Nokia N92 – The one that got away

News

We still want a TV phone
by
Nokia N92 – The one that got away

10 years ago today; before Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy; when BlackBerry was the biggest name in smartphones but nobody knew how to make the most of their internet connectivity; there came a futuristic phone that never took off – the Nokia N92.

What made the Nokia N92 stand out 10 years ago? It could tune into digital TV and even record and rewind live programmes.

Even as 2015 draws to a close, the idea of pausing and rewinding live TV on your phone – without using your entire data allowance – is pure fantasy. So why didn’t the Nokia N92 pave the way for a new market in TV phones?

Nokia N92 as a TV

The Nokia N92 could tune into TV shows thanks to a tiny digital aerial, like a small version of the one on your roof. It even gave the phone a full programme guide and the ability to record – in fact, the phone had a 30-second rolling record function so you could always rewind live TV even if you weren’t recording the whole show.

The problem was that the tiny aerial had slightly different requirements to the big one your TV uses, so TV channels had to broadcast on a slightly different signal. That meant there wasn’t a lot of choice when the Nokia N92 launched.

So, as a TV the Nokia N92 couldn’t quite live up to expectations, but surely more channels would have launched if Nokia had stuck to its TV phone plans. All it had to do was make sure the N92 worked as a phone as well.

Nokia N92Nokia N92 as a phone

To modern ears, the Nokia N92 sounded great. It had the biggest screen of any phone, a fast processor and a huge battery, but at the time those weren’t the most important things. The N92 was big and heavy – three and a half times fatter than a Samsung Galaxy S6 – and it cost much more than other Nokia smartphones of the time.

The keypad was a bit of a mess too. Hidden under the big, swivelling screen, it was hard to get to. And when you did start using it, the buttons, of which there were many thanks to the TV controls, were hard to press.

What really killed the N92 and mobile TV?

Yes, the Nokia N92 was a bit big for a time when we loved our tiny mobiles. And yes, it wasn’t the easiest to use. But the first iPhone had the same issues and look at how that turned out.

What really disappointed with Nokia’s TV phone was the lack of TV. While broadcasters were deciding if mobile TV was worth supporting, broadband and mobile internet was becoming fast enough to smoothly stream video.

In the end, mobile TV didn’t get the support it needed and was ousted by the likes of BBC iPlayer. At least the rise of internet TV over mobile TV means we can bingewatch Netflix today.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

comments powered by Disqus
Nokia's latest phone is the new state of the art, with a well-built chassis housing and 20MP PureVie
Three years is a lifetime when you're talking about smartphones. And to demonstrate, we compare the
Mobile World Congress will bring exciting handset news, but we shouldn't overlook the fact that ther

23 May, 2018
Are you thinking of buying your child his or her first phone? We've rounded up a...
22 May, 2018
If your child is new to their Android phone – it may well be their first ever phone...
22 May, 2018
Worried about using all your mobile data on Fortnite - or any other game? Read our...
18 May, 2018
Google's Android P operating system update is the most ambitious yet. Here are five...
17 May, 2018
The Samsung Galaxy A8 is an affordable mid-range smartphone with some truly flagship...

16 May, 2018
Monqi is a unique version of Android, designed for children. Through an accompanying...
15 May, 2018
Honor has launched the Honor 10 smartphone at an exclusive event in central London....
12 April, 2018
If you find yourself confused by the mention of 5G, don't worry. We answer any questions...
9 April, 2018
Check out the brilliant new Sony Xperia XZ2, out now at Carphone Warehouse. It’s...
27 March, 2018
Huawei has just announced its new P20 smartphone series at its Paris event today....
16 March, 2018
We invited our favourite grime legend Big Narstie along to Carphone Warehouse HQ...
2 March, 2018
Following another successful Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we're rounding up...
25 February, 2018
Check out all the brand new features on the new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ soon available...
25 February, 2018
Nokia has an exciting collection of new smartphones – The Nokia 1, Nokia 6, Nokia...
21 February, 2018
The BBC has launched a spectacular new augmented reality app, Civilisations AR, to...
9 February, 2018
We've got some great news for fans of role-playing games. Final Fantasy XV Pocket...
6 February, 2018
Android Oreo is Google's latest operating system, and it's rolling out to all the...