Dieter Bohn is working hard at Mobile World Congress this week and stopped by to chat with the folks at Nokia about the upcoming Ovi Store. While the press release I wrote about had a few details, such as the "social location" functionality, Dieter was able to find out many more details about the application store. Dieter even stated that it was better than the Apple iPhone App Store, which is saying something since Dieter is still learning about Nokia and the S60 platform and has an iPhone.
Smartphones and Cell Phones
It seems everyone in business has a smartphone today to keep connected to the office and enjoy their time away from the office. Matthew Miller provides you with news, commentary and in-depth reviews of the latest in mobile phones sporting iOS, Android, Wi
Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.
One of the first things people generally ask about when you mention mobile web browsers is, Does it support Flash? Today, very limited support for Flash content is provided on mobile web browsers, but the new Nokia devices do have Flash Lite support. Nokia and Adobe made a joint announcement at Mobile World Congress for the $10 million Open Source Project fund that is designed to help developers create applications and services for mobile, desktop, and consumer electronics devices using the Adobe Flash Platform. This new fund is part of the Open Screen Project, which has more than 20 industry partners.
I was all excited to hear more details about the QuickOffice and Documents To Go clients for Android at Mobile World Congress, but was let down a bit when I saw the QuickOffice announcement. I was expecting that these applications would support full Office functionality, but the QuickOffice client is a viewer only for Word and Excel files. It remains to be seen what DataViz can do with Documents To Go.
There are currently a few applications on Nokia S60 devices that let you use Skype, such as fring, iSkoot, and Skype Lite, but there has not yet been an official full Skype client on S60 devices yet. Skype Lite works with the cellular network and Skype Out to provide you with limited service. Today Nokia and Skype announced a partnership that will bring Skype to Nokia devices, starting with the Nseries and in particular the N97. This won't happen until the 3rd quarter of 2009. fring gives you Skype access now on S60 devices.
Microsoft had several parts to its Mobile World Congress announcement, including the Windows Mobile 6.5 update, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and My Phone service. I've been given beta access to My Phone, but since I am on a cruise vacation at the moment (I know I shouldn't be working, but this is the week of MWC) I won't be able to try it out and report on it until next week. In the meantime, check out what Chris Leckness is currently experiencing with the service. So far he likes what he sees with it, but I have also read other discussions asking how much different it really is than the Dashwire service.
It always seems to happen just after I buy a device that another successor is announced that has me rethinking my purchase. I recently purchased a North American Nokia N85, which I think is the best Nseries device I have ever used. Nokia announced the N86 with an 8 megapixel camera that has the same dual slider form factor as the N85, N95, and N96. The 8 megapixel camera includes Carl Zeiss optics, of course, and duel LED flash. 8GB of internal memory is provided for storing your photos and videos with an additional microSD card slot for even more memory capacity.
The mobile browser field is getting more and more crowded as companies look to users of the internet on the go. In looking at proxy-based browsers where all the heavy lifting is done on the server we currently have Opera Mini leading the pack with Skyfire in public beta. Today at Mobile World Congress, the BOLT browser moved into public beta. This browser was in private beta from January 15th until now and I tried it on a couple of my phones and found it to be acceptable, but not something I would choose over Opera Mini. The browser has gone through some updates though and is now available as version .86 that is significantly improved over the initial .73 build.
Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 6.5 today at Mobile World Congress in Spain and as a fan of the Windows Mobile OS, I have to say I am pretty disappointed with the update and the 9+ months we have to wait to actually see it on any device. I have seen a few demos of 6.5 in action and in my opinion it just adds the UI enhancements we saw on Standard (non-touch screen) devices with Windows Mobile 6.1 and makes it more finger friendly. There is also an improved web browser (Opera Mobile already gives us a superior browsing experience) and some services that will be supported on 6.5 devices. I am sure we will see some cool devices come out in late 2009, but honestly there is nothing I see here that compels me to start saving up to run out and buy a Windows Mobile device.
Third party applications have been available for Palm, Windows Mobile, S60, and BlackBerry devices for years, but it wasn't until Apple made the iPhone App Store such a huge success that companies finally woke up to the potential market that was out there. It really is a shame that one of these companies never took the initiative to create an application store and now they are all announcing one, again following Apple's lead. Some of the best news I have seen so far from Mobile World Congress is the announcement regarding the upcoming Ovi Store by Nokia.
The HTC Touch Diamond and HTC Touch Pro were very popular devices in 2008 and to continue with these lines, HTC announced the Touch Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 at Mobile World Congress. These two Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional devices come with more HTC customization that improves the Windows Mobile experience. HTC has added functionality that allows all voice, text, and email communications from a specific contact to be sorted and viewed at the touch of a finger. The information is available inside the contact card and during a call. The specifications of the HTC Touch Diamond2 and HTC Touch Pro2 are both improved over their first generation models, particularly in regards to screen resolution.