Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nokia N97 on the way

Nokia recently announced the N97, which is the latest in a long line of business phones from the Finns. The most notable thing about the handset is the great touch screen (which Nokia finally appear to have "got right") and the raft of features that put the handset up there with most mobile internet PCs like the Eee and its raft of imitators.

Nokia Maps has had an upgrade. This was perhaps inevitable, for two reasons. Firstly, people love the GPS functionality. Personally, I use Nokia maps regularly, especially when stumbling around a big city like London, or when sitting on a train and curious. The second reason for stronger GPS functionality on phones is probably more significant.

Location based mobile marketing is being touted as the "next big thing" in advertising/marketing - just ask NMA magazine (not to be confused with the rather less rock 'n roll NME). It has, of course, been touted as such for about five years but the technology is finally reaching a point where people are regularly consulting their handsets for directions. "Wow" say the marketers, "if people are looking for directions, what better time could there be to shove advertising down their throats? GO TO CAFE NERO. GO TO CAFE NERO". This is, of course, a dramatisation, but the techology is becoming more and more popular and mobile marketers are pushing clients hard to go down this route.

Back to the handset. Good camera (same as the N95), good keyboard (nicely spaced), useful tilty screen (to help with glare), good MP3 and video compatibility and 32gb of internal memory make this an attractive proposition. The digital compass is a nice touch too.

All in all, another strong offering from Nokia.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Google Maps on the N95

Yesterday evening I updated the Firmware on my N95 8GB. This was something of a pain in the ass, largely because it took around 10 minutes to shift Spiderman 3 from the handset to the laptop on which I was backing up the phone.

Spiderman 3 came loaded for free on a number of N95 8GB mobile phones. The only drawback was that you had to sign in to a website to validate it... or something like that... and I really couldn't be bothered. And frankly, who could? Spiderman 3? On a two inch screen? Meh.

Anyway, once Spiderman had squeezed its way through the USB cable, data transfer was quick and painless, which is a big step forward for Nokia PC Suite; one of the most loathsome programs ever conceived.

So, on with the installation.

I got an early indication of how it feels to be out of touch with "the young people today" when PC Suite told me that I was on Firmware version 15 and the new install would be version 20something. Horrible.

Anyway, the upshot is that I can finally use the GPS on my phone after months of angling it on a windowsill, waiting 20 mins and then occasionally connecting to a satellite. And, what's more, it's actually fully integrated with Google maps so you can get lovely images as an option. Which is great.

This is going to make navigation of London streets much easier, although at a cost... Vodafone data transfer is not cheap and Google maps is very data intensive. They do offer an add on at £7.50 per month which allows up to 120mb of data transfer, but I'm not sure that I will use that much data.

All in all... the update is a very good thing indeed. I am now tempted to go for a long walk just to use the GPS. Maybe I'll find a nice park bench, take a seat and watch Spiderman 3.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Nokia N79

While the photo makes it look like the new Nokia N97 has fallen off the back of a lorry, this is arguably the most stylish N Series handset the Finns have ever made.

Supposedly a step down from the two way sliders, the N79 is a fine slab of technology WITHOUT the sharp edges that many people find offensive about the more angular N Series phones.

It is also as feature laden as any of the bulkier N Series handsets, such as the N95 8gb. The onboard camera is of the same standard as the chunkier handsets and has the added advantage of a lens cover (which is sadly missing from the N95 8gb). The megapixel count is high (five) but, as ever with these Nokia cameras, what is really impressive is the quality of the images produced.

I guess the only area where this handset falls down a little is in the size of the display, which is significantly smaller than the top end N Series phones. But then did anyone actually watch Spiderman 3 on their handsets anyway? I doubt it.

All in all, a great new addition to the Nokia range and well worth considering if you are looking for a practical compromise between form and function.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

N95 Camera Shots at Le Mans

I spent last week at the Le Mans 24 Hour race in France.

This was the view from the top of the famous ferris wheel at 4am:

This was a snap from Tertre Rouge:

And this was the back of the Peugot Pit late at night:

After a week of camping sans airbed, I am now going back to bed. And I will enjoy it!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Nokia 6600

If, for some reason, you were asked to visualise a "Nokia 6600", it's likely that you would think of this beauty:

The Nokia 6600 was Nokia's flagship handset a couple of years back. The little joystick made it fantastic for playing games and, if memory serves, the camera was particularly impressive. Sadly, as with most complex Nokia handsets, the 6600 had a habit of grinding to a halt after around a year of daily use, making it into the kind of handset that your mum loves: "something that can make and receive calls."

On that note, could it be true that there is another worldwide shortage of N95 handsets because so many of them are being returned? The theory goes that, because the handsets are so complicated, it is usually easier for Nokia to provide a new handset than fix an old one.

Anyway... back to the 6600.

Actually, that's just what Nokia are doing: going back to the 6600. Well, they are not going back to the device but they are going back to the name, for a handset that looks like this:

As you can see, they are offering the handset as a slider or a flip. The feature list for the two is pretty similar, with the accelerometer that sets my heart aflutter on the N95 again present, along with a 512mb removable memory card and radio. Interestingly, the clamshell handset has a poorer camera: only 2 megapixel, compared to 3.2 on the slider. What does Nokia have against clamshell users?

And why do they go back to the same names again? This handset doesn't really have anything to do with the old 6600, which has effectively evolved into the N95.

Speaking of which, the 6600 slide looks rather like a simplified version of the forthcoming Nokia N96. Apparently, there are no handsets available for review purposes until the official launch in the autumn. If anyone fancies sending one this way, please get in touch!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What do I love most about the N95 8gb Part 2 - the accelerometer

It is sooooo wonderfully understated and Scandinavian to include an accelerometer in the flagship N95 and not make a fuss about it. Apple included exactly the same feature in the iPhone and made it one of the central parts of their advertising strategy:

"WOW... LOOK... A phone that knows when you are moving AND has internet browsing"

The Finns, in their understated way, just put it in there and didn't really do anything with it. Third Party developers (you don't get them with the iPhone) have gone wild with the device and you can now use the N95 for such varied tasks as... err... playing starwars, playing bouncy ball and.... umm... playing Space Invaders. Nokia's own Activity Monitor app is quite cool, although it won't do your battery life any favours.

Anyway, this is just another reason that I love the N95. Thanks Nokia!

(Sorry if this blog has got a bit boring of late... you know how people get when they are in love. Normal business will resume once a younger model comes along =)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Nokia Tube

Nokia has announced an iPhonealike preliminarily called the Nokia Tube.

Details are sketchy but it does look rather like the return of the mac, doesn't it?

This is Nokia's return to touchscreen technology after the unpopular 7710, which was painfully slow and generally a bit crap.

There are no more details available at the moment, but as a dedicated Nokia fan I am really looking forward to this one. The only question is...

will it Finnish the iPhone?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Decision Time

With a little help from Vodafone, my next handset has been decided.

Ladies and gentlemen, the next phone to grace Cellfella's Levi's shall be...

The Nokia N95 8G.

No great surprises there, then.

To be honest, I was holding out for an N82 but there's every chance that this little beaut will never make it all the way to Vodafone. I can't change network either because Voda is the only one to cover both my office and flat.

Still, I didn't even bother asking for an upgrade, just went straight to the "You really want to leave Vodafone?" department and said I wanted to change networks. For some reason they are much more receptive to negotiation that way!

Why would I have preferred an N82? Well, look at it:

Some bloggers have been a bit critical of the design. James Burland's review on Youtube is very positive about the phone's features but quite negative about the design. I, however, am not a big fan of sliders and would much rather have an old school block in my pocket.

Having not played with one yet (O2 has bad reception in this part of the world, hence no N82s to investigate) I can't confirm or deny what the review says about the fiddly buttons.

Anyway, it's all water under the bridge now. I'm going slidey for the next twelve months.

Now I'm just waiting for Vodafone to deliver the thing...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Struggling to choose a new mobile phone

Well, I'm back from Argentina and faced with something of a dilema.

My trusty 6630 is really in it's dying days now. It still calls ok and sends text messages. The alarm still wakes me up bright and early in the morning for my work as an SEO copywriter. The screen still works and the ringtone still scares people. That, however, is about all.

The camera died a death before I left the country. The video camera passed away long before that. Since my return, the menu system also appears to have come unstuck. It is rather like driving through a large city in rush hour traffic.

The good news, however, is that I am now out of contract and free to hunt down the best contract and handset. Well, within limits... there is no reception in my flat for Orange and O2, leaving me the options of T-mobile and sticking with Vodafone.

Both of these present their own problems. Firstly T-mobile. Now, I'm not normally one to bear a grudge, but I have had some experince with T-mobile in the past and I'm afraid to say it wasn't good. My first ever mobile phone (a dearly departed Siemens which was so heavy that it has left me walking with a limp ever since) was registered with 0ne-2-one. The deal included free evening and weekend calls for two and sixpence monthly, which seemed like a clincher.

The problem, and my lasting resentment, stems from the fact that you had to stand on top of a towerblock in the middle of London to get one bar of reception. Honestly, it was like a bloody Rabbit phone. Even the one-2-one store in my native Watford didn't have reception, which struck me as enduringly crap.

My problem with Voda is that they won't offer me any decent handsets as an upgrade, depsite my having been a loyal customer for 5(ish) years and always paying my bills on time with minimal fuss.

All I want is an N82!!! Or even an N95. EVERYONE HAS AN N95. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?!?

Anyway, I'm keeping my eyes open for good deals. Any advice please let me know. Anyone working for Voda want to explain why you're not nicer to loyal customers? Anyone from T-mobile got reception?