Remember Mobile Documents by Visarc, whom Nokia invited to pilot their app on Nokia Beta Labs? The Cloud-boosted push mail and push documents to revolutionize the way, we see heavy attachments now days. Lots been said, lots been praised about it, while this is definitely a new approach, let’s see, if its really going to replace Nokia Messaging?
What Mobile Documents is?
Mobile Documents is the first and only to solve the #1 problem in email: handling of heavy attachments and documents. View and read heavy attachments instantly – without a download – via unconventional use of streaming technology. Save time, bandwidth and roaming cost. Traditional email offers download only but Mobile Documents offers an entire toolbox. On top of this we’re trying to create the best possible user experience to manage emails on your phone including attachments as well as sharing documents.
Let’s see the live demonstration of the app
The apps been here since a while though with arrival of their Symbian^3 version, they came up with two new features as well.
- Multi-Touch: Pinch zoom for viewing images, PDFs and Office Documents
- Notifications: Home Screen Widgets for all your email accounts plus optional sounds and/or alerts for news emails and/or documents
Installing Mobile Documents, some facts and troubleshooting issues
It is now a Nokia Beta Labs app, so now you can get this from three ways possible:
Once you install the 1.91 Mb app, you will be greeted with two options: Demo and Sign Up/ Login. Demo mode is here for the people, who wanted to first understand the app and then trying it and for the other option, you need to wait for the beta invite from their side.300
I must admit that like a few of us, I was stuck after this. Tapping Demo was stuck on Downloading Demo and touching Login was staying on endless Checking User Name option. Thanks to Nokia Beta Labs forum and help of Peter and Asri Al Baker, I found out that it was Fring that was causing all this. Unfortunately the only way out been uninstalling Fring App, which sure not gonna make many of you happy about it as of now because Fring is one of those apps offering Video Calling option.
Before starting up with it, you will be needed to get over with one more annoyance, even after you have downloaded the app and installed it on your phone, the demo button will still takes you for around 1 Mb of download more to get into some action. Being a beta, we can still spare them on this, but there are a few other things as well, when you compare with Nokia Messaging. As per service, its not that convenient as you took Nokia Messaging likes for granted. Will be offered in two versions: Free and Premium. (Obviously, you may understand or may not understand it, push services of this kind take a price. Black Berry afforded it as it was the core of their business and others were to follow the same).
The free version will be supporting free email services such as Gmail, Yahoo!, GMX and Ovi etc. It will remain free on Mobile Documents. The premium versions offer support for personal and business domain names (for example email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org). Premium paying subscribers will get five commercial email accounts. But even in the premium versions free email will remain free. For example, you may have one Exchange address that you pay premium for, but then you may have as many free email accounts set up as you like. Free accounts you never pay anything for.
Note that it doesn’t support POP/ Hotmail/ Live/ MSN and also exchange too is in testing phase, same about Lotus travelor, but it woks well with Gmail and under the Gmail, you can easily setup these things to bring message to that Gmail account and hence receiving mails via the same.
Anyway, once you have uninstalled Fring and then try Demo button or try to add the email via the login button, then its usual one click business (though you need to wait for their beta invite, if you don’t have one).
So I got invite from Visarc, what’s next? How’s its interface?
Once you get invite from them then life goes easy like it would be once this app get out of beta testing phase. You putting your email id, it asks for the password then and here you go with the done setup. A nice new interface like the screenshot given below.
Its a little different than the one and though pinch to zoom is not here yet, but addition of To Top and To Bottom buttons really been a nice thing to happen (older and newer buttons are already there in Nokia Messaging too). While I was missing pinch to zoom and the mail HTML display is also seems to be different here, the loading of mails is definitely better than ever and so is the Push performance (at least on Symbian^3 devices, NM Push sucks as of now).
The interface not only have new ways but new things too, like the adding of contacts that pops up so smoothly than having a button like feel as was in Nokia Messaging and then attachment option that also covers your older mails and document history that is special thing about Mobile Documents as if you have to send the same document to many people, then you don’t need to upload it again and again as Mobile Documents will make use of the same copy only like some shared location.
Though formats that it supports for viewing inside the app are limited as of now (it doesn’t support docx, xlsx etc), but those ones it supports like PDF, JPEG, DOC works on a unique streaming way means you get the view of the document without downloading it completely. Like if you have a 70-80 mb pdf file then you will get it streamed to you in much lesser data like some skyfire was doing about Flash 10 games (At least in the way I understand it, I might be wrong).
While there is no split screen keyboard again, having a black background is a good thing about battery and I am particularly happy about those smaller fonts that I could use with it now.
As you can see, Mobile Documents even has a home screen widget too, which you can easily find by choosing the mail widget and then inside it choosing the account that you added with Mobile Documents. Notice the difference of Gmail icons between Nokia Messaging and Mobile Documents. Nokia Messaging one is slightly tilted one while Mobile Documents one is straight. And finally there are push notifications for mail are here.. hurrayyyy
There are many more other options to fiddle with as well and you will notice that the sync schedule is allowed to be in between 0800-2200 hrs only. So, that’s pretty much what Mobile Documents mobile interface is. More fun is when you access the web interface on https://mobiledocuments.com via the same email/password that you created with Mobile Documents. You can add/ remove documents/ accounts etc from there much more easily. Though there is no mobile interface for the same website yet. May be in future.
So which one is better? Mobile Documents or Nokia Messaging?
Well there will always be preferences. For me, there are still a few gaps with Mobile Documents like the ones given below:
Not that much large support as Nokia Messaging: Many of we bloggers might be having Google Apps accounts that is useless with Mobile Documents free version as of now because it just doesn’t support POP accounts as of now. Same would be for business users and Hotmail/ MSN users too. Nokia Messaging still free with largest support. May be after beta phase, things will change.
Not that smooth kinetic scrolling: Again that’s a beta thing, may be things will change after the phase, but as of now, kinetic scrolling in messages is not that smooth as it should be or as it is with Nokia Messaging Client.
No Pinch to Zoom: Sometimes I really think that if Pinch to Zoom function is that hard that all other third party developers are missing on it. Like Opera browser could so replace the browser on Nokia N8 likes but I can’t stand for it as they are missing pinch to zoom. Same about Mobile Documents, I just feel like esssshhh… when I find that they could implement pinch to zoom in attachment viewing but not in mails.
Not a polished performance: While it works almost perfect about pushing mails, I still find it hanging at times while navigating through its interfaces. Like when you install it, then it will show Downloading Demo, but there would be no progress bar to show that something is happening. Sometimes, it will stuck on fetching mails while no sign of percentage etc on screen. Or if you try to add one more account via mobile client and you might end up with closing it via Task Manager only. Obviously this has to improve with the final product.
For me, what Mobile Documents does new in short, to store the documents in cloud in secure way that when you wanted to send the same document to someone then you don’t actually re-upload them (kind of integrating a dropbox into Messaging). Moreover, it also offers an integrated experience of viewing attachment rather than redirecting you to any other app and that too on minimum possible Data cost as it still doesn’t download the attachment but just stream the same to you.
So in all, we can say that there is still some work required before we can say that something going to replace a big thing like Nokia Messaging. In whatever stage Nokia Messaging is now days, could be credited to the creepy new servers and HTML mails. Once they correct it, bring native symbian notifications of mails, improve loading of mails and put an option of non-HTML mail option, then it would be hard to beat a bundled offering.
Suggestion: As of now, mail viewing experience is not that cool or professional looking with those big buttons. They should try transparent icons like Nokia Messaging in mail display and should minimize the header portion of mail. Did I told that HTML Mails was also a thing that Nokia E-Series users crave for long? Think about it.
Some more details on it could be found as our always favourite AAS Post on Mobile Documents and do tell me that how much you liked it or what you wanted to improve about it. Sure the team Visarc would be all ears.