The single biggest form factor for true smartphones in Western Europe in the last five years has arguably been that of the 'Communicator', a term coined by Nokia for its 9000 series, initially running on GeOS and then on Symbian OS 6 and (later) Symbian OS 7 with the likes of the 9500 and (here) the 9300i. Then came the oddball E90 and a slightly more mainstream E75, while Nokia's Nseries picked up some similar action in the shape of the N97. But how do they compare, head to head? Is there a true modern day successor to the Psions and Nokia 9210s of old?
Recent News - Series 80 - Page 2
Three years ago I wrote an article comparing text input speeds using various devices and form factors from the PDA and smartphone world. Here's the update, with some modern devices (including the iPhone 3G, HTC Touch Pro 2 and Nokia N97) included and tabled, plus a rogue's gallery showing Communicator keyboards through the ages. Am I obsessing too much? Is raw text input speed that important to you? Comments welcomed.
Hopefully pulling no punches, I've been mulling over all the different form factors seen in the smartphone world in the last half dozen years. Is there a common consensus 'perfect' form factor? No. Could there be one in the future? Yes, I argue in The Quest for the Perfect Form Factor. And, to the point, at least one of 2009's smartphone contenders is achingly close, at least in terms of hardware, to the ideal. This being something of a contentious subject, your comments more than welcome of course!
Reader Andy Cook is another of us wistfully looking back to Agenda on the Psion palmtops. Will it ever be matched? Certainly not so so far. His Nokia 9300 (running Symbian OS and the Series 80 UI) has a slightly stunted version but it's still ahead of all competition, according to this review of the iPhone's Calendar and the third party app Pocket Informant over here on one of my stomping grounds.
The C64 emulator Frodo for S60 3rd Edition has been updated to version 1.5, and now includes support for accelerometers in selected phones, which lets you tilt the phone to simulate a joystick or steering wheel (you can see a demo video below). There's also an on-screen keyboard and vibration support. Frodo comes in versions available for older Symbian devices too such as S60 1st and 2nd Edition, Series 80 and UIQ, just scroll down the same page. Apparently Frodo for S60 3rd Edition should work in theory on the 5800, though it may run very slowly as the application hasn't been optimised for S60 5th Edition yet. (For more S60 3rd Edition emulators, see AAS's special feature.)
ProfiMail has been around on all the Symbian OS sub-platforms for longer than I can remember. But did you know that the developers have been making great strides recently with full on IMAP Idle support and better integrated file and attachment browsers? Nick Anstee's been using ProfiMail for ages on his Nokia E90 and presents details of his personal email client quest, together with a detailed list of pros and cons for this quirky application from Lonely Cat Games.
You may have gathered, over the years, that Ewan's a bit of a Mobipocket Reader fan. Personally, I sit there fuming wondering why the developers still haven't got round to programming a 'Find' function, but that's another rant for another day. Anyway, Ewan's penned a useful beginner's guide on how to make your own ebooks, for reading on the move and for saving huge amounts of excess book-weight when travelling.
Two bits of news from RMR Software - if anyone's still using an older Series 80-based Communicator then note that all RMR's software is now reduced by between 45% and 70%. Also, more 'cutting edge' is that RMR has put together what's possibly the first real Style Tap-based app for S60 (i.e. Palm OS app running within Symbian OS). More on this below the break.
I know quite a few of you rely on my definitive pub-quiz-helper, Trivopaedia. It's now been brought up to 2008 levels, with up to date stats for v2.3 . It's available in Mobipocket reader and iSilo formats (i.e. compatible with any portable device or any platform), in addition to being fully online as well - and of course it's still free.
MobiMate recently added extra real-time flight information and facilities to their flagship traveller's app WorldMate Professional. Luckily our own Ewan knows a thing or two about travel utilities and so I threw the app in his direction. The result? We now have ourselves another (though fairly rare) All About Symbian 'MegaApp'. Here's the full review.
You've got to admire some developers for the way they manage to release their titles across the range of smartphone platforms, in this case at least five varieties on Symbian OS. Attila Katona has been reviewing Herocraft's new Hexxagon Labs strategy game (think Othello but six-sided) on S60 and comes away quite impressed.
Do you use GMail or a service like it on the web? Does your email server have an IMAP option? If so, why not set up Messaging on your S60, UIQ or Series 80 smartphone for IMAP access and get pseudo-push email, simply and for free? I investigate what's involved. And how does GMail via IMAP/Messaging compare with GMail via the dedicated Java application?
The makers of the free Xmas game Snowed In have come up with a similar Easter-themed free game called Eggstreme: Sizzler Supremacy. It's available for every Symbian platform (S60 3rd, S60 1st/2nd, UIQ3, UIQ2, Series 80 and Series 90). The S60 3rd version supports all screen resolutions including the N80 and E90. You can download the relevant game file by going here, and you can get the free unlock code by going here.
I've been taking a look back and forward at four of the competitors to the Nokia E90. What's it up against in the market for qwerty-keyboarded clamshells? And how does it compare, spec for spec, blow for blow? It's certainly an interesting form factor and one which is apparently increasing in popularity.
You'll remember that we've looked at Epocware's Handy Weather before, giving both the original S60 3rd Edition version and that for UIQ 3 well deserved AAS MegaApp awards. And now they've gone and improved it again, adding weather maps and streamlining the interface. Still a MegaApp? You bet, it's still one of the stars in the Symbian OS firmament - here's my review of Handy Weather version 5.01.