Archive for April, 2010
I was able to join in on the Nokia N8 Q&A session (check them out on the Nseries blog) and one of the questions I asked that is an issue for me personally (I do have a couple teenage daughters) is the support out of the box for threaded SMS/conversational view of text messages. Nokia confirmed that the N8 has support for this out of the box! That did it for me and confirmed the purchase decision of the N8 that I already knew was highly likely.
Other cool facts
- Another major bonus is support for 5 bands of WCDMA so you can use the N8 with either AT&T or T-Mobile 3G data networks so there will no longer be limits on who in the US can buy and fully use a Nokia device. This is the FIRST smartphone that we have ever seen support all five bands in a single device, across EVERY mobile operating system and is a MAJOR deal.
- USB on the Go: In the box you will get an adapter so you can plug in USB sticks & hard drives. There is obviously a limit what kind of current N8 supply so it means that with some hard drives you need an external power supply. You can transfer easily big files without PC
- Nokia is building on the Communities application in Nokia Messaging for Social Networks to roll out improved Facebook and Twitter clients. Functions will include status updates, share location and photos, view live feeds from Facebook directly on the home screen, transferring events from social networks into the device calendar is also easy, the Facebook profiles can be linked to the device phone book (cool).
- New email application. As stated in the chat, “the e-mail is completely redone. Super easy to set up multiple accounts without knowing any server details. Works with Exchange. Displays HTML mails with nice fonts and pictures in place. Fast switching between mailboxes. Tap-and-hold for contextual options… it’s totally redone.”
- Camera is HOT and there are several technologies and features that make it even better than most point and shoot cameras.
I am pretty excited about the upcoming Nokia N8 smartphone and even more excited thinking that this is just the first Symbian^3 device with Symbian^4 and Symbian^5 still coming in 2011 and beyond. Nokia World is being held in September in London and I would love to be there, as I am sure some of you Nokia fans would too. There appears to be a way to make that happen for up to twelve of us with the Make My App competition that just kicked off. Nokia Beta Labs wants us to submit ideas for applications in four categories from now until 27 June.
You need to submit ideas in one of four categories (Think Green, Fun & Games, Easier Living, Better World) and then vote on the ones you want Nokia to make. The ten ideas that get the most votes each week will be shortlisted and guest judges will choose three ideas from each category at the end of the two months. These top twelve submitters (3 from each of the four categories) will get a trip to Nokia World, your idea will be made into an app, you will get a Nokia N8, and your app will be distributed on the Ovi Store. Visit the Make My App site to read all of the rules and get started. I know I am going to start thinking hard about good apps and get some submissions in myself since I would love both a Nokia N8 and a trip to Nokia World.
Keep in mind that a previous Nokia Experts contest winner won a sweet trip to Australia so readers here may have a real chance at one or more of these twelve trips.
Even though I would never pay for or accept a stolen phone and do not agree with Gizmodo’s actions, I think the police action for busting down the editors door and breaking into his house was even more appalling. Really? It is not like this was a drug dealing murderer or rapist and he did not deserve this type of treatment. I know we are all passionate about our smartphones, but it was JUST A PHONE folks and no one is going to die because of it. Similar to the stolen iPhone situation, Nokia has a prototype that was placed into a writer’s hands without authorization too and they want their prototype back.
I did not write a post linking to this “review” before (here it is if you want to check it out) because I don’t think it is a fair evaluation of the device with the software still several months from completion. I hope that Nokia gets the device back and that people take an honest look at the N8 and future devices without basing decisions on the early prototype “reviews”.
I have not been very excited about any Nokia device for a few months, especially with the recent HTC Incredible, Nexus One, Palm Pre Plus, and other devices readily available here in the US. Today Nokia officially announced the Nokia N8 Symbian^3 device and I have to say I am planning to pick one up as soon as I can. One of the most compelling features is the unique 5-band WCDMA 3G support that we have not yet seen on ANY other smartphone to date. This means you can buy it and use it with either AT&T or T-Mobile here in the US and get 3G data speeds.
Another first for Nokia is a sealed internal battery locked inside the aluminum colored shell. This used to be one area where Nokia fans slammed the iPhone, but in all honesty even though I have spare batteries I rarely ever use them and find this to be a non-issue. On the other hand, the specs of the N8 show only a 1200 mAh battery so that may be an issue.
Other specifications of the Nokia N8 include:
- 3.5 inch 640×360 capacitive touchscreen display
- Symbian^3 OS with Qt 4.6.2 support
- Bluetooth 3.0
- 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
- HDMI port
- Internal 16GB memory and microSD card for up to 32GB more memory
- 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and Xenon flash and 720p capture capability
- Both a FM transmitter and a FM radio
- Integrated GPS with free Ovi Maps navigation
- 1200 mAh NON-REPLACEABLE battery (seems a bit low for this device)
- 5 colors in aluminum casing
- Dimensions: 4.47 x 2.32 x 0.51 inches and 4.76 ounces
Look at these specs and you will see things not seen on many other smartphones, including Bluetooth 3.0, 12 megapixel camera, FM transmitter, and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. The display is not as high of resolution as I though it would be for a high end device, but it does support 16 million colors too.
Specifications are not everything though, as we have seen with past Nokia devices, but I think Symbian^3 will add in some user interface improvements. I saw it in action at CES this year and IMHO it looks much like Maemo 5 and Google Android while still having some familiar Nokia characteristics so I think we will find it quite appealing and functional. I am sure others here in the US will slam it, but that is nothing new and doesn’t surprise me. Is the iPhone with its very limited icon-based user interface really that efficient and optimal? I don’t personally think so and never use my iPhone as a phone anymore because it doesn’t give me enough functionality.
I personally want a blue or orange one, but understand they vary by country. I wish this was available in the next month or two and am not sure I can wait until Q3 of this year.
Even though we now have free Ovi Maps navigation and mapping on many of our Nokia devices, I personally still jump onto Google Maps for quick navigation and searching for businesses and places. Yesterday, Google posted news that Google Maps 4.1 is now available for Symbian S60 phones. This latest update adds Search by Voice capability, which can be quite helpful if you are in a vehicle and should not be entering text while driving.
Nokia released their Q1 2010 financial report today and the year-on-year comparison shows improvements almost across the board while the quarter-on-quarter changes are mostly down across the board. Analysists were expecting a larger increase in profits and a better report even though Nokia continues to dominate the worldwide smartphone market with 41% market share, up 3% from 2009 and 1% from last quarter.
Ovi Maps has been downloaded an amazing 10 million times and is a bright spot of the report, along with successes in the Ovi Store with 1.7 million downloads per day (this is quite staggering IMHO).
Unfortunately, Symbian^3 devices are seeing a slight delay with an expected release of the first such device planned for third quarter of 2010. From what I have seen, Symbian^3 devices will improve on the current Symbian user interface, but we won’t see major UI changes until Symbian^4 in 2011.
Back in December I put together this Nokia Messaging Reference Guide to try to lay out the Nokia Messaging clients that were available at the time. I just read over on All About Symbian that Nokia Messaging for Social Networks is now available for the Nokia E72, E71, and E63 in beta form. Previously, a beta for this service was available for the N97, N97 mini, Nokia 5800 XM, and X6 devices.
Nokia Messaging for Social Networks, also known as Communities, gives you access to Facebook and Twitter from one free application. You can download it from the Nokia Beta Labs site, but from what I have read online it does not seem to be a very good experience. There are some very good stand-alone clients for social networking, such as Gravity, and if you are the type of person to use your Nokia device for social networking then you will want to use one of these dedicated apps. I think this is designed for those who don’t really install many apps and just want the basics for free.
One Nokia device that I personally really enjoy using because it is rock solid and has a great camera is the Nokia N86 8MP. We last saw a major firmware update to version 20 in September 2009 and according to the guys at All About Symbian there is now a version 30 update available via Nokia Software Update (NSU). The update is reported to be coming OTA eventually, but you should be able to update now via a cabled connection to your PC. As always, these updates vary by region so I am not sure when you will actually see it. I plan to try updating the N86 8MP I have tonight.
This version 30.009 update is described as a maitenance update with the following change log improvements:
- includes the latest Ovi Maps 3.3
- includes the sharing of location via Facebook
- Nokia Messaging improvements
Steve recommends performing a hard reset and starting fresh with your device with an update like this rather than updating “in place” since there are some major firmware updates in Ovi Maps and Nokia Messaging and keeping existing versions on your phone may mess things up. I do like to occasionally perform a hard reset and fresh start on my devices and this may be a good time to do it.
There are very few of these type of phone centric smartphones in the US today, but I think they still serve as a valuable tool and the N86 is one of the best.
It has been pretty quiet in the Nokia world lately so I was quite happy to see today’s announcement for three new devices, the C3, C6, and E5. All three are focused on messaging and social networking with competitive prices too. I know that my own life is focused on messaging and social networking and am glad to see more Nokia devices focused in this area.
The Nokia C3 is the first Series 40 QWERTY keyboard device. You can also access social networks right from the homescreen. The price is estimated to be EUR 90. Specs include the following:
- 2 megapixel camera
- 2.4 inch color display
- microSD card slot with support up to 8GB
- WiFi radio
The C3 should be out soon in three colors, golden white, slate grey, and hot pink.
The Nokia C6 is a Symbian S60 5th Edition device with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and large display. Specs of the C6 include:
- 3.2 inch touch screen
- 5 megapixel camera
- FM radio
The Nokia C6 is also due out in the 2nd quarter of 2010 with a price of EUR 220.
This is the device that personally appeals to me since I was a big fan of the Nokia E71. The Nokia E5 is also a Symbian S60 3rd Edition device and it has a front facing QWERTY. The stated battery life is 18 hours and 30 minutes of talk time and 29 days of standby time so you shouldn’t have to charge very often.
- 2.4 inch display
- 5 megapixel camera
- microSD card slot
- 250MB of onboard memory
- Five colors; carbon black, chalk white, sky blue, copper brown, silver gray
It should be out in the third quarter of 2010 for a price of EUR 180.