The flashing blue dot comes to the N95

GMM for the N95Some of the guys in the London office have been working on the Symbian native version of Google Maps for Mobile over the past months and yesterday like expectant parents launched their baby to the world, so finally you can make use of your GPS powered N95 with Google Maps !!

This is a really cool application, if you have the most up-to- date Nokia firmware you can expect to see a map centered on your location as indicated by the little blue flashing dot now familiar to GPS Blackberry GMM users, within a minute.

Have fun its at www.google.com/gmm, should work with any S60 device with built in or bluetooth GPS.

Now this is something I will miss on the Jesus Phone 🙂

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

Nokia attacks iPhone or somebody else ?

One of the major memes of the Blogosphere of the moment is the backlash against Apple for making the iPhone and closed platform tied to specific network operators, and for then breaking the hacks with a firmware update that had allowed a very small group of users to add new applications to their now “simfree” iPhones.

Nokia it appears have jumped at the opportunity with the adverts above appearing around New York, making the point that their N-Series phones represent an open platform.

Now don’t get be wrong I think Apple have made a huge mistake with the iPhone, in that they had the opportunity to break the current operator dominated market, to be frank I’m not that bothered about the ability to add new applications, I think I have added one or two to my N95 but don’t really use them very much.

For me the real villains remain the network operator who lock down the ability of all makers phones on their networks, remember the fuss about vodafone dropping the VOIP application from the N95 ? In the US the situation is even worse with the level of control demanded on CDMA phones by the operators reaching extreme levels.

This is not just about adding applications, to upgrade my “open” Nokia N95 to the point that the GPS actually worked, I had to first replace the firmware with a Generic English one as Nokia would not update a vodafone branded phone, in doing so I have not doubt voided its warranty.

So maybe the target for Nokia’s poster campaign is wider than the iPhone, perhaps the operators are also in the firing line. You get the sense that Nokia has run out of patience with operators messing about with their phones and increasingly see their own Nokia branded online services delivered independently of the network operators as the way forward.

Get your music, games, and Location Based Services from Nokia for your Nokia mobile device, Vodafone, t-mobile, o2 and orange just move the bits around the network and add no other value themselves. (Those 3G licenses are a real bind no !!)

I think this is quite a smart strategy although I’m not sure symbian the preferred OS for nokia mobiles is the right way forward, however, the demands for a truly “open” mobile internet increase every day – although remember the calls are coming from a very small geek community ( that’s you dear reader) most people don’t even change their phones wallpaper !

Written and submitted from the BA Lounge, Milan Linate Airprt, Italy, using the BTOpenzone 802.11 network.

Stephen Fry and the iphone

I can now count the days until I get my sticky hands on a iphone, get ready to find out my new phone number in November as I and many others transfer to 02 – the only carrier I have not used so far in the UK funny enough.

Despite the fact that it is EDGE only, a closed platform and rather expensive I and my wife will be moving. Why because even though technically my Nokia N95 is superior – I still don’t like using it – the S60 user interface sucks and we all put up with out mobiles because we have no choice . Don’t even try to talk to Lisa about her N70 !!

To really appreciate the issue take a look a the first blog post by Stephen Fry. Yes it is the Stephen Fry, one of the great treasures of Britain, and it now appears an excellent technology writer and well as writer, actor, director etc. Stephen claims to have owned most smart phones and like most people have never found one he liked…

Well things are about to change at last !

Written and submitted from The Holiday Inn, Stratford-upon-Avon using a UMTS data connection on my soon to be retired Nokia N95.

Are Vodafone trying to hide a data billing issue ?

In the effort to find lower cost wireless data access I like I’m sure many others signed up to the new Vodafone “Mobile Internet” tariff for data access on my N95.

This offers be 120Mb of data per month for £7.50 or $15.00 – not brilliant value but OK !

So imagine my surprise when I got a monthly bill for well over £100 ($200), of course I went straight to the vodafone website to check my bill, but all I got was this..

Vodafone online billing

The online billing part of the Vodafone website has been broken for at least the last week ? Could this be anything to do with vodafone billing its customers the old and very expensive tariff for data by mistake ?

I waiting now for a paper bill to see why my last months bill is three or four times what it usually is – some coincidence don’t you think ?

Check you bills vodafone customers !!

Written and submitted from the M11 Services, using the BTOpenzone wifi network.
(Glamourous life this !!)

Put your pictures on the planet..

After the buzz has died down about the new sky feature in Earth, I personally think one of the most useful new features is the ability to place images in the landscape, matching the perspective of the location from which they where taken.

The new photooverlay element in KML 2.2 is used to great effect with the gigapxl images, which you just have to try out to really appreciate.

Gigapxl in Google Earth

You can just keep on zooming into these amazing images..

Gigapxl in Google Earth zoomed

And these are taken with a single exposure, so they are very useful for analysis of the images.

For me the most exciting development is the potential now for those millions of geotagged photos already online to be placed in the locations from where the pictures were taken, this would provide another great way of representing the “sense of place” of a location.

Phone pic in google earth

As a simple example, this is a picture of the Google Office in London, taken with the Camera in my Nokia N95. With its GPS, and the additional of a simple compass to provide the bearing of the shot, you have all your need.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.