The battle to preserve personal and secure data across mobile platforms goes on. You may remember that I went on an exploratory trip around every secure database system recently, with no satisfactory conclusion. Is it too much to expect to be able to take my PINs, my ID numbers, my software serial numbers, my secrets, from platform to platform? It may be too early to call off the search completely, but a solution is emerging that looks future proof and promising.
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On the whole, the transition from Symbian Anna to 'Nokia Belle' went smoothly - at least for the nHD full touch devices (N8, C7, etc.) However, the Nokia E6 was included in the upgrade and, despite my reservations and allowances, most of us upgraded this VGA-screened, d-pad driven device to Belle... and then regretted it. You see, the E6 homescreen under Anna could be fully driven by the d-pad, whereas under Belle you had to keep reaching up to the touchscreen to get anything done. Step forward the number one E6 FAQ: is it possible to downgrade to Symbian Anna? Well, not officially. And certainly not easily. But step forward reader Matthew Kuhl, who proved it can be done - and pulled all the relevant steps together here for ready reference.
Having set out a camera-centric stall for transitioning from the Nokia N8 and 808 to the Lumia 1020, for those who simply must have the best camera and Xenon flash, I also wanted to write something more generic, for all Symbian users and concentrating less on camera functions and more on multitasking and other unique selling points, replicating each in a move to the mobile OS which most resembles Symbian under the hood - Android, featured here in its latest v4.4 variant, in the Google Nexus 5.
I wrote, a while ago, about possible showstoppers for people moving from Symbian to Android or Windows Phone, but a lot has happened in the intervening months, not least the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 1020, offering a more or less direct equivalent to the camera-centric flagships in Nokia's previous Symbian world. What I wanted to explore here was each aspect of smartphone functionality, from the point of view of matching what each generation did - and does. The overall picture may surprise you, though (as usual) there are a few caveats along the way.
If there's one area where Symbian looks immediately weak compared to the smartphone competition, it's in online video streaming. No Netflix, for example. And no official YouTube client. But there are a number of alternatives to help fill the latter gap and I explore them briefly below. How practical is YouTube on Symbian and which are the best tools for the job?
Sometimes one has to turn to the community for help - and this might end up being just such a case. It's not often that I get completely stumped, but I've been pulling my hair out in recent weeks and it's time to both report and ask for input from 'All About' readers. You see, it's a question of data. Secure data. Data that's, worryingly, somewhat siloed on Symbian, a platform that I like but which is nearing end of life... My goal was to migrate to Windows Phone, but I've hit a brick wall.
NFC (Near Field Communications) is something we've only touched on briefly on the All About sites. You know it as a way to pair quickly with compatible Bluetooth accessories and to tap-for-info on an object, but the scope of NFC is widening all the time. In the first of several articles on NFC, I explore the world of NFC tag writing, looking at some common practical uses. Comments welcome if you can think of ways the technology would enhance your life too.
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?
You know, the more the world centres in on large touch-only smartphones, the more I continue to appreciate the genuinely different hardware we've had in the modern age in the Symbian world. Yes, the OS is effectively now frozen in stone (though, despite yesterday's buy-out news, Accenture will still hopefully be under contract to provide support/patches etc. for another two years at least), but there's really very little in the smartphone world that can compete with the 2011 Nokia E6, with its 'QWERTY candybar' form factor. Here then, for your consideration (and celebration) are five under-appreciated design features, over and above the highlights we've covered before. And perhaps extra reasons why you might like to buy up an E6, even if as a backup smartphone or for your 'collection'(!)
Burst photos are 'in' at the moment, and rightly so. While no use at all for traditional photography stars like coastlines and sunsets, when it comes to action shots of kids, pets and wildlife, it can be very helpful to take short sequences of photos so that you can pick the best one later - and hopefully be pleasantly surprised. Now, 'burst' mode is part of third party utilities, commonly, e.g. here, but I thought it worth highlighting that Belle FP2's Camera application includes a burst-like mode out of the box.