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So you have a Nokia 808 - and you want to shoot a panorama? Yes, you could utterly cheat, as I did recently, but if you want the real thing then you'll be disappointed by the lack of an official Nokia/Symbian panorama application in the rapidly icing over Nokia Store. Actually there is, but you have to know how to get it - as I'll explain below, along with some examples of output on my 808...
In All About Symbian Insight 244, hosted by Steve and Rafe, we start by apologising for the longer than expected gap between podcasts, before moving on to chat about the status of the Symbian app ecosystem and Symbian devices in general. We also discuss the practicalities of using a Symbian device as a backup smartphone (watch out for SIM card sizes) and Steve offers some details on the Delight custom firmwares.
You love smartphone camera shootouts - you know you do. Especially with champions in both the Symbian and Windows Phone world. We've compared most of these devices to one of the Android world's camera champions before - the Sony Xperia Z1, but that device was hampered by poor initial firmware and reports of the most recent Z1 update have been promising. Which means (in conjunction with reader Adam Pino) a new head to head: Nokia N8 (12MP, Xenon flash, Symbian), Nokia 808 (5MP oversampling, Xenon, Symbian), Nokia 1020 (ditto, Windows Phone) and the Z1. Fight!
I had a crazy idea a while ago, after trying to get a decent 'panorama' shot on my Nokia smartphone and finding the stitching flaky and the resolution low every single blessed time. Yes, yes, calm down Apple fans, I know the iPhone does this out of the box, but here I'm talking Nokia. Symbian and Windows Phone, and the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 specifically, since the high resolution available (typically 7700 pixels-ish wide) opens up the possibility for a huge, massive cheat. As [cough] detailed below.
That Nokia has been in forefront of mobile imaging is surely not in doubt, whatever you think of the operating systems the company has chosen at each stage (Symbian and then Windows Phone). In fact, it's a testament to how good and ground breaking the Nokia N95 was in its day (the first 5MP camera on a smartphone etc.) that it can even hold its head up here in 2013. But seven years has seen quite a bit of innovation in sensor quality, resolution and image processing - which is why I thought a 2006-2013 data point might be in order. Here's the legendary N95 pitted against the latest Nokia Lumia 1020 across six test scenes/uses.
The photos from the Nokia 808 PureView are often said to be less striking than those from the competition, whether it's a Lumia 1020, iPhone 5S or a Samsung Galaxy S4, however much purists would say that the 808's output is more 'natural'. One advantage the 808 has in its armoury is a Creative mode which lets users apply the saturation and sharpness, so beloved these days. Here, in a followup to my earlier piece 'How to: Set the Nokia 808 up to satisfy '2013' photo preferences', I look at the practical differences in output a few sliders can make.
I've talked in the past about bookmarking specific URLs in order to get to the 'HTML5' (/touch) versions of Google mobile web sites, i.e. the versions that iPhones and Android phones see. All too often, Symbian phones get served up the very low tech 'feature phone' versions of each page - which is a shame when Symbian OS and modern hardware can do a pretty decent job of handling whatever Google serves up. Google HD Browser automates the signing into Google and making sure the right URLs are used, giving - in effect - an (almost) complete Google touch experience. See below for comments on how effective it is and notes on some caveats.
Please accept this generic rant across the All About sites, but the subject matter applies to all platforms to various degrees. In-app purchasing or, more specifically, in-game purchasing is the current fad in game development and it's time enough people took a stand and said 'No'. And not just writing editorials and blog posts on the subject but actively boycotting such titles and recommending alternatives that rely on the traditional 'buy it once' model. Does it sound like I'm over-reacting? Maybe - it depends on exactly who's playing the games on your phone(s)?
Forgive a little retrospective, but it's (more or less) the five year anniversary of Position Art. Long time readers will know where I'm going with this - Stavros and his 'tool' (the Nokia N82!) A promotional campaign for the device created by agency Farfar under the guidance of Nokia's regular 1000 Heads, the character of Stavros transcended the usual ad boundaries and made a real connection to us, the Symbian faithful. I still remember many of his self-deluded mannerisms and faltering dialogue, I had a go at my own Position Art, and even learned to love the N82 as he did. The full story is remembered below...
The battle to preserve personal and secure data across mobile platforms goes on. You may remember that I went on an exploratory trip around every secure database system recently, with no satisfactory conclusion. Is it too much to expect to be able to take my PINs, my ID numbers, my software serial numbers, my secrets, from platform to platform? It may be too early to call off the search completely, but a solution is emerging that looks future proof and promising.