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:
Since @janole has changed the UI for displaying the image preview and maps, it has enabled Gravity to do some more tricks. This one is the latest.
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?