I asked a few days ago for screen grabs of your Symbian homescreens, so that we can all learn and take inspiration from the set-up efforts of the wider AAS community - and here I present the results, thanks to everyone for your submissions, from all across the world. And if I didn't get round to including your homescreens, please don't be offended - I had way more submissions than could be reasonably included here. Do note that this article is quite big, in terms of bytes, because of the number of screenshots - please be patient while it all loads in your web browser!
Recent Features - Software - Page 4
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?
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.
It's fair to say that most people agree that Windows Phone 8 is a great, if not perfect, starting point for people who are new to smartphones - it's slick and everything the beginner needs is there from the start. What's more contentious is how well Windows Phone 8 works for anyone coming from a Symbian or Android handset - such people are used to a lot of flexibility in terms of interface, hardware and the interaction between applications. Can Windows Phone 8 currently satisfy, as at the end of February 2013 with the 'Portico' update now rolled out to all? How much is still to come? In this heavily updated article, here's my honest assessment, based on months of use of both the Symbian-powered Nokia 808 and the Windows Phone 8-powered Nokia Lumia 920...