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Video: N900 vs iPhone video shootout

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Another test from James Burland places the 848X480 recording N900 against the 640X480 iPhone 3GS.

James notes that currently the N900 suffers from frame rate drops and at times confusion with exposure. The frame rate issue is supposedly going to be fixed in the next firmware update.

Nokia’s been producing phones with great video recording for yonks. The 3GS is Apple’s first official try at video. This is the first from Nokia (that I’m aware of) that suffer these issues.  Video is otherwise very good across the Nseries range.

via jamesburland

Categories: Nokia Tags: , , , , ,

10 minute video hands on with the Google Phone Nexus One. Please take some pointers, Nokia.

December 31, 2009 1 comment

Not really a Nokia post, but an intriguing watch nonetheless. Basically how a modern mobile OS should feel and how the UI should look. Nokia touch phones are often more functional [aka plain/boring] when it comes to the UI. Only recently with the N900 have Nokia users experienced eye candy UI out of the box. For me, I’m hungry for more as it just adds to the whole user experience made by a great OS and an alluring UI.

It doesn’t have to be style versus substance. Why not have both?

  • Animated and interactive wallpapers – gimmicky maybe but undeniably stunning. Wonder how this will affect its battery life
  • Very fast. Only a few minor hiccups here and there.
  • [Complete integration with google services]

Now imagine the quashed rumours of Nokia making an Android Handset were true? Nokia Aseries – with all other Nokia hardware excellence to boot.

Who’ll up the deliver 2010-level eye candy first? Maemo or Symbian?

from nowhereelse.fr via mobilementalism

James Burland’s N900 Video Sample Compilation

December 30, 2009 2 comments

James Burland of Nokia Creative [and MNB :)] has put together a beautiful video compilation he’s shot on his N900.

Quality wise the N900 is very good (I’m guessing youtube/video editor may have degraded slightly from original but it’s still very good).

As well as being the highest resolution video from Nokia at 848X480, it’s also Nokia’s first with autofocus video. James clearly demonstrates this in the video, getting subjects near and far (Seriously check out those squirrels nosing about the N900 at 2:30!)

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agEKT-A0c8I]

For other N900 video samples check out

via Jamesburland

Categories: Maemo, Nokia, Nseries, Video Tags: , , ,

Nokia Configuration Tool 5.0 Now Available!

December 30, 2009 5 comments

Hey all, just seen this and thought might be useful for some people (Personally this is the first time i’v heard of the app!!)

It’s basically a tool to configure some of the key thing for your device on your PC and then send them to either one or several devices! (things like contacts, e-mail address’s, etc)

Screenshot of Configuration Tool 5

Screenshot of Configuration Tool 5

Nokia’s blurb about the tool is that it’s mainly aimed at developers, but personally I think it’s also good from moving settings from an old phone to a new one, without having to search through all the menu’s! (Only downside right now is that is mostly works with the E-Series but others may be added as it also works with N97 (original and mini).

Nokia’s Description:

Simply manage the settings and policies of selected Nokia devices. With your PC and device connected through Nokia PC Suite and a USB cable, you can easily configure various settings on several devices at a one time, including:

  • Wireless LAN
  • VPN
  • VoIP
  • Email
  • Internet Access Points (IAP) on several devices at a one time
  • Also transfer files, contact cards, and applications

The Nokia Configuration Tool is designed for:

  • Deployment across mobile fleets that are of small and medium size
  • The testing and trial of Nokia devices prior to larger scale deployments

Currently supported devices:

Nokia E51, Nokia E52 PR 2.0 and newer, Nokia E55 PR 2.0 and newer, Nokia E60, Nokia E61, Nokia E61i, Nokia E62, Nokia E65, Nokia E66, Nokia E70, Nokia E71, Nokia E72, Nokia E75 PR 2.1 and newer, Nokia E90 Communicator, Nokia N97 and Nokia N97 mini.

Download from:

http://europe.nokia.com/support/download-software/nokia-configuration-tool/compatibility-and-download

N900 Document Applications (Walkthough/Review)

December 30, 2009 7 comments

Hey all, I thought I’d enlighten you about some of the document applications on the N900 including:

  • PDF Reader
  • Documents to Go:
    • Sheet to go
    • Slideshow to go
    • Word to go
  • Notes

I’m sure you have all seen the one from Nokia (I actually did my video before Nokia’s one came out but just been away so couldn’t upload / edit the video I made)

Nokia’s Video:

This is more  of a puff piece then anything else!

My Video:

I’d like to just apologise about the quality of the video and if you notice jolts, etc as the only thing i had to record this was a digital camera but at max resolution it only lets me record 30 seconds at a time to had to keep hitting the record button!

Ow and I might have said “ummm” and “errrrr” a few hundred times so sorry in advance!!

Let me know what you think and hopefully this will be one of many videos from me…anyone want to donate a decent video camera to me!!!

p.s. should have a X6 in a few days so expect something about that from me soon!

10 phones that defined a decade: Brief look at Mobiles and Nokia domination in the noughties

December 29, 2009 2 comments

[Forgive the length of this post. This was originally an extremely short post to show that out of Techradar’s “10 phones that defined a decade, 5 were Nokia handsets]

On Friday, it will have been a whole decade since we entered the new millennium. 10 years since 2000? How did that happen so quickly?

What’s really surprising is how fast and far technology in our mobile phones have come. In this decade we went from:

  • monochrome to colour
  • cameras and music players built in
  • keypad to touch
  • WAP to mobile broadband
  • Phone for calls and text to pocket computers that could make phone calls.

In their inception, each new feature was touted by pessimists as gimmicky – something that would not catch on. Who would want a colour screen? Who would take pictures with a phone? Why would you want a blue tooth? Who on earth would want a phone with no buttons? Who on earth wants email/web browsing on a phone?

Yet now, we take these pretty much for granted as a basic necessity for phones. In 2005, analysts saw that high tech advanced mobile phones were complicated, expensive and hadn’t caught the industry as hoped.

Other transitions we saw:

  • Infra Red to Bluetooth
  • Phones that could display photos!
  • Phones that could play videos!
  • Phones with WiFi connectivity!
  • Phones with GPS mapping!
  • random PC proprietary connectivity to pretty much universal microUSB.
  • 5kb phone memory to having 32GB phone memory
  • large variety of gigantic memory cards to pretty much just microSD
  • Screens being a 10% of the phone’s face to pretty much the whole footprint of the phone.
  • pixelated QVGA cameras to cameras with megapixels, boasting up to 12mp (some with xenon/optical zoom/wide angle/carl zeiss optics)
  • jittery blocky tinny sounding 3GP videos to bliss 720p HD videos.
  • Plain monochrome snake game to fully immersive 3D games

I could go on. The evolution of mobile phones in this decade has been quite remarkable. Could we expect similar revolutionary changes in the next 10 years?

As well as new technologies, we saw players come (E.G. Apple, Sony Ericsson) and go (e.g. Siemens) or slip (Motorola). There’s been reshuffling in the ranks but since 1998, Nokia have maintained the lead as number one phone manufacturer. In this decade, Nokia were the biggest camera manufacturer and biggest mp3 player manufacturer.

Nokia in the Noughties

For pretty much 75% of this decade, Nokia unquestionably dominated the phone market. Surprisingly, one of their main strengths was their simple, logical and easily comprehensible UI. Where Samsung and Motorola left you in a maze, you could swiftly navigate your Nokia. At the high end, their main challenger was the newly formed Sony Ericsson and their Symbian based UIQ. Another surprising strength was Nokia’s bountiful apps – hardware aside, 3rd party software became reasons to buy Nokia and their Series S60 smartphones. 

With their budget handsets, striking fashion phones and young fresh smartphones, though accused of being too slow to react, Nokia saw off Motorola’s V3 flip/clamshell attack. Nokia, Symbian, and S60 was unequivocally dominant in the mobile scene.

As cameraphones piqued intrigue, the only real competitors here for best picture quality were Nokia and Sony Ericsson. The battle had been fierce, full fledged smartphones with great imaging capabilities vs your average “dumbphone”. With their first megapixel 7610 in 2004, Nokia showed a future in high quality camera phones.

Birth of Nseries

In 2005, Nokia launched the premium cream of technological crop – Nseries Multimedia computers. Versatile Symbian OS paired with excellent hardware making them the best in their field of multimedia creation and consumption.

Returning to imaging, with the N90 we saw Nokia’s partnership with Carl Zeiss to deliver high quality optics to mobile phones. The N73 gave a hint of phones realistically replacing point and shoots. With the N82, Nokia produced a Xenon equipped camera phone that could happily take the place of a point and shoot camera. Since 2006, Nokia has won the TIPA best mobile imaging awards; first with the N80, continuing to do so with the N95 in 2007, N82 in 2008 and N86 in 2009.

Another major strength we saw in Nokia was high quality video with decent audio. Whilst everyone else was producing blocky tinny videos, Nokia’s N90 was shoulders above the rest, and even more so when Nokia came up with the “DVD-like” cam corder looking, 3X optical zoom with STEREO sound N93.

Nokia got busy churning out phone after phone. (To date, since the 3310, there have been 267 GSM Nokia phones.) In Q4 2006, 50% of phone shipments were from Nokia, with 67% of the smartphone market being Symbian based. Nokia and Nseries brand image was sky high, and epitomized by the marvel that was the N95. 5MP camera with flash, GPS, Dual slider with music keys, microSD slot and 3.5mm jack with TV out . Convergence was in.

Nokia showed everyone that if you wanted the best mobile gadget, you had to come to Nokia. Samsung were fluttering about with slider fashion phones (and when they did push high tech, it was damn ugly), Sony Ericsson couldn’t keep up, god knows what everyone else was doing.

Then stepped in Apple with a then laughable buttonless phone. They changed the perception and acceptance by the masses to high end devices. Smartphones didn’t have to be slow and complicated. It could be fast, responsive and as simple as pick up and play. The market reacted quickly, but Nokia were inexplicably slow to produce a touch screen experience that could rival iPhone or simply keep up with the trend.

S60 was deemed outdated, non finger touch friendly and in need desperate need of an overhaul. Hardware wise, apart from the touch screens, the flagship Nseries were pretty much still the same. Only in June this year did we see Nokia improving on the 5MP camera we first saw back with the N95 with the N86.

Although Nokia are still number one in terms of sales, their grip on the market isn’t as mighty. In the UK, for the past two months, Samsung now have the top market share. Worldwide, Apple’s iPhone was supposed to be more profitable than Nokia in Q3 but it seems reports misconstrued numbers and that they were Apple total profits vs Nokia (and that doesn’t include Nokia’s major losses via Nokia-Siemens)

In the last few gasps of this decade, there was a glimmer of hope for Nokia again as the Nokia’s Maemo tablet range of experimental devices blossomed. We got a taste of the power of Maemo 5 and the potential of the mobile computer in your pocket. The future could possibly be very bright for Nokia with the more mature and mass market aimed Maemo 6, as well as the release of revamped, clutter free, slick Symbian^4.

Will Nokia still be number one in 10 years time? Will they still continue to set trends rather than follow them? Who knows. To have held the top spot ( for much of it so comfortably for this long) and have set so many bars already is quite a remarkable feat.

Make the action not the reaction

From the view of a fan, in 2010 and onwards Nokia’s devices and services need to feel like they belong in that era, instead of feeling like they need to catch up. Nokia needs to make drastic changes so that they continue to set trends and not just follow them. If anyone knows about adaptability, evolution and change, it’s the once Paper-Mill, come Rubber Works, come cable works come Number one mobile phone manufacturer in the world, Nokia.

This was just a brief look at Nokia in this decade. There are too many key points to include (e.g. introduction/death of N-gage, Eseries, Xseries, Nokia as a sotware/internet services company with Ovi, Nokia dipping toes into laptop market)

Oh, and the 10 phones that defined this decade?

  1. Nokia 7110
  2. Nokia 3310
  3. Vertu
  4. S.E. W800i
  5. Nokia 7650 (2002)
  6. Motorola RAZR (2004)
  7. Nokia N95 (2007)
  8. HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1
  9. RIM BlackBerry
  10. Apple iPhone

Via Tech Radar

Categories: Nokia, Nseries Tags:

N900 Mer UI – Portrait, New task switcher and dock.

December 28, 2009 2 comments

Andrew Zhilin brings us his concept of Mer User Interface for the N900. What is Mer?

“Mer is an outgrowth of Nokia’s Maemo environment, designed to flesh out the tablet-centric operating system into a full-fledged Linux distribution suitable for embedded and desktop systems of all description.”

via lwn.net see also Mer

  • Works in landscape. “only” 3X4 grid of apps, plus note, a dock of customizable quick launch apps (15 TOTAL – extras views other window of apps).
  • Works in portrait – note how it scales to portrait. Apps still in same configuration. In portrait you get to view more apps, up to 24 in 6×4 grid plus the dock. 27 APP TOTAL.

  • Finally we have the app switcher. One of my fave things on the N900. I like that I can get to “extras” menu from app switcher because most of the time, I already have quick access to menu apps on my homescreen.

I like Andrew’s concept, especially the maximisation of apps in view when in portrait. It would be interesting to see how it handles longer lists of apps. Would it be scrollable like the first screenshot suggests or in pages?

Via tablet UI

Nokia most popular phone brand amongst university students

December 28, 2009 3 comments

Financial Times reports that according to a survey by Mobile Youth consultancy, in a sample size of [only] 1000:

  • Nokia was the most popular with 30%
  • Sony Ericsson second with 27%
  • RIM is at 2% with their BlackBerry- however growth has apparently been impressive.

The article actually isn’t about Nokia but about how students are powering the growth of BlackBerry. Perception on BlackBerry is that now, they’re not just for corporate consumers. With the aide of some great marketing (love BB ads) and celeb association, it’s cool to be seen with a BlackBerry. As a Uni student, I’m surprised of the number of BB fans amongst my circle of friends. Often too, there’s random comments on my facebook feeds about mates getting excited over their new BBs or coveting one. I don’t think they really know why or what that BlackBerry does, except that BlackBerrys are supposedly cool and they want one.

Nokia’s been targetting the corporate market with its Enterprise [Eseries], and very successfully too with the likes of the E71 and now its successor, the E72.

I do wish that they’d give Eseries a proper name. Where as the range of RIM’s QWERTY critters are collectively fawned over as BlackBerrys (and accumulating great reputation as BlackBerry), Eseries are “just” Nokia [meaningless random number] which are ‘tainted’ slightly by the reputation of the cheaper-low-end-pocket-change Nokias.

Via Financial Times

Categories: Nokia Tags: , , , ,

15 hardware changes that would have made N900 physically irresistible – [15 essential hardware features for its successor]

December 27, 2009 16 comments

The N900 is a great phone, but it is (as Nokia themselves have more or less said) a work in progress. I’ll say it again, it’s step 4 of 5 to Maemo glory.

Software evolution to one side (see firmware update wishlist for N900),  understandably, this early adopter product isn’t physically “perfect” for mass market.

I.E. No point wasting resources on features not necessary to attract your target audience.

So what would the N900 have needed or at least what would the N900’s successor need to be physically irresistible on the hardware front?

Below I’ve quickly listed out top 10 physical attributes the N900’s successor needs to be inexorably alluring (physically) to your 2010 smartphone consumer. Areas I’ve omitted I’m assuming meet the N900s standard, e.g. 1) stay with the black theme 2) screen resolution 3) expandable memory 4) Notification lights etc.

I’ve included 11-15 but stopped there as I could go on forever adding features I’d like to see in the N900′s successor (continuous autofocus, placement of buttons/ports/additional buttons/more in built memory/oleophobic screen/e-ink keyboard/optical zoom etc etc etc).

This, as usual, is just an opinion [feel free to disagree and/or add your own points :)]. It’s mixed with a touch of personal preference , but mostly filled with what Nokia needs to do to satisfy the market’s demand from a 2010 smartphone leading the pack (based on frequently mentioned suggestions).

As such, 1-10 is ordered in what I reckon is the necessary priority of features that would make the N900’s successor undeniably physically desirable (to the mass market audience), leaving only OS of choice as the final deciding factor (which by then, Maemo 6 will have made its appearance with even more bling and eye candy UI]

  1. Capacitive Screen (with multitouch).
    1. I will not go into resistive vs capacitive, except that for the market the N900’s successor is trying to reclaim, it MUST have a capacitive display, and that’s already been confirmed as well as multitouch.
    2. Capacitive is essential to compliment the “feather touch” nature expected of UIs. It’s also necessary so Engadget won’t spit on it.
    3. Multitouch is necessary for multiple key input used when typing on virtual keyboard, gaming and finger gestures.
  2. Needs to be much slimmer.
    1. The concept of what size is acceptable has changed radically.
    2. It’s more acceptable for phones to be long (New LG chocolate) wide (TGO1) but not fat.
    3. If it’s long or wide, it’s OK. As long as it’s not thick.
    4. Ideally anything around 11mm or under. If there’s going to be a keyboard of sorts, try to stay within 14mm
  3. AMOLED display
    1. Go that extra distance with the better brightness, contrast and vividness
    2. Generally consumes less electricity (could contribute slightly towards battery life)
  4. Increase screen size – [Maybe 3.7″, maybe at least don’t go below 3.5″]
    1. The previous 4.13″ Nokia tablets had the perfect screen size for viewing the web on the go.
    2. Comined with the 800×480 screen, you hardly ever had to zoom in to view fine text.
    3. Though screen size (at the moment) is the main limiting factor in size, with minimal borders/space wastage, it’s possible to have a 4.13″ fit more or less in the N900’s foot print.
    4. N900 dimension – 111x60mm.
    5. 4.13″ [800X480] approx 90x55mm
  5. Made mostly of metal -minimise the plastic
    1. This will be a high luxury item.
    2. Metal phones are intrinsically more appealing than plastic ones.
  6. Keyboard – 4 row
    1. If we are going to have a keyboard, can we please have a 4 row
    2. 4th row must be for numbers
    3. More space must be used for the keyboard. I get that you’d want some screen interaction, but you’d save so much more time overall if you could have an extremely efficient text input with a well designed and thought out keyboard.
    4. I won’t go into keyboard layout, except for the love of god, do not hide basic punctuation as secondary symbols.
  7. Xenon Flash
    1. I’m hazarding a guess that the majority of photos the average consumer takes are of people [Friends/Family/Self/Spycam haha]
    2. On that presumption, Xenon Flash is absolutely necessary to make sure that in even low light conditions you can light up the scene and freeze the action.
    3. You can also keep Dual LED for video light. Don’t need to pick one or the other – have both.
  8. Increased MegaPixel count
    1. Nothing to do with picture quality, just keeping up with the times.
    2. It’s more marketable and you won’t fall prey to “Same 5MP cam as 3 years ago” comments.
  9. Higher resolution TV out. 720p at least.
    1. The N900 has proven itself to be a fantastic home media centre, plugging into the TV via TV-out functionality.
    2. HD output is a must for 2010.
  10. Compass/Magnetometer
    1. Assists in navigation of maps to provide real time Map orientation
    2. Gives the option of Augmented Reality style applications.

  11. Solid, spring loaded slide
    1. If we are going to have a physical QWERTY keyboard, it would be nice to have some kind of mechanism to quickly snap open and reveal the keyboard.
  12. Gesture areas
    1. These are spaces left or right of the screen (or both)
    2. Gesture areas can be configured to contextual function and may light up accordingly, but most of the time are invisible.
    3. Extend UI navigation without taking up space on the screen.
    4. e.g. Going back/forward/selecting menu/could possibly even work as green-red call/end buttons as well as dedicated music/media controls.
  13. Higher capacity battery
    1. Go back up to 1500mAh
    2. Possibly increase that?
    3. It’s great to have fantastic features but even better to know you don’t have to ration their use because the battery won’t last a full day. (N900’s battery life is fair, though I’m still pretty much in honey moon period so using it extremely heavily)
    4. You can of course get accessories like the Proporta Turbo Charger or a spare battery to keep yourself going.
  14. Wide angle lens and improved low light sensor
    1. Basically the N86’s optic prowess. Similar to #9 but this one actually does improve the quality of images that you’ll take.
    2. Wide angle lets you get more of your subject in the frame, composing better pictures – improved low light sensor means that you can take great photos when flash isn’t an option [e.g. distant subjects/through glass/situation of no flash photography allowed, often indoors with low light)
  15. Totally flat screen, no dust cave bezel
    1. Raised bezel accumulates dust and dirt
    2. Raised bezel interferes with finger swiping
    3. Make the bezel (if there will be one) flat and flush with the screen

Processor/RAM/Graphics card – can’t give definite specification on what I’d want, but at least improve on what we’ve already got.

We’ll have to wait it out and see what Nokia’s got cooking when the N900 successor is announced. If due in 2010, it’s most likely not possible for any major hardware changes to happen to it now. If it has the first half I’d be ecstatic.

N900 as a home media centre: Best Nseries TV-out experience

December 26, 2009 3 comments

A major strength of the nearly all Nseries range is their ability to hook up to a TV screen via the 3.5mm jack [and CA-75U cable-included].  The N900 is the first Nokia tablet that allows this and amongst all other Nseries provides the best TV-out experience. This makes the N900 a serious contender as a home media entertainment system.

CA-75U - 3.5mm jack one end, RCA the other. Connect to any TV with RED/WHiTE/YELLOW connectors or easily attach via adapter, e.g. scart.

  1. 32GB on board storage + expandable with microSD (grab MicroSD’s from other media devices and N900’s will recognize applicable files – no computer needed)
  2. Fill it up with tons of media: Documents, music, photos, video, games.
  3. No need to hook up to PC to share photos/videos you’ve just taken.
  4. No external power needed [enough juice for a 160 minute movie)  but you can plug it in to the charger if you’re using it heavily for more than 3.5h
  5. Out of the box, the N900 was wide video coded support. No 3rd party app needed (though they are available). Over the past couple of days, I’ve had by N900 hooked up to the TV and the family have been watching movies on it.
  6. You can hook up your N900 to a bluetooth headset, e.g. BH-905 and control video/music playback without having to use the phone (though music is played only through headset)
  7. Particularly nice is that you can turn off the N900’s screen (by locking it) to save on battery whilst a video is playing.
  8. It helps that many applications on Maemo 5 looks much better than what we’ve previously seen with S60.
    1. Browser is stunning, fast and accurate – here it feels like I’m browsing on a computer. Flash works great; major example is YouTube – works great directly on N900.
    2. Scrolling through pictures is smooth
    3. Panoramic desktops – a dream over TV-out
    4. Everyone found N900 easy to navigate without instructions on what to do
    5. Oddly, it’s very easy to navigate the N900’s screen by looking at the TV output (and all with one thumb)
  9. Using the TV as the camera’s viewfinder is really fun – the dogs bark at themselves thinking there’s a stranger in the house. This is great if you like making video blogs so you (your family and friends) can see exactly how you look in your video recording. Would make a great mirror if you could reverse the image too.
  10. GAMING! – The N900 has the power to play graphic-intensive games that iPhone can.There are a few games for the N900 at the moment; the only one showing some eye candy is Bounce Evolution. This is an accelerometer based game and it’s even better being played over TV-out because you don’t get awkward viewing angles that you get when playing any accelerometer based games.

As well as for home use, it’s great when you’re at your friends/work/UNI and you can show them a video/presentation/photo/document via their TV/Projector from your phone.

The only things I would have liked are:

  • a higher resolution output – at least match the 800×480 resolution of the N900’s screen, or better go 720p.
  • support for bluetooth keyboard – as well as making typing easier on the big screen, it could make it easier to navigate the media player.

Below are a collection of TV-out demonstrations with the N900. [note cable is included in the sales package – unlike with N900]

Short intro to TV-out

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si5oXLwvdEE]

Video – DivX 4MBs

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYgiOvINlOA]

gaming – Bounce

Gaming – Quake III

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHSZfhY25Jc]

Gaming – SNES and Wii Controller

Via a projector