Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A weekend with the E71

The Nokia E71 is one of the most exciting phones to be released in 2008. With a long list of highly sought after features in a thin package, the E71 is going to change a lot of lives for business users who need a QWERTY keyboard.

I just got the Nokia E71 last week from WOM World and spent a full weekend with it:

Wake up to the sound of the E71's alarm. I don't remember sleeping.

Check my flight status using the Nokia browser on my E71 over my apartment's WiFi network. It shows my flight is on time. No need to open a laptop.

Use Nokia Maps with the E71's integrated GPS to provide me turn by turn voice navigation to the airport. No more printing directions from MapQuest!

One of the freeways is closed for construction so I make a wrong turn into an industrial area. Thank goodness I have Nokia Maps on my E71. It does a quick recalculation and navigates me through the area to the airport.

A quick check of the weather using the Nokia web browser connected through the airport's wireless internet saves me roaming charges and shows me the weather is going to be great this weekend.

My flight is boarding so I take a quick photo with the built-in 3.2MP camera before I need to turn it off.

My plane touches down and I'm immediately synchronized with my company's Exchange mail through Nokia's Mail for Exchange. My company is very focussed on security so they only allow Windows Mobile 6, Apple iPhones, and Nokia E-series devices to connect to their servers using ActiveSync. I receive an e-mail from my manager with an Excel spreadsheet and asked to update the status of each of the listed items. I open the spreadsheet using the E71's build-in Quickoffice spreadsheet make some updates, calculations are automatically updated, and I send it back to my manager.

Onto another flight and another photo opportunity for me.

I land again at another airport. I take some photos of the airport

Catch up with news while I wanted for my pick up. Browsing is fast and more enjoyable over Rogers' 3.5G HSDPA network. With full HTML support, web pages look on Nokia's web browser as they do on Firefox or Internet Explorer. The added Adobe Flash support is icing on the cake when you're browsing YouTube or visit a web site that uses Flash for their navigation. You don't get Flash support on an Apple iPhone web browser.

Have Indian buffet for lunch and take some photos for my food blog.

My work day is over so I use the E71's Modes to switch from Work to Personal mode so I have my gmail connected instead of my work e-mail.

Wake up to my E71's alarm. With S60 3rd edition FP1, you can have multiple alarms.

I'm expecting some work e-mail today so switch from Personal mode back to Work so I quickly see my Exchange mail on Active Standby.

Lunch photos look good with the macro and autofocus support on the 3.2 MP camera of the E71.

Receive an e-mail from work. I need to check some migrations logs. I ask my coworker to zip up the XML and HTML report and e-mail it to me. Using the built-in zip, I'm able to open the zip file and review the logs. I send back a reply to make some changes to the migration steps and to proceed with the migrations. I get an e-mail from my manager on his iPhone, "Show off". I'm loving it.

We didn't come prepared and didn't look up the address of the museum.
Using the E71, I look up the address using Nokia's web browser. They don't have an address since it's out in the middle of no where but provide very detailed GPS coordinates. I open Garmin XT and we're off.

At the museum and taking photos of the amazing dinosaurs and exhibits.

Take some more photos of the scenery on the drive back home. I'm travelling at 110km/h (about 68 miles/h) in the car so I'm amazed the E71's camera is so quick.

Chat on the phone while I went for my flight.

Stream a few minutes of YouTube on Mobitubia over 3.5G HSDPA to pass the time. 3G is fast on the E71, approaching the speed I get on WiFi with the E71.

While on the plane, I switch the E71 to offline mode. I watch a few minutes of Disney's Cars encoded in MP4 on RealPlayer. The vibrant and bright screen looks great in landscape.

I'm typing out a review in Quickoffice. I'm loving the comfortable QWERTY keyboard on the E71.

I'm back on ground and need to find my way home. Out comes my E71 and GPS is there to help me again.

I found my way home. I start Fring on my E71 and make a call through Google Talk over my apartment's WiFi. No long distance charges apply :)

All this on one battery charge and with 3G turned on. That is amazing. The Nokia E71 has the flexibility and power to keep up. I love the E71's comfortable QWERTY keyboard, support for fast WiFi and HSDPA, and a 3.2MP autofocus camera to round out the package. Stay tuned for a full review of the E71!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Going beyond games with TV-out: Doing a Business Presentation

A useful yet not widely exploited feature of the Nokia N82 and N95 is the TV out functionality through the Nokia AV. You may have read about the impressiveness of connecting your phone to your TV to play some ngage games like Fifa 2008 but what else can you do with it? How about something productive, say give a presentation!

Wouldn't it be great to not need to lug around a 4+ pound laptop?

Most projectors offer the VGA input and the RCA input. Luckily some of Nokia's latest smartphones include Nokia's A/V plug offering RCA video and audio output. Before we go further, I'd like to mention that I found this set up to work best with simple presentations (no animation or embedded objects). As well, it's important to give this set up a couple tries before using it in an actual business presentation and I highly recommend bringing your laptop as a back up. We're pushing the S60 smartphone to the limits so there's bound to be technical glitches.

So let's get started with putting our presentation. What you'll need:

N82/N95 (you'll need it for the TV out and faster processor)
Nokia Video Connectivity Cable (CA-75U)
Nintendo Wii controller

mobiPad 1.0

Creating and Editing Presentations

It's best to start with a presentation template. Since I'm doing a business presentation, most companies already have a standard template available. Upload it to your phone and start editing it with QuickOffice. This is also gives you a great way to make those last minute quick changes to your slides.

With Quickoffice you can:
Insert images, textbox, and tables

For each of these elements you can perform the following:
- move
- resize
- resize evenly
- Rotate (only text and images and at any angle)
- Flip (only text and images)
- reorder
- properties
Color: fill color, line color, dash style, line weight
Position: Horizonal position, Vertical position, Width, Height, Tech anchor point

You also have the ability to change the order of slides and insert new slides.

Remote Control
Once you have your presentation complete and ready we should set up your wireless control. To set up the Nintendo Wii controller to control your phone while you're standing, turn on Bluetooth, open mobiPad, and click the red button under the battery cover on the Wii controller to sync the Wii controller with your phone. Once connected you will get a connected message.

Displaying the Presentation
We want to turn on screen rotation on the N82 so we can display it in landscape while on the N95 you can open the Media keys.
Go to Settings > General > Personalisation > Display > Rotate screen > Automatic

Now to open up the presentation in Quickoffice and click Options > Full Screen.

Connect the N82/N95 to the projector via the Nokia TV out cables (CA-75U).

Presto! You're ready to give a presentation with your phone while navigating your slides wirelessly.

Large text and simple shapes displayed well:

Displayed on the N82 screen

Displayed by the project

Small details don't show up so well:

Displayed on the N82 screen

Displayed by the projector

Creating my presentation on my N82 felt very cramped because of the low resolution and the limited movement with a d-pad. The lower resolution of the phone output was unacceptable so I had to resort back to a laptop for my actual presentation. For this instance the N82 couldn't do what I wanted but if I had bigger text and images I would consider giving my N82 another try at giving a presentation.

Here is what I found while putting together my presentation with my N82. Let me know if you've found anything else to add to this list:

Bluetooth remote to control your presentation
Look high tech giving a presentation
The N82/N92 have just enough power to move through each slide smoothly

Not all Nokia phones support TV-out (not even the E-series phones support it)
The 320x240 pixel display makes TV-out look blocky. Avoid small graphics and text on presentations.
Powerpoint editing on S60 is not yet mature with limited functionality
Editing documents on the small display is frustrating
Does not support embedded objects