NFC, widely touted to be one of the 'next big things' is here already in the Nokia C7, Google Nexus S and Blackberry Bold 9900, plus all the new Symbian Belle handsets have it built-in and other manufacturers and platforms are sure to follow. But what actually is Near Field Communications and how does it work? What can you do with it right now and what will it enable in the future? Here's a bookmark-able primer that should answer all your questions.
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We've all been impressed by Apple's launch of their 'Siri' voice interrogation technology in the new iPhone 4S. But it should be borne in mind that something along the same lines (though admittedly nowhere near as adaptable) has been possible for ages on Symbian, even on extreme budget hardware. Just as a reminder, and with some comments on whether this is the way forward for smartphones generally, here's a demo of the free Vlingo in action on an old S60 3rd Edition handset.
One of the longest serving 'stars' in the Symbian software firmament has been Handy Safe Pro, working on every device from 2004 up to the present day. It's an encrypted database, of course, a way of keeping all your PINs, passwords, logins, reference numbers and much more, all safe from prying eyes. One key feature is that every entry can have a note and this can often run to dozens of extra lines. Which makes the tool very flexible, but how to get all of this information over to a new smartphone on another mobile platform? In this case, Windows Phone?
Amid all the anticipation and speculation surrounding Nokia’s Windows Phone handsets, you’d be forgiven for thinking you have to move with the times and give up your staunch Symbian sidekick. Don’t be in too much of a rush though; while Windows Phone will improve over time, things aren’t all that rosy on the Redmond side of the fence.
Both devices are now out and established, fighting for the title of 'Best Portrait Qwerty' - it's the Nokia E6 and Blackberry Bold 9900. Having now used both for a few weeks, here's my detailed head to head, comparing them blow for blow. Both devices have compromises, remarkably similar, both are from companies fighting to stay alive in the 2011 smartphone space - is there a winner and are either of them ultimately good enough?
More of an observation than a rant (though see below), but the rise and rise of the REAL camera phone puts quite a bit of pressure on us geeks, whatever mobile OS we currently favour. You see, the theory is that "the best camera is the one you have with you" but in practice all smartphones aren't created equal in the camera department and that has unforeseen social repercussions....
Have you seen the number of applications that are little more than a list of website articles? Or launch a bookmark? Or are yet another eBook reader of the Project Gutenberg text of A Princess of Mars? Why are they all still flooding every mobile app store on the planet? Because I think, secretly, the stores love the spam.
I've tried to like Nokia Social over the last 12 months, I really have. And in attempting to document how to use it effectively in the light of other, more capable, contact-social schemes like in Windows Phone Mango, I keep coming up against limitations and annoyances which should really have been addressed by now. At the risk of stating the obvious, here's Social's limited take on contact integration, my constructive comments, and five other things that should definitely be on the Nokia Social team's to-do list.
Exactly a year ago, to the day, Nokia released the N8 to the world's press (and to a few lucky people able to get to the few flagship stores), just making their own Q3, 2010 deadline. As of two hours later, my main SIM went in the N8 and, a few review and retro dalliances aside, has been in it ever since. For anyone who's followed me over the years, that's nothing short of incredible. The same phone for 12 months. And there's still nothing to replace it. Here's the N8 story and here's why it's lasted.
The last nine years has seen an increase, not only in the physical size of smartphone screens, but even more dramatically, in their resolution. We've gone from the original S60 smartphones (e.g. the 7650 and 6630) right up to the monster 'superphones' of 2011, with the highest resolution model offering a staggering twenty-five times as many pixels, all to (arguably) do a job that's not dissimilar. Which begs the question of how the various resolutions compare, of how many pixels you actually need, and whether Symbian as we currently know it is up to the job for competing in screen resolution with the smartphone class of 2012? Here are my (illustrated) thoughts.