For your specific needs, definitely the N82.

The N93i and E90 have 3.2MP cameras. The N82 has a 5MP camera. From experience, even though the N93i is touted as Nokia's video specific phone, the video quality still loses out to an N82. The N93i is already a last generation phone compared with the N82. On top of that the battery life of the N93i is atrocious.

The E90, although a very capable phone, is not a media phone. The quality is nowhere as good as an N82. But the battery life for the E90 is excellent.

You will definitely enjoy the N82's snappy interface. Out of all the phones you've mentioned, it responds the quickest and has the most RAM.

Should be an easy decision.

Chris said...

Thanks a bunch for you input. I guess, that after having owned an N93 in the past, the awesome flip-functions of the N93i was just even more appealing with it's updated looks.

Your logic makes sense to me. I like candybars, so it makes perfect sense.


Matthias said...


I am considiring buying the N82. I do have on question which I am certain you could answer for me.
I want a phone with a keypad where you don't have to go searching for the keys, but with one thumb can type a sms without looking?!
Is it possible with the N82?

Regards Matthias

chickenbackside said...

If you know the layout of an akpha numeric keypad, it is definitely possible. I personally find it even more possible with the N82 than with a phone with a keypad with typical flat keys. The button like keys are definitely more tactile in the sense that it is easier to identify each individual key.

Matthias said...

Ok, thanx for the answer. I have ordered today!! Looking forward to getting the package. I am curious how it will compare to the N80 which I had (and found unaccaptable for a phone).
You have a great site by the way!!

Matthias from the Netherlands

BOB said...

Hey, it has been a long time since your last update. I'm such a fans of your blog, long for your next blogging!

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But as usual, Nokia being Nokia,
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