Feeds
75%
Nokia N8

Nokia N8 smartphone

Semi-evolved Symbian?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Wayward Widgets

I found the "live" widgets as troublesome as ever. It's even more rigid because previously you could opt for the widgets, or a clean screen. One nice idea Nokia implemented by default on the X6 I reviewed in February was a space for contacts. This showed recent activity related to a contact, and you scrolled horizontally between favourites. This was a nice, practical idea, but it's gone. I soon gave up on these widgets and pretty much the home screen altogether.

Nokia N8

Nobody home: some useful screen features found on other models have been removed

UX is more than just the look and feel of the UI – it's performance, consistency, and ease of finding settings. Here it's a mixed bag. One infuriating and confusing legacy issue is connectivity. Like its predecessors, the N8 couldn't remember a Wireless Access Point at odd times, even if the access point was available and active.

The performance of the landscape Qwerty keyboard has improved, but remains quirky. It takes up the full screen, so it isn't possible to see (for example) the SMS you're replying to, or the Captcha code you're trying to enter. You need to go to two separate settings – one only available through applications – to recreate the familiar behaviour of iPhone or Android keyboards, for quite bizarrely, word prediction is off by default, and it won't use the spacebar to accept suggestions unless you change another setting. And with the landscape Qwerty taking up the full screen, you'll find that you need to make two confirmations: one to get rid of the keyboard, and another to accept the text.

Apps is another area where the stitching shows. On the positive side, the N8 retains compatibility with older S60 5th Edition software. Some of these are very good quality, such as ProfiMail, DreamConnect and Gravity, Skype, and a native Opera Mobile. A native iPlayer, as I mentioned, is built-in. That covers a lot of ground, and if it encompasses all you want to do, you're probably going to be fine. But if novelty and choice is as important as quality, you'll find the Ovi Store lags far behind Android Marketplace and Apple's App Store.

Ovi has a dearth of native applications. Where's Plane Finder - where you can point to a passing plane and read off its ADS-B information? Where's the point and tap astronomy apps? There are a lot of fun and interesting apps, but the developer base has moved on, and the Ovi store has few of them.

The Ovi store has improved, but is still laborious

Nokia's makeshift solution is to use clunky native run-time widgets, but these lag far behind the performance and functionality of (say) the eBay and Facebook Apps on the rival platforms. Stitching and joins are evident elsewhere. For example, SMS finally gets a threaded "Conversations" view, but it doesn't integrate well – it's really a separate application. The web browser remains far below par, but apparently is due a major update this month.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Password protection

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?