Sometimes it really looks like more than Nokia itself, its @janole, who always come forward to hold users with Symbian and this time, he couldn’t have used a better timing for me, when I with many of my friends was feeling down by the news of delayed PR 2.0. Yes! our most favorite Symbian Twitter client is updated again to build 6698 to add one of the most awaited feature Push Notifications.
Other than the minor updates in between, the big update was Gravity 1.50 build 6685 (I covered in details on December 19, 2010) and after around one month at January 26, 2011, the second major release was Gravity 1.50 build 6693, which I couldn’t cover as my marriage was on the same day and now today, February 18, 2011, not even one month completed and we see the big update Gravity 1.50 build 6698 that changes the way, you knew tweeting on symbian.
Sometime back Nokia also did announced their push solutions and related APIs, but on developer level those push features been available for Qt applications only and being a Symbian C++ application, it wasn’t an easy task for @janole to implement such a feature here, specially, when he was to go on his own. But when absence of split portrait qwerty input or a poor browser performance on symbian^3 wasn’t able to temper Gravity experience, how could have this mattered this time?
What are Push Notification and how they change the experience?
Remember those fiddling with twitter account settings of Gravity to think that what would be better to choose, 5 mins or 15 mins auto updates or missing replies of others due to the fact that you minimized Gravity and in other works forgot to take a look over it. @janole already did a good job by adding Gravity update counts in screen saver of Symbian devices, but still when I look back over it, then something was missing.
Push notifications here means that the replies, DMs coming to you will be pushed to your Gravity instantly without waiting for you to refresh your replies timeline or some timely auto update, not only that but whatever you might be doing, you will get a popup dialogue box to tell that what the last latest reply/ DM to you was.
Such notifications improve the communication and make the experience kind of closer to IMs which translates to more likely prompt replies and hence a much improved social experience. Moreover, its a smart experience as well because your smartphone is delivering the communication to you smartly than you checking updates after every 15 mins.
On the technical side, though I have yet to check into details, but push notifications should certainly improve the life of battery as well, because device is not polling for replies and DM time to time, but they are being delivered to it.
Though one should also note the fact that push notifications will not work if Gravity App is closed, so in that way, some might call it “artificial” push.
Let’s see what’s changed with this new version …
Enabling push notifications With the new version, in account setting, there is one more option named Push (User Streams) that could be either disabled, Enabled (WLAN only) or Enabled as you can say by the screenshot given below.
Note that push notifications are available for twitter user streams only and not for other services like facebook etc (facebook doesn’t support it, so its on 30 mins than being real time) that could be configured in Gravity (check my big review of Gravity), moreover, only replies and DMs will be pushed and not the timeline (it doesn’t make sense that way).
The above are the screenshots, if you were looking for knowing that how the popup notifications will look like. Personally, I would like to see more in it but as of now, there are three elements in this dialogue box:
- A shiny looking Transparent Panel to hold the text of the most recent reply/DM
- Mute button that temporarily disables pop-up notifications till one locks the screen and unlock it again.
- Close button that closes the dialogue box for then and will continue popping up again and again.
Moreover, you should notice the ‘!’ icon at the right top of the screen (just after time), this icon shows that whether push notifications are working or not.
But one should also note the fact that these pop up dialogue boxes will appear on only S60 v5 and S^3 versions of Symbian, not on versions before it though real time push notifications are available for all the platforms. Many a times, you will see notifications coming one or half a second earlier than the tweet actually appears, but most importantly with push enabled, you can safely put the auto-update settings for replies and DM on None.
The Gravity push notifications awesomeness continues outside the Gravity and extends its warmth to screensaver or even the latest Betalabs innovation the Bubblelock, where we see the last recent notification in the way shown above.
Bug fixes to Facebook Message bug
Many of the users were plagued by the unread facebook msg notification bug which was not going even if you would have read the same message. While it was expected to be resolved by the last update that was build 6695, but look like finally Gravity version 1.50 build 6698 managed to solve it.
In other fixes
Not sure, but with always connected kind of push, the connectivity seems to have got really improved on Gravity. Those failed updates due to my weak connection getting nominal.
One more fix, I see in browser performance. I was getting a bug which was keeping the screen shown in half on some sudden rotations. Seems to be fixed by now.
The bug related to picture previews was solved by the earlier build 6695 and with build 6693, @janole already implemented a feature to store last 5 viewed pictures, which helps viewing same picture again and again without going for download.
The push notification dialogue box is kind of very limited in features as of now. We see only the last update and there might be many replies/ DMs before the same. It could be made in a way that it may be showing icons and numbers on push dialogue in the same way, it shows notification on twitter/ facebook tab. That would be a little more informative.
Moreover, in place of just close and mute buttons, reply or reply to all button could be added to make it more engaging though I understand that it may interfere with experience of other applications, but for the same, I guess there is always a mute button.
Still some bugs to fix
I am not sure that its only me who facing the same with new version, but it seems that touch to top feature is not functioning well in the images section.
Like you can see in above screenshot, touch to top didn’t took it to the actual top. May be some minor issues.
Its really interesting to see that how aggressively @janole works. Hitting the opportunities much before than anyone else and reacting before even a competition could think of standing against it.
It was just now, when TwimGo was getting some momentum due to its nice UI (though not comparable) and because of being QML based.. but Gravity already didn’t gave it a chance even in the twitter experience due to split portrait qwerty and own unique browser then nailed it with push notifications even before anyone could have implemented it.
This is the way one should run its product and Nokia certainly should learn one or two lessons from him.
So this was all about, what I experienced about new Gravity in first go, please let me know via comments, if I might have missed something about it or you can write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org