My bittersweet relationship with the Nokia E71x, part 1

So, it’s been months now and I can honestly say this about the Nokia E71x phone (pros and cons):

  1. It’s a great starter QWERTY device. I love the keyboard layout and the fact that the @ symbol does not need the shift button to be depressed (you’d be dismayed at how often device manufacturers put extra hoops for you to access this all important symbol). I came from my Palm Treo 750 device which I loved so I was sorta of used to the feel of the keys and I didn’t have a problem with the keys being too small.
  2. Out of the box, it comes with a lot of ATT craplets which (to be fair) are meant to be used through ATT’s data connection. If you signed up for this phone as an upgrade or a new line, chances are you had to pay $30 for the data plan. Don’t ask me how I managed to dodge that bullet, but suffice it to say that I would NOT have purchased this phone if I had to have the data plan. The take home message is: you can get more user-friendly phones for the price you’re paying.
  3. If you purchased this phone to use the built-in GPS properties, save your time and money because my experience with the Nokia Maps software has not been positive. It is worth noting that the Nokia E71x device is not officially supported by Nokia Maps. Thus, it is quite tedious and a bit daunting to install by yourself. The entire idea of the E71x phone was to bring the E71 (worldwide version) to the USA market and thusly, the name E71x. I should also note that ATT preloaded the E71x with their own drive/navigation software which requires another subscription fee. By all accounts, the ATT Navigator software is quite good, but it is NOT available if you don’t have an ATT data plan. the take away is: skip the pain and purchase the E71 phone which is free of ATT’s crippled applications.
  4. My disappointment in the Nokia/Ovi Maps software has been the biggest turnoff for me with this phone. As of today, I’ve uninstalled the Maps application because it royally blows on the E71x. I mean, how hard is it to tell the application to take me from point A to point B? At one point, I had a sneaking suspicion that Ovi Maps had my starting location ‘stuck’ as both the start and end point!! To test my growing suspicion, I decided that I was going to follow the Ovi Map directions strictly. Well, whaddaya know? We ended up right where we started! I would definitely recommend that you do NOT depend on Ovi Maps on the Nokia E71x phone in an emergency. It takes at least 10 minutes or more to get a GPS fix so it’s useless for spontaneous joy rides. I’m officially looking for another alternative software for drive navigation on my E71x. This time, I’ll make sure that the software is 100% compatible with the Nokia E71x phone. Handango’s InHand mobile app recommends the Wayfinder Navigator North America, but I’m not dropping down the asking price of $109 until I read some concrete reviews of the application itself.
  5. Emoze, which is a push email application, can’t handle attachments. Shock and awe! I didn’ t know this until a commenter asked me about it. Sure enough, Emoze could not send a test message and an attachment to save its life. I downloaded Profimail to give it a whirl and I was instantly turned off by the black/white interface. It makes me wish that app developers thought like Apple developers do. Give software some color and soft edges. It makes a world of difference to your software’s usability!
  6. The available twitter clients for E71x are Twittix and Gravity. Save your money and buy Gravity. After suffering in silence with Twittix, I decided to give Gravity a try and I fell in love! His application has color (yes!), it does not require a thousand click (yes!!) and I actually get shit done on it! This app is simply beautiful and it makes living with my Nokia E71x device worthwhile. πŸ™‚ It’s awesomeness is more apparently if you use touch phone. Check this review of the Gravity application out!
  7. For medical professionals, there are a plethora of applications for things like drug interactions, manuals of medicine, etc. Being the curious kitten that I am, I obtained the Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference and the Harrison’s Manual of Medicine. It’s safe to say that I’ll soon become a repository of random trivia about the human body and random drug interactions. The user interface could do with some work, but then again, we are talking about a QWERTY device and not a fancy pants touch screen device. πŸ™‚

I wish I could say I’ve never been happier with this phone, but that would be a lie. Sadly. I’ve got all the applications I thought I’d need so what more do I want? Plain and simple, I am bored with this phone. I thought I’d always be a keyboard/QWERTY girl for life, but I’m a bit tired of peering at small screens. So, my issue is not with the E71x per se, but the fact that I want bigger screen ‘real estate’

PPS: In line with my wish for bigger screen, I’ve purchased a used ATT/HTC Tilt phone!

Installing Nokia Maps 3.0.1 on the Nokia E71x

  1. Update: it appears that using the Ovi Suite software, you do need to go to the trouble of downloading the older version 2.0 Ovi Maps .sis files. Follow the instructions on installing version 2 first and then, installing version 3 per the instructions in my post. When that succeeds, download & install the Ovi Suite (to your computer) . The Ovi Maps application on your Nokia E71x phones should now be detectable and updated by the Ovi Suite software! Let me know in the comments if you aren’t able to install Ovi Maps on your Nokia E71x phone. See the latest comment from SkyWorker that prompted a revision.

Wow! The visits to my posts on tweaking the Nokia E71x, some apps for the Nokia E71x and my recommended gear and more applications for the E71x are insane by my very modest standards. This blog is a labor of love and at most, I get ~ 15 visits daily (5 of which are from Bots). So, seeing something in the neighborhood of 60 visits/day is pretty huge and no Bots there! πŸ˜€ It tells me that this is a market that can be tapped into and by Jove, I aim to please! I’m on Twitter as @janetalkstech and make sure you subscribe to my blog here and keep track of my Nokia E71x related postings.

So, what else have I discovered about my new Nokia E71x since I’ve had it? Well, here goes:

  1. The questionΒ  is not if your phone will get scuffed up, it’s when. Get a Otterbox case for E71x now or see the black beauty get scarred.
  2. Google Maps will not work without a data connection. If you obtained a Nokia E71x without signing up for a data connection AND you are able to use Google Maps, guess what? You are making a data counter at AT & T very happy. I’m dreading my phone bill because I didn’t realize that Google Maps didn’t work with Wifi and I had been playing rather heavily with tracking myself via Google Maps. Oy vey. Painful and expensive lesson learned.
  3. Nokia Maps 3.0 (now Ovi Maps) works on your Nokia E71x device. The road to getting it installed is painful, but it can be done. The best part about it? Nokia Maps 3.0 will work on your device without needing a data connection. For driving directions to work, you will need to purchase a license from Nokia. You don’t need Wifi connection for the turn-by-turn directions to work. Here’s I went through to get it working on my device:
    1. Download Nokia Maps 2.0 and 3.0 onto your computer using the files (Nokia_Maps_2.0_0701_3.2_u.sis> and Nokia_Maps_3.0_0302_3.2_u.sis which are actually for 6650 device, but apparently works on the E71x) from this website (here originally at http://tamale.pwnij.com/e71x/). FIRST, make sure your microSD card is in your phone. We will be dealing with a lot of data so check yourself. SECOND, install Nokia Maps 2.0 on your device via the Nokia PC Suite software and run Nokia Maps 2.0 once. Reboot your device after the install successfully completes. Ensure you are doing the installation using your USB cord. THEN, install Nokia Maps 3.0 onto your device through PC Suite and run it once as well. At this point, you may run into the “low memory” message and all that is needed is for you to go to your C:/ or E:/ drive and delete the Cities/ folder and a ‘qf’ file.
    2. If you don’t know what C:/ or E:/ drive means, I strongly recommend you get an AT & T data plan. If you do, thumbs up. Keep reading.
    3. After deleting the Cities/ folder (if you had a problem starting up Nokia Maps 3.0 in the first place), then start up Nokia Maps 3.0 again. Success! Restart your device to ‘clear its head’.
    4. Visit Nokia’s website and download two files: (i)Nokia Map loader for downloading the maps (ii) Nokia Map Updater for updating the Nokia Maps software. Hint: your device selection is the E71 in order to access the Nokia Maps Updater software.
    5. Connect your Nokia E71x phone to the computer in Mass Storage PC Suite mode and start up Nokia Maps Updater software. It should detect your device and prompt you to update your Nokia Maps 3.0 software to Nokia Maps 3.0.1. If you get this far, you’re looking mighty fine. πŸ˜€
    6. Then, fire up the Nokia Maps Uploader software (Hint: do the actual map downloading at a time when your network is least congested. I did the download at ~ 2am so that about 1.4GB didn’t take 2 years to download).I opted to download the entire US maps to my device. I’m hoping you realize that you must already have your microSD card (8GB or more) in your device because the US maps are ~ 1.4GB in size.
    7. When the download is done, exit and you are free to fire up the Nokia Maps software. In my experience, it takes a couple of minutes to get a GPS fix, but I’m not complaining because it’s free, right? You get what you pay for. In this case, I hear AT & T’s Navigator software is quite good, but again, I am averse to paying for convenience. lol.
    8. PS: Based on comments, I’m putting up a link to this site that points directly to the maps files for Ovi Maps 3.0 that reside on Nokia’s servers (in case the Map Loader software is not working as it should).
  4. Games:- Handango is pretty pathetic in its selection of games for the Nokia E71x device. However, I discovered that Gameloft has a mobile site and as I write, I’ve got Prince of Persia on my device!Β  However, their online payment system has hiccups. Something I’ve also discovered is that Handango is like an aggregator which makes resolving issues more complicated than it needs to if you need a refund issued. So, I’m trying to hunt down the actual game developers for the applications I purchase and get them from their website directly if they have an option to purchase online from them!.
  5. Thus far, all my paid downloads have been for useful applications like the Handy Converter and the Handy Expense tracker, Merriam Webster 3rd International Unabridged Dictionary with a Sound module, a paid KJV bible (along with 2 free readers from Olive Tree Bible Software and Mobipocket E-Book Reader), Call Recorder, Mobiola Screen Capture software, Twittix, X-plore, Quickoffice Premier 6, Adobe Reader LE 2.5 and Emoze Pro.
  6. Lastly, my entire series of Nokia E71x posts will not be complete without mentioning the guys at Nokia Experts who have been a key factor in getting me started on my way to emancipating myself from AT & T’s shackles. Go visit them and encourage them to keep posting more Nokia E71x tips and tricks!!

PS: Check my series of posts on Tweaking the Nokia E71x phone, more apps for the Nokia phone, recommended accessories and yet more applications for the Nokia E71x phone. Cheers!