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Anna update scheduled for existing devices in August

It will be just about a year after the release of the Nokia N8 when we will be getting the update that was talked about during the release. According to a post on Nokia Conversations, Anna will ship on new N8, C7, and C6-01s that are bought starting in July while the E6 and X7 already have it loaded. As you know, my Nokia Astound also has Anna and I love it! I also have my own Nokia E6 coming this week that has Anna preloaded so by the time it comes to existing devices I may no longer even have those devices.

Speaking of existing devices, I had to pass my orange Nokia N8 on to my wife since her blue one is a lemon and hangs and shuts down on her all the time. You do not want a wife with a goofy phone that you recommended and since I prefer the E7 to the N8 myself I have no problem passing it along to her.

Hopefully, Nokia can keep this August date at least since I told my wife when we bought her blue N8 back in February that Swype in portrait would be coming very soon and these update delays are killing my reputation.

Fear not, coming months? Are you kidding me Nokia? Get Anna out TODAY!

Fear not, coming months? Are you kidding me Nokia? Get Anna out TODAY!The Nokia N8 was revealed back in April 2010 and released just in the nick of time in September 2010. Out of the box the browser was crippled and there was no portrait QWERTY keyboard, but we heard that a firmware update would be released in January 2011. Unfortunately, that was just the PR 1.1 update and was rather lame. We now see the release of the Nokia E6 and X7 with a statement at the end of the post, “And fear not Nokia N8, E7, C7 and C6 fans – Symbian Anna will be available for you in the coming months.”

Seriously, the coming months? So you expect people who paid a healthy chunk of cash for a decent smartphone with promised updates to get it where it should have been at launch to hold onto the device for about a year to get that update? We saw details of Anna revealed back in February and today we have the Nokia Astound, Nokia E6, and Nokia X7 all with Anna loaded out of the box. I can’t think of a rational reason why Nokia doesn’t get Anna out to existing and loyal Nokia owners of the N8, E7, C7, and C6. However, I can think of many reasons people will be jumping ship to go to other devices with treatment like this.

Granted, Anna is not a revolutionary update, but after using the Nokia Astound the QWERTY keyboard, much better email UI and appointment support, better browser, and more are enough to keep me using Symbian for several more months. My wife is ready to throw her blue N8 out the window though with constant proximity sensor failures, lockups, and no portrait QWERTY keyboard. I convinced her to get the N8 in large part because I told her Nokia would be providing an update soon. I am no longer going to tell her that and am going to start looking for a good Android device for her that she can count on.

It is lack of attention to the loyal Nokia customer that has me concerned about the future of Nokia and combined with what I have seen with Microsoft there is a lot that these companies are going to have to prove to me before I am completely sold out.

Thinking of a Nokia Astound? Visit your local T-Mobile store

I was chatting with Dieter and told him I was quite pleased with the short time I spent with the Nokia Astound and that I was thinking of picking one up for the site. He gave me the thumbs up and was going to get one for me to use, but I decided to just visit a local store to see what I could work out with the expectation I would pay the full $299.99 (before 9.5% tax) no contract price. I went to my local T-Mobile store in Federal Way and was shocked by what happened next.

I went into the store and there were six employees standing around with only one other customer being helped. Richard asked me kindly what I would like and I told him I wanted to buy a Nokia Astound off contract. He told me they had them in stock and he would see what he could do for me. He said he thought he could work out something in the system because there were some special offers on accessories. After logging into the system and trying some different things, he worked out a deal where he was able to give me the following gear and still cut my total price out the door to $255.08 that included the 9.5% sales tax.

Thinking of a Nokia Astound? Visit your local T-Mobile store

  • Nokia Astound (shown as only $99.99 on the receipt)
  • Jabra Stone 2 Bluetooth headset ($129.99 down to $90.99)
  • MicroUSB car charger ($29.99 down to $20.99)
  • Nokia Astound 2-pack screen protector ($14.99 down to $10.49)
  • Nokia Astound black gel skin case ($14.99 down to $10.49)

I was amazed by what he was able to get for me while still saving me just over $73. My account stayed the same, my excellent family plan remained untouched, and I ended up saving money and walking out with some great accessories. If my head wasn’t lost in the clouds as he was handing me all this gear I would have asked for a 32GB microSD card instead of the Bluetooth headset since I need those more than headsets.

If you are considering the Nokia Astound, you may want to visit your local store and see if they have any special offers for you as well. Richard mentioned that the future AT&T purchase had something to do with his ability to offer me all of these accessories and knock a couple hundred off of the phone price too.

I put my SIM card into my new Nokia Astound and plan to use it as my primary device for a while and create a Guide page for the site. I already like that I can use Swype in portrait orientation and the email client is MUCH better!

Nokia Oro: For those living the life of the rich and famous

I enjoyed using the Nokia Astound and am seriously considering picking one up so I can put together some featured articles here on Nokia Experts. I find it to be more functional than my Nokia N8, primarily due to the upgraded OS with a much better email client and other features. If you want a C7 with Nokia Anna loaded onto it and a device that has real gold plating then take a look at this video below. I have to admit the Nokia Oro is one sexy device. Maybe Dieter will purchase one for me to put together a Guide here on Nokia Experts 😉

Nokia Oro

Unfortunately, it won’t be available until Q3 and the price is upwards of EUR800!

Nokia Astound review: Best value smartphone available in the U.S.

I have had a Nokia N8 (see my Definitive Guide) since November 2010 and overall I am pleased with the device. The last Nokia device to launch on a U.S. carrier was the E73 Mode with T-Mobile and they continue to add Nokia devices to their collection with the new Nokia Astound. The Astound is a Nokia C7 with improvements not seen in any other C7 device while only selling for subsidized price of $79.99. The full no contract price is just $299.99 and both of these amounts are great deals IMHO.

Improvements in the Nokia Astound compared to the N8

Dieter took a look at the Nokia Astound at CTIA last month and I recently received an evaluation unit as well. While I do enjoy my Nokia N8, I am not pleased that it launched without a portrait QWERTY keyboard and with a rather lame web browser and it is taking too long to get updated. The Nokia Astound launches with a newer version of the Symbian software that includes the following:

  • Portrait QWERTY keyboard
  • Improved icons
  • Much better email client

In the box

The Nokia Astound comes in a typical T-Mobile package rather than the sleek Nokia packages I have been used to lately when buying Nokia devices outside the carrier. You will find the following inside the retail box:

  • Nokia Astound
  • Battery & charger
  • Wired stereo headset
  • USB data cable
  • Start Guide
  • SIM card
  • Terms and conditions pamphlet

You won’t find all those great goodies that were in the N8 box (USB on-the-go and HDMI cable), but this device sells for a low price for a reason.

Specifications

  • ARM 11 600 MHz processor
  • Symbian^3 software
  • Quad band GSM/EDGE with 850/900/1800/1900 MHz support
  • Quad band WCDMA with 850/900/1700/2100 MHz support
  • 3.5 inch 360×640 pixel resolution AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass
  • 250 MB of free user disk space
  • 8GB internal memory
  • microSD card slot for expanded memory
  • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Integrated GPS with A-GPS
  • Integrated FM radio with RDS
  • FM transmitter
  • NFC wireless technology
  • 8 megapixel camera with 3rd generation dual LED flash
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • BL-5K 1200 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of 4.6 x 2.2 x 0.38 inches and 4.4 ounces

Comparing the Nokia Astound to the N8 shows that the N8 has the better camera while the Astound includes NFC. The N8 also has penta-band WCDMA (the 1900 MHz frequency is missing on the Astound), but the four that are included cover both AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. The Astound also has a removable battery, but I honestly haven’t had any real issue with the battery life of my Nokia N8.

Around the hardware

While the Nokia Astound has the same AMOLED display as the Nokia N8 (I incorrectly said something about ClearBlack in my video) I personally think it looks better for some reason. It is crisp and clear and maybe the shiny finish around it makes it pop out more or something. The 3.5 inch display takes up most of the front with a front facing camera in the upper right, send and end buttons on either side of the menu button and a mic opening along the bottom. Nokia, C7, and T-Mobile brands are stamped on the front as well.

On the bottom you will find the lanyard opening while the top holds the microUSB port, 3.5mm headset jack, and power button. Nokia includes a 2mm standard charging port on the upper left side.

The right side is where you will find a camera capture button, sliding lock switch, distinct volume buttons, and the voice command button.

The 8 megapixel camera and dual LED flash is found on the upper back while a metal cover hides the battery, SIM card, and microSD card slot. No microSD card is included, but you can use up to 32GB in the device.

The Astound has a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip inside, but I was unable to find anything to test it with at this time. It is nice to see they are thinking ahead with the device though, especially given it is an $80 phone.

The Nokia Astound feels fantastic in your hand with solid build quality and its thinness. The Gorilla Glass and metal/plastic frame make it feel like a very high end smartphone too.

Software

The Nokia Astound is a Symbian^3 device so everything I wrote about the Nokia N8 should be the same here too. It is a mature operating system and very customizable, but not necessarily as flashy as iOS or Android. It is an excellent choice though since it is a full smartphone priced down in the feature phone range.

Don’t forget it supports things like USB on-the-go, FM transmitter (called Play via Radio on the Astound), Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, Nokia Maps (FREE worldwide navigation), and more.

T-Mobile also includes some software on the Astound without turning it into an AT&T disaster with tons of bloatware. These titles include:

  • Swype
  • TeleNav GPS Navigator
  • Slacker

I LOVE the updated email client with a look and feel that is efficient and attractive. It clearly shows read and unread email (something the N8 does a very poor job of doing) and full HTML in a much better interface. It still has issues setting up Gmail right through the Nokia servers so make sure to decline the last prompt when setting it up.

The browser still isn’t the latest and greatest, but I just loaded up the free Opera Mobile and am perfectly happy with its performance.

Conclusion, price and availability

The Nokia Astound is available now for $79.99 with 2-year contact or $299.99 with no contract. I have been seriously considering picking one up because I just can’t stop holding it and flipping it around and around in my hand. It takes good photos, has solid RF reception with excellent call quality, has much improved email software, and is a very nice Symbian device.

I haven’t yet taken a ton of photos or videos with the device so I can’t fully judge the camera yet, but will try to get to that soon. Battery life has gone at least a day for me with heavy usage and push email.

If you are a person with a Nokia Nuron, then this really is a no brainer upgrade if you like Nokia and Symbian devices. T-Mobile can sell a lot of these at this price and unlike some other devices in the past, there are very few (if any) compromises with the Astound when compared to smartphones in this price range. T-Mobile currently has an unlimited talk, text, and data plan for this phone at just $79.99 per month.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Specs: 4
  • Form factor: 5
  • Customizability: 4.5
  • User interface: 4
  • App support: 4.5

Overall: 4.5/5

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Pros

  • Sleek, super slim, solid hardware
  • Very good quality camera
  • Solid RF reception and phone call functionality/quality
  • Responsive, snappy performance
  • Full support for latest Ovi Store apps
  • High end features for low end price

Cons

  • Native browser still needs an update

CTIA 2011: Hands-on with the T-Mobile Nokia Astound

The Nokia C7 was one of my favorite devices at Nokia World and if I didn’t like the camera on my Nokia N8 so much I would like have picked one of these up. I have to admit I am a bit shocked at what T-Mobile and Nokia announced with the Nokia Astound launching at just $79.99 after $50 rebate. Chris already posted on the announcement, but Dieter and Phil are at CTIA Wireless and were able to get a bit of hands-on time with this new Symbian^3 device as you can see in the image gallery below.

The Astound is a Nokia C7 that actually still has the C7 label in the upper left. It feels like a touch screen Nokia E71 in your hand with metal and hard plastic construction. I think that new smartphone owners are going to scoop this up in seconds and all of the teens that I have seen with the Nokia Nuron (thanks in large part to its cheap data cost) will want to switch to this much better device.

Is the Nokia C7 coming to T-Mobile USA as the Tiger?

Is the Nokia C7 coming to T-Mobile USA as the Tiger?I had a chance to play with the Nokia C7 for a bit last fall at Nokia World and found it to be a very good device. It reminds me of the E71 as an all touchscreen device, in terms of overall feel and quality. According to Engadget the C7 user manual hit the FCC with support for T-Mobile AWS. Remember, these new Symbian^3 devices are the world’s only penta-band GSM devices so they work with 3G on T-Mobile and AT&T. Thus, you should be able to buy this, get it unlocked, and use it with AT&T as well if that is your desire.

T-Mobile has done a fairly good job of supporting Nokia with the Nuron and most recently the Nokia E73 Mode. The C7 is a very popular smartphone due to its power and price so having this on T-Mobile should be good for both Nokia and T-Mobile. If my wife did not have the Nokia N8, then I would likely pick up a C7 for her since she likes the battery life, call quality, and reliability of the Symbian platform.

I would love to have a Nokia E7, but it is priced way too high (even for my tastes). However, I may just consider picking up a Nokia C7 if it is priced right.

Nokia C7 shipments begin

C6C78Following on the heels of the Nokia N8 shipments we just received the press release from Nokia that the C7 shipments have begun. When I held the C7 at Nokia World it felt just about like a Nokia E71 or E73 without the keyboard. By this I mean it was built to be a rock solid piece of hardware that I am sure will please many people who don’t want to pay the higher price for the N8 and want something a bit slimmer and sleeker.

The Nokia C7-00 is the second Symbian^3 device to ship and also has a 3.5 inch AMOLED screen. This device is similar to the N8 in that neither has that new ClearBlack Display (CBD) and you will have to wait for the C6 or E7 for that technology.

I do not see any information on the C7 on the Nokia USA site.

Nokia World 2010: Final closing thoughts

Nokia World 2010: Final closing thoughts

As you know, I attended the two day Nokia World event last week and posted a few articles centered on the hardware that we saw in the Experience Lounge areas. I attended the keynotes, met with a few executives and recorded a podcast with the Nokia Conversations team. I then spent the rest of the week touring London and the SouthEast English countryside with my friend Rafe Blandford from All About Symbian. This was my first Nokia World event and I am not quite sure I will attend again as it takes several days to travel and cover the event while consuming my limited vacation time from my “normal day job” while having a negligible affect on my ZDNet or Nokia Experts page views. I would have thought that more US consumers would have wanted in read more about Nokia, but it seems that US consumers have given up on Nokia while Nokia hasn’t shown much affection for the US market.

UPDATE: Please see my new post for a further explanation of my love of Nokia.

Keynotes

I live blogged the opening keynote and it started out with a bang when Niklas Savander showed how Nokia connects people of the world and played a clip from Apple while stating Nokia’s work is more than a feel good tagline. He quoted impressive global stats and also stated, “They work day in and day out, no matter how you hold them.” The Nokia is back statement was also made and his talk fired people up and showed that Nokia is not going to be a pushover in the smartphone market.

Anssi Vanjoki then appeared on stage and jumped right in asking how people can judge the N8 based on some screenshots and the dashboard without even using the device. He revealed some impressive devices and then talked about Nokia’s focus on sustainability and their care of our world.

Purnima Kockikar appeared on stage to talk about Symbian development, which is understandable given that this was a combined event with developers and without them the devices would not be as compelling. The Rovio CEO was a part of this development story and I wish they would have had the developer of Gravity speak since that is THE application that makes Nokia smartphone bearable to use.

The keynote should have ended here as it was already getting a bit long winded, but then we heard from a Vodafone executive who went on for over 20 minutes on stuff that people at Nokia World probably didn’t care much about.

Overall, I was pleased with the opening keynote addresses as the first two showed that Nokia has some fire in their belly and is not going to stand still and lose their worldwide leading market share.

There were also good keynote addresses on the 2nd day from Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Mary McDowell.

Symbian^3 devices

Nokia showed off four upcoming Symbian^3 devices at Nokia World and I was impressed by each of them. The updated Symbian UI is pretty slick, while still having many of the same elements from S60. This is a good thing, IMHO, for those Symbian users who don’t want to see a radical change from what they used for years while still offering some of the eye candy and slick functionality seen in the latest and greatest smartphone platforms.

Here are my posts with videos and photos of the devices:

The ClearBlack Display technology looks awesome on the E7 and C6 and it is unfortunate the N8 wasn’t able to get that technology prior to launch. There were N8 devices in just about every employees’ hands and Nokia gave out something like 1000 to developers. None of the media had a chance to get an evaluation device to use, which seems like a bit of a lost opportunity to me. It would have been great for Nokia to let people use the N8 for a couple of days to take and upload photos and video as part of their Nokia World coverage, but I also understand they didn’t want people slamming the software for being buggy since it doesn’t appear it has been finalized yet. This too is interesting as the device was supposed to ship in Q3 and Q3 ends in nine days so it looks like Nokia will not be meeting the timeline they stated back in April for the N8. They need to get the N8 release right though since they haven’t had a great high end smartphone release since the N95.

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Nokia World 2010: Hands-on with the Nokia C6 and C7

In addition to the high end N8 and E7 devices, Nokia announced a couple of mid-range Symbian^3 devices that I think may appeal to even more new smartphone users. The Nokia C7 and C6-01 are compact, full touchscreen devices that will be available later this year around the world.

Nokia C7

The Nokia C7 is another in the new Symbian^3 lineup that comes in a full touchscreen form factor. When I saw the C7 and C6-01 up on the wall with their home screens up I could have sworn they were Android devices by the look of the hardware and home screen. However, I think for the equivalent price consumers may find they get a better experience with these Symbian^3 devices rather than with a comparable Android device.

Key specifications of the Nokia C7 include the following:

  • Symbian^3 operating system
  • Penta-band WCDMA and Quad-band GSM
  • 3.5 inch 640×360 AMOLED capacitive display
  • 8 megapixel camera with HD video capture support
  • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • FM radio
  • FM transmitter
  • A-GPS receiver
  • 8 GB internal user memory
  • microSD card slot
  • 1200 mAh battery
  • Dimensions: 4.62 x 2.24 x 0.41 inches and 4.58 ounces

The C7 is a fairly powerful mid-range device and the thinness of the device was very appealing to me. The estimated retail price is EUR 335.

Nokia C6-01

I am not really a big fan of Nokia’s naming scheme, but understand with the large number of devices they have it is almost a necessity to use this method. However, why in the world did they roll out a completely different device just a few weeks after another with the exact same name escapes me.

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