Latest Tips & Tricks
I read that Nokia was slapping those loyal customers who have went out and purchased the N8 and other Symbian^3 devices early in the face by shipping new N8 and C7 devices with Anna preloaded. Without question, they should have first provided the update to existing owners and this whole Anna update story is disappointing to me. I also read that Anna for the N8 was leaked and available so I decided to risk it rather than wait for Nokia since my N8 was just sitting around useless anyways and now I have Anna on my N8 performing well so far.
This will void your warranty, risk bricking your device, etc. so I do not recommend any readers take these steps and just wait for Nokia to officially release it. That said, my wife’s blue Nokia N8 constantly locks up and is a piece of crap so I am going to update hers using these steps after I test it out on my orange one for a few more days. So far everything seems to be working just fine. There were a couple of Chinese apps on the N8 that I just uninstalled and so far so good. These steps are not too bad actually and didn’t require any DOS commands or anything like goofing around with my N900 did.
Any readers try this update and if so, how did it go for you?
UPDATE: Here is a page describing a new ROM version with the split screen/context sensitive keyboard and other improvements. I am going to put this one on my N8 now.
Last week I posted about the Nokia Care US contest and let you know I entered with a video showing how to get Amazon Video On Demand movies and Zune Pass music on your Nokia device. Voting opened up today and runs through 24 May. If you like my video and would like to see more coverage of the Nokia Astound here on Nokia Experts please vote for my video.
To vote for my video, post this from your Twitter account:
@NokiaCareUS Amazon Video & Zune Pass on Nokia N8 #NokiaCareUSContest
You can check out all the video contest entries on the Nokia Care US YouTube site. If you don’t like my video, but like another, then please vote for it too since a vote gets you entered into a drawing for a Nokia N8 (available only to US residents).
Here is a look at my video entry again too:
Thanks everyone and best of luck to all entrants, many of them are my friends so whoever wins deserves it as there are some great tips in there.
Nokia has been running a lot of contests and Nokia Experts readers seem to have pretty good luck at winning so I wanted to share a US-based contest going on now that has five days left to enter. The Nokia Care US contest is accepting videos that show different “How-tos” for Nokia devices in just three minutes. The contest deadline is 16 May, next Monday.
I entered the video embedded below (it was tough to cut it to 3 minutes and get all the steps in there) that shows how to enjoy Amazon Video On Demand movies and Zune Pass music on your Nokia device. I thought it was timely given that Windows Phone 7 will eventually be on Nokia hardware so using the method I described you can get a glimpse of the Zune Pass functionality on your Nokia device. My video is now in the contest playlist and next week they will Tweet out the voting start with directions on how to vote.
Voting starts 17 May and goes through 24 May so I will post again when it starts so you can all vote for my video if you think it is worthy. Voters also have a chance to win a Nokia N8 so it is in your best interest to vote as well. Remember, you can only vote once during the voting period so make it count 😉
The grand prize is a Nokia E7 and if I win I will post a review of the device here since I have yet to get a loaner eval unit and have only seen it at Nokia World last year. The runner-up prize is a Nokia Astound, which I would also love to win and would follow up here with more articles on that device.
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.
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?
Those of us Nokia fans in the US have been bummed out with all of the overseas talk of Ovi Music and Spotify. We do have Mobbler (Last.fm support) for the Nokia N8, but it is always good to have options. On my Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 devices I have been using the excellent Slacker Radio service and rather excited to reveal that Slacker is coming to Symbian^3 in February. Yes, us Nokia N8 owners in the US will finally get the ability to use Slacker Radio on our devices.
The Slacker Radio for Nokia client will support the following features:
- Music library featuring millions of songs
- High-quality stereo playback from any available wireless connection
- Create custom artist stations based on artists or songs
- Over 130 professionally programmed and customizable genre stations
- View artist biographies and photos
- View album art and read reviews
- Rate songs as favorites
- Ban songs and artists from stations
The Slacker Radio application will be available for free in February. It was developed using the Qt application development framework and should run on all Symbian^3 devices.
It is encouraging to see Slacker coming to Symbian and now I have my hopes set on Amazon or Barnes & Noble bringing their ebook clients to Symbian too.
I was sent a link to the Skype blog announcing a brand new version of Skype for the latest Symbian phones, including the N8, C7, and E5. I fired up my web browser and went to the skype.com/m website and discovered that the Skype Verizon deal here in the US blocks ANYONE outside of specific Verizon handsets from getting Skype. However, I was not going to stop there and figured out all you need to do is switch your device to offline mode and then use a WiFi connection to go to the Skype site and get the .sisx file to install on your device.
This new version includes Skype’s high quality audio codec, SILK, so calls should be even better than they were before. Here is what is listed on the Skype blog for the updated application:
- make free Skype-to-Skype calls and IM on 3G or WiFi
- save money on calls and texts to phones abroad
- share pictures, videos and other files from your phone
- easier to add contacts, navigate, add a photo to your profile and set your mood message
- updated the interface to better fit larger screens
Do you use Skype for Symbian?
As you might have read on my ZDNet blog, I purchased an HTC HD7 this week and have been spending a lot of time with the new Windows Phone 7 platform. While it is slick and fun to use, the battery life is not very good and there are definitely limitations in this version 1.0 product. I put my SIM back into the Nokia N8 after receiving information that the official release of Swype has come to the N8 along with a beta version of Mobbler that supports the N8. Both are now installed and working well on my N8 and my device is now much better.
About a month ago I was given access to an early beta version of Swype for the Nokia N8. It performed pretty well, but it would lag at times too and I understood it was still in beta so didn’t worry too much about what the final product would be like. I read over on The Handheld Blog that the official version of Swype for the Nokia N8 is now available and confirmed this by visiting the Ovi Store on my N8. I removed the beta version and installed the new official release and so far it is performing wonderfully.
I highly recommend all N8 owners download and try out the free Swype keyboard. You will be amazed by how accurate and functional it is on your device. It still does not work in portrait orientation and as I have stated before this is due to a required N8 update from Nokia to provide this support.
Here is one cool tip to keep in mind: slide your finger from the Swype icon in the bottom left to the Sym key to reveal some cool controls. After making this gesture you will see the controls as shown in the screenshot above with directional arrows and other controls.
In other news that also makes my Nokia N8 that much better, I was informed that Mobbler was released with support for Symbian^3. You can visit the Mobbler download page and get the 0.10(80) beta version that supports the N8. I installed it last night and it works like a champ! I am a big fan of streaming music apps and with Mobbler and my Zune Pass music I have a rocking Nokia N8!
One of the main complaints about the Symbian^3 OS on the Nokia N8 is lack of any QWERTY keyboard in portrait orientation. Also, while the stock landscape keyboard can be setup to work quite well, it still takes you out of the context where text is being entered so you can lose your way or enter more text than allowed (in the case of Twitter or a text message). The developer of Gravity took things into his own hands and just released an alpha version of the Gravity Twitter/Facebook/Foursquare/Google Reader software that provides its own keyboard. UPDATE: You can download the Alpha version here.
As you can see in the screenshots below, the keyboard keys have decent spacing and I was able to tap out the characters pretty well. There is no auto correction or cool keyboard features like double space for a period or auto-capitalization of the I, but at least having a QWERTY keyboard in portrait is present now. Jan Ole Suhr was also able to keep the keyboard up in a way that we could see the context and track the number of characters entered. You can see the keyboard is there for portrait and landscape orientations. I do not see a way to go back to Swype or another keyboard after loading up this version of Gravity, but that is fine for me and I prefer the keyboard he created.
Thanks to Chanse’s feedback I posted on how to make your N8 keyboard experience better and I admit I have been pretty happy with that setup. However, I love using Swype on my Android devices and was pleased to see it coming to the Nokia N8. You can actually now go and download the beta of Swype for yourself. Search the Ovi Store with a C7 as your device. I posted the video below of Swype in use on my N8.
As discussed before, Swype cannot work in portrait because Nokia has some kind of limitation is place and Swype won’t work until Nokia provides an update. That said, it is still quite good in landscape orientation.
I also posted the video below to show some of the widgets I like and a couple other tricks I use on my own Nokia N8.