Nokia announce 3 new devices

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Having already covered the Nokia C6 a couple of times, there’s not a lot to say about this device, except it does appear to be a very interesting proposition…

Featuring the S60 5th Edition touchscreen, including the N97-style homescreen widgets, this device combines the feature spec of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, adds a sliding QWERTY keyboard, upgrades the camera to 5 megapixel, and does so without adding too much extra weight or volume.  This device, as I have already said, it likely to sell very well, especially as Nokia are looking at a €220 SIM free price (that’s about £200), so we can expect it less than that on PAYG, and I would expect as little as free on 18-month contracts.

I could repeat all the specs of this device, but it’s best to head to the Nokia PDF Datasheet for the best information (here).

Even better, the phone is due to be actually available in Q2; showing Nokia has finally moved towards reducing the time between announcement and availability, which is a good move.  Of course, as it features a GPS, that means free navigation software too. One thing to be aware of; although it will launch in Black and White, in time there will be additional colours, such as Blue.

Nokia also released the Nokia C3 (below), which is a S40 QWERTY device.  This will have a SIM free price of €90 (£80)

Although being S40, this phone features email, chat, information on the homescreen (posting and status updates).  Looking at the spec, it seems to rival the INQ Chat 3G, so this should be a popular device too for those wanting QWERTY, but with the Nokia badge. This will also be available in Q2.  Again, more information on the spec is available direct from Nokia here.

Finally, Nokia announced the Nokia E5, which will not be out until Q3, and will most likely replace the Nokia E63 (which makes sense as the Nokia E63 is S60 3rd Edition FP1, whereas the Nokia E5 is S60 3rd Edition FP2).

This, again, is  QWERTY device, and will feature a GPS with free navigation (a step up from the Nokia E63), and increase the camera to 5megapixels too.  At €180 (£160) SIM free, again, this is competitively priced to be even more popular than the Nokia E63.  Given this will be aimed more at the business market (although I would expect certain UK networks to pick it up and release it for everyone), the extra delay between now and release is unlikely to be a big issue.

I’m really impressed by these phones, I’m not going to rush out and buy them all, but for the mid-market they are aimed at, these devices will sell really well.  My only criticism is that the C-Series now has an S40, a S60 3rd Edition and a S60 5th Edition device, making it difficult to associate one OS with a range, but that’s not so different from the old 4 number range, which covered all 3 OSes as well.  For those who are looking for a top spec flagship phone, these aren’t it, and that should be announced in the coming months…


Nokia release beta update to Ovi Maps

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Nokia Maps 3.0 with Ovi

Nokia have released, via the Nokia Beta Labs, an update to the Free Ovi Maps solution, now at v3.04.  The new features are:

  • Improved positioning speed and accuracy
  • Map zooming with faster speed
  • Improved search for cities with zoom out to city level

This is good to see, and if you want to try it out (remember it’s a beta version, so may not be perfect), then head over to the Nokia Beta Labs to download this new version.  If you think your device (whether S60 3rd Edition FP2 or S60 5th Edition) is not supported, it’s worth trying one of the other similar models (within the same OS group); eg if you are using a Nokia N86 or Nokia E75, then try the 3rd Edition FP2 version even though your model is not explicitly listed; strangely some people seem to have had success with this method, and others not, so it’s not clear whether or not other devices of the same OS (other than the original 10 or so Nokia announced) can access this software or not.

One word of warning; if you are using a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, you need at least v31 firmware, which is still not available for some Orange models and all 3UK Nokia 5800 XpressMusic devices, and this despite 3UK giving assurances last month that they were working at fast as possible to get this update out to their users.

Now, about all those of us with S60 3rd Edition FP1 devices; Nokia released a statement (via a Q&A session) about supporting existing and elder devices with the Free Ovi Maps service.  They said they were working to extend the compatibility to other current devices (although I believe they meant FP2 devices), and from now on, all GPS enabled devices will be supported with Free Ovi Maps, but could not give any timelines or guarantees over elder devices; although a ray of hope was that their exact comment was “We can’t say when it will be available”, which seems to imply there is still a chance it will happen.

What I can say is that the Beta of v3.04 isn’t available in an FP1 version, so it’s fair to say it’s going to be a while longer before it comes out, if it ever does…


If you want a Nokia 5800, be quick…!

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Nokia 5800

We’re hearing that Vodafone will be removing the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic from their range by the end of the week, and it’s likely as we progress into March that the other networks will follow suit.  As the phone has been out for a while, it seems it’s being replaced by the Nokia 5230, which although is a nice phone, has some less features compared to the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

Firstly, it’s got a 2 megapixel camera, compared to the 3.2 megapixel on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, and it doesn’t have WiFi (not a problem for many people, but still worth pointing out; whilst at home, my phones often download larger files and data, which would quickly cut into the data limits placed on phone contracts).  It does, however, have built in social networking features (although adding a copy of Gravity to a Symbian phone only costs around £8, and is well worth it in my opinion).  It does also have more flexibility when it comes to the home screen layout, which may appeal to many.  With the move to Ovi Maps v3 now being free for S60 5th Edition phones, both can have free Navigation, although with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic you may well need to update the software and maps before you get free navigation, whereas it’s more likely (although not confirmed) that the Nokia 5230 will ship with the free version out of the box.

So, if you are after a new phone, the Nokia 5230 is worth a look, but if the lack of WiFi will be an issue, then you might want to act quickly before the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic disappears from the shelves for good!


Nokia release Custom Dictionary Editor

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Nokia E71

Yes, finally, after all these years… Nokia (well Nokia Beta Labs) have released a Custom Dictionary Editor, which allows you to read, edit and delete the words in the customer dictionary on your phone.  Of course, as with all things Nokia, it’s not that simple, so read on before you head off to install the software…

Firstly, it’s mainly aimed at the latest phones, so devices like the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and the Nokia X6 are fine, and there’s a dedicated version for the Nokia E71 and Nokia E63 which works fine too, but most other devices will struggle in one way or another, and not have the full functionality, which includes…

  • View all the words in your custom dictionary
  • Add new words to it
  • Edit and Delete existing words
  • Export the dictionary as xml file
  • Import words from an xml file
  • Scan text files to import all the words
  • Transfer your dictionary to another phone

Although many devices are generally supported (most S60 3rd Edition and S60 5th Edition devices should be able to run the application, although most S60 3rd Edition FP1 phones will have limited functionality), the best support is limited to the 4 supported phones (even devices like the Nokia N97, Nokia E72 and Nokia E75 are listed as having “minor issues”).

This is a good forward step by Nokia though; many people, myself included, have been annoyed by the lack of edit capability of the dictionary over the years.  One useful piece of advice Nokia have now provided though; the dictionary is limited in size, and, once full, when it adds a word, it deletes the least used word from the dictionary.  This will explain for many why some words disappear over time.

As always, if you want to try it out, head over to the Nokia Beta Labs to see it, and the support for your phone.  Also, if you hadn’t visited the Nokia Beta Labs site recently, you’ll need a Nokia Account (you’ll already have one if you use the Ovi features) to download the application.


3UK Plans for the future

Monday, February 1st, 2010

3 logo

Last week I attended an event hosted by 3UK.  In attendance were a variety of 3UK staff from Marketing & PR, Products & Services, Customer Services, and the Networks team.  I had a chance to chat with people for each area and was able to ask a wide range of questions, especially those that you had added as comments to my request last week.  As a result, I’m able to provide a glimpse into what 2010 holds for 3UK (although nothing truly exclusive and brand new was announced, there was some useful information provided)…

Please read the questions and answers after the break…



Brightkite now available for Symbian

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Brightkite on Symbian

Brightkite have released their Symbian app (we first talked about it here over a year ago!), and it’s available in the Ovi Store here right now.  As you may work out from the screenshot, it’s for the touchscreen devices, and so is limited to S60 5th Edition devices (Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini etc.) but even so, it’s an interesting step in the right direction.

In fact, maybe combining this with the Maps Booster application I discussed this morning would provide that nice alternative to Google Latitude I was looking for…


Can you actually get the new Ovi Maps for free?

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Nokia Maps 3.0 with Ovi

When Nokia made Ovi Maps free for a whole range of devices last week, one thing which wasn’t so strongly mentioned was the minimum firmware versions needed for certain devices.  Take the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for example; although many devices shipped with v11 (and since then Nokia has released v20, v21, v30, v31 and v40 firmwares), you actually need a minimum of v31 to be able to install this latest version of Ovi Maps.

Obviously for anyone with a generic unbranded device, this is easy; a quick firmware check on the device, or using Nokia Software Updater on your Windows PC will soon confirm that there is a v40 firmware, and you can easily install it; but what about the UK network operators?  If you have a branded device, are you in luck?

Well, generally, the good news is yes, you are in luck.  It looks like the majority of UK branded product codes have had v31 released (although none that I checked actually had v40 released yet), so overall, you have a good chance of being able to upgrade the firmware in your phone, and then install the new free to use Ovi Maps.

However, all is not perfect; I did say “the majority”, and I’m sorry to say, the Orange product code for a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Blue edition (the early devices Orange first sold) seems to be stuck on v30, and hence, although fairly up to date, not sufficiently up to date to allow the new Ovi Maps to work.  Ironically, the Black variant, which, being newer, has strangely always faired better for firmware updates seems to have v31 available, so those users are fine.

If my research is correct, that’s a silly situation to be in; depending when you bought your phone determines which colour you have, and with Orange, that can mean the difference between being able to install Ovi Maps or not.  Let’s hope Orange resolve this with some speed given the amount of advertising Nokia is putting behind their new Ovi Maps versions.

However, that’s not the end of the story; it appears 3UK are also stuck on v30, and hence anyone with a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic from 3UK will not be able to run the latest Ovi Maps either.

Obviously, I am not able to check every single colour and operator variant, but I checked over 10 different product codes to write this article; if you have a device from Orange or 3UK that has access to the v31 or v40 firmware (without changing the product code), then please add a comment and let me know the product code (from underneath the battery in the form of 0559360) and what firmware version you have access to…

So, to recap; well done to most UK operators (T-Mobile, O2, Virgin, Vodafone), and not so well done to Orange and 3UK for either not having v31 available, or having a mix of firmware versions.


Breaking news – Nokia to provide GPS Navigation for free

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Nokia Maps 3.0 with Ovi

This is only just been announced, so I’ll provide more comment later, but if you own, or are planning to buy one of these Nokia models:

then as from today, you should be able to download a new version of Ovi Maps, which not just offers free GPS Navigation in over 70 countries, but offers more too…

  • Free Drive navigation
  • Free Walk navigation
  • Free maps and map updates
  • Free Events guides
  • Free Lonely Planet guides
  • Free Michelin guides
  • Free Weather updates

That’s an impressive list, especially the guides and weather being free too.  This is obviously a reaction to Google announcing plans to make navigation free for all, but with Nokia supporting offline navigation (with all the maps and routing being stored on the device) this is likely to be a much preferred solution for many (especially those travelling abroad where roaming data charges would make Google’s solution impractical for many).

We’re also hearing that traffic and safety camera information will be free too!

Nokia have stated they plan to increase the range of devices further in the future (I, like many others have already commented on the lack of the original Nokia N97).

For more information, head to the Free Navigation Forever page from Nokia.

Update: We understand the Nokia N97 is likely to need a firmware update first to be able to support the new version of the Ovi Maps (this is more about a lack of free space on the C: drive than anything in particular within the firmware), and it’s possible that the new Ovi Maps will be included within the firmware itself, and that we may see that firmware before the end of the month.

Update: We have seen a number of comments from Nokia that imply more of their “older” devices will soon be included within this Free Navigation programme, and we hope it covers the majority of S60 3rd Edition FP1 devices, especially those like the Nokia E71 which are still on sale today as brand new devices.

Update: It appears there will be a Free version for the Nokia N900 Maemo device, but this is some way off.


Swim now supports S60 3rd Edition FP2 and 5th Edition

Monday, January 18th, 2010

I’ve covered Swim before, a tool for automating syncs on your Nokia (Symbian) phone.  I use it every day with GooSync to keep my Google Calendar and my local Symbian calendar in sync with each other, but one problem was that Swim only worked on S60 3rd Edition FP1 phones.

Well, the team behind Swim have apparently been working direct with the Symbian Foundation to resolve the issues, which they have managed to do succesfully, so they have now released an updated version with S60 3rd Edition FP2 support (eg Nokia E72) and S60 5th Edition (Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic) too.  It should be noted that the updated version only supports these new platforms, and for regular FP1 users, there is no new version at this stage.

This is one of those utilities you really should consider with Symbian, and it’s a shame it’s still not included automatically by Symbian; if, for example, you go and buy an Android phone (especially a Google Experience one), you simply enter your Google details, and your calendar (even multiple claendars, if you are a power user of Goolge Calendar) will be automatically kept up to date with your device with no further intervention by you… it’s these little integration points that make Android so popular at the moment…


A week of Nokia firmware updates

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Nokia N900

Just like buses, you wait for ages and then two come along together…

It’s been a bit of a week for firmware updates, and many recent devices have seen updates this week.  The Nokia E72 has now got the v22 firmware, The Nokia N86 gets v21, and the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic gets v40.  Each of these offers improvements for the device, and are worthy of investigation if you own these devices.  Of course, the operator-specific branded firmwares will take a little longer to be released.

For example, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic changelog includes:

  • Additional Kinetic Scrolling
  • Changed UI in the homescreen similar to the 5530XM
  • Updated Nokia Messaging
  • OVI Contacts pre-installed
  • New screen alarm when locked
  • Keyboard updated: when in vertical mode it’s alpha-numeric, if you turn your phone to landscape mode, it automatically changes to full qwerty
  • Keyboard updated: when you press a “key” the key that appears on top is now bigger
  • Software updater is now updated and has some more options
  • When phone key lock is on and you receive a call you see a slide to unlock and a slide to answer bar

However, the Maemo based Nokia N900 has had an even better week…

Earlier in the week, a small minor firmware update was released, which allowed the Ovi Store to become available for the Maemo platform, and then over the next day or so, the PR1.1 first major firmware release will start appearing on devices for applying.  This brings many little minor fixes to the platform, many of which were reported via the Maemo bug tracker direct to the developers, but probably the single biggest bugfix that is directly relevant to the UK is that 3UK SIMs are now supported by this firmware update.  So, if you have a 3UK SIM you want to use with a Nokia N900, then apply this update (2.2009.51-1) and then you should no longer suffer from “SIM card rejected” messages.

If you are yet to buy a Nokia N900, and have been put off by the high SIM-free price of the device, then Vodafone have announced they will be selling the phone soon.  There are rumours that stocks are already in store, but sales are being held to prevent it impacting on the launch of the iPhone on Vodafone, but I doubt whether anyone will be swayed from one to the other, as they seem to attract a very different customer.  Either way, this new firmware will be well worth applying to your Nokia N900 as soon as it’s available for you.

If you want to access this major update as an OTA (Over The Air) upgrade, you’ll need to apply the more minor upgrade from earlier in the week first, and then shortly afterwards this new firmware should become visible, however, if you use Nokia’s PC based Software Updater, you are able to jump straight to the latest firmware without the intermediate step.

The only issue with this firmware update is that is does not bring the portrait-mode support that was expected, so it’s likely we’ll see another firmware update for the Nokia N900 in the coming months to address that oft-requested feature; also, MMS is still missing, although there is a third party app providing MMS support if you really need it (see here for more details, and here for another program by the same author which allows a secondary APN to be defined on the device, which is often needed to be able to send MMS).  However, we should point out that Nokia and Maemo are aware that the OTA firmware update will not work if certain other software is installed (especially applications from the extras-devel repository, which is not enabled by default on the Nokia N900).  If you are directed to perform the firmware update via your PC, one option is to turn off this repository, and uninstall any applications installed from it, and see if that fixed the “under-the-covers” software problems.

If you really want to see a fairly complete list of fixes, then head to the Maemo PR1.1 release information, although be warned, it’s quite technical, and quite long too!

Finally, if you want to get the latest version of Vagalume (the Maemo / client) streaming on your Nokia N900, then nokiAAddict has also written up the information on how to achieve this here.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Changelog courtesy of nokiAAddict.