Nokia Remix: Singapore – Pictures from Lifehouse Concert and the Upcoming Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

Will the new Nokia touch screen phone that comes with one year unlimited music download and more redefine what a phone can be?  I was holding one last Friday and I was thrilled by its potential.  And there is no event like a Nokia event.  Lifehouse was in the house, together with the local bands and my favorite radio DJs “The Muttons” too.  I took a picture with them.  It’s priceless.

I couldn’t attend the press conference during the day due to work commitment.  But the Nokia team was kind enough to give me a 1-hour personal demonstration on the upcoming Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.  Again, I tried to distract them and see if I could slip one into my pocket.  Again, I failed like the last time.

Come With Music

When it comes down to functionalities and user-friendliness, Nokia is king.  No doubt about it.  What the world has been silently waiting for is Nokia’s answer to Apple’s iPhone and its clones.  I certainly do.  While Apple threatened to shutdown iTunes early this month due to royalties dispute (current model is 61-29-9 cents split between the record industry, iTunes, and artists respectively), Nokia has worked out a deal with four major labels – EMI, Universal, Sony, and Warner – and more to give Nokia users one year unlimited access to the entire Nokia Music Store catalogue across a range of devices.  Is this new service “Come With Music” too good to be true?  Looking at how Nokia gives away free maps to the users, I am pretty sure that the only catch is “go buy a Nokia phone”.  Allowing users to unlimitedly and legally download music is as close to the Internet user behavior as it can get.  I am holding my breath on what the cost structure may be.

Touch, Play, Share

The new phone is a beauty.  If you are familiar with the XpressMusic series, the design of 5800 is a big leap ahead.  Weighted less than an iPhone, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic comes with a touch screen that supports wide-screen format and has an impressive resolution – best in its class.  I checked out a video clip played and the color is stunningly vibrant.  Another surprise is the quality of the internal speakers.  The music played out loud, really loud, and the sound is crisp clear.  These features alone are enough to put my beloved N95 to shame.  Can you visualize how badly I would drool to play the Ayumi music videos on this?

Unable to resist poking at this new baby, I am delighted that everything is literally at my fingertips including being able to put 4 of my top hot looking female contacts (with profile picture) onto the home-screen.  Maybe a bit too convenience.  Imagine one day Cynthia gets hold of my new 5800 while I was away and is able to track down my past communication and their respective blog updates with just a touch onto their profile pictures?!  Disastrous.

To be honest, I was skeptic on how this new touch screen phone handles my obsessive love in sending short messages, jotting down new blogging ideas, and drafting blog entries anytime, anywhere.  I asked for a demonstration and the enthusiastic product manager casually rotated the phone and the screen switched to landscape mode automatically.  Nice!  He then brought up the virtual QWERTY keyboard and I was like: though my fingers are not that fat, no way I can type a message with that!  Like a magician, he pulled out a stylus from nowhere (actually from behind the phone) and started typing.  Not bad.  Being a difficult consumer, I complained that QWERTY is not my cup of tea.

No problem at all, he said.  He then switched to a handwriting recognition mode that if you are from the Palm era, you would probably leap in joy (not to forget to mention the copy-and-paste function this new baby has).  Not bad.  But I am the type of guy who loves the old way of doing things.  The product manager did something to the phone and all of a sudden, I saw a life-size virtual alphanumeric keypad!  I pressed onto the virtual buttons and the phone vibrated in response.  Neat!  Lastly, for the musicians, the phone comes with a plectrum (see picture above … in my language, I call it a guitar pick) as an alternative to interact with the touch screen.  I know.  Who would have thought?

Final Thought

This entry is more like a preview than a review due to my limited time with the new Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.  There are tons of other cool functionalities I am running out of space to write including the synchronization to the social networking sites such as Ovi by Nokia, Facebook, YouTube, and etc.  I would like to leave you with this final thought.  Towards the end of “Sex and the City” movie, Carrie wanted to call her missing groom and she asked for a phone.  Someone passed her a touch screen phone (that looked like an iPhone).  Her immediate response was like: don’t give me that, give me something I can use.  I can relate to her.  And I don’t think I will have a problem with this new Nokia phone.  It is that easy.

Below are some of the pictures I have taken during the Nokia Remix: Singapore event with Lifehouse in the house with my point-and-shoot camera.  Enjoy!

PS. A big thanks to the Nokia team and the TEXT100 team!