Archive for June, 2009

Nokia N97 firmware coming 1 July? Thoughts on what is needed

Nokia N97 firmware coming 1 July? Thoughts on what is neededI posted my thoughts on having the Nokia N97 for a week last Wednesday and pointed out a couple of areas where Nokia needs to work on the device. The blogosphere is talking about a firmware update coming in just a couple days, on 1 July 2009, and hopefully we will get this here in the US on the NAM model too. The firmware update notice was posted on the Nokia Conversations Twitter account and stated the release is coming to first variants. Since we received the NAM model here in the US before just about everyone else I am hopeful that we will also get the update first.

Mark over at The Nokia Blog posted a great article listing 10 Things Nokia Should Fix with the Nokia N97 Firmware Update. I actually noticed a few of these things this past weekend as I was using my N97 more and more and as great as the N97 is, I am not sure I would recommend people pay the high price for it quite yet with the current firmware. There is a lot of promise in the device and Nokia has stated we can expect some good updates moving forward, but should you really pay $600 to $700 for a device that needs updates?

Some of the issues Mark listed may not be seen by you if you don’t use certain functions on the N97 and in looking at the history of updates to previous devices it looks like each of the items listed can be fixed by a firmware update rather than a hardware update.

First impressions of the Nokia N86 8MP; the best Nokia dual slider yet

One of the benefits of writing about all of these phones is getting the opportunity to try out all of the latest and greatest devices for a few weeks before deciding if they are worth purchasing or not. Nokia sent me an eval unit of the Nokia N86 8 megapixel in a European configuration. This means it works with the EDGE data networks on T-Mobile and AT&T, but not on the faster 3.5G networks of either carrier. I haven’t had a lot of time with the device because I have been busy with the Nokia N97, E71x, and other smartphones, but wanted to offer you a few thoughts after spending several hours with it while also seeing what you are most interested in hearing about in a full review.

The Nokia N86 8MP is the latest Nseries dual slider that follows the highly successful Nokia N95 (in various configurations), N85, N81 8GB, and N96. I thoroughly enjoyed the N95, but there were a few issues with the device and after playing with the N86 8MP for a few hours I think Nokia has created just about the most perfect dual slider design. The N86 8MP is extremely well constructed and feels awesome in your hand with its matte finish black exterior.

Specifications

The Nokia N86 8MP has all of the expected specifications from a high end device and a bit more as you can see below.

  • ARM 11 434 MHz processor
  • Internal 8GB Flash memory with microSD card slot
  • S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2
  • 2.6 inch QVGA (320×240 pixels) Active Matrix OLED display with support for up to 16.7 million colors
  • Accelerometer
  • BL-5K 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
  • Integrated GPS receiver with compass
  • Quad-band GSM
  • 802.ll b/g WiFi
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • MicroUSB port for syncing and charging
  • 8 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual LED flash
  • FM radio with RDS support

As you can see this device is packed with features and a couple rather unique features are the OLED display and the 8 megapixel camera.

Hardware

The Nokia N86 8MP feels so much better in my hand than the N95 ever did with construction that makes it feel like a tank. Unlike many of the other latest Nokia Nseries devices,

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Best of Smartphone Experts, 28 June 2009

In case you missed it, each site in the Smartphone Experts Network posted our Smartphone Experts Roundtable podcast, where we discussed the biggest smartphones announced and released this month: BlackBerry Tour Review, Nokia N97 Review, iPhone 3GS, Palm Pre Review, and the HTC Hero Announcment.

Here’s the rest of the big Smartphone news of the week!

Check out the new AT&T Nokia E71x Starter Guide

nokia-e71x-attThe Nokia E71x is one of my favorite all-time Nokia devices and even though I have been spending a lot of time with the N97 lately, the E71x still has a special place in my collection and I may soon be going back to it. I assembled all of my posts on the E71x into a central location to help out new E71x owners that you can find here. I plan to continue to update this E71x Starter Guide to serve as a valuable resource for you and I to all enjoy. Please continue to send in your questions and tips & tricks for the E71x and I will get to them all as soon as I can.

Nokia E71x contest: Win a free year of AT&T Navigator!

It has been a while since we had a contest here on Nokia Experts and the great folks at TeleNav (in particular Mary Beth) asked if we were interested in giving away a FULL YEAR subscription of AT&T Navigator to one lucky Nokia E71x owner. I posted my review of AT&T Navigator on my E71x and think it is a fantastic GPS voice-guided navigation solution on a solid device.

nokiae71x_telenav1

Let me make this clear for all you readers too, this contest is only applicable to AT&T Nokia E71x owners in the US because that is the only device, and country, that this software currently is compatible with. If you enter I will need to verify with you that you indeed do have a Nokia E71x (winner needs to send in a photo of their E71x with them in the photo please) so that the prize can be awarded to a valid recipient. This is a prize worth $119.88 ($9.99/month for 12 months) so all of you E71x owners will definitely want to enter to win.

How to Enter

Since this is a GPS navigation program I am interested in finding out something about you and how this software would benefit you this summer. Please leave a comment with a response to at least one of the following:

  1. Are you planning a vacation where TeleNav will help you out and if so, where are you going?
  2. Do you have a killer commute where TeleNav can help and if so, what city is that in?
  3. Any other story about using TeleNav or plans for using TeleNav you wish to share?

The Fine Print and More Rules

  1. One entry per person.
  2. Full contest will end at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time on Sunday, 19 July.
  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 those in the US who have an AT&T SIM and Nokia E71x ONLY.
  5. We’ll pick the winner randomly from all the correct entries that we receive.
  6. Please send any questions to contest@smartphoneexperts.com.

Fennec beta 2 browser released for Nokia Internet Tablets

fenneclogoI’ve got a busy weekend with a soccer tourney, but thought you may enjoy knowing there is a new web browser alternative for your Nokia Internet Tablet. According to the Mozilla blog you can update to Fennec Beta 2 on your Internet Tablet (Maemo device at Beta 2) or Windows Mobile (at Alpha 2) device. When you visit the Fennec website you will see that this update includes improving the user experience, fixing bugs and improving performance. Keep in mind that this is still a beta release so you may not want to rely on it as your primary web browser.

The Mozilla folks list the intentions for this browser, that include:

  • get wider feedback on our approach to the user experience
  • engage Mozilla community teams, including localizers, and testers
  • get feedback from Web developers
  • encourage add-on developers to port existing add-ons and invent new ones for mobile

If you have Fennec on your Nokia Internet Tablet you should just be able to update it through the software manager. If you don’t have it yet, visit the install area on the site to see how to install it on your device.

Anyone give it a whirl yet?

Truphone adds new Nokia device support, Rafe explains it all

truphoneYesterday Truphone announced (PDF file) support for several new Nokia devices and Rafe over at All About Symbian put together a great post on how Truphone can help you out. Rafe explained in detailed and straightforward terms what Truphone is and the two way Nokia owners can connect and use the service. Unfortunately, Nokia has been messing with the SIP stack on the S60 platform so VoIP is limited in some of the newer devices. The N97 is also not yet supported by Truphone.

I used Truphone in the past when traveling overseas and it is intended to help you pay less for international calling. Truphone is available on just about every mobile platform, including the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and S60. Have any of you used Truphone on your Nokia device?

Smartphone Experts Roundtable 5

SPE Roundtable

Join Dieter, Matthew, Rene, and Kevin as they discuss all of the insanely great new smartphones that have been announced and released in the past month. On the docket:

(Update: links and player fixed.)

Show notes after the break.

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Join in the Smartphone Experts Roundtable tonight, including Nokia Experts

SPE Roundtable

I am going to be joing in on my second Smartphone Experts podcast tonight where I will have plenty to say about the N97 and other smartphones I have recently purchased and returned.  Come join in and check out — Smartphone Experts Roundtable Live!

Tonight, Wednesday, June 24 at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT, SPE Editor-in-Chief, Dieter Bohn (representing PreCentral.net, AndroidCentral.com, and WMExperts.com), Kevin Michaluk (fearless leader of CrackBerry.com), and Matt Miller (editor of NokiaExperts.com) will be Rene Ritchie (from theiPhoneBlog.com) to talk Palm Pre, BlackBerry Tour, Nokia N97, and the iPhone 3GS/iPhone 3.0.

As always, pre-show will start about 5 minutes before if you want to drop by early and reserve a space in our chat room. See you then!

Join in via http://www.tipb.com/live

Review: One week with the Nokia N97, it is staying put

Just over a week ago I posted my first impressions of the white Nokia N97. I spent all of last week with my AT&T SIM living in my N97 before picking up a 32GB iPhone 3G S this weekend (I’ll offer thoughts on how these two stack up later) and wanted to post about my experiences as I look to make a decision on whether or not this phone is worth the premium price of $600+.

I am quite pleased with my Nokia E71x and personally find the Eseries (E71, E75, and E71x) to be the most efficient and effective devices for me. I didn’t really like the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic device at first, but after a week or so I learned to really like the device for the most part and think it is quite good for media consumption with Amazon Video on Demand and more. I was really looking forward to trying out the Nokia N97, but after spending about 15 minutes with it at CTIA I didn’t think it was that outstanding and was going to skip the device. After seeing a sale in early May for the N97 at the Nokia USA site I decided to preorder the device and see if it shipped at the discounted price. When the device started shipping just over a week ago, I was pleased that I kept my preorder because I really did want to try it out and write about it here on Nokia Experts.

n97_first15

The Nokia N97 is the flagship Nseries device and thus should be targeted to the power user who wants to capture photos and video, share this media with others, browse the web, interact with social networks, create and edit documents on the go, and much more. There are Nseries devices that excel in media capture, such as the Nokia N86 8 megapixel phone and Nokia N82. Then there are Eseries devices that excel in productivity, such as the E71 and E75. The N97 sort of melds those two together, but really doesn’t go far enough with Eseries integration and seems to have a bit of an identity crisis.

What is good about the Nokia N97?

I am generally a positive guy so let me start off this blog post with the things I like about the N97.

The hardware design and construction of the Nokia N97 is some of the best ever seen on a smartphone. The hinge is slick and yet rock solid, the display is crisp and bright, the camera is well protected and the back cover design lets you have the N97 resting on a table to watch movies. I am quite good at text entry on the N97 and IMHO, the hardware keyboard presence is better than not having one present.

The display is resistive, but Nokia did a great job with it and I

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