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Tag Archives: e71

My main worry in moving from the E71 to my new Android phone is the touch screen keyboard. I’ve played with the iPhone keyboard at the Apple store, and I can’t type out a blog sentence word for the life of me.

My initial try at the Android keyboard was no better. The screen on my phone is smaller, so the keys are quite thin in portrait mode, and I kept missing. Then, after doing the calibration, getting some practice, and changing to the stock Android keyboard (which is counter to a lot of advice on the web, but the supplied TouchPal keyboard had even smaller keys); I got a bit better. I still miss the tactile feedback of a physical keyboard though!

The state-of-the-art in Android keyboards is Swype. There was a lot of hype around it when it came out but unfortunately it is in closed beta. I was a bit disappointed when I couldn’t try it, but it turns out there is a clone of it called SlideIT which does more or less the same thing. That’s what I’m using as my primary keyboard now but it still is difficult to enter text.

My plan to eat up my PayGo balance is kind of backfiring. After all this effort to spend more each month, I have more money on my balance than when I started the plan – almost at $100 now.

That is frustrating me.

What is more frustrating however, is that now I have no use for my $7/mth unlimited browsing plan. Rogers has decided to aggressively filter out non-Rogers, non-dumb phones from accessing the plan. If you have a smartphone or an unlocked phone from another carrier, and if you want to use data on PayGo you’ll have to chalk up $1, $2.99 (if you have a smartphone) or $4.99 (if you have a non-Rogers smartphone) a day. There is no flat rate alternative.

I want to use up my credit but not be ripped off doing so. Which means that I will be cancelling my $7 plan. Now I need an alternate strategy to use up my money.

I upgraded the firmware on my phone over Thanksgiving long weekend. It was a long way coming, the firmware came out in July but for some reason Nokia wouldn’t let the North America market upgrade to the new version until recently.

What a chore. I had “everything” backed up using Nokia’s backup tool, but the backup tool convenient forgot many applications. In the end, it took a few hours for me to upgrade the firmware and get things back to the original state. In fact it felt like a re-format!

Except I didn’t even install all my applications properly, this week I keep noticing applications missing like my Smart Profiles (hey how come my phone is ringing at work??) and Twitter. What a pain in the ass, just for supposedly better camera quality.

As you may be able to tell from the truncated review in my previous post, there seems to be a character limit in the Nokia Share Online app that I use to moblog. They didn’t account for bloggers with a lot of time on their hands such as those waiting for their dealership to do maintenance on their cars. I guess I’ll have to continue my review (with links this time!) when I get access to a desktop machine.

* moblogged from my phone. How cool is that?

Hello from my phone from Fairview Mall. You know I was so excited to install some open source and setup some blog-by-email addresses so that I could blog on the road; but it turns out that the email or XML-RPC services all require ports that I can’t access on my “unlimited” plan.

So I’m relegated to typing this out thru my blog’s mobile admin console without pictures. At least until I find some free wifi. Ah all these first-world problems.

I am pretty impressed by the E71, but there are still some faults with it.

  • There’s no facebook integration. If I had an iPhone or Blackberry, I would have a custom app for facebook. But now I have to use the mobile facebook page which sucks.
  • The GMail app refreshes itself, and notifies you when there’s a new mail, but the notifications don’t stay on the standby screen of the phone. So if I miss the vibration or alert, then I wouldn’t know I have new mail unless I check the app. I could solve this if I use IMAP, but that’s not part of my browsing package
  • There’s no good RSS application. I want to sync my RSS feeds and then be able to read the full articles without having to go online again. But all the readers/browsers either need a connection to get the entire article, don’t cache the entire article, or only show summaries of each article.
  • There is no good IM application. I want to use two things, Google Talk and Skype. The only program that supports this (Skype really) is Fring, but it’s interface doesn’t use the limited screen real estate intelligently. Oh and I can’t logon to any IM over the cell network for some reason (i.e., I can only get on over wifi)
  • The keyboard is not that easy to use. I haven’t had Blackberry practice, so maybe it’s the same. I find I’m using my right hand to type, while finger typing with my left; but maybe it will improve with practice and familiarity.
  • No increasing ring. My SE had this nice feature where my ringtone would start softly and then if I don’t answer, it would increase in volume. This would prevent societal embarrassment when the latest Britney Spears song plays on your phone. I guess I’ll have to change my ringtone…
  • There’s no way to quickly enable/disable 3G. Not a big deal, but usually I don’t need 3G on as it wastes battery power.
  • 320×240 is not yet a standard resolution, a lot of apps (i.e., games) only support 240×320.

The E71 isn’t something you normally think of when you consider a data capable phone, at least not for me who didn’t pay attention to cell phones until I needed one. But it had satisfied my criteria fairly well. It has Wifi, GPS, bluetooth, 3G (there are US, Europe and Asia versions so be careful) and a full keyboard. The new ones are running around $350-$400 and the used market is slightly cheaper (it surprisingly holds its price well, but we’ll see what happens when ther E72 is released).

It runs Symbian OS, which has been around for awhile (all the Nokias use it), so there are some apps for it. And there’s always J2ME. It has a camera, can record video and acts as an mp3 player. I briefly thought about getting a N95 since it’s known as a multimedia phone (i.e., excellent photo/video capabilities), but I decided a full keyboard was more important to me. Plus, I usually have a real camera on me anyways.

Oh and it has copy+paste and multitasking. Multitasking is actually very awesome, because I can run a Gmail client, a Twitter client, listen to music, browser the web, and have my GPS maps running at the same time!

I’ve spent the last week or so trying to decide what (new) phone I should buy so that I can catch up with the 2008 and 2009s. The obvious choice would be an iPhone, but I have this intense hatred when I think of an iPhone. I don’t know why, but I do. Maybe because it looks like a pop tart.

I seriously thought about a Blackberry, because it had a full keyboard and I could type blogs or notes on it on the go. I wouldn’t add a BB plan, so I would be one of those pretentious business-types. Like the iPhone though, there is a sufficient density of users that make the BB ecosystem large enough to support mature applications. Plus, some models (such as the Curve) are surprisingly cheap.

I also thought about some of the other smartphones. I have been hearing a lot of good things about the Palm Pre, but it has just be reduced recently (and I don’t think it’s even in Canada yet), so the cost was too prohibitive. Other HTC and Android smartphones seem promising too, but none of them had the right feature set and functionality I desired.

So what did I end up deciding on? I bought an Nokia E71.