Tag Archives: symbian

First Look: The Nokia C7-00 and a review.

I reached out to WOMWorld/Nokia after the PR 1.1 update fiasco on my Nokia N8. They were gracious enough to lend me a Nokia C7 and a Nokia BH 905i headset for duration of 2 weeks. I was curious about the Nokia C7-00 because it reminds me of the Nokia N8 in that both run on Symbian ^3. The C7 and the N8 belong to a different class of devices (and by extension, a different type of user); The Nokia C7 belongs to the C-series line and the N8 belongs to the N-series. According to Wikipedia, here are the list of C-series devices, the Wikipedia page for the C7-00 device and an insight into Nokia’s line of devices by Nokia Conversations. You can test this phone virtually by utilizing the Forum Nokia Remote Device Access page or this list of methods of access a virtual Nokia device.

In assessing the Nokia C7, I was primarily interested in how it ‘felt’ i.e. the hardware & construction and how well it took photographs because I have come to terms with the camera as a very important aspect of my mobile device. I have been a Nokia N8 user for over 3 months so I’ve been biased towards quality mobile phone images. 🙂 As I found out, I found the Nokia C7 was easier to physically handle, but fell flat when it came to the camera functions which are very important to me and of course, runs on Symbian which could be a problem if you need eye-candy or user-friendliness.
Nokia C7 with case
Nokia C7 beside box.

The Good

  1. Setting up the phone on first use is relatively hassle-free so new Nokia phone users won’t be out of their depth (for older Nokia phone owners, the setup should be familiar). Make sure you have an Ovi.com account because you won’t be able to use the Ovi Store without one. When I first turned the phone one, I was walked through a set of simple prompts (to attach my Ovi.com account, select my country/timezone as my phone doesn’t have the SIM card in it, etc). Once I was at the homescreen, Ovi Maps and Ovi Store were preinstalled. The preinstallation of Ovi Store will happen on Nokia C7 devices with the PR 1.1 update (which this phone had). The phone ships with a standard set of accessories:

    Here’s a short video I created showing the outlets & hardware features of the Nokia C7-00:
    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM7uWTGQaqI

  2. The C7 is thinner than the Nokia N8 and loses the protrusion on the back of the Nokia N8. The slim Nokia C7 has a better feel to it and I really like that the battery was replaceable with an even easier way of inserting my SIM card & memory card. See my gallery of Nokia C7 photos on Min.us, which is an awesome way for painlessly sharing photos. Again, living with the Nokia N8 made me appreciate the C7 for being easy to slip into little slits in my book bag. The C7 gets high marks for being slim and feels just right.
    Nokia C7 - Lateral ViewNokia C7 - Lateral View

    Nokia C7 - Ventral ViewNokia C7 - Lateral View View 

    Nokia C7 - Dorsal View

  3. Physical buttons (“soft keys) for making or ending calls and a dedicated “Menu” button. I didn’t realize how much I missed having the green phone sign to make calls so the C7 gets points for the hardware “Call” buttons. With the Nokia N8, there was no easy way to dial the last-dialled number; But on the C7, merely pressing the “green call button” twice will dial the last number you called from your phone.
  4. The C7 has a front-facing camera for video calls and can record HD video with video stabilization. I am not big on recording videos with my cellphone, but it is quite comforting to know that in a pinch, recording HD video on my phone is available. If you have a data plan that supports video calls, you’d be wise to get an app that supports video calls. I don’t have a data plan but check out these VOIP apps (Fring & Nimbuzz) which may support video calling. Small nitpick: As with the software on the Nokia N8, switching from the 8mp camera to this front-facing camera is a two-step process and is a victim of Nokia’s menu-centric design style.
  5. The Nokia C7 has an Extended Depth of Focusing camera which means there’s no “focus” step in taking the picture and lessens the chances of getting the wrong item in focus. This feature lends itself well to taking photographs of things like landscapes or group photos because the EDoF feature tries to get everything in focus. The included photo editor on the Nokia C7 (which the Nokia N8 has) bears highlighting. If you don’t take a good photo, you can sharpen, crop, convert and perform a host of editing/enhancment functions to your photo! I really like this bundled photo editor which, while not packaged in the most intuitive of interfaces, does the job of editing your mobile photos well.Under optimal conditions like bright sunlight, the EDoF camera shines and so far, my pictures can’t hold a candle to these really nice photos taken by All About Symbian. Here are some photos taken with the Nokia C7:
    Nokia C7 photography - skiesNokia C7 photograph of skies

    Nokia C7 photo of truck

  6. Battery life on the Nokia C7 is just excellent!. I’ve gone over 8 hours with bluetooth enabled (a working day) on this phone without needing to recharge! This is the same battery life I’ve come to expect with the Nokia N8 so that I’m glad Nokia was able to have that kind of battery life with the Nokia C7. One important differentiating feature between the C7 and the N8 is the user-replaceable battery with the Nokia C7 and in my opinion, the easier-to-access SIM card and Memory card slots.
    Nokia C7 photo of SIM card and microSD slot
  7. The Nokia C7 comes with the ability to play a wide variety of video formats (which is important to me as I hate having to transcode video files) as well as being able to play a good number of audio formats as well (the ones I care about are: mp3, wma, and aac but the C7 can also play eaac, eaac+, amr-nb, and amr-wb). A neat feature of the video player in the Nokia C7 is the support for subtitles! Read more about this video subtitles feature on GSM Arena and Nitish Kumar’s blog. Video Recording on the Nokia C7 is pretty handy in a pinch. Nokia has also included basic video editor on the phone might just entice you into showing your creations to the world! 🙂 The same options on the N8 for video recording are present on the C7; You can split your video, add title clips before or after and style your title clips. Check out this video review of the Nokia C7 by PhoneArena which is quite good.
  8. Compared to most Android phones in ATT’s collection, the Nokia C7 has a relatively generous 8GB of internal memory with support for microSD cards up to 32GB in size (*whisper*the N8 comes with 16GBs of memory*whisper*). Nokia has a good track record of giving their phones a lot of internal memory although they have yet to get the memo about bumping up CPU specs to 2011 levels. 😛 You will probably need to get an external microSD card if you download a lot of Maps from the free Ovi Maps application which brings me to my next point:
  9. Ovi Maps is a highlight and treat for new users to Symbian. The maps are free to download and you’ll get updates for life. On other mobile systems like Android or iOS, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a free mapping application that offers downloadable maps.
  10. As with the Nokia N8, the Nokia C7 comes with customizable home screens (up to 3) which can be filled with apps you install. You can also add several preinstalled widgets to a homescreen by ‘longpressing” the homescreen and editing the settings. With Symbian^3, the Ovi Social application is particularly useful as it links your Twitter/Facebook account and displays updates in a widget. Another of my favorite widgets is the “Favorite Contacts” widget which lets you add up to 4 contacts, the handy Wi-Fi widget which lets you connect quickly to wireless network, and a host of other preinstalled widgets like that from Paramount Pictures showing a handful of their movies, and more.

The Bad

  1. Nokia C7 photograph of leaf - Close UpMy biggest gripe about the Nokia C7 revolves around the C7’s camera. I’ve taken a fair amount of high quality cell phone photographs with my Nokia N8 so I was expecting to be able to do the same with the Nokia C7. Sadly, the camera on the Nokia C7 disappoints. You’ll need to spend a lot of time figuring to the best way to take the picture versus just pointing & clicking. The C7-00 boasts of an 8 megapixel camera, but as with the Nokia N8, you don’t actually have all the megapixels present. The phone compresses the images to make sharing over your 3G data connection cheaper. However, I was disappointed because there was no ‘focus’ button in the camera application. I essentially had to move back and forth to make sure whatever I wanted to photograph was in focus. In reading up about the reasons for this, it turns out that fancy Extended Depth of Focusing feature and the C7’s fixed length lens are to blame hence the need to move back and forth to ensure my photos are in focus. Most of the time, I just gave up and snapped the scenes as they were & sure enough, the pictures turned out blurry. Add to that the fact that there’s no macro mode on the C7 and you’ll have yourself a recipe for mild annoyance.
  2. For a thorough review of the limitations of the Nokia C7’s camera, visit All About Symbian for their take on the Nokia C7. Nokia is shipping some phones with something called EDoF or Extended Depth of Focusing and All About Symbian has a great series exploring the technical differences between the traditional two-stage (focus & take the picture) camera technology and Extended Depth of Focusing. Stay tuned for some more photographs exploring scenarios where the C7 shines in taking photos.
  3. The C7 runs on Symbian ^ 3which is on maintenance mode since Nokia’s moving forward with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 in the future. Compared to Android and iOS, there aren’t many quality apps available for the Symbian and no carrier in the United States offers subsidized pricing for this $399 phone. This ‘disadvantage’ is the same one I had noted with my Nokia N8 and frankly, I’ve made my peace with this especially as the Nokia N8 is a great multi-use tool!
  4. ****Issues with the trial device didn’t let me assess the multitasking capability of the Nokia C7.

Parting Thoughts on the Nokia C7

The Nokia C7 is available for purchase via third party merchants like the Amazon Store, etc. Currently , Amazon has the Nokia C7 at $429 and the Nokia N8 at $399. That is not a typo, but to be fair, the Amazon price difference between the C7 and the N8 fluctuates within the range of ± $40. Also note that on NokiaUSA.com, the Nokia N8 is priced at $449 and the C7 isn’t listed for purchase on NokiaUSA.com. So, why would you possibly pick the Nokia C7 over the seemingly same-priced Nokia N8? Well, it turns out in other parts of the world, the Nokia C7 is cheaper than the Nokia N8.

In the UK (on Nokia UK’s website), the Nokia C7 is about a hundred pounds less on a pay-as-you-go plan than the Nokia N8 and a little over 50 pounds more than the SIM-free Nokia N8. In Indonesia, the Nokia C7 is at least, 400 RRP more than the Nokia N8. In Norway, the Nokia N8 (without a contract) is over 1300 NOK more than the Nokia C7. The table below shows the price differences between the Nokia C7 and the Nokia N8.

**** Table Showing Price Difference between Nokia C7 and Nokia N8 in European Countries
Country Nokia C7 (Phone only)
Nokia N8
(Phone only)
Finland 370,00 € 479,00 €
France 329,00 € 419,00 €
Germany 379,00€ 449,00€
Italy €379,00 €499,00
Netherlands €399,00 €499,00
Poland 1 399,00 zł 1 729,00 zł
Portugal 399.90€ 529.90€
Russia 15490 руб 19990 руб
Spain 379,00 € 479,00 €
Sweden 3 495,00 kr
4 295,00 kr
United Kingdom £309.00
£365.00
China ¥2,988.00 (WiFi version)
¥3,198.00 (3G version)
¥3,598.00 to  ¥4,899.00
Brazil
R$
1.499,00

For users living in areas with this price disparity, getting the Nokia C7 will be a tough decision/call, but here are some conditions that could make the C7 a good choice:

  1. If the N8 is ‘too much phone’ for your needs i.e. you’ll never need HDMI-out or 16 gbs of onboard space
  2. If you’re not into (quality) phone photography or couldn’t care less about megapixel ratings
  3. If you like the form factor of the Nokia C7, the touchscreen capability and presence of the ‘soft’ keys/menu

However for those in the USA or areas where the difference is less than 100 (dollars, pounds, naira, etc), I would hesitate to recommend the Nokia C7 especially when the Nokia N8 is available for the (almost) same price *and* has more awesome-to-have features like a kickass camera, 16GBs of internal space, USB-on-the-go and HDMI-out! In the US, no cellphone provider carries the Nokia C7 so you’ll have to pay the full price ($399) which is nothing to sneeze at. The C7 is not quite a camera-phone as getting non-landscape photos from the phone was hit-or-miss. As a C7 owner, you’ll have access to the plethora of applications on the Ovi Store for Symbian ^3 and I’ve found some useful apps on the Ovi Store that I’ve found. In fact, if I could marry the soft keys and form factor of the Nokia C7 with the Nokia N8’s hardware, we’d have a phone I would buy again! Get a Nokia N8 instead and you’ll thank me later. 🙂 I don’t think Nokia will complain if one person opts for the Nokia N8 over the Nokia C7. *grin*

In summary, I recommend USA users considering the Nokia C7 ‘upgrade’ to the Nokia N8 (for ~ $10 more on Amazon) instead.

Note:

  1. *Africa & the Middle East as well as some Asian countries are not represented.
  2. Unfortunately, the review unit I was sent had something wrong with it because the Menu button did not do anything except to ‘wake’ the phone. This particular C7 had lost the ability to view running applications which made running multiple apps impossible. WOMWorld/Nokia is aware of the issues with this particular C7 and I’m fairly certain this issue is not typical of production C7 units. Here are some screenshots (made with Smartphoneware‘s Best ScreenSnap) on the trial Nokia C7 showing the absence of “show open application:
    Nokia C7 Review Unit from WOMWorld/NokiaNokia C7 Review Unit from WOMWorld/Nokia

     

    Here are some screenshots (and video) I took of a remote Nokia C7 showing that the C7 *does* support multitasking and viewing open applications:
    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV5dkXKprcE

Ovi Store Blues

I love the Ovi Store for simplifying what used to be an exhausting method of purchasing Symbian apps. Before the Ovi Store, purchasing a Symbian application was an exhausting cycle of:

  1. Searching for your app online and with luck, landing directly on the developers website or the many online marketplaces which include Handango, PenReader, or Handmark, etc.
  2. Purchasing that app using their payment processor of choice. Remembering to keep that email invoice safe by printing out the receipt or permanently storing in your e-mail inbox in case when you replaced your phone and needed to reinstall the app. With Handango, you would get charged a download fee if 30 days have passed since your first purchase so you not only have to keep your invoices, you have to save a copy of the installation file (.sis or .sisx).
  3. If you’ve replaced your phone, installing your purchased app involves the following:
    • Email the developers with your purchase details and IMEI number.
    • Wait anywhere from 24hr – 4 days for a response with a link to the new installation file
    • Unfortunately for Nokia users & developers, there are 3 “versions” of Symbian that they may have to support if they wanted to cater to all markets.If you’re lucky, you might not get charged extra if you moved from a non-touchscreen phone like the Nokia E71x to a touchscreen phone like the Nokia N8.

Needless to say, I’ve become a digital packrat with copies of (almost) every Windows (Mobile), Android, Symbian application I’ve ever purchased. So, I was very relieved when the Ovi Store came out because I finally had a source that would *always* be available for me to download from. When you purchase an app on the Ovi Store with either a credit card (you’ll have to pop out your SIM for this option if you are in the USA) or operator billing (i.e. you get billed when you get your monthly phone bill), you get an email receipt of your purchase and the Ovi Store stores this information so that reinstalling your app is as easy as clicking the “Download” button that will appears on apps you’ve purchased or downloaded before.

Unfortunately, there is a fly in this ointment. Did you know that if you click the “Download” button 5 times, you will be prevented from further downloads of the app that you paid for? I experiment with my phone a lot by using a lot of Nokia Beta Labs applications and other .sis/.sisx files that I find online. Rather often, I run into issues that I have no idea of troubleshooting and for me, reformatting is the easiest option. With my latest reformat, I was greeted with this message when I attempted to download Angry Birds, the $1.99 application I purchased and blogged about here:

Exhibit #1: Angry Birds
Blocked from Downloading Angry Birds on Ovi Store

Exhibit #2: SoundHound
You need to update this application to a newer version that is compatible with your current phone mode

The notification reads: “You need to update this application to a newer version that is compatible with your current phone model“. For crying out loud, SoundHound was one of the first applications I bought for my Nokia N8 and I freaking blogged about that in this article about Ovi Maps Improvements and Some Recommended Apps on the Nokia N8!

Before I did the kneejerk “tweet about how horrible the Ovi Store is and threaten to blog about it” thing, I did the following:

  1. I opened up a support request here: http://support.ovi.com/osc/home
  2. Then, I sent a tweet to @NokiaCareUS and asked for their intervention.
    .bbpBox32208253072965630 {background:url(http://a1.twimg.com/profile_background_images/70457218/twitter-janetalkstech.png) #9AE4E8;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block}

    @NokiaCareUS I reformatted my #N8 2x in the 24hrs and I’m getting a “max # of download attempts reached” msg for Angry Birds!less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

To Nokia’s credit, @NokiaCareUS got back to me and shortly afterwards, sent me a direct link to download my Angry Birds installation file! As for my SoundHound app, I couldn’t find my email invoice. Expecting the trust bar to be raised higher for a $4.99 app, I went ahead & re-purchased it. This time, I printed my email invoice. 🙂

.bbpBox33283858484961280 {background:url(http://a1.twimg.com/profile_background_images/161868893/nokiatwitter.jpg) #C0DEED;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block}

@janetalkstech Just resent your content to you. Sorry for the inconvenience. U might get the link again if u already sent a care request.less than a minute ago via Spredfast

Moral lesson of this very late blog post: Hitting the “5 installs” limit on the Ovi Store is not a death sentence. Open a support ticket or send a tweet @NokiaCaresUS (make sure you follow them so you can provide personal information privately).

Gaming and Apps on the Nokia N8

I’ve been an Android user (running Cyanogenmod, a custom Android software solution) using the G1 since July 2010. The G1 is pretty old in internet-years (Fall of 2008) and seems under-powered as compared with smartphones of 2010. As I’ve grown accustomed to the idea of “Doing More” with my cellphone and as I try to transition to carrying less devices with me, I have grown tired of the G1 and its weak hardware underpinnings; It’s so bad that Angry Birds won’t even run on the G1. 🙂

As my post about choosing the Nokia N8 details, I did my research and pulled the plug on getting a Nokia N8. Even as I still have reservations about (i)Whether Nokia will decide to release an different N-series model instead of fixing current software problems with the Nokia N8 and the future of “Symbian” and where Nokia is going with Symbian/Meego, I still think the Nokia N8 shines when it comes to games and apps made specifically for it! My smartphone experience has been sadly limited to underpowered devices like the ATT Tilt running a custom Windows Mobile ROM and the Google G1 running a custom mod. So, in comparison to those devices, the N8 feels like a speed demon.

Without rehashing the reasons for picking the N8, this post will attempt to give:

  1. an overview of games I like on the N8
  2. what apps that developers should be looking to port or create as Nokia plows on with Symbian.
  3. and apps that make sticking with the N8 worth my while.

Gaming on the Nokia N8

In the few days I’ve had my Nokia N8, I purchased 4 games for it. There are several games in the Ovi Store, but the only ones worth mentioning are mostly the Racing apps, Angry Birds and most games by Gameloft. The others “look” shoddy*. Thankfully, the few games I’ve paid for have left me thoroughly impressed with how the Nokia N8 handles the games and multi-tasking. After a temporary return to my antique G1, I’ve come to miss my N8 quite badly. Below are the games I purchased and some commentary about them.

  1. Hero of Sparta HD: I particularly like this game because there’s lots of slashing and jumping to be done. The on-screen controls feel like you’re handling a joystick (sez a less-than-parttime gamer) and the graphics are gorgeous on the N8’s screen. I haven’t even gotten past the first level, but I would definitely recommend this as a must-have gaming app and cheap at $2.99. Buy.
  2. James Cameron’s Avatar HD: I haven’t even seen the Avatar movie, but I decided to take a leap of faith by buying this game. I didn’t get past the first level because I was disappointed with the graphics which were frankly disappointing. However, this review on TalkAndroid talks about the “amazing 3D graphics”. The game looks like one of those 2D side-scrolling games on the Nokia N8 and the controls aren’t precise. I would request a refund, but for $2.99, not worth the time. For now, Don’t buy.
  3. Angry Birds: iOS device owners pretty much made this game a mega-monster hit. So much so that there’s apparently a line of “Angry Birds”- based plush toys in the works! So, when I got it, I had some high expectations. Turns out it’s a deceptively simple game and quite addictive. It’s definitely one of the must-have gaming apps and it’s hours of idle fun. 🙂 A hearty Buy.
  4. GT Racing: Motor Academy HD: I suck at driving in real life. This hasn’t changed with the game. Easily hours of fun and a must-have gaming app. Of course, the N8 handles the game like a champ, but the download is hefty at ~ 150mbs. I particularly like this game because for a cellphone game, it’s ridiculously packed with options. Read this review on AllAboutSymbian and the reviewer goes into nitpicky detail about the tracks & modeling. 🙂 It’s also made by Gameloft which is a company I trust to make great games. I’ve bought several games from them before when I had an old (and still kicking) Nokia 6 phone so I am partial to games by Gameloft. In a nutshell, Buy.

Apps for the N8 – Wishlist

At this point, I don’t think the Nokia N8 has any “signature apps” for it yet which is a shame.
by Jane@janetalkstech

In the US, a plausible explanation for lack of these so-called “killer apps” is Nokia’s mobile Operating Systems are perceived as second-class citizens when it comes to smartphones. Accordingly, the rate of Symbian adoption (by developers) is relatively slower than the current rush of developers to Android or iOS. Handwringing aside, here are a few Android apps I miss & accordingly, would love to see ported for the Symbian ^3 ecosystem. Please note that for some apps, I am specifically referring to Symbian ^3 because there are quite a few apps for the older Symbian devices so this list isn’t a knock on the entire Symbian environment. For older Symbian apps, look no further than my Nokia E71x tags.)

  1. Catch notes (nee 3banana Notes):- In one of my posts about my frequently used Android apps, Catch notes was at the top of my list. The beautiful user interface coupled with the fact that I would simply re-use my Google account to sync created notes and easy-peasy tagging interface make this app a pleasure to use. I might have to start a letter-writing campaign to implore the developers behind Catch.com to consider Qt, which is one of the platforms for creating apps for Symbian devices.
  2. E-book reader:- The Nokia N8 comes with Adobe Reader LE 2.5 (courtesy of QuickOffice), but it’s quite uncomfortable to use in reading an entire to use it to read an entire book. There are a *lot* of ebook readers on the Android Market which are well-done. Sadly, I can’t say the same for the Ovi Store. One service (Wattpad) cropped up during my online search but the app was practically useless on the N8. So, if FBreader, which was my e-book reader of choice on Android, is available for the Nokia N8 (or Symbian ^3 devices), I’ll be one happy gal. 🙂 Sidenote: FBreader is available for a certain class of Maemo devices.
  3. Screen Capture on Symbian: On my Android phone, I wasn’t a fan of any of the screen capture apps so I resorted to an alternative i.e. using the Android SDK. So far, the only real contender for screen capture on the Nokia N8 is “Best Screen Snap“; I’m not a huge fan. It doesn’t help that there are few physical buttons on the N8 that I can assign as my screen snap button. For instance, my N8’s camera button is taken i.e. 1 press starts up the camera app and a long press focuses. Pressing the “menu” button takes you to the home screen and a ‘long’ press brings up running applications. That said, the solution I came up with was to delay the screen capture by 10 seconds while I brought up the application that needed the screen captured. The other option I’ve tried is the Remote Professional app by MobileWays.de. I got turned off by the UI and it felt sluggish so I didn’t want to plunk down $34.95 for something that I didn’t like. So, my next assignment is to figure out how to create screenshots using the development tools for Symbian. Wish me luck! 🙂
  4. Medical software: Having a background in Biology means I’ve got a soft spot for reading about chemicals and biology. In the Android/iPhone/Windows Mobile ecosystem, there’s no shortage of these kinds of apps. These apps (actually useful ones) are noticeably absent from the Ovi Store and particularly in these early days of Symbian ^3 devices. I’d like to see an app like Epocrates (which I used on my Android phone) or even any of Skyscape‘s offerings on the Nokia N8.
  5. Google Voice integration: Often, I make calls internationally with Google Voice. With Android, calling internationally is as simple as installing the Google Voice app and setting it to ask me whether or not I wanted to use Google Voice to place calls. With the N8, there isn’t an official app for that yet and I have to do the old fashioned “call-a-number-enter-pin-and-dial-a-number” dance. Update: If you’re using an older S60 device, you might be in luck! There’s an experimental Google Voice for S60 app by BDC software!
  6. Barcode Scanning Apps: I’d love to see either ShopSavvy or Barcode Scanner on the Ovi Store. The only comparable barcode scanner app in the Ovi Store is that by UpCode and after 1 day, I uninstalled it. Basically, it hasn’t had any UI improvements to it since I used it on the Nokia E71x.

The Highlights of Apps Available for the N8

There are some bright spots in the selection of apps available/useful on the N8 in spite of the glaring absence of the apps listed above. While it’s telling that most of the “apps” I write of are built in to the Nokia N8 device, I suspect Nokia chose to be pragmatic about the availability of these apps by developers or 3rd parties and hoping for a developer to pick up the slack. In my opinion, this inclusion of these Nokia-brewed apps helped get the Nokia N8 to a strong start and hopefully, raise the bar for apps in the Ovi Store. Another school of thought has it that the Symbian framework required programming in the lower level languages which sucked royally for developers. So with the promotion of the Qt framework, Nokia hopes to attract fresh blood i.e. more developers for Symbian. Finally, the applications below are biased towards tools that can be used without a data plan as I still don’t care to get gouged by getting a data plan.

  1. GPS: Free offline maps and free turn-by-turn navigation by Ovi Maps is incredibly helpful for people like me who don’t have data plans. The maps aren’t preloaded, but all you need to do is fire up Ovi Suite and install the maps and/or voices you need. There’s no need for Google maps, in my estimation on the N8. For runners or physical fitness enthusiasts, there’s the excellent Endomondo app on the Ovi Store. Also, the awesome GPSed app is available for the N8! All you need to do to get the GPSed app is:
    • visit wap.gpsed.com on your N8’s mobile browser.
    • Download and install the .jar file on your phone.
    • Run after installation.
    • Caution: There are some formatting issues when you enter GPSed’s “options” menu.

    I look forward to more useful apps tapping into the N8’s GPS capabilities like the Compass app from Catch.com (*hint* *hint*) which I used quite often on my G1.

  2. Photo Editing: The built-in photo editor on the Nokia N8 is pretty awesome. It completely removes the need for Picsay Pro which I used on Android. Granted, the photo editor for the N8 isn’t the most user friendly, but I got what I needed done with it! Seriously, check out this video about the photo editor’s features!
  3. Dictionary: I’ve always had a dictionary app installed on phones I’ve had. With Android, I used the great ColorDict app. Thankfully, with the N8, it comes preinstalled with a dictionary! One annoyance with this built-in dictionary app for the N8 is how it nags you to download dictionaries in other languages. I eventually caved in and got dictionaries for other languages. The process for getting these other dictionaries is pretty painless as the mobile dictionary app takes you directly to the download website which is on Nokia’s website. So, the next time you search for a word’s meaning, you’ll get a translation of that word in the language of your choice! Pretty neat!
  4. Video Editor for Nokia N8: Most of the video I make are created on the computer, but the Nokia N8 has seriously encouraged to consider making more videos. Besides the high quality of the videos, there is an included video editor which, for symbian veterans, is pretty easy to use. After a slightly learning hump, I couldn’t wait to start making short videos. Again, my point with this feature is that you could easily spend more money for an extra app, but Nokia’s wisely provided this neat capability for free and it does serve to help differentiate the N8 from the current crop of devices.
  5. File Manager: With the N8, I find the included file manager quite adequate. With the E71x, ATT preloaded the poor phone that nearly every gadget site recommended owners of the E71x to de-crapify their phone using a file manager called X-plore. This time, I purchased an unlocked N8 phone which pretty much means the N8 is free of carrier cruft. I have no need to go messing with the operating system files, but if there is a need for that, I’ve found that the X-plore app (which I’ve used for the Nokia E71x) is now available for the N8! Be warned: X-plore still as unpretty as ever, but it does the job. 🙂 I would, however, gladly pay for a port of Astro File Manager Pro which was heaven to my fat fingers. 🙂
  6. Swype: After failing to get Swype installed on my G1, using Swype on the N8 was pretty mindblowing. If you aren’t familiar with the hype, Swype is a method of text-entry on keyboards which lets you enter text ‘swiping’ from letter to letter and it smartly inputs what you had in mind! With the N8, it only works in Landscape Orientation, but it’s pretty magical in action.

On that note, I’m looking forward to getting my N8 back! I started having power management problems that Nokia currently acknowledges and requested an exchange from Amazon. The process was requesting an exchange was seamless and Amazon is sending the gadget via UPS and 2-day air! Speaking of shipping, I was quite peeved that Amazon sent the first Nokia N8 via USPS. Why?

  1. I got home to this over pricey device sitting outside the gates to my apartment. Clearly, the package was larger than the standard mailbox size for an apartment which Amazon knows I live in.
  2. Surely, it’s not too much to ask to be warned that my order “with standard shipping, my order might not fit into the mailbox and there’s a risk of being left outside.” Phrased that way, I think I would willing “upgrade” to shipping via UPS (edit: maybe I shouldn’t rejoice just yet) or something else! Amazon should be able to tell if there’s a risk that one’s order won’t fit into the regwhich packages in orders will fit into publicly available mailbox sizes for housing categories like apartments. I’m just thankful my neighborhood is relatively safe, but I would’ve been pissed if I’d had to eat the cost of a stolen shipment.

If you’ve made it this far, congrats! Feel free to draw any grammatical or logical errors to my attention. I’m trying to become better at this blogging ‘thing’ so bear with me. 🙂

* – My first visceral reaction to seeing screenshots of the games, reading reviews and just overall explanations of what the games do. I like a little more meat to my games, but for disclosure, I admit to not having downloaded/used these apps.