The Symbian is FINALLY dead!


I think it was just a matter of time before this happens…

201105211552535012

(Anodised aluminium monocoque case – that is what grabs you when you see a N8 for the first time. That’s what happened to me and it became my first smartphone and it remained until it was clear that it’s OS, Symbian^3 will no longer be developed with new releases. Image source: http://mobilemegamall.com)

My venture to smartphones probably triggered by an incident at a car park – the parking attendant with dirty short pants & flip-flops was updating his status on Facebook with an iPhone. It then occurred to me that the age of smartphone is already here and somehow I had missed catching the boat.

So, back in January 2011, I went back and finally got myself a smartphone. Despite of my friends choosing between Android powered phones and iPhone, I picked Nokia’s flagship phone – the Symbian^3 powered Nokia N8 (which was released in September 2010). After all, back then Nokia was one of the biggest and well-known phone makers out there. Unfortunately despite it coming with a rather impressive set of specifications, something was missing. It took almost 1.5 years for Nokia (I am sure after numerous complaints) to come with the right firmware updates to its robust Symbian OS to move forward the N8 to the level that is in par with the more developed & widely used smartphone OSes – namely Android and iOS. The only let-down of N8 when it comes with comparing with other smartphones out there was on the hardware. N8 had very little RAM, not-so-impressive processing power and a rather bulky design although it fought back hard (and they won hands down) with the very best, fully downloadable Ovi Maps, anodised aluminium monocoque case, Gorilla Glass, AMOLED screen and 12MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens (still remains one of the best cameras in the Nokia line-up – the other is the 41 mega pixel PureView on the 808).

With its last update to Nokia Belle Refresh last year, it remained a good robust smartphone to have – battery storage was not so bad (my friend’s Android smartphone had an even worse power storage despite having a larger battery – but it could be due to Wi-fi) and the onboard maps & GPS came very handy when driving through unfamiliar roads. But it was still lacking when it comes to apps – not that I am complaining much on that (I rarely download anything else but games and I do have a good selection of games that would keep me engaged for hours and without draining the battery drastically). I have dropped the phone a couple of times but it is still working. In the last 2.5 years, the only major problem that I had with this phone was on the power circuits which got “fried” twice and had to be replaced. I have myself to blame for that – as it only happened after a long and heavy usage of the phone on games. So, other than that, it was good enough for call, SMSes, navigation, emails, internet surfing and yes, games.

After Nokia Belle Refresh and despite Nokia fiddling with Microsoft’s Windows Phone in 2011, there was still hope that Nokia will provide on some form of updates now and then for the Symbian^3 OS. But when at the end of 2012 Nokia decided to go full swing on Windows Phone and came up with their new flagship smartphone – the Nokia Lumia 920 which runs on the latest Windows Phone 8 OS, it was clear that Symbian^3 is going to take a back seat and it will be going to be rare to see any form of a solid firmware updates coming along the way anything soon for Symbian phones. It was ageing too and too complicated for quick updates – Symbian turned 16 years old this year but it has not moved that far with innovations.

Read here on the interesting story on Symbian and why it died.

xperia-sp-gallery-06-1240x840-351158f384e37cb15365d91e10256afc.png

(Smartphones these days handles more than just making calls and sending SMSes -we use it to watch videos, listen to music, take photos and videos, surf the net, GPS navigation, check emails, play games and use it as a mobile knowledge tool. Thus it need to have a strong robust hardware and a long lasting battery. Image source: http://www.sonymobile.com)

Yet, I was still happy with my N8 until beginning of this year when my wife’s phone (the much older Nokia 6300 series) started to have battery problems. And she also wanted to move on to the smartphone landscape since all her other siblings are using smartphones as well. So, one night she popped the question – when I am going to change my phone? And lately as her old phone problem started to get worse (and my kids wanting mobile entertainment, games and music) and me always being on the move, it was time for me to look for a new phone – one that does not run on the soon to be dead Symbian.

So I turn and weighed my options and I started with getting the right OS for my next phone. Like my older N8, it came with solid hardware but at end of the day, the OS was stagnant. I turned down Windows Phone 8 from my list outright – firstly it was still new and I am not sure if Nokia or Microsoft will change their directions again in the coming months. It is also claimed to be weak. iOS was popular but since it only runs on an iPhone, it was expensive, inflexible and some of the hardware sucked (I know some of the iPhone fans would differ the thought on this).

And that leaves me with Android and there is a couple of choice of models with various specification and prices to choose from. From the top range HTC and Samsung Galaxy smartphones to some low range CSL smartphones, it would not be easy for me to pick one to replace the sturdy Nokia N8. So, I decided to list down some specifications and then match them with what the market has to offer.

This is what I had in mind – it must run at least the latest Jelly Bean 4.1.2 and it should have a gracious RAM & processing power (a minimum a du0 core and I GB RAM – the Nokia N8 was running a low 256MB RAM but at most time, it was enough). I also do not want to spend too much money on the phone – as technology moves along, the price will come down. So why spend too much on something when there are cheaper alternatives or prices will come down soon.

sony-xperia-sp-02

(Sony Xperia SP is well made, looks beautiful and punch with strong hardware and runs on the popular Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 OS. Image source: http://www.sonymobile.com)

After a while of “research” and comparing the various specifications – I decided on Sony Xperia SP which was launched in Malaysia sometime in April 2013 and comes with an impressive 1.7 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 8 megapixel camera, a sturdy aluminium frame, internal storage of almost 6GB, slot for microSD up to 32GB and a 4.6 inch Gorilla Glass display. It is claimed to be the fastest dual-core phone yet, better in performance than Samsung Galaxy Note II and HTC One X+. It is also claimed to be one of the best mid-price smartphones money can buy.

It also has something that most of the other smartphones out there does not have – light effect so displays different colour light at the bottom notification bar for call & SMS actions (it also lights up for music which looks very cool and it also lights up in red when charging and turns green once it reaches 90% plus charged). Other specifications are pretty much standard with other smartphones out there although I preferred it’s speakers to be on the side instead on the back (same thing on the N8 which muzzles out the sound when the phone is placed on it’s back although in the Xperia SP, the camera lens cover lift enough space for speakers)

And since Malaysia mobile operators are moving ahead with 4G LTE and part of the country can support 4G, Xperia SP already comes with built-in support for 4G & NFC. Compared with some of the other premium phones that support 4G & NFC, Xperia SP seemed to be more affordable too. The official selling price is RM1,299 but some dealers are selling it for RM1,099 (probably after the smartphone rebate of RM200). I am able to use back the Nokia’s USB charger for this phone – so I don’t need to worry about charging the phone which can last for 4 days with its “STAMINA” feature set on (and if I don’t play games or surfing the net).

It is not the end of Symbian though. My older Nokia N8 had found a new owner – my wife who soon got herself busied with the ins and outs of using a smartphone and her grand master on this is not me but rather my son who had also “explored” my new phone even before I could get my hands on it and checked all its features. Symbian somehow lives on if you consider the phone range in the family but for me at least, it is finally dead. It is time for Android and what it can do (or rather what I am going to do with it) in the coming months.

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Nokia N8 Firmware Update Part 4


Update 1 : It took some time but it is finally here! As at 25.09.2012

Back to the original post

(Nokia Belle Refresh updates comes in 2 mode – OTA or Nokia Suite. Nokia Suite update comes in a bigger file size. and Image source: http://worldofphones.net)

It has been almost 20 months since I got hold on Nokia’s 2010-2011 flagship smartphone – the Nokia N8 and over that 20 months, the smartphone have undergone 3 major firmware updates – the last update early this year (Nokia Belle) was major and that brought it somehow closer to other current smartphone in the market.

In the same duration of time, my Nokia N8 has power problems that had to be fixed twice this year (perhaps this is not the right gadget to play HD games – it is putting a lot of strain on the power related components). And when Nokia decided to ditch their battle-hardened Symbian OS for newbie Windows Phone OS last year, we did not really anticipate further upgrades to Symbian^3 OS that powered my Nokia N8 (I was anticipating a change to Android phone instead) but then they did – with Nokia Belle update which most thought would be the last major update before Nokia moves on to Windows Phone on a larger scale (even with Accenture still handling the development & support for Symbian).

And now it seems N8 is going to get another firmware update codenamed “Nokia Belle Refresh” which I think which will close some of the gaps and bugs in the earlier Nokia Belle update (this I think would be the last OS update for Symbian powered devices before Nokia focus it’s full attention on Windows Phone powered phones).

The Nokia Belle Refresh change log from My Nokia Blog:-

  • Nokia Belle 111.040.1511
  • Browser updated to 8.3 – Full HTML5 support, Offline services
  • Nokia Maps Suite 3.09 – Use voice search for Maps & Drive, See photos on Map, Multipoint routing, Explore nearby places from Homescreen, Public transportation integrated with line information & departure times
  • Nokia Social updated to 1.5 – Automatic linking to Facebook and Twitter, New Homescreen widgets, Improved performance, Renewed app layout
  • N8 Specific imaging apps – Bi Screen, Colorize IT, PlayTo, Gallery Widget (photo wall)
  • QT4.8
  • Ovi services renamed to Nokia services
  • Improved Music Player – Refreshed “Now Playing” view, Lists are tabbed for easy access, and are swiped between
    new Artist view, Play & Pause from pull down status bar (Status only, not toggles)
  • New Widgets – Clock, analogue big, Clock, Mechanic, Clock, Text, Calendar, Agenda view, RSS Widget, Bookmark, Contact individual (social upgrades), Contact, group (group support upgrade), Music player – Medium, Weather now, Weather forecast, My location, Social widget, Facebook, Summary, Facebook, Twitter, Mobile Data Counter, Search, Email – New arrival, Gallery, Notes, Email – Detailed, Toggles (2G/3g, Offline, silent, BT, Cellular)

And apparently the update also includes a fix for flash video support (something that has irritated me for sometime now – flv files simply does not play well on N8). The update also has an all new web browser which seemed promising (but then again with the excellent Opera Mobile around, I am not sure whether this new browser will make any difference).

The existing Nokia Belle to be fair, has been impressive todate – it handles most of the multi-tasks well with a free (even with N8’s heavily watered down processing power) and well updated Ovi Maps which can be downloaded for free and without the need for any mobile data on the go and improved GUI wise, it can stand it’s own against Android powered phone. Nokia N8 already had a good design to start with (with anodised aluminium monocoque case, Gorilla Glass, AMOLED screen and yes, the 12MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens) and with Nokia Belle update, it just got better. But somehow, somewhere something was lacking with Symbian which may explains the move to Windows Phone (it’s app store was not the issue).

Tech2 reports:-

Symbian was definitely a powerful platform on its own. With the advent of other operating systems, it did lose a lot of steam, but it’s still chugging on with these updates.

One of the main problems was the limited app store, but besides that, the interface, the media and everything else was pretty promising. Symbian wasn’t too optimised though, and it did face a similar fate as Samsung’s Bada operating system.

As compared to frontrunners Google and Apple, it didn’t really impress that much and Nokia itself started looking at Windows Phone as its future premier operating system.

This latest firmware is yet to be rolled out in Malaysia so let’s keep the fingers crossed and hope that my ageing Nokia N8 does not go too outdated by the time new iPhone 5 comes out. Nokia N8 is still a damn good phone.

Nokia N8 Firmware Update Part 3


(Countdown – 315 days to “doomsday”)

Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here

(Any new updates to smart phone firmware with new features, themes and UI is always welcomed. Image source)

This probably will be the “last” Symbian^3 OS update before Nokia goes all out on Windows Phone 7

I managed to update my N8 to the latest Nokia firmware – Nokia Belle yesterday but to do that, one needs the latest Nokia Suite (FOTA – firmware update over the air was not possible).

The update was about 287MB plus (some reported 311MB) and it was smooth – no major hiccups noted. However one must remember – as usual, some of the previous settings and applications will be wiped out when the phone ports over to the new firmware. You need to reinstall and maintain them again even though the update backups messages and contact details before it installs and restores them back once done (the usual full backup/wipe/restore cycle).

With Nokia Belle update, the some of the prominent changes is that there are now six home screens with live widgets in different sizes and a drop down menu for notifications.

All About Symbian reports:-

  • A major reworking of the user interface, with an emphasis on ease of use, updated design language and flatter navigation hierarchy. Specific items are detailed below.
  • Better use [a new memory management scheme] of the 256MB of RAM in all Symbian^3/Anna devices. In practice this will mean no occasional ‘Memory full’ errors and (hopefully) foolproof execution of even the largest ‘HD’ games. Applications which are running will, on the whole, stay running, whatever else you start up. Overall performance is better, in terms of UI responsiveness and multitasking.
  • Qt 4.7.4 is baked in from day one, meaning far fewer installation problems for Qt apps and faster (and more silent) installs in general.
  • Full NFC functionality (on the Nokia C7, at least, which has the necessary chip!), including: tap and share (share images, videos and contacts), tap and pair (pair Bluetooth accessories through a simple tap), tap and access (read tags to find information) and tap to play (unlock new levels on NFC-enabled games).
  • Improvements in screen real estate, with slimmer top status bar and optional (in some apps) bottom toolbar, meaning that all phones will have a larger useful display area.
  • Home screen widgets will now come in up to five different sizes (1×1, 2×1, 4×1, 2×2, 4×4) and allow a greater degree of interactivity. In addition to dragging widgets around a home screen in ‘Edit’ mode, you can now also drag from one home screen to another. Widget re-positioning when moving from portrait to landscape mode remains intelligent, with some tweaks for the new variety in widget sizes.
  • New drop-down menu, Android style, to access notifications, connectivity toggles (including a welcome one for ‘Mobile data’, which previously required an involved trip into ‘Settings’) and system status information from most places in the UI.
  • The Symbian home screen system now supports up to six pages (previously the limit was three for most phones and five for the smaller-screened E6).
  • A rewritten application launcher with default ‘flat’ structure, i.e. all applications are presented in one big scrolling grid of icons, though as I explained here, it’s easy enough to make new folders, including one called ‘trash’ (or similar), somewhere to put all the apps you don’t think you’ll even need – this significantly reduces the amount of vertical scrolling needed. There’s an option to switch the icons to alphabetic order, or to quick match/search the list, but happily your original order is also remembered so that you can switch back at any time. Newly installed applications are now marked with a red asterisk until they’ve been opened for the first time.
  • An application can be ‘added to the home screen’ from the main app menu, by long pressing its icon.
  • The bottom softkeys and (optional) bottom toolbar are replaced with a single toolbar comprising up to four icons (Back/Exit, Custom 1, Custom 2, and Menu). This, for most applications, in theory, gives the UI a flatter hierarchy, with less use of menus and with more direct interaction.
  • Improvements to the lock screen, which will now have information about missed calls, messages and emails. The lock screen also now supports a transparency effect, showing the underlying home screen wallpaper.
  • Update to Web, with numerous optimisations and easy access to multiple windows through a permanent toolbar icon. Like desktop browsers, Web keeps track of your ‘Most visited pages’ and this can be set as your ‘homepage’ if needed. A long press and drag on web page text now pops up a ‘Copy’ option, for copying text to the system clipboard.
  • Update to Music Player, with a ‘floating track list’ in the album art ‘cover flow’ view.
  • Updates to several other Symbian stalwart applications. Calendar gets an overall facelift and Notes now brings up a white (and AMOLED-unfriendly…) editing screen.
  • Update to Camera, showing the new, streamlined UI that featured in the Beta Labs N8 Camera update. Although functionality is the same, far fewer taps are needed to get to the majority of settings and functions. Note also that the ‘Close-up’ mode for the N8 video capture (i.e. with continuous auto-focus) is also included, so no need to install that as well.

Yes, Nokia Belle has 6 home screens – wow but what’s the point? Even under Symbian Anna, I only used 1 home screen (out of the available 3), so having an additional 3 under Belle does not make a big difference. I still need only 1 home screen but under Belle, it now allows me to add widgets to home screen, so it makes more sense to have more home screens – it is easy to navigate with a touch of the finger.

And one of the best things that Belle update brings is the pull down menu for notifications from any home screen. It is easier to block unwanted data connection and switch on Wi-Fi with an easy Wi-Fi widget. It is easier to manage the mobile data connection (which was a pain in the past – mobile data running without notice). Now I can completely block it and need not worry about the unnecessary high mobile internet charges.

The clock is now sports a more Android alike design and fonts are smaller and more efficient – meaning less scrolling now. I am not sure if this is part of the Belle tweak but I found photos takes now in N8 clearer and sharper. Still playing around with the changes and widgets but one thing I am missing now is the ability to open running applications and closing them with press of a button. That feature seems missing from Belle – you need to navigate through apps menu and find the one that is running and manually close. There should be an easier way to do this in Belle.

The new Belle firmware update suppose to bring in business apps from Microsoft, including Exchange ActiveSync, Sharepoint, OneNote, PowerPoint Broadcaster and Lync but I have not checked on these yet (FAQ states that it will be available in the next few weeks). Under previous firmware Anna, one glaring flaw that I noticed was the shorter duration of battery – a minor update later seemed to have addressed this. Under Belle, I hope power management remains efficient but that needs some closing monitoring for the next few days.

For now, I am quite satisfied with Belle – it addressed some of the shortcomings in Anna and somehow brings N8 in par with some of the latest smart phones in the market. Of course, with any major update of any firmware, things are not so perfect – there are users reports on the net that may warrant Nokia to release further tweaks to Belle (and I hope this get done soon). In the meantime, checkout Belle FAQ for some clarifications on Belle update.

P.s. the revamped Nokia Tune in Belle – aka Nokia Tune Dubstep Edition is damn cool!

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Un-hanging the N8


This happened a couple weeks…

(Nokia N8 is great but sometimes I forget that it is more than a phone – it has a very complex system running in the background. Image source)

I somehow had managed to screw up my N8. Sometimes I forget that smartphones are just like personal computers when it comes to installation of new software. It can very, very sensitive. After all, it has a complex Operating System, root folders, power hungry applications, etc. So, if one installs the wrong application (especially from an untested, dubious third party source) or installs it half way, it will screw up the system. And this is exactly what happened.

I was reading about a virus that was been roaming on smartphones in recent weeks. I used to have NetQin anti-virus application for my Symbian Anna powered N8 but I started to note that the anti virus application (I should take the blame for this – I have been playing with the settings) started to get into running of all other active applications. And then one day, I noticed it starts to connect to the Internet without my express authorization. Bloody hell, this was getting scary! So, I did what I suppose to do in panic when these things happen – I simply uninstalled the AV application and left with an unsecured smartphone.

(A robust AV app for smartphone is a must and to be fair, NetQin does the job rather well. It is just that incomplete installation and itchy fingers playing with the settings can create major havoc to the phone. http://dandroidtabletpc.com)

So when I read about the virus on the net and realized that I don’t have any AV on board, I started to look for an AV application – with NetQin being my last choice. There were not many choices out there when it comes to free based AV for Symbian^3 powered smartphones. NetQin was the only one I found that was available for N8 for free (although AV update will cost me but I was ok with that – the main application was still free). Not wanting to spend too much money on AV or Internet Security applications for smartphones for now, I hestitately installed NetQin back, hoping not to play with its settings this time around. But something else happened.

The installation did not complete as there was a disconnection of internet and I was left with a half-installed AV application which I was not aware immediately. Only when I decided to restart the phone, I realized this problem.

The phone starts up – the home page is shown but I could do anything else, the whole phone freezes. After a couple of tries, I noted that the installation starts up and this is causing the rest to freeze up. Then there is another problem as well – normally it is easier to stop this installation program from starting but since the phone freeze, I was unable to click on the application option. I was left with a dead phone now.

It was time for Google things up and it seems like there was only one choice – a hard reset but as many have warned, this should be a last option as it will format the whole phone and when restored, I am likely to lose Ovi Maps and Ovi Store (it needs a lot of manual installation for this and this too may not work 100%). There is another option of reseting to factory settings but it requires me to navigate through to the application menus and click on the option before the phone freezes over.

I tried the hard reset first – it was not possible to do the normal reset as the phone keeps freezing up. But the hard reset did not work – nothing happens. Then I remembered my sim card was still in the phone – I took it out and instead of hard reset, I tried the normal resetting for one last time.

When I restarted the phone, I noted that there was a longer gap before the phone freezes over. That small gap was just enough for me to disable the installation apps that kept running in the background whenever I started the phone. When I did that, I then realised that NetQin was also running in the background too (it was a mystery to me because I thought its installation was not complete) and due to frequent startup of the phone, NetQin had thought that the phone was under attack from virus and decided to freeze the phone to avoid further damages. I disable NetQin as well and proceeded with the safer and recommended method of resetting the phone to factory settings. Resetting was smooth and hassle free.

It did not take too long as well – once restarted, everything remain intact. I then restore back my contacts from my earlier backups using Nokia Ovi Suite (I had to do it twice – the first time; I wrongly included the restore of apps settings which did not work well. I reset and restore back but this time, excluding the settings). I got back my contacts updated into the phone and then proceeded to update to the latest Symbian Anna manually. And after that, I was home free.

I opted to leave any AV or Internet Security apps from my phone for the time being. Considering the risk – I may opt for a proper robust paid AV apps to be installed but not for now. Nonetheless, it was a scary moment – having the phone freezing up just like that and almost not having any way out to resolve it.

Read Also

Nokia N8 Firmware Update 2

Playing with Nokia N8

Playing with Nokia N8


Update 1: Read the excellent “13 Reasons Why I Love The N8

Back to the original post

Hmm, how should I do this?

(The Commuter, which was filmed entirely on the Nokia N8 in HD, stars Dev Patel as a commuter on his way to his first day of work. In this action-packed short film, Dev battles a killer Traffic Warden, a blind ninja, parkour bankers and comes face-to-face with Pamela Anderson before getting stuck in a lift with Ed Westwick and stealing a Lotus…will he make it in time? Source: IMDB)

There is enough reviews out there on the net, so to make this review simple, let me tell you 6 things that I personally like about this phone, Nokia N8 (in no particular order):-

1. Integrated GPS with Compass – let me tell you upfront that GPS lock (without A-GPS / Wifi) sucks (it is better outside provided that the conditions are right) but then again, that is how it suppose to be – N8 was not meant to be a dedicated GPS system. In the beginning, it takes sometimes 10 minutes to even lock but I realised I made a mistake of switching on the GPS when I am still in basement parking (duh!). Now I realised that if I restart the navigation program when I am on the outside, it locks faster.

(After recent software update – speed limit warning is up  on my phone – overall, free-for-life Ovi Map is still the best thing that is going for Nokia phones. Image source: here)

Things are very, very different once the lock is done. Navigation is smooth although map details are better at Google Map than on Nokia’s Ovi Map (the street in front of my house is missing). Good thing is Ovi Map is downloadable to the phone so complete map is available offline. The only problem I see with the current version of Ovi Map is that it does not detect speed camera or speeding over the limit although it is claimed that it is possible (note: speed limit was detected after the latest Apps Update 1.0 was made and at certain stretch of the highway – so I am not sure whether it is due to the apps update or map update)

2. Camera / Video – with 12MP with Carl Zeiss optics camera onboard, it is almost a galaxy away of my earlier lousy 2MP phone camera. 12MP is rather generous as compared to the usual 5MP cameras found in other smart phones. Video quality is at the best and the switch between camera & video functions are rather simple and easy (at a switch of a button). HDMI connection and video editor is available but I have not tried that yet. I took some videos over the weekend – one included this shot of the super fast ERL train, “flying” from KLIA towards the city (ignore the background sound of kids). Oh, did I mention that it is in High Definition too? Very impressive indeed!

3. FM Transmitter – Perhaps nothing to shout about considering that there are plenty of portable MP3 car players out there (including one priced RM19.90 at some hypermarket) but there is a small difference. There is no need for a separate thumb drive for storage purpose and song selection is slightly easier (not very easy – you need to create playlist first). Of course, this does not come close to a dedicated car MP3 player like this.

4. Games – this is something that you will greatly appreciate if you are stuck somewhere, waiting for someone and have nothing to do (like the outpatient area of our government hospitals). In the past, a simple game like Snake was good enough to kill time but over the years, games have become slightly more “complicated”. More so, if you are having a touch screen phone and equipped by orientation sensor – it is easy to convert the phone into a steering wheel or joystick (with vibration mode too).

5. Email functions – able to connect to many email addresses out there including Nokia’s own email facility is nothing new but it does comes handy. Setup is a breeze compared to my previous phone. Having touch screen means keyboard is a matter of touching the screen but I do suggest installing “Swype” which makes it easier to “type” the sentences although it cannot beat my earlier phone’s dedicated QWERTY keypad.

(Ovi Store is growing but there are widgets at Apple Apps that we like to see running in a Symbian powered smart phones. Image source: http://noknok.tv)

6. Widgets – they say it cannot beat Apple Apps and they are right but there is still plenty to look out for at Ovi Store. Some of them that come preinstalled with the phone can be pretty annoying since it always want to connect to the internet when it is not needed. Ya, I can turn the widgets to offline mode but I prefer to uninstall it all together. Yes, it is fun but paying for all that data download is not (not surprisingly my bill for this month is higher than usual but it should be stabilizing by next month, ha ha). Thankfully there is option for Wi-Fi connection which reduces connection cost.

Other functions is very similar with many phones out there and oh yes, let me add that for the time being, I am charging once 2 days mainly because my son plays with the games at home and I am tinkering with the GPS settings when he is not. So, there is no point doing any battery life test.

Software updates is not that regular but since I bought, there has been 2 recent updates (one crashed but I found the workaround later – need to delete a folder called 200919119 and retry the update). Nokia N8 was Nokia’s flagship device in 2010 and runs on an open source OS called Symbian (it is version 3 now and version 4 suppose to be in works).

P.s. this post would be updated from time to time as I explore the capability of NN8 in the coming months

Read Also

NN8 – First Impressions

NN8 – First Impressions


Been very busy with project works but here’s a quickie before I head back to work

(After many phones over the last few years, this must be my real smartphone – Image source: http://www.photographyblog.com)

Well, it is not really an iPhone but it is cheaper and in some areas, better and certainly a quantum leap over this.

Actually I did not plan for this but something about this phone attracted me when I was at Maxis service centre to settle on my wife’s phone line issue. Nokia N8 comes with very impressive features but here are some I really like about this latest gadget of mine – a full GPS sat nav (with built-in GPS chip and free maps from Ovi Maps for lifetime), 12 MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens, HD Video with HDMI outlet and the best of all, it is wrapped in an anodised aluminium body.

I really did not have the time to explore all the features in Nokia N8 (I am pressing the wrong buttons sometimes) but hopefully after CNY, I will have time to do a proper review. In the meantime, I am enjoying Need for Speed on Nokia N8 and free GPS Navigation.  I have not really touched on the camera and video and music player – perhaps after the holidays.

First impression wise, it looks very, very tempting…

Read Also

Nokia N8 vs Apple iPhone 4

10 Things why Nokia N8 is better

Music – my lifeline!


(Day 5 in Dubai)

It was noisy and it was getting on our nerves!

We are sitting the same room where we have temporarily placed 2 mega servers for installation, debugging and testing. They are noisy (because we had taken them out from the rack) and used to be hot as well. Hot until we decided to open the windows and immediately the room was engulfed with “pure natural air conditioner” from the outside. Yes, we took care of the heat and that was too easy but unfortunately not the sound. The sound had a profound effect on our ability to concentrate the work at hand – we were easily distracted and started to have a headache.

We were at lost on what to do next. We could not leave the room (the best place to do work) and certainly could not shut down the server. We looked around and noticed that the system engineers from India were doing their work with a headphone on their ears. They were listening to songs whilst doing some serious coding. Ya, occasionally they were singing as well. Hmmm, a headphone – that might just do the trick. I have brought in an old headphone but it was not in good shape (the sponge was loose and was coming out). The built-in microphone was also getting on my way. So, when I had the chance to visit the Mall of the Emirates couple days ago, one of the first thing I did was to go into Carrefour and get myself a decent headphone. It cost me about 20 Dhr – cheap (didn’t I say it was based on Dubai standard!) but stylish.

The next day, it was more peaceful…

The server was still at its noisy pace but this time, I had my new “sparkling” headphone which muted the outside noise and put the force behind light listening of music. I was able to concentrate on work more and at the same time, eased my work stress with the right doses of Shankar Mahadevan, pumping away good old Hindi and Tamil beats. Occasionally Richard Marx, Josh Groban and Robbie Williams will be entertaining me whilst I am testing out the system here.

Reality checks in once I take off the headphone but it does not matter much. I can always put back the headphone and cut down on the noise. Things should be improving in the next few days when the servers are placed back into their place in a secured server room (far, far away from us) and we will be using a more proper place in Sharjah for implementation.

By the way, I have been listening to Tamil songs most of the time and I am beginning to appreciate Vidyasagar’s talent in composing songs. Brilliant if one listens closely – one good example is the song “Poovukellam” from the movie “Uyiroda Uyiraga” (hear the guitar tune at the start and you will know what I mean. Yes, I know Ajith cannot mimic playing the guitar well, damn too obvious in the video).

Back to my headphone now.

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