Finally the looong wait ended, when tonight @janole uploaded the alpha build of gravity with polished portrait qwerty, all new facebook section, conversation style DMs and more. This was probably the longest gap between two version (last one was in start of November) and after checking out the various features, it sure seems to worth all the waiting.
If you are not aware what gravity is (which is almost impossible for a Symbian user), then you must check my big review about Gravity. Being a fan of Gravity and @janole for sure, I was also following the development around the split screen and transparent touch keypad inside gravity, which also brings the portrait qwerty over Symbian^3.
Download link here
The complete change log will come from the developer itself by tomorrow, but I am showing you what I find different in my first few mins experiences with new Gravity.
The Keypad (Landscape and portrait)
“Why to use keypad of a third party app than the default one?” the first question one could ask and there are very solid answer to give.
Word count When you write a SMS on Nokia N8 likes, then it shows you the count, but at rest all the place, the default keypad doesn’t give you any hint over the same. For twitter and Facebook where the update size is limited, we all know that important this feature is.
Looks, transparency and multi touch A glossy and transparent kind of look of keypad itself lures you to slide your fingers more and more on it. Multi-touch not only helps you to type fast, but also allows to do Ctrl+V for pasting something (though I am not sure yet that we can select some text while typing or not).
In-App experience The major flaw of separate keypad design like Symbian is leaving the context of typing. You need to do a tweet and when you try to type, you get a keypad app to type, which is same across all the apps. Obviously easy to forget that which app you were about to type for. Split screen keypad removes that mess. Dedicated options like Close/ Send/ Retweet/ Save keep the experience single piece.
Special characters The new qwerty from Gravity also provides you some special characters, which might be quite handy while having some conversation.
Apart from all this, what’s special in this build from the last beta one is, you can any time leave the @janole ‘s qwerty and go back to your swype or default keypad of system. Not only that but @janole also made an intelligent choice of not putting this choice in some setting menu, but its always available as EDIT button in bottom right corner means if you prefer so, then you can go for swype, when in landscape more and keep portrait qwerty without changing anything.
The geo-tagging still has the blue icon rather than traditional green one, but you may notice one more thing in above screen shot that now there are arrow keys as well, which I was missing very badly in the last beta.
There is no more accidental sending of tweets by pressing the top center now 🙂
All New Facebook Section
If anyone was able to blame Gravity on some front, then it was Facebook section that was really very naive earlier in comparison to the standard it brings in twitter experience. After image section update, the facebook section update was probably the most requested query from @janole.
You can notice the changes at the first glance, when you open the facebook section now.
Picture and video previews Gravity was known to pain and minimalistic status updates and it was a pain sometimes, if you were not able to see that what video your friend is talking about in his update. While like all the other apps, playing video is still not an option (only web way), but a preview finally came to Gravity as you can see in above screen shot.
News section in shares I just love those thinner fonts and the separate section, when someone shares something. Check Michael’s update in first screen shot.
Individual walls The another issue with Gravity’s take on facebook earlier was absence of walls for individuals. Though there was option to check for profiles for others in twitter, facebook section was deprived from any such features. With the new Gravity, though we still not getting the profile page actually, but now its actually possible to visit wall of anyone from his update..
Grouped comments Earlier it was annoying to see that if any update has so many comments then there was no way to group them or even to know that actually how many comments are there. The grouped comments definitely make the experience more better. Not only that, you can go to wall of the person, who commented via the comment itself.
Facebook Private Messages Finally messages got their way to Gravity. Its in the same form as DMs in twitter, though odd thing is its showing only picture of the person, whom you are in conversation with, not yours. So its not easy to understand that which message was yours and which was from other side.
Notifications There are many kind of notifications in facebook, like if someone comments on your old update, if someone reply in the thread, you replied once and this all make the integrated experience of what we call as Facebook. Finally notifications have arrived to Gravity as well, though still it just notify you and no option to find the reference yet. Only option provided is to go for the wall of the referenced person.
Though there are a few basics still pending in facebook section…
No share option, in case, you want to share the same video again which was shared by your friend
No option of liking one particular comment over an update
No option to check profile info of anyone or updating facebook display pics of yours via image section
No photos section yet to visit self photos or photos of others and comment over them
Conversation style DM
@janole really keep an eye over developments happening over twitter. Conversation style DMs were a part of experience with new Twitter and now the same experience coming to gravity as well.
Though for removing the unread DM count, you need to go into the conversation now, which adds one more step in navigation, but I think that’s fine.
Failed/ Schedule message notification
The new Gravity shows a notification in top right corner, if there are a few unsent updates in your draft section. Much handy in a few cases which I have gone through in past.
I struggled a little to find this once @janole mentioned of it, but later it was figured out that notification arrives only for failed/ scheduled notifications, not the unsent/ saved ones.
Little change in Foursquare Section
Though the foursquare section looks familiar and unchanged, but when you try to shout something by pressing the new button then not only the new keypad, but you spot two familiar icons here.
So, you can choose where the update will go while sending each of the foursquare update and that too with our familiar colored icon.
Update: There is a bug in Google reader section of Symbian^3 at least that if you try to tweet a post, then it wont show the send button as shown in the below screenshot. Though if you rotate to landscape and come back again then it goes fine.
As of now, I find Google Reader, Four Square and Images section unchanged and like they were before. Neither the Gravity keypad working for adding the accounts (using the system default one for that).
So, this was all what I noticed about the new Gravity till now. Complete change log coming by tomorrow from @janole itself. So, keep tuned in to know more.
Here is the official change log from @janole himself
RELEASE NOTES for Gravity 1.5 Build 6685
- Your own tweets that have been retweeted are shown in the “My Tweets” tab
- The “In-Reply-To” button will show all retweets of your (retweeted) Tweet
- Browse all your own Favourites by scrolling down (automatically loading more)
- Browse all User Tweets (from a user’s profile) by scrolling down
- Tweets sent in offline mode will be shown in the drafts section now
- Support for Messages and Notifications has been added
- Posts now show the picture and additional description text
- Browse a user’s Wall and post to the Wall
- Read up to 30 most recent comments in a special Post & Comment view
- Virtual Keyboard for Symbian^3 & S60v5 in both portrait and landscape mode
- Landscape mode virtual keyboard finally has Close & Send keys
- Key button popups are rendering correctly on the left and right sides of the keyboard
- A special Edit key opens the phone’s default editor
- The keyboard supports English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese Layout
- The new S^3 fullscreen mode is now available for S60v5 as well
- A new notification icon (exclamation mark) shows failed/scheduled tweets
- Auto-More: List automatically loads and displays tweets from Cache
- Preview of pictures supports Instagr.am now
- Google Reader now synchronizes read/unread posts on startup
- Twitter/Facebook buttons have been added to the new keyboard for Foursquare
- Google Reader: a very old crashing Bug has been fixed (USER 130)
- UI Layout crashing bug fixed (KERN-EXEC 3)
- JSON Parser has been fixed for Twitter (”change of your identity” Bug & RT Bug)
- Background Power-Safe mode was broken and has been fixed
Also the version has been updated to 6686 now, which you can download from here
Note: One thing is strange here, while the link downloads a file named version 6686, though the version is 6685 only. Not sure as @janole also talking about 6685 only. Some bug in site link I guess.