Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

Posts Tagged ‘omnia

Just so we’re clear…

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YES, it works on AT&T 3G in the US. Read this.

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Written by Jonathan

August 31, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Getting the most out of your i8910HD: Manufacturer Codes

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*#0228#

As I mentioned in my review of the Samsung i8910HD, there are several manufacturer codes that can be used to tweak performance of all sorts of different features. While the phone is very capable out of the box, it’s a real advantage to be able to access these hidden settings to tune your device exactly to your liking. In this brief, I’ll go some of the major tweaks, how to perform the tweaks yourself, and how to not damage your phone in the process.

This list is my compilation of information found on the Samsung i8910 Omnia forums and all credit goes to Briggs and the members. If you’d like to read about more device codes to experiment with,  please feel free to give them a visit and say thanks if you do.

Before you attempt any of the codes found in this guide, I want to warn that it is not clear what implications this may have on your warranty. While this guide is safe to make minor improvements to the i8910HD, I take no liability for any damage you do to your phone if you experiment outside the parameters of this guide, nor if your warranty becomes void from performing any of these changes. You are making alterations to your device at your own risk. It is also recommended you write down the previous values for any settings you change in the event you want to change them back to default.

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Nokia N97; Multimedia Computer…from 2007.

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Since my last post about how much more interested I am in the Samsung i8910 instead of the N97, I have given both devices a lot of thought to try to come to a fair decision. Since my day typically consists of significantly more messaging than anything else, a hardware keyboard started to look pretty appealing to me. Then the rest of its lesser features when compared to the i8910 started making me thing that maybe they would be “enough” for my normal usage. That was until this was published on Forum Nokia regarding the hardware in the N97:

If it wasn’t bad enough that Nokia is using the same 5mp camera sensor that they’ve been using since the original N95, they also used the same processor used on most Nokia devices since the N95 from 2007! If you think I’m making it up, please take a look at the processor specs of the original N95. Not only is it the same processor, but the N95 also supported a dual CPU and a dedicated 3D hardware acceleration (making it excellent for gaming).

Meanwhile, everybody else has stepped up to processors that can at least support up to 600mhz (if not more) for their future devices, if they’re not using them already. Among them happens to be the Samsung OmniaHD which not only features the Cortex A8 process (capable of up to 800mhz), but also uses the PowerVR SGX GPU for graphics acceleration. You might reconize the Cortex A8, as it’s the same one that Palm is using in their hotly anticipated Pre due out from Sprint within the next couple months. If you’d like to see the nitty gritty on the difference between these two processors, do a search for “Pre” and “N97” on this Wikipedia page.

I know some of you may be thinking that a faster processor means significantly less battery life, which turns out to be very ironic. The Cortex A8 also features dynamic power management, meaning it can adjust its power consumption based on the CPU load in real time to significantly save battery life. The entire ARM11 architechture doesn’t support anything like this.

This has pretty much put the final nail in the coffin for me. I meant it when I said I’d like to keep my next device for at least a year if I can, and I just don’t think using old tech with a higher clock speed is going to be able to cut it for a long-term device, especially when the competition has so many other features under the hood as well.

What do you think? Will you still buy an N97 knowing it’s using an older processor than most of the new devices due out this year?

Written by Jonathan

May 1, 2009 at 10:46 pm

An epiphany, and waiting for the Samsung OmniaHD

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Back in January, I came to a firm realization. While I thoroughly enjoy mobile technology, I enjoy it for the wrong reasons. When I was a young teenager, I enjoyed buying the latest and greatest mobile phones because of a “my phone’s better than your phone” attitude. As I have been living my life around the actions and ideas of this lifestyle for several years, doing so became habit to the point of no longer enjoying it. I had been wasting far too much time pouring over mobile tech sites and forums waiting to hear about the “next” device that I would buy that would have more features (many of which I probably wouldn’t use) and perpetuate this lifestyle. The motives of a habitual childish interest started to bleed into the aspects I genuinely liked about mobile devices, even as far as this blog. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. As of 3 months ago, I’m done, and after I get my hands on an OmniaHD, I’ll really be done.

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Written by Jonathan

April 20, 2009 at 5:57 am

Why buy an unlocked device in 2009?

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I’ve been chewing this question over in my head for a couple days now and a couple of recent articles really made things much more clear to me. I apologize in advance for the long read, but I think it will be worth your time if you care to give it.

How it was.

There was a time not too many years ago when owning an unlocked S60 device really meant something. They were usually much more expensive, freed users of any of the carrier restrictions placed on such devices due to branded firmware, and had a larger feature set than what was offered by carriers as well. I remember when I bought my 6630 with a 1.3mp camera when everyone else around me was first getting introduced to cameraphones altogether. When 1.3 became the standard, I was upgrading the 2mp camera on my N70 to the 3.2mp camera on the N80 and taking advantage of wifi on a phone, a thought that was unheard of by any carrier at the time. When the world finally got around to using 2mp as the standard and started rolling out provider-based GPS solutions, I was dropping a silly amount of money on my first N95 with a real GPS chipset and a whopping 5mp sensor, along with all of the other features I had grown used to over the years.

Despite the cost for these devices, there was an obvious advantage to them that was worth a conversation with someone who was looking for something that was more than what AT&T or Verizon could offer them. Since I started using S60, I’ve been so enthusiastic about it that I influenced more than a dozen friends, family members, and strangers to buy an unlocked Nokia rather than settle for the mediocre device offerings from carriers that came locked and ready to charge you for every bit of media you consume.

I spent a lot of money over the years to stay at the bleeding edge of this technology, but it was worth it.

Fast forward to today. Where are we?

-The iPhone undoubtedly has completely changed the market and how people perceive mobile devices. It appeals to people who struggled with Windows Mobile for its incredible ease of use, fashionistas who want a gorgeous piece of equipment in their pocket, mid-to-heavy power users who want an impressive device in their pocket, and it has become the new benchmark for a tier of device above your everyday cell phone without the complications of your typical smartphone offerings (usually Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and a bit of Palm still floating around).

-The HTC Touch Pro, a worthy iPhone competitor, will be offered by Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon for the 2008 holiday season.

-Verizon is launching the Blackberry Storm, yet another iPhone competitor, within the next couple weeks (allegedly by Black Friday).

-AT&T has several more devices planned for the holiday launch, including the Blackberry Bold, Samsung Eternity, Incite, Epix, and a few other devices geared towards enhanced messaging.

-In addition to the Touch Pro and the Blackberry Storm, Verizon is also launching the Samsung Omnia with 5mp camera (with many, many features), GPS, and everything else you’d want from a high end Windows Mobile device. It is also due out for this holiday season.

-T-Mobile just launched their first real iPhone contender in both hardware and software, the HTC G1 running Andoid.

Bare in mind, all of these carrier device offerings are new. They are an addition to all of the other devices that have already been rapidly catching up to what’s supposed to be the next generation of high end devices. Verizon had been all over the touch screen bandwagon for a while now with the likes of the HTC Touch, LG Voyager, Dare, Samsung Glyde, and the newly released Motorola Krave.

I’ve gotten to the point where switching to a different device and platform wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice at all if it were easy enough to learn, so what’s to stop anyone else from feeling the exact same? I’ve been with S60 for so long that it feels like second nature, but in a world with iPhones and iPhone-wannabes that are damn near immediately intuitive as soon as you pick it up and are starting to have the exact same feature sets as the once-coveted unlocked, imported smartphone, what does Nokia and/or S60 have that people are really going to want? And what’s going to make it worth the extra money for buying it without a contract?

Some would argue that it’s the operating system, the third party software, and the ease of use makes still makes it worthwhile. I would agree, but your average consumer wouldn’t. Part of the brilliance of S60 was a community of users with active development of the platform adding functionality on an almost daily basis. While that’s still very strong, there’s a much stronger presence available elsewhere now. Going back to the iPhone, Apple (and the community responsible for jailbreaking) took that same idea and unified all of the apps into a single source for convenient installation right on the device iteself, much like you’d see from a Linux distro. Speaking of which, Android has now done the exact same thing, and Blackberry is about to join the club as well. Nokia’s version is a patheric application called “Download!”, available on devices years before the iPhone, but it was hardly used then either. Download! brought a very small fraction of the most popular S60 applications for users to install right on their device with a clunky interface that doesn’t even compare to what’s available now.

The point? In both hardware and software, there are very few unlocked devices (current and available soon) that offer more than what’s already available from a carrier.

Why would somebody buy an N85 for $400+ dollars when a Samsung Omnia can be had for $100 less with a contract? It’s not worth it anymore.

I’m very content with my decision to buy the 5800 XpressMusic when the US version is available. I’m at a point in my life where having the absolute latest and greatest phone with all of the high end features is much less important to me than having a device I enjoy using that still matches what I need and what I need it to do on a daily basis. The difference now is that I also have no choice. Nokia doesn’t have a flagship that blows everything else out of the water like they used to year after year.

Nokia has sat at the top of their hill for a very, very long time, gradually milking out new phones with a minor upgrade here, a US version there, with the capability to be the dominant presence in all of its markets. With all of the recent changes, it’s not difficult to see how easily other manufacturers have been able to slowly eat away at their numbers.

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What does the future hold?

Nokia has three options if they ever intend to get back into the US market.

1) Get agreements with carriers.

2) Sell unlocked phones at competitive prices.

3) Start making phones worth the extra money and market the hell out of them.

Nokia is never going to have to worry about their doors closing. The lion’s share of their market is still heavily dominated by their lower-end handsets and most of these thoughts are intended for the US audience only. If Nokia intends to stay as successful as they have been for the past several years, then it’s time they start worrying. They have several new services that, if done properly, could retake control of the entire market; they just need to do it right.

I used to think about a day when things would change in the US. I thought that everyone would eventually catch on to the idea of unlocked phones, start to phase out the carrier as their source for new devices, and we’d gradually see an uprising of interest in mobile technology beyond just calling and sending SMS. Well, now we have, except the company that has done it was the newcomer to the market, and they did it with an even stronger relationship to mobile providers than ever before. Everyone asks “Who are you with?” instead of “Who makes that phone?” more than ever and we’re even further away from that changing anytime soon.

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As a fan of technology in general, I’m very excited to see how much everything is about to change even after they already have so much. Though I am still very happy with Nokia’s offerings, I wouldn’t have any reservations about purchasing a device that offered more for less, and I’m sure the majority of everyone else in the US feels the same way. 2009 holds a lot of new devices from a lot of manufacturers. The last thing Nokia needs to be doing is releasing rehashes of their previous years devices with new reflective black casings.

After all, that banner up there is only a jpeg and changing the URL for my blog would be very inexpensive. 😉