Twenty years of mobile coverage, almost 25,000 articles across (at times) up to five sites, half a dozen writers, Symbian through Meego and Windows Phone operating systems, then cross-platform to iOS and Android for the last couple of years, Rafe Blandford’s ‘All About’ sites have had a good run. And most of it is still accessible and will hopefully remain so for a while. But I do have an announcement...
Back in March 2020, so just under two years ago, Planet Computers launched the Indiegogo campaign for the Astro Slide 5G, the follow up to the Gemini and Cosmo Communicators, all with full mechanical QWERTY keyboards. While the latter two were more akin to the old Psion palmtop or Nokia Communicator form factors, i.e. clamshells, the Astro Slide 5G is similar to the classic 2010 Nokia E7 (on Symbian), with an external full touchscreen that slides out of the way when needed to reveal, in this case, the famous QWERTY key layout. We've been getting drip fed news from the Planet team over the last 12 months, so here's my round-up and summary.
News from the Delight Custom FirmWare (CFW) team is that Delight for the Nokia C7, E7, and N8 are getting a 'farewell update'. This is a generic firmware for these models and has undergone a huge 'refactoring'. The final plan is to port this generic firmware bit by bit to the remaining Belle Refresh smartphones. See below.
With Windows Phone (8.1 and W10M) news and software now almost at a standstill, you'll have noticed that a lot of AAWP content has involved comparisons and recommendations from the wider mobile world. So, going forwards, we've expanded the 'All About' sites to include All About Mobile. As the name suggests, it covers features about all mobile platforms of interest. All content is tagged and we'll make sure that it appears on each relevant site in the family. Which is partly why AAM (hey, a new acronym) launches with up to three years of relevant content! Do please be gentle with us in the comments, since there are a few minor quirks and rough edges that are still being ironed out.
Starting off (in the smartphone world) with Series 60 (on Symbian) handsets, transitioning through Windows Phone 7.x phones, and ending up on Android, LG has officially closed its Mobile division, with the short statement quoted below. It's been a rocky road for LG, but even back in the mid 2000s at the Symbian shows, I never really felt their heart was in it, at least in terms of selling to - and supporting - the West. Some thoughts and a few looks back below.
News from our far flung contact Michael "Mivas_Greece" about continued activity in the Symbian world - all entirely user-driven these days, of course. But worthy of note for anyone still playing (or even using day to day) Symbian. There's loads below for onward fun, including the linked site subtitle 'Symbian isn't dead yet'!
Every site deserves a small hiatus over Christmas and the holiday season, and the All About sites are no different. In fact, for personal reasons (an immediate family funeral in my case) the gap in content started yesterday, and things will resume in the week after Christmas. Hopefully with an addition to the All About site roster. See below...
For the last 20 years of smartphone cameras, from the earliest Symbian handsets (Nokia Nseries, mainly, then the 808 PureView) through the Lumias (1020, 950, mainly), and with iPhones and Android handsets also providing highlights here and there, users have had two main options in terms of phone imaging, both compromised. That changes this week, do please read on.
Some phones never die. And the Nokia 808 is still going strong in some hands, thanks mainly to the untiring work of developers of custom firmware, who get around broken servers and certificates to keep an unsupported platform functioning in 2020. Here's news of a brand new version of Delight CFW for the Nokia 808.
Long time AAS readers will remember the Nokia N93, a unique multi-form factor smartphone with a barrel camera that included a genuine continuous 1-3x zoom lens system. It worked superbly, at least in good light, with the caveat that the reduced aperture when zoomed meant that evening and night shots suffered. Partly because of this, Nokia (and then the world) moved to computational photography and smart cropping into large, high megapixel sensors in order to try and zoom without the same degree of aperture loss, cuminating in 2012's Nokia 808 and 2013's Lumia 1020. But now comes news that a continuous zoom lens system may be making a come back, 14 years on from the N93...
Back in March, I looked at the first hands-on videos with the F(x)tec Pro1 prototype, inspired by the classic slide and tilt mechanisms from the Nokia E7 (and N97 and N950), with full QWERTY functions hidden beneath a large touchscreen. Fast forward six months and the Pro1 is now a reality, with the company putting it up for pre-order, with hands-on videos of the 'final' hardware. A review handset is coming to AAS/AAWP in the next few weeks, but I thought a quick round-up was needed in the meantime.
Back in 2012 and 2013, with the launch of the 41MP-sensored Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020, Nokia stunned the world. Computational photography in a phone - and the output of these two devices still stand up well today, in 2019. But 48MP sensors are now common and, seven years after the 808 debuted, the phone imaging world may be set to take another resolution leap...
After the disappointment of the oddball 'Nokia 9 PureView', compared recently here to the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 (etc), Nokia (at least the new Nokia brand under HMD) has now announced another contender, this time with a more conventional PureView 48MP f/1.8 sensor - phew! The X71 is only just shown in China and will probably arrive in Europe as the 'Nokia 8.1 Plus', in a few months time. But with 3.5mm jack, expandable storage and capacitive fingerprint sensor (all missing in the '9') as well, plus the single large sensor configuration (plus wide-angle), this possibly is the PureView phone you're looking to move to?
Rafe's over at MWC, though you don't have to wait for his comments to know that there is a new 'PureView' device released, exactly seven years after the Nokia 808 and six years after the Lumia 1020 - and from the new Nokia, run by HMD Global. Consider this the latest phase of the original PureView if you will, but the only real link other than the use of ZEISS lenses is that there's lots of computational photography going on.
The SIStore team, the most active developer team in the Symbian world, has just released - as a Christmas present to the world(!) - a whole new Delight Custom FirmWare (CFW) OS release for these three popular Nokia smartphones from the 2010-2012 era. All the details are below, though note that I personally haven't installed this, so the usual caveats apply in terms of risk. Mind you, if your six to eight year old smartphone's in need of updates and a complete refresh then look no further!