PDAtotaal Meet & Greet in AmsterdamWhile the All About Symbian Pub Meet is a distant memory, Herbert went along to a meeting organised by PDATotaal over in Amsterdam and got his hands on a Nokia 7710 for most of the meeting. Here's how he got on...
Last Saturday, I took the train to Amsterdam to visit the Meet & Greet of PDAtotaal. I got out of the train and tried to find the place. Anyway, after a few minutes I found my way and arrived at "De Bekeerde Suster" where the meeting was held.
PDAtotaal.info (formerly known as Symbian.Info) is not just a website and forum about PDAs and smartphones, it is a whole lot more. You have to pay a contribution to become a member, but you get a lot of extras in return. There is a helpdesk for all your problems, youíll get a magazine a few times a year, you can get software and PDAs/smartphones at discounted prices. Almost all members are from the Netherlands and Belgium. There are 8000 members, 3000 of which are paying members (if youíre not a paying member, you canít post in the forum and miss out on all the extras mentioned above)
Although they claim this event was inspired by the AAS Pub Meet, this event was a bit different. PDAtotaal.info has all kinds off groups (for example UIQ, Psion, Pocket PC etc.) and they were all represent by a stand. There you could take a look at all the latest PDAs/phones but could also ask your questions and have your problems solved. A few companies were represented as well. To characterize this event, I would call it a bit of a mix between a pub meet and a mini-expo. There also were give-aways (just like the AAS pub meet) with great prizes (like a SE P910, Nokia 6600, HP iPAQ rz3715, Wayfinder suite, tomtom mobile and a lot more).
I reckon there were around 75-100 people during the day. The event was well organized and a lot of fun. All of the latest Symbian phones were there (SE P910, Nokia 9500, Nokia 9300 and even a 7710), but also other nice interesting stuff that is yet to be released (Motorola MPx, HP iPAQ hx2000 series, Samsung SGH-D500). Furthermore it was a great chance to meet other people with the same interests! I had some very interesting discussions with people there, about the latest developments.
The chairman trusted me with his Nokia 7710, so I got to demonstrate it to a lot of people for about 2,5 hours, which was fun (they all thought I was from Nokia or something).
I also won an "everything-resistant" case at the give-away, so now I can go swim with my phone, or even drive over it with my car. Anyway, a bit more about the 7710 now, I know thatís what youíre all interested in.
This 7710 of course didnít use the final firmware-version yet, so it still was a bit buggy. But keep in mind, it is an early prototype so thatís nothing to worry about. It also was very slow, but that was because it was running in debug-mode, so again, nothing to worry about there.
The screen was very nice and impressed almost everyone there, the high resolution really was great and really useful on the lowest zoom level. I didnít get the chance to test the web browser because it only had a non working SIM in it, but the owner told me the rendering was even better than with the 9500 (keep in mind, the owner was independent, not someone from Nokia).
The Word and Excel apps worked nicely (although I didnít look at them very thorough), and it saves the files directly to the standard .doc and .xls formats, so it should be fully compatible with Microsoft Word and Excel (once again, even better than with the 9500 the owner claimed). From what Iíve seen from both devices, the Calendar, Contacts and Tasks and Messaging were all pretty much the same compared to the 9500.
The UI in general was rather comprehensive, although everyone had to get used to double-tabbing on an icon if you wanted to launch an app (maybe you can change that with a setting, or Nokia will change it in the future, because everyone was really confused by this). Handwriting recognition was as always something you have to learn first, it was a bit different than with my P900. But Iím sure it works great if you put a little time in to it.
What also impressed everyone was the build-quality of this proto. It had a really solid feel to it. Thatís at least something Nokia doesnít need to work on before the final release. I didnít get to try out the multimedia capabilities that much though. No headset attached for the radio, no mp3s installed, no video clips present. And it was too dark to make a decent picture.
What did other people think of it? A lot of people were impressed by its versatility, offering both good Office and Multimedia applications. The impressions were all in all pretty positive, but most of them were torn between a keyboard (9300, 9500) and a touch-screen (7710).
What do I think of it? It is a nice concept, has quite a few things going for it, but there is one thing I donít understand: if you really target this device at multimedia, why donít they include either UMTS (3G) or WiFi (or even better, both!)? I mean, the webbrowser is great, but if you download a site you can expect a high GPRS bill.
But this aside, it was a good, solid device, the UI was fine and I guess thereíll be people that will really like it. A combination between the 9500 (with keyboard and WiFi) and the 7710 (touchscreen and great multimedia) would be perfect I guess. Time for Series 100 now Nokia!
All in all I really enjoyed this event, and I got the feeling everyone there did! Kudos, looking forward to the next time!
Published by Rafe Blandford at 13:08 UTC, December 2nd