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September 19, 2008

Nokia LifeviNe : A Hands-on at an early build

by Clinton Jeff

I will be participating in the Nokia LifeviNe project, for the next 2 months, where basically a bunch of different people from around the world have been given trial Nokia N82's that have Nokia's "lifeviNe" application installed on it.

6a00e398ae981e000100fae8d9031d000b-500pi - Share on Ovi

In case you haven't heard of it before, Nokia lifeviNe is a new geo-tracking-photo-and-video-and-music application. What is basically does is track your travel route using your device's GPS and 'listens' for any pictures or videos you take , or any music you're listening to, and tags it to its location on your route. So what this means is, it plots your route alongside your media. After you're done, you can upload your journey and media to the LifeviNe website and view your journey online. It will show you where you listened to what song, where you took which picture or video.

This is absolutely perfect for holidays or visiting somewhere new. Infact, I was supposed to receive the device before my trip to North India, but unfortch it didnt reach here untill I was well on my way up North. Missed oppurtunity there, which kills me, but I have plenty of travelling left to do so its not all bad.

Returning back to topic, basically when you break it down, lifeviNe is an improved version of Nokia SportsTracker that has been redesigned from square one, for photo and video geotagging-and-tracking rather than just adding photos to a workout and uploading that. The User Interface and experience is totally different from SportsTracker, also the language used. For example in SportsTracker you upload your "workout", while in lifeviNe you upload your "Journey". All these small changes really do matter a lot. This application was bound to happen eventually because I know many people who were using the SportsTracker application to track their journeys instead of their "workouts", so there was definitely a need for an app like LifeviNe.

The limits with the SportsTracker application was that you were unable to pick which photos to upload. To add to that, you could only upload the geo-tagged photos and geo-tracked kml files of your workout to the Nokia SportsTracker website and not to your personal website or blog. Nokia lifeviNe changes that because it allows you to choose which media (photos taken, videos captured, or songs listened to) to upload and which not to. Also, there is an embeddable widget in the works that will allow you to embed your journey with LifeviNe in a blog post or wherever you'd wish to.

The Application :

So here's how the application works. Keep in mind though, that its still in pretty early stages so they'll improve on a couple things before they release it to the public.

To use Nokia LifeviNe you basically need 2 things :

- A S60 3rd edition, Feature Pack 1  or newer phone with built in GPS. (Support for external GPS devices might come in later)
- A data plan such as GPRS or WiFi. Whatever works for you.

To start the application you'll have to navigate to the Nokia LifeviNe icon in your menu and select it :

Screenshot0001 - Share on Ovi

The application then starts up, first showing the Nokia LifeviNe splash screen, and then begins to load your "journeys" :

Screenshot0004 - Share on Ovi

Your "Journeys" are the routes and media linked to each route that you've tracked using the application. We'll go into more detail on that later.

Once its all loaded up, you're presented with the following screen :

Screenshot0005 - Share on Ovi

Pretty simple and basic yes ? A large red "Rec" icon tempting you to start recording (tracking) a journey. Also, if you've gotten a GPS lock on from an earlier journey, it'll show you, your last location by loading a map behind the large record icon. In my case I was in my town, Udupi. You can also scroll around the Map, and the application will try to download the bits and pieces of the Map using your data plan.

Screenshot0006 - Share on Ovi


Now lets get to actually using the application. If you select "Options" you're presented with a list of selections which nicely fades into view. Very slick :

Screenshot0007 - Share on Ovi

Here's what each option does :

Start Recording : obviously makes the lifeviNe application start recording your route and listening for media.

Stop Recording : stops recording your route.

My Location : shows you your location within the application on the map.

Zoom in and Zoom out : Zooms you in and out of the map within the application. This can also be done using the * and # keys like in the Nokia Maps application.

Past journeys : This shows you any journeys that you recorded earlier and the media linked to each.

Settings :

Screenshot0023 - Share on Ovi

Right now the settings are pretty basic. You can choose your access point or re-enter your account information. The access point selection needs a little work in my opinion. There is no option to ask you which access point to use when you want to upload a journey. It'll simply use whichever access point you chose earlier under settings. This means anytime you want to change that, you'll have to go back into settings to do so. For example, I use my WiFi when I'm at home but when I'm travelling I depend on my GPRS. So it is a little annoying to me right now. Also, it refuses to use WiFi under Offline profile mode. Hopefully they'll fix these bugs before they release the app.

Recording a Journey :

To record a Journey all you have to do is go to Options and select "Start recording", or just select the large red button in the main application screen.

Screenshot0007 - Share on Ovi

Once you start recording, the screen clears up and shows you the Map for the area you're in, and tries to get a GPS lock. Once it does, it shows you your position on the Map.

Screenshot0032 - Share on Ovi

While recording, I was pleased to know that you can choose to "Pause" recording at any time :

Screenshot0033 - Share on Ovi

I'm curious to know if this turns off your GPS, or is it still active while the application is paused ? We'll know soon I hope.

As it tracks you using the application, it watches for any pictures or videos you take, or any music you listen to :

Screenshot0012 - Share on Ovi

I usually only take pictures, so thats all I have to show right now unfortch. While the application is tracking you, it still shows you your position using a small "stick figure" icon. This is me after I got back to the starting point :

Screenshot0021 - Share on Ovi

While you are recording, you can scroll through your route or "vine" and view the pictures or videos you've taken, or the names of the songs you listened to along the route. You can also do this at any time after you're done recording :

Screenshot0010 - Share on Ovi

Screenshot0014 - Share on Ovi

Screenshot0022 - Share on Ovi

Screenshot0016 - Share on Ovi

Screenshot0020 - Share on Ovi

Screenshot0017 - Share on Ovi

You can click on a thumbnail image to bring up the picture :

Screenshot0018 - Share on Ovi

At anytime after you're done recording, you can view any of your previous journeys by going to Options and selecting "Past Journeys" :

Screenshot0008 - Share on Ovi

There you can scroll through your precious journeys. Each journey is listed with whatever name you decided to give it, along with its route and number of pictures taken, videos and number of songs listened to :

Screenshot0009 - Share on Ovi

If you select it, it shows you the entire route. Like before, the map is zoom-able :

Screenshot0011 - Share on Ovi

Screenshot0015 - Share on Ovi

At anytime during recording, or after when viewing a previous journey, you can view the journey stats by going to "Options" then selecting "Journey Statistics" :

Screenshot0025 - Share on Ovi

This shows you the number of photos and videos you've taken and the number of songs you've listened to. It also shows you the date and time your journey began and ended, and the total distance :

Screenshot0024 - Share on Ovi

Pretty cool eh ?

Now once you've decided to stop recording your journey, you'll be presented with the following summary pop-up :

Screenshot0026 - Share on Ovi

Here, you can name your route and upload your journey, or choose to upload it later.

You can also choose whether to upload all your media data or only ones you select :

Screenshot0027 - Share on Ovi

Screenshot0028 - Share on Ovi

After you're done choosing media and naming your route, the application will ask you to enter in any tags that you want to associate with your journey :

Screenshot0029 - Share on Ovi

After you're done with that, the application will begin uploading your journey to the LifeviNe website :

Screenshot0030 - Share on Ovi

The Nokia LifeviNe website right now :

Right now the LifeviNe website is merely a showcase of what the current contributors upload. Keep in mind that I said earlier that the application and LifeviNe are still in pretty early stages. Eventually, it'll be a Nokia SportsTracker-like website where you'll be able to log in (using your Nokia account probably) and view your journeys. Like I said earlier, soon there will be an embedable widget which allows you to show your journey, that you can place in a blog post or website.


lifevinecj - Share on Ovi

If you go to the website as it is right now you'll have to wait for the flash to load, and then will be presented with a map of the world :

liefvinepc1 - Share on Ovi



liefvinepc2 - Share on Ovi

If you navigate the links on the lower black bar, that has "groups", "time" and "contributors", you can see the various media that the contributors have uploaded so far. For example, if you wish to view what I've uploaded, you go to "contributors", then click on "Cj", and it'll show you my media on the map. I don't know why they've put me under the "Music" contributor category though. I've only taken pictures and haven't uploaded any song info at all yet hehe.

The website is a little buggy right now so there are a couple of errors. I think it hates me. I've uploaded 2 routes and about 16 images but its only displaying one route and 3 images right now. It also has "21 results" in the search field under me which has me a little confused.

liefvinepc3 - Share on Ovi

If you click on the thumbnail image, it'll take you to the route and show you the other images and media taken on that route :

liefvinepc4 - Share on Ovi

liefvinepc5 - Share on Ovi

There, if you click on the thumbnail image once more, it'll show you a low res version of the image :

liefvinepc6 - Share on Ovi

Its not much, but it does give you a brief idea of how the LifeviNe site will work in the future, once it launches to the public.



So who do I think will use Nokia LifeviNe ?

I see alot of different kinds of people using it. The guy who takes a long daily bus ride and takes pictures or listens to music along the way. The teenager who's at this concert and wants to show his/her friends what they saw. Overall, its a great user experience for someone who loves to travel and takes a ton of photos along the way, like me. Now, if they could only tweak the app to allow me to post my journey directly to my blog. That'd be awesome.

 

At this point of time, I honestly do not know when the lifeviNe Mobile App will be available for download to the public, though at the launch event they did say it would make an appearance in Beta form over at Nokia BetaLabs in the coming weeks. Once that happens, I cant wait to see the journeys people upload. Should make for an amazing view at people and places around the world , eh ?

The LifeviNe application has a lot of potential. With a few tweaks here and there, the application could give people a really good reason to get a GPS-equipped Symbian phone. I cant wait to see where Nokia takes it from here.

[Via ZomgitsCj]

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Comments

Baby Girl

Too cool. I was checking this app out on the Nseries page the other week and thought it was great. I really like the display pages.

Meraj Chhaya

The only problem is as Ricky from Symbian Guru said, the battery consumption

TheXcode

what is the point for this application i don't get at all,way do you need application to track every move you make and every tune you listen or every picture you take,what's wrong with the memory that god gave to us,what we don't know how to use it anymore.

Marion

Does this only work with true GPS and not the cell tower triangulation feature in the Google Maps app.?

Cj

@ Marion : As far as I can tell with the current build, it only uses true GPS right now.

Krista

I'm beta testing this now too--not sure if you can see me on the Contributor list but I'm listed as Krista Food. I've been journeying and taking photos practically every day, but none of them have appeared on the site yet, which is a bit of a bummer! I've e-mailed the WOM folks a couple of times now and am hoping it evenutally gets resolved!

Cj

@Krista : Hey there ! You are not alone in that to be honest. Half the time, things I upload dont appear on the site either heh. So they definitely have some issues to iron out.

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