Archive for October, 2010

Best of Smartphone Experts, 31 Oct 2010

Another risky endeavor, putting MeeGo 1.1 on your N900

OK, let’s start this off by making sure you know that MeeGo 1.1 is intended for developers only to try on their N900. I assume no risk for your N900 if you decide to try out MeeGo yourself. The instructions on MeeGo Experts don’t look too bad, but since I am not a developer I am not going to try it without some more research to ensure I know what I am doing before I give it a try. Any readers out there get MeeGo up and running on their N900?

Getting webOS games on your N900 is not for the faint of heart

Getting webOS games on your N900 is not for the faint of heartSo the other day I posted that the Nokia N900 was able to run webOS games as shown in the video on Engadget. A reader, Kumar, submitted a comment to my post that linked to his installation guide that gives you step-by-step instructions for getting your N900 up and running. Be aware though that this process is not for the faint of heart and I haven’t personally gotten around to doing it myself yet.

I bought several games when I had a Palm webOS device and I need to check to see if there is anyway to install those games on my N900 since I technically “own” the licenses to them and am not using them at the moment.

Have any of you tried this out yet? Thanks a million to Kumar for posting the instructions and sharing them with everyone.

Gameloft rolls out HD games for Symbian^3

I don’t play a lot of console games, but since I have a smartphone with me all the time I do enjoy the occasional game on my phone. Now that Angry Birds is on my N8, I have been happily occupied with it. However, I am always on the lookout for other good games and so it was encouraging to hear that Gameloft released some of their high end games for the Nokia N8, including Asphalt 5 HD, Avatar HD, Hero of Sparta HD, Guitar Rock Tour 2 HD, and GT Racing: Motor Academy. It seems that Gameloft is now using the HD add-on to denote that these games are a premium game for these latest Symbian^3 devices. The games are all priced at $2.99 in the US so that is a killer deal for them IMHO. After checking out these games, I don’t think people can say that Symbian games lag behind other platforms any longer. I personally purchased

There are videos of each of these new Gameloft games below and the great folks at All About Symbian also put together a review of GT Motor Racing Academy.

Asphalt 5 HD

Avatar HD

Guitar Rock Tour 2 HD

Have any of you purchased these games and if so, which is your favorite?

Rafe breaks down the exciting future of Symbian

Last week Nokia made a couple of important announcements that I meant to cover and just became too busy to focus on what was said. One announcement was on the steps to accelerate its transfomation that unfortunately includes laying off 1,800 employees. The other announcement was very encouraging as Nokia refines its development strategy and does away with the Symbian^3 and Symbian^4 distintion and more. There are some extremely important bits of information in these announcements that should encourage all of us Nokia fans for the future, including the possibility that our wonderful Nokia N8 devices will be upgradeable for quite some time.

When it comes to Nokia strategy and their future, I look to my good friend Rafe Blandford for answers since he is the most knowledgeable person about Nokia and Symbian that I have ever met in my life. I highly recommend you go read Rafe’s article on the future of Symbian. I think you will come away from it as encouraged and excited as I am about the future of Nokia and Symbian.

Nokia Social updated to version 1.2, supports Facebook video uploading

I saw the news that Nokia’s N8 Social client was updated to version 1.2 on a Tweet yesterday. I went into the software update section and did not see an update so I then went in to the Nokia Social application and was prompted to update the software. I did not have a chance to put together a video or screenshots of the new version, but the gang over at All About Symbian sure did so check out all the details there.

I still think Gravity is king when it comes to social networking apps and it is worth the $10, but this Nokia Social app has gotten much better and may fit the needs for the casual social person. For one thing, you cannot connect more than one Twitter account at once, which is definitely a power user kind of thing. I also need a conversation view so I can follow what is going on.

As Rafe details, this is a major update though and the most talked about problem before, font sizes, has been addressed so that the application does look quite nice and it is great to see an update coming so quickly. It tells me there is some real promise here with this application.

One key new feature that may have me using this for Facebook is the ability to upload videos taken with the N8 directly to your Facebook account. IMHO, that is pretty major!

Opera Mini 5.1 beta comes to us as a native Symbian app

Opera Mini 5.1 beta comes to us as a native Symbian appAs we wait for the Symbian^3 web browser to be released on the Nokia N8, you can try other web browsers like Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. I just received a press release that Opera Mini 5.1 was released and is written as a native Symbian app rather than a Java app so get on over to from you Symbian browser and download it now.

This new native Symbian version, Opera Mini 5.1, features all the same things you have seen with Opera Mini before, but with these key improvements:

  • Significantly faster start-up time
  • Improved page-load and scrolling performance, especially on older devices
  • Full support for device text input methods
  • Improved fonts
  • Device integration for copy & paste, email client and more
  • Option to choose default access point — no more annoying dialogs

I love the idea of device integration and default access point settings so I went to download it myself and now have it running on my Nokia N8.

Tip for T-Mobile USA customers: T-Mobile thought it would be cool to block access to apps they didn’t want you to use so if you go to with your T-Mobile SIM in the N8 you will find they won’t let you download it. Simply go into offline mode, connect via WiFi, then download Opera Mini 5.1 beta to your Nokia N8. You can then go back into online mode and use the application with no problems.

Oh yeah, here are some fast facts about Opera Mini from the press relase

  • The most popular mobile browser on the market
  • More than 71 million monthly users worldwide
  • More than 36.9 billion pages processed each month
  • The Opera Mini servers compress the webpages up to 90%

Anyone else happy with this new version of Opera Mini?

MeeGo 1.1 for Nokia N900 now available

It looks like it is time to put my SIM back into my N900 and start messing around with the device again. I just uploaded it to the PR1.3 firmware and that went well. We now see that MeeGo 1.1 for the N900 is available so you can dual boot your N900 and check it out.

It seems this process still requires some developer skills, but we will keep an eye out for a process to share with you all. If you find out how we can do it fairly easily, then please share with the group. So now it seems you can dual boot into MeeGo or play webOS games, isn’t it great to have a Nokia N900?

Look at this, the N900 can run Palm webOS games!

I just saw the below video over on Engadget and am pretty amazed at how well the games are running. I purchased about 20 games for my Palm Pre Plus, but no longer own it and cannot use any of those games. The Engadget post shows webOS games running on the N900 and it sounds as if some enterprising developers made it work with some kind of Preenv utility. I am not sure what was done to make this happen and would love for there to be some way for us to purchase and install games on our N900 devices.

I would like to see Dungeon Hunter and H.A.W.X. on my N900. If you could play webOS games on your N900, which ones would you like to try?

How does the Nokia N8 stack up with Windows Phone 7?

How does the Nokia N8 stack up with Windows Phone 7?In two weeks Windows Phone 7 devices start to roll out in the United States and they are actually available now in other parts of the world. I previously told you I wrote one of the very few books on Windows Phone 7 that will also be available around the November launch date, titled Windows Phone 7 Companion, and thus I am intimately familiar with this new mobile operating system. You also obviously know I am a fan of Nokia devices so I thought you might like to see my take on a comparison between the Nokia N8 and Symbian^3 versus a typical Windows Phone 7 device (they all have basically the same specs to start with).

Windows Phone 7 is a complete revamp of a mobile operating system for Microsoft and it shows. It has a unique user interface with tiles and hubs on a Start screen and lots of swiping, flicking, pinching, and animations making for an interesting experience. You can check out lots of Windows Phone 7 coverage over on our sister site, it was actually totally redone too,

Here is what I can do on my N8 that I cannot on a Windows Phone 7 device:

  • Multi-task and have multiple non-native applications running actively at the same time.
  • Cut, copy, and paste text from one location to another.
  • Download podcasts directly to the device.
  • Configure my wireless data connection to tether and share it with other devices and computers.
  • Have multiple home screens with the ability to quickly manage my wireless connections, see Twitter feeds, and more.
  • Change the background image of my Home screen.
  • Play Angry Birds (I imagine this game will eventually come to WP7, but just wanted to have a bit of fun.)
  • Use Skype to make calls.
  • Edit my videos on my phone.
  • Use the FM transmitter to enjoy music and podcasts over the air in my car or house.
  • Take the highest quality photos with a 12 megapixel camera and awesome HD video recorder.
  • Get free, powerful voice guided navigation anywhere in the world.
  • Rotate my N8 and get everything working in the orientation the device is positioned in.
  • Quickly switch between open applications.

Here is what I can do on a Windows Phone 7 device that I cannot on my N8:

  • View a monthly calendar that actually tells me something useful.
  • Play fun games, including through an Xbox LIVE service with multiple players.
  • Stream and enjoy Netflix movies on the phone.
  • Receive and view email from multiple sources in a beautiful, user friendly form that stays in sync reliably.
  • Sync Google (and other service) calendars through a simple setup process.
  • Download full versions of songs wirelessly with my Zune Pass.
  • Stream music via Zune Pass, Slacker, and through other services.
  • Activate a powerful voice command program for calling, searching, and launching applications.
  • Find my phone and have it ring even if I misplaced it somewhere in the house, for free too.

They both can do all the standard things smartphones can do today (phone calls, email, web surfing, and much more) and one rather surprising thing they also both do is play Zune Pass subscription music.

I am 99% sure I am going to buy the T-Mobile HTC HD7 when it launches on November 8th and my wife may also be getting one and finally start using a data service with T-Mobile. This is the first generation of Windows Phone 7 and as you can see there is lots of room for growth, but honestly it is a pretty solid release for version 1.0.

Nokia N8 Guide

Nokia E73 Mode Guide
Nokia N900 Guide