Archive for February, 2009

Pick up a Nokia E71 for only $289 today at Amazon

Nokia E71As you know the Nokia E71 is my current favorite S60 device and I just read on The Nokia Blog that you can pick one up today for only US$289 using the Amazon Gold Box deal. This is only $10 more than the Nokia E63 and actually has me thinking about picking up a backup. Then again, I am intrigued by the E77 and E75 so I think I will wait for one of these to launch in the U.S.

BTW, today is the last day of our Nokia Experts Launch Contest so get your entries in for a chance to win your own Nokia E71 or N85.

Nokia Comes with Music should be coming to US in 2009

The Nokia news is coming a bit fast for a Friday and according to Ars Technica we WILL be seeing Nokia’s Comes with Music service in the United States in 2009! This is very good news and hopefully this also means that Nokia really is serious about getting their devices up and running, and fully supported, here in the U.S.


There is no date yet associated with the availability of the service, just “sometime in 2009”. The cost of Comes with Music is usually rolled into the device selling price, for different periods of service, but you do get access to unlimited tunes from your device. This service actually may lead to people updating their devices on a regular basis to keep the music playable and their subscription active, but I have to think there will be add-on subscription options eventually.

Do you really think Nokia is going to enter the laptop business?

I am sorry the posts here have been light this week, but I had some major work to do at my normal day job (it pays the bills, right?) and some cool reviews to work on for my ZDNet blogs (you may want to check out my Kindle 2 thoughts), but should be back to my normal production here again with lots of software reviews coming soon. Anyways, I wanted to post some of my thoughts on the statement OPK made about Nokia considering a laptop device in the future.

Olli-Pekka Kallasuvuo mentioned in a recent interview that Nokia was “actively looking” at the laptop market as the cellphone and mobile PC markets get closer and closer to convergence. It is a bit funny to hear people then write and report that Nokia will be releasing a netbook in the future. OPK said they were actively looking at this market, which every major mobile company probably is and should be so I don’t think we can jump to the immediate conclusion that they WILL definitely do it. Actually, Nokia was the world’s largest computer maker in 2008 so it isn’t that much of a stretch to hear them considering larger form factor devices.

Netbooks were HOT in 2008 and are still doing very well as every major laptop manufacturer has an ultra-portable laptop now available. One aspect of these netbooks that make them more compelling and useful for people today (I have a MSI Wind myself) is that they are great “cloud computing” devices. As Nokia spends more and more time and energy on providing services to phone users, these services can easily be taken to a small computer form factor as well.

Nokia has the N800 and N810 Internet Tablets that run on a Linux OS and this could probably be taken up to a larger netbook device. However, I think it would only work if more of the Nokia Ovi services were working with this Linux disto. I enjoy using the Nokia Internet Tablets, but am not impressed with their slow performance.

Nokia has the Communicator line of devices that are like small netbooks, but these never really seemed to take off with those outside the enterprise market. They were also quite pricey and I am not sure Nokia can produce a netbook device down in the US$300 to $400 range, given that their Nseries and Eseries phones already start in this price range.

Do you really think Nokia will get into the netbook business? Personally, I want them to stay focused on making outstanding phones and providing better services.

Update: Nokia 5800 NAM now available in Flagship stores, $50 voucher included

Nokia 5800 in handThere has been a bit of confusion surrounding the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic release here in the U.S. since the devices apparently arrived at the Chicago and New York Flagship stores, but couldn’t be sold due to some inventory tracking issue. The folks over at The Boy Genius Report wasted no time and headed over to pick up the 5800 and post some first thoughts on the device. I have a Euro 5800 XM that I use with T-Mobile USA (doesn’t work with the NAM version on 3G anyways) and am quite happy with the device.

If you live outside of these two areas you can only pre-order it now on Nokia USA. I don’t know when these units will ship though.

The 5800 XM was actually one of the three phones I took with me on my recent cruise because it served as a rock solid phone, outstanding alarm clock, and media player while lasting for days on a single charge. The Nokia 5800 XM NAM version retails for US$399, which is about the same I paid for the Euro version. I would expect that you will find it online from other retailers, like,, etc. in a few weeks for something around $350.

UPDATE: Mark found that Nokia decided to add some more goodnes to the 5800 NAM release with a $50 voucher for Amazon Video on Demand content. As stated in the Nokia press release, “For a limited time, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic will also come with a 50 USD voucher for Amazon Video on Demand which allows you to download thousands of movies or TV titles as well as one month of free turn-by-turn voice guided navigation through Ovi Maps.” Maybe this is an attempt to help US buyers out since we don’t get access to the Comes with Music service.

Smartphone Experts Roundtable Podcast 3

SPE Roundtable

Join Dieter, Matthew, Kevin, Rene, and Casey as they discuss Mobile World Congress 2009 — there’s a little bit for everybody in this gigantic cross-platfrom smartphone podcast!

Show notes after the break.

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Nokia announces voluntary resignation program and other initiatives

Nokia logoThe current economic situation is very depressing to me and I am extremely thankful for the career that I have been blessed with and pray that everyone who wants to work is able to find employment. Nokia issued a press release announcing a new voluntary resignation package and other voluntary initiatives. I can’t say I quite understand why someone would voluntarily resign, unless there was some kind of good package for separation and the person has another job lined up. Nokia stated that employees can apply for this until 1,000 employees have applied with the latest closing date of 31 May 2009. Anyone have thoughts on why someone would apply for this program?

Nokia also stated they will grant short-term unpaid leave and sabbaticals of one month or more. Employees are also being encouraged to take their holiday time rather than cashing it in, which is something my company also highly recommends because of the way the books are managed. I personally would like to take a sabbatical to focus on my mobile blogs, but I am way too busy at my company to take this amount of time off so this isn’t an option right now. Hopefully, the economic situation improves so that every Nokia employee is gainfully employed.

Back from family cruise, some quick thoughts

I am back from my 10 day family vacation cruise to the Caribbean and wanted to publicly thank Dieter for stepping up and providing some content while I was out to sea. He attended MWC and stopped by to visit Nokia and give us his personal impressions of the new devices, Ovi Store, and more.

I wanted to let you know a bit about my trip, from the geek perspective. While in line to check in for the ship, I saw a Nokia E71 placed on the security belt and mentioned to the owner that I thought that was one of the best Nokia devices ever made. It turns out that his wife is a Nokia employee in Canada that will be at CTIA so I will see her again in just over a month. Once you meet someone on a cruise it seems you see them throughout the week too so we bumped into each other quite a bit. My 5800 was also the first one she has personally seen :)

Speaking of the 5800, I used this phone with my T-Mobile SIM in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Miami since it gets excellent battery life, takes decent photos outdoors, and is a fantastic phone. Did you know it has a proximity sensor like the iPhone and the screen turns off when you hold it to your face? It also has the ability to go to snooze when you flip it over so it served as our alarm clock on the days we entered ports to visit.

We had an incredible family vacation and are already thinking about one for next year. Cruising is great for a family of five, even just for all the meals being part of the cruise cost. You can eat 24 hours a day if you like, but I restrained myself and limited eating to only 18 hours a day 😉

Now that I am back I plan to post several software reviews, more tips and tricks, and more content as we lead up to my CTIA trip at the beginning of April.

Nokia Experts Launch Contest, Final Week to enter and answer a few questions


Week 5, Final Week, of the Nokia Experts Launch Contest is now kicking off and will run until midnight Pacific Time on Saturday, 28 February. Here are the rules for Week 5:

How to Enter – Week 5 (Ends Saturday, 28 February at midnight Pacific Standard Time)

For this final week’s contest you have to answer five questions sprinkled throughout the short history of this site and then send them in through the Contact form. Comments are turned off for this week’s entry because I don’t want the answers appearing here for others to get to enter without any effort. If you post in another thread I will delete that comment and your entry for this week. Please use the Contact form as I have directed and even linked to for you.

Here is what you have to answer correctly:
(1) What is my current favorite Nokia S60 device?
(2) What was my first Nokia S60 device?
(3) What Nokia am I saving up for to buy when it is released?
(4) What is my regular day job?
(5) What military branch did I serve in?

That’s it for this week! It will take me a few days to assemble all the entries over the last five weeks and then we will randomly draw the two lucky winners from all valid entries.

The Fine Print and More Rules

  1. One entry per person per week (please only submit a single comment for the contest for this week).
  2. Full contest will end at midnight Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, 28 February. Each weekly entry task has ended on the Sunday at midnight of that particular week.
  3. You cannot be a contractor, moderator, or employee of any Smartphone Experts or Axel Ltd. sites. All of the restrictions of Smartphone Experts stores apply. This unfortunately means that we cannot ship to a PO, APO, or FPO box.
  4. The contest is open to anyone in the world.
  5. We’ll pick the winner randomly from all the correct entries that we receive.
  6. Please send any questions to

Around SPE for 22 Feb, 2009

It’s been quite a week for SPE, we wrapped up a bootload of live coverage of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. With details on Windows Mobile 6.5, the new HTC Magic Android phone, the new Ovi Application Store at Nokia Experts, and even a sneak preview of a GPS App for the iPhone, we were chock full of breaking mobile news.

This week we’ll be bringing you more of the same, of course. Be sure you are paying special attention to, as this will be a HUGE week for CrackBerry Nation. This coming Thursday, February 26th, the site officially turns 2 years old!! And when turns another year older, it doesn’t mean a day of celebrating, it means a week birthday festivities! Whether you’re a BlackBerry owner or not you’ll want to stay glued to the site for great contests, deals and giveaways each and every day. If you’re not a daily visitor but want to follow the action, you can always subscribe to the CrackBerry RSS feeds or follow the site on Twitter at @crackberry.

Speaking of giveaways, time is running out for your chances to win a Nokia N85 or E71 at Nokia Experts, so be sure to head over and learn how to enter this week.

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Nokia Magnifier blows up text for better viewing

magnifier_1As I mentioned before, one of the coolest sites at Nokia for people who like to play with new applications is Nokia Beta Labs. The latest release that looks like it could help those with visual impairments is Nokia Magnifier. Nokia Magnifier uses the camera on your Nokia S60 device to magnify the text of documents you are reading. I know a guy at work who would love to see something like this and he may just pick up a S60 device after I show this to him.

Nokia Magnifier has an integrated stabilizer to reduce the effects of a shaky hand and a negative filter to enable you to switch from light to dark backgrounds. You can also capture an image of the magnified text if you like.

Nokia Magnifier should work with S60 3rd Edition devices with auto-focus cameras and has been tested and verified to work on the Nokia n95, E90, and N82. Users have reported it doesn’t work on the E71, N85, and N86. I’ll try it myself on my E71 and N85, but also have an old N95 to use too.

Do you personally have a need for such an application?

Nokia N8 Guide

Nokia E73 Mode Guide
Nokia N900 Guide