Category Archives: Mobile Phones

Mobile Design UK event Announced – 4th June

The details of the next Mobile Design UK event have been posted, the Mobile Design UK event will take place on the 4th of June at the Tavern Room at RSA on John Adam Street in London.

The last Mobile Design UK event was really well presented and provided some great insight into the technical and cultural challenges faced by designers and interaction designers when trying to target mobile platforms.

You can get the full details and registration information of the upcoming Mobile Design UK event from the Mobile Design UK website.

To get a feel for the target of the Mobile Design UK events and there content you can read my post on the previous Mobile Design UK event.

Forum Nokia launches Flash Lite Developer’s Library

I missed this yesterday. Nokia have released the Flash Lite Flash Lite Developer’s Library 1.1 . One of the important aspects of this launch is the inclusion of documentation for using the new Nokia S60 Platform Services.

The Platform Services enable flash application to access Device Capabilities and services that were previously only possible through third party solutions Such as Kuneri lite.

Here is a list taken from the Using Platform Services section of the new Flash Lite Developers Library.

The S60 platform allows Flash Lite applications installed on S60 mobile devices to:

  • Access and launch applications on a device using the AppManager Service API
  • Access and manage calendar information using the Calendar Service API
  • Access and manage information about contacts using the Contacts Service API
  • Access and manage information about landmarks using the Landmarks Service API
  • Access device logging events using the Logging Service API
  • Access device location information and perform location-based calculations using the Location Service API
  • Access information about media files stored on a device using the Media Management Service API
  • Send, retrieve, and manage messages such as SMS and MMS using the Messaging Service API
  • Access data from the physical sensors of a device using the Sensor Service API
  • Access and modify system information on a device using the SystemInfo Service API

These new API’s are supported through FlashLite 3.x on Series 60 5th edition devices. Flash Lite applications use the S60 Platform Services through Service APIs. The Service APIs are supported through a Nokia-proprietary ActionScript 2.0 library. Before you can create Flash Lite applications that use platform services, you must install the library for use in your Flash Lite applications.

Here is a run down of updates from the Change History section of the Flash Lite Developers Library.

Change history Flash Lite Developer’s Library 1.1

  • Added information on the S60 Platform Services, the corresponding ActionScript Service APIs, and the ActionScript Service object required to access the APIs.
  • Added section “Flash Lite API reference”. This section describes the ActionScript APIs provided by the S60 platform for use with Flash Lite applications.
  • Added section “Flash Lite authoring and optimization tips”. This section provides tips and guidelines for authoring Flash Lite applications and optimizing their performance.
  • Added section “Flash Lite with S60 touch”. This section briefly introduces the touch UI and Flash Lite touch keypad of S60 5th Edition devices and provides instructions for disabling the touch keypad.
  • Added section “Flash Lite example applications”. This section contains links to example Flash Lite applications that you can download to your computer and then to a mobile device or emulator.

Check out the Flash Lite Developer’s Library Here.

I am an iPhone owner. This is my confession.

I have become a member of an insignificantly small (at the moment), yet very vocal and very visible sub-group of mobile device users. That’s right, I have an iPhone, and you know what, I’m not too disappointed using it. Some (well, ok, most) of the time. Frankly there are some things that quite frankly rock so much on the iPhone it’s silly. Especially if you get it on a decent data tariff.

Firstly is the fact that I am able to have written all this more than comfortably as I queue at the post office, while simultaneously enjoying my mp3 tunes, all from the one device. Class.

The second thing that I really hadn’t realisd was how good (no. Fantastic) the web browsing is on the iPhone. I did use my n95 for browsing, but the using direct touch input does change the experience entirely. My mobile web usage has certainly increased with the iPhone.

Just about at the counter now…..

Thirdly since owning my iPhone my personal data has never been more ‘in sync’. The docking of the device and syncing of information to my MacBook Pro just works so, so so well. I am by no means an well organised person, but thanks to this device and the way it syncs so painlessly with iTunes, iCal, Address book and Mail is great.

These three thngs are absolutely fabulous. I love them. Thank you Apple.

However. Something I noticed soon after I took ownership of an iPhone was the number of other iPhone owners who would great me thus “So you got an iPhone then, what do you think?”. It was as though they had doubts about there own purchase, like they wondered if they were alone in feeling disapointed with it at times.

Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone really is a ‘pretty thing’ and some of what the iPhone does, make no mistake, it does far better than anything else out there. Then on the other hand, Apple have really screwed the iPhone up. They have missed off some things that any fool could see are now standard issue on even the most basic devices on the market. The conspiratorial side of me would even say that, maybe, the iPhones short comings are missing by design.

Here for me are the things that are unforgivable for their absence from the iPhone.

1. No replaceable battery, in this day an age there are so many reasons this is wrong. There is no more blatant example of planned obsolescence than seen in the iPods and iPhones from Apple. At some point in the future, you are going to have to replace this device, or pay Apple a lot of money to change a battery. Ridiculous. There is part of me that is really disapointed at my self for supporting a company that is so morrally irrisponsible to encourage such a thow-away mentality.

2. No copy and paste functionality really sucks, there appears to be no reason for this not being present. Its a useful feature that has been present and available to even the most basic computing devices for as long as I can remember. Heck even the earliest of calculators had the equivalent of copy and paste in the form of “memory recall” its shocking to think that apple are so sloppy to have over looked such a fundamental feature. Remember form follows function.

3. No forwarding of Contact details. Again something that has been possible on every phone I have owned for the last 8 or 9 years. No sending of business cards, no vCard forwarding support. It bites.

4. No tethering. Apple I hate you for this.

5. The camera is shockingly low spec for a device of this price range. low quality, no video. Once again the only real reason seems to be to form a culture of upgrading the device.

I know none of this is new. The fact is, I knew all about these things, I knew they would suck. I knew I would still rely on my N95. A 2 year old device that I still think is more capable as a modern mobile device than the iPhone 3G, but you know what, I already feel better for having got it off my chest. It may even help me enjoy my iPhone more now that I have ‘put it out there’. My Name is Dave. I am an iPhone owner. Its been 3 minutes since the last time i bitched about my new device…

Does Apple’s new 3g iPhone Still Suck?

Back in November I posted a post titled “9 reasons the iPhone Sucks!“. It was a quick link to some comments a friend made regarding the iPhone being ‘a little disapointing’ when he first took delivery of Apple’s shiney new device. At the time I only had 3 gripes with Apple’s original mobile device.

Since Apple has released the 3g iPhone I have read a number of online posts & articles as well as hard copy newspapers & magazines all detailing the new device. To be fair you couldn’t read much else than stories about the iPhone for a while.

Also, since November I have ben using my trusty Nokia N95 more and more, despite its age. As a result I feel I know more about my personal mobile usage requirements and am more knowledgeable about my expectations of a mobile device now as well.

Following a new comment posted on my original “9 reasons the iPhone Sucks!” post I thought I would revisit the subject, referencing the 3g iPhone this time.

In my original post the three issues I had with the iPhone were as follows.

  1. 2 mega pixel camera with no video. Nokia N95 has a 5 mega pixel camera and full screen video recording and tv out playback. Result.
  2. No 3g internet connection. Nokia N95 once again comes up trumps in this department with 3G and HSDP access. Result.
  3. No decent Data package, 18 month contract. N95 on T-mobile with web & walk max. 10 gb data voip and 3g. Result

Ok so the lack of 3g connection is now null and void, well done Apple. Or is it. Over the last 9 months only a small percentage of my 3g connection usage has been ‘On Device’, most of my mobile 3g usage has been by hooking the N95 up to my Mac Book Pro as a 3g Modem, either over BlueTooth or USB. Despite the iPhone being from the same company as my laptop, apparently there is no easy way to make it work as a 3g modem? DOH!

You could argue I may be able to complete some of the tasks I use my laptop for on the iPhone, for example email and web browsing. I remain unconvinced they will be as easy to complete though, I fudge the on screen keyboard alot for one thing, I know I have tried many times in store.

There are however tasks I know full well I will not be able to accomplish, Flex development linked to a live data source while traveling on the train down to Devon for example. For those tasks I will still need a 3g modem connected to my Mac Book Pro.

The next thing is the 2 mega pixel camera on the Apple iPhone versus the 5 Mega pixel camera on the Nokia N95. Well Apple havent done much there the camera is still 2 mega pixels, despite reports that say the chipset should support 5 mega pixels. Over the last 8 months I have been using the camera on my Nokia N95 more and more. As with anything, you can never go backwards to an inferior product. In addition I quite like sending photos of the surf down in Devon to people I know are still in London 😀 . Sorry Sean. I understand this isnt so easy on the new 3g iPhone either?

Finnaly the data package. I will be honest, I am not sure if I even need the 10gig of data transfer I currently have availible on my current mobile tariff, I havent looked too much at the new mobile data tariffs from O2 to compare them to t-mobile either.

So there is no way I will be getting the new phone either, right? Weeeeeell there is one issue. As Tink mentioned in the comments on the original post. The coverage of t-mobile is sketchy, particularly in Devon. It might be that the fact I need to be able to do a simple thing like call people on my mobile phone, regardless of which device it is, means I swap to O2, wich has great coverage ‘down south’. If I was doing that anyway, it would be rude not to upgrade 😀

NEC Demos Adobe Flash Lite Intellectual Property

Following the announcement from Adobe of the open screen project, news comes from the Embedded Systems Expo that NEC is showing what sounds like it might be an alternative to Adobe’s Flash Lite Player.

Its a little hard to make complete sense of the post from EETimes.com. But some interesting quotes from the short, slightly cryptic article:

By using our new IP, one can design a portable device capable of processing Adobe Flash Lite several times faster, when compared with using a processor.

Also in the announcement is a hint of better video quality as well.

After reducing the number of gates required for an IC and further tuning the video quality output by Adobe Flash Lite, NEC will start offering its IP in August this year.

One thing that does seem to be missing is an explanation of which Flash Lite version they are supporting, although the mention of video implies this is based around the FlashLite 3 player.

You can read the full (breif) announcement of NEC’s new Flash Lite IP over at EETimes.com.

One further interesting thing is that I could find no mention of NEC being involved with the Open Screen Project from its press release.

Credit where its due: EETimes.com

BitTube Goes Over the Air

Thats right, its all very last minute but I will be presenting a session at the upcoming Over the Air event in London this week.

My session is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Flash Video Nokia Masterclass – Dave Williamson (Adobe)Learn how to create live video applications with the most popular online video format on Nokia devices.

Over the Air is all sold out now, but you can find all the information about the event over at the Over the Air Blog

I look forward to catching up with you if you are there.

Nokia N95 Firmware Update to 21.0.016 and adds FlashLite 3 Support

As many people will have seen yesterday Nokia release a fairly major update to the N95 firmware. One of the major bonuses for flash developers is the inclusion of FlashLite 3 as standard onto the device, both as a standalone player and within the browser. For those using detection scripts the player version reported in the browser is:

PlayerVersion: FL 8,1,55,0

You can see a FlashLite version test movie here..

Related to this I found myself in the situation where the Nokia Software Updater would not allow me to install the new firm ware, my t-mobile branded phone was just such a device. A quick search and it seems that devices on certain service providers are locked from the update. However there are always round such restrictions. Below is how to modify your Nokia N95 product code so that it is unlocked for applying new firmware updates.

WARNING THIS PROCESS MAY BRICK YOUR PHONE, VOID YOUR WARRANTY AND ANY NUMBER OF OTHER TERRIBLE THINGS. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU ARE IN ANYWAY UNSURE OF THE CONSEQUENCES. I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY NASTY THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO YOU, YOUR DEVICE OR ANY ACTION YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER TAKES AFTER FOLLOWING THESE LINKS AND INSTRUCTIONS

That said, I only had one minor hiccup in the whole process, and it seems I am not the only one to have experienced it. I for got to mention that to Mike on MSN 😀

Right with that out the way, on to the fun.

1. First off BACK UP YOUR DEVICE! make sure you have a back up of the memory card and also the device memory.
2. In order to install the new 21.0.016 firmware you will also want to make sure you have the following software.

* Download the latest version of Nokia PC Suite.
* Download the Nemesis Service Suite.

3. Next read this post, it provides a list of the available product codes for the N95.
4. Finally you should make sure you read this post, it covers how to update the product code on the N95.

As I began to progress through the steps outlined on changing the product code of my Nokia N95 mobile phone there were a couple of items where I was left to ‘take a leap of faith’.

  1. When installing Nemesis Service Suite I left the device connection as the default virtual USB device. And that seemed to be the right thing to do.
  2. When deciding on a new product code for the device I chose the one for EURO1 Plum, this appears to have worked fine for my location and device. I have a silver/grey Nokia N95 and am based in the UK.

Once the product code was updated on the mobile phone the Nokia Software Updater worked fine to allow me to upgrade to the latest 21.0.016 firmware.

Curse my slow blogging skills, beat to the post. 😀

Adobe CEO: We’re bringing Flash to the iPhone!

This just popped into my news reader from ZDNet.

Well, you really believe that Flash is synonymous with the internet and frankly, anybody who wants to browse the web and experience the web’s glory really needs Flash support. We were very excited about the announcement from Windows Mobile, adoption of Flash on their devices and the fact that we’ve shipped 0.5 billion devices now, non-PC devices. So we are also committed to bringing the Flash experience to the iPhone and we will work with Apple. We’ve evaluated the SDK, we can now start to develop the Flash player ourselves and we think it benefits our joint customers. So we want to work with Apple to bring that capability to the device.

If the mountain wont move to you..

Go Adobe!

Read the full ZDnet article here
Read the SeekingAlpha transcript here

Microsoft has licensed Flash Lite 3 and Reader LE for future Windows Mobile based devices

More exciting news on the future of FlashLite 3 proliferation. Bill Perry has a great explanation of how the news that Microsoft has licensed Flash Lite 3 and Reader LE for future Windows Mobile based devices will affect FlashLite 3 content developers.

Read the Full Press Release here

Google Gears for mobile & Nokia Silverlight Support

First up is the announcement yesterday from Google thats Google Gears is making a move onto Mobile devices.

Initially available for Internet Explorer Mobile on Windows Mobile 5 and 6 devices, mobile web app developers have already started integrating Gears for mobile into their online services.

also

if you’re not a Windows Mobile user, stay tuned — we’re working to roll out Google Gears for other platforms with capable web browsers, including Android.

you can find out more at the Google Gears on Mobile Devices developer site.

Separately, today came news from Nokia that they are to add support for Silverlight on S60 and Series 40 devices on Symbian OS and Nokia Internet tablets.

This is an important relationship on so many levels. Working with Nokia means we are easily able to reach a huge number of mobile users, including customers of all S60 licensees. This is a significant step in gaining broad acceptance for Silverlight and ensuring it is platform agnostic. This is critical since we want to make sure developers and designers don’t have to constantly recreate the wheel and build different versions of applications and services for multiple operating systems, browsers and platforms

said S. Somasegar, Senior Vice President of Microsoft’s Developer Division.

Exciting times ahead 😀

credit where its due:

New Fring Version 3.3, Now with Flash Presence Widget.

This evening I received an email from the mobile change service Fring announcing the new version is availible. As well as great new file swapping, Yahoo and AIM support and a host of other improvements, there was news of a new Flash based widget for websites that would allow people to contact you from your website while you are on the move with the Fring Mobile Client.

Get more from your handset with fring’s new flash fringME! widget and stay connected with your internet communities while on the go! With the fringME! widget placed on your website or blog (i.e. myspace page), your web visitors can fring you at anytime, enabling you to stay connected even when you’re away from your PC.

With fringME!, your online buddies will now be able to:

  • chat with you from fringME! on the web direct to fring on your mobile – even if they don’t have fring
  • see where you are. You can choose for fringME! to show your location via Google Maps using your GPS-enabled phone
  • view your online presence status – and see if you’re online, offline or in a call

Download the new Fring version 3.3 for mobile chat

Creating a scrolling text component in Adobe FlashLite 1.1

Recently I have been heavily involved in an on going FlashLite 1.1 based project. Some thing I know my development peers have been extremely jealous of as they bang their heads against the hellish development processes of Flex, Air, ActionScript 3 and Flash 9, not!

One of the most enjoyable features of FlashLite 1.1 is its (lack of) ability to measure the height, width or any metric of text once it is displayed on the screen of your shiny new Nokia N95. This makes efficient text scrolling a particular joy to produce. To this end I have produced a simple example of a fairly flexible scrolling text component for FlashLite 1.1.

Below is a comprehensive (hopefully) tutorial describing how to create such a component.

Continue reading Creating a scrolling text component in Adobe FlashLite 1.1

Flash Lite 3 Update

I have still getting people sending me the IMEI numbers asking me to send them the Adobe FlashLite 3 player. For those that missed the announcement FlashLite 3 is freely availible as a Developer Edition on Symbian based mobile devices. The release notes on the Adobe Labs site explain that the player has only been tested on the Nokia N95.

So why you waiting? download FlashLite 3 for N95 Already 😀

I hope that clears up the confusion.

Nokia N96 Specifications leaked by German Webmasters

Last week it looks like the German webmasters of Nokia’s website managed to post the specifications for their latest update in the N series line of phones, the N96. This week I had the chance to lay my hands on the 8gig edition of the N95 and was impressed enough that it was going to be my new device. I think I may wait a little now 😀 .

The specs say the N96 will ship with FlashLite 3 built into the browser.

Unlike the 8 gig N95 you also get your microSD memory card expansion back and 16 Gig of internal memory and DVB-H video support as well!

The full specs of the leaked device and even a photo can be found over on the NokiaBlog

Using Compact Data Formats in FlashLite 1.1

Recently I have been involved in some FlashLite 1.1 development that requires a certain level of online data interaction. With memory being at a premium on Mobile devices I have been spending many a spare moment looking at efficient data transfer methods.

Stepping back into FlashLite 1.1 (flash 4/5) scripting has been a nostalgic experience. The halcyon days of ActionScript 0/1 were where I broke my teeth, so to speak, on flash. It has been an eye opener also to return to using Perl as well in order to format data efficiently for consumption in my simple FlashLite 1.1 applications.

In these days of XML, SOAP, SQL, and huge component frameworks, it has been nice to go back the the “demo days” of flash and try and eak every byte out of my data format. Remember of course, no XML or SWX support in FlashLite 1.1.

So what have i been playing with? How about a Live London Tube Status FlashLite 1.1 application?

Continue reading Using Compact Data Formats in FlashLite 1.1

9 reasons the iPhone Sucks!

Macca has posted a nice concise list of reasons the iPhone sucks. Personally I don’t have one of the devices, I don’t see the need when I can get an iPod Touch to do development testing on, its cheaper, and I wont be tied in for 18 months. At any rate here are my reasons for not buying “This years must have gadget”.

  1. 2 mega pixel camera with no video. Nokia N95 has a 5 mega pixel camera and full screen video recording and tv out playback. Result.
  2. No 3g internet connection. Nokia N95 once again comes up trumps in this department with 3G and HSDP access. Result.
  3. No decent Data package, 18 month contract. N95 on T-mobile with web & walk max. 10 gb data voip and 3g. Result

Macca’s list is longer. See 9 reasons iPhone Sucks.

Result.

Apple Introduces the iPhone Dev Center

This morning I received an email from Apple letting me know I could now log into the iPhone Dev Center

The iPhone Dev Center will provide quote.

  • iPhone Reference Library
    Access documentation, guides, and release notes on developing web applications and content for iPhone.
  • Web Development Guidelines
    Get the latest development techniques on mobile browser-based user experience design and development.
  • Sample Code
    Learn techniques for interactive and standards-based design on iPhone
  • iPhone Tech Talk Videos
    Hear from iPhone experts on interface design and processes in optimizing web applications and content.
  • Safari Compatibility
    Download Safari 3 Public Beta and design your web application to create the optimal iPhone user experience
  • Web App Submission
    Once your app is ready, submit it for possible listing in the Apple web apps library.

Find out more at the iPhone Dev Center.

FlashLite Helper Classes for Download. Pt 2. NetworkBroadcaster

Following on from the simple BatteryBroadcaster class posted last week I have put together a second helper class for FlashLite, again built in ActionScript 2, so it should work for any FlashLite 2 or FlashLite 3 project. The NetworkBroadcaster class centralises all network and signal related events, and broadcasts any changes to listeners on 2 separate intervals. One for general signal levels, the other for “other” network status events, for example changes in network generation support.
Continue reading FlashLite Helper Classes for Download. Pt 2. NetworkBroadcaster

FlashLite 2 Helper Classes for Download. Pt 1. BatteryBroadcaster

I have been sorting through some of my old code, commenting up some bits and generally refreshing the grey matter on some of the things I have been working on. I thought I would put some of the helper classes I use out into the wild. First up is a simple class that I used for monitoring battery status of mobile phones or other mobile devices in FlashLite 2, or FlashLite 3, I would think (not tested yet) .

Flash Lite Battery Broadcaster

Continue reading FlashLite 2 Helper Classes for Download. Pt 1. BatteryBroadcaster

Nokia announces N810 Internet Tablet featuring Linux and Flash 9

The N810 features, Wifi, Bluetooth, GPRS and a full slide out keyboard. The screen has a good looking resolution at 800×480, but the thing that grabbed my eye was this nugget.

The Nokia N810 is powered by maemo Linux based OS2008, updatable also on the Nokia N800, the previous internet tablet generation hardware. The Nokia N810 features a highly customizable user interface and contains various novelties such as a Mozilla based browser with Ajax and Adobe flash 9, Bluetooth headset support as well as enhanced video and audio features.

It is expected to start shipping mid November with an estimated retail price of 479 USD (excluding local taxes).

You can see some pictures of the new N810 over at the Nokia Press Site.
Nokia N810 Photos

FlashLite 3 Player available for Nokia N95

If you are interested in testing your new FlashLite 3 content on device, as all good developers should be, the there is an interim build of FlashLite 3 availible that has been certified only for Nokia N95.

You must submit your IMEI number by Noon Eastern Time on the 16th of October. Details of the email and how to get your IMEI Number can be found at the following location.


FlashLite 3 Developer Edition for Nokia N95

Mobile web usage nearly equal to PC web in Japan

Via Cameron Moore & Comscore: Over on Authentic Boredom, Cameron Moore draws attention to the huge numbers of mobile web users in Japan. Almost as many web users accessed the web in one form or another using their mobile phone as accessed the internet from a home or work computer in june apparently.

… an estimated 53.6 million people are using a mobile device to access the Internet [in Japan], a figure nearly equaling the 53.7 million who accessed the Internet from either a home or a work computer in June 2007.

However even with such huge usage, user experience seem to be being overlooked.

Only 12.6 percent of respondents accessing the Internet via a mobile device stated that they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied”, with 52.1 percent stating that they were either “very dissatisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied”.

An interesting point to note in the article is which devices are being used.

Sharp has a 21 percent share of the handset market, followed by NEC and Panasonic with 15 percent and 13 percent respectively.

While the numbers I have seen at various web sites are a little old, the devices we seem to favor here in Europe are far different from those quoted above. I imagine though that with the release of more powerful and feature packed phones such as the “Nokia N95” (Nokia) and the iPhone, along with more reasonable data contracts from the likes of T-Mobile and Vodaphone in particular. We should expect to start seeing a greater mobile web usage moving westward.

I know my use of the web has definitely taken a more mobile bent over the last few months.

FlashLite 3 update availible for Flash CS3 & FlashLite 3 update for Device Central

Following the press release announcing FlashLite 3 I proceeded to do some more digging. Wondering how I can start producing this new fangled FlashLite 3 Content, I followed some links through from the new Nokia Mobile Developers Site mentioned in the previous post and found new downloads for updates to Flash CS3 and Device Central at the Adobe Developer Connection Web Site

FlashLite 3.0 Update for Device Central

Flash Lite 3.0 Update for Flash CS3

Interestingly the download for Flash CS3 is rather cryptically called “RobRoy_9_0_0_d156_patch.dmg“? or “RobRoy_9_0_0_d156_patch.exe” for windows?

Adobe Announces FlashLite 3 at MAX Chicago

Adobe have posted a press release today, it seems that they announced the release of FlashLite 3 at Max in Chicago. Included in the release is the well know news from a previous press release that the new Mobile FlashLite player will support the Flash Streaming Video Format .FLV.

Also mentioned in the release is the news the new “community for creative professional” from Nokia. This looks like it could offer a great resource for developers looking to deploy to mobile handsets, and devices.

The Full Press Release can be Found on the Adobe press release site.

Adobe Announces FlashLite 3

The full press release from Nokia covering their support for FlashLite 3 can be found on the Nokia Press Release Site:

Nokia Announce Support for FlashLite 3