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Archive for the ‘Symbian^3’ Category

Update released for Skype: Still no video calling

December 29, 2010 7 comments

A new 1.5 version of Skype for Symbian has been released. There are no massive changes to be seen, including the continued omission of video calling which to me is indicative of the fact that the 2.0 version is likely to be the announcement Skype is supposedly holding off until CES. Hopefully newer versions of skype intergrate video calling in addition to doing some major pretty-ing up the interface. As is, it’s not nearly as fun to use of a client as the iOS or Android versions.

Download link after the break.

Read more…

Gravity 1.5 hits alpha

December 23, 2010 7 comments

Earlier this year I wrote a post talking up the progress being made with Jan Ole Suhr’s hit application, Gravity. Just in time for Christmas it seems that Jan has let loose an alpha version of the upgrades coming to his application. Key among them, and probably the most significant is the inclusion of a brand-new portrait QWERTY keyboard. This in addition to a somewhat rounded UI elements and improvements to the Facebook integration.

 

Full Changelog and link to download after the break.

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:

Read more…

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…

N8 saves the day, formats Josh Topolsky’s “fried” memory card.

November 16, 2010 35 comments

As I’m sure we’ve all heard in tech news lately, Windows Phone 7 devices have a nasty nack for screwing up the memory cards of any individual adventurous enough to ignore the warning Microsoft gave when they said DO NOT USE with regards to third-party memory cards. Unfortunately for users of the Samsung Focus, including a certain Engadget editor, this device once used in the device is nigh-on useless when removed and tried in others. Imagine buying a 32Gb card and not being able to use it anywhere else (I’d be outraged). While it’s clearly not Microsoft or Samsung’s fault for users being disobedient, it’s still a sucky predicament to be in, especially if important or irreplaceable files are on this memory card.

See more information on the problem here.

 

Seems that one of our readers sent a slight tip to Mr. Topolsky via twitter on how to correct his unfortunate problem. Funnily enough no other methods worked and this includes attempting to format it using a Linux PC.

Here’s the transcript Antonio provided us.

Full story: Engadget chief editor Joshua Topolsky was doing some tests with his MicroSD on a brand new Samsung Focus with WP7. The Focus formatted the SD and (I don’t know for sure, but I think) it worked on the phone, but then he could not remove and still use the MicroSD later. As Topolsky mentioned, the Focus “fried” his SD card.

He mentioned on twitter he had tried putting the microSD card (to format it) in some cameras. None worked. He also tried on his Windows PC with several programs to format SD cards suggested by other people on twitter. None of the programs worked, the SD card wasn’t even recognized and would not format. Then people told him Ubuntu was the solution and it would definitely fix the SD card with success, and gave him some advanced SD formatting tools. None worked.

It was just when I read his tweet asking for help that I knew I had the definitive solution to his problem: I told him to put the SD card into the Nokia N8 and I told him it would work, and the phone would fix his microSD card successfully. And that’s exactly what happened.”

 

Obviously Josh ignored him (for good reason he’d have thought)

 

“He didn’t seem to have noticed, so I insisted. I didn’t know whether it was a SD or MicroSD card because he was just saying SD card on his twitter, so I gave him a solution that would also work for SD cards (using a SD card reader on the N8; please notice this is not necessary for microSD cards because the N8 already has a microSD slot).”

 

Josh’s replies are below.

LOL!

Guess the phone doesn’t suck so bad after all huh 😛 🙂

Thanks Antonio!

Categories: Nokia, Nseries, Symbian^3 Tags: ,

Symbian OS and Nokia’s CPU choice sidenote

November 16, 2010 31 comments

Not a long blog post but more of a notification for all the Symbian and N8 users out there.

Symbian as an OS does something that few if any mobile OS’s out there do. It allows the networking (cellular) stack and applications to run on the same CPU. Ever wondered why your phone lags HARD when downloading emails (if set to headers only) and opening applications? This is it.

Worse still is the fact that current Symbian^3 devices still use ARM11 processors, we have the issues of a rather short processor pipeline and an in-order, single issue execution method. Meaning that the CPU can only handle a very few number of inputs per unit time in addition to the fact that it MUST complete each instruction before moving on to any instruction behind it, does not allow other instructions leap-frog it in the execution pipeline regardless of how long the instruction takes AND is only able to process one set of instructions at a time.

In layman’s terms, your email has to finish downloading before it can render AND you can’t interact with the OS before this happens either. Although S^1 didn’t support ARMv7 architecture well (Cortex A8 etc), S^3 does. Makes you wonder if Nokia made the decision to stick the ARM11 in there and why if they did that, they didn’t go for a dual core approach using an applications core and a networking core a la OMAP or a simply better CPU with a dual issue pipeline like a Cortex A8.

Ah well, if you make your bed, you gotta sleep in it.

Sidenote: Anandtech has a pretty awesome crash course in CPU architecture to help us not so smart people understand the differences between ARM11 and Cortex A8 in addition to CPU architecture and design.

Categories: 5th Edition, Rant, Symbian^3

Nokia N8 torture test

November 11, 2010 18 comments

Before Nokia phones get released they go to some tough torture test to make the sure they will survive in real world situations and here is a video from Nokia’s official blog showing tests of N8’s being tested. enjoy 😀

In addition to the drop test, there’s more than 200 other endurance tests that we put new models through to see if they pass muster. Some of the highlights include:

  • Extreme weather: We use special machines to expose them to extreme temperatures from around -40°C to +85°C, helping them to withstand conditions from the cold of the arctic circle to the heat of the Sahara desert.
  • Humidity: We also test for use in tropical and humid parts of the world by placing devices in a special chamber for several weeks where they will experience humidity levels as high as 95%.
  • Clothing: When we carry devices in our back pockets they may bend when we sit down or rub on trouser fibres. We simulate these effects with special machines that bend and twist the device, and one that uses a real pair of jeans to test friction and wear and tear.
  • Pockets: Devices are often in bags or pockets with other items like keys or coins, so we place devices in a special “shaker” machine with hard particles to see how resistant they are.
  • Buttons: People press the main keys on their device an average of 200-300 times every day. To ensure the keypads can respond to this level of use, we press the keys up to one million times in the lab.

via Nokia Conversations

Categories: Nokia, Symbian^3, Test

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.