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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sweet Nokia Maps 2.0

A very useful post just went up on the Nokia Betalabs site. Many of you wouldn't know much about this website so I've just reposted it here. It talks about the new Maps Suite 2.0 which comes with the Belle update. I particularly like the photo blog option which will change the way we travel and show friends our journey on a large TV via the Nokia N8's awesome HDMI connectivity. 
Nokia Maps Suite puts all the information you need to find your way—maps, drive and walk directions, public transport, and weather—all in one smart package. And the latest release makes it even smarter and more personalized with new additions such as voice search, geo-tagged photo display, and the return of the new and improved Route Planner. Finding your way has never been better. Try it out now!

Find what you need with a tap.

In addition to fast, intuitive tools for finding your way, the new Maps makes accessing information and features faster than ever. Press and hold on a destination to choose how you want to get there—including public transport. And enjoy one-tap access to Places and Weather right from your Home screen.

Personalize the way you get around.Nokia Maps now also makes your maps more personal than ever. Turn on Photos to see your snapshots of the places you’ve been placed along your map. Create customized routes for sightseeing or to avoid traffic. You can even save your favorite routes to access them later.

Navigate safer behind the wheel.

With new voice search capability, you can speak your destination for safer and easier searching while driving. New and improved landscape views in Weather and Drive make seeing what you need easier. And Weather now automatically shows you the weather for where you are, and can even show you what’s ahead.

Turn your map into a photo-blog.

Now you can choose to see your photos from places you’ve been placed right on your map. Using the geo-tagging information in photos taken on your phone, Maps will automatically place them in the locations they were taken where you can relive good times or even share them with friends.

Symbian Belle v Symbian Anna - Screenshots

Some of you who are anxiously waiting for the N8 update to Belle want to see how the Symbian Anna compares with Symbian Belle. Here are a couple of screenshots. If you want to see other comparisons, leave a comment. 

The Home Screen is dominated by a large clock which makes it look a lot more Androidish. Messages and missed calls can be seen on the status bar (which now drops down to reveal one touch control of the wifi etc). See below what happens when you tap the top status bar.

You can now turn off mobile data, wifi, bluetooth or ringtones with two taps from the home screen and see various notifications. 

Maps looks pretty much the same. except that they've added an extra icon on the bottom right corner which means quicker access to various menu items. Live traffic deviation based on live traffic updates is now included in the phone, but I thought it was already in there? anyway.. 

The menu icons seem to have grown a little or at least their squircle has taken up more space (see Nokia Store icon on the left). Not sure but it seems that vibration is a little stronger with Belle? 

Just a sample screenshot of landscape mode with the Symbian Belle. It seems to adapt very well. 

Your Questions about New Firmware Symbian Belle

I updated my Nokia Suite to the latest version and plugged my Nokia N8 in to see whether there were any software updates. When I ran the Software Update checker, they happily reported that Symbian Belle is now available and the computer commenced downloading 257MB of updates!

There are some questions I can imagine many of you are asking in your head. First of all, how come you have the Symbian Belle update? I got the phone from London in 2010 at the Nokia World conference so the phone model is probably a UK one :) Should have checked for an update earlier.. so here are a few other questions you may have

Do I need to backup my phone contents? 
Nokia Suite will backup your phone contents. However files on the C:\ in your phone (not your SD CARD) will be wiped so they do pause the installation of the new firmware to give you time to copy C:\ into another location. I just copied it into the 8GB SD Card.

So what happens during the installation of firmware? 
The phone turns off after the installation and then asks you what language you want. Then they want you to sign in to your Nokia account to get Maps, Music, Mail and Store settings. It will then ask whether you want to transfer your phone contents from another phone. After this, you can set up your email account.

How long does it take to update the firmware? 
It took only 10 minutes for me.

When do I get my contents back from Nokia Suite's backup? 
It's quite funny because as I was adding in the date, time, and regional settings, I noticed my computer was busy in the background with Nokia Suite. It was (without prompting) restoring my phone's contents!

In the meantime, my phone was loading up an amazing, completely new homescreen! I immediately thought it looks a lot like my brother's HTC phone with the large flipclock taking up most of the screen real estate. You can see up to 6 beautiful home screens with icons customiz, get notifications covering sms/calls etc, live traffic deviation, one touch control of wifi/bluetooth/silence/vibration etc and so much more to explore!

What else needs updating? 
Nokia Store required a 4.3MB download for the latest 3.20.050 version.

So what does it look like?