Users of the Nokia N9 have longed for a Whats App client for their device since a long time, but it finally looks as if their prayers are close to being answered. While Whats App isn’t doing an official version of the app, the community has come up with a solution of its own called Wazapp.
Wazapp is a community port of the hugely popular IM application, and its developer Tarek Galal has realsed a first look video of it running on the N9. The video is proof that the project is progressing nicely, and shows messages being sent and received between the N9 running Wazapp, and a Samsung Android device running the official WhatsApp application.
When is it coming out you wonder? The developer has this to say:
If you cannot wait, a dedicated website for the project has been setup at wazapp.im and you can keep checking in, otherwise rest assured that I’ll let you know once its out. I hope that the makers of Whats App support this development, and not try and kill its functionality with an update to their official clients.
The world hasn’t heard much about Tizen since September, when it was first announced. To refresh your memory, Tizen is the brand new HTML5 centered OS that is backed by Intel and Samsung, a partnership which was forged after Nokia and Intel’s ambitious MeeGo project was stopped in its tracks in February 2011.
When the announcement was first made, an initial release was supposed to come out in Q1 2012, with retail Tizen devices only later in the year. While that hasn’t happened yet, there are promising signs. A visit to HTML5test.com shows that Tizen 1 is well into internal testing and its HTML5 test results are off the charts. It scored a very impressive 408 points, with 15 bonus points. That’s better than Chrome for Mac that manages 400 points with 13 bonus points. A few weeks ago, Tizen was at about 363 points with 15 bonus points. So the development seems to be progressing nicely and the upcoming Tizen Developer Conference scheduled for May 7-9 in San Francisco should be a perfect venue to show it off.
The first annual Tizen Conference engages and educates developers on Tizen technology and HTML5 app development for Tizen devices. This conference is for Tizen developers, app developers, platform designers, operators, OEMs, hardware vendors, software vendors, open source enthusiasts, and anyone engaged in Tizen. The Tizen conference will be hosted at the downtown Hyatt in San Francisco, CA on May 7-9th, 2012.
The Linux Foundation isn’t giving away much about what will be shown off, if anything. The agenda has now been posted, and all we can tell is that the keynote sessions are scheduled for 9 am onwards on May 8th. No info yet on who will be present and if Samsung will finally show off their Tizen device. An important thing to note is that a lot of the sessions mentioned in the agenda will be hosted by Intel and Samsung employees, so the companies will definitely be there in full force.
There has been talk of Samsung merging its Bada OS with Tizen, but there has been a bit of back and forth on that as well. The upcoming Tizen Conference should serve as a good opportunity for all involved to clear the air about all these questions, and finally get to what its about – great software on shiny hardware.
The PR 1.2 firmware update has just been rolled out to the developer only N950 MeeGo Harmattan device, and it comes to us in the form of beta version number 3.2012.02-6_PR_RM680. This update is a precursor to the N9 update, and will give you a fair idea of what new features to expect on your N9.
Highlights include support for five new languages, face recognition, enhanced copy-paste, software update notifications for applications and games in Nokia Store and folders in the application view. If you own a N950, you can find all the details and download links here.
Here is a slightly more detailed changelog, if you have a time, a complete list of the bugs that have been fixed has also been published.
Software update notifications for content in Nokia Store
Face recognition for gallery and face tags for Facebook
Support for folders in the application view
Mail for Exchange global address book lookup
Mail thread support in the Email client
Extended copy-paste support
Media sharing with DLNA compatible devices
Improved browser history view
Compass support in Maps
QtWebKit update to version 2.2
New font taken into use
Front camera support
Video editing support in the Gallery application
Visual hint for differentiating swipe close gesture from normal swipes
Timestamps shown in notifications
Notifications sorted by timestamps
Improvements in Event Feed area
Music controls in Lock screen
New feedbacks added to MeeGoTouch theme.
Kernel updated to be in sync with the upstream kernel version 188.8.131.52
Android NDEF Push Protocol disabled
NFC polling enabled in lock screen
Separate switch for controlling mobile background connections while roaming
Self Timer support
Composition grid + on/off control
Better handling of To-Do lists, recurring events and timezones
Private flag support for events
Support for read-only events
Ability to forward/reply/reply-all for received events
Clock alarm becomes silent by flipping the device face down instead of snoozing
Updated time picker
People view added to the grid toolbar
Improved multiple selection indication in grid view
Audiobook and podcast support
Ability to create playlists
Ability to delete music files from music player library views via object menu
Possibility to see songs that are on the current play queue
The MeeGo Harmattan running Nokia N9 may be the last of its kind, but there seems to be no death of quality apps that are coming out for the device. It already has apps for Facebook, Twitter and a few games like Angry Birds and Need For Speed built in, but there are a few key apps which are missing.
In this post I have complied a list of must have apps for the N9, all of which are free. Most of these apps are available from the Nokia Store and clicking on the name should take you to the download page. Lets get started.
DropN9: As the name suggests, its a Dropbox client for the Nokia N9. The app lets you download and upload filed in multiples and is a must have if you are a dropbox user.
Internet Radio: An neat little Internet Radio app for the N9, that features a UI is similar to the default music player with album art being replaced by cover art for the featured radio stations. Discovery is helped along by ‘Hot Picks’, Locations, Language and Genre sections. Detailed post here.
Phone Torch: No frills app that lets you use the inbuilt LED flash as a torch. Launch the app and it immediately turns on the LED and exiting the app closes it.
Photo Enhancer: A free app from Nokia that lets you put filters on images and then share them. There are a bunch of options available like sepia, grayscale, high contrast and so on.
Simple Mirror: There is no way to use the front camera on the N9, unless you are making a video call. But if you would like to use the device as a mirror, does the job well.
gPodder: A great podcast client with full integration to the gpodder.net web service and a unique user interface, supporting YouTube and Soundcloud feeds in addition to normal audio and video podcast feeds. gPodder will help you manage and synchronize your podcast subscription and listening status (including resuming, streaming and downloading). Discover new, free content via gpodder.net’s podcast directory.
File Manager: The N9 comes without an inbuilt file manager and the this free apps fills in perfectly. Its light weight and does everything you would expect from an app of this nature.
Battery Usage: This app mimics the battery usage graph that you may have seen on Android devices. In addition to telling you which app eats how much battery, it can also tell you how much of that battery was consumed in the background and how much was drained while the app was actually in use. This will help you decide if you can leave the app running or whether you should exit everytime you are done with it.
City Scene: The app lets you explore a bunch of cities in the US and Europe in 3D, much like Google Street view, but with a few extra features.
Shortcuts: The N9 has a set of 4 quick access shortcuts which you can bring up by swiping up for a short distance and holding it there. The problem is that you cannot change these without an app. Enter Shortcuts which lets you change the four of these by simply dragging an app of your choice to the current location of the shortcut.
Ionic: An ebook reader for the N9 that supports the EPUB format. It supports navigation by swipe or the volume keys, display themes, brightness control, orientation locking at many more. Create bookmarks with notes, jump to bookmarks or chapters. The Library feature allows ordering books by author or title, inspecting book details, and importing books downloaded from the web.
Sports Tracker: A long favourite of Nokia users, Sports Tracker lets you track and analyze your workouts, share workout data and photos with your friends. You can also track everything online on the developer’s website.
ScreenshotMee: It lets you take screenshots using the proximity sensor, just activate the app in the background, navigate to the screen you want to capture and cover the proximity sensor on the top right of the device. Then you can choose to save the screengrab or take a new one.
Photo Frame: Another app published by Nokia that lets you frame pictures and then share them. There are a bunch of frames available.
Rainbow Brush: Brilliant photo manipulation app, it lets you quickly and easily give photos a dramatic look by converting them to black and white, while keeping your chosen details in color. This effect draws the viewer’s attention to the colored areas, creating striking images. You simply use your finger as a brush to remove or bring back the original color from regions of your image. You can zoom in or out to ensure your get the right finish. Highly recommended.
FlickrUp: A great tool to upload a bunch of pictures to Flickr, you can create photosets, define the resolution, set privacy settings in addition to adding tags and descriptions. Has a pretty UI as well.
Mes Input: An app that lets you add different keyboard to the N9. Like with Swype, you can swipe from the edge to switch between them. For example, I have a keyboard which gives me quick access to smileys, similarly there are a bunch of other options available. You can even create your own keyboard at www.mesinput.com and use this app to install it on the phone.
Resource Monitor: As the name suggests, this app lets you keep track of the resources that are being used on your device. You can switch between different views that show RAM, Storage and Processes.
Date Event: The N9’s events screen shows news, Facebook and twitter streams, but it does not show your upcoming calendar entries and that’s where this app comes in. It displays upcoming entries on the events screen and lets you choose which calendar to pull them from. You can also select the number of days it should show entries from. It is still being developed and isn’t in the Nokia Store, get it here directly .
3D World Gaze: Cool app for exploring the world around you, 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. Detailed write up and video demo here.
So these were my top 20 free apps for the N9/N950. I’m sure I’ve missed out on quite a few other awesome apps, please let me know in the comments section or on Twitter and I’ll do a follow up post!
Swype is something I absolutely love, so I was pretty disappointed when it didn’t ship with the N9, specially when we’d seen early demos of it working on the N9. But better late than never, the PR 1.1 firmware started rolling out for the N9 today and with it Swype makes a debut on the N9, and its worth the wait.
It isn’t activated out of the box, so you need to goto Settings> Time and Language> Text Input and enable it first. Then you can swipe away the default N9 keyboard and switch to swype (all of this is demoed in the video below).
As you can see, the keys are nicely spaced out furthering Swype’s goal to be both a ‘Swype’ keyboard and a good thumb type board at the same it. There’s inbuilt auto correction, word prediction and a bunch of other options. We go through everything in the video below.
A major update has just been rolled out for the Nokia N9 in the form of version 20.2011.40-4. The update is 218.6 MB in size and can be installed over the air. It brings music controls to the lockscreen, improved multitasking and NFC Tag reading amongst other things. Another major reason to update is the presence of Swype, which you can enable it by going into Settings> Time and Language> Text Input.
Along with the update, a bunch of pre-loaded applications including Twitter, Facebook, Store, Ovi Music, Galaxy on Fire 2, Nokia Drive, Angry Birds, AccuWeather, NFS Shift, Real Golf 2011 and the User Guide have also been updated.
It is possible that the update isn’t available for all product codes just yet. But if your device hasn’t informed you of the updated already, you can go to Settings>Applications>Manage Applications>Updates and check for updates manually.
The updated Twitter application should bring the ability to Twitpic images, something we have missed since the start. The Facebook client gets a few bug fixes too.
Once downloaded, the update seems to take a while to install so make sure you have enough free time before you begin the update.
[Update: Find the Swype for N9 hand-on video here].
The official changelog:
NFC tag reading to instantly interact with NFC tags
Music controls on lock screen
Photo and video shooting with color filters: black & white, sepia, vivid, negative, solarize
More powerful multitasking with improved memory handling
Swype for fast typing
Faster MfE synch, synchronizing only active folders
Noice cancellation reduces background noise so that your friends hear you better
Close apps easily with swiping down, this now on by default
New indicators for standby screen like charging and calendar
Pre-loaded apps including: Twitter, Nokia Store, Facebook, Real Golf, Ovi Music, Galaxy on Fire 2, Nokia Drive, Angry Birds NFC, AccuWTwitter, Nokia Maps and the User Guide have also been updated.