11/28/2008 Updated: Version 1.2.61 is now available on Download! which fixes a bug that can crash the phone when SmartConnect can't connect to any access points in its list. So go download it now unless you like crashes.
07/21/2009 Updated: SmartConnect is now free for select E-series and N-series phones.
Nokia Eseries: E50, E51, E51(no camera), E52, E55, E60, E61, E61i, E61i China variant, E62, E63, E65, E66, E70, E71, E75, E90
Nokia Nseries: N76, N78, N79, N81, N82, N85, N86 (8MP), N95, N95 (8GB), N96
You can download BirdStep SmartConnect 1.3.6 directly from BirdStep.
Birdstep's SmartConnect for S60 helps you manage your access points so you can seamlessly move from high speed limited range WiFi access points to highly accessible data packet access points to keep you always connected. Now you can have all your applications connect via one access point and not think twice about choosing the access point.
And now it's free for Nokia E-series devices on Nokia's Download! service.
For a full review and rating follow the jump...
Built-in access point management is not included in S60 FP1 and lower. Nokia had tried to address this in their earlier E-series devices with Access Point Groups but the feature lacked the ability to prioritize access points and many applications didn't support it like Nokia's own Mail for Exchange. A few software vendors tried to address this issue with Psiloc Connect and Birdstep SmartConnect. Thankfully Nokia is providing SmartConnect to E-series users through a free download - and it's definitely worth the download. So in this blog entry I'll be reviewing Birdstep SmartConnect for Symbian OS Standard Edition 126.96.36.199.
By using a SmartConnect access point, it let's you workaround that annoying bug in newer versions of Fring where it won't let you select a hidden WiFi access point!
If you're like me, then you want some proof that this application is worth installing before you clog your highly optimized smartphone. Here's a little walkthrough of features in SmartConnect:
The connection groups created in SmartConnect resemble a data packet access point so you can use it in any application:
For each group you can also control whether SmartConnect will stay connected to the access point it's currently using or switch to a better one when available. By default it's set to Stay connected which I recommend.
You can select any number of access points:
If you're wondering, you can't select another SmartConnect access point to be in a SmartConnect access point to create an infinite loop.
You can reorganize the priority of the access points in the SmartConnect access point:
If you like fast access then you'll want WiFi access points at the top
Control the number of notifications given by SmartConnect, allows SmartConnect to prompt you to add the new access point, and disable roaming so SmartConnect won't use data packet access points when you're outside your carrier's network
You can even add hotspots that support WISPr like Boingo and have SmartConnect automatically authenticate:
Add the hotspot like you would a WiFi access point then highlight and select options > Connection Settings > Hotspot settings
Adding a new access point will prompt you if you want to add it to an existing SmartConnect access point:
You can disable the automatic prompt in Options > Advanced > Settings > Prompt on new conn.
During my week of using SmartConnect I've only encountered one hang where I was using a SmartConnect access point and I tried to edit it. I tried reproducing the problem but it didn't hang again.
If you have no data plan or a limited data plan and frequently visit the same places with WiFi access points then SmartConnect is a no brainer. SmartConnect removes the need for setting all your applications to "Always Prompt" in the connection settings. For those of you using Mail for Exchange this is a must have so your mail seamlessly gets sync'ed no matter which WiFi point you're at. For those of you that do have unlimited 3G data plans, WiFi is still faster and SmartConnect will help you get that extra speed without any extra work.
Software rating: Highly Recommend