Thursday, October 15th, 2009

An App Desperately Needed for S60

Dear Nokia,

I like your phones, and I’m happy with the S60 platform. Really, I am. It’s just that when I see iPhone users enjoy a pretty functional Wordpress client, I feel a bit sad. I know Symbian and S60 can do much better than that.

Courtesy Nokia

Courtesy Nokia

I love Wordpress. I use Wordpress to blog for this site, I use Wordpress to blog for my other tech site, and I used to use Wordpress for my personal blog. I probably will when I restart that.

I’ve tried Scribe and Wordmobi, both publicized as Wordpress clients for the S60, and I appreciate the hard work and passion their authors put into them. But let’s face it, both apps are in beta and need lots of work. They’re both limited by their dependency on Python for the S60, which by itself is pretty buggy. I’ve experienced long wait times (with no progress bars to reassure me that something is happening), time-out failures, and even the occasional socket error that unfortunately requires restarting the phone to clear.

The author of Scribe is pretty open, warning us about these problems. I am totally sympathetic to his difficulties, but I’m still basically left with no effective way to publish posts from my new Nokia N97.

Simply put, all I ask is that you spend good money to have a team develop an awesome Wordpress app for the S60 platform. Fly people in, pay for their living expenses, give them complete access to everything you’ve got on S60, and treat them like royalty—so long as they come up with something that literally redefines mobile blogging.

Then, after running it through every usability test imaginable, and making the necessary adjustments, make this Wordpress app available for free. Do the same for the source code. I’m perfectly willing to pay good money for a very good Wordpress app, since that blogging platform represents a huge chunk of my income, but I’m pretty sure making it free will attract lots of users.

As for developers, access to the source code represents a great example they can base their own efforts on, providing the programming insights and solutions they need to make their own apps equally awesome. These developers will thus gain the knowledge they need to code better, more effective apps for the Ovi Store. That means more users, and more paying customers.

In fact, why stop at Wordpress? Why not invest in other apps you know mobile users will find tremendously useful, apps that are truly special and go beyond just presenting information on-the-go? I know, I know, you’re probably waiting for third-party developers to come out with the good stuff. After all, it’s their efforts that led to great apps like Gravity, easily the best Twitter S60 client around (and definitely worth it at just over $10).

But let’s face it: Symbian isn’t as sexy as the iPhone OS. It doesn’t enjoy a visibly fervent following, even though the platform took its sweet time to provide built-in features your phones have had since time immemorial, like MMS, copy-paste, and video recording! Unless you’re willing to invest in active efforts to develop your developer community—beyond setting up online resources and forums (which are very useful, to be clear)—it will take a lot longer for the best mobile app developers to embrace your platform passionately, if at all.

As for myself, I’d be happy with just a Wordpress client that maximizes your phones’ features, free from bugs. Improve on what Scribe and Wordmobi promise but occasionally fail to deliver, like the ability to quickly integrate pictures from the media gallery into the post.

It should be so easy for me to blog from your mid- to high-end phones, especially on something as fully-featured as the N97. But it seems no one has the time—or expertise—to provide an app that makes this a very easy and straightforward process. So it’s up to you, Nokia, to deliver, to come out with your own awesome apps that developers can derive inspiration from.

Rico Mossesgeld

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2 Responses to “An App Desperately Needed for S60”
  1. Lucy-Muellerson says:

    Sometimes it’s really that simple, isn’t it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

  2. sam Mitchell says:

    I do hope Nokia works on this! Their app suite is pretty limiting right now.

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