Nokia Drop, a desktop browser-based system for pushing content to your smartphone, has just received a big update, detailed below, with silent installations of apps from the Nokia Store and integration with the status drop-down pane in Belle. There's also a welcome tutorial to help new users.
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The Beta Labs and official release versions of the Nokia Store client continue to leapfrog each other, with v3.22.054 released a few hours ago for all Symbian^3/Anna/Belle smartphones. This includes bug fixes and better 'alignment' with the Store back-end. Although it's not a compulsory client update, it's strongly recommended.
We thought that the somewhat underpowered Nokia 500 wouldn't get the Belle OS update for some weeks or even months, but it seems that Belle's rolling out for this device from today, possibly even giving the phone a new burst of performance. Some details and quotes from Nokia below.
Nokia has announced details of its Mobile World Congress activities on Nokia.com. Exactly what Nokia is announcing is open to speculation (strictly no comment from the AAS team, as usual!), but the company is set to hold a press event on Monday 27th. There's also a developer day and, as part of the GSMA conference program, keynotes from Thom Brenner (VP Applications) and Stephen Elop (CEO).
It was interesting to see various sites round the web today linking to dial-a-phone's comparison of the camera results from the new Sony Xperia S and the Nokia N8, especially given the conclusion that the newcomer is the 'clear winner'. However, such comparisons are more than a little misleading - there's far more to testing out a phone camera than shots of still subjects in bright....
Nokia has published a great resource for mobile developers who are interested in transferring their skills to Symbian apps via the Qt framework. The Nokia Developer website has published three guides for finding the Qt equivalent of API calls for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7. It has come late in Symbian’s life, but it is just what the developer world needed to reduce the friction in developing for this not-so-dead platform.
A beta version of Nokia Maps Suite 2.0 has been released through Nokia Beta Labs for Symbian^3 devices running Nokia Belle. The updates in this release include the addition of a photo layer to maps (displays your photos), the return of standalone route planning, improved map display in Drive, new homescreen widgets, the addition of hands-free voice search, improved coverage and integration for Public Transport, and the addition of a landscape view in Weather.
Following on from our extensive story on the Symbian Nokia Belle update availability, I wanted to highlight Nokia's own, surprisingly comprehensive, Belle Update FAQ. With five major sections, covering roll out, how to update, application compatibility, music license problems and troubleshooting, there's plenty of meat in here, and most users should find an answer to their update queries.
Nokia has announced planned changes at its factories in Komarom (Hungary), Reynosa (Mexico) and Salo (Finland), to "increase efficiency in smartphone production". These three factories will now focus on "smartphone product customization" and device assembly is expected to be transferred to Nokia factories in Asia, where the majority of component suppliers are based. Around 4000 employees will ultimately be lost.
The roll-out of Nokia Belle (i.e. Symbian Belle) for existing Symbian^3/Anna devices has started across the world, with most devices (here's the official Nokia Belle rollout status checker) getting an update via Nokia Suite to firmware v111.030. There's no OTA (over the air) update available this time because of the complexity and size of the update, which means the latest Nokia Suite on a Windows PC is required. Nokia is enabling the update, product code by product code, across the world. (Story updated again, with list of known issues).
I've been very impressed by the technical knowhow of 'theycallthislife' and there's a new post up comparing the cameras of the Nokia N8, Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II, the three best camera phones in the world right now. With good example shots that can be examined in full detail and with interesting analysis, it's well worth a ten minute read. As to the winner, let's just say that the iPhone 4S comes closer than any other contender has in the eighteen months the N8 has been available....(!)
Corning, the company behind the Gorilla Glass in our smartphones, has produced another of its inspirational 'here's the future' videos and, as with the original one, it's well worth watching. There are two versions of the video, actually, I've embedded the expanded one below, complete with video guide to all the (probable) tech used. Seems like touchscreens really are the new buttons? [PS. Watch out for the medical sequence - it's something we're used to seeing only in Sci-fi]
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.
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.