When Nokia introduced CBD (ClearBlack Display) at Nokia World 2010, for the C6-01 and E7 models, there was an element of uncertainty involved as to how this technology worked. Certainly it was incredibly effective at cutting out reflections from ambient light, but noone seemed to know the full details. After much digging, we established it was something to do with polarising layers, but only now do we see a clear depiction of how CBD works.
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The Skype app is now available for Nokia's Symbian Belle devices (700, 701 and 603, etc., plus many others once Belle update is available) The application has been updated with the Belle UI look and feel and overall performance has been significantly improved. Nearly all of the core voice calling and IM functionality of Skype is implemented in the Symbian client, making this a must have app for frequent Skype users.
Most of the numbers are now in for Q4, 2011 and, while some are estimates, we now have a pretty good idea of the state of the mobile industry for the last quarter. Phones grew 6% year on year, smartphones by a whopping 63%, with the latter now at 36% of the overall market. The top three companies were the same by either metric - Apple, Samsung and Nokia are way ahead of the rest.
An updated version of the Qt SDK, version 1.2, was released today. It contains all the tools required to create Qt applications for Nokia's Symbian devices. The new version includes Qt Creator 2.4 (bringing improvement to the QML editor and numerous bug fixes) and Qt Mobility 1.2 (improved API access to Bluetooth and NFC).
Available free for a 'limited time' are four 'Premium' themes from one of our favourite S60 3rd Edition/S60 5th Edition/Symbian designers, Pizero. The themes are Aurora, Paradise, Magma and Azure and I've included links to all the free download pages below. Grab 'em while you can!
A new version of Nokia Social, version 1.5.214, is now available from the Nokia Store. Following in the footsteps of version 1.4, which was was released a fortnight ago, the new version aims to provides fixes for installation and connectivity issues. However, the new version also includes a new Facebook widget and an update for the generic Social widget.
The news that Nokia just handed over its one and a half billionth Series 40 phone was interesting - and impressive - and got me thinking and fact-checking. Just how many Symbian-powered smartphones have been sold, in total, i.e. in the last decade? Turns out it's now well over 500 million, i.e. over half a billion Symbian smartphones have already been sold and are... out there in the world somewhere. Some thoughts below.
Nokia has released its Q4 2011 results, reporting an operating loss of €954 million, with net sales of €10.0 billion (down 21% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's profits were €203 million. Margins in devices and services were 3.4% (down from 12.7 % on Q4 2010 and up from 3.1% in Q3 2011). Total smartphone device sales were 19.6 million, compared with 28.6 million units in Q4 2010 (down 31% YoY) and 16.8 million units in Q3 2011 (up 17%, QoQ).
Even though the QML Store client is now the 'norm' and formally released, the betas continue, with v3.22.044 now supporting in-app purchases, i.e. applications can call the Store client when needed for handling payments. A few screens and links below. Of note is that this client is now built on the very latest Qt 4.7.4 and Qt quick components v1.1, both of which are baked into the upcoming Belle OS update.
The popular JoikuSpot wi-fi tethering utility for Symbian just got itself a big '2012 Edition' product update, now re-implemented in Qt and working just on Symbian Anna and Belle handsets only. More details below, but the main functional changes are better control over who connects to your phone-hosted signal and how much data they use, plus a My JoikuSpot service to keep a log of (and optionally share) when you've connected and what transpired.
Nokia's Maps team has integrated the popular 360Cities database of panoramic photos into Maps 3.6 and Maps 3.8, appearing under 'More' or 'Guides' (depending on version). You can then browse through 360 degree photos shot near you or in the location of your choice, albeit with photos presented as static 2D images rather than the interactive experience offered on the 360Cities web site.
TechRadar has updated its set of camera phone reviews to pitch the N8 against the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S II, Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and others - you may not be surprised that, even 15 months after first availability, the N8 still came up as top dog, though the new iPhone also got a special mention or two.
A new version, 1.4.481, of Nokia Social (Social Networking Client) is now available, from the Nokia Store, for Symbian handsets running Nokia Belle. The key changes include a more Belle like UI (toolbar and menus), updated Facebook functionality (notifications, improved photo handling), dedicated homescreen widgets for both Facebook and Twitter, and improved performance.
Sisvel International, a specialist company in managing intellectual property and maximizing the value of patent rights, has bought more than 450 patents originally filed by Nokia. 350 of these cover essential parts of the 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS/WCDMA) and 4G (LTE) technologies. The other 100 or so cover video encoding optimization technologies. The acquired patents remain subject to certain prior agreements and Nokia is pre-licensed for all the patents as part of the acquisition.
Yes, Nokia is keeping us waiting for Symbian Belle on our existing handsets, but there are a lot of chess pieces to position beforehand - this is a major OS release and will almost certainly require handling via flashing from a desktop computer. In parallel to the (slower) formal releases of Nokia Suite for Windows, there's a stream of betas being released via Nokia Beta Labs. The latest, v3.3.84, includes specific improvements to help make Nokia Belle updates "smoother". No doubt this will evolve into a formal release at some point, but if you want to live on the bleeding edge then grab the new beta here.