Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

Is Feature Pack 2 really an upgrade?

with 2 comments

I was reading through the list of changes made to Feature Pack 2 from the Guru (who recently posted about Eldar’s extensive first look at it), and I couldn’t help but feel very underwhelmed. I understand that it’s not supposed to revolutionary like the gap between 2nd and 3rd edition for S60, but being used to service pack updates from Microsoft, I thought there would be a bit more than just your typical minor feature changes.

Read ahead for a breakdown of what’s changed and how I feel about said changes.

I take no credit whatsoever for the images in this post. ALL of them belong to mobile-review.com.

– There’s an easier access to the task switcher on the options menu called “Open Applications”

New Task Switcher

That sounds like a nice addition, but I have a hard time believing this will even come close to the functionality of Handy Taskman. Understandably, it is an additional chunk of change out of your wallet on top of the cost of your brand new phone, but for all of the features it gives you, it’s definitely worth it in my book. If this “Open Applications” feature looks exactly like as pictured when we start to see the first FP2 devices, I’ll be keeping Handy Taskman.

– The standby screen has now 3 layouts, instead of active standby on/off in FP1. Active standby off is “Basic”, there’s also the traditional layout that we’re used to, as well as the vertical menu. This should allow applications to show more options and be controllable from the standby itself, without the need to open them, a functionality that many of WM/S40 users have been enjoying for quite a while now.

New Standby

This falls into the same category that as a lot of these new features, which is the “should-have-been-there-in-the-first-place” (SHBTFP) category. Something like this is only an improvement when comparing it to previous versions of S60. When compared against other devices (even other Nokias), this only brings S60 back up to par with what everyone else is doing.

– Timed profiles. A profile can now be set to be activated/deactivated at a certain time in the next 24hrs.

Timed Profiles

Again, FINALLY! I was never one to use this feature in the past, but recently, I understand what all the complaining was about. My girlfriend has to go to bed much earlier than I do for work in the morning, and I lost count of how many times my blaring ringtone went off when she’s already asleep because I didn’t adjust the profile. I’ve been using another piece of Handy software recently, Handy Profiles, and I think I will probably keep using it if the built-in version of timed profiles in FP2 is limited to only a timer. I have Handy Profiles set to automatically keep my phone on the “Quiet” profile during the hours my girlfriend is asleep and I time that same profile to stay activated for the varying length of my shifts at work. It’s yes another cost, but still money well spent.

Nevertheless, this is a feature S40 has had for a long time and I don’t understand why it took so long to bring it to S60.

– Images & videos can now be tagged, and viewed by tag. They can also be filtered by year and month. There’s also a separate view for downloaded media.

Media Sorted by Tags

I don’t use tags all too much when uploading to Flickr or Ovi, but this is a great addition that would probably help me to start. I recently tried to add some tags to some of the images I uploaded onto Ovi from my N95-3, but the default Web browser would not let me access anything but the mobile version of Share on Ovi. I’m not familiar with any other devices with this kind of multimedia ability, and even though it’s not as big of an update to me, I still think it deserves credit as something new and interesting for S60.

– Automatic geotagging (is there a possibility to view images taken in a one place? even if it’s a different days/months?)

Geotagging Capabilities

This kinda ties together with the ability to tag content from your device directly. This is another feature I probably won’t use too much of, but I love the concept of it. If sharing your content wirelessly wasn’t a blessing by itself, now you can share the location of where you captured that media as well, right out of the box. This is another first that I haven’t seen on any other devices natively (someone please correct me if I’m wrong).

– Maps 2.0 is on.

Nokia Maps 2.0

Since I’m currently using the beta of Maps 2.0 as it is on my N95-3, I don’t think this deserves credit associated with FP2. Nokia Maps has always been a free download for S60 devices back when it was Smart2Go. Maps 2.0 is great from what I’ve experienced so far, but you don’t need an FP2 device to enjoy it.

– There’s a possibility to set a slideshow of pictures as screensaver (can’t remember if it’s possible in FP1)

Slideshow Screensaver

This is pretty nice also, but I can only wonder how this will affect battery life, particularly on an FP2 device with a crippled battery (*ahem*N96*ahem*)…

– Sound recorder is finally a recorder, with possibility to go for 1 hour.

1-hour Voice Recorder

As far as I can tell, my N95-3 already has this feature? I don’t record too many voice notes, but remaining timer shows the same as this screenshot. Regardless, this is another SHBTFP feature. I’ve come across many people whom have complained about this in the past and there’s no excuse for not having implemented it sooner.

Here’s a couple other things I was looking forward to, to a degree.

-New menu structures, V-shaped and Horseshoe

V-shaped Menu Horseshoe Menu

First off, does anybody really plan on using this? I still don’t know anything that would be more efficient than the tried and true grid system (which corresponds to the buttons on the d-pad), but at the very least it looks good. The problem I have with this is that we were supposed to see this on the original N95. A year ago.

-Always-on time bar

TimeBar1 TimeBar2

I have to add this to the SHBTFP category also. S40 has had this feature just like it had timed profiles, and on top of that, there’s a useful little application called TimeBar that’s been floating around for a couple months now to correct this issue as it is. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been aggravated by having to navigate to the standby screen just to check the time while I’m web browsing or doing anything else on my phone. Sure, it isn’t tedious to do this, but why should I when less capable phones have had this feature for years?

-USB 2.0 transfer speeds

I don’t even need to say it. Those of you with an N95 8gb suffering through the painfully slow process of adding any media to that 8gb of internal flash memory know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever owned ANY MP3 player built in the past 5 years, you know that anything less than USB 2.0 is simply unacceptable, thus, this SHBTFP. I’ll be glad to see a capable device utilize this feature, but there have been plenty of devices that needed it long before FP2.

Overall, I have to say not bad. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s definitely not bad. Since I’m skipping the N96, FP2 will be a nice bonus when a capable device comes out after this next generation of Nseries.

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Written by Jonathan

March 6, 2008 at 4:50 am

Posted in S60 Features

2 Responses

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  1. I agree with you: There are so many things included in this update that should have always been in our devices. The V-shape menu structure is from the N76 if I’m not mistaken, and, as you said, proves useless because you can’t see evrything equally well.

    I too will be skipping the N96, but the N78 looks rather nice –

    newtype2011

    March 10, 2008 at 4:29 am

  2. […] I previously ranted about FP2 not being that much of an upgrade, I’ve been pleasantly surprised several times by how the N96 reacts to different things with […]


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