Archive for February, 2011
I would love to have a Nokia E7, but right now all my available funds are being used to pay my taxes here in the U.S. There is a new contest from Nokia where they are hiding seven Nokia E7 devices (5 around the world and 2 virtually) for seven lucky winners. Today is Day 3 of seven with the first one a virtual giveaway that I tried to win (I am stupid not to have guessed Nokia House before the last clue, but couldn’t find a picture of the port of Espoo anywhere). Day 2 was found in Beirut and today’s Day 3 hunt has just started with no clues yet given out for the hidden location in London. If you are in London, then try to find the E7 today.
To win the in-person contest you must be the first person to arrive in the location where the E7 is hidden, after the 3rd clue has been announced on www.nokia.com/e7/searchfor7 and identify yourself to the Nokia representative holding the Nokia E7. If the E7 has not been found by 8pm each day of the contest, during the Program Period, the contest for that day will be deemed to have closed and no winner will be announced for that day.
To win the online contest, there will be one more on the last day, you must be the first to share the location via Ovi Map services with @WOMWorldNokia on Twitter and mention the hashtag ‘#NokiaSearchfor7’. Once the E7 winner for the online location has been verified and announced, all other entries will be invalid.
Good luck everyone!
Last month at CES Slacker Radio announced it was coming soon to Symbian devices. I just read a Tweet from the NokiaUS account and saw that Slacker Radio is now available in the Ovi Store. I popped my SIM back into my Nokia N8 and downloaded it immediately. Keep in mind, the initial download to get the software is 1.3 MB so make sure you have a solid connection or are connected via WiFi before downloading.
Keep in mind, Slacker is a service with support for those in the US and Canada so this service is only available for these two countries. I understand many other countries have Spotify so it looks like we finally get a client/service in the US before others
I have been using Slacker Radio on my Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 devices for over a year as my primary streaming music client and find it works very well at providing just the right mix for me. I actually have a Slacker sticker on my MacBook Pro since I love the service. The great thing is that favorite stations are synced to your account so you can pick up a different smartphone and listen to your favorites on any device. I like how the client on other platforms lets you cache music for offline listening so you can load up tunes for your next flight and then stream again when you land. This offline caching feature is not yet in this new Symbian client, but we may see it in the future.
This news for Slacker Radio is timed particularly well since Last.fm is going to start charging a monthly fee to stream music.
As stated on the Ovi Store description:
Listen to free personalized radio on your Nokia phone. The award-winning Slacker Radio application gives you access to the entire Slacker music library featuring millions of songs from thousands of artists. Listen to over 130 expert programmed radio stations or create your own custom stations. Learn more about the music you hear by reading the artist bios and album reviews. Slacker Personal Radio is the best way to discover new artists and hear your favorite songs.
Basic or Radio Plus?
The free account you setup with after downloading Slacker Radio gives you full access to Slacker Radio music, but you are limited to 6 song skips per hour, per station, there are some ads, and you get no lyrics. You can upgrade to Radio Plus and pay $3.99/month to have ad free listening, unlimited song skips, complete lyrics, and ABC News Radio. On my N8 this can actually be billed through T-Mobile. I like the service so pay for the Radio Plus upgrade.
UPDATE: OK, I am using it up here in Alaska and when connected via EDGE the music streams flawlessly. However, if I switch to the task manager or another app the music pauses for 1/2 second and then starts back up again. This is going to be real annoying if I am trying to multi-task with Slacker Radio playing. Hopefully this is something they can fix easily enough and soon.
Also, don’t forget my tip that you can Zune Pass music on your N8 and get a taste of what kind of services a Nokia Windows Phone 7 device will provide.
Last week I wrote about the PR 1.1 update for the Nokia N8 and I was disappointed that we didn’t have it in the US. Well folks, you can now check your N8 and you should find it available. The update is just about 6.9 MB and I just finished downloading it on my orange N8. One week after it started to roll out really is not that bad, especially when we look at the history of updates for North American Nokia devices.
The way I checked was to simply go to phone dialer and enter *#0000#. Then tap on the left soft key and check for updates. After downloading you then choose to install now or later. After choosing now your phone will shutdown and then a white display with an updating status bar will appear.
Last year I wrote that the SugarSync cloud storage and sharing service arrived for S60 5th Edition. I was recently sent a note from the SugarSync folks that a version was just released for S60 3rd Edition devices. There are something like 390 million Symbian handsets around the world so there is still a rather large market for apps.
SugarSync gives you 5GB for free with options to upgrade to more storage as well. With SugarSync you can access, manage, and share documents, photos, music, and more stored in the cloud. SugarSync works with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices too so you get a truly cross platform experience.
You can find SugarSync at the Ovi Store for free. I will need to try it out on the Nokia E73 Mode.
My flight from Alaska back to Washington was delayed last night due to a problem with the wing and my first thought went to the Twilight Zone episode where the monster was tearing apart the wing as they flew. I then boarded another plane, fell asleep, and eventually made it home. When I landed I saw all of the Microsoft Nokia news and thought I might really be in a Twilight Zone show or I was still dreaming, but after jumping on Twitter I realized that my ultimate smartphone dream had come true.
I just posted my initial thoughts on the Nokia – Microsoft partnership on my ZDNet site and won’t repeat everything I wrote over there. As you know I am obviously a fan of Nokia smartphones and have been for years. You might also have picked up in my writing here that I am a Windows Phone 7 fan. I am probably one of the very few people in the world that have a love of both platforms and also quite a bit of usage of both under my belt. Needless to say, I am quite ecstatic about the news and think it will result in the best of both resulting in a product that easily competes and in many respects blows away the iOS and Android competition.
There is a great post on the Nokia Conversations site where Steve Ballmer and Stephen Elop provide so strong words to support this partnership, including the following:
Together, we have some of the world’s most admired brands, including Windows, Office, Bing, Xbox Live, NAVTEQ and Nokia. We also have a shared understanding of what it takes to build and sustain a mobile ecosystem, which includes the entire experience from the device to the software to the applications, services and the marketplace.
Today, the battle is moving from one of mobile devices to one of mobile ecosystems, and our strengths here are complementary. Ecosystems thrive when they reach scale, when they are fueled by energy and innovation and when they provide benefits and value to each person or company who participates. This is what we are creating; this is our vision; this is the work we are driving from this day forward.
There are other mobile ecosystems. We will disrupt them.
There will be challenges. We will overcome them.
Success requires speed. We will be swift.
Together, we see the opportunity, and we have the will, the resources and the drive to succeed.
I LOVE everything they are saying here and like the specifically stated they do indeed need to be swift and get something out this year.
I wrote the following points as I see them from a user perspective:
- All cameras in Microsoft’s smartphones have sucked, but Nokia rules the world with Carl Zeiss optics and imaging technology that rivals high end dedicated cameras
- Nokia has the ONLY penta-band smartphones so it doesn’t matter who your GSM carrier is you can get 3G data support (this includes T-Mobile’s special 1700 MHz band)
- Nokia brings hardware with aluminum colored bodies, Gorilla Glass, HDMI out, USB on-the-go, amazing RF reception and call quality, long battery life, and more
- Windows Phone 7 is amazingly fast and responsive while also being unique
- Windows Phone 7 is rock solid stable and after using it since July 2010 I can confirm it is the MOST stable mobile operating system I have ever used
- Windows Phone 7 gaming rocks, Zune is fantastic, multiple Exchange support is solid, Office integration is great, and developers are building apps
- Email on Symbian blows, but on Windows Phone 7 it absolutely rocks and I prefer to use my WP7 smartphone for email handling over even my Outlook desktop client
I know that die hard Nokia fans will likely react negatively to such a deal with Microsoft, but is that due to some kind of unfounded hatred for the Microsoft name? If you try Windows Phone 7 then you may change your mind. I know that Microsoft has stumbled in the past, as has Nokia. However, there are brilliant people at both companies and the potential for amazing success is there and can be realized through this partnership.
Is anyone else excited about this partnership like I am? Stay tuned for MUCH more of my writing here as I will have a platform that I am very excited about along with hardware that I love. We’ll see how it works out with WPCentral, but since there will still be other Windows Phone 7 makers and Nokia will still make non-WP7 devices we might see both sites remain as they are too.
Wow, I am almost embarrassed by my rocket launch entry video after seeing the eight winners of the Nokia N8 Producers contest. I thought mine had a fun story, but these winners all have fantastic video productions that blew mine out of the water. Thankfully, my orange Nokia N8 didn’t fly too far and end up broken since that would have been a real waste too.
These producers really showed the power of the Carl Zeiss optics and 12 megapixel camera. One great thing about viewing these winning videos is that you learn techniques and methods for how to create some fantastic videos yourself and I found them inspirational.
Which of these eight is your favorite?
I just posted an article on ZDNet about my thoughts regarding adoption of Windows Phone 7 by Nokia in regards to Zune Marketplace services and as you can read the Windows Phone 7 experience is very broken outside the US. In my opinion, the memo supposedly from Stephen Elop has a very US-based focus which is great for Nokia fans in the US like me, but just doesn’t feel quite right for Nokia.
I now have two Windows Phone 7 devices that I use on T-Mobile, the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro, and I personally find them both to be quite fantastic with Xbox LIVE games, Zune music services and streaming, awesome applications in a Marketplace just getting past 8,000 apps, and a very fun and fresh UI. As I point out though, these services and experiences are NOT what people around the world will see on a Nokia Windows Phone 7 device. If Nokia’s intent with WP7 is to focus these devices on the US and UK, then maybe this strategy will add a few thousand more users. However, Nokia doesn’t have a high end brand association here in the US so they would have to tell the story of both their hardware and the slowly rolling out Windows Phone 7 platform. Going with WP7 is not an easy task and Nokia will have to work just as hard to sell them as they would by putting efforts into MeeGo or Symbian with full Qt support.
I really enjoyed playing with the Nokia E7 at Nokia World last Fall and was thinking I might pick one up. My orange Nokia N8 is performing quite well at the moment and I cannot justify the $800+ likely unlocked price of the E7 so unless Nokia sends out an eval unit for a bit I won’t be writing a review here on Nokia Experts. However, my buddies over at All About Symbian will indeed be providing full coverage of the device and now that the E7 is shipping you can check out Rafe’s first part that covers an overview of the hardware and some first impressions.
In the past, the Eseries devices have all been priced quite low compared to Nseries smartphones, but with the E7 that looks to have flip-flopped. Rafe’s first part is very detailed and after reading it I started trying to figure out what I could sell to pick one up for myself
I have to try the keyboard though to see if that is enough for me to give up the better camera, smaller form factor, and expandable memory of the lovely N8. As great as the E7 looks, I am not sold that a physical QWERTY keyboard justifies getting rid of my N8.
How many readers are planning to pick up an E7 when they become available?
I wasn’t sure what to think about new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, but after reading the leaked internal memo on Engadget I have new respect for him and am getting more excited about the future of Nokia. As much as I love my orange Nokia N8, it has felt like we have been living in a weird limbo world since mid-2009 when the rather lame Nokia N97 was released.
We never really knew what the strategy was with the OS as we saw S60 evolving, then Maemo released, then Maemo killed, then MeeGo talked about and after reading what Mr. Elop wrote Nokia may not have known internally where they were headed either.
A couple of quotes from the memo that struck me personally were:
The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.
I still believe there are several innovations and design elements (penta band radio, USB on-the-go, HDMI out, fantastic aluminum in colors) of the N8 where it does beat the iPhone, but Mr. Elop mentions the experience and that is indeed where Nokia has fallen down.
Many of us have said Nokia has been too slow to change with the times and they invented many of these technologies that Apple has been perfecting so they needed to get off the pot. Mr. Elop acknowledges this so it was nice to see we weren’t just crazy thinking things were too slow. Nokia seemed to move along at their own pace, but it sounds like that is NOT going to happen now with Mr. Elop at the helm.
Nokia will be holding their Capital Markets Day on Friday where Mr. Elop will reveal his future strategy. There are rumors that he might partner with Microsoft and release Windows Phone 7 devices or go with Android in an HTC-like multiple platform approach. As a fan of both Nokia and Windows Phone 7 you know what I would prefer. If Windows Phone 7 is brought to Nokia hardware then get ready to see a LOT more writing here on Nokia Experts as WP7 is my personal preferred platform at this time.
What do you think of the memo and Mr. Elop’s statements?
Last week I heard a lot about a new Nokia Beta Labs utility called Nokia Bubbles and I finally went and downloaded it for my Nokia N8. Nokia Bubbles is a utility that lets you interact with your N8 in a rather unique way to perform several different functions, such as unlocking your device, responding to new messages, managing your profile, enabling the flashlight (doesn’t work on N8 with Xenon though), and many more. Check out the more info page for more about what Nokia Bubbles can do and view the video below as well.
Bubbles appears when you press the Apps key while your device is in sleep mode and then you grab a bubble and drag it to a drop point to perform the action.
I am having fun with it and plan to see if my wife likes it on her Nokia N8. I have been playing with it a LOT more and Bubbles is a real kick to have on your device. BTW, while the Xenon flash doesn’t work on the N8, using the Flashlight bubble will turn your display fully white. Any readers try out Bubbles yet?