Qt developers have a lot of new tools to explore and play with over the weekend, as Nokia has announced a major update to the Qt SDK. The headline change is the introduction of Qt Creator v2.3 (full details on Creator 2.3 can be found here), other changes include Qt 4.7.4, a new UI and features in Qt Simulator, updates to the notifications API, and the various components for running Qt apps on Symbian, MeeGo and the desktop. Existing Qt developers can update from within the SDK application folder, otherwise the links are in the Qt Labs.
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While I don't think for a moment that Nokia would actually crowdsource the name of their upcoming Windows Phone through a random poll site (for a start, can you imagine the legal department working out if they actually had the right to use the winning name?), it's created a nice buzz online, and I could see the marketing department giving time to a few of them.
Over at Nokia Conversations, I've been moonlighting in helping create their Appstravaganza series of developer interviews. In this case, chatting to Harald Meyer, of CameraPro and PhoneTorch fame... What makes Harald tick and what development tips does he have for others?
Barranger Ridler is a Windows Phone 7 developer, and was recently asked to join Nokia for a "getting to know you" style event called #NokiaUnfenced. His blog on Nokia's approach to WP7 is worth reading, answering some of the questions about what Nokia is doing to get developers on board for the new devices and OS widely assumed to be coming before the end of the year. No hardware news, but his thoughts on the Nokia touchstones (camera, build quality and software stability) are good indicators of what could attract developers to Nokia.
Gartner has released a summary of its worldwide analysis for the mobile industry for Q2 2011 and it, as expected, shows that the in-demand Android smartphones have leapfrogged Symbian in the rankings. I've quoted the main tables below, but in summary, Symbian OS's marketshare worldwide is now 22%, with 23.8 million smartphones being sold.
You may remember the announcement of Nokia Drop earlier this year, for pushing content from a desktop browser to your Symbian phone. A similar project, NestDrop, has appeared with similar aspirations. NestDrop is a web based service, in which you use a bookmarklet to save URLs or text notes to your NestDrop account. The phone end of the service lacks notifications, instead saved items are displayed via a web page. The page is accessed via browser bookmarks or a Web RunTime (WRT) widget. The latter can be downloaded from the developer's website. Read on for more details.
Mac owners who enjoy bullet-proof syncing from iCal and Address Book with their Nokia/Symbian smartphone(s) should note that upgrading to the latest (and new) OS X Lion operating system will yield at least one unpleasant surprise: Apple has removed all trace of iSync, the phone-sync application that has had wide manufacturer compatibility. Happily there's a workaround.
Nokia has announced that it plans to close web-based access to Ovi Calendar at the end of August. The sync service will continue to be available, but will now only operate as a backup for data. This means it will no longer be possible to view or edit calendar information through the Ovi.com website. Nokia says this was a business decision and that it "will help us to concentrate on our core service offerings". In reality, the decision is likely driven by the low numbers of active users of the web-based portion of the service.
Nokia in conjunction with Sumo Science at Aardman have shot the world's largest stop-motion animation short film. Gulp was shot on an N8 at Pendine Beach in South Wales, with the largest scene in the filmed stretched over 11,000 square feet. Gulp follows on from Dot, the world's smallest stop-motion animation film, which was also shot on a Nokia N8.
When it comes to comparing smartphone cameras, I've got a bit of a reputation. But so has my counterpart in the States, Myriam Joire, and she's just put up her review of the latest and greatest Android phone being marketed over in the USA with the (manufacturer's) tagline "the most advanced camera of any smartphone". I mention all this because, Myriam being Myriam, she naturally did a detailed set of head to heads with other leading smartphone cameras, plus a standalone specialist device. Including our beloved Nokia N8. And she's one tech reviewer whow knows about subtleties like... keeping the phone steady as the shutter comes down! Links, examples and comments below.
Although we haven't seen a new version of Google Maps for Mobile (for Symbian) for an eternity now (it's frozen at v4.1.1), it doesn't mean that we Symbian users aren't benefitting from Google's back-end improvements, not least the ever-growing place and business databases, transit lines, better satellite and street views etc. Shown below is a recent addition, of real time traffic status for a whopping 13 extra countries across the world.
Reviewed over a year ago here when they were a surprisingly high £40 a pop, Nokia's portable MD-6 stereo speakers are now being sold off on Amazon for between £5 and £9 (depending on the time of day you look) - in the UK store, at least. I picked up a set and have put my own mini-review thoughts and some new photos below. Rock on!
Nokia has launched NFC Hub, to help businesses begin using Near Field Communications solutions. Businesses (or, indeed, anyone) can buy generic NFC-tagged posters which direct users with NFC-enabled phones to Facebook, Foursquare, etc, as needed. NFC tags start at £3 each, business cards at £11 each, and posters and stickers with tags embedded run from £20 to £25 each, all ordered through the Hub.
Symbian toting Dropbox users will be glad to hear that one of the best in class apps, cuteBox, has now become free of charge. We reviewed cuteBox back in May, with Rafe concluding that “general performance [was] excellent”. Fortunately, it was only priced at £1.50 / €1.50 / $2.00, so paying users hopefully won't feel too aggrieved at the change. Read on for more details.
Here's another in my series of interviews with some of the top developers and marketeers in the Symbian (and wider mobile) world. In this case, Jake Levant, from Fring, chatting about fring’s creation, its development, the philosophy behind its programming teams – and fring’s future.