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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Touch phones – A Layman rant over ‘Touch’ing issues

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So I am back again over the same issue that big names continuously skipping on, may be in thinking that touch technology is the future, either be with it or be out of race. My opinions are/were never against touch screen technology. Its always been about the ways, its being handled now days.

It might be the case that I may look like alone in the crowd arguing over issues with touch screens repeatedly and some again may feel like calling me a cribber, but this been a blog about the layman always rather than experts or geeks. Even if less bloggers picking on it, I still believe that there are many, who still feel in the same way as I am. Its just not the touch vs non-touch debate, but about making touch phones more real.

Alien

After having a top of line Nokia touch phone in hands and being through some other big names of touch world, I am back again to point out some of serious issues that could be corrected, if people get to know that there are issues rather than thinking that they will find out those issues themselves. Let’s see what some of the issues are and what could be done about them …..


Blind and naive typing methods

In general, this issue isn’t against only Nokia, but its about most of the touch screens out in market. When it comes to typing, you feel like living in DOS ages, where every way was going through that same c:\>

Its not hard to understand that the issue behind is the little real estate provided to design the interface, but still that captcha bug represents whole buggy touch keypad design, which relies more on our memory than the visual approach (for which, the touch screens were standing for in the first place).

Leave the captcha words at the first place, they already annoy sometimes (they tend to get this much complex that become a problem for humans itself, not only computer), think of common scenario. You were about to login into your one of the social account, I say and someone calls in the middle. You have typed the user name and now you were up to entering the password, but that annoying call takes up your 10 mins and when you come back, whoooa what was the site and what was the user name I was typing? Oh! you can always go back and check that..

input2 Keypad

What about some long list of drop down in some site says Forum Nokia device specification page and you wanna navigate to some specific one? Oh!! yaa… there is a way out of the page.. great intuition.. thanks for forcing people feeling done with touch screen phones.

Though I will also agree that there are other advantages of touch screens, when it comes to typing. You got some word wrong at the second last line while typing and you just touch right there correct that. You have to select one word from somewhere and its just stretching a finger. Its sure not like that typoholics have all the reasons for hating only.

Conclusion and suggestion A full screen keypad app popping up whenever you find a place like typing, just screws the ‘awesome’ experience to live on a touch screen or whatever you call it and only aliens could call it intuitive or whatever they mean in their language.

People might be making it fun to type with things like Swype, but why not anyone coming up with some kind of transparent keys design or even split keypad design (under making on Symbian^3) that may let the text boxes be text boxes with their own nature (plain text or password text) and doesn’t make you feel alien-ish when coming from a Non-Touch background? And yes! inline auto correction of words do help a lot.


Screen Real Estate is too important to be wasted

I am not much into other platforms, but as much I see, its very much specific to Nokia. They not only love their ‘ideal’ 360×640 pixels, but seems to be thinking that a filled table took more beautiful than an empty one.

Do you know there are many, who are switching to touch screens only for the sake of few cm’s more of the screen.. like going from 2.6” to 3.2” or 3.5” even if they kind of hate those touch screens many times due to issues like I mentioned above.

Its true that most of them ask for bigger screens to watch pictures/ movies/ web pages with ease and get ready to compromise on many of their conveniences by going over touch screens and if you ask me, then keeping those 1 cm thicker Options and Exit buttons is really kind of some crime.

Yes! they started doing better with opening the web browser in full screen by default, but haven’t layout of Opera or Safari reminds them that people could manage with smaller and intuitive buttons as well? Same story again, if you compare their Photo Gallery with Android ones. Is glassy interfaces and eye candy transition effects going to take ages to deliver?

Its good that finally more RAM and hardware acceleration is making the experience smoother than ever but after the long insistence over the low RAM, now Nokia seems to have gotten the another bug of sticking with a standard resolution like 360×640. Haven’t the whole internet was buzzing with praises when they delivered the resolution of 800×480 with Nokia N900? What’s point in going back what they started once?

They say its that for sake of the various devices\ existing apps, they offer and some of them might be of lower resolutions due to uniform support, price compromises or smaller screen sizes like 3.2” but tell me, isn’t it’s like naive web designers, who start with the approach of assuming the website resolution fixed at 800×600 or 1024×768?

Remember making use of each and every pixels was one of the reasons that make S60 devices to be called as smart once and Gravity like apps as legends.

Conclusion and suggestion Are you again going to start the similar mistake that you kept on doing by insisting over lesser RAM and user storage for years and devices over devices? Take my word, don’t do that. You can’t afford more mistakes, if really wanna come back. You have to provide as much real estate as possible even in those little 3.2”, 3.5” or 4” and it will not only ask for higher resolutions but also some intuitiveness as well. If your developers can’t think of that then ask developers like Janole@mobileways.de, but its nothing like that you will catch up later on, its right there, right now.


Don’t ask users to spend same amount of time as they would have spending on Computers

Its again becoming a Nokia specific issue for the most part.

Almost every analyst kept on saying to Nokia that Symbian became the burden for only one fact, they tried to rebrand a non-touch OS into a touch one. Otherwise S60 and S40 operating systems were never that bad or hated in communities, neither they are even now. It was similar kind of mistake that desktop emperor Microsoft did, when they approached the smart phones. They thought that the same interface with minor adopting will sell as people will feel more ‘familiar’ to that. You seen what happened with them, haven’t you?

IOSNokial

You are a nerd or geek, if you are seen on computers for most of the time, but you look like a confused person, if you seen fiddling to many folders and menus for performing a simple task on any smart phone. When we call Smart then it goes to have everything right there, when you need that anytime. Don’t tell me that people haven’t kept on warning you about the fiddly navigation system on S60 V5 and Symbian?

It was fine with non-touch phones to have those two buttons at the bottom approach, but  Nokia and Microsoft should have got the point in 2007 only that this kind of button approach isn’t going to work with touch phones as well. Ribbon approach as started by Apple in some extent and now being followed by Android or Bada as well was sure a better way to go.

Android

Even if something is not that simple, it can be made to look simple that’s the design part takes place. Making more efficient-n-capable apps is another thing and making them look really simple is another thing. I guess developers doing their jobs perfectly, but designers not or the demarcation line between two has been blurred out since the OS design.

Conclusion and suggestion What about keeping all the things full screen all the time and a customizable ribbon appearing from top, bottom, right or left edge of screen holding the running apps or frequently used apps? Remember such innovations are already in place with your system only, when we get last used symbols on pressing # or those last dialed/ SMSed contacts system in S40 phones, when trying to send a new SMS. Its not totally an alien idea to you, is it?


No! I don’t have that small blogger syndrome, neither do I think that whatever words get thrown over some web page reach to right people straight away, but it never stopped a layman from talking. Everything takes time to get matured in order to serve us better, but its the opinions that bring those changes possible in lesser time.

I still have a hope that the touch screen fanatics will listen to the concerns, which non-touch fans find hard to live with, whenever they want to like touch phones. They may not be echoing the words that hard, when someone says something in favour of non-touch phones, but I still believe there are many, who wants a few changes in touch world… am I wrong?

Laymans Take on Nokia 5233 – The short review

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Since I wrote of Nokia C5, the leading shot of non-touch smartphones crop, some of the readers enquired me about the cheapest options about touch phones as well. The answer wasn’t that simple, but as their concern was price, so I suggested them of Nokia 5233 and Nokia 5235 and specially with a price tag of Rs. 6300/-, Nokia 5233 is sure a great deal for one kind of market.

Today I got my hands on Nokia 5233 finally via one of my colleague and I took the same chance to bring my first impressions about the device for readers.

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Why should one buy Nokia 5233?

We are not talking about the geeks here, who could argue on the specs sheet for hours. We are talking about the guys, who are much mean, when it comes to shed a few bucks from their pockets. I have seen people, who will buy some Chinese model in 5K saying it got all and will come behind you that yaar!! its not opening the sites very well or how to transfer all my contacts on this phone… bla bla.. Com’on .. who suggested you to go for a non-nokia? Even if its priced at 5k, do you really wanted to throw some phone in one year coz there will be no care center for that kind of phone?

People get a life.. Nokia is listening of you people too. Not just for sake of price, but for sake of engaging people in a better experience because only that can bring them in for the bigger things in next.

Have you lustfully taken a look on other people’s Nokia 5800 because of their bigger touch screens and the style with which their slide their fingers on that shiny thing? So what if you didn’t wished to spend Rs. 13, 000/-, you can get the same feel with Nokia 5233. This is a device made for people to have their hands on touch phones world in cheapest way without loosing an inch of the quality standards that Nokia maintains.

  1. ARM 434 MHz processor (Irony or proud! it has the same processor as ‘’lagship’ N97 had).
  2. 128 MB of RAM is more than enough for the target users in this price range.
  3. 70 MB user storage is not much but kind of super, if you remember 50 mb of C5 or E52
  4. A 3.2” resistive touch screen with a very good nice touch feedback.
  5. Proximity sensor, Accelerometer sensor and Handwriting recognition, while target users might not even know about worth of these features.

  6. Not only comes with Ovi Music service, but has 33 hours music playback with Li-Ion 1320 mAh (BL-5J).

  7. A stylus for precise touch input though you can do all kind of things with fingers as well.

Definitely, you can complaint a single line, when someone bring this much in just Rs. 6300/-.Though still I wish people a little more with Rs. 7500/- and buy Nokia 5235 with 3G and A-GPS added, but if you are too picky about the price, then sure Nokia 5233 fits the bill as I have seen with some people around me.


Some of my first impressions after taking it in my hands

If you have taken Nokia 5800 in your hands for some times, then it almost has the same feel like that one. Though you might start complaining only if you dig a little deeper, but that would be purely based on inner features, not the exterior, which is sure full plastic, but still its better than many I had seen. At least opening back battery cover didn’t scared me here.

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Well! as you can see, it wont be a great screen when come under sunlight, neither the build has features that could keep the dust particles away.

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Though it doesn’t support the hot swap SIM feature, but sure you can insert the SIM without even opening the battery cover and same with Memory card that is hot swappable. Though disappointments are, you can not take the SIM out without opening battery cover and the package doesn’t include the MicroSD card.

But who cares, if you are looking for a cheap solution only, then in 1K you could get an 8GB card, while it supports up to 16GB and who takes out and in SIM daily, that could be managed for sure.

If you look more close in the first pics, then you could spot the mono speaker as well near my thumb. Well to say.. it wasn’t too loud, but not too low either. You can sure hear the calls on loudspeakers in normal scenarios, but don’t ask for the same in trains like noise.

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Well! I wont say that plastic buttons are all pretty, but still I would have loved more, if there was an always open miniUSB slot than the one covered with plastic on the top side.

What you love about Nokia is the fact, they still are the leaders when it comes to raise the level of common man. Here I am talking about the 3.5mm jack and 2mm charger that’s real democracy than some company running behind money only.

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I have got my hands on many of the devices, where the manufacturer decides that a dedicated camera key is kind of waste, like I seen in Nokia C5, but if you ask a user then nothing matches the feel of having a dedicated camera key on the side. Though the device doesn’t has a autofocus, so not like some half press to focus, but still you get a camera like feel.

With the volume rocker, you also got the lock button in the middle, quite handy and brings back the memories that how people were used to locking their phones by pressing Menu Key and * rather than waiting for the screen to get auto locked after a certain period.

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It got just 2MP camera full focus camera with focus range from 60 cm to infinity. It is very very ordinary and bigger disappointment is absence of even a single LED flash. I understand that it was a design decision to keep the cost at its lowest, but still it was better if they would not have compromised on this.

Probably for same reason that camera wasn’t the biggest attraction here, Nokia skipped the camera cover too.

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As I mentioned, due to a little easy slot there, it was not that hard to open the battery cover like others, where I always get scared that if opening battery cover may break it.

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Yup!! it got the stylus too though after using the phone for a while, I found that after sometime, you wont even need that. Having a resistive screen than a capacitive one, has some of profits too.

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Green, red and white; typical Nokia buttons, though reminds me of the Indian National flag as well in a way. Green one works as Call button, red as call End button and white one as Menu button. All these lights also serves as notification lights too in case of some incoming call or incoming message.

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Yes! there is no secondary camera, but that’s for a reason. It got no 3G support, so obviously no video calls, though you could spot the proximity sensors easily.

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Its the best thing Nokia does with such range of device, they don’t miss out the signal strength and battery, whatever low price might be. You are getting a 1320 mAh battery here and as no 3G, no A-GPS on board, nothing will stop this device from completing a day in normal usages.

In the same pics, you can also spot the mechanism to push the SIM out of it. The slider always go handy for that thing at least. And yes.. finally we see some metal here, the plates around the camera.

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If still some doubts, then sticker on back cover explains the basics.


So, while I will strongly recommend, a slightly higher priced Nokia 5235 over this, but sure if you gift this phone to your little sister or someone who is not much into tech, they sure gonna love it and you will be ensured that they wont bug you back that this is not working and that is not. Rs. 6300/- … what else you wish for?

photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar
 
 
 

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic – A real iPhone for mass

In view of my ‘recent active days’ with blog posts, its been a ‘pretty long’ gap of more than a week. Thought to write many a times in this while, but always….

“ Finally bought a Touch Screen all of a sudden, when there was no prior plan for buying the same. Yeah did a through study of the same before buying and as exciting it was that I made the last purchase at 9:30 PM from nearest Hotspot. “

Nokia 5800 is not the first ever attempt of Nokia entering into touch screen market (Nokia 7710 since 2004, Nokia 6208 since early 2009 for example), but considering phenomenal buzz around Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Arnoid, it was expected to be a serious one and it is a sweetheart indeed. Lots of good reviews with finer details are already around, so I am not going into details and keeping this post as a personal comment only.


First of all, why I am comparing it to iPhone?

nokia5800_iphone back

Both are touch screen devices, both has perfect connectivity options (Bluetooth, Wi Fi, 3G), both comes with lots of storage (8 Gb+), both has built in A-GPS, both have YouTube Support … in all both are the very capable devices.

For a detailed point-to-point comparison between Nokia 5800 and Apple iPhone 3G, you can check out the GSMArena Link.


What special about iPhone? 

Many times in Technology History, it had been proven that more than the capabilities themselves, what matters is that how we use them. Ajax was a literally less known technology till Gmail made use of it. Similar case with iPhone, iPhone making biggest buzz around world, not due to what it is capable of, but due to how developers are making use of it and how its being marketed.

In technical specifications, iPhone only has advantage in Multi Touch technology otherwise Nokia 5800 offering much better specifications in less than half the price (Rs. 13, 200/- in Delhi as on 9th Feb 2010), but the way, its apps store bursting with new apps daily, has made it most happening thing around the globe. One should credit the way Apple market things.


How I find Nokia 5800 still better and potent device?

nokia-5800-061 nokia-5800-xpressmusic

Price: I don’t think that even 2G model of iPhone is standing anywhere lesser than Rs 22,000/- in India, leave 3G and 3GS model apart (no where lesser than Rs. 25, 000/-) and Nokia 5800 is offering you everything is less than half the price Rs. 13, 200/-. Can you believe it? Just an included 8GB card, 3G/ Wi-Fi Support worth it, leave Touch Screen a side.

Size: Something I don’t like about most of Black Berries and iPhone is their size. They are trying to redefine the size constraints of normal cell phone, but the basic limit will always be that it should come to your hands easily. iPhone is slimmer than Nokia 5800 for sure, but almost 1 cm wide as well.

Screen Resolution/ Camera: iPhone 3GS has 320×480, while Nokia 5800 has 320×640 with same 16M colors. Yes! better with iPhone is its PowerVR MBX-Lite graphics, but still it doesn’t offer ground breaking eye candy in front of more than enough decent Nokia 5800. iPhone matched the resolution with Nokia 5800 only with the latest model 3GS otherwise it was lesser in 2G and 3G models.

Storage: Both offer 8G+ storage, but iPhone has it as internal storage with no support for more card slots. Nokia 5800 kept the price down by keeping internal memory low as 81 MB and providing 8GB as external card slot (could be extended to 16GB). Obviously, one could keep as many card as required and could keep on swapping if much storage is required. Sure, the later one is more flexible about storage.

Processor & RAM: If I should keep the comparison between Nokia 5800 and iPhone 3G then Nokia has better processor (ARM 11 434 MHz in comparison to ARM 11 412 MHz) and same amount of RAM (128 MB). Yes! Latest version 3GS has doubled the RAM and proved better processor (ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz), but price is skyrocketing to be more than Rs. 35, 000/- in India. Why one should afford such a price for a phone?

Music: Disappointing that iPhone didnt thought to keep multimedia side in primary concern and pleasant that Nokia didn’t missed that. In contrast to iPhone, Nokia 5800 offering Stereo Speakers and they perform exceptionally well even when you hear without headphones.

Usability: Have you heard of a smart phone, you cant copy text, cant forward SMS/ MMS, cant send data via Bluetooth, cant put a new battery in it or cant add a memory card in it? Yes! you are guessing it right. Its iPhone and all these troubles exists even in 3GS.Can we really change our phone habits this much.. that too after paying more than double the price?


My experience with Nokia 5800 in last three days: My first Smart Phone was Nokia N70 and I am still carrying Nokia N82 and Nokia 5310 XpressMusic, obviously, the camera quality of Nokia 5800 cant match excellent picture and video recording quality offered by Nokia N82, but for my disappointment, I felt it even lesser than Nokia N73 (but sure better than 2 MP cameras). May be settings issue or I was too much used to of excellent pictures. For me, its the only major drawback with this set. In next, if I find something like complaining then its the internal memory, which is 81 MB, decent enough, but could have been increased.

Rest everything was so amazing to me, may be its the excitement of a perfect touch screen device, but it serves me everything, which a hard core user like me could wish for. Exciting was playing YouTube directly from Internet (Idea Edge Connection) like the video is inside the phone itself. Waiting for Flash 10 to be unfolded for Symbion.

Either it be typing experience, browsing experience or connecting to PC, its been a perfect ride and I am looking more and  more into it to explore its potential.



The minimal set of apps, one should have in it:

1. Fring: I was looking for an IM to cater Gtalk and I got the almighty. It caters MSN, Gtalk, Yahoo, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and other leading IMs. For me, exciting was to make calls from my cell to Gtalk Friends or Friends on Skype sitting somewhere abroad and also to receive them on my cell like normal GSM calls. Not tested yet, but having video calls via Gtalk or Skype or Yahoo without 3G Network would be rather more exciting than anything ever I would have done with Smart Phones. Now, its not even needed to install something else (earlier I am using snaptu in Nokia N82, that’s also good enough) that this so cool app. Just waiting for 3G to be affordable and I will be having an amazing range of connectivity with friends online and offline.

Download | Website

2. Gmail: Obviously, I cant be without it. Even if I wish for more evolvement of this kind of basic Email Client, its still my favorite out of any question. I guess not much to say about it.

Download | Website

3. Google Maps: Although Nokia 5800 is already bundled with Ovi Maps, but still services like Latitude and Buzz now are something I cant think of doing without. Its kind of default app for any of my A- GPS enabled cell.

Download | Website

4. Opera 10 Beta: I already marked it my favorite in my earlier post and I was already waiting to experience it on Touch Screen. My Feelings are still the same. One should make it as their default browser like most of the people do like changing to Firefox or Chrome just after installing Windows. I am thinking that if ever, Firefox or Chrome get released for Symbion, then how will they perform?

Download | Website

5. Mail for Exchange: That’s an interesting application launched by Nokia for its business users to fill the gap Blackberry has created. Its push mail from Nokia and configuration instructions with Gmail could be found here. Why I am talking about Gmail not Business Mails? I face troubles with my office account and this apps, so I chosen a a work around. I placed a forwarder in Office Email ID to forward all mails to a new Gmail account and configured Mail for Exchange from that Gmail account. Now, not only my mails are safe in an practically unlimited storage account and they are in sync with me on the go (I will receive the mail and its notification on my cell within minute).

Some might complain about security of passing Office Data to Gmail, but has anyone doubt over Gmail Security yet?

Download | Website

6. JoikuSpot: As I am talking about minimal set of apps, so I was trying to avoid it, but thought to add it as last minimal app. Its a very promising and interesting app, which converts your device to a Wi Fi Access point means yours laptop and Laptop of your friend could make use of Edge/ 3G connection over your Nokia 5800 on the same time to use the internet as a Wi Fi connection. Although I still have not looked more into it that how it could be secured for use, but even then its a great piece of software.

Download | Website

Its not end of story and many more things might come about my experience with it. Other users should try to explore the options more with Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.