Posts Tagged ‘App’

Nokia N9 paid apps: GT Racing

November 7, 2012

As a car enthusiast I felt compelled, after playing the pre-installed Need For Speed Shift, to buy the other big racing title available for the N9 at the Ovi Store: GT Racing Motor Academy HD

Above you can watch a short video review about the game.

It cost me €3 and I must confess that until now, this is the only app I’m sort of having a weird case of “buyers remorse”. The graphics are good enough, there’s plenty of options, cars and game modes but the handling is, at least in comparison with the EA game, not very good and I’m not really enjoying it as I was expecting, so, if you’re not sure about if you should buy it or not, maybe you should save the money or wait until it’s cheaper before buying.

iOS 6 rant: YouTube and Maps

September 20, 2012

Previously I wrote a blog post about how Apple improved the browser performance on my iPad 2 with the new iOS 6.

Now that I’ve been using iOS 6 for almost a day I noticed two big drawbacks: YouTube and Maps!

Since the beginning of times Apple bundled with iOS a YouTube app. While it wasn’t the most advanced or feature complete YouTube app around (the Android version is arguably better), the app did the job well enough to be one of the most used apps by those who like to watch videos on the web.

Apparently the license to bundle the YouTube app with iOS ended and Apple didn’t care about renewing it or making sure Google had an iPad optimized YouTube app on the AppStore before getting rid of the current one.

There is an official YouTube app for free on the AppStore but it’s made for the iPhone and not for the iPad.

Meanwhile you’re supposed to use Safari to browse in the YouTube mobile website and it’s also possible to add the website bookmark directly to the home screen but it’s not the same as having a proper app! There’s also some third party YouTube apps available at the AppStore but then again the question remains: why take away a feature from iOS without offering a better replacement?

Unfortunately YouTube is just one of the problems with iOS 6 on the iPad: the new Maps app is also worse than the previous Google powered Maps app!

Above you can see the Google Maps app that was bundled with previous versions of iOS.

The maps data quality was pretty good and there was a feature that was much nicer to use on the iPad touchscreen than with the mouse of a desktop computer: Google’s StreetView!

The new Maps app from Apple is supposed to introduce a lot of new features:

  • Apple designed vector based maps
  • Turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions
  • Real-time traffic information
  • Flyover for photo-realistic, interactive 3D views of major metro areas
  • Local search results with Yelp photos, ratings, reviews, and available deals
  • Siri integration for requesting directions and finding places along a route

The thing is:

  • Features like Siri integration or turn-by-turn navigation aren’t available in my WiFi iPad 2
  • Real-time traffic information doesn’t work in my country
  • The 3D maps feature isn’t available in Europe
  • Local search in my country is really much poorer compared to Google’s database of POI

And of course, with the new app I lost the Google StreetView feature shown in the picture above!

Below you can see Apple Maps at the exact same place of the previous screenshots.

Besides losing some Google-related features there’s one thing that puzzles me: Apple bought last year C3 Technologies from Nokia. This company is the one behind Apple Flyover / 3D Maps and was the one that made possible Nokia Maps 3D feature that’s still available at the Nokia Maps website.

If you try last year’s Nokia flagship, the N9, you can check the exact same place I’ve shown before with the Nokia Maps app and, as you can see below, there’s a 3D model of the stadium.

So my question is: why does Apple only have 3D maps in the USA? C3 Technologies had Europe 3D data when it was part of Nokia so it’s kind of weird not to have this feature enabled at least in the main European capitals.

There’s also one question left in my mind: what about StreetView? If Apple doesn’t want to borrow that feature from Google perhaps they should start recording street level footage of the main cities to compete with Google!

Nokia chose that path and the result is Nokia City Scene. Below there’s the Eiffel Tower:

If you compare with Apple Maps you can clearly see the difference.

I hope Apple sort this out soon rather than late because currently in Europe they are lagging behind the competition in location-related apps and services.

Nokia N9 paid apps: FM Radio (v1.1.3 update)

August 21, 2012

The FM Radio app was one of the first apps I’ve bought for the N9 and that I posted about in this blog.

Since my first post about this app, there were several updates and the app has evolved significantly with a major new UI theme and some important new features such as RDS support.

From version 1.1.2 onwards, there’s another new useful feature: FM broadcast recording.

In the meantime new language translations were added, one of them is my mother tongue: Portuguese!

Since FM Radio has changed significantly since my first video, I’ve made a new one that reflects its current look and feel.

Nokia N9 paid apps: cuteTube

August 19, 2012

The Nokia N9 comes preloaded with a YouTube application, but if you open it, soon you’ll discover it just opens the YouTube mobile website with the browser, which is just a bit disappointing: apparently the YouTube app wasn’t a priority for Nokia.

Besides this, Nokia allows the user to add the YouTube login to the system accounts, making it possible to upload videos to YouTube directly from the gallery, which is a rather nice feature!

cuteTube is a third party app for YouTube and Dailymotion made by Stuart Howarth.

Since the stock app isn’t really an app, cuteTube is kind of an essential app for all YouTube power users.

It has a lot of features:

  • Setup multiple YouTube and Dailymotion accounts
  • Upload HD videos (1080p to YouTube, something an iPhone 4S can’t do!)
  • View subscribed channels, favorites, playlists and comments
  • Check the videos your friends are sharing on the social networks

Another thing I like about cuteTube is the interface: unlike other Harmattan apps, the interface is designed accordingly to the Harmattan UX, for instance, there is no exit button as the interface relies on the Harmattan way of doing things, in this case by swiping from top to bottom!

When I bought cuteTube some months ago, it cost €2 but now it is available at the Nokia Store for €3.

Nokia N9 paid apps: fMobi

August 6, 2012

fMobi is a third party Facebook app for Nokia phones made by JiiKoo for Symbian devices, and, since last year, for MeeGo Harmattan too!

The stock Facebook app that the N9 ships with is quite useful but unfortunately lacks some of the more “advanced” features like search and support for Groups one might have joined and Pages that the user might have liked or subscribed.

The standard Facebook app also has another shortcoming: it does not show all the notifications, especially when they are related to Facebook own apps or invitations to like some Page or join some Group.

I only have tow complaints about it:

  • It appears to hang briefly on startup
  • The chat functionality does not appear to work as well as the N9 own Facebook chat implementation

Other than that, I do really recommend buying this app to all Facebook power-users (and regular users too) that are missing some of the features the native app lacks.

You can find fMobi at the Nokia Store for €2.

Nokia N9 paid apps: FM Radio

April 15, 2012

One thing not every N9 owner know about the device is that it has the necessary hardware to receive FM radio.

Although Nokia itself does not provide any app to use the FM receiver (that apparently comes with the Bluetooth chip), some third party developers made some FM radio apps available on the Nokia Store.

Most of them (if not all) are paid, so I chose one and bought it at the store (with carrier billing!).

The name of the app is actually quite obvious: FM Radio by Andrey Kozhanov

It costs €2 (same price most N9 apps cost these days…) but in my opinion is well worth the money if you plan to use your N9 built-in tuner capability.

The only feature I miss is RDS support but I’ve read somewhere on the web that this feature is (hopefully) planned for a future application update.

UPDATE:

  • It is possible to store up to twelve favorite radio stations (and not six as said in the video), swiping at the bottom of the UI shows six additional memory positions as you can see in the picture.

  • RDS support is indeed available from version 0.2.0 onwards, which will soon be released to the Nokia Store as a free update to current users.

Thanks Dmitry for the tips!

UPDATE 2:

  • The app was updated to version 0.2.2 but I had problems updating it through the Nokia Store. The app is now currently available in version 1.0.1 and I was able to install it successfully.
  • The new version brings RDS and a brand new dark, very N9-ish, UI that looks great on the N9’s clear black display!

Another Android Market issue

November 11, 2011

After complaining in September about not receiving the Android Market automatic update to the 3.x version, in late October I finally received Android Market 3.1.5.

The new Android Market 3.x is noticeably slower in my Galaxy S compared to the previous 2.x versions, but I convinced myself it didn’t deserve a rant.

Today I received another automatic update of the Android Market app, this time to the 3.3.11 version.

I didn’t notice much difference from the previous version except one really annoying thing: I cannot install apps anymore!

Every time I try to install something I just get the message pictured above that says that an error has occurred while trying to download the app because there is not enough space available on the device memory.

The thing is that, as you can see below, I have plenty of space, I have gigabytes of free memory so this is clearly and unfortunately just another Android bug…

Android browser kinetic scroll bug

October 31, 2011

One of the reasons why I started using other Android browsers was because of the kinetic scroll bug the Gingerbread update brought to my Vodafone branded Samsung Galaxy S.

As you can see in the video below, since the Android 2.3.3 update, the stock browser has a different kinetic scroll behavior. Instead of slowing down smoothly, the scroll now stops suddenly after a brief moment since the start of the scrolling, which I find annoying as hell…

Lufthansa android app bug

October 12, 2011

I’ve never been able to use properly the Lufthansa app available in the Android Market.

I’m unable to search the timetables by origin and / or destination airport.

I’ve tried the iOS Lufthansa app and it works like a charm.

Am I the only one having this problem?