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Archive for the ‘3rd edition’ Category

Symbian Foundation websites closed

December 17, 2010 6 comments

As mentioned in Jay’s previous post in November, today marks the official close of the Symbian foundation websites. While most of our readers likely never had much experience with or exposure to these websites, they posed a major resource for a lot of curious cats like myself who wanted to keep track of progress on Symbian development as well as contribute ideas for improvements and/or features that we wanted to see in the platform. Nokia has created their own Symbian blog which in due course is expected to be populated with news etc. concerning the platform progress, releases and projects being undertaken that are related to Symbian.

However, all indications point towards a more closed system of development being undertaken.Whether this is done in a similar manner to the Google Android method where code dumps are made regularly and changes made at the whim of the company overseeing development remains to be seen. This, however, is both a positive and negative in that the closed system has somewhat less red tape and bureaucracy standing between ideas/concepts and the realization and productizing of these concepts. Unfortunately this comes at the cost of valuable community feedback and input. Simply looking at the number of great and well supported ideas that were submitted to the Symbian Ideas site (now unavailable of course) is testament to the benefit of using collective intelligence and outside ideas.

 

 

Statement by Tim Holbrow, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation after the break:

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The Western blogosphere and their constant negativity concerning Nokia.

December 16, 2010 26 comments

I think all of us here have borne witness to this, major US/UK blogs and their stance towards Nokia, Symbian and anything smartphone related originating outside of the US, the exceptions being HTC and Samsung for reasons obvious to anyone with eyes. The question is why?  Why is it that Nokia get constantly lambasted for doing ANYTHING or mocked for coming to the table too late while the others are constantly praised for doing admittedly mundane things (Facetime anyone?) . This post/rant is intended to look at common criticisms leveled at Nokia and by proxy, Symbian, each of which will be evaluated as best as possible by yours truly. Let’s get started then!

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Nokia Beta Labs now brings Nokia Software Updater (NSU) 3.0.223 Beta

December 4, 2010 3 comments

Hey all, it’s LLAADD again!

It looks like the people over at Nokia Beta Labs are really working hard to get us all some nice things before x-mas as they have just churned out yet another update and this time it is in the form of Nokia Software Updater (aka NSU) 3.0.223 beta which has minor updates from the previous NSU 3.0.156 back in October.

Before I tell you about the changes I just wanted to say keep up the good work to the people over at Nokia Beta Labs as this is the third thing this week and 7th thing in the last 2 weeks which is a jam packed fortnight in the world of software!

OK back to NSU, this update will help to fix some of those bugs with trying to update applications on the N8  as well as the way it helps you to recover your phone if the unfortunate happened and update failed. A full list of updates is below Read more…

Connectivity Analyzer from Nokia Beta Labs!

November 28, 2010 7 comments

Hey all, it’s been a while since i’v properly blogged on “My Nokia Blog” but as I no longer have time to post as much as i’d like to on my own TheTekBlogger.com, I thought Jay wouldn’t mind me posting here!

One of the recent creations from the people over at Nokia Beta Labs yet again helps us to solve an issue that I’m sure we have all had at one point or another…”Why won’t my phone connect….AAAGGGHHHH”.

“Connectivity Analyzer” from Nokia Beta Labs does exactly what it says on the tin, it tries to figure out well (or not so well) your phone connects to either a Wireless LAN in your home or somewhere else, or Packet Data connections through the mobile network of your choice.

Here is what the developers have to say about it:

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Black Friday deal for the Nokia N8

November 27, 2010 7 comments

This Friday marks, for many people living in the US, the beginning of the holiday shopping season. As is customary, the Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday known as Black Friday is a day when stores around the US offer huge deals on most of the products in their stores and Nokia USA is no exception. From Friday through til Monday, Nokia is offering reduced prices on all of their devices and even greater savings on accessories.   Read on for the highlight of this weekend’s sale. Read more…

Nokia taking Symbian development back in house, Foundation remains to control licensing and patents

November 8, 2010 24 comments

 

As mentioned before in the press release Jay posted, and has been rumored in the blogosphere for quite a while, it seems that Nokia and the Symbian board have taken a decisive step towards improving the Symbian OS, speeding up time to market, improving developer and OEM relations and at the same time cut out some of the bureaucracy that has held Symbian development up for so long. This move was hinted at when Lee Williams stepped down from the Symbian Foundation as executive director and was replaced by Tim Holbrow (former CFO) with rumors circling that winding down operations would commence imminently.  It seems that such a guess was not far off the mark.

I’m certain that a large percentage of people in the blogosphere are now shouting at the top of their voices that Symbian is dead, Nokia is down the toilet and are doomed and that Symbian has no place in the smartphone market (Engadget commenters are truly  remarkable no?). But I’d have to respectfully say that they are patently wrong. Below I’ll outline a few of the reasons why this change has happened and what the future may/may not hold for Symbian development in light of current news.

One of the most telling statements concerning Symbian development were the announcements of Sony Ericsson (SE) and Samsung, that they were discontinuing Symbian development and had no plans for the continued support and/or production of Symbian devices. Looking at those two announcements in a vacuum one might be inclined to think that two of the three major OEM  supporters and Foundation contributors (not dissing Fujitsu here) had withdrawn from an OS that was seemingly about to fail miserably.

Looking at the situation in context however, yields a starkly different story. Having tracked code package submissions to the Symbian Foundation from the fledgling days of S^2 & S^3, I’d yet to see any significant contributions of code by either company. While that’s not to say they didn’t provide any monetary support, the fact that the entire idea of the foundation was to distribute work amongst large companies with significant resources in the hope of faster iterating the OS than any single company could possibly achieve. Unfortunately for the Symbian Foundation, this was not to be, and Nokia has and will continue to contribute the VAST majority of the code.

 

 

 

Worse still, Android came along whereby OEM’s could get a free ride in essence, contributing little if any code, little if any monetary support while getting an OS that they could basically flash onto the base hardware provided by Qualcomm and run with it. While that’s not to say that this is a “bad” approach, in some ways it leaves the OEM’s at the mercy of Google’s whim and provides no real benefit, in the long term at least, for OEM’s looking to differentiate, grow profits significantly and control their own fates.

 

Android also had the benefit of provided an app store that integrated directly into the OS in the form of Android Marketplace, something that Symbian had categorically lacked before 2008. When Nokia came out with the Ovi Store in 2009, it became clearer still to all OEM’s involved with Symbian that not only could they not compete with Nokia in terms of hardware costs, reliability and scale, but they also couldn’t compete in terms of value added services to Symbian OS.  Worse still, Symbian Horizon, which would have been the go-to application repository for Symbian applications for all OEM’s, failed spectacularly leaving Samsung and SE high and dry with regards to added services, through no fault of the Symbian Foundation of course.

NB. Symbian in it’s base implementation comes without mapping applications and application stores

 

Having realized that there would be no financial benefit in sticking around, both companies decided to jump ship to an OS where all the work was done for them and they simply needed to toss an OS on some hardware and meet some nebulous requirements concerning the use of Google services and market and they’d be just peachy.

 

 

The second most telling statement made was by Nokia where they said that they had no intentions of sticking to the large-scale generational changes to the Symbian platform formerly known as S^3, S^4.x , S^5 etc and that they would be sticking to continuous, smaller scale improvements to what they would call “Symbian” with most recent devices getting the changes initially slated for the generational S^4 release. Furthermore, they publicly stated that Symbian development would give way to Qt development, in essence both dog-fooding and relegation of Symbian C++ to legacy status.

In hindsight, these events in addition to the rapid pace of development of both software and hardware in the mobile sphere has led to the predicament the Foundation has faced, and thusly the decision made in the conference call and board meetings today.

 

 

 

On the bright side of course, SEE2010 begins tomorrow with the MeeGo conference slated for the following week. Here’s to hoping for at least SOME positive news and seeing positive strides being taken in both domains.  Keep your browsers pointed here for more news on both Expos in coming days.

 

SYMBEOSE: EU and major European corporations invest in Symbian

November 2, 2010 9 comments

 

SYMBEOSE: Symbian the Embedded Operation System for Europe is a new initiative led by the EU and a number of major European corporations such as Nokia, ST-Ericsson and a host of others, including academic organisations with the major objective of improving the Symbian OS in order to take it above and beyond it’s current iteration and into new devices and use cases. Among these new cases are embedded systems and cloud computing.

 

A few of the objectives mentioned in the press release include Asymmetrical Multi-Processing for the differential use of available processors to better conserve system resources and power consumption. Such a change could see Symbian running on SOC’s like Marvell’s ARMADA 628 while barely sipping battery power. (Symbian already supports Symmetrical Multiprocessing ),  Advanced image processing and video acceleration standards (HDR video? ) and improved developer tools. Part of the motivation for this initiative may stem from the fact that Symbian is the only real competitor in the smartphone space to Android, Windows Phone 7 and iOS. It’s also the only one of these major players that has any origins in the EU. Even more significant is the fact that Symbian and Symbian-related activities account for the employment of ~20,000 people across the EU.

 

As such, these organisations have come together to support the development of the Symbian OS to the tune of 22 million Euros. This “new” initiative is not that significant in terms of the future direction of Symbian OS in the sense that it’s not a replacement or a new direction but the creation of a stronger community of communication, R&D and ideas.

 

More information can be found in the press release and an initiative summary here

 

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Symbian web browser sluggish?? Javascript to blame

October 20, 2010 47 comments

 

While this is by no means an empirical test, I’ve seen mention in a number of places on the web that the main reason for the dismal performance of the Symbian Web browser is the lack of adequate CPU power, I can categorically say that this is a false assumption. I’m currently using a regular old Nokia 5800 here in the US of A and have been having problems loading certain, *full* websites while still maintaining a degree of usability and not wanting to toss my phone against a wall.  Before you people come at me saying “Just use Opera!!!11222!”, the default browser is still the one that comes up everytime I hit a link in any program, email, IM conversation, etc in spite of my having changed the default browser to Opera. That said, I stumbled across a comment the other day that really stuck with me for some reason. In essence it said “Turn off Javascript and the browser is soo much faster!”

 

Well I tried it and by God does it work wonders. The Engadget homepage that would take an age to load and render and would require me to manually stop the loading in order to even use it half-way properly finished loading in a matter of seconds and scrolled magnificently, regardless of the measly 434Mhz processor. Those of you with N8’s or other Symbian powered devices are urged to try this for yourself to see just how big a difference this minute change can make to the general usability of the browser.

 

That said, there are caveats to this, some Javascript-heavy sites may not render with all the flash, bang, whizz etc that may be expected though in my experience the majority remain unchanged. Also, Disqus does not work unless Javascript is turned on (big loss eh!). Let’s hope that the upcoming Web-browser for S^3 devices comes with a damn competitive Java-script rendering engine amongst other things!!

This improved web browser would also have the knock-on effect of improving all WRT based applications and widgets, including the Social and FourSquare apps. Just food for thought.

 

 

NB:

The current browser on my 5800 gets a Sunspider score of  ~130,000 as compared to a Motoral Droid with a score of ~34,000 ms (Higher is worse!) and I from results I’ve seen around the internet, processor speed is nigh on irrelevant in this case.

 

 

So much for “the browser is one of the places where the N8 is definitely bumping up against the raw limits of its “mature” processor” eh. Chances are that with an improved Javascript rendering engine this statement will have to be retracted.

Ari Jaaksi, VP of MeeGo Devices resigns

October 5, 2010 9 comments

Well that’s something none of us expected. Given Nokia’s push for MeeGo as their singular high-end solution to compete with (read: crush) iOS and Android and the amount of buzz that has been generated both within and external to the company about this coming OS, it’s rather surprising that one of the most important men in charge of bringing these much-vaunted devices to the public is stepping down. This after 12 years at Nokia both on mobile browser development as well with Maemo/MeeGo and associated open source initiatives. I’m sure that the loss will be strongly felt within the company when he does indeed depart but we can rest assured that most of the work surrounding the upcoming MeeGo devices was probably finished in advance of the tendering of his resignation.

NB It takes around 12-24 months to create and productise any mobile device from concept to shipping.

Here’s to hoping that political and/or bureaucratic issues didn’t force Ari out and that he’s simply making use of the current period of transition in order to pursue new opportunities.

This news does make you wonder though, with 3 senior Finns leaving the company in relatively quick succession, does this signal a marked change in the type of thinking, management and communication that we can expect to see from the company in the future. Or is this a case of rats fleeing a sinking ship? Leave your opinions in the comments section

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27 minute hands-on with the Nokia N8

October 5, 2010 12 comments

Matthew Miller from Nokia Experts and ZDNet has put up a 27 minute hands on with a certain blue Nokia N8. Given that he’s somewhat well-versed in the use of Symbian devices it was a pretty smooth and thorough run-through given the obvious time and format limitations.

Some of the key take-aways from his video are below in quotes (“) my comments are after the  hyphen (-)

“RF reception is outstanding” – being in a basement seemed not to hamper his ability to pick up T-Mobile 3G.

“Video recording is very good” – We’ve seen a bunch of videos available online and they’re all pretty darn good.

“Games play quite good on the N8” – Seen quite a few demos of 3D games available and they’re pretty smooth while running.

“the missing podcast app”  – Obviously something Nokia have neglected even though there should be a free-ware  app available online. To add to that, where is a decent internet radio app eh Nokia?! Developers?!?

“The display looks great and touch works well” – Somewhat surprising but definitely a positive.

“The hardware is simply FANTASTIC and feels awesome in my hand” – Well that’s something we’ve heard time and again, I’ll have to get one in my hands before passing judgement on this however.

“The new Ovi Store is very good and I am buying apps from it” – This after vowing not to buy from the Ovi Store because it sucked so bad LOL :D, have to agree somewhat with him on that. The current incarnation of the store for S^1 devices, while much improved  on the original is not particularly fun to use or browse. Glad to see that’s changed. Now if only there was a greater selection. (Looks at lazy iPhone blinded developers.)

“I love that smart dialing is on the dialer” – I’ve seen it a couple times and it definitely looks nice. My only real criticism here is the lack of integration with the call log. Possible target for PR 1.1/2.0 firmware updates  please?

Also mentioned in the video is the great battery life on the

On to the negatives then

“The Calendar bites and needs work in future Symbian updates” – I agree that the UI for the calendar could definitely use some work. It is ADEQUATE at best, good to see the multiple calendar and Caldav support though.

“The software keyboard is OK, but a bit frustrating that prediction is poor and there is no portrait QWERTY” – I think everyone at Nokia probably realizes that the keyboard in both portrait and landscape could use some serious work.

First and foremost, the keyboard needs to hover and not cover the UI and entry fields. It’s rather cumbersome having to exit the keyboard and then re-enter it just to see what your friend said in the text you’re trying to reply to (4 taps and the associated pauses). Then there is the issue of only T9 in portrait, FIX THIS ASAP NOKIA.

While some (myself included) would find that T9 is faster, more accurate and easier to use with one hand, the OPTION to use a portrait keyboard that hovers is something that all of us would GREATLY appreciate. PR1.1 or earlier if possible please. That said, sources say that an English language portrait keyboard is indeed ready, just being held until other languages have been finished. Here’s to hoping for a pretty good prediction algorithm.

The iPhone and HTC Android devices are somewhat excellent in the regard.

As an addition, and I know this is beating a dead  horse, but please Nokia for the love of God push that browser update out ASAP. I’m rather underwhelmed by what I’ve seen thus far.

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