These are tough and challenging times for Symbian, and the future doesn’t look too bright either. The Symbian foundation held its final council meeting on November 24, and the board is expected to be dissolved on December 16.
The open source Symbian project as we know it is dead. All official websites, including source code repositories, will be shutting down on December 17. For a majority of Symbian employees, Dec 17 will be their last day in office. A small transition team will be retained till Q1 2011.
Once the Symbian Foundation closes down, Nokia will once again be in control of the Symbian project. Petra Soderling, Director of Symbian Ecosystem at Nokia, has reemphasized that Nokia is still bullish about the future of Symbian. Nokia is sticking to its projection of more than 50 million Symbian^3 based devices being sold. Nokia is also looking for an alternate open and direct model for making the platform available to the community in future. They want the alternate model to be “no less open, free and flexible” than today’s. However, it will not feature a council type of governance.
The death of the Symbian project doesn’t necessarily mean the doom of Symbian. Many Symbian enthusiasts are still optimistic about the platform. MyNokiaBlog is hopeful that without the stifling bureaucracy of the Symbian Foundation, Nokia will be able to iterate Symbian faster, in order to become competitive once again. Let’s hope that they are correct. Because, unless Nokia manages to significantly improve Symbian, it is definitely doomed as a smartphone operating system.
Android apps are often criticized for lacking the visual appeal and design aesthetics of iOS apps. There are apps like Slide Screen and Touiteur and which are truly beautiful. But, such apps are the exception rather than the rule. Fortunately, more and more iPhone apps are beginning to make an appearance on the Android market. As competition increases, other Android app developers will hopefully be compelled to improve.
One such app is Pulse News Reader. Earlier Pulse used to be a paid app on iOS as well as on Android. However, a couple of weeks back, the Pulse Reader team decided to make it available for free on all platforms. I have been using Pulse as my primary feed reader for the past week (previously it used to by FeedR and My6Sense). Here’s my in-depth review.
The attention to detail impressed me the moment I started using it. On first launch, you are presented with a curated list of feeds under the “Featured” tab. If you wish, you can dig deeper and “Browse” through a larger selection of popular feeds organized into categories. I simply imported my feeds from Google Reader. One odd thing about the Pulse app is that it only supports up to 20 feeds.
Pulse Reader presents your feeds as horizontally scrollable columns of thumbnails. Tap on the thumbnail and it will open the content. On websites that offer partial feeds, Pulse can strip away all additional formatting and junk, and scrape the full content. If you enjoy reading stuff in context of the original website, you can do that too with Pulse’s web mode. As you might expect, sharing options (Facebook, Twitter and more) are baked right into the application. Pulse Reader executes everything with a flourish. There are neat animations when you switch between screens (see the video embedded below). However, these animations never get in your way.
Techie Buzz Verdict
Pulse is all about making consumption of information clutter-free and fun. The interface is simply stunning. Unfortunately, when it comes to features, there are a few significant lapses. The cap on the number of feeds alone might be enough to deter many users. Additionally, Pulse lacks a search function. It also doesn’t have the ability to hide read messages or organize feeds (although with just 20 feeds, organization isn’t really necessary). These drawbacks will perhaps make Pulse unsuitable for heavy duty users. However, if they aren’t a deal breaker for you, go ahead and try it. It’s definitely a pleasure to use.
It’s not as if any of us need more proof of Angry Birds’ insane popularity, but Rovio has revealed that Angry Birds for Android has hit 7 million downloads. The download figure is possibly slightly inflated due to updates; however, it is still phenomenal. The fact that Angry Birds for Android is free (ad-supported), unlike in other platforms, obviously helped in a big way. Rovio had earlier reported that they had crossed the 1 million download count within the first 24 hours of release.
The aforementioned revelation came in response to questions regarding Angry Birds’ pricing strategy. Rovio obviously believes they will benefit more by offering a free ad-supported version. However, if you hate advertisements, fret not. A paid version of Angry Birds for Android will be launched soon.
Sony Ericsson had rolled out the Android 2.1 update for the Android based phones in the Xperia family except for the X8 in early November. Now, the company has started rolling out the Android 2.1 update for the Xperia X8 as well. As of now, the Android 2.1 update for the device is being rolled out in the generic regions.
Sony Ericsson will soon roll out the update to unbranded phones in other regions of the world as well. Since the Ã‰clair update will wipe your X8 clean, users should use the Sony Ericsson Backup and Restore application to backup their data.
Sony Ericsson has also released a video demonstrating how to update the X8 to Android 2.1. Here is the video :
Update Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 to Android 2.1
The Android 2.1 update for the X8 brings with it a new updated lock screen and other goodies which the updated Android OS brings with it.
It was in early November that Microsoft released its brand new WP7 based OS along with a bunch of handsets from HTC, Samsung and Dell. It is still unknown whether these WP7 based handsets managed to set the sales chart on fire, but nevertheless the OS has managed to gain the interest of hackers and modders.
The result of this is ChevronWP7 tool. This application allows WP7 users to jailbreak/unlock their handset thus allowing them to side-load content on the device without a developer account.
The step to unlock your WP7 device is a pretty simple one. Users just need to connect their WP7 handset to their PC via a USB cable and run the ChevronWP7 tool. Once the application detects your handset, users just need to press the unlock button to unlock/jailbreak their device.
However, this unlock does not mean that users can install pirated apps on their handset. All WP7 based apps are secure enough so as not to install on any handset without the Windows Marketplace. However, this jailbreak does open the gates to the huge modding possibility of the WP7 platform.
I am pretty sure we will be seeing modders take advantage of this unlock for adding new features to their handset in the future. Please note that certain reports say that using the ChevronWP7 tools can leave your handset unusable, so you might want to proceed with caution here.
The Nokia X7-00 is the latest device by Nokia which has been leaked. It seems to be a very impressive device which sports hardware specifications very similar to the Nokia N8. It will run the Symbian ^3 OS but will support 4 homescreens.
It seems to have a 4 inch AMOLED (Clear Black) display and will have 4 stereo speakers, making it the first mobile device to have such a setup. The device is very sleek and sports a superb design. It also has an 8 MP camera.
Check out this video of the Nokia X7 running NFS Shift.
Earlier in the week, we confirmed that Rovio Mobile is preparing to release Angry Birds Christmas edition for iPhone, iPad and Android. However, that’s not all that they have in store for us. Rovio had hinted that something else is in the pipe. We speculated that it might be the arrival of the “Mighty Eagle” on the Android. However, now it seems that it might be something entirely different.
Yes, Mighty Eagle is scheduled to make an appearance, as soon as Google gets its Market sorted out and enables in-app purchases. However, that is definitely not the big new thing Rovio is preparing for. It isn’t the console ports of Angry Birds either. TechCrunch Europe had speculated that Rovio might be working on something disruptive.
We can confirm that it is something that Rovio believes will be a big deal. Their exact words to us were, “There’s another REALLY big and new project underway”. Rovio is working on its own gaming network (think Xbox Live or Open Feint). However, that won’t be ready by 11th December, which is the Angry Birds day, and the date on which Rovio is expected to make the big announcement.
So exactly what is Rovio Mobile working on? They won’t tell us. However, it’s definitely not a new game, or mighty eagle for Android, or even Rovio’s gaming network. Let the guessing begin. What do you think Rovio is working on?
LG recently launched a new dual SIM, entry level touchscreen phone, the LG P520. It features a 2 megapixel camera, 4 GB expandable memory, 1500 mAh battery and so on. There is nothing special in this phone, except the dual SIM capabilities.
LG P520 comes with a 2.8 inch TFT resistive touchscreen display with 240 x 400 pixels resolution, Dual SIM, GPRS/EDGE, microUSB 2.0, Bluetooth, 2 megapixel camera, stereo FM radio with RDS, music player, 15 MB internal memory, microSD Card slot, 4 GB expandable memory, up to 400 hours stand-by time, up to 9 hours talk-time, 1500 mAh battery and more.
Sadly, this phone does not have 3G capabilities. The price of this phone is not announced yet, but it is expected to be available for less than $300. LG P520 is currently available only in Russia and the device is expected to be available in other European countries from next month.
Some mysterious guy over at XDA has managed to get his hands on the upcoming Nexus S from Samsung/Google. He has posted some pictures of the device as well as the screenshots of the device running Android 2.3. The pictures of the handset are quite blurry but nevertheless, the pictures still show the curvy design of the handset. The back of the handset looks very similar to the Galaxy S.
The source says that the Nexus S sports a 4-inch Super-AMOLED (Perhaps S-AMLOLED2?) with WVGA resolution. Along with this, the camera of the phone is capable of recording videos in 720p resolution. The source also confirmed that the Nexus S will pack an ARM v7 CPU. He did not mention whether it packs a dual-core CPU or a single core one.
Also, there is no word on the internal memory and the amount of RAM the handset will come packed with. Hopefully, Eric Schmidt will announce the Nexus S along with Android 2.3 in the upcoming few weeks.
Earlier today, Nokia released a new firmware update for the Nokia 5800. Now, the Finnish giant has released a new firmware update for another S60v5 phone the Nokia C6. The firmware update is numbered version 20.0.041 and aims at improving the performance of the device. It also updates a few core applications of the device.
Here is the complete change-log-:
New version of Ovi Maps
Here and Now
H key keyboard issue corrected
In-device My Nokia Tips
New version of Ovi Store and Ovi Contacts
Usability and performance improvements.
C6 owners can update the firmware of their handset either by using Nokia Software Updater (NSU) or via OTA (Over-The-Air). The C6 features UDP (User Data Preservation) but users are still recommended to create a backup of their data before proceeding with the firmware update.