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Comparing Apple iPhone to the Nokia N95

Strategy Analytics says that they have conducted the first end-user evaluation of the much heralded Apple iPhone with its panel of multimedia buyers in Boston, MA.

Their latest Wireless Device Laboratory report entitled "Nokia N95 and Apple iPhone Set New Standards for Multimedia Devices," reveals that although the iPhone has the "cool" factor and outperforms all other multimedia devices tested, the Nokia N95 likewise provides exceptional multimedia performance in a mobile device form factor.

Paul Brown, Senior Analyst in their User Experience Practice, comments, "The iPhone has raised the bar in terms of navigation, menu logic and overall multimedia consumption experience. Thus, the iPhone generally lives up to its hype."

Brown adds "The Nokia N95 also offers an exceptional multimedia experience with better features than the iPhone, but it suffers from Nokia's traditional lack of industrial design expertise and weak brand image in the U.S. market."

When compared to other leading mobile phone manufacturers, I believe that Nokia's typical device designs and associated usability is no better or worse than their peer group, and so I'm a little puzzled by the reference to their "brand image." Most of the typical multimedia devices are created for early-adopters -- with a UI that only a gadget geek could appreciate.

David Kerr, Vice President of Strategy Analytics, notes "The iPhone certainly wins on the style/design and wow factor, but has notable weaknesses in the telephony icons and second level menu icon clarity."

Kerr adds that key questions remain on the iPhone. Can the virtual keypad win over SMS activists? Is the lack of video capture a significant factor? Does the limited 2 Megapixel camera and lack of image refinement, manipulation tools (zoom, auto-focus, etc.) represent a significant deficit?

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