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 5th Edition - Page 2
Although some local 'sync' options are available for our Symbian smartphones (e.g. locally to Nokia Suite on a Windows PC), for most of us 'sync' now means synchronisation to an online service. In the good (bad?) old days, this meant messing around with SyncML, but things have moved on and new protocols have emerged as standards. So where do Symbian handsets stand and is there a solution that is future proof? Could it be that the changes at Google's end are unwittingly nudging many of the hundred million Symbian users into a Microsoft-centric solution, following Nokia into the brave new world of Windows Phone?
It seems that Tuesday's news of Microsoft buying Nokia's devices arm, lock, stock and barrel, generated something of a storm of comment, mostly on conspiracy lines. But, this being All About Symbian, I wanted to address the question of whether the news will have an direct impact on the Symbian world. Read on for my thoughts.
Anyone remember the heady days of late 2010 and early 2011, when a rash of twenty or so 'HD' games appeared for the likes of the Nokia N8? Some great titles, many still listed on my Games Directory, with a few other classics arriving in 2012 and one or two in 2013 (e.g. Tennis in your Face and Undroid). However the release in the last few weeks of the appalling Monsters University tie-in from Gameloft has got me thinking - is Symbian gaming now effectively dead?
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?
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.
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.
Whether used explicitly, or bundled into another application such as gNewsReader or Gravity, there's been a heavy reliance in the Symbian world on Google Reader, the industry standard way of consuming RSS feeds from web pages across the Internet. With Google announcing that this service will be stopping in just over a month's time, it's time to look at other ways of gathering news via RSS. Here I look at a number of options.
Now I know what you're going to ask: "What's the point? If you're at home then you can use a real TV or a desktop/laptop, and if you're mobile then you probably don't want hours of mobile TV swallowing up your cellular bandwidth!" All very true, but say you're mobile, some breaking news is happening and you're frustrated that all you can see are headlines and textual reports. Wouldn't it be nice to see what's going on by tapping into a live TV stream? With, admittedly, a UK focus, I investigate a few options. I'm sure readers from around the world can chip in with links to solutions for Symbian that work in other areas?