Ian: ‘iPhone killer’ overkill


Along with ‘credit crunch’ and ‘terrorist threat’, the phrase ‘iPhone Killer’ will be remembered as one of the most facile and over-used cliches of 2008. 

Beloved of gadget magazine cover lines, ‘iPhone Killer’ has now entered the language of those who should know better. This from Hugh Roberts, senior strategist at Patni Telecoms on the new Nokia N97 handset: “The N97 may be lots of things, and it may point towards a brighter future, but one thing it won’t be is an iPhone killer.”

Now, unless I have suddenly gone blind the N97 is nothing like an iPhone. I doubt Nokia even had the iPhone on its product roadmap when it conjured up the N97. It utilises the Symbian operating system and has 32GB RAM, full QWERTY keyboard. If anything it is a replacement to the Nokia E90 Communicator.

It’s rather more advanced than the iPhone in other ways – 5-megapixel Carl Zeiss camera, 30 frame per second DVD-quality video and HSPA. 

Now, a mere five years ago a piece of kit this powerful kit would have blown the socks off any telcoms analyst.

But this does not seem to impress Apple fanboy Hugh Roberts. He really doesn’t like Nokia’s latest handheld super-computer:  “This handset looks more like something that exhibits the functionalities
the networks have asked for, rather than reflecting Nokia’s own attempts to beguile consumers,” says the pundit from Patni.

Odd. If any device tried to address too many diverse needs it is Roberts’ beloved Jesus Phone. Its costs a whopping £350 on prepay, supports video, but can’t record video and doesn’t support MMS.

The touch-sensitive screen has a habit of cracking whenever the unit is dropped, and (I hear) ladies have difficulty with using the touch-screen (something to do with the length of their nails), the battery is internal and you have to send it off to Apple for replacement when it conks out.

Last word on the N97 to Mr Roberts: “This phone tries to address too many diverse needs, and at the quoted price point it is unlikely to satisfy either the business community (how will the included social/entertainment/gaming applications affect the calculation of ‘taxable benefit’?) or the teen market (how cool will it be to continuously advertise the fact that you are lost to your friends?).”

Funny that. As a description of the iPhone it is perfect.