Nokia’s chance to be the next Apple of journalism and PR – roundup of media phones for 2009

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for what the Nokia N95 can do as a reporting tool (or PR for that matter) – and the material gathered by the Manchester Evening News‘ Nicola Dowling validates that even further but the Nokia N97 looks like it could take things to the next level.

However it won’t be alone – though I think Nokia has a chance with the N95 and N97 to become to journalism and media gathering what the Apple and the Macintosh (along with Adobe and Quark) did to desktop publishing.

As Tsuki Chama points out, there’s some interesting phones for people to choose from over the coming months of 2009.

For reporters/PRs looking for credible options for mobile, light offices there’s the N97 (the N95 will still kick about too probably as you can’t beat free or tried and tested), Palm’s new Pre and – you would think – the third iteration of the iPhone. (Yes, I know there are other phones too, but the G1 and Blackberries don’t seem to be getting tested out by as many reporters/PRs for all media maneouvres)

On the N97, the main concern has to be if the keyboard will be decent enough (it does look dinky small) or if some will still grab an external as well.

Now, all of this is before a third revision of the iPhone comes out. Now there’s no rule that says there needs to be a revision every year of the iPhone, but I think people will be surprised if there isn’t one that doesn’t at least try and catch up with others in terms of camera, video filming and perhaps even MMS if nothing else. They may even feel the need to catch up with providing a keyboard.

(there’s a comparison of the N97 and iPhone here)

I think Nokia may find the N97 to be where they take the lead big time though because Nokia’s actually giving news organisations a chance to be a bit foxy: they’ve announced a widget competition.

Now imagine News International pulling together a widget that sent you all the web updates from their papers along with twitter updates and any video upload info. I just pick NI there at random but any paper could do that and have it ready for launch. Companies could do the same for their press releases and other info.

I haven’t put my hands on any of them yet, but for me at the moment if a carrier offers me unlimited data usage – or a decent pretend at unlimited data usage – similar to the pricerange of what iPhone users get offered then I’m there.

Orange doesn’t do that – in fact, Orange told me they never stocked the N95 as it was crap (a guy in Carphone Warehouse later told me that what made the N95 crap with Orange was Orange’s own software they insisited on putting in. I’m glad I went with it – and I’ve been back to CW a few times since as I appreciated the guy’s honesty)

Another thing Nokia could do if they have bundles of unused N95s lying about once the N97 comes out: give them to newspapers and reporters – not tech ones, mainstream ones – as a gift to play with and to see how it works with their reporting. Apple might want to try the same with older iPhones.

One of these two could easily own the phone pockets of most media types within the next 12 months. Going to be fun to watch.

(And as I keep giving big love to Twitter I suppose I should point out the N97 Twitterer)