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Last updated: 2013 May 21
- Instashare lets you easily transfer files between iOS devices, Macs
If you have multiple iOS devices, you’ve probably noticed that it’s quite tricky to share photos from device to device. There’s no option to share by Bluetooth, and there are no file management apps for iOS. Sure you can email a photo from device to device, but it can be somewhat wasteful to send something on a round trip halfway around the world just to get a file to the device a few mere inches away from the device you’re holding. Instashare is here to change that by bringing drag and drop file transfers between your iOS and Macs.
- How to use Siri to generate strong, unique passwords
Coming up with unique passwords all the time can be a struggle with you’re supposed to be doing a hundred and one other things. If only Siri, your in-phone digital assistant, could help. Fortunately, it can. As you may already know, Siri takes many of its answers from the Wolfram Alpha knowledge engine, and that includes generating random passwords.
- How to enable spoken notifications on your iPhone
Whether you’re an uber busy person or you just like the sounds of Siri’s soothing tones, we have a tip today that you’ll like. If you don’t want to break from what you’re doing to check out every single notification noise on your iPhone, then did you know how to make it read out notifications? It’s not quite Siri, but it is using Siri’s voice bank. Read on to find out, how to configure your device, and things to watch out for.
- Viber challenges Whatsapp and Skype [Review]
If you think Whatsapp is the only Internet based text messaging substitute you’d be wrong. Viber has been around for awhile now, and not only is Viber taking on Whatsapp’s Internet routed messages, but it’s taking on Skype too with free VoIP based voice calls. Most importantly it now offers a desktop client with free video calling.
- Google Hangouts for iOS review
Google has long tried to get into the instant messaging and communications market. For around a decade, we’ve had Google Talk, which relied on the open XMPP standard. While that product has enjoyed support by many third party instant messaging clients, it has not become the mainstream messaging alternative that, say, Facebook has become in a very short time. At yesterday’s Google IO 2013 conference, the search giant released a Google Hangouts app for iOS and Android, which is set to become Google’s core communication tool. We take a look at what you can expect on your iPhone.
- Pocket Casts podcast client for iOS [Review]
Pocket Casts from Shift Jelly software received a huge update to its Android client recently, somewhat leaving its iOS counterpart behind. Can the good-old iOS version still meet your podcatching needs? We take a look at Pocket Casts for iOS to find out.
- Feedly, the best replacement for Google Reader [Review]
Feedly is a modern application built for reading RSS feeds. It grew in popularity as being an alternative client for Google Reader. Since Google announced it would pull the plug on Reader, Feedly has gained more attention for stating that it will provide its own feed aggregation service and provide a seamless transition for Google Reader users. Is this the news app for you? Read on to find out.
- How to use Carbon Backup
Most people neglect backing up their devices. Normally this isn’t so much of a problem as contacts and calendar events are automatically stored in the cloud, and Google can backup device settings too. To the other extreme, we have the likes of Titanium Backup that is a comprehensive backup application for power users with root privileges. If you find that the built-in Google Backup isn’t comprehensive or reliable enough for you and that Titanium Backup is overkill for you, then Carbon Backup, made by the same team who made ClockWorkMod Recovery, is a new application that provides an excellent intermediate-level solution and doesn’t require you to have root access, but it helps.
- One the road with Nexus
My regular life has me working from home, using a heterogeneous set of mobile platforms. Recently though, I’ve been travelling, which coincided with starting to use the Nexus 4, in complement to my Nexus 7. This is my story of going from familiar surroundings and being platform agnostic to living on the road and having Nexus devices being my front-line tech.
- Where Next For Android?
When the HTC G1 appeared in 2008, there was no suggesting that Android could run anything but a phone. Since then, Android has dominated the smartphone market and begun to appear on other types of devices. While Android is far from market saturation, it’s time to wonder whether it’s captured as much of the market as it’s going to. Therefore, what should Android be used for next?
- Could Android replace Windows?
Suggesting that another operating system could fill the shoes of Windows sounds crazy, it certainly isn’t going to happen in the near future, desktop Linux still hasn’t managed it. What about the much longer term though? Android is surprisingly well-placed to take on the mantle of the Redmond behemoth. Don’t believe me? Keep reading to see why.
- BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 officially announced: specs, price and availability
Blackberry, formally known as Research In Motion (RIM), announced today its much anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system in a press even that was streamed on the Internet. RIM claims that its Blackberry operating system has been "Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented", as it announced two devices the Z10 and Q10 that are sporting BB 10 on which the Canadian company’s hopes are so urgently pinned on. Here are the facts fresh from the stream, let’s see how well it compares to our first look.
- Nexus 7 productivity tips
The Nexus 7 is a landmark device in the world of Android tablets. Rather than being a productivity tool though, it was touted as Google's content consumption device. Despite the release of the Nexus 10, the Nexus 7's value for money has ensured its long term sales success, as evidenced by the newer 32GB and 3G versions of the device. Just because the Nexus 7 was intended for one purposes doesn’t mean we can't turn it into something completely different though. Join us as we show you how to turn your Nexus 7 into a mobile office.
- 2013 Predictions for Android
A lot can happen in a year, and it’s probably foolish to predict what might happen, but we’ll have a go anyway! Android has been doing incredibly well the last few years, and 2013 is set to be no different. As the New Year begins, there’s still time to make some predictions about what might happen in the coming months of 2013. Also, see our article on Technologies we’re looking forward to in 2013.
- New Year resolutions from mobile manufacturers
2013 has begun, and the mobile industry is looking as much like a soap opera as ever. Despite Apple and Samsung viciously fighting it out in the courts, they’re both sitting pretty with a healthy market share. Meanwhile, HTC is still trying to gain traction with one foot in the Android world and the other in the Windows Phone world. RIM and Nokia are both fighting to ensure the security of their highly uncertain futures. Then we have the newer players, Huawei and ZTE nibbling at the toes of the Android incumbents. All the while, Motorola Mobility just wants everyone to know that it still exists.
- What we'd like Android to steal from other OS
Android may be our favorite operating system, but it’s certainly not perfect. If you are someone who uses multiple devices with different operating systems, there are no doubt features you miss as you switch from one platform to another. We’ve taken a long hard look at other mobile operating systems and picked out the features that we wish could make their way into Google’s mobile OS.
- Is Android better suited to tablets than phones?
Android began life on phones, marked apart from the iPhone by its homescreen widgets. That trend has continued to this day – even Android 4.2 has lock screen widgets. The advent of Android tablets has put a different slant on things by giving widgets more space to shine. Once you’ve used Android widgets on the expansive screen of a tablet, is it possible to be satisfied with the same widgets on a phone screen?
- Top 15 Nexus 7 Productivity Apps
The Nexus 7 is an awesome tablet, having a smaller form factor and lower price than the iPad has made it a much more attractive option to many. However, it was meant to be Google’s version of the Kindle Fire, as a content delivery device. Thanks to the breadth of apps in the Google Play Store, your seven-inch tablet can be re-purposed into a productivity tool. Here’s our guide to the best apps to get your Nexus 7 ready for some work.
- What is HD Voice? And why is phone call quality so bad?
If you’re tired of poor quality voice calls then hope is on the horizon in the form of HD Voice. This is a standard that more and more phone manufacturers and mobile networks are adopting. It has been a slow roll out, but it is coming. We’re used to seeing the HD moniker on videos and TVs, but now it’s being applied to audio. Essentially though, it has the same meaning – high definition as in high resolution. Join us as we answer the question – what is HD voice?
- Racing Wings Review
If you’re a fan of the Red Bull Air Race, and watch it to vicariously live out your flying fantasies, then the game Racing Wings is here to take you a step closer to getting your high-G kicks. This is extreme air racing for your Android device.
- Nexus 10 vs Microsoft Surface
If Master Yoda were here, he'd be telling us "Begun have these tablet wars". While Apple has tried to address the 7" market segment with the iPad Mini, Microsoft is only just getting into the 10" tablet market with its Windows RT powered Surface tablet. Meanwhile, Google has hit back with an updated Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10. The latter is a 10 inch tablet made by Samsung, running pure Android, just as Google intended it. Join us as we pit the Nexus 10 against the Microsoft Surface and guide you through deciding which the right device is for you.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Nexus 7
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a phone that wants to be a tablet, but should you buy one instead of a tablet? When it comes to Android tablets, the favorite on the market is the Nexus 7 – it even has Apple quaking in its boots. In the following test, we consider a series of everyday situations – Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Google Nexus 7. In each case, we assume the Nexus 7 is accompanied with a hypothetical Android phone. For the purposes of simplicity, we’ll assume that the cost of the companion phone would make the overall cost of ownership equal to having a Galaxy Note 2. Also note that the Nexus 7 3G will soon be available, in this case the need for tethering to a companion phone is negated, but it would incur an extra cost in paying for a second data plan.
No Brain App Reviews
- Whats new at Google Play
This week in the Google Play Store the Angry Birds are back! Storming in both the free and paid games Angry Birds Star Wars has gone in high, taking the top spot in the free game category and the number two spot in paid games with Angry Birds Star Wars HD. The Top New Paid apps has mostly been a story of musical chairs but we have The Sun newspaper app taking the top spot and new cloud service, Cloud SMS popping up at number five. Also check out the Top New Free games as it's almost all new entries.
- Windows 8 Mouse and Touchscreen Gestures
Besides its visual changes, the biggest difference with Windows 8, to any other version of Windows, is that it has been designed to be touched. However, not every touch gesture in Windows 8 is immediately obvious; furthermore, most users will not have a touchscreen device yet. With that in mind, here’s our guide on how to get the most out of Windows 8 touch and how to make the most of your mouse or touchpad.
- Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts
In our last guide, we went through all the touchscreen and mouse Windows 8 gestures. However, if you’re a keyboard demon, and feel that anything that takes you away from the home keys is an inefficient distraction, then this guide is for you. Windows 8 inherits many keyboard shortcuts form Windows 7, but adds many more to access all of the primarily touch driven elements too. Here is our summary of Windows 8's keyboard shortcuts.
- Windows 8 Review - Zentomi Reader
One cloud tool that bloggers and journalists etc. rely on to stay on top of what’s happening in the world and the sites that they follow is Google Reader, the RSS feed reading service. For such people having a Windows 8 Google Reader client is an essential tool. Zentomi Reader is one such app for Windows 8, join us as we put it through its paces.
- What's New at Google Play - 2012 Week 45
This week in the Google Play Store, both free and paid games are almost all new with Need for Speed Most Wanted and Scratch and Guess logo topping the top paid and top free charts, respectively. Meanwhile in the top paid apps, mPlayer Pro and Tom Tom UK are still standing their ground. In the free apps, there has been something of a loyalty shift from Google to Microsoft. Google Calendar has dropped three places while the Xbox Smartglass app has gone up three places to take the top spot.
- Windows 8 - where has the Desktop gone?
We’re all used to the idea of the Desktop user interface. It’s the base from which all our files and applications are launched. Windows users have been accustomed to this design since Windows 95, and it’s just as crucial on Linux and OSX. Perhaps the biggest question among those new to Windows 8 - where has the desktop gone? The truth is that the desktop has been displaced by the tiled Start Screen, and is no longer the place from where everything works.
- Install apps on Windows 8
Our last guide showed you how manage your tiles and remove apps from your Windows 8 system. This time we look at how to install apps on Windows 8, most of the time you’ll be using the Windows Store, but that isn’t the only way.
- manage live tiles in windows 8
The goal of Microsoft’s new tiled interface – whether it be on Windows 8, Windows RT or Windows Phone – is to personalize your experience and make the Start Screen express who you are and the information you want to see. With that in mind, it’s up to you to manage live tiles in Windows 8 and put them in a pattern that pleases you and gives you useful heads-up information through your live tiles.
- What's New at Google Play - 2012 Week 44
This week in the Google Play Store Bad Biggies still reigns supreme in the free games category, but the biggest story of the week is the new Android apps in the free section. Not only do we have Microsoft’s Smartglass XBox companion app released -- which turns your Android device into a second screen for your XBox -- but Google has finally released its Google Calendar app for Android 4 devices. If you are using an Android device with a custom calendar app that you dont’ like, you can finally get Google’s own official app!
- Windows 8 Start Screen Tips
Windows 8 was released today and the biggest change from Windows 7 is the new Start Screen, featuring an array of live tiles. If this is your first day with the new tiled interface, you are probably wondering where to start. If so, here’s our guide on using and customizing the Windows 8 Start Screen.
- Windows 8 Upgrade Paths and Prices
Last time, we looked at the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT. That’s all well and good, but with the release of Windows 8 just days away, you need to know your options for upgrading and how much money each will cost. Here is our in-depth guide to Windows 8 pricing.
- What's New at Google Play (2012-10-19)
This week in the Play Store, the top new apps are telling two stories. First off is that a look at the top free apps shows there’s a huge appetite for streaming free TV content on Android devices, with the BBC Media Player staying at the number one slot and Watch TV Free coming in as a new entry in top free apps and the TV streaming myPlayerPro in top paid apps. Looking at the free games, we see that Bad Piggies is still hanging onto the top spot (despite the two week gap since our last chart), with a bunch of new entries that have been unable to unseat those crazy piggies. Also note that TomTom Navigation is now available to buy too.
- What is the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT?
By now, you have probably heard that Microsoft is making a new version of Windows, Windows 8. The move to Windows 8 is the biggest move that Microsoft has made for a long time – if you’ve been using computers for long enough, think back to when we went from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 – it’s that much of a change.
- What's New at Google Play (2012-10-04)
This week in the Google Play Store, the mighty have fallen from their top spots which have been captured by those who have been climbing the charts for a few weeks with just one exception – Bad Piggies! Yes, this week saw the release to the hotly anticipated next chapter to the Angry Birds universe. This time you switch sides as you assist those silly Suidaes to get around in improved vehicles.
- What's New at Google Play (2012-09-28)
This week in the Google Play Store, apps have remained almost the same to last week, with no movers and only one entry each in paid and free. Meanwhile, the case is almost the complete reverse with games with mostly new entries. In all categories though, the number one’s from last week have stood firm, including the UK Freeview TV streaming app, TVCatchup.
- What's New at Google Play (2012-09-22)
This week in the Google Play store we have the same number ones as last week, all but the Top Free Games where we see Bubble Shot shooting in at number one. TVCatchup is still holding the number one spot in the Top Free Apps, which shows Brits are lapping up Freeview TV on their Android devices. The most interesting new entry is the Chameleon Launcher for tablets (a paid app), offering a new take on the Android homescreen. If you’ve tried it on your tablet, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!
- SMDash App Review
Proliferation of social networks means choice and flexibility in how we express ourselves and get news online. However, the more networks we join, the harder it can be to keep track of everything. Many companies are working on the problem of merging your social networks into one social stream, and SMDash is one of those companies.
- What's New at Google Play (2012-09-15)
This week in the Google Play store we see lots of entries to and exits from the top new apps charts. After several weeks at number one, the Nexus Media Importer app has dropped out completely, having been replaced with the ePSXe Play Station emulator (which I class as an app as it’s a games platform, not a game in and of itself). The paid games have been relatively stable with the same titles as last week just changing places.
- Amazon Buzz Android App Review
Amazon Buzz is a simple application which lets you view the most popular items in each of the categories on either Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, or Amazon.co.uk. The app just has one page, with the top half showing a list of products from the selected category, and the lower half displays an enlarged view of the product you’ve tapped on.
- What's New at Google Play (2012-09-07)
It’s been a big week in the Google Play store, there have been so many new entries! In the Top New Paid Apps, the Nexus Media Importer is at number one for the third week – proving the popularity of the Nexus 7 tablet. Meanwhile, the most interesting group to check out this week is the Top New Free Apps where we have three big name new entries. TVCatchup is a UK based service that allows its users to stream free-to-view ("FreeView") terrestrial broadcasts. Microsoft released the official Android client of its cloud storage service – SkyDrive. Also we "Quick Tap Wallet" from Orange UK – which will allow users of NFC enabled Android devices to pay for physical items with a simple tap of their device on payment terminals.
Outsider is an app intended to help fellow Windows Phone users build a sense of community – handy for a minority platform. It began life named as "I'm a WP7" and won the 2012 Best Free App Award, but after the announcement of Windows Phone 8, it obviously had a find a new name. Not being endorsed by Microsoft or the Windows Phone development team, Outsider was taken as an appropriate choice.
- What's New at Google Play (2012-08-30)Android
Welcome back to our charts of the most popular shiny new apps in the Google Play Store. The Top New Paid Apps section is remarkably static from last time with the My Boy! Game Boy emulator being the only new entry. Similarly, every other section only has one new entry too, leaving us with a familiar set of titles from last week. Asphalt 7 has finally dropped out of the top five new paid games – quite a sudden drop! As to be expected the Channel 4 Paralympics app is still in the top five free apps list – UK only though, sorry folks.
- What's New at Google Play (2012-08-25)Android
This week we see an almost clean sweep of the top new paid and free apps in the Google Play Store. We have two particularly interesting new entries. Pinterest has finally come to Android, and we also have the Nexus Media Importer that allows users to mount USB sticks without needing root! In the gaming arena Asphalt 7 is still number one in the top new paid games – how long can it stay there?
- What???s New at Google Play (2012-08-17)Android
This week sees lots of new entries in all categories apart from Top New Paid Games, where all but one of last week’s titles have stuck around, but just changed places. Without further ado, here are the charts!
- What's New at Google Play (2012-08-09)
Welcome to our new weekly feature to show you the latest additions on Google’s Play Store. For the first few weeks we’ll be focusing on Apps and Games, but if you want us to cover books or movies too, all you have to do is let us know in the comments!
- Plex for Android App ReviewAndroid
Looking for a new home media centre? I’m sure many Android users have probably tinkered with XBMC and all of its great remote control apps. If you found that it wasn’t quite for you or you wanted an alternative that required less configuration, then Plex (based on XBMC) could be the one for you.
- Google Nexus 7 Tablet Review
The Nexus 7, announced at Google IO 2012, has already become the most widely anticipated Android tablet there has ever been. It was the first device to be released running the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, and as a Nexus device it comes with no software customisations from original equipment manufacturers (OEM).
- eToro Trade Alerts App ReviewAndroid
If you’re a budding home trader, then you might be interested in the social trading service eToro. eToro isn’t about trading company stocks, instead you can exchange foreign currencies (forex), stock market indices and some commodities.
- Instagram - AndroidAndroid
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the tech world, you should have at least heard the name Instagram. Yes, this is the service that has spawned a million photos styled like an aged 70s Polaroid, and which Mark Zuckerberg thought was worth 1 billion dollars! While Instagram allows you to create an account and follow other users, it does not actually have a website on which you can view other people’s creations. In fact, Instagram’s website is only there for you to create an account, update your details, and manage connected applications. Instead, Instagram users are meant to display their images via other social networks like Twitter and Facebook via instagr.am URLs; which explains the Facebook acquisition.
- World of Goo Game Review Android
The object of 2DBoy’s surreal physics simulation, World of Goo, is to help a civilization of goo balls escape the World of Goo Corporation, by using them to build structures that help the remaining goo balls on each level escape via pipework marking the exit point of every level.
- Flipboard for AndroidAndroid
Flipboard has been one of the flagship applications on the iOS platform, and now it’s coming to Android. It was announced as an exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy S3 in London. It’s not officially known how long this exclusivity will last, but unofficially you can get it now, thanks to the initiative of member of the XDA Developers forum. Here’s our preview of Flipboard for Android.
- Microsoft OneNote for Android- Android App ReviewAndroid
The heritage of the smartphone is inextricably linked to that of the personal digital assistant (PDA). PDAs used to cover contacts, calendar, to-do, and notes. However, note taking has always been treated as a poor relative compared to the other personal information management (PIM) categories, most of all in the connected cloud age. Microsoft’s OneNote is looking to change that.
All About Windows Phone
- Microsoft enable sign-in by Outlook.com alias
When Microsoft announced its Hotmail replacement, Outlook.com, it was confirmed that existing Live.com users would be able to create an outlook.com alias. This had presented users with the dilemma of switching to a brand new Outlook.com account, which would cause them to lose all of their Windows Phone Store purchases, or to simply create an outlook.com alias for contact purposes. The problem, albeit trivial, with an alias is that it could not be used to sign into any Microsoft services. Fortunately, Microsoft have now allowed sign-in by alias for those who want to be identified by their shiny new Outlook.com ID.
- How to install Portico on your Lumia 920, DIY style
These days we all take Over The Air (OTA) firmware updates for granted. However, there was a time when firmware updates had to be done manually. It's a useful skill to have, especially when just sometimes even contemporary devices can find themselves left out in the cold when it comes to manufacturers spreading the firmware love. The course of DIY updates never run did smooth though, so not only do we discuss how to apply an upgrade, but we look at how you should approach restoring your device to its former state.
- Asana app for Windows Phone out of beta
For those who don't know, Asana is a collaborative project managment web service. It has yet to grab mainstream attention but is used by several of the websites I write for as a mean for handing out and exchanging information on assignments for multi-person teams. Asana has had an official app for iOS for quite a while and has just released a version for Android. The app in question for Windows Phone is a third party app simply called Asana, which may raise trademark disputes if or when Asana decide to make an offiical app.
- HERE Transit adds support for 46 UK cities
Following from the rebranding of Nokia's mapping apps to the HERE brand, HERE Transit (formerly Nokia Transit) has been updated to support 46 UK cities. This marks a great improvement for UK users as previous versions had only included support for the London public transport system. Regions covered by the update are: East-Anglia, East-Midlands, London, North-East, North-West, Scotland, South-East, South-West, Wales, West-Midlands, Yorkshire. Read on for more details.
- Only Android and Windows Phone grew in 2012 Q4.
Analyst firm, Gartner, has published its mobile phone sales figures for the fourth quarter of 2012. While overall mobile phone shipments fell slightly year on year (YoY), smartphone shipments were up from approximately 151 million units to 208 million units. Of interest in the smartphone sector was the levels of growth of each smartphone platform. Blackberry and Symbian took huge declines, 60% YoY and 90% YoY, respectively, with iOS declining by 11% YoY. Meanwhile Android and Windows Phone showed positive growth with YoY increases of 36% and 67% respectively.
- Lumia 920 deemed a tank, in a good way
In many of its reviews, the Lumia 920 was singled out for its weightiness, but it has also been highlighted for its distinctive polycarbonate design. Pocket Now writer, Michael Fisher, has been given his white Lumia 920 a long term test and has reported back on how well it has weathered its time with him. The Lumia 920 is the second generation of Nokia's Fabula design, that was originally created for the Nokia N9 and then used for the Lumia 800. One of the most widespread criticisms of the latter handset was how its silvered camera bezel would become scratched very quickly. Michael observes that the same part of the Lumia 920 has done far better in resisting wear and tear.
- Amazing Weather updated for Windows Phone 8
Amazing Weather HD is a Windows Phone weather app that is known for its striking animations to display the current weather conditions, similar to HTC's weather apps. The application has now been updated to support new features of Windows Phone 8, with support for all live tile sizes and dynamic lock screens, both of which support several different themes. These new feature round off an already impressive package. Note that the application weighs in at 86MB so you'll need to be installing from your home WiFi.
- Fuse review - All About Windows Phone
If your smartphone has replaced the newspaper, you're probably looking for the best app to catch all information you can get. There are plenty of apps for Windows Phone for specific sources of news, such as BBC News Mobile and our own AAWP app, although there are not so many that collect news from numerous sources. Other platforms, for example, have Flipboard and Google Currents. Fuse is an app for Windows Phone that provides curated news feeds and presents them in an attractive, dare I say glossy, format for your reading pleasure.
- Spotify arrives on Windows Phone 8 in beta
Spotify, the streaming music service has finally released its much anticipated Windows Phone 8 client. The client supports the same features as other Spotify client, as in streaming from a catalogue of millions of songs, synchronising play lists, and downloading tracks for listening offline. The app is being released as a beta, so expect there to be some bumps along the way in this first version. As with other version of Spotify you have to be a premium subscriber (9.99 UKP per month) to use this client.
- Nokia DT-910 Wireless Charging Stand review - All About Windows Phone
Following on from our review of Nokia's DT-900 wireless charging plate, we now turn our attention to the DT-910, which takes the charging plate design and turns it into a desk stand for your Qi enabled phone. Before you read either review, you should check out our discussion on how wireless charging and the Qi standard actually works. Read on to see whether a desk stand that wirelessly charges your phone is worth the hefty price tag.
- Flixster adds lockscreen wallpaper support
Flixster, the app for movie buffs, has been updated to version 18.104.22.168 with support for lockscreen wallpapers in Windows Phone 8. While most lockscreen apps, such as Bing, will periodically download new images and set them a the lockscreen wallpaper for you. Flixster does things differently. As with any other lockscreen app, you'll need to set it as the wallpaper app in your lockscreen settings. After that, it's up to you to manually set a movie as your wallpaper choice, and it won't change until you choose another.
- David's Windows Phone 8 live tile arrangement and app list.
Following on from Steve's and Ewan's live tile tour, it's my turn to show you how I have my Windows Phone 8 tiles set up. While Steve went for the most optimal set up, and Ewan went for a much more active set up, mine is now somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately you missed my very elaborate v1.0 set up, but now I'm on v2.0 with plenty of live tile activity, but have scaled things back as my needs have changed.
- Robotek review - All About Windows Phone
Robotek is an unlikely mix of cuteness, post-apocalyptic futures and fruit machine gameplay. See, told you it was unlikely. Not only that though, it throws in a dash of strategy too, forcing you to use your grey matter rather than just how well you can time stopping the spinning symbols to activate your various activities. Besides the fun factor of Robotek, it's also a title that shows signs of the future of the Windows Phone ecosystem, as this game was recently released on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, which, of course, is the promise of the common kernel between Microsoft's desktop and mobile operating systems.
- First look at TVCatchup on Windows Phone 8
TVCatchup is a service that streams live UK Freeview TV across the web and to mobile apps. Despite its name it does not offer a catch-up service due to a controversial legal history. However, it has won the right to continue streaming to (UK only) viewers. TVCatchuprecently released a Windows 8 touch application, and we can exclusively reveal that TVCatchup is now coming to Windows Phone 8.
- The Verge reports that Microsoft will implement CardDAV and CalDAV in Windows Phone
The Verge has published an unconfirmed report that Microsoft will add support for CalDAV and CardDAV in response to Google's withdrawal of support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). We reported on Google's announcement at the time, and this one of the potential fixes that Microsoft could implement. It's still unclear how many Windows Phone users will be affected by the withdrawal of EAS, especially with Google's language of "it will no longer be possible for new connections to sync data from Google Contacts or Google Calendar using the Microsoft protocol", it is ambiguous as to how a new connection is defined.
- Now the DT-900 gets the 3D printing treatment
Last week we reported that Nokia had released 3D printing templates so that anyone could produce their own shells for the Lumia 820. Continuing in that theme, a young designer from the Netherlands, going by the name of Relief, has proposed some designs for a desktop holder that would change Nokia's DT-900 wireless charging plate into a desk stand.
- Switching from iOS to Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone needs to tempt users away from other platforms if it is to survive in the long-term. While Android is now the biggest smartphone platform, iOS still has a massive user base, and remains a status symbol despite showing its age. Is Windows Phone 8 a viable alternative for iOS users? In 2012 I went from Windows Phone 7 to iOS6, to, by the end of the year, Windows Phone 8. Things went rather smoothly, here are my experiences.
- NextGen Reader goes on sale ahead of WP8 update
NextGen Reader is our favourite Google Reader client on Windows Phone, and it has seen a lot of development, which is showing no sign of slowing down. We've received word from the author that version 4 is due out some time around the 20th of January, and this version bring a huge amount of improvements. Until version 4 is available, the developer has also reduced the price of NextGen Reader too.
- HDR Photo Camera review - All About Windows Phone
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is one of those specialist photography areas that 'captured' popular acclaim as software automated the process, making it accessible to hobbyists and casual users. A well-known mobile HDR app is HDR Photo Camera, which is available for the iPhone and Symbian (see our review on All About Symbian here). The company behind it (Intellsys) have now published a Windows Phone 8 version, which I now put through its paces.
- Astronomy Lock Screen is out of this world
If you've used Windows Phone 8, you may have come across the ability of Bing and Facebook to automatically change your lock screen wallpaper. With this new ability in Windows Phone 8, expect to see more and more apps take advantage of this. One early example is Astronomy Lock Screen. This simple app takes the daily image from NASA's venerable website, Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), and sets it as your lock screen wallpaper. There are no settings as such, but the app can download the image to your gallery and take you to the corresponding APOD page for the image.
- Sending direct messages with the People Hub
When it comes to its ability as a Twitter client, the People Hub is somewhat limited. When viewing someone's contact page on your device, there has always been an option to publicly mention someone on twitter (e.g. @username). However, there has been no option to send direct messages. The only way to send a direct message without installing a third party app has been to use Twitter's text message integration.
- Podcatcher 22.214.171.124 picks up where you left off
Podcatcher, one of the fledging podcast clients for Windows Phone has just received a major update. Version 126.96.36.199 brings three new settings. First, you can have the player continue playback of an episode from where you left off. Second, you can set Podcatcher to automatically delete played settings to save space on your device. Lastly, a new setting determines whether downloads over cellular data should be attempted.
- AE Doodle Dash review - All About Windows Phone
Sometimes, when you're on the run, you just need a quick gaming fix. AE Doodle Dash takes that notion rather literally. This doodle style game tests your reactions and sense of timing as you dash across the screen, jumping deadly doodled dangers. It sounds simple, but in game design, less can be more, so join us on our review to see if AE Doodle Dash is worth running to the Marketplace for.
- Is Windows Phone struggling with obscurity?
Smartphone market analysts have been presenting low market share figures for Windows Phone. Almost anywhere around the globe you'll find that its market share is still in single figure percentages. Of course, there was a similar story for iOS and Android when they were the same age. Despite this, it still attracts lots of press attention, and Microsoft and Nokia are spending big money on eye catching TV advertising. Should Windows Phone have had higher market share by now, and if so then why doesn't it?
- Parcel Tracker to sync with desktop counterpart
If you're a fan of the Parcel Tracker application that we reviewed a while ago, then there was some worrying news when it was withdrawn from the Windows Phone market place. The good news is that not only has the application returned to the Marketplace, but it has been joined by a Windows 8 application. Not only that, but it is planned that the two applications will be able to synchronise with each other. For example, scan in a parcel barcode on your phone, and it will soon after appear on your desktop or tablet.
- Smashing Planets review - All About Windows Phone
Calling all space cadets, we are not alone, the universe is full of aliens and they want to destroy the Earth! All you have to do is load up Smashing Planets on your Windows Phone device. This arcade action game challenges your reaction times and anticipation skills, in a similar way to how Missile Command did in the good old days of computer gaming. How well does Smashing Planets translate the genre? Read on to find out.
- Twitter adds SkyDrive inline images
One of the minor irritations with sharing photos from a Windows Phone device to Twitter was that the images were hosted on SkyDrive, not Twitter, and so would be posted under the short sdrv.ms domain. This in turn meant that applications which usually show image thumbnails with tweets would not recognise the new domain as an image hosting service. While virtually no applications support sdrv.ms links (with the exception of Gravity for Symbian), Twitter have now begun supporting SkyDrive links, and so while browsing on Twitter.com, you will see images shown inline when posted from SkyDrive.
- Next Bus UK review - All About Windows Phone
While all Windows Phone devices have the ability to act as a SatNav while you're driving or walking, not all of us drive. Some of us have to take the bus. While Lumia devices have the Nokia Transport application it doesn't have a broad enough coverage. That's where Next Bus UK steps in. Covering the whole of the UK, this app shows you where to find nearby bus stops and timings.
- NextGen Reader (Google Reader) in public beta on Windows 8
NextGen Reader is a popular Google Reader client, that we reviewed and awarded with an epic 94%. For those of you who have brave enough to venture into the world of Windows 8, then continuity awaits you as NextGen Reader currently has a public beta of its Microsoft Design Language Windows 8 client. This version operates in the tiled environment and so will run on either an x86 Windows 8 PC or a Windows RT device, such as the Microsoft Surface.
- Everything Everywhere announces LTE tariffs and handset prices
The UK’s first LTE network, Everything Everywhere (EE), has announced its first wave of tariffs and handset prices. As previously announced, the Lumia 920 has been made an EE exclusive and it has been joined by the Lumia 820, free on contract, which is currently an exclusive too. At the time of writing, there are no other Windows Phone 8 handsets offered by the network.
- Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8
Microsoft today, at an event in San Francisco, announced the formal launch of Windows Phone 8. Detailing a slew of new and updated software and service features, complemented by a strong line-up of hardware from Nokia, HTC, and Samsung, which he described, by Steve Ballmer, as "killer hardware".
- What does Windows 8 mean for Windows Phone?
Readers of this site already know all about live tiles and Microsoft's Modern user interface (UI). Until now, knowing this has almost been secret knowledge in a world full of iPhones and Android phones. With the release of Windows 8, though, that state of affairs is due to come to an end as anyone buying a new PC will have tiles put in front of them by default. In anticipation of the official release of Windows 8, we take a look beneath the surface, and ask what does all of this mean for Windows Phone?
- All About Windows Phone app available for free on Windows 8
All About Windows Phone is pleased to announce a new channel through which we can deliver the Windows Phone news you need to know. You may recall that we released an official Windows Phone application earlier this year (plus two subsequent updates). To accompany this, we can now officially unveil our Windows 8 and Windows RT application. It is already available in the Windows Store, and is free of charge – just like out Windows Phone app. Furthermore, this application has been written by the same developer who created our Windows Phone application, Geoff Webber-Cross.
- VLC Mirror review - All About Windows Phone
Because of the limited way in which videos can be loaded onto Windows Phone devices, many users are looking for a way to watch their favourite files without having to use Zune transcoding and USB transfer. One option for wirelessly browsing a home media library is the Plex app, but an older way of piping video around a home network is the Video LAN Client (VLC). VLC Mirror is a new app for Windows Phone 7 that takes advantage of VLC's streaming prowess.
- IFTTT now supports SkyDrive
If That Then This, or IFTTT for short, is a cloud service that lets you do all sorts of useful plumbing across an array of web services. The general way in which you use it is to select one service to provide the trigger event, and select another service to do something for you upon the trigger event. IFTTT calls these combinations of triggers and responses, "recipes". For example, if someone tags you in a photograph on Facebook, IFTTT can upload that photo to your Dropbox account. IFTTT announced yesterday, via its Twitter account, that it now supports SkyDrive.
- Podcatcher for Windows Phone review - All About Windows Phone
Windows Phone connoisseurs will tell anyone that support for podcasts, outside of the US at least, is not the best experience. This is thanks to an inability to add new podcasts without using desktop software and to download content on the fly. Developers have a tough job ahead of them with the limitations of the Windows Phone platform, mainly the limited ability to run in the background. The latest developer to tackle this issue is Johan Paul (@kypeli), who has ported his Podcatcher application, which was originally written for the MeeGo powered Nokia N9.
- Making the most of OneNote
OneNote is Microsoft's cloud notetaking system, and is part of the Office 2010 suite. OneNote is also built into the Windows Phone Office Hub, allowing you to sync your notes via SkyDrive. If you've always taken OneNote for granted and never investigated its abilities in-depth, then stop to read our guide as we take you through all of the tips and tricks.
- Nokia's Hans Peter Brondmo on TWiT
For those interested in the people behind the company names, here's an interesting interview on This Week in Tech's Triangulation series. Hans Peter Brondmo is Nokia's head of innovation, who joined the company as Nokia acquired his start up business. Rather than moving onto new projects, he chose to stay with Nokia and, as he explains in the interview, he now leads a group within Nokia that allows employees to take on experimental projects that are managed as venture capitol start-ups. The difference, of course, is that funding comes from Nokia, who also reaps a good deal of the rewards too.
- Microsoft announced UK pricing for Surface
Microsoft has announced pricing for the ARM powered Surface tablet. This move confirms the October 26th availability, in line with Microsoft's SEC filing, which will coincide with the release of Windows 8. This announcement was made ahead of Apple's own invite to an event where many believe an iPad Mini will be be announced, what's more the Surface prices, per Gigabyte of storage, undercuts the pricing of the 'New' iPad. However, it could still face stiff competition from the 199 UKP Nexus 7 running the Android operating system. The Surface tablet comes in three options: 32GB (399 UKP), 32GB with touch cover (479 UKP), and 64GB with touch cover (559 UKP), you can pre-order from this link.
- Microsoft Office 2013 reaches RTM milestone
The next version of Office 2013, which is currently available as a public beta, has now reached the 'release to manufacture' (RTM) milestone. This means that the programming and testing phase is over. Pricing for Office 2013 was announced a while ago, with both DVD copies and a subscription model available. Microsoft are using pricing and added bonues to make the subscriptilon model more attractive to consumers and small busnesses. For example, Home Premium subscribers will receive 60 Skype minutes a month and 20 GB of extra SkyDrive storage - both fo which will benefit Windows Phone users.
- Round up of Lumia 920 Image Stabilisation Videos
The Lumia 920 is, at least partially, being sold on the strength of its cornucopia of gadgets built into its glossy polycarbonate shell. One of those gadgets is its optical image stabilisation, which ironically invited some negative press due to some misrepresenting public relation videos. However, the actuator mounted camera module is very real and appears to work. In anticipation of getting our hands on one to test for ourselves and report back to you, here is a selection of YouTube videos to show what all the fuss has been about.
- Podcatcher for WP7 offers freedom from Zune
While Windows Phone 7 has a podcast client built-in, it's limited to either synchronising with Zune Desktop or waiting for independent downloads to begin while on recharging the device. More importantly though, Windows Phone users outside of the US are tied to using Zune Desktop software to add new podcasts. People who are accustomed to using podcast clients on competing platforms no-doubt expect to be able to meet all of their podcast needs on their mobile device without involving another computer.
- ARMED! review - All About Windows Phone
Strategy games are a favourite of many gamers, and with 3D graphics things go to a whole other level. With ARMED!, Windows Phone gamers can now get their fix too. With this game, the action can get intense even though gameplay is turn based, rather than real time strategy. ARMED! is a total mecha fest too, so if you used to play BattleTech or MechWarrior, this is definitely a game that you should check out.
- Windows Phone Apps appear on Windows 8, NextGen Reader coming soon
As the countdowns to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 get smaller and smaller, those of us already using Windows 8 (release preview) are beginning to see some familiar titles appear in the Windows 8 store. The point to all of this is that Microsoft are all in for the strategy of unifying its desktop, tablet, and phone platforms with what was called the Metro user interface.
- MetroReads review - All About Windows Phone
Book reading is something that never goes away, it just moves with the medium of the time. As such, Windows Phone has Kindle and Freda for everyone to enjoy e-books on the move, plus Lumia now has Nokia Reading too. GoodReads is a social network that allows you to keep track of all the books you've read, and want to read, as well as seeing what your friends are reading and is a channel for you to share your thoughts on the books you've read too. Here we review MetroReads, which is a free Windows Phone app for GoodReads.
- Toshl Finance review - All About Windows Phone
Sooner or later we all need to keep an eye on our finances, and doing so requires a dependable tool. Expense tracking apps have been on mobile devices for as long as, well, for as long as there have been mobile devices! The problem is that they've been data silos that are tricky to get your data in and out of. In this age of cloud computing, we need an expense tracking app that's backed up by a cloud service so we can easily access our data from anywhere and any device. That's exactly what Toshl is, so let's take a look.
- QR Code usage explodes in Europe
Analyst firm, comScore, has published a report showing how QR Code usage in showing massive growth across Europe. The data was compiled using the comScore MobiLens service, from across the EU5 countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The report says that QR code usage has increased by 96% in the period of July 2011 to July 2012 and now represents 14.1% of the totally EU5 smartphone audience. While Germany is the largest QR Code audience (around 5 million), Spain has the fastest growth at a remarkable 218% year on year.
- Nokia Xpress brings proxy server compression and more to Lumia phones
Nokia Xpress for Lumia has been brought into the Windows Phone world via Beta Labs and 'offers a new way to save data, time and money while you find and enjoy interesting web content'. In other words, it's a proxy-server-based browsing system that compresses web content in much the same way as the famous Opera Mini - though there are some very interesting layout and subscription twists here, which we break down for you below.
- Ofcom Publish Customer Complaints Figures
The Office for Communication, Ofcom, has recently published its annual reports on customer complaints for Telecoms and Pay TV. Ofcom is the United Kingdom's regulatory body for telecommunications, broadcast and postal services, and is where consumers can turn to with unresolved complaints against any of the aforementioned services. While the report covered complaints for fixed phone lines, broadband, Pay TV, monthly mobile contacts and pre-pay mobiles. Of all sectors, pre-pay mobile customers were shown to be the most satisfied of all.
- Don't Supersize my Smartphone
Supersizing is the new trend in the mobile world. The adage of 'bigger is better' seems to be the guiding principle in this era of phone design. The Android market has seen larger and larger devices, resulting in the likes of the Dell Streak and Samsung Galaxy Note. Apple isn't immune either; with the release of its iPhone 5, we see the familiar iPhone 4 design stretched to accommodate a four inch screen. The current crop of Windows Phone 8 announcements have all been four inch or greater displays too. Isn't there a need for smaller devices too?
- Global Lumia 920 gets FCC certification
The FCC and Wi-Fi alliance [PDF] have just granted certification to the Lumia 920; the RM-821, or 920.1 to be precise. This is the global variant of the Lumia 920, with support for five LTE bands: I (2100), III (1800), VII (2600), VIII (900), and XX (800). However, in the US it will be dependent on WCDMA (3G) bands (II and V) for high speed cellular connectivity.
- Everything Everywhere starting to appear across the UK
Customers of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK are starting receive updates showing them on the new Everything Everywhere network. Everything Everywhere, also known as EE, is the parent company that was formed when the two networks joined forces in 2010. Since then, the two former competitors have been working in the background to unify their assets, which has in turn had a benefit for consumers waiting for LTE, the super-fast mobile broadband standard.
- Anticipation over Windows Phone 8 prices
As the release of the headlined Windows Phone 8 devices draws near, anticipation and expectations around the process of the devices is running rife. Independent UK store, Unlocked-Mobiles is taking pre-orders of the HTC 8X for UKP 398.98 (inc VAT) and 8S for UKP 224.98 (inc VAT) (source: Recombu). Furthermore, a Chinese retailer is taking pre-orders for the Lumia 920 for 4199 HKD, equivalent to UKP 401.02 including VAT.
- Poll of WP8 flagships puts Lumia 920 way ahead
After HTC's bullish reveal of the HTC Windows Phone 8X and 8S, one would be forgiven for thinking that HTC had taken over in the minds of prospective Windows Phone buyers. Time will tell whether that's the case, but several blogs have conducted a poll asking its readers which of the coming flagships they were most likely to buy, between forthcoming devices, such as the HTC 8X, Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung ATIV S. At the time of writing, the poll had received 5,320 votes and an overwhelming 85% voted for the Lumia 920.
- Carbon discontinued on Windows Phone
Carbon, the advanced Twitter client, has unfortunately been withdrawn from the Windows Phone marketplace. We reported on this app in February and were impressed with the range of features on offer, including multiple accounts and support for URL shortening services (e.g. Bit.ly Pro). Sadly, the application has been beset with problems from the beginning, including a litany of submission problems. In more recent times, the Carbon team cites its low volume of sales and pressure on third party developers from Twitter as the primary reasons to stop development.
- Useful reading for Windows Phone developers
If you're starting out on developing Windows Phone 7.5 applications, then the Windows Phone Developer Blog has an interesting post for you. Its writers apparently contribute to the MSDN Magazine, and Michael Stroh has compiled some of their best articles, covering a range of topics. Now, it might seem odd to suggest learning to code for Windows Phone 7.5 when Windows Phone 8 is around the corner. However, the new generation of handsets will be backward compatible with Windows Phone 7.5 apps, and so there's a strong argument in favour of writing for the old platform unless you specifically need a feature of the new platform, so as to target the largest addressable market. The joys of transition periods eh?
- Are you a name or a number?
From the department of catching up on my news feeds. There's an interesting rant written a little while ago on CNET.com bemoaning Nokia's use of code numbers for its smartphones. The thrust of the editorial is that numbers are meaningless and impersonal, and that Nokia should be injecting personality and flair into its devices by giving naming them in such a way to evoke our emotions.
- HTC announce mid-range Windows Phone 8S
HTC today announced the 8S, one of its two new Windows Phone 8 handsets, both fo which feature enhanced audio capability provided by Beats Audio. The 8S is the budget model of the pair, offering a 4 inch 800x480 Super LCD Gorilla Glass display. As expected in Windows Phone 8 devices, the 8S also has a dual-core Qualcomm S4 1GHz CPU. Memory is limited at 512MB of RAM and 4GB of mass storage. The latter can be expanded via the 8S' MicroSD card slot. The 8S has a distinctive design that will be recognisable by virtue of its various two-tone colour schemes.
- Noreve Leather Lumia 800 and 900 cases review - All About Windows Phone
The phone case is an oft-overlooked item these days. There was a time when having a phone in a leather case clipped to one's belt was the norm, not so much these days as thin touch slabs tend to casually slip into our pockets or bags. That hasn't deterred manufacturers like Noreve who claim to make 'haute couture' for mobile phones. We give its cases for the Lumia 800 and 900 the catwalk treatment.
- Windows Phone 8 'stands a chance' says The Register
There's a thoughtful editorial over on The Register by Andrew Orlowski confronting the 'accepted wisdom' on whether a third ecosystem in the mobile world is viable or not. The take away point is that as analysts cling to so-called wisdom that the status-quo (i.e. Android and iOS dominance) is stable and so Microsoft and Nokia may as well give up already, they are missing the dynamic subtleties of what is going on right now. For instance, while the iPhone 5 is a blatantly iterative product – it is the third generation of the same design – the new Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 came out with evolutions to the aesthetic design and a raft of new technology innovations that have everyday practical uses.
- Rugged 'Active' shells announced for Nokia Lumia 820
The Nokia Conversations blog has just announced a new range of back shells for the yet to be released Nokia Lumia 820. The new shells are ruggedized to provide extra protection for users who have a more rough-and-tumble life style. Interchangeable back shells are the unique selling point of the Lumia 820 which harkens back to the days of interchangeable covers that were unique to Nokia phones. Among the accessories announced with the Lumia 820 were wireless charging shells. This gave the ability for Lumia 820 users to not only change the colour of the device but to add extra functionality.
- Nokia tempt Yahoo! employees with accessory range
An interesting game of inter-company PR is afoot just now. News broke from Business Insider that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer offered all employees a smartphone of their choice from a selection of iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, HTC EVO 4G LTE, or Nokia Lumia 920, with their phone and data bills paid too. Following this, Nokia's Doug Dawson posted on Twitter that he would give them all free wireless charging plates.
- New marketing video for Lumia 920 released
From the department of PR material to drool over. Microsoft has published a YouTube video presented by Nokia’s Head of Product Marketing in North America, Ifi Majid. The video doesn't reveal anything new about the devices at all - so if you were hoping to find out about new Windows Phone 8 features, sorry! However, you do get to have a look at the red Lumia 920, which will be fun for anyone who can't wait for these devices to become available.
- Windows Phone 8 is (allegedly) finalised.
According to multiple online sources, Microsoft has reportedly finalised Windows Phone 8, and is ready to release it to manufacturers (RTM). LiveSino.net has published photos that are allegedly of Microsoft, staff celebrating having completed the operating system (codenamed "Apollo"). According to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft has stated it "has nothing to share at this time". However, the timing is consistent with what we expected, and indicates we can expect release of hardware between the end of October and early November.
- Rafe Blandford interviewed by EverythingN9
As regular listeners of our podcast will know, our own Rafe Blandford was recently in New York to attend Nokia's event where the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 were announced. During his trip he gave up an afternoon to speak to Andy Hagon, a local of that great city, who runs the EverythingN9 blog. In the interview that Andy has published, Rafe gives his views on the Nokia N9 – Nokia's MeeGo Harmattan device. Andy even put Rafe on the spot to ask how he would have acted had he been the CEO of Nokia. In Rafe's words, he would have killed the N9 at birth and would have written something more original than the burning platform memo!
- Skype releases Windows 8 style desktop beta
From the department of loosely related topics - Skype has released a new beta version of its desktop client with a range of new features that point toward future integration with Microsoft services. The user interface has been updated with a flatter look, which reflects the desktop design changes seen in Windows 8. The most notable change for end users is the ability to merge Skype accounts with one's Microsoft ID (formally Live Messenger ID) and Facebook account.
- Super Sensitive Touch Explained
One of the innovations built into the Lumia 920 demonstrated at Nokia's recent New York press event was its Super Sensitive Touch technology. Nokia's Kevin Shields even showed off how it enabled him to operate the flagship device while wearing skiing mittens. What wasn't explained at the event, though, was how this technology works and what, beyond the obvious, are its benefits?
- Attachments.me adds support for SkyDrive
Attachments.me is a cloud service that interfaces with your Gmail and allows you to save attachments directly to your cloud storage accounts. Attachments.me already had support for Dropbox, Box.net, Google Drive, and has now added support for SkyDrive. With the Chrome extension for Attachments.me you can select files from your SkyDrive account and automatically have a hyperlink to that file placed in your email (rather than physically copying the file to Gmail). You can also upload a local file, from within the Gmail composer, to be uploaded to SkyDrive and hyperlinked to.
- MySMS comes to Windows Phone
Ever since SMS became a massively used mainstream form of communication, developers have been looking for a way to replace it. We've seen this with Whatsapp, which has a good Windows Phone 7.5 implementation. Another entrant into the 'over the top' SMS field isMySMS. This is a new start-up who is seeking to become a cross platform SMS system that works through the Internet when it can, but will send traditional SMS when the recipient isn't a MySMS user.
- Qi Wireless Charging Explained
One of the unique selling points of the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 was the adoption of the Qi wireless charging standard. Wireless charging is not a new technology, but whenever it has been employed in any product, whether it be the Palm Pre or your electric toothbrush, it seems to have struggled to catch mainstream attention. With these Lumia devices being perhaps the most mainstream application of wireless charging, and because Nokia adopted a standard rather than a proprietary method, wireless charging may just have come of age. How does it work though? I explain.
- Latest Nokia Accessories announced in New York
At its New York press event, Nokia announced the forthcoming Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 and also a range of new accessories. This range utilises support for Qi wireless charging and NFC 'tap to pair' Bluetooth audio. There was no word on pricing, but Nokia stated all would be released with the Lumia 920. Here's our guide to what's on offer and what you need to know (apart from prices!).
- Nokia and Microsoft reveal more Windows Phone 8 details
As part of its New York press event, Nokia and Microsoft detailed features of Windows Phone 8 alongside the launch of the Lumia 920and Lumia 820. Microsoft's Joe Belfiore and Nokia's Kevin Shields talked through features, some of which had been announced previously, and some that were news to us all. There was a heavy emphasis on imaging, as one would expect from Nokia, but also a sense of an iterative building of a unique and recognisable user experience.
- Windows Phone momentum sweeps up The Guardian
The Guardian has just published a list of ten Windows Phone applications that it considers to be the best of this year's releases. It certainly seems that Winodws Phone is gathering a serious amount of momentum in the press now, which is good timing given Nokia's event in New York tomorrow and the announcement of the Samsung Ativ S. As the saying goes, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Since Microsoft is effectively starting from scratch with Windows Phone 8 in terms of attracting and retaining customers, it needs Windows Phone to be in the public conciousness which clearly happening.
- Nokia City Lens graduates from beta
From the department of News we held back until we could confirm it, our very own All About Windows Phone App Directory has confirmed that Nokia City Lens is now a bona fidi Marketplace application and has shed its beta stabilisers-wheels. Unforuntatley, there is no news of any changes with this version - which is enumerated as 188.8.131.5221. The application previously resided on Nokia Beta Labs, which also has not reported on the application's graduation to full-app status.
- Going Lego Loopy with Windows Phone
Remember when I posted about the Lumia 900 dock made of Lego? Of course you do! Lego has huge nostalgia value to anyone who lived through the 80's. I - as a child of the 80's - can't help but look around from time to time to see how my favourite toy is being put to use with contemporary tech. It appears budding engineers, armed with Windows Phone devices, have been busy in the last few months!
- Welcome Home aids Windows Phone Migration
Mark/Space solutions is a company that creates synchronisation software for tablets and desktop computers. It announced on Friday that it has worked with Nokia to create the Welcome Home to Windows Phone – Nokia Lumia edition application. The purpose of the application is to allow Android, iPhone, and Blackberry users quickly and easily switch to Nokia Lumia device.
- The effect of Apple vs Samsung on Windows Phone
Since Friday, the tech media has been flooded with news and commentary about the jury's verdict on the Apple versus Samsung case in the USA. Many of the headlines would have you believe this is the turning point for Windows Phone (e.g. this one on Forbes by our own Ewan Spence), because Android has been mortally wounded by a thermonuclear bomb sent from beyond the grave by Steve Jobs himself. Then again, Gizmodo have said "Who cares if Samsung copied Apple?". As is always the case though, reality is much more complicated and far less clear cut.
- Keep Alive WiFi app sneaks into Marketplace
Keep Alive is an app that the Windows Phone 7 homebrew community is familiar with, but it has now been accepted into the Windows Phone Marketplace so everyone else can try it. The application was created to solve a problem with Windows Phone 7 where WiFi is unavoidably disabled when the device goes into stand-by. While this ostensibly saves battery life, any apps that use push notifications will force your device to use mobile data, which actually uses more power, and eats away at data caps. Hence, Keep Alive works by forcing the device's WiFi to stay active while in stand-by.
- Chevron unlocks now expired.
Straight from the department of slightly old news, on August 15th the ChevronWP7 project announced unlocks applied to devices via its service had expired. This means that any devices that were unlocked via the ChevronWP7 service will become locked again the next time they are synchronised with Zune Desktop. If you transferred your account to a paid App Hub account, you will need to perform a developer unlock on your device again.
- Microsoft rectify marketplace certification issue
We reported this week that Microsoft had put a temporary hold on publishing new applications and application updates. This was due to a certificate issue which prevented installation of a limited number of applications on first generation devices that had upgraded to Windows Phone 7.5.
- Watch Tom and Jerry on your Windows Phone
No matter how old you are, there are some things we can all enjoy together – like Tom and Jerry. Fortunately, you can now enjoy their madcap antics on your Windows Phone 7 device, without having to pick your way through YouTube search results. This isn't a new app (as far as I can tell), but it's a little gem that I saw mentioned on BBC's Click programme, in Kate Russell's apps of the week section.
- Wallpaper Power-Ups with QR Codes
Nokia Conversations recently posted a clever way of using QR codes with your phone to pass on your contact details, including a way of displaying return details in case your phone is lost and found. The guide showed you how to create a QR code which links to a vCard (containing your details) somewhere on the Web. Then advises you to embed this QR code onto your wallpaper, so that it's visible on the lockscreen of your device. We liked this, and wanted to add our own spin to it.
- Microsoft closes in on renaming Metro
After our report last week that Microsoft was striking the Metro name from its marketing, more information has come to light about the cause and resolution to the situation. The Metro name is reportedly being replaced by (... Wait for it...) "Windows 8" – there are mixed reports on whether there will be a suffix to this. Any references to the "Metro user interface" will be replaced with "Windows 8 user interface" or "Windows 8 Modern UI-Style Apps" and so on.
- How-To: Shoot 'bokeh' with Windows Phone 7
Much fanfare has been given the Nokia 808 PureView – widely heralded as the best camera phone in the world; and our sister site, All About Symbian, has recently shown how you can get artistic by taking bokeh shots with the 808 PureView. This is great for anyone who wishes to remain in the Symbian world. However, those who have bought a Nokia Lumia 800 or 900 may be feeling a little short changed after the double whammy of not being able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 and hearing that PureView technology will now feature in Nokia's Windows Phone 8 devices. On the bright side, current Lumias are not losing any functionality, and they already have a great camera. In this, our guide to Windows Phone 7 bokeh photography, we step up against the 808 PureView and show it just what we can do.
- Out and about with Internet Sharing
Internet sharing, or tethering, is the way in which you can use your smartphone and its mobile data connection to act as an access point to the Internet for other devices you have with you. Whether you're using a laptop, tablet, or even another smartphone, your phone acts as a WiFi hotspot which relays data between your devices and the rest of the world, via your phone's mobile data connection. It's been a feature of Windows Phone 7 for some time, but Nokia have only recently enabled it for Lumia devices. I took the Lumia 800 on the road and put its Internet Sharing to the test.
- Qype review - All About Windows Phone
Even if you are not a member of Qype, it's likely that you'll have benefited from the European based service when searching the web for local customer reviews of shops, cafes, etc. With the mobile app, you can look up reviews of locations in your area, as well as checking in at and reviewing places you've just visited. Fortunately, Qype is available on all major mobile platforms, including Windows Phone.
- 'Metro' to disappear as a term in the Windows Phone canon?
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley has reported on a curious case of Microsoft making an attempt to deemphasise the Metro name. Anyone who has been following Windows Phone and Windows 8 will know that Metro is the name given to the new design style that encompasses the typography, iconography, and tiled interface that we have all become familiar with.
- Skype for Windows Phone 7 version 1.3
An update to version 1.3 of Skype for Windows Phone 7 is currently being rolling out. There's no official changelog to the update, but an examination of the new version has revealed no new features - which leaves a maintenance release with bug fixes as the probable content. Indeed, in testing version 1.3 we have observed stability improvements. Case in point being that the All About Windows Phone and All About Symbian virtual office is hosted in a Skype chat window. We have found that when trying to load several days of a backlog of chat updates, the Windows Phone 7 Skype client would consistently crash. Not so with this new version!
- SkyDrive website set to go Metro
Microsoft treated The Verge to a preview of the next incarnation of its SkyDrive website - reportedly to debut this summer. The new site is going to be heavily influenced by the Metro tile style. This news breaks amid the official release of Outlook.com which transforms the Windows Live Mail experience into a much more Metro styled interface, reflecting the new look sported by the Office 2013 suite. The Verge also reports that the aesthetic update is accompanied by functional updates. For example SkyDrive will display thumbnails of Office files - displaying their content. Also, users will be able to select multiple files and folders to act on (e.g. move, delete, etc.).
- Microsoft Surface released in time with Windows 8
As part of a U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) filing, Microsoft has confirmed that it will begin selling its Surface Tablet from October 26th 2012 - the same day that Windows 8 will be available to consumers. There is still no offiical information on the price point of the Surface. To achieve market success the generally accepted wisdom is that Microsoft need to hit as lower price point as possible - e.g. as Google did with the Nexus 7 Android tablet, but there has been speculation that price points will be relatively high.
- Open Source Google Drive implementation available to developers
Despite SkyDrive being the defacto cloud service for Windows Phone 7, you might be tied into using other services that are not officially supported. If you're a Google Drive user, you're in luck. An open source project, called GDrive, has been created to develop a Google Drive client - the hope is that others will take the code and develop into more fully featured applications.
- Navigating Olympic London with Windows Phone 7
Whether you've chosen to visit the Olympics or feel like you're stranded in IOC occupied London, you need up to date travel information so you can avoid the crowds. A new app for Windows Phone 7, aptly called Games Travel Chaos (Games TC for short), takes the well-known London tube map with a superimposed heat-map indicating delays at each station.
- NextGen Reader v3.1 with dynamic subscription hub
Windows Phone's favorite Google Reader client NextGen Reader has received another update. Version 3.1 brings a new subscription centre hub and and a new smart view for reading articles. The subscription centre has curated categories, as in the previous version, but now also has a featured feeds area including this very site.
- Self-healing materials to complement nanotube surfaces
You may remember our report from last year's Nokia World about the research being done into Carbon nanotube surfaces that may be applied to future devices. The problem with such coatings are that they are easily damaged and thus have a short lifespan. The BBC has reported on a new approach to self-healing surfaces that could possibly complement these 'functional' coatings.
- Facebook Open Graph doubles sharing rate
One year ago, Facebook stated that its users were sharing four billion items per day. That was before it announced its Open Graph to facilitate, what Mark Zuckerberg described as, 'Frictionless Sharing'. In its first earnings call, Faceboook announced that the rate of sharing has increased exponentially to double this rate, via the Open Graph framework.
- The inevitable discontent before Windows 8 release
The Register reported that analysis firm Gartner described Windows 8 for desktop users in one word – "Bad". Clearly, this review lacks the usual verbosity that we would associate with Gartner, but fortunately, there were more details available. Research director Gunnar Berger gave such a negative review because of the new Metro user interface, though he did admit it works well on touchscreen devices – for which it is designed. Furthermore, important menus that are only a swipe away for touch users are hidden from mouse wielding users.
- Exploring Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh
Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh is the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, and is rolling out now across the world. This is the most significant update of the operating system since Mango, which added many new features, including Fast Task Switching. In this latest update, which was codenamed Tango, we find support for devices with lower specifications; e.g. the Nokia 610 with its 256MB of RAM. There are many more features too, including a few that are exclusive to Nokia. Here's our guide to Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh.
- Nokia completes acquisition of Scalado
We reported in June that Nokia had announced its impending acquisition of imaging company Scalado. Nokia has today confirmed that the acquisition of Scalado's technologies, intellectual property, and "approximately 50 world-class imaging specialists" has now been completed. Scalado was founded in 2000 by former students of Lund University in Sweden, and has offices world-wide including the Ideon Science Park in Lund, and has received numerous industry awards for its technologies which are embedded in over 1 billion devices.
- Changing attitudes on battery anxiety
Many of us develop a great deal of anxiety over the battery life of our devices. Power users often study the deepest settings of their smartphone to work out how to save every Watt of power they can. So much so that saving power has become the subject of many an editorial list on the web. Mobility Digest has a different point of view though. In a post entitled "Nine Simple Truths About Your Windows Phone Battery" the author argues that all of the standard power saving advice actually constitutes a series of inconveniences that spoils the user experience of your device.
- Parcel Tracker review - All About Windows Phone
While Email is increasingly replacing paper mail, the Internet age means that we're receiving more parcels as we order items online rather than bringing purchases home from retail stores. Correspondingly, courier and postal firms have implemented tracking services (with varying degrees of success) so that we can track our parcels in real time. Parcel Tracker is a Windows Phone 7 application which takes advantage of these services, giving you push updates and live tiles for all of your deliveries.
- Nokia asks how do you use your Lumia?
Nokia Conversations are holding a poll to ask its readers what they use their Lumia devices for, and how much time they spend doing each type of activity. The questions cover all the basics tasks like web browsing, social networks, email, and even whether you use WiFi, etc. It's worth taking part as I'm sure the results will shape Nokia's decisions on both exclusive applications and operating system updates for both Windows Phone 7 and 8.
- Nokia Data Gathering comes to Windows Phone 7
Nokia Data Gathering is a little-known project on the Nokia Developer website. It was created for organisations such as NGOs to create digital questionnaires to be deployed on mobile phones. This way, organisations can collect data on their phones, rather than printed sheets of paper. Previously, Nokia Data Gathering was produced as a Java ME application, but has now been released on Windows Phone 7.
- Plex review - All About Windows Phone
Video content consumption on Windows Phone 7 has always been a bone of contention for power users who object to the delay incurred by Zune Desktop transcoding their content. The lack of built-in support for DLNA streaming has only added to the woes of such users. That could be set to change thanks to an official application from an independent media centre company. Plex is a media streaming system similar to XBMC. For a price, unusually, your Windows Phone 7 devices can both stream content from your home server, and act as a remote control for your Plex media centre.
- LastPass review - All About Windows Phone
Windows Phone is a social beast, which means lots of logging into websites and apps. Password security has been in the news a lot this year as various websites have had their password databases published by hackers. Now, more than ever, is the time to take your password management seriously. Some say that convenience is the enemy of security. As such, using the same password everywhere puts you at great risk, but it is easier than remembering a different password for every website. LastPass is the most secure solution for managing your passwords and filling in forms, and it's ubiquitous across all platforms.
- gMaps Pro gets Latitude and Street View
While much of the Windows Phone mapping news has been focused around how Nokia Maps will become ubiquitous across the platform, it isn't the only show in town! gMaps Pro is an independant developer's shot at bringing Google Maps to Windows Phone users who aren't ready to give up on Google's ecosystem. The latest update (v1.24) brings two key features of Google Maps to Windows Phone 7. Namely, Google Latitude overlay and Street View.
- The Mysteries of Mango's Multitasking
Each mobile operating system has its own way of multitasking. As such, Windows Phone 7.5 has its own unique way too, which might be somewhat strange if you're coming from, say, Symbian. Even if you're not a developer, it can be useful to know why your phone works as it does, and so here is our guide to understanding the nuts and bolts beneath the hood of your Windows Phone.
- Nextgen Reader (Google Reader) review - All About Windows Phone
One of the essential tools for any enthusiast, blogger or journalist, is RSS feed reading. Google Reader is one of the most popular online readers, which many smartphone users require an app for. That's just what we have for Windows Phone 7 with Nextgen Reader. This app has been actively supported, with regular updates and user interface improvements. So it's definitely a good investment. For more details and to find out if it’s the tool for you – read on.
- Encyclopedia Britannica comes to Windows Phone
If the crowd sourced encyclopedia, Wikipedia, isn't good enough for you, you may have been wanting to access the Encyclopedia Britannica on your Windows Phone 7 device - especially since Encyclopedia Britannica recently partnered with Bing. Well the wait is over, as Encyclopedia Britannica is now in the Windows Phone Marketplace. For a fee of £3.99 / $4.99 / 4.99, you can have access to the entire database for just one year. Also, there's no offline caching - you will need to be online whenever you want to access any of the encyclopedia's content.
- Nokia positioning itself deeper into location services
Nokia Conversations has written a response to the news that Nokia Maps and Drive will no longer be exclusive to Nokia devices with the advent of Windows Phone 8. The blog post argues that Nokia can still differentiate with location based services. This might seem like a contradiction in terms, however, the post tries to make clear that Nokia is not even trying to differentiate at the application level, but instead, the company is differentiating itself at the platform level with its Where Platform. Where is at the core of what Microsoft was referring to during the Windows Phone Developer Summit when it said that developers would be able to access the mapping platforms in their application.
- Is Windows Phone 8 better for Linux?
There are a group of people to whom Windows Phone 7 has not been very friendly, and that group is Linux users! With heavy reliance on Zune desktop for firmware updates and multimedia transfers, and only web access to SkyDrive, Linux users have had a pretty rough deal. All that might be set to change with Windows Phone 8 though. With support for microSD cards and over the air firmware updates, there's going to be much less reliance on having a Windows PC. That just leaves integrating SkyDrive with the Linux desktop. Well, I have a trick for that too.
- Microsoft highlights Windows Phone 7.8
Following mixed reactions to the news that Windows Phone 7.5 users would not get a full upgrade to Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's Ben Rudolph (of 'Smoked by Windows Phone' fame) has posted a video on the Windows Phone blog demonstrating the new start screen that will come to current hardware (using an early build on a Lumia 900). In the post, he links to a page that has been added to windowsphone.com, which is meant to signpost the coming Windows Phone 7.8 update for current users.
- BBC Podcast Lounge free to early adopters
We reported during last weekend that the BBC Podcast Lounge application had been updated with the ability to download episodes for offline listening. Well, Richard Castle of Igneous Software (developers of BBC Podcast Lounge) contacted us to let us know that anyone who installed the trial version of the application prior to version 2.3 (released last week) will be offered a free upgrade to the fully paid version.
- BBC Podcast Lounge adds download support
For fans of BBC Radio, one of the popular alternatives to Windows Phone 7's built-in podcast support is the BBC Podcast Lounge. This application presents a breakdown of the complete BBC podcast catalogue based on genre or station. It is also a top-class example of how a Windows Phone 7.5 application should be written. Podcast series can be added to a favourites section and pinned as a live tile. Best of all, is that it supports background audio playback so you can use your device for other things while listening to a show.
- New and updated Nokia exclusives announced at Windows Phone Summit
As part of the Windows Phone Summit today, Nokia's Senior Vice President, Kevin Shields, announced a string of additions (Counters, Contact Share, PlayTo, Camera Extras) and updates (Nokia Music 3.0, Nokia Drive 3.0) to the company's exclusive app collection for its Lumia devices. Microsoft also credited Nokia with arranging a deal with games company, Zynga, for bringing Words with Friends and Draw Something to Windows Phone, with a two month exclusivity period for Nokia Lumia devices.
- Nokia Lumia 800, Part 8 - Summary and Conclusion review - All About Windows Phone
The Nokia Lumia 800 was a landmark device. While there were many Windows Phone 7 devices before it, it was Nokia's first product after the partnership with Microsoft, and its unibody design was the first Windows Phone 7 device to really capture the attention of the technology press. As such, our in-depth review series has examined all aspects of the device, and has in some ways been as much a review of Windows Phone 7 as it has been the Lumia 800 itself. We now pull everything together to summarise each review section and close by each member of the AAWP team passing verdict.
- Nokia Exclusives Round-Up
The way in which producers of Windows Phone 7 handset makers differentiate themselves is by providing an exclusive collection of applications. In the light of its partnership with Microsoft, Nokia has gone all out to add value to its Lumia devices with its set of exclusive applications. From mapping to music, ebooks and news, there's something for everyone as we present our round up of everything you can get out of, and put into, your Nokia Lumia device.
- gMaps Pro trying to be free for a day
For those Windows Phone 7 users who are so dedicated to Google services that they would prefer not to use Bing Maps or Nokia Maps, then gMaps Pro has been a must have application for quite some time. To celebrate its 100,000th download, the author (Alexey Strakh), announced that gMaps Pro would be free for today - Friday the 8th of June 2012.
- Qualcomm demonstrate its cool credentials
Qualcomm, the maker of all Windows Phone 7 "systems on a chip", have published a video demonstrating the thermal efficiency of its S4 Snapdragon processor. Starting off, the video shows a phone running on the S4 versus two unnamed devices from the - also unnamed - competition under an infrared camera, demonstrating the heat output of each device. Next up, surely done for "lols", the employee then demonstrate melting button on top of each phone - mercifully with a sheet of food wrap between! There's no mention of what the benchmark test was, and indeed whether each phone was running the same software - but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Nokia suggest alternative podcast solutions
We all know that Windows Phone 7 has built-in support for podcasts, but that it means adding podcasts via the Zune Desktop software. For power users who don't want to be tied to docking with the mother ship, this can be quite irksome. However, there are ways around this. There are third party applications out there which do away with Zune dependency and stream podcasts directly to your device, and some even download for offline listening. Nokia Conversations has been taking a look at the best.
- Lumia 800 Part 7 - Music and Video Hub review - All About Windows Phone
Following our review of the Picture Hub on the Nokia Lumia 800 (and other Windows Phone 7 devices), we now turn our attention to the Music + Video Hub. This is where Windows Phone 7 collates all of its multimedia content. This mostly accounts for the music, videos, and podcasts, synchronised via the Zune desktop application, but you'll also find all of your related applications, such as streaming content - including our own AAWP application. Read on as we get in-depth with the Music + Video Hub and take you on a tour of what Windows Phone 7 Mango and the Nokia Lumia 800 have to offer for your multimedia needs.
- Lumia 800 Part 6 - Picture Hub review - All About Windows Phone
Continuing in our series of in-depth reviews of all aspects of the Lumia 800, this time we're looking at the Picture Hub, which is universal to all Windows Phone 7 Mango device. The Picture Hub brings together all of the photos saved to, and captured by, your device. In addition, it brings all of the photographs and imagery in your social networks togeether in one cohesive user experience, along with affording you the ability to share your own photos, and more. This is our definitive, and universal, guide to this part of the operating system.
- Lumia 900 rated best for summer
A seasonal problem at this time of year is actually being able to see your phone in bright sunlight – yes we do occasionally get direct sunlight in the UK! Pocket-lint took this challenge on with a range of flagship smartphones: iPhone 4S, the Samsung Galaxy S II, the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Nokia Lumia 900, the HTC One X, and the Sony Xperia S. In the test, the iPhone 4S' In-Place Switching (IPS) display performed well, and while all of the Android offerings didn't perform terribly, they the worst performing screens.
- Chrync updated to sync encrypted data from Chrome
Chrync is the application that brings Google Chrome to your Windows Phone 7 device. We've previously mentioned it, but it has now been updated to 1.1 with a massive set of changes. Before, it primarily presented your bookmarks – if they were unencrypted. Now though, Chrync supports Goolge's encryption, and synchronises far more than just bookmarks. In addition to the bookmark bar and 'other' bookmarks, Chrync synchronises your stored passwords, open browser tabs, and recently closed tabs.
- What does Matt Miller have on his Lumia 900
Nokia Conversations has interviewed ZDNet's Matt Miller, as part of its 'What's on your home screen?' series. Matt is also a friend of us here at All About Windows Phone, and so we were curious to see how he had set up his Stormtrooper white Lumia 900. It's interesting to see how people set up the first couple of screen-loads of tiles, and how the seemingly mundane features of Windows Phone 7 are actually the most useful.
- New Official Wallpapers by Windows Phone user
Graphic designer, Levi Freeman, has had the honour of being approached by Microsoft to create a series of official lock screen wallpapers for Windows Phone 7. He says he has always loved taking photos, and the London College of Communications (of which Levi is a student) encourages its students to frequently take photographs of the patters in typography and nature. According to his blog post, he one day used one such photo as a lock screen wallpaper, and his girlfriend liked it so much she asked for one too.
- Change of pace for Nokia World
Nokia Converations reports that the format of the next Nokia World will be a departure from previous events. In the past, Nokia has hired a large hall and filled it with representatives and demonstrations for invited industry members and press to wonder around, and attend focused keynotes. For the past two years, it has been held at the ExCeL exhibition centre in the London docklands area. Now though, not only are Nokia taking the event back home to Finland, but it will host a number of smaller events instead, specficially aimed at target groups of invitees.
- Lumia 800 Part 5 - Web Services and Bing Search review - All About Windows Phone
In this part of our in-depth Nokia Lumia 800 review, we take a break from the device and look at the online services offered by Microsoft to all Windows Phone devices. Many people probably don't realise that when they log into WindowsPhone.com not only can they reinstall applications from a list of everything they've ever tried, but they can even find or remotely wipe a lost device. The marketing focus on live tiles tends to miss out the mundane but consummately useful features behind Windows Phone 7.
- Nokia Reading review - All About Windows Phone
We recently reported that Nokia Reading was finally rolling out to Lumia devices, and only a few days later we have it in our hands here at All About Windows Phone. Here's our in-depth review, exploring every detail of what this latest Nokia exclusive has to offer Lumia toting book worms. What we have here is painless purchasing, and a reading experience that is on par with competing products. The only fly in the ointment is the potential of lock-in for those using multiple device platforms.
- The Register loves its app for Windows Phone 7
The Register, or El Reg as it's fondly known, has proudly announced its new Windows Phone 7 application. El Reg is a technology news site, mainly aimed at professionals, and offers opinonated content on a wide range of topics and can be relied upon for an irreverent angle on events. The app's panorama lets you swipe through latest news, and three more topics of your choice, plus a list of every topic the site covers (apart from site news, oddly). The app also supports viewing and submission of article comments. It's free, but does have a few ads. You can grab it via the AAWP Application Directory.
- Microsoft takes note of your Twitter Bio
In an unannounced update, individual contact pages in the People Hub now displays users' Twitter bio as a notes field. This hasn't come about by any firmware update, and so must be a backend change on the Microsoft Live servers that act as the intermediary between Twitter and your Windows Phone 7 device. It's uncertain as to when this update was implemented, but it has just been noticed by WPCentral.
- Microsoft partners with Bit.ly for sdrv.ms shortening
We reported in April that Microsoft was offering a short URL for sharing SkyDrive files on Twitter. This domain has now been expanded more sharing methods, including email links and sharing images from Windows Phone 7 devices to Twitter. Microsoft have also partnered with Bit.ly for handling this domain, which brings in all the benefits of that service.
- Behind the scenes of Nokia Reading
Nokia Conversations has published an interview with Tim Geoghegan, the head of user experience and interface on Nokia Reading, which was announced to be rolling out earlier this week. In the interview, he talks about the Agile process used by his team to release a product they're proud of as quickly as possible. He explained that in the early phases there is a lot of talking and whiteboard sketching, and it isn't until later, once user scenarios and data architectures have been established that anyone actually starts writing code.
- Lumia 800 Part 4 - Office Hub and File Management review - All About Windows Phone
Last time, in part 3 of our continuing review, we looked at the Lumia 800's communication and personal information management applications. Now we turn our attention to another area of productivity – the Office Hub. Here, Windows Phone 7 offers a mobile office experience via the cloud, whether you're using SkyDrive, Office365 or SharePoint. Mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPointand OneNote are built into every device, adding significant value for mobile workers. Finally, we'll look at how file management is or isn't(!) handled in Windows Phone 7.
- Time Magazine now available on Windows Phone 7
As detailed in our CITA report, Time Magazine is now available to install, exclusively on Nokia Lumia devices, from the Windows Phone Marketplace. As reported, This app will bring the world's largest weekly circulation news magazine to Windows Phone. Set to include push notifications for breaking news, rich multimedia content and Live Tile news display. In the application's panorama you'll find 'latest news', 'galleries' (which has a sub panorama), 'most popular', 'videos', and an extended list of news sections, along with application settings. As mentioned, push notifications and live tile thumbnails of the latest articles.
- EVE Online Mail comes to Windows Phone 7
Players of the long-running Sci-Fi massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) EVE Online, can now keep in touch with their celestial business and empire building affairs via their Windows Phone 7 device. EVE Mail is a client for the in-game mail service. Live tile notifcations for new messages are supported, and you can check messages for all of the EVE characters in your account.
- Nextgen Reader hits big v3 update
The popular Windows Phone 7 client for Google Reader, Nextgen Reader, has received a significant update for its third version. Most notably, more live tiles have been added: all items and starred items; settings for article counts and images on live tiles have been improved, and support for matching the phone theme. Article filters on top have been added, similar to how the email application handles unread and all messages. You can also choose to mark articles as read based on whether they are older than a day or a week - handy for filing RSS bankruptcy!
- Blogging about the Proporta Dibber stylus
If you're still not convinced about using your horrible greasy fingers on your pristine new touch screen, a capacitive stylus might be the way to go. I recently reviewed a Dibber stylus, not here, but on my own blog. You can check out it via the link below.
- Lumia 800 Part 3 - Communications and PIM review - All About Windows Phone
So far, Rafe has given us his in-depth hardware review of the Lumia 800, and Steve has looked at the still and video capture performance of its camera. After months of everyday use, it's time to turn our attention to the software of the Lumia 800. Yes, most of the Lumia 800's built-in software is the same on all Windows Phone 7 devices, and so this is a review of the platform as a whole too. This part (three) of the review will look at communication and personal information management (PIM) software. Parts four and five will go on to look at Office, multimedia, exclusive Nokia apps, and much more.
- Should Nokia adopt wireless charging?
One of the most popular features of the Palm Pre was its wireless charging. Years ahead of its time, it is still something that other phone makers have yet build into their devices as standard. Interestingly, an enterprising Lumia 800 owner has thrown his warranty to the wind and fitted a Palm Pre's wireless charging coil. As we've seen, just dismantling the Lumia 800 is difficult enough, let alone creating space for a new component and soldering it to the system.
- Ville Aho argues that Metro UI will kill Android
Finnish mobile commentator Ville Aho has written an extended article on why he thinks Windows 8 will be important to the entire computing world and consequently Android will fade away. The article hinges on the convergence of desktop and mobile operating systems, with the explicit expectation that iOS and OSX will eventually merge and that Metro UI will unify the user experience of Microsoft's products.
- Top Twenty Missing Features of Windows Phone 7
Thanks to the Mango update, Windows Phone 7 was transformed from a glorified feature phone platform to a fully featured 'smartphone' operating system. I say that in inverted commas because, for me, a true smartphone has to be able to be used independently of a computer, which disqualifies both iOS and Windows Phone 7. I digress though, because however you define a smartphone, Windows Phone 7 has come on in leaps and bounds.
- Lumia 900 coming to UK via Phones 4U on May 14th
V3 are reporting that the Phones 4U chain will begin selling the Lumia 900 in the UK on May 14th. A Nokia spokesperson has told the website that The overwhelming demand for the Lumia 900 in the US with AT&T has, unfortunately, had a small knock-on effect on product availability in the UK. Nokia had only stated that the Lumia 900 would roll-out in the UK during Q2, but according to V3, Phones 4U had originally stated a release date of April 27th.
- SkyDrive introduces desktop sync and tiered storage plans
It's a busy time for SkyDrive. First there was the support for ODF files and the sdrv.ms domain, and then the Windows Phone 7 application was updated. Now, Microsoft is revising the storage limit on our accounts and has introduced a desktop sync application for Windows 7 and Mac, plus Metro features for Windows 8. This comes hot on the heels of criticisms for the absence of these features on the Security Now podcast.
- Skype for Windows Phone 7 comes out of beta
Skype has just released version 184.108.40.206 of its Windows Phone 7 client. It has been in beta for almost two months after the Skype Beta for Windows Phone 7 was announced at Nokia's Mobile World Congress press event. The new version has had some small features added; as mentioned on Skype's blog, added features include, video calling in portrait mode and friend management capabilities including invite, accept invitations, block, and unblock contacts
- SkyDrive featured on the Security Now podcast
The TWiT Network's popular security series, Security Now, has conducted a survey of twelve major cloud storage solutions. Of interest to Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 enthusiasts, host Steve Gibson included SkyDrive, in addition to the big name brands in the field like Dropbox and SugarSync, and the not so well known solutions like SpiderOak.
- Microsoft's SkyDrive app hits V2
Hot on the heels of the Skype update, Microsoft's official SkyDrive application has been updated from version 1.0 to 2.0. The update appears to be more of a performance update. However, there is now the ability to select multiple files – something that has been sorely missing from SkyDrive and other cloud storage application.
- Massive digital ecosystem comparison
The Verge has published a massive comparison of major online ecosystems. Zune's music service is praised for its flexibility by means of allowing purchases of music on top of a monthly rental. Bear in mind that this is a U.S. focused comparison so things may work differently in your part of the world. It heavily criticises the online video market, citing fragmentation which makes your choice of platform heavily dependent on the providers on offer. Again, this is a U.S. centric point of view. Indeed, here in the UK Zune only sells movies which often cost more than their DVD counterparts.
- HMRC suggests apps for record keeping
Anyone who runs a small business, including (ahem) freelance writers, knows what a chore it can be to keep accurate records for tax return purposes. Given that our smartphones have long since been ever present on our person, and are miniature computers, it only makes sense we should put that technology to use for more than playing Angry Birds! To that end, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC, the UK's tax authority), has started to recommend that small business owners start using smartphone apps to keep their records.
- Barclaycard PayTag sticks NFC onto everything
Barclaycard has launched a stick-on NFC payment solution called PayTag, aimed at turning all mobile phones into wireless wallets. According to The Guardian, a select group of its credit card customers will be offered the chance to use this solution first. So yes, you did read this correctly, Barclaycard are tackling issue of contactless payments with sticky-back plastic!
- The Operator Paradox
Anyone who has been following Nokia's fortunes over recent years knows it was losing ground at an alarming rate since Q4 2010. By the time of the Microsoft partnership, Nokia's U.S. market had all but gone. Meanwhile, Microsoft was on the long road of trying to get into the mobile market and to have Windows Phone taken as a serious player. As of February 11th 2011, the conversation changed when the two companies teamed up, with Nokia going 'all in' on the Windows Phone platform. To be successful, operators need to play a part though.
- SkyDrive adds ODF support and short code URLs
The SkyDrive development team have announced, via a shared Word document of course, several new updates to Microsoft's cloud document and storage service. The maximum upload limit has been increased to 300MB, and a short domain, sdrv.ms, has been introduced to facilitate sharing files via Twitter. Most importantly though is that SkyDrive now supports editing of Open Document Format (ODF) files. This is significant because an increasing amount of government departments around the world are mandating the use of open formats.
- Lumia 900 dock made of Lego
Compared to other Windows Phone OEMs, Nokia has been doing a great job of creating accessories for its devices, but it hasn’t made a dock for the Lumia handsets yet. If you’re a budding Lego engineer, then you could follow Baris Eris’ example and build a D.I.Y. dock. His blog post describes how he built a dock for his Lumia 900, and integrated a Micro USB cable for charging and data connectivity. It’s an exacting process as he says there is a 1/10th of a millimetre tolerance to get everything lined up, and be able to engage or disengage the phone with one hand.
- Microsoft confirm app compatibility for Windows Phone 8
Larry Lieberman, via the Windows Phone Developer Blog, has made a statement on application compatibility between Windows Phone 7 and the "next major version" (i.e. Windows Phone 8). The statement followed the latest release of the Windows Phone SDK.
- Lumia 900 dismantled by TechRepublic
TechRepublic's Bill Detwiler has given the Lumia 900 his signature teardown treatment. The article shows step-by-step photos of how to dismantle the device, along with a detailed report on the internal components. Of course, Nokia's specialised polycarbonate unibody made disassembly a tricky operation; but Detwiler commented on how its construction made the phone feel solid and sturdy. The article also compared the Lumia 900 to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the iPhone 4S, and comment was passed on how "average" the Lumia 900's RAM, single-core CPU, pixel density, battery life, and storage. This led Detwiler to the conclusion that the Lumia 900 had been built to cost; given that, at $99 (USD) on a 2 year contract, it is the most affordable high-end smartphone available in the U.S.
- 2012 marks Nokia's turn around
A Town Hall Investment Research analyst, Jamie Townsend, has just upped his share rating of Nokia to Buy from Avoid. His report states that Nokia's recovery has finally begun, thanks to the partnership with Microsoft and Windows Phone 7. He also stated that he is "both intrigued and concerned" with Nokia because of the rapid rate at which it went from a world-leader to a "has-been" in the smartphone world, and that this was because "Nokia seemed to be mired in a legacy born out of the handset markets that existed in the 1990s and early 2000s".
- Nokia confirm tethering for Lumia
According to an FAQ published on Nokia Connects tethering is coming to Nokia Lumia devices
- Study suggests consumers want thinner phones with larger screens
A study by Strategy Analytics has suggested that users in the US and UK are likely to choose a smartphone with a screen ranging between 4.0 and 4.5 inches. The study gave the test subjects a range of prototype devices and asked which they would be likely to choose. Paul Brown, a Director in the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice commented, "This trend is driven by increased mobile web browsing capability, as well as engaging video and gaming experiences.".
- Microsoft Weather updated for low-end devices
Microsoft developer Mike Battista recently posted an announcement on his blog of his work on the Microsoft Weather application. The new version has been rewritten from the ground up to support background agents, fast application switching, and secondary tiles. This can be seen as something of an exercise in the methods that Mike also wrote a guide for writing applications that will work on the new low-end Windows Phone 7 devices with only 256MB of RAM. I.e. the unofficially but commonly named Tango update - Windows Phone 7.5 for low cost deivces.
- Nokia Transport released via Beta Labs
Following its announcement at Mobile World Congress, Nokia Transport has been made available for the Lumia range via Nokia Beta Labs. The service currently provides transport information for 512 cities across 46 countries - the USA enjoys the lion's share of coverage. While Nokia Drive provides in-car navigation, Nokia Transport has been made to help you plan a journey via public transport. For example, when planning a trip across London, the application will advise you which underground lines to take, and which parts of the journey require you to walk. The walking parts of a journey are complemented by a deep-link to pedestrian navigation in Nokia Maps.
- Skype Beta available for Windows Phone 7
From Nokia's Mobile World Congress press event, Skype have just announced a beta version of its mobile client for Windows Phone 7 devices. The beta version is available to download from the Windows Phone Market place (QR code below), and supports "the most important Skype features", including group chat and calls, and has been translated into the MetroUI style. The Skype Beta allows you to make free audio and video calls to your contacts over mobile data or WiFi, including group calls.
- Public Transport Navigation comes to Lumia courtesy of Nokia Transport
Nokia announced an update to its personal navigation software, namely Nokia Transport and Nokia Drive 2.0, during its Mobile World Congress press event, in Barcelona.
- Nokia Reading brings E-Books and Web Feeds to Lumia Phones
During its Mobile World Congress press event, Nokia announced a new content service - Nokia Reading. This is designed to be a new content hub where users will discover text and audio e-books, along with a magazine style web feed reader. Nokia have partnered with Penguin and Hachette, and Pearson - two of the biggest publishers - for text and audio books. Which will be available to buy on your Lumia device.
- Nokia become largest vendor of Microsoft smartphones
According to research from Strategy Analytics, Nokia has become the largest vendor of Microsoft smartphones. Nokia has taken this position for the first time, mostly at the expense of HTC's Windows Phone 7 market share. The report also says that shipments of Windows Phone 7 devices grew by 36% from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011. In the same period, Nokia's share of those sales shot from zero to 33.1%.
- Everything Everywhere to roll out 4G in the UK
Everything Everywhere, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile has announced that throughout 2012 it will be upgrading its 3.5G HSPA+ network, and subject to regulatory approval, it will launch the UK's first 4G LTE network using 1800MHz spectrum (and 800MHz in the Cornwall area).
- CNN app exclusively for Nokia
The official application for CNN has arrived on Nokia Lumia devices. As promised at CES 2012, the app is exclusive to Nokia for an initial period before arriving on other Windows Phone 7 devices. Taking full advantage of the Metro UI, users can swipe between different primary sections of the app - Top Stories, Sections, and the iReport citizen journalism service where readers can submit stories about specific topics. Individual sections can be pinned as Live Tiles and the app can receive breaking stories and display via its main Live Tile.
- Nokia branding to appear on Bing Maps
UK tech blog, Pocket-lint, has published news from an interview with Stephen Elop. Behind closed doors at the CES in Las Vegas, Elop told how that Bing Maps would soon be displaying the Nokia brand name. Elop said that this would apply to Microsoft properies across a range of outlets, even Blackberrys that now use Bing Maps.
- John C Dvorak proclaims the Lumia range as winners
Well known technology journalist and pundit, John C Dvorak, has published his thoughts on the Lumia 710 and 800 - the verdict is that he thinks they're both winners.
- The WP7 sceptic's progress report
Stephen Elop said in the February 11th announcement that the transition to Windows Phone 7 would be an emotional one. He hit the nail on the head, not just for employees of Nokia, but for anyone who had any kind of investment in the Symbian world. Windows Phone 7 has had the power to delight me and infuriate me in equal measure. I have lived with five of these devices, and have transitioned from Ubuntu to Windows 7 to facilitate that process - Windows Phone 7 has had an impact on my life.
- Review: HTC Radar
The Radar is HTC's latest sub-4" Windows Phone 7 device. While being yet another touch slab, the Radar's design and specifications offer subtle differences to others in its class. From its premium build quality and 3.8" display (as opposed to the usual 3.7") to its non-replaceable battery and lack of digital compass, there is plenty to talk about. Not to mention the suite of HTC exclusive applications. Read on to find out more.
- Corning Lotus Glass set to improve display manufacture
Corning, the glass and ceramics producer, has just announced its
- MissionGeek likes Metro UI
A post on the MissionGeek blog tells of a Linux and Android user who is becoming tempted over to MetroUI. Shawn McGuire writes that he has never been a Microsoft or Apple guy - not because he's a brand snob, but because he has philosophical disagreements with both companies. For instance, he sees Microsoft as the monolithic company that is necessarily slow to react to change, while Apple is too locked down and expensive. Meanwhile, he has fallen for the MetroUI user interface on Windows Phone 7 and hopes that its ecosystem will be a
- HTC updates Camera Modes app in Titan and Radar
HTC have just rolled out an update to its Camera Modes application, part of the built-in camera application, to version 1.5. As shown below, burst and panorama are found in the camera settings menu. Burst rapidly takes five photos, saving to RAM for speed and saving to Flash storage when its finished. The Panorama mode stitches three images together, with remarkable precision and speed. Helpful guides are superimposed on the screen to show you where to rotate to. The camera software tracks changes in the image to measure its rotation - it has to work this way as the Radar lacks a digital compass.
- Selling the cloud to humans
TheNextWeb writes about how Microsoft and Apple are going all out to sell cloud service to ordinary human beings. Both companies are running a series of TV ads to show how their cloud services can enhance everyday life. Apple have concentrated on media consumption - showing how easy it can be to stream content around your home to all of your Apple devices. Meanwhile, Microsoft's TV ad depicts a father using the OneNote service as a shopping list. You see him running around the supermarket searching for everything. Meanwhile, at home, his kids are adding a list of treats via the home PC which is synchronised in real time to their Dad's phone.
- Microsoft runs $15K contest for student developers
In Microsoft's ongoing developer engagement strategy, a contest is being held to encourage students to develop Windows Phone 7 applications. The usual rules apply that you must not work for, or be related to anyone who works for Microsoft, and you have to be a resident of the United States; plus you must be over 18 years old and studying at a U.S. university or college. Runners up prizes include a trip for winner and guest to Austin, Texas to attend the SxSW Music Festival on March 13, 2012. Winners of the grand prize will recieve a cheque for $15,000.00. The contest has seperate categories for free and paid for applications. So what are you waiting for - get hacking - you have until February 14th 2012 to get your entries in. See the source link below.
- HTC Titan sold out on ATandamp;T
While Windows Phone 7 activations may only be a fraction of Android's daily half a million, sales are reported to be going well. The American AT&T network is reporting on its website that the HTC Titan has sold out. BestBuy looks to be the best bet for U.S. customers looking the Titan. If you want to know more about about the HTC Titan, you can find our full review here. You can pick up an unlocked Titan in Europe from Expansys or Clove Technology.
- Facebook activations infer Windows Phone Growth
WMPowerUser has published figures on the number of new Windows Phone 7 Facebook integration. Between the 11th and 25th of November (2011) there was a sharp increase of 100,000 accounts. WMPowerUser also claims that according to their estimated conversion figure this corresponds to a real world sales figure of 600,000 devices. Bear in mind that these are estimates. However, this would tie in with the release of the HTC Titan, HTC Radar, and the Lumia 800. To keep things in scale, also recall that 550,000 Android handsets are released daily; it is early days for Windows Phone though.
- CNET UK editor doesn't want an iPhone anymore
CNET UK's Rich Trenholm recently wrote an editorial with the attention grabbing headline of "Why I don't want an iPhone any more". The article is something of a catharsis, and coming to terms with his separation from the iPhone which he was a fan of for many years. The theme's to take away from the piece echo our own conversations about user interface design here on the All About Windows Phone Insight Podcast.
- Nokia Director's Cut - Future Tech at Nokia World
If you've ever worked on video editing, you'll understand how stitching together clips of the same event from multiple devices can be a tedious and labour intensive task. Nokia's researchers are working on a way to automate this, and were showing off their work at Nokia World 2011. The result of their work "Director's Cut" is a system that can intelligently cut clips together. Read on to find out more.
- Nokia's Hydrophobic Future
Nokia's Cambridge Research Lab is investigating several uses for Carbon nanotube technology. Built from a single layer of Graphene, a new type of Hydrophobic coating could make phones much more resilient to wet environments, while providing a cheaper alternative to current touch screen technology, which is based on rare earth metals. Since Graphene is a form of Carbon, one of the most abundant elements on the planet, the raw materials are much easier to obtain. We spoke to researchers at Nokia World's Future Technology tent to find out more.
- Homebrew community brings battery readings to Live Tiles
A new Live Tile showing your device's battery level has just been released on the XDA Developers forum. Because of limitations on regular Windows Phone applications, it requires an unlocked device, which can now be easily done via the ChevronWP7 service. If you've been closely monitoring your device's battery level, you'll know that indicator in the Windows Phone status bar isn't too helpful. If you need an actual percentage level, you need to go into the settings menu and find the Battery Saver page. Instead, this battery status app will give a periodically updated percentage reading directly to your start page.
- Review: Podcasts! Pro
If you like to download podcasts over the air, then Windows Phone 7 might leave you a tad frustrated. Even though Mango can download podcast episodes under its own steam, you still have to add subscriptions from the Zune Desktop. If you want to be completely independent of using a PC, then third party applications are the way to go. One such option is
- Flexible NanoTech at Nokia World 2011
The Nokia Kinetic was the bendy concept phone that garnered the most column inches from Nokia World's Future Tent, at this year's event in London. While several sites have written about the design and usage scenarios, few have commented on Nokia's Carbon nanotube research that made it possible. It certainly looks like it's a long way off, as the reliability of flexible components are still questionable, as hinted at by the Kinetic's umbilical cable. Read on for the full story.
- Nokia Maps in action on all Windows Phones
Revealed in one of the launch videos for the Nokia Lumia 800 were screens of the generic Nokia Maps for Windows Phone, the software that will be made available to all Windows Phone licensees as part of the agreement between Nokia and Microsoft. We've shown the relevant images below, along with the full video - suffice it to say that Nokia Maps is effectively Bing Maps on steroids, but keeping away from the real time sat-nav features of Nokia Drive.
- A view on Windows Phone development
Microsoft's Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Windows Phone 7 development, and Nokia's Reggie Hutcherson, Director of Windows Phone Experience, held a talk at Nokia World 2011 about the opportunities on offer to Windows Phone app developers. The talk was aimed to show that they understood the needs of developers, and how serious both companies are about obtaining and supporting as many developers as possible. While this is what you might expect both companies to say, Brandon Watson in particular putting himself forward as being available, anytime, to any serious developers that wanted to talk to him.
- The Lumia 800's CBD display demonstrated in sunlight
My Nokia Blog's Jay Montano has posted videos of the Lumia 800's display performance in bright daylight. Having been allowed to take the device out for a tour of London, you can see his video footage while atop the London Eye, in direct sunlight. As expected, the combination of polarising layers and reduced air gap produce (CBD) and the underlying AMOLED screen impressive results. See for yourself below.
- Elop triples marketing budget and thinks about tablets
Bloombergy Business Week has reported on an interview made with Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop about the company's plans to re-enter the U.S. market. It's an extended read and retells much of what Nokia fans already know about the plans afoot in Finland. However, there are some choice quotes from Elop about how Nokia intends to fight its way back into the U.S. market.
- Designing Smarter Phones
Marko Ahtisaari, Senior Vice President of Design at Nokia, and Albert Shum, General Manager of the Windows Phone Design Studio, held a panel at Nokia World 2011. They explained how the design teams from both companies worked together to bring the Lumia 800 to fruition. Each designer talked about the way in which their teams had designed their products, and how well the design values of the two companies matched. Whether you're into design or not, it was an interesting insight into how both software and hardware designers form and refine their ideas.
- Nokia back 26 free WiFi hotspots in London
Nokia are backing the launch of 26 free WiFi hotspots across London. The launch coincides with the soon to be released Lumia devices, but the hotspots will of course work with any type of device. Web page authentication is required, and it's not yet clear if WEP or WPA encryption will be used. As a further tie in with Nokia, each hotspot (and future hotspots) will be listed in Nokia Maps as a point of interest.
- Building a different kind of UI
Metro UI is the freshest user interface design we've seen in many years - Joe Belfiore is Microsoft's vice president of the Windows Phone programme and he spoke in a small 'speaker's corner' setting at Nokia World 2011, explaining the origins and motivations behind Metro. Read on for the details and some of our impressions, including clues as to where the name itself came from...
- Nokia needs to impress us
Tomorrow sees the start of Nokia World 2011, where the Finnish mobile giant comes out to the ball firmly arm in arm with Microsoft's Windows Phone. By now, we all know the story of why Nokia felt it had to do this, whether you agree or not. Just how much is riding on Elop's Redmond bet?
- Windows Phone gets one step closer to screenshot capability
One of the problems with reviewing applications for Windows Phone is that taking screenshots is not at all straight forward. Fortunately, a member of the XDA developer forum has created a tool that allows users to take screen shots within their device, without needing a PC and an SDK setup. The application, Screen Capturer, has just been updated to version 3.0, which removed the requirement for the user to
- Nokia will announced its phones at Nokia World
- Nokia N8 vs N9 in photographs
Nokia's only MeeGo based device, the N9, is doing the rounds in the blogosphere at the moment. While in many ways it is an unfinished device, its hardware will probably live on in Nokia's Windows Phone range. Despite the difference in materials, the industrial design of the N9 can be seen to take some cues from that of the N8. For instance its tapered ends and flat top and bottom. The Mobile Fanatics blog has just published photo gallery comparing the two devices. If you're interested in how this MeeGo Harmattan device compares to Symbian's flagship, or how the N8 might compare to its Windows Phone successor, then you should check it out.
- Microsoft launch feature suggestions poll
Microsoft have opened a forum at Uservoice.com to consult with the public about which features should added to Windows Phone. The system allows you to register a native account or login via your Facebook or Google account. There are already many suggestions, which you can browse according to popularity or the date they were submitted. Each user is given ten votes, and they can give upto three votes to any one suggestion. Read on for more details.
- The Trouble with Technology Journalism Part 2 - UK news - Blottr
In my last article, I discussed the problem in technology journalism with reporting rumours and leaks as news when the information is not confirmed. This whipped up quite a storm on Twitter between technology journalists about the fundamental nature of news. In particular, Charles Arthur of the Guardian presented an opposing view, and argued his corner against myself, All About Symbian's Steve Litchfield, and CNET UK's Natasha Lomas, among others.
- The Trouble with Technology Journalism - UK news - Blottr
In 'proper' journalism, news has to be verified before publication – by definition this rules out rumours and leaks. However, if you read any of the major technology news sites, you'll find that leaks and rumours make up a big section of the news. If you believe that there are print (tabloid) publications which don't adhere to that standard, you'd be right, and I'd contend that what they're doing isn't true journalism.
- Will the Web be worse if it's less wild? - UK news - Blottr
Some might say the World Wide Web is growing up, and some might say it's selling out. Anthropomorphisms aside, things have changed. If you cast your mind back to the late nineties, the Web was like a great open plain where we all had our own watering holes from which we quenched our need for news and information, but there was little sense of community – unless you were knowledgeable enough to be using things like IRC or News Groups.
- Google Plus is risking irrelevancy - UK news - Blottr
The social media conversation always, albeit implicitly, pits Facebook against Twitter. It sounds reasonable on the surface, given that they're the two biggest brands in the space. It's also a very ignorant comparison because Facebook and Twitter are fundamentally different products. Google Plus, however, is much more like Facebook, even more-so with its latest redesign.
- 15 Things You Didn't Know Your iPhone Could Do - UK news - Blottr
The iPhone has been around for a long time – at least it has in tech years. In that time, creative users and inventors have come up with all sorts of ways to celebrate the functionality of Apple’s smartphone. From highly practical things like first aid and mobile payments, to music and photography, there are many ways you can put your iPhone to use with either apps or accessories. Today we’re taking a look at fifteen things you probably didn’t realise you could use your humble smartphone for
- Are Apple Products a Waste of Money? - UK news - Blottr
Discussing the Mac vs. PC subject is the tech geek's equivalent to discussing politics or religion - don't do it unless you're ready for things to get nasty! With that in mind, I'm donning my flame retardant suit and delving into the subject!
- Don't be a Twitter Troll - UK news - Blottr
My previous column gave a few examples of how people get themselves into trouble with their status updates. The problem is that most people keep that Twitter accounts public, but think they're safe to say anything they like. Even if you're tweeting under a pseudonym with no identifiable information on your profile, you can still be tracked by your IP address tmp so whatever you say it is still you saying it.
- Speak Freely but Not Foolishly
Whether you live in a country that grants freedom of speech as a right or not, the reality is that exercising such a freedom will always highlight the conflicts of interest in any society. This has always been the case, but the incredible power of the Internet to amplify the spread of information is making us think more than ever about the consequences of what we can or should, and can't or shouldn't say in public.
- Is online shopping killing the high street?
I recently discovered a statistic about the UK economy that surprised me. According to the BBC, the Internet accounts for 8.3% of the UK economy which is more than any other G20 country. That means the UK is doing more of its business online than the USA, China, Japan, and South Korea tmp to name but a few.
- Are we destined to be cyborgs?
f you think that technology is all about the latest smartphone or getting the best gaming graphics, then you are missing the point. Technology is there to improve our lives, in all sorts of ways. One way is to improve or replace functions of the body tmp both for the disabled and to augment able bodied people. Where is this technology headed though? How far would you go to customise your body with technology?
- Did Anonymous-OS Make a Case For App Stores?
Anonymous fans were recently downloading ???Anonymous-OS???; a customised version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system with the hope of learning the tools of the trade to become the next 1337 hax0r. It all turned out to be something of a pie in the face for them, when even Anonymous itself warned that the operating system was ???fake and full of Trojans???. Now, stop and think about how many times YOU have installed software without really knowing where it came from or what it was going to do.
- Piracy isn't the Problem
The war on piracy has been in top gear ever since the Internet Age began. The landmark event was twelve years ago when Metallica took Napster to court for copyright infringement. Since then, the music and movie recording industries have spent their time diligently researching the economics of the Web, and how customers want to consume content. They've strived to obtain international agreement on copyright liberalisation to reflect the fact that national boundaries have no meaning on the Internet.
- Smartphone security - how to keep your handset safe
Smartphones have become an intimate part of our lives. If you don't believe me, ask any of the celebrities who have had their phones hacked lately, and had personal details revealed to the world. They, like most of us, use these devices with little or no thought to data being illicitly accessed or the device being stolen outright. The fact of the matter is that the smartphone has become an access point for all of our professional and personal data. As such, it is vulnerable tmp and so are you.
- Smartphones Are The Best Cameras for Citizen Journalists
Citizen journalism is about the democratization of journalism, dare I say the Googlification of journalism? The whole social web has been about creating a two way media, taking control from state and corporate interests. Whether the content is written, musical, or visual, the social web has given power to the people.
- Has Apple Run Out of Juice?
While reading coverage of Apple's latest keynote, it occurred to me that both of the product announcements since Steve Jobs stepped down have had a common theme tmp they've failed to live up to expectations. It would be a misjudgement to say that this is because Jobs is no longer with us though. By all estimations, Apple's product line and bank balance are set for the next few years. Still though, any product announcements will be missing his unique character.
- Keep Calm, Carry On Googling
- Is Microsoft a Reformed Character?
During the past ten years, Microsoft has transformed itself from the mortal enemy of open source software to being a good neighbour and willing partner. However, it is still demanding money with [legal] menaces from anyone who produces an Android device (which is based on open source software). While Microsoft probably has a just cause, many still view the company with a sceptical eye. What can the Redmond titan do to put things right?
- Does Biz Stone understand Twitter?
Last week, Biz Stone made headlines by saying that using Twitter too much is unhealthy tmp not something you'd expect to hear from one of the company's founders! How much is too much? Twelve hours apparently! One has to wonder how many people are actually spending that long on Twitter. Was this a blatant attempt at headline grabbing? Does Biz Stone know something we don't know? Is Twitter going to improve upon trending topics whereby the best tweets are chosen for us?
- Anonymous - Better The Devil We Don't Know?
Anonymous is promising that ???something big??? is coming in the next few days. It's impossible to speculate on what its latest hack might be, but it is a good time to look at the morals of hacktivism.
- We don't need so many smartphone models
The old saying of ???less is more??? holds true in most cases tmp including the smartphone market. If you've read Barry Schwartz's book, ???The Paradox of Choice??? you'll already have a good understanding of why. When we start looking for a new phone, and see everything on offer, we can't help but feel overwhelmed.
- Seesmic review for iOS, Android, WP7
If you're a social network power user, and you need a mobile app that's available on every major platform, and with enough options to let you tinker to your heart's content, then Seesmic could be the tool for you. It's available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7, and is complemented by a desktop browser HTML5 application tmp but is it any good?
- Twitter's Censoship Isn't Evil
Twitter recently announced that it would be blocking tweets on a country specific basis. This triggered outrage amongst some users who protested by boycotting for a day. We can all agree that any form of censorship is bad news, and those who want it rarely have an altruistic motivation. Did Twitter really deserve the lambasting it received though? We should take a reasonable view on the situation by recognising the difficult position that Twitter is in, and that it does not have a bad record on abusing the free speech of its users.
- Review: Evi, Siri Has Competition
The future depicted by Star Trek where we find information by speaking to a computer is slowly becoming a reality. The world had its first glimpse of this when Apple released the iPhone 4S with its Siri personal assistant. The wonderful thing about technology is that exclusivity doesn't last for long, and now we have Evi available for Android and iOS. Like Siri, it is a voice controlled artificial intelligence system with around a billion facts at its disposal from which it can infer trillions more.
- Will Facebook Be The Next Apple?
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have heard about Facebook filing to become a public company,with the hope of raising at least $5 billion. Unlike most public companies, Facebook will not have a board filled with bureaucracy. Instead, CEOMark Zuckerberg will have ultimate say in Facebook's affairs. That method worked for Steve Jobs and Apple, but can it work for Facebook? Can visionary leadership always win out against harsh business realities?
- Five ways to watch UK TV on your mobile
The story of this year's Consumer Electronics Show was smart televisions. Like it or not, apps are coming to your home's biggest screen. Why should TV's have all the fun though? Your smartphones and tablets are capable of being your television too. Thanks to numerous apps and services, you can stream live content and video on demand to your mobile devices. Read on to find out how.
- What is ACTA and how does it affect you?
Citizens of the Internet joined in protest last week to stop the USA's SOPA and PIPA legislation being passed into law. It was the first time individual users and large organisations, such as Wikipedia and Google, united in saying ???No??? to misinformed laws that would break the inner workings of the Internet. Has everyone peaked too early though?
- Citizen Journalism Guide, Part 2
So, you want to be a citizen journalist do you? Even though you think you have the instinct and dedication, you need the right tools. In the first part of our guide we talked about cloud services on which to publish your writing, audio, photography, and videography. This time we're going to
- Tools for Citizen Journalists, Part 1
Citizen journalism is the process of delivering news by the people for the people. Blottr is leading the way in the UK with this form of new media. While we provide the platform for you to report your stories, it's generally left to you to choose your tools. Since delivering news on the Internet is inextricably linked to tech, today is the first of a two part series about helping you find the best tools to become a citizen journalist. In part one, you'll find cloud services that are free to use. In part two we'll look at smartphones and accessories that won't break the bank.
- Review: Star Chart
Augmented reality is one of the hot topics in mobile apps, but we don't have to be bound to just looking for the nearest Pizza restaurant. What about turning your mobile device skyward and exploring the stars? That's exactly what Star Chart by Escapist Games Ltd does for you. This celestial guide is available for iOS and Android devices.
- Facebook Timeline distracts users from privacy risks
In September I reported on Facebook's announcement of Timeline profiles and the Open Graph API for a new wave of applications. Since then, the new style profiles have been rolled out to users on an opt-in basis. In the past week though, the Open Graph framework has been released to developers. While the general population of Facebook are staring at another profile page design in transient dismay, the presentation of privacy settings has been altered yet again right under their noses. In the time it takes Facebookers to forget what their profile page used to look like, how many will have lost their job/friends/spouses through privacy blunders?
- How Have Social Networks Changed Us?
Social networks have been around longer than you think tmp it's not all just about Facebook and Twitter! But how have they changed us? Given that half of us have grown up with these sites always being there, and the other half of us have short memories; it's difficult to remember life without them. Taking a historical view is a good way of tracking the changes that these cyber watering holes have brought tmp to the Internet and to us.
- Best of CES 2012 - Part Two
Part one of our CES guide covered the latest news in the smartphone and tablet industry that broke during the pre-show announcements. That's not all there is to talk about though - part two of our Best of CES Guide is here to tell you about some of the other noteworthy gadgets that were on show. Sitting at home and reading about it all might not be the same as taking in the sights of Las Vegas and its huge technology show, but we're saving you the airfare and the foot ache.
- Best of CES 2012: Part one
January means one thing in the tech world - CES - the Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas, USA. This is where technology companies, great and small, gather to show their wares for the year ahead. In addition to household names, inventors and fledgling businesses gather in the hope of their project being spotted by the right people.
- Game review: Jelly Defence
Tower Defence games never get old. Anyone who enjoys strategy and resource management can find their gaming nirvana. Most such games have a militaristic slant with cannons and tanks being the standard fare. Jelly Defence is different, it puts you in a surreal world with - you guessed it - characters made out of jelly. Your job is to defend your home world from invaders while the rest of your kin make their escape to the stars.
- Ten Tech Predictions for 2012
It's a time honoured tradition for technology journalists to have a go at predicting what the year ahead will hold - and this column is no different. Just in case any of my predictions are far more accurate than I expect them to be, let me state for the record that these are not based on any insider knowledge. See what you think, and if you have any predictions let us know in the comments.
- Top Five Smartphone Innovations in 2011
As the year draws to a close, it's a good time to look back on the struggle for smartphone supremacy. While the year has been dominated by an increasing number of grey touch slab devices, there have been some bright lights of innovation. Some might say these devices are just novelties, but they do matter. The general trend of smartphone design is leaning toward larger touchscreens and fewer buttons (physical or capacitive). There is very little room for innovation within that pattern - so we have to encourage anything that brings something new to that recipe, no matter how quirky.
- Favourite Mobile Apps of 2011
Mobile applications are more important than ever, but which have been the most popular? After polling numerous sources across the Web, I received many recommendations. Combining this with my own research, I have chosen my top mobile applications in 2011. Whether you're an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, or Symbian user, you'll find something for your beloved mobile here.
- Google Plus - Differentiation by Integration
In a spate of playing to one's own strengths, the social networking war has just become much more interesting. In just the last seven days Twitter has set itself up as a web destination to tempt users away from third party apps, and Google Plus was tightly integrated with Gmail contacts.
- NewNewTwitter threatens Facebook
Twitter has updated its website, offering an improved user experience. Its mobile clients on Android and iOS have been upgraded to reflect the changes. Additionally, the Twitter owned TweetDeck has been revamped and native versions have been released for Windows and OSX, removing the need for Adobe Air. This clearly indicates that Twitter is looking to consolidate its platform and attract users back from third party applications.
- Top Twenty Christmas Tech Gifts
The season of shop keepers' joy, otherwise known as Christmas, is fast approaching. If you are wondering what to buy for yourself, or the geek in your life, this year - look no further. The Blottr top twenty list of tech gifts is here to help! Whether your intended recipient has their dream device or not - and whatever your budget is - you'll find something useful. So read on, and if you think anything has been missed, you are welcome to put your suggestions in the comments!
- Review: World of Goo
The surreal physics simulation, World of Goo, is now available for Android. It was originally released on Windows in October 2008 by indie developers Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel - together they are known as 2D Boy. Since its initial release, versions have been made for Wii, Linux, Mac and iOS.
- Larry Page is slashing Google's driftwood
Google has been well known for its scatter shot approach to creating products, thanks to its 20% time projects. However, since co-founder Larry Page took over the CEO role from Eric Schmidt, at the beginning of this year, things have changed. In the name of consolidation, all sorts of products have been sent out to pasture. If Google continue on this road of common sense, where will it lead?
- Review: Atariand#39;s Grestest Hits on iOS andamp; Android
All you kids with your Xboxes and your PlayStations might think you invented gaming, but you'd be sadly mistaken. Gamers have been blankly staring at their TV sets since before I was born!
- The secret of Android's Success
Recent figures about the Android operating system show that it continues to enjoy explosive growth, but why is that? During the Google Music release event earlier this month a chart was shown suggesting exponential growth in the number of device activations. Meanwhile, the Gartner Research corporation released its third quarter smartphone results, which showed Android has 52.5% of the market, but a simple percentage cannot tell the whole story. It's tempting to say that such dominant market share suggests consumers are voting with their wallets. However, influential relationships between manufacturers and retail outlets, along with the dominance of Android in the low and mid tiers, mean that consumers are getting few other smartphone options.
- App review: Words with friends
If you're a wordsmith with a competitive streak, then today's review is just for you. Words with Friends is one of the multitude of titles from Zynga, the social network gaming company.
- Is Android Doomed?
Android has been ascendant since its launch in 2007, but what does the future hold? There is increasingly negative talk about ???Android fragmentation???, as each OEM desperately tries to differentiate its touchscreen phones from everyone else's. Microsoft are fleecing charging most Android OEMs royalty payments for every handset sale. Meanwhile, Samsung and Apple are in a titanic legal battle over the range of Galaxy tablets and phones. Could persistent legal pressure cause manufacturers to eventually decide that Android isn't worth the trouble anymore?
- Review: TweetDeck for Android
I've already reviewed TweetDeck for Google Chrome here on Blottr. Now it's time to take a look at the Android version.
- Podcatcher for Symbian
Once upon a time, Nokia smartphones had a built-in podcast client that worked very nicely. For some inexplicable reason, Nokia stopped including this on its phones, and there was no alternative for faithful Symbian users. Fortunately, an offshoot of the ill-fated Symbian Foundation was Podcatcher, a new podcast client for all flavours of Symbian, by developer Sebastian Brannstrom.
- Steve Jobs was a false god
The cult of Mac surrounded Steve Jobs and his company with religious fervor. When you look at the customer controlling principles, rather than the aesthetics, on which the products they loved were built, you begin to see that their faith was sadly misplaced.
- Review: Swype for Android and Symbian. Text entry by doodling
Inputting text by tapping on a piece of glass isn't the easiest thing to do, but more and more people are doing it these days. That's why you'll find a range of third party keyboard applications, trying to find smart ways to solve the problem of a better input method.
- Is eBay X.Commerce good for consumers?
eBay held its developer conference on the 12th of October. It announced plans for a entire platform of e-commerce tools, to help businesses take their trade online.
- Review: cuteBox, a Dropbox client for Symbian
If you're an avid Dropbox user and are wondering how to get at your files with your Nokia smartphone, then look no further. cuteBox is a Dropbox client ready to use for your Symbian^3 smartphone.
- Remembering Dennis Ritchie
Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the C programming language, and co-inventor of the Unix operating system, sadly died on the 8th of October, aged 70.
- Review: Paper Camera
Smartphones have brought photography to the masses, in a way that even modern digital point and shoot cameras didn't. Being able to frame a good photo is only part of the process if you're looking to make a work of art. Getting creative in a photo editor might be a bit much for some novice users, but in-camera effects can help. Every smartphone has them, but often they are too basic to speak of. That's where Paper Camera steps in, with its own style of hand drawn effects.
- What can Amazon learn from Opera and Facebook?
Last week, I wrote about the privacy issues surrounding Amazon's new cloud browser for the Kindle Fire. A question on the lips of many journalists watching the Amazon keynote was whether we would see Silk appear on other platforms too? There are signs that we might.
- Google Books vs Amazon Kindle
E-Book lovers now have yet another shop from which to build up their digital library. Google has finally made its Google Books service available to UK users. What started out as a book scanning and search system is now a fully fledged online store as part of the Android Market Place. However, the dominant player in this field is Amazon's Kindle platform. How do the two compare and does Google stand a chance of grabbing market share?
- Your Privates in Silk
Amazon recently held an event where it announced a new line of Kindles. Besides the (new) Kindle and Kindle Touch models, CEO Jeff Bezos also announced the company's first tablet device, the Kindle Fire.
- Flickr for Android
Flickr is one of the web's shining examples of citizen publishing. Not only has it pioneered ways in which to give users control over content, but it has done so while oozing style. However, it has been missing some official applications. Fortunately, one has just been released for Android. So charge up your flash bulb and remember to remove your lens cap as we take a look!
- Can mobile go vertical?
HTC is considering whether to buy its own operating system. That was the news which spread across the Internet on September 12th when HTC's chairwoman, Cher Wang, spoke at a press event in Taiwan. Numerous technology news sites speculated that HP's webOS was the most likely candidate.
- Disruptive payment methods for indie artists
Few of us are strangers to buying items online. Big businesses take all their money through the likes of VISA and MasterCard. However, independent content creators don't always have the sales volume or infrastructure to use those services. Such people need disruptive methods of handling money that will take the pain out of buying music, e-books, etc; for both the new wave of artists and their paying fans.
- Facebook launch Timeline and Open Graph
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg took the stage on Thursday at the F8 conference to announce a radical change to world's largest social network.
- Review: Google Music Beta
If you haven't heard of Chrome OS, it's Google's way of getting into the thin-client computing market. Chromebooks run a striped down Linux operating system, which runs nothing but Google's Chrome browser. This means all of your computing is done online, using services like Gmail and Google Docs. Even though there is file system on a small solid state disk; it's not meant to be visible, only power users and hardcore geeks will find it.
- Who else but Amazon would fork Android?
Amazon are reported to be building a Kindle tablet based on Android. That was the scoop from TechCrunch's MG Siegler who actually handled the device. Of course, he wasn't allowed to publish photographs of the device.
- Review: Gravity for Symbian
If you're one of the people who wrote Symbian off as a dead platform, think again. There are plenty of actively developed applications adding great value to Symbian smartphones. One of which has been around longer than most; Gravity, written by Jan Ole Suhr.
- Where did Yahoo! go wrong?
News broke on Septmber 7th that Yahoo!'s CEO, Carol Bartz, had been fired . This came after years of uncertainty about what sort of company it was trying to be. Until a replacement is found, former CFO Tim Morse has been made acting CEO. Additionally, an executive leadership council has been elected .
- Review: TweetDeck for Chrome
Google's Chrome browser is becoming a platform in its own right, thanks to HTML5. Browsing the Chrome Web Store reveals thousands of apps. These shouldn't be confused with browser extensions though. Web apps are full blown applications written in HTML5.
- The rise and fall of webOS
On the 18th of August, Hewlett Packard announced its intention to sell its Personal Systems Group and cease development of its webOS platform . This statement heralded what might be the final chapter for the Linux-based mobile operating system. Unless, of course, another company licences it.
- Nokia announces Symbian Belle devices
Last week in Hong Kong, Nokia hosted its ???Try Something New??? event and announced the latest version of Symbian, code-named Belle, along with three new smartphones on which it would first appear.
- Has Apple lost its core?
News broke this week that Steve Jobs resigned from the post of Apple Inc's CEO. Subsequently, Jobs will assume the roll of chairman of the board. Meanwhile, as part of an agreed succession plan, Apple's Tim Cook will become CEO. This reassignment will serve to gradually distance Jobs from his prior role, while Cook finds his feet and voice as the CEO of Apple.
- Review: Google Plus for Android
Back in June, Google made its re-entry into the social networking battle, with Google Plus. As ever for Google, it was released as a closed beta, thus avoiding the potential privacy nightmare that befell them with Google Buzz.
- Why did Google buy Motorola?
Google's acquisition of Motorola gave journalists and bloggers plenty to talk about this week. Partly because nobody on the outside saw this coming; partly because it's not obvious why Google took the bet. Here's a summary of what might have driven Google to go shopping, and what it might lead to.
The Mobile Fanatics
- Game Review: Spirit for Android and iOS devices
The objective of Spirit is to guide your sprite around the screen, trying to catch enemies, while avoiding contact with them. The way in which you do that is by drawing loops around them, which creates a kind of sink hole that sucks them away.
- Android Game Review: apzOrb
apzOrb is a new game for Android. Despite having significant differences I can?t help but think of the classic Snake game genre. You?re in control of a?creature?that is composed of groups of swirling cubes. Its only aim in life is to consume more and more blocks and survive as long as possible. Sounds fun, but read on to see whether it has long term appeal!
- Android Game Review: Cut the Rope
You might think physics is boring, but wait just a minute. Did you enjoy games like Worms and Angry Birds when you first played them? Well then, you actually love physics. A popular iOS game which found its way to Android,Cut the Rope, is yet another physics based game, with hilariously cute graphics. To play this one you?re going to have to brains and quick reactions
- Review: Tower Raiders 2 Gold for Android
Calling all tower defence fans! Your mission is to defend the pass, stop the invaders getting through, manage your?resources?and build your defences! Today we?re looking at Tower Raiders 2 Gold, one of the most substantial tower defence games available on the Android Market.
- Review: Power Control Plus widget for Android
The idea of customisable home screens is that users can access their favourite apps, personal data, and phone settings, without digging through menus. Android?s?Power Control widget?is one example of this, allowing the user to toggle the most energy hungry parts of their device. This is where Power Control Plus steps in, taking that idea to the next level.
- Top Five Android Networking Applications
If you?re an Android user and you?re reading this site, it?s safe to assume you?re smart and something of a geek. Something that all us geeks have to deal with sooner or later are local area networks (LANs). If you?ve ever wondered how you could put your Android devices to use on your LAN, then read on. This is a list of my favourite five networking applications for Android. Read on to see if you agree, and if not, let us know in the comments!
- How certain is ecosystem exclusivity?
Ecosystems and platforms are two things which appear to be inseparable. Any application which is called ?Cross Platform? usually means that there are multiple versions of the same application running on numerous platforms. However, as the mobile battle heats up, could we begin to see competition between ecosystems vying for dominance of one or more platforms?
- Filling the ecosystem gaps
These days, it?s all about the ecosystems. Every smart phone platform has one, even Amazon are trying to get in on the game. What about feature phones, though? Typically, they don?t have an ecosystem, and are barely capable of running apps. How can software companies tap into that market? Snaptu and Bitstream might just have figured it out ?
All About Symbian
- Symbian gets tiles courtesy of Qt Shell
Are you feeling stuck with your Symbian phone and wishing you had the budget to switch over to sparkly new Windows Phone or Nokia N9 or both?! If you've fallen for the bait of that sentence then you'll be interested to see what Qt Shell can do. This strange alternative user interface is a hybrid of the Windows Phone tiled interface and the multitasking mode of the Nokia N9.
- Catching up with Business Calendar
It's been a while since we last looked at Business Calendar, the alternative calendar application for Symbian. If you're tired of the built-in calendar app and looking for something new, then you should check out our original review of Business Calendar followed by the news of major updates to the user interface.
- Doodle God proves slick but ultimately not that lively
If you're feeling rather superior of all you survey then perhaps you fancy a game to suit your mood. Doodle God is a remake of the elements style of game where you start by coming the four basic (Greek) elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. As you go along, you'll create ever more complex objects, such as animals and devices. While there's not a lot one can do to be original in this genre, Doodle God does so by virtue of a very stylish and functional presentation.
- Otixo drops free service level
While there are many third party apps for various cloud storage services, Otixo is a cloud service that allows you to put all of your accounts into one convenient WebDAV directory. We covered Otixo as part of a review of Davi, a WebDAV client for Symbian. The service is compatible with Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive, Google Docs, SugarSync, Picasa, CX, Amazon S3, FTP sites and other WebDav drives.
- Magic Heroes unites puzzle and RPG
We've seen plenty of games based on the old Columns formula. That is, a grid of symbols that you move around in an attempt to make lines of three or more like-symbols to make them disappear. This either clears space so you can empty the board, or the board continuously refills in an endurance mode of play. Magic Heroes does that and seamlessly integrates it into an RPG game.
- Don Dropit rolls into town
Remember the puzzle games you'd used to get with a ball-bearing encased in a plastic maze, and you have to tilt the casing to navigate the ball through to the awaiting dimple where it would sit victoriously? Well, there's been plenty of these types of games on smartphones since accelerometers became a standard bit of kit. The latest that we've found on Symbian is the ever-so cute Don Dropit. He's a hedgehog who seems to live atop perilous cliffs, and he's hungry. Exploiting his desperate plight, someone has been sadistically placing gingerbread biscuits for him. All he has to do is curl up in a ball and get to them, with your help.
- ChessTen mini review
ChessTen free is a puzzle game that actually borrows more from Reversi (Othello) than chess. Nevertheless, it's a challenging game to learn. The object, like Reversi, is to turn all the counters on the board to your colour (black or white). Counters move along lines on the board, which are laid out as you'll see in the screenshots.
- SPB TV reaches version 3.0
One of our favourite apps, SPB TV, has just had a milestone update to version 3.0. For those not familiar this app lets you stream dozens of free streaming Internet TV Channels to your phone. The update not only gives performance and bug fixes, but has been designed to work with more hardware decoders in Symbian devices, improved support for Nokia Belle, and now supports high quality streams. If you want to know more about SPB TV see our review and some of our news coverage of the application throughout its life here and here.
- Replacing the humble photo gallery
When we first saw Photo Gallery 2 we wondered if there was real a need for a third party gallery when Symbian's Gallery application is so well written. Well, Photo Gallery 2 has a few graphical tricks in its favour. As the phone changes orientation, the app avoids the jarring rotate and rearrangement of thumbnails that we see in the standards gallery by keeping each thumbnail in place and rotating on the spot. It couldn't do this if thumbnails were in the same orientation as the original images though (i.e. a mixture of portrait and landscape), and so thumbnails are cropped to squares. However, tapping a thumbnail will make it expand to its full aspect ratio.
- Boggle your mind with 8 Over 12
I like puzzle games. Moreover, I like puzzle games I can eventually work out. 8 over 12 (and it's numerically lesser cousins) is a puzzle that has me stumped. In this game you have 8 white discs that you can move around the screen, each is connected to the next in a loop. Then there are 12 red discs that light up when one of the white connecting lines pass through them. Your objective is to light up all the red discs.
- Another way to make Symbian look like MeeGo
Calling all MeeGo fans, MeeGo Evolved by Blade is yet another theme for your Symbian device, nice to have for when you start to wistfully wonder what had happened if Nokia had stuck with the Linux based platform instead of going with Microsoft's Windows Phone. The theme boasts 1,100 fonts along with plenty of user interface customisation including transparent elements.
- Mobizy for mobile business management on Symbian and everything else
Mobizy is a service for small businesses to handle collaborative activities such as scheduling, contact management and notes. Unusually, it's available every mobile platform you can think of: Symbian, Windows Phone 7, iOS, Android, and even Blackberry. The basic service is free, but Mobizy plans to sell extra services to clients; currently all of these extra services are in beta and are thus free of charge.
- Get the Android lockscreen with Dunlock
Whether you are thinking of moving onto Android after your current device or you are finding yourself feeling rather envious of your Android toting friends, now might be the time to start making your Symbian device mimic Google's mobile OS. Dunlock provides you with an Android-like lock screen, with a ring of icons to which you drag an unlock icon from the centre of the circle.
- Fantasy Kingdom Defence review - All About Symbian
Tower Defence, it's a genre of game that everyone in the All About Symbian office seems happy for me to take care of; I don't know why, but I'm not complaining. Just when I thought I'd seen everything in the genre on Symbian, Fantasy Kingdom Defence popped up on our radar. This is your standard tower defence fare, but wraps it up in a cutesy medieval style.
- Swype updated to cure timeout issue
Swype, the gesture based alternative keyboard for Symbian, has been upgraded at Nokia Beta Labs to a new version which has been made to fix the timeout problem that affected the previous version. The exact version number, as available from Beta Labs, is 2.01(4436). Feedback from users suggests that the Swype team have successfully fixed the problems that had been plaguing patient beta testers.
- A transparent and simple battery widget
If you love widgets and you're paranoid about your battery level, then Transparent Battery Widget might be something of interest for you. The application for this widget is pretty simple, there is a toggle for power saving mode, and there are buttons to cycle through the text colour and meter bar colour.
- Wrap The Box mini review
Wrap The Box is an action game that - on first impressions - looks an awful lot like Fruit Ninja. Boxes continually come along on a conveyer belt, that you have to tape up by swiping on the screen. That cursory description is where the similarity ends though. Wrap The Box has its own twists and quirks that make it into a really compelling game that appears to have the right hook to keep you coming back for more.
- Treasures of Montezuma 2 mini review
If you're a fan of the Columns genre, you might want to take a look at Treasures of Montezuma 2. The game takes the genre, but adds special jewel incrusted tiles that all have to be cleared, against the clock. Each level can carry on for quite some time as you have to clear your way to matching up all of the jewels on the game grid. Until you do, the board will continuously refill with random tiles.
- Erebus RPG mini review
Did you used to play role playing games on a table top, rolling a D20 with your friends? Then you might be interested in the Erebus project. This is an open source roleplaying game, which lets you wonder around a fantasy world, battling goblins and scavenging weapons and armour. It's available for Windows and Linux PCs, plus Symbian and Android devices.
- Catan - The Seafarers Mini Review
Catan - The Seafarers is a turn based strategy game, if that's your kind of thing then read on. The game is set on an island, divided into hexagonal blocks. Each hex generates different types of resources. Your aim is to build settlements, which have to be placed between hexes (i.e. you'll have three hexes connected to each settlement). Next you'll need to build roads to connect your settlements, and prevent your opponents building their own roads into territories you could expand into later on.
- Screenlock FX review - All About Symbian
If you're a phone geek, customising one's smartphone is one of the best things about owning it. Since the release of Symbian^3, we have enjoyed the always-on clock and notification display from our AMOLED displays. Screenlock FX is an alternative lock screen that attempts to replace the original with far more functionality, but does it warrant the £4.00 price tag? Read on to find out.
- Poddi Podcatcher updated again
The developer of Poddi Podcatcher has been at it again - updating Symbian's latest podcatcher app. We reviewed version 1.0 of Poddi Podcatcher and rated it very highly. Since then it has received a major update which added pretty much of all of the features that we thought it was missing.
- Maze Lock brings unlock gestures
When it comes to locking your phone, the Android world seems to have the widest range of options. Not to be outdone, there are some apps out there in Symbian land that replace standard functions like. One of which is Maze Lock. This app bestows your Symbian device with a grid on which you set a secret sequence of continuous movements connecting any or all of the nodes. This sequence will then be the way to unlock your device, rather than entering a boring old PIN.
- Lost Objects for Titanic fans
Whether you're a geek for everything about the ill-fated RMS Titanic, or are just a fan of James Cameron's film, the game Lost Objects HD might be of interest to you. It's a style of game we've seen before in the Azkend series, where you are given a elegantly painted backdrop on which you have to stop objects that have been hidden in plain sight. In this case though, finding objects is all there is to the game.
- SkyFiles Pro review - All About Symbian
We all know how useful it can be to have access to our files in the cloud, not just for sharing but for having access to a much larger library of data than we would normally carry on our mobile devices. Dropbox and SugarSync have been the big hitters in this line of business, but Microsoft has been developing its SkyDrive solution, which goes a step further by providing Office web apps so you can edit and create your files in a browser. SkyDrive also gives more free space than anyone else, 7GB. Until now though, SkyDrive coverage on Symbian has been pretty weak. However, with its latest update, SkyFiles Pro now brings a first class SkyDrive experience to Symbian. We put it though its paces.
- FlickrUp updated and improved
You may remember our review of FlickrUp, which brought the best Flickr experience Symbian has seen to date. Well, developer Abhishek Kumar has taken his original creation and brought it up to date with a polished user interface, new fonts and other feature updates.
- Line of Attack and how not to do billing
Line of Attack is a strategy game that mirrors the futility of tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses) and the territorial nature of Othello (Reversi). The object of the game is to score points by creating lines of stones on a board. However, you must keep an eye your opponent. It can be more important to block your opponent from scoring than scoring yourself. Thus, as you learn to play the object of the game changes from scoring points to blocking your opponent and tricking your him/her/it into not blocking you.
- Dynamite Fishing 2 is a blast
Time for some Friday afternoon sillyness. Dyanmite Fishing 2's title leaves nothing to the imagination. You play a stereotypical American redneck, whome the tutorial pulls no punches in mocking. Perhaps too far, but let's assume no malice was intended.
- An alternative data couner
If you're on a metered data plan, having a widget to let you know how much data you've used would be very handy. Fortunately, a data counter and widget was introduced with Nokia Belle Refresh. However, if you want a widget that shows WiFi usage as well, for whatever reason, then Data Counter Widget is an app you should look at.
- Circle Launcher in 2D and 3D
If you miss the good old days of rotary telephones and you're bored of the traditional application grid launcher, then Circle Launcher and Circle Launcher 3D might be just what you've been looking for. These two alternative launchers offer a (you've guessed it) circular pattern of app icons for you to swipe your way through. The apps are fully configurable, allowing you to set the applications to include and how big the icons should be, etc.
- Veho 360 M4 Bluetooth Speaker review - All About Symbian
Smartphone speakers are a mixed bag, but most of us make the best of what we have. While more and more people seem to be audiophiles and are making their audio opinions known online, there comes a point where you might say a smartphone speaker isn't enough. The question is then which are the best external speakers? Nokia are keen to push NFC paired Bluetooth speakers which come with hefty price tags. Today's review looks at the more affordable Veho 360 M4 Bluetooth speaker.
- Draky and the Twilight Castle review - All About Symbian
Draky and the Twilight Castle is a quirky adventure game. It tells the tale of two children who explore the home of Baron Von Draky and how they run in to trouble when it turns out that the legendary Baron is actually a vampire. If you think you have the reactions, the memory, and the puzzle solving skills to get the kids out alive, then step inside, if you dare.
- Border Wars - Face Off brings the shooting range to your phone
Border Wars - Face Off is a classic shooting range game. If your gaming experience goes back far enough, think of Operation Wolf, but without the sideways scrolling and light gun. The plot of the game is simple, your are tasked with ensuring the security of your country's border from an invading force.
- Smart Cover homescreen replacement
For anyone wanting to spice up the Symbian user interface, a new app called Smart Cover offers a new home screen replacement. The app gives a futuristic set of onscreen buttons linking to standard Symbian applications. The application is revealed whenever the screen is unlocked. Swiping from one side of the screen to the other triggers a rotational transition to the next set of buttons.
- qooSystem review - All About Symbian
Calling all power users, if you're interested having a widget that can show you exactly how your phone is performing, then qooSystem is something for you. Symbian^3 brought better task management options with live previews of apps and a 'Close All' feature. However, a dedicated task manager goes well beyond that with the ability to audit, close or kill running processes, which is exactly what qooSystem does. Read on to see how well it all works.
- Working around Swype upgrade issues
Users of the Swype keyboard have reportedly run into trouble this weekend, as the beta version's certificate expired. A post on the Nokia Beta Labs forum confirmed that it would expire sometime after the 19th of September this year. Now that the certificate has finally expired, users who follow the prompt to upgrade to the full version find that the end result has been an unusable installation of the alternative keyboard. We have however, found that the version of Swype on the Nokia Store does in fact install and function properly. We suspect there is a broken link in the upgrade code.
- Smart Planetarium review - All About Symbian
Astronomy is an app genre that thankfully never seems to go away. Mobile devices are the electronic companions always at our side and can provide an excellent guide to the night sky. We've had quite a few astro apps through our doors here at All About Symbian (see our Top 5 apps list), and Smart Planetarium is the latest astronomical discovery in the Nokia Store. Let us take a look to see where it fits into the constellation of other Symbian astronomy apps.
- King Oddball review - All About Symbian
If ever there was an aptly named game, it is the subject of this review, King Oddball. The game is yet another physics simulation (which is no bad thing), but it's more a game of timing. As King Oddball swings back and forth, held by his tongue, you have to choose the right moment to release, so as to create the most havoc and destruction on the tanks and helicopters waiting below. Yes, this game is that strange, but is it equally addictive?
- Poddi Pocatcher updated to 1.1.1
Poddi Podcatcher is one of the few (read - two) serious podcast clients for Symbian. Our recent review conclused by hoping for more development and addition of missing features. The developer has been hard at work on Poddi Podcatcher, bringing in many new features in version 1.1.0, and has gone on to push new features into the application along with version 1.1.1 in addition to many bug fixes.
- Mini Review - Clever Frog
Frogs don't seem to be the smartest members of the animal kingdom, but that didn't stop some enterprising developers coming up with the game CleverFrog. Maybe they know something the rest of us don't! The game is a logic puzzle - the amphibious aspect is just for aesthetics, so let's forget about the frogs already!
- qooWeather updated
Today, the qooWeather widget app, by qooApps, was updated to version 4.0.1. It was recently taken to version 4, which was a major overhaul of the application; this latest update fixes graphical and power usage bugs.
- Mini Review - Castle Defender
Going by the title, Castle Defender sounds like it would be yet another tower defence game. That class of game entails deploying gun turrets along the route of an enemy march. This is not the case for Castle Defender, but there are some similarities.
- Situations app updated with more triggers and actions
We reported earlier in the year that the behind Nokia Situations had formed Pastili Labs and launched Situations as a commercial product. The application has now been updated with a free and paid for version, and a slew of new triggers and actions. Pastili Labs have now published Situations Lite to the Nokia Store, which is a free but limited version, in accompaniment to the full version of Situations, which costs 3 UKP.
- Warspear Online review - All About Symbian
Calling all Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) fans. As unlikely as a phone-based MMORPG sounds, that's exactly what Warspear Online is, and is available for Symbian no less. If you enjoy the swords and sorcery type of world that has been made iconic in recent years by the likes of World of Warcraft and Runescape, then Warspear Online could be your cup of tea - or should that be Mana potion?
- qooRSS updated to 1.0.4 with kinetic scrolling
Recently, we reviewed qooRSS, an alternative RSS reader and widget for Symbian devices. Our original review left us wanting more from the application. Fortunately, the team at qooApps have been working hard, while most of the changes aren't what we suggested in our review, one feature we did suggest is now present, and that is OPML import. Other changes are kinetic scrolling, copy to clipboard function, different widget modes, and a "smart tapping view".
- Belle Refresh rolls out to more Symbian^3 generation devices
We reported recently that a number of Symbain^3 generation devices (e.g. N8-00 etc.) received an application update with the homescreen widgets from Belle Feature Pack 2 (FP2). While many (including yours truly) assumed this update was published instead of the Belle Refresh update, those same product code devices are now receiving a new firmware update. The update is named "Improved software for [phone]", not "Belle Refresh", however it is sporting the correct version number - 111.040.1511.
- Super Robot review - All About Symbian
If you're an arcade action addict then today's application should attract you, as you control an articulated android who is tasked with anti-virus duties across the globe. Yes, as strange as it might sound, this game puts you in control of a virtual robot who wonders the plains of cyberspace dispatching viruses and other nasty bits of code lurking here and there.
- Pyramid Solitaire review - All About Symbian
So Symbian has plenty of frantic puzzle games and awe inspiring 3D adventures, but what if you want something more sedate? What about a nice game of solitaire - yes, I know you've probably played that until you're blue in the face, but stick with me as this is a little different to the standard fare. Pyramid Solitaire takes a different, ahem, angle on the solitary card game.
- Wrath of the Titans review - All About Symbian
If Greek legend is your taste, then the official Symbian game for the movie Wrath of the Titans is something to take a look at. That is, if you like the idea of romping around ancient Greece slashing your way through hordes of monsters and hybrid beasts. If you're wondering whether you'll find an enchanting Andromeda at the end of it all, there's only one way to find out!
- QooRSS review - All About Symbian
If you want to know what's going on in the world then taking advantage of the wonder of RSS is an absolute must. Further to that, using a mobile platform that uses real widgets, like Symbian, just cries out for a widget to show the day's news ticking by. We've looked at the armada of widgets from QooApps before and now we now take a look at its RSS offering.
- How to sync email, contacts and calendar from Google, Outlook or Yahoo
Getting email and other personal information management (PIM) services running on Symbian has, historically, been a tricky prospect at times. Things have improved in recent years thanks to the proliferation of Mail for Exchange services. This guide goes through how to get Mail for Exchange, which additionally offers contact and calendar sync, from Google, Microsoft, and even Yahoo!
- Belle FP2 to be final Symbian update - tacitly.
A reply to a recent bug report on Nokia Developer has lent weight to the idea that Nokia Belle Feature Pack 2 (FP2), what was to be known as Symbian Donna, will be the final update to the Symbian platform. This is by no means a surprise, Symbian operations were transferred from Nokia to Accenture a year ago, following Nokia's deal with Microsoft to fully adopt the Windows Phone platform.
- Poddi Podcatcher gets major update
We recently reviewed Poddi Podcatcher, a new podcasting client for Symbian. While it looked great with its contemporary usre interface, there were a few issues that prevented it being recommended to our readers. Since then, however, the developer has given the application a massive overhaul in very little time. All of the issues and wishes in our review have been address, and lots more too. So, we think you should take a second look at our review and consider giving it a go on your handset! Here's the store link.
- Calendar and Music updates for many Belle devices
If your Symbian device has Nokia Belle but has yet to receive the Belle Refresh update, it would be worth checking your Software Updater application. Besides the Homescreen Widgets application we recently reported on, Music and Calendar have now been updated too. Calendar is updated to version 10.6.1 and Music is updated to version 17.0.17 (from 17.0 16).
- gNewsReader updated to version 1.7
gNewsReader is a comprehensively featured Google Reader client for Symbian, which we reviewed last year. Since then it has continued to be updated and has recently received numerous bug fixes and presentation updates, including the re-branding of Read-It-Later to Pocket. gNewsReader is also available on the Nokia N9 for those of you trying out Nokia's other exiled operating system. According to the developer's Posterous blog, the latest 1.72 update includes the following features:
- NSR Reader Updated with multiple file format support
NSR Reader, a powerful PDF reader for Symbian has been updated with support for Text files (.txt) and multi-page .TIFF files (e.g. a format sometimes used with Fax software). The update should be pushed to you via the Nokia Store if you already have NSR Reader installed. If you don't have it installed, check out our review in which we rated it very highly, and I've even set it as my default PDF reader.
- Homescreen update for many devices brings Belle FP2 widgets
Nokia is pushing an application update (not a firmware update), via both the Nokia Suite desktop application and Software Update mobile app, to Symbian devices that have not yet received the Nokia Belle Refresh update. The application in question is called Homescreen Widgets, and adds a set of widgets that were seen in the Refresh update.
- Poddi Podcatcher review - All About Symbian
When it comes to obtaining podcasts (podcatching), the options for Symbian users are surprisingly limited. Many old-time users still lament Nokia's decision to abandon the built-in Nokia Podcasting client. Fortunately, another third party podcatcher was recently released, in addition to Sebastian Brannstrom's Podcatcher. Poddi Podcatcher fully embraces the Nokia Belle style user interface. Read on to see what it has to offer.
- SIS Editor enables spoofing
If you're a tinkerer or a hacker, a tool as just popped up on our radar that could be of interest to you. SIS Editor allows you to tweak the contents of .SIS and .SISX files. There are legitimate reasons to do this, such as working around app store related bugs. However, I wanted to bring this to everyone's attention for another reason. This application makes it easy for someone to write a malicious application masquerading as another app entirely, and distribute as a self-signed application.
- Moo launches NFC business cards
NFC is a feature appearing on Nokia and Samsung phones for the past year; and forthcoming HTC Windows Phone 8 devices. The constant criticism of NFC is that there's nothing to use it with, which presents something of a chicken and egg problem. Well, one more practical use has just appeared courtesy of business card company, Moo. The company has been around since 2006 and have been working on ways to make the boring old business card that bit more interesting.
- Li-Ion vs Li-Poly, plus how do Lithium batteries work anyway?
Battery technology underpins all of our mobile devices, yet we take it for granted. Matters are made worse for the curious souls who try to find out more because the information available online about Lithium Ion based batteries is vague at best. If you're curious about Lithium Ion batteries and the difference between them and Lithium Polymer, here's our guide on how they work and how they differ.
- Portable charger recommendations
Even though batteries are getting larger, so are the demands being put upon them by smartphones. One of the solutions to keeping your smartphone charged while away from a mains socket is to use a portable charger - i.e. an external battery pack. The Register has written up a round up of their ten favourite portable chargers. It's an interesting line-up - I did not know there were so many varients on the Nokia DC-16 theme (or that the DC-16 was a variation on an existing design). The highlight of the list, though, is the Energenie Chargegenie 200 which has a 20,000 mAh capacity - amazing.
- Build your own solar charger
Building something with your own hands is highly satisfying, and that's just what a Cyrus Farivar from Ars Technica found out when he took on a project to build a solar charger for his iPhone. While Cyrus had to rely on the help of a friend who was good with electronics, maybe his story will encourage you to go on and build your own solar charger for your smartphone. The project involved the purchase of four elements: the solar panel, a 'MintyBoost' device charging circuit board, a Lithium Ion battery and battery charging circuit.
- Chippy talks 808 and 920 at Photokina
Photokina, a German photographic trade show, has played host to Nokia again who have been touting their photographic wares. Nokia certainly have a lot of toys to show off this year with the Nokia 808 Pureview and the Nokia Lumia 920. Naturally, there was fair amount of coverage from the technology press, including Engadget and friend of these sites, Steve 'Chippy' Paine. Demonstrating its new imaging technology in person to photography experts will have been a good way of winning favour with influencers and bloggers after the unfortunate faked footage incident.
- Qt now fully part of Digia
We reported in August that Digia was to acquire the Qt development framework from Nokia. As of today, the handover has been completed. Digia has a history of involvement with Qt and so the transition has widely been seen as a natural one, since Nokia is winding down Symbian, has abandoned MeeGo and fully adopted Windows Phone. As we said in our original report, the acquisition will not have a significant effect on the Symbian world, which is likely to remain on the current Qt/QML versions. Digia reaffirms in its blog post that the licencing structure of Qt will not change, it will still be available under commercial, LGPL and GPL licences.
- RegHardware touts 808 PureView as iPhone 5 alternative
Riding on the tide of iPhone 5 news, The Register's hardware site, RegHardware, has published a list of ten alternatives to the iPhone 5 that are already available. Unsurprisingly, the list is dominated by Android handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Sony Xperia S – sorry Blackberry fans, there's no offerings from RIM in this list. However, the 7th iPhone 5 alternative on the list is a stand-out as it's a Symbian device, the Nokia 808 PureView no-less.
- Neatly review - All About Symbian
Good news for Twitter fans – a new Symbian client has arrived, and it goes by the name of Neatly. With Twitter clients being so plentiful, it's crucial that new entrants to the market have some unique feature to separate them from the rest. With that in mind, Neatly is appropriately named, as its selling point is that it attempts to automatically organise your tweets for you. Read on to see how well it works in practice!
- DownFall HD review - All About Symbian
Are you in the mood for some good old fashioned block dropping puzzle action? If so then we have a review for you. DownFall is a retro-looking Columns clone that adds a few novel twists to the tried and tested genre. On first impressions DownFall appears to be just another Columns clone, in some ways it is, in some ways it is more limited, and in other ways it is a lot more.
- QooCalendar and QooClock Widgets review - All About Symbian
As successive versions of Symbian touch interfaces have emerged from Nokia, there have been power users out there waiting for better widgets to be released. This wish hasn't always been fulfilled by Nokia but third party developers can step in and save the day, and that's exactly what QooApps have been doing lately. We recently reviewed QooBattery, and now followed up with both QooCalendar and QooClock widgets. Find out if they complement or complicate the Symbian homescreen.
- CutePress reaches version 2.0
CutePress, an open source WordPress client which we reviewed earlier this year, has reached its version 2.0 milestone. CutePress is actually based on the source code of the official Wordpress client for Symbian, but with several differences, including a dark theme and use of split-screen keyboard to make text handling easier. In our review, we noted that the official Wordpress client featured a statistics view for Wordpress.com hosted blogs which was missing in CutePress. With version 2.0 this view has now been added.
- qooBattery review - All About Symbian
We all know Symbian has the best the power management of the smartphone platforms, but that doesn't mean we should take it for granted! If you're a power user who likes to know everything about your device, then having some sort of battery monitor is a good idea. We've already seen Nokia's Battery Monitor, but there's an alternative in the shape of qooBattery.
- FastTube review - All About Symbian
Choice is never a bad thing and that's why we're glad to see another YouTube client for Symbian. FastTube is free of charge and provides Hi-Definition streams (where available) and downloads from YouTube to your Symbian device. Here we put FastTube under the microscope and see what else it offers and how it compares to the competition.
- Nokia Public Transport hits v2.1
Nokia have released version 2.1 of its Public Transport app for Symbian. In this release, Nokia have almost brought feature parity between all versions: Belle, Anna, Pre-Anna, and Symbian^1 (S60 5th Edition). Version 2.1 brings improvements to battery life and start-up time, plus bug fixes. A major new feature, which is only available to Nokia Belle however, is the presentation of public transport in users' immediate vicinity. Not only is this version available at Nokia Beta labs, but in the Nokia Store too.
- Nokia Patents Directional Haptics
It's been revealed that engineers from Nokia have filed a patent for a new type of haptic feedback system. The design shows a matrix of actuators that are mechanically isolated from each other. The way in which this is intended to work is to create a sense of something moving linearly or circularly on the device. Anyone who has listened to Nokia's Marko Ahtisaari speak about user experience and interaction with devices, will know that there is an agenda in Nokia to create devices that save the user from constantly having their 'head down' in their device.
- Nokia Store updated to 3.30.014
Nokia is currently updating its Symbian Store client to version 3.30.014. There's no official changelog, but it's likely Nokia have addressed bugs related to application updates. Also in the update, there is mention of a 'special gift' coming soon. The gift is said to be found in the 'Collections' section of the Nokia Store, listed as 'Nokia Store Gift'. At the time of writing this gift, whatever it is, was not available - so what that space! If you have the gift, or if you're still awaiting the update, share your experiences in the comments!
- Little Big City review - All About Symbian
If you're business minded, and you're the sort of gamer who likes resource management games like SIM City or Farm Frenzy, then you might like today's game, Little Big City. This spin on the city simulator genre tasks you with transforming a cosy back water into a bustling metropolis. With the inclusion of real-world micro-payments in exchange for more resources, does Little Big City have what it takes to part you from your money?
- Tweetian reaches another milestone
Tweetian is a free-of-charge Twitter client that we reviewed earlier this year. It was originally written as an exercise in learning Qt and QML, but it has since become a fully featured Twitter client, with a smoothly animated user interface that manages to blend Twitter's branding style with the Nokia Belle style. Dickson, Tweetian's developer, has just announced a new 'mile stone' version (1.3) of Tweetian on his blog with a long list of improvements.
- CuteTube brings YouTu.be sharing
CuteTube, our favourite YouTube application, has had another update. As its Nokia Store page says, the updates includes small UI improvements, and most notably, it now uses YouTube's own Youtu.be domain for short URL sharing. The other important update with CuteTube 1.2.5 is that the author, Stewart Howarth, has had to adapt to changes in YouTube's API. Stewart has also implemented a number of bug fixes, including Twitter sharing and display of video duration. See more in the screenshots below.
- The Amazing Spiderman review - All About Symbian
Calling all comic book fans – if your Spidey sense is tingling for a good old fashioned beat 'em up romp, then we might have a game for you. The Amazing Spiderman is the official game tie-in for the latest Spiderman reboot of the same name. Bucking the trend of modern 3D adventure games, as seen in Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem HD, The Amazing Spiderman takes us back to the old days of consoles where arcane button sequences were used to access special combat moves and combinations. How well does it work on a 3.5" touchscreen phone?
- Brave review - All About Symbian
Keeping on with summer blockbuster tie-ins, we're looking at the game of Pixar's latest movie, Brave. The film is set in 10th Century Scotland and tells the tale of the teenage princess Merida, who is trying to win her freedom from the life that has been mapped out for her from before her birth. The game tie-in is a 2D sideways scrolling adventure that follows the events of the film – do you have what it takes to win your (or Merida's) freedom?
- Nokia Suite updated to 3.5.34
Nokia Suite has just been updated to versoin 3.5.34. There is no official changelog, but the update notification stated the included changes were "Copy content between your Nokia N9 and your computer". "Get important improvements and fixes for many problems". If you've noticed any other chancges share your experiences in the comments.
- Nokia Drive compared - Symbian vs Lumia
WMPowerUser has posted a comparison of Nokia Drive on Windows Phone and Symbian. It's interesting to see such a comparison – especially on a Windows Phone blog – as it's something other tech sites have neglected to do. They key points to take away from the comparison is that while the Windows Phone version of Nokia Drive has some usability benefits, the Symbian version of Nokia Drive is integrated with Nokia Maps, both of which have access to the same set of offline maps – which in certain parts of the world where connectivity is sparse is a critical advantage.
- Have your apps only a swipe away!
If you're looking for another way in which to launch your applications, then you should take a look at Access Apps. This little app takes its inspiration from the Meego Harmattan's Swipe UI where the application grid was accessed by swiping in from the left side of the screen. Access Apps does the same thing, but rather than covering the whole screen, its application grid is a semi-transparent blue overlay with curved corners.
- Symbian Spotted at Olympic Ceremony
While watching the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games, among the sea of athletes filming proceedings with their phones, I spotted a familiar set of green, white and red lights. No, it wasn't the Italian flag. It was, in fact, a Symbian phone, as concurred by friend of this site, James Whatley. Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to save any evidence of this sighting. Fortunately though, Jay Montano of My Nokia Blog was quick enough to grab the screen-capture shown below.
- Nokia heats up its maps
Nokia has added a new feature to its Maps web service - heat maping. While you may be forgiven for assuming this is for meterological purposes, it's actually to help you find your way around! Apparently, the points of interest (POI) density in Nokia's geographic database has reached a point where it has become unweidly to show everything in a given category below a certain zoom level.
- Nokia Software Updater for Mac ceases development
Nokia Beta Labs has announced that it is to cease development of its 'Nokia Software Updater' application for Mac computers. Unfortunately for Apple users, this means it will not graduate to a fully fledged Nokia product. However, the team involved have comitted to keeping the beta version of the application available in its current form. Therefore, if you have been using this, it will continue to work for you. Also bear in mind that all Symbian devices come with a software update application built-in for major software and firmware updates.
- Qype review - All About Symbian
Even if you are not a member of Qype, it's likely that you'll have benefited from the European based service when searching the web for local customer reviews of shops, cafes, etc. With the mobile app, you can look up reviews of locations in your area, as well as checking in at, and reviewing, places you've just visited. Fortunately, Qype is available on all major mobile platforms, including Windows Phone 7 and Symbian.
- Tube Status brings Live London Tube Times to Symbian
Finding your way around the London underground can be overwhelming at the best of times, especially so just now while there are so many visitors coming to the Olympics. With that in mind, having a app on your phone to give you up to date information is almost essential, well that and a map! Tube Status comes to help out by delivering line status and live departure ties to your Symbian device.
- Phuzzled review - All About Symbian
Sometimes the old ones are the best ones; and a very old type of puzzle is the humble jigsaw, which hasn't seen much of a representation in the era of computer gaming. That's what Phuzzled is seeking to set right, while at the same time breathing new life into your old photos. Does it make for a fun game or a passing novelty?
- TechRadar review the Nokia 808 PureView
Hopefully you've been reading Steve's compendium of Nokia 808 PureView reviews (see links below), but if you'd like a second opinion we suggest you head over to TechRadar. They have undertaken an objective review, split into fourteen in-depth sections, which refreshingly doesn’t fall back on the tired old criticisms of Symbian. For example, it gives the Nokia Belle FP1 user interface a fair appraisal while rightly pointing out how Symbian Web fails to stand up against the built-in browsers of competing mobile platforms.
- Do you know SkyDrive's terms of service?
Cloud storage is becoming ever more popular. Thanks to the rise of Dropbox, both Google and Microsoft felt the time was right to launch their own solutions, which also include tools to edit files as well as just storing them. While cloud storage gives us the ability to access our files anywhere, and instantly share them with anyone in the world, it comes at a cost - and not just a financial cost.
- CuteTube 1.2.1 released fixes for Belle FP1
Fans of CuteTube, the premier YouTube client for Symbian, have had a rough time since updating to Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1. After a false start with version 1.2.0, the developer, Stewart Howarth, has released version 1.2.1 which fixes the issues faced by Belle FP1 users. We're especially pleased with the new user interface which gives CuteTube refreshing look and fits in with the general look of contemporary Symbian.
- Blob becomes a bi-blogging client
Remember our review of the Blogger client, Blog? When we looked at version 1.01, while we hoped for more features in the future, it was a commendable effort. The developer, Anand Bibek, has now released version two which supports Wordpress.com accounts too. By addressing two blogging communities the application is addressing a larger audience, but note that it does not, yet, support self-hosted Wordpress blogs.
- SkyDrive uploader rolling out to Symbian devices
Nokia is in the process of rolling out an official upload client for Microsoft's cloud solution, SkyDrive. Specifically, the application works in the background to upload photographs to your camera roll folder in the cloud. This reflects the functionality found in the Windows Phone 7 Picture Hub, where photos can be automatically uploaded. In fact, the Symbian implementation is better as there is an option to restrict uploads to WiFi only which avoids potential mobile data charges; Windows Phone 7 has no such option.
- Mini-review: Hand of God
Following Steve's mention of the game a couple of months ago, here's my take on the eternal struggle of graphics over gameplay, with The Hand of God I argue that "A game doesn't have to have the most advanced three dimensional effects to be playable, but you knew that already, right?" This mini-review takes the game further than Steve did in his quick look, discovering power ups and 'safety nets'!
- TouchFX gestures to Symbian users
We've already seen several developers try to graft the Meego Harmattan user interface (UI) on top of Symbian. Its always risky when you try to mix one UI with another, but that doesn't mean tweaking an established UI isn't worth trying at all, it just needs doing in a way that that suits its subject. That's what's the developers of TouchFX have tried to do.
- Cam FX makes short work of photography
If you have ever felt that getting to the Symbian gallery is too fiddly after taking a photo, then CamFX is here to help. The application superimposes a gallery button on top of the camera user interface and vice versa. By default the shortcut 'just works', but you can change its position and size in the CamFX options. Which is just as well since its default location covers the main menu icon! It is always risky interfering with an established user interface, but this time I feel it was worthwhile as a shortcut to the gallery is something sorely in missing in the Symbian camera UI.
- Romance of Rome review - All About Symbian
If you have an eye for detail, you are just the person for today's puzzle game, Romance of Rome. You follow the life of Marcus, a young man trying to make his mark on Roman society. Your job is to help by finding objects hidden on sumptuously drawn backgrounds; but where's the romance in that? Well, finding valuable objects and completing tasks for the well to-do people of Rome will help him to win the heart of a certain young lady.
- Tweetian available for Nokia Belle
We reviewed Tweetian recently, and found that while it was very good for a free application, it wasn't avaiable to Nokia Belle devices. Fortunately, the problems that were holding Tweetian back have now been overcome and it is available for all Symbian^3 (i.e. Anna and Belle) devices. The developer, Dickson, has also written on their blog about the download statistics of all of their apps. The Tweetian statistics brings out very interesting before and after picture that suggests the proportion of people who have not upgraded to Belle is a minority.
- O2 survey reveals calls are only fifth most frequent use
O2, one of the UK's mobile networks, recently conducted a survery of smartphone usage, entitled "All About You", to mark the release of the Samsung Galaxy SIII. The survery was intended to reflect the new generation of demands on smartphones. According to the report, users spend over 2 hours per day using their smartphone, but the most surprising finding was that voice calls only came in fifth among all usages.
- Cyberlords Arcology review - All About Symbian
Do you like the idea of cybernetic enhancements, and being guided through a mysterious mission by an enigmatic artificial intelligence? If so, chances you're probably a cyberpunk fan and you've maybe read William Gibson's Neuromancer. With Cyberlords Arcology we have an adventure set in the next century where you control a team of hackers and weapon specialists, as you explore the city of Asgard Arcology. Despite the futuristic theme, it's a good old fashioned role playing adventure game. If you're interested, download our review into your neural implant!
- Flickr geotags with Nokia Maps
Nokia has just announced that it is partnering with Nokia to provide geotagging maps. This is significant move since Flickr is a Yahoo! owned company, it had naturally used Yahoo! Maps for a long time. This may lend further weight to Nokia's play to become the location platform with its Where Platform. It was announced at the Windows Phone Developer Summit that Nokia Maps would be available to all Windows Phone devices, and that the Where API would be available to all third party developers – putting Nokia into a position of providing a platform which many services, now including Flickr, will rely on – in direct competition to Google Maps.
- Puzkend graduates from Azkend 2
If you read my review of Azkend 2 The World Beneath, you may remember all of the mini-games that made up the overall game. The game's developers, 10tones Ltd, have taken the interesting move of releaseing one of the mini-games as standalone title. Puzkend is a made up of a hexagonal board where you have to match symbols in a continuous string to clear them from the board. As you clear tiles, those above will drop down, opening up the possibility for a cascade effect.
- Bridge Bloxx review - All About Symbian
Are you an aspiring architect or a budding bridge builder? Then the game Bridge Bloxx could be for you. It's a puzzle game where you have to build and repair bridges which not only have to support their own weight, but support the weight of passing trains too. With this game, we have a battle of graphics and user interface versus gameplay and engagement. Which aspect wins? Read on to find out.
- Davi review - All About Symbian
Symbian veterans will recall that support for WebDAV was once built into File Manager. That support was removed in the Belle update, leaving you high and dry if you relied on that protocol. That’s where Davi for Nokia Belle steps in providing a solid WebDAV client for remotely accessing files on your Symbian device. Whether you're using a NAS box, or third party services like Otixo, this is something just for you. Actually, this review should be called "Davi, featuring Otixo".
- Cloud Storage for Symbian
Storing files online is finally approaching critical mass with all the big players in the tech world offering some sort of solution or another. The dedicated services, Dropbox and SugarSync, served to hook everybody on the idea of storing and sharing files online, but since then Microsoft and then Google have rolled out their own offerings. All the services offer free storage, with paid options for increased quotas. An obvious benefit of storing files online is being able to view and edit files on a mobile device while you're out and about. This list looks at the relative merits of the options available for Symbian users.
- Carcassonne review - All About Symbian
To the uninitiated, Carcassonne could be classified as a puzzle game; however, it's actually a remake of a very old German board game. If you can imagine playing a Pipe Mania type of game, with different types of classes, as well as shapes, of pipe, along with people to station on strategic points, then you might just have an idea of how Carcassonne plays out. If a cerebral board game that goes at a gentle pace is your kind of thing, then read on.
- Word on Word review - All About Symbian
Word games never get old. Over the years there have been plenty variations on Scrabble and word search games. After looking for something new, I came across Word on Word, it's a dated title, but brings a new way to apply both planning and vocabulary. Giving you a loose literary equivalent of Columns or Bejeweled, could this keep your mental dictionary engaged and enthralled? Read on to find out.
- How to: Repair the Nokia N8 antenna cap
The Nokia N8 was the first Symbian device released as a sealed unit and with non-replaceable battery. This enabled the designers to create a striking design, but power users were out of luck if they wanted to get inside their device. Besides replacing the battery, another reason to open your N8 is to replace the antenna cap, for which there is a trend to break over time and come away from the screws securing it. Sure enough, that's just what happened to me. So, if you can't bear to be parted from your Nokia N8 while it's at a repair centre or your warranty has expired, here's my guide on how to replace the Nokia N8's antenna cap.
- Tweetian review - All About Symbian
Just when we thought we'd seen every Twitter client for Symbian, we were proved wrong; kind of. Tweetian is currently available for Symbian Anna devices only; however, a Belle version is in the works. While none of the features should be of surprise to anyone at this point in time, the question is what subtle features are there to separate it from other clients. Read on to find out.
- Tactus Technology preview touchscreen with dynamic physical buttons
While the smartphone market has largely become a world of flat touch-slabs in an on-going specification war, news broke today of a new innovation in touchscreen technology. Tactus is a company developing a 'dynamic touchscreen' based on microfluidic technology. Going beyond the touch technology as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Tactus' screens are able to create raised areas, for example you can see raised domes over the letters on a virtual QWERTY keyboard. There is no mention whether or not the user can depress these dynamic raised areas or not.
- The Marbians HD review - All About Symbian
Physics is fun! No really it is, think of all those pool games, Angry Birds, Worms – they're all physics simulations. Next along in the realm of physics-based action puzzle games is The Marbians HD. You're in control of 'Martians', who have crash landed and you have to bounce them around inside marbles (yes, really) to get them back to their flying saucers. If you like pool games, Martians and the 1950s, then you should read our review.
- Thumbnail Folders review - All About Symbian
In my last review, I looked at an application that tried to bring the multitasking view from MeeGo Harmattan to Symbian. In yet another attempt at bringing MeeGo to Symbian, we have Thumbnail Folders, which replicates a feature brought in with PR1.2 of the Nokia N9's firmware. Here, application folders icons are decorated with miniature versions of the application icons within. Perhaps all this MeeGo replication hints at how Symbian users really feel about Nokia's transition to Windows Phone 7?
- Tasks Widget review - All About Symbian
The unique Swipe UI of the MeeGo Harmattan-powered Nokia N9 has inspired many Maemo and Symbian developers. One aspect of its UI is the multitasking view which gave live previews of applications and could be zoomed from, say, a three by three grid, to a two by two grid; and to close applications. Whenever one tries to graft the user interface of one mobile operating system onto another, though, things are never going to fit perfectly, but compliments to the developer of Tasks Widget, who has given it his/her best shot.
- IronWorm review - All About Symbian
It feels as if all the games I review lately are variations on established genres, so I was happy to find IronWorm, which seems to defy classification. In IronWorm (a remake of SwingWorm), you play a worm with a vendetta, and in his quest to chase down his nemesis, he has to climb and swing his way through increasingly complicated environments, with a gymnastic grace that deserves to be in the Olympics! His only weapon, and protection, is a mace-tipped tail, plus YOUR coordination and cunning.
- iBomber Defence review - All About Symbian
iBomber Defence is the latest tower defence game for Symbian, and being my favourite genre of game, I jumped at the chance to review it. This is a title that has been ported from the iPhone, and Electronic Arts have done a great job. The problem is that tower defence games are a dime a dozen, and so to be great you have to introduce some new features to differentiate from the rest. In this review I investigate what new twists have been added to this title.
- Nokia DC-16 charger review - All About Symbian
As more smartphones are designed with non-replaceable batteries, the potential of getting through a day of heavy use by carrying a spare battery is going away. This has in turn created a market in external batteries. For instance, the first phone with a non-replaceable battery was the iPhone, which has an array of battery jackets. However, these are fixed to just one phone design. The alternative is external batteries that connect via cable. It's a less stylish solution, but guarantees that any of your devices can be topped up. That's where Nokia's new DC-16 external battery steps in, and we've been putting it to the test in this review.
- Blaving review - All About Symbian
Blaving is an "audio social network", and according to the developer's website it's the "leading audio social network". Whether that's true or not, it is the only competitor to Audioboo that I've heard of; plus they have comprehensive support for smartphone platforms, including Symbian. Let's put Blaving through its paces and see if deserves a place on your Symbian handset.
- New Dropbox client for S60 devices
For those who are still using an S60 device, a new Dropbox client has been released. Titled Drops60, it has been developed by Tomi Lehto, and will require users to sideload the application, as it's only available from his website (see source link), not the Nokia Store. Dropos60 was originally written for S60 Feature Pack 1 (by means of having been tested on a Nokia E90), but Tomi now reports that it will work on S60 Feature Pack 2 and S60 5th Edition with some
- Nokia 808 PureView dismantled by FCC
The Nokia 808 PureView was put through its paces by the FCC by having had its radiation output tested and internal structure scrutinized. The FCC has published the results of its tests, plus a treasure trove of photos of the 808, both external, and with its internal components spread out for the world to see.
- Top Five Image Creation Apps
Nokia has long since been associated with image capture on mobile phones. However, it's not just the likes of Damian Dinning who have been finding ways to get the best out of Symbian camera hardware. Third party developers have been busy creating applications to allow us to be even more creative with our photographs. In this top five, we have alternative camera applications, post-capture image processing software, and more.
- Dropian review - All About Symbian
After our Top Five File Management Apps list, commenters asked us to review the popular Symbian Dropbox application, Dropian. Not wanting to disappoint, we've given it the All About Symbian review treatment. Will its responsive user interface win us over, or will the lack of file selection options turn us off? Read on to find out.
- Top Five Motor Sports Games
If you prefer a dose of petrol with your sports, then this week's game round up will be right up your racing track. We're looking at motor sports, motor cars, motor bikes, and motor boats - which should be enough to satisfy your need for speed. They're not all perfect, but they're the best of the genre that All About Symbian has reviewed. So read on as we recap Nokia Racing, Need for Speed: Shift HD, Powerboat Challenge 3D, Moto X Mayhem, and GT Racing: Moto Academy HD.
- James Cameron's Avatar HD review - All About Symbian
Avatar was a 2009 blockbuster with a difference – it started the trend of 3D movies. So yes, if you hate the glasses then you can blame James Cameron. Anyway, there couldn't be a more natural franchise to have a 3D video game than Avatar. Fortunately, to play the movie tie-in you won't need any glasses. In our review, we ask whether the game has any novel features to offer or if we've seen it all before?
- Pixelpipe reappears as Pi.pe to provide cloud photo migration
Pixelpipe, makers of the once popular self-named content publishing system for Symbian (and other platforms) dropped off the radar last year. We can happily confirmed that the team are alive and well, and working a new start-up venture called Pi.pe (named after their short-code URL domain). Moving away from mobile publishing, Pi.pe solves the problem of performing bulk transfers of photos and videos between various cloud services. E.g. migrating from Flickr to Facebook, etc. The service is in a closed beta just now, but TechCrunch readers have been given a special code with which to sign up. You can read more at Pixelpipe's blog.
- Blob review - All About Symbian
After our Top Five Blogging Tools, we had suggestions of other clients we hadn't looked at. One that caught our interest was Blob, a client for Google's 'Blogger' platform. This is a simple client that lets you push text posts to your account. It isn't restricted to one blog either; it can handle all the blogs attached to your account. How does it stack up against the functionality of Symbian's Wordpress clients?
- Top Five Astronomy Applications
Calling all stargazers. Ever since the days of the humble Psion palmtop computers, astronomy programs have been one of the required applications for every platform. Whether you want to explore the night sky from the comfort of your home, or need a companion for aiming your telescope, there are plenty of options. Thanks to the rise of built-in accelerometers and digital compasses, an augmented reality mode has become a feature of many applications too. We've reviewed the great and the good of Symbian astronomy, and here is our round up.
- Nokia Q1 2012 Results - losses all round, CEO recognises a 'clear sense of urgency'
Following last week's profits warning, Nokia has released its formal Q1 2012 Results, reporting a non-IFRS loss of EUR 260 million, on net sales of EUR 7.3 billion (down 29% YoY). Nokia's 'Devices and Services' division's loss was EUR 127 million, compared to a profit of EUR 292 million in Q4 2011). Total smartphone device sales were 11.9 million, compared with 24.2 million units in Q1 2011 (down 51% YoY) and 19.6 million units in Q4 2011 (down 39%, QoQ). Gross profit margins on smartphones in Q1 were 15.6% (down from 28.9% YoY). Quotes and comments below.
- Peak Gold S^3 review - All About Symbian
Today's game review is something of a 2D take on the real-world robotic grabber game. The story is that you're part of a mining operation for Gold ore, and you have to fulfil your quota before the lights go out. It's a test of reactions and timing. If you have what it takes then you'll be sent to mine deeper and deeper until you find the ever more massive diamonds.
- Bcard brings NFC contact management (soon)
Nokia Conversations are reporting on a new use for NFC enabled Nokia Symbian and MeeGo devices. Bcard is a new way for conference attendees to quickly exchange contact details. When we visited Nokia World 2011, we were wearing a proprietary NFC ID badge. The idea with Bcard is that you will just tap your NFC enabled phone to the other person's ID badge.
- Azkend 2 The World Beneath review - All About Symbian
If you’re a puzzle fan with a taste for adventure, then Azkend 2 The World Beneath might the game for you. It combines a hexagonal take on the Columns genre and wraps it up in an enthralling fantasy adventure. You'll have to think carefully and plan ahead, all against the clock. Repeated levels of the same puzzle could get boring quickly, but mini games and an on-going storyline will keep you coming back for more.
- Top Ten Sports Games
Calling all armchair sports fans, if you don't have the time or fitness to be a sports star on the field, then all is not lost - you can pick up a sporting game for your smartphone and live out your dreams! In our latest top apps list, we look back over the our favourite sporting titles from the last couple of years. Whether you play football with a helmet or not, there will be something here that you'll enjoy playing.
- Parus Pomodoro review - All About Symbian
Trying to remain productive is the enemy of many who work at a desk, even more so for freelancers who work at home. Trying to remain applied to a task at hand, amid all the inevitable distractions can be difficult. That’s why Parus Pomodoro caught my interest. It claims to help, by implementing a time management system devised by Francesco Cirillo. However, it requires a certain amount of discipline and honesty from you to use effectively. Is it worthwhile?
- NSR Reader review - All About Symbian
Finding the ideal PDF reader has been an ongoing quest for us here at All About Symbian. Some are standalone, some are part of office suites, most are pricey, and they all lack some feature or another. We had given up hope, until we came across NSR Reader. Might we have found the best all round PDF reader? Quite possibly; with its jump to page, reasonable price, and best of all text reflow!
- Top Five File Management Apps
A mark of a true geek's smartphone platform is the ability to get down into the device's file system. This is what sets Symbian and Android apart from iOS and Windows Phone. While Android lets you access the file system, it doesn't ship with a file manager; which is where Symbian takes the geek crown by even shipping with a file manager that lets you explore and access almost everything on your device. As such, here's our round up applications that you get to your files and transfer them to your heart's content.
- Buggy Coaster review - All About Symbian
Roller coasters and RC buggies are not a natural pair. However, the developers of Buggy Coaster have done just that. This 2D sideways scrolling game somewhat defies classification. Racing games usually require you to follow the path ahead, in this game you have to draw the track for yourself, while hitting bonuses and avoiding traps. It's a unique formula, and requires fast reactions. Is it a good challenge, or just too fast?
- Review: SugarSync
When it comes to mobile-accessible cloud-synced file backup, Dropbox is usually the name that springs to people's mind; but it's by no means the only option. Over the years, SugarSync has earned a loyal following in the Symbian world, thanks to its official application for our so-called dead platform. It supports everything you would want from a SugarSync mobile client, but are the pros and cons of the platform compared to other backup services right for you?
- Top Five Symbian Role Playing Games
If you like the scope of your games to have an epic feel, and you like running through forests to battle beasts with nothing but a wooden sword and tin shield, then you are propbably a role playing game fan. Mind you, if you were looking for 'cosplay', you should probably look at a different site! Symbian has been treated to some fanastic role playing games, especially since 3D acceleration was brought in with Symbian^3. Read on as we round up our favourite RPG titles that you can get on your Nokia today.
- Review: SkyMap
When you think about it, using a geeky smartphone and astronomy go together. They both require an enquiring mind, exploration, and deep thought about how things work together. It's no surprise then that there are quite a few astronomical applications on Symbian. Some are 'all singing and dancing' augmented reality applications; others are simpler, just letting you identify the basics. SkyMap is one of the latter, and in our review we look at whether it's best for a beginner or whether pro-amateur astronomers might be able to make use of it too.
- Review: Ionic
Smartphones and e-book readers are one of those technological matches made in heaven. You can carry a vast library around in your pocket, and read as much or as little as you like when you have a few spare minutes. This is why the Kindle has been so popular on Android, iPhone, iPad, and Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately, Amazon didn't include Symbian in that list, but all is not lost because Ionic is the latest e-book reader for Symbian, taking advantage of the open ePub format, and without a hint of DRM in sight.
- Top Five Symbian Blogging Tools
The advantage of using a smartphone is that you can publish content while you're on the move - as long as you have a strong enough signal. Whether you want to produce visual or written content, a smartphone can do it all, provided that you have the right software. Fortunately, Symbian has several options for getting your content to your audience. Here is our summary of the best applications out there to get you blogging - in all of its forms.
- Review: Word Tiles Multiplayer
Whether you're a wordsmith or bookworm, you've probably played Scrabble or one of its online alternatives. Symbian has not been supported by the likes of "Words with Friends" and WordFeud - until now. Thanks to Word Tiles Multiplayer, you can put your vocabulary and spelling to the test against your friends and anonymous Internet players. So if you know your triple word score from your double letter score then this is a game for you.
- The Curse of Micro SIM Adapters
The humble SIM card is changing - more devices are beginning to require Micro SIM instead of the usual "Mini" size we all use. Cutting a Mini SIM down to the Micro size isn't too difficult, but returning a one to Mini size requires the use of adapters. If you're not careful, these can damage your phone's delicate connectors. What follows is an account of my adventures (and misadventures) using Micro SIM adapters.
- Top Five Symbian Puzzle Games
If you prefer your games to have a cerebral focus rather than intense action, chances are you're a puzzle fan. As such, you need a game that will keep exercising your mind; so we're here to help. All About Symbian has reviewed more than its fair share of puzzle games over the years, so grab a cup of tea, load up your Nokia Store client, and read through our top five puzzle games list. We have something for everyone - physics puzzles, numeric puzzles, logic puzzles, and more.
- Review: Slice Ice!
If you like your birds to be less angry, then you might be interested in Slice Ice! In this cutesy and surreal puzzle, you are tasked with slicing up icebergs. The problem is that these icy platforms are home to troops of penguins that you are not allowed to split up. You'll need fast reactions and strategic thinking. It's unique and addictive, but is it cool enough to satisfy puzzle fans?
- The History of Symbian's Secret Fragmentation
Whether you call it fragmentation or choice, having multiple versions of an operating system across a product line probably does more harm than good. While the issue rarely affects the average user, power users/developers/reviewers are all well aware of how fatiguing it can be to track a platform in parallel. Symbian is no stranger to this type of multiplicity either, and here we review the history of all its various guises over the years.
- Top Five Symbian Social Networking Apps
These days, social networking apps are the hub of our online life. They entertain us, bring us together, let us communicate, and explore. Therefore it's imperative that any mobile platform provides a great experience for working with networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Symbian has long enjoyed the powerhouse of Gravity for Twitter, Facebook, and others; but in the last 12 months it has been joined by a set of impressive Qt-based applications. Here we gather together the reviews of our favourite applications to cover all of your needs.
- Opera Mobile 12.0.1 for Symbian released
Following the release of Opera Mobile 12, version 12.0.1 has been released to address several issues. As such, there's no new features to be found, but it's worth upgrading for the number of bug fixes that Opera have made. Version 12.0.0 of Opera Mobile introduced the new smart speed dial page, which is presented much more like an app grid than a bookmarking system, which is a signficant upgrade if you're still on the version 11 branch.
- Review: Cut the Rope
What's cooler than low-temperature physics? Physics-based puzzle games on your smartphone of course! Think of games like Worms and Angry Birds - see what I mean? Yes, we all love physics simulations, even if we don't realise it. Cut the Rope is another massively popular physics-based puzzle game where you have to swing candy on a rope into the waiting mouth of your pet monster. Read on to find out how well the game translates to Symbian from iOS and Android.
- Review: Picsel Smart Office
Just because Quickoffice comes pre-installed on Symbian doesn't automatically make it the best mobile office software. That's the position taken by the Scottish software house, Picsel, with its Smart Office suite. It's a favourite among many users for its impressive PDF rendering ability, but how does the rest of the suite stack up against Quickoffice's free and paid for offerings? Find out in our review as we put not just one, but two versions of Smart Office to the test - version 1.8 for Symbian Anna, and version 2.0 for Nokia Belle!
- Review: Silent Hunter
If you're the sort who likes to sneak up on your enemies then a submarine simulator is probably the game for you. The Silent Hunter series of games has come to Symbian - in more of an arcade style than a simulator, but that doesn't lessen the fun. This game lets you try your luck as a German U-Boat captain in World War 2, taking on the British fleet. You'll have to be aware of the limitations of your boat and use all your cunning though.
- Top Five Strategy Games
If you like to spend your spare time with your mobile by plotting and managing your resources then you need strategy games before you become a Bond villain! Over the years, we've reviewed a lot of strategy games at All About Symbian, and here are the most notable strategiec game titles. Some require battlefield tactics while others demand you to relentlessly manage your resources. All of them should absorb your mind from the everyday problems of real life though.
- Microsoft Apps released for Nokia Belle
As part of Microsoft's expanding support for mobile platforms, OneNote, Document Connection, Lync 2010 and PowerPoint Broadcast are now rolling out for most Nokia Belle devices. While these applications mostly benefit those in a corporate environment, OneNote has a general appeal and allows users to sync richly formatted notes between their desktop and their Symbian smartphone. The update also includes improvements to the Microsoft Exchange handling in Symbian Belle.
- Review: Cheat Sheet
Anyone who has studied maths will remember what it's like trying to memorize formulas. Wouldn't it be nice to have an app that can jog your memory for you? Well, that's just what Cheat Sheet claims to do. Covering several areas of what should be advanced GCSE level maths, this app gives you an aide memoire. It lets you feed in numbers too, so that you can quickly crank out results. Will it get you through the exams, or does pen and paper still win out?
- How to: Pimp the Nokia Belle homescreen system
Nokia Belle brought with it a massive change in the look of Symbian, and introduced much less constrained widgets to fill even more homescreens than before. The built-in widgets are not the limit of its flexibility though. There are many applications that can greatly add to the functionality of the Nokia Belle homescreen. In this guide, I take a look at how you can extend the widget set to make the most of your brand new Nokia Belle homescreens.
- Juice Rider
LowRiders bounce - apparently. I wouldn't know about such things because I'm English, but I know enough to not drink while riding in a bouncing car. That's exactly what Vimto's latest ad-campaign is showing with its line of fruity characters - you know, the one where the fruits bounce their car until they smash together and shower everyone in Vimto? This ad-campaign has been turned into a game for Symbian, "JuiceRider", where you have to shake your phone and quickly draw shapes. Will it make you work up enough of a thirst to pop out to the shops though?
- Review: Alt Reader
Portable Document Format (PDF) may not be an open standard, but it is a defacto standard. Being able to send a file which shows a page exactly as intended for print, and that cannot be edited (in most cases) is a must for those aspiring to have a paperless office. On Symbian, PDF readers are few and far between, and have not provided the best possible user experience. Today we have a review of Alt Reader for PDF and DejaVu files. Does it succeed where others have failed?
- The Adventures of Tintin HD
Tintin, the Belgium reporter-come-adventurer, has been regularly refreshed in popular culture over the years; a case in point being the computer-enhanced "The Adventures of Tintin" movie. We recently reviewed the Java based game tie-in. However, even that game has had a refresh with this HD version. Do 3D graphics and a sumptuous John Williams soundtrack add to the original formula?
- Review: LiveJournal
Symbian Bloggers are in for a treat - after having two options for WordPress, they now have a LiveJournal app too. LiveJournal is one of the original blogging platforms, and was a social network before there were social networks as we now know them. Users will be glad to hear this app is functionally equivalent to the WordPress apps, and supports specific features like LJ-Cut and other tags specific to the platform.
- Nokia releases API map for porting apps to Qt
Nokia has published a great resource for mobile developers who are interested in transferring their skills to Symbian apps via the Qt framework. The Nokia Developer website has published three guides for finding the Qt equivalent of API calls for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7. It has come late in Symbian's life, but it is just what the developer world needed to reduce the friction in developing for this not-so-dead platform.
- Review: FlickrUp
Flickr is the photo sharing site of choice for photography enthusiasts and professionals. Symbian users can already upload to Flickr either by email or Gravity. However, until FlickrUp came along, there was nothing available for browsing and uploading. This Nokia Belle-style Qt app is fully functional, resplendent with options, and is available for the princely sum of zero!
- Review: Symeo
YouTube is the Web's biggest video sharing service - which is part of its problem - there is a bewildering amount of choice. If you want to discover new content, having some sort of curation would be nice to find something entertaining for a few minutes. That's exactly what Symeo does by providing pre-loaded channels of YouTube videos (not Vimeo as the name might suggest). Read on to see how well this version 1.0 app performs.
- Review: Star Chart
If you're an aspiring astronomer but never get a clear night to see anything, do not fear. You can explore the cosmos in the comfort of your home with your smartphone. Escapist Software has just ported Star Chart to Symbian over from its Android and iOS versions. If you want to view the night sky without getting too technical, this could be the app for you.
Sokoban is a genre you probably haven't heard of, but have played many times. The original was a Japanese puzzle that involved moving boxes around a room. Without planning several moves in advance you can easily box yourself in. Robo-E is a spin on this classic puzzle with a Sci-Fi theme; you control a garbage collecting robot that has become confused and needs your Sokoban skills to get his job done!
- Review: CNN app for Symbian
Getting the latest news is one of the most basic needs of an always connected smartphone user, whether through an app or the mobile web. 'CNN app for Symbian' provides news in both text and video across a varied range of topics and geographical regions. It also supports the emerging field of citizen journalism by integrating CNN's iReport service. How well does it all fit together?
- Review: Lloyds TSB Mobile Banking
Mobile banking seems to be one of the last few frontiers that are not well catered for here in the UK. There are many money managers, but few official applications, for our high street banks. Lloyds TSB has stepped up to provide Symbian users with access to online banking and the ability to find nearby branches and ATMs. One catch though - the mobile banking element is handed off to a mobile website. Which is... something of a fail...
- Review: The Guardian
Traditional newspapers and new media are still trying to work out their differences, but The Guardian in the UK has been forward looking. It has resisted the temptation to create a paywall and seeks to engage the smartphone market by creating an app for every platform, including Symbian (reviewed here, below) and Windows Phone 7. This well designed application not only delivers the latest news, but also provides Guardian podcasts, photo galleries and offline reading.
- Save The City
Tower defence games are a regular addition to my review tray - so much so that I'm becoming a connoisseur of the genre. This is no doubt why Save The City was assigned to me. In this most miniature of militaristic marches, you are tasked with saving your city from a stream of tanks and alien spacecraft. Does it add anything new to the genre or have we seen it all before?
- Review: CutePress
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms on the web. Until recently, the only option on Symbian had been the official client. Now though, thanks to the freedom of open source software, Abhishek Kumar has created CutePress. This new WordPress app takes the code of the official client, revises the feature set, and wraps it up in a QML user interface. Has he improved on the original? Read on to find out.
- Review: Tweeties
Symbian already has a wealth of options for accessing Twitter, but there's no official application. This means the time you spent learning the layout of a Symbian-only application will be lost if you move to another platform. Fear no more because Tweeties is here in free and paid versions - it's the latest Twitter client for Symbian and it follows Twitter's design language to a T. Read on to find out how well the Twitter design language translates to Symbian.
- The Adventures of Tintin
Sideways scrolling platform games aren't as popular as they used to be. To maintain interest in a genre, developers need to come up with unique twists that will keep gamers coming back for more. Failing that, a good movie tie-in never hurts. Fortunately, GameLoft has managed to do both with The Adventures of Tintin.
- Elemental War
I get a lot of Tower Defence games across my desk. It's amazing how many variations on a simple genre you can have. Then again, it's not a simple genre - Tower Defence combines strategy with resource management, or at least it should. With Elemental War you have to pitch the power of the elements against endless hordes of enemies. Is the gameplay more than elementary though?
- Review: Podmaster
Symbian has had rather limited options when it comes to dealing with podcasts. Since Nokia's Podcasting client disappeared, the only option has been Podcatcher - or side loading MP3s via a desktop media manager. A new podcast client, Podmaster, is now available - but only for Nokia Belle handsets. Is this the master of all podcast clients, or just a pretender to the throne?
- Review: cuteTube
Symbian users have had something of a rough time when it comes to enjoying YouTube. Fortunately, cuteTube is at hand to save the day, offering a comprehensive range of features, including uploading and downloading videos. Since the official YouTube client was affected by login issues and low quality video streams, and since other third party clients have taken the form of mere downloaders, cuteTube is a refreshing change and something of a must-buy in the Symbian world. This is a review of the latest v1.1.1, a big update from the early days when this was freeware [1.1.1 adds higher quality streaming, sharing options and support for multiple Google accounts].
- Notable Symbian applications and developers of 2011
2011 was a tumultuous year for Symbian. While it was the year that saw Nokia declare its intention to terminate the platform, Symbian was still the most used mobile platform (by browser usage) - reports of Symbian's demise have been greatly exaggerated! Surprisingly, we have seen more, not less, activity and creativity in the Symbian developer community since the infamous February 11th announcement. Join me as I detail (in my opinion) some of the best Symbian applications and developers of 2011.
- The Nokia E7 and 700 - an unlikely comparison
The Nokia E7 and 700 - there couldn't be two Symbian devices that are more different. The E7 is the enterprise-focussed behemoth, and the 700 is the ultra slim device made to discreetly fit into any pocket. Surprisingly, there is very little that you can do with one device that you can't do with the other. Thanks to Belle's updated user interface, Symbian's best in class power management and its general functionality, there is plenty to lament about Nokia's decision to sunset the platform.
- Review: LockScreen
Lock screen customisation has so far been the preserve of Android devices. However LockScreen for Symbian is looking to redress the balance. With this application you can add five shortcuts, including Music player controls, to the lock screen that comes up after you press the menu key. Read on to find out how well it works in practice.
- Review: Hear and Write
Voice to text is one of the latest big things in the mobile world. At least, that's what the platform makers want you to think (and Steve's own 'view from 2015'). The truth is, it's a nice idea that still doesn't work reliably enough. Android and Windows Phone 7 have voice to text built in, as does the iPhone with its Siri assistant. However, Symbian has no such feature without third party apps like Vlingo. Another voice to text application, Hear and Write, is available for Symbian, less useful than Vlingo, but, being powered by an "undocumented" Google voice to text service, will it be more accurate? Read on to find out!
When classifying a game, you don't often find something that qualifies as a physics simulation and a platformer. Sonic the Hedgehog is perhaps the only exception. Duster on Symbian^3 appears to be trying to achieve the same classification. While it works on paper, read on to find out what sort of gameplay is on offer.
- The mystery of the missing album art
For years Symbian users have suffered an irritating problem with their music collections. By that I don't mean buying Eurovision entries in moments of madness! Rather, it's been our missing MP3 album art. Nobody has found a definitive pattern or a universal solution - until now. After some tinkering, I found the solution was related to different versions of the MP3 ID3 tag standard. It isn't that difficult to fix either, as I'll explain in this guide.
- Symbian with the Linux desktop in 2011
Two years ago, I wrote about living with Linux and S60. Since then the world has moved further toward platform agnostic cloud services. This has made using Symbian Anna and Belle in a cross platform environment easier than ever. In this guide we'll take a look at how to take advantage of the cloud and USB mass storage in conjunction with the Linux desktop.
- Review: SPB Shell 3D
Earlier this year we reported on the release of SPB Shell 3D and asked whether it was the ultimate homescreen replacement? If you fancy giving your Symbian^3 device a 3D HTC Sense makeover, and you love to tinker, this could be the one for you if you don't mind shelling out £10.00. Read on to find out whether this is a good investment or an expensive novelty.
- Townsmen 6
Get your pitch forks and guillotines ready as we step back into 18th century France to play Townsmen 6. This Civilisation type strategy game puts you in charge of French provinces, directing workers to complete your objectives. To achieve your goals, you must make sure that your workers are housed and fed. You'll also need to be good at resource management, to make sure work is getting done. If this sounds like your sort of game, read on to find out more.
- Review: Stellarium Mobile
Do you curiously look up at the night sky? Are you in need of a guide to navigate your way between the stars and nebulae? Then today's review of Stellarium Mobile - available for Symbian^3 - will be of interest to you. This application takes a user friendly and visually engaging approach to showing you the night sky. Your view can be set by the direction you are holding your phone or on a specific item of interest. Read on for more details.
- Business Calendar updated with triple homescreen widgets
In June this year, we reviewed version 1.0 of Business Calendar. This was the first serious attempt in years at replacing the built-in Symbian Calendar application. Even though the 1.1 update addressed several of our criticisms, there was still some missing functionality. Fortunately, version 1.3 has been released with a number of new features, including multiple homescreen widgets. Read on to find out whether this is now the ultimate Calendar replacement.
- Nokia Store gifts roll out (again)
The Nokia Store application is currently inviting users to claim a number of free gifts. The store has had several rounds of free gifts in the past where users could claim paid-for applications free of charge. On offer in this round of pre-Christmas cheer is: Camera Lover Pack, Angry Birds, Moodagent, Nimbuzz free and eBuddy. However, contents may vary from device to device. Read on for more details.
- India gives the Nokia 701 a warm reception
The Indian branch of PCWorld has posted a favourable review of the Nokia 701. PCWorld thought the phone's best features were its bright IPS TFT screen, Symbian Belle operating system, and classy design inherited from the Nokia C7. You might want to compare the review to our own 701 coverage. PCWorld rates 701's battery life as "good", thanks to the new BL-5K battery. The review goes on to make a big point of complaining about the 701's EDoF camera though. Readers should note that the 701 has a much improved EDoF system than found in other Symbian devices, see our feature on EDoF2.
- Adapting games to the Nokia E6
One of the unique selling points of the Nokia E6-00 is its high pixel density screen. However, its 2.46
- Review: Nokia E6 long term review and E72 comparison
The Nokia E6-00 is currently the only candybar QWERTY device in the latest Symbian line up. Picking up where the E72 left off, the E6 adds a touchscreen and high pixel density display. The E72, just like the E71 before it, was a big hit among Eseries fans. Does the E6 match up to its S60 3rd Edition predecessors? In this review, we take a long-term look at the E6, and discuss whether E72/E71 users should consider an upgrade.
- Nokia E72 updated to version 81
Firmware updates are currently rolling out to the venerable Nokia E72, bringing it up to version 81. As usual, there is little information about what the 1.3MB update actually contains, but it is safe to say there will be bug fixes and various optimisations. Web has been upgraded too, to version 220.127.116.11. Only one of the resident E72's in the All About Symbian office has received the update, so your mileage may vary to when the update is available to you too. Read on for more details.
- Word Hunter
If you like word puzzle games and you have an eagle eye, then Word Hunter might be for you. This well presented game brings word search puzzles up to date for the 2011 Symbian user. If you can deal with the pressure of finding hidden words against the clock, then read on to find out more.
- Opera updated for Symbian and Meego
Opera has announced updates for its Mobile and Mini browsers, plus its MeeGo netbook and tablet versions. The core engine of Opera has seen numerous optimisations and tweaks, while the clients have seen significant functionality updates. Opera Mobile has been updated to 11.5 (for Symbian and MeeGo) and most notably supports viewing bookmarks saved in the Symbian browser, along with an import function. Meanwhile Opera Mini v6.5 now features intelligent autocomplete of domains and search queries. Mini 6.5 also sports a unified address and search bar, unlike Mobile 11.5.
- Review: TvPyx
There's never anything on the TV is there? That is apart from that fantastic thing you wanted to see, but missed among all the other dross that litters our channels. To help get around such mishaps, what Symbian needs is a TV schedule application. That's where TvPyx steps in to save the day. This free Qt application lists the range of content on UK Satellite and Freeview TV. Read on to see what we thought about it.
- They Need To Be Fed
Platform games were all the rage in the early days of video gaming. Now though, it's a rare title that takes us back to those two dimensional worlds. In the new age of mobile gaming, fantastic creativity can be found in arcade and action games. Therefore, a return to the classic platform genre would require a unique twist to catch our attention. That's exactly what YoYo Games have done with They Need To Be Fed. Read on to find out if it works.
- New firmware for 5800 andamp; 5530 updates Web to Anna UI
The latest firmware for both the 5800 and 5530 are now rolling out and are available for over the air (OTA) update. The updates take the 5800 to version 60, and the 5530 to version 40. The update is mostly for performance improvements and bug fixing. However, Web has received a big update, taking it from version 18.104.22.168 to 22.214.171.124. This is only a few iterations behind the Symbian Anna browser, which is reflected in the updated user interface. Read on for screenshots and more details.
- Review: BuBue Book Reader
Reading e-books on Symbian is still something that is not well catered for. We'd love to see a Kindle application be released, but as time goes on that looks less and less likely. Therefore, we need an alternative for getting e-books onto our Symbian handsets. The current standard format for e-books is ePub. Fortunately, we have BuBue Book Reader for Symbian, a free ePub viewer. Read on to find out whether BuBue is smarter than the average book reader!
- Review: Gutenberg
While Symbian users are STILL waiting for a Kindle application, we are not completely without a source of literary entertainment. Project Gutenberg is at the rescue with its vast library of public domain e-books. If you have a taste for the late and great classics, then you will mostly likely find what you want there. The mobile site of Project Gutenberg is brought to us as a web runtime (WRT) widget, just called "Gutenberg", from Pointlabs.
- Is Windows Phone an upgrade from Symbian?
Amid all the anticipation and speculation surrounding Nokia's Windows Phone handsets, you'd be forgiven for thinking you have to move with the times and give up your staunch Symbian sidekick. Don't be in too much of a rush though; while Windows Phone will improve over time, things aren't all that rosy on the Redmond side of the fence.
- EDU Duel Card Game
If you were ever caught playing cards in your history lessons, you were probably held for detention. However, if you'd been playing the EDU Duel Card Game by PHD Gaming, then you might have been awarded a gold star. This game tries to combine some good old pen and paper role playing game (RPG) fun with gently improving your history knowledge. Read on to find out how well it plays.
- Room of Disaster
If you are looking for a something that fits your tendency to tidy and your leanings toward logic, then you might be interested in the puzzle game Room of Disaster. You have to clear your room against the clock for points and glory. Read on to find out more.
- Review: XMI X-Mini II Mini Speaker
Smartphone loudspeakers are a mixed bunch, many are good enough while some make us wonder why manufacturers bothered to fit them in the first place. If you like to use your phone as a boombox, external speakers are definitely the way to go. However, some of them are so bulky or elaborate that they rather defeat the object of using a converged device. The XMI X-Mini II mini speakers might just offer a compromise of compactness versus quality and power. Read on for our review and photos.
- Review: Folder Gallery
Viewing photos on a phone is something that we all take for granted. The Photos application on Symbian does a fine job, especially on touch enabled devices. However, if you don't want to swipe through everything on the device, you'll have to create albums. This can take some time, and there's no way to view photos in relation to where they are saved. Fortunately, that's where Folder Gallery steps in, generating galleries based on directories in your mass storage drives. Read on to find out how well it works.
- Review: SPB Wireless Monitor
Mobile data is an expensive resource unless you have an unlimited tariff. Oh wait, 'unlimited' doesn't mean unlimited! While Symbian OS can tell you how much data you've used during a given connection session, that count is gone once you disconnect. It would be useful if we could have a third party app running in the background, keeping a running total of your data usage. SPB Wireless Monitor is one such application, but how well does it work in practice? Read on to find out.
- Nokia Beta Labs update config tool for admins
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.
- Revival 2
If you're an eager explorer, a budding builder, have a penchant for politics, or fancy yourself as a swinging swordsman, then you might just be interested in Revival 2. This is a Civilisation clone, all running within your Symbian phone. It's a complex game genre, being something of a simulator for early human settlements. It's an old genre too, with its roots definitely in the DOS era of gaming. Read on to find out how well it translates into the mobile space.
- Bubble Birds
A good game never dies, it just gets remade, over and over. That's the case with the original Bubble Shooter genre, which has many imitators, including Bubble Birds. Possibly riding on the meme of Angry Birds, your challenge is to launch chicks from the nest, matching colours to eliminate the rows and rows of other chicks descending on your brood. Are you up to the challenge? Read on to see more.
- Swype for Symbian updated to version 2.0
Swype, the alternative keyboard for Symbian and Android, has been updated to version 2.0. While Swype is available on the Ovi Store, this latest version is exclusively available via Nokia Beta Labs. Swype has been updated to support Symbian Anna's split screen keyboards. Feedback from Symbian and Android users has been implemented to create
- Review: eLiteracy
Learning to spell is something we all have to do. Despite having spell checkers, many editors [hey, that's me, almost a name check! - Ed] will tell you that many of us still need to learn! If you're the kind of parent that likes to install games for the kids on your smartphone, then one to add to the library might be AppCRAFT's eLiteracy. It is designed to help kids spell common words, numbers, colours and more.
- Review: gNewsReader
Google Reader is a blogger's best friend. However, there is a distinct lack of Symbian applications for this most useful of web-based RSS readers. This has left most of us using a browser to consume content on the move. However, that might be set to change with a new Qt application, which brings the Google Reader experience up to date in the Symbian Belle style. Read on to find out more.
- Extreme North
If you're a budding explorer or have a taste for history, then Extreme North might be the title for you. It's more than a game, it's an interactive history lesson. Filled with short text passages and mini-games, you are taken on a voyage of discovery about Arctic exploration in both the 16th and 19th centuries. Read on to find out whether this is one history lesson that can overcome the attention span of the online generation.
- Review: SymNote
Given that smartphones have supplanted PDAs, they need to be up to every sort of PIM duty, including note taking. While Symbian has the venerable Notes application, it's something of a data silo. That is, unless you are fortunate enough to use and understand SyncML services. For those who don't even know what those are, then perhaps SymNote by Talv Bansal will be of interest. It's a note taking application which synchronises to the SimpleNote cloud service. Read on for our review.
- Dropbox updates mobile website, Pre-Anna left out
Dropbox has announced an update to its mobile website, which can be found at dropbox.com/m. Dropbox states that it officially supports iPhone, Android (2.1+) and Windows Phone 7. The browser built-in to pre-Anna Symbian devices will not support this new HTML5 website, but Symbian^3 users can still take advantage either by updating to Anna or using Opera Mobile 11. Read on for screenshots and more.
- Review: VLC Remote
Video LAN Client, known as VLC, is the Swiss Army Knife of multimedia applications. Capable of playing just about anything, as well as streaming to other devices and transcoding, there's little it can't do. However, there are times when you don't want to be glued to the keyboard while watching videos. That's where VLC Remote for Symbian comes in. With this application, you can kick back and relax with Symbian in hand to take charge of your viewing experience. Read on to see how well it works.
- Nokia Essence in the spotlight
When it was announced, the Nokia Essence Bluetooth headset was overshadowed by the buzz surrounding the Symbian Belle devices. However, according to an interview with product manager Karolina Järvensivu over at Nokia Conversations, this unassuming headset warrants further attention. The most remarkable technology in this device is its active noise cancellation, optimised for specific frequencies. Not only is the speech microphone used to remove external noise, but there are microphones inside the earpieces to help reduce the noise of the blood flow inside your ears! Read on for more tidbits.
- NuevaSync improves multiple calendar support
NuevaSync is a paid-for Mail for Exchange service tailored to help all kinds of mobile devices synchronise successfully with Google's PIM services. We reviewed NuevaSync last year, and found it to be a great help with getting Nokia devices to work painlessly with the Google cloud. NuevaSync has now added support for adding events to multiple Google calendars. Read on to find out how well it works and how to set it up.
- Review: Facebook Sync and Contact Photo Sync
Contact images are taken for granted these days, but it wasn't that long ago that they were something of a luxury. Without automation, they can be a pain to set up, even Nokia Social doesn't do that for us. Wouldn't it be nice if there was something that would scan our social networks and match up images with our contacts? Well, we now have two applications to do just that. Read on to see how well Facebook Sync and Contact Photo Sync work.
- Nokia updates Qt SDK and introduces Qt Creator 2.3
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.
- Writing applications with a split screen keyboard
One of the aesthetic updates of Symbian Anna was its split-screen keyboard. Symbian users would finally be able to see what they were typing in context, rather than having a full screen editor cover up the whole screen. However, third party developers wanting to use this new feature have found the information to be rather scattered. Fortunately, Talv Bansal, developer of applications like SymFTP and SymPaper, has gathered together the information and code for developers to follow. Read on for a summary and links.
- Review: Toad FTP
File Transfer Protocol, or FTP for short, is an old school way of moving files from one computer to another. While most people will never need to use it, some of us do. So, having a device without that capability can be a stumbling block. If you've needed an FTP client on your Symbian^3 device, then Toad FTP might be what you're looking for. Let's see how it performs.
- Nokia Beta Labs launch Nokia Nearby
Nokia Beta Labs has announced a new project entitled Nokia Nearby. Aimed at emerging markets, it aims to provide 'hyper local search' capability, especially for devices not supported by Nokia Maps. Nokia Nearby is a Java application which runs on almost all S60 and S40 devices; with an emphasis on the latter. Utilizing network-based location, it doesn't require GPS. The application allows you to search by category or name, and add locations to a list of favourites. Read on for a demonstration and download link.
- Review: Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is a well known publication, one which is trying to find a way through the new age of content distribution. While the options for how to do that with Symbian are limited, it looks like they might just have found a way. The Wall Street Journal app brings both free and paid for content to your Symbian device. Read on to find out how well it works.
- Nokia Essence - Bluetooth headset with NFC pairing
As part of its Hong Kong press event today, Nokia announced the "Essence" Bluetooth stereo headset, to complement its latest release of Symbian Belle smartphones. While the headset will work with any Bluetooth device, the unique selling point is that easy pairing is possible via Near Field Communications (NFC), which Nokia's 600, 700, 701, C7-00 and N9, are all equipped with. Read on for specifications and more.
- Dragon's Lore
Remember the good old days when handheld gaming was synonymous with sliding block puzzles? That's a trend that has never gone away, as evidenced by Dragon's Lore, a puzzle game that draws from the classic Columns genre and brings it into the third dimension, along with a bunch of other tricks. Read on to find out how well the formula works.
- Review: GoToMenu
The Nokia N9's SwipeUI is probably the biggest user interface innovation in the mobile industry this year. The gesture driven system has had many a geek looking on with envy. So much so that it seems to have inspired DzSoft to create GoToMenu for touch enabled Symbian devices. Read on to find out how well this approach works when grafted on top of the older Symbian touch UI.
- Review: One Contact
Home screens are all about customising the user interface of your phone. Shaping and honing it to be the best tool for you, and you alone. The more flexible the widget system, the better it can be tuned to how you think and work. In this respect, the favourite contacts widget in Symbian^3 is pretty limiting. Fortunately, a third party solution from the author of cuteBox has come to the rescue, with the One Contact widget. Read on to find out more.
Mental health is no laughing matter, unless you're a furry creature who has been forced to have some time away from everyone. Yes, in Animentals you are charged with caring for a cutesy creature who also happens to be a mental patient. It's a strange mix of Tamogotchi and The Sims. Filled with amusing animations and mini-games, Animentals wants you to engage and play. Will it drive you crazy in the process? Read on to find out.
- Beware of Web Apps in disguise
Thanks to Web Runtime Widgets (WRTs) and QtWebKit, presenting web apps as native apps has become a quick and efficient way of publishing to Symbian devices. The same applies on other mobile platforms with their equivalent development tools too. However, when anyone can sell an application in the Ovi Store which encapsulates any website, do we need to become cannier shoppers? Read on for a cautionary tale.
- Battleship Modern
Battleships is one of those classic games that everyone has probably played at least once. Starting out as a pen and paper game, transitioning into electronic table top games, and then appearing in countless video games. Battleship Modern is yet another incarnation of the perennial video game. With pen and paper hand drawn style graphics and a few twists on the original concept, is Battleship Modern modern enough to make the grade?
- NestDrop, an alternative to Nokia Drop?
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.
- Review: Astroller
If you've ever looked skyward at night and wondered what each point of light was, you're in need of a guide. For Symbian users, that guide comes in the form of Astroller. This is an interactive sky map, controlled by touch or accelerometer plus compass. Allowing you to observe from any place on the globe, at any time, you can see how the cosmos was, and will be. Along with plenty of other tools, read on to find out who this astronomical app is best suited to.
- In-depth preview of SemperXBMC
Good news for XBMC media centre users, there is now a Symbian^3 remote control application in the works! Despite being at a young version (0.92), "SemperXBMC" packs in most of the features you would expect from a XBMC remote control. It's available directly from the author's website, from which you will also have to install an additional SIS file for Qt Components. SemperXBMC requires Qt 4.7.3 and Qt Quick, which are installed automatically. Read on to find out more!
- Summary of Symbian content sharing
Sharing content from a Symbian phone has never been a straightforward process. It was streamlined thanks to PixelPipe's Send and Share application, which integrated into Symbian's native Send menu. Pixelpipe can simultaneously post to a vast range of services. Unfortunately, that application is no longer available, even though the service is still available via email uploading. Therefore, here is a round up of the other options for Symbian sharing. Read on to see how the All About Symbian team push content from our phones.
Science Fiction fans gather around. If you like to give our extraterrestrial friends the "we come in peace, shoot to kill" type of welcome, here's a game that might interest you. In UFO2012, you are tasked with greeting landing parties of hostile aliens. Pick your team, select your arsenal and go forth exploring isometric landscapes and abandoned buildings. It's an old turn-based adventure game, so read on to see how well the formula translates to mobile gaming.
- cuteBox is now free in the Ovi Store
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.
- Pixelpipe goes email only
Users of the popoular content sharing service, Pixelpipe, may have noticed the absence from the Ovi Store recently. While Pixelpipe has been active (e.g. the Gmail Apps Browser), their blog hasn't been updated for over a year. There has been no announcement about the fate of their popular sharing app via their Twitter account either. Fortunately, Pixelpipe has answered direct queries, which have revealed the status of their
- Google Plus Symbian
Google Plus is the latest addition to the ranks of social networks. Unsurprisingly, Android was the first platform to be catered for with an application, followed recently by iOS. As you might expect, there is no sign of a Symbian application. Just as with other Google services, there are several HTML versions for mobile devices, provided you know the right URL. Asri Al-Baker, our friend from i-Symbian.com, has come to the rescue with a web runtime widget for the HTML5 mobile version of Google Plus. This widget provides an attractive icon which will always launch the correct URL. So now we can at least pretend that Google loves us! Read on for more.
- Eternal Legacy HD
If you're looking for a long term adventure with lavish graphics, then take a look at our review of Eternal Legacy. This adventure game takes full advantage of Symbian^3's graphics acceleration, providing impressive Japanese style graphics. That's only half of the game though. Read on to find out whether Eternal Legacy's gameplay make the price tag, and the whopping 300MB download, worthwhile.
- FidoDido Tower Blitz
Some people say that old games never die, they're just remade. It certainly seems to be the case with FidoDido Tower Blitz. You play the familiar hand drawn character, tasked with painting an arena of coloured blocks, by jumping on them! Sounds simple? Not when you factor in the hazards and enemies. Sounds familiar? Quite possibly, read on to find out why!
- Dungeon Hunter 2 HD
Symbian-owning fans of role playing games should be happy at the moment. Following up on our reviews of Crusade of Destiny and Eternal Legacy HD, we have another epic RPG from Gameloft. Weighing in at 305MB Dungeon Hunter 2 is another game you'll be wanting to install over WiFi. In yet another impressive display of Symbian^3 graphics abilities, Dungeon Hunter 2 also has the mechanics to appeal to hardcore gamers.
Calling all particle physicists, today's game is especially for you! Nanoparticles is a game that takes the laws of physics and tweaks them for the pleasure of picoscopic particle perturbation! [Oh, come onnnnn - Ed] All that's needed is a keen eye and quick reflexes. It's your Symbian phone that will be taking care of the mind bending mathematics needed to diligently trace out the dynamic trajectories!
Do you have an eye for precise positioning? Do you have reactions for tight timing? Then you might like today's review of Stackup, which challenges your timing skills to build an ever higher house of cards. Think you have what it takes to keep your tower from teetering over? Then read on!
- Nokia CTO, Rich Green, steps down
Nokia's Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Rich Green, is to take an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons. Green joined Nokia in 2010, and was brought into its leadership team in February 2011, reporting directly to new CEO, Stephen Elop. As CTO, Green was charged with overseeing the direction of technological advancement in both Nokia's software and hardware groups. Henry Tirri, head of Nokia Research Center, has been appointed acting CTO.
- Review: Business Calendar
When it comes to calendar applications, we Symbian users have had little choice in recent years. In fact, the last convincing replacement for Calendar was Papyrus for S60 3rd Edition, reviewed by us back in 2006! That is why Business Calendar caught my eye, to my knowledge it's the first serious attempt at a replacement for Calendar on touch screen driven Symbian phones. Is it up to the task? Can it work harmoniously beside Symbian's own Calendar? Read on to find out!
- Review: Mopedi and Mopedi Places
Wikipedia is a wonderful thing. It is the culmination of human knowledge presented online for anyone to contribute to. Well, not quite, I don't want to raise the academics' blood pressure too much! While Wikipedia is a comprehensive resource, it's only as accessible as your Internet connection allows, unless you regularly download the entire database. Thanks to Mopedi, you can do just that on your Symbian device. For travellers, there's Mopedi Places too, with curated databases for specific parts of the world. Read on for a look at both.
- Offscreen Technologies releases its Origo IDE for free
Offscreen Technologies has announced the release of its in-house integrated development environment (IDE), free of cost to anyone who wishes to use it. Named Origo, it can be downloaded from origo.offscr.com, along with various guides and further information on its use. Origo allows users to write once and automatically package their application for Symbian^3, S60 5th Edition, S60 3rd Edition, Maemo 5 and Windows Phone 7. Offscreen Technologies Ltd. states that it has published over 150 applications, and has had over 70 million downloads via the Ovi Store.
- Review: Medica Medication Reminder
We all have to take medication sometimes. Remembering when to take it, and when to order repeat prescriptions, can be difficult when you're busy or not feeling well. It can be even harder if you're looking after yourself and/or several others too. Wouldn't it be good if your phone could be your personal medical assistant? With "Medica, Medication Reminder" you can do just that. Read on to find out how well it works in practice.
- Review: TwimGo
Twitter is a must-have on any mobile phone these days. Fortunately, there are no shortage of applications out there to fill that need. TwimGo is a relatively new Twitter application, written by Tommi Laukkanen. It's available for both Maemo and Symbian, and is available for free in the Ovi Store. If you've outgrown Nokia Social, but still want a free Twitter client, is this the one for you? Read on to find out.
- 3D Sky Fighter 2
Calling all ace pilots, there's another 3D shooter in the Ovi Store. 3D Sky Fighter 2 is a forward scrolling accelerometer-controlled shoot 'em up. This is a bare bones game, with no instructions and minimal controls. That means the game will fly or crash and burn on its gameplay alone. Read on to find out whether it's a soaring success or a descending disaster!
- Shazam updated to v3
Shazam, the music identification service, has updated its Symbian client to version 3. The update features a cleaned up user interface. The main screen now only features the large button which triggers audio sampling. The buttons for your previous 'tags' and Shazam music charts have been moved to the top of the screen as tabs, along with a new settings page. The latter gives access to upgrading to the paid version of Shazam, as well as linking to one's Twitter and Facebook accounts. Read on for more details and screenshots.
- Nokia Bubbles resurfaces
Nokia Bubbles, the interactive screen saver, has been re-released at Nokia Beta Labs. This should be of interest to anyone who had problems or missed it the first time around. Prior versions of Nokia Bubbles required testers to install a beta version of the Qt libraries. That caused so many problems for testers that Nokia had to issue a .SIS file to downgrade their Qt files. Now however, Nokia Bubbles works with the current Qt libraries and is installed with Nokia Smart Installer, thus avoiding the earlier issues. Read on for more details and screenshots.
- Review: Pocket View
There's some wonderful photography on the Internet, uploaded from anyone with a camera and an Internet connection. Flickr and Picasa are two of the biggest players in this area, and searching their content for keywords can bring up a treasure trove of images. Accessing them on your phone via a browser can sometimes be a clunky experience. This is where Pocket View steps in, allowing you to discover photos with a slick Qt user interface. But does it have everything? Read on to find out.
- Review: DropML
Just like the proverbial bus service, yet another unofficial Dropbox application has appeared in the Ovi Store. Last week, Rafe reviewed Cutebox, now we have DropML, another Qt-based application for accessing your files in the cloud. With a different feature set and user interface, how well does DropML measure up? Read on to find out.
- Celestial Navigator
If you've ever fantasised about blasting off into space and saving the the world, then Celestial Navigator might be the game for you. Be warned though, there's a rather twisted plot quirk. You play the game as a number of pilots from a world of Teddy Bears! Even more twisted is that you have to embark on a series of ill-fated missions where each Teddy inevitably dies. If you have the right stuff to avoid astronomical obstacles, and the grit see countless Teddies perish, then you might be who we're looking for...
- Review: Elderly Care
Getting old is something that (hopefully) happens to all of us. Before that happens though, there's a fair chance that at some point in your life you'll have to look after an elderly relative. Can mobile technology help make the task any easier? That's what the makers of Elderly Care have tried to do with their application. If you're looking after an elderly relative, read on to see if this might help you.
- Review: NewsFlow
- Pixelpipe updates Gmail App Browser
Just as Pixelpipe's FB Browser landed in the Ovi Store, they have also updated their Gmail Apps Browser which we reviewed in March. With this update, we see two major additions to the line up of Google services on offer; Pixelpipe have added both Google Reader and Google Maps. This means that Google fans can now access six ofcloud services in glorious HTML5 (rendered in QtWebKit) via one application. We also see an update to their dual progress and control bar, which now auto-hides when not needed, giving more space over to the Web apps. Read on for screenshots and more details.
- Pixelpipe releases Facebook app
Following from ther Gmail Apps Browser, the team at Pixelpipe have released a second Qt WebKit based application. This time, their attention has turned to Facebook. This app provides an app shortcut that launches directly into Facebook, with its touch optimised interface. Read on for more details and screenshots.
- CoverUp2 arrives in the Ovi Store
You may recall our recent review of CoverUp. This application solved the long standing problem where the Symbian music player would fail to recognise album art. Sebastian Brannstrom (aka @teknolog), has announced version 2.0 of CoverUp. The new version features a simplified user interface, and the option to load custom images files, in addition the standard image search. Click through for screenshots and more.
- Alpha Wave
Are you feeling protective, but that you need some space in your life? Then you might be the ideal candidate play Alpha Wave, and protect our moon base from that impending meteor shower. Yes, that meteor shower, up there! We love classic game genres and Alpha Wave seems to be taking on two at once, by combining Space Invaders with Asteroids. Read on to find out how well the combination works.
- LinkedIn comes to Symbian
Users of the social network for professionals, LinkedIn, will be pleased to hear that an official client has now been released for Symbian. It's available at the Ovi Store, free of charge, and is built with Qt. The client provides access to all the core functions of the social network. Users can view status updates from other users, and post their own, with an option to have the update tweeted. Read on for more details and screenshots.
- Review: WhatsApp Messenger
In the age of smartphone applications, it's easy to understate the value of the humble SMS, but text messages account for the majority usage of mobile phones. Even though most tariffs have a reasonable allowance for SMS, the limits are still within sight for heavy users. What's more, on a per-byte basis, SMS is very expensive. This is where Whatsapp steps in, offering an Internet-based SMS/MMS alternative, which doesn't limit the amount of messages you can send or even which part of the world you're sending them to. Read on to find out more.
- When beta testing goes bad
Nokia Beta Labs produces some of the most creative mobile apps we've seen, but they are called 'Beta' for a reason! Yes, even though we all might like to roll with the latest cutting edge software, the projects on Beta Labs are, by definition, incomplete products. Therefore, things can go wrong. With current Symbian devices, the Qt libraries are the most likely point of failiure. This type of misadventure is exactly what happened to me and my C7 recently. Here's my story, and how I fixed the problem without resorting to the dreaded three finger salute!
- Autumn Dynasty
Real time strategy (RTS) games can be a lot of fun, if you like that kind of thing. Sometimes though, you don't want to be bogged down by all the facts and figures that are often involved. Is creating an RTS game that strips away all the number crunching and technicalities possible? That's what the TD development team have tried to do with Autumn Dynasty. Read on to find out just how well it works.
- Review: Night of the Living Dead streaming video
Time to grab your pop-corn and prepare to hide behind the sofa. Yes, the iconic zombie movie, "Night of the Living Dead", is now available as an app for Symbian. Please, no jokes about Symbian itself now being a member of the living dead! We've already seen e-books sold as self-contained applications, so can video translate into the same business model? Read on to find out.
- Review: Wikiquotes
We've all heard of Wikipedia, but have you heard of Wikiquotes? This is another Wikimedia website, which publishes proverbs and quotes from prominent people, books, films. This can be useful for both research and general interest. Our review today looks at an offline version of Wikimedia for Qt enabled Symbian phones. The entire Wikiquotes database is downloaded as part of the app, which weighs in at a whopping 95MB download. Read on to find out whether it's worth the download.
- Farm Frenzy 2
We reviewed Alawar's Farm Frenzy last year. Well, the farmyard madness is back with Farm Frenzy 2. Sequels are always difficult to get right though. If you're a mobile gamer looking for a frenzied challenge of screen bashing and resource management, with a dash of cuteness; then you should read on to find out more!
- Review: SoundHound
If there's a song in your mind, then SoundHound might be what you're looking for. Offering a very similar service to Shazam, SoundHound has the ability to recognise either recorded music or a melody sung or hummed by you. This makes it handy if you have a tune stuck in your head, and shows how well you can hold a tune, or not. Does this make it better than Shazam? Read on to find out.
- Review: Physics Reference
Physics is everywhere, whether you realise it or not. Everything we do involves it, and our environment is determined by it. Yes, Physics is a rather important part of life. As such, today's review is of Physics Reference, a pocket guide to life, the universe, and everything, or is it? Read on to find out.
- Review: CoverUp
Buying music isn't just an audio experience. For as long as music has been on sale, cover art has been part of the purchase. This continues into the digital age, where images are supplied with MP3's as part of the download. As any seasoned Symbian user will know, the built-in music player doesn't always successfully handle album art. Fortunately, help is at hand from an app called CoverUp which is here to fix our woes, read on for our review.
- Review: Recordoid
Smartphones have replaced many of our everyday items, the wristwatch, the calculator, and even the Dictaphone. If the latter applies to you, then you'll be interested in this review; especially if you think the Symbian (Sound) Recorder isn't good enough for your needs. Recordoid Lite is a high quality sound recording application, but does it have what it takes to survive in the social media generation? Read on to find out.
- Parachute Panic
If you like extreme sports and ordinary parachuting is too tame for you, then maybe you need a taste of Parachute Panic. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to guide parachutists in their descent through gruesome obstacles, then hopefully land them on boats which are sailing in shark infested water. The hand-drawn drawn graphics try to disguise the horror, but Parachute Panic is aptly named. Read on to find out why.
- Is your application ready for the E6?
The Nokia E6 is finally out of the bag, and with it comes a particular practical consideration for developers. While all other Symbian^3 devices have the same 640x360 (nHD) screen resolution, the E6 stays true to its 4:3 messenger roots, having a screen resolution of 640x480 (VGA). This means that any applications written with the nHD resolution hard coded in will be incompatible with this new E71-style Symbian^3 QWERTY-toting enterprise device. Read on for advice and examples of how to get it right.
- Did you know you were using so many Qt apps?
Qt is the open source application framework that Nokia has been promoting for over a year. While more and more Symbian applications are being built in Qt (pronounced
- A developer's experience of Ovi Store turnover
If you've ever considered developing applications and selling through the Ovi Store, then you might like to read a blog post by Sebastian Brannstrom (@Teknolog). Sebastian is the author of the now de facto podcast agent
- Review: SymFTP
Sometimes, we all have to deal with file transfers. For Symbian, the choices have been USB, Bluetooth, and even Sneakernet with a memory card. Fortunately, SymFTP, available for S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3, provides another option. It is an FTP server that runs on your phone, allowing access to its files remotely from your computer and other devices. Could wireless FTP be the new Bluetooth? Read on for our full review.
- Symbian: now open or not?
Nokia recently posted a clarification that Symbian was "Not open source, but open for business". It is worth taking a moment to consider the collaborative environment Symbian now exists in. Prior to Nokia's deal with Microsoft, we saw the closure of the Symbian Foundation and with it, the end of Symbian's time under the Eclipse Public Licence (EPL). Developers were rightly concerned about just how 'open' Symbian would be. Read on for our analysis.
- Review: Different Tack
Different Tack is a Twitter client with a twist, literally. If you're longing for something more than linear menus, sick of scrolling, wishing things were more rotary? If so, you just might like this one. Different Tack is a new Qt app which has the most creative user interface I've seen. That's all well and good, but how well does it work in practice? Read on to find out.
- Qt SDK 1.1 Release Candidate
The Qt labs team has just announced the release candidate (RC) for its Qt Software Development Kit (SDK) 1.1. This follows from its recent beta release. The final release, following this RC, will allow developers to take advantage of all the latest Qt features and submit Qt 4.7 based applications to the Ovi Store. However, it should be noted that Qt 4.7 will not support S60 3rd Edition, which sadly, but predictably, points to a deprecation of that version of Symbian. Read on for more details.
- Nokia Beta Labs release Nokia Drop
Nokia Beta Labs has announced yet another experimental project, called Nokia Drop. This project sets out to push content from your desktop browser to your phone. Pushed content comes in the forum of URL's, files, images as files, or images as wallpapers. The desktop end requires a browser plugin; Firefox and Chrome are currently the only supported browsers. The phone application is available for S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3. Read on for more.
- Nokia's repository of YouTube support videos
A definite link of interest of for all Nokia users is the Nokia Support Videos channel on YouTube. We've posted before about support videos having been posted for individual phones. Now though, Nokia have compiled all of these into a well presented, cover flow-like, custom YouTube page. Digging further into the standard YouTube video listings reveals support videos for other Nokia devices such as the E72 and N900.
- Review: IM for Nokia
Adding to its range of services, Nokia's multi-platform Instant Messaging (IM) client has now been officially released on the Ovi Store; we reported on its beta release last year. The client is available for all touch screen Nokia phones (i.e. Symbian^3 and S60 5th Edition), and supports Ovi Chat, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and Myspace IM. The client also integrates with Contacts, indicating contacts' online presence. Read on for our review, and plenty of screenshots.
- Nokia publish Symbian source code
Nokia has just posted that it has completed putting the Symbian source code online at symbian.nokia.com. This means that both company-supported and independent developers can now access the Symbian source code again, after the effective closure of the Symbian Foundation. This follow's the interim measure of FTP access to Symbian Foundation hosted content being given out on request. Read on for more details.
- Tank Hero
If the idea of being a train driver was too sedate for you when you were a kid, then perhaps today's game review might be of interest. Tank Hero puts you in control of a metal monster with which your aim is to be the last tank standing. With multi-touch controls and OpenGL graphics, do you have the skill to avoid incoming fire while aiming your shots? Read on to find out more.
If you have a need for speed and a penchant for polygons, then SpeedX might be just what you're looking for. This fast-paced, obstacle avoiding, 3D racing game tests your reactions to the limit, with the object of surviving as long as you can. What's more, this game also features a stereoscopic 3D mode, requiring anaglyph glasses. Read on to get the low-down on this high-paced speeder, along with my video reactions.
- Review: First Aid Box
First Aid skills are something that everyone should have some knowledge of. Fortunately, the Ovi Store has recently added First Aid Box to its catalogue. Is a mobile phone application any substitute for practiced skills? Can reading from a phone be a quick enough way to give help in an emergency? Read on to find out more.
- NAVTEQ announce enhanced indoor navigation maps
NAVTEQ, the Nokia-owned company behind Ovi Maps, have announced a new product called "Destination Maps", which aims to provide the data that would enable guidance services inside public buildings. Initially, the data will cover more than 200 shopping malls in the U.S. One of the possible indoor location technologies that could use this data was previewed at Nokia World 2010, where I interviewed one of the development team about this technology. Read on for more information on its background and implementation.
- Opera Mobile 11 and Mini 6 officially released
Opera has announced the new versions of its mobile browsers, Opera Mobile 11 and Opera Mini 6. These bring an updated user interface, improved text wrapping, and most significantly, multi-touch zoom. Overall performance is improved too, with native handling of heavy sites appearing to load faster in Opera Mobile 11 than with Opera Mobile 10. Read on for more about the update.
- Review: Elements Touch
For the scholarly amongst us, one genre of mobile applications that never seems to get old is that of reference applications. Most of which are scientific in nature, and you can't get more so than the periodic table of elephants, pardon me, elements. I'm glad to say that Offscreen Technology has trumpeted the cause for scientific reference by producing a periodic table of elements application for Symbian touch screen phones. Read on to find out more.
- Facebook acquires Snaptu for $70 million
Snaptu, the startup company which produces the well-known J2ME mobile app, have agreed to be acquired by social networking giant, Facebook. Snaptu is the first Israeli start-up company to be acquired. According to Israeli news site, Calcalist, this buy-out has brought investors approximately a six-fold return on their investment. The Snaptu application has a massive reach by targetting Java compatible mobile phones, most of which lack any sort of app store. Furthermore, the wide range of social networks and content offered by Snaptu bring services to feature phones which are otherwise restricted to more advanced smartphones. Read on for more.
- Review: Pocket Lock
Are you getting tired of pulling the slider on the side of your Symbian phone? Are you locking and unlocking so often that your thumb is getting sore? Well, you should seek medical attention! After you've done that, you also need to check out Pocket Lock from SBSH, available from the Ovi Store. This is a free application, which uses the phone's proximity sensor to detect when it has been put in, or taken out, of a pocket or bag. Read on for our special video review.
- Virtual Table Tennis 3D
Do you like to play Ping-Pong, whack away at Wiff-Waff, tinker with Table-Tennis? Whatever you call it, the sport that went from the garage to the Olympics is now available to play on Symbian in the form of Virtual Table Tennis 3D. As the name implies, this is a 3D rendered version of the perennial sports simulation, available on Symbian^3 through the Ovi Store.
- Review: Gmail Apps Browser
The good thing about Google services is that you can get them just about anywhere these days. The folks from Pixelpipe have now created an app that utilises "native WebKit capabilities that are available with Qt". This app provides Google's Gmail, Tasks, Calendar and Buzz all in one application. Utilizing Qt technology is a step forward from the pioneering Web RunTime Widgets made by Asri Al Baker. Read on to see how well Pixelpipe have captured the Google experience on Symbian devices.
- Limited access to Google Docs on Symbian devices
Our friend, Asri Al Baker, brought my attention to a discovery he made about how to access one's Google Docs account as a WebDav drive. This is thanks to an experimental service, the
- Ovi Store unofficially appears as a Chrome App
Google Chrome users might like to direct their attention to the Chrome Web App Store. An unofficial app for Nokia's Ovi Store has recently appeared, giving users a direct shortcut to the Ovi Store on their 'new tab' page. Google's move to bring apps to the browser has seen varying amounts of innovation. Some
- E7 photographed and compared
Those interested in buying the Nokia E7, wanting to see more of the device before spending their money, should head over to my blog. Following on from writing part 4 and part 5 of our extensive E7 review, I held an impromptu photo shoot of the E7, along with some other devices. There are twenty seven photos, showing the E7 from all angles. Read on for a preview.
- Worms HD
Symbian^3 has Worms. No jokes please, I mean the perennial video game! Yes, Worms has been around since 1995, allowing gamers to partake in the pleasure of parabolic persecution. That's right, it's not just the Angry Birds who have been exploiting ballistic bombardment for our entertainment! Read on to see how well the slithering scrimmage plays out on Symbian^3!
- Review: Nokia E7, part 5 - Internet, Security and Productivity
In this, part five of our in-depth E7 review, I'll continue to look at the productivity and enterprise features of the E7. Given that the E7 isn't even available to buy in many areas yet, we are of course reviewing a product release (PR) 1.0 device. Readers should note that its software version is 13.016, which puts it equal in many ways with the PR 1.1 firmware of the N8, C7 and C6-01. Be sure to check Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of our E7 review so far too.
- Review: Nokia E7, part 4 - Communications and PIM
In our continuing Nokia E7-00 review, Rafe has already given you his opinion on the E7 hardware. Following on, Steve has taken you through the image capture and multimeda capabilities of the E7. For parts four and five, I'll be focussing on the productivity and enterprise abilities of Nokia's latest Eseries communicator. In this part, I look at text input options, messaging/email, personal information management and VoIP. In part five, I'll be focussing on the web browser, social networking and productivity software found on the E7.
- Mobbler 2.1 hits the Ovi Store
We recently reported about a new beta version for Mobbler, having been updated for Symbian^3 and support for Last.fm's Scrobbling 2.0 API. Today the Mobbler team announced via Twitter that the very latest version of Mobbler is available for free download in the Ovi Store. This news means that the features listed for this new version at Mobbler's Wiki for the beta version we already reported on, have now graduated to Mobbler's official release.
- Developers to get a free Nokia E7 and Nokia Windows Phone
As reported on Slashgear, developers registered with Nokia's Launchpad programme were contacted earlier today. The e-mail was sent out to reassure the developer community, after last Friday's announcement of a partnership with Microsoft. In the e-mail, members of the Launchpad developer program were offered a free Nokia E7-00 straight away, and when available they will also receive a Nokia Windows Phone. In addition to this, developers have been given ten free technical support tickets valid for the next three months, as well as a free user experience test which is available upon request. Read on for more information.
- Defective screens found in some N8's and C7's?
Since at least, the beginning of this year, there have been a growing number of reports about 'defective' screens with some models of the Nokia N8-00 and C7-00. Reports vary, but the key theme has been an errant (mainly red-purple) colour tint, which is more apparent in dim, or black areas of the screen, under specific circumstances. This fault is certainly not universal. Furthermore, as far as we can tell from our own research, there doesn't appear to be a correlation to any particular firmware version either. Read on for links and examples of the the fault.
- Review: QuickNet
quickNet is a simple application designed to help you switch between the various radio modes available in your Symbian device. The premise is that it's easier to launch an app, rather than dig through the menus and submenus of the Settings application. There aren't any other applications like this around for Symbian, so read on to see how well it works in practice!
- Nimbuzz goes ad free
Nimbuzz has announced that it is exclusively releasing an ad-free version of its instant messaging client on the Ovi Store. In addition to waiving advertisements in exchange for a one-off fee of £3.00, premium users also get several new aesthetic settings not available in the ad-supported version. These options are viewing instant message conversations in a chat bubble style, custom colours or images for chat screen backgrounds, and custom font colours for the chat screen. Read on for more.
- Another case for Windows Phone over Symbian? Not necessarily...
Noted Nokia blogger, Ricky Cadden, has posted over at Mobile R'n'R with his take on why Nokia made the right decision going with Windows Phone for 2012 and onwards, rather than continuing to push forward with Symbian. Whether you agree with him or not, it's a good read with reasoned arguments, sticking to the facts without speculating too much. Read on for choice quotes and my own somewhat sceptical commentary....
- Last.fm radio goes premium
The well known music streaming and recommendation service, Last.fm, has announced that its online radio stations will become a premium only service. This will directly affect users of Mobbler, the only Last.fm client available for Symbian. For some time now, the Last.fm streaming radio stations have been available for free listening, supported by advertisements. Last.fm states on its blog that it has not been practical to support music streaming to emerging mobile markets, based on advertising income. Read on for more.
- Mbuntu puts Ubuntu on Symbian? (Not really)
Mbuntu is a flash based application launcher available for all flavours of Symbian, aimed squarely at Ubuntu fans. The application simulates the GNOME-based Ubuntu desktop, with the Jaunty Jackalope wallpaper. From the Ubuntu application menu, users can access all of the phone's core applications, such as: contacts, messages, Bluetooth, USB mode, Web, etc. There are also indicators for WiFi and battery level. Read on to find out more.
- Crusade of Destiny
Crusade of Destiny is the first 3D role playing game (RPG) available for Symbian^3. It's based in a Swords and Sorcery fantasy world, much like the highly renowned World of Warcraft Massively Multiplayer Online RPG (MMORPG). Such games can be deceptively complex, requiring complex user interfaces (UI). Read on to find out how well this type of game translates into use on a touch screen mobile phone.
- NuevaSync adds read-only support
Users of the third party Mail for Exchange service, NuevaSync, may be interested to know that they have added a new feature allowing for read-only synchronisation to mobile phones. Currently, the feature is only available via the NuevaSync Labs page, as it is still in development. This feature will be useful to anyone using NuevaSync and finding that their device is duplicating or modifying data in other undesirable ways. Users have fine control over read-only access, being able to set it on a per-data-type basis, for each device they are synchronising with NuevaSync.
- How not to submit an application to the Ovi Store
Without word of mouth, the success of an application depends on getting into an App store, and making it easy to find. The approval process of application stores is a frequently complained about issue in the developer world, and the Ovi Store is not immune from these complaints. Therefore, if you are a developer looking to get into the Ovi Store, there are a few things you should bear in mind... Read on to find out.
- Nokia at MWC 2011
In just two weeks, Mobile World Congress 2011 will be kicking off in Barcelona. Nokia will be there and has just announced details of its talks, exhibitions and press briefings. On each day of MWC someone from Nokia will be speaking, including new CEO Stephen Elop and Mary McDowell. Nokia will have three exhibition stands, for NavTeq, Qt and Nokia Siemens Networks. Nokia will also be hosting a developer day at the AppPlanet event. Finally, Nokia will be showing off its deveice portfolio and Ovi services at the Pepcom Mobile Focus event.
- IEC finally publishes 'micro USB' charging standard
Even though we first reported on the standardisation of mobile phone chargers two years ago, the International Electrotechnical Commission has finally published its IEC International Standard IEC 62684, entitled
- Application discovery with Appitype
The Ovi Daily App blog has posted today about their new Appitype questionnaire, which is a novel way of helping people with application discovery. By answering a series of questions about your usage pattern with your phone and applications, Appitype will recommend six applications for you to try, as well as what should be your 'ideal' Nokia phone. The latter point may make for some awkwardness if you'd received a different phone at Christmas! Appitype complements work that Nokia is doing with Trevor Pinch, professor of science and technology studies at Cornell University.
- The N8 continues to impress
The N8 has been something of a landmark device for Nokia. It was proclaimed at Nokia World that the fight back started with the N8. As part of this fight back, Nokia have thrown a lot of marketing muscle behind the N8, of course focussing on its outstanding 12 megapixel camera. Specifically, there has been the Nokia Push N8 contest and the N8 Producers competition. Besides those official adventures of the N8, its users and reviewers alike seem to continue to put the phone through its paces in the most unconventional ways. It is surely a testament to the admiration people feel for the device. Read on to see what some people have been up to with their N8.
- Gigaom encourages Nokia to stick to its guns
After the publication of Nokia's 2010 Q4 results, there has been much fevered discussion across the Internet about why Nokia, with (ex-)Microsoft's Stephen Elop at the helm, may turn to other operating systems for its phones. The alternative operating systems in the spotlight being Android (Q4's biggest seller) and Windows Phone 7. Here at All About Symbian, we have been considering these options and finding that they just do not stand up to a reasoned analysis. An article entitled
Creating playlists can be something of a chore if you don't have the patience to put together the perfect mixes from your music collection. MoodAgent hopes to solve this problem by creating dynamic playlists based on your mood. Sounds too good to be true, so read on to see how well it works in practice and what else is on offer.
- Nokia C6-01 gets a set of support videos
Nokia have released a set of fourteen support videos, embedded below, to show users how to get the most out of their Nokia C6-01. Ranging from basic things like how to use the buttons and touchscreen, to more sophisticated topics like planning a road trip and editing photos. This is a great resource for anyone new to Symbian^3. While the video titles are aimed at the C6-01, these instructions apply to any Symbian^3 handset. Click through to view our indexed list of videos. Thanks to Clinton Jeff at ZOMGITSCJ for spotting these.
- The anthropology of Angry Birds
There's an interesting article over on The Wall Street Journal trying to explain why Angry Birds has been such an amazing hit in the gaming world. Their thesis looks at the idea that we humans are hard wired to enjoy solving parabolas, the trajectories made by something propelled against the influence of gravity. Video games have long exploited our bias for ballistics; for example, look back at the hit series of PC games,
- IDW Comics
While we may not yet have mainstream eBook support on Symbian, a little known set of gems in the Ovi Store are awaiting any Symbian toting comic book lovers. Dozens of titles from IDW Publishing are available for your viewing pleasure. Based around a generic application, there are many well known, and not so well known, titles available. Ranging from Transformers and Star Trek, to Danger Girl and Astro Boy, there may just be something to catch your eye. Read on to see what I make of the seemingly underground comic book market on Symbian.
- Qt training videos from Nokia
As part of the current North American Calling All Innovators competition, Nokia have published 18 training videos for developing in the Qt framework. Due to high demand for entrants to the competition, Nokia (partnered by AT&T) have extended their deadline for entry to the 31st of March 2011. There are many prizes up for grabs, ranging from a top prize of $250K (US) with $2M in marketing for the winning applications, to a wide range of smaller cash prizes, and there are also 500 Nokia phones up for grabs too. Entrants are asked to develop their applications in Qt for the N8, and to that end, the previously mentioned training videos are available to help developers get started.
- Shazam on Qt
Shazam has been available on Symbian for quite for sometime. Not only has Shazam just been released for Symbian^3 but it has also been written in Qt, the development framework which Nokia bought the rights to and makes application development quicker and easier to port to the likes of MeeGo. If you haven't heard of Shazam, it is a music recognition application, which solves the problem of trying to identify music you're curious about. Shazam provides additional services and information around identified tracks, including purchasing the track. Read on to find out how well this latest version of Shazam works.
- Nimbuzz now uses 70% less data with Symbian
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.
- Music Explorer featured on the Ovi Blog
The Ovi Blog has just covered an application for Nokia touch handsets to make discovering music in the Ovi Music store a little easier. Music Explorer is essentially an alternative search interface for the store. The application is available in the Ovi Store, and allows you to easily browse featured tracks by genre. The application comes with a home screen widget (for suitably enabled handsets), which will provide recommendations and special offers. Read on for a mini review.
- Eight reasons for Nokia to adopt Fennec
In anticipation of a new browser coming to Symbian^3, it's time to do a little hypothetical thinking about the browsing scene on Symbian. In this editorial, I consider the case for Nokia cooperating with the Mozilla Foundation, for Fennec to be shipped with Symbian devices. This is of course blue sky thinking, as Web is deeply integrated into Symbian and Nokia have already said the future of the Symbian browser is Qt Webkit based. Despite that, there is an interesting, theoretical, case to be made, which I explore in this editorial. Whether you agree or not, read on to see what you make of my arguments - comments are invited.
- Review: Living with Symbian^3, Part Two
In the first part of my Symbian^3 review, I concentrated on the design of the home screen system and the general facilities provided in Symbian^3. This time, I'm looking at the core applications. What has changed, what has stayed the same, and what still needs to be done? It's all here. Also under the microscope is text intput, and by popular demand, PIM synchronisation, just how well can Symbian^3 talk to services beyond the Ovi world?
- Nokia to grant FTP access to Symbian Foundation files
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.
- Review: Grid
Just as Symbian users start to get used to having multiple home screens, OffScreen come along with an app to completely replace the home screen. Making use of Symbian^3's graphics acceleration, Grid is a super app-grid application, allowing for drag and drop configuration so you can have your apps where you want them. Read on to find out whether I think this puts a whole new spin on the Symbian user experience or whether it's all shine without substance.
- HTML email comes to S60 3rd Edition
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.
- Review: Living with Symbian^3, Part One
Rafe and Steve have already written extensively about Symbian^3 in their N8 reviews (e.g. three recent parts here, here, and here). Since then, I've had a month long trial with the Nokia C7 in which I've used it as my primary phone. While Rafe will be continuing our full, long term hardware review of the C7, I am taking the opportunity to give my impressions of using Symbian^3. Everything has its pros and cons, and Symbian^3 is no different. Here I present my own in-depth take on the best, and worst, of Symbian^3.
- Macro photography with 'Full Focus' phones
Extended Depth of Field (EDoF) cameras, also known as Full Focus, have enabled Nokia to make ever thinner smartphones. Rather than relying on the larger actuating auto-focus lens system to produce a sharp image, EDoF exploits image processing algorithms to create an image that is universally sharp. The trade off here is that capturing fine details (like text) is often not possible, and there is a minimum focal distance of 50cm. Well, Jade Bryan over at SymbianWorld.org has come up with a method to get around this limitation, and like all the best ideas, it is remarkably simple. Read on to find out more.
- Mobbler updated for Symbian^3 and Scrobbling 2.0
Mobbler, Symbian's Last.fm client, has a new beta version for Symbian^3 users. The new beta supports the new Scrobbling API and menu items for the radio stations recently discontinued by Last.fm have been removed. There is a long list of new features too, like Twitter sharing, artist biography pages, and improved lyrics pages. Also added is support for the new mix radio station created by Last.fm to replace discontinued stations. The Mobbler project is also asking people to install an error reporting agent (ErrRd.SIS) which will help the developers capture bugs in the new beta version.
- Pixelpipe hosted at Nokia Beta Labs
Anyone who is interested in testing the latest features of Pixelpipe Share Online should now direct their browser towards Nokia Beta Labs. Pixelpipe is the latest third party application to be invited into Nokia Beta Labs for users to get the latest bleeding edge features, and more importantly, provide useful feedback to the developers! To announce their invitation to Beta Labs, Pixepipe CEO Brett Butterfield has written a guest blog post, to introduce the social media sharing agent to the uninitiated.
- Facebook Touch as WRT Widget
Asri Al Baker from i-symbian.com and friend of All About Symbian has been at it again with his Web Run-Time Widgets! This time, he has broken away from the Google world and treated us to a launcher for Facebook Touch. For those who don't know, http://touch.facebook.com offers a variant of Facebook optmised for finger-driven mobile browsers. As said previously, there's nothing stopping users from just adding a bookmark to their browser, but these WRT Widgets offer the benefit of an identifiable icon in both the application menu and home screen shortcuts.
- Air Hockey Touch
Air Hockey might not be the first thing you think of when someone suggests a fast paced physics-based video game running on your phone. However, that's just what you get with Air Hockey Touch. Available for S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3 on the Ovi Store, either for £3 or in an ad-supported free version. I review this game to see how well it reproduces the real world experience of playing air hockey, all apart from the whoosh of air, of course!
- Marko Ahtisaari at LeWeb 2010
Marko Ahtisaari, SVP of industrial design at Nokia, was one of the guest speakers at this year's LeWeb Conference. He covered topics from dominant designs of smartphone user interface and collective intelligence with mobile devices. He outlined why he sees that there's plenty of work to be done in the world of mobile user experience, particularly in having mobile devices actually demand less of our attention. In his view, iOS is
- Symbian users petition Amazon for a Kindle app
Anyone who pays attention to technology knows that the E-book world finally started to take off with the release of Amazon's Kindle reader and book store. Since then, not only have competing readers and marketplaces launched, but so have mobile applications for the Kindle platform. Android and iPhone users have long enjoyed being able to synchronise their book collection with their mobile phones. So far though, Symbian has been left out of the party, despite being the largest smartphone platform on Earth. Read on to find out how to help change this.
- Coming Next
The Symbian Calendar is lacking a good old agenda view; something that Psion and Google Calendar users alike will be all too well aware of. However, help is at hand by means of a highly configurable application called
- Nokia Messaging and Mail for Exchange come to the Nokia 5800, 5530 and X6-00
Nokia Messaging 10.2 and Mail for Exchange have just been pushed out for Nokia's 5800 XpressMusic, 5530 and X6-00. These updates are over-the-air (OTA), and should be available via the Software Update application. Nokia Messaging provides push email to these handsets via Nokia's own push mail service from popular services like Ovi Mail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc. Alongside the Nokia Messaging update, Mail for Exchange has been added to these handsets providing push email and PIM push synchronisation with corporate networks, and third party services like Nuevasync. Read on for screenshots and a brief comment.
- Skype arrives on Symbian^3
Skype have just announced a new version of Skype for Symbian, with a revamped user interface and support for Symbian^3 devices. This new version (1.50 build 15) supports the SILK codec for higher quality calls. As part of the user interface update, Skype say they have improved support for larger screens, and made it easier to add contacts and photos, and make status updates. We have also noted the UI has new instant message notification pop-ups. Read on for screenshots and our initial test results.
- Review: Currencies Touch
Offscreen are a company who have a veritable armada of applications in the Ovi Store, and here's one of their latest, Currencies Touch, available for free. Drawing information from the European Bank about exchange rates between thirty four currencies, this provides a user friendly interface for getting quick currency conversions on your phone.
- NDrop (and other ways of accessing Dropbox)
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage solutions out there, and applications for Android and iPhone are much touted features. However, there are various forms of support for Symbian too. Options include Dropbox's mobile website; the upload agents, Pixelpipe and Furtiv, and other miscellaneous workarounds. However, there is also an unofficial Dropbox application, called NDrop, available on the Ovi Store. Read on for an overview of how to access your Dropbox account on Symbian phones and a mini-review of NDrop in particular.
- Google Calendar and Chat WRT's now available
Friend of All About Symbian, Asri Al Baker from i-symbian.com, has done it again. As mentioned in this week's Insight Podcast, he has just published two more WRT widgets for launching advanced mobile website versions of Google services. This time he has created launchers for GTalk, Google's instant messaging service, and Google Calendar. These come after Asri's other widgets for GMail and Google Reader (which we reported on here and here). The websites utilised by these launchers are the default views found on iOS and Android browsers, but are available to any mobile browser, if you know the right URL's. Read on for screenshots and more.
- Pixelpipe Send and Share nears major update
The next version of Pixelpipe's social media sharing agent, Send and Share, has reached its final version, and is awaiting approval on the Ovi Store. For a number of months, the Pixelpipe team have been working hard on developing the Send and Share client, regularly sending test versions out to their beta testing mailing list. In a message to testers from CEO Brett Butterfield, this pre-release pattern will be changing and less frequent updates will be sent to testers.
- C7 receives minor application updates
When C7 owners check their Software Update application this week, they will (network branding permitting) find a set of Over-The-Air updates for their device. First of all, there is the update for the Social application, available for all Symbian^3 devices, that we have already reported on. Also there is a 3.3MB update for core applications to
It's been too long since we last had a go on a tower defence game for Symbian. So stepping up to fill the gap is Robodef from DaSuppaStudios. To those familiar with tower defence games, Robodef is a standard romp. And if you like to have a dose of Mecha in your video games then look no further. Robodef is available on the Ovi Store for S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3, there's a free trial and the full game is only £1.50. Read on to see my verdict.
- Nokia to give away 105 C7's and throw a party!
Nokia is running a competition to promote its new C7 and C6-01 handsets. (See our in-progress C7 review here and here). The object of the competition is to win as many votes as possible via the
- Symbian Foundation to close all websites
Following the news that it would now become a licensing body, the Symbian Foundation has announced that all of its websites will close down on December 17th 2010. After that date, every site under the symbian.org domain, including developer.symbian.org, horizon.symbian.org, ideas.symbian.org and blog.symbian.org, will no longer be online. In addition, it has been said that the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the Symbian Foundation
- Nokia designers to field consumer questions on Twitter
Between 9am and 10am GMT tomorrow, November 30th, three designers from Nokia will be answering questions on Twitter about Nokia's design process, with special emphasis on Nokia's C6-01 and C7-00. Questions should have the #NokiaDesign hash-tag to be seen by the guys at Nokia. Searching for that tag (just click the previous link) will allow you to view the conversation. Read on for more details.
- Nokia 5530 receives v32.0.007 firmware update
- Symbian blog shows the science of touch
The official Symbian blog as just published a video taken at SEE 2010, with Terence Warmbier of the Immersion Corporation. This is the company responsible for the haptic feedback hardware found in every Symbian device. Immersion is pushing haptic technology to allow users to discern material textures and spatial sensation, from just a tap of a screen. This technology is already applied to user interfaces and games, but Warmbier also spoke about using haptic ringtones to allow the user to feel who is calling them. Click through to see the video.
- GMail for iPhone released as Symbian Web Runtime widget
Asri al-Baker, from i-symbian.com, and friend of All About Symbian, has just released a Web Runtime widget for all Symbian devices which will load up the iPhone version of the GMail website. This version of the website offers the richest functionality for any mobile platform. Asri reports that this work was actually inspired by a tweet made by myself(!) Thanks for the contribution, Asri! Read on for more ...
- A tough choice
I have just read an interesting post by blogger @Smartfonefan, in which he goes into great detail deliberating about whether he should buy the Nokia N8 or upcoming E7. It's a rather empaphetic read, and anyone who is reading All About Symbian will instantly understand that difficult and pleasurable period we all go through when we try to find out every last detail (which hopefully AAS provides!) about our candidate devices, to make that final decision.
- Nokia Beta Labs release Wellness Diary
Nokia Beta Labs have released their Wellness Diary application, which they announced in September. Available for all touch-screen enabled Symbian phones, the application runs in the background monitoring the user's activity. For example, it uses the accelerometer as a pedometer to measure your physical activity, and a schedule can even be set for the application to periodically ask you how many snacks you've eaten! Users can set personal targets and share their progress with social networks. To find out more, read on.
- Symbian's move back to Nokia is good news
Yesterday's news that Nokia would be taking over governance of the Symbian project was great for anyone wanting to publish a dramatic headline. However, to call this a failure for Symbian would, at best, be a cursory observation of what this really means for the platform. To many observers, the writing was on the wall for quite some time, and for others, it was the only logical conclusion to the Symbian Foundation experiment. Over the past year, I wrote two articles about the wider adoption of Symbian:
- JoikuSpot increases its compatibility
The well known WiFi tethering application, JoikuSpot, has expanded its range of supported Symbian devices. In addition to S60 3rd Edition and Symbian^1 devices from Nokia; JoikuSpot now supports recent Sony Ericsson devices (Satio, Vivaz and Vivaz Pro). Further expanding its compatibility with Nokia devices, the JoikuSpot have also released a Premium edition for Symbian^3 devices. Prices are currently reduced from 15 Euros to 9 Euros.
- Nokia Push at Nokia World 2010
Nokia World 2010 played host to a number of mini exhibitions, including the inspiring and fun hacking competition, Nokia Push, which now includes the N8 alongside the N900. As well as ingenious and geeky N900 hacks, kite and skateboard mountings for both the N900 and N8 were on display. The latter were built to be given out to film makers so that they could use these Nokia handsets to obtain otherwise unobtainable camera angles. Read on for photos and more information.
- Review: NuevaSync
Keeping one's device in sync with calendar and contacts is one of the core functions for anyone who uses their phone as their personal organiser. One option for doing this is the Mail for Exchange protocol which is supported by Nokia Messaging. NuevaSync is a premium service that brings together a range of cloud email and PIM services together and provides push synchronisation to your device. Here's my long term review.
- Review: Toodledo Slim
Toodledo is an online task manager with a vast array of options for managing everything from mundane tasks to large projects. While they do not yet offer a Symbian application, their
- Review: Clingo Universal Mobile Stand
If you want a desk stand for your phone without the all the usual paraphernalia of charging tips, USB ports, memory card readers, etc., then David Gilson might have found what you're looking for. Clingo is a new range of innovative stands and holders for mobile devices with a patent pending sticky gel. Read on to see whether David thinks it lives up to the hype or not.
- Pixelpipe Send and Share updated
Following on from my initial review of Pixelpipe's Send and Share client, I met their CEO, Brett Butterfield, at Nokia World 2010 to find out what was new. Send and Share has had some significant additions that all add together to make the application even more convenient to use.
- Navteq True at Nokia World 2010
Navteq were present at Nokia World 2010, with one of their GeoData collection cars taking centre stage. They were also showing a promotional video of their LIDAR based 3D data collection system. Also on display was the first showing of a mobile client to actually make use of Navteq's 3D street maps, running on the Maemo-powered Nokia N900. Read on for more details and a demonstration video.
- How to: Nokia Social and the march into 2010
One of the challenges of the 2010 and 2011 smartphone is that being online is not just about email and web anymore. There's a complete social awareness of what your friends and family are up to, of breaking news, with complete interactivity in terms of everybody commenting on, and replying to, each other's updates. Plus these social networks have their own 'Inbox', meaning that for many people the social environment is their primary online interaction. Up until now, social on Symbian has largely meant third party apps and clunky widgets. But on top of Symbian^3 on their new devices, Nokia has implemented some fairly comprehensive social networking integration. Let me walk you through how it works, while David reports with some more background from a chat he had at Nokia World with the Social team.
- Indoor Location Services Future tech from Nokia World 2010
One of the future technology demonstrations at Nokia World 2010 was an innovative system for providing indoor location services. Indoor positioning has always been a missing link in navigation software because GPS signals cannot penetrate into buildings. This new system from Nokia Research Centre has the potential to revolutionise navigation, providing a seamless transition between outdoor and indoor navigation. For example, allowing people to navigate to a public place, and then find their way around once inside, and much more. Read on.
- Tales of a Nokia World Newbie
For those who don't know, I only started out on my writing career late last year. So, not only was Nokia World 2010 the first Nokia event I'd attended, but it was the first event I'd attended as a member of the press. It was also the first time I'd met other members of the All About Symbian team in person, having previously only spoken via Skype. One thing is for sure, those two days at the ExCeL Centre were certainly a learning experience for me. I hope what follows will be of particular use and interest for anyone who is hoping to follow the same path as I'm currently forging - i.e. technology journalism. To those of you with more experience and for whom this sort of event holds no novelty, I at least hope to inspire a little nostalgia :-)
- Plug and Touch Turning your TV into a touchscreen
On show at Nokia World 2010 were several exciting examples of future technology. One of those was a research project brought from Nokia's Beijing research and development labs. Named
- Tim Berners-Lee at Nokia World 2010
Sir Tim Berners-Lee's keynote speech started day two of Nokia World 2010 and I was there for All About Symbian to try and bring you his key points, summarised below. Sir Tim talked about the underlying principles that effect every member of the information society, not just Nokia users. As ever, he championed and promoted an open Internet and stands by the need for Net Neutrality. He currently holds a position at MIT, where the World Wide Web Consotium (WC3), of which Nokia are a member, is currently hosted.
- Vodafone's Vitorri Colao on mobile usage
David Gilson sat in on Vodafone's Vitorri Colao's keynote yesterday, at Nokia World 2010. He spoke about real world mobile usage and what needs to be done to increase this, in both existing and developing markets, breaking down what mobile consumers currently do and where Vodafone would like to see the market move. Overall, it's a useful snapshot of the 2010 mobile world across the globe - at least, as seen by Big Red.
- Nokia announce Mobile TV headset
A Mobile TV headset has been announced via Nokia Conversations that will allow any USB On-The-Go enabled Symbian^3 device to receive DVB-H TV signals. The accessory has controls for volume and channel changing, as well as for accepting incoming calls, and will require installation of a mobile TV application from the Ovi Store. The headset should retail at €40 before taxes and should appear in Q4 2010. Taking advantage of Symbian^3's USB hosting feature means that users will no longer to be restricted to a limited number of models (e.g. N77, N92, N96); as long as USB OTG will become standard in Symbian^3 devices. Read on for commentary.
- The Symbian Blog interviews Klomptek
The Symbian Blog have published an interview with the Klomptek, the developers of Track and Protect. The interview covers the background history of the company, but also gives an insight into the development process and some unusual use cases. The latest version of Track and Protect, 2.08, which was released last week, improves the registration process, adds support for the Nokia N8 (one of the first third party applications to be fully optimised for the new device) and has additional language support.
- Why Battery Life Sucks
There is a great rant over on Mobile Fanatics, about battery life in mobile devices. The author makes the case that poor battery life is down to lack of optimisation by developers, citing Android as the worst offender. Furthermore, he blames mobile platforms being based on the Unix/POSIX/Linux family of operating systems, stating that these systems were never planned to have been run on mobile platforms where energy is at a premium. Read on for commentary.
- Data Monitor Review
Do you have a monthly, weekly or even daily data limit on your mobile account? I know I do, which is why we leapt at the appearance of Data Monitor as a utility to help keep track of usage. However, with barely more data-gathering functionality than the built-in Log utility and with an intrusive and hard-to-configure, always-on 'ticker', it seems that Data Monitor isn't ready for the prime time just yet, as you can read in David Gilson's review.
- Orange UK launches HD Voice on the Nokia 5230, X6 and E5
Orange UK have announced a new service called HD Voice, which will give superior audio call quality over its 3G network on selected phones. Available free of charge, the service will initially be available to a small set of phones; Nokia's 5230, X6 and E5, plus the Samsung Omnia Pro. Having listened to test calls, it is a vast improvement, but not quite up to the claimed
- The Nokia E72 updated to v51 firmware
The Nokia E72 has received a OTA firmware update from version 031.023 to 051.018, and is an 11MB download. It is a significant update with a wide range of changes. Notably, Web sees an upgrade to v7.2.6. Along with updates, there is the usual statement of
- Pixelpipe Send and Share
David Gilson reviews the free Pixelpipe Send and Share, the new incarnation of the popular uploading service that works independently of Nokia's Share online and thus works more seamlessly, using a wider range of file types and (presumably) on more devices. It's all win, win, win until David points out a few caveats, including less flexible authentication and a greater need to do some of the set up using your desktop's web browser.
- Battery life is top priority to 38% of users
Nokia Conversations recently ran a poll asking what's more important than battery life? Yesterday, they published their results with the largest segment of users, 38%, voting for the 'Nothing' option. The runner-up choice was Connectivity, with 25% of the vote. Multimedia capabilities took third place with 17% of the vote. Read on for more commentary.
- Publishing to Audioboo via Nokia Share Online
Audioboo is a popular audio clip publishing service and has mobile applications for Android and iPhone. However, there is no support for Symbian. Never fear though, David Gilson is on the case and shows us how to publish to Audioboo via Nokia Share Online and Pixelpipe's Audioboo plugin.
- Nokia C6 Part 3: Applications and user experience
The third part of our Nokia C6 review offers an overview of the software and some insight into the phone's user experience. Part 2 covered the camera and multimedia software bundle. Part 1 covered first impressions and hardware.
- Nokia C6 Part 2: Multimedia and Camera
In the second part of his review of Nokia's new C6 (here's part 1), David Gilson looks at its camera and multimedia software bundle. Although there's little here that's actually new, what's surprising is the C6's speed - it seems that S60 5th Edition is now pretty well optimised in this regard.
- Nokia C6 Part 1: First Impressions and Hardware
David Gilson takes on Nokia's latest touchscreen hybrid smartphone, the C6-00, looking in this first review part at the raw hardware - how does the C6 stack up against the hardware in the 5800 and N97 mini, between which it seems to represent a middle ground? From overall styling and shape to keyboard ergonomics, David leaves no stone unturned... Future review parts will look at the C6's camera, multimedia and general applications and performance.
- Ideal keyboard design in smartphones looking at Aspect Ratios
David Gilson has a theory. It concerns correlating the aspect ratio of a smartphone's virtual or physical qwerty keyboard with text entry speed, on the grounds that one's thumbs have more (or less) work to do, depending on form factor. Read on for his data and the theory in detail - and see if you can help produce more data points with your own device(s).
- More Furtiv plugins arrive at the Ovi Store
We recently reported that Furtiv had announced new beta version plugins for Nokia Share Online. Futiv have now announced that the current wave of plugins are now officially available, for free in the Ovi Store. In total this now means that Furtiv offer Share Online plugins for YouTube, Facebook, TweetPhoto, Picasa Web Albums, TwitPic, Dropbox, MySpace, Orkut, yfrog, img.ly, LinkedIn and Flickr. See Furtiv's publisher page on the Ovi Store for more details.
- Never too old for a wedding a Day in the Life of the Nokia N82
David Gilson turns blogger in this Day in the Life of the Nokia N82, bought by him for camera duties and becoming his tool of choice for an all day wedding event. Read on for his impressions of this three year old device and its Xenon flash, sample photos and even a battery report - it seems that rumours of the N82's demise have been greatly exagerated...
- Does Symbian have a service layer gap?
Spurred on by his reviews of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro and Samsung i8910 HD, David Gilson looks at the huge investment Nokia has made into providing an Ovi service layer - it seems that, whatever Ovi's detractors might say, the absence of this service layer on non-Nokia hardware is desperately noticeable. He also wonders whatever became of Symbian's Horizon project - as good a starting point as any for getting applications out to all Symbian smartphones.
- C6 appears on sale at Nokia UK store
Nokia's latest Symbian^1 device, the C6 has appeared on sale at Nokia's UK store. The C6 is a touchscreen phone with side-sliding QWERTY keyboard, featuring the same homescreen widgets as seen on the N97 and N97 mini. It was announced back in April along with the C3 and E5. The emphasis of the April release was to 'democratise' the market by bringing unlocked handset prices down to a more affordable level. Therefore, we're a little surprised at the £289 price tag on the C6. Of course, prices on the Nokia UK store are typically higher than 'street' retail prices, but this is still different from the £230 price tag we expected.
- Can the cloud replace mobile applications?
David Gilson explores the relative benefits of native applications and cloud applications, both from a consumer point of view, and from the point of view of the developers who ultimately supply our applications. Will the cloud replace the traditional app?
- Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta released for Symbian
- Furtiv brings Dropbox image uploads to S60
Furtiv, the creators of plugins for Nokia Share Online, have announced (on their blog) a new beta version plugin to upload photos to the popular cloud storage service, Dropbox. This provides the ability for a user to synchronise their files across multiple computers, and so photos uploaded from an S60 phone to Dropbox will be available to every computer a user has Dropbox installed on. Anyone wanting to try out this new plugin just needs to go to http://furtiv.mobi with their S60 browser and select the Dropbox plugin.
- The Symbian Podcatcher comes to S60 3rd Edition
The Symbian Podcatcher project has been in development for Symbian^1 (S60 5th Edition) for some time now, but it was announced yesterday, via Twitter, that Podcatcher has finally been backported to S60 3rd Edition. Nokia made the inexplicable decision to remove Podcasting support from their Eseries S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 phones, so the availability of this could be a breath of fresh air for the enterprise-orientated platform.
- More N8 tech examples from Conversations this time, video capture
Damian Dinning, as promised, has put up the second part of his tech/examples series on the Nokia N8's camera, over on the Conversations blog. This time, he concentrates on the video capture side of things and, as before, we've summarised his main points below.
- Bolt Browser
David Gilson looks in depth at Bolt, a Java proxy-based web browser for all phones that claims desktop-class browsing, a degree of social integration and both Flash and HTML 5 video support. This latter seems to be the only feature that really impressed David though, with Bolt's overall operation seeming stilted and clumsy in comparison to Opera Mini, its nearest competitor.
- Play.com start taking C6 pre-orders
In April, Nokia announced a raft of new phones, including the side-sliding C6. The first sign of this phone coming to market has appeared today with Play.com now taking pre-orders. Play have priced the C6 at £269.99 (UKP) which is £30 below the listed recommended retail price. As with most early orders there is an an early adopter premium. Nokia's original press release set the C6 at €220, which roughly translates to approximately £213 (UKP, including VAT) at current exchange rates. We recommend holding back for now, as lower prices should be appearing once the C6 is officially on the market.
- Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro Part Two: user experience and applications
In part one of our Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro review, David Gilson looked at the device's ergonomic hardware design and camera performance. This time, David examines the user experience of Sony Ericsson's implementation of S60 5th Edition and the Vivaz Pro's software suite, before pronouncing a verdict - the device represents
- Application updates come to Nokia Software Updater
Nokia Beta Labs have announced the first release candidate for the next version of Nokia Software Updater (NSU). The beta test is open until the end of August. In addition to managing firmware, the new version of NSU will now offer application updates, much like the built-in Software Update application on Nokia phones.
- Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro Part One: Hardware
David Gilson and I play tag team reviewer for our coverage of Sony Ericsson's Vivaz range. Having tackled the Vivaz, I hand over to David for the Vivaz Pro - in this, part 1 of a two part review special, he examines the Vivaz Pro's hardware in detail and runs it heavily for an intensive week of duty. Despite an appealing design generally, David was very disappointed by the battery life and felt a bit let down by the output from the 5mp stills and 720p-recording video cameras.
- 55% of Nokia users backup to their desktop
Nokia Conversations have announced their results from the poll they opened last week, asking how users back up their phones. While Nokia Conversations did not publish a full set of results, it appears that around 55% of those who responded are not using the cloud, but instead using Nokia's desktop software. This 55% of desktop users is made up by the first and second places in the poll. Ovi Suite came in first with 36% and 19% answered 'Nokia PC Desktop'. It's good to see that more desktop users are using the more up to date Ovi Suite than the older desktop software.
- Treasure Arm
David Gilson reviews a retro title from the Ovi Store in our Ovi Gaming review of Treasure Arm. With all the bells, whistles and game modes of a modern title, Treasure Arm only really disappoints because of a lazy display and control system. Still arcade puzzlers might still want to give this a try.
- Five uses for S60 Search
In another of our illustrated how-tos, David Gilson highlights Nokia's built-in Search utility, showing how to use it to get information fast, including playing a specific music track, launching an app or finding a particular contact. See also All About Symbian's 'How to' index.
- Tell Nokia how you backup your phone
Nokia Conversations are running a poll to find out how users backup the data on their phones. Of course, some of the options are for Nokia's own services, although it's good to see plenty of scope in the options for third party solutions. Now could be a good time to cast your vote if you've had a bad experience with the likes of Ovi Sync. More below, including some constructive criticism for the pollsters!
- Nokia E72 S60's Swiss Army Knife
David Gilson brings the Nokia E72 story right up to date, giving his own review take on the device now that it has received the first two rounds of firmware updates from Nokia. What has been fixed, what's still broken and who can the E72 be recommended for? With links, photos and opinion, this is a definitive summing up of the E72, mid June 2010.
- TVCatchUp now works for Symbian (in the UK)
Thanks to a heads-up, we've learned that TV CatchUp, a free, on-demand all-channels system for UK residents, is now working with Symbian OS and Web. It's a public beta, so expect a few things not to work properly. Point Web at m.tvcatchup.com, sign up for a new account, and away you go. More details below.
- Nokia 5530 receives v30 firmware update
A firmware update to the Nokia 5530 is now available. Going from v20 to v30 includes some additional applications, performance improvements, and most significantly, universal kinetic scrolling and S60's latest version of Web. Full details below.
- Furtiv passes a quarter million downloads and adds new plugins
Good news from Furtiv, the makers of plug-ins for Nokia's Share Online application. According to their blog, they have passed the 250,000 downloads mark through the Ovi Store, and are now beta testing plug-ins for MySpace, LinkedIn and TwitPic, due to popular demand. More below.
- S60 and Password Maker
David Gilson tackles that age old problem of how to manage web passwords using your desktop and smartphone - and he ends up at a solution that most readers won't even have heard of. It's also a solution that doesn't actually store your passwords anywhere at all, making it device-independent and utterly secure from hacking, in the case of theft or loss. Read on...
- E55 Long term review, Software
In this first part of his two part long term review, David Gilson looked at the hardware on his trusty Nokia E55, at his side now for eight months. In this second part, he looks at the E55's software in detail and also draws some long term conclusions for this diminutive qwerty smartphone.
- E55 Long term review, Hardware
In this first part of a two part long term review, David Gilson looks at the hardware on his trusty Nokia E55, at his side now for eight months. From design to materials to typing to camera, David covers the E55 in detail. Part two will follow later in the week and will both look at the E55's software and also draw some long term conclusions for this diminutive qwerty smartphone.
- Farm Frenzy Lite
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to run your own farm? Now you too can be up at the crack of dawn tending to livestock, thanks to Farm Frenzy for S60 5th Edition phones, reviewed here by David Gilson. Requiring a healthy degree of mental multitasking and finger dexterity, Farm Frenzy is addictive and definitely one of the better games currently on the Ovi Store.
- How to: Use Google Reader to deliver podcasts to S60
Nokia's Podcasting is a wonderful media consumption tool. But, aside from its own somewhat limited 'Directory', Nokia doesn't make it simple to get new podcasts into Podcasting's feed 'system'. In this tutorial, David Gilson looks at way of using Google reader on your desktop computer to harvest interesting podcasts and import their feeds into your smartphone.
- The right tool for the right job? N97 classic vs N97 mini
A few weeks ago, David Gilson wrote up his thoughts on the N97 classic. While there was an awful lot to like about it, he found it to be undermined by an unstable OS, due to insufficient RAM & C: drive space. He was also curious to see if the N97 mini was really everything the N97 classic could have been, so he borrowed one and got to grips with it. What follows is a discussion of the differences between these two phones, and how each one lends itself to different usage scenarios. Hopefully this will help the with the venerable question
- Nokia wants to know which features you use least
The Nokia Conversations blog has just released a poll asking users about the features they use least in their phones. In addition to the Design by Community project, which is looking for which features users want in their phones, Nokia Conversations want to know which features people are using the least on their smart phones. Options for the poll are shown below, and votes should be made here.
- Ovi Maps receives minor update
Nokia Beta Labs have updated the 3.04 beta for Ovi Maps. The page for Ovi Maps is reporting that a minor update has been made to its 3.04 beta version, as of April 16th 2010. There is no information on what has been updated, and indeed the version number has not incremented. The only obvious change is the filename. More below if you're interested!
- Nokia strike a blow for reasonably priced smartphones
David Gilson looks at Nokia's new C6 and E5 smartphones in the light of the models they either replace or will be compared to. What's outstanding is, naturally enough, the prices, though David goes into significant technical detail in justifying the comparisons and conclusions.
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
David Gilson sneeks a peek at a couple of novel versions of a classic literary work, looking mainly at one by Offscreen Technologies, but also mentioning GoSpoken's more traditional ebook edition. What do you think of this trend of content being wrapped up in application form? Will it result in us drowning in icons? Comments welcome!
- Sticky Notes Review
Sticky Notes is a note manager with a difference. Rather than typing notes, the user has to write them to virtual peices of paper, which are then stuck to a virtual notice board.
- Egg Timer Touch
David Gilson goes in search of the perfect 'egg', looking at this timing utility with a critical gaze...
- PDF+ Standard Edition Review
PDF+ is an alternative PDF reader for S60, facing stiff competition from QuickOffice's Adobe LE PDF reader, which is included on all Eseries firmwares and on the likes of the N97 and N97 Mini. There are three versions of PDF+: Basic, Standard and Professional. The latter is only available for Eseries phones. Here is a feature comparison table (source). Note, PDF+ is only compliant to version 1.5 of the PDF standard; QuickOffice's Adobe LE reader is compliant to version 1.7.
- Furtiv passes download milestone and graduates from beta
Furtiv, the Share Online plugin maker, recently passed its 100,000th download on the Ovi Store, and has announced the end of its beta stage. Users who installed plugins from Furtiv's mobile site over a month ago are advised to upgrade. More below...
- A fresh look at the Nokia N97
David Gilson is a S60 veteran, mainly using 3rd Edition, but hadn't used a touchscreen device until recently (with the 5530). Going for broke, we arranged for a him to go all the way, to trial a Nokia N97 for a month, looking forward to the chance of getting a fresh take on this most-talked-about Nokia flagship, unencumbered by disappointments from the device's early firmwares. Here's his report: part review, part testimony, part rant.
- Opera Mini and Mobile finally leave beta
The native Opera Mobile 10 and the Java-based Opera Mini 5 have finally graduated from their long standing beta status, with Opera Software officially announcing that the two applications are now
- Nokia Conversations release Design by Community
Nokia have opened a crowd sourcing initiative,
- Discovering the Pros and Cons of Touch. Is this the Future?
After resisting the persistent trend of touch screen smartphones, David Gilson reports on his experience of living with some S60 5th Edition touch screen phones.
- How to: Synchronise S60 with your social networks
Synchronising your PIM data can be a treacherous prospect at the best of times. David Gilson has been risking the safety of his PIM data to show you how you can use the commercial service Memotoo to synchronise your S60 phone with not only Google, but the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn too.
- Spotify Premium Review
David Gilson dips into his wallet to subscribe to the tenner-a-month Spotify Premium, giving him streaming and download access to just about all the DRM-ed music he'd ever want from Spotify's servers. Is it ultimately worth it and how good (or limited) is the mobile (S60) client? Find out in David's detailed Spotify Premium review.
- Nokia E55 031.012 firmware update now available
The version 031.012 firmware for the Nokia E55 has just been released. This brings the E55 up to date with with E52, which had the same version firmware released earlier this month. See below for notes and links. The E55 has UDP, but, as noted below, do a backup of your data to card first - just in case.
- The risk of opening Symbian
Symbian is now open source, which will no doubt attract new developers with new ideas. Any manufacturer can freely use and change Symbian in their devices. It's an exciting future, or is it? David Gilson discusses the potential downside of Symbian being open source.
- SMS Chat Review
David Gilson reviews SMS Chat, an SMS manager application which shows you your text messages in a conversation view, and throws in a lot more features too. If you are tired of the same-old S60 SMS manager and want something new, then read on.
- Extended Twitter Round-Up
David Gilson recently performed a big feature on Twitter applications on S60. Mind you, thanks to the feedback of AAS readers, he has now expanded his survey to now cover an eye watering seventeen options for S60 users wanting to get more out Twitter. Gulp. Read on!
- Rseven (beta) online mobile backup/sync
David Gilson and Panashe Ngwerume review the new Rseven online sync and backup service, uncovering a number of browser compatibility issues that the developers need to address. They find the beta-status Rseven understandably immature from a functionality standpoint, requiring more development in order to deliver its aims and ambitions in a modern multi-platform environment, but Panashe in particular calls the service a 'gem', implying that there's great potential here for the future.
- Twitter applications for Symbian phones
When it comes to Twitter applications (perenially popular, it seems), Symbian and S60 have no shortage of choice. Guest author David Gilson has done a mass review of all the Twitter applications he could find for S60, and presents us with a detailed feature comparison, along with a number of recommendations.
- Battle of the Maps Revisited
Last year, David Gilson compared Google Maps and Ovi Maps, controversially finding that Google had the edge. However, Nokia has today announced that voice guided road navigation for Ovi Maps no longer requires a subscription fee and is available to all. Read on to see how this game-changing move effects the battle of the maps!
- Wikipedia on Symbian
S60 has long been without any form of Wikipedia application, besides the mobile web site. There are now two applications in early development, but do either of them significantly add to the mobile web site experience? David Gilson has been comparing all three and answers that question in this feature.
- How to fix LED flash photos
If you have ever found your LED-illuminated camera phone photos to have a strange colour tint, David Gilson has a video tutorial to show you how to get your friends and family looking more like themselves.
- Battle of the Maps
When it comes to S60, we are fortunate to have a choice of which mapping application we use, but which is best? Is it Ovi Maps (Née Nokia Maps), with its world wide pre-loaded maps and PC integration, or is it Google Maps with the power of Google search? David Gilson has been testing both, and reports on his findings.
- A survival guide to Linux and S60
Guest writer David Gilson talks about his switch from Windows to Linux and his (successful) struggles to keep his desktop-S60 connectivity going.
- Tweets60 - the free alternative to Gravity?
Guest author David Gilson provides a brief look at a freeware alternative to the well known commercial Gravity.
All About MeeGo
- Version 1.1 firmware update for the Nokia N9
If you haven't already received the v1.1 firmware update for your Nokia N9, you soon will be according to Nokia Conversations. The update brings in a range of new features to enhance the user experience of the device. Notably, the lock-screen now supports notifications and music controls. Another significant user experience update is that the third party Swype keyboard has been included. Filters have been added to the camera application, such as black & white, Sepia, Negative, etc - standard fare for camera phones. Also NFC tag reading is now supported - expanding the N9's NFC functionality beyond proprietary Nokia accessories.
- MeeGo merges with LiMo to form Tizen
Multiple sources have announced today that the Linux Foundation and LiMo Foundation have agreed to merge their respective mobile operating systems, MeeGo and LiMo. The resulting operating system, Tizen, will support HTML5 as its primary development environment. Like MeeGo, it will be designed to support a range of device classes like smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, netbooks, and in-vehicle-infotainment systems. The Tizen project will be governed in much the same way as the MeeGo project. This includes a technical steering group of which Intel and Samsung are members. Read on for more details.
- Qt showcase for N9
The Nokia Developers blog has announced a range of demonstration applications showcasing what can be achieved with Qt on the N9. There are fourteen applications to download, along with their source code for developers to learn how each was built. Many of the applications demonstrate how to utilise hardware interfaces. For example, the guitar tuner shows how to address the audio API, the compass application interfaces with the N9's magnetometer, and several games show how to interface with the accelerometer, all in Qt, Qt Quick and Qt Mobility. Read on for more.
- Showcasing the Nokia N9's photo and video capture
Billy Perry, Nokia's global partner manager for imaging, recently made two posts on his personal blog showcasing both the photographic and video capture capabilities of the Nokia N9. The Nokia N9 comes with an 8 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar optics. Importantly for such demonstrations, the content shown was not processed in anyway. Also, Bill notes in his posts that the firmware that produced these images and video is not the final version that will ship with the retail version of the N9. Read on for previews.
- All About MeeGo Insight Podcast #11 - Asri vs the N9
In episode of 11 of the All About MeeGo podcast we interview Asri Al Baker. Asri has recently contributed editorials to us about his time testing the Nokia N9 and the N950 developer device. We get in depth about the N9 software, and the pre-production software of the N950. We go on to discuss the developer scene on the N9, and finally we wrap up by seeing which device Asri would chose from a line up of the iPhone 4, Nokia N8, E7, N9, and N950!
- Nokia N9 Screenshots
Nokia Conversations has been fortunate enough to have a prototype N9 in its office, with which the team have been busy taking screen shots of just about every aspect of the Nokia N9's user interface and its core applications. It's a two part series going into great detail about all the well known and not so well known aspects of the Nokia N9's software. Read on for previews and links.
- Nokia N9 pre-orders available in the UK
Mobile Fun, an online UK mobile phone and accessory retailer has announced that it is accepting pre-orders of the Nokia N9. The retailer does not yet have a release date for the device, but it has confirmed a retail price of £519.95 (UK Pounds). Pre-orders have also been announced at Expansys, but the price has yet be confirmed. This comes amid speculation around which international markets in which the Nokia N9 will be available. It also highlights the point that a lack of operator support does not equal a complete retail black-out.
- N9 FAQ
The information presented below is a collaborative effort between All About MeeGo, Asri Al Baker, and Nokia Malaysia's Glen Cha. The FAQ began back when we canvased the @AllAboutMeeGo followers for questions about the N9 prior to recording episodes nine and ten of the All About MeeGo Insight Podcast. Subsequently, Asri wrote for us about his time with the N9 at the Nokia-organised Kuala Lumpur blogger meet. As part of his involvement there, Asri was able to invite his Twitter followers to send him questions about the N9, and pass them along to Nokia Malaysia. Asri has kindly contributed those questions and answers to All About MeeGo for publication here.
- AAM Insight Podcast #10: Nokia N9 - Apps, Ecosystem, and Comittment
In episode 10 of the All About MeeGo Insight podcast, we take a critical look at the N9's future. We tackle the elephant in the room, how much will the N9 suffer for its lack of ecosystem? What is Nokia's position with longterm support for the N9? Will this be Nokia's only MeeGo device? Is the N9 more of a phone device, than an app device? Then we finish with a discussion about whether Nokia should have gone with MeeGo, rather than Windows Phone? Could Nokia have gone it alone?
- AAM Insight Podcast #9: Nokia N9 - Design, UI, Q and As
In this episode of the All About MeeGo Insight Podcast we talk exclusively about the Nokia N9. We talk about the reactions posted on the Internet, along with our own thoughts and Rafe's first impressions after getting hands-on with the device. We get into detail on the hardware, from the N9's unibodied polycarbonate construction, to its 2.5D glass screen. We then get into a discussion about the N9's Swipe UI, describing how to use the device. We then get into discussion comparing the design patterns of the competition to the N9's unique UI. Finally, we address questions sent in via Twitter from our listeners.
- Qt Creator 2.2.1 released with MeeGo Harmattan support
The Qt Labs Developer Blog has just announced an update to the Qt SDK. In a case of good timing, the Qt team have released Qt Creator 2.2.1, which is mainly a bug fix release, at the same time as integrating support for MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan. Support for MeeGo Harmattan comes on the day that the N9 was announced at the Nokia Connection event in Singapore. Read on for more details.
- Nokia N950 - Slide-out QWERTY MeeGo Harmattan developer device
Alongside the high profile release of the Nokia N9, limited details have emerged about another MeeGo Harmattan device. The N950, which was not talked about at the Nokia Connection event, has been created for developers who will target the N9 and general MeeGo handset UI applications. The Nokia Developer website published a list detailing the hardware differences between both devices. Read on to find out about the N950's software stack and how to obtain one.
- Nokia N9 - MeeGo Harmattan device
Today in Singapore, at the Nokia Connection event, Nokia announced the Nokia N9. Key hardware features include 3.9 inch touchscreen (854 x 480), penta-band 3G, comprehensive connectivity (WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, USB), up to 64 GB of internal memory and 8 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar optics. The device is housed in a single piece polycarbonate body with seamless curved glass screen.
- Alien Dalvik sightings at MWC 2011
Following our recent story about Aien Dalvik, there have been sightings of the Android run-time environment running on a Nokia N900 at MWC 2011. Thanks to mobile bloggers Julien Fourgeaud and Steve 'Chippy' Paine, there are now independently produced videos of product demonstrations and interviews with Myriad's John Ronco. The videos show off how Android applications icons appear alongside native applications in the Maemo 5 app-grid. They also show off the Android Photoshop app running on the N900 and a HTC Desire, with apparently equal performance.
- Alien Dalvik hopes to bring Android apps to Maemo and Meego
Software company Myriad, has announced a Qt port of the Android VM, Dalvik. The demo video (below) accompanying the release shows Alien Dalvik running Android applications on an N900, which received the Qt framework in the PR 1.3 release of Maemo 5. Myriad says that it will make Alien Dalvik commercially available for MeeGo. Myriad claims that the user experience should be seamless with Android application icons appearing along side native applications. Read on for more anaysis.
- Linux Foundation offers MeeGo training courses
The Linux Foundation has announced today that it will be offering MeeGo and Android development training courses. At the time of writing, training.linuxfoundation.org, shows three courses for Android development, four for MeeGo, and many more for general embedded Linux development, and other topics. The courses are not free and are intended for business and engineering managers who want to know more about the respective platforms. The classes are available online and in local classroom events (at local U.S. based sessions), and cost between $1000 and $1200 (USD) per course.
- NTFS support in MeeGo Core
Questions have been raised in the MeeGo community recently over the support for Microsoft's NTFS. Clearly, support for this in end-user MeeGo netbooks would be expected as this is often the file system that external hard drives are shipped with. Therefore, in the interests of interoperability, consumers should expect MeeGo to work with such devices. The lack of support was recently raised as a bug in the MeeGo community, to which the response that productised installs may have a licensed NTFS driver added on top of the open source core, but that NTFS support would not be added to MeeGo Core OS. Read on for more.
- Canonical to support Qt in Ubuntu
Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Qt libraries will ship in the Ubuntu 11.10 CD. Ubuntu has always been a GTK based Linux distribution (not withstanding its Kubutnu sister distribution). The obstacle for Qt developers to write for a GTK based operating system was because of the system settings framework, in the case of GTK this is the dconf system. Canonical are now funding work to crate Qt bindings for dconf. This will allow Qt applications to run in the GNOME desktop on Ubuntu without breaking the cohesive look and feel of the application set. Read on for more.
- TwimGo moves to Qt QML
Here is a heads-up to anyone who uses the formerly WRT based Twitter client, TwimGo, on their N900. The author Tommi Laukkanen (@tlaukkanen), as moved development of his comprehensive Twitter application to the Qt QML framework. This means that we can hope to see it released for MeeGo and even perhaps Symbian^3. This is yet another great example of what can be achieved with the Qt framework. As seen in the video below (click through from front page), the 3D-like transitions are smooth and fast on the N900, with no discernible penalty for the overhead of Qt.
- How to build a community
I'd like to draw your attention to blog post by a MeeGo community manager Jarkko Moilanen (aka kyb3R). This is a great story of how someone with an interest in the Hacker culture, and a background in attending Ubuntu LUGs went on to be responsible for building the MeeGo Network Fi, the Finnish community for MeeGo development. In the post he explains how events unfolded for him to be in his current position, and the things that worked well, and not so well. I would rate this as a must read for anyone aspiring to form their own regional MeeGo group.
- Updates released for MeeGo Core, Netbook and SDK
Significant updates to MeeGo and the MeeGo SDK have been announced at the MeeGo Wiki. Both MeeGo Core and Netbook have received updates in both the 1.1 and 1.0 branches, receiving their second and sixth updates respectively. The MeeGo 1.1 SDK has been updated to verson 1.1.2 which includes accelerated graphics performance for Linux QEMU VM, and numerous of bug fixes. More details were not available at the time of writing. Read on for more details about the Core and Netbook updates.
- Qt Mobility 1.2 technology preview
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.
- MeeGo kernel policy announcement
[December] The Meego technical steering group have announced a new policy for dealing with the increasing backlog of vendor-contributed kernel patches relevant to MeeGo waiting to be added upstream. Each of these vendors accumulated hundreds of patches which made managing the MeeGo kernel impractical. To remedy this, the new policy requires specific compliance from vendors, and will entail maintaining a reference kernel, which closely matches the upstream Linux kernel. Read on for more analysis.
- TechRadar gets hands on with Meego
As the momentum builds towards releases of MeeGo devices, TechRadar has taken a look at MeeGo on a an MSI netbook. It's a very brief review, but encouraging to see other technology blogs start to pay more attention to the new platform. Of course, the netbook UI of MeeGo is still strongly influenced by its Moblin heritage, rather Nokia's Maemo. As TechRadar run through the various zones of MeeGo, they explain why they think this is a much compelling netbook operating system than its competitor, Google Chrome.
- MeeGo Wiki shows how to install handset UI on the WeTab
There is a new guide on the MeeGo Wiki detailing how to install the MeeGo handset image onto the new MeeGo-powered WeTab. The WeTab is one of the few devices seen since late last year running a bespoke MeeGo UI, and is an 11.6 multi-touch tablet device. The WeTab is only available through a handful of retail chains in Europe, so the risk of bricking the WeTab in this process should be seriously considered . Only recommend for developers and the most enthusiastic of testers. Thanks to Quim Gil for the heads up on this one.
- MeeGo 1.1 SDK Beta released for Windows
We reported recently that the MeeGo 1.1 SDK had been released for Ubuntu and Fedora Linux distributions. In addition to those releases, the MeeGo project have released a beta version SDK for Windows as well. Documentation is available at the MeeGo Wiki. There are some hardware compatibility issues that need to be taken into account before installing, and there is only a limited number of run-time targets that have been verified for Windows. Also, Windows Vista is not support. Some research before installing is recommended!
- MeeGo developer beta website launches
The MeeGo project has launched a new website for the developer community, developer.meego.com. Currently the website is in a private beta, but is usable and ready receive ideas and content. The new site already hosts a wide range of content. For example, developers will find guides for writing original code and for installing MeeGo on compatible devices. Also on offer are development tools like the MeeGo 1.1 SDK, and UI development guidelines. Read on for more.
- MeeGo Conference 2010 around the Web
The first MeeGo conference was held last week, in Dublin. This event was the first chance for students, developers, and people from the industry to get together and discuss advancing the platform. Our very own Rafe Blandord was there covering the event, and will be reporting on his experiences. In the meantime, here's a round-up of interesting and personal accounts of the event from members of the MeeGo community.
- Linpus launches multi-touch tablet OS based on MeeGo
Linpus have announced a tablet operating system based on MeeGo. The platform was on show at the Dublin MeeGo Conference this week, running both on a prototype tablet device and a netbook. The OS has been built upon the MeeGo 1.1 core, but with a bespoke multi-touch user interface and six custom made applications. The platform is aimed at OEM's rather than consumers, and therefore will undergo further brand-specific customisations before it reaches the market.
- MeeGo Conference IVI and Pelagicore joining the Linux Foundation
It has been announced that Pelagicore AB has now joined the Linux Foundation. Pelagicore AB is a company who applies open source software to develop of automotive infotainment products. They have joined the Linux Foundation specifically to participate in the building of the MeeGo In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) reference design.
- AMD joins MeeGo
Dublin, Ireland. Today at the MeeGo conference 2010 AMD announced that it would be joining the MeeGo project, alongside Nokia and long-time CPU rival, Intel. On stage were Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, software development; and Chris Schlaeger, Director of AMD Operating System. Schlaeger said to the developers and press we will provide our support in an open and not corporate way. Read on for more details.
- Phoronix sets MeeGo against Ubuntu for netbooks
Phoronix, the well known review and benchmarking blog for Linux users, has published an initial comparison of MeeGo 1.1 versus Ubuntu 10.10 for netbooks. In this test they pitted the two Linux distributions against each other on boot time, power usage, 3D performance, MP3 encoding, and file system performance. Read on for a summary of their findings.
- MeeGo 1.1 SDK Beta Release
- Dave Neary tells the story so far of MeeGo
Dave Neary, the docmaster of maemo.org and long-time member of the GNOME Foundation, has written an interesting and well researched progress report of the MeeGo story so far. Over at the VisionMobile blog, he asks the question whether MeeGo should score an A+ or a D-? This is a great write up for anyone new to MeeGo; he covers the story from every perspective: openness, user experience, developers, governance, OEM's and operators. Read on for quotes and commentary.
- Linux Foundation rules against use of the Smeegol name
After its October 6th release, the Smeegol project (an openSUSE interpretation of MeeGo, which we reported on), has been told by the Linux Foundation that it must find a new name. In a reply to the project, the Linux Foundation said the project's use of the Smeegol name would not beneficial to MeeGo. Read on for more details.
- The Nokia N900 receives PR 1.3 software update
Nokia's Linux-based phone, the N900, has received an update to its Maemo 5 operating system, which fixes a long list of bugs and performance issues. The PR 1.3 (v20.2010.36-2) update is currently available to UK (and others) users via Nokia Software Updater (NSU) and over the air (OTA) download. However, as an alternative, users can also download images for their region from Nokia's tablet firmware repository. The update also offers support to MeeGo developers, wanting to develop applications ahead of device releases next year, by including the Qt 4.7 development framework and Qt Mobility 1.02. Read on for more details.
- Opera Mini 5.1 comes to Android
The Norwegian Browser company, Opera, has announced the release of Opera Mini 5.1 for Android phones today.
- Internet TV: 10 UK on-demand and live video offerings compared
Last time we surveyed the UK?s live and on-demand Internet TV landscape (back in July 07), it was a bare-bones affair. The BBC?s iPlayer was Windows-only and hadn?t yet launched out of private beta, while rival broadcaster offerings were lacking content and, like the iPlayer itself, crippled by DRM and the need to install additional and sometimes conflicting software.
- TVCatchup streams to mobile as broadcasters aim to spoil the party
Last week TVCatchup opened a private beta for streaming live TV to Blackberry, Android?and Symbian phones. (Update: Palm webOS too.) However, they announced on their official forums today that the beta was going public for anyone to test the service.
- TVCatchup ups its game for the World Cup
TVCatchup, the UK TV streaming service,announced?on?Twitter?today that they are introducing low and high quality streams along side their standard quality stream. Their tweets suggest that this is the first in a series of updates to coincide with this year?s World Cup tournament.
- Spotify introduces new tiers, but reserves mobile as a premium perk
Spotify has?announced?two new packages, named ?Spotify Unlimited? and ?Spotify Open?, the latter of which makes a free version of the music steaming service available again?withoutthe need for an invite.
- Review: TVCatchup Streaming live TV to your browser
TVCatchup?is a UK-only VoD site with a difference. When the site launched in late 2007, TVCatchup offered live streams of UK Freeview TV channels, along with the ability to record programmes. Unfortunately, copyright concerns saw TVCatchup withdraw their site, until relaunching, sans PVR functionality, in late 2008 (Source).
- Review: MSN Video Player mixes it up with classic TV, news andamp; gossip
MSN Video Player is Microsoft?s offering into the video on demand (VoD) market, which launched last month in the UK. It?s?reported?to have launched with around 1000 hours of content, licensed from various sources. However, Microsoft hasn?t cut the type of deals with UK broadcasters required to enable MSN Video Player to be a way to catch up on recent TV.
- Nokia wants to connect everyone with 3 new QWERTY-touting handsets
- Review: SeeSaw bouncing between back-catalogue and catch-up TV
Seesaw is a UK-only video on demand service, which has its origins in the ill-fated ProjectKangaroo, whose?technology was bought up by transmission company Arqiva. The service was launched with new branding as ?SeeSaw?.
- MeeGo arrives on the N900, non-developers advised to move along
The MeeGo community blog has?announced?that N900 users can download a working image of the new?MeeGo operating system. In addition to supporting the N900 ARM architecture, they have also released an image for Intel?s Atom processors, thus covering the shared?heritage?of the the Moblin and Maemo parent platforms.
- ThickButtons brings better typing to Android touch screens
Even though touch screen phones are more popular than ever, many people who enter a lot of text on their phone still prefer a physical keyboard?(Ed.?That?s me?alright.) The need for tactile feedback is often cited as the reason. However, it?s likely that tactile feedback is preferred so that users know that they?re going to hit the correct letter,?before?they actually press it.
- Ubuntu One Music Store goes into public beta, Canonical calls for more testers
Last week, we?reported?on Canonical?s moves to incorporate a music store into?Ubuntu. Ahead of Ubuntu?s April release of ?Lucid Lynx?, Canonical have officially?announced?the public beta of their desktop music store.
- Motorola unveils Android-powered landline phone, lacks Skype or Google's app store
At this year?s CeBit, Motorola showed off a cordless landline telephone running Google?s Android operating system, as?reported?by Engadget earlier this month. Known as the HS1001, the device is built by Binatone, and is expected to ship in the third quarter of this year with a price tag of $150. The hardware sports a 2.8? touch screen and loud-speaker. And as you?d expect, the handset uses DECT technology, but surprisingly, it also has WiFi.
- OnLive streaming games readies US launch, vapourware accusations put to rest?
OnLive, the streaming games start-up, hasannounced?that it will begin rolling out its subscription service ($14.95 per-month plus the cost of purchasing or renting the games themselves) to customers on the 17th of June 2010 to coincide with this year?s E3 gaming conference.
- Ubuntu One Music Store The new iTunes?
Canonical are making some interesting moves with respect to making their desktop Linux?distribution, Ubuntu, more friendly to mainstream users. They now have a Dropbox like service called?Ubuntu One. Of which, the short term goal is to sync users? files and application settings, via the cloud, across all of their Ubuntu computers.
- YouTube updated for Symbian, now supports user accounts
It?s taken a while but YouTube has finally added support for user accounts in its updated client for phones running the Nokia-led Symbian OS.
- How to personalise Windows 8
The touch interface of Windows 8 is a massive departure from the desktop of Windows 7, but you don't have to be just another brick in the wall.
- Top 25 touchscreen apps for Windows 8
The touch interface of Windows 8 is relatively new, and so developers are still discovering how to get the most from this next-generation software. For users, that means many familiar desktop applications do not have a touchscreen equivalent yet.
- 25 HTC One X tips
"The One X is HTC's mighty flagship smart phone, and with its 4.7-inch screen and powerful quad-core processor, it could power a battleship. But there's more than just impressive specs to the One X, so join me as I find 25 ways to get more out of this Android hero. "
- How to improve your Android security
"The risks to Android phones and tablets from malware -- or software written with 'malicious intent' -- are rising rapidly. These threats are multiplying faster than gremlins in a swimming pool, so how do you protect your device from evil doers' dirty deeds? Just like on Windows computers, malware can steal credit card information and contact lists. However, recent reports say that the most popular malware 'payloads' are currently premium SMS apps to steal your money. Another way in which malware could compromise you is by recording your phone calls and sending them on to some unscrupulous hacker. Scared? Fret ye not, because there are ways to minimise the risks from malware and other security risks. Read on to find out how."
- 25 Samsung Galaxy Note 2 tips
"To you and me it's a big phone, to wilful language manglers it's a ""phablet"". Either way, Samsung's 5.5-inch monster Galaxy Note 2 stretches the boundaries of mobile gadgets as much as it does the sinews of your mitts. With its ingenious S Pen stylus and Samsung's pen-driven TouchWiz tweaks to Google's latest Jelly Bean Android software, there's a bunch of features that are particularly useful on the Note 2. Here I'll explore 25 of the most handy ones."
- Top six custom ROMs for the Google Nexus 7
"One of the best things about pure Android devices like the Nexus 7 is the ability to root them and replace the standard Android ROM, which opens up a whole world of customisable options and settings, tailoring your tablet to you. Navigating the Android developer world to choose the best custom ROM can be an overwhelming prospect. To help you, here's my pick of the top Android ROMs for the Nexus 7. "
- How to save battery life on your Google Nexus 7
"The Google Nexus 7 fares well with battery life compared to other smart phones and tablets, thanks to its massive 4,325mAh battery and lack of 3G connection. Still, if you're sapping its power stores by devouring HD videos at maximum screen brightness, you'll welcome any extra juice you can wring out of this tasty tab."
- How to root your Google Nexus 7
"The Google Nexus 7 is a powerful little tablet, and as you get more into using it, you might come across apps that require 'root'. So what is root? Put simply, Android is just like any other operating system -- every action that tinkers with its inner workings requires a permission. Having root level permission is the ultimate security clearance, and in this guide I'll show you how to get it."
- 25 Google Nexus 7 tips
"So you've heard of the Nexus 7 and you're interested in buying one. And who wouldn't? This powerful 7-inch quad-core Android tablet, which runs the very latest version of Google's operating system, Jelly Bean, dramatically undercuts the prices of competitor tabs, at just 160. Once you've got it in your palm, you're going to want to get the best out if it, and that's what this guide is all about. While popular opinion says this mini tablet was made to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire (which has yet to be launched in the UK despite selling in the US since autumn 2011), more than the Apple iPad, the Nexus 7 is far more versatile."
- How to use Windows 8 Task Manager
"You've likely been using Windows Task Manger to monitor your PC's performance or to kill errant processes since it was first introduced in Windows 95. Sadly, this drab, grey feature has seen no love from Microsoft in the ensuing decades. That's all changed with Windows 8."
- How to backup files on multiple cloud storage services
"You may use a number of cloud storage services like Dropbox, SkyDrive or Google Drive to backup your files online and access them away from home. The problem is, they (usually) ask you to store your files in the service's own folder on your computer -- not, say, your regular Documents folder where you'd normally keep everything. So if you want to access your spreadsheets on more than one cloud service, you can't. This guide will show you how to get around this. "
- How to protect your passwords with LastPass
Who can recall the countless website passwords we're asked to stuff into our overspilling brain boxes? And how do we make sure they don't fall into the hands of rogues? One answer is to turn to password manager LastPass -- a service that creates a secure ID on your computer that will remember your passwords and effortlessly log you into your favourite sites.
- 50 Windows 8 tips
Windows 8 represents the biggest shake-up of Windows' user interface since Microsoft went from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. The new tiled system is known as Metro UI and is an attempt to unify the desktop and touchscreen experience.
- How to migrate from Windows to Ubuntu
"Imagine a world where you never have to defrag your hard drive, viruses are merely a theoretical threat and your PC still runs as quickly as the day you bought it. That's the prize waiting for those brave enough to follow our step-by-step guide to migrating from Windows to Ubuntu."
- 50 Twitter tips
"Twitter is a social network where you have 140 characters at a time to say something to the world. If you're not all that familiar with Twitter, you probably think people only use it to mention what they had for lunch. That is, utterly pointless."
- How to install Launcher Pro on an Android phone
"One of the best things about?Android phones?is being able to customise them. Manufacturers do this too so their touchscreen phones look a bit different to everyone else's touchscreen phones. The number of manufacturer customisations is rather bewildering. HTC has SenseUI, Samsung has TouchWiz, Dell has StageUI and Motorola may or may not still have Motorblur. No wonder the unique selling point of the?Nexus?range is that it offers a pure Android experience."
- You Review Free Nokia Ovi Store games that get physical
"Nokia phones?are able to run ever more impressive games thanks to their increasing processing power and new-fangled sensors. The hottest trend in mobile gaming right now is to incorporate physics, both in creating realistic dynamics, and exploiting handsets' ability to detect changes in their orientation."
- TVCatchup Behind the scenes at the video-streaming service
"TVCatchup is a free video-streaming Web service that allows you to watch up to 50 Freeview and freesat channels, live on your computer or iPhone. An easy substitute for Freeview if you live in an aerial blind-spot, in January 1 million viewers a week streamed an eye-watering total of 2 petabytes of live TV over TVCatchup. We spoke to TVCatchup's co-founder Adam Smith to find out more. He explained how the service works, which platforms TVCatchup will be embedded on, and what we can expect from its exciting upcoming PVR service."
- You Review Gravity Twitter app for Symbian
"The beauty of Twitter is the ecosystem of applications and cloud services built up around it, especially mobile apps that let you tweet on the move. Symbian accounts for half of all smart phones, so I checked out several different Symbian Twitter apps and was most impressed with Gravity. What's so good about it?"
- You Review JoikuSpot Premium Symbian Wi-Fi hotspot user test
"Mobile providers spit out terms such as 'tethering' and 'mobile modem' as dirty words. But used carefully, it makes perfect sense to use your mobile phone's Internet connection as a gateway for your?computer?-- you just have to make sure you won't be charged through the nose for your data. Connecting via USB is a hassle though -- if only there was a way to exploit the Wi-Fi radio in your phone as a relay to your mobile 3G connection..."
- You Review Nokia E55 in-depth user test
"It would be hard to introduce the Nokia E55 without mentioning its sister model the?E52?and their predecessor, the?E51. While the E-series heritage is clear to see, you'd be blind to miss the quirk which sets the E55 apart -- its 'half-Qwerty' keyboard."