The Nokia S60 Address Book, Time for a Change?

Recently, Tommi Vikamo of Nokia posted a blog entry, asking for opinion on how to make the address book application on Nokia S60 based phones better. As usual, there was no shortage of feedback, on a wide variety of usability issues and improvement suggestions. Tommi has done a good job of collecting the feedback and has come up with the top ten suggestions, which you can read about here. In the time I’ve been using a S60 based device, the E61, which is just over a month, I’ve also come across a couple of usability issue that I think is worth highlighting.

Here’s a list:

  • Transferring contacts from non S60 phones to S60 based phones is broken: Something that akBoom has already noted in Tommi’s post. To me, this is a critical usability issue. The first thing I did when I got my E61 was to copy all my contacts from my trusty P910 using Bluetooth to the E61. Imagine my shock horror when it didn’t work. There’s good reasons why they say “First impressions last” and not all business users can’t be expected to be patient enough to use a workaround (in my case, I had to use the PC Suite to sync the contacts to the E61, after I copied my old contacts from the P910 to my PC using, surprise, surprise, Bluetooth).
  • Contacts resolution for incoming calls should be customizable: Just after getting the E61, I received a call. Only the number showed up on screen, no name. I was at work and was a bit apprehensive about answering the call. Fortunately, I did. To my surprise, it turned out to be one of my friend, a friend who’s contact information was definitely in the phones address book! Then why couldn’t the *&^** phone show the name of my friend? With the help of colleagues at work who have been using S60 based devices longer than I have, I eventually found that, contacts resolution for incoming calls *fail* if the same number is in multiple address book entries. In my case, I had two entries like John and John Temp, both using the same number. In my previous phone, at least, the P910, the first entry that matched a contact entry would be displayed, which meant I at least had a clue who was calling, as opposed to having no clue what so ever! Same goes for situations where you might have the home phone number of your friend and his wife’s number in their respective contacts, it just won’t be resolved.
  • The Log application should be improved: I use the phone log application a lot, more than the address book. Why? Its simple, although I have hundreds of contacts in the address book, there’s only a handful that I use most frequently and I get to see the list simply pressing the call button on my phone, no need to troll through the phone book :-). For now, the only complaint I have is the fact that in the call log list, only the name of the contact is displayed, but not the number. In the P910 (sorry to bring it up again ;-)), there was a nifty option that would enable you to go-to the address book entry directly from the log entry – very handy indeed, not just to see the number, but also to edit/update the contact details! The closest thing that the S60 address book has is the “use number” menu option.

That’s it for the time being. For a platform that’s used in most of the smart phones out there, it would be great to see a better, more enhanced and customizable phone book application.

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