First Glimpse | Symbian^4 UI

As the release of Symbian^3 draws inevitably close, the anticipation for what Nokia has in store is becoming pretty exciting. Today we managed to get our hands on a couple of very cool videos demonstrating some of the features of the upcoming Symbian^4 OS. The first video takes a quick look at the multiple homescreens, implemented with versatile widget support, similar to that of the Nokia N900. The second video showcases the Photo Gallery application, which is pretty cool and has a sort of thumbnail mini map when viewing photos in full screen. All I can say is that the delay in releasing a new device can only mean that there is something big about to hit us soon, and the excitement is definitely building up here. Check out the video demos at the break, and let us know what you think.

LCG Slick For Symbian Updated | v0.60 Brings Facebook Chat To Your S60 Handset

LCG Slick for Symbian has recently been uptaded to v0.60. Slick is a messenger application for mobile phones and allows you to chat with your friends though various online messaging services. This new updated version of Slick now supports Facebook chat, along with a few more cool features. Check out the rest of the details after the jump.

Slick Features

  • Supported protocols: ICQ, Yahoo, Facebook chat, AIM, MSN, Google Talk, Jabber
  • Text messaging
  • Emoticons
  • Alerts – sound, backlight, vibration, notify window displaying the number of new messages
  • Group and buddy management (add, delete, rename)
  • Message history
  • File transfer – send and receive files
  • Sending / receiving offline messages
  • Downloading files sent as links

QT Based UI Running On AAVA’s Moblin 2.1 Smartphone

Check out this AAVA Reference Design, running on a QT based UI, which is the frame work for the upcoming MeeGo OS. The demo is showcased on AAVA’s Moblin 2.1 smartphone, and is just a glimpse at what’s yet to come from Nokia. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we get to see some real Nokia demos of it’s new Mobile Computing OS. Video after the break.

Sky Mobile App For S60 5th Edition Hits The Ovi Store

The Sky TV Mobile app for S60 5th Edition has just hit Nokia’s Ovi Store and is available to download right now absolutely free. Sky Mobile lets you watch Sky TV live on your Nokia handset, including live Premier League matches or highlights from previous games. Even if you’re not a football fan, being able to set your Sky+ box using the Remote Record will come in handy next time you realise you’re going to miss an episode of your favourite TV show.

The Sky TV Mobile app is currently available for most S60 5th Edition devices including the Nokia N97, N97 mini, 5800XM and 5530XM. Versions for the Nokia 5230 and the Nokia X6 are due shortly. There is also a limited version of the Sky TV Mobile app due for ten other Nokia handsets soon.

Sky Mobile is available from the Ovi Store absolutely free.

Nokia Research Centre Demo Concept Explore & Share Technology

The Nokia Research Centre has just recently showcased a fascinating new Explore and Share service, that gives them a new way of selling and delivering services at retail. The demonstration shows how a consumer can download Nokia content like music or videos directly onto a device easily with this novel technology. The file transfer of a music album took less than ten seconds. Very impressive indeed. Now its just a matter of squeezing this technology into the device so consumers can do the same at home. Video after the jump.

Jo Harlow Confirms That All Future Symbian Handsets Will Be Based On Symbian^3

In this video, Jo Harlow, Senior Vice President of Nokia smartphones, discusses some of the significant aspects of Symbian^3. Jo also goes on to talk about where smartphones are headed in the future in terms of both Symbian and Meego, and how all future Symbian devices will be based on Symbian^3. Symbian^3 will enhance the user experience with better graphics performance, the speed of the UI, and less user prompts, making the experience “WOW but familiar.”

Symbian OS Goes Open Source

The Symbian Foundation has just announced that Symbian, the worlds most popular smartphone operating system, is now officially open source. In 2008, Symbian Software Limited was acquired by Nokia for USD 410 million, and in April 2009 a new independent non-profit organisation called Symbian Foundation was established. The foundation includes Nokia, AT&T, LG, Motorola, NTT Docomo, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone. The Symbian Foundation’s decision to make its code open source means that any organisation or individual can now use and modify the code for ‘any purpose.’

Lee Williams of Symbian Foundation said that,

“This is the largest open source migration effort ever. It will increase rate of evolution and increase the rate of innovation of the platform. When we chatted to companies who develop third party applications, we found people would spend up to nine months just trying to navigate the intellectual property. That was really hindering the rate of progress.”

Despite being the world’s most popular smart phone operating system, Symbian has been losing the publicity battle, with Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iPhone dominating recent headlines. It is believed that this announcement will attract new developers to work on the system and help speed up the pace of improvements. We hope that this will bring Symbian back on top of the food chain, and with the launch of Symbian^3 in the third quarter of this year, there seems to be a very bright light at the end of this tunnel.

Nokia 6303i classic Unveiled

Nokia today announced the Nokia 6303i classic, a sophisticated and compact device that follows in the footprints of the Nokia 6303 classic and builds on the proven formula that made Nokia the world leader in mobile phones. The device is great value for money with its amazing feature list and an estimated retail price of EUR 105, before taxes and subsidies.

The Nokia 6303i classic is a reliable companion that keeps you connected to people that matter you the most. Pictures taken with the 3.2 megapixel camera come to life on the large 2.2 inch screen, and email and instant messaging are available through Nokia Messaging, providing a very convenient way to be in touch with friends and family. The design is unequivocal, in and out; stainless steel covers and compact size feel solid in the hand, and the intuitive user interface makes all key features easy to find. Furthermore, no matter whether you are sharing online, browsing web, or listening to music, the excellent battery life guarantees fun for a long time without charging. The Nokia 6303i classic will start shipping in select markets during the first quarter of 2010.

Shadow Mapping & Augmented Reality Interaction Demo On The Nokia N900

Earlier this year we brought you a cool demonstration of Augmented Reality on the Nokia N900. Augmented Reality is a technology that overlays computer generated information over a users view of the real world. Today we would like to update you on this project with two more, very exciting videos, showcasing shadow mapping and virtual interaction using the Nokia N900. The guys over at Rojtberg.net are really making some head way with this project, and although it may be some time before the application is available through the ‘maemo-extras’ repository, it surely does deserve some more attention. Videos after the break.

Nokia Booklet 3G Now Available In The UK

The Nokia Booklet 3G is finally available for UK customers via nokia.co.uk. Up until now, Nokia’s booklet has only been available to pre-order in the UK, but now you can purchase it directly from Nokia for a rather suprising £649. The Nokia Booklet 3G comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition and packs a 10.1″ screen capable of displaying 720p. With a phenomenal 12 hour battery life and ultra-portable aluminum chassis, the Booklet 3G allows you to remain truly mobile with ease.

Personally I feel that the Windows 7 Starter Edition was a very poor choice, and you’d expect to at least receive the full Windows 7 experience with that price tag. The lack of a dedicated graphics card and insufficient RAM has also lowered the true value of this device, which I personally would place at around the £400 mark. Drop some comments below and let us know what you think, will you be placing your order today?

Google Maps Hits v4.0 | Enter Google Buzz

Google Maps for Mobile has recently been updated to v4.0 and brings along support for Google Buzz, a social networking service launched yesterday by Google. Buzz is Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter, combined and bundled with you Gmail account, you can pretty much do everything you can on these existing services. Although the Buzz application is not currently supported for S60, you can still utilize the Buzz layer in Google Maps v4.0. Check out a quick video tutorial of Google Buzz after the break.

Guarana UI For Nokia WRT

Nokia WRT is a development and delivery platform that allows the creation of applications (widgets) based on standard web technologies. Forum Nokia have just release a video demo of the Guarana UI Library – A complete UI and application framework built on top of jQuery to create and deploy Web Runtime widgets in a friendly way. Check out the goods after the jump.

Nokia To Develop Operations At Salo Plant

Nokia plans to develop its operations at the Salo plant in Finland to ensure production is focused fully on the high-value smartphone market, especially in Europe, and it also intends to further increase speed and efficiency of its device production. In the process of this development it is expected that 285 employees effected. Juha Putkiranta, Senior Vice President of Markets, Nokia, stated that, “Salo is a crucial part of Nokia’s global manufacturing network. Plans involving changes to employees are always painful, and they are set in motion only after thorough consideration. However, with these plans our aim is to ensure the plant’s future competitiveness and its special role as one best suited to the production of high value mobile devices.”

The key drivers for a new operating mode in Salo plant are diverse customer requirements, faster deliveries in high-end mobile device manufacturing and the company’s transformation towards a solution-driven offering. The plans will result in the introduction of new and highly specialized manufacturing methods and also entail changes to personnel at the facility.

Nokia will support alternative solutions, such as finding new positions at Nokia for as many employees as possible. Nokia will begin consultations with employee representatives about these plans, including discussions about voluntary severance packages. Additionally, Nokia plans to stop currently ongoing rotational temporary lay-offs at the Salo plant by the end of June 2010.

SNES Gaming On The Nokia N900 Using A PS3 Sixaxis Controller

Who needs gaming keys on the phone when you can hook up one of the best games console controllers in the world to your device. Check out this awesome video demonstration after the break, of the setup allowing you to play emulated SNES games on the Nokia N900 using a PS3 Sixaxis controller.

Intoducing Nokia Diagnostics | Troubleshoot Your Nokia Handset

The Nokia Beta Labs have released a great new toll for S60 5th Editiondevices. Nokia Diagnostics is a new experimental application that makes it easy to diagnose and troubleshoot situations on your mobile phone by running various tests. “Our intention is to create a solution for helping millions of Nokia users diagnose, troubleshoot, and configure their devices with ease on their own. We believe that exposing this idea to the Beta Labs community and sharing this application prototype would help us realise just that.” Check out the video tutorial after the break. You can download Nokia Diagnostics from our S60 5th Edition applications download page.

New Firmware v23.002 | Nokia E72

The Nokia E72 has received another new firmware update, just over a month after it’s first one. The new update which takes the device up to v23.002, is quite small and may just be a bug fix. New firmware updates generally contain bug fixes and optimizations necessary for the software on your device to perform properly, therefore we recommend you always keep your device up to date. Unfortunately there is no official changelog and the update will gradually roll out over the coming weeks depending on your location.

How To Update The Firmware

There are many ways of updating the firmware on your Nokia handset. To install the software on your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air), type in *#0000# on the home screen or go to Device Manager. Then select Options, Check for updates and follow the on screen prompts. If the firmware update is not immediately available via FOTA, or the device you are using does not have support for this service, you can also update your firmware using NSU (Nokia Software Updater) and or Nokia Ovi Suite on your PC. Once you plug your device in, select the PC Suite option, ensuring that the phone has a Sim Card inserted and the profile is set to General. Some devices also support UDP (User Data Preservation), which will preserve all your data and content on your device during these updates. However we still recommend you do a full backup in order to guarantee the safety of your data. Please share your thoughts and experiences with the new firmware in the comments below.

Coming Soon | Cool Apps For The Nokia N900

Check out this video preview of some cool apps incoming for the Nokia N900. The demoed apps include 3D Roller Coaster, a game that really shows off the potential of the Nokia N900, with some amazing 3D graphics. There is also Zen Bound, another 3D game coming soon to the Ovi Store. Finally there is a quick look at the recently announced, final release of Firefox for N900, where if you keep your eyes pealed, you’ll see The Nokia Review at work. Video after the break, enjoy.

Nokia’s UI Extensions For Mobile Demo

Check out this cool demo of UIEMO on the Nokia N900. UIEMO is Nokia’s new UI framework built on top of Qt. Like Qt, it is easy to compile across various platforms, like Symbian, Maemo, and Windows. The UI Extensions for Mobile demo was made on top of newly released UIEMO framework in less than a week. The demo fetches content dynamically from Tieto’s own server. Content can include for example news feeds and updates from social networks like Facebook and Flickr.

Stuff Magazine Review The Nokia X6

Lucy Hedges of Stuff Magazine takes a look at Nokia’s most recent Music Flagship device – the Nokia X6. The X6 is the first Nokia device to sport a capacitive touch screen and also brought with it the Xseries branding. But does the X6 have what it takes to impress our Lucy? Check out the episode after the jump.

Symbian^3 Is Here

Symbian^3 (S^3) is finally here! S^3 is the first entirely open source release following the platforms transition to an open source license on February 4th, 2010, which was the largest of its kind in history. S^3 brings with it multiple homescreens, HW Accelerated Graphics, single tap throughout the UI, pinch and zoom with multi-touch and a visual way of multi-tasking. The S^3 code is expected to be complete by the end of Q1. Check out the demo after the break.

Symbian Joins The Open Screen Project As Adobe Flash 10.1 Readies For Launch

The Symbian Foundation today announced that it is joining the Open Screen Project, an industry initiative led by Adobe dedicated to enabling the Adobe Flash Platform across a broad range of devices. The work of the Open Screen Project will help deliver Adobe Flash Player on future versions of the Symbian platform. The rich and open capabilities of the Symbian platform combined with the Flash Player will enable Symbian device users to benefit from the huge amount of Flash-based web content for a vivid and complete Internet experience. Adobe has also announced advancements to the Adobe Flash Platform including the unveiling of Adobe AIR on mobile devices, a consistent runtime for standalone applications to come out of the Open Screen Project.

“It’s difficult to imagine the Internet without the creativity of the millions of developers using Adobe Flash technology, so we’re excited to be able work with industry leaders in the Open Screen Project to offer the option of Adobe Flash to our community. This is an important step, alongside our open source initiatives, to provide a powerful Internet experience on the Symbian platform.” said Robert Ackland, Technology Manager for Runtimes, Symbian Foundation.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Symbian Foundation into the Open Screen Project,” said David Wadhwani, General Manager and Vice President, Platform Business at Adobe. “Symbian has a strong history of supporting Adobe Flash and we look forward to working with Symbian’s open source community to greatly enhance the web experience of the millions of people around the globe who use Symbian devices.”

Nokia & Intel Announce Partnership | Introducing MeeGo

The world’s largest handset manufacturer and world’s largest chipmaker collaborate and introduce Maego. In a significant development in the convergence of communications and computing, Intel Corporation and Nokia are merging their popular Moblin and Maemo software platforms. This will create a unified Linux-based platform that will run on multiple hardware platforms across a wide range of computing devices, including pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, media phones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems. Called MeeGo, the open software platform will accelerate industry innovation and time-to-market for a wealth of new Internet-based applications and services and exciting user experiences. MeeGo-based devices from Nokia and other manufacturers are expected to be launched later this year.

This announcement strengthens the Nokia and Intel relationship, and builds on the companies’ broad strategic collaboration announced in June 2009. Intel and Nokia now invite participation in MeeGo from existing Maemo and Moblin global communities and across the communications and computing industries.

“Our vision for seamlessly communicating between computing devices from the home, auto, office or your pocket is taking a big step forward today with the introduction of MeeGo,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. “This is a foundational step in our evolving relationship with Nokia. The merging of these two important assets into an open source platform is critical toward providing a terrific experience across a variety of devices and gaining cross industry support.”

“MeeGo will drive an even wider range of Internet computing and communication experiences for consumers, on new types of mobile devices,” said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO, Nokia. “Through open innovation, MeeGo will create an ecosystem that is second to none, drawing in players from different industries. It will support a range of business models across the value chain, building on the experience and expertise of Nokia, Intel and all those who will join us. Simply put, MeeGo heralds a new era of mobile computing.”

MeeGo blends the best of Maemo with the best of Moblin to create an open platform for multiple processor architectures. MeeGo builds on the capabilities of the Moblin core OS and its support for a wide range of device types and reference user experiences, combined with the momentum of Maemo in the mobile industry and the broadly adopted Qt application and UI framework for software developers.

MeeGo also unites the robust worldwide Maemo and Moblin applications ecosystems and open source communities. For developers, MeeGo extends the range of target device segments for their applications. Using Qt for application development means that they can write applications once and easily deploy them on MeeGo and across other platforms, for example, on Symbian.

The Ovi Store will be the channel to market for apps and content for all Nokia devices, including MeeGo and Symbian-based, with Forum Nokia providing developer support across all Nokia device platforms. The Intel AppUpSM Center will be the path to market for Intel-based MeeGo devices from other device manufacturers, with the Intel® Atom™ Developer Program providing support for applications targeting devices in a variety of categories.

The MeeGo software platform, running on high-performance devices, will deliver a range of Internet, computing and communication experiences, with visually rich graphics, multitasking and multimedia capabilities and the best application performance. Since MeeGo runs on multiple device types, people can keep their favorite applications when they change devices, so they are not locked into one kind of device or those from any individual manufacturer.

Playing ‘Guess Who’ With A Stack Of Nokia Booklet 3Gs

So what would you do with a stack of Nokia’s Windows 7 powered Booklet 3G’s? Well, the guys over at WOMWorld had a great idea, and decided to play a game of ‘Guess Who.’ Check out the video after the break.

Augmented Reality Demo On The Nokia N900

Augmented reality is a technology that overlays computer generated information over a users view of the real world. The possibilities of this technology have been demonstrated on many occasion, and now we have a cool new demo using the Nokia N900.

Sustainability | Nokia In China

The Nokia Beijing campus has been designed with the substainability in mind. Build from more the 10% of recycled materials, it  is one of the most environmentally friendy building in China.

Sherlock Holmes Gameplay Preview for S60 5th Edition

Step into the role of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes and his partner Watson in the official movie game with a mystery that will require sharp wits and hard fists to solve. Women are disappearing from the streets of London and Lord Blackwood’s evil cult is somehow behind it – but why? Fight off Blackwood’s men in epic brawls, chasing suspects through back alleys, racing wagons down busy streets and using your powers of observation and deduction to find the clues you need to put it all together. This time, the challenge is anything but elementary. Excited? Check out the gameplay preview after the break, which is available from Gameloft for a very reasonable £3.00.

Looking Back | Nokia LD-4W Bluetooth GPS Module Review

When taking a step back from the fast growing mobile devices industry, we can see that technology has progressed far beyond what we initially expected. Mobile phones as we knew them are now a thing of the past as they now pack more than just telephony features. Most mobile handsets now come with many modern standards in terms of features; high quality photo capture and video recording capabilities, turn-by-turn navigation, connectivity choices from Bluetooth to sharing online, and web browsing technologies emulating the desktop experience.

As technology in mobile phones has progressed, the power consumption of these devices has relatively increased, and with manufacturers focusing more on power optimisations to keep the size of the device as compact as possible, handsets tend to run out of fuel easily when using these built in features. This is why today I would like to take a look back and commend the Nokia Bluetooth GPS Module LD-4W. More and more people are turning to their mobile phones to access maps, and Nokia’s recent free navigation announcement is only expected to increase this trend.

Although the Nokia Bluetooth GPS Module LD-4W may not directly extend your battery life, it will allow the battery of your phone to last longer when using it for drive and walk navigation.

In The Box

  • Nokia Bluetooth GPS Module LD-4W
  • Nokia In-Car Mobile Charger DC-4
  • Branded Belt Clip
  • Branded Suction Cup
  • Branded Carabiner Keyring
  • Nokia LD-4W User Manual

Photos

Tests

We decided to do a few quick tests to see how it fairs against the built in GPS module of the Nokia X6. Check out the results below. Note that the General Profile was selected and all Internet connections were disabled on the X6.

Navigating using only the Nokia X6 and its built in GPS module:

  • Nokia X6 Battery lasted for around 2 hrs 20 mins (cut out during my journey)
  • Outdoor GPS fix took 14 secs using A-GPS and 2 mins 50 secs without A-GPS
  • Indoor GPS fix did not pick up at all
  • My Location was fairly accurate in Google Maps appearing around two meters off my actual location

Navigating using the Nokia X6 and the Nokia Bluetooth GPS Module LD-4W:

  • Nokia X6 Battery lasted for nearly 6 hrs
  • Outdoor GPS fix took 3 secs (after switching on)
  • Indoor GPS fix took 37 secs (after switching on)
  • My Location was very accurate in Google Maps appearing precisely where I moved

As you can see, by using the Nokia Bluetooth GPS Module LD-4W, the battery on the Nokia X6 lasted almost three times as long as using the built in GPS module. The GPS fix was also achieved quicker and ‘my location’ in Google Maps was much more accurate. The battery of the Nokia LD-4W Bluetooth GPS Module lasted for around 10 hours of continuous usage from a full charge (which takes around 30 minutes).

Do you think it deserves more recognition? Leave your thoughts and comments below. The Nokia Bluetooth GPS Module LD-4W is available for £30.97 over at MobileFun.co.uk.

Firefox For Mobile Final Release Now Available For Nokia N900

Firefox has just announced that Firefox for Mobile is now available for Nokia’s Maemo platform after only a day or two of the RC3 release. Nokia N900 owners will now be able to customise their mobile web using the add-ons features and tabbed browsing, just like the desktop browser. You can find the complete list of features after the break.

Firefox for Mobile brings the following to the Nokia N900:

  • Awesome Bar – Go to your favorite sites in just a couple of keystrokes with intelligent and personalized searching
  • Weave Sync – Sync your Firefox tabs, history, bookmarks and passwords between your desktop and mobile device for a seamless browsing experience
  • Add-ons – Customize your Firefox by adding small pieces of functionality, like games and news readers, that help make the mobile Web browser your own
  • Location-Aware Browsing – Get maps and information relevant to your location
  • Tabbed browsing – View open tabs as thumbnails to easily identify and select the Web page you’d like to go to next
  • Safe Browsing – Get an Instant Web Site ID and easily access and edit security settings
  • Available in more than 30 languages and counting
  • Firefox is the first mobile Web browser to support add-ons. With add-ons, you can customize your Firefox by adding features that help make your browser your own. Add-ons like AdBlock Plus, URL Fixer, TwitterBar, language translators, and geo guides become especially handy when you’re out and about on your mobile device. You can both discover and install add-ons directly from your Nokia N900. There are currently more than 40 Firefox add-ons available for mobile and the number is growing every day.

Firefox is currently supported on Nokia’s Maemo5 platform and is available for download on the Nokia N900. Users can download and learn more by visiting Firefox.com/mobile.

Nokia Research Centre Showcase Mobile Radar | Wireless Sensing With A Difference

Today at the Demo House 2010, Nokia Research Centre unveiled an astonishing new concept – Mobile Radar. No its not the stupid screensaver you’ve been seeing advertisements of on the TV, Mobile Radar is an application that allows a mobile device to use active radar sensors and measure the speed and direction of movement of approaching objects, just as traditional RADAR would. It uses electromagnetic waves to provide a different type of mobile wireless sensing. Check out a video demonstration of Mobile Radar after the break along with the full press release.

This research concept could enable new ways for users to interact with their device, for example via gesture control. It also opens the door for the creation of radar based applications which could be used in sport, for entertainment or personal safety. In the video below, you’ll see researcher Jani Ollikainen use his hand to adjust the music player’s volume, without even touching the handset. The radar also works with an object in the way. You’ll then see fellow researchers Terhi Rautiainen and Risto Kaunisto measure the distance, speed, and direction of a human walking.

The mobile radar concept is just one of 40 demonstrations being shown publically at Demo House 2010, an event hosted jointly by Aalto University, the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT) and Nokia Research Center (NRC) in celebration of their ongoing research collaboration at the Otaniemi campus.

Open Innovation and research at Otaniemi was also given a further boost by the European Institute of Technology (EIT) in December 2009 when it announced one of its five new ICT research hubs would be located at the Espoo site.

Navigation On Your Nokia

Is Ovi Maps for Mobile not compatible with your phone yet? Well, check out this cool video demoing some key features of the new, and now FREE, Ovi Maps for Mobile. Although limited devices are currently supported, compatibility will soon become widespread. Is this the end of standalone Sat-Navs? Thoughts welcome below.

Nokia E72 Review | How We Respond Is Who We Are

Late last year WOMWorld kindly provided me with the Nokia E72 for trial, which I have been using as my main device for around a month. The Nokia E72 is Nokia’s latest Eseries flagship device, that has all the business orientated features you need, packed nicely into a slim and compact design. The E72 is also the first in the Eseries range to sport a 5 megapixel camera, finally bringing Eseries up to par with the Nokia Nseries. The Nokia E72 does have a lot to live up to, bearing in mind the success of its predecessor the Nokia E71. The latter was by far the greatest Nokia handset of 2008, winning multiple awards in Best Smartphone and Phone of the Year categories. I personally still have the Nokia E71 as my companion, and so its time to see whether the E72 has what it takes to carry the torch forward.

Hardware

On first impressions I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. Naturally I wanted the E72 to build on the E71, and be more or less the same but improve where the E71 failed. Looking head on at the device I feel as though it’s completely lost the sex appeal of the Nokia E71. For starters, the area around the screen is now black (depending on variant) instead of displaying a mirrored finish, the space below the keyboard is now half plastic instead of all metal, and the curves around the corners feel less comfortable in the hand.

Flipping the handset over you will again notice more matte plastic, which in my opinion degrades the quality and feel of the handset. The camera module looks as though its just been hammered into the device on a last ditch effort to boost up its specs, as it hasn’t been finished with the same care and detail taken to mould the unit like on the E71; as a result the bulge is a lot more noticeable. The pattern on the battery cover also looks better on the E71, which by the way, comes off really easily due to the mechanism used. Also relocated to the back of the handset is the speaker. This wasn’t a good idea at all because the volume is dreadfully low as it is, and having the speaker on the back further reduces the volume when left on a desk or sofa.

Okay, so first impressions aside the Nokia E72 does bring many welcomed improvements. The home area keys have seen a drastic makeover and are now similar to that of the E55 (see the E55 review here) with the addition of the optical track pad. This is a pretty cool feature as it gives this non-touch device the cheeky pleasure of swiping around the UI. However, there are many things not so cool too, like the fact that you cannot scroll fast easily and when pressing the track pad to select, the selection on the device can move to the next item before the press has been made. This actually happened to me when I was sending my fiancé a text message. Just before I pressed the track pad to send the message, the selection moved from mobile number to home number and I ended up waking her parents up at 12 am. Not classy at all, especially considering the content of the message.

The keyboard gets two huge thumbs up, I’d give it three if I had any more to give. The key press, physical travel and shape of each individual key can only be described as utter perfection, and I truly hope this is one aspect that is kept the same in every way, shape and form on future QWERTY-candybar handsets. The keys have also been re-mapped with careful consideration, and now with a smaller space bar, there is more room to implement custom characters and features, such as brackets, Bluetooth, Torch, etc. The ctrl key has also been re-mapped with accessibility in mind, making it the first function on the key, handy when using functions such as ‘ctrl + c’ to copy or ‘ctrl + a’ to select all.

Software

The Nokia E72 runs S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2, which is a very mature platform and has developed a lot over the years. When you initially start up the device you’ll notice the newer icon set (not the dull ones used on the Nokia E71). Transitions have also been implemented, and the 600 MHz processor allows the UI to remain responsive throughout. The E72 has 250MB of internal memory, almost double that of the E71, and you can expand the memory using a MicroSD card. The battery life should be a benchmark for every mobile phone, as it serves almost two full days of very heavy usage, and can last over a week when used for short calls and texts. It also features an accelerometer, which can be used to silence calls and snooze alarms. But personally I feel the best feature of the E72 is one that is not so apparent to start with. The Active Noise Cancellation is simply superb, and the difference is very noticable on the other end of the phone.

In terms of preloaded  applications, the Nokia E72 comes with a fully licensed Quickoffice suite, Adobe PDF reader, a dictionary, multiscanner and a zip file manager. The new additions include WiPresenter and Font Magnifier, the latter allowing you to change the size of the default font throughout the UI and WiPresenter allows you to manage a Power Point presentation from a distance via Bluetooth or Wifi. The Nokia E72 is also the first of its kind to come with a Home Media Server, generally familiar to Nokia Nseries handsets. The Home Media Server lets you share media via WiFi and display content from your device onto your TV or PC display. I am personally a big fan of this service and use my PlayStation 3 as my home media server, which works great with this device. On the other hand you can always use TV-Out to display your content, however although the 3.5 mm jack is now present, the TV-Out functionality is still not supported, a key feature that Nokia has overlooked.

As mentioned earlier the Nokia E72 sports a 5 megapixel camera with a single LED flash. The quality of the images are fantastic as I’m sure you’ve already seen on various other sites. The optical track pad comes in very handy here as it serves as a two step camera key, without the two presses. As you hover your thumb over the trackpad the autofocus instantly kicks in and then pressing the track pad will then capture the image. I did experience a few blurs to begin with, but the key here is to make sure you continue to hold the camera still until the captured image is displayed on the screen, not ideal but hey. The E72 also comes packed with a decent set of multimedia features, including a voice controlled Music Search functionality. This application lets you say either the song title or the name of the artist to find the track on your device. But to accommodate something new, something old must be removed, or so it seams, and the Nokia Internet Radio and Podcasting applications haven’t quite made the cut.

Over the Christmas holidays I was traveling quite a lot up and down the country and used Ovi Maps on the Nokia E72 as my main navigational aid. Previously I’ve avoided Ovi Maps like the plague, and installed other solutions on my E71 to do the task for me. On the E72 however, Ovi Maps works flawlessly, and the roads are constantly being calculated in order to make sure you get to your destination fast. If you miss a turning, Ovi Maps will now quickly redirect you without telling you to turn around over and over again like the previous version did. The bundled English Surfer Dude voice guidance was a great touch, and helped keep the instructions entertaining rather than using the same old boring prison officer voice. The instructions were clear and given at the correct times, to ensure I didn’t miss a turning. On the last day however, I did begin to experience a few issues. I’m not too sure how, or if I was accidentally pressing keys, but the maps application kept randomly closing during navigation. Restarting Ovi Maps and using the History feature allowed me to easily configure my destination and continue on my way, but it wasn’t ideal to say the least. It could have been because the device was automatically switching into power saver mode, I’m not too sure, but if you experienced anything like this let us know in the comments. Also note that Nokia recently announced that Nokia Maps for Mobile is now offering free voice guided navigation, which will definitely make it my primary navigational tool from now on.

Browsing the web on the Nokia E72 is a complicated area to discuss. Having used the Nokia N900 over the past few weeks, I find surfing the internet on S60 5th Edition devices daunting let alone any S60 3rd Edition handsets. But taking into consideration how the E71 managed to prowl around the net, the E72 does a pretty similar job. The annoying default bookmark folders have now been removed and a flurry of keypad shortcuts allow for ease of navigation. You can search for text on a page too, however there is still no copy and paste available on web pages, keeping the plagiarism police at bay.

Finally Nokia Messaging – the greatest emailing solution to date, comes preloaded on the Nokia E72. When you initially start up your device, the setup wizard will simply ask for your email and password and sort out the rest in no time. I was never a big fan of Nokia Messaging on the E71 and till today still do not have it installed on my device. But the E72 has changed my preconceptions of it and messaging as a whole is where this device just pushes the bar higher.

Bugs

I thought I’d finish by mentioning a few bugs I have experienced. First off the ctrl key shortcuts requires you to keep a hold of the ctrl key while pressing the corresponding action key. This can become pretty annoying during single-handed interaction, as it requires the use of both hands. Another bug I’ve been experiencing is that the spacebar randomly stops working at times, predominantly during messaging. A quick restart however seams to rectify the issue. Finally when using the E72 in offline mode, it is incredibly difficult not to get annoyed with it. Every few minutes a message pops up asking if you want to connect to a WLAN near by, even when ’searching for WLAN’ is disabled in the settings. Funny thing is when you decided to connect just so it stops asking you, it asks if you are sure you want to create a connection in offline mode, as if it’s playing some sort of prank on you.

Final Thoughts

So is this a worthy successor I hear you ask. Well, the upgraded keypad, 3.5 mm headphone jack and 5 megapixel camera are all well and good, but my only worry is that the Nokia E72 reminds me very much of the Nokia N86 8MP. With the time that it has taken for Nokia to release this handset, I feel like I’m left wanting more to justify the price tag. The screen resolution is still the same old QVGA and browser experience is still very poor when compared to todays standard. The Nokia E72 is available for around £300-350, and you can find some great deals here.

New Firmware v11.0.045 | Nokia N97 mini (inc. Changelog)

In light of the Nokia N97 firmware update a couple of days ago, Nokia also released a new firmware update for the Nokia N97 mini, taking it up to v11.0.045. The new firmware brings along similar features and usability improvements as the Nokia N97 update, with the inclusion of more RAM after booting and music player improvements. New firmware updates also contain many bug fixes and optimizations necessary for other software to perform correctly, therefore we recommend you always keep your device up to date. Check out the rest of the details along with the full changelog after the break.

Firmware v11.0.045 Changelog | Nokia N97 mini

The software contains many fixes and improvements on the earlier releases including:

  • Improved call reliability
  • More free RAM after booting (55mb)
  • Browser improvements
  • Music player improvements
  • Improved image and video stability

Unfortunately the new version of Ovi Maps 3.3 has not been preloaded and will therefore require a separate installation. Its definitely worth it as voice guide navigation is now completely free. You get the latest version here.

How To Update The Firmware:

There are many ways of updating the firmware on your Nokia handset. To install the software through your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air), type in *#0000# on the home screen or go to ‘Device Manager’. Then select ‘Options’, ‘Check for updates’ and follow the on screen prompts. If the firmware update is not immediately available via FOTA, or the device you are using does not have support for this service, you can also update your firmware using NSU (Nokia Software Updater) and or Nokia Ovi Suite on your PC. Once you plug your device in, use the ‘PC Suite’ mode ensuring that the phone has a Sim Card inside and the profile is set to ‘General’. Some devices also support UDP (User Data Preservation), which will preserve all your data and content on your device during these updates. However we still recommend you do a full backup just in case anything was to go wrong (highly doubt it if you follow the instructions). If you have any further questions just drop a comment below, and if you like, how about sharing some of your experiences with the new firmware, we’d love to know what you think of it.

Nokia Custom Dictionary | Changing The Way You Use Predictive Text

The Nokia Beta Labs have just announced a new experimental application for S60 users to edit the list of words used by the phone for text prediction and transfer it between phones. Nokia Custom Dictionary gives you the chance to import words from a text file. This means you can quickly “teach” your phone commonly used words or even create specific word lists to be shared among a like-minded community, for example in the medical domain. Check out the video demo after the break.

New Firmware PR 2.1 (v21.0.045) | Nokia N97

Nokia has today released a new firmware update PR 2.1 for the Nokia N97, taking it up to v21.0.045. The new firmware brings along a host of new features and usability improvements including smoother touch screen scrolling and browser improvements. New firmware updates also contain many bug fixes and optimizations necessary for other software to perform correctly, therefore we recommend you always keep your device up to date. Check out the rest of the details along with the full changelog after the break.

Changelog for the Nokia N97 PR 2.1 (v21.0.045) Firmware

The software contains many fixes and improvements on the earlier releases including:

  • Improved call reliability
  • More free RAM after booting
  • Smooth touch screen scrolling
  • Browser improvements
  • Music player improvements
  • Improved image and video stability

How To Update:

To get this software through your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air), type in *#0000# on the home screen or go to Device Manager. Select Options > Check for updates and follow the on screen prompts. Additionally this software release should also be available via NSU (Nokia Software Updater) and Nokia Ovi Suite. Although the Nokia N97 supports UDP (User Data Preservation), we still recommend you do a full backup to ensure you do not lose any data.

New Firmware | v31.012 – Nokia E52 & v12.0.091 – Nokia X6

Two new firmwares to report on today, first off is the Nokia E52, which has been updated to v31.012. The Nokia E52 is a messaging device that supports EGPRS, WCDMA, HSDPA/HSUPA (3.5G) and WLAN. It’s basically the clone of the Nokia E55with the inclusion of a more traditional T9 keypad layout. The Nokia X6 has also been updated with a minor firmware update taking it to v12.0.091. New firmware updates generally contain bug fixes and optimizations necessary for software to perform correctly, therefore we recommend you always keep your device up to date. Unfortunately there is no official changelog for either update, so please share your experiences in the comments.

How To Update The Firmware

There are many ways of updating the firmware on your Nokia handset. To install the software on your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air), type in *#0000# on the home screen or go to Device Manager. Then select OptionsCheck for updatesand follow the on screen prompts. If the firmware update is not immediately available via FOTA, or the device you are using does not have support for this service, you can also update your firmware using NSU (Nokia Software Updater) and or Nokia Ovi Suite on your PC. Once you plug your device in, select the PC Suite option, ensuring that the phone has a Sim Card inserted and the profile is set to General. Some devices also support UDP (User Data Preservation), which will preserve all your data and content on your device during these updates. However we still recommend you do a full backup in order to guarantee the safety of your data. Please share your thoughts and experiences with the new firmware in the comments below.

Treat Your Sweetheart With A Valentines Day Deal From Nokia

Just a quick update to let you know that if you still haven’t got you partner a Valentines Day gift, nows your chance to grab a great deal at Nokia.co.uk, where you will receive an additional Nokia handset FREE with every order you make. You can pick up a Nokia E72 for £349 and get either the Nokia 1661 or Nokia 1208 absolutely free. Or how about the Nokia N900 plus one for £499? Check out the rest of the Valentines Day offers here.

Nokia & Pearson Form Wireless Educational Venture In China | Beijing MobilEdu Technologies

Nokia has proudly announced a joint venture with Pearson, the world’s leading education company, to accelerate the growth of MobilEdu, a premier mobile phone-delivered education service, developed by Nokia in China. Launched in China in 2007, MobilEdu provides wireless learning directly to your device. One part of the learning solution focuses on environmental awareness. During its first six months, MobilEdu attracted 300,000 users in China and there are still 5,000 more people using it every day. By the beginning of 2008 the environmental content had been downloaded 1.2 million times.

MobilEdu provides English-language learning materials and other educational content, from a variety of content providers, directly to mobile phones. Customers can access the content through an application preloaded on new Nokia handsets, or by visiting the service’s mobile website and most other WAP portals in China.

Robert Andersson, Senior Vice President and head of Corporate Alliances and Business Development at Nokia, said:

“We are proud to have developed a service which is already highly valued. We believe that through this partnership with Pearson, a global industry leader in education, we can offer an exciting future for this service and its customers.”