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Mobile Sector in 2008 : The Biggest Disappointments

What devices or technology have disappointed me the most? For me the biggest disappointment of the year was the failure of Apple to introduce multitasking for iPhone third party applications.

Even some feature phones allow some applications to run concurrently. Other disappointments were the inability of side-loading applications without having to jailbreak the iPhone first and impoverished Bluetooth support.

Nokia has had a bad time this year as well. With a shrinking market share and little impact in the US, it is terrible to see such a great company temporarily taking a break from innovation and quality.

The launch of their spear head device of 2008, the N96 in February, offered little to differentiate itself from the preceding N95 8GB. Much delayed and only available from November, a full 9 months after it was initially shown, the N96 came to market with too many flaws.

It was just too similar in form factor to the cheaper N95 8GB, with its TV capabilities of no use in most countries. It also shipped with software faults that considering it was an evolutionary device, was quite unforgiveable.

Similarly, the Sony Ericsson X1 was late to market and seems downright antiquated with very poor usability in comparison to other HTC manufactured devices. On the upside voice quality is superb when you can actually make a call.

Perhaps all will come right once Windows Mobile 7 is released, though for HTC and Xperia users this won't evidently happen until 2010. Apple and RIM must be pleased.

High speed data continues to impress and disappoint in equal measures. Whilst theoretically offering unlimited mobile broadband, many users are finding that their dictionary interpretation of unlimited differs from those of the operators.

Some unlimited deals top out at 500MB and then only if used in the UK. Expect a large, very large, bill if surfing abroad, even if using a partner network. Will the EU finally sort this problem out? I doubt they will to any great extent, especially with operators facing falling revenues.

High speed data also faces more problems with less than national or even city coverage due to under investment.

This has certainly not been helped by the networks attempting to sell high speed mobile data as some sort of home broadband replacement which is saturating the network infrastructure and reducing transmission speeds to a crawl.

Unexpectedly shown the exit doors were Nokia's Intellisync and, less unexpectedly, UIQ. Both products had a loyal following, but UIQ was never going to survive with S60 Touch and then Symbian being absorbed into Nokia.

Of more concern was the frankly disgraceful abandoning of business customers by Nokia's perfunctory closure of its Intellisync division, leaving many companies and organisations future mobile strategies in tatters.