Here’s How Nokia Can Make The N97 Better

Having used the N97 for a few days now, I have come to the conclusion that the N97 has huge potential. Nokia has done a good job putting all the hardware in, (the RAM and processor groans aside) what actually needs some work is the software. In this post I will not be crying about the initial the firmware that Nokia has shipped the device with, but look at certain software tweaks that can help improve the N97 experience to a very large extent.

As far as the bugs, stability and performance issues go, I am hoping that the v11 firmware that comes out on July 1st will take care of them. Here are a few suggestions that I sincerely hope people churning out the next firmware take into account.

  • KEYPAD: The keypad must allow us to ‘long press’ in order to get numerals. It might not be a bad idea to enable the long press for other keys as well. Having to hit the blue arrow each time in order to enter numbers or a symbol is a pain.
  • PREDICTIVE TEXT: I’ve mentioned that predictive text actually improves the N97 typing experience, but only when writing a message. On all other occasions it actually hampers free typing, specially when writing in a text box where the difference between the typed and suggested word is not shown. Other gripes are here; basically we need the E71 module to be put in here, pronto.
  • HOMESCREEN WIDGET MANAGEMENT: When I currently try and add a widget to the homescreen which is already full, instead of telling me its full and giving an error, it would be much nicer if I were given the option to replace a widget there and then. Most people will have all 5 slots full all the time, so instead of having to edit, remove and then add, the above would make it a much more pleasant experience. I would also like a second widgetised homescreen which we could access by swiping a finger across the screen, however I’m not very hopeful given the RAM situation on the N97.
  • SHORTCUTS I: Moving onto shortcuts. In the landscape mode, with the keyboard out the first four keys in all three lines should act as shortcuts to the menu items being displayed. This was true for older devices but it seems to have been overlooked in Nokia’s first S60 5th Edition non touch only device.
  • SHORTCUTS II: Another place where the keyboard needs to provide shortcuts is in the Web Browser. When it has loaded a website in the full screen mode, it takes me three steps to reach the ‘Bookmarks’, wouldn’t it be nice if I could hit ‘1’ for ‘Bookmarks’, ‘2’ for ‘Find’ and so on, exactly like what used to happen on a N95. If I’m not wrong, I think even the E90 could do it with its QWERTY.
  • TEXT SELECTION: The next thing that needs a bit of work is the copy/paste function. In my experience, the device can use the keyboard (Shift+Navi Pad) to select text, however the same is only true for apps such as Notes and Messaging. This did not work for me in the web browser while entering text, needless to say, this is something that should work across all applications. The next thing is that there is no ‘Select All’ functionality and this becomes even more irritating because the keys that are used to select text are next to each other. It would be much more ergonomic if we could select with the blue arrow (last key third row) and the Navi Pad. On the other hand, ‘Shift’ should support the usual Ctrl+A/X/C/V functionality with the corresponding letter.

These were some of the points I could thing of while using the N97, I’m sure you have many more ideas which will go a long way in improving the N97, please put them down in the comments section and I’ll periodically keep updating this post so that it can serve as a ready reckoner.

20 thoughts on “Here’s How Nokia Can Make The N97 Better”

  1. I don’t know if this is a bug, but once the backlight on the N97 goes off it doesn’t come back on till I press the menu key. It just won’t illuminate again by touching the screen. I really hope this is not a ‘power saver’ technique but a bug.

  2. Also, they need to put letters on the dialer! I was trying to dial 1800AIRTRAN but i couldnt remember what letter was where. Very simple fix

  3. i also find it frustrating that phone numbers in the calendar cant be selected then dialled like on all other n/e series.

  4. They should make sure that the dial pad always displays the letters. It is annoying dialing into a voice mail system and not having the letters for the “dial by name” functions. Also, it would be nice if there were an onscreen QWERTY keyboard. While this might require a “hardware” change of sorts, a more powerful vibration motor would be appreciated, as well.

  5. @roy
    I personally feel if Back light gets on with the click by touching the screen it may consume more battery, imaging if you holding the phone and carry in your pocket so many times its on while click on display.i think this is really nice function to save more battery to use other apps.

  6. My HOPES for the next firmware upgrades are:

    1. First, I hope they can fix the screen locker switch. That’s an obvious bug.

    2. I hope they can also implement into the phone the mechanism of pencil button, aside from developing 3rd app like ThePencil.

    3. I hope they can improve the camera for better still shots and video recording. Add up also some features for better autofocus on objects and faces.

    4. There are also some buttons in the UI where it functions but not visible. For instance, in Contacts, you can see the Options and Exit buttons below. Between them is a hidden button that functions as ‘Select’.

    5. There are also times when the volume button of music player doesn’t seem to work. This occurs randomly though.

    6. For the design of Homescreen, I hope they can retain the effects of wiping sideways even though I turn the Theme effects off.

    7. I hope Nokia can also redesign the calculator buttons with color variation with numeric keys and operation buttons.

    8. I hope they can add up more themes with dark shades.

    9. Web browser works nice right now after that of 5800’s. I think they can still improve the browse experience as fast as the opera browser.

    10. The Search application needs to be tweaked. It is too slow even when I’m typing the keyword I am supposed to search.

    11. I hope NGAGE app and games work fine this time.

    12. There are also some icons that are not properly cropped. For instance, in the camera quick settings, when a setting icon like the Scene mode is pressed, you can see excess from the selection frame.

    That’s all for now..

  7. one thing i’v noticed if is i have a name with 2 numbers and i have set mobile as default for example, if i want to dial home number i can’t just select the number in the contact details view and press the green button, i have to be in the contact summary bit (first [default] tab) then do: “options” > “select other number” > then choose the number i want to call

    would be better if i could just goto contact details (second tab), select the number I want to call and hit the green button

    AND

    add the “options” > “select other number” in the main list of contacts view

    I hope that makes sense!

  8. Ok.. here are few things/bugs which need a fix after my 1 week experience:

    1. Once screen is unlocked and a call comes, how does one reject it? One has to unlock it to reject it. Nokia shud have given a slider for rejecting the call just like they gave for “answer” and “unlock”

    2. Ok, so now once the phone is locked and a call comes and i wanna reject it, so i unlock it and reject the call. Once i do this, the phone gets hanged. It needs to be switched off and switched on again. This is a major bug. This has happened with me every single time I tried to reject the call when the phone is locked.

    3. Sometimes, the clock which shows on the screen when the phone is locked gets hanged. The actual time wud be something and that screen will show a different time. Not only the clock time on that locked screen is wrong but the time also becomes stagnant. Really, the N97 can stop time. I have to switch off/on the phone in order to again make the clock on the locked screen again ticking.

    4. Am finding the contact selection in calender thingy (which ross mentioned) frustrating as well. Even the non-n/e series phone have that thing.

    I just hope more bugs wont follow once the phones gets more and more used.

  9. One more bug: On the home screen, the space where it shows the profile name (below the date), so many times i have seen showing some arbit text and then automatically showinf the profile name. Dont know why this happens.

  10. llaadd: Whatever u said abt the more than 1 number thingy, doesnt exist in my N97.

    1st up, i cant set a default number for a contact if it has more than 1 number…(is the feature isnt there or i dont know how to set a default number?)

    Secondly, if there are for example 2 numbers (one home and one mobile) for a contact, i open the contact entry >> press the green or voice call button >> the phone shows both the numbers in a list format ?? i simply click on the number i wanna dial. In this i dont have to go thru the “options” > “select other number” u mentioned above.

  11. Interesting list there; concerning the browser, I’d probably recommend something different (since the browser goes full screen pretty much all the time).

    Instead of having a button to “shrink” the screen, that button should be replaced with the new one that brings up the “quick menu.” Those features are most used, and would make sense to have as something that’s one click away.

  12. Jas, you can indeed set a default number for a contact. Its in the options menu.

    As far as rejecting calls goes, you could hit the red call end key to do so.

    ARJWright, good to see you mate. I agree, its also high time we got long tap for options kind of menu.

  13. Well, rejecting the call with the red button while the phone is unlocked isnt happening. I have to unlock and then reject, and once i do it, the phone gets hanged. So, its surely a bug in my phone atleast.

    Public: Anyone else facing the same problem?

  14. The empty screen that appears after swiping the home screen is useless.

    What if that becomes the second page of the home screen? More space for new widgets?

  15. I am facing 3 problem using N97

    1. The alarm clock doesn’t work properly. Ex, i set my alarm on 7.30 a.m. , it will only ring after 2, 3 or even 5 mins. It always make me late.

    2. No matter what tone i set for my incoming call ringtone, the hp will turn to Nokia Tone when there is a incoming call.

    3. If i cal my friend and my friend is engaged, my phone won’t show ‘waiting call’ and i cant know the person i call is engaged on the line. It makes me call the person continuously sometine.

    The above app i mentioned are all very simple function but they all cant work properly. Even the N95 i used last time does work very well for all the app.

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