Posts Tagged ‘Xenon’

Mega Gallery: Happy Halloween with the Nokia N8! Incredible Extreme Low Light performance for Nights Out!

October 31, 2010 19 comments

Happy Halloween folks! If you’re out and about tonight, perhaps in costume, you’ll certainly be wanting to save those memories. A phone won’t do right – you’ll have to bring your camera too.


One of the reasons the Nokia N82 has triumphed for so long is it’s undisputed performance in EXTREME low light – which is absolutely perfect for nights out. The last thing you want to worry about when you’ve had a few is your phone AND a camera (as well as your wallet/keys/cards/cash). Having one less thing to worry about is essential.

How does the new blood fare?Well whether in a pub, club (or in a London Film Premiere :p) the N8 does a bang up job and takes up the N82’s challenge successfully.


The Awesome:

  • Passes extreme low light tests with flying colours. Literally. Amply lights up people in the dark with the xenon flash without washing them out (too much). Colours do look better on N8 vs N82. Less washed out (w’ell, we’ll upload the comparisons we did a while back

  • Freezes any action. Your LED enabled camera phone may be able to light up a scene half as good as xenon, but it will inevitably suffer from movement blur. That’s not good because people – they are prone to moving. What also really helps is the very fast autofocus and very fast shutter upon pressing the camera shutter button. This is often taken for granted but my Samsung WB600 would wait a second after pressing. It doesn’t matter that the flash can freeze if the action is already over.

Pillow Fight. Frozenby N8

Pillow in the Air and Nokia N8 captures it.

Moving Foreground freeze with nice background blur.

Falling on the Na'Vi

  • Great for night portraits: Note- a lot of folk are wearing facepaint, and most of the girls in general not in face paint are wearing make up/foundation which shows up a little differently under flash than bare skin – e.g. check out arm/neck. (Hence why the faces of the guys look more natural)

  • Awesome for group shots

Same 9MP 16:9 in 12MP 4:3

  • The N8 was NOT fully charged yet managed to take well over 300 photos ALL WITH FLASH, 8 mins of video, 20 mins calls, 30 mins text and somehow report only 1 bar missing from 8pm to 3am. This maybe incorrect battery life reporting, but if so the N8 would not have lasted until 7pm the next day. (It got to about 4 bars by 9am – killing all background processes severely helped – and the N8 didn’t die. Once on 1 bar it went back on charge)
  • Note: N8 was on full brightness in normal mode. You could possibly extend the N8 battery life by pressing power button once and selecting “Activate power saving”. This will push your N8 to 2G, reduce screen brightness amongst other things..
  • The 3.5″ AMOLED screen makes a perfect view finder. Excellent viewing angle means you can still see your subject even if you place the cam at awkward angles.
  • Simple enough operation for other people to use. Other folk just assume it’s a camera.
  • not N8 specific feature – but the camera strap hole/strap is positioned at the right place for right handed folk – (not so with N900). Makes it easy to protect your N8 from dropping.

The not so good.

  • In Auto mode, suffers from MAJOR red eye. Helps on Halloween but possibly not any other night. There’s red eye reduction function but seriously – due to the annoying camera UI every time you restart the camera it forgets you set it on red eye. On the upside – I’d rather have red eye than shitty, blurry, dark LED lit photos. NOTE: In a pub (or elsewhere where it’s not virtually pitch black) red eye is less of a problem.

  • The uncovered camera glass means it will suffer greatly from smudging which will make focusing difficult if there’s crap on the camera glass. It also affects flash photos. You can just wipe it, but remembering is a task. Especially if someone else is taking your photos and aren’t aware of that problem.

I think this one was combined initial focus error and camera smudge. But I kinda like the effect.

Smudge and focus problem. Focus problem due to intoxication but smudge assists in not being able to autofocus as well as it could.

Focusing again - a little better but there's still smudgey stuff on the camera which I forgot to clean for this pic

All in all STELLAR job by the Nokia N8. Fantastic low light performance that surely would make N82 users proud. Full sized pics available in the gallery


Gallery: Nokia N8 versus Panasonic TZ10 versus Samsung i8910 vs Nokia N82 (plus a xenon flash test)

October 4, 2010 13 comments

Here’s a comparison set showing the Nokia N8 versus Panasonic TZ-10 versus Samsung i8910 HD versus the Nokia N82.

The Panasonic TZ10 is a stonker of a megazoom point and shoot camera. Priced at around £329 on launch, it is one remarkably awesome digital camera. The optical image stabilization is incredible – try shaking it about and you’ll still get a decent crisp photo – imagine the usual photos when you’re TRYING to keep it steady. If you’re after a portable digital camera at almost DSLR quality (that’s what owners have said who also own DSLRs), you get this. Yes I like this camera. 😀

The Samsung i8910 was for quite some time the Symbian flagship, the first GSM phone to produce 720p (AT 24fps), with 8MP and dual LED flash.

The N82 is loved amongst Nokia geeks, a 2007 contender, it still stomps on the asses of many current generation camera phones for it’s spectacular 5MP performance in low light photos (helped by xenon) and videos.

The Nokia N8 – needs no introduction.

Jenjaman from the-ultimate111 gave us a heads up on his new post comparing the TZ10, i8910, N82 and N8. They are in the order of the grid unless otherwise stated.

NOTE: THE TZ10 has a 25mm wide angle lens and the Nokia N8 has a 28mm wide angle lens. The i8910 images will therefore appear larger as both the N8 and tz10 capture more of the same image in a single frame.

NOTE 2: File sizes from the Nokia N8 are incredibly compact. At around 1-2MB.

TZ10 at around 5mb, i8910 AT 3-4MB and N82 around 1MB

For full size, click from the GALLERY at the end of this post.

The N8 seems closest overall to the Panasonic TZ10 – the reds in the i8910 look kinda washed out. However…

Read more…

Nokia N8 – closer quality to a digital camera than your iPhone 4. Closer to reality colours and higher detail.

October 1, 2010 33 comments

That’s according to CNET who have done a quick test on the camera comparing with a Fuji Finepix j15ow and iPhone 4.You may have seen engadget’s Nokia N8 versus iPhone 4 camera tests. The one where non full resolution shots are used (hidden away in zip – WHICH btw is the WORST batch of Nokia N8 sample photos I have ever seen. N82 and N900 have taken better) which have all been passed through watermarker (not untouched).

It is important to consider MANY sources in terms of testing if there are no standardised criteria. (Motion blurs, faulty focus due to human error greatly impacts the resulting photo). So here’s an alternative set from CNET. (Will update as I get more sources)

  1. N8 has more natural colours – closer to a good compact camera
  2. N8 has wider angle lens (capturing more in a scene – great for scenery and getting more friends/family in the frame)
  3. N8 has much more detail
  4. N8 kills in supreme low light XENON flash test (versus LED)

Let’s take a closer look at 1 and 3 (as there’s no samples to compare 2 and 4)

N8 has more natural colours – closer to a good compact camera

Cartoon like colours or something similar to your digital camera where it captures close to what your eyes see? Imagine trying to remember a colour of a certain car – it helps if the digital camera captures it as close to reality instead of jazzing it up to something ridiculous.

HOWEVER – contrasting this are those who may prefer the unnatural, more vibrant popping colours. It works in certain situations. It just depends on your taste. f you want something similar, the N8’s extensive camera features colour settings to change the photos to produce something more vivid. But I’m guessing, if you’re after the N8, you want a good all-situation camera with natural colours.

Let’s take a look at this random crop. 1064×784 selection. N8 first, then Fuji cam, then iPhone 4. Look at the accuracy of the skin tone colour. On the iPhone 4, the poor guy seems to have a heat rash. This is obvious in CNET and Engadget’s samples.

“First, here’s a picture of nature’s bounty in a well-lit, controlled environment, against a plain white table. In this environment, the N8 did a great job of capturing the correct colours and exposures. We would have a hard time telling the N8’s picture from that of a compact camera. “


Note, CNET are not pro Nokia, actually the rest of their “review” was pretty harsh on the N8 (not even considering many other important features and being slapped 3/5) Anyway…N8 first, then Fuji cam, then iPhone 4.

N8 has much more detail

Another crop. Same photo and region. N8 first, iPhone then Fuji cam. Same photo example.  Look at the intricate groves in the skin with the N8. If you look closer at the full res shots there seem to be lots of random black dots scattered on the fuji shot.

Now using the set below

Nokia N8 above, iPhone 4 below. Just look at it. This is why you get usable digital zoom with the N8. You have more pixels to play with.

And with the set below. There’s a tiny SANYO box mid right, but only from the N8 can you read the label Sanyo (FUJI, N8, iPhone)

Now Xenon flash tests. I haven’t got any comparison samples at my disposal but the sheer lack of Xenon in the iPhone 4 means it pretty much loses by default for those low light, indoor people photos. Pubs/clubs/parties etc – Xenon captures those moments, freezing any motion and brighting up the darkest of rooms.

I look forward to more rigorous testing of the N8’s camera.

Categories: Nokia Tags: , , ,

Ode to Nokia N82’s successor – the upcoming Nokia camera phone king; killer of the digicam.

April 22, 2010 6 comments

Everyone must have heard the rumours of the N82 may finally get a worthy successor.

Whilst not commenting directly on any specific rumours, here’s an ode (poem, whatever!) to new camera phone king; the supposed N82 successor, “the Nokia”, celebrating the possible return of dear beloved xenon, maybe higher MP and even high definition video. It has been on everyone’s wish list for over a year now, so let’s hope it comes true.

This is also a kind of response to the news of some mighty daayuum cool camera phone from Nokia supposedly gonna be killing off Digital SLRs and also to Steve Litchfield’s post on Nokia Conversations on the perfect camera phone.

N82’s Successor

A telephone is what you are
just by my side, never too far
but a camera you pack inside
a frame so small where does it hide?

Twelve million is your pixel strength
Such sharp, wide angle beauty
A dream we have waited at length:
replace N82’s xenon duty

of being true, real lightning flash
not L.E.D., what worthless trash
you bathe in light the darkest rooms
bring vibrant colours when others gloom
about their blurry lifeless snaps
yours bright as day, theirs dull and crap

cos memories you freeze in time
suspend animation whatever the weather
precious moments lasting seconds yet I’m
gonna remember them forever

what’s more, videos you also shoot
in glorious high definition
sound so compelling, others you might as well mute
this is a smartphone on a mission

to fly the flag of imaging;
show others how it’s done
the compact cam’s no competition
box it back up, the Nokia has won

because this phone is with you always
in your pocket, just close by
to capture those spontaneous moments
cameras in drawers will miss whislt I

with the Nokia, i have the magic
of a mirror looking back at time
reflecting memories most nostalgic
the smiles from past moments most sublime.

Take note of this photo: After a long 3 year reign, can N82 finally rest up and retire in 2010?

I  guess apart from certain exact features, the whole “capturing a memory” could go for much of Nokia’s imaging line up, particularly those equipped with Carl Zeiss Optics. Properly implemented xenon (not just tickbox features, xenon that actually works) gives even more situations that a cameraphone could be useful.

In terms of “taking over DSLR” I’m not entirely convinced they literally meant feature for feature a Nokia CZ phone would outgun. More that if you are specifically going out somewhere to take a photo, these higher end Nokia cam phones are sufficient tools for the job.

For the most beautiful photography, the biggest determining factor is the eye and talent behind the lens. That’s not to say any phone camera will do. Nokia CZ Cam phones have great picture quality and so much versatility compared to its rivals. JeeBus phone is only just getting freakin digital zoom this summer!

The potential of these Nokia devices as tools for serious photography is showcased by the phenomenal work of professional commercial photographer, RALPH HIGGO who is based in Cape Town, South Africa.  His portfolio on using just the Nokia N97 (yes N97!) is absolutely unbelievable (via WOMWorld!)

[RALPH has an alternative professional page for his commercial photography here]

Low light photo and flash test: Nokia N97 versus Nokia N900 versus Nokia N82

December 12, 2009 6 comments

Here’s some low light photo conditions with the N900; testing out its flash against the N97 and the king of flash, and over 2 years old (absolutely ancient in tech), the N82.

I know I harp on about Xenon, but these set of photos demonstrate yet again why it’s just so good! Real xenon flash as opposed to LED, gives you a higher percentage of good looking photos in a wider range of lighting situations. This is especially useful if you’re taking photos of people.

Nseries in general are fantastic in ample lighting conditions, but only the N82 has ever excelled in dark conditions. The N900 would have been fantastic with Xenon. [Note, good low light isn’t all about Xenon, but it gives it a mighty helping hand]

There are excuses of space, possibility of advantages of LED for video light (though you don’t have video light option in N900) – possibly the real reason is that the N900 is only stage 4/5 on the path to Maemo greatness. (I really don’t want the N87 to be the only xenon flash enabled phone in Nokia’s 2010 lineup)

In general day to day camera use, I prefer the N900 to the N97 (but N82 above N900)

The N900, though not photo centric does have some advantages on its side:

  • Camera interface is just so much easier to use!
  • 16:9 photo option
  • N900 remembers last saved photo settings
  • N900 low light without flash is better than N97/N82
  • N900 colours/white balance usually more accurate than N97
  • N900 doesn’t have the camera glass fault that some N97s do mucking up the photos when
  • N900 video absolutely superior with initial autofocus
  • Framing subjects much nicer on N900 with large, high res screen.

1. This first set is just a colour test: Under fluorescent lighting,  no flash, distance about 20cm. Beginning always with N97, N900 then N82.

2. Pitch black, flash on.

3. Light on, no flash, distance about 1 metre. Apologies for the messiness of the shelves.

Pitch black, flash on. Distance 1m

Note here: N900 has much sharper photo than N97

Light on, flash on, distance 1m

Pitch black, flash on, distance 2-3 metres.

Now just N900 vs N82

Low light, flash on.

Low light, flash on

Low light, no flash

A bad shot below by N82’s standards (got focus point wrong), but still more vibrant colours. Check out another photo set with N97 vs N82.

Note, in some situations (like macro – not shown) N82’s xenon can be too bright. I’m not a photography buff so I don’t know how it works, but some digital cameras I’ve tried (mostly the Fuji variety, Samsungs/Panasonics I’ve tried failed) they take excellent macro with xenon

Video: Nokia N900 Q & A with Jussi Mäkinen and Maemo Community guys

September 16, 2009 11 comments

Photo by N82 (xenon flash 😉 dual LED will NOT do this in a dark room)

Jussi Makinen joined by Maemo Community guys. The vibe of the Q&A is receptive Nokia is (or attempts to be) towards the community in making a handset. Nokia seems to be pushed to make devices based on what the consumer demands, unlike perhaps some other manufacturer which tells you what you want. It’s great to know Nokia listens to the consumers (well mostly). But but it also means Nokia are constantly having to react to ripples instead of making them.

The general feeling I got (in terms of HARDWARE) is that they’re playing things a bit too safe, always “seeing how the market takes it” as opposed to sticking their neck out, with a risky device (risky because it’s trend-setting-with-desirable-features, not risky because it’s significantly sub-par compared to competitors’ devices). In terms of software, Nokia has a beautiful approach to open source.

“Open source technology is just not about the code, it’s really about the culture. How do we communicate with the community? It has forced us to be more open, not only in code, but be more social. We want to keep it fun and it’s been fun.”

The Q&A mainly focuses on the history of the tablets, how decisions came about and the learning processes Nokia have gone through. It also discusses the future of the Mobile Computer, the target audience of the N900 and several other issues.

I asked about the future of gaming on the N900, and why Nokia decided to put a 3 row instead of 4-row keyboard, resistive instead of capacitive and Dual Led as opposed to Xenon.

Questions are in black bold

Answers are in Brackets [Jussi in black, Andrew in Green, Gary in Blue, interesting points in red]


[filmed by N97 but compressed into DivX to fit Vimeo’s limit]

I’ve somehow written up somewhat of a paraphrased transcript.

  • 00:50  Roger: How you make some of the decisions that you’ve made? [Intro to N900]
  • 05:00   Mike: N900 more of a computer, very different to N97 [N900 is for early adopters, people looking for integration into Nokia service N97 is for them, both great
  • 06:40  Mike: How long have you been working on the N900? [N900’s phone is just a feature. It’s a computer first]
  • 07:46 –  Roger: Internet Tablet is no longer part of the name? [Internet tablet is 770, N800, N810 – those three simillar heritage. N900 is Mobile Computer – “Without the community, there wouldn’t be this product….Manufacturered by Nokia but together with the community.”]
  • 08:45 Roger: Way it uses desktop is tablet like as opposed to phone like, how did that come out to bring that forward? [UI design and product management working together is fantastic in this product.]
  • 11:05  Jay: How do you see the future of gaming in the N900? [At moment, N900 does not support DRM so N-gage is not part of that. Bounce looks really great. At Nokia World, lots of game developers really excited about the possibilities. And of course when we work towards Maemo 6, those great games will be part of this product. We will open up the Ovi Store and new games are coming.]
  • 11:50 Gerry: Form factor, why not N97’s form factor? [N97’s form factor is iconic in Nokia, something really new. We wanted to give an option for the users, some people like flip, some people like it like this (slide). Based on user feedback. Keyboard is really good. It just works.
  • 12:36 Gerry: Would you change to a flip one in future models? [Of course we can’t say anything on future models, but we’re following the feedback from users]
  • 13:05 Gerry: Difference between tech people and people who just buy phones, would people buy this rather than N97? [One thing that drives N900 is internet experience. Maemo is designed for being online all the time. N97 has great features as well. Early adopters who like Mozilla and Firefox, they want the same experience out where they go and from their desktop (Hear hear!) People who have high demand for internet usage, and computer like performance and like to install applications, and all that, this product is that great alternative to N97. We haven’t started selling this yet (in October) so we’ll have to see.
  • 14:15 Gerry: How many N900s will you make? [Number not certain but we want to make it so that all the people who want it will be able to buy it]
  • 14:30 Roger: What part of experience working with internet tablets gives you an advantage over manufacturers who have not first gone down the tablet route? What have you learned in last 3 years that you wouldn’t  have learned if you hadn’t been building a tablet? [ at time 770 got worst reviews in history, it was a new concept, no phone, not normal media function – but learnt about working in an open source way – see what kind of applications and solutions come with the community. If we see lots of a certain apps being built, we take note and we learn. We learnt about releasing earlier and releasing often, but at the same time make sure it’s ready for end users. Why we didn’t put phone earlier? Product development was faster because we made product as internet tablets. Those products are essential to get the 5 step evolution of how users can experience a computer…We haven’t been making such a big noise with internet tablets. Community was asking “why aren’t you marketing this product?”. We wanted internet tablets for a very specific audience, who can communicate with us about its development. I think we’ve done a pretty good job, we have about 25,000 members, and have given us the feedback to make this (N900). Now we’re making a lot of noise, we have good marketing going on and great venues (one dot zero) where people can see the creative potential with applications like Gary has done. Now is the time to strike. We wanted to have this specific audience with the tablets and now we’re moving into mainstream. And this fourth step is a mainstream step
  • 18:30 Roger: Any mistakes along the development path that your knowledge knows not to put in to the N900? [770 launched in 05, we have learned as the community is gonna grow, we are estimating for resource planning for web that the number of users in talk maemo will double over next 18 months.We’re now in a position to know that we can shepherd in new developers for them to realise the capabilities of the device and what they can do with it. We’ve been there for last 4 years, we can show new developers how to do things, package things and deliver them to users in an easy to use way in an expertise we’ve developed within the community, I think will help the evolution of the device.
  • 21:00 Jussi: [This thing of usability has been one thing that we’ve been really improving, so with the tablets, we draw the more stylus based usage. But now, with this really good screen technology you can just swipe with your fingers, bigger icons in UI. Finger usability, I wouldn’t say it’s a mistake, but it has come clear with this one that we’ll give users finger friendly usability.]
  • 21:40 Roger: Without your N900 coming out, and another manufacturer made one, it seems to me they might miss those learning points. [Maybe one other learning with the community; when we came out with the N810 and the software there, we didn’t support originally, so N810 could run on 770. There was a vocal noise on why it wasn’t supported. The linux way is to support all devices. But again, we learnt from that, and quickly made the decision that we wanted to make this HACKER edition of the software that’s not like officially suported by Nokai but still the guys who are willing to TINKER a bit can run the new operating system on the 770]
  • 22:30 Roger: Not supported, but tolerated and allowed. Not trying to stamp it out [Now it has been leading to Mer(?) A community based operating system. What’s cool about we at Maemo is that we support that. Because we think that a community should be able to make a new operating system based on Maemo that’s fully open. At the same time we can fully learn from those. They can develop ideas and new stuff that work on Mer and that’s easy for us at Maemo to say “hey, check out this cool feature from Mer, could we do something with it?  Could we incorporate it to our stuff and work with the guys in advance? With this product, we have a star application developer programme. We gave devices to select developers early like Gary and they hack it at very early stage. First time in Nokia that we gave devices out so much earlier than before announced. It was a new thing but with Maemo we’ve done a lot of things that haven’t been done before. Not only because we were kinda smart but because the community has been teaching us a lot. We have learned a lot from that…(I think in particular, support that Nokia has given this community driven effort to build Maemo, have it open source from top to bottom, support 770, N800, N810, SmartQ5, SmartQ7, Open Moco, SO Maemo is spreading out to all these devices and that’s driven by the community, because we recognise the good thinking in Maemo, and the good bits of open source that we can take and redistribute and pull more developers into. It’s very cyclical, Symbiotic.)]
  • 25:00 Gerry: Are you gonna plan an N900 hack edition for the N810? [By Nokia now supporting community, with drivers, infrastructure and devices. The community are taking bits of Maemo 5 and putting back into Mer, so Mer will run on old devices  and provide us with Fremantle APIs. So Maemo 5 applications will run on old devices. It won’t look exactly the same because they’ve not got the horse power. But many of the applications , which the community will develip will run on both N900 and N810
  • 26:00 Gerry: But is it possible to get that look on N810? [The N810 does contain acceleration hardware, but it’s not used at the moment, from what I can gather for rights reasons, but there have been negotiations, on going within Nokia and rights holders of these chips to see whether they can get some drivers released so the community might be able to do some 3D acceleration and hopefully some kind of effect like that on the old devices which will give them a new lease of life. Because they’re still fantastic little 400MHz Arm machines with 256MB RAM, lots of storage, still fantastic device. And I don’t like to throw things like that away]
  • 26:50 Gerry: I’ve got an N800. If I could see this running on it, I would definitely upgrade. (Anything that runs on N810 should run on N800 because they’re the same. The only thing different is GPS, keyboard and integrated 2GB card. The processor and supporting chips are exactly the same between the two devices)
  • 27:20 Roger: Have you found that some of the stuff that you’ve developed using the N900 you’ve been able to think of in terms of the N810? (When I started developing 18 months ago, I was on the N810, and I made something that was fast and optimised and run really really well on the N810. I love the device, it’s absolutely amazing. It does everything I want it to. Basically, everthing I’ve developed is already running on the N810. The only things now that can’t is the accelerometer. But basically the entire system, all the things I’ve done, all the peices are in place, have been optimised for several months to make sure that they will run on the N810 because that’s absolutely key. The device is absolutely outstanding. I’ve said that from day 1. Now I’ve got the N900, it just gives me even more power to be able to run even more applications and try and do things like we’ve done with the ONEDOTZERO IDENTIY. Absolutely outstanding.
  • 28:30 Roger: So you don’t find that there’s a barrier between the two like there was between N800 and  770? [As an end user, the device is —but as a developer, between 770 and N800 is a lot bigger. The apps I’ve been playing with, writing for Maemo 5 have run on N810, N800 and N900 as well. Although there’s little bits and differences which things that Mer will smooth out those API differences. In terms of your application in terms of pulling down, synchronizing contact information across multiple services, sudoku solver or those kinds of applications that don’t reqiure a lot of processing power, (unless running 10), each application shouldn’t require all the reources of the device
  • 29:00 Roger: The hardware shift, it seems accelerated, is that your experience [Once I felt the device, it’s absolutely outstanding. I’ve been able to start and think about things which is simply not possible. So there will be applcations in the future that as we develop, it’s obvious you fill out what you’ve got available. But some of the very core apps, they work really well on all the devices.
  • 30:00 Roger: Multitasking [When I’m normally using  N900 I have 3 or 4 sms conversations going on, instant messaing going on at the same time a couple of browser windows open, wherever you are. Yesterday I was in London reading my email, chatting with Gary – browsing Web and using Maps to find places. It’s hard to put it down once you have it. (It’s an always on device, it’s always on the network, always on in your pocket. It allows you to be more sociable with people who are far away and you end up being less sociable with people in the room) I think that what you said about having more and more browser windows open, having more and more stuff available at one time we truly recognize this. We wanted to make this as easy as possible, with the switch windows so users can instantly see what they have on; what they have here. You can have as many of those tasks on as you want and switch between them.
  • 32:00 Roger: There’s a sense developing that Marketing for the US, are you intending on pushing marketing in Europe mostly? [North America and Europe are our main market. We will do all that we can to get the users to understand the benefits of this product. A lot of the marketing will happen digitally, through and also through events like this (OneDotZero). Our product marketing will be to push users to have a good grasp at experiening the N900.
  • 33:30 Roger: On earlier devices can you give a proportion on sales/success of users and where they are (US/Europe) [My sense from Forums and mailing lists is that there’s probably 50% from europe,35% America, 10% South America, 5% other. And like all statistics, that was made up]
  • 34:25: Roger: Is that representative of the sales? [With internet tablet sales has been more in Europe. I think it has to do with the open source culture. It’s more from Europe, but its developing in North America. It’s an important thing and it’s cool that these devices you can tell the story not of the N900 but of Linux and Open Source, and what kind of benefits they bring to users.
  • 35:00 Roger: Has this Open Source and Linux aspect, has it been a bone of contention with American Carriers? Everyone things that Verizon won’t buy a phone unless they can break it. Make it closed [I think I’m the wrong guy to comment. I think a great user experience matters, at least for users. And if there’s a demand, if we can make a great user experience based on Linux or whatever, that’s what matters to users. And I think that excitement from users drives the need and drives how much there is a demand for it. Technology is important but user experience is more important and i think operators understand this.
  • 36:00 Gerry: Are you targetting towards having network/contract or just have Sim-Free one off payment? [I don’t know, I will need to get back to you on operator questions because they are not my expertise
  • 37:00 Jay: Why 3 row keyboard instead of 4, Why Resistive instead of Capacitive and Why Dual LED and not Xenon? [So first of all, the screen. Even though a lot of people saying in blogs , saying it’s resistive, what’s up with that, it’s not capacitive. But actually what we have done with the software is that we have optimized it so well that you don’t need to use your nail.  You can just use your finger. So of course you need a little amount of pressure but it’s really easy to do, so we have done a lot of software optimizations to make sure that it’s really good. Especially in Web usage, it’s very good to use, it’s very accurate. At the same time, we make this kind of zoom options. I have to say user experience is really good and I hope more people can experience before just say “oh it’s resistive”. I think all the people who have tested it have said , hey that’s really good. About the keyboard thing, that’s one of the things we tested with the user. We didn’t want to make any compromises with the height of the device. We wanted everything there (access to both touch and keys at same time) the three row keyboard provides best to use keyboard and screen at the same time to multitask. If it would be wider, the movement would have been bigger so it feels really natural to wright something here then go to a window here, multitask and just jump for that task.
  • 38:42 Jay: And what about not having Xenon as opposed to dual LED? [Really good question, I think experiencing with different kind of lights here we make a lot of tests, what would be better. Have you had a chance to take pictures with it? So anyway it works really well. We’re really happy with it.]
  • 39:20 Jay: Would you say it’s better than the N97’s flash? [I wouldn’t say which one is better or worse. In Nokia there are multiple product programmes. And some go with other options and some go with other. I think they’re all connect with different feature with how we buld device
  • 39:40 Jay: As an N97 user, I know that the Dual LED doesn’t perform as well in terms of actually lighting up something, Dual LED isn’t enough [OK, I understand. I think again, we will listen to feedback from the market when it’s out, and we’ll see what kind of pictures people will do. Again we ill make it better]
  • 40:00 Neil: Nokia appear to be playing catchup with the likes of iPhone and Android with having a touch flagship device. Is that seen as Nokia’s response to match them? [I don’t think that at Nokia we’re playing catchup.  We have a strong portfolio with many touch product, not only running on Maemo. So in that, we definitely don’t see us palying catchup. Maybe outside in blogs it has been seen so, but at the same time..]
  • 40:48 Neil: Is the N900 going to be your flagship Nseries handset? [It’s one of the flagships, together with N97, as I said in different segments. Playing catchup is maybe the wrong word because..]
  • 41:00 Neil: is N900 response to iPhone/Android? [Of course we monitor how our competitors do. We don’t go like this [see video] and with the user experience, some people like other things.  I think all the knowledge that we’ve been getting by making multiple touch products has been whatever is the latest we put together all the knowledge that we get, so what comes latest with the Maemo software we think that with this we’ve done a really good job.
  • 42:00 Neil: You said at the beginning it was aimed at the tech enthusiasts, so it’s not really a mass market phone? [It has mass market appeal, but who are the kind of guys that are most happy with the product, we think that they’re the kind of early adopters and tech leaders and tech enthusiasts as they can appreciate the things that our community appreciates with the products and the Nokia has the strong portfolio for other kinds of people. I think those are who will be most happy with it. But of course with this kind of segmenting, it’s always  if opinion leaderslike you speak good about the product there will be people who will be interested in it. And when we have been demoing Gary’s onedotzero Identity, people have been amazed “What is this device? How can it do all that stuff?” I think it has a mass market appeal, but again that’s what we see in the rest of the year. I think our marketting efforts has really stretched out for this kind ofusers on devices who are more comfortable with using internet and having web as part of their everyday life. That’s the point, people who want to do their web task, no matter where they are. What’s interesting when you said it’s a device for firefox users who’s aware enough of technology to know that there are alternative browsers and that some are better than others, FireFox or Chrome users lets say, who are aware that there’s options are there. So they don’t need to know what command line is or how to recompile the kernel, but be aware that there are options and that they can get a better experience by looking around at other options. [The idea of installing applications, there are people who will just get a device and that’s what they get. With this there’s an infinite amount of possibilities you get with the community. When you buy the device, it’s just the beginning. It’s a matter of what you make of the device , not what comes out of the box]
  • 44:50 Gerry: Internal memory is only 65MB of free. [That’s something the community has noticed as well, Nokia have responded to. There’s a thread on the mailing list where the lower level architecture design guys like myself who are professional software engineers as their day job, are collaborating with Nokia in a very open way to find a solution to this. There is going to be a solution, along the lines of installing to mem card as N800 but out of the box. We’re just discussing where the work happens. Is it with community packaging applications or do we try with Nokia and get a solution that will make community’s life easier….in terms for end user experience, there will be at least 1GB. This is just an example of how we collaborate with commnity. When we get feedback that something needs to be done, and there’s always a guy from us who listens to ideas. Yesterday evening , we were discussing this, how we could help you, and get feedback more efficiently from you. I think it’s so valuable of the work that the community is doing because even before product is out, we can test it out and throw ideas back and forth. Like  said, being critical, being constructive, that’s one of the main points of this community, not to say that we have learned a lot on how to collaborate. Andrew was the chair of the community council. That was one idea that came (2008) to make a community council to make an interface with Nokia nd community. These kind of things, we learn all the tim, to follow the community. I think it’s super usable for us who work with Maemo, but also giving back for the community and at the end it’s all coming for the benefit of the users.
  • 47:35: Mike: You’ve currently got these two different phones for different markets, N97 and N900 with N900 for tech and N97 for mass market. Do you see the two devices converging in the future or will you always have this separation with super early adopters and mass market adopters. [Convergence is a good word because there’ll definitely be convergence of user experience of phone and computers. But that’s what we have at this moment and in the future, we will follow what kind of feedback this gets from the market and where is our product development going, but of course, Nokia is strong on this kind of portfolio of thinking. We’re adjusting our portfolio on what is the best device for the best use cases. That’s where I know that Maemo is for high end, best internet experience, best computer like experience.
  • 48:40 Roger: Are you seeing a migration of developers from Symbian and ForumNokia to Maemo? [There’s certainly been informal stuff happening on community forum, where we’ve had a lot of people from Symbian development coming into forum to say “how do I get started/there should be an app like this” and we go “actually you don’t need an app like that”, you can talk via MSN…installing pluggin and so forth.

Wrapping up

“Open source technology is not about the code, it’s really about the culture. How do we communicate with the community? It has forced us to be more open, not only in code, but more social. We want to keep it fun and it’s been fun.”

Video: OneDotZero “Identity” Installation – Powered by the Nokia N900.

September 14, 2009 1 comment

The main attraction at BFI was the Nokia N900 and the “Identity” Installation that was powered by the N900.

You just type in your message on the N900, and via projector, displays your text across a 42 metre long wall (with 6 projectors). The text themselves are made up from twitter feeds concerning onedotzero. If you wrote about it during whilst the installation was/is up, you’re tweet became part of that art.

The app worked using the touch screen and the accelerometer which are both very responsive.

Here are a couple of my videos  – credit to gerrymoth for idea of using “Identity” for advertisment :p.

This first video contains two simultaneous shots, one of Roger demonstrating in the lower left, and the rest of the actual “Identity” projection responding to what Roger’s doing instantly.

The second video gets a random song from YouTube with the upload (if it worked). It sort of fits the whole trance vibe the projection is giving me.

Much of Nokia’s aim was to raise awareness for the capabilities of the N900. One developer noted that “building for Maemo5 is like building for pc – you’ve got all the components you’ll need all ready for you.” They backed up that statement with a lot of developer speak  that I don’t understand, but the gist is

“N900 and Maemo is really easy to make applications for.”

Also, speaking with Valério – a Maemo developer, he informs me that despite what seems to be a Fragmented Nokia OS portfolio, with Symbian and Maemo both with flagship Nseries devices – “Qt” (pronounced cute) means that when you develop a Qt app for Maemo – it’s very simple to recompile for Qt in Symbian. I won’t go into a Symbian v Maemo thing for now.

Stay tuned to – there’s a couple more N900 related posts coming soon.

Big thanks to Donna, Robbie and Adam WOMWorld for the invite and looking after us! Was awesome meeting up with WOM team again and meet new bloggers

  • Mike from MobileMentalism
  • Neil from mypocket OS
  • Gerry from NokiaAddict
  • eBook enthusiast Roger from
  • developers Valério from (he’s also a blogger) and Gary (one of the creators of “Identity”)
  • and Nokia N900 Maemo master, Jussi Mäkinen.

JM Nokia 😀

It always goes over my mates heads the moment I start talking about anything phone/Nokia so I just express it on my blog.

This weekend was slightly the escape of my inner geek. I thoroughly enjoy the conversations at these events.

It’s great to rant to actual people (in the same room) who could respond with more rants, ideas, and even widen your perspective on the situation of Nokia and mobile, as well as learning so much from the developers and being able to give direct feedback and suggestions to high ranking Nokia staff who have the capability of carrying out ideas that could work for Nokia.


Sam (volunteer for Identity), Neil and Roger


Eager texters. Neil, Gerry and Valerio

No Mike unfortunately.

Camera flash test: Nokia N86 vs Nokia N82 vs Nokia N97 vs Samsung i8910

August 11, 2009 4 comments

James Burland from Nokia Creative has been putting the N86 (from Steve Litchfield) under a few tests. In his latest post, he checks out extreme low light performance using the built in Dual LED flash (which Nokia claims is “70% more powerful than previous Dual LED solutions”), and compares it with:

  • the might Xenon of the N82
  • another Dual LED wielding N97
  • single LED of the Samsung i8910


[testing how much light the respective flash puts out]

I had expected the N82 to win, and not surprisingly it did. What is surprising though is how close the N86 came using it’s latest generation dual LED and those improved optics. Imagine just how much better it could have been if it had Xenon? User reports on the N86 show that although it is very close to illuminating scenes like the N82, it cannot freeze shots like the N82 can.

Though the N86 isn’t the winner in terms of flash, it does have the undisputed title for best low light photos WITHOUT flash. As great as simply sticking Xenon would be to a generic 8MP camera, your low light image quality will suffer when you go beyond the distant limits of your flash. The N86 has superior optics to any of the previous Nseries line that gives it the upper hand in taking in all the available illumination of its surroundings. Even better is the wide angle lens that lets you get a lot more of the subject into the frame.

Via Nokia Creative

Other N86 camera tests include:


[Wide Angle lens gets more of the scene into the frame.When the N82 doesn’t wash out the picture, the colours are much more vibrant, but otherwise, the N86 produces results that are more pleasing to the eye.]

On the subject of N82 Xenon Tests, here’s a post with the N82 versus N97.

Damien’s comments over at Nokia Conversations are really interesting to read. He points out (the official reason) why Nokia’s gone the Dual LED route and not xenon. Basically the issue seems to be space. Nokia wanted to create a good all rounder phone, with the best performance for the given space.N86’s dual LED illuminates a scene quite well, but also doubles up as being a usable video light.

Nokia apparently doesn’t just want to be ticking boxes. i.e. Xenon – check.

“There is a certain amount of space for a lighting solution in the product. For that space which provides the greatest amount of illumination? For the space available in a mobile device LED is now very close to xenon.

I have seen some xenon handsets (which will remain nameless) provide a ‘tick box’ solution. In other words, yes it says xenon on the box but the flash tube and capacitors are so small that the output is less than I have seen even from older generation dual LED solutions. So it’s the real performance that matters, not just what it says on the box,”

Hmm – so be weary. Just because a handset advertises Xenon, doesn’t mean it performs as well as you’d expect from a Xenon Flash. Same goes for advertising video light – it may be there but it might be so crap you can only film subjects 20 cm away.

“mobile device LED is now very close to xenon”. Close, but not close enough. The occasions where you actually do need flash, dual LED won’t cut it. Having decent implementation of Xenon would have given it the edge in being able to capture a photo in ALL situations.

As for the N86, I can sort of accept the reasoning of “space” as to why Nokia went the Dual LED route. It’s a compact, good all rounder, and Dual LED was the best lighting solution for the space available.

But I’m less understanding of why they didn’t include Xenon (or even this new breed of Dual LED) for their flagship that is the N97. The N97 was already a relatively large/thick phone. If the key aim is performance, any added size that would change its camera from being a wishy washy cameraphone to being a reliable all situation camera is definitely worth it.

It would have been an ideal combination – big 3.5″ – the “old 5MP” that didn’t have low light improvements of the N86 – it was screaming for Xenon. But Nokia chose to make compromises (and in the case of the N97 it was making the wrong cuts in terms of best possible performance…e.g. RAM)

hmmm.. Nokia Mantra  “We make so many devices…we’ll just put that in our next phone”. 😛

Future Devices: Xenon coming back to Nokia

Last quotes from Damien which may hint at future devices.

Does this mean Nokia doesn’t understand the benefits of xenon? No.

Does this mean Nokia will never introduce a product with xenon flash? No.

Without being familiar with our future product plans I would encourage you not to make any other conclusions other than does the N86 8MP fit your needs. If it does, then I’m very happy. If not I’ll understand. Maybe we have something in the future or elsewhere in our portfolio which will be more appropriate for you.

Perhaps the rumoured 12MP Nokia with Xenon?

Videos and Photos: Nokia N97 vs Nokia N82 in low light.

June 26, 2009 8 comments

[Sidenote: This test was done with pre-release early edition firmware V10.0.009, and not the “final” firmware V10.0.012]

Just before we went to see “The Hangover”, we went to the pub for a quick drink. Here were three shots I took with the N97 and the N82 in your average moderate/low lighting pub.

Preferably, for a comparison, I would have actually tested it on a proper night out in a club (like the collection here with the N82)- with much less light and a little more thought into certain making the tests fair.

Nevertheless, here’s what I managed with 5 minutes to spare – some “real world” testing of the N97 and the N82 in low lighting conditions (with flash).

N97 (and dual LED Flash)


N82 (And Xenon Flash)










For me – I prefer what the N82 produces. Crisp, non blurry, well lit images as opposed to the N97 under low lighting appears to be taking pictures through a murky muddy bottle.


Supposedly – the LED light is meant to help, but as you can see – the N82 manages fine without it (seen in first few seconds of N82 video, thereafter “assisted” by N97). But the focus is blurry, the video is grainy and overall poor. I guess if it was pitch black then the N97 may have won slightly by having the LED light to give your face a slight gray halloween tint.

Sample from a Nokia N97

Sample from a Nokia N82

I really want to get the N97, but it kills me that for something so important to me (people photos – nights out – I am a student :p) there’s a lot I’ll have to sacrifice in terms of no longer being able to carry just one device again. Unless that is, I go and wait for the Satio. Hmm. It’s early days yet. I’ve not even had the N97 for half a day.

(Note though, it’s not all bad, the N97 performs well in optimum conditions – i.e. bright sunlight – something of a rarity in Wales)

Camera Tests: Nokia N82 vs Samsung Innov8 vs Nokia N97 vs Nokia N86

June 25, 2009 7 comments

Nokia and Carl Zeiss have bestowed upon the N86 imaging enhancements beyond just upping the resolution from 5MP to 8MP; wide angle, improved latency, large aperture, better sensor in general all resulting (at least on paper) in improved image quality.


Check out full size photos from AAS

As you can see from Rafe’s test, the N86 is superior in all conditions, except low light, where the N82 and its Xenon flash show exactly how to freeze time in .jpeg format.


Check out full size photos from AAS

When there’s a low light scene however, and no flash is used, the N86 is leaps and bounds beyond the other three in the tests. That’s great for:

  • low light situations where  xenon flash would not help because the subject is too far away
  • Situations where you’re not allowed to use flash (although it would really help) – e.g. in an art gallery or music/sport event.
  • when flash would produce too much gastly reflections (e.g. trying to take a photo through glass)
  • when you want to take quick successive shots in low light (xenon flash takes a second or two to charge up)
  • taking pictures of your pets/other animals [in low light] – they may not enjoy the sudden bright flash, of either xenon or dual led.
  • [insert other reason for not using flash]

As you can see when the scene was pitch black – the N82 was able to light it up and produce vivid reds of the car, the Innov8 and N97 poorly just bouncing off reflections, but the N86 – although only dual LED, with the combination of improved sensor,  illuminates the scene, though not to the standard of the N82.

However, as pointed out in the AAS podcast by Steve Litchfield, though it can light up the scene a bit more than usual dual LED, it doesn’t freeze it like Xenon, so expect some blurs if you’re taking pictures of say…erm…people…in low light situations.

nj7 sums up best what I think of the N86:
…..:( Without a Xenon flash it´s not possible to have a great all situation camera.
It’s a shame really, that with the Xenon flash, the N86 could have been the best still-photo cameraphone for all lighting conditions.
Don’t even get me started on how dreadful the low light pics of the N97 are (when you remember it’s meant to be the over all king and flagship and the price, you get more p’d off). Seems that I’ll have to start bringing a compact cam or switch back to the N82 for nights out and other occasions where I’m taking photos indoors. :(!
Oh well – tis your “Nokia thing” to upset the geeks and leave out a feature that we think is obvious to keep, justifying it with excuses of either space constraints or best option economically. Neither excuses fly in a world that’s starting to expect more from their phones.
Is Nokia playing too safe and making the wrong cuts and compromises? It may work out best business wise, but each “almost there” phone does not help Nokia’s, and particularly Nseries’ reputation amongst consumers.