Here's an interesting one that's going to raise some eyebrows - it's an interactive multimedia preview of the Lumia 800, so you can get a tiny taster of the Metro UI on your Symbian device. While a number of die-hard Symbian fans are going to be very upset at the slightest hint of a possibility of a transition, it's another smart move from the marketing teams working on the Lumia launch.
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The focus at Nokia World 2011 was, of course, very much on the launch of Nokia's first Windows Phone devices (Lumia 800 and 710), but there was plenty of Symbian Anna and Belle goodness across the various booths and stands too. To give you a flavour of the Symbian presence at the event, here's a virtual tour of (some of) what was on display.
Nokia announced a new hardware partnership with Monster on the stage of Nokia World today. Known for high-performance audio (in the same way that Carl Zeiss are known for high performance lenses), the relationship promises to be both long-term and exclusive with Nokia. The first collaborative product is the Purity range of HD stereo headsets.
Being rolled out with only a day or so to spare before Nokia World hits is a 'service pack' for Symbian Anna, claimed to bring performance and usability benefits, plus faster email and messaging, quicker GPS fixes and a mysterious 'more' (presumably including minor bug fixes). So far we've only seen this (today) for our Nokia N8s, though I'd expect other Anna devices to also get offered this fairly soon. What's not to like?
The latest firmware for both the 5800 and 5530 are now rolling out and are available for over the air (OTA) update. The updates take the 5800 to version 60, and the 5530 to version 40. The update is mostly for performance improvements and bug fixing. However, Web has received a big update, taking it from version 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52. This is only a few iterations behind the Symbian Anna browser, which is reflected in the updated user interface. Read on for screenshots and more details.
You've heard of top of the line smartphones costing over £500, you've heard of the original Nokia Communicator coming in near £1000 back in the day, but today's launch of the Vertu Constellation sees a Symbian smartphone in the "£4,000 to £10,000" region, according to the Telegraph. Or, as I like to put it, "if you have to ask the price then you can't afford it" territory.
Our editorial Symbian^3 phones just got v25 firmware updates over the air (OTA), a 1MB download that installed quickly and cleanly. The previous firmware for each was v22 and it's not entirely clear what's changed - I suspect merely small bug fixes and under-the-hood stability tweaks. Please comment below if you can help build a changelog.
Alongside the Nokia 603, the Luna Bluetooth Headset has also been announced. A playful looking in-ear headset, it comes in five colours as well as being NFC enabled. In practice this makes pairing practical - just tap one of Nokia's NFC handsets to the base and you'll be paired up. Other more traditional methods of scanning the area and pairing are naturally available as the headset conforms to the 2.12 Bluetooth specification. Answering calls is a simple matter of popping the headset out the holder and into your ear.
Nokia today announced the Nokia 603, a low cost Symbian Belle handset, which the company says is designed to appeal to first time smartphone users and those upgrading from older devices. Key features include a 1GHz processor, 3.5" ClearBlack Display touchscreen, durable design designed to "withstand the knocks of everyday life", and comprehensive connectivity options (pentaband 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC). The 603 is expected to start shipping this quarter at a cost of €200 before taxes and subsidies.
As many people will know, the Apple iPhone 4S was announced last night, with one of the chief improvements being a better camera with better Back Side Illumination, wider aperture and an extra optical element. Leaving aside other elements of the iPhone 4S (which, interestingly, retained its 3.5" screen), such as the Siri voice control, I thought you might be interested in a comment or three on the 4S's camera, as it compares to some of Nokia's camera phone units.
Another week, another camera-toting smartphone comparison, this time from Hannah Bouckley of 'recombu', comparing the Nokia N8 to the Samsung Galaxy S II, the iPhone 4, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and (for some reason) the Samsung Omnia 7. Despite the author seemingly failing to understand how to use the N8 after dark*, the N8 was given the overall verdict of winner across the different test shots.
SanDisk just announced a new range of microSD cards, starting at a monstrous 64GB. Dubbed 'Mobile Ultra', these cards use the SDXC standard, which is why you shouldn't get too excited yet - no current or announced Symbian smartphones or firmwares support SDXC. Official compatibility will doubtless come in time, through 2012, which will also give time for the card to drop to sensible price levels. But hey, it's the future, so worth bearing in mind.
I was interested to see the starting of the "Near Field Connectivity Blog", under the auspices of Nokia's Developer program, along with some titbits about Nokia's plans for NFC and its devices. Read on for more links and quotes.
When it was announced, the Nokia Essence Bluetooth headset was overshadowed by the buzz surrounding the Symbian Belle devices. However, according to an interview with product manager Karolina Järvensivu over at Nokia Conversations, this unassuming headset warrants further attention. The most remarkable technology in this device is its active noise cancellation, optimised for specific frequencies. Not only is the speech microphone used to remove external noise, but there are microphones inside the earpieces to help reduce the noise of the blood flow inside your ears! Read on for more tidbits.
It's not the first time I've linked to an Alvin Wong article - he may be young but he's a great reviewer and with a mountain of Symbian expertise already. In this nicely illustrated piece he summarises his two weeks with the Nokia E6, concluding "It’s easily my second favourite Symbian^3 device after the N8, and one that I can recommend without reservation to anyone looking for a device of this form factor." Backing this up, he lists the reasons why the E6 is superior to the E7, interestingly. More quotes, links and a photo below.