Archive for January, 2011
Like most of you, I am a very busy person and don’t have time to sit around clicking links to hundreds of sites to get my daily news. I have been using Google Reader for years as an RSS aggregator and also use this through Gravity on my Nokia N8. I just read over on the Nokia Conversations site that a new Nokia Beta Labs product is available for reading RSS feeds. The Nokia Reader app looks pretty slick, as you can see in the video below, and I just downloaded it to my Nokia N8.
If you are reading this site, then you likely know about RSS and use some kind of reader to browse through information. The cool functions in this new Nokia Reader app include a home screen widget and push notifications. I would LOVE to see support for Google Reader sync so I did not have to setup all my feeds in another application, but this is an early beta so maybe we will see this added. They should have support for importing OPML files though since setting things up by searching directories or manually typing URLs is a bit tedious.
Nokia Reader is compatible with S60 5th Edition (excluding Nokia 5800 XpressMusic) and Symbian^3 devices. Nokia Reader has been tested to work with Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini, Nokia X6, Nokia N8 and Nokia C7.
Any readers try this out yet?
I love checking out applications on my smartphones and I was pleased when Nokia reached out to me asking if I wanted to help check out some apps and post reviews over on the Ovi Daily App site. Of course I jumped on the opportunity to offer some variety over on the site, along with several other writers, and my first review is now live. Please go and check out my review of four Usablenet optimized web apps and then visit the Ovi Store for over 100 more from them.
At first I was thinking there wouldn’t be much to these apps that are essentially optimized websites. However, the four that I selected to check out are directly applicable to my life and actually offer a greatly enhanced web experiences, all for free. Since the current browser on Symbian^3 devices is still the older S60 browser, it helps to find apps that actually make the browser experience good. Maybe when the new updated browser is released you may find it better to visit the websites for these companies, but given how functional and enjoyable these apps were on my N8 I think I will likely stick with them even after the update.
I particularly like the Dell app where I was able to quickly search out the unlocked Nokia deals. The FedEx one is also handy since I send most of my evaluation gear back via my FedEx account. Do you find any of the Usablenet apps useful?
I have talked a number of times about Gravity here on Nokia Experts and can’t say enough about this fantastic application. The application is so good that it keeps me using Nokia devices more than other devices and honestly, without Gravity I likely would have stopped using many of my Nokia devices and moved on. I saw on Twitter that Jan Ole Suhr released a new version of Gravity with some cool new features that seem to be pushing Nokia to step up to the plate.
Gravity is not just a Twitter client, but has support for Facebook, Google Reader, and Foursquare all in a single application that is well worth the $10. I have purchased something like 4 or 5 licenses so far for my devices and am happy to support great developers.
Here are the main new features and improvements:
- Embedded web browser
- Split screen keyboard
- Enhanced Facebook module with conversation view
I was testing out the latest alpha version before and love that I can enter text and see the context of why I am entering text using the keyboard and hope Nokia provides this split screen capability with an update.
The embedded web browser is pretty slick and is good for checking a quick link in a Tweet rather than going out to the default browser.
The enhanced Facebook support is actually what interests me most with this latest update as I have been using Facebook more and more lately with more family and friends joining the social network.
What is your favorite newest feature or improvement?
I was reading an article written by my buddy, Philip Berne, over on Phonescoop that discussed all of the over-hyped features us smartphone enthusiasts focus on a bit too much. We are into the latest tech and features while “normal” people likely do not care much about these features. Philip talks about 4G, video calls, dual-core processors, HD video recording, and NFC technology. The funny thing is when you read the section on the under-hyped features that really matter it is pretty clear that a device like the Nokia N8 is exactly what Philip should probably consider.
The under-hyped features he mentions that are important to him are call quality, a good camera (Xenon flash is mentioned), and threaded text messaging. The Nokia N8 leads the world in call quality and the best camera on any smartphone while also having a very enjoyable and functional threaded text messaging application.
Are you focused on the over-hyped features? Do you think we should stop focusing too much on technologies that won’t be applicable to the masses for 6 months to a year?
You may notice on here and on ZDNet that I try not to post too many rumors and news right away since so much of it today seems to come from fairly unreliable sources and I would rather wait and get the truth with some of my own personal perspective out there. This morning I woke up and started reading Twitter before I went for my run and saw Tweets all stating that Nokia was shutting down and killing Ovi Music Unlimited service. The problem with Twitter was that there was no context to this news or the rest of the message that stated they indeed stopped selling new subscriptions back on 31 December 2010 in order to make way for new services and that those with the service would still get full support.
I highly recommend you read the Nokia Conversations post for the full story that actually has me excited about the possibilities of these new services. The whole Ovi Music Unlimited service was never even applicable to the North American market so I don’t know why anyone in the North American market is even reporting on the news, except for the apparent need to find ways to slam Nokia whenever possible. Actually, when you do a Google search for the news I am very disappointed in the main stream media’s irresponsible reporting on products that are not even available in the US and very little, if any, mention that the reason is also tied to new upcoming services being rolled out.
As you can read in the story from Nokia, they stopped selling new subscriptions a couple of weeks ago and anyone who has a supported device or even someone who buys a device still out in stores will get uninterrupted access until their subscriptions finish, including the ability to keep their downloads forever as promised. This change is also not universal and Nokia will continue to offer 12-month subscriptions in China and India, while offering six-month subscriptions in Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.
Check out the video below to hear more about the changes.
For those of us in North America, remember that you can use your unlimited Zune Pass subscription, Mobbler, Soundtrckr, and soon Slacker Radio so there is really nothing to see here for those in North America while there is the possibility that something may come to us here from Nokia.
It was way back in September when I told you about the North American Calling All Innovators contest and how a Nokia Symbian^3 device would be coming to the US. Actually, the contest details stated that “Nokia will release a new device in the US which is compatible with apps developed for the N8 in early 2011.” While I thought it might be the N8, several people contacted me to say it was more likely the C7 with a lower price range. We then heard about a Nokia X7 device that looks similar to the N8. Pocketnow.com just posted a rumor that the X7 may be getting canceled.
Since we haven’t heard officially from Nokia yet, I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions yet on the Symbian^3 device that is supposed to be coming to AT&T in early 2011. There has actually been quite an enthusiastic response to developing with Qt and Nokia issued the following statement that extended the 10 million dollar prize contest:
Due to overwhelming response from developers adopting Qt and feedback from developers attending the Qt trainings around the world we have extended the deadline for the $10M Calling All Innovators contest to March 31, 2011.
I started working on development for Qt myself and was registered for one of the local events (other obligations prevented me from attending thought). I am trying to find the time to work on this some more, but am not sure I will be able to get any apps up in time for the contest. Are any of you readers developing for the contest?
The contest is still going on and there are LOTS of prizes for developers so even if this rumored X7 is canceled, it looks like AT&T will be getting some kind of Symbian^3 device this Spring.
I posted about the Nokia N8 Producers contest a couple of weeks ago and have since created three video entries, with a couple more planned before the end of the deadline. The one that carried the most risk and that I thought most people would enjoy was the one I just posted today when I strapped my orange Nokia N8 onto a custom, experimental model rocket that I built many years ago.
While I embedded the YouTube video of the launch preparation, launch of other rockets, and launch of my orange N8 below, please make sure to visit the N8 Producers official video page and Like the video since I understand that this counts for part of the judging.
I won’t give away what happens when the N8 is launched and I’ll let you check it out in the video. Make sure to watch the end since I had the video camera on the N8 turned on and captured the launch from the rocket’s perspective as well.
When the Nokia Ovi Store launched I was extremely disappointed with it and recommended people stay away. As I recently wrote, the Ovi Store is quite good on Symbian^3 and I have been buying quite a few apps and games lately. I just went and checked the Bank of America credit card account I have tied to my Ovi account and saw foreign transaction fees attached to every Ovi Store purchase I made in the last month or so. Is this an issue with this bank or are others in the US seeing these foreign transaction fees too?
The amounts are small (2.75%) with a $1.99 app costing me $2.18 with tax plus $0.06 for the transaction fee, but it is the principle of the thing that bothers me.
I went into the Ovi Store on my N8 and tried to setup carrier billing, but it stated that this was unavailable at this time. I then added my PayPal MasterCard and made a purchase of the UNO HD game. So far, it looks like PayPal doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee so this may be a Bank of America issue, which doesn’t surprise me given their history with me.
Back in mid-December I let you know about the Ovi Daily App Must Have Apps contest and I was informed that Nokia has announced the winners and are working on notifying the winner of the N8. The N8 winner was selected from the group of people who correctly picked the six winning apps and it was definitely not me.
The six winning apps were as follows:
- Game: Doodle Jump
- Business/Productivity: Mobile Documents
- Entertainment: Touchnote Postcards
- Music: Shazam
- Social networking: Gravity
- Utilities: Joikuspot WiFi Hot Spot
I picked 4 out of 6, but missed the Mobile Documents and Touchnote Postcards apps. I actually just installed Mobile Documents thanks to Rita’s recommendation, but have never tried the Touchnote Postcards app.
Did any readers pick all six of these correctly?
Remember Rita El Khoury from Symbian Guru? Well, she and Ricky Cadden have a site called Mobile R’n’R where they make a post every Monday on something mobile related. This week Rita posted a fantastic post for Symbian owners called 10 Steps to Make Sure Your Symbian Experience is Enjoyable and even though I have been using Symbian for years I discovered a few helpful tips and apps myself.
I tried using the Nokia Situations utility and it does a pretty good job, but I decided to give the Nokia Bots utility a try instead based on what Rita wrote about it. I don’t theme my orange Nokia N8 at the moment since I have an updated version of SPB Mobile Shell 3.7 that fixed that calendar bug I wrote about.
I have Gmail working fairly well for me now with the integrated email client, but it took several tries to get it to this point. I heard about Mobile Documents before, but never knew it handled email so I went and installed it on my N8 as Rita recommended and look forward to trying it out.
I completely agree with the Opera Mobile, Gravity, and Nokia Maps 3.06 recommendations. A couple other apps she recommended that I haven’t yet tried and just downloaded include WhatsApp, Socially, and the new Nokia Big Screen utility. The Nokia N8 is an excellent device (my wife still hugs me regularly in appreciation of her blue N8) and with amazing tips like this you can make it work just how you want it to.
Do you have any steps or apps to add to Rita’s thoughts?