We've gotten used to all our phones now coming with Gorilla Glass, meaning no more casual scratches and no need for screen protectors. Well, 'Gorilla Glass 2' has now been announced by Corning, its creators, at CES 2012, scheduled to start going into smartphones towards the end of the year, and claimed to be 20% thinner yet as tough as the original, meaning that screens can be brighter and more sensitive when used with capacitive touch technology.
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Feeling a little like a TV undercover 'mystery shopper', I picked a UK provincial town and worked my way through their High Street phone outlets. I wanted to get a snapshot of how Symbian was (or wasn't) being represented in the place from which most people acquire phones in this nation. In the process, I was somewhat shocked. However much as some geeks like to attribute failing Symbian sales per quarter to 'technical deficiencies' or 'lack of apps' (both of which are somewhat over-exaggerated), there's a far simpler explanation...
With all the teething troubles seen by the Qt application scene over the last year - at least at the cutting edge, geekier end - there have been times when all of us have had to go searching for and installing certain aspects of the Qt runtimes all over again. FixQt has been a great resource for such emergencies, but now the wider world has discovered a new tool in our armoury: QtInfo, previously available for developers prepared to sign it but now released to the great unwashed via Nokia Store. This reports back on exactly which Qt modules/versions are installed on a particular phone. See below for screens, notes and links.
Nokia Configuration Tool, a Windows PC application for system administrators to manage the settings of Symbian phones through a USB cable or Bluetooth, has now graduated from Nokia Beta Labs and is formally available for enterprise users as version 6.3.
After months of BBC iPlayer downloads that wouldn't play, following a DRM change on the BBC's servers, it seems that Nokia and the Beeb have worked out the problem, releasing a 'WMDRM DLA iPlayer plugin' for many Symbian smartphones. At least, those based in the UK, presumably worked out via network or IP. As with similar updates, the gradual nature of the roll out means that you may have to wait a little longer for this to appear in your copy of Nokia Suite.
Apparently, Nokia Car Mode for Nokia Belle based devices is now available at the Nokia Store, in two versions, with and without MirrorLink, see the quoted links below. Nokia Car Mode provides easy access and a simplified user interface to the most relevant applications on your phone for in-car use. "The simplified user interface and well designed interaction creates less distraction for the driver than a traditional smartphone user interface."
In this series of videos Marco Argenti, SVP Developer Experience and Marketplace at Nokia, explains some of the guiding principals behind Nokia's developer activities and the opportunities available for developers on Nokia's platforms. The video series was recorded at MEF Americas 2011 by 361 Degrees.
Thanks to a reminder from WebProNews, it's instructive to look again at the smartphone world via StatCounter, a pro service embedded on many web sites which tracks the browser and OS used to access them. And, reflecting the still enormous installed base of Symbian-powered smartphones across the world, Symbian still (for web access, at least) still dominates the world, at 31%. The full graph is below, along with some comments.
Anyone with Symbian Belle onboard might like to check out two software items, both free. 'Nokia Car Mode' essentially takes a common subset of applications needed while driving and presents them in large fonted, finger-friendly form, to avoid distractions and make it easier to concentrate on the actual motoring. 'Nokia Play To' uses one-way DLNA to let you show photos and videos (and listen to music) on your mobile wirelessly on your TV/home hi-fi. Links below.
Designed exclusively for China's TD-SCDMA 3G network, Nokia has announced a new Symbian-powered smartphone, the 801T, described as 'a special design for business-focussed elite high-end users'. It's notable for being the 'industry's first stainless steel unibody smartphone' and has a 4" CBD display, NFC, an 8 megapixel EDoF camera with dual-LED flash, 720p HD video recording and built-in CMMB mobile TV (with antenna). More below.
For anyone using Windows who likes to live a little on the wild side, there's a brand new version of Nokia Suite, 3.3, available over on Beta Labs today. There's emphasis on the ease of update to Belle when it becomes available, so I suspect that both backup and firmware handling modules have been improved, plus there are improvements to proxy server handling, to message syncing and organisation. And newer is better when it comes to connectivity, right? Some quotes and links below.
Nokia is clarifying the naming of the user interface of its Symbian smartphones. The user interface will now be referred to as Nokia Belle, rather than Symbian Belle. The operating system will continue to be referred to as Symbian. Thus devices, such as the Nokia 701, will be referred to as Symbian smartphones running the Nokia Belle user interface.
You'll remember that Nokia has been running through numerous iterations of a next-gen Store client over on Beta Labs, built in Qt and QML rather than relying on both Qt and Web runtime? This has now graduated ('deployed commercially') to the mainstream with the release of v3.20.050, offered over-the-air when a user starts up an older version of the 'Ovi Store' - now renamed to 'Nokia Store', of course. Don't panic if you don't get offered this now though, see below...
I make no apologies for another N8-related link of interest. With the end of the year approaching, it's not just me that is rounding up and summarising the smartphone world. The Mobile Tech Bishop has written a detailed and heartfelt analysis of his mobile use, covering several previous Nokia flagships, culminating in the Android-powered Galaxy S II. At which point the N8 starts to edge the SGS II out of the picture - literally. A good read!
Onlyfoolsandmobiles has a nice little Sunday post up, eulogising the Nokia N8's camera (again), specifically for landscape shots, giving a few tips on settings and showing off some truly beautiful examples. Click through his links for Flickr sets from the N8 by other users too.