Tag Archives: Nokia

Unify: Windows Phone meets PC remote

As you all know, I switched to Lumia 800 recently from my Nokia N8. I still love Symbian a lot and find Windows Phone lacking in features but just cribbing about Windows phone won’t give it features. The only way to fix Windows phone is to make apps for the features it lacks and make some money too in the process Smile with tongue out. For this along with many developers making apps for Windows phone, I also have to give accolades to Mike Dabney.

If you remember, I designed a Remote profile for Vectir for my Nokia N8 which lets me control Windows Media Centre from my N8. This was something I was missing a lot since I started using Lumia 800 as my primary phone as Vectir isn’t available for Windows Phone yet but it is coming soon with something awesome.

I tried a lot of remote control apps for Windows phone but none of them were as nicely designed or developed as Unify.

Unify lets you control your Windows PC completely. Some benefits are…

  • It gives you a remote control for Windows Media Player or Media Centre.
  • It lets you control the cursor on your screen using an area designated to register movement on your phone which moves the cursor in your Windows PC.
  • It gives you key commands like Ctrl+C, Ctrl+alt+del and much more.
  • It even gives you the ability to type in your phone which in turn will type on your just like you would using a regular physical keyboard connected to PC.

You can check more screenshots and download Unify at its Windows Phone marketplace page.

Here is the thing. You must try this app because once you get hooked to it, you won’t let this app go. It is that wonderful, magical and useful.

Custom app icons for Nokia Belle and Icon Changer

So, Nokia Belle OS is coming soon. I am already using a custom firmware for Belle by “The One” in my Nokia N8.

Previously, defining a custom icon for an app needed to be done via Symbian theme designer. You could also use SisContent to manually apply icons. You would need the App UID and a SVG icon for the app. This was cumbersome.

I found a nifty little app called Icon Changer from LanternSoft who make some awesome utility apps for Symbian. What you need is just a PNG file which is easier to create compared to a vector file which needs more learning for creating properly optimized SVG files via Illustrator or InkScape.

I have made some icons for my personal use which I am releasing here. You can use them for the mentioned app they are made for. If you want to distribute them then give credits to me and please link to this blog post.

Download

GX Nokia Belle custom icons

fMobi, the best Facebook app for Symbian OS

So, those of you who are using a Symbian based Touchscreen phone such as Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia 701 or even Nokia E6 might already know about fMobi. If not, then you should. It is by far the best Facebook app for Nokia phones and you should buy it right now.

Oh! also because I design it so I am a little bit biased towards it. Open-mouthed smile

Here is a small list of features which make fMobi so good.

  • News feed
  • Chat
  • Profile
  • User info
  • Messages
  • Check In / Places
  • Sound notifications
  • Top Friends
  • Search
  • Multiple settings
  • Photo Upload
  • Groups
  • Pages
  • Events
  • Commenting / Liking
  • View comments / likes
  • Albums / Photos
  • Notifications
  • Landscape / Portrait
  • Black / White theme

fMobi is made in Qt and QML. It uses the UI guidelines of Symbian Belle and fits perfectly in the environment. However, we don’t have a Symbian Belle device with us right now so the experience will only get better once we have our hands on actual Symbian Belle devices.

Here are some screenshots of fMobi. These are self explanatory.

 

We are continuously polishing the UI with each passing day. However, Me and Juuso Kosonen, the developer of fMobi don’t want to stop here. We are going to make it the best.

fMobi is also going to be showcased in Qt developer days this year in Munich and San Francisco.

If you have some feedback for its interface or some bug or some feature request, don’t forget to contact me or Juuso on Twitter. You can also mail me. We will try our best to give that feature in fMobi.

You can also look at some other apps for Symbian I am designing at my portfolio page. I can assure you will find them useful to try.

Template – About Application

While making my own app designs for Symbian OS, I came across the fact that “About application” page of many apps is nothing but a bunch of links. So I decided to make a template for this for any developer to use out there.

This template is inspired by the About page of @4squick. They have done a commendable job designing the template for there app. Do check it out at www.4squick.com. 

Here is how the template looks like, this is a mockup for an app me and Ravi Vagadia are making for Symbian OS.

About Keychain - Dark   About Keychain - Light

The link to about page should be given in the options menu and not anywhere else.

The about us section can be changed to “Contact Us” with the address of your website or some mail ID. I have just given our blog address as example here.

You are free to modify the text in PSD as you like however, I recommend keeping the layout the way it is. This PSD is given as a “free to use” template and do whatever you want to improvise the design.

Do share it back here in comments though so that others can also use the improvements you make.

You can download the PSD from here.

Make sure to keep the readme.txt attached if you distribute it again & give credits to me and link to this page.

Tips and trick for Nokia N8

This is an update to my previous blog post since now Symbian Anna is released. The previous tips and tips still remain valid while some new ones are added.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

I have found some cool tips & tricks from my own usage or over the internet. Here are some of them which I will update as I find more.

Keypad shortcuts (Select "Call" from home screen)

  • Bluetooth ON/OFF: Long press on ‘*’ key.
  • Call log: Press call key
  • Open browser: Long press on ‘0’ key
  • Silent profile: Long press on ‘#’ key

Keypad codes (Select "Call" from home screen and type)

  • Hard reset: *#7370#
  • Soft Reset: *#7780#
  • Show IMEI: *#06#
  • Info about phone software: *#0000#
  • Display Bluetooth MAC address: *#2820#
  • Display the WLAN MAC address: *#62209526#

Usability improvement tips -

  • Edit Home screen – Long press on anywhere on the home screen changes to edit mode.
  • Faster Home screen – turn of theme effects from Themes settings to make switching between home screens instant.
  • Forced Reboot – press power key for eight seconds simulating battery removal.
  • Screen Saver Notification – Use ‘Music Player’ screen saver to show new SMS and missed calls icon on screen. Time, Date, Profile and Music being played will also be shown if enabled.
  • Silence Calls/Snooze Alarms – Turn around your phone upside down to silence calls or snooze alarms (set it on from Settings > Sensor settings).
  • Widgets Online/Offline: select Options > "Widget to Offline mode" from home screen.
  • When in the file manager and when in the mass storage/phone memory/memory card, simply tap on the camera button (Autofocus) and it will bring up a search box.
  • Camera: use Pinch zoom to switch between 9 MP or 12 MP resolution for photos.

USB On the Go – Nokia N8 supports connecting pen drives, external hard disks with there own power source and even Wireless Keyboard & Mouse to connect via the supplied USB adapter. I have myself tested successfully this by connecting my Microsoft Wireless Desktop 6000 to my Nokia N8. You will get a full cursor & you can type using a wireless keyboard too.

You can very well connect your N8 to a HDTV with the supplied HDMI cable & use a small wireless keyboard & mouse & can use it as a computer too.

Here is a video of me using my wireless mouse & keyboard in the N8.

Using my Microsoft Wireless Desktop 6000 with my Nokia N8 with USB OTG

Nokia Battery Monitor – The battery monitor on default Symbian^3 doesn’t give detailed information. That is because it is not required to have detailed information in most cases for a casual user. However, if you still want detailed information then you can use Nokia Battery monitor.

Nokia Battery Monitor consists of a home screen widget and a full screen application. The widget is used for visualization of remaining battery capacity and activity estimates. The full screen application provides more details and statistics of energy usage.


Nokia-Battery-monitor1 

Change interface font to Nokia Pure –

Nokia has now retired the Nokia Sans font in favour of a new font called Nokia Pure. This will be the new font used in all Nokia phones now in future.

However, if you want to use the font right now then you can download Nokia Pure from here then follow these instructions…

  • Go to Ovi Store and install "Font zoomer lite" and "Xplore".
  • Rename any font in the archive you downloaded to font_temp.ttf and copy it somewhere in your phone.
  • Switch to any sample font supplied by font zoomer in the app (other than default).
  • Accept all dialogs after apply. Don’t reboot just yet.
  • The zip you downloaded above has Nokia Pure font, renamed to font_temp.ttf. In C:\FontZoomer folder a font is now present with font_temp.ttf. Replace this, with the one available in the zip you just downloaded. To do this, you can use Xplore, as it will show you fontzoomer folder, inside C:\.
  • Now Reboot.
  • You can switch back anytime using FontZoomer app to the default font and after a reboot you will get Nokia Sans back.

If you have a memory card installed in your Nokia N8, then you can use this steps instead of the above.

  • Attached your phone in Memory card mode to your PC.
  • Extract the archive you download above and copy “resource” folder to x:\ where x is the name of your memory card drive in Windows Explorer.

This is how the font looks in my phone, a comparison of old and new font in my Nokia N8.

Compare1

This is how the SMS view looks like, now with Nokia Pure.

scr000071

My thanks to Yogeshwar Padhyegurjar for this method of changing font to Nokia Pure, which also works with upcoming Symbian Anna update.

I have made a basic theme with only custom icons for some 3rd party apps and nothing else. You can download it from here. You will need to sign it with your own certificate though.

I hope you find these tips useful. If you have any of yours, then you can also mention it in the comments.

Ovi Chat 3.1 – The chat app Nokia N8 was missing

If you don’t know, Ovi Chat is the official chat client from Nokia supporting multiple chat networks such as Google talk, Yahoo, Windows Live etc.   

Currently, it is not officially available for Nokia N8 It is now available officially for Nokia N8 and other phones running Symbian^3.

It is good that Nokia is taking time to fix the bugs and optimize it. Currently, I found the following problems with this in my N8   

  • No Facebook chat. Although there are other apps available for this but Nokia included MySpace chat which is a dead service instead of Facebook for some reason beyond my understanding.
  • Runs a little bit slow because it is based on Widget runtime. An app based on Qt/QML would have been better, but I can understand that Nokia opted for WRT for maintaining compatibility with older phones.   
  • The whole interface is two tap based and not single tap which fits more to Symbian^3’s UI. Single tap UI in Ovi Chat 3.1 on Symbian^3 phones.

When launched for the first time it will install a home Screen widget from where you can directly change your status or read any latest chat message to you.

Once the app is running, you can either close it from the task manager or select to hide in the menu. This way, the app will eat less resources and still be running in the background till someone sends you an IM.

Here are some screenshots…

 Scr000087          Service selection

 2_thumb1         3_thumb1           

Here is a chat I was having with my surprised friend Yash (@alsiladka) when I told him about this.

A sample chat

The good thing about Ovi Chat is that it also integrates with the phonebook. You can link any contact on say, Google Talk to anyone in your phone book, Then, you can call that person from within the app.

scr000045_2

Once running, it also shows those contact who are linked and are online from within your Phone Book. So your phonebook becomes one place for contacting anyone by all means possible, whether it is Chat, SMS, Phone/Video call, Facebook or Twitter. 

This is how new message notification shows when the app is hidden in the background.

Scr000095

On Symbian^3, the app supports right click context menus which open when you long press on a contact or running conversation.

Scr000099

Overall, other then the speed issue and lack of Portrait and Split screen Qwerty in N8, this chat app is very good and does all the basic tasks. Officially, it is available at the Ovi Store.