the orangery . The Nokia 9000 Communicator.
- Over the Christmas period the orangery was lent a Nokia 9000 by UKmobiles TheCommunicator.
The Nokia 9000 communicator is a huge beastof a phone, the modern trend of mobiles getting smaller and smaller iscertainly bucked here. First impressions are its size and the large directionalantenna. The phone weighs in at a bulky 397grams by today’s standards,but then it does boast an impressive internal workings.
The nokia 9000 communicator is currentlyavailable for between £189 and £250 depending on which talkplanyou choose. This is an impressive bit of kit for that amount of cash, ifyou consider that the mr701 startac is £299. When the Communicatorwas first launched on the 900mhz networks of Cellnet and Vodafone the phonewas priced at almost a thousands pounds, which is an awful lot of money,consequently the communicator failed to sell in the numbers Nokia had hoped,even an appearance in the Saint failed to boost sales. However the communicatorproved to be a surprisingly good seller in Finland, where mobiles are morecommon than they are here in the UK. Now that the price has fallen to areasonable amount I’m sure sales will grow.
The phone part of the communicator is verysimilar to the nokia 5.1, so anybody who has used a 5.1 or even an older2140 will find no surprises here. The menu has some different functionsto the 5.1 and certain things need setting up before the phone is operational.The message option requires you to enter the answer phone number beforecalling to get your messages. The message menu has a couple of extra optionsincluding broadcast message which I assume means the 9000 is GSM phase2 ready.
When you first switch the phone on younotice that the memory function is set to B the phone rather than the usualA of the SIM card. This means that the phone uses the contacts databaseas the default, as opposed to the SIM card phone book, this means to lookfor a number when you first use the phone you have to adjust the memoryto A. I guess the reason for this is that Communicator users will use thecontacts database fully and therefore would prefer the phone to be setto the phone rather than the sim card A.
Once you’ve switched the phone on adjustedthe settings to your preferences, you will notice that the ear piece andmicrophone is on the opposite side to the screen and keyboard, which takestime to get used to. It is even stranger when you use the leather case,as the belt clip and wrist strap is pressed against your face.
Havingopen the communicator you’re greeted with a small screen with buttons eitherside and a well spaced keyboard of gray keys with 9 bluey green keys eachwith a special function. The keys are well spaced, users of other PDA’ssuch as the Psion 3c will quickly get up to speed. The keyboard is no wherenear as good as the Psion series 5 which is still in a league of it’s own.However, I did find the help key to be in the wrong place, when ever Ireached for the backspace key I ended up pressing the Help key. The twoscrolls keys to the left of the screen I also found to be quite useless.Anything that required the use of the scroll keys could be done using thearrow keys in the bottom right hand side of the keyboard.
An area the nk9000 lacks behind other PDA’ssuch as the range of Psions and the windows CE range of palmtops, is easeof use, the other products use a menu system allow you to exit applications, highlight text, copy it and paste it with ease. There is no menu systemon the communicator so operations such as cutting and pasting is beyondit. The operating system of the communicator is Geoworks, which was chosenfor his ability to deal with all the Internet functions, that windows CEis rumored to find difficult.
The first of the function keys is “Tel”which you guessed it is the Telephone, it allows you to access people fromthe contacts database and call them using the hands free mode. A smallhole on the front panel of the keyboard hides the microphone. Althoughthe speaker is underneath the phone, when in the hands free mode, but thecaller can be heard quite clearly. This was handy when you require bothhands for something else, I used it when speaking to the help desk whenconfiguring a clients laptop, which made things a lot easier than perchinga phone on your shoulder. I don’t think that you could use this mode forhands free in the car, as the mic would be too far away and pick up lotsof background noise, and the speaker would be too quiet. The volume ofthe speaker can be adjusted up and down during the call with out too muchof a problem.
One thing to remember when using the 9000is that you need to have a data and fax enabled sim card. Using “Fax” allowsyou to both send and receive faxes. The important part hear is receive,a lot of PDA offer fax capability such as the Psion 3c but can only sendbut not receive. To compose a fax is straight forward, once the fax iswritten, you simply press the send button option on the left of the screen,you are then asked to choose a person from your contacts database. If theperson you are sending the fax to is not listed in your database the nextprompt allows you to enter in the name and the number of the recipientalong with the subject of the fax for the header.
When someone send you a fax the phone beepsthe same way as it would if you where to receive a sms and an envelopesymbol is shown the same too. Upon opening the 9000 a dialogue box informsyou that you have one received fax, you then simply procedure to the faxoptions and received faxes and read your fax. The document is a littleon the small side when viewed on the screen, but can be read quite easilyby scrolling down through the document.
The next function key is “SMS”, this functionput the 9000 ahead of the other phones for composing short text messages,it really was a joy to use. Once again you are given the options of readingyour received messages which are all numbered or writing a message. Whenyou choose the write option the screen changes it’s appearance to a postcard,the user simply writes the message on the left hand side as you would normallyand when youwish to send the message, pressing send allow you to enter the recipientsnumber which is then inserted on the right hand side of the post card.As you type the message is the number of characters is counted and is shownon the screen, which helps a great deal, although this feature is presenton all Nokia phones. When the message is being sent a box appears abouthalf the size of the screen which has a globe in the centre and it showsthe postcard circulating the globe as it is being sent. However Idid find it difficult to write text messages on the move, i.e. while workinglike you can with any of the other phones in the range.
The most feature packed of the functionkeys is the “Internet”, this allows you to surf the web, send emails andto Telnet and turn the 9000 into a Terminal. Setting up the 9000 is quitestraight forward using pipex’s Orange number. I have set up lots of PC’sto browse the web using a number of different ISP’s and only a few whereas easy as this. Once you have set up the passwords and the number youwish to dial in on, it’s all systems go.
Sending and receiving mail is easy, youare given a blank page to compose the email and you then enter the recipientsaddress.
Tocollect your received email you choose the remote mailbox option. Whenconnecting to the remote mailbox another box half fills the screen, thistime showing cogs turning against each other to represent it doing something.Once connected to your remote mailbox, you are shown your received messagesin an orderly fashion, showing how they are from, what the subject thesize of the message and the time. You simply then choose the download messagesoption form the buttons on the left hand side and the messages are downloadedto you messages received folder. It was reasonably slow but the 9000 doesonly run at 9600.
The next menu option of the Internet functionwas WWW, more commonly known as the world wide web, but in this case itcould be the world wide wait. Seriously, though the 9000 is not designedto be used to surf the web all day, but purely a tool for gaining textinformation of the web. I was hoping to be able to use the 9000 to checkon the Orangery pages whilst I was away over the Christmas period, butas the Orangery is hosted on a virtual server I was unable to do so asthe 9000 is not capable of dealing with virtual servers, however the 9000i.is reported to be able to do so.
The function that I used the most was Telnet,this allowed me to log on to the Computer which holds my mail and readit, however the problem with this is that you have to remain online thewhole time, as opposed to downloading the messages to a file. Otherwiseit performed admirably, there was a short delay between each key pressand it appearing on the screen, but you soon get used to that.
The next function key along is the contactsfunction, this is the pivotal function. The contacts function is importantto the operation of the nk9000, to operate the communicator correctly thecontacts are expected to be fill out with the names and numbers of yourcontacts, this allows to offer you the fax umber when you address a faxto a contact. This function is the same as data on the Psion series ofpalmtops.
Notes is the function that brings togetherall that you have written. It holds all the faxes and sms’s that you havewritten. You can access any of the things you have written, to edit ifyou so wish. You can open a blank page and make notes of whatever you wish.You need to be able to download the note to your desktop if you wish totake full advantage of this function. I used it to write small pieces,and then emailed them to my desktop as a way of transferring the information.I use my Psion in the same way, being able to write articles and then simplyupload them to my PC with Psiwin and then do the final editing before printing.This makes the nk9000 a useful tool for writing small notes and small articles.
Thediary function on the nk9000 is labeled Calendar, which initially leadsyou to think that it purely is a calendar. However the calendar functionallows you to make to-do lists, enter appointments and then set alarmsto remind you. The calendar does not have the same functionality of thePsion, but it offers a simple to use, basic calendar that is sufficientfor most peoples needs.
System allows you to alter the setup ofthe nk9000. One of the menu options is remove data, this allows you toremove data form the 9000, the manual says this is there if you wish tolend the nk9000 to somebody. The system menus allow you to control thingssuch as the refresh rate of the screen amongst other things.
The last function of the nk9000 is theextras, this is where you will find the option to compose your own ringingtone. This is where everybody that had a play with the nk9000 ended up.They would each stare in turn at the screen with intense concentrationemblazoned across their faces and then look up to gauge the reactions asa horrid tune emulated form the underside of the nk9000.
To sum up, I use a Psion 3c for organisingmy life and it’s great it does the job well, I don’t use it to it’s fullcapabilities, but then I guess there are a whole load of people out therewho don’t. Recently, I have found myself thinking I’ll just fax this toso and so when I’m out and about and then remember that I had given itback to the kind people at Mobiles,Watford. It’s a product you start to rely on. It did the day to daywork of my Psion admirably, but it does miss a spreadsheet, which I usea lot, but other than that it suited my needs wonderfully. Would I buyone? Yes, but I don’t need it now this minute so I’ll probably wait andsee what the product develops into.
The nokia 9000 communicator is a revolutionaryproduct, a definite first of it’s kind. We can only wait to see what productswill follow and how the 9000 will develop, we have already seen the introductionof the 9000i which amongst other things can handle virtual servers, sendemail in the same online session as receiving. To sum up a wonderful productwith a few rough edges such as the diary, but I’ll defiantly miss it.
RobEvans 1998. The Orangery would like to thank ChrisConwell of UK Mobiles for supplyingthe Nokia 9000 Communicator.