The agony and the ecstasy. Unboxing a mint condition Nokia N95 8GB today, a device from 2007, I was struck by both how familiar it still seems - and, as I started setting it up (i.e. 'pimping' it!), how alien it is at the same time. It struck me that we've come a very, very long way in the Symbian world in just five years (counting up until the Nokia 808's release, the last Symbian launch).... Here are my top 10 observations (/annoyances) of the pain in going back to something of the N95 8GB's generation.
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Long time AAS readers will remember a fairly well acclaimed article I did back in 2010, entitled: "There's a bookmark for that!" The idea was to highlight that, even though there weren't necessarily Symbian applications created for every service that iOS and Android boasted, the services were eminently usable with nothing more than a simple bookmark in Web. Consider this piece an update of that original piece, refining the idea and bringing the whole thing up to date. eBay, Amazon, Wikipedia, IMDB, Google+, BBC Sport and much more, all now an icon on your homescreen and in your app menu - it's easy to set up, looks good and the concept really does help fill what would otherwise be an ever-widening 'gap' in the Symbian ecosystem.
As part of our review coverage of the Nokia Lumia 928 over on All About Windows Phone, I've been testing the phone's camera, with Xenon flash, of course - Nokia's first Xenon-equipped smartphone in a year, since the Symbian-powered 808. With less than a fortnight to go until the unveiling of the 808's equivalent in the Windows Phone world (July 11th, In New York), I was still curious as to how the Xenon flash in the Lumia 928 would match up to that in the 808.
With updates appearing thick and fast for all mobile OS, the landscape is ever-changing. In this update to my older 'Showstoppers' article, I look at the potential obstacles to moving (in this case from Symbian) to Windows Phone 8 or Android. There's an admittedly personal slant to my long list of possible showstoppers, but as a power user I suspect I'm fairly typical of the breed and that you'll be needing most of these things too. The original piece just looked at moving to Windows Phone, but I've included parallel information about making your destination Android too, in the interests of fairness.
It has been fascinating watching the wider smartphone world - away from the Nokia 808, my smartphone core, we've seen phone screen sizes going up and up, with Sony announcing a smartphone with 6.4" screen in the last 24 hours, the Xperia Z Ultra. There's even been a new word, 'phablet' (phone/tablet hybrid) created - OK, noone likes the term, but until someone comes up with a better alternative... It got me thinking, though - how far would Symbian have gone down this direction if the OS hadn't been sidelined and EOLed back in February 2011? Would we now have a Symbian phablet?
Perhaps the most relevant 'pimping' piece I've ever done, this feature looks at the legendary Nokia N8, with some components that are still cutting edge in 2013 and with an OS that's been updated steadily since its launch in 2010. So - what can be done to ensure that a Nokia N8 is running as sweetly as possible today?
In conversation with Engadget's tnkgrl, I postulated that Nokia had spoiled the Symbian world rotten with the launch of the 808 PureView. As the technology poster girl for the next-gen PureView camera technology, the 808 made it into production through (no doubt) gritted teeth inside parts of Nokia. Unwittingly providing users of the Symbian OS with a massive shot in the arm in terms of hardware to take them through one or two extra years. What if the 808 hadn't made it into production at all? What would we be using right now?
One of the staples in the Symbian world since the days of 'Series 60' has been Epocware's Handy Safe Pro - the original encrypted database of private info, synced happily between multiple Symbian devices and a Windows desktop. Heck, many of us still use it, despite a few availability glitches (cough: E6, Mac desktop), but the way forward when the time comes to move away from Symbian isn't completely clear cut. In this feature, I explore some of the options available, including SBSH's SafeWallet.
The Nokia E6, ever since its launch in an otherwise nHD-screened world, has been different. Higher (VGA) resolution, smaller physical screen, and landscape not portrait. All of which has meant a few headaches in terms of compatibility with some third party applications. But, once those have been weeded out, which applications do I (and the AAS community) really recommend for the Nokia E6? Apps which work well on the small landscape screen, and/or which work well with the d-pad and full keyboard? Here's my rundown. Oh, and the 'Communicator' in the title? - before you complain, see my postscript!
It's a fair cop, I just couldn't resist trying out another custom firmware for Symbian. At least in this case I had a willing volunteer, in the form of an old Nokia C7 which had been in heavy use for a year and which was in dire need of a clear out and rebuild anyway. Delight 6.2 for the C7 is freshly released, so I threw caution to the wind and flashed it onto what is now a two-and-a-half year old smartphone. How was the experience and what does Delight 6.2 firmware actually get you? Here's my report.