Showing posts from October, 2007

Using the N800 as a PMP

The Nokia N800 is a difficult beast to classify. Nokia themselves call it an internet tablet and, fair enough, it makes a pretty sensational web device. But its capable of so much more.

With multiple card slots, stereo speakers and standard 3.5mm headphone its clearly crying out to be used as a portable media player, but can the software stand up to this use? Actually it can, but because Nokia have made this an open platform (rather than use the closed mindset that Apple is currently employing) there are a good few alternatives to the built in media player.

I've settled on Canola, a simple, touch-friendly media player with niceties like album art support and skinning. Its big, bright interface is ideal for use in a car as an MP3 player, whilst it also packs an image viewer and a video player with full screen support.

Whilst, for example, the iPod Touch can boast its coverflow feature I suspect that Canola's strengths far outweigh the limited appeal of that particular piece of eye…

Loving The N800

Having posted on the iPod Touch and iPhone recently its perhaps a good time to mention the device that I think is more powerful than either - although it will barely get noticed outside the world of geeks and tech-heads.

The Nokia N800 is an internet tablet according to it's maker - although to my eyes it ticks all the right boxes to pass muster as a PDA, PMP, internet tablet or VOIP terminal.

More details in future posts, but for now suffice to say that the N800 has been more impressive out of the box than any Palm or Windows Mobile device I've owned, whilst having a user community to rival that of the Sharp Zaurus - that other great corporate toe-dip into the world of open source software. A directly opposite position to the one taken by Apple and all the better for it.

To Touch Or Not

I've noticed a few sites I frequent asking this week whether a touch screen or entirely button controlled device is preferable. Its an interesting question - does the extra screen clarity afforded by doing away with the touchscreen layer compensate for the additional keypresses required to complete any task. Of course the question is mostly rendered superfluos by the configuration of most of today's devices - a touchscreen and a keyboard, allowing one to choose to input with whichever method is prefered.In terms of pure interface I much prefer the TyTn to the Excalibur - the abilty to grab/drag or otherwise manipulate items on the screen is just too useful to give up. The TyTn can be operated for most (non-text input) tasks without even having to use the keyboard, yet their are still times when the presence of a touchscreen is invaluable.So no, I wouldn't give up a touchscreen without seeing significant gains in interface design that allowed me to retain a large view and n…


I've been using the beta version of the new Windows Mobile client for Fring - a program for uniting several IM programs and VOIP apps into one communication tool. These include Skype, MSN and Google Talk; as well as a client for the Twitter social networking site.Its been an interesting couple of weeks trying Fring out, mostly surprise that it works so well (especially compared to Microsoft's client) and shock at how quickly battery life disappears when its running, which is all the time by default in order to maintain network presence.Audio quality is very impressive and integration into the phone is excellent - the application autostarts post-reset and then sits in the background until needed; the call and end keys function as expected within the program and you can even use Fring to manage GSM calls to your contact list.I won't pass any further judgement whilst the program is in beta, but when they launch the final Windows Mobile client I will definitely be back for a m…