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Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:00:04 GMT

 



Where's the character? Fall in love, not into utility

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 06:47:00 GMT

As an industry watcher, the world of smartphones has never been more competitive or better value. It's also duller than ditchwater. And, apparently, growth has now stopped and sales are in decline... With IFA 2016 just over in Germany, where yet another batch of almost identical 5" touch slabs were announced, I'm tempted to suggest that now really is the time to look for character in our smartphones. Where are the USPs? Are they now relegated to older, almost retro, devices, while new products fall over themselves to stay anonymous?




InstaPro (Instagram) for Symbian gets huge updates

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 08:51:47 GMT

Born as 'Instagram' for Symbian (last covered here) and then presumably renamed to avoid legal action(!), InstaPro has had numerous updates in recent months, so here's a shout out to the latest version, v4.1.0, now available in the AppList stpre for Symbian.




Xenon pops up in the smartphone world again

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 08:17:48 GMT

Proper (Xenon) flash has been something of a major bullet point for many Symbian and Windows Phone users over the last decade. From Nokia N82 to N8 to 808 to Lumia 1020, Xenon is where it's at if you want super-crisp evening shots of people (think parties, receptions, and so on). And yet Xenon has been very rare in the smartphone world generally, i.e. away from classic Nokias. Yesterday at IFA 2016 in Germany though, Motorola announced a new 'Moto Mod' from camera specialists Hasselblad that includes a Xenon flash and transforms a brand new Moto Z phone into a DSLR of sorts. Yes, it's Android, but this tech development is very definitely a 'link of interest' here, I think.




Juha Alakarhu: end of an era in imaging, but I'd argue that has also plateaued

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 17:32:29 GMT

Today marks the first for Juha Alakarhu back at Nokia, though this isn't quite as significant as it sounds, see my thoughts below. Of course, we're very happy that he's back in an imaging-related job and in his beloved Finland!




Why are we stuck at 75% (screen-to-body ratio)?

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:41:00 GMT

Despite the various pros and cons for 'touch' over the years, we're firmly in a mode in the tech world now where touch makes the most sense, in terms of text input, controls and general interaction. So why haven't we seen screen sizes increase to fill most of the front area of our phones? I examine the history of the form factor, in terms of screen-to-body ratio, and wonder whether we can't have our cake and eat it, in terms of phones that are manageable yet with monster displays...




15 Nokia N8s make up a Mobile Muster

Sun, 17 Jul 2016 20:53:00 GMT

Here's something interesting - and it features 15 Nokia N8s, would you believe... Artist Paul Sattress has assembled the discarded Symbian flagships from 2010 into an art installation, video shown below, part of the 'Mobile Muster' trade display, to be shown off on August 10th 2016.




Whatsapp to stop working on Symbian at the end of 2016

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 10:46:10 GMT

Thanks to Lawrence W for the heads-up and photo below - it seems that Whatsapp, a faithful stalwart on Symbian for a decade, is to end support for the platform at the end of this year. One by one, modern services are ending support for Symbian - obviously by not coding for it anymore, but also - as in this case - by a physical break in service, probably because servers dedicated to handling Symbian-specific traffic are being reassigned or decommissioned.




QDL, cuteTube and cuteRadio get updates, make sure you stay current

Tue, 07 Jun 2016 16:39:31 GMT

Big changes are afoot at long time Symbian stalwart developer Marxoft, with a brand new release of his Qt-based DownLoad manager (QDL), plus corresponding new versions of cuteTube and cuteRadio, see all the quotes and links below. Note that these new versions are newer than those in the AppList Store (which seems to have gone quiet).




Video sound capture tested: 808/1020/950/Marshall

Fri, 13 May 2016 08:29:00 GMT

One of the requests in the comments recently was to test audio capture when shooting videos. And, as it happens, I'd been thinking about doing this for a while anyway. So I headed out with six smartphones and tried to shoot video and audio in as controlled conditions as possible: in a quiet garden, by a windy, noisy road, and in a rock-level music setting. That should be enough to set the best from the rest, I thought...




Xenon or triple LED? Investigating camera phone flash capabilities

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 12:42:00 GMT

One of the most popular sub-topics in my features on camera-toting smartphones is low light and night time capabilities. Now, partly this is about arty shots of sunsets, churches and fountains, but more usually in the real world this is about friends and family in living rooms, pubs and events. Which usually means relying on your smartphone camera's flash. With LED flash now coming in 'triple' form and with many differences in processing capabilities under the hood, I thought some tests were in order. Will Xenon, the original winning tech, still come out on top?




FileNotes debuts on Symbian, a slick text and notes editor

Mon, 18 Apr 2016 07:04:54 GMT

Described as a "FileNotes is a lean text editor for Symbian that provides convenient access to the files you need to keep on hand", this is brand new in the Symbian AppStore client today. Of special note is full physical QWERTY support, i.e for the Nokia E6 and E7.




ProfiMail goes freeware

Fri, 25 Mar 2016 07:18:15 GMT

Admittedly a little late in the day, but welcome nevertheless, the antidote to Symbian/Nokia Mail hassles, ProfiMail, is now freeware, should anyone still need a very functional (though quirky) email client for a Symbian or S60 phone of any vintage. There's a new binary from a couple of days ago and I've been tipped that it's fully working without payment.




2012 vs 2016: Nokia 808 PureView versus Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 17:37:24 GMT

Having shot a whole batch of test photos/scenes for AAWP, I couldn't resist including the venerable Nokia 808 PureView in the mix - I thought it would be interesting to see the imaging progress made by other manufacturers in the four years since the 808 was first announced.




Tiny Planets comes to Symbian

Wed, 24 Feb 2016 14:10:46 GMT

Tiny Planets is a popular application for Windows Phone which has now been backported to Symbian - it takes a photo and wraps it around a single point, creating, as the name suggests, tiny planets, themed around your original image.




Four years on from that MWC announcement!

Sun, 21 Feb 2016 13:56:48 GMT

Guest writer Stuart Cutts writes: Mobile World Congress 2016 is now here and, as usual, Rafe will be treading mile upon mile of the show floor to get an insight into the latest and greatest in the smartphone world. A number of 'special' announcements – be it from LG, Samsung and others, will be making the MWC headlines. But for many Symbian and camera phone enthusiasts it will take something very special to get close to the announcement that happened 4 years ago – of the Nokia 808 Pureview. Not just 41 megapixels, not just that huge sensor, but the last device for Symbian which, at the time, was everything and more I wanted in a smartphone. For some then the 808 is still be used in 2016, testament to the many qualities of the device.




DxOMark? We need a real world 'Mark' for smartphone photography - ...

Wed, 27 Jan 2016 20:00:00 GMT

Ah yes, the professionally-rated best camera phones of the world. In this case, DxOMark calling the shots. Here's a quiz: what have the still cameras in the Nexus 6P, Xperia Z3+, iPhone 6s, Blackberry Priv and Nexus 6 got in common, as tested by DxOMark? Answer, they're all way ahead of the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 for still photography. Eh? What? I contend that DxOMark's testing is rooted in cloud-cuckoo-land and that a new 'realMark' is needed. (© Steve Litchfield, 2016!)




Getting sync, flashing, modem working under Windows 10

Wed, 30 Dec 2015 13:19:16 GMT

If, like me, you just use 'USB'/'Mass Storage' mode to hook up your Symbian smartphone to Windows 10 then you'll have no issues - just drag and drop as usual. However, it seems that there's more of an issue if you require sync features such as Nokia Suite/PC Suite/Outlook/Thunderbird, or if you need to flash on new custom firmware or use the smartphone as a modem. Fear not though, because the guys behind the Delight CFW are on the case, with a helpful set of notes linked below.




The Nokia Wi-fi connectivity test server now offline [Update: all now fixed!]

Sun, 13 Dec 2015 09:54:22 GMT

If you've seen the odd error message recently on a Symbian smartphone, at least when using it on Wi-fi, it's because Nokia's longstanding  server is now offline, the latest in a long line of Symbian support resources to disappear under Microsoft's ownership of Nokia's Devices division. The good news is that Wifi connectivity does work on the whole still, albeit without automatic connection. [Update] The URL has now been restored - presumably with Nokia's cooperation, so you can relax again!




Symbian over the air and Nokia Suite updates officially terminated

Fri, 04 Dec 2015 11:50:14 GMT

Unsurprisingly, the end of Symbian as a viable smartphone platform just got even closer, with Microsoft (Symbian's new owners after the Nokia Devices buy-out) shutting down all the servers handling Over The Air and Nokia Suite firmware updates. In theory this will happen at the end of this year, but some readers are reporting that it's all shut down already. Not that any of this will stop real Symbian hard core users, mind you, since the Delight custom firmware images are still available, as are SIS installation files for many third party applications. But, bit by bit, it's getting harder and harder to stay on Symbian without an excessive amount of work.




Pinnacle Studio 19 and Nero Video 2016 - editing smartphone-shot video on Windows 10

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 13:28:00 GMT

Editing smartphone-shot video on a Windows PC has rarely been without quirks. There are the major commercial editing systems of days gone by (represented here by Pinnacle Studio 19) and then there were 'lite' utilities like Windows Movie Maker. The latter seems to have passed away in the Windows 10 age, but remembering that the excellent all-purpose Nero suite for Windows used to have a reliable (if limited) video editing facility four or five years back, I headed for the latest edition of Nero too - and found that Nero Video/Vision is now all grown up.