Latest Beta Labs
One thing about Nokia devices that appeals to me is the way they include the little things that just work to make your life better. For example, the always on standby clock on the Nokia N8, and other new Symbian^3 phones, is awesome. On other phones I am often tapping a button or flipping a switch to see the time and date since I rarely wear a watch and with the clock screensaver (on by default) you get this information with very little impact on battery life.
The one issue I do have with this clock screensaver is that at night when my Nokia N8 is next to my bed the clock can be a bit bright. Nokia provides a fix for this though with the Nokia Sleeping Screen utility available now on the Nokia Beta Labs site. By installing this utility you get nine new clock screensavers to choose from, with color, and the automatic capability that turns it off when your device is covered (such as when in your pocket or a bag). You set the range of time when the screensaver will turn off so you can sleep at night.
After installation you go then go to Settings >> Themes >> Screen saver to choose your clock and set the time period for night clock mode. There is no application icon or anything on your device after you install this utility so you must go to this settings area.
Have you found any other cool utilities or apps in the Nokia Beta Labs that you enjoy?
While Android users have had a similar service for quite sometime now in the form of Chrome to phone, Nokia Beta Labs has now unveiled Nokia Drop to Symbian^3 and S60 5th Edition users. While still in the experimental stages at this point, Nokia Drop allows for pushing links and pictures to you Nokia phone, all from within your web browser on your computer –provided you are using either Firefox or Google Chrome. You will have to of course, install the browser extension and mobile application in order to get things up and running but after that the operations are rather seamless. So much so that you can even install wallpapers through the services. As you do not need any cables or Bluetooth connection, Nokia Drop is built for the testing of Push Notifications on Symbian. You can jump on past the break to see a video of Nokia Drop in action or click on the source link to learn more. [Nokia Beta Labs]
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?
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?
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?
One of my favorite sites related to Nokia products is Nokia Beta Labs and if you visit here you can find new software and utilities to try out. Some eventually are released as full products and some end up in the virtual trash bin. One of the newest utilities I found is Nokia Situations and as described in detail on the Nokia Conversations site the software gives me some cool functionality that I have been wanting on my phones. Nokia Situations works to assist you with management of your device and shows how your powerful smartphone should be working to help you out rather than be a hindrance.
Through scheduled time, events, or days, location, or connectivity situations your Nokia can be setup to perform a combination of the following actions (list copied from the Beta Labs site):
- Change Ringtones, make the phone go silent or louder, turn vibra on/off, and all the other profile settings.
- Answer missed calls with SMS. Especially when you set your phone to silent, you can also make it reply to missed calls, from contacts in your phonebook, with a pre-defined SMS.
- Save Power. Not using phone for a while, like when sleeping? Turn Bluetooth on/off or let your phone change to power-saving mode totally.
- Change UI theme / Wallpaper. Want to make the phone look different in different situations? Change the Theme during free time vs. when you are at work.
- Open a Web bookmark or application. Want to see weather forecast for the day when you wake up? Look at the calendar as first thing? Or open your favorite TV show discussion page at show time? Or perhaps change the Device Mode when at work?
The video below explains how Nokia Situations works too.
Keep in mind that Nokia Situations is currently labeled as an experimental prototype so it may not be as stable or functional as you hope all the time. So far it has performed well for me and I love the way it manages my profiles automatically. The settings interface is a bit awkward at this time and requires that you select a profile and then choose to personalize where you might think you could just tap the menu option and enter some preferences.