Sunday, February 14, 2010

Samsung H1 experiences (Vodafone 360)

Just upgraded to the latest firmware update. The general user interface is much improved. Significantly more responsive. Less sluggish for scrolling etc is particularly noticeable.

However I'm still finding hard to warm to this phone. Several things continue to frustrate. There seems to be little control of what interface your data goes by. It won't automatically reconnect to known wifi access points through reboots and moving away and back to those wifi zones. In fact if you reboot the phone wifi won't remain on until you manually activate it. This is particularly annoying as you are then faced with slow gprs connections when wifi is available.

The main failing of this device is one that affects the iphone - lack of multitasking. In some ipod applications you can switch apps and whilst it will not run them in parallel it will at least try to save the state so when you return to that application you can continue where you left off. With the H1, you close an app, you'll be starting fresh next time you load it. It seems terrible restriction to not be able to poll for new tweets or instant messages in the background whilst you do other tasks.

The range of available addon applications seems to be improving. Given this phone's leanings towards social networking it was surprising that it lacked a Facebook application. It does now, although it needs further development. I was going to include some screen captures, but couldn't find an app for it. LiMo seems to not be supported yet by a lot of popular applications such as Nimbuzz, Fring, Skype etc.

For e-mail it seems to be restricted to the services provided by Vodafone such as (in my area) Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN Live, 360 and Gmail. I have my own domain and there is no way to add that to the current native mail system which is frustrating. Also there is no way to use this in a business environment by connecting to corporate MS Exchange services.

The standard web browser is Opera based and as such is pretty good for many things, but lacks any form of Adobe Flash or even Flash Lite support as is standard on Nokia browsers. Flash 10 and MS Silverlight are starting to make an appearance in Skyfire browser, alas not available on the LiMo platform yet. No streaming internet radio is a bit of a shame. Also lack of built in stereo speakers like the Nokia 5800 would be nice.

I had a problem with my 360 services (well everybody did, it was down) and I was shocked how much relied on that. Without the 360 services you lose the GPS mapping system entirely as well a number of other key features like the shop.That's a crazy design flaw. The 3D interface is a bit of a gimmick, it does show facebook status and so on but I'm not sure it's all that useful or quick compared to a traditional list interface. There is a list interface available too so no problem there.Whilst some of us will have the time and patience to sit down and get all our contacts on the 360 site sorted neatly etc, most people won't ever bother to put in that effort and the 360 features may be somewhat wasted on them. And this becoming more mainstream is key to making it attractive to developers for the shop for apps etc.

The camera on the H1 continues to impress. The pictures produced and features seem to equal a dedicated digital camera. My only gripe is the lens is in a location that makes it difficult to hold steady in both hands with getting in the way of the view. As a phone it is very good, it just works and sound quality is decent.

I hope significant improvements are made to the firmware but for now LiMo in this implementation doesn't seem much of a rival for Symbian operating system in versatility or the Apple iPhone in terms of slick well considered design.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Listen to PowerFM Dublin into the car &more (with Nokia phones)

Bluetooth audio live internet radio from my Nokia 5800 to the... on Twitpic What you need -

1. New-ish Nokia Phone
2. Wifi and/or good data plan with your mobile phone operator
    (careful, this could get expensive!)
3. LCG Jukebox available here:
    Costs: 18.50 Euro
4. Setting up PowerFM in LCG Jukebox:

Browse - Menu, Playlist, Station manager. Menu, New Station.

Put in the following, title of "Powerfm" and beneath that:
In the bitrate box put: 128   

If you have line-in on your car stereo you can use the headphone out jack on your phone to connect up. Or if you are lucky enough to have a Bluetooth A2DP enabled car radio, you can connect and stream PowerFM wirelessly.

Where you're near wifi, you can use your phone like an old FM walkman and listen to powerfm on headphones away from your pc with no data costs.