Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Nokia's Cellphone Anthropologist

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the cell-phones-need-louder-alarm-clocks dept.

Cellphones 100

holy_calamity writes "New Scientist have an interview with a Nokia researcher who uses anthropological methods to study how people use their phones. His work currently focuses on watching how people in emerging markets like Africa use their devices to inform designs. For example, after finding that in Uganda many people use one handset, they shipped a version with multiple separate address books. There's also a slideshow of Chipchase's research images."

cancel ×

100 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

multiple separate address books (5, Insightful)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867073)

my phone is pretty ancient so perhaps it's a common feature now, but multiple address books sounds like something that would be useful everywhere, not just Uganda. being able to separate work contacts, from social contacts and from old school contacts would be great.

Re:multiple separate address books (3, Informative)

srothroc (733160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867327)

I think it's a common feature; it's not really touted as being "multiple address books", but rather as the ability to separate contacts into groups.

I don't actually remember if any of my US cell phones had it, though I feel like they did. My cell phones here in Japan certainly do, though.

Re:multiple separate address books (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867699)

My $30 junker phone has categories. I think it will do an arbitrary amount of phone numbers for each contact, but I don't know that many people with 2 cell phones...

Re:multiple separate address books (2, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868087)

I've had two blackberries so far, and both have the annoying habit of defaulting any phone number to the "work" field.

It probably shouldn't make me as mad as it does, but it's a pain in the ass to have to retype every single number. If only there was an option to set "Default phone field" or something similar

Re:multiple separate address books (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868141)

My $30 phone is an LG. I can go into the entry for a contact, select a number and then edit the category associated with that number. It would seem like a smart phone would have a similar capability.

Re:multiple separate address books (4, Funny)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868417)

Yes, but that would imply a blackberry was a smart phone. It's much more like a mentally challenged phone with severe acne.

Re:multiple separate address books (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869535)

an emo phone?

Re:multiple separate address books (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872583)

FYI Nokia's S60 has such a feature. S60 is also used by other manufacturers.

Contact groups, not contact methods (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872919)

I think it will do an arbitrary amount of phone numbers for each contact, but I don't know that many people with 2 cell phones...

I don't think this is what he means. It's not "I have work, home and cell contacts for each person," it's "I have each person filed according to whether they're a work contact or personal contact or another category."

My BlackBerry does this, and I love it. Switching between categories is a bit annoying though; I'd like to have up and down scroll through a list, and side-to-side switch between contact groups. I would also like it if the groups were tags, so a person could appear in more than one group.

Even better would be built-in call screening - "don't ring after 10pm unless it's an immediate family member," or "after 10pm don't ring without first asking the caller if it's an emergency."

Open source phones (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872969)

By the way, this kind of functionality is what I'm looking forward to in Android phones. It will be great to be able to install my own address book app instead of relying on the manufacturer to do it the way I want, and to post suggestions in forums where people can see them and code them.

Re:multiple separate address books (1)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867895)

oh, I can label contacts with a group name, but the only functionality that gives me a custom ringtones for the group. there appears to be no way to view just contacts of one group apart from the screen where you add/remove contacts from the group which has no options for making calls or sending messages. the phone is an nokia 6230 i think

Re:multiple separate address books (1)

melun (1165565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869073)

Vast majority of cellphones in Japan are equipped with password protected separate address books, hidden protected entries and so on...

Re:multiple separate address books (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872691)

i'm pretty sure he's talking about more than just groups.

For example, Nokia's S60 already has groups, though I guess the way it works could be not as 'separate' as other implementations. To me it seems to work in a similar way to iTunes where it starts off in the 'library' and shows all contacts, but allows you to have 'playlists', which are the groups. It's really not separate address books.

I wouldn't be surprised if he was alluding to having security per address book too...

Re:multiple separate address books (2, Informative)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867333)

being able to separate work contacts, from social contacts and from old school contacts would be great.
I picked up a $40 LG phone [huddler.com] at AT&T with their "pay as you go" plan a couple of months ago, and it has this feature. And not much else.

Re:multiple separate address books (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23869461)

my phone is pretty ancient so perhaps it's a common feature now, but multiple address books sounds like something that would be useful everywhere, not just Uganda. being able to separate work contacts, from social contacts and from old school contacts would be great.

I suspect the Ugandan cell phones would have separate passwords to access each address book, something lacking in the western versions using groups.

Re:multiple separate address books (0, Redundant)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869987)

You may have the ability to "Group" contacts.

Nokia E71 has separate work and personal modes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23875789)

I don't know if this is specific to the Nokia E71, or if its present in all S60 phones, but it not has separate business and personal contacts, it has entire business and personal 'modes' complete with separate home screens.

Cellphones as "enablers" (5, Interesting)

HishamMuhammad (553916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867143)

Interesting to see the big players noticing the possibilities in the lower end [wikipedia.org] markets. In the so-called third world we often get expensive products that were designed for rich markets that don't even fit our needs (eg, videogames with network support when the actual services are not offered in our country). Hopefully we'll see more companies designing different products for different economic realities, instead of just dumping 5-year old designs here once they get "cheap enough for the third world".

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (0, Troll)

SinGunner (911891) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867391)

So you want products that are made in the here and now to work in a country that's 5 years or more behind the wealthy, advanced markets? What's the point in designing something to work on old or limited tech when we already did it the first time around? Reduce, REUSE, Recycle.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (5, Insightful)

Xolotl (675282) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867539)

That's not the point ... the point is: rather than selling unnecessary or useless 'features' at high cost or dumping outdated technology at low cost, why not design something simple and robust and inexpensive but takes advantage of new technology?

This is the approach Renault took for the Dacia Logan [wikipedia.org] car ... and it is proving very successful.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867789)

There is a simple reason for it. If they were to introduce a simple and robust phone, people in developed countries would cry out for it, and their overpriced complex phones with features that will never get used will not sell anymore.

I just added two lines to my plan and got $450 worth of phones for free. I'm trying to figure out why anyone would pay. Yes, certainly the contract time pays for the phone, but if I could use no contract, a simple robust phone would be fantastic. I'd not spend money on the things.

That, my friend, is why they don't do it.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (2, Informative)

infaustus (936456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868559)

Completely right. Actually, the Dacia Logan the GP uses as an example is actually becoming very popular in France, not just the less developed markets it was designed for.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23868609)

Get rid of that sig you dumbass. God damn, you're not even posting AC.

Fucking newfags...

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (0, Offtopic)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868717)

Bill? Is that you? I've been trying to call you for a week. Your '61 El Camino is leaking oil on the road outside my house, the HOA is complaining. Come get your car. Oh, btw, your PO called. WTF? why'd you give him MY number... ASS!

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (4, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868693)

There is a simple reason for it. If they were to introduce a simple and robust phone, people in developed countries would cry out for it, and their overpriced complex phones with features that will never get used will not sell anymore.

That's untrue, at least in my experience.

The incumbent monopoly in the developing country where I live never showed any interest in selling glitzy phones. In fact, the phones they offered were cheaper, more robust and simpler than what you could get just down the road.

Just this year, the telecoms monopoly has been terminated and the latest entrant is even more intent on offering phones that are well-suited to this tropical environment. When they set up shop in nearby Papua New Guinea, they were offering two pre-paid phones for the equivalent of about USD 15.

Telcos in the developing world know which side their bread is buttered on. They provide a service, not a product. With the introduction of competition here, the two telcos are fighting for mindspace based on coverage, call quality and price. Selling reliable phones - even packaging them with solar charging kits - is the only way they can ensure a reliable revenue stream.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869655)

Yes you have a good point in there, most of the telcos in third world make revenue from the service, they offer the glitzy phones and they tend to cost a lot more than the similar ones you can buy in a local shop. They usually give the cheapo ones for free, even without a contract, they just lock the band but you can unlock them for around 4usd.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869631)

Nokia 1100 fits that market, sturdy, simple and reliable. People like that phone so much that usually you would like to spend more on one of them than any other new model with similar specs, even color screen, also people like phones with useful features like great camera or mp3 player, it's very common to see people using N1100 and SonyEricssons Wxxx Kxxx / Razr combos. And yes, here we have 3G and similar technologies, iPhones? yes 300usd a pop, jailbreak-ed and ready for any of our tree operators, put the sim and go.

I think people love simple things that just work. Things like voice quality and strong reception are very valuable in third world and it's not a small market, around 65% than the (~25 million)here have at least 1 cellphone, way to more than the estimated 40% of land lines.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (2, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871737)

I just added two lines to my plan and got $450 worth of phones for free. I'm trying to figure out why anyone would pay.
A few reasons.

1) In my case the phone I wanted (Nokia E70) was not sold through any carrier in the US. So my options were either get a different phone which suited my needs/wants less or buy the phone myself. I chose the later option.

2) Another reason is that you might want a different phone without a contract extension. Buy a subsidized phone from your carrier and usually you get an extra year or two on your contract for the privilege. Not always a problem but some folks might not want to extend their contract. I certainly never do unless I have to.

3) You want an unlocked phone. Most phones sold through US carriers are locked to their service. You can unlock them yourself usually but it's less aggravation and less risk to just buy it unlocked to begin with.

4) You are buying the phone for travel purposes and don't want a contract along with the phone since you won't use the phone regularly.

There are other reasons. I'm not against the practice of subsidizing phonesbut I haven't bought a subsidized phone for 7 or 8 years for various reasons. There are lots of good reasons to buy phones directly yourself.

Yes, certainly the contract time pays for the phone, but if I could use no contract, a simple robust phone would be fantastic. I'd not spend money on the things. That, my friend, is why they don't do it.
Many services are pay-per-use, even in wealthy countries. Low income folks don't have $50-100/month to pay for a contract. Or they are like my grandmother who just wants a phone for emergencies but won't use it otherwise. You're right that the phone companies like the contracts (predictable revenues and all that) but that business model isn't feasible everywhere.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (2, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868779)

Design cost is enormous, frequently outweighing manufacturing cost even for large runs of units. It is, quite simply, cheaper to make one design and sell it everywhere than it is to make a new "cheap" design without these useless features. You'd end up paying more and getting less, and what would be the point?

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (3, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869597)

Then you might be surpised that Nokia does design new "cheap" phones. And it seems it pays off, the first one is both world's best selling phone and best selling consumer electronics device.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_1100 [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_1110 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23867613)

What's the point

"Not tested on animals".

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (2, Insightful)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868929)

The GP is not asking for a G3 iPhone. He is asking for phones actually designed for his market instead of hand me downs designed for usage patterns that don't match the way people use phones where he is. This is exactly what this guy at Nokia does btw. There is also money to be made in the high volume, low margin business.

The Toyota Innova that I drive now was designed in Indonesia for third world markets. Is it less sophisticated that the Renault Espace that I had in Germany? Yes. Is it suitable for the Autobahns like the renault was? No. Could the Renault handle the monsterous potholes that make Indian roads look like the Rubicon trail? Not in a thousand lifetimes.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

ashayh (636057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867961)

AFAIK, Nokia has been interested in the lower end of the market since the late nineties. They have had a 40$ phone in India for ages.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868097)

India also has a $3000 car. Doesn't mean the western world will see it anytime soon. Especially here in the states, where our safety laws are fine with motorcycles, but ban automobiles with bumpers lower than a standard height.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (3, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868619)

Yes, damn them for forcing automobiles to not be death traps at a relatively small dollar cost.

Why not bitch that your seat belt restricts your movement while you're at it... we'll just pretend that paralysis isn't such a huge restriction on movement too.

The real reason that India has $3000 cars and we don't is that it simply costs more to manufacture and sell a car here than it does in India, no matter what features or devices are included or required. A single US dollar is simply worth more in India than it is the US.

As for motorcycles... I've known paramedics who just assume any motorcyclist who gets in a crash is likely to be an organ donor by the time they get to the scene. They probably should be illegal on safety grounds, but it's just such an unpopular proposition that it will never fly.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23868997)

Driving without a seat belt makes you a dumbass, but it doesn't hurt anyone else and shouldn't be illegal.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (3, Insightful)

lilmunkysguy (740848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869443)

Driving without a seat belt makes you a dumbass, but it doesn't hurt anyone else and shouldn't be illegal.
From what I understand, the reasoning is it hurts everyone else because we have to pay your medical because you flew through a windshield and can't afford the hospital bill.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869651)

So install a flying-human detector in the windsheild that'll take steps to ensure they're dead (and thus cheap).

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23870577)

But that shifts the blame around to the wrong party.

If I told you that I would beat you up if your mother served sponge cake, would you blame your mother or me for your beating?

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869769)

But a rear-seat passenger without a seatbelt on is a danger to the person sitting in front.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

gaspyy (514539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869487)

The GP was referring to Logan, which is a reasonable car in terms of safety. It doesn't have GPS or park assistance, but it did score 3* on European safety tests.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

funfail (970288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871843)

I believe it was Tata Nano that was under $3000. Dacia (Mahindra) Logan is more like $5000.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (2, Insightful)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 6 years ago | (#23870119)

Cheap phones make the money, smart phones make the news.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23870367)

I guess so, because in Germany it is very easy to find mobile phones without a camera still. I just bought a 20 euro prepaid one from nokia. They even sell the e-ink motorola mobile phone out here, but I must say that is unfortunately crappy, especially since writing an SMS is hell, or going through any kind of menu structure by ticking in codes that resemble advanced vi ;)

I am a bit sad, though, that they do put in a radio in mine, instead of something more useful like bluetooth. I guess radios are dead cheap.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (2, Funny)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23870667)

especially since writing an SMS is hell, or going through any kind of menu structure by ticking in codes that resemble advanced vi ;)

Awesome, where do I get one? And does it support all the features of vi, or just a subset? ;)

iIl c u l8r:wq

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23886529)

A cheap phone having a non buggy J2ME (Java) can do wonders these days. A good example is Opera Mini.

Re:Cellphones as "enablers" (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868617)

Hopefully we'll see more companies designing different products for different economic realities, instead of just dumping 5-year old designs here once they get "cheap enough for the third world".

In my little corner of the Developing World, this is exactly what's happening. The local telecoms monopoly has just been ended, and the newest entrant has offered up a cash bond to deliver mobile telephony services to 85% of the population in a country with incredibly difficult geographical features.

Obviously, they wouldn't do so if they weren't convinced that they can make money in these marginal areas. In order to do so, they need to tailor their products to local needs.

I write a weekly IT column in one of our national newspapers. Here's what I had to say about SMS as a computing platform [imagicity.com] . And here's one where I make the case for focusing on mobile communications technology [imagicity.com] .

In confess that it took me a long time to stop being a bit of an Internet bigot, refusing to see the potential applications of mobile phone technology. I've since changed my ways.

Stale Contacts (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867211)

One feature I'd like to see on a phone (I don't have one, so I don't know if this exists or not), is a date of last contact field. I hate phoning someone that I haven't spoken to in a while only to find out that their number has changed. If I had a list of who I hadn't contacted in a while, I could either touch base, or wipe their name.

Re:Stale Contacts (3, Interesting)

nbert (785663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867525)

Haven't seen any phone featuring this deliberately. I think it would be also kind of neat to have a plugin for xing or plaxo, which simply updates your contact's numbers whenever they change it, so you don't even have to think about this.

I'd also appreciate a provider field also fed by an online service. Over here people can take their mobile numbers with them when switching providers. Sometimes I'm calling someone with the same operator code in the assumption that I'm using the 1000 minutes I can talk for free calling people on the same mobile network. Of course I could ask whenever I'm calling, but it would be way more convenient to know before I dial...

Re:Stale Contacts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23869875)

look at www.skydeck.com
they are doing exactly samething

Re:Stale Contacts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23869607)

1. Buy Nokia N95 (got it myself, using it now, and yes I'm in the bathroom)

2. get started with Python for Symbian 3rd ed

3. Write your little app.
4. ???
5. Profit!

And yes, there's a linux version too.

Market Research? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23867227)

This sounds like market research at a global company, not anthropology.

Re:Market Research? (3, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867411)

Agreed, and its amazing what happens when any company pays attention to market feedback instead of telling consumers what they want.

Re:Market Research? (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23874007)

Remind me again what the difference is, when the market research is being done by the methods described in the article?

Re:Market Research? (1)

joearf (209047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23887277)

Call it market research or call it anthropology - I think it has the potential of suiting both purposes fairly well.

I was working for Nokia when the NY Times Magazine article about Chipchase's [btw: I love his name. It reminds me of an old game that used to come with Windows 3.1 - or maybe early Win95] work was published and I really wanted to reach out to this guy and see if there was any possibility of coming to work with/for him, but at that exact same time I got deeply invloved in a project that was eventually to see my small part of Nokia sold off to another company.

Certainly it can be all put down to self-serving corporate crap designed to exploit rather than learn about people and their way of life, but if you, as an individual, have your head in the right place I see real opportunity to take advantage of the benefits those corporate resources provide to really learn something and [within the parameters of corporate ethics and legality] use the knowledge aquire to the benefit of those people and others [right a book; join or start a cause, teach...].

TEDTalk (3, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867315)

For those of you who prefer video, here's Jan Chipchase's TED talk [youtube.com] , which covers similar topics.

Old Hat? (1)

SinGunner (911891) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867345)

Perhaps I'm spoiled by my Japanese phone, but since I got my first one 4 years ago, I could specify what "category" a contact falls under and separate them thusly. I always had Work, Foreigners and Japanese for convenience. And, of course Delivery. Is this not the same thing?

Re:Old Hat? (2, Interesting)

ztransform (929641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867653)

When I visited Tokyo in March I was amazed just how much more advanced the basic mobile phones are in Japan compared to the top level phones available in Western societies.

Almost all Japanese mobiles have large screens, built in dictionaries for translating between English and Japanese, and have cameras that can 1) read in universal square barcodes that represent web addresses and 2) can read text from a distance.

I wonder if the study also takes into account the different ways societies as a whole use their phone - from the tightly networked gang cultures, to the highly individualistic.

Re:Old Hat? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868721)

When I visited Tokyo in March I was amazed just how much more advanced the basic mobile phones are in Japan compared to the top level phones available in Western societies.

Almost all Japanese mobiles have large screens, built in dictionaries for translating between English and Japanese, and have cameras that can 1) read in universal square barcodes that represent web addresses and 2) can read text from a distance.

I wonder if the study also takes into account the different ways societies as a whole use their phone - from the tightly networked gang cultures, to the highly individualistic.

What I thought was striking about Japan is the way that user interfaces are more complex, but there are more features. People use phones as PC substitutes so they want email, MSN, web access and so on. Also compared to the UK how the typical consumer is a 25-35, female and quite willing to learn to use geeky, user unfriendly phone features if that is the price to find a boyfriend.

And they are slim and basically fucking hot too.

God I miss Japan.

Re:Old Hat? (3, Funny)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869095)

That post took a strange turn the last few lines.

Re:Old Hat? (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869359)

Wait, please don't say "Western" societies... Say American society... European society has very advanced phones as well....

Re:Old Hat? (1)

Fluffy Bunnies (1055208) | more than 6 years ago | (#23870087)

I think you should take a look at the top end nokia phones. I spent the last four months in Japan, and I have to say I saw nothing there that could beat my N95 in terms of features. Sure, some had a bigger screen or a tv receiver, but overall I had absolutely no desire to switch.

Delightful infotainment (0, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867475)

I just watched a dozen or so images of Nokia phones.
However, as I'm already a fully-hooked E61 geek, I was able to focus on reading the mildly interesting captions instead.
So there!

"Anthropologist" (5, Interesting)

vision4bg (1121033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867691)

Wow, this article just really rubs me the wrong way. Any professional ethnographer worth their salt would see a myriad of problems with this guy and his 'research'. I guess that what happens when you apply for a UI job and end up doing usability research. I am shocked that he finds basic things as multiple SIM card adapters as interesting as he does. These have been around for 10 years and are common in first world countries as well. That plus the bland "phones could be designed to work better" conclusion (taken verbatim from the article) makes it obvious how Nokia have lost their way since their highs of the early 2000s...

Re:"Anthropologist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23868491)

Ethnographer =! Anthropologist. Ethnography and the study of social symbols and meanings are undertaken in a host of disciplines. Sociology, cultural geography, political ecology.

The use of anthropology is nothing but a buzz word. Really, there's little to separate it from any other orientation of qualitative social inquiry, other than a outdated and unused theoretical backlog of colonial rationalisation.

Re:"Anthropologist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23868911)

Its called applied anthropology. Anthropology is much more than just studying old dead men, stone tools, and naked young women in the jungle. Nokia's applications here are in fact a perfect example of applied anthropology for marketing purposes. Try to look into things some before you go about calling them things that they aren't OK?

Re:"Anthropologist" (3, Insightful)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869039)

Perhaps these conclusions would be obvious to a professional ethnographer, but you don't find many ethnographer is mobile phone design teams.

It is not unusual for devs to not really understand the actualy usage patterns of their products in the field. The people creating the products often lave limited or no actual contact with users. The contact is mediated through product managers or "product definition" people, with a loss of fidelity. This happens for a couple of reasons:

1 - As soon as someone has a contact number or email address in development, that dev becomes the go to person for everything, even if it is unrelated. So companies try to shield their developers from the end users to enable them to remain productive.

2 - Devs are not often well versed in the company line and might say things about roadmaps and whatnot that the company would rather not have said.

Incedentially, I agree with you, but that is the lay of the land.

Posted from iphone (1)

Zosden (1303873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23867897)

That is all.

Chipchase's blog is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23867933)

He has a fantastic photo blog, which contains many pictures from his trips, along with a few choice thought provoking comments. It's a good way to start the day on your RSS feed reader.

http://www.janchipchase.com/

Re:Chipchase's blog is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23868521)

and the coral cache version for when it gets slashdotted...

http://www.janchipchase.com.nyud.net/

2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (1)

santiam (1279644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868139)

Personally I have only one phone, but I have seen many people with a personal phone and one paid for by an employer. Instead of having to carry (and charge) both phones, it seems to me a useful function would be having the ability to have multiple phone numbers reach the same phone.

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868759)

It must exist. I've seen one of those old Mororola bricks that had multiple line capability years ago.

Technology dosn't move backwards (Windows Vista excepted).

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23869343)

myPhone [myphone.com.ph] has "dual sim" phones that can have 2 numbers active at the same time.

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (1)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869711)

all nokia phones I ever had can do 2 numbers / 1 phone. just hold the # key until a "2" icon shows up - it means that you switched to line 2.

the problem is that the telcon may not support it.

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (1)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869833)

that is... 2 phone numbers on the same SIM card

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23876569)

My SIM card (AT&T) has room for 4 numbers (under Settings | Phone Status | My Tel. Numbers). Like someone else said, the service provider may not support this. Some used to, back in the old brick days.

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (1)

gwbennett (988163) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868819)

www.grandcentral.com Not exactly what you're looking for. But a stopgap, anyway.

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (1)

trouser (149900) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868987)

My brother ordered a phone online. Plays music, video, games, etc. The feature that appealed to him was 2 SIM card slots. Personal and work phone accounts both accessed through the same device. Clear indication on screen of the account receiving a call. Easily call via either account. He has it configured to automatically divert the work number to voice mail outside office hours.

Chinese. Brand I've never heard of. Happy Joy Laughing Monster Phone or something like that. I could ask him, but what's the point of Google if you're just going to ask friends and family. I leave it as an exercise to reader. Ask Google. Better yet, use Google to find my brother, then ask him yourself. Extra points if you find either of the numbers for his phone and call him.

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869747)

Happy Joy Laughing Monster Phone

I'd buy one now

Just to see the face of any trendy client when he ask

-"nice phone it's a moto?"
- no! it's a Happy Joy Laughing Monster Phone

no? not funny? imagine how it sounds translated to Spanish :D

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (1)

dhakir (1132425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869501)

There are adapters you can buy on ebay, but I've been told that having 2 SIM cards plugged in drains significantly more battery. That could be a reason mobile makers don't do it.

Re:2 Numbers / 1 Phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23876199)

Phones like this are really popular, at least in China, and a google search for "dual sim phone" implies that they're widely available elsewhere too. Even if you can't find one where you are, you should be able to easily import one. The only thing is it will be GSM-only, and if you're American there's a strong chance that at least one of your numbers will be on a CDMA network.

Nokia vs Android (1)

jaiyen (821972) | more than 6 years ago | (#23868881)

It seems like a much better solution would be for Nokia/Symbian to fully open up their O/S and allow 3rd party applications access to the same APIs as the native apps, in the way that Google Android promises to. That way, local developers and vendors could add features relevant to local conditions, and guys like this researcher would hardly be needed.

Re:Nokia vs Android (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869723)

And how is that different from the way Symbian is currently open for devs?

On my phone I have already different phonebook and camera app, both installed by me. I also toyed a bit with different sms app (threading of messages, Gmail - style).

Re:Nokia vs Android (1)

jaiyen (821972) | more than 6 years ago | (#23870039)

And how is that different from the way Symbian is currently open for devs?

On my phone I have already different phonebook and camera app, both installed by me. I also toyed a bit with different sms app (threading of messages, Gmail - style).

I think it's different in a few ways.

1) The apps you're talking about are only for S60, most Nokia handsets for the lower end are S40 and apps for that are limited to sandboxed J2ME ones (so, pretty much only crappy games).

2) Even for S60, development is far from open. On the newest S60v3 every app has to go through the Symbian Signed process for each release - slow and $$$. That only gives you basic permissions too, for anything more advanced (e.g. connecting to the net) it's more involved still.

3) I know there are things like address books and camera apps, but my impression is they're still second-class citizens on the phone. Is it possible to completely replace the default phonebook and camera apps with your own ones ? My impression was that such a task is akin to fully uninstalling IE on Windows, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

And how about, say, a translation app that can intercept an SMS and do something with it before it reaches the inbox ? Or something that changes the dialer screen to show numbers in the local language ? As far as I know the access needed to do something like that is not available to developers on Symbian, but should be relatively easy on Android. My knowledge of Symbian is pretty limited admittedly , I'd be pleased to be proved incorrect if it is actually possible to develop these kind of apps.

Re:Nokia vs Android (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23913351)

1) Well, yes, but you were talking about Symbian. S40 isn't Symbian, it's...limited/lower resource interface for low-end phones.

2) You can also self sign.

3) I'm not sure how something much better than original apps counts as second class citizen. But what do you mean by replace? Well, I can't delete the original ones, but the new ones can take over button shortcuts, operate on the same db of messages/contacts and so on.

Your SMS app would be possible since you have acces to messages db kept on the phone. Not sure what you mean about dialer screen app...

Not Just Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23869407)

I am surprised by the amount of people thinking how great it is that Nokia considers the needs of poorer countries. In fact, most companies do this. I remember learning in one of my anthropology courses a detergent company that did field research in a number of the poorer countries it provided goods to. It turns out that almost everyone who used the detergent to wash their clothing did so in small quantities every day, by hand, in the rivers. Their detergent was sold in bulk, was harsh on skin and on the rivers which were used as a water source. They ended up adjusting their product so it was packaged for single uses (small packets) rather than bulk (large bottles), and they changed the chemicals for more gentle ones on skin as well as the environment.

It is in a business's greater interests to research and accommodate.

Cell Phone Features (1)

rdlmorgan (1302955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869459)

Since safety and security is my business, the GPS feature is of interest to me as is the Cell Phone Stun Gun which, although does not function as a cell phone, is greatly appreciated if one finds themself in a vulnerable situation. http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com/ [officialsa...curity.com]

Duh (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869759)

So at least Nokia gets it. Question is, why doesn't everybody else? The design of a mobile phone (or any complex gadget for that matter) should START with studies in HCI. All too often gadgets end up being a maze of features stacked haphazardly together, with no thought on ease of use whatsoever.

Re:Duh (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23870063)

So at least Nokia gets it

Have you *seen* Symbian?

All too often gadgets end up being a maze of features stacked haphazardly together, with no thought on ease of use whatsoever.

Ah yes.. I see you've used an N95.

What about the people who have no phone? (1)

bradbury (33372) | more than 6 years ago | (#23869957)

I bought a very expensive high end cell phone in 1999, just before the Y2K "disaster" was supposed to happen. Then I had to buy a 2nd one because it didn't work in Moscow. I've never had my U.S enabled phone activated because why do I need it? Where is the anthropology about people who have no use for being callable 24/7?

There are such things as email, message recording machines (or telco company equivalent options). Why do people need to be available 24/7? Where is the study about people who have no phone at all? (I.e. no cell, no skype, no Ccomcast, no Verizon, etc.) People that if you want to talk to them you actually have to walk or drive up to their house. Now that would be an interesting study.

The US could learn a few things from Uganda. :) (2, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23870695)

I've been to Uganda (and Kenya) a few times, and there are some things I'd like to see in the US.

1. Basically all phones are sold unlocked, from the cheapest to the most full-featured.
2. A SIM card, usually with an hour's service on it, costs about $1. (Pertinent to the article, I have friends who have 1 phone and multiple SIMs - one for work, one for personal use)
3. Reasonably priced prepaid service is widely available.
4. Incoming calls don't cost money.
5. International texts are at most twice the cost of domestic ones.

In Uganda - and a lot of other developing countries - people are a lot more likely to have mobiles than landlines anyway. If you've got electricity, and cell coverage, that mobile is pretty handy, since the telco will want an arm and a leg to actually run wires out to your place.

Multiple phonebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23870731)

It's interesting that Nokia now embraces multiple phonebooks. This was actually thought up about 6 years ago at their Dallas Enterprise Solutions site (now shut down), but we were told their was no interest. Nokia management wanted to sell at least one phone to everyone. Our patent application was rejected internally too.

Now I understand Nokia's design problems : (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871139)

" My first job out of university was designing software for an economics project, but I realised that I didn't know what I was doing, so ... "

So this guy couldn't understand economics, but he cuts it as a big with designer?

Two sim cards (3, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23871197)

I'd love a phone that supports two sim cards. :(

Request for features (1)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23872273)

Great.
Why don't they employ their anthropologist to study how everyone gets irritated by the stupid ringtones - particularly when they go off in public places. How about having one that ... oh, I dunno.. makes a noise like a phone?

I have to state the obvious... (1)

painehope (580569) | more than 6 years ago | (#23874733)

In the U.S., it seems like people mostly just use their phones to piss me off while I'm driving. Nothing like being on a single-lane highway behind a dump truck going 50, passing it, and then getting stuck behind some dick (who is generally leaning on the window of his car with the cellphone in between the glass and his head, like it's some heavy fucking burden) going 40. All of this in a 60 mph zone.


They're completely oblivious until you pass them, at which point they'll start honking and/or throw on their high beams (yeah, that's really going to annoy me, mr. i-drive-a-sports-car-and-still-can't-get-laid, when I'm in a 4-wheel drive truck whose bumper is higher than than your windshield). Some asshole did that to me last night on the way home - well, actually, to the bar - from work (after a 13-hour day) last night. I rolled down the window, motioned for him to pull over. He did so. Then panicked and drove off when he got a good look at who he pissed off. Dipshit.

Anthropology? (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23876017)

Let me get this straight: in North America, it's called "Market Research"; in Africa, it's called "Anthropology"?

- RG>

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>