Nokia announce Nokia Situations

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Although not as full featured as Tasker or Locale (both for Android devices), Nokia Situations enhances the built in Profile management with the ability to create custom profiles, and choose when these profiles are selected.  The screenshot above shows some of the range of options you can use to trigger the change in profile, and I’m especially pleased to see Network support, and not just GPS location, allowing location based changes without needing the phone to constantly use drain the battery by keeping the GPS running.

Although currently a Nokia Beta Labs product, it’s likely we will see this either integrated into future devices, or the app being made available in the Ovi Store to allow a wider coverage.

Nokia have also created 4 versions of this, which is also good to see.  Firstly, there’s the Symbian^3 version (Nokia N8), an S60 5th Edition for phones with homescreen widgets (Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini, Nokia C6-00), remaining S60 5th Edition phones (such as the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic), and even a S60 3rd Edition FP2 (Nokia E72, Nokia E5); it’s good that Nokia are remembering they are still releasing new phones with S60 3rd Edition installed.

If you are interested in this application, head over to Nokia Beta Labs for more information.


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Symbian Swype beta updated

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Nokia Beta Labs have updated the Symbian S60 5th Edition Swype beta version in the last few days.  This is compatible with a range of touch devices:

This new version adds a range of bug fixes:

  • Several crashes have been resolved including those related to backspace
  • Spanish keyboard properly displays national character
  • Performance relating to auto-capitalization, auto-spacing and general application speed has been improved
  • A new language selection dialog has been implemented to improve readibility and UX
  • Rotation no longer reverts Swype back to the default keyboard
  • Application size has been reduced by 1.5mb

As always, head over to Nokia Beta Labs for more information and to register and download the application.


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play.com now accept Nokia C6 orders

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Although play.com announced that they were accepting pre-orders for the Nokia C6 Black variant (at £269.99), they have now also listed the Nokia C6 White as available to order.  Although the White variant is listed as “Temporarily out of stock”, it’s possible to purchase it now, and they will deliver it once it comes into stock (for completeness the Black variant seems to not be available for order at the moment).

Even better, they are selling the Nokia C6 White at only £249.99, a saving of £50 over the retail price of £299.99.  This buys you a SIM free phone with a great range of features, and if you compare that to the Nokia N97 Mini, which launched at a much higher price, this appears to be a bit of a bargain… If you are worried about the size of the device, especially as it has a QWERTY keyboard built in, it’s only 1.3mm thicker than the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic…

If fact, a quick search shows that Mobile Fun have the Nokia C6 Black at the same £249.99 (and available for pre-order as stock is expected later this week / early next week), so you should be able to get either colour for around £250…

If you are interested in the Nokia C6 White, then head off to the play.com website to place your order, or head to Mobile Fun for the Nokia C6 Black instead.


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Nokia release new firmwares

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Last week Nokia released 3 key new firmwares.  Firstly, the Nokia E71 (and I suspect the Nokia E66 and Nokia E63, as they seem to share a common base and seem to get updates at the same time) was updated to v500, although at the time of writing, this was not yet available for either the generic EURO1 codes nor the operator branded versions in the UK, but hopefully it will become available over the coming weeks.

v500 contains the following updates:

  • Maps v3.03 Lite which has Free Navigation support
  • Music Player upgrade
  • Quick Office v6.2 which has Office 2007 support
  • Ovi Store upgraded to 1.6.0.18 and Download! Removed
  • Ovi Suite included in Memory card
  • Functionality improvements in E-mail configuration
  • Qwerty keypad improvements
  • Emergency call termination with RSK key corrected
  • Corrected Bluetooth link drop when an outgoing call is made in a carkit
  • Corrected localization issues in world clock
  • Fix provided for selecting desired mailbox when multiple mailboxes are configured

Probably more important is the Nokia N97 firmware update to v22, and the Nokia N97 Mini firmware update to v12.  Given the Nokia N97 is always accused of not having enough memory and space on the internal C: drive, then having to install Ovi Maps (over 10MB) to that area is always a burden. Well, this new firmware at least includes v3.03 Ovi Maps within the firmware, removing the need to have that additional 10MB application install (although we note that v3.04 is now out with the added cell ID and Wi-Fi based positioning, so without using a third party app such as Maps Booster, there is still, ironically, a need to install Ovi Maps in addition to the version in firmware for some of us).

The other new features include:

  • Ovi Maps v3.03 with free Navigation built-in
  • Nokia Messaging stub built-in
  • Default screen brightness raised to 75%
  • Default theme now the jet black ‘Nseries 2’, giving longer battery life than the previous ‘Nseries 3’
  • RAM optimisations
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes, including “Default Nokia tune is played as ringing tone for incoming calls instead of the one user has defined in Profile settings. Also sometimes device has stopped alerting for incoming calls. Both issues are now fixed” which has plagued a good few users.

As with all firmwares, you will need to decide between the impact of applying a new firmware (and the need to wipe the phone and start again with all your contacts, bookmarks, application and settings) against the fixes provided by the new firmware.  As always, expect to wait longer (and potentially forever) for operator branded versions to arrive; for example a 3UK Nokia E71 is still on v300, having never released v400 (or v410) for their devices, so the chance of v500 being released is quite small (it’s not all 3UK; an Orange N97 will still be stuck on v10, as they have never released v11, v20 or v21, let alone the new v22).

Nokia E71 firmware information courtesy of Symbian World, Nokia N97 Firmware information courtesy of All About Symbian.


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Another self learning Nokia Bot

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

We first covered the Nokia Bots here, and now Nokia has added another Bot to the collection, with an impressive learning capability.  The Nokia Contacts Bot not just learns your most dialled contacts to present them on the homescreen, but it also learns your “work” and “home” locations, and it will take this intthe learning process for the contact, so this Nokia Bot will not just learn what you do, but it will learn where you do it, and use that location knowledge to good use.

This is a clever trick, and if it works well, provides a useful feature for the phones that support the homescreen widgets (currently the Nokia N97 and Nokia N97 Mini only, although new phones are due with homescreen widget support soon).

This, and the other Nokia Bots, can be downloaded from the Nokia Beta Labs website.


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Nokia N8 news

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

According to Symbian World, a French Symbian site is claiming that the new Nokia N8 will support the ability to play DivX / XVid movies.  To me, this is either interesting, nothing new, or just plain wrong, and I really can’t decide which.  Nothing appears to have been announced by Nokia, nor by Symbian, which would seem to imply it’s wrong.  However, in the past DivX.com themselves have produced a S60 3rd Edition DivX player, so it’s not unreasonable to assume they may plan, or have developed either for themselves, or for Symbian, a DivX player.  However, anything developed by DivX would be DivX only, and not support xVid.  However, some users who have had access to pre-production Nokia N8 devices have claimed that the device will play DivX files out of the box.  Finally, a local country Nokia representative seems a strange place to announce a major first for a Nokia phone.

However, on balance, I think it’s likely that Nokia will move towards DivX support, it’s simply a question as to whether it will be arriving with the Nokia N8, which, in the shadow of the iPhone 4 launch, will apparently have some impressive video editing facilities returning to the Symbian platform again.  This post on the Nokia Conversations website details the range of photo and video tools that will be available on the Nokia N8.  Looking back, this was previously announced, so I think this article is a reaction to the iPhone 4, as opposed to suddenly announcing new functionality that wasn’t known about before, and that’s the problem with the DivX information; it’s not like Nokia to quietly announce a new feature for a key device, especially so late after launch (and so close to delivery).

Time will tell, but it’s fair to say the Nokia N8 remains a critical device for Nokia over the coming months; it may not be an ultimate flagship device, but it’s important to show that Nokia has learnt the lessons of the Nokia N95, Nokia N96 and Nokia N97 launch firmwares…

Update: It’s look like Nokia have confirmed the Nokia N8 will not support DivX.

July 2010 Update: Well, it looks like Nokia have now confirmed that there will be DivX (but not XVid) support in the Nokia N8 after all…


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Nokia releases v3.04 Ovi Maps

Friday, May 21st, 2010

After a few months in beta, Nokia have now released Ovi Maps v3.04, which adds better positioning with the use of Wi-Fi and Cell ID positioning directly into the product.  They’ve also improved the graphics handling to make everything that bit smoother.  Something that has been added since the beta phase is that they are also providing Qype user reviews (similar to the User Reviews available in Google Maps).  It’s nice to see continued innovation from Nokia on their SatNav product, although it would also be nicer if they could provide better information over what version of maps are installed, and to notify you when new maps are released.

Finally, if you haven’t already bought a Nokia phone recently, and are in the market, you’ll be glad to know that for some models, Nokia are now including a car holder and a car charger in the box (Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia X6), whilst others will at least have the car holder without the charger (Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia 5230, Nokia E52, Nokia E72).  Obviously these accessories will only exist in the latest SIM free stock from Nokia, whereas most UK stock will already be sat on the shelf, or be via the network operator (who will have bought stock in advance), so don’t be surprised if your new purchase doesn’t come with these; in which case, head to somewhere like Mobile Fun and pick up accessories from them.


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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…


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Vodafone & 3UK Update their Handset range

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Portal

There’s been quite a lot of change in the Handset lineup of both Vodafone and 3UK that it was time for an smartphone update:

If you are interested in the Samsung Galaxy Portal, it’s worth noting 3UK have it available in both Red&Black or White&Green (shown above) colour combinations, and as well as including their range of 3UK specific application, it should also ship with Layar, the augmented reality browser and the Spotify Android client (although not with the Spotify Premium promotion that was on offer with the HTC Hero).

If you are keen on Spotify, but less sure about Android, then the Sony Ericsson Vivaz from 3UK is also shipping with the Symbian Spotify client pre-installed.

It’s nice to see Android devices getting more popular, and I think this year will see a lot more people walking around with Android devices…


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Nokia release Nokia bots

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Nokia Bots

Now, this is more like it; some real innovation from Nokia, bringing something that no other platform has got to Symbian (5th Edition only).  Nokia Beta Labs released a number of Nokia Bots last week, which after a short period of learning *your* habits, will adjust the way your phone works to match your needs.  The Bots are:

Profile Bot

Do you ever forget to silence the phone for meetings? Or when the meeting ends, forget to switch back to normal profile, and miss calls? Profile Bot is here to help. Profile changes are suggested on your homescreen: confirm automated profile changes for each meeting with a single click, or let them be fully automated for you.

Alarm Bot

Setting up a wake-up alarm and silent profile for night time has never been easier! Alarm Bot learns at what time you use to wake up, and suggests alarms and profile changes on your homescreen nightly. Create a new alarm and automate night profile with a single click, and never again forget phone to silent profile in the morning.

Shortcut Bot

New apps from Ovi store make the phone more useful and fun. With the help of Shortcut Bot, you get quick access to your most frequently used apps straight from your homescreen without configuration hassles: your preferences are learned in the background, and shortcuts automatically updated.

Battery Bot

Battery Bot observes your battery status. In case the battery is likely to drain while you sleep, it reminds you in advance to connect the charger. Otherwise you might wake up too early because of “battery low” alerts, or too late if it drains before wake-up alarm.

To use these, you’ll need to install them, and then add the Nokia Bots to one of your free slots on the Homescreen (if you want to use the Shortcut Bot you’ll need to also add the Shortcut Bot widget in place of another widget, such as the original shortcut widget), and you’ll need to give them some time to learn everything (the Shortcut Bot will take a few weeks to settle onto your most used shortcuts).

Right now, they are only compatible with the Nokia N97 and Nokia N97 Mini, although there aren’t many other Symbian 5th Edition devices from Nokia supporting the Homescreen widgets, but these are very interesting widgets, and well worth a look if you have one of those 2 phones.


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