Nokia FM Transmitter CA-300

You may have noticed I’ve been offline a little of late, well it’s been my Birthday so I’ve been taking it easy. One thing I have been testing (besides the E63) is Nokia’s FM Transmitter the CA-300. I already have a Belkin iPod transmitter that I use for my iPod, which I prefer over the built in iPod doc of my car.

Having been recently downloading podcasts to my E71, I thought it’d be great to be able to listen to them in the car and get new podcasts while out and about and away from the desktop with iTunes on.

The CA-300 is a little bigger than the Belkin iPod FM transmitter due to the retractable lead casing at the top of the power connector. The leads are pretty straight forward, one for power, so it’s nice to have a fully charged device when you step out of the car, and the other plugs into the 2.5mm headphones jack, there’s an adapter so it can fit both 2.5mm and 35mm.

It’s a little messier than the simple Belkin device as that just has the phone connector, compared to the CA-300’s two, but it works just the same. The sound quality is fine and setting it up was a breeze, I tend to use 105mhz, seems to work best in most parts of the country.

So if you’re going to pick up a car charger and you listen to podcasts, go one step further and pick up the CA-300 and tune in to podcasts or your music on your car stereo.

E63 your questions answered

Following on from the other E63 posts I’m going to answer the questions in one go…

First up from sarvajeet does the E63 support 8gb, the answer is yes see the photo below.

The next question I was asked was again by sarvajeet and it was related to the speaker on the E63. The speaker is as good as the E71, I wouldn’t say it was an improvement but it works well on speaker phone calls, the voice is loud and clear so now problem there. I wouldn’t less to music through it on the E63, but I wouldn’t listen to music through the speaker on the E71 either.

The final question asked was does the E63 let Nokia email and Jaiku play nicely by Bernie Goldbach. I was interested in this too. What I’ve noticed and its why Bernie was asking was that on the E71 ( and I think Bernie has an E90) Those apps don’t play nicely, they refuse to use the same data connection. What I find is that whilst the two are running on my E71, jaiku won’t update, so when you open the native S60 app it takes some time while it updates itself using the data connection. Alternatively, the Nokia email wont sync even when it’s on the push setting, you notice this when you go to your desktop and there’s new mail in gmail, but it’s not on our phone.

Well, during my testing both apps have played nicely on the E63, I’ve been running both apps full time, Email on push and Jaiku on ‘most up to date’ so both are busy synching at minute intervals, there hasn’t been any issues. Both have worked flawlessly, I never experienced either of the issues I have on the E71.

I can only speculate that the E63 has a slightly different firmware to the E71 which prevents the problem from occurring. The E71 is about to get a new firmware any day now, it’s published but it hasn’t hit the NSU yet, well not for me any way.

So, I’ve answered all the questions left on the blog posts, I still like the device and the keyboard is still a real winner. I’m not having mush fun with wi-fi right now, but i dont know it that’s because it’s a pre-production model or something I dont know. I can’t get Truphone to install either, I really don’t know why, so can’t test the VoIP functionality of the device which is a shame, maybe some one from Truphone will get in touch.

The E71 is the social media device of choice.

I was just reading Glen’s post on his belief that the E71 is the social media users dream. I’d have to agree with him, the keyboard makes messaging and replying on social media sites such as Twitter and Jaiku a breeze. I too had one of the loaner E71’s for the NokiaOpenLabs08 event, which was the second time I’d had the device. The three days or so with the device was enough to convince me that the E71 was the right device for me and I upgraded from my N95-1 to the E71 as soon as I could. I haven’t looked back, I spend most of my time, typing out messages or micro-blog posts and the QWERTY keyboard is a must. Having said that the E71 is a great device and I won’t be giving mine up for a long time, the E63 has an even better keyboard than the E71. It has a softer rubber feel to the keys which grip your fingers and finger nails better than the E71. The extra keys also mean it’s easier to insert brackets, the impact this has on the space bar, i.e. shrinking it is almost unnoticeable.

Nokia E63; The software

The general feel or speed of the device is good, it’s as snappy as the E71, there’s no lag. As any respecting S60 devices tester would do, on went handy Taskman, here’s the screen shot right after boot up.

There’s about 74M of ram left after boot and with screenshot running, 105M of the device itself and there’s not memory card installed.

Nothing too unusual about the software really standard home screen, there’s several softer themes here they are;

 

As I mentioned on my previous post, the camera is the same as the one on the E61i

There’s also an OVi files app in the applications folder too.

The Music store app is there along with share online so no changes to this menu.

The media gallery is still the classic E series media gallery.

And here are some of the other menu’s with the new E series icon’s

The GPS icon and Maps icon is there but when you click it the devices asks whether you want to turn bluetooth on, indicating there’s no GPS but you need an external unit.

The infra-red and modem icons are missing from the Connectivity menu, we noticed the infa-red unit had gone from the side of the device.

E63 The hardware; comparing an E63 to an E71.

First up is the two devices placed side by side, here you can see the differences in the keyboards very clearly. The space bar is smaller on the E63 and had two extra keys along the bottom row allowing for more characters to be directly accessed via the keyboard. This has got to be a good thing as inserting brackets on the E71 is a pain. The keyboard also extends slightly further down the handset making the keys lightly larger, again anything that makes the keys lightly larger has to be good. You can also notice that the microphone socket has moved to the bottom of the handset too. The casing is plastic both front and back. The front is a metallic effect so looks like the E71 but a tap reveals a plastic casing, that’s fine and it looks good.

The surround of the speaker has also changed and there’s no front facing camera on the E63 either.

The wrist strap has also flipped sides too. You can also see the graphic for the phone book key has changed too and those function keys are a little larger too. The red off button of the E71 is gone and the red handset key now doubles as the on/off. But the big one for me here is the extra keys for more characters that an improvement. There’s also a torch function too, hold down the space bar and the flash light comes on, along with a beeping noise, I guess to let you know it’s on an chewing your battery.

In the above pic you can see  the E63 on top off the E71, The E63 is a little thicker and you can see the memory slot and usb connector is smaller and a nicer finish to them, the covers on the E71 keeps catching. So that’s an improvement. You can only see there’s no infra-red port on the E63 and the small round lug of the 3.5mm headphone socket on the top of the handset.

The right hand side of the E63 doesn’t have anything on it, the Volume keys are gone, so this picture gives you a clearer view as to how much thicker the E63 is over the E71.

The backs of both devices are different, the E63’s is made of plastic, whilst the E71’s is a more classy metal. The E63 has a small locking catch which is very simple to use. My impression though it that this back makes the device feel cheaper and more of a cheaper handset. It’s OK it works, it’s less of a finger print magnet, but it puts the handset in a certain market which is fine.

A close up of the Camera’s the E71 has an average 3.2mp camera and the E63 has a 2.0mp camera with no mention of AF (Auto Focus). The holding down the T function in the E71 doesn’t work on the E63 and the camera app looks the same as the camera app on my E61i, which is a big step backwards. To it looks like it’s the same camera and same app as the E61i which is a poor camera, so I wouldn’t expect great shots from it, but we’ll run some tests later.

Overall, the changes are good, the bigger keyboard with more keys is good, the better memory card slot is also an improvement over the E71, so there are some good improvements over the E71 in terms of keyboard, but there’s several backward steps, the camera, the thickness and the plastic casing that clearly point to this device being a smaller brother of the E71.

OK, I think that’s it in terms of physical any questions, onto software, Camera and general overview next up.

Nokia E63 – on trial

I just received a nice surprise from WOM world an E63 in rather fetching red.

It’s a little thicker than the E71 first off, but feels nice to hold, a quick flick around the menus look familiar and there are some nice themes too.

So it’s real, there’s no box as yet, but looks very interesting.

Anyway, back to work for me, and more later.

Give me a car with an IP address

I wish my car had an IP address and I don’t understand why it couldn’t have one. It could either have a wi-fi connection and connect to the home wi-fi when sat on the drive, or 3G and a lost to insert the sim card of my choice. It’d obviously need an OS and some storage, but neither are a major problem.

I’d just like to be able to either set up an RSS feed for the car itself to drag down podcasts, or be able to connect to the storage from my PC and just drag and drop files across to it, either music or even films.

Doing the whole media thing in the car right now doesn’t work that well an there must be a better way.  There must be other benefits too, the dealer could dial in and check the cars vitals or the car itself could send updates (SNMP).

If we’re going to have an Internet of things, why don’t we start with the car being the first daily use thing to get an IP address.

Open Labs and Open People

I wrote this on the plane back from Nokia Open labs 08 in Helsinki, Finland;

It’s been an amazing 3 days, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again,  a big thanks to the WOM team for picking me to come along and for organizing an event fantastically well. They’d thought of every last detail, organizing cabs, giving us sim cards for Sonera, just amazing, thanks guys, a great job.

One of the highlights for me was the people that I met and I’m sure only got to know a little bit, but who I found to be really interesting, funny, informed and willing to have great conversations on a range of subjects.

I learnt some cool stuff from Nokia and the workshops, but have also learnt a lot from the conversations that took place outside the managed time slots with those people.  For example not being afraid to share ideas and to have people come back and challenge those ideas and help build a better and more informed view on a subject.

I’m looking forward to continuing those conversations here, on Twitter, Jaiku and hopefully face to face more regularly than it’s been so far.

 

You can recycle a Service

One thing that I found interesting during the Nokia Open Labs 08 event was that it was more about being connecting and living in that connected world, which was the most important thing. It wasn’t about forcing Nokia products into the conversation, it was much more interesting than that.

It’s about the connected eco system, Nokia are building upon the device and making services such as Ovi to make live easier, easier to share, easier to communicate, easier to locate.

The interesting aspect to this will be how Nokia’s business model evolves from appearing on the surface to be a device manufacturer, but to become an enabler of connectivity, through applications and services that make owning a Nokia handset only a small part of the transactions you have with them.

It became clearer to me during the green presentation that we had following on from the talk by Adam Greenfield, that we’re moving into an era when consumerism and the fragrant disregard given for the environment in the context of the constant upgrading of devices, will become unacceptable.

This obviously becomes a huge problem when society finally wakes up to the green debate and rebels. It can therefore only be a good thing, having a services and software business model supporting green devices rather than one built upon consumer greed.

Finally,  on a lighter note, I’d like to say a big thanks to the WOM team, Donna, Frank, Robbie and Rich.