Two of the most popular Nokia Beta Labs projects have recently ended, with very differing outcomes. Nokia Sleeping Screen, which enables custom bitmaps to be used as your OLED always-on time display, has graduated and is now in the main Nokia Store on-device. Meanwhile, Nokia Bubbles, which enabled an active lock screen in which you had to chase and drag the bubble for the app or shortcut you wanted onto the unlock icon, has been terminated. Some quotes and links below.
Recent News - Software - Page 6
New in Nokia Store, at a cost of 3 Euro, is PDF Eagle, a stand alone PDF reader for Symbian^3 devices. It has been developed by Visiarc, the same team behind the popular email solution Mobile Documents. With a sleek user interface and impressive rendering speeds it represents a substantial improvement over existing PDF solutions. If you regularly read PDF files on your phone, then PDF Eagle is a recommended download.
It seems that Nokia Suite is now available, in beta form, at least, dubbed 'v3.2' and offering (over and above the old Ovi Suite) a new look and feel, better help, more reliable software updating, plus bug fixes and the final scrapping of the old 'MPlatform.exe' comms architecture. It's an 87MB download and there are links and quotes below.
The Ovi Store and other Ovi services have been transitioning to the new name, i.e. just "Nokia" for a few weeks now, but it's important to note that there's a new URL for the main storefront on the web. Yes, store.nokia.com just went live, though obviously the old store.ovi.com will be supported for a long time to come.
After months in private beta, Nokia Beta Labs has widened access to its 'type and you shall find' Universal Search system for Symbian^3 and above. Initial compatibility is quoted only for the E7 and N8 (though I don't see why it shouldn't work on other devices). Screenshots, comments and the launch video below...
Now revamped to use Qt, Nokia's Music Explorer has the latest UI look, with the squircle icons to fit in with Anna, and the latest navigation bars top and bottom all ready for Belle devices. But fundamentally it's the same app we looked at last year, and it still has the same flaws. More below.
We shouldn't really be reporting on every beta, but hey, this is a crucial part of Symbian^3 and these are major bug fixes. With that in mind, you'll remember that a new Qt-ified version of the Nokia Store client was released in beta form a week ago? There's now another 'important' (i.e. bug fix) update available, v3.16.036, go grab it here. This is for Symbian^3/Anna smartphones only, as before.  Well, that was a short beta - it seems that some regions are seeing this version rolled out officially to anyone launching the normal client.
Swype, a company which has developed a finger-slide style input technology, which is used in millions of mobile devices is set to be acquired by Nuance, according to Uncrunched. Swype is currently available for Symbian and Android, but not Windows Phone, but with Nokia as one of its early investors and key industry partners it is possible this could change in the future.
I was very interested in a Nokia utility that's appeared in the Ovi Store for most regions, promising location of, and information on, the various Nokia Care Centres around us. Most impressively, there's a full Qt-written, glossy interface and there's clearly been a lot of work gone into the project. Screenshots below. Unfortunately, it's (so far) only for Nokia KSA, i.e. for Saudi Arabia. Here's hoping the work can be extended to other countries and regions!
Nokia has completed the 'transaction to outsource its Symbian software development and support activities to Accenture'. The original announcement was made in April and the agreement finalised in June. As a result, approximately 2300 employees of Nokia will transfer to Accenture, 700 less than originally envisioned. Accenture will provide Symbian-based software development and support services to Nokia until at least 2016.
Nokia Beta Labs has just announced a new version of Nokia's tool for system administrators to set up Symbian phones as per their company policies. The tool allows sys admins to apply any setting within any Symbian device. Configuration profiles will allow for a one-click set up of any device. However, settings can only be sent to a device via USB or Bluetooth, which means handsets will have to be set up one at a time, rather than broadcasting settings to every device on the network.
The rollout of Nokia's rebrand of Ovi continues apace. Following the new store client for S60 3rd Edition and 5th Edition handsets a few days ago, the web-based store has had its identity subtly changed, with the blue Nokia logo up front. Most interestingly of all, there's a brand new Store client for Symbian^3 handsets (other than the E6), via Beta Labs, a big update, from v2.12.042 to v3.6.030 - with the main changes being written in Qt/QML rather than (part) WRT, a big UI revamp to fit in with the upcoming Symbian Belle interface, a cosmetic overhaul to suit Nokia (blue) colorations rather than Ovi (green), plus the aforementioned name change. Screens and comments below.
One of the problems with the Nokia Ovi Store is that the sheer number of (ahem) novelties and other incidental items that get approved means that finding the good stuff isn't easy. What's needed is a storefront that's a hundred times smaller. But has the 1% of content that's really good. This is what I've attempted over on my 3-Lib site in 'The Curated Symbian Application Store'. Hopefully newcomers to Symbian will find it a good time-saver.
According to the official Opera Mini blog, our favourite proxy-based web browser just got a significant update. The version number only changes from 6.1.25380 to 6.1.26266 but, crucially, Opera Mini now works with Symbian Belle phones and also now uses the built-in Symbian Anna portrait keyboard, at least in generic text entry fields (if not URL entry). In a matching move, Opera Mobile, the proxy-less but more capable browser, has also been updated, with the same compatibility changelog. Links and screens from Opera Mini below.
The Ovi Store client for S60 3rd and 5th Edition phones got itself a big update today, to v1.16, complete with Nokia branding through and through - there's no Ovi logo, just a blue store icon, plus a complete Nokia-blue makeover, cosmetically. The Help system has been simplified to a multipage scrolling FAQ, nicely done. Screenshots below. Further transformations, to the Web version of the Store and to the Symbian^3 client, are also rolling out.