Nokia N8

The official specs for N8, the first Symbian 3 device are now out. They have also produced a series of YouTube videos that you can access for this ‘media wall’ by clicking (let the video first load until the menu):

It is still a bit early to say what the actual use experience will be, but I hope they have managed to get the UI and user experience into more simplified and streamlined mode in this version — the tech itself is pretty impressive as that is the traditional forte (mobile media codecs & engineering) of Nokia, not so much the UX, unfortunately.

iPad Wi-Fi going Joikuspot/N900

iPad Wi-Fi going Joikuspot/N900, originally uploaded by FransBadger.

Another nice thing to try out: since the iPad version we got was a Wi-Fi only model, it was interesting to see whether it would be possible to share the mobile data connection from my 3G mobile phone with it, in order to go online outside a WLAN network area.

Turns out this is actually quite easy. I bought a JoikuSpot Premium software for my Nokia N900, put in few details, and after launching it up, joined iPad into the newly established local Wi-Fi network. Surfing just fine (with up to c. 500 kbs download speeds in 3G network area). Nice! The only downside is that the battery of N900 runs out really fast if you are all the time running JoikuSpot in it.

iPad unpacking

iPad unpacking, originally uploaded by FransBadger.

Here are the very first impressions: yes, Apple has created a very cool and smart device in iPad. I want one for myself (typing this with our gamelab iPad), even while I am not sure what I would be really using it for. Yet. The real power of this thing is in the user experience; it it so futuristic it feels like entering into sci-fi — and for me that is not a bad thing.

The UI logic is pretty much that of iPhone, the size makes huge difference though. The bright window into media, combined with the intuitiveness of touch, plus the fact that iPad is very fast, makes common tasks feel a bit magical.

There are the obvious downsides, too. Not having flash makes no sense to me at all. This thing would be the killer Facebook gaming device. Now, apparently Apple is trying to kill flash and make eveyone develop native iPhone OS apps. Shame on them. Also, the virtual keyboard is pretty ok, but it is not something that is intended for serious typing tasks. This is mostly a rich media plaything.

Together with rest of the UTA Gamelab folks we will continue to test iPad, but currently there is the technical limitation that there appears to be no way to get paid iPad apps (games, nor books, or movies) for testing. iPad apps are not yet available in the Finnish iTunes, and you need a US credit card or bank account to be able to buy from the US iTunes/App Store. Damn. Need to continue testing the free sample apps then.

iPhone OS 4 and the Game Center

An interesting development in the Apple front: they published today the key features of upcoming iPhone OS 4: multitasking (more power to the user), iAd system for monetization (more money to the developer), and Game Center (friend invites – here we go, Facebook apps). Nice to see how this will work out. – Oh yes, and our Apple iPad should arrive from the States tomorrow (thanks, Lori!), so going to the extended touch screen experience will also be interesting. The version 4 OS will not be arriving to iPad sooner than next autumn, but I will be installing one to my iPhone 3GS in the summer, though.

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