Regular listeners to the 361 Degrees podcast will have heard many times of Rafe's legendary 'six year rule', when referring to smartphone platforms and ecosystems. With Blackberry seemingly imploding before our eyes, with Nokia having been snapped up recently by Microsoft and with Symbian increasingly being forgotten in the marketplace, I thought it worth both expanding on Rafe's rule of thumb and also charting it graphically. A mosquito lives for a week, a hamster for a year or two, smartphone operating systems about six or seven years, and (happily) human beings about 70 to 80 years. Life and death, all in 1000 words? It can only be an All About (sites) editorial....
Recent Features - S60 3rd Edition - Page 2
It's a fair cop, I'm firmly in camera geek territory again here. We see a lot of smartphone camera comparisons online (not least here on the All About sites), but all this talk of optical formats and pixel sizes rather gets in the way of the man in the street understanding the simple physics involved. To help out, I've summarised all available data on smartphone camera sizes and apertures and present the result graphically. So the Lumia 1020 has a 1/1.5" sensor - what does this mean? And how does it affect the ability of the device to gather light? This and much more below...
Wi-fi issues are not unique to Symbian, of course. I've seen Android and iOS message boards complaining bitterly about Wi-fi with each OS, either with a specific device or a specific device update. But I know Symbian well enough to suggest a possible work flow for looking into any Wi-fi issues you may have. See what you think - can you add any more steps/suggestions?
This, at least, will be a camera phone head to head like no other. The Nokia 808 PureView has regularly been ahead (or, infamously, tied) in every shoot-out I've done. But it's up against something that's even odder than itself for the very first time. And I don't mean its successor, the Lumia 1020, which is still a few weeks away, at least. Here I'm about to put the 808 up against the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. But I need a few suggestions from you as to exactly how the test should be conducted!
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.
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.
2013 should see, somewhat belatedly, a feature that has been standard on Nokia's Symbian since 2009 (and also on Meego) finally make it onto Windows Phone. Admittedly, there are some technical considerations here, since the feature only works if the devices have an AMOLED screen (most of the Symbian smartphones do/did), but there have also been issues of OS support, I suggest. What I'm talking about is, of course, the 'always on clock', about which I eulogise below, along with gratuitous shots of owls and leaves....
Now, I've been eulogising about 'proper' flashes in smartphone cameras since the Nokia N82, back in 2007. And by 'proper', I mean a Xenon flash, just as you'd find in a standalone camera. The Sony Ericsson Satio and Nokia N8 and then 808, all running Symbian, kept the rant alive, but elsewhere Xenon flash has been almost non-existent. Yet now we have rumours of new Nokia Lumias, running Windows Phone 8 and (allegedly) having Xenon bulbs, along with (also rumoured) Sony's upcoming 'Honami' handset and Samsung's Galaxy S4 'Zoom'. In short, 2013 is (probably) about to become the year that Xenon flash finally makes the journey from Symbian into Windows Phone 8 and mainstream Android.
I'm someone who is fascinated by numbers and data points, in this case stats from a well known Symbian developer, Hugo van Kemenade, author of Mobbler, which has been around for all varieties and interfaces of Symbian for years. Meaning that looking at his download numbers and breakdown is very interesting indeed. I wonder if a few other developers might share their numbers too? In the meantime, a little extrapolation brings up charts and stats which will be surprising to many.
In the second of an occasional tutorial series (here's the first part, looking at a murky scene-made-good taken on the Nokia Lumia 920), I take a recent photo of mine, also shot on a smartphone, in this case the Nokia 808 PureView, and show the quick-fire thought processes that went into creating it. Again, the tutorial is applicable to all phone camera users and again my aim is to get you thinking more when you next want to snap something photogenic. Comments welcome if I've helped and/or succeeded!