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Thoughts: Nokia NSeries Multimedia Menu

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Since the birth of the famous Nseries lineup, there has been on most of Nokia’s Multimedia Computers a Multimedia Menu. From the N70 to the most recent N85, the Multimedia Menu has been present, and it has evolved with the passing of time, now it is a completely different concept than its early version on the first generation of Nseries devices.  But is the Multimedia Menu an effective, useful addition to S60?

I hear many people say ”I don’t use it” or ”I just don’t see the point of it”. I was one of those until I proposed myself to use the entire Multimedia Menu as much as it can be used, It has been one week since and here are my thoughts:

As the presentation by Nokia says, with the Multimedia Menu you can easily access your most frequently used multimedia content, that is the main objective and concept of the Multimedia Menu but it delivers that content faster, easier and in a more good-looking and elegant way.

The 7 tiles turn smoothly to browse each category of content and the up/down transitions are fast and elegant. The Multimedia Menu has 7 tiles, each tile guides you directly to the content inside another application, for example a specific Game inside of N-Gage or a specific contact inside the Phonebook, the Multimedia Menu is in other words a shortcut manager. The user can  also arrange the tiles as he wishes,  and call this  tiles with a number, for example pressing 5 guides to Internet on some  default configurations. Now let’s review closely each tile the Multimedia Menu offers:

New design of Multimedia Key                       Previous design of Multimedia Key

Internet: The internet tile is formed by the bookmarks you save in the S60 Browser. It shows 5 bookmarks, you click over them and the page opens in the browser.

There is a very useful trick the Multimedia Menu offers, tabbed browsing: to start using tabs save ”about:blank” as a bookmark and at anytime while browsing press the Multimedia button and select ”Blank”, a new tab will open, and you can then navigate between tabs pressing ”5”.    I found myself using the Multimedia Menu’s Internet tile a lot, It offered me a shorter and more effective way to check the web sites I frequently browse, also when opening a new tab the MM proved to be useful. Here the MM gets a 10/10.

Music: The Music tile has 5 rows, the first one offers you to go to the last track you were listening to, the second one opens the Music Player, third one is a very handy shortcut to your podcasts, fourth one takes you to play lists and last one to music store.

Overall the Music tile is useful when you want to start  where you left the last time. I am sure many users who listen often to music, have the right/left softkey guided towards the music player, so the MM does not offer a shorter path, although for other user who will have to navigate towards the ”Music” folder and then ”Music Player” by default, the MM will be an effective solution. I wonder why Nokia did not put the Radio shortcut in the MM. Here the MM gets a  7/10.

Videos: Like in the Music tile, the video tile offers a shortcut to last clip played, it also offers a much shorter and better way to quickly access your videos. The Video Center is also an alternative but MM is much faster. During the week, I found myself using MM to open videos more than the Gallery or the Video Center. Here MM gets a 9/10.

Gallery: The gallery tile is wrongly named in my judgment, it should be named ”Photos” since the main purpose is showing the last picture taken and start a slide show of all your photos. I did not use it very often although, if you are showing your pictures to someone is better to open the  MM because is a good looking interface and it’s also a quick shortcut to start a slide show.  6/10.

Games: One of my favourites, it has also 5 shortcuts, N-Gage (just opens N-Gage app), My Games which takes you directly to games installed on the phone, My Profile which shows your stats and history on N-Gage, My Friends which takes you to your list of N-Gage friends and finally Game Showroom which guides you to the showroom so you can trial/buy new games.  This tile is one of my favourites because let’s me quickly access my N-Gage games. MM Games gets a 9/10.

Contacts: Also one of my favorites, lets me call or text in an easy way my most frequent contacts, the user selects the contacts he/she wants to add to the list, and if he/she clicks them, it opens a window to text that person or if the user presses the Green button it calls the contact. I found myself using it throughout the entire day, it is an easy way to stay in touch with those 5 people who you call and text all the time, I think it is a brilliant idea, before MM I used to name the most frequently used contacts “aaa…….” to show first in the  Phonebook, but MM solves that problem completely. Definitively here MM Contacts gets a 10/10.

Maps: Very useful tile, basically it shows you the last 5 addresses/places you searched in Nokia Maps, and your favourites places, it is a very useful shortcut to let Nokia Maps show you the way towards your Home or Work or any other favourite place previously saved, is a brilliant idea because is very easy and quick to start navigating to your favourite places.

So what is the conclusion? What do I think after one week of continuous MM use?

Screenshot0008 by you.

After one week of doing an effort and start using the MM, I found that for me the MM is now an important part of my Nokia smartphone, it is simple, fun and easy to use, it has been always there but users don’t realize its potential. I encourage you to start using the MM on your Nokia phone, you will find it is a very useful button after you discover its capabilities.  After all, Nokia spent a whole button on MM!

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By , International Correspondent on Oct 11th, 2008 GMT +2


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