Out of the blue, from out of thin air, I get an offer: wanna use a Nokia phone for 2 weeks, for free? I tell you, this must be the age of the web.
So I said yes, and one thing led to another and then to a phone being dispatched from London and it showed up on my doorstep yesterday. It's the Nokia N8, which is, according to Paul at WOMWorld, Nokia's "flagship". Sleek grey-black thing with a camera protuberance on the back and all manner of keys and slots and buttons on the sides. And the front? Just an expanse of glass.
Using it for a call feels rather like putting to your ear one of those darkened pieces of glass you use to look up at eclipses: you think, shouldn't I be looking through this thing?
I really am a smartphonephobe, if there is such a beast. The cellphone I used till yesterday is a Nokia too, though it's at least 7 years old. It's been fine for my needs, even with the now occasionally sticky key. Fine, because I've never been interested in getting my email on the bus, or reading the New York Review of Books while driving to Murud. The same for various other capabilities of the N8. Maybe the idea with smartphones and Luddites like me is that that they will turn around that disinterest. Maybe.
Still, there are some nice things I've found in the phone, sure.
For one, a top-notch camera. Though I've always preferred the feel and methods and feeling of control over my shots that I get with SLRs in entirely manual mode -- I like that creativity -- and thus this one does little for me.
For another, the N8 easily located and latched onto my home wireless signal, and I was able to wade into the Web before I had a 3G service in place. Still trying to get used to browsing like this, though.
And yet, and yet … I know it's only been a day, sure. Yet I cannot say the phone has bowled me over. Typing on the screen with a couple of fingers and clumsy thumbs is not something I feel comfortable doing. (Yet?) Dialing a number no longer happens as quickly as I used to manage, not even with speed dial assignments. I used to dial a certain lady I know with two button pushes. Now I need three. I used to be able to starting tapping out a SMS with one button push. Now I need two.
Small things, a button push here or there, right? But when you've had a gadget for long enough that you feel like you're making efficient, productive use of it, the small things in a new gadget stand out. No doubt I'll get used to them, and eventually feel like I'm making efficient use of the N8. Right now it feels like that might take another 7 years, and I doubt WOMWorld will let me have this sleek thing on trial for quite that long. (Well, Paul?)
But for now, I'm happy to keep using the thing, see how many of its multifarious capabilities I can exercise in the next several days.
And rest content, I'll be sure to file a report in this space when I finally learn how to make it cook an omelette.