It is after a long time that I am really getting excited about a Nokia Symbian device. Infact, the N8 is the new N95 for me. You look at the hardware and you fall for it, but what is making me really happy is the software that’s bringing something new to the table. This is my second post on the same subject in a short while so you can tell I am excited.
Infact, with the N8 Nokia’s truly stepped into the portable computer market. A netbook allows you to browse the web, chat, do a bit of office work, watch a movie and the like. The N8 also lets you do all of that but with the ability to use a HDTV and is no where the size of a netbook. You can even plug a USB thumb drive into it for moving data across. But what really makes my day is the fact that it even supports the use of a BT Mouse and Keyboard at the same time and what is even more awesome is the fact that the support for the mouse is pretty extensive. It works throughout the device be it the music player, the homescreen, office apps and it can pretty much replace your finger. A right click on the mouse brings you to the homescreen and you can even scroll lists on the phone with the mouse’s scroll wheel.
Senario: You have the N8 plugged in to an HDTV via HDMI and have a 720P movie downloading from ‘Ovi Movies’. You push that to the background and connect a BT Mouse and Keyboard to you can go sit down on the couch. Then you browse the web, (which is turning out to be very convenient because of the mouse support) and suddenly realize that you have a reply to send, so you type in a quick email, pickup the attachment from the pen drive that’s connected to the N8 and fire it off. Meanwhile the movie which you had sent to the background has completed downloading, you hit play right from the couch. If that is not awesome, tell me what is?
The movie here could easily have come from the flash drive or your favourite torrent. You could also have edited a word document, or some video with the N8’s inbuilt video editor or a thousand things developers can think of.
My friend Michael Hell was able to capture a video showing the BT Mouse and Keyboard in action, have a look for yourself.
The N8 keeps on pulling off awesome stuff that I have wanted for ages, but Nokia seems intent on not showing the world just how cool the N8 actually is! Case in point, support for USB on the Go was a small entry on the spec sheet and now in the latest video demoing the N8, support for bluetooth hardware is mentioned but only bluetooth keyboards are shown. That is something even old devices could do.
But just at the end you see a mouse pointer in the video and it actually works! Symbian^3 brings bluetooth mouse support and the N8 actually supports it! But instead of shouting from the rooftops they don’t even mention it aloud. Give something like this to Apple and they would make the world go crazy.
Senario: I own an N95 and a bluetooth keyboard. While going on a vacation, I just throw the Laptop’s bluetooth mouse in and leave. In my hotel room I setup my BT keyboard and the BT mouse, plug the TV out cable in leave the phone there and go sit on the couch a few meters away. Now, just image what my web browsing experience would be like! Not only web browsing, but if this could be implemented with Office Editors or even viewers, the combo would really rock! The possibilities are endless, even a few games could make do with this functionality. Playing something even as basic as Solitaire would become a breeze!
Come 2010 and we have HDMI and high resolution screens. The developers can have a ball with this.
The other parts of the video show off the music player, coverflow and HDMI in general. The N8 is one impressive device. But I still can’t get over how they waste such game changing features. In a time when Symbian is taking a hit, its all about marketing, ask Apple.
As I have told you before, I had gone to Helsinki for The Way We Live Next event last year and Nokia had some really interesting demos from the work being done at the Nokia Research Center. There I was fortunate to witness and be able to witness, interview and film a demo of the Explore & Share concept that allows wireless data transfer at very high speeds.
The setup is based on a new radio technology built from a scratch. At Nokia house it was being demoed on a specially modded N900 and as you can see in the video below, an entire album was bought and transferred in under 10 seconds. For some reason I missed publishing this video before, and was reminded by Nokia Conversation’s post about Explore & Share today.
This demo unit sees you place your device on a ‘writer’ which is connected to a separate touchscreen monitor. This new radio tech forms a short-range connection between the writer and the device, and doesn’t use any other radio networks – the writer is immediately paired with and recognizes your handset, and instantly brings up relevant content that is available for it on the large touchscreen monitor. From here you simply tap to transfer the apps, music albums, games, apps, videos and other extras you fancy, direct to your phone in a flash.
Of all the demos that we have seen from the Nokia research Center, this is one I’d really like to see go mainstream.
Nokia Conversations has just published a video showing off how Symbian ^3 will look on upcoming Nokia devices. At first glance there seems to be a hint of familiarity with the UI that you may have seen on Nokia’s current touch devices like the N97, but that quickly goes away when you look at the sheer number of optimizations and enhancements that have been done to the UI.
There is multitouch (pinch and zoom), multiple homescreens, support for hardware accelerated graphics, single tap across the entire UI, complete kinetic scrolling, a new visual task manager and so on. All in all a pretty impressive picture. Complete with the right hardware, Symbian ^3 itself could be something and you won’t have to wait for Symbian ^4 to stop bickering over the ‘old’ Symbian UI.
What do you think? Maemo-ish? (That isn’t a bad thing though!)
At the iPad keynote, Steve Jobs made a statement that has set-off another round of Nokia v/s Apple action. He called Apple the largest mobile company in the world, even bigger than Nokia when it came to revenue. Needless to say, this did not go down well with Nokia, not one bit, and today they shot back on the official Nokia Conversations blog with a provocative, ‘A Fruit Confused?‘.
Mark Squires, Head of Social Media at Nokia called for an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison where laptop computers could not be included in the generally accepted definition of ‘mobile devices’. With in play, Nokia’s devices and services business from Oct-Dec was shown as €8,18 billion while Apple’s turnover for “newly defined” mobile devices was €7,25 billion.
Now there is no right/legally accepted definition of ‘mobile devices’ so I would expect the give and take to continue. Nokia and Apple are already embroiled in litigation, may I suggest they setup an arbitral panel to rule over this as well. What is important to note is the hard tone of that Nokia has adopted in its effort to set the record straight. Here is an extract:
“Well you don’t see me putting pen to paper a great deal but sometimes there are articles floating around on the sphere that get my blood pressure rising to what my doctor is prone to call an ‘unreasonable level for a man of your years/weight/physical condition’. Reading coverage of one of our competitor’s much hyped web pad event this week, I was surprised to see that, by revenue, they were claiming in their leader’s keynote to be “the largest mobile devices company in the world.”
The difference between the two companies is even larger if you use the more common measure: the number of devices sold. By that comparison, Nokia has been the largest mobile devices company in the world for a dozen consecutive years.
What do you think? Does a Macbook fall under the category of a ‘mobile device’?
With Nokia World just hours away, for Nokia fans across the world progress only has one meaning – killer new devices and to a lesser extent a service. With that backdrop, this story of how human innovation and technology is making a change and enriching the lives of people around the world might just get sidelined.
To quote the just launched, Progress Project website, it is a change that’s taken Lonely Planet all over the globe, highlighting how groundbreaking mobile tech is connecting people to what matters, fueling the imagination and empowering them to progress in life.
The Progress Project is an initiating via which Nokia and Lonely Planet will be sharing these stories, complete with video so that you can feel the experience as well. If you remember, we told you about PIER and the Go Green Foundation a little while ago, similarly Nokia is also working on loads of other projects such as Life Tools, Nokia Tej, Data Gathering in Brazil and so on. Click through to the Progress Project for a much more information and video content on these and for the redressal of any queries that you might have.