Archive for the ‘Symbian’ Category
Update: @Janole has released a new update that is v2.7 Build 7153. Download link
Do you know what was the last time when Gravity got its last update? It was March 08, 2012 means exactly two and half a month before. Not exactly the longest period between two successive Gravity updates but still it was quite a long gap and people like me who been following Gravity updates since long, knew that longer period between successive updates always been leading to some great new features. So let’s see what new features are on card this time?
Before starting to talk anything about it, let me warn you, this time this update is a real Alpha means a premature build and you must be ready for some bugs while trying it (though like always, I didn’t found many of show-stopping kind of bugs).
So, are you ready for a walkthrough of new features? Here we go.
The changes that I might have noticed till now are as given below:
1. All New Notification Bar and removal of Full Screen Mode: Many of us liked Gravity in the full screen mode always but this was a big dilemma for people since the Belle update came in with drop down System notification bar. Being in Gravity timeline with full screen mode was meant to miss the status bar altogether.
@Janole decided in favour of removing the full screen mode (as was in earlier version, showing in extreme right screenshot) and introducing an all new notification bar with three sections.
An either blank or Home icon that will take you back to all accounts screen.
The middle part of status bar will take you to the top or to Dashboard of particular account.
The brand new notifications section that will take you to notifications + last visited history section.
For me, the issues in this approach is, Gravity has an option to tap on top to move to top of the timeline and with two status bars (One of system and one of Gravity), it becomes a lot confusing. You have to hit the status bar precisely to get to top because if you hit top most system bar then it might be lead to system drop down that might annoy you. Moreover, the pixel size of the new Status bar is almost doubled means loss of screen space on already low resolution Symbian screens. I think @Janole also agree on it.
All I can say that this approach might be good for many but may annoy many as well. In my opinion, there should be a full screen mode option present and in that mode, the pixel size of the status bar might be lowered as well. Though I wont push more for the pixel part because status bar needs to be in the same size as the search bar to cover it up in other parts of UI.
One of the workaround might be an Auto-Hide search bar along with half the pixel status bar in full screen mode. But let’s see how @Janole will deal with it.
But the better side of this exercise is, you now have access to drop down toolbar, signal, battery, time and system notifications etc.
* Thanks to @HardikLive for some of the screenshots.
2. New Add Account section with a minor change: Not a big change but one may spot a little change in Add Accounts section, where we find two options for Twitter account.
The “Can’t add a Twitter Account?” section is to bring back the old OAuth part for adding a twitter account without going to Twitter website because many a people faced issues via web route. Obviously for getting DMs, you will be needed to authorize via web only if you choose this choice.
3. The Search bar on the top of Twitter/ Facebook section: This is one of the experiments that even @Janole wasn’t sure and delayed it since January even after early implementation because it certainly takes its sweet time to get used to of it.
Only issue might be the screen real estate taken by it, but over the time, people will sure start getting used to it. Thing is, we are so accommodated to traditional UI elements of Gravity that any such change feels awkward in the start.
4. The notifications + History Section: The introduction of brand new Notifications section brings you a single place where you can keep track of notifications and history of the last visited places inside the app.
Not only that but @Janole has planned to make it even bigger in next updates.
5. Anna-Belle type rounded icons across the UI: I am not sure that why it wasn’t here already in last update but finally the native looking icons are here to make the experience consistent throughout the OS.
6. Facelift for Groups and Lists Section for Twitter: Groups and Lists section which was just a list earlier now gets the much needed grouping/
Isn’t it look good enough now.
7. User profile shows if the user following you: The new user profile section in twitter now shows that if the user is following you. So no more, tapping on profile and check if Direct Message option is appearing or not.
8. Image save option in Facebook section as well: It was already there in twitter section via tap on the picture or tap on the button in the middle bottom and it was about time, when it makes to Facebook section and its here now.
One difference here is the absence of the bottom middle button for saving the image but as the place was already taken by Edit button, @janole left it to tap on the picture to save it.
9. Facelift in Foursquare section, comments notifications: Not much significant, but the foursquare section also have got some minor changes in the way a check-in looks or in the way you search for a place.
The left most screenshot is from old Gravity while the middle one is from new one. You can spot the changes. Also the search bar in top is a new introduction. Also now you will get notifications when someone comments on your check in.
Though still we don’t have emphasis on marking system as in Foursquare and it doesn’t notify you that how much last checkin earned for you or where you stand in leader board.
10. New share menu in Gravity: Though as of now, it works only for the links in Browser, Facebook and Google reader section, but finally we have a share menu in Gravity that serves the purpose of saving articles/web pages from one social network to another.
Also now you can edit the title before sharing it in Google Reader menu (share function was there earlier). Though with this share menu, @Janole hasn’t integrated the is.gd or any other url shortener, but may be its for good, because who wants his/her URL getting shrink three times while posting? Twitter already has t.co while Facebook treats URLs other way.
As expected, introduction of Share option means no Tweet it button in Google Reader section anymore.
11. Gravity Browser gets attention again: Since the implementation, Gravity browser seen very less visible changes, but the big update this time decided not to leave it.
The first change is change of share icon that comes back to Symbian style iOS style as earlier and also Readability support for formatting the webpages for mobile screens.
While its a good step in right direction, it has its own share of glitches.
First, its rather annoying to get it back from Full screen mode which it choose automatically once open, then if you tap and hold you finger for 2-3 seconds, then bars appear but they get away once you remove the finger. It should stay for long so that one may come out from browser easily.
Second, Readability support is only for formatting the page, not for using you Readability account as Gravity browser still doesn’t support cookies means no kind of logins can be supported.
Actually this was a feature suggested to @janole long back in 2009 itself which finally got delivered by this new version.
12. Last but not least, option to share status on multiple networks finally: Yeah! finally you can share the same status on multiple social network accounts at once (facebook\Twitter}. All you need to do is to swipe your finger from left to right or right to left on Add Account section and you will get the screen given below:
This was a much needed and heavily requested feature since long. Thanks to @jryap28 for bringing this into my notice
13. Picture size shown while uploading photo to Twitter: As told by @janole, this was actually a debugging feature, but he found it rather useful for public as well and released it with this version.
Though its available for Twitter section only and not available in Facebook section as of now. But should come shortly with new version.
Bug: As of now, Gravity has two of the known bugs with this new version.
Push Notifications or User Streams brokenFixed with 7153 UI issues with Swype split screen modeFixed with 7153 Hope that it would be sorted by the upcoming version in next 2-3 days. Already out as build 7153.
So, this was all that I spotted about the new Gravity and now its your turn to tell me if I would have missed anything. Also this time, @Janole has made some important comments about the future of Gravity that you must not miss.
It says the long awaited Picasa (May be even Flickr Integration) might not be too far and may be a complete makeover of Images section may arrive with our long awaited Symbian Imaging Flagship Nokia Pureview 808.
And then the biggest announcement that might bring back many a hopes and smile on faces of people who have left Symbian and missing Gravity very much though @janole has cleared further than no work on Android\iOS right now. Schedule for second half or late of this year.
So this was what I had to say, now its your turn. Download it from here http://bit.ly/7152ALL and comment here if you find any more changes in it or wanna suggest something. Also keep a note of the fact that its a preview version so many a things might get changed in the version that will come shortly.
It rarely happens that I write a Layman’s Take on a Symbian App, barring Gravity posts, but when I was checking out the latest fMobi version 2.5, then it certainly felt worth mentioning and we are here, reviewing fMobi 2.5 that is being called as the best Facebook client out there for Symbian.
While Official Nokia Social app been already a pain for Symbian users, more tragic was the absence of official apps from Twitter/Facebook like popular social services. Adding more insult to injury was the web browser part that never got a preferred treatment from these services despite of having Symbian in market leading position for a time. Part of the blame goes to tedious development with conventional C++ that was always a tough job for developers due to rapid changes across interfaces\features of social sites. With Qt though, Symbian got a sigh of relief and out of many apps getting benefitted from it, one was our fMobi.
fMobi: First released on 05 July, 2011 (not sure of exact date), the Qt-Based Facebook client fMobi kept on growing its fan-base by each passing day due to plenty of features combined at one place with a smooth working UI (Thanks to Qt). You can understand the level of popularity by the fact that It didn’t took even three months, when it got acclaimed as best Facebook Client for Symbian by Nokia itself.
Its not that I didn’t noticed it then, but somehow it was features like shaky split screen input etc (not a fault of app itself but Qt version issues) that kept me away from embracing it fully rather than relying on some other apps, but this fighter app didn’t gave up and kept on luring me time to time with each update. And when I checked out the latest version 2.5, then I was like.. this is the right time, when the app deserves a mention like a Layman’s Take on fMobi.
What makes fMobi special and superior over other clients out there?
The keywords are innovation and consistency which makes fMobi always one step up ahead of the competition. fMobi chooses a different UI and mannerism than the official apps and yet delivers an experience that brings you best of Facebook activities. Being in latest Qt, its smoothness/animations in various actions, native split screen integration and its own way to notification will sure please any Symbian user.
it might not be free like some of the Facebook clients out there, but the way, this is being developed and being enhanced in each iteration, I couldn’t even compare it with any of the existing clients out there (when there is no real official Facebook client there and Nokia Social is kind of no challenge since always). A few things certainly worth the price (Just Rs. 50/-).
November 23, 2011 was the last time, when Gravity got the last update that was v2.00 Build 7009 and after exactly one month later, we got the preview build for the always exciting and innovation app Gravity that is actually a pride for Symbian. (Am I the only one who is reading the trend of exactly one month for each new build here? January 23, 2012 now?)
Even if its a time, when hard core Nokia fans are either moving towards Windows Phones or keeping it low most of the times in a tough battle against the growing base of Android, one must admit that post February 2011, Symbian^3 has seen tremendous activity under his name. Many Qt apps joined the pack to enhance the user experience, Nokia websites got redesigned in fancy blue and even if hopes of Symbian Belle (now Nokia Belle) kept on playing hide and seek with us, those who experienced the performance of Nokia N8 like old handsets with leaked Belle can guarantee you that nothing is finished yet.
Meanwhile the above debate is on, there was one app that was always standing apart of everything, apart of Belle, Anna, S60 etc, apart of Android vs iOS vs Symbian. Yes! our Gravity!! And we really waited impatiently for the next version of the same, not because of some bugs or some expectations, but just to wonder that what new innovation the all in one app Gravity brings for us this time. So, let’s take a ride of what we see new in this new build of Gravity (v2.50, Build 7025):
(First I will cover Symbian^3 changes only will update S60 features later on)
1. Belle compatible bottom bar:
Though most of Nokia Community still don’t have access to Symbian Belle but once Symbian Belle arrived in market in form of some new handsets, it was unavoidable to ignore the UI navigation theme as on Symbian Belle that has shifted from those Options\Cancel button and taken form of icons now. The new build of Gravity tries to do the same though with addition of option to “reverse the toolbar” for those who feel its more natural to have options menu on the left like it been in Symbian always.
Minor UI changes but those who are already on Symbian Belle will appreciate it and those who are not, will get a preview of upcoming via this app.
2. Pull to Refresh and minor but noticeable change in design:
After tap to top, Gravity finally gets the most awaited feature that is pull to refresh. Pull to refresh is not limited to Twitter only but works in Facebook, FourSquare, Google Reader, YouTube etc as well.
The other minor change is replacement of text by icons (as been theme of Belle UI). You can see icon of a pen in place of New Button and Belle like options icon though I still wonder that why @janole didn’t replaced the Back button by an arrow icon?
3. YouTube Account added:
One of the feature addition with this new build is the option of YouTube account. While we already had the capability to play YouTube videos since last few builds, it was a one step forward to add accessibility of YouTube account in the form of familiar Gravity theme. It includes favorites, Watch it later, My Uploads, friends videos and you can always search with a split screen keyboard. Though I couldn’t find an option to upload some videos, but this is still great for a start.
I was personally expecting MISO and Tumblr to be part of Gravity by version 2.50, but as @janole said its a preview build only so may be later.
4. Google Reader section can now display the images as well:
While today you might think it as one of those many features that Gravity added by this new build, but as @janole said, this was the main feature idea with which @janole started working on the new build. Again like other sections, we find the UI options going via small icons in place of Text (except the odd Back button like old days). Did you noticed the recording like icon for Read or Unread?
Must say, with inline picture display, now you can think of adding your Google Reader Account in Gravity permanently than using any other apps (be aware of heavy data usages though).
Though I find it odd that Google reader section can share the posts via Twitter only not via Facebook or any other service. Also while in outer menu, option to copy the link on clipboard is present, we miss the same in full post mode. May be next build bridges these gaps.
5. Entirely redesigned and more productive Twitter Trends screen
I don’t how many of you use Twitter Trends actively but for experienced users, its been an essential part of Twitter experience by which they can keep a tab on most important things happening around. In older version of Gravity, not much was configurable here, but with the new Gravity, you can check trends worldwide or by country specifically as well.
I must tell you, you gonna love it.
6. Satellite mode, zoom-in, zoom-out buttons added for maps:
Zoom-In and Zoom-Out buttons are now added to UI in bottom bar and you no longer needed to remember the volume key shortcut for the same. Also the globe like icon next to option icon let you toggle between maps mode and satellite mode.
7. Image saving option:
While Gravity already had probably the best support for displaying images from multiple services, addition of saving pictures option makes it a killer now. Gravity was already displaying the non-service images by just URL ending with .jpg, .png etc and with this, things gonna really really challenging for other clients across all platforms. Though the same feature is limited with Twitter Image previews only, but I see no reason that why @janole wont extend the same functionality for Facebook images as well in near future. Finally we can see the larger version of images via Native Gallery and can store it and zoom in.
Gravity was already storing the images earlier as well but those were kind of cache version hidden inside private folders of Symbian. Images will be saved in Images folder of E: drive now.
8. Many other minor changes
There might be many minor changes hidden inside that I am yet to discover though one of them was display of last user names with an “@” on the accounts screen (like the name of @aktiwary showing in the above screenshot).
What is still annoying with Gravity on Belle?
You can blame awesomeness of Gravity full screen mode that @janole always skipped to provide much support for non-full screen mode which remains one of those weak points about Gravity. Like in above screenshots, you can see that on Symbian Belle with full touch phones, one can not write a new tweet as there is no button for that neither than option for new tweet in menu. Also the Gravity Keyboard doesn’t work in non-full screen mode.
Download link for New Gravity version 2.50 Build 7025
So, anything else you find in the new Gravity, do tell me?
This was something that we all been waiting since a while, the second inning of the superstar, who never ceases to amaze you. Yes! Gravity 2.0 first preview is finally open for public now.
This time, I been a little late in grabbing the beta as must have been in the way back to home from office, but once grabbed it, it was not easy to sit and type a review that soon as I was used to do in past. Reason: the experience with this version was so mesmerizing to pull you into it that it was hard to keep yourself distracted into anything else. Specially the facebook section kept me into it for around an hour. Hats off @Janole … I was waiting for shout it again.. since long…
So, let’s see what’s changed with the new version (phew!! it’s a long list and many under the hood changes)
Once I got hold on Symbian Belle on my Nokia N8 then it was kind of due to bring a Layman’s Take style big walkthrough of Symbian Belle. Though still one needs to understand that the firmware, I am using on my phone is a leaked and half baked one, so there might be major changes afterwards.
What is Symbian Belle?
The latest firmware update to Symbian^3 devices, Symbian Belle, is what Symbian^3 PR3.0 was supposed to be. A kind of rename for understanding of n00bs rather than confusing them with various version numbers. Its something that seems to be influenced from Android itself (Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, IceCream Sandwitch, Honeycomb ….).
Symbian Belle is the first Symbian^3 update that is supposed to bring major UI changes throughout the Symbian^3 lineup. It will change many Symbian UI paradigms and also the way, we know Symbian till now. A true modernization of Symbian without alienating existing user habits.
Is Symbian Belle the last stop for Symbian^3?
While developers and insiders were already aware of it, Nokia has confirmed officially that despite of the fact that Company is moving toward Windows Phones, Symbian Belle will not be the last update to Symbian platform.
We already seen glimpses of Symbian^4 back in Feb 2010, which though definitely feels outdated now, but still there been lots of references to Symbian^4 in Symbian bugzilla since then and so hard to deny the fact that Symbian^4 will be the next step.
Sure, it will have a new name like Anna or Belle and also there are no exact ideas that what features it’ll bring on board as many of the Symbian^4 changes are already being incorporated into Symbian Belle itself. But there is a big hope.
Now, let’s go through new features of Symbian Belle …
1. New Lock screen
We have seen some changes in the Lock Screen with Symbian Anna itself, when we got notifications on lock screen, but Symbian Belle takes it a step further. Not only there are cosmetic changes in Clock, which feels like 3D now, you see a glossy and colorful lock screen rather than old black one.
Yes! the standby screen will still stay black (first screenshot) without any mention of signals, battery, bluetooth, data connection etc, but that is totally understandable as queries all those values takes precious battery life that sure would have been unnecessary in standby.
I think many of the friends who aren’t following me on twitter (@nkumar_), might have missed my quick review and un-boxing on Nokia E6-00 that I posted on June 22, 2011 at OnlyGizmos.com in usual Layman style.
So thought to put a pointer here for the post to let you all know about the package etc and for visual introduction of the device. Go read the same.
While I have tried making a video to illustrate a few of points related to the feel of software, but like some of readers pointed to me, many wanted to go through the minute details of the changes in the software on Nokia E6. So, here we go.
Update: @janole just released the another version Gravity 1.5 Build 6712 for giving the same auto completion love to S60 v3 phones and some improvements for S60 V5/ S^3 as well.