3UK launch Nokia E5

Friday, October 1st, 2010

3UK have announced that as from today they have the Nokia E5 available for sale.  Although still S60 3rd Edition (FP2), this might be a contender for users who bought the Nokia E71 a couple of years ago, and are looking for an upgrade.  Although the phone supports many of the same features, applications and 3UK specific services that the Nokia E71, it also features a couple of upgrades from the Nokia E71:

  • 5MP Camera with Fixed-Focus and LED Flash
  • Social Phonebook is present, pulling info from Facebook into Contacts
  • The handset is available in 2 colours: Black / White (although only Black is currently on sale)

As always, more details are available in the 3Store.


FourSquare release official Symbian client

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

FourSquare have released their official Symbian client, which is available from the Ovi Store (simply search for FourSquare and it should come up top).  Having tried the client on a couple of devices I can say it has one major advantage over the Sym4Square client released last week (on S60 3rd Edition at least); it supports landscape devices such as the Nokia E71.  Unfortunately the Sym4Square client only seems to support a portrait mode at this stage, and so doesn’t work at all with devices like the Nokia E71, and for those devices I heartily recommend the official FourSquare client.

Of course, there’s also the Socially App client I covered yesterday which also includes FourSquare support (plus there’s always Gravity too).  With each app having it’s own strengths and weaknesses, I shall continue to use all 4 over the next few weeks to work out which really offers the best FourSquare experience of them all.  It’s certainly nice to see things change from a few months back where there was no FourSquare support at all…


SociallyApp updated

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Despite being an avid fan of Gravity on Symbian, I also use SociallyApp (a free Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIN / FourSquare client for Symbian) on my phones as it offers access to slightly different functions, and has a couple of advantages.  As such, I was pleasantly surprised to see there was an unannounced v2.05 update available to download from their website (since then, they have announced it).  One key new feature this version brings is a feature within FourSquare; if you move more than 2km from your last recorded position, it offers you the chance to login, and although it lists 3 or 4 obvious choices for login, even if you say yes it still takes you to the standard FourSquare Places page within the client to choose the actual location to checkin.  Although there’s no automatic checkin option, it is a nice feature to remind you to checkin without being too intrusive.

I also note for those who don’t want it (I know I turn off many of the Desktop Alerts as, with more than a handful of followers, it becomes too much to keep a track of), there is an option within the Settings to turn it off.

If you are looking for a free Twitter client, then I find the regular updates to SociallyApp to make it a worthwhile contender to Gravity, although Gravity is still a better all round twitter client (covering functions such as twitter lists which seem missing completely from SociallyApp.  Even with Gravity, it’s worth considering running SociallyApp alongside it (maybe set to not auto update) for features such as copying Facebook photos to the local Contacts addressbook, copying Facebook birthdays into the local calendar, and the ability to display the most recent Social Networking update by the individual when they call (and on some phones the latest version can also provide a full screen picture of the caller, which is a nice touch).

It’s also nice to report it’s well designed to work with both portrait and landscape devices, and can even use the GPS for FourSquare on S60 3rd Edition FP1 (something that Gravity can only do from FP2 onwards).

If you’ve not tried it, then head to m.sociallyapp.com from your phone and download the new version.


Nokia launches 3 new phones

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Well, not many big surprises, but yesterday Nokia released 3 new phones; the Nokia E7 (think Nokia N8 with a QWERTY keyboard), the Nokia C6-01 (think Nokia C6, but with a better screen, and no QWERTY), and the Nokia C7 (think cheaper Nokia N8).

Now, the specs of these devices are available from Nokia directly, but I’m not impressed with the Nokia C6-01, not due to the spec, but due to the choice of model number.  I’ve accepted in my head to treat all Nokia models like a 3 digit number, so in essence the Nokia C6 launched earlier this year is actually the Nokia C6-00, but it’s the similarity between the Nokia C6-00 and the Nokia C6-01 that implies they are the same family.  Except they aren’t.  The Nokia C6 is a QWERTY device, and the Nokia C6-01 isn’t.  This is going to confuse people, and that’s what I think is wrong.

In the same way, the Nokia C6 is QWERTY, and the Nokia E7 is QWERTY, but the Nokia C7 isn’t, so it’s not like they are labelling all “6” or all “7” devices as QWERTY, which would have had some logic.

Either way, the new devices, all running Symbian^3 like the Nokia N8, look nice, although the Nokia E7 is due to cost €495 before taxes and subsidies; the Nokia N8 was supposed to be €370 before taxes and subsidies, and ended up at £430, so it’s likely the Nokia E7 is going to be very expensive, and that’s not going to be popular.  Of course, it’ll also be available on contract with a low upfront price (or even free), so it may well still sell, but it’s going to be a hard sell at a likely price of over £550.

However, one piece of good news; Nokia confirmed that they have written their own FourSquare client, which should ship via the Ovi Store next week.  Even better, it will (unlike the client we covered here), cover Symbian^3, S60 5th Edition (ie Symbian^1), and also S60 3.2 (3rd Edition FP2, so devices like the Nokia E72).

Just in case you thought Nokia World was over, we’re hearing rumours they might announce a couple more phones today…


Is innovation returning to Symbian?

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Some people may argue that innovation never left the Symbian developer space, but let’s be honest, of late it’s been more productive to release new products and services for either an Apple product, or Android, and this still continues to some degree; eg we’ve seen London Cycle Hire applications for Apple and Android, but still nothing for Symbian (although there is a new mobile optimised website at cyclehi.com which should work on desktops and mobiles, and is well worthy of a bookmark).

Let’s also not forget that some developers (such as the Jan Ole Suhr at Mobileways, the author of the excellent Gravity Social Networking client for Symbian) have never left Symbian, and have continued to develop really useful applications for the platform.

However, in the last few weeks, I think we’re starting to see a change; firstly, we have Sym4Square, a FourSquare client developed for the touchscreen phones which has now been formally released (see here for information about the beta).  This isn’t the first app to support FourSquare on Symbian, but is the first dedicated app, and seems a pretty complete app too.

Then, we can’t forget Swype, a very popular third party keyboard for Android phones (which allows you to swipe from key to key, and it tries to work out which word you are selecting), has just gone into beta for selected Symbian^1 (aka S60 5th Edition) devices over at Nokia Beta Labs.  It is key, in my opinion, that apps like this are produced, to show that these features can and will be provided for Symbian too (it’s not clear whether is uses the builtin dictionary, or relies upon it’s own, but it certainly seems to maintain it’s own custom dictionary file, and not use the Symbian custom dictionary, which is a real shame).

Finally, again something we’ve already covered (here), but the first platform with a full Online Shopping application (covering the whole end to end process) from Tesco? Symbian.

With Nokia World a week away, and a fair few hardware rumours already out there, it will be interesting to see if Nokia can return to the forefront over the next year…


Maps Booster on sale now!

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Although not exactly going to break the bank at £3, Maps Booster is a very useful program to provide your Symbian phone with a fast cell ID / Wi-Fi based positioning information, and unlike the latest Ovi Maps (which offers a similar solution), it’s available to all apps on the phone through the OS’ positioning features.

However, right now (in the UK at least), Maps Booster is on sale in the Ovi Store, and is only £1; well worth it in our opinion.

Whilst you are there in the Ovi Store, why not download the UK Gadgeteer app as well, which provides access to the news stories directly on your phone; just search for “UK Gadgeteer” within the store and you should find versions for both S60 3rd Edition as well as S60 5th Edition.


Nokia Sports Tracker news

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

A couple of fairly major changes have recently happened with Nokia’s Sports Tracker application, which might actually benefit those who like and use the application in the long term.  A while ago, Nokia sold the application off to a new company (which does appear to be staffed by some ex-Nokia people) and they have established a new website and a new application.  Right now, you can’t use the full service in the way you could with the old Nokia based solution, but it’s coming.

As of 30 June 2010, Nokia will shut down the old Sports Tracker website.  However, you can pre-register at the new website, and there’s an option to import your journeys and records from Nokia.  Right now, you can’t view them, or do anything else with the website, but it will come.

The new team have released new versions of Sports Tracker for both S60 3rd and 5th Edition, and although these will in time have the capability to upload your details to allowed them to be viewed and shared on the website, again, this needs the website to be fully functional.

However, good news; at one point, Nokia offered one phone with a bundle of a Heart Rate Monitor (via Bluetooth).  At the time, everybody pointed out that it would be good if the heart rate monitor was also available to those who already had that phone (or any other supported phone); well, although Nokia never managed it, Sports Tracking Technologies have done so, and have this week created an online store where you can buy a heart rate monitor for €69.90 + delivery (they accept PayPal as well as credit cards), although shipments won’t start until 1st July, so even if you order today, you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for it to arrive.

From a personal viewpoint, I note this version uses OpenStreetMap for the maps, and I think that’s a wise (if only short term) approach. The Nokia solution used maps which had to be downloaded (even though many devices had local Ovi Maps installations); although towards the end, it did at least share this download map cache with Nokia FriendView.  I think moving to OpenStreetMap is a good idea, as it reduces any costs of providing commercial mapping, although I do hope that in time Sports Tracking Technologies are able to link into the Ovi Maps SDK and use the maps where present on the device.

It’s nice to see this application being developed further and the support of a heart rate monitor will make the whole solution more attractive to many sports enthusiasts; however, if you have ever used the old Sports Tracker website don’t forget you need to register and import your old information within the next week.


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…


Nokia Notifications

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

This is a new homescreen widget available from Nokia Beta Labs, and this one seems to be very useful.  Along with the self learning Nokia Bots (see here), it’s actually possible Nokia are starting to provide that little extra innovation that’s going to be needed to keep users from defecting to other platforms.  This notification widget adopts a similar idea to the S60 3rd Edition E-Series notification area of the screen (where all notifications for missed calls / voicemails / texts all appear at the bottom of the homescreen).

In fact this widget takes things a little further for S60 5th Edition devices (which support homescreen widgets).  It brings together all missed calls, voicemails, texts and missed calendar alarms into one area for the user.

This is only going to be a short beta according to Nokia Beta Labs, when it will get released into the Ovi Store for general use.  One can only hope this is a pre-cursor to actually bringing S60 5th Edition to the E-Series range.


Socially App release another new version

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

This week Socially App have released v1.40 of their Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIN client, and added the following features:

  • Ability to geotweet (ie include your location within a twitter message), although you do need to enable this within your twitter account too before it will be visible to others.
  • Ability to search on twitter limiting the search to “nearby” people.
  • Ability to define the preferred WiFi and Data access point to use; the app will use WiFi whenever within range, but will then use the GPRS / 3G network when necessary.

I’m really impressed with Socially App, especially as it’s free.  Whereas Gravity is still struggling to implement full GPS access under S60 3rd Edition FP1 (think Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8GB, Nokia E71), Socially App has managed it just fine (I should add Gravity also supports the use of the Google Maps API to locate you via WiFi or cell ID, so still offers location services on FP1), and I really like the way that when you want to see your current position, Socially App fires up the local Ovi Maps to show you where you are (see below); it would be nice, in time, to see even more use of Ovi Maps integrated into the application.

As before, Socially App can be downloaded direct on your phone from their website at m.sociallyapp.com