Gravity 1.50 build 6702-Inbuilt YouTube player, Auto-expansion of longer tweets

Update: @janole has released quite a few iterations in this shorter while and going though 6701->6702->6702->6705, Gravity v1.50 Build 6705 is the latest one. The Youtube player now would play in the Gravity browser as well and quite a many minor bugs with the player itself got fix.

What would have been a better way to celebrate the second birthday of Gravity (though the first private beta was released on Feb 19, 2009, but the first official version was launched on March 30, 2009).

New Gravity

Yup! Finally its here, the inbuilt YouTube preview feature I was talking about in the last gravity post of mine and some of the more awesome features like auto-expanding of t.co links (tl.gd was already there in build 6700).


So, just like how it goes, I am back to cover the change log Smile

Continue reading “Gravity 1.50 build 6702-Inbuilt YouTube player, Auto-expansion of longer tweets”

New Gravity arrives with embedded browser, conversational message view and split screen Nokia keyboard

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When it comes to Symbian, then more than even the Nokia firmware updates, recently we started waiting for a new version of Gravity for the innovations it brings to Symbian. It never happens that a Gravity feature update arrives and we find ourselves saying … “just that’s?” like case of Nokia firmwares. It always goes huge.

Yes! @Janole has came with another version of Gravity version 1.5 build 6691 with most importantly an Embedded Web Browser and many other new features that I will describe in rest of the post.

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While the official change log is expected to come later from @Janole itself (will update the post then), here is what I noticed till now on Symbian^3 (my Nokia N8) and collected info from others about other platforms.


Embedded browser: Though it should be a sad note for Nokia like the way, portrait QWERTY from Gravity been that an app developers needs to work on basics and that even if limited comes out as way better than Nokia. Even if its just a minimalistic, featureless porting of native browser only, it looks way sleeker than original Nokia Browser, which again highlights the fact that its not UX but UI part where Nokia been under-delivering.

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As you can see there are almost negligible options to call it a standalone browser, but still its noticeable that how just changing the UI makes things so different on Nokia. This is just a part of original Nokia browser with some lesser weight and it works like a charm to make you browsing more on links now.

  • The “Gravity browser” shows the loading of the page in percentage rather than showing as size in kb like Nokia browser and in place of showing the connection icon or loading bar, it prefers showing time on top always (check second screenshot). There are advantages and disadvantages of the same approach, but still its pretty sleek and beautiful.
  • Second thing you can observe is the URL Shortening service that was is.gd in earlier versions, now has changed to j.mp, which is actually a shorter version of bit.ly the leading URL shortener service that has the big name, even if people now started shifting to Goo.gl. You are saving two characters here and people using twitter like service actually know that how much each word counts. +1 for bringing this to Gravity.
  • Third thing you can notice that this is actually the same Nokia browser means double tapping or pinch to zoom will work like smooth Symbian^3 web browser (screenshot 4). Pinch to zoom is something we still badly miss in Opera mobile or Opera mini, which still keep Nokia web browser experience better than Opera in some parts. Though no options for saving an image like hold the touch to get a menu effect.
  • While looks are iPhonish in that bottom glassy bar, you can notice back and forward buttons as arrow keys. The “+” sign only brings the menu. NO option for opening any new address (that would have made an alternate use of gravity as a web browser too 😉 )
  • The back button actually takes you back to Gravity interface means on the screen from where you left it.

I have not tested it about the complex things like from JavaScript performance aspect (As @janole already has warned us about some issues), but as many URLs it tried, it only fared better. On another note, I am yet not sure that where the caching is being done for this gravity browser, in Gravity itself or in the native browser. Might be a point to notice for the users “enjoying” lesser phone memory.

By the way, @janole already tweeted that if anyone finds any website that might not be working on new Gravity browser then he/ she can easily connect with janole on twitter about that.

On the negative part

  • The browser doesn’t support cookies means you can not login into any site as usual login process is based on cookies. No login for Twitter/ Facebook etc, neither you can make a comment with your wordpress login or Open ID on some blog.
  • I wonder that what happened to the part where we were able to customize the Access point while opening any URL, it has been removed from the new version. Might not be a use case for many, but there might be some geeks around, who still love to use more than one connection and switching among them according to the content.
  • There are no ways that one might be tweeting while reading some website. Not such a big thing due to Symbian’s multi-tasking (you can always open the link in default browser separately and that can be running in background), but still would be lovely to see what way @janole will take to solve this in next version.
  • As mentioned in one of the tweet from a user, Gravity browser seems to be running in background rather than being unloaded when get closed. Not an issue for S^3 devices but for S60 V5/3 users it might be crucial to give away any single MB of their precious RAM. @janole already working on it. You can feel the same as when you open another link then you find the last opened link already open there.

Note: Only the touch versions means S60 v5 and S^3 are enjoying the new gravity gravity browser as of now, not the S60 V3 likes, though @janole has promised to add that to S60 v3 version very soon.


Split screen keyboard I am not sure that whether its available for S60 V5 and the Symbian^3 users without last two updates as a few users reported that they are not able to get this, but @janole finally managed to show us that what wonder the split screen input can do with a Nokia.

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We are not talking about the new design of keypad that @Janole introduced in last overhaul, but its the native keyboard as you can seen in the screenshot above.

Now, one may ask that why would one be interested in a non-multi-touch Nokia keyboard, when we have the glassy model of Gravity’s own keyboard with multi touch and smoothness. Hmmm… there are reasons.. like there are many people who love T9 and predictive input methods, there are people, who love the auto-suggest feature and some even like the interface too (really?).

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You wont get the split screen input in landscape, if you might be using Swype, because swype runs as a separate app and will take upon the whole UI like usual Nokia QWERTY. As you can see, this is exactly the same nature of split screen input as we seen in search widget of Symbian^3 devices.

I even took a sneak into the portrait input options to see if by chance there is a QWERTY option, but sigh….

On the negative part

  • There is still no control on Gravity keyboard for people, who might not like small buttons (awesome for me though) and happy with T9 only. Its strange to me, but I know some of such people like my good friend @freak4mobiles.
  • There is still no options for selecting some text, while we can do the same in native Nokia keyboard implementation and this situation gets worse, when we find that there is no older keyboard available for Gravity any more (replaced by split keyboard model and gravity glassy text screen).
  • Me and some of the other users like Camb078 found Gravity crashed once while working out with options of Nokia Native Keyboard in gravity. Not sure what caused the same neither was able to reproduced the same, but this was strange.
  • Options screen while checking out Nokia Native QWERTY, seemed based upon old S60 v5 menu system as tapping once or twice didn’t worked out for changing options, but only way happened to be going via option->change. Strange but its happening.

Enhanced Facebook section with conversational view

While the Facebook section was entirely reworked in the last version, it seems that Facebook finally becaming the centre of attraction for @janole now.

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We find the messages and comments both in conversational view now like the way, facebook itself got changed recently with new messaging system.

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What makes me more happy about new Gravity is the fact that there are finally the reasonable notifications, which were earlier only mentioning the activities, but the latest version brings arrow icons on notification, which meant to express that if we touch any of the notification, then it will take you to whole conversation or activity. This is what notification always were meant to be.

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I am not sure that if there were notification about Facebook Messages in the last version, while darkening the facebook/twitter/foursquare when there is an update might have been since earlier. As confirmed by @m_krishna and @freak4mobiles, it certainly seems something new.

On the negative part

  • When we see a message icon on top of the UI, while browsing twitter updates, then we can’t really tell that the message is for twitter or facebook. Differentiating the icons might have made more sense, isn’t it?
  • While with the new version, photo browsing experience is bound to get better as this version is caching last five photos/ maps, so re-watching the same pics would be more easier and data friendly, but it doesn’t seem that Facebook section is enjoying any show due to this as there is still no preview mode for images like we have in twitter section. Not sure, the blame is on Facebook’s restricted API or @janole yet to take a deeper look into the same for implementing that.
  • Facebook section still native as we can’t update our profile pics like we can do in case of twitter profile, we can’t check profile info of others, nor we can browse through photos section of our friends. A proper photo browsing would be a nice addition.

Google reader section also has been updated for the same j.mp URL shortener and same Gravity Browser can be used for opening URLs.


While Images and Foursquare sections still seems to be unchanged, I already voiced my concern once with @janole that somehow the way of attaching an image to a tweet might be confusing for a newbie and should have been an attach button in each tweet to call the images section and then let you choose the image rather than going through images section and then uploading the image first, copying the URL from there and then pasting inside any of your tweet or rather posting tweet from images section itself. What if someone is replying someone and just wishing to add some screenshot as a proof?

The other complaint from otherwise awesome images section is limit on photos. Though its understandable from resources point of view that generating thumbnails take a tool over performance, but still the users wont listen such excuses before mentioning it negatively.


So, this was all about new changes in the latest gravity version that is 1.5 build 6691 now though as usual there been minor bug fixes under the hood that will come into notice when we will see the official change log comes from the man himself.

The official download link goes here (around 1.9 mb), that will apply over all the versions (touch and non-touch) though Gravity browser is specific to S60 v5 and S^3 only. A lighter download link for FP2 version is here (492 kb only).

For people, who might be new to Gravity or looking for more info about overall interface then you must check out the my real big review on Gravity and the review post on last big update that was build 6686.

Did you find anything else that I missed here, do tell me please.

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Gravity for Symbian got updated to Alpha 6685-All new facebook section and more

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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.

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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.

Continue reading “Gravity for Symbian got updated to Alpha 6685-All new facebook section and more”

Portrait QWERTY to Symbian^3-Gravity shows that what Symbian can do

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Its very easy to blame things and saying that Symbian is dead, but it takes genuine talent and vision to show that its not the technology, but its what you do with it. The transparent and split keypad design of Gravity that I was talking about in last post, finally arrives in Alpha stage and available for reviewing it, which stands for just another example that its not rocket science to fix the things.

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If you might have given such a regarded name like Gravity, then it becomes difficult to exceed the expectations from himself and it janole, who always came up to raise the bar. Let’s see, what he doing with Symbian this time ..


What special about this custom keyboard?

Not the very first time, when someone might have taken the task of creating a custom keyboard for some app only. If you are unable to recall, then let me remind you, you have seen the keypad of opera mobile.

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But when it comes to design something like so native yet so important then usually developers feel out of innovation. While it doesn’t look so in first glance, there are too many minor details that could go bad, when designing a keyboard, like right size of keys (see smaller and almost unusable Opera Keys) or no mention of word count in native Non-QWERTY keypad on Symbian^3 as of now at least. Not only that, but even most basic things that people always taken for granted, when get designed from ground up, the suddenly become a challenge.

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Though its only an Alpha build and still lots of things are missing here, but in the above screen shot, you find the following things special:

1. Transparent design, which don’t let you slip the context for which you were writing
2. A glossy touch in buttons and background behind them
3. Word count and that too in enough big fonts +1 from my side
4. An entire new, generic or Google map kind of Geo Tag sign, look more relevant than earlier now
5. Largest screen real state provided to the text in comparison to others
6. A big space bar in the middle of bottom
7. Send button on top means no accidental sending

Not sure that its the same split keypad design that I was assuming it to be in last post, but its sure look exactly, what I thought touch keypad must have looked like


What are the tricks with this keypad?

Well, the very first thing you will get comfortable with is gonna be the landscape mode due to bigger room and bigger keys, but for some strange reasons, the send button is missing here (obviously just got now).

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In the first build that was 1.32 6670, there was a little space remaining on the top, which you can’t really notice easily but could have taken advantage by sliding the finger upside and the tweet was posted. Though it was a annoyance too as caused many accidental tweets by me, when I was trying to adjust some words. Anyway, janole removed the option with second build that is 1.32 6671.

On pressing the close button, then tweet will go in draft mode and then you can use the same old send from there, though same wont be the case when you will be sharing some pics from images section means you have to go to portrait after typing there.

The geo tag get a blue color here, in place of green earlier, dark grey when selected and trying to get a lock, faded grey, when not opted. Though I have not figured out that what color does it take when get a network based lock only, which was orange in case of earlier gravity build. Still I guess Green and Orange were better.

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The up arrow icon in left side, works for caps lock and the double arrow in the right works for the backspace (though backspace doesn’t work like Swype for deleting whole world in once), but the most exciting thing is inside the second screenshot if you would have noticed the highlighted V letter. Yes! you guessed right, Janole has not only raised the bar by bringing the split keyboard kind of design, but also the multi-touch (at least for one option) to the keypad.

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You also find the special character support here, like the one shown in first screen shot that appears when you press and hold ‘P’ and similar with some other keys which might bring some variants.

P.S. Forgive for that annoying sign of connection failed due to poor connection at my place.

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Keeping the numeric keypad behind the press of bottom left button might be uncomfortable for people, who might have gotten much used to of Swype, but still I will call this a neat design.

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Reply/ Send/ Retweet buttons appearing in portrait mode only as of now. Though, if your retweet exceeds 140 character limit, then you wont be able to see the button, even if touching at the same place will still work for sending off the tweet.


What’s still pending and could be expected in final build?

Not sure that Janole took this task as just an addon to Gravity or really thought since start that how big it could be, but I am sure that initial responses might have given a clue that people really wanted an alternative of default layout. But when we look closer then the smoothness of the design is still without some very basic things.

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  1. There is no scroll bar kind of thing, which is not a big thing as whole of text box system on symbian is designed that way, but still it may cause problems sometimes like you can see in above screen shot. Last line is just unreadable and you have to go by guesses only. I wonder, if the same has been reason behind the fact that Janole never tried to implement twitlonger inside Gravity as that feature was asking for a scrollbar implementation and hence weight over UI. This has been corrected by @janole with version 6671.
  2. As of now, keyboard is not customizable. No vibration on keys or option to just disable it completely.
  3. Absence of arrow keys is sure a big pain provided there is no predictive mode as well.
  4. You can not select some portion of tweet to delete or copy, which come in contrary of the excitement due to availability of Ctrl + V option.
  5. When Janole is designing this keyboard taking Gravity in mind, then ‘@’ must have been prominent and easily accessible.
  6. As of now, it doesn’t look like Swype gonna integrated in it, while everyone will want so.

Besides, the above, there are something, which we kept on asking from Janole from quite a while like auto completion of names, which sure gonna be possible once the predictive tying and custom dictionary makes the way to here, which will be a toll over the performance as well. Not sure, if it would be an easy thing to do.

Here is the download link for the same Alpha Build of Gravity, give it a try and feel that its not the case that Symbian is dead, its the way its being handled by developers, who are probably confused in fragmentation.


So these are some of my observations and inputs about this Alpha build. Please comment, if you want some more or I missed something important here. Yours words will reach to Janole.

Awesomeness of Gravity continued – Transparent and split keyboard arrives

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When some says that the reason to stick with Symbian is people like @janole, then we really don’t get surprised because he is really the man, who is being called as One Man Army of Symbian. The only developer, who is still sustaining the lust of switching to iOS or Android and standing tall as the best mobile developers of the time.

You need strong reasons to sell your product, when there are hundreds of them are out there for free and janole definitely seems to knowing his job very well. We just seen a sneak peak from his side about the paradigm shifting split and transparent keyboard design for gravity.

It seems that the roots are from the same split keyboard design, which Forum Nokia people are discussing since recent and lovely part is, it working in qwerty mode, when used in portrait. Like always, Janole seems to be the quickest to adopt the same approach and we really should expect some great things from coming Symbian^3 updates too.

It is literally the same, as I was talking about in my post, Janole and other developers just need to bring swype integration in the same and a new era of touch input will begin.

Note: This is in development phase only, no beta or finished product came out to try yet, but knowing the way Janole works, we should really hope for a big update coming soon.

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Symbian alternatives for Gravity – Snaptu, Socially, Tweets60, Trill and Dabr

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I hope you all loved the last review of Gravity from me, which some even mentioned as the biggest review over Gravity till date. Thanks for the love shown by you all, which encouraged me to come up with another post showcasing other alternatives twitter clients.

Its never like that only few twitter clients out there, but if someone had tried Gravity once, then it becomes harder to settle for anything else. Still there are many, who search for other clients as Gravity asks for a little price. So, here I am trying to sum up some of the free alternative twitter clients than almighty Gravity, let’s see how much worth everyone of them has.

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Snaptu: This was probably the first ever twitter app that I installed in any of my Smart phone. A simple yet effective mobile app that could find its place in your phone even if not just for twitter.

Snaptu is not just another mobile app, but in fact its a widget platform in itself, which has very easy and open API to build widgets upon to bring number of services to your smart phone in easiest way possible, in form of widgets.

Most special thing about Snaptu, being widget based it works in same way from lower end S40 devices to higher end Nokia N97 Mini etc. Specially over S40 devices I found nothing as rich as Snaptu.

Installation is as easy as it could have been. One has to just navigate to http://m.snaptu.com and it will show up options accordingly.

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Snaptu caters a variety of services\ apps like CricInfo, FaceBook, AccuWeather, Picasa, Dictionary, Sudoku, Dictionary, Google Calendar and of course twitter. Twitter appears as a widget in Snaptu and serves all the basic purposes in simplest possible way.

Though Facebook app here is also worth special mention as that one works better than the official facebook client app, but this post was intended for twitter service, so let’s move that way.

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The login screen is simplest yet include the search twitter option and view public timeline option as we find on twitter official site. Quite handy to start with twitter, if you are new to it.

User name and password fields take you to Nokia native text input screen that might feel annoying to making, but its a thing that you have to live with as it will continue in rest all experience with Snaptu. Wherever there will be option to input some text, it will be the same native screen. Though that’s not exactly annoying as it include the familiar experience and also shows the counter on top.

But I should say that putting a checkbox like Follow Snaptu is un-necessary pushing, which they should have avoided. You should not ask people to follow you in this way.

Later it comes to the twitter experience,

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I would like to see better fonts, geo-tagging and pics upload support essentially here, but still it presents all the basic functions, one might be looking from a twitter client. Not only you have options like reply-to-all, but you can check the profile and have the preview of pics as well (though I am not sure, how many services it supports, but being web based, it should support most of them).

Though I didn’t found any pics upload option, but I think as Snaptu handle Picasa very well, there are other pics upload widgets for sure and that could serve the purpose, but again a unified experience is what we don’t get here.

One thing that I would admire here, which we always wished to have in Gravity as well is picture zooming option like given below, sometimes we really need that only.

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As you can see picture viewing screen also has Open in browser option. And yes like almost all of twitter clients, it also doesn’t make use of Flash Lite for showing previews of videos posted rather than showing the screen like the above when clicked. Is video playback that hard to implement?

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With settings, Snaptu is as basic as it could be. I wish if they would have given options like theme etc here. Still it has enough to show off the twitter, see how updates appear with notifications. It got most of the basic things that you require from a twitter client and it supports touch phones as well.


Socially: Like Snaptu, Socially is also an app that could find its way in your smart phone, even if you didn’t wanted it for your twitter needs. Not only free, but it also brings some functions like even Gravity trying to reach now.

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Socially facilitate not only integration with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook (though the same is having some problem now days) and Foursquare, but goes beyond that. These social services get integrated with your contacts in a very good way and facebook app is much richer than Gravity has. I mean browsing through profiles of friends, photos and options to have birthdays from Facebook or to sync profile pics with contacts pics just by one click.

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The UI might not seem that cool after you might have seen Gravity itself, but still its cool and effective enough with a desktop alert (last 15 updates) kind of thing for even non-touch phones.

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Initial steps to connect the services are kind of naive and the facebook one is facing some issues right now due to some changes from Facebook side, though you can easily connect the facebook via browsing through given URL on your PC and it will automatically connect your socially with your facebook account after you authorize the same from web.

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Unlike the other apps, I will talk about in this post later on, this one has plenty of settings to fiddle with. Not only auto start, preferred Data Access Point, preferred WLAN Access point and even prompt for Foursquare Check-Ins since the latest version arrived. You say… WOW!!!

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Though I am not able to find some way to upload photos through it, but if it was there, then was picture perfect as we already have features like browsing through pics.

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Definitely, its likeable when some app brings your favourite business networking site directly into your phone. After all, its not only about twitter and social networking, when you talk about social. Though haven’t started using LinkedIn that much from cell till now, so can’t figure out the use cases, but I know many people, who could make out a good deal of it.

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But yes! I would say Gravity reminds you at many places, like when you try to check in Foursquare. You think that it could have been easier like the way Gravity does, so simple, so natural, so tight.

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The home screen displays photos of your contacts (twitter/Facebook etc), which got recent updates and the updates could be scrolled right to left below to it. Not only that whatever you say from the home screen in updates, goes across all the services means one door, one update to all Facebook, Twitter, Linked and Foursquare. I am specially happy about this app that it adds the geo-location options, which Snaptu misses badly.

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Yes! there are no picture previews, pics upload options and no Reply-to-all in socially’s twitter experience as of now, but still no naive typing screen and option of geo-tagging makes socially is exactly the thing, which you wanted as alternative to Gravity, if didn’t wished to pay any price.

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If you thought that’s enough about Socially, then you probably missed the fifth icon in top row of home screen. Yes! Socially has a very very surprise package for you, if you leave it running in background, then it also tells details about incoming calls like from where and from which provider someone is calling and also when the last call or SMS was made from that number, not only that but also a blacklist function for incoming calls. Definitely, there are many thing in Socially that even gravity could learn a thing or two from it.


Tweets60: Its only non-free product in my list and I have taken a lite product for review (free version), so there are many things I might miss about this. This app even gotten a mention over AAS, so you might check out a thing or two from there as well.

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When you open the app, the first thing that strike your mind is, how much similar it looks like Gravity, but as you move further, you start finding differences. There is no full screen mode (or may be in lite version only), no control over font size like gravity, no themes, no image upload, no under the tweet options of reply, reply-to-all or conversation mode.

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As much, you try to move in, the disappointment gets bigger. Again saying that its not because it has something lesser than the two mentioned before it, but its because it reminds you too much of Gravity and when you try to do things in Gravity way then you suddenly woke up from the dream.

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This app has own way of handling basic twitter operations and though no geo-location support or reply-to-all option, but its good enough to live with sometimes.

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There are common tabs like Home, Replies, Direct msg, Direct msg sent, favorites and updates. No options for conversation or like who replied to whom, I was not even able to find the way to view someone’s profile.

Nothing much to talk about more in it, I guess, but please remind me, if I would have missed something.


Trill: This client has recently joined the game and people loved the bird way of tweeting specially. After Gravity, only the interfaces of rounded buttons and inline options here touched me somehow.

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Not only, you can view any profile in best way,but also the inline buttons to reply or anything been something one get addicted to, if would have used Gravity. Definitely, its a good design in comparison to rest all free product dealing with twitter.

There are again tabs like Home, Replies, Direct messages and Public timeline. One must not miss the bottom center icon as well, which shows possible navigation ways. simple yet Innovative.

Its design has taken many elements from Gravity and though misses things like picture preview, reply-to-all and geo-tags, but they could really built it upon this base.


Dabr: And here comes the only mobile site of the all names I mentioned above. If some mobile site get higher ratings than even the official mobile site of twitter, then it has to be something. Dabr.co.uk is probably the simplest way available on planet as you can find it running in same way even on lowest GPRS supporting phones and that too with much needed pics upload option.

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At the first sight, you might find it a mess of links only, but once you start with it, then you find all the functions built in. Though no reply-to-all option here, but It also got reply-to-all option and you can even view if someone sent a geo-tagged tweet. There are previews available for pictures too.

dabrSome of my friends told me that dabr has option to send geo-tagged tweet, but I am not able to find that yet. After making this post live, James from @1000Heads confirmed me that as per dabr’s own blog post, Geo-tagging available for iPhones, iPads, Android phones and the N900 too.

Why not Symbian, dabr? Why not?

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It supports a number of themes to choose from and even choice of modes that which kind of phone, you are using dabr on. But what I liked most about it is its simplicity yet capability of doing most of things like picture upload.


So, that was my attempt to bring some info about free twitter clients for people, who couldn’t afford to buy a Gravity license, but still I will insist that one must see Gravity once before thinking that how much price its asking for.

Please add your comments, if you like the info and wanted to add something.

Update: On suggestion of one of the friend, I decided to add a poll here

 

Layman’s Take on Gravity – Big review of biggest twitter Client

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Do you know what is Gravity? If you are not part of the online social crowd of twitter that may know each other sometimes better than the family itself, then sure your answer might be something else, but if you know twitter then you know gravity more than the twitter itself. No matter, you are a Nokia user with Gravity installed or on some other platforms, who never got the taste of awesomeness of Gravity. That’s probably the height of brand name that stands higher than the service, higher than OS experience itself. That’s our Gravity- The best Twitter client of the planet.

 

The above is the preview poster that Janole, the creator of Gravity posted on his twitter profile for suggestions few days back. The poster displays the previews of interface in dark theme with brand new Image section and support for services like Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Google Reader, Status.Net. Obviously, the best way to present the latest version 1.32 6601 was to showcase it with Nokia N8 itself (the best a Symbian can get till date).


I must tell you, writing review over something you been familiar since long might be much much tougher to start with sometimes. I remember my Nokia N82 review that was so obvious thing always with me in last few years and still no words over it. Same with Gravity, each of us know about, use every minute, but its so simple, so obvious that what to write, what left to be told like simple questions becomes tougher than revealing secrets behind some prototype.


Gravity: First released on March 30, 2009, Gravity started with a simple interface covering all the basic things about Twitter and with continuous positive feedbacks, grown to improve the experience better and better in just few months. With October 21, 2009, it started becoming your one point social communication client by inclusion of service like Google Reader and all of the services were always sharable to twitter. Though we miss things like pictures or videos in Gravity’s Google reader section, but still it stands as perhaps the best RSS client for Symbian and smaller screens.

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What makes an awesome UI? The Simplest Interface- Everything right there where you expected them to be and functioning much better than the expectation itself and The Performance- all of sudden, you stop blaming that your phone is under powered or cheap coz gravity does the same wonder, if you pick an old phone like Nokia N82 with me or a cheap Nokia C5 or faster non-touch like E72 or even touch screens like N97 or N8 (touch screen versions have kinetic scrolling as well).

What makes the performance special is the fact that it’s programmed in Symbian OS native code. In practice, this means that the developer can create a feature rich, slick and complicated UI and user interface, compared to a J2ME based application. More of it, it handles the internet connections pretty well though there are not options for controlling A-GPS settings that way, but hey!! you are talking about a twitter client here


Let’s try to introduce the awesomeness of Gravity with the readers, who don’t know about it yet (if really there are any)

Installation Mobile installation never been any headache like Windows or Linux ones, so the installation will go straight forward though you are required to allow all applications from the application settings by changing the default of signed only.

Usually the size of gravity been around 450-500 kbs, but with arrival of combined installer for all platforms, it has changed to a single 1.69 mb installer.

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Yes! you are always recommended to use the latest version of software and here you have the best reason for that. @janole has introduced the all re-designed super awesome image section since version 1.31 6575, I guess. The latest 1.32 6601 is supposed to be most stable, efficient and Symbian^3 supported version of gravity.

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Like most of the products, I don’t remember that gravity ever changed its icon, but the new version now greets you with much more behind the thumbnails of six images in image section as the limit of last few images only as was just one month back, has been removed now.

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First look and services Interface and UI is what keep Gravity apart and ahead of any twitter client in the world and even all other Symbian apps, you might have ever seen. If you check twitter and blogs then you will find really many advocating that Nokia should give @janole the charge of UI design section with Nokia as its Gravity specially, that one misses if moves out from Symbian world. That’s why, when I say that can an app could be bigger than the OS itself in fame? then no one think of any other name than Gravity.

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The very first screen greets you with five initial sections: Add Account, Go Online!, Twitter Search & Trends, Images and Info & Updates. As you can check in options->View, current screenshots shows Gravity running in Full screen mode, which really shows that how UI’s should be actually designed to take full potential of smaller 2.4” screens.

As you see, in Options->Tools, Gravity make full use of A-GPS for twitter geo-tagging and FourSquare and even you can utilized the Geo-Co-ordinates obtained from Gravity to send via SMS by copying on clipboard.

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The version 1.32 is sure a big mark about Gravity as not only it brings support for upcoming Symbian^3 (N8, C7 etc), but the services like Google reader is out of beta stage now.

More of it, as Gravity supported the OAuth from the start, so its surely not among those ones, who gonna be affected by twitter’s recent announcement about OAuth. I am also looking for videos using Gravity with recently arrived Swype, would be awesome experience for touch users.

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As @janole seems to have removed one of the services here, so now it remains with five services as shown in screenshot-Twitter, StatusNet, Facebook, Google Reader and Foursquare, but under the hood there are many more services as well.

Listing a few here ..

  • Is.gd as a URL Shortener for Google Reader links though I would like it if @janole brings options about this as well. What about adding options for bit.ly and goo.gl?
  • Flicker uploads are supported via image section, you can put your Flicker code in Image Section -> Settings. Same about Facebook posts, which are natively supported. Though you can’t choose the folder in which the image will go with any of them. I guess, we just missing Picasa here. Isn’t it?
  • The other image upload services are Yfrog, Img.ly, TwitPic, MobyPicture, Posterous and TwitGoo.
  • There is support for other link services ike Delicious, Instapaper, Read-it-Later and also Ping.fm support by simply sending “p message” or “p #group message”

Have I missed any other service?


Connection Handling The connectivity thing suddenly gets a new meaning, when we talk about any mobile client as it was simple with Desktop ones. I means it was enough to have a single internet connection in your PC to run any internet based app, but when you talk about mobiles, then WiFi, 3G, APN and Wap like many things start circling in your mind.

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With the inbuilt Zlib compression option, though it may be the case, you wont mind running on lower connections, but at time, when you are going to open some heavy link, then sure you think if you would have started with the higher speed connection. Don’t worry, here you love the connection handling of Gravity with Open and Choose APN option

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As you seen in screenshot, you can always choose Auto-Connect to any Access Point and Auto-Fallback to WLAN for the simplest of configuration.


Twitter Gravity might not be supporting the option to make a twitter account from the client itself like Ovi tools support, but rest everything seems to be under full control of gravity and that’s most efficient and beautiful way possible for Symbian Clients.

If you already have checked out many twitter clients, then you really know that why people choose to buy Gravity even if there are many other free apps available for twitter and even the mobile sites like dabr.co.uk, itweet.net or twitter’s own mobile site itself.

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The first twitter screen go just in simplest way, lists your timeline, twitter handles of people, how much time back the tweet was and from which client they tweeted. in non-touch phones, for a few it might be confusing in start that where to type, but you just fall in love by the first sight when you just start typing and the type pad appears with GPS icon in left top and count being shown on right top. Once, you finished with your post, you just need to hit the update button.

With GPS icon, you need to press the up key while keeping the cursor at very first place and it tries to get the Geo-Location if haven’t already got. Green means it has locked the location and orange means it got the nearest tower but not the satellites.

Not only that if your tweet failed or if you pressed Close in place of update for some reasons, then it goes to Drafts section of gravity and yes!! it supports multiple drafts (didn’t check how many). Cool na??

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As you can see, there are nine tabs, you can navigate in smoothest manner possible and covers almost all whatever you thought that a client could have done.

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Not only that you can view yours and others profile in Gravity in the above manner, but you can also check for the profile picture, Lists and link if they would have given in their profile text. Just perfect…

You already seen that there is a section of Twitter Search and Trends, you can configure as many searches there and Gravity handles them in tabs.

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Not only that, but you can see that how many options you get by pressing over any tweet depending on the nature of tweet and the text inside that.

We have Reply, RT, +/-FAV, Reply-To-All, FWD, DELETE, Map/ Nearby and >> symbol for following up the conversations in other tab. The same interface goes with gravity everywhere, either it be following from someone profile or Facebook or Foursquare. Its same everywhere, click on the status and get the options whatever might be possible as per the text.

Not only that but you also have option of forwarding tweets on SMS or even by Email. Did you knew that?

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Facebook The facebook section of Gravity is kind of very limited now. You can check out updates on your wall, the news feeds and also could update, comment, like or forward the updates.

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You can see that the options are pretty basic here, but still sufficient for status updates and catching up with your friends.

There are issues like you can’t watch the full pics that easily, you do on twitter or if you wanted to watch some video then it downloads that first. No list of friends or birthday updates, neither can you view the profiles of others or browse their photos.

Its a due over @janole since long and he has promised up to come up with a complete Facebook section very soon. We are very much looking for that @janole.


Google Reader Perhaps no one would have expected that such a small client could have handled a thing like RSS Reader that well without going through the browser way and this is exactly what we call as brilliance.

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And that’s not the all, but there are other handy options like +/- FAV, Read, Keep Unread, Mark as Read, Share, Tweet and URL. You can set that which feeds should be loaded (default is Unread Items only) and can decide the fetch time. Tweet option uses the link shortener Is.gd by default and URL opens the link in the browser, if one wishes so.

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Though I could very well understand the reason, but the only thing remains in this section is images/ video and options to create folders, subscribe or unsubscribe. But Gravity was targeted to be an efficient RSS reader not the complete handler, isn’t?


Foursquare Not much to say about as I am new to Foursquare, thanks to Gravity that I joined this service, otherwise would never have joined as there was no foursquare apps before for my N82 or may be I wasn’t trying that harder.

Scr000111A nice view, plenty of options, controlled sharing with Facebook or Twitter, what else you want from a Foursquare client?


Images Section Here comes the recent and most noticeable addition to gravity with the latest version. A complete redesigned, beautiful and much more capable Image section.

Scr000080The new image section not only supports much more number of pics from your smartphone memory, but there are plenty of options for sharing as well.

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You can now upload a pics to some service (like Yfrog, Img.ly, TwitPic, MobyPicture, Posterous, TwitGoo or Flicker) without even tweeting the same activity and you could make use of generated URL in your tweet later on by copying it on clipboard.

You can choose the quality of pics to be uploaded like Medium, Low or Original.

And the recent version also have added the option to upload the pics to Facebook (though it shows on the wall as well, may be some option in facebook settings to hide that) and also option to update the twitter profile pics, like I recently did.


Purchase and Price Yes! Its not a free app, but comes for a price around Rs. 500/-, but hey!! isn’t this much amount you spend on any ordinary weekend?

Gravity is licensed per IMEI. When purchased from share*it! or fastspring, you do not need to enter the IMEI during the order process! You can conveniently register your IMEI after the purchase has been completed through our self-service portal.

If you experience any problems during or after the order process, please immediately contact us viainfo@mobileways.de and we will help resolving the issue as fast as possible. If you do not receive your software or your registration code, please immediately contact: info@mobileways.de!

And yes! you can have rebate on multiple copies as well. Please send Mobileways.de a request for a bulk rebate to info@mobileways.de if you are planning to order more than 3 copies.


While my review was based on non-touch Nokia N82, enjoy the following videos about Gravity on touch interface ..

Via FoneArena

Via TheNokiaBlog

 

Beautiful and cool, isn’t it?


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What makes this app more worth is the creator @janole itself, who is probably most accessible developer  celebrity on twitter. you drop something about Gravity on twitter and its almost 60% likely that he will respond (he is human after all, can’t make it 100%). Not only respond, but he keeps on working over Gravity again and again to sort out issues anyone reports to him.

Do you know that much of the image section was designed by him, when he was in hospital on bed? That’s call dedication and humbleness.

So, this is plenty much about the Gravity. A review in tribute to the best mobile Apps I would have came across. Please comment, if you wanted to add some more in it.

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