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.
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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.
In the spirit of my own cardboard (DT-29 copy) phone stand, Aliqudsi, over on My Nokia Blog, has had a brain wave and used two bulldog/binder clips to create a four legged, stable stand for his N8, though it will also work for any other similar device, ostensibly for holding the camera phone up for stable filming, without worrying that it will fall over. Clever stuff...
11 million content items are being downloaded from Nokia Store every day, according to figures recently released by Nokia. This annualises to a rate of 4 billion downloads a year, or 1 billion a quarter. The top five countries for downloads from Nokia Store are India, China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey. The top device is the N8, followed by the 5800, 5233, 5230 and C3.
We've gotten used to all our phones now coming with Gorilla Glass, meaning no more casual scratches and no need for screen protectors. Well, 'Gorilla Glass 2' has now been announced by Corning, its creators, at CES 2012, scheduled to start going into smartphones towards the end of the year, and claimed to be 20% thinner yet as tough as the original, meaning that screens can be brighter and more sensitive when used with capacitive touch technology.
Feeling a little like a TV undercover 'mystery shopper', I picked a UK provincial town and worked my way through their High Street phone outlets. I wanted to get a snapshot of how Symbian was (or wasn't) being represented in the place from which most people acquire phones in this nation. In the process, I was somewhat shocked. However much as some geeks like to attribute failing Symbian sales per quarter to 'technical deficiencies' or 'lack of apps' (both of which are somewhat over-exaggerated), there's a far simpler explanation...
With all the teething troubles seen by the Qt application scene over the last year - at least at the cutting edge, geekier end - there have been times when all of us have had to go searching for and installing certain aspects of the Qt runtimes all over again. FixQt has been a great resource for such emergencies, but now the wider world has discovered a new tool in our armoury: QtInfo, previously available for developers prepared to sign it but now released to the great unwashed via Nokia Store. This reports back on exactly which Qt modules/versions are installed on a particular phone. See below for screens, notes and links.
Nokia Configuration Tool, a Windows PC application for system administrators to manage the settings of Symbian phones through a USB cable or Bluetooth, has now graduated from Nokia Beta Labs and is formally available for enterprise users as version 6.3.
After months of BBC iPlayer downloads that wouldn't play, following a DRM change on the BBC's servers, it seems that Nokia and the Beeb have worked out the problem, releasing a 'WMDRM DLA iPlayer plugin' for many Symbian smartphones. At least, those based in the UK, presumably worked out via network or IP. As with similar updates, the gradual nature of the roll out means that you may have to wait a little longer for this to appear in your copy of Nokia Suite.
Apparently, Nokia Car Mode for Nokia Belle based devices is now available at the Nokia Store, in two versions, with and without MirrorLink, see the quoted links below. Nokia Car Mode provides easy access and a simplified user interface to the most relevant applications on your phone for in-car use. "The simplified user interface and well designed interaction creates less distraction for the driver than a traditional smartphone user interface."
In this series of videos Marco Argenti, SVP Developer Experience and Marketplace at Nokia, explains some of the guiding principals behind Nokia's developer activities and the opportunities available for developers on Nokia's platforms. The video series was recorded at MEF Americas 2011 by 361 Degrees.