September 27, 2010

Nokia News Roundup: New Symbian, New Smartphones, New CEO

Posted by Ernest Doku

Nokia has had more than a few major developments in the last couple of weeks, from new hardware to a shuffle in their management deck, join us as we get up to speed about all things Espoo!

All Change

Images To say that Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo had a tough time of late is an understatement.

The shakiness of Symbian as platform of choice for other manufacturers thanks to a certain green robot, the "tremendous disappointment" that was the N97 in terms of both hardware and software, delays to market of the forthcoming N8...those rumours that the Board wanted him replaced just wouldn't go away.

So it came as little surprise that after thirty years at the Finnish manufacturer, OPK finally stepped down, being relieved of duty from September 21st.

Replaced by former Microsoft Business Division president and Adobe global sales boss Stephen Elop, OPK will still continue as Chairman of Nokia Siemens Networks, but will definitely sleep a lot more soundly from now on...

So where did that leave Nokia's head of smartphone strategy and unofficial second in command, Anssi Vanjoki?

According to the Wall Street Journal, he handed his six months notice as soon as he didn't get the top role. True story.

They quoted him as saying "I didn't become the CEO. It is as simple as that." 

On the topic of Nokia, Vanjoki was once again candid in pointing out their problems when speaking to the WSJ, realising that Symbian needs an overhaul to compete with Apple's iOS and the versatile Android platforms, whilst their lack of a grip on the US market was also an issue.

Considering his very vocal admission of the N97's failure to provide a decent user experience and Nokia's slow reaction to both the touchscreen and Android invasions, it comes as little surprise the Finnish manufacturer looked outside itself to find a new leader. 

UK boss Mark Loughran and chairman Jorma Ollila have also moved on from Nokia, meaning that the top floor clear out might see a new change of tack moving forward.

MeeGo still impresses as a next-generation operating system, and we are yet to see it implemented in a this space.

New Phones

Nokia World 2010 saw the world's journalists descend on London in order to see the latest offerings from the phone manufacturer, and by sheer volume they weren't disappointed.

The Nokia N8 was rolled out once again, proving itself a capable flagship device with its premium styling, as well as markling the debut of the new Symbian^3 platform.

If you already own a Nokia N8, you can get themes for Nokia N8 at Tehkseven.

The new line up covers all bases as far as pricepoints and demographics are concerned, with handsets dealing with different parts of the smartphone spectrum. 

Screen shot 2010-09-27 at 11.32.36

The Nokia E7 is a current-gen revamp of the executive device, filled to the gills with connectivity options and features, yet slick enough to proudly plonk on a boardroom table.

Another handset running on Symbian^3, the E7 is built from aluminium, with a slide-out 4 row QWERTY keyboard and the necessary suite of smartpthone hook-ups, from 3G and Wi-Fi to Microsoft Exchange support and assisted turn-by-turn GPS.

Surprisingly, the E7 is equally as capable on the entertainment front by boasting a 4-inch AMOLED touchscreen, an 8-megapixel camera and 16GB of internal memory to store tons of music and movies.

A great all-rounder, the E7 looks sheduled for an early 2011 release, according to a pre-order reveal from Expansys.

A keyboard-free alternative to the current C6, the Nokia C6-01 has a 3.2-inch AMOLED display, an attractive stainless steel frame and will also be running on the latest Symbian^3 software.

Nokia C6_6

An 8-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and high definition video capture support is certainly more high-end than we bargained for, whilst Wi-Fi, up to 32GB of memory and Bluetooth 3.0 are just the icing on a shiny metallic cake.

Rounding out the selection is the Nokia C7, a slender full touch phone that slots in just above the C6-01 in the smartphone hierarchy, but offers a little more with a 3.5-inch high resolution display, a choice of customisable home-screen and the all-too necessary social network integration. 

Screen shot 2010-09-27 at 11.57.13

Facebook and Twitter updates are piped directly to the homescreen, whilst the easy addition of upcoming events to your calendar and locational awareness of what friends are up to places this feature firmly in the category of 'useful'. 

Topped with with a smattering of fancy Nokia features including a quality 8-megapixel camera, free GPS with Ovi Maps and access to thousands of applications on the Ovi Store, the C7 comes across as a great handset for those social butterflies that need to be kept in the loop, 24/7.

Whilst Nokia World 2010 certainly whet our appetite for new Symbian devices, stopping short of MeeGo-powered goodness left us impressed but altogether more expectant that the best is yet to come...

With Nokia undergoing some pretty big changes at all levels, let's hope so.

September 07, 2010

Nokia E7 To Be Revealed At Nokia World 2010

Posted by Ernest Doku

Sounds like the Nokia E7 will finally be getting an official unveiling at this year's annual Nokia World shindig, held this year in foggy London.

Reuters reports that the manufacturer will be introducing expectant phone fans to the Nokia N8 - the first handset to debut running the new Symbian ^3 software - as well as the E7 with MacBook Pro-inspired looks and confirmed to be sporting 'a large touchscreen and full keyboard'.

Despite losing ground in the smartphone market to Samsung and Apple, financial firm Morgan Stanley have recently double-upgraded their valuation of the Finnish phone maker due to a higher-than-expected consumer interest in the N8, as well as a competitive yet profitable price point for the device. 

Whilst I'm not going to bet the farm on the N8 and E7, it could be a sign of both a change in Nokia's fortunes and a renewed vigour for Symbian as an appealing and intuitive platform for luxury handsets.

"As the N8 starts shipping and other devices are unveiled, Nokia will be hoping that it can lay the foundation stones for its recovery given the onslaught of competitive products currently hitting the market," said Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight.

"It has made some big commitments on fixing Symbian and its first flagship product using the refreshed Symbian operating system. Failure is not an option," Wood continued.

Those looking for a closer look at the Nokia N8's features and functions ahead of next week's Nokia World can take a look at the final manual, available for download here as a PDF file.

September 03, 2010

Swype Beta Arrives For Nokia Symbian^1 Phones

Posted by Ernest Doku

Not content with helping a humble Manchester lass break the world record for fastest texter ever and appearing on the new Samsung Galaxy Tab, typing app Swype is winging its way over from Android to Symbian handsets. Now available in beta form for loads of Nokia's Symbian^1 devices including the Nokia N97, Nokia N97 mini, Nokia X6, 5800 XpressMusic and the 5230, Swype provides swift text entry to touchscreen phones by allowing users to deftly drag fingers (or a stylus) between letters on the keyboard, rather than pecking away at . Whilst still a Beta Labs product, the ease of switching to the Swype input method is a little strange at first, but proves second nature after sending a few messages thanks to generous and loose predictive analysis that can second guess plenty of common words and spellings. Also great is the extent to which Swype integrates with a host of existing applications, adding the new funtionality to them almost seamlessly. Grab it from here for free, be sure to submit constructive feedback as it is still a work-in-progress, and stay tuned as Swype glides over to more handsets in the future!

September 02, 2010

Samsung Shelves Further Symbian Handsets, 'Not Seeing Visible Demand'

Posted by Ernest Doku

Korean manufacturer Samsung has confirmed that they are not currently looking at Symbian to power future phones, rather choosing to focus on Android and proprietary platform bada to get smartphone-savvy consumers interested.

Head of Marketing YH Lee confirmed at IFA that the runaway success of recent Android-driven handsets - particularly the million-plus sales of the Samsung Galaxy S in the US - have been a major contributing factor to this decision:

"We are prioritising our Android platform. Android is very open and flexible, and there is a consumer demand for it."

Samsung are also entering the fledgling tablet market with another device powered by Google's mobile platform, the Galaxy Tab, whilst their bada platform has seen an affordable sequel in the Wave 723.

Lee states that whilst Samsung are "not seeing visible demand in Symbian", they would develop further handsets provided consumers expressed a demand for them.

The Windows Phone platform however has "some professional, specialised demand there", and as such the manufacturer aims to release devices running Microsoft's revamped OS later in the year.

Good news for Google, as this follows word that Sony Ericsson are placing Android centre stage for future devices, but it comes as another blow to Symbian's effort to regain turf in the lucrative entry-level smartphone market.

Source: DigiToday via ZOMGitsCJ and Unwired View

August 26, 2010

Nokia C7 Reviewed: Symbian ^3 Handset Gets Early Airing

Posted by Ernest Doku
Nokia C7

Whilst we eagerly anticipate the debut of Symbian^3 in the flagship form of the Nokia N8, ever intrepid reviewer Eldar Murtazin has managed to get his hands on another handset powered by the new interface - this time it's the Nokia C7.

Swapping out some of the N8's more flighty specs for mid-range alternatives - the C7's camera takes a dip to a still impressive 8-megapixels with LED flash (as opposed to the 12MP, Xenon packing N8), whilst gets 8GB of memory whilst the N8 rocks 16GB on board as standard.

That being said, the C7 can boast a similar 3.5-inch capacitive AMOLED display complete with pinch-to-zoom support - a relative rarity on Nokia touch phones - as well as an abundance of connectivity with Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth 3.0 support.

Despite the review being largely positive as he calls the C7 Nokia's most balanced flagship Symbian^3 phone and also the best value for money (around €360 - 390), Eldar still deems the handset as 'hardly a market leader'. 

The double-edged sword that is Nokia's incumbent Symbian interface is that it has bred a cosy familiarity with existing users willing to trade up, but at the same time does little to court new consumers swayed by current smartphone competition.

With the iPhone attracting the fashion conscious flock and the latest Android devices managing to be appealing and affordable in equal measure, the jury is out on whether Nokia's transition from S60 to Symbian^3 is too late - or drastically different enough - to turn heads away from strong opposition.

The Nokia C7 still has not been officially announced as yet, but is rumoured to be slated for a Winter release. What do you think, enough to keep the Symbian home fires burning?

August 24, 2010

Nokia 5250: Symbian^1 Handset Aims At Music Fans On A Budget

Posted by Ernest Doku

Today Nokia launches another effort in their bid to reclaim the lucrative mid-range sector with the 5250, an affordable touchscreen handset with music on its mind.

The Nokia 5250 fits the standard form factor from the Finnish manufacturer, looking much like the stylish X6 albeit stripped of smartphone frills including 3G, GPS, and Wi-Fi. The handset is built for touch with a 2.8-inch TFT widescreen display, with a 640 x 360 pixels resolution. Snapper-wise, a 2-megapixel camera rests on the rear of the 5250, with robust Ovi gubbins inside for all manner of uploading to YouTube.

The lack of fast data access sounds like a huge loss for such a socially-savvy phone, but the 5250 still rocks out with the Guitar Hero 5 Mobile game, a range of cute colours and a decidedly non-smartphone price tag of just €115.

Nokia's Music Unlimited service (née Comes With Music) will also ship with the device, but with just 51MB of internal memory you'll have to supply your own storage space. Running on the Symbian^1 (previously known as S60) platform, the 5250 is all about connectivity as well as sporting a generous 7 hours talktime, 24 hours of tunes time and a whopping 17 days on standby.

With a Q4 launch, the Nokia 5250 might be the phone to keep younger music fans chatting this winter.

August 18, 2010

SugarSync Brings Cloud Storage Sweetness To S60 Devices

Posted by Ernest Doku

Good news for Symbian smartphone owners looking to take their data on the move, as cloud storage solution SugarSync is now available for S60-powered devices.

This free application offers an easy way to sync, backup and share files anywhere as SugarSync account holders can ping their documents, music and more over the air with 2GB of cloud-based storage given away gratis, and the chance to boost this by up to 10GB by referring friends to the service.

A document editor means that changes can be done to files on the fly, and those looking for more room can opt for as much as 250GB, with 60GB for $9.99 per month currently proving the most popular package.

SugarSync CEO Laura Yecies was pleased about branching out to more mobile platforms:

“No other cloud company offers such a broad range of mobile applications for consumers. We’re working hard and fast to build an all-inclusive ecosystem to ensure our customers can choose to work from virtually any location, on any device.”

SugarSync is a cross-platform solution with apps available for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, as well as a beta version for Windows devices.

Download a version of the application for your device here, whilst cloud storage newbies should educate yourselves by watching the below video.

Not sure if your phone is compatible? Simply click here, then check out the 'phones' view to see if your Symbian handset is covered.

Source: SugarSync via Nokia Experts

August 17, 2010

Nokia X3 Touch and Type: S40 Device Combines Full Keypad And Touch Display

Posted by Ernest Doku

Nokia seems set to try and please everyone with their latest handset reveal: the X3 Touch and Type. Incorporating both touch and a full suite of physical buttons for the first time in a Nokia device, the Touch and Type reboots the original music-loving X3 with a more appealing form factor, five colourways and a brushed aluminium finish.

Weighing in at a spritely 78g and measuring a svelte 9.6mm, the Nokia X3 Touch and Type also brings the specs with a 2.4" touch display, 3G connectivity, and a 5-megapixel
camera with 4x digital zoom. Battery life is impressive with 17 hours standby and 5 hours 2G talktime, whilst mail, messaging and apps are ably catered for with the Ovi service.

The S40 Touch operating system gives the X3 Touch and Type a user interface filled with large icons familiar to Nokia fans, whilst dedicated mail and media keys give that fast finger access that textaholics are so fond of.

Nokia's mobile boss Mary McDowell chimed in on the reason for combining touch and text in the new X3:

“Our research tells us consumers who have invested years in becoming fast one-handed, one-thumb texters want to maintain their speedy edge for SMS, chat and instant messaging – yet enjoy the benefits of touch as well.”

With the promise of free tunes via Ovi Music Unlimited in certain markets and an  projected price tag of just €125, could this finally be the Nokia phone that appeals equally to prodders and physical form fans alike? We'll see later on this quarter.

August 11, 2010

Nokia 5250: Attractive, Affordable Symbian Handset Leaks

Posted by Ernest Doku
Nokia 5250

As Symbian edges ever closer to mid-range mobile mainstay, we're seeing the platform pop up in ever more enticing handsets. The latest to break cover was from the hallowed halls of Nokia themselves, with the Nokia 5250 proudly (yet briefly) posing as a competition prize, quickly snapped for later perusal.

Seemingly running Symbian S60, the Nokia 5250 will be another addition to the selection of handsets currently on offer for the lucrative market, where price is a major determining factor.

A little postulation by GSMArena views the 5250's screen as leaning towards the 2.9-inch display of the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic, albeit with an nHD sheen.

A paucity of fancy smartphone features is predicted - a given at a lower price point - but its appealing looks and touchscreen functionality still seem poised to give some of the feature phone incumbents a run for their money...the curved frame echoing the recent Sony Ericsson Vivaz - another S60 device.

With word that the Finnish manufacturer were planning to release a smartphone for only €100, the Nokia 5250 seems a likely, and potentially lucrative, candidate.

More concrete details as we get them.

July 29, 2010

Nokia N8 / Ovi Store Features Showcased In On-Device Promo

Posted by Ernest Doku

Whilst we're firmly aware that the functionality isn't quite the real deal in this promo reel, it's a good move for Nokia to show off the wide variety of wares available on their phone and in the Ovi Store as soon as consumers take it out of the box.

This Nokia N8 demo packs almost everything into its brief running time, from instant messaging to gaming and everything in-between.

With Vodafone iPhone deals showing off the web savvy nature of the device and Orange iPhone deals focussing on freebies like Orange Wednesdays, for Nokia to fight back with a salvo of handset specific functionality like free GPS on Ovi Maps in this vid is certainly a shrewd one.

With word that the N8 could arrive as soon as September in Europe, the Symbian^3-powered handset needs everything in its burgeoning armoury to fight back against Apple's best efforts...

Check it out below.

Nokia On Device Demo from Amin Todai // OneMethod on Vimeo.


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