You may remember that I featured the Top 10 Most Beautiful Symbian phones a while back? This is the exact opposite, a condemnation celebration of the very worst in cosmetics, practicality and pocketability... This is Symbian wierd, or at least as weird as phones linked by a common software platform can get. From the freak show below, see how many of the phones you owned - a prize (or at least major sympathies) if you owned the lot!
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So 2013 saw the first 6"-screened 'phone' (the Huawei Ascend Mate). Greeted with a degree of shock by most, would you be surprised to know that my 'smart' device of choice back in 1997, a whopping sixteen years ago, also had a touchscreen with a 6" diagonal? Now that your jaw has hit the floor, let me suggest you glance at the chart below, proposing that large screened devices have, for tech fans preferring to live on the cutting edge, always been available and that impressions of a gradual size creep are more for the wider market.
With Symbian firmly in its twilight years but still very much alive, I'd like to gather a little data, for all our interest, on the generations of Symbian-powered hardware still in active use. It's unlikely that everyone reading this owns a Nokia 808 PureView, but just how far back do you all go? Are there still readers actively using a d-pad driven Nokia N95? Any Nokia E90 users still? See below and add your tuppence worth! [UPDATED]
It's all very well having a Nokia 808 PureView and sitting somewhere with friends, family or colleagues and feeling rather superior in the camera department. But, should the occasion arise, how do you best get over the power of the 808's camera sensor? You can expand photos to show how 'pure' they are, but it's tough to notice anything startling on an nHD display. You could find somewhere darkish and take a snap of someone with the Xenon flash, but that demo can be construed as a bit artificial. Or you could try the demo shown below, which (in my experience) even makes fellow 808 owners' jaws drop.
Throughout the history of PDAs and smartphones (so we're talking 20 years), one particular design battle has been raging, seemingly without a victor. From which you have to conclude that the battle is quite evenly matched. Yet I disagree, arguing that, from the user's point of view, there's a very definite winner, while manufacturers have a different preference and slant on this particular aspect of design.
As part of recording Phones Show Chat 180, I took the chance of meeting up with three other longtime smartphone users, spending a happy evening chatting about all things tech. Although I did note a certain self-selecting bias amongst our choice of hardware, the discrepancy between our own 'picks' and the current sales charts/marketshare did take even me by surprise. Is there a point to be made below? Perhaps that Nokia really was crazy to phase out Symbian and Meego quite so hastily? Perhaps that these platforms remain interesting and challenging, perhaps more so now then ever?
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(!)
With the arrival of the HTC One for Phones Show review, and with its imaging pretensions ("ultrapixels"!), what better opportunity than to put it up against the best camera-toting smartphones on both Symbian and Windows Phone? In the shape of the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 920. Oh yes, and, by popular request, I introduce an imposter from 2007 to the competition, the Nokia N95 classic, the world's first smartphone with a decent camera (and sensor size and megapixel quotient that's still comparable). How will that fare against the class of 2012 and 2013?
PocketNow seems to be the first major web site to get both a Nokia Lumia 920 and a HTC One (both with optical image stabilisation and imaging pretensions) in the same place at the same time and take some meaningful low light photo examples. We have our own HTC One (running Android, you may remember) arriving tomorrow, so do watch this space for more detailed comparisons in due course, including against the Nokia 808 PureView. In the meantime, here's my analysis of three of the example photos, chosen for the ease of comparing detail...