I’m currently playing with the new O2 Cocoon, a mobile phone cum lifestyle friend, or whatever warm fuzzy marketing spin they are putting on it.

Essentially a mobile phone with media player leanings, there are a few nice touches that elevate this above your standard mobile phone fare. I’ll post more about how it handles day to day usage in a week or so, but first impressions are good.

And, these days, first impressions start with the box, or more accurately with the unboxing experience. When I picked up the phone from the Post Office I was a bit perturbed at the long thin box I was presented with, had I been sent a keyboard by mistake? I was relieved to see the word Hello, spelled out in an LED font, lightly embossed on the surface of the box.

After cutting through a small piece of tape, I opened the magnetic catch and swung the box lid open to reveal the phone nestled in a large soothing background image of sky and flower blossoms. But where were the usual cables, booklets and other paraphernialia that accompanies every gadget these days? Twisting the box round a small tab labelled “Pull” caught my eye and, on doing so, a drawer slid out containing all of the above and more.

Unlike other mobile phones I’ve received, the dock, a headphone splitter and two sets of cables greeted me.

Now, like most people, I’ve owned a mobile phone or two, so I know the first thing to do is get the battery charged. Extracting the slim white usb power adapter (which will handle other usb powered gadgets, hello iPod?) and the battery from the box. Now all I had to do was figure out how to get the cover off the phone so I could insert the battery. Does it slide? No. Umm.. pull? No. How the hell?? Ohh wait, what’s that little button on the side? Ahhh, a lock for the battery compartment, how handy, if a little different from any of the other mobile phones I’ve used before.

Once I’d cracked that little puzzle, I plugged in and there I saw the first flash of something different, the light blue OLED display on the white plastic surface. Unless you’ve seen one before it’s hard to explain, suffice to say that what looks like a solid plastic surface, actually contains a set of lights underneath, through which information can be displayed. In the case of the Cocoon, it will display the time, message info when received, and the title of the currently playing track. Kinda neat and leads us to the dock which is supplied with the phone. Sitting the phone lengthwise in the dock, the display acts like, well, a clock. Upon investigation I realised that this was a key feature of the Cocoon, and that using it as an alarm clock, was part of the core design.

Thinking about it, it does make some sense. You set an alarm, dock your phone, and you have a nice subtle clock on your bedside table. After all, how many of us have a bedside alarm clock that tells us the time all day, when we aren’t even there. Hmm there are “green” connotations afoot!

Once charged, and with the PAYG sim inserted, I had a quick play with the interface and it’ll come easily to previous Nokia users I’m sure, but I’m not one so it feels a little ‘off’ to me. But that’ll change as I use the phone more often. Nothing is particularly hard to find.

Alas I can’t tell you much more as I can’t get it to talk to my PC, the USB will charge the phone but I can’t connect to it to try and sync my contacts. I’ll try on the Mac later.

Ohh and if you are wondering, no I didn’t buy the phone, yes I was given the phone as part of a promotion, no I don’t need to blog about it if I don’t want to (and if I end up not liking it, it may find itself on eBay). Am I whoring myself out? Perhaps, but if you were thinking of buying the Cocoon then hold off a week or so and I’ll let you know what I think.

Finally, a quick word on O2. One of the thing that has plagued Louise and I is the signal coverage in our house. Orange and Vodafone are sketchy at best but the Cocoon gets a good signal in all parts of the house so, if nothing else, I’ll probably be switching to them when my Orange contract is finally dead.

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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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Packaging waste. Discuss…

I’ve been having a go with one of those for a while (for different reasons other than blog-marketinggy things, but all power to your hand, Gordy) and found that while the LED thing is fun, the novelty does wear off a bit after a while.

Also, the battery life is quite annoying, looking like it’s fine for a really long tim, and then suddenly running out very fast and with not enough warning, I found. I was also slightly confused as to whether I could wake up to an alarm clock noise – my preferred if old fashioned option, or HAD to wake up to a particular radio station or mp3.

Oh, and it’s a bit hard to open with one hand and the inside of it is ugly. Like a mid-eighties casio calculator or something.

I have to admit, that packaging does sound a bit stupid, though. Having not seen it, that’s all the discussion I have to offer on the matter, though.

Not as bad as I’ve seen on other products BW – one box, with one drawer that is partitioned. Other phones I’ve had had the power adapter in a box, the CD and manuals in a box, all within another box. Could be better though, all the cables are in baggies, but I guess that’s a manufacturing issue as they’ll all be from 3rd party sources.

anna – spot on with the inside look, Casio-tastic!

Ooh, and I hear O2 got the UK iPhone contract too. I wonder how they’ll compare in terms of features and price on O2 contracts.

I have to say, I like O2 in general – I’d rather they weren’t quite such marketing monkeys, and such label whores for things like the Dome etc.

For preference, and having tried all the networks over the years, O2 is the one I went back to, and have now been with them for three years.

I’m never totally sure what “coverage in our house” means?

You don’t have a landline?

It means the mobile phone signal in our house is rubbish.

What has having a landline got to do with it?

@James – it means “Do I receive text messages while at home?” and/or “If someone calls my mobile while I’m at home, will it ring, or will it go to voice mail for being ‘unavailable’?”

[leans on five-bar gate whilst chewing piece of hay and wearing smock] Ooo-Arrr! Out ‘ere in the cunnntree, we only ‘ave that there T-Mobile rezepshun. An’ oo needs them thar new fangled phones anyway? I can have a chat with Flossie any time I lean on this gate an’ she wanders over with her udders, arr.

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