Posts Tagged ‘ovi maps’

The C7 has been on the market in Europe and other countries since the fourth quarter of 2010 and was just recently released in the United States with T-Mobile as the Astound. Astound is an appropriate name given that for the past few years the Nokia devices that have been subsidized by US carriers have been primarily the low cost flip phones. T-Mobile had the E73 Mode, which I loved, and the Nuron but neither really could compete with the myriad of Android based phones and Black Berry devices offered by T-Mobile.

Recently I had the pleasure of testing a C7 and it was love at first sight when I opened the box. In my opinion this is a very sexy phone.  So sexy that it has replaced the venerable 8800 as my choice for the sexiest Nokia phone of all time. I really loved the form and feel of the device and being made primarily of aluminum and other metals the build of the hardware is very solid . The screen size is perfect for viewing messages, images, and surfing the web and the colors and tones are very rich and vibrant.

As you can see by selecting an image below the C7 is comparable in size to the E71 and is a little smaller than it’s older brother, the N8. It’s light, compact and felt no heavier than a set of car keys when carried in my pocket.

Sexy is nice, but if there are no brains behind the looks then it’s just a pretty shell right? Well the C7 has looks and brains as it is powered by Symbian^3, the same operating system found in the C6, N8, E7, E6 & X7. I won’t rehash what we’ve already read and heard about S^3 since there have been many articles written since it’s release. Though I will say I was surprised to find that the C7’s screens and applications were more responsive and smoother than on my N8.

The C7 is marketed globally as a phone for social networking, and as the Astound is focused at the subsidized market for the US I thought I would focus on a few features that the US consumer may consider in a device. Besides social networking features I focused on email, photos,  music, multitasking, applications, and syncing.

Social Networking

Nokia Social

Gravity

I am a fan of Nokia Social and it comes resident on the C7. It’s a great tool to view and update status for Twitter and Facebook in one application. I use this on my N8 daily and was happy to see it on the C7. However, the experience was not the same. Unlike the N8 the C7 has no homescreen widget and each time you access the application you need to log in. Therefore I thought I would see if Gravity was any better so I downloaded it from Ovi Store. It  has more to offer than Nokia Social and is even a little sexier, but for what I need it just isn’t worth the $10 US.

Twitter and Facebook updates are important, but a true social networking device must be able to share photos and videos. The C7 does this very well by using the tried and true share feature built into the photo browser. After adding a caption and optional tagging right from the photo itself, my images and videos were loaded into my Facebook and Twitter profiles.  For sharing to other sights you can also install Pixelpipe which is available in the Ovi Store.

Foursquare is available and there is a homescreen widget that works well. However, since it’s on all the time the battery life was noticeably decreased.

Email

Nokia Messaging sure has come a long way and it’s abilities are truly evident in the C7. With Nokia Messaging you can have many different email accounts on your C7 and can load multiple email widgets to your homescreen. On the C7 I tested I had three accounts loaded with my work email in Mail for Exchange, a personal GMail account and a personal Ovi Mail account. The flexibility of NM also allows for a separate syncing profile for each account and the ability to select what is synced and when. That allows me to sync my work calendar, notes and tasks yet bypass my work contacts as those are synced using my Ovi Mail account.

There are other email tools available in Ovi Store that take advantage of “the cloud” but I really don’t see a need to download a beta product when Nokia Messaging is included and works perfectly. T-Mobile’s Astound users will find that Nokia Messaging fits their needs  and won’t be disappointed given it’s ability to view images and attachments.

Photos

Personally this is one of the most important features in a device and why I keep my N8 with me at all times. We all know how the N8 takes pictures, but this review is about the C7.

The C7 has an 8mp, fixed focus camera with dual LED flash and it is comparable to most of the mid and upper-level smartphones available today. You can shoot good images and HD video with the C7 and take advantage of many features available for customizing your shots. You can use settings for scenes, face detection, color, contrast and on-screen zoom. For advanced photographers you can even customize white balance, exposure, and ISO settings. But i expect most will just point and shoot and the C& does this very well.

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What the C7 has that the others don’t is the ability to edit your images and videos on the phone itself. With the C7 you can shoot a picture, frame it and add some captions, then upload it to your friends on Facebook and Twitter right on the phone.

Below are some comparisons of shots taken with the C7.

Flash & No Flash Comparison

Greater distance brings more in-focus images

To view a comparison of shots taken with the N8 & C7 without flash select here and to view a comparison with flash go here

Music

Since the Xpress Music 5800 one of my favorite features on Nokia devices has been the music player. I’m happy to report that nothing changes my feelings with the C7. I was able to transfer all of my music from my N8 to the C7 without any problems using the Ovi Suite back-up feature. I can play music from CDs, Apple iTunes, Nokia Ovi Music UK (not available in the US yet), and Amazon and retain the song or album artwork.  The sound is clear, crisp and loud when using wired headphones,  my Nokia BH-505 bluetooth headset, or plugged into the mp3 port in my car’s sound system. Playing over the devices speakers is good and as clear as can be expected using the rear speakers.

Finding the music is simple and utilizes kinetic scrolling well. You can select by artists & songs, albums, genres and playlists and can view them all in either portrait or landscape modes. Landscape allows you to flip through choices using album artwork.


  

Multitasking

One of the greatest advantages Symbian^3 brings is true multitasking and that feature is perfect for the non-power user as most will open applications without giving a thought to memory usage. The C7 allowed me to have applications like Ovi Maps, the music player, Conversations, Nokia Social or Gravity, email, photos and ScreenSnap (a must have for blogging) all open at the same time without any real degradation in speed and application response. The only recommendation I can make in relation to multitasking is that you turn the phone off once a day to reset the memory. I did find that the C7 (and my N8) would become less responsive or would start to freeze after a couple of days of multitasking without shutting the device off or closing applications.

Applications

Ovi Store has been around for quite some time now and there are thousands upon thousands of apps available for the C7, both free and paid. App availability is based upon country and device and I am happy to see that even though Windows Phone 7 is part of Nokia’s future, new S^3 apps are being added to the store on a regular basis.

You can search and install right from your device, or from a computer. Paying is easily handled with a credit card or through your monthly phone bill depending upon your carrier. However, I see Ovi Store alone as unable to help the Astound’s chances in the long run in the United States. The content available in the US has gotten better, but it’s too late to compete with The Android Market and iTunes. This is not a device specific issue and has to do with Nokia’s marketing and presence in the US. Future Nokia devices like the rumored W7 and W8 will probably be better served in the US market by Microsoft’s Marketplace for WP7.

Syncing Music, Calendars, Tasks & Contacts

In my mind no one can compare to Nokia and Ovi Suite when it comes to syncing between a PC and your Nokia Device. Ovi Suite has saved me sssoooooo many times because of it’s ability to back up everything on a device and from all memory sources.  Android does okay on music, but I am still bewildered that there is nothing to really sync Outlook between your device and PC. There is an expensive app called CompanionLink that almost meets the needs but it failed terribly in identifying personal and business calendars and would constantly wipe out appointments, tasks and contacts when I used it.

Apple has an advantage over Nokia when it comes to Mac users as their product iTunes  works well on a PC and Mac. Ovi Suite is not  yet available for the Mac (though development is under way) and this may also hurt the Astound with the US consumer. Nokia does have Mac support, as shown here, yet most T-Mobile stores probably aren’t aware of what Nokia offers for Mac users. Nokia will need to get Ovi Suite compatible with the Mac platform sooner than later, and should get it done before the first Nokia WP7 devices are released. There are a lot of Mac users out there and they must be included in any growth plans Nokia has for the US.

GPS & Ovi Maps

There is a lot more to the C7 than the items I listed above, but again this review was written with the T-mobile US buyer in mind. This review would not be complete though if I failed to mention Ovi Maps and the GPS signal.

Connecting to the GPS signal is smoking fast. I even tried to time the difference between the N8 and C7 and just could not see any significant difference between the two. The signal strength is strong, constant and accurate and all-in-all the reliability exceeded my expectations using Ovi Maps and Sports-Tracker.

Ovi Maps has evolved into a pretty solid tool. The few times I used it for directions I saw little lag in the voice guidance and mapping to my current location, even at 70 mph. I could search for businesses based upon my current location and get walking or driving directions from that current location. And I could check in to a multitude of social network apps like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, LiveJournal and many more.  I wonder how many check in applications Nokia is going to load onto devices? If I didn’t have a GPS and guidance system in my car Ovi Maps would be my preferred guidance tool.

Closing

In short, the C7 is a true multitasking giant in a small, sexy shell. It is a fantastic device that I would recommend to anyone. Especially someone who isn’t a power user and is seeking a reliable, feature-rich and well-built phone.  It’s sturdy enough to take a beating from your teenagers, yet has all of the social networking features and access they crave.

After 10 minutes with the device  my second impression was one of shock that what I had in my hand was a locked device from T-Mobile. My first was that I really didn’t think Nokia could improve upon the perfection of the E71, especially after what I read about the E72.  I fell in love with the device (do I really have to send it back???) in those first few moments because of the 2 first impressions, yet there are so many more reasons why this device is a good buy, or worth the 2 year contract with T-Mobile.

What I liked about the E73:

  1. The E73 Mode is marketed as a device that can switch easily between your personal and work lives. It does that very easily, after you figure out how to set each one up. I personally don’t need to switch between the two as the flexibility allowed for customization allows you to “hide” what may be personal and inappropriate for the workplace. However, for those that want to choose their modes, I suggest Nokia add a password feature to switch between work and personal modes.
  2. Mail for Exchange is really the best email and calendar app I know of and it’s still as great as ever on the E73. No third party servers like RIM, just direct access to your company’s Exchange Server. I also have a Samsung Galaxy/Vibrant from T-Mobile and the email client on it is terrible! Nothing compares to MfE in my book.
  3. I really, really liked the Optical Navi Key a lot. I remember those calluses building up from my heavy E71 usage and my thumb thanks Nokia for this addition.
  4. Ovi Maps was “nice” on the E71, but GPS signal access speed left a lot to be desired unless you had Maps Booster. With the E73 Ovi Maps loads quickly and the GPS signal access speed was incredibly fast and there is no need for a third party app to increase GPS signal speed and strength. If you wish, Maps Booster for the E73 is available for $2.99 in the Ovi Store here.
  5. The change from a 2mp camera in the E71 to the 5mp for the E73.  I take lots of photos with my phones, as you can see on my Photos page, and a good camera is important to me.

Those five items are great, but the things that really made me fall in love with the E73 are:

  1. This is a locked phone? Really? Impossible I say. The flexibility to change things on this phone without Big Brother T-Mobile is fantastic!!! The last locked device I had was fine if I wanted only T-Mobile approved apps and services, thus I became an avid eBay hunter of unlocked devices from Europe. No need to now with this device.
  2. I can go to Ovi Store and load apps until the phone runs out of storage space and T-Mobile doesn’t interfere! I can even pay for an app from Ovi Store through my T-Mobile plan.
  3. Free Ovi Maps for life. I’m about to get a new car and with the availability of phones with free Ovi Maps I’ll be saving $2000 – $2500 in features for the car as i won’t need a navigation system. Thank you Nokia!
  4. Symbian S60 3rd. It is still a rock solid OS and it is as strong on the E73 as it was on the E71 and my old E61i. With some nice UI changes like highlighted icons  “jumping”, the OS feels as if it’s up-to-date with today’s market place.
  5. Social media and networking works great and Twitter, Facebook and MySpace come pre-loaded. Searching the net is easier too with Google search also included.

It’s always nice to read such rosy reviews, but if one needs to consider everything before making a purchase, or signing a 2 year contract, then there are those “areas for improvement” to consider:

  1. The world is becoming a touch interface world, both for personal and work modes. RIM, LG, Samsung and others have touch-and-type devices. Nokia has the X3 Touch and Type device so why not improve upon the great features of the E73 by making it T and T?
  2. The screen size is a tad small for today’s apps and features. Watching a YouTube video on this device is okay if you’re a teen and still have the eyes of a hawk. For those of us that have “maturing eyes” it’s hard enough to see text on the screen much less videos or games.

That’s it, only two things I didn’t like. But for me those two items are deal breakers. I love touch devices and the larger screens one finds with the Nokia N8 and upcoming E7, as well as many devices from Samsung, RIM, HTC and Motorola. If Nokia wants the E73 to evolve as a business and play device, then like the others Nokia will need to add touch and increase the size of the screen.

If you’re like me you updated your N900 to the latest firmware as soon as it was available in your area. And if you’re really like me you probably re-installed all your apps and then went to see if Ovi Maps is any better. Then if you’re really, really like me you connected to your computer in PC Suite mode to see if the Ovi Map Loader is still working.

Were you shocked when you saw that it wasn’t? Probably not and I wasn’t either. But after about an hour of work I was able to get Map Loader working on PR 1.2. The steps below outline what you need to do. Please note that if you didn’t use my other fixes for PR 1.1 those steps will probably work for PR 1.2 as this fix is based upon the earlier steps. To view the first fix go here and for the follow-up fix go here.

PR 1.2 steps:

The entire process described below took about 45 minutes to complete. For obvious reasons do not disconnect your N900 until the indicated steps. Doing so will probably force a reinstall of PR 1.2 and you’ll have to start everything all over again.

  1. After doing your upgrade to PR 1.2 open Ovi Maps and accept the terms
  2. Connect your N900 in Mass Storage mode
  3. View your N900 mass storage or internal memory drive (view image)
  4. You will see your old qf file from PR 1.1 from the previous repair I published. You will also see a new .qf file created after your upgrade to PR 1.2 (view image)
  5. Rename your old qf file to something else (I used qf_old)
  6. Make a copy of your new .qf file and paste it into the folder where you found it  (I used Copy of .qf)
  7. Rename your .qf file to qf
  8. Disconnect your N900 from your computer
  9. Reconnect your N900 to your computer in PC Suite mode
  10. Open Maps Loader and your N900 should be recognized. You will know if it is as a screen appears telling you that there is new map data available and that it will be updated (view image)
  11. Select the check mark and you should see a screen that says “Preparing” (view image)
  12. Map Loader will automatically delete your old map data (view image)
  13. After the old data is deleted it will take Map Loader a little bit of time to prepare the device to go to the next step (view image)
  14. Once your N900 is fully prepared Map Loader will automatically replace the previous data it deleted (view image)
  15. Once all updates are done you will see a screen stating it is completing the process (view image)
  16. Your N900 will go through a quick update process and then send you to the Map Loader page. In the bottom left you should see your N900 connected, the connection mode and the map version (view image)
  17. Disconnect your N900 from your computer and open Ovi Maps. Do a search for a place in maps and when you select your results you should have your map load instantly. VIOLA!

In my posting of March 15th I identified a process to fix the Map Loader for the N900. Well believe it or not I broke my fix and spent three frustrating days trying to repair it. It was my fault, not the device’s and fixing it was easier than I was making it. To understand how I fixed it one must also understand how I broke it.

Around April 20th I was having issues with Mail for Exchange on the N900 (the beginning of the steps I took to break Map Loader). When the device was syncing with the server I was getting a message stating that there was an error syncing with the server yet I saw that everything was syncing fine (contacts, tasks, notes & calendar). I deleted and re-created my MfE profile and was still getting the error message after a successful sync. Since I was having some other challenges with applications like PC Suite I decided to reinstall the firmware.

After the reinstall I reloaded all of my apps and repositories for Application Manager, re-created my MfE profile and tested Map Loader. All worked perfectly, including Loader. Then I decided it was time to save space on my drive and I started removing as many folders of stuff I thought I didn’t need…

Remember on Symbian devices how, as a quicker method to remove unused maps, you could delete the “cities” folder for Ovi Maps and restart Maps to reload it? DON’T DO THIS ON THE N900! You guessed it….I deleted the cities folder and Map Loader stopped working. Yes I fixed it, but first, to save you time, here’s what I tried that didn’t work.

  1. Manually creating the cities folder with diskcache & voices (useless anyway on the N900) folders – Maps didn’t save to the manually created folder no matter how many times I tried, and Map Loader didn’t recognize that I had opened Maps
  2. Rebuilding, moving and copying the qt file – I had them in the root and external memory and even tried adding one to the cities folder
  3. Copied the cities folder from a Symbian device via PC to the N900 – I tried it with the E71, 5800 XM, & N97 and no version worked
  4. I found a folder called .maps in the N900 root and have no idea what it is for. It looked almost like the cities folder format so I made a copy in external memory. I renamed .maps to cities,  created a sub-folder called diskcache and moved all of the numbered sub-folders into diskcache – No negative side-effects, it just didn’t work

So, how did I fix it? The answer was right there all along and was completed in three easy steps:

  1. Reinstall the firmware (assuming you have 3.2010.02-8.002)
  2. Open Ovi Maps before anything else
  3. Answer the questions related to licensing and terms

Once these are done only four more steps:

  1. Close Ovi Maps
  2. Use file manager to confirm the cities folder has been created (worked perfectly for me)
  3. If you renamed the .qt file to qt as stated in my earlier posting then nothing to change as the firmware update does not affect the file (see the original posting here if you have the .qt file)
  4. Connect to Map Loader in PC Suite mode and you’re off and running!

The second biggest lesson here (first being don’t remove the cities folder) is that what Ovi Maps is looking for somewhere on the device is the licensing and term agreement records. When I went through the first 4 steps to try and fix the device after deleting the cities folder I wasn’t asked to accept terms when starting Maps. I was asked after I did the initial firmware reinstall  so removing the cities folder also removed the licensing record. There are 5 files in the diskcache folder (0.0.0.0.tmcinfo.cdt, 0.0.0.0.tmcquant.cdt, CachedatHeader.cdt, config.cfg and srand) along with the numbered cache folders so my guess is one of the files has the license information.

Anyone feel like trying this fix on a device where my previous posting hasn’t helped?

May 26th update…

PR 1.2 was released today for the N900. If you’ve installed it and tried to use Map Loader it is once again not working. No fear. My fix for the post PR 1.2 upgrade is posted here

In part 1 of my review of the E75 I listed 10 items I liked the most about the phone. As a quick reminder they were: 1. Stability of S60 3rd, 2. The size and weight, 3. Screen resolution, 4. The sliding keyboard, 5. Well manufactured, 6. 3G speed on AT&T’s network, 7. Sexy, 8. Responsive accelerometer, 9. Nokia Messaging, and 10. Ovi Store seems designed for non-touch devices.

As promised in Part 1 this article will identify the areas I thought one should consider before making a decision to buy. I’ll list those in reverse order with the number one consideration listed last.

7. Navi Key was stiff to use – I found it to be stiff and I thought it would be at least equal to that of the E71. Testing them both I found the E71 much easier to use and at times I had to use 2 thumbs to scroll through the E75 menus. This could have been the phone I was testing but if not their new technology introduced with the E72 could help the E75.

6. Image quality – I like taking photos with my cell phone (as you can see from my Photos page) as I never know when I’ll run into a photo opp. I was pleased with myE71′ s 3.2mp camera & I expected the same quality with the E75. I was disappointed to discover that I didn’t get the same quality.












5. Ovi Maps Compass – I could not get it to work the entire time I had the phone. I tried all the tricks from the N97 to get it to engage and it wouldn’t.












4. No Facebook widget – I went nuts not being able to use a widget to update my status and view my page. Trying to use the browser just didn’t work as it takes everything from Facebook’s web based pages and crams it all into the small 2.4 inch screen.






3. Slow GPS connection – This would’ve been tied for 2nd had there not been a way to overcome this. I tested this 5 times in-doors and out-doors and compared the connection time to that of the N900, N97 and E71 (none of the devices was using Maps Booster). In each test the GPS connection was the slowest on the E75 (longest time was 2 minutes, 17 seconds). I was very shocked that the N97 beat the E75 once, much less five times. With that said, once I installed Skyhook Wireless’ Maps Booster the E75 connected to the GPS in 2 – 3 seconds which equals the time for the N97 & E71 with Maps Booster. I highly recommend this product to anyone that uses Ovi Maps on a regular basis and it can be found in the Ovi Store here

2. Ovi Maps is not free yet on the E75 – I don’t use Ovi Maps as I have a GPS system in my car, but if I did this would be a deal breaker. Most other Nokia devices now have Ovi Maps for free and as a consumer part of what I seek in a device is the elimination of or need for other devices. As this device does not come with free Ovi Maps any side-by-side comparison with other devices will put the E75 at a disadvantage.


The number one item to consider is the lack of touch screen functions. I love touch screen devices, yes even the N97, and I don’t see myself going back to a phone that does not have this ability.





So the question now is, “Lloyd, would you buy this phone?” For me the items to consider are overshadowed by the reasons I like this phone and if Nokia had no touch devices then this is the phone I would buy. It does everything my E71 could and more while making up for the E71’s shortcomings. The keyboard slides out and I could see the buttons, the resolution is fantastic, Nokia Messaging won me over, there are many apps available and all in one place, and above all the phone never failed me. I did not have to restart the phone once because it slowed down from too much use and impact to the RAM.

All-in-all the E75 is a good buy, especially if you’re buying for teenagers. All Nokia needs to do to make the E75 perfect is include Ovi Maps for free with Maps Booster, a Facebook widget and a better camera.

May 26th update…

PR 1.2 was released today for the N900. If you’ve installed it and tried to use Map Loader it is once again not working. No fear. My fix for the post PR 1.2 upgrade is posted here

April 28th update…

I broke my own fix a week ago and after much frustration fixed it. If the fix detailed below doesn’t work you may also want to look at my other fix shown here

A quick update added April 9, 2010….

I originally wrote this article on March 15th and it has been a little over 3 weeks since I wrote it. Everything is still functioning fine as I can still connect the device in PC Suite mode and Maps Loader recognizes my device and allows me to remove and load maps.

Original article:

Like so many other postings I’ve read many of us still have not been able to use Nokia’s Map Loader with our N900s, even after the update. I kept receiving an error that stated I either had an older version of Maps and needed to update, or that my device was plugged in as PC Suite when it should be in mass storage, or that I have not opened Maps yet.  Of course none of this applied so I decided to do a little snooping around and I found a simple fix.

As you may know Ovi Maps uses a file that is installed in memory when Maps is initially opened and this file is called “qf” (without the quotes). As I investigated I found out that the qf file is stored in the root directory of the internal memory of the N900 but it is called “.qf” (again without the quotes). Even though the file is there Maps Loader doesn’t recognize it. Following the steps below I was able to get my device to be recognized by Maps Loader and I am now able to load maps.

1. Open Maps and once it loads close it.

2. Connect your N900 to your PC in Mass Storage

3. Go to your internal memory drive in My Computer (F on my PC) and open it (make sure you have the ability to view hidden and system files turned on for your PC)

4. In the list of files and folders look for a file called .qf

5. Rename the file from .qf to qf

6. Disconnect your N900 by removing the USB cable

7. Reconnect the USB and select PC Suite mode (yes I did this in PC Suite mode, not Mass Storage)

8. Open Maps loader and be patient

Once I got to step 8 it took about 5 minutes for Maps Loader to view my device and update it accordingly. Once that was done I was able to view the various countries and load the maps I wanted.

I opened Ovi Maps and searched for a city I have not been to with the device that I knew would be in a map I loaded. I selected the city when it was found and when I went to the city it loaded the map instantly. SUCCESS!!!!

Good luck all. Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.