Posts Tagged ‘symbian’

Being in the United States gives us time for all of the announcements and comments to come out and be discussed before some of us wake up. That’s a good thing, right? Not really. It adds to the confusion given so many people have their questions, thoughts and opinions. Yep, I have mine too…

My first and primary question that I can’t seem to find an answer to is what happens to Symbian? Nokia CEO Stephen Elop states, “Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy…” as part of his address and open letter (view here) announcing the Nokia and Microsoft partnership. I like Symbian^3 and truly like my N8, which leads me to the next question…

How will current and recently released devices be supported? Prior the the release of Windows Phone 7 Microsoft discontinued application and firmware support for their previous Windows Phone operating system. Is Nokia going to do that to Symbian? If you have spent +/- $550 US for a N8 or C7, being left out in the cold with no more f/w updates is a pretty hard to swallow. One could wonder if this is why I haven’t gotten the PR 1.1 update for my N8 yet… I doubt it.

What about the E7? With it just being shipped this week will this hurt sales? It has to! Who wants to buy a “flagship device” whose OS was replaced even before it arrived? I was thinking about it, but not now. Would you buy an E7 now?

What happens to all those applications in Ovi Store? The US may not be affected by it as much as other countries, but a lot of time, money and effort was invested by app developers globally. Will WP7 run those apps so the developers don’t need to redevelop them?

And why do so many Nokia “fans” want to abandon the company now that they are partnering with Microsoft? It’s not like Google or Apple are any better than Microsoft as companies. All three are greedy and narcissistic, are they not?  A true fan supports their team in both the good times and the bad. Los Angeles fans are terrible….they jump on the band wagon when their teams are winning and run for the hills as soon as the losing starts. New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packer fans….those are real fans. Support your team through thick and thin and you’ll have a blast as they rise to the top!

Change isn’t bad is it? Of course not, especially when it’s needed. Nokia did need to change, we all know that. Those  “fans” that want to abandon Nokia now were also screaming the loudest that Nokia needed to change. Symbian wasn’t working so spending more money on a losing OS doesn’t make sense.  Who knows, maybe they’re running because the change wasn’t the one they wanted. I bet they haven’t even used a WP7 device either.

What do I plan to do? Accept change. Embrace change. It’s only with change we become stronger. Nokia hasn’t changed in many years and they’re going through the pain from keeping an aging quarterback named Symbian. They just scored the sleeper draft pick called Windows Phone 7. No one thought Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees would be able to win “the big game” and look at what happened when their teams made change and the fans supported them…

Nokia+Microsoft. Where are we going? To the Smartphone Superbowl!

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By August of last year I had become impatient waiting for the N8 and I was bored with my N900. While I enjoyed the N900 I didn’t like having a device that really was just a small internet tablet and wasn’t a good phone. Since it also couldn’t get voice directions and the apps that were available were more for programmers (not me) I decided it was time to try something mainstream. I selected the Samsung Vibrant from T-Mobile and was happy with it, but when the chance to get a new N8 at an unbeatable price came along I jumped at it.

After 2 weeks with the N8 I decided to do a head-to-head comparison of the two. Here’s what I found:

Reception – These are phones, so at the very least they should have good signals right? The N8 does, but I can’t say the same for the Vibrant. Remember those old commercials showing someone trying to get a good signal by standing on one foot with their hand on a door knob and a coat hanger in their baseball cap? That still applies to the Vibrant. Since I use T-Mobile with both devices you can’t use the network as an excuse. In fact, when in my office I’m lucky if I have one bar with the Vibrant, yet the N8 in the exact same spot will have 4 or 5 bars. Pretty much everywhere I went the signal strength with the N8 was consistently better than the Samsung Vibrant. WINNER: Nokia N8

Hardware – The N8 is smaller than the Vibrant (fits within Vibrant’s 4″ screen); the casing is anodized aluminum and weighs 4.76 oz; it has metal buttons for menu, camera, locking & volume; and there is no need to remove the rear cover or battery to access the SIM & external memory cards.

The Vibrant is ginormous and has a plastic casing; weight is 4.17 oz; touch action buttons for search, home, settings and menu with an external button to lock/unlock the device (also plastic); and you must remove the back cover for memory card access and both the cover and battery for SIM access

The N8 hardware materials and build quality make it a very solid feeling device. The weight between the two devices is basically the same yet the size of the Vibrant made it feel like a brick when it was in my pocket. The touch buttons on the Vibrant aren’t as responsive as I would like and as everything but the screen is plastic I was always fearful of breaking it. WINNER: Nokia N8

Colors – This isn’t important to me, but to many it is. The Samsung Vibrant comes in black or dark purple by switching out the back cover and the N8 allows you your choice of Silver White, Dark Grey, Orange, Blue or Green (not all colors available in all countries). WINNER: Nokia N8

Display – Both devices have AMOLED screens with the Vibrant’s larger screen than the N8 (4″ vs 3.5″). Reading the display specs for both the N8 and the Vibrant seem equal, but I’m going to have to give this feature to Samsung. The colors just appear richer and brighter and with the larger screen everything seems a little bigger. I have both phones set to adjust brightness automatically yet the N8 does better in bright light, especially outdoors. I had less issues seeing items on the N8 when mountain biking and could see almost nothing on the Vibrant. WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S – Vibrant

Touchscreen – A tie with Samsung having a very slight advantage. Both are capacitive touch screens with multi-touch capabilities. Excluding the Vibrant’s touch buttons I found it to be a tad more responsive than the N8. That responsiveness disappears though when the Vibrant is updating on-screen widgets (weather, Facebook, email, etc.) and I haven’t noticed the same issue with the N8. TIE

Battery Life – I’ve gone as long as three days on one charge with the N8 with the homescreens filled with email, Nokia/Ovi Social, AccuWeather, Music, Notifications and bluetooth and WiFi scan running. With nothing active on any of the homescreens on the Vibrant, and bluetooth and WiFi turned off I can barely get 5 – 6 hours before I need to plugin. WINNER: Nokia N8

Operating System – Android 2.1 (Froyo 2.2 now available) vs Symbian^3. A few weeks ago I stated that Nokia needed to ditch Symbian and go to Android as Nokia makes the best h/w and yet Android is a great OS. I still like Android but that comment was made based upon my experiences with the N97 and Symbian S60 5th, and before I used Symbian^3 on the N8. After 2 weeks with the N8 I have to say I really do like S^3.

I would’ve said that the devices were tied in the OS battle, but that was before hearing of the challenges consumers are experiencing right now after upgrading to Froyo on their Vibrants. In fact, those challenges remind me of all the firmware issues and subsequent updates we experienced with the N97. I have had zero issues with S^3 and to try to compare it to S60 5th is comparing Granny to Red Delicious apples. I’m giving this one to Symbian^3, but let’s hope the upcoming f/w upgrade doesn’t make this a tie again WINNER: Nokia N8

Typing – The Vibrant comes with Swype installed and is not loaded as a default on the N8 but is available in Ovi Store. The resident keyboard on the N8 is much too small so even if you don’t want to use the Swype features you should install it just for the keyboard (download here). The Swype keyboard for the Vibrant has both landscape and portrait modes and the N8’s version of Swype has no portrait mode. I’ve heard this is because of the current f/w version for the N8 so I’m hoping the pending f/w update corrects this. WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S – Vibrant

Camera – Do I really need to go on? 12mp for the N8 vs 5mp. Xenon flash vs no flash. On device image editing pre-loaded vs needing a 3rd party app. 720p HD video recording vs ???? Both have social media sharing and built-in galleries. Both have 3rd apps available for sharing and editing photos, but the N8 even lets you edit videos on the device. The Vibrant doesn’t have a chance in this category. Not many devices do. For samples of photos from both the N8 and Vibrant please view my photos page. WINNER: Nokia N8

Synching – Nokia’s Ovi Suite seems to have graduated well from Beta Labs since I used it on the N900. It quite effectively syncs MS-Outlook calendars, contacts, notes, tasks, maps, music and pictures between my PC and the N8 without needing a 3rd party like Google. The Vibrant syncs well for social media and Google Mail and Google Calendar, but it has no OEM app to sync to your Outlook calendar, contacts, tasks and notes. There is an app in the Android Market called CompanionLink that does a mediocre job of in the absence of an OEM app. It never really brought over all of my Outlook appointments and was always deleting from, or creating duplicate calendar entries to, my PC without being changes being made to my phone. WINNER: Nokia N8

Email – Both devices can handle and check email for multiple email accounts such as Microsoft Exchange, GMail, Yahoo, and Ovi Mail. Neither can really handle Hotmail too well, but can any device? Makes me wonder how it addressed with WP7 phones. TIE

Applications & Application Store – This is another easy and obvious option, but not in Nokia’s favor. The Samsung Vibrant definitely wins here because there are just so many apps available in the Android Market and, unlike the Ovi Store, there are a lot of apps available for North American users. One advantage Nokia does have over Android with the Ovi Store is the ability to search apps on a PC and send the links to your mobile. The web-based version of the Android Market sucks. WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S – Vibrant

Movies, entertainment – I think this may be a tie as both devices have strong pluses and minuses going for them. Both play movies, but the N8 has the advantage of being able to output video with HDMI out. Samsung’s advantage is Media Hub, a movie and video store preloaded onto the Vibrant that allows you to purchase or rent video content. Yet the Samsung doesn’t allow you to play videos from Media Hub on just any TV. You need to use an application called allshare and it only works with DLNA certified devices. I’m not replacing my Panasonic 42″ Plasma TV just to watch movies from a phone. TIE

Social Media – The devices are equal in this aspect. There are native or 3rd party apps either device can use to allow you to view, update status, and share pictures with your friends on Facebook, Foursquare or Twitter. Pixelpipe is also available for both devices for those that want to update once. Nokia/Ovi Social was recently updated and is the best it’s been, but as there are only two networks it updates (Facebook & Twitter) it doesn’t do as much as the 3rd party apps. TIE

GPS & Maps – It’s no secret, the GPS signal strength is terrible on the Vibrant (reminds me of the N97 yet again) and despite claimed fixes by Samsung nothing has improved. The speed, reliability, strength and accuracy of GPS signals on the N8 is fantastic! In fact, probably the best of any device I’ve ever owned. Ovi Maps and Google Maps are pretty equal with each having advantages over the other. Both devices allow you to use their tools and install 3rd party navigation applications. WINNER: Nokia N8 as a map is useless if you have a poor GPS signal.

WiFi Tethering – This is available with the N8 through the use of Jokiu. There are free and premium versions available in the Ovi Store here. Nothing has to be done to your device other than install the app, though data charges may increase depending upon the data plan with your carrier. With the Vibrant there is no tethering unless you root the device. Rooting is basically unlocking the phone but it comes with risks as rooting will nullify your warranty with T-Mobile. This may not be important to many but I use my N8 as a WiFi tether point for my iPad. Why pay Apple $150 more for a tablet that will force me to pay AT&T $20+ per month just to use the device. WINNER: Nokia N8

With the votes tallied, the N8 seems to be the better device (N8 – 7 votes, Vibrant – 3 votes, Tie – 4 votes). In truth, I really didn’t need to tally a vote to know that the N8 is really a quality device. Not since the E71 have I had a Nokia phone that I truly and enjoy and have challenges finding faults with it. Thank you Nokia for listening to the consumers and learning from the mistakes of the past to build a must have device.

One of the premier sites dedicated to everything Nokia is looking to expand. Given all of the recent news about operating system wars between Nokia/Symbian, Android, and the dreaded A word we need to do all we can to get the word out.

Select the image below to view the Nokia Expert site and follow them on twitter here

 

 

 

 

 

As we all know Symbian based phones have a few browser choices, with the native Nokia version not seen as desirable as some of the others. Unlike the Symbian phones the N900 has only a couple of choices for browsers, though Opera Mini entered the fold as I was writing this article (see update at the end of this article). For now the only true choices are the default Maemo browser and Firefox. In this article I have reviewed the Maemo browser and Firefox 1.1 side-by-side to see if one is better than the other. Now on a PC I’ll use nothing other than Firefox instead of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. There are too many security risks with IE and the ability to customize Firefox on the PC makes it unmatched in my opinion. But does that strength carry forth to the N900? Below are the results of my comparison and I think the answer is obvious, at least to me.

Select the feature to view screen shots

Feature

Maemo

Firefox

Winner

Fast open

X

Maemo

Maemo browser opens almost instantly & the Firefox speed is up to 5 seconds with a blank page & longer depending upon home page
Supports Flash

X

X

Maemo Maemo is Flash ready and with Firefox you need to go to the Adobe site to install
Access/hide tool/menu bar

X

X

Maemo Both do this but Maemo’s is far superior. Hide the bars using the open/hide button or the bars auto-hide after a few seconds. Moving left or right is clunky in Firefox and the page won’t automatically hide the bars
Access to URL entry

X

X

Maemo Again both allow this but with Maemo the tool bar is always present unless you have hidden it. Firefox does not remain at the top and you must go back to the top  to enter a url
Bookmark addition and management

X

X

Maemo

Maemo’s bookmark tool is much easier to get to as the tool bar is easy to access.  With Firefox you need to swipe the screen to the left to add a bookmark. Maemo also wins as it stores thumbnail images of your bookmarked pages.
Import book marks X X Firefox Weave will sync bookmarks and tabs between the device and your PC. The N900 browser will only import bookmarks from a folder on the internal or external memory
Save pages to desktop X X Maemo When saving a bookmark in Maemo you are given the choice to save as a bookmark or a desktop short cut. Firefox saves bookmarks and has a desktop bookmarks section but I could find not find a way to add bookmarks to the desktop
Open multiple Windows X X Tie
Move back and forth between pages X X Firefox Maemo PR 1.2 is supposed to fix this but we all know the frustration with the current back feature
Add-ons available X X Firefox While both devices have the ability to load add-ons Firefox has more available
Settings/Customize X X Maemo Maemo has many more settings available with the most noticeable difference being that cache size can be changed
Save Usernames & Passwords X X Tie
Ability to zoom X X Maemo Without question Maemo wins as there are 3 ways to zoom in or out by swiping circles on the screen, double tapping portions of the page or using the volume key. With Firefox your choices are the double tap or the volume keys.
Ability to highlight text X Maemo Using Maemo Gestures like Manipulation or Hover you can use a cursor to highlight text or view drop down lists in pages without selecting the list
Ability to copy text X Maemo If Firefox can do this please let me know how as I could not get it to highlight text or see an option to copy
View drop down boxes in pages X X Tie
Shortcuts menu in pages X X Maemo Both allow you to press on the screen to access shortcuts but Firefox offers only opening links in new windows or saving images. If you press in an area with unlinked text or no images then nothing happens
Save images X X Tie
Copy link addresses X Maemo Holding down on a  link or image gives you a choice in both Firefox & Maemo to open a new window but Maemo also allows you to copy the link address to the clipboard
View page details X Maemo If Firefox has this I couldn’t find it
Find text in pages X Maemo If Firefox has this I couldn’t find it
View downloads X X Tie

Yes there is quite a bit to consider. Yet of the 22 features I compared Maemo was the winner in 14 of them and Firefox had the advantage in only 3. As the browser provided with Symbian phones leaves a lot to be desired Firefox may make more of an impact by building a browser for Symbian devices. Since they’re not browsers like Opera Mini and Skyfire are creating tools that by name alone Firefox could dominate.

Maemo is hands down the winner of this comparison. Is it perfect? Almost. Fix that feature going going back and forward between pages and I see no reason to use any other browser with the N900. You can learn more about Maemo and Maemo’s Gestures here. Please go Mozilla’s website to learn  more about Firefox 1.1 for the N900.

UPDATE added May 11, 2010 – As stated in the beginning of this article Opera Mini was made available for the N900 just as I was publishing this article. After reading about it at the Nokia N900 Applications site I believe it would have done no better than Firefox had I included it in this review. In fact it may have done worse as it is not yet compatible with Adobe Flash at all. You can read more at Nokia N900 Applications.

I have been using an E75 sent to me by WOMWorldNokia for the past week and a half. As I stated in a quick article last week my first impression was changed very quickly once I figured out what was wrong with Nokia Messaging. Nothing, the error was the person trying to use Nokia Messaging. 🙂

In this article I will share what I liked about the phone. I will be following up with another article with items to think about if you are considering an E75. Before I get into the list of what I liked I do want to say that using this phone reminded me of two things. First, since switching from an E71 to the N97 I forgot how rock-solid and stable Symbian S60 3rd is. I never had to reboot the phone because too much usage made it unstable. When I pushed a button to change menus or select an app I was sent to where I wanted to go and never saw a “memory full” error. Second, I really like touchscreen devices and no matter how much I tried I could not get the screen to respond to my touch selections (yes that will be in the next article). I really like touchscreen devices.

What I like (select images for larger views):

1. Symbian S60 3rd – Stable, stable, stable.

2. The overall size and weight – Fits into a pocket nicely without feeling like you’re carrying a brick, and isn’t as big as it looks in images you see on your screen. To show that I decided to take pictures of the E75 with a N97, but also with everyday items we all know and use.

3. Great screen resolution and the ability to handle many colors – Enough said.

4. A sliding keyboard with big numbers – That was one my very few areas of improvement I saw with the E71. The buttons we so small and so hard to see. As some of us have eyes maturing faster than the rest of us, the ability to see the keys is imperative.

5. A pretty solid feeling. Not too much plastic though the back cover is a very thin metal and the hooks holding the cover into place could bend or break with miss-use.

6. Fast 3G network speeds for MMS, SMS and web – No the cliché “it’s the network” doesn’t fit here as this phone sends messages and interacts with the internet on AT&T’s network (not compatible with T-Mobile’s 3G due to differing frequencies) better than my N97. Could it be that rock-solid S60 3rd again?

7. Stylish – I was hoping for a black one to test as the images of the red version are not my favorite and I was pleasantly surprised when I received a copper-colored phone. To see if I received comments I would leave the phone on tables during meetings or when dining. I did receive many compliments but noticed that they came from women and not men (men react to my N97 or N900 and women do not).

8. Responsive accelerometer – The screens would switch from portrait to landscape extremely quickly using the generic themes provided by Nokia, though 3rd party themes were a little slower. In either case the speed was much faster than my N97, generic or 3rd party. This applies to all apps, including Ovi Maps.

9. Nokia Messaging – I am not a fan of this tool on my N97 BUT it is fantastic on the E75. S60 5th, for all of its “problems”, really does have some quick and easy tools for handling email and advantages related to touch and larger screens over S60 3rd devices. However, I cannot imagine having an E75, or any S60 3rd device, without Nokia Messaging. It’s easy to move between multiple mailboxes, has consistent and stable automatic updates, the ability to view html in emails, and so much more. In short, I wish Nokia Messaging was around when I used my E71.

10. Ovi Store – While many may have complaints about this service in general I must say it is perfect for devices like the E75. I remember the days of the Download! feature and how clunky it was to use. Using the Ovi Store on the E75 was simple and the navigation made sense. Kudos to Nokia for making the service available for a variety of devices!





Entering into this trial I had an expectation that the E75 would be an E71 on steroids with the sliding keyboard being the ending result. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the E75 is its own phone and truly does have features that make it stand-out from the E71. Does this mean I am saying buy one? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I answer that question in Part 2 of my review where I address areas for consideration and my final conclusion.

I recently received an E75 to try out for a couple of weeks. The saying that, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is not true, at least not with this phone. Now don’t get me wrong, my first impression was good, I was just disappointed as I expected more from a Nokia smartphone. What was so disappointing? The lack of a functional Mail for Exchange client that worked. Or so I thought.

What changed? As I have been using the N97 since June 2009 and an E71 before that I am accustomed to a very tedious, if not difficult MfE set-up process. The set-up on the E75 is so simple I was making one very simple mistake that prevented Nokia Messaging from working as designed. Once I figured it out and got MfE functioning as it should my initial impression was changed to an even better one.

Yes i am liking the phone so far and you will be seeing a full review in the next week or so. I won’t be happy when I have to send it back but that’s how it goes.

I bit the bullet and bought the N900

Posted: February 26, 2010 in Generic
Tags: , , , ,

Yes even though last week I said I wasn’t going to do so I couldn’t pass up the chance to pick one up for $400. Between that and the recent challenges with my N97 I want o be prepared should the N97 it take a nose-dive again. I did some reading on other blogs and sites and I must admit I am a tad leery of the amount of information I read about the need to hack and/or write code???? 3 repositories? Ctrl-shift-o?

Look for a write-up in a few weeks after I’ve had some time to use it. I think I’ll approach it from the very low-level user. Say someone that bought it on eBay because they heard it was cool and they got a really good price.  🙂