Here's how to get a Symbian smartphone that's useable and competitive, in terms of hardware and software, in 2011 for significantly under £100. Perhaps the last S60 5th Edition smartphone to receive the 'Pimping' treatment from me, the X6 still has lots to recommend it, with insanely good speakers, a capacitive touchscreen, bright display, long lived and replaceable battery and a decent 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss-lensed auto-focus camera, here with dual LED flash. You can now pick up the X6 second hand or in fire sales for less than £100, making it a real bargain. Here's how to pimp it for 2011.
Video LAN Client, known as VLC, is the Swiss Army Knife of multimedia applications. Capable of playing just about anything, as well as streaming to other devices and transcoding, there’s little it can’t do. However, there are times when you don’t want to be glued to the keyboard while watching videos. That’s where VLC Remote for Symbian comes in. With this application, you can kick back and relax with Symbian in hand to take charge of your viewing experience. Read on to see how well it works.
Life Journal, from Neusoft Mobile, promises to be your mobile diary to record your experiences and help share them online. It's a great idea that's been tried by many apps and companies before, so have Neusoft managed to make Life Journal attractive and reliable enough to be part of my mobile life? Read on to find out.
In All About Symbian Insight 182, we start with the news of Tero Ojanpera's departure from Nokia and arrival at investment fund Vision+. The team then discuss patents, with mentions for Samsung and Mosaid. In a software round up, Steve talks about 3D World Gaze and Vlingo (voice recognition) going free, Rafe talks Qt SDK updates and David brings us the latest news of NuevaSync. Finally, the team offer some helpful suggestions for the naming of Nokia's new Windows Phone devices.
It's a problem, to be sure. You're on holiday and you want to take your Nokia N8 or X7 or similar onto the beach. But, rightly, you're utterly paranoid about sand and splashed seawater ruining your expensive smartphone. Or perhaps you like hiking - or canoeing or any other outdoor pursuit that involved water in any quantity. What you need is this, the BeachBuoy Waterproof Case - I have to say that I'm enormously impressed.
As noted by Nokialino and others, Nokia has a page dedicated to the attractions of Symbian Belle, including a number of well done videos (one is embedded below). Each of the three new smartphones are featured in detail and there's even a shout out to the likes of the N8, C7 and E7 as being fully Symbian Belle compatible, with the update to come 'later'.
You've got to love lateral thinking when it comes to using smartphone hardware. In this case using the auto-focus optics in the Nokia N8 (and selected S60 5th Edition smartphones) to turn your smartphone into an intelligent magnifying glass. In use, it works surprisingly well and more than justifies its existence as a separate application. Read on for my review.
Contact images are taken for granted these days, but it wasn’t that long ago that they were something of a luxury. Without automation, they can be a pain to set up, even Nokia Social doesn’t do that for us. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something that would scan our social networks and match up images with our contacts? Well, we now have two applications to do just that. Read on to see how well Facebook Sync and Contact Photo Sync work.
Imagine a world where you had to get to the exit. A world of squares in a grid. A world where you could never set foot on the grid but have to create safe havens by pushing over tower blocks. That's the world of Ming Zhu.
Vlingo, the voice recognition system that has been bundled in limited form with most Nokia smartphones over the last few years, has finally gone completely free, with Vlingo Premium now available for all through the Ovi Store. The utility lets you call contacts, dictate messages, emails, notes and Facebook updates - and more.
Another month, another set of stellar (or in this case, lunar) photos taken on the Nokia N8 and showcased by the Nokia Creative blog. It should be noted that some of these example photos are taken with the aid of external lenses (e.g. the telescope one of the moon), but even so, the N8 still has to grab the image itself. Comments welcome, feel free to link to your own N8 Flickr exploits...
We've published our fair share of 'how to' articles here on AAS over the years, wo we can recognise a decent article when we see it. In this case it's the Mobile Tech Bishop's "Guide to Getting the most out of your Symbian Device", quoted below. In this feature he covers, expertly, device maintenance, PIM syncing, media transfer, data security, and much more. And it's all Anna-aware and up to date, with hyperlinks everywhere necessary. Nice job!
Qt developers have a lot of new tools to explore and play with over the weekend, as Nokia has announced a major update to the Qt SDK. The headline change is the introduction of Qt Creator v2.3 (full details on Creator 2.3 can be found here), other changes include Qt 4.7.4, a new UI and features in Qt Simulator, updates to the notifications API, and the various components for running Qt apps on Symbian, MeeGo and the desktop. Existing Qt developers can update from within the SDK application folder, otherwise the links are in the Qt Labs.
Five reviews in one, I look at the range of metronomes currently offered in the Ovi Store. For the budding musician, an accurate metronome can be a vital tool and it's one less gadget to forget if the function's built into your smartphone. Here then are reviews of Metronome, KopKop Metronome, Professional Metronome, Metronome Touch and METRONOMi. Between them, can they keep your strummings, pluckings and blowing in perfect time? Maybe. Just maybe.
Zen-like puzzles? Chill out? Casual and fun? Yes, the flavour text for Escape certainly appeals to me. The game itself does deliver, but with a few quirks and one gotcha in the game design. I wouldn't say it's zen, but it's certainly a relaxing and slow paced little number that I'm enjoying.
Still, technically, in 'beta', and strictly for the graphics-accelerated Symbian^3 phones, Nokia 3D World Gaze is now mature enough to stand review - it's an augmented reality application with a difference, drawing on Panoramio, Wikinews and GeoNames public data sources to produce a genuinely unique view of our world. In terms of geospatial awareness (i.e. knowing where you are and what's immediately around you) it's totally the wrong tool - but for a beautiful, quirky and interesting look at the planet we live on, it can't be beaten.
Over at Nokia Conversations, I've been moonlighting in helping create their Appstravaganza series of developer interviews. In this case, chatting to Harald Meyer, of CameraPro and PhoneTorch fame... What makes Harald tick and what development tips does he have for others?
One of the aesthetic updates of Symbian Anna was its split-screen keyboard. Symbian users would finally be able to see what they were typing in context, rather than having a full screen editor cover up the whole screen. However, third party developers wanting to use this new feature have found the information to be rather scattered. Fortunately, Talv Bansal, developer of applications like SymFTP and SymPaper, has gathered together the information and code for developers to follow. Read on for a summary and links.
Continuing our look at making money from developing applications for Symbian, the third part of our series (supported by inneractive, and following up from parts one and two) takes a look at using in-app advertising. From the decision to use advertising and the choices to make at the design process, to choosing an advertising partner to get the best potential income, the rise of in-app advertising makes this a powerful choice to monetise your hard work.
SPB, one of the leading Symbian application houses, just released SPB Shell 3D for the graphically-accelerated Symbian^3 smartphones, and it has to be seen to be believed - I suggest you watch the embedded video below. It's similar to HTC Sense 3 on Android, but with an extra 3D twist and is either a graphical and usability triumph or a triumph of eye candy over common sense - but at least users can make their own mind up - it's pricey, but there's a 30 day no quibble refund if you don't like it.