One of the much-hyped additions to Symbian^3, over S60 5th Edition, was the ability to have multiple homescreens, Android-style. Surely more homescreens are good, surely more widgets are good - or so goes the theory. But I'm not so sure, having lived with the N8 for a month. Here's my Luddite and rather unfashionable perspective on the homescreen phenomenon.
Recent Features - Page 33
Throughout 2008, I worked through a series of features, entitled 'Camera Nitty Gritty', looking at specific aspects of camera phone performance, with special focus on Symbian-powered hardware and on exploding (and expanding on, as appropriate) some mobile photography myths. Two full years on and with the new Symbian^3-powered generation of devices now available from Nokia, it's high time for an update, although I'm not going to make you work through another series of twelve articles - this time I'll keep it concise and keep everything in the one feature!
One of the applications which arrived very late in the day for S60 5th Edition (i.e. Symbian^1) was Nokia Internet Radio - it seems that haste isn't the order of the day for Symbian^3 either, with no obvious multi-station Internet radio clients in the Ovi Store for the Nokia N8, C7 and C6 - yet. However, all is not lost, as I found out when embarking on a little end-November quest for working Internet radio for my N8...
Over on the Nokia Conversations blog, they’ve looked at the history of their “Snake” game. Right from the first bundled version on the Nokia 6110 handset through to Vanixon’s Snake game on the Ovi Store. It’s a nice article that I suspect gets to where the author wanted (i.e. let’s link to a game on the Store) but really does show just how much Nokia’s eye is no longer on the Snake. When you look closer, the winding path of the snake seems to follow Nokia's smartphone strategy.
Talk about the clash of the titans. But not really as equals - you'll remember my musings last week on smartphone (converged devices, where, by my definition, Nokia and Symbian are strongest) vs superphone (large-screened Internet-centric devices)? I've picked arguably the best of each breed here, the Nokia N8 and the massive HTC Desire HD, and stuck them in a room to fight it out. Thankfully, my theories are borne out in the head to head below, their different strengths and weaknesses hopefully evident to all. Whatever your own theories and favoured platform though, I'm sure you'll find the blow by blow comparison interesting.
In his recent mobile browser comparison article, Steve recommended that Symbian^3 (N8, C7, C6-01) users consider switching to the Opera Mobile 10.1 browser, for an improved mobile browsing experience. However, hyperlinks within other applications (e.g. in an email) will still open in the default Web application. But there is a setting that allows you to change this behaviour - effectively changing the default browser on Symbian. In this article we explain where to find the settings and note some of the caveats you should be aware of before using it. This can be used on all Symbian^3 devices and most Symbian^1 devices.
It has become something of a cliche in the reviewing world that the web browser currently in S60 3rd, 5th Edition and Symbian^3 handsets isn't coping well with some of the big real world web sites that reviewers hit it with. To be fair, and I comment more on this below, some of this is a case of moving goalposts - 2009 and 2010 has seen some horrifically inefficient web sites appear - so a browser which worked well on 2008 sites is now struggling when hit by multi-megabyte monstrosities from 2010. In this feature I compare the three leading browsers for Symbian against Safari in the iPhone 4 and a cutting edge Android 2.2 browser installation - is the current Symbian browser as bad as it's made out and is Opera Mobile a better bet?
You'll remember that I've been evolving a number of theories on the subject of just what makes a 'smartphone' smart? I postulated that Nokia's definition (and mine) of a 'smartphone' differed rather wildly from that of the popular tech media, who are really talking about what we're now starting to term 'superphones'. In the feature below, I present more analysis of the mobile device world, showing that there are in fact four specific 'bands' of form and functionality - bands that will always exist - one size really can't fit all.
The current wave of all-singing, all dancing capacitive touchscreen Symbian phones have their attractions, surely. But we shouldn't write off some of the classic S60 3rd Edition FP2 phones, some of which still have world beating characteristics and, with a little tweaking here and there, make a smartphone to be reckoned with. As evidence of this, here's the latest in my 'Pimping' series of tutorials: Pimping the Nokia E55. As you might expect, virtually all of this also applies to its sister device, the E52.
A smartphone with a dead battery isn't very smart, I think we'd all agree. Constantly overlooked by many of the world's smartphone manufacturers, battery capacity and the efficiency with which it is used is often shoved to the back of the priority pile, behind exciting bullet points like 1GHz processors and 4.3" screens. In this feature, I quote an old rant and embellish the point, before launching into a passionate plea to the guys behind Nokia Social Networking - and then, for fun, I list my top 5 battery champions of the Symbian smartphone world in the last 10 years.