There’s been a bit of buzz about the Nokia 3250, the little brother to the Nokia N91 music phone. The 3250 is quite obviously derived from the 3230, an inexpensive Series 60 device that probaby hasn’t sold too many units (though I can’t confirm this) because of it’s bad timing to market and the huge “cheap” factor. The 3230 is an inexpensive Series 60 phone but it really comes off just looking cheap.
I’ve noticed that Nokia seems to be betting pretty hard on phones with “modes.” For example with the Nokia N90 there is a standard flip-phone “mode” but if you turn the screen and camera properly you’re using it in camera “mode.” I’m not sure if I buy complex mode changes such as those employed by the N90 transformer or the swivel keypad that changes the 3250 from phone mode to music player mode. At the same time I think that simple mode changes are extremely compelling. For example if you open the camera lens protector on a Nokia 6680 (or other phones from other manufacturers with this feature) it instantly stops being a cel phone and brings up the camera interface. That’s simple and beautiful. I’m not sure that the same can be said for the N90 or 3250.
Part of me wants to argue that any well done phone/music player has to integrate both functions as “core” functions and not compartmentalize them the way they are on the 3250. Without playing with it though I think it’s too early to judge whether it’s a flop or a hit.