Oct 282011
 

If you are an owner of an N8 like me and have recently updated to Symbian Anna 25.007 released a few days back, and if you are using Nokia Camera App for the N8, 99% chances are that your camera would stop to work after the update.

I found this out when my camera started giving me System Error messages. I reinstalled the firmware and was about to give the three finger salute to the N8, ready to face the agony of installing so much from scratch. But thankfully I recalled installing the Nokia Camera App for the N8.

After sifting Nokia Beta Labs, I found out that reinstalling the application does the trick.

So before you try to reset your phone the “hard way”, do visit Beta Labs and reinstall the Nokia Camera App for the N8.

Hope it saves your day…!! Winking smile

Aug 112011
 

The folks from Gnokkia’s have been excellent citizens of the Symbian ecosystem – in the past, they brought us gems like the theme used by the members of the Symbian DevCo. Their theme Let it be Symbian has a very aesthetic background image, but can it stack up?

Unfortunately, looking at the home screen reveals the first weakness – it is impossible to discern visually which widget, let alone widget element is active at the moment.
0a Let it be Symbian   theme review

Opening the menu reveals another weakness – the icon set has a completely different visual style which does not match the background.
1a Let it be Symbian   theme review

When in apps, no compatibility issues pop up.
2a Let it be Symbian   theme review 2b Let it be Symbian   theme review

This review tested the theme on a Nokia N97 mini. Installing it required 3399kb of RAM, I had no stability issues afterwards.

In the end, Let it be Symbian does not satisfy fully. The icon set used just does not fit in with the aesthetical background image – my personal, aesthetical feeling says back to the drawing board on this one…

May 102011
 

Al Jazeera, the Arabic news channel, has launched a new application for smartphones that allows users to view live broadcast streams, latest news stories, opinion pieces, features, spotlights, videos and picture galleries. This app is available for free from Ovi store.

What is most interesting about this app is that it also gives the users the power to send in their own media for crowd-sourced coverage.

The salient features of the app are as follows:

  • All the latest news, features, spotlight, opinion and blogs from the Al Jazeera English website
  • Programmes videos and information for the latest shows
  • News video clips
  • 24 hour free access to the live broadcast
  • Breaking news banner
  • In Pictures gallery to browse the latest stories by images
  • Send your media to Al Jazeera
  • Search articles and content from the website
  • Preload articles
  • Viewable in portrait and landscape modes

For more info, visit Al Jazeera.

Nov 082010
 

One of the core reasons why users purchase phones with a Qwerty keyboard can best be summed up as mobile email. Unfortunately, Nokia’s included email client is squarely aimed at casual users – if you are a diehard IMAP junkie, it will not leave you satisfied. Can ProfiMail fill the void?

The first thing you will note about ProfiMail is that it is “different”. And indeed, its layout is somewhat strangle-looking…but allows you to see a preview of the emails in question:
profimail 0 ProfiMail for Symbian   the review

Emails get rendered ‘on request’. ProfiMail can download images, and does a decent job at rendering HTML emails:
profimail 1 ProfiMail for Symbian   the review

Flags are synchronized with the server. This makes keeping track of emails a lot easier, as a message which was replied to on the phone is also replied to on the desktop. Of course, replies are sent home automatically as well:
profimail 2 ProfiMail for Symbian   the review

Messages can be moved to other folders only if you have an active data connection. This is a minor nuisance while roaming; the window is very small and makes hitting the correct folder with a finger difficult:
profimail 4 ProfiMail for Symbian   the review

Attachment support is implemented as it should be. Attachments are shown at the bottom left, and are downloaded on request:
profimail 5 ProfiMail for Symbian   the review

The program is very flexible – it has literally hundreds of settings:
profimail 6 ProfiMail for Symbian   the review

This review looked at version 3.30 of FlexMail on a Nokia N97 mini. The program seems to move its data to the external memory, and thus works well.

In the end, heavy IMAP users have no choice except to cough up the 28$ the manufacturer charges. The program is a bit less powerful than classic email programs like FlexMail for now-ancient Windows Mobile devices, but is by far the best email client for Symbian.

A must have if you do IMAP…

Jul 192010
 

For the young ones, there was once a cult in days of the debut of computer games that followed a game so religiously, that people swore by it. And for the old ones, I’m talking hours of unending play with your tank defending your eagle. Seems familiar..eh?
0 My little Tank   the review

Well I’m talking about the classic epitome of luxury and patience, and how fast you could punch the buttons and kill’em all. You guessed it old ones, I’m referring to Battle City. And Astraware has neatly presented the classic timeless into a really good contemporary sis file. My Little Tank.

My Little Tank is a neatly done title comprising of, yes, one my little tank which has to take on the enemy tanks spanned throughout the realms of jungles, deserts, seas and snowcapped geography:
1 My little Tank   the review

You can choose your tank from a span of VIBGYOR colors, the only thing is that you have a purple and pink color in place of violet and Indigo. So that practically makes it PPBGYOR. And yes, the tank doesn’t seem to move on its tyres and belts, it seems to crawl, just like if God had provided it with legs, and its real fun to watch it like moving like that.
3 My little Tank   the review

The only thing that’s a pain in the neck is that the directional moving controls are mapped to the d-pad only, except the fire key which can be mapped as per wish. I couldn’t get it mapped to the number keys, which kind of creates nuisance while playing. If Astraware can release an update that can utilize the number keys, then no one is going to stop me from finishing it (actually, my thumb got sore from using the d-pad only).

You get 80 levels of fragging action, 6 power-ups (you don’t want to miss them, they can cost you your life in the advance levels) and 5 different types of enemy tanks plus destroyable scenery (yaaayyyyy). Total mayhem guaranteed.
2 My little Tank   the review

There is one catch though, the shells move rather slowly. So have ample time to avoid them and also perfect your aim by shooting to a spot to where an enemy tank is approaching, and kaboom kaboom.

In the nutshell, My Little Tank is a game that would keep you addicted for hours and hours (until you finish it) and you would definitely like to revisit it whenever you want to indulge in some chaotic action comprising of fragging your enemy and at times defending your base (Pentagon, literally).

My score 3.5 stars out of 5. Find out more via the URL below:
http://www.astraware.com/s60/mlt/

May 142010
 

Dr. Jukka is not most popular individual at Tamoggemon H.Q. – one of our most-read interviews was caused by the editorial team being pissed at him. Old love stories left aside, our friend produces and peddles a program called Y-Tasks…can it stack up?

After installing Y-Tasks, you are greeted with an extra folder containing but the icon for Y-Tasks:
0 Y Tasks   the review

The program itself is made up of a launcher and multiple submodules. You can launch a submodule, and its icon turns green – and you can also exit the launcher afterwards if you so desire:
1 Y Tasks   the review

One of the most useful modules is the CPU and mem watch:
2 Y Tasks   the review

It can even be set up to always display a little box with the CPU status in a fashion similar to Sony Ericsson’s developer machines:
3 Y Tasks   the review

Another cool feature is the memory analyzer. It provides a quick overview of all memory states:
4 Y Tasks   the review

And can reserve memory to simulate low memory conditions:
5 Y Tasks   the review

Various lists inform you about running processes, tasks and installed applications:
6 Y Tasks   the review

You can also use Y-Tasks to set file associations:
7 Y Tasks   the review

Finally, the product also contains some sort of font viewer which I wasn’t able to get up and running:
8 Y Tasks   the review

This review looked at version 1.00(4) of Y-Tasks on a Nokia XM5800. The program can be downloaded here

In the end, it’s not possible to say something bad about Y-Tasks. Dr Jukka deserves the excellent reputation he has, even though one doesn’t always have to agree to his excessively defensive and authority-believing stance taken in many matters. If you are a developer, get it asap. You’ll not regret the free download…

Jul 112009
 

Accelerometers were introduced to the S60 platform a few years ago – a lack of standard accessor APIs unfortunately limited the number of available products. Resco’s Bubbles is an implementation of the now-classic accelerometer controlled marble maze – can it stack up?

Resco was dead-serious about motion control: level picking is accomplished by tilting the device:
0 Resco Bubbles for S60   the review

Bubbles adds a little twist to the classic concept. Each ball has a number and must be picked up in sequence – hitting a wrong ball is an invitation for another attempt:
1 Resco Bubbles for S60   the review

Crazy mazes like the ones below make this straight-forward concept, um, difficult:
2 Resco Bubbles for S60   the review

Bombs are straightforward: touch em and they blast everything around:
3 Resco Bubbles for S60   the review

Skull icons invite you to take another stab at the level:
4 Resco Bubbles for S60   the review

Arrows fire your ball in a direction:
5 Resco Bubbles for S60   the review

While pills distort your controls:
6 Resco Bubbles for S60   the review

Users can calibrate the neutral position by hand:
7 Resco Bubbles for S60   the review

This review looked at Resco Bubbles on a Nokia N96. The program needs 1207KB of memory and can be installed onto an external memory card. Unfortunately, device compatibility is somewhat limited (quote from Resco):

* Nokia 5730 XpressMusic
* Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
* Nokia 6210 Navigator
* Nokia 6720 classic
* Nokia E55
* Nokia E75
* Nokia N79
* Nokia N82
* Nokia N85
* Nokia N86
* Nokia N95
* Nokia N96

It should work on E66 and samsung INNOV8/Omnia HD also, but E66 requires sis file to be signed (looks like the only one device which requires capability to work with sensor) and on samsungs there is problem with screen rotation.

So – try it on your accelerometer-equipped phone and let us know how it goes!

Three words: Resco Bubbles rocks. If you like “marble” games, definitely give Resco Bubbles a pop. It is absolutely excellent and will definitely keep you entertained for a long time. The price of 15$ is ok…

Dec 032008
 

AstraWare’s My Little Tank franchise is now more than tw years old – it originally debuted on the Palm OS, but was recently ported to a variety of other platforms including S60. A review of the Palm OS version can be found here…this review will look at the differences!

The flexible “battlefield” praised in the Palm OS version remains – your tank still gets to duke it out in a variety of areas which can be “terraformed” by shooting around:
0a My Little Tank for S60   the review 0b My Little Tank for S60   the review

Unfortunately, the missions still have but three tasks: protect base, kill tanks and destroy buildings:
1a My Little Tank for S60   the review 1b My Little Tank for S60   the review

The pixel effects are still there. Unfortunately, technology moved on: this means that they are no longer as impressive as they were two years ago:
2a My Little Tank for S60   the review

We criticized the stupid AI found in the Palm version of the game – rest assured that AstraWare improved this significantly. Some of the early levels are extremely tough…I never made it to the first save point and always had to start again at level zero:
3a My Little Tank for S60   the review

The game does a great job at explaining itself – when playing for the first time, pop-ups with useful information are displayed frequently:
4a My Little Tank for S60   the review 4b My Little Tank for S60   the review

A thorough online help system is also included:
5a My Little Tank for S60   the review 5b My Little Tank for S60   the review 5c My Little Tank for S60   the review 5d My Little Tank for S60   the review

This review looked at My Little Tank version 1.10 on a Nokia N96. The program needs 1705KB of RAM and can be installed onto external memory. It copes well with screen rotation:
6a My Little Tank for S60   the review

In the end, AstraWare did a pretty good job sprucing up the gameplay while porting. The game is is fun, but also quite challenging due to the lack of “save points”. However, the core complaint of repetitive gameplay remains… However: the low price of just 10$ voids any discussion – if the game’s concept sounds attractive, get it in the TamsShop ASAP!

Sep 282008
 

Controlling mobile phone games via device motion is not a new idea: as soon as camera phones became available, developers used the cameras for motion detection and moving crosshairs.

Ninja Strike is a Japan-themed game that puts you into the role of a ninja who must throw shuriken to free his “sensei”(aka teacher):
0a Ninja Strike   the review 0b Ninja Strike   the review 0c Ninja Strike   the review

The game mechanics are rather simple. The arm at the bottom of the screen is moved around at a fixed speed (you can NOT influence the movement!!!), and you hit fire whenever you think that an enemy is “in range”:
1a Ninja Strike   the review

Advancing from level to level is easy – all you need to do is survive and score an increasing number of kills:
2a Ninja Strike   the review

At later levels, colorful enemies appear on the screen. Shooting them allows you to access a variety of special abilities like multiple shuriken or a “laser targeting sight”. Unfortunately, powerups expire rather quickly (indicated via the diamond at the bottom of the screen):
3a Ninja Strike   the review 3b Ninja Strike   the review

After having survived a few levels, enemies start to attack. You need to press the 5 key in time in order to block off attacks – the maximum time you can block is very limited, and the blocking process itself is annoyingly slow.
4a Ninja Strike   the review

The plot and new game elements are explained in short “text slides” between the levels:
5a Ninja Strike   the review

Finally: the camera interaction is limited to firing off shuriken. Performing a throwing motion in front of the camera fires off one shot – this has worked pretty well on my Nokia N71.
6a Ninja Strike   the review 6b Ninja Strike   the review

This review looked at version 1.04 of the game on a Nokia N71. Ninja Strike needs 4135KB of memory and can be installed onto an external memory card.

In the end, Ninja Strike is a very weird game – as the movement of the “hand” can not be controlled, the game is both an action game and a reaction tester. The motion control was rather unimpressive and is best left disabled. If the concept sounds appealing, get the free trial – the full version of the game costs and can be purchased at ClickGamer’s for 7 Euros (as of this writing).

Aug 062008
 

Our friends at HP’s have recently provided the TamsPPC team with a sample of an OfficeJet 470 (we had to return it – don’t worry ;) ). Having such a box in-house of course makes me curious to find out which gadget prints the best…surprisingly, the winner is my good ole’ N71.

The device connected to the OfficeJet via Bluetooth without needing drivers, printing software or anything else – it just connected and started spitting out useful stuff. Click the images below for full page scans:

Calendar
Calendar print-outs arrive in an outlook-like grid. As for the color scheme: it will likely make HP very happy due to the high amount of blue ink used…the design is debatable and cannot be changed:
0a Printing with S60 phones   Nokia N71 vs HP OfficeJet 470

Contacts
Contact printouts turn out surprisingly well. Notes get truncated weirdly – but the printouts can definitely be given to low-tech folk who need the contact:
1a Printing with S60 phones   Nokia N71 vs HP OfficeJet 470

Text messages/notes
Text messages and notes share the weird color layout – but turn out usable:
2a Printing with S60 phones   Nokia N71 vs HP OfficeJet 470

2b Printing with S60 phones   Nokia N71 vs HP OfficeJet 470

Images
The device seems to insist on placing the images in the center of the page – stretching them across a A4 page is not possible. Nevertheless, the images from the internal 2MP camera can look very usable in 10×15 – my family has received quite a few and likes them very much:
3a Printing with S60 phones   Nokia N71 vs HP OfficeJet 470

3b Printing with S60 phones   Nokia N71 vs HP OfficeJet 470

Cutting a long story short: the N71 cannot hide its EPOC roots and does an excellent job handling all kinds of print job. People who have a bluetooth printer will be happy to know this, everybody else should IMHO pass it off as a novelty item. Even though the 470 is transportable and battery-powered, the machine IMHO is WAY to heavy to be transported around all the time. People having two flats will appreciate it, however…

Jul 092008
 

Ever since Tetris became a smash hit on the Nintendo Game Boy, the idea of games based on falling blocks has inspired generations of coders. AstraWare currently trades such a game against email adresses to send newsletters to – can the offer stack up?

Big Box of Blox requires you to sort blocks that fall from the ‘skies’. Each block contains three cubes that can be rearranged while the block is in the air:
0a AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review 0b AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review

Blocks can also be moved horizontally and vertically:
1a AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review 1b AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review

Once a group of similar subblocks is established, they disappear:
2a AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review 2b AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review

The game can be played in a variety of modes. Each one contains a few special bricks, but behaves essentially the same otherwise:
3a AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review 3b AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review 3c AstraWare Big Box of Blox   the review

This review looked at version 1.00 of the game on a Nokia N71. BBoB can be run from an external memory card and needs 1417KB of memory.

In the end, Big Box of Blox is a somewhat weird Tetris clone. As it is currently (all of July) free (if you are willing to give AstraWare your (disposable) email adress), puzzle game freaks could give the thing a pop. People who prefer action games are better served elsewhere, even though the price of a disposable email adress isn’t high…

Jul 072008
 

The native S60 version of Google Maps has supported the use of real GPS hardware for quite some time. Even though most Nokia handsets include GPS nowadays, what happens if you have a last-gen phone? Find out how my Nokia N71 fared…

The first step to GPS goodness involves an external bluetooth GPS “mouse”. Literally hundreds of different types are available – I chose a Wintec G-Rays 2 for availability and cheapness. Power up the GPS…

Then, start Google Maps. Enable the My Location feature and activate GPS:
0a Google Maps + GPS   the torture test

If this is the first time that you connect to your GPS mouse, the program will now ask you to choose the corresponding bluetooth device. If you have done so before, the program will look for satellites:
1a Google Maps + GPS   the torture test

Once enough satellites have been found (can take 30 secs to 30mins, depending on position and receiver); your position will be shown:
2a Google Maps + GPS   the torture test

While moving around, your position will be updated automatically:
3a Google Maps + GPS   the torture test

Cutting a long story short: Google Maps with GPS is a pretty useful navigational aid, as there is no need to keep huge data files on your memory card. However, the program lacks quite a few features found in dedicated GPS systems: if you need for a compass, rotating maps or a tachometer, look elsewhere…

Jun 132008
 

Nokia’s Snake SubSonic recently got a very lukewarm review – thus, the team decided to release a free theme compatible with all S60v3 handsets(even with handsets that can’t run the game itself). Does it stack up on a N71?

At first glance, the theme looks stunning:
0a Nokia Snake SubSonic theme

Unfortunately, the “Settings” app of my N71 didn’t get skinned:
1a Nokia Snake SubSonic theme

Nokia’s Skinning team made a huge mistake. The gradients do all the way to black – since many system dialog boxes use black fonts, the bottom part of the text becomes unreadable:
2a Nokia Snake SubSonic theme

The theme takes 3771KB of memory when installed(and is unsigned – apparently, not even the folks at Nokia’s feel a need for app signage). Unfortunately, Nokia provides a zip file only – it can be downloaded here.

In the end, the theme looks lovely – but fails the every-day usability test. The mistake with the gradients is unforgivable even for a freeware theme: sorry, but Nokia definitely can do better.

Jun 012008
 

Arkanoid, the game of paddle+ball+brick, has always been a very popular game ever since Taito made it popular with its famous Arkanoid of DOH series. S60 has had its fair share of Arkanoids over the years…and MobileStream’s Meteor Breakout wants to be the best. But can it stack up?

Meteor’s interface is very well-done. The splash screen takes you to a level selection toggle, where one of the nine available campaigns can be chosen:
0a Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60 0b Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60

After starting a game, one immediately notices the creativity of the game designers. Levels look really cool, and none is similar to the one before it. The engine supports a huge variety of brick types, leading to a very interesting overall gameplay experience:
1a Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60 1b Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60

A variety of powerups is available to spice up the game like in every other Arkanoid clone. For all who are new to Arkanoid, a powerup changes the behavior of the paddle if you touch it.
pwup Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60

The variety of powerups is astonishing. For example, there are two different ‘shoot’ powerups and three ball modifiers – more than I ever saw before:
ball1 Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60 ball2 Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60

Meteor’s levels are spiced up with enemies that can be destroyed by hitting them a few times with a ball. Some enemies survive more than one hit, and some of them even fire back:
3a Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60 3b Meteor reviewed   Arkanoid for S60

Last but not least, the game has excellent sound effects. Unfortunately, the excellent background music seen in the Palm OS version was removed due to space constraints – mobile-stream is ready to reimplement it if sufficient demand turns up.

This review looked at version 1.4 of Meteor on a Nokia N71. The game was stable in the testing period, it needs 1848KB of memory and can be run from an external memory card.

Overall, congratulations to MobileStream. Meteor Breakout is the new king of Arkanoid clones for the S60. The game has extremely interesting gameplay and looks damn cool – a must have for every Arkanoid lover with an S60 phone…

Meteor costs 14.95$ in the TamsPalm store. Use the discount code ARKANOIDNOW to get 20% off the price for a week!

Apr 032008
 

As expected, a WiMax version of the N810 internet tablet has debuted – here is a stock image of the box:
nok Nokia N810 goes WiMax

The color of the device was changed to black – that’s all that can be discerned from the outside. On the inside, nothing seems changed either except for the addition of WiMax – and a operating system update that also is available for the N800 and N810:

Also being introduced with the Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition is the newest Internet Tablet operating system. This new upgraded OS2008 introduces useful new features to the platform, including an enhanced e-mail client, support for Chinese character rendering in the browser and RSS feeds and Seamless Software Update functionality to eliminate manual software updates, making periodic updates of the operating system quick and easy. While standard on the Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition, current owners of Nokia N810 and N800 Internet Tablets with earlier operating systems will be able to upgrade their device to the revised operating system for free during the second quarter of 2008.

P.S. The folks at Engadget have a few hands-on shots