If you've been brave enough to throw yourself into the Beta Maps Suite, note that there's a big update to Pulse, its core module that allows you to share your location and activities with friends and relatives with other Symbian phones loaded with the software. Changelog and links below, and the usual caveats apply about beta software and backups!
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In episode 5, season 2, of the 361 Degrees Podcast the set themselves a 'fun' challenge - to choose a new pre-pay mobile phone costing less than £100 to give as a as a Christmas present. To keep thing fair we limited our shopping spree to UK retailer Carphone Warehouse. The underlying idea of the episode was to look at the products on offer at the lower end of the market, an area that doesn't usually receive much attention.
Another day, another update or two - ho hum... Strictly for those you actually need them, but meriting a quick mention in passing, there are bug fix updates out today to Nokia Maps for Symbian Belle (available via the Store) and to the beta QML Store client for Symbian^3/Anna, fixing a specific 'black screen' error on installation (i.e. if it's working for you, you don't need the fix).
You've got to love someone who respects the past. Sergejs Cuhrajs, as guest writer on Nokia Connects, has put up a heart felt and perspective-laden look at one of this (and my) favourite Nokia designs ever, the first real 'transformer' phone, the N90. This was the first Nokia smartphone to feature Carl Zeiss optics and its form factor remains almost unique even today.
With the news that mobile (and especially Symbian) stalwarts SPB Software has been bought up by Yandex, a Russian search company, the future of star products such as the free SPB TV was in serious doubt. Happily, it seems that this application has been spun off into a separate, independent enterprise, under the company name MobiWorld Media. This should ensure SPB TV's continued existence for all mobile platforms. More below.
We've seen some ambitious N8-shot projects before, but this one takes the biscuit. Directors Hooman Khalili and Patrick Gilles decided to shoot a full movie on just the N8, sometimes 'bare' and sometimes with a 35mm lens rig 'taped' on the front (to reduce the depth of field in usual 'movie' style). Embedded below is the launch video, behind the scenes look and the first five minutes of the movie. Impressive stuff.
Yes, yes, Phones Show 155 is out later today, but that's all Android and Windows Phone-focussed. But, with the formal All About Symbian review of the Belle-running Nokia 701 now finished (part 1 - part 2) and with all the technology highlights out of the way, I though it worth reminding people of Phones Show 154, which was Symbian all the way. In case you hadn't watched it yet, it had my video review of the 701, plus a humourous view from the future, one in which Nokia and (cough) a dismembered N86 play a part...
With Nokia already putting NFC into all its Symbian smartphones and with RIM and Samsung also launching some models with the technology, plus HTC, Apple and others planning NFC into their roadmaps, Digitimes is reporting that Taiwanese smartphone manufacturers are estimating 50% penetration of NFC within two to three years. From my own observations this seems about right, though I'd put it at 80% for smartphones away from the budget end.
Anecdotally, the Proporta chargers have been hugely popular amongst my Phones Show viewership and 'All About' readers generally - and there's a new monster version now available, clocking in at a stunning 7000mAh. The Turbocharger 7000 has two USB output ports as usual, along with a facelifted exterior, weighs only 175g, and comes with charging heads for all major phone and gadget ports and a carrying case. Watch this space for a full review.
Not available in the Nokia Store yet, but downloadable from get.nimbuzz.com, is a new v3.3 of this popular chat client, picthed as having a completely 'redesigned' home screen and new shortcuts for 'recent' chats, for 'N-World' and for 'Groupchat'. As ever, the Nimbuzz folks offer a premium experience provided you live within the chat systems supported (Windows Live Messenger (MSN), Yahoo IM, AIM, GoogleTalk, Facebook and MySpace are the main ones). The changelog is below.
With NFC baked into Symbian Belle (and a few Anna builds!), the number of applications with NFC capability keeps on growing. The latest addition to the number is Foursquare, as detailed in the NFC blog post quoted below. You can now just walk up to a Foursquare check-in poster at an event, tap your phone to it, even if the application isn't already running, and bang, you're checked in.
We periodically link to James Burland's Flickr-based Nokia N8 photo award series - and this month's is a cracker, with my favourite show pasted below. It's still amazing what people get this camera-centric smartphone to do and these examples prove it's still top of the heap, even a year after release.
Not Symbian-related directly, but I did note that Nokia has launched 'Nokia Maps Creator', aimed at letting people make small edits or additions to existing maps - and edits are available to all Nokia Maps users 'immediately'. Initially, this is only for 'previously unmapped' countries, but it's possible that moderated edits might come to other countries in time. Some links and quotes below.
Andrew Orlowski's posts on Psion, Nokia and Symbian over at The Register are often a rollicking read, especially for geeks interested in Symbian's past. This five page article is all about Hildon, the UI (and indeed 'platform', or so argues the piece) that was evolved to Series 90, used in the Nokia 7710, and which underpinned a revamped Series 80, used in the Nokia 9500 and 9300. One for Symbian historians, definitely!
Nokia has put up a super-glossy four minute reminder of its innovations over the last 25 years, from the first mobiles through the advanced audio telephony codecs today - it's a good watch (embedded below) and is a reminder, among other things, of the sheer number of telephony patents stacked up at Nokia HQ (remember that Apple had to pay up earlier this year?).