Posts tagged ‘symbian’

2014-01-06

Where do you go to from Symbian?

symbian_foundation_logo

The time has come to gradually switch.

Setting the stage

I already got fed up with the browser performance on Symbian, but when sites like gsmarena.com started acting up even in Opera Mini, I knew the time has come.
Then of course there’s the actual closing of Nokia Store which won’t receive application updates starting from 1st January 2014..

So what should you do? Go with Nokia, on Windows Phone? Go with the vast choice of hardware of Android? Or the vast store of Apple?

The contenders

We’ll, for me Apple doesn’t have an app for everything that I use. So it’s no question I’ll switch over to Mac/iOS.

Windows Phone seems pretty limited, though Nokia did try to add some Symbian-ish and N9-esques features to it. It’s also the only platform with a camera comparable with 808’s and with Xenon flash. But.. I already have a good camera, why buy a second one:D? Remember, ‘gradually’ switch..

The story is complicated with Android though. The platform looks more geek-friendly than the others. But I happen to have had about two years working with it professionally and I came to hate it and got bored with it. I even have a Nexus 7 that lags as hell after one year so I won’t put that boring, lagging (to me!) thing on the device I switch to!

Another thing about Android is that only high end phones matter, otherwise updates are inexistent and the performance is generally miserable. But high-ends come with 5 inch screens and they usually are more than 70mm in width.. The only Droid worth it for me would have been Xperia Z1 mini, but that isn’t out yet. and Z1’s Camera is not that impressive either.

Time is now to look at other, exotic, platforms.
Firefox OS comes with slow hardware. Tizen is still vaporware.

Then there’s Jolla!

Jolla just launched, with beta software, and it looks as a successor, in spirit at least, of Nokia’s N9’s swipe’n’linux combo.

Jolla

A New hope

Jolla looks like the exact territory I would like to explore next.
Is an open platform with root access out of the box just like Maemo / Meego Harmattan were, which allowed it to have a such tremendous community.
It is button-less, Swipe-enabled, just like the N9 of late Nokia.
It has better specs than N9 and the hope of expansibility at the horizon, through the Other Half.
Even better, it has support for Android applications through the Alien Dalvik VM!

This is when it clicked

So I was browsing a long thread on Maemo Talk forums, where early adopters which got their pre-ordered Jolla played with it, answered questions, complained about bugs – the usual discussions around a fresh product in beta. Most of the bugs were about the Android support and some people said that this was working better on BlackBerry‘s OS 10.

Then it dawned to me.. Could it be.. BB10 my next phone? So I quickly fired up the gsmarena review from the beginning of the year and my operator’s site to check the price on contract.

The compromise

 

So I got the Z10! what follows is probably a sort of buyer’s remorse description of the choice I made.

First is the price: the Z10 is from the beginning of 2013, while the Jolla phone is just out – which, coupled with the operator subsidizing made the Z10 almost free for my existing monthly subscription price.

Then the specs: while Jolla has a larger screen, it is also wider. Both have some dual-core Snapdragon inside, but Z10 has more RAM (2Gb).

And last but not least, while I was making this decision, Jolla was to be available ‘soon’ to the rest of the world, so I didn’t even know if this would be December, or March 2014..

So how’s the Blackberry OS 10 do you ask?

Short BB10/Z10 review

z10

The device is very swipey and fluid. I can easily hold it in hand (but I may have large hands), it’s just the size of an HTC One S for example, but with sharper corners. The screen is unfortunately backlit, but you can get the Z30 with AMOLED if size is not a problem for you.
It actually has some always-on clock available when charging in ‘night mode’, but the LCD makes it puke-y, compared with 808’s AMOLED sleeping screen..

The native applications are based on a QML 2.0 library named Cascades which itself includes some swipes: from top for settings, from left for app’s categories/sections..
It may be what Symbian Carla or Donna could have been if the bet on Qt would have been executed by Nokia..

The browser is also webkit based, but much more snappy than the Belle one (and even getting more html5test.com points than mobile Safari or Chrome!). Very few sites need user agent switching (actually only some smugmug.com hosted album needed that) but there’s a webview-based browser in the store with that option. The browser also features reading mode for text-full pages and private browsing, for when you need it.
Here’s the current score on compliance: http://html5test.com/compare/browser/bb-10.2.html

The email is.. well.. BlackBerry’s core business, works like a charm, with calendar and task synchronization.
The thing with BBOS 10 is that this is actually the first OS that is 100% usable without BES (Enterprise Services) or a Blackberry data plan (the OS 7 and the ones before were pretty much crippled without it). However, there are some drawbacks, if I understand correctly. An BB 7 or earlier device could have real push notifications sent through GSM towers (not through your data plan) for new mail or messages. A BBOS 10 device needs a BES10 server component and most enterprises don’t and won’t install that.
So basically this is a Blackberry device without the Blackberry powers I heard about, but more.. how can I put it.. I-phoney? (you know, when being all the time connected means ‘push notifications’ that somebody twisted the term.. and won the market:p)

Gradually switching

So here’s my plan to keep my beloved Nokia 808 Pureview for at least another one year:
Since there is not one phone that would fulfill my needs, I will use two phones.

The setup

I keep my Nokia 808 for telephony. And camera. And recordings. And offline maps.
(For emailing a photo, I snap the devices together.. you should see people’s face when I do that!)

I use the Z10 for email, facebook, twitter and general browsing.
(I may install some Android apps if the service is not meant for accessing through the browser (e.g. Flipboard was in the BB World store so why not))

What this means is that my 808 is back to 4-5-more days of battery life:D
But I do have to charge the Z10 nightly.

808 over Z10

808nokia03

Camera. With Xenon flash and large sensor.
Rich recording for concerts and gigs.
Buttons for telephony. Answer and reject.
Haptic feedback through all interface (Z10 doesn’t even have this for keyboard..)
Side unlock slider with flashlight.
Camera button.
ClearBlack AMOLED with Gorilla glass.
FM Radio with FM transmitter
Alarm rings even when powered off.

Mass-storage mode can boot your computer in Linux.
Maps. Offline.
Sleeping screen. All time.
Opera Mini (that I couldn’t run on Z10 from Android.. It’s the browser that counted 7 GB saved (1.6 from a total of 8.6) in one year of continuous Mini usage)
Homescreen widgets
Screen saver
Smart dialing

In common

NFC, Z10 can receive photos from 808, but also send (Android Beam doesn’t do the latter)
MicroSD card
MicroHDMI port
MicroSIM
Removable battery cover.
One has Miracast, the other Mirrorlink
Z10 headset works on 808 with answer button/dictaphone after plugging it through an OMTP/CTIA converter.
Notification light

True multi-tasking microkernel (QNX and Symbian)
Qt/QML development environment – I even saw CutePress and FastTube in the BB World. (Z10 still supports AS3 apps from Playbook days)
Landscape mode all-over (except for home screen)
Search available on all screens, searches through everything.
DLNA media sharing
Pull-down menu (more toggles coming in next BB 10.2 update)

Z10 over 808

No buttons. Swipe-up for multi-tasking.
Twice the screen resolution in both directions (1280 x 768)
LTE and faster 3.5G speeds
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Camera: Closer macro shots, built-in HDR and Scalado’s “time warp” (now Nokia’s).
Hot-swappable MicroSD card
Gyroscope sensor.
Infrastructure Wifi Hotspot and 5Ghz Wifi (a/n).

Modern browser backed up by faster hardware (dual core, 2Gb RAM)
Full Flash Player 11.x in the browser.
A handful of more up-to-date apps (yes, BB World is not full with apps either)
Email with CalDAV/CardDAV support and (ahem) push notifications when always connected
Decent Facebook client out of the box (made by Blackberry, mind you)
Android 4.x support for when BB World fails.
Better keyboard (the screen is just as tall, but wider, at 4.2″ and 16:10 aspect ratio) with multiple input languages at once.

Conclusion

So this was my choice after taking a look at the devices available on the market, watching some prices and making some compromises in the way (and of course, applying some personal preconceptions and other criteria such as size).

It is not perfect, I would have loved to just upgrade to a Symbian 909 with Carla and waiting for an upgrade to Donna, but heck, I’m not that lucky.

How about you? Where do you go to from Symbian?

2013-02-09

User Agent (instead of feature) detection

I previously stated on this blog, and in real life, that there are sites that don’t provide the best experience with my Symbian device just because they are using browser’s User Agent string instead of detecting capabilites.

Just for facts’ sake, the User Agent string of my Nokia Symbian phone’s browser is:

Mozilla/5.0 (Symbian/3; Series60/5.5 Nokia808PureView/113.010.1507; Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 ) 
AppleWebKit/535.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) NokiaBrowser/8.3.2.21 Mobile Safari/535.1

Apple’s iOS5’s is:

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) 
AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3

and Apple’s iOS6’s is:

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 6_0 like Mac OS X) 
AppleWebKit/536.26 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0 Mobile/10A5376e Safari/8536.25>

First, the reason I listed al these is so that you can see that the webkit build used on Symbian FP2 is actually a version between iOS5 and iOS6’s webkit version. This actually corresponds to each OS’s release date, so no question marks here.

Now, to the more interesting subject of sites:

There is a common belief, along web programmers since the Netscape 4 vs Internet Explorer (4?) wars, that one should try to code a site with conditions on browser’s features, as opposed to conditionals on browser’s name.

Nowadays, this ‘feature detection’ is what allows you to browse your banks’ site with Chrome, IE, Firefox, Camino, Galeon, lynx – you name it. We have passed waaay ahead from the times when ‘Internet Explorer is required’ was shown on public sites.

However, the same does not apply to mobile site, it seems. It may be the case that the mobile devices’ features cannot be detected in a simple manner, so there sure is some browser User Agent string sniffing around.

As a proof, I happen to have a browser named ‘AnyBrowser’ installed on my Symbian, which’s unique selling point was that it surfs the web under an Android browser User Agent string. Other than that, is a simple QWebkit webview, with a location bar, history, tiling & scrolling and other browser chrome (It was an early 0.4.x version and I don’t find it anymore, so excuse me if you cannot repeat my experiment).

So, browsing the web, with the same webkit component (as shipped by the Qt project), under different names – here are the results:

Picasa Web

On Symbian browser vs Symbian AnyBrowser: by default, you are not even presented with a whimsy 360p image

Scr000034

Scr000033

Facebook login

On Symbian browser vs Symbian AnyBrowser: seems to only be CSS until..

Scr000036

Scr000035

Facebook timeline

On Symbian browser vs Symbian AnyBrowser: Is this actually the same site?

Scr000037

Scr000038

Google Mail

On Symbian browser vs Symbian AnyBrowser: Again, google is by far the worst offender

(Picture got removed for privacy reasons, will update it). Actually, forget about it! AnyBrowser can show Google Maps, while the Symbian stock browser only gets redirected away!

Scr000039scr000055

Engadget

On Symbian browser vs Symbian AnyBrowser: notice the use of custom fonts

Scr000046

Scr000047

Microsoft

On Symbian browser vs Symbian AnyBrowser: search and some asset dimensions are better, but not a whole new site

Scr000050

Scr000051

So really, I cannot stress this more:

All mobile platforms (except Windows) have a webkit build. Differentiating between them when doing a website is like differentiating between Mozilla and Firefox!

The worst offender, is, again, google, followed by facebook. – at least in my examples. Google does not even have APIs for its services (think about dropping exchange support for gmail/calendar, then no API for google plus) or if they have, they are not as popular as they think since nobody does 3rd party apps using google services (and lives on).

Facebook at least has 3rd party applications, so it is useful on Symbian.

update with diclaimer: I am not claiming that those sites work perfectly with just switching the user agent string to an Android one – some testing still needs to be conducted by the site’s owner. But that’s the problem, they don’t do this and preffer to hardcode for a subset of webkit engines which may have – as it’s the case with Apple and Google – some vendor specific features.

2013-02-03

Public Transportation comes to Bucharest

First of all, let me acknowledge that Public Transport from the Nokia Maps Suite has been available for some time now.

Also, since about 5 years it was possible for me to already look like a native when walking in new cities, using Nokia Maps’ ‘walk’ mode. That thing worked pretty well by putting my N85 in my pocket after inspecting the overall route, and then turning left and right at each new vibration. (As a rant, today’s phone don’t have that kind of powerful vibrator to actually use buzz-guided walk navigation from your pocket, you would still have to hold your hand on the phone in your jacket..)

Adding public transportation to beeps-and-buzzes guided walk means that you look even more like a native when you’re not staring at maps when at subway or in stations for surface transport.

Now this is the new support for Bucharest I was talking about:

image

If you’ve already been to Bucharest – or you’re living there, for that matter – probably there is no surprise for you that the support is not quite one of the top: there is estimated journey time (with data from Metrorex and RATB – no ‘Cora’ or ‘Real’ supermarket buses:P) but no actual schedules.

This is not a flaw with the application however. There are no real schedules in reality either. Or if they are, they are not respected, partly due to the kind of traffic we get but mostly for unknown reasons.

Now for planning a journey: I set the starting location as … ‘My location’ and the destination the workplace, so I could get the commute time.

It gives me two options: either take the subway, or mix the subway with terrestrial (tramway) transport.  Both of the options are correctly accompanied by some walk needed to get to it and then to get to the final destination.

What’s interesting is that there’s no walk in the alternative route between the subway and the tramway, which actually corresponds to the reality (the stations are in the same place as much as the subway vs. surface allows).

It says ~50 minutes for the first option, which roughly corresponds to what I have witnessed.

Now on to selecting the first options, we have the three segments detailed in a vertical fashion: 12 mins walk, 26 mins subway, 12 mins walk (left picture).

Unfortunately this does not take into account the time for the actual train to get into station, as stated above, because no one really knows.

Now, if you click each of the segments, you get even more usefulness: starting with the subway trip, you get the list of stations you are reaching in your way from Nicolae Grigorescu to Lujerului (taking the train in Preciziei direction).

(see right image)

If however you click one of the ‘walk’ segments, you get the beeps-and-buzzes walk mode navigation mentioned above from your current position to the next station in your trip.


And of course, if you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 5 or so years, you get the option of voice-guided navigation on every Nokia phone since 2007 (for free since 2009) if you would ever choose to commute by using a car.

In this case, using a car gives you a ~40 minutes estimation if you take traffic into account (Traffic however is the next thing I wish Nokia should make available for Bucharest).

Not pictured in the below image, but these are 13 kms.

So yeah, can’t wait to see how this goes when you’re actually in a foreign country and an unknown city! (Altough I can now still test it in Bucharest since it has become available, because for other destinations I could’ve aready tested if I were visiting, y’know).

What can I say? Keep the updates coming, Nokia!

2012-12-22

Apple: Dozens of missing apps

I am currently using a micro-SIM iPhone while waiting for my Symbian smartphone to get out of service.
So I thought to use this occasion to compare the two, from a ‘what I miss on the Apple phone’ perspective.

The Nokia Store has ‘only’ 120 kiloapps and Apple’s AppStore has over 1 million. However, I still find the Nokia device more useful, and have had some frustration with the Apple already.

I try to explain this difference of features trough a list of ‘included’ Symbian stuff, that the Apple phone either

  • needs an application for (which oversizes the store with 10x variants) or
  • cannot fix through an app

This list also has hardware features that I love to use, exactly to show that “there’s an app for this included on Symbian” is also about features un-fixable by an app.

read more »

2011-06-11

Ditching the n85 for a touch-only C7?

There, I did it. Or at least I try to.

I went to my network provider and exercised my “right” to have two more years of overpriced SMS-es, calls and kilobytes at the cost of choosing a phone with a lower price. And I went for C7.

Now, the reason I chose the C7 was to try to start the transition from non-touch to touch-only, and I reckon’d that I would still need the Answer and Reject buttons. I chose Symbian^3 over not having an OS at all, because all the Androids out there thought that having a Search or a Back button at the bottom of their screen was more important for a phone..

Now, what does C7 holds above the n85? Other than being touch-enabled (and D-pad disabled)? It has a GPU indeed and a digital Compass – both being missed on the n85 alright. It has Gorilla glass. (n86 later had a toughened screen and digital compass, but that was less than two years ago so I missed it). Can you imagine? C7 is like a n85 without a keyboard!

What follows is a rant of a n85 user that didn’t go for the E7 because: it missed the answer/reject keys, didn’t had the microSD slot, nor the FM transmitter, neither for the E6 that didn’t have an FM transmitter either, nor did it have a dedicated camera button. So I am stuck with C7, which is also the most cost effective.

The transition from n85 to C7 would look like the transition from MS-DOS to Windows, only without a keyboard.

I myself am a keyboard guy, when using computers. I prefer Alt-Space + E + P instead of reaching the mouse for right-clicking – when pasting in the Windows cmd.exe. I guess other people use the mouse heavily, but also the keyboard.

Now imagine Windows without a keyboard, – that is, with a mouse-enabled (touch-enabled) keyboard. And you want to get shit done!

That is how I feel about touch only. Even on n85, I was able to pair a bluetooth mouse to play Quake – just like in the good old MS-DOS days, when you had to add it to Config.sys or Autoexec.bat etc.

Proof of concept: for running a known installed application (let’s say Shazam), on n85 I typed 742-down-down-enter from the vHome screen, because it has smart-“dialing” for apps too. On C7, I need to either have a shortcut on my screen (not scalable wrt no. of apps) or manually flip through the Applications folder (menu, applications, flip-flip-click).

Other complaints: Zooming in Opera Mini/Mobile is just ‘5’ on n85, while on C7 is double-tap (or pinch zooming) – unless you don’t hit a link – , while scrolling is: D-pad on n85 (2/8 for PgUp/PgDn), and kinetic scrolling – sideways activated – on C7. I don’t know if you get this but: on n85 you move around faster and you don’t hide site content behind your finger, while on C7 you may accidentally click something, you may not read good enough when scrolling the text because your finger is there, you may scroll sideways while at it…!

Oh, and speaking of Google: neither the digital compass nor the multitouch is useful in Google Maps, or Street View. They have their platform to care about now… what’s next, disabling POP3..?

483598_493833280656393_2013402534_n[1]

In summary, here’s what’s lost when upgrading:

– keyboard

– autofocus

– hot-swappable microSD

 

2011-02-20

My first Symbian application: the missing Chronometer/Timer

After not being that impressed with Qt on S60 3rd edition (the non-touch Nokia GUI) and the QtCreator on Linux, things went only uphill.

A new version of QtCreator enabled me to develop for Qt 4.7.1 / QtMobility 1.1  which includes the Feedback API and.. voila! there goes my missing timer app: ChronoTimer is created

But since Qt 4.7.1 and QtMobility aren’t shipped for my n85 and no smart installer can be built by the Remote Compiler, I have to put them here too for you to download them. So, without further introduction:

Qt 4.7.1 installer (12MB)

Qt Mobility 1.1 (2MB)

ChronoTimer (12KB – Yup… static linking would have been nice…)

And now screenshots from the S^1 Simulator (it seems to be working on all Qt Simulator’s platforms):

Chronometer

Timer

2010-09-21

QtCreator on Linux, and Qt for Symbian in general (updated)

I just installed the latest QtCreator with its simulator, and with the Remote Compiler option, was able to see an application actually running on my N85.

Qt not funny

And I have to say I was very unimpressed.

The thing is, this approach of emulating desktop widgets would enable – with some customisation – the creation of a rich user experience in the future (and with massive customisation).

You can teleport your database GUI you made in Qt on Symbian in a couple of minutes (after resizing the window to S60’s resolution).

But.. That’s not the point. I don’t need ‘Forms’ on my mobile.

I would have expected Qt Mobility to have a (new) set of controls that directly translate to what the S60 UI offers. But what I see in that screenshot it’s just canvas painting.. (excepting the menu).

In fact, I would go even further and say that, GUI-wise, this is worse than Web RunTime. HTML and CSS with some JavaScript would be much more customizable !

That doesn’t take away the fact that Qt C++ apps can crounch numbers faster – but aren’t we in the business of online-everything, even on the desktop?

Update1: QtQuick Components may solve this issue in the near future: http://labs.qt.nokia.com/2010/09/10/building-the-future-reintroducing-the-qt-quick-components/

Update2: Qt 4.7.0 is not actually available for n85. The smart installer I built with the Remote Compiler said ‘Device not supported’, although S60 3rd edition FP2 is listed there. Oh well, next time I’ll buy something mainstream..

2010-08-27

testing wordpress0.8.0

If you see this, it works!

2010-08-25

Where does my battery juice go?

Symbian has this super-powers of telling you where your thousand “mAh” go.

Have you just installed a program that you want to run permanently?
Maybe it would be better to check the power impact with Nokia Energy Profiler.

For a quicker guide: start the Energy Profiler, press ‘2’ to begin measurements, lock the phone (like you would when pocketing it) and wait a while longer after the screen is shut down/idle. Unlock the phone, press ‘2’ to stop, then ‘8’ one or two times until you see the medium Watts consumptions. (* and # zoom in or out)

Let’s say a value of 0.02 – 0.03 Watts is best.

Now repeat the steps with your new program left in background (such as facebook, twitter, im client etc). Also don’t forget to check your task manager for what else could be running.

2010-08-08

Customize your Symbian S60v3 home screen

The state of the Symbian S60v3 homescreens

Most Symbian devices already pack one or two homescreens, either made by the handset manufacturer or by the carrier you bought the phone from.

My Nokia n85 comes with a choice between three home screens, but other models may have other options too.

The first one is the “Basic” home screen, looking a bit like the S40 one:

Nokia S60 Basic Homescreen

Nokia n85 S60 Basic Homescreen

And the two more modern, with icons and different notifications (but not very configurable).

S60 Horizontal Icons Homescreen

S60 Vertical Icons Homescreen

Then there’s the ones that may be carrier specific, such as in this Vodafone UK home screen, unfortunately not available for download:

These built-in homescreens allow you to do the basic operations such as calling, looking up a contact, checking your mail or scanning for WLANs (in the case of the Icon sets homescreens) but are a far cry by today’s standards, with Big Clocs, weather info, twitter or facebook updates, SMS preview-ing and what not.

Third-party homescreens

This is my attempt at an exhaustive listing of third party solutions available for Symbian S60v3, ending with more details on the one I picked to use for my day to day smart usage of the phone:

Handy Shell

Epocware’s Handy Shell is a powerful commercial home-screen replacement for S60v3. If bought together with Handy Weather, it also displays a nice forecast in the lower part of the screen:

Handy Shell with Handy Weather

  • Home screen:
  • Big digital clock
  • Row with customizable shortcuts
  • Exhaustive indicators
  • Calendar events
  • Weather information
  • Smart dialing
  • 12 Applications screen
  • 12 Favourite contacts screen
  • Photo viewer
  • Screen switching effects (cube, slide, etc)

It’s a pretty functional home-screen, with lots of features and very useful information. What I didn’t liked about it was the fact that you had to manually confiugre those two applications and contacts screens (event the photo, wasn’t the system-provided one).

The other drawback was the price. If it was the best homescreen, I would have payed the $19 for it (I would have had a second thought avout the $24 for Handy Weather, though).

Hiplogic Live

Hiplogic Live is a good-looking but huge download (eats 6MB out of your internal memory) which includes many apps along with the home screen itself, and an App Store to choose some more.

Hiplogic Live home screen

  • One big widget at a time (clock, weather, twitter etc.)
  • Screen notifications
  • Integrated google search
  • 3 Applications Screens (with many preinstalled ones)

HipLogic’s homescreen is one of the nicest looking ones. It is, however, less integrated into the operating system than Handy Shell, as it presents a list of applications that has no real resemblence of what you find on your phone, plus – it has a very awkward way of dialing (as opposed to smart dialing, it requires you to press 2 keys before searching the contact..).

The other problem is having a 6MB application in your phone’s internal memory – it’s the size of Ovi Maps, but with much less functionality.

Plus, the good looks are not equaled by the keyboard functionality: many keys that you expected to work (such as the Delete one, the left-right on the homescreen) do nothing at all).

MMMOOO’s M1

This is also good looking, like other products from MMMOOO (MyPhone), but it’s actually just an FlashLite application, not a real homescreen (it closes on red button, doesn’t dial, just sits there and fools you into thinking it’s Android).

M1's home screen

M1's Menu

Needless to say that this M1 homescreen provides close to no keyboard support, and the application list there is just a guess on what you may have installed.

Voyager Mobile’s vHome

vHome seems the most feature-wise homescreen  with the smallest footprint out there.

In 700KB, you get:

Voyager Mobile's vHome

  • Exhaustinve indicators + access to their corresponding applications
  • Big digital clock + access to the Clock application
  • One or two rows of configurable shortcuts + access to their configuration by pressing Delete(‘C’)
  • RSS reader
  • Google search widget
  • Weather widget + Access to 3 days forecast
  • Twitter posting widget (not shown here)
  • Configurable right and left shortcuts, with some built-in options used here: a menu (Start) and the list of favourite contacts)
  • Smart dialing (used for applications too)
  • Integrated powerful task manager
  • Task switching on Red button press (now you’re sure that Red won’t randomly close some applications)

The vHome desktop is also offering the standard Nokia indicators, in which case it drops the Big digital clock, and the quick access to the indicators menu is not possible anymore

Menu shown when clicing the Indicators bar (includes Connection Manager when connected)

Native Nokia indicators (the Big digital clock is removed for obvious reasons

You can also see from the screenshot above that the Digital clock has several appearances, accessible by using the right and left keys when the clock is selected (including an HTC SenseUI-like one)

Feed selection and Weather forecast

Just check whatever you like

A cutie

Smart dialing: Whenever you press a key on the numerical keyboard, vHome opens a Contacts + Applications search, which treats each numerical key as any alphabetical combination.

Smart dialing: results from Contacts

Same screen, this time only 2 applications match

Of course if it’s a phone number you’re dialing, it will be dialed disregarding the fact that no contact name matches. But there is also the option for searching through the phone numbers too.

vHome's configurable "Start" menu (you can add a Turn Flashlight On option there)

A glimse from the settings menu (the list ends with a More Settings option;)

vHome is quite keyboard powered: pressing ‘C’/Delete on any of the RSS reader, Twitter, Weather or Google search widget offers to disable that feature, and pressing ‘C’ on one of the applications shortcuts brings the list of applications to select another one in lieu. Compare that with the S60 Icon-screen where you have to go 7 levels deep in the menu to find the list of the six shortcuts.

Customize left/right shortcuts

Pressing 'C' on the second shortcut Icon

Task Manager

Task Manager

Press 'C' to Kill

That’s it for today.