This piece from the Register on what is wrong with the mobile phone industry is quite entertaining.
N-series must surely take the cake as the world's most ill-conceived range of phones, being slower than treacle, as reliable as Windows 3.1 and clearly designed by a committee of unloved marketing droids.
I haven't used a Nokia for quite a few years, and I certainly haven't used an N-Series, so I can't really comment on that, but the basic point that handsets having lots of functions that are hard to use (and that are weirdly configured and/or disabled to make operators happy) are driving us all mad is a fair one. The further point that I would make is that this is for the rich world only. In the developing world, handset design is much better. Handsets are simpler and cheaper, and the weird incentives to make handsets complicated and expensive are generally not there. So if you go to Africa handset design really is more Nokia circa 2000, and it is a lot better.
However, about my new phone
The K-series Sony Ericssons, otherwise almost perfect phones, have SIM card slots designed to punish the world's nail-biters and tragically have neglected a volume setting for message alerts.
He is quite right. The SIM card on the K800i is a partcularly difficult one to remove, but this is not Sony-Ericsson specific. SIM cards are almost always hard to remove. Here is where operators and handset manufacturers choose not to understand how consumers use phones. SIM card portability was just about the best feature that the GSM phone standard was designed with. Your phone number and phone bill is not associated with the phone, but with this little portable card you can move from phone to phone. CDMA does not (really) have this, and this is as big a reason as any for GSM's current dominance of the global market. It is this big a deal.
However, the whole phone industry pretends that this is not so. They sell you a SIM and a phone together, and they expect that you will use the SIM and phone together whatever you do with it and wherever you go with it. Sometimes they lock the phone so as to prevent you switching SIMs around. (The fact that a huge "unlocking" business has come into being to reverse this practice might have suggested to them that they have their business model wrong, but no). Always, though, they put the slot into which the SIM goes in a very inconvenient position, usually underneath the battery. Even if you will be charged ten times your usual call cost if you go abroad and keep your SIM, they somehow believe you will just pay, and not want to change to a cheaper local SIM. If they charge ten times as much for some service than do their competitor, they will somehow believe that you will pay them this rather than get a SIM from their competitor and swap them round.
But people don't behave like this. At least, many people don't. I have a number of active SIMs, and a number of phones. Which SIM goes in which phone varies from time to time, depending on what service I am using (data, SMS, internet), what time it is (I have an off-peak SIM that gives me practically free calls on the weekend) or where I am (I have an Australian pre-pay SIM that I use when I am in Australia). Sometimes I might run down a battery and I have a spare phone that is charged up, so I will switch the SIM.
But manufacturers make it hard for me to do this. I have to remove the back, remove the battery, get the SIM out of an awkward socket, then reverse the process and switch everything back on again. I don't want to do this. I want it to be simple. Why do they not understand this. If they do understand this, why do they try to change my behaviour rather than cater to what I want. What I want is external slots for my SIM cards. The K Series Sony-Ericsson phones are really good with respect to memory card slots - the memory card slot is external and you just open the cover and push and the spring loaded memory card pops out. (It's a shame that they feel the need to use Sony's proprietary Memory Stick rather than SD cards like everyone else, but that is Sony. It is not a big deal, as the Memory Stick is common enough). Why can't they do the same with SIM cards. It would really make me happy.
Rant off, anyway.