Andrew Orlowski continues to look back on the history of Symbian over at The Register, this time through an interview with Charles Davies, former CTO at Symbian and Director of Psion for more than two years. With hindsight, it’s possible to spot the correct decisions made by Symbian, and also where the problems arose, which he looks at here. The same is true of every company, and while the Symbian Foundation experiment is winding down, the OS itself is still very much alive on modern handsets.
Recent News - Page 36
Now rolled out for Nokia N8s around the world is a 1.2MB 'Videos' update, available via Ovi Suite and via Sw_update (over the air), bringing subtitle support (SRT and SUB formats) for downloaded videos, which then get shown in the normal way at playback time, plus better support for H.264 and other codecs. Also in the update is a shortcut to the built-in YouTube client (mobile web or standalone, depending on what you have installed). Some screens below and a video demo.
Nimbuzz have updated their Symbian client to version 3.0.1. This version uses zlib compression, allowing Nimbuzz to use on average 50% less data, and as the headline suggests, a 70% maximum saving has been recorded. Another benefit of end to end compression is that login times are noticeably faster. Also included with the new Nimbuzz update are several new features. Users can enhance their privacy by using the new invisible status mode, and by limiting instant messages to only be received from existing instant message contacts.
Nokia have put in place plans to close the all-you-can-eat version of the Ovi Music store. Originally called Comes with Music, and currently branded as Ovi Music Unlimited, the service was available with a select number of handsets, including the X6 and N97 Mini. Nokia have no plans to supply this handset/service combination beyond the end of this year to the majority of territories.
Nokia's Ovi Store got a few upgrades today, notably a fuzzy search system incorporating 'Did you mean?' functionality for coping with spelling errors - all too easy to do when typing in application names and getting pluralisation or punctuation wrong. Nokia has also added Arabic and Hindi support to the Store for Series 40 users, a significant boost to potential application sales and distribution in the Middle East and India, with Arabic also rolling out to Symbian users as well very shortly.
Nokia are proud of the Ovi Store, it’s gaining traction, there are more downloads every day, and I don’t begrudge them the right to shout about any success whenever they want. So the list of “Top Ovi Store Games” on the Conversations Blog is exactly what I’d expect. And hopefully Nokia are fully aware that we're going to look at this post and ask the question “nice list, but how about some context?”
Developers looking to experiment with the latest Qt Mobility API should direct their attention to Nokia's Qt Labs, where a technology preview release of Qt Mobility 1.2 was announced during the Christmas break. The primary focus of the 1.2 release is delivering backend support for MeeGo. However, there are also some new features, which will be of interest to both MeeGo and Symbian developers. A beta release of Qt Mobility 1.2 will follow this technology preview at the end of January.
Swype, an alternative text entry system based on finger 'swipes', now supports additional languages. A number of language packs have been released for both the S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3 versions of Swype and are now available via Nokia Beta Labs. Additionally an updated version of Swype, for Nokia's S60 5th Edition, has been released, which fixes a number of bugs. An updated version for Symbian^3 will appear in the Ovi Store in the near future.
Nokia has just announced that interested parties can now make requests (by email) for FTP logins for its hosted Symbian Foundation content. This information includes: source code of the current Symbian platform, documentation, and PDK's. This has been announced via the new Symbian blog (hosted by Nokia) at symbian.nokia.com. The blog post also reports that Nokia is working to make more available via the Symbian website. It also encourages Symbian developers to look at its sister site Forum Nokia for information about current development frameworks, C++ and Qt.
A small 'Apps update' for Symbian^3 phones is now available via the Sw Update application. The update, which is around 1MB in size, 'improves the stability of phone applications'. The update is available for the Nokia N8, Nokia C7 and Nokia C6-01. However it may take a little time to become available for all variants, in all countries.
There's a superb article published today over on Mobile R'n'R by Rita el-Khoury, listing the ten things you should do first with a new Symbian smartphone to ensure you get the very best experience, from replacing the browser and social clients to automating and customising the look and feel. This is one to bookmark and recommend to friends who are eying up the likes of the Nokia N8 and C7, methinks....
Nokia Beta Labs have today announced a new version of Nokia Email for S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 phones. This new release is intended for those who have either had problems with the current version or want to try out the latest features. Most notable among those new features is the ability to display HTML email, just like Nokia Messaging on Nokia's touch screen phones. Read on for our experience of the upgrade.
I haven't linked to the Phones Show Chat podcast for a long time, but show 70, released a few minutes ago, ended up being something of a Symbian special. We'd invited James Burland on, of Nokia Creative fame but latterly a big iPhone fan, to try and 'up' the iPhone content, but it turns out he's a recent Nokia N8 convert, so there's an especially strong Symbian flavour to the show, which runs to 1 hour 10 mins. Also in the show are musings on Nokia breaking America (or not) and discussion over ever-increasing screen sizes.
An interesting question from Jeff Pulver on his blog – should our phones have a “dumb” mode that allows nothing but phone calls to come through? The goal of course is to reduce needless accidents as people text, browse and generally use their phone to communicate and distract them from driving (see also AOL’s The Last Text campaign).
Matt Miller, writing at Nokia Experts, shares the news that Slacker Radio, an interactive radio service, will soon be available for Nokia's Symbian^3 handsets. Slacker Radio allows users to create custom radio stations based on artists or songs. Slacker Radio, which is currently only available in the US and Canada, will be available through the Ovi Store and Slacker's website in February. Supported handsets will include the Nokia N8 and other Symbian^3 handsets.