Tnkgrl has put up a killer video demostrating the new Street View capable version of Google Maps on the Nokia 5800 Xpress Music. The video shows just how easy, pleasing and seamless navigating through maps is with touch and a large screen. The street view feature is especially nice, all in all a video worth checking out if not for the maps but for the promise S60 touch holds.
After a slight delay, the N85 is finally in the house and I am loving it. The colour, the size and the entire general feel – its all good. The only gripe I currently have is with the keys around the Navi Wheel which are a little difficult to press. Hopefully, I should get used to them soon.
Expect more coverage of the N85 in the coming weeks, meanwhile enjoy the unboxing above.
The general consensus in the Blogosphere seems to be that the only country Nokia is shafting is the US. Let me open your eyes to the reality, the situation here in India is no better. I decided on writing this rant after Ricky’s about the poor Maps 3.0 experience, specifically this portion where he was speaking for the US consumer.
“If you recall, we’re also not cool enough for a firmware update on the N95-3, the Nokia Music Store, or Comes With Music, either.”
On the face of it Nokia realises that India is a huge market and a place they can absolutely not ignore, it has even announced measures like India being one of the first countries to receive the 5800 Xpress Music, yet sadly I see nothing happening – the 5800 Xpress is still not here despite going on sale else where in the world.
Let me start with listing just some of issues Nokia must address in India:
- FIRMWARES – Here in India, almost every Nokia handset sold is SIM free, yet when a new firmware comes out people have to wait for over a month before it becomes available for their handset (product code). WHY?
- MUSIC STORE – We are still waiting. Although there is word that there might be a December launch. Comes with music might take even more time.
- SHARE ONLINE – The Share Online client sits on every phone yet, if you search for the services neither Share on Ovi nor Flickr show up? WHY?
- MAPS – This one takes the cake. I was promised maps for a large part of India withing six months when I first bought my N95. Today, almost 2 years later only nine Indian cities have coverage. I’m sure you all are aware of India’s size.
- CUSTOMER SERVICE – I will keep this specific. I know of a person who bought his N82 almost 5 months ago, the same very day he discovered large patches of dead spots on the screen. He took the brand new phone to the service center, they told him that the screens were out of stock and he should come again later. Five months have passed but their reply hasn’t changed. He’s meanwhile thinking of suing for deficiency in service.
On the face of it all of these problem have easy work arounds, for the firmware simply change the product code and update, for Share Online the solution is here, for maps there are Google Maps, the music store needs consumers and not the otherway round. As for poor customer service, well, the consumer can surely not make the same mistake twice and buy from another manufacturer.
The thing is that a lot of us are loyal Nokia fanboys who will stick to a company we believe in for the simple fact that Nokia has some of the best phones in the market and also because of the whole service/application ecosystem around the products. Yet everyone has a patience level. All of these are small niggles which I’m sure can be sorted out quickly, all Nokia needs is a little impetus.
But till that happens, let it be known to those of you in the US who feel let down – you have company.
Quite a bit of the cool stuff that Nokia had up their sleeve for Nokia World was over shadowed by the N97 announcement. One such thing was the demo of ‘Point & Find’ that Nokia had setup. Point and Find is an upcoming service from Nokia that is quite in line with their vision that here’s a company that plans to ‘co-ordinate’ the world.
What this service plans to do is give you the ability to simply point the phone at an object and get information about it. A real world example would be simply pointing the camera at the Movie Poster and getting information such as the nearest cinema (via GPS), reviews of the movie, information about the cast and so on. Watching the video embedded below, you should be able to give an idea of the endless opportunities such a service has to offer.
In another post, James Burland has attempted to document the entire process:
I load up the Point and Find app on my N95 8GB, I then walk around town photographing important landmarks and buildings from various angles, tagging them as I go and adding knowledge to the photos in the form of voice, text, links, etc. The Point and Find application will then take my photos, my tagged ‘knowledge’ and a GPS location and upload them to Nokia’s secret Point and Find HQ. Once sat on Nokia’s servers this little packet of information will be convert into a kind of ‘reality tag’. By analysing my photos and photos of the same location taken by other users, the Point and Find server application can (using colour and shape recognition) create a highly compressed fingerprint of the scene. The reality tag then gets send back to me for inclusion in my ‘World’ and will also get stored on Nokia’s servers so that other Point and Find users can have be granted access to this tag.
The above is a very simplistic view from an individual point of view, so that its easy to understand what’s happening. From my understanding, unlike Indoor Positioning Nokia doesn’t plan to leave this to individuals. The entire PC based tagging system will be commercially available to companies who can then create their own guides, which individuals like you and me can then get hold off via Nokia.
When you actually want to use this service, you will need a guide like thing called a ‘World’ which contains those tags that will be downloaded to the handset and which will then be able to give you the information you need. Understandably this technology needs a lot of input and its actual success will depend on how quickly other companies, eager individuals(?), and others get on the job and create ‘Worlds’ that would open the doors to mass adoption.
This is exciting stuff, Nokia plans to launch this service with ‘Movie World’ and possibly a few others soon, I can’t wait. After this it will be upto businesses to take over. The demo has been given with a N95 8GB so we can hopefully rest assured that the technology will not be reserved for newer Nokias only.
I left you with the following as the last part of my last post, ‘this is the week that Nokia either shines or moves to the B list of the cell phone market’. From the launch of the N97 today, all indications are that the only place Nokia is going with this is upwards. The device packs specifications equalling a fanboy’s dream, we had been waiting for Nokia’s QWERTY Nseries for long, but when they gave it to us they didn’t forget to include touch too. S60 Touch, Nseries and QWERTY make for a killer combo. Specifications to make you drool below.
- S60 Touch 9.5 OS S60 5th Edition, running Symbian 9.4 OS
- 3.5″ nHD Screen (640×360) (!)
- Haptic Feedback
- Slideout QWERTY (!)
- Dimensions – 117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9
- Weight 150g
- 5MP Camera with Dual Led Flash – with sliding lens cover
- 32 GB Onboard Memory with microSD slot = 48GB currently. (!)
- N-Gage (!)
- 1500mah Battery (!)
- COMPASS (!)
- Customizable Home Screen with Widgets (RSS, Weather, Facebook, Ovi)
- 400 hours of standby time
- 320-400 (3G/GSM) hours of talk time
- 4.5 hours of video playback and over 37 hours of audio playback
- The Nokia N97 is expected to begin shipping in the first half of 2009 at an estimated retail price of EUR 550 before taxes or subsidies.
- Photos here.
- Official Spec Sheet Here
AND THE USUAL NSERIES FEATURE SET:
- 3.5mm Jack
- No stylus built into the phone, but one will be included in the box.
THE N95 OF 2009
There you have it folks. A lot to take in. The ‘N9x’ series usually bring in the absolute cutting edge in technology, if you think Nokia missed a trick with the N96, you will agree that they more than made up here. The N97 is the first Nseries touch device, the first to feature a QWERTY, the first S60 5th Edition device with N-Gage, the first with a killer battery, the first to have a compass, the first with 32GB of internal storage and I hope I’ve not missed something. That’s a lot of firsts. Although we’ve heard about N-Gage Touch before, we’ve seen a non Nseries with a compass too, the Eseries has QWERTY but what we’ve not seen is one device that does it all. The N95 of 2009.
SCREEN & DIMENSIONS
For a full QWERTY 3.5″ touchscreen device, the N97 has pretty pleasing dimensions too, its longer and wider than the N82, but thinner. (117x55x16 v. 112×50.2×17.3 mm of the N82) When you slide the keyboard out, the screen tilts, so you can let it lie on the table as you watch video or even type.
This is the only place the N97 can be asked to take some flak. In my opinion what is bad is not the 5MP lens, but the dual LED. I am perfectly happy with the 5 Megapixel camera of the N82 or the N95, 8 MP is welcome but not a requirement. The dual LED experience for me hasn’t seen that great. It hardly compares to a Xenon and I’ve hardly found it to be useful as a tool in the video mode as my subjects are usually further away. But looking at the complete package the camera is no where close to being a deal breaker.
QWERTY & HAPTIC FEEDBACK
I guess I will be able to say something concrete about it once I play with it, however from the pictures the keys seem very usable for even those with large fingers. Haptic feedback for screen touches provided via general vibra feedback, as on the Nokia 5800 is also there.
GENERAL NSERIES PACKAGE
The multimedia package of the Nseries is well known by now and good enough for being a dedicated player replacement. The one thing that will stand out here is TV out. Currently, our Nseries devices project 320×240 pixel images on the much larger TV which makes the image look stretched (in the non Image/Video mode) while playing a game or something of the sort. With the Much better inherent resolution the N97 will become a killer portable gaming console/video player/web machine that can be hooked onto the TV.
I can’t say I am surprised by this announcement, what I am surprised by is, is its coming at Nokia World. I was expecting a Nseries Touch with a physical keyboard from Nokia soon, the QWERTY was an added bonus. We have just witnessed a true flagship being announced, one with which no one can find too many faults. The success of this device is also certain, even Nseries + QWERTY would have been enough, but since the world is raving about touch Nokia had to follow suit.
The real measure for its actual success will be how much time Nokia takes to make it available for people to buy, we’ve seen consumers having been made to wait, yet devices selling like anything, but that time is long gone. If it becomes available in early March or around that time, great. Else, the adjectives quantifying its success will keep becoming smaller. Nokia are you upto it?
I have waited for this option for what seems like ages now and I’m glad to say its finally here, not because Nokia finally woke up, but because Sujesh decided to use Python and make it happen. I am sure all of you have felt the need for the sleep mode at some point or the other, specially the ones who listen to music before dozing off at night and find the phone dead in the morning because the music player wasn’t turned off.
Enter Sleep Music, a python based application that lets you decide a time period after which not only the default S60 music player or the FM Radio but also the Internet Radio can be automatically turned off. The application doesn’t pause or stop the music, it completely exists the application so you needn’t worry about running applications draining the battery. The best part is that the Sleep Music application also kills itself immediately after terminating the music/radio. As an added bonus, you can even configure it to switch off the phone after the desired time. Brilliant.
Another method of turning off the music/radio is the inactivity sensor. Set a duration and if the phone remains inactive for that much duration, the application kicks in and exits the music. (Inactivity sensor accounts for calls, keypresses etc). I’ve used the application on my E71 for the past two days without any sort of error and have found it to work flawlessly.
- Timer presets available for 15 , 30 and 60 min.
- Also users can also enter the time manually.
- Ability to close either the Music Player, Radio or the Nokia Internet Radio.
- Application can run in background.
- Inactivity Sensor to exit the music player, if so desired.
- Ability to turn off the device after the desired period.
Here are a few screenshots to get you familiar with the must have application:
1. The basic layout.
2. Ability to select the application to exit after the defined period.
3. Timer duration, can be manually entered too.
4. No need to mess with this, keypress works just fine.
5. Confirmation after you have set the ‘sleep’ time.
6. Inactivity sensor, can be used to exit the music player/radio if the phone remains inactive for the selected duration. (No calls, keypresses etc).
7. Whether you want to turn off the device after the chosen duration.
8. Once everything is set, the application can be simply sent to the background.
INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS – Its isn’t as complicated as it looks.
2. Unzip its contents.
3. Install “sleepmusicv102.sis” sis file to your phone (dont have to sign the application)
4. Use Open Signed to sign the following files:
5. Install Python, if you do not already have it installed. Get it here.
7. Install the signed files.