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.
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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.
An interesting post from Mobot this morning on the five UK networks carrying the Nokia 700 handset (the first running Symbian Belle) has got me thinking. Let's be clear, there's no second source on this yet, but the central principle, that if the networks swing behind Nokia then the manufacturer has a solid future, is sound. Part of Nokia's offensive both for Belle, S40 and the upcoming Windows Phone handsets has been, and will continue to be, to charm the mobile phone networks.
The last two months have thrown up an interesting little quirk for me, and it's to do with the input mechanism of your personal device. And specifically it's about how a common solution over multiple devices makes for a much more fluid experience. Looking over the devices I've used, they've included various Symbian handsets, a few Android handsets and one of the Samsung Galaxy patent magnets (the Tab 7). And it's been really easy to switch between them. Because of Swype.
We all know and love Gravity as a Twitter client par excellence - and most of us probably had an idea that it could 'do' Facebook too. But, following my look at the top standalone Facebook clients, I was curious as to how far Gravity went, in terms of covering the same functionality. Surprisingly far, as it turns out, though there are still Facebook core functions which you'll need a separate client for. Read on for my walkthrough and summary.
There's one Nokia product decision that has really, really puzzled me in the last few years - and that's the retirement of the SU-8W after only a couple of years on sale. First made in 2005, I reviewed it here and, amazingly, it still works perfectly - six years later, as demonstrated below with my N8. What is the SU-8W, why did Nokia stop making it and where can you still get it, all questions I try to answer below. And - I know Nokia reads All About Symbian - isn't it about time to kick off another production run? Pretty please?
I've traced the N8's heritage in terms of camera-toting smartphone design before. What I wanted to look at here was the improvement in sensors through the main three models, the N82, N86 and N8. Allowing for raw resolution improvements, how much better (over the N82) are the N86's - and then the N8's - images - can the evolution be easily illustrated? Putting each to a number of tests, I conclude that the N8's sensor and electronics are indeed of higher quality, even after discounting the resolution improvements. Who knew?(!)
By popular request, here are my tips on shooting better videos on your smartphone. If you've been to an event, whipped out your phone and been disappointed later by blurry, jerky, muffled, badly lit footage, then these tips are for you! From light to movement to mundane practicalities, it's all covered below.
Taking a photo of that family member, friend or scene is the obvious function of your smartphone camera. But a little lateral thinking sees quite a few extra uses for this equipment - your phone camera isn't just for Christmas (and holidays), you know. See if any of these examples ring true in your experience... Can anyone remember life before we all had cameras with us 24/7? Me neither!
You know, I'd got heartily fed up of explaining to all and sundry why the 'FM transmitter' in my Nokia smartphone was so insanely great. Not because my enthusiasm for the feature was waning - far from it. But because just about everyone heard the 'FM' bit and switched their brain off - surely it had to be a radio receiver, as featured in just about every phone since 2004? "No, no, no!" I would exclaim - "it's the exact opposite!" If you, too, are still confused then you might like to read on - it seems that Nokia has finally put an end to the confusion by renaming the feature. Thankfully!