Nokia E71

Since my birthday on Saturday, I'm now the proud owner of a Nokia E71 smart phone. I had been poking around and reading specs of lots of devices, and this was definitely the forerunner. Along with a bit of research, I had started to prepare Claire for the sticker shock of leaving the subsidized carrier phone world to start buying unlocked, retail phones, and that it would probably happen this year. She apparently believed me, because she went out and bought it.

It's a serious geek phone with a qwerty keyboard and enough configurations to keep me playing and reading the manual for days. Fortunately, I like exploring devices, their manuals, and all the online tips.

I'm pleased to see it runs Java applications as seamlessly as S60 applications, and as I had hoped, I can assign my own applications to shortcuts and soft keys on the home screen.

My stupid phone tricks:

  • Mobbler allows me to feed (scrobble) my music and podcast listening live as the built-in audio player plays on my device just like iTunes and Rhythmbox does on the computers.
  • The default text messaging interface doesn't identify your recent recipients like my Sony Ericsson phone did, so it seemed like too much clicking around to pick a recipient and send a message. Nokia's Conversation application organizes text messages as conversations, so you can easily see your frequent recipients and send them quick messages in an IM-like interface.
  • I have the fftogo website bound to the long-press of my messaging key, and the Google Reader mobile site is bound to the left soft key for quick access. The JavaScript on the full (or iPhone) version of the FriendFeed site doesn't *quite* work right, so I had to stick with fftogo.
  • The phone will do SyncML, but Google doesn't do it yet for the calendar, so I use the CalSyncS60 application (bound to the long press of the calendar button) to sync between my Google Calendar and the phone calendar. It seems to only pick up my personal calendar, though, and not the other shared calendars to which I subscribe.
  • I have JoikuSpot Light installed to turn my phone into a little wireless hotspot to share its 3G connection, but that only allows browsing and not ssh, etc, so I quickly setup good old bluetooth DUN tethering. JoikuSpot will be fun to just show off, though, because it's very quick and simple.
  • Flash works on this handset, so I was able to watch the Strong Bad Email on the go.
  • GPS navigation is quite amusing. It works pretty well -- walking or driving. The voice prompts in the turn-by-turn directions are conspicuously devoid of any street names -- it's all "turn left", and "enter highway", but not which street or highway. I guess this keeps them from having to figure out how to pronounce these things. It gets the job done.
  • I'm pleased to see that the PDF reader remembers my current page number, so it'll serve nicely as an ebook reader.
  • I may be able to script this thing with Python!
  • I found that the 2D barcode reading capability is built into the phone -- it reads datamatrix and QR-code on its own.

The shortcomings of this device:

  • 2.5mm headphone jack instead of 3.5mm (always an adapter)
  • No USB charging
  • Firmware updates require a Windows machine
  • Firmware updates for North American models lag behind European releases

As you've probably already seen, my FriendFeed is being filled up with Nokia and S60 bookmarks and comments, so that'll probably trickle over into the blog soon enough. I look forward to seeing what these devices and they're Symbian OS can do.

Filed Under: Mobile Technology Linux Computers