Phones Show 104 just went live, with three Top 3s, i.e. my (and the rest of the Phones Show team's) assessment of the top 3 phones in the world, in each of three categories. Overall, three Symbian handsets make the 'chart', out of nine slots. There's also a demo of Vlingo voice recognition on the N97 mini.
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In an epic tale of heroism and 'making do', I lead you through a series of hopefully thought-provoking segments, showing that perhaps there's more to a smartphone than feeling compelled to buy the latest £400 hardware. In the process, I point out the potential benefits of one of Nokia's unsung heroes, the E61i, my main smartphone through the summer of 2007 and a device to which I was recently reintroduced. Reality bites home in the end, though, and I conclude that there's an equal acknowledgement to be made in terms of progress made by Nokia and Symbian over the last few years.
Today, at CeBIT, Nokia announced the Nokia C5. It is a S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 handset, in a candy bar form factor with a 2.2" screen and a 3.2 megapixel camera. It is the first in Nokia's new Cseries range, which represents the 'core portfolio' range of products, and will ship in the second quarter of 2010 at a price of €135 (about £122) before taxes and subsidies.
Remember all the fun that Apple and Nokia are going through in the US IP courts? Well there could be a little bit of history about to repeat itself with yesterday’s filing by Google. The Mountain View based company have been awarded a patent that covers “using location in an advertising system” by the USPTO. Given the primacy location has in various Ovi modules, this could the next touch-paper for the lawyers in Espoo.
In All About Symbian Insight 107 (AAS Podcast 171), Rafe, Ewan and Steve chat about some the information from the Anssi Vanjoki interview. We respond to some of the questions around what Nokia could have done, the implications of device families, and the awareness of the issue. Steve then reports back on Ovi Maps 3.4, before we finish with a discussion of how Nokia is like Batman (thanks Ewan). You can listen to AAS Insight 107 here or, if you wish to subscribe, here's the RSS feed.
US tech blog Engadget has done a head to head of GPS navigation and maps of the leading contenders in the US, namely Google Maps, Ovi Maps and VZ Navigator for Windows Mobile and Blackberry. Google Maps comes out on top with some very strange caveats (“if you're staying domestic and won't need to be navigating out of any coverage gaps, its hard to find fault in Google Nav”) but it's worth reading the whole article to get a balanced view.
While at MWC I spent some time looking at the new Symbian^1 handset - the Sony Ericsson Vivaz and its sister device, the QWERTY equipped, Vivaz Pro. Over the next week or so we'll be featuring a number of Vivaz videos to give you a closer look at Sony Ericsson's latest Symbian handsets. In the first video there's a general overview of the hardware and the 'panel' powered homescreen, while the second video looks at some of the homescreen UI additions compared to the Sony Ericsson Satio.
Over on our Ovi Gaming site, Ewan takes "Edge", a S60 5th Edition part-action, part-strategy game that should have been a slam dunk success and discovers that, ultimately, it's not challenging enough or as much fun as it should have been. One for waiting at the bus stop, perhaps, rather than a living room addiction?
Following on from Mobile World Congress the Symbian Foundation has released two videos demos of the Symbian^4 UI framework. The first video shows off the customisable, widget-centric, homescreen and the second shows off a number of UI elements and interactions via the Photos application. They demonstrate how some of the key parts of the UI are laid out and how some of the primary interaction mechanisms will work.
In this wide ranging video Julien Fourgeaud talks about his role at the Symbian Foundation (Road Map and Propositions) and shares some possible future directions for the platform. As a connected and customisable embedded system the platform has a great deal of potential. Opening up the platform, via the EPL release, adds a great deal of flexibility, has important cost implications and will enable the community to take the platform in new directions.
As I wrote six weeks ago, work has been progressing to convert the old open source Escarpod podcast catcher into an application that can be part of the (also open source) Symbian^3 operating system. Now, exclusively, with kind permission, I have much more on the app, appropriately just called 'Podcatcher'. Read on for a detailed walk through, screenshots and a link to download it for yourself, to help test it on existing devices. Note that Symbian^3 itsel f won't appear on devices until at least the summer, but at least we now know that it'll have podcasting functionality, a relief to many in the Symbian ecosystem, including me!
It’s taken some time, but Nokia are reporting that the Helping Haiti charity single, a cover of REM’s “Everybody Hurts” is now available in the Nokia Music Store. Proceeds from the single are split between two funds in the UK – which is great if you pay for the download, but what happens if you use Comes with Music?
Tackling a cross-genre game title, Ewan finds that Mini Golf Challenge 99 Holes provides just what it claims. Despite a degree of Java-kludginess, there's enough thought in the levels holes here to keep you casually entertained for many hours. Just don't expect Tiger Woods! Here's our Ovi Gaming review.
In part 3 of our MWC interview with Anssi Vanjoki, EVP of Markets at Nokia, we discuss the future. How "for the great masses of the world, the first computer they will have will be an extension of the phone based on Symbian". How MeeGo's rich contextual crossing of the real and virtual world will use a map-based user interface and will create "the possibility for people to live in the media."
In the second half, we hear about the three "buckets" (types) of competitors, the importance of open standards and ecoystems, and a three-fold answer to how we should judge Nokia's future business performance (KPIs).
Just released this morning (see my 'Install diary' below) is Ovi Maps 3.4 (build 91, if you're being fussy). This follows up the formal release of v3.3, which introduced the new interface and free worldwide voice navigation. In brief, Ovi Maps is claimed to be faster and more accurate, and, as reported below, Nokia certainly seemed to have made big strides in this area - v3.4 is hard to criticise in the performance department now. It also adds Wi-Fi positioning to the many ways location is determined, though it will take a while before Nokia's servers build up enough data for this to be useful. Read on...