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?
Recent Features - Symbian 3 - Software
Purists, look away now, because this is going off at a slight unofficial tangent. Almost two weeks ago we had a batch of five new homescreen widgets deployed through SW Update to Belle Feature Pack 2-powered phones - very useful additions and I did note at the time that there seemed to be no technical reason why the same widgets couldn't be installed on the older Symbian^3/Anna/Belle/Belle Refresh generation devices (N8, E7, etc.) Indeed, the SIS files had been intercepted by one enterprising soul already and installed on an E7 with success. I've waited a fortnight and these still haven't been 'pushed' to the older phones officially - which is why I thought you might like a walkthrough of grabbing and installing them unofficially. If you haven't already done so, of course!
I've moaned about Nokia Store issues before - sometimes things gets fixed, sometimes they don't. But it all leaves the average user with a frustrating experience and, often, something that's simply 'stuck' downloading. Is there a recommended way to proceed? Well, not an official way, but see my workarounds below.
So we now have a 'Facebook phone' in the wild, we have Android users testing out 'Facebook Home' as a replacement front end for their phones, and we have Windows Phone users jumping up and down saying that their smartphones have had Facebook baked in for years. Well, Facebook's pretty darned easy on Symbian too, and the most popular clients have had massive updates since I last did a round-up. Which is why I wanted to take the best of these and look at them afresh, in 2013, alongside Nokia Social, built into every Symbian phone, of course.
Two Top 10s in one week? Yep, I'm in that sort of mood. In this case, a pointer to what I consider are the very best games to show off what Symbian and your smartphone can do, perhaps challenged down the pub as to why you still use "that old N8"? It's true that the games here don't usually match counterparts on (for example) the iPhone, but at least they're in the same ballpark in terms of graphics, speed and playability. And, yes, this is very much my own opinion - leave your own suggestions in the comments, but do please check that each title still runs under the latest Belle Refresh or Belle FP2 OS versions...
You may recall seeing some pointed comments by me in the recent mini-review of Checkers Deluxe, with a load of opportunities in the game to tap a button to fire off premium SMS to buy such and such a function? The overuse of this mechanism has in fact inspired me to put finger to keyboard in full 'rant' mode. This is all with a Symbian perspective, though elements of my complaints will of course apply to other mobile platforms.
With a flurry of updates for the Symbian Belle FP2 platform recently and even some for the Symbian Belle Refresh generation, Nokia's (ok, mainly Accenture's) remaining Symbian programmers are on something of a roll. Who'd have thought that we'd still be getting new features a full year after the last Symbian phone's announcement? And implemented in exactly the most accessible way too. By the way, yes, I'm going back to putting the Symbian name in front of "Belle' again, now that there's no Nokia marketing team who might get offended(!)
You'll remember the 'Scroll and Select' days of S60, hopefully. Smartphones driven by a navigational d-pad with central 'OK' button. Now look in your hand to see Symbian in Belle Refresh or Belle FP2 form and there's very little similarity. How did we get from one to the other and could things have happened differently? I say yes.
For the first time in living memory - well, ok, since the dawn of smartphones, a decade or so ago, there will be no new Symbian-powered devices launched this year at Mobile World Congress (née 3GSM). 2012's show saw the launch of the last ever Symbian smartphone, the all-conquering Nokia 808 PureView. And, as I've mused before, what a way to go out. Looking at the smartphone world of 2013 though, Symbian-free for the first time in terms of announcements, I wonder how the products being launched now compare with the classic devices already in our pockets.
The trendy thing to talk about in the smartphone world is 'market share', of course. Thinking about the industry as 'business', its' all about current sales, how many units were shipped in the last few months, how much profit was made, and so on. Flip this on its head, looking at smartphone platforms from the user's point of view though, and a slightly different picture emerges. What I consider below is the 'active installed base' of each platform, i.e. the numbers of compatible handsets being used on a daily basis around the world.