All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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Old 05-05-2010, 08:29 AM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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What happens when the bars run out?

At every turn in the mobile world, you see online services being launched, and applications that tie into existing services. Examine the top ten things that a typical iPhone or Android phone owner does and I'd bet that over half (if not 7 or 8) involved Internet access. The number's arguably lower in the Symbian world (more built-in/local functionality), but the trend is clear - software and service designers are assuming that mobile Internet access is a given. But what happens when the (signal) bars' run out?

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 05-05-2010, 08:46 AM
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Talking

For everything else that fails, there is Garmin Mobile XT

i can use Garmin Mobile XT navigate wherever i want to go in an offline mode.
Now try to beat that using Ovi maps.

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Old 05-05-2010, 09:03 AM
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I agree about Ovi Maps. It takes about 10 minutes to find the satellites on my E71 if I'm driving and never finds them if I'm walking. I don't mind paying a few cents of data roaming charges when I'm out of the country, which is where I really need maps, but what am I supposed to do until it finds the satellites? Drive around in circles?
Google Maps finds the satellites immediately, even indoors, but then it doesn't have spoken driving directions.
Hmmmmm.

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Old 05-05-2010, 09:18 AM
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On the Google Documents (& Mail for that matter) point, there's one trick you can do to still use your browser. If you use Opera, you can just get to the data you want, before you leave home, and use the 'Save Page' function. Then you can still use your browser to look up what you want, but you can do it offline.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:21 AM
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One note regarding Evernote, on the iPhone, (and possibly Android) you can star an item as a favourite, which then stores a local copy for use offline, not sure if the Symbian widget does this yet, at least I couldn't find the option.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:28 AM
Insane Reindeer Insane Reindeer is offline
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Hang on, I thought that Garmin Mobile used Google for it's local services serach? I am pretty sure that that cannot be cached. Right? Or what am I missing?

I think we could debate the relative strengths of GPS signal lock and Ovi Maps Search functions till the cows come home, go out and come back home again but for me, with my N85 running running Ovi Maps 3.01 it finds a GPS signal in my house, even sitting 2.5m's from a window and outside gets a lock in under 10 seconds. Under 20 if if it is the first time I have needed GPS since my once fortnightly restart, and has only once failed to find an address on the phone itself, but the full Web based client found it no problems.

As for signal, well here I have no 3G, but the 2G is excellent and extends to just about the farthest corners of the area, and I'm talking about places that maybe only see a one or two humans every other year! The nearest 3G signal is about 60Km's away. As it stands right now. By the end of the summer the two biggest MNO's in the country will have this area covered by 3G. As for the "remoteness" of this area. Well, 1,178 people cover a land area of 6,439 square kilometres (that's population density is 0.18 inhabitants per square kilometre)! So while I can't fault any of Steve's recommendations, especially the one about the hand over between online and offline, I really do think that this should be a rant at the the operators. Yes the developers could make things easier, but then if you don't have a signal of any sort, then you can't even call someone! And they are, after all, mobile phones!

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Old 05-05-2010, 09:43 AM
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They are not just phones though, they have many functions. And Google Maps is the prime example of something that becomes useless 10 minutes from home because it just becomes a grey screen. I simply can't use it, Ovi Maps is the only option. No signal = no google. Crap.

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Old 05-05-2010, 10:22 AM
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The article touches upon a good point - from the side of the developers there certainly seem to be an increased tendency to rely on "the cloud" and thus a constant connection. This is not just a phone thing, but goes for PC's too. If the network is available it is smart, but it can get pretty annoying when not.

As far as mapping goes, I have been using Ovimap with voice guided navigation many times in off-line mode - more specifically with an X6 without a SIM card in it. It works excellent and I dont think that it takes much longer for the GPS to lock in on the satelites than usual, but of course searching for stuff is not possible. The trick is to ensure that you have all your possible navigation targets saved as favourites - then just select one and off you go. In this respect Nokia deserves kudos for having designed a much more reliable system than Google...

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Old 05-05-2010, 10:29 AM
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Really good article Steve :-)

However I find the opposite, I'm with o2 (Known to be not so great with signal?) and I barely ever lose my 3G with my 3GS. Oddly the places in which I do lose 3G (Amd revert to Edge, so not quote 2G) is in my local cinema and the place in which I work (Only some areas, toilets etc).

In fact Google maps has helped me A LOT more times than it has been a nusiance, recently directing me and my Girlfriends family around London - back to our hotel :-)

Taking in the above I completely disagree with this article, maybe it's because I use an iPhone and like you say, 80% of what I do is online but I couldn't live without online services, case in point check out an iPhone game called "Pocket Legends" an online MMO (over Edge, 3G and Wifi might I add) that just wouldn't be possible with your crippled outlook Imo :-)

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Old 05-05-2010, 10:41 AM
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I feel your pain.

O2 signal in Sunderland is dire in some area's... city centre locations with no signal at all. Worst of all, no signal at the Stadium Of Light on a match day.. meaning zero tweeting before, during or after the match (until i get back to the pub).

@Fred* with regards to your GPS fix on the E71. I had similar problems but solved it by changing my positioning settings (Settings > General > Positioning). Ensure you have the "Assisted GPS" positioning method enabled and also ensure that the positioning server is correct. This should be set to "supl.nokia.com" ... if it has http:// in front (which mine did) then remove it. I get fixed within seconds rather than minutes now
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:48 AM
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Beer you need a phone that also does

satellite comms.. anyone know of a cellular phone which in normal mode will use a typical carrier and when "the bars run out" switches to satellite mode?

Not me.

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Old 05-05-2010, 11:13 AM
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Google Maps doesn't find the satellites faster. The GPS is the same no matter what application you use. It's just that Google Maps is using cell towers (and WLAN?) for initial positioning, until a clear satellite signal is available. The latest beta version of Ovi Maps (available for download from betalabs) ads the WLAN positioning, so at least in cities you (could) have almost instant initial positioning. Even indoor. Of course it doesn't work without network signal (it needs data).
All GPS devices (including Garmin, Tomtom) have problems acquiring signal satellites if not regularly used. Usually it can take up to 1 min in perfect conditions with clear sky in a stationary position. If you're driving it can take up to 10 min or more until they get a satellite fix. Also keep in mind that when you start the GPS it will try to locate you at the last known position. If that was a month ago and hundreds of km/miles away, it will need some time to figure it all out. As Steve has written many times use AGPS, WLAN, cell tower positioning whenever is possible (data traffic is minimal and you get almost instant fix).
@Fred* Driving in circles won't do any good. Better stop if possible. It might be that you stop for 1 minute or drive for 10. Better start the GPS before driving. Anyway, you should not operate the GPS device while driving.

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Old 05-05-2010, 11:22 AM
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Thanks, Jowls, yes, a great tip and something I do almost without thinking, i.e. plan my itinerary and put in everything as favourite 'Places' in Ovi Maps ahead of time 8-)
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:38 AM
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Typo?

"Great idea, you'll never have to worry about backing up - but you'll also not be able to retrieve any of the data when you can't get offline, possibly when you need it most."

You meant "online" , may be typo there?
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:53 AM
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Can I just say Ovi Maps works absolutely fine without a data connection or even SIM in the phone? GPS fix takes a little longer in places it hasn't been before, sure, but only a minute or two. And postcode lookup (not just street name) is fine too, as are POIs.

This article also applies where there is a data signal but you don't want to use it - i.e. while roaming abroad with very expensive data rates. This is why Google Maps and Google Nav are effectively useless, and no real competitor to Ovi Maps Nav - they rely critically on a data connection.

There also needs to be a lot more work on caching web data for browsing later offline, you simply can't pre-download websites on phones at the moment, for when the data connection is flaky or non existent (e.g. on train, plane, countryside etc). This is a crucial development that needs to happen to my mind.
 

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