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.
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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 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!
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(!)