Category Archives: Maemo

Nokia Internet Radio Comes To The N9

Developers have blessed the Nokia N9 with a bunch of very good internet radio apps in the past, but there’s nothing like getting an Internet Radio app directly from Nokia. So if you head over to the Nokia Store on the N9 and search for ‘Internet Radio’ (direct store link) you’ll be presented with the free download, which to no surprise of ours is an excellent iteration.

Once installed, curiously the app is called ‘IP Radio’. The UI is similar to the default music player with album art being replaced by cover art for the featured radio stations. This is followed by a ‘Hot Picks’ tab, Locations, Language and Genre. Needless to say, you sort a ton of pre-loaded stations by region, language or genre, and this makes discovery a real breeze.

If you like a station you’ve listened to, you can favourite it for quick retrieval. You can also search for more stations and finally tapping that man in the bottom right corner takes you to your history, neat. I’ve been playing with the app for a little while and it feels very polished.  I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending that you download it, just watch your data connection!

In case you have any problems downloading, you can use this method to download the .deb to your desktop and try side loading the app.

Nokia 3D World Gaze Comes To The N9, We Demo It On Video

Nokia 3D World Gaze is a pretty cool app built with the premise that the Earth is a giant sphere and we are always on top of it. What follows is that far-away continents and cities are in reality somewhere below you and not linear, like we usually think of them.

So how it works is that you simply point your phone in a direction and it lets you see through the surface (and insides) of the planet all the way to the other side. You can use it to explore your immediate surroundings or fly to any part of the world. In addition to geographical features such as continents in their real physical locations, Nokia 3D World Gaze allows you to see geotagged media, day and night regions, current location of the Sun, and other content from locations around the world.

So while looking at an area of the world, you can tap the pictures button to see pictures from that region or the latest news. The N9 version even features Wikitravel searches based on city name. Have a look at the demo to see how it actually works.

The application has just become available for the Nokia N9 on Nokia’s Beta Labs and has been available for Symbian devices for a sort while now. Try it here.

On The Road To The Lumia 800, Was The N9 A Speed Bump?

The Nokia N9 has been a somewhat difficult subject for Nokia, one that they are, and should be, immensely proud of. But one that has raised more questions than answers. When the February announcement with Microsoft came, everyone wondered what was happening to Nokia’s upcoming MeeGo phone. Nokia was quick to point out that they would indeed release a MeeGo based device. Then word started coming out that the original MeeGo device, which we now know as the developer only N950, had been canned, and replaced by a beautiful new touch only flagship.

Soon enough, Nokia Connections came and Nokia unveiled the N9. The reaction to that device was incredible, ranging from people calling for Elop’s head because of his decision to kill MeeGo, to calmer, saner voices wondering if Nokia should keep the MeeGo project going, if for nothing but just to keep Microsoft in check. Then we found out that the N9 would only be available in a handful of countries, the world was literally shocked. It made no sense, why release a product at all if you weren’t going to ship it to major markets such as UK, India, US among others. While the world waited and hoped that Nokia would reconsider, another thing happened.

In The Lumia 800 Picture, Where Does The N9 Fit?

A device code named Sea Ray, which we now know as the Lumia 800 leaked. Infact, Stephen Elop’s entire presentation to the employees, which was supposed to be shared on the company intranet, got out. Some called it a controlled leak, while most just took the device in and didn’t care as long as the could look at an unreleased Nokia phone, specially a secret Nokia Windows Phone. The result was that a lot of the chants of ‘bring the N9 to my country’ stopped. Nokia’s policy was finally beginning to make sense, they weren’t going to release a device that looked just like the N9 in the same market as the N9, specially when that device would define their foray into the Windows Phone market.

The N9 shipped to positive reviews, mine included, but the consensus among the reviews clearly was that as much as they loved the device, they couldn’t honestly recommend the N9 to someone knowing that the Sea Ray was around the corner. But the N9’s core strengths really came through, a breath-taking design, a unique yet intuitive UI that made sense, and judging by the Maps and browser, Nokia could do software.

Finally, last week the Lumia 800 was revealed at Nokia’s megaevent with literally thousands watching. The stock market liked what they saw and the Nokia stock started climbing. A did a quick hands on and unboxing and then two days later a much more through (p)review. I really seemed to like the device.

This is when we all wondered, if we had not seen the N9 before would we have loved the Lumia 800 even more? The short answer to that question for me is yes. When you first look at that design, most people go head over heels over it and if Stephen Elop got on stage at Nokia World and showed off that design for the first time, we’d have had an even bigger WOW.

In The Lumia 800 Picture, Where Does The N9 Fit In?

Now for the long answer, knowing that the Sea Ray was coming, should Nokia have released the N9? I’d again say yes. Why? First and foremost, the people in the countries where the Lumia 800 is going on sale haven’t seen the N9. So for a vast majority the design is fresh, new and amazing. The minuscule minority, which has seen the design before will still love it, its still less than two months old in the real world and Windows Phone doesn’t make it any less pretty. Infact, I’d say that the jazzy WP UI is a great match to the N9’s physical design.

Next, in various interview Elop’s stated that it was a great platform for Nokia to learn from, see what people like and go on from there. He’s made it clear that none of the N9’s strength’s are going away. We’ve already seen the design used with the Lumia 800, Qt is coming to the next billion and the Swipe UI will apparently make its way to Meltemi, Nokia’s now not so secret platform for low-mid range devices.

Finally, the period between February to October was long and painful. Nokia was bleeding marketshare and on top of that mindshare, which we all know can be as bad as loosing marketshare. The N9 showed the world that innovation was still alive and well at Nokia and that the Finnish giant was far from dead. The message was imagine if this is what we can do alone, think about what we’ll do with Windows Phone in a few months.

At the end of the day, the glory period for the N9 is over. Its all about the Lumia 800 now, no matter how you feel about open source versus the closed Windows Phone platform, its water under the bridge. With the marketing blitz planned for Windows Phone devices, only the die hards will cherish the N9 and don’t get me wrong, it’s a device meant to be cherished. The N9 will keep selling in countries where the Lumia 800 isn’t shipping as yet and I’m sure Nokia will provide great support for it, but its time for the Lumia 800 to hold the Nokia torch.

In The Lumia 800 Picture, Where Does The N9 Fit?

The N9 will remain a crown jewel in Nokia’s arsenal, a hacker’s phone, a Qt device to help prime the developers for the next billion. So I don’t fault Nokia for announcing it and then the Lumia 800, look at what Apple did with the iPhone 4 and 4S, those things even run the same OS! The N950 would never have been able to generate the kind of buzz for Nokia that the N9 did, it bided time for the transition and it was never a lost cause. Nokia’s goals with the N9 were just, lets say, different.

Nokia N9 Review: Swipe UI, Apps & Hardware

In my last post about the Nokia N9, we went through a customary unboxing and a quick overview of the device. I also shared a few initial impressions.

Nokia N9 Review: Swipe UI, Apps & Hardware

This time, we delve a little deeper into the N9’s Swipe UI, go over some of its settings and look at the best ways to setup the N9 for daily use.

I also look at two must have applications for the N9, Swipe Manager and Shortcuts. Swipe Manager brings consistency to your swipes and with the ability to define what action each directional swipe does. For example, you can set it to open the app drawer if you swipe from bottom to top, events view if you swipe from right to left and so on. This makes sure that no matter what you want to do, close an app, goto the launcher, the app switcher or the events view, everything is just a single swipe away.

Next is Shortcuts, it lets you change the four default quick access app on the N9, which the phone won’t let you change otherwise.

What follows is the ten minutes with the Nokia N9 video:

Want me to cover something specifically? Let me know in the comments section below!

The Nokia N9 Unboxing & Overview: In A Class Of Its Own

The N9 is here, I have the black 64 GB variant and I can tell you that the moment you lay your eyes on it, you will be able to say that the N9 in a class of its own. It is easily the best looking device on the market today, truly a pinnacle of Nokia’s design prowess. It feels very premium, the curved display looks spectacular and the whole distraction free (read button free) surface is a real pleasure to look at.

Nokia N9 Unboxing & Overview: In A Class Of Its Own

With that in mind, I put together a little unboxing video (available in HD) for you. In addition to the obvious unboxing, I give you a bit of an overview of the product along with a look at the rubber case that Nokia ships with it. Also included in the box are brand new accessories that Nokia specially designed for the N9, all of which look great.

That aside here a few quick initial impressions as precursor to the detailed review which will follow:

  • The N9, owing to the unibody design and the polycarbonate finish feels incredibly solid in the hand. Since there are literally no moving parts, it feels great in the hand.
  • The display on the N9 is terrific, the screen very close to the surface of the glass and it feels as if you’re touching it directly; almost makes you feel like its floating on top. Easily gives the Super AMOLED Plus on the Galaxy S2 a run for its money, and because its almost the same resolution on a smaller screen (3.9″ v 4.3″), its a lot more crisp.
  • The phone feels responsive, and you’re at home with the Swipe UI in a matter of minutes. Its very intuitive and makes you wonder why nobody else thought of it before. Enabling swipe down to close an app from the settings is recommended, it makes the experience better. There are two more apps that help tremendously, Swipe Manager and My Moves, more on them later.
  • The camera is FAST. The shot to shot time is incredible and you want to keep taking pictures once you get going.
  • The pre-loaded Twitter and Facebook apps are capable, they cover all the bases. The only thing missing is the ability to share pictures on Twitter and that ability is apparently coming in a future update.
  • The out of box service support is great, you can directly upload to Flickr or YouTube. Have multiple Mail for Exchange accounts, other email accounts, and even make Skype calls from the dialer itself. There is also support for IMs on Facebook, Skype and Gtalk.
  • The N9 makes it hard for you to find a fault with it, if you forget the direction Nokia is going in for a minute.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below, or on Twitter @v4ibhav.

10 Nokia N9s Up For Grabs In Ideas Project’s N9 Challenge

Nokia’s Ideas Project is looking for your feedback on the N9 user interface and is offering 10 Nokia N9 smartphones in return. They are looking for ideas to improve some of the key features shown off in this video and other innovative ideas for the next generation of mobile touch screen devices.

10 Nokia N9s Up For Grabs In The Ideas Project N9 Challenge

So if the N9 isn’t launching in your country and you were looking forward to one, here’s your chance. Head over to the Ideas Project and start brainstorming. The ideas will be reviewed by Nokia’s interface designers and 10 winners will get a N9 each.

Timeline:

  • Begins: October 12, 2011 at 09.00am EET (GMT+2)
  • Ends: November 15, 2011 at 5pm EET (GMT+2)

Panel of judges:

  • Nikki Barton, Vice President, Smart Devices UX Design, Nokia
  • Peter Skillman, Vice President, Services & MeeGo Design, Nokia
  • Anton Fahlgren, Senior Design Manager, Nokia

Challenge hosts:

  • Ronan MacLaverty, Developer Advocate, MeeGo
  • Heli Haapkylä, Manager, Crowdsourcing, Nokia

Good luck!