Archive for January, 2009
I test and trial a ton of applications so there are apps flying on and off my devices regularly. However, there are some essential applications that I use regularly and I wanted to let you know what they are in case you had something better or you were looking for something to add to your device. I will list applications I use on both my E71 and N85 since they are both fairly similar.
- Nokia Email, works great with my two Gmail accounts
- Opera Mini, I like the shortcuts and speed
- Wavelog, the WordPress client you all told me about yesterday
- Skyfire, alternative web browser that lets me watch Hulu.com content
- RoadSync 4, a better Exchange client than Mail For Exchange (review coming next week)
- Gmail, why can’t they get a higher res icon?
- fring, VoIP, Last.fm, and more
- Olivetree BibleReader, I need to always have the Word with me
- QuickOffice Premier 6, after the tip I purchased the upgrade for $10
- StyleTap, I have a couple Palm apps I want to run (review coming)
- Mobbler, I love streaming music clients
- Hava Player, one way to watch my home content
- Google Maps, always good to have an alternative to Nokia Maps
- Astraware S60 games (Board games, Solitaire, and Big Box of Blox), games to pass the time in line are nice to have (review coming)
- Handy Profiles, love the automatic profiles
- Handy Taskman, no better way to switch apps
- Handy Keylock, nice utility to help lock out my keyboard
- JoikuSpot, you never know when you need a wireless hotspot
- NGage games, loaded on my N85 since E71 doesn’t support
- Jaiku, I don’t use it as much as I used to
My most used application loaded on the devices by Nokia is the Podcasting utility that lets me download all of my favorite podcasts over the air!
What are some of your favorite applications that you think I should try out?
I posted my thoughts on the Nokia 5800 and after a couple of more days of usage I just ordered my own blue model that will be here next week. If you get the 5800, then you may load up Java applications such as Gmail. After I loaded up Gmail I saw a display similar to the one shown here (thanks to All About Symbian for the screenshot while I figure out how to take them off that device) with a virtual keypad on the display. It bugged me for a while until I found the solution so I wanted to share that with you on a quick tip of the day.
If you see this virtual pad appear, then take the following steps to remove it:
- Go to Settings
- Find the Application mgr.
- Select Installed apps.
- Select the application with the virtual pad
- Select Options>Suite settings
- The option below Access point is On-screen keyboard, so select that and then select Off
- Tap OK
As you can see there are a ton of other settings here in these Suite settings, including selecting your access point and when to prompt for certain actions. You may want to experiment with some of these as well to optimize your device experience.
The Nokia N79 that I was sent to review is not one of those new ECO models without the charger since that program was launched after I received this evaluation unit. The Nokia N79 is available in both an international and North American variant at this time. The NAM model has dual-band UMTS/HSDPA so you won’t be able to use the higher speed data network while traveling overseas, but it is also quad-band GSM so at least EDGE will work just fine. It is priced with a MSRP of US$429 and is SIM-unlocked. The N79 reminds me of one of my favorite Nseries devices, the N73, with some of the same design features in the candy bar form factor. The N79 has very good specifications and packs a lot of power and functionality in a compact package. Nokia also incorporated a cool back plate image changing capability so you can quickly change the look of your device for different occasions.
In the box
The contents of the retail package include the Nokia N79, three back covers (2 extras), BL-6F battery, Nokia travel charger, USB cable, 4GB microSD card, wired stereo headset, Quick Start Guide, and User Guide. From what I understand there are three different back cover packages. One has canvas white front, sea blue, olive green and espresso brown covers. Another has petrol black front and dark grey, steel grey, and deep plum covers. The eval unit I was sent has seal grey front with espresso brown, coral red (appears orange), and white back covers. I would like to see the sea blue and olive green colors in person. I think you will be able to buy different color backs as accessories and I’ll talk a bit below about how these covers work.
Out of the box first impressions
The N73 remains one of my favorite NSeries devices of all time because of its cool looks, beautiful display, and camera cover design. When I first opened the box for the N79, I was immediately impressed by the
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Nokia makes more handsets that I could ever keep track of and today they announced three new classic models. The Nokia 6700 classic, 6303 classic, and 2700 class are compact, reasonably priced handsets. All three devices run the Series 40 operating system. I’ll be getting the new Nokia Supernova to review for T-Mobile and look forward to trying out Series 40 since I hear it has come quite a ways and really is a powerful implementation of the Symbian operating system.
The 6700 classic is the successor to the 6300 and has a full metal keypad area, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, FM radio, accelerometer, GPS receiver and Nokia Maps. The 6300 is a 3G device with support for HSPA. It has an estimated retail price of EUR 235.
The 6303 has a 3.2 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, FM radio, 2.2 inch display, GPS receiver and Nokia Maps, and 3.5mm headset jack. It has an estimated retail price of EUR 135.
The 2700 has a 2 megapixel camera, FM radio, 3.5mm headset jack, and Bluetooth radio. The 2700 has an estimated retail price of EUR 65.
All three new devices are scheduled to ship in the second quarter of 2009.
I plan to start posting regularly on the go from my various Nokia devices since my time to dedicate to blogging is limited. I found a couple of tools that look like they will get the job done during my 45 minutes morning and evening train commutes and at other times when I have a few minutes to spare. For S60 there is the Wordmobi tool and for the Internet Tablet there is WordPy .
I have a day job and then a night job with coaching, cheering, and spending time with my wife and 3 daughters. I have tried and joked about not sleeping, but I am not a vampire and really do need to get a couple hours of sleep. So to keep up with some fresh content I needed to find a way to blog on the go and think these couple tools should work fine.
There are a couple odd UI things where you have to select the right soft key in Wordmobi that shows up as Exit even when Done or OK is what is meant. I have tried various iterations and it gets better all the time and it is free so you can’t really complain.
I wrote and posted this entry on my E71 (seemed to stick in Draft mode though) using Wordmobi. Remember you will need to install Python first to use this free utility too. I actually composed the post in the included Notes program because I didn’t want to chance losing what I wrote. With copy and paste supported on S60 this is not an issue. I also took the photo of my train with the Nokia 5800 and emailed it to my E71.
I need to figure out why they are getting stuck in Draft form and also work on editing the photos to a smaller size before my next On The Go post.
Do you post from your device? If so, what tools work for you?
Posted by Wordmobi
I just purchased a license for Telewaving Wavelog because it successfully published my posts and seems more feature packed. I like the HTML capability and ability to save posts on the device as you write them.
If you are a Nokia fan, then you have probably heard of the Curse of Silence SMS exploit that was revealed at the beginning of January. The virus could affect S60 devices with version 2.6 to 3.1 and after you received this SMS it would disable you from receiving any further text messages. The only way to resolve the issue was to perform a hard recent and start over again with your device. So, it didn’t completely destroy your device and it should have still allowed you to perform a backup of data before resetting. Then again, if you did a full backup then maybe it would still be there.
According to the Nokia Users site Nokia took some fairly quick action and is now providing you with a FREE solution to protect your S60 device. The application, SMS Cleaner, is designed to be used after you have received the Curse of Silence SMS message. If you receive the virus, then you should run the program and after it runs the application will be uninstall itself and your phone will reset.
It is sad that people spend their time putting together virus just to harm others. You would think these people would rather do something to help out the world, rather than destroy it. Maybe with the current economic situation hackers will have less idle time to spend hacking and spend more time working and contributing to society.
BTW, were any readers actually affected by this SMS virus? My devices seem to be safe so far.
If you read through my introduction post you will know a bit about my device history and why I wanted to kick off this site. I was recently asked what appeals to me with S60 and put together a rather lengthy email response that I decided I should share with you all too so you know more about my perspective and thinking on S60 and Nokia devices. So after adding a bit more commentary here are some of my thoughts around the S60 platform.
First, here are several reasons I enjoy Nokia S60 devices (in no particular order of importance), especially the Eseries and Nseries:
(1) Outstanding RF reception: On just about every Nokia S60 device I have tried in the last few years I have never had a dropped call and always see the best signal strength when compared to my other operating system devices.)
(2) Outsanding phone call quality: Calls always sound crisp and clear on my Nokia devices.
(3) Rock solid hardware: Nokia can make some slick devices with my E71 serving as a perfect example of phone that is tough to put down with its sleek metal design and construction. Did you see Rafe’s article where his went through the water for about 10 minutes and still works like a champ? I also have a solid Nokia N85 that improves on the N95 quality. Now, this being said, there are a few S60 devices that have issues and I have to think many of the issues are manufacturing related rather than designed to have issues. In today’s mobile market Nokia needs to keep up on quality control to keep their name in good standing for quality devices.
(4) Media creation: I don’t think there is a mobile OS today that can match the still and digital photo capturing capabilities of the Nseries devices.
(5) Integrated and 3rd party apps: In this area S60 is much like Windows Mobile with some great integrated utilities (Podcasting, QuickOffice, and Nokia Maps come to mind) and a huge developer community with awesome applications. BTW, the default S60 web browser is a very good default browser, especially the visual history. RoadSync is also a must have for Exchange syncing.
(6) VoIP support: When traveling overseas it sure has been handy to use VoIP services from my phone to call home. Nokia is the leader in supporting VoIP on handsets.
(7) Choice in form factors: Again, like WM, Nokia lets you choose a device in candy bar, QWERTY, slider, flip, etc. form factors so there isn’t a one-design-fits all mentality.
(8) Stable operating system: I load a TON of 3rd party applications on my S60 devices and after using about 10 different models over the last 6 months I can honestly say that I have not had my devices reset on my even once! There is no reset button that I know of on S60 and if you do have an issue you pop out the battery. The thing is, even for a power user like myself, the dang OS just works without me worry about a reset or failure during a call.
(9) Services: Nokia has some great services (Nokia Maps, Nokia Email, & Share Online for example) with even more coming soon. Like what we will see from Microsoft soon, services integrated into the OS and handset can be what sets devices and companies apart in the future and gives users a connected experience.
(10) OTA updates: Nokia’s latest devices support OTA firmware updates and these work like a champ without even erasing any of your data. These also work across the carriers, but still have issues with regions at times.
(11) Customization: I LOVE the fact that I can completely control and customize my menu folder structure and application shortcuts. This gives me the ability to optimize my menu system to my own personal tastes and I can’t believe I forgot to put this one in here in the first place. BlackBerry and Android also gives you this kind of folder management, but forget it with the iPhone and Windows Mobile. I can also customize themes and background images with my S60 devices and really personalize the device.
Now, I think every OS has its issues too and here are some things that bug me about Nokia and S60:
(1) PIM apps suck: Sorry to be so blunt here, but Nokia needs major work on the Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks programs. The E71 has a better calendar, but they really need to come out with something better soon.
(2) Current email and messaging client: The new Nokia Email service is nice and looks/works great, but the default Messaging application looks horrible and just barely gets the job done. Nokia also needs to implement threaded text messaging NOW so I can keep track of what my teen daughters are saying to me when they are out and about.
(3) Application storefront: Nokia’s Download utility is lame and inconsistent from device to device and from region to region. Why can’t the leader in smartphones come out with an amazing on-device application store? Let’s hope there is an Ovi Store or something coming this year from Nokia.
(4) Embracing social media: This one is really in the court of 3rd party developers, but with Nokia’s focus on their devices connecting people I think Nokia may have some influence here. With Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites taking off in popularity why can’t we have really good Twitter and Facebook applications for S60 on the devices? The iPhone is only 18 months old and there are something like 10 different Twitter applications.
QuickOffice is the software you will find on most S60 devices today in the Standard form that lets you view documents that are sent to you via email. You can upgrade to the Premier version and enable the ability to create new documents right on your device. I currently have QuickOffice 5.0 on my E71, but just read over on All About Symbian that QuickOffice Premier 6.0 is now available for S60 devices for US$39.
As listed on the QuickOffice site, the updates, improvements, and new features of QuickOffice Premier 6.0 include
* Word® and Excel® 2007 Viewing
* Word and Excel 2007 Editing
* Excel 2007 Chart Viewing
* PowerPoint® (.ppt and .pps) Viewing and Editing
* Enhanced File Manager
* ZIP File Support
* View Password Protected Word and Excel files
* “Go To Cell” in Excel
* Word Count
* Advanced Editing of text, lists, tables, style, and formatting
* ZoomView™ lets you pick the display size that’s best for you
* Printer support (for Nokia E-Series with printing capability)
* Tighter integration with Adobe Reader LE
* Record live voice notes in PowerPoint
* Support for complex formulas
* Free spell check dictionaries available in multiple languages
If you ever use your S60 device to create and edit documents on the go (easy to do with a QWERTY device like the E71), then I recommend you check out QuickOffice.
One of my favorite Nokia sites is the Nokia Conversations site where people from within Nokia’s Social Communications team post a ton of interesting content. I just read an article discussing the new Nokia Beta Labs site that went live a few days ago. I have visited the Nokia Beta Labs site for a while now because I like to find and test out the latest and greatest applications they are developing on all of my Nokia devices. Beta Labs is the place to go if you want to see future products from Nokia and the new site also now lets you give direct feedback on those applications and participate in the process.
Some of the current beta applications include Contacts on Ovi, Nokia Step Counter, Conversation (threaded text messaging that Nokia needs to add into the OS), and Sports Tracker. Nokia also has a page for those applications that have graduated from Beta Labs and some of these are Nokia Chat (now integrated into Contacts on Ovi), Widsets, and Nokia Messaging (my FAVORITE email program/service on my E71). Lastly, there are archived applications like the Enhanced Calculator, Nokia Headlines, and Nokia Device Status.
In addition to the great betas available and new capability to write reviews and provide feedback, you can also visit the Nokia Beta Labs blog to read lots of details about what is going on with the beta software. As you can read on the blog here are all the improvements in the new community focused Beta Labs website.
You can also interact with other beta testers in the forums that are setup for each application available.
By the way, check out some of my favorite Nokia/S60 sites over in the right sidebar blogroll section.
I posted the news on Last.fm integration into fring yesterday and downloaded and tried it out myself on both the E71 and Nokia N85. I was actually surprised by how well Last.fm is integrated into fring and how much functionality is provided. As you can see in my video below you can search for an artist and then listen to music. You have the ability to play or pause the music, skip to the next song, mark the song (love it or ban it), and see what your friends are listening too. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet went as far as adding friends on Last.fm so I could test and show this capability out. I’ll try to add friends soon and start using it more.
In addition to the Last.fm integration, you can use fring to update your Facebook status and manage your Facebook account. This is also a great feature since I have yet to find a S60 Facebook application. The Facebook module lets you update your status, view friends, add friends, view and respond to requests and pokes, view your Facebook photos, message, groups, and events. I don’t see a way to upload photos from within this module, but you can always do it through Shozu.
One thing I haven’t figure out with fring is how to turn off the automatic Twitter updates and notifications. When I am listening to music on Last.fm I get annoying Twitter update sounds and closing this module doesn’t turn off notifications. I’ve been looking around and can’t figure out how to turn it off so if you know, then please feel free to leave a comment here. I suppose I could completely turn off the Twitter module, but I don’t want that either.
I have to say with the Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm, Google Talk, and Skype integration I may be using fring a whole lot more now.