There’s no going back from touch.

So I’m about a week in with my second N97 from Nokia.

I spent about two weeks with one last summer on a once-in-a-blogger’s lifetime tour of the United States. Since then, the S60 5th Edition OS has matured to the point where S60 3rd (the non-touch version) feels like ancient history to me.

Here are three of my revelations about touch devices thus far. It may be old news to you but I’ve not been a fan of such things until now, so my change of heart is a pretty big deal.

1) Opera Mini 5 makes web browsing finger-friendly.

Opera Mini 5 Beta

I find Nokia’s built-in browser frustratingly slow, and only really use it for downloading apps directly to my handset. And I still maintain that Opera Mini is the best mobile browser in the world.

The current version 4 of OM makes for a horrible experience on a touch device — you definitely need a stylus use the skinny scroll bar or to tap the tiny icons. But the new beta of version 5 is much more touch-friendly. There are still a few minor things to work out, but it shows a lot of promise.

2. Virtual T9 is awesome.

Virtual T9

The slide-out QWERTY keypad on the N97 is okay, but by far my favourite means of inputting text is using the virtual numberpad with T9. The combination of big thumb-sized buttons and the haptic (vibrating) feedback you can get wen you press each one is… well, like the screen grab says, it’s awesome.

3) Touch is where the innovation is.

Nokia Handwriting Calculator

This is a handwriting calculator that originated from Nokia Beta Labs. It’s a single-purpose app with one mission: To make calculations more intuitive for the user. That it does this so well — i.e. it almost flawlessly converts my scribbles into proper equations and then does the math for me with the press of a button — blows my mind just a little bit.

Of course handsets running Nokia’s S60 5th Edition aren’t the only touchscreen devices out there. Which one is your favourite, and why?

4 comments:

  1. AC:
    The only touchscreen phone I’ve used is the iPhone so far, and the touchscreen was amazing. I’m still using my LG Chocolate (2007 CDMA model), so I still use mechanical buttons and a small touchscreen that is not part of the display itself. I generally consider keyboards and keypads faster than most touch tech for laptops, but with phones I think it’s the opposite. My next phone will definitely be a touch screen.

    Ed

  2. AC:
    The only touchscreen phone I’ve used is the iPhone so far, and the touchscreen was amazing. I’m still using my LG Chocolate (2007 CDMA model), so I still use mechanical buttons and a small touchscreen that is not part of the display itself. I generally consider keyboards and keypads faster than most touch tech for laptops, but with phones I think it’s the opposite. My next phone will definitely be a touch screen.

    Ed

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