The Nokia N8 has HDMI out. Will you use it? How?
Nokia World 2010 is happening today, and I got to watch snippets of the keynote via their live stream. I saw the demo from Anssi Vanjoki where he played a video, in full HD on all their screens. He was especially proud it did not happen via a computer in the back – it was live via the Nokia N8. It comes with a HDMI port. Note that many laptops don’t even come with a HDMI out (yet). So this is revolutionary right?
So I quickly asked on Twitter: Do you really watch movies out of your smartphone? If you do, isn’t the use case on it, rather than output to a TV?
I got some interesting answers, and lots of points to discuss. First, how I might use my smartphone to watch a movie:
- Watching movies on my phone is something I envision doing when I commute. If I’m on a train or in a crowded LRT/MRT, I might whip out my phone and watch a movie. I might do this on a plane too, but the moment I get to a place with a TV its quite unlikely that I’d be interested in watching anything on my mobile phone.
- I should not forget about video podcasts – I subscribe to quite a lot of them, but I tend not to watch it on my mobile phones. I presume my usage might increase if I carried an iPhone (because my podcatcher of choice is iTunes), but the moment I could whip out my laptop or iPad, thats probably where I’d watch the video. Plus quality is an issue – HDMI out is great and all, but if the content is lacking (as most video podcasts are – you want to ensure you get quicker downloads), it’s not going to look pretty on a TV.
- I might want to watch videos I create on my mobile device. This is where it might shine – watching user generated content on the big screen. To be fair, the Nokia N8 includes a very basic video editor, and this might be where HDMI out might make sense.
Now, for the rather interesting answers.
Matt Armitage tells me that he watches movies and TV on his smartphone while he is at the gym. He usually does it via a video cable to the treadmill monitor. Furthermore he tells me that some treadmill monitors allow you to plug it in via an AV lead in, and others give you an iPod adapter (compatible with all iOS devices) and you can now use the touch screen interface on the treadmill. Advanced!
Carolyn Chan tells me that she watches Futurama on her iPhone. But when pressed if she would watch it on TV via her smartphone, she says no, largely because getting movies on the phone is already a painful experience, and poor battery life is not going to help the cause.
Asrial Baker and I had a rather interesting conversation. He watches full length movies on his smartphone, with proper earphones/headsets. Asrial does this on his long commutes, and he notes that others do it on buses and trains too. Asrial’s daily commute is probably over one hour but less than two hours, one way, everyday. He can get quite a bit done while he’s on the train. He goes further to tell me that its useful when you are at a hotel, and the hotel TV is not that entertaining, its best to have the N8 + HDMI out to enjoy your movies.
Now, I never thought of this use case. When I’m at a hotel, I’m usually beat from the day and I rarely have time to watch television, let alone a feature length film. But I do spend a lot of time at hotels, and recently during my vacation, I stayed in six hotels over 3+ weeks. I am writing this while in a hotel room.
Not all hotels have a HDMI input. Asrial says every hotel he’s been to had one. Thinking back, during those six visits, only 50% of the hotels had flat screen TVs. The rest were all CRT based, and would not have had any HDMI inputs. The one I’m in now, has 3 HDMI ports, but you’ve got to get to it via the TV. No chance of plugging your phone in to get it charged (otherwise, you’d have a flat battery in no time).
What you see above was taken in the Four Points by Sheraton in Kuching, Malaysia. That’s two power sockets, a 5 volt USB charger, computer VGA in, HDMI in, iPod in, and regular AV in. In recent times, I can only remember one other hotel that does this: Intercontinental Bangkok. What is common in hotels though is an iPod dock. This commonly connects to the TV as well, so you can enjoy music & videos from your iOS device.
On an airplane, for example a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, you will get a USB port, an Ethernet port, and a video AV in port. No HDMI.
In conclusion, do you watch movies on your smartphone? How will you use HDMI out?