Garmin confuses with Forerunner 110

Garmin Forerunner 110 is now available, but is the entry-level runners GPS-watch a good buy?

Some 4 weeks ago Garmin announced a new model in its lineup of heart rate, speed and distance measurement devices – the Garmin Forerunner 110. The 110 is a runners watch with no cycling support whatsoever. Sure, you can use it on the bike, but there are no options for adding cadence.

That pretty much seems to be the story for the Garmin Forerunner 110. It impresses with simplicity: the display holds less information than for instance the 405/405cx which has previously been written about here, there’s less of a setup hazzle and in simple terms you could this a back to basics design.

Comparing the 110 to the Garmin Forerunner 405 is fairly interesting. The 110 has a lot less features than the 405 and as far as I can judge only heart rate based calory usage is the only feature of the 110 holds that is missing on the 405.

Many have so far mentioned that they see the Garmin Forerunner 110 as an entry-level watch, but the price of around €229 for the version with heart rate is HIGH for entry-level! I have found the Garmin Forerunner 405 for just €259 with heart rate monitor. For just €30 price difference you’ll get a whole lot more with the 405, and so the conclusion must be that the Garmin Forerunner 110 will flop despite the nice marketing.

It’s a basic entry-level heart rate monitor with speed and distance and interesting features for the runners, but comes at far too high a price. Leave it and instead read a later review on entry level GPS, heart-rate monitors on this blog.

Garmin Forerunner 405/405cx vs Polar RS800cx G3

For the gadget-happy athletes, the comparison of Garmin Forerunner 405CX and Polar RS800CX.

A while back I read a Garmin Forerunner 405/405cx review which was pro- the device. This text was intended as a comment on that review, but grew a bit out of hand for a comment. Here first a few words on the Garmin – just for context. Garmin, the word is yours:

“The Forerunner 405/405CX is the evolution of GPS-enabled training. This sleek sport watch tracks your distance, pace and heart rate, then wirelessly sends the data to your PC for later analysis. The 405CX features heart rate-based calorie computation and comes with a second wrist band option suitable for smaller wrists”.
For a comparison on the Garmin Forerunner 405 and the 405CX I suggest you go here:
https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare.do?cID=141&compareProduct=31859&compareProduct=11039

Now, while all that Garmin marketing and the products themselves certainly do make you think about how you can use one of them in your training, there are a few things that should make you think twice. For instance the battery life of Garmin 405/405CX is not impressive and will require frequent charging. If you go somewhere far away for training or competition, do you really want to have to worry about charging your heart rate monitor too?

If you compare the Garmin 405 to the Polar RS800CX with G3 (GPS) sensor – the premium product from Finnish company Polar you’ll find both pros and cons for both. Let’s start with some of the Polar’s weak points:

  • too many devices: heart rate band, wrist unit, GPS-unit;
  • since recently: the Polar is a very closed platform with no current options of exporting Polar data to other platforms – although I haven’t tested it, the Garmin does offer export to Endomondo and other tools that allow for mapping and sharing of training routes and data through various social networks.

The advantages of Polar vs Garmin are:

  • The disadvantage for the Polar can also be turned against the Garmin: More devices in the Polar solution also ensures that if for instance the GPS runs out of battery during training you will still get heart rate data for the remaining session. Not so with the Garmin where it’s all lights out if the wrist unit dies. Furthermore the Polar’s battery will take you MUCH further than the Garmin battery – probably because the battery doesn’t need to support the same amount of functions.
  • Final comment on the battery: Battery change with the Polar doesn’t happen often, is easy, and relatively cheap.
  • Soft heart rate strap on the Polar. With the Garmin the heart rate strap is hard and a soft is only available for an additional $70.

I’m missing more information on social network integration. The Polar is completely unfit for any type of social network interaction. The Garmin has an own network with a few shortfalls, but more importantly allows exporting training files to services external to Garmin.

Conclusion: For me Polar wins this battle. The shortcomings in the Garmin package are a source of irritation if experienced while training. I have a feeling that I might find myself without battery really often.

Still, one has to often if Polar is fighting the right battles. Presumably the consumer market is where they get most of their money and they might want to watch it more closely and avoid what has happened to the Navigation device manufacturers: Mobile devices with minor additions grabbing market share with free software.

It’s happening in the training device market already: mobile devices from Apple, Nokia, HTC and more now include GPS for positioning and speed data, software for the tracking and uploading, and finally all they need is a 3rd party bluetooth heart rate monitor and off you go. I’m not aware of any heart rate straps that will do the trick, but as soon as they come out, Polar should get worried.

More about that in a future post.

Nokia E71, E66 get Free Navigation (aka “OK, I take that back blogpost”)

This blogger suggested Nokia wouldn’t make navigation free for E71. Now they did a good job in doing just that! Download it now for E71 and E66.

A while back I wrote about reasons that Nokia wouldn’t come with a free version of their Ovi Maps navigation software for older models. Now, as it turns out, Nokia has proven me at least 95% wrong by coming out with Ovi Maps navigation for the E71 and E66.

Of older devices the N86 and now the E71 and E66 will have free Ovi Maps navigation. All other feature pack 1 or older devices will not have Ovi Maps with free navigation. In addition the E71 and E66 will not have the Lonely Planet and Michelin guide premium content. While some may whine at this, I consider it to be of little significance that the premium content only goes with newer phones and if the navigation software works with E71 and E66 it increases the life of those devices – good job Nokia.

Find the download for your E66 or E71 by clicking here!

Nimbuzz+Skype=Cheapest International Mobile Calls

Follow this easy guide to make nearly free international calls from your mobile telephone.

At the end of this guide, you will be able to call other countries for free or nearly nothing – from your mobile phone!

Your contacts will be able to see that you’re calling and respond or call back!

Usually when you want to call family, friends or other contacts in other countries with your mobile, your left with no other option than to simply give them a call and pay hefty fees to service providers who charge you way more than their costs justify.

Here’s a small guide to how to work around that in a few, simple steps.
What will you need to complete this guide:

  • Your mobile phone with 3G or Wireless internet connection (this guide was made with a symbian based Nokia E72)
  • That’s it !!!

To make VoIP calls possible on your phone you will need an application that supports such services. For Nokia phones a few well-known services are available: Fring, Skype, and Nimbuzz. In this test I’ll make use of the Nimbuzz client – that’s the app I like the most. Like Fring, it supports several chat clients incl. Skype as well as SkypeOut and Nimbuzz’ own VoIP service, NimbuzzOut. On to the first step of the test.

1. With your mobile browser, on your phone – go to http://get.nimbuzz.com or take your computer’s browser to http://www.nimbuzz.com/en/mobile/download and have Nimbuzz downloaded to your computer, or an sms download link send to your mobile phone.

2. Install Nimbuzz to your mobile phone and create the instant chat, VoIP and SIP services you would like to use. Make sure to add your Skype account.

3. Go to skype.com and log in to your account at http://www.skype.com/go/myaccount.

4. Buy some Skype credit. If this is your first time I recommend starting with the lowest possible amount to avoid disappointment.

5. On https://secure.skype.com/account/caller-id/settings set your caller ID to your mobile phone number. This is what makes it possible for people to see that you’re the one who’s calling and to call you back.

6. In Nimbuzz, make sure to set your VoIP provider correctly. Start the app on your mobile, select options, settings, VoIP provider settings, choose SkypeOut. The reason not to choose NimbuzzOut is that they currently do not offer caller ID, which is key to making the whole thing work.

7. Finally, set your connection in the Nimbuzz app: select options, settings, Connection. I recommend that you  indicate under Default connection that the app should Always ask which connection to use. In addition make sure that you answer Yes to using Wi-Fi when available.

8. If you now would like to call people directly from your address book, you need to make sure that their address book telephone numbers include international dialing codes (+country code or “00country code, ie +31 or 0031 for the Netherlands).

You are now all set to make your first international or local telephone call using Nimbuzz to call through SkypeOut.

From the chat contact list, go twice to the right to arrive at the SkypeOut menu and call someone – nearly for free.

Enjoy !!

You should now

My Favourite Nokia E71 Apps – 27/6 update

Here a quick list of installed worthwhile apps which I need to reinstall upon E7¹reinstall:

– shozu (social networks): http://www.shozu.com
– gravity (twitter): http://mobileways.de/products/gravity/gravity/
– google maps: http://m.google.com
– nokia sportstracker: http://sportstracker.nokia.com/nts/main/download.do
– nimbuzz (im): http://nimbuzz.com/
– mail for exchange: http://www.businesssoftware.nokia.com/mail_for_exchange_downloads.php
– totalrecall: http://www.killermobile.com/newsite/content/view/40/82/
– sms preview: http://get.smspreview.mobi
– flixwagon: http://www.flixwagon.com/
– qik
– Enterprise One (Seven) theme for E71
– mobbler
– coreplayer
– google translator
– wordmobi + python
– screenshot
– accuweather
– google app: http://m.google.com
– pathe cinemas

In addition:
– update share online

Maybe:
– Youtube app
– Nokia maps

Best Symbian S60 Nokia E71 Applications (updated 13/4/09)

Congratulations. You’re probably sitting with your Nokia E71 in your hands right now – or you have a different Symbian S60-based telephone, in which case this post will have relevance for you too. This post will for starters cover the applications I have and use with great pleasure on my own Nokia E71 – comments and additions, however, are very welcome!

At the very bottom I have a few requests for applications I’m looking for as well!

So let’s get started!!

Communication:
Email: E71 comes standard with an e-mail client which also includes Nokia’s own mail for exchange. No need for special apps here – the E71 does a fine job as it is already.
UPDATE
(13/4/2009): w0nk0 alerted me earlier today to an alternative app for HTML-addicts. The app is ProfiMail from “Lonely Cat games”. I’ve just run a brief test of ProfiMail and see both pros and cons of the application. The main pro seems to be its ability to support HTML email – something that Nokia aficionados have long asked Nokia to do something about. In addition it supports pushmail, but Nokia has similar services with Nokia Messaging for consumers and Mail for Exchange for the business users. And now for some of the cons: Profimail holds many features and offers great flexibility. My experience as a first-time user was that ProfiMail fails to deliver simplified organisation of information. In fact when I didn’t manage to create a connection to my POP3 server via either a wireless LAN or my 3G connection, I uninstalled the application. Good news is they let you try the application before you buy – maybe my experience had more to do with me than with the Lonely Cat. Get ProfiMail here: http://www.lonelycatgames.com/?app=profimail.

Chat: Nokia loads the E71 with a software called “IM”. I assume it’s supposed to be some sort of instant messaging application. For most people this will not do, and so alternatives are required, such as:

  • Nimbuzz (preferred): An excellent chat application that allows communication with contacts on the following networks: Windows Live, Skype, Yahoo!, Facebook, Google Talk, Orkut, AIM, MobileMe, MySpace, ICQ, Twitter (updates), Gadu-gadu, Hyves (Dutch social network), Giovani, Jabber, studiVZ/meinVZ, and schülerVZ. Nimbuzz also allows you to use a bunch of SIP services, and configure your own in case you preferred SIP service isn’t listed. Outbound calls can be done with SIP, SkypeOut or your normal mobile service provider, giving you international calls from your mobile for nearly nothing. Nimbuzz was recently upgraded to version 2.0 and can be found at http://www.nimbuzz.com

Other applications in this category include: Fring (interesting alternative to Nimbuzz), Windows Live, Skype, and Palringo. Like Nimbuzz and Fring, Palringo combines several services in one application. It falls short, though, with no SIP and only Windows Live, YIM, AIM, ICQ, Gadu-Gadu, Jabber, Google Talk, Facebook (Alpha), and iChat. Palringo also has a location based service, which I’m not all too sure what to do with…

SMS: Various applications exist to tweak your sms experience. If you must then check Nokia Conversation for threaded sms. Get it here.

  • My preference for sms is  a small application from Norwegian Mobile Nordic called SMS Preview. It gives you a 30-60 second preview of any sms as it arrives without the need to press any buttons. Get it for your mobile phone here: http://get.smspreview.mobi.

Call Recording: Yes, you might want to do this now and then for a variety of reasons. In any case there are several applications for this as well. My preference is:

  • TotallRecall from KillerMobile software: allowing silent recording either hot-button activated or automatic of any mobile conversation. This application is free to test, and will cost you $13,50 to buy. Get it here.

Web 2.0:

  • Blogging: Wordmobi is a WordPress blogging application, which fulfills the most basic needs of the mobile blogger. The most current version 0.7.0 was released in early April 2009. Get the application here. Wordmobi requires installation of Python, which can be found here.
  • Twitter: A lot of discussion on this topic was put to rest recently when Mobileways.de released the impressive Gravity client for twitter. Mobileways provides a free trial of their roughly €10 application. It is by far the sleekest Twitter client for Symbian to date and well worth the €10 pricetag. Find it here: http://mobileways.de/products/gravity/gravity/.
  • Web 2.0 publishing: CellSpin is a free and easy to use mobile blogging app that lets you blog photos, audio, video, and text to WordPress, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Picasa, YouTube, Live Journal, MySpace, and more! This very powerful application is like a publishing house on your phone. Publish literally any kind of content from anywhere at any time. Get the application here: http://www.cellspin.net. Alternatives include Shozu, which disappointed in several ways…

GPS and Location-based applications: One of the best things about the Nokia E71 is how the makers managed to put an internal GPS into such a sleek design. Having a GPS opens for location-based services and applications such as maps, navigation, searching for friends’ locations etc. The best application on my E71 are:

  • Nokia Sports Tracker: Ideal for walkers, joggers, runners, cyclists of any kind, in short anyone who does distance based sports outside. The GPS will help you track speed, distance, pace, and averages of those + calories burned, put it all in nice graphs, give you a map of where you are/have been training AND share that near-live with anyone who you want to watch where, how fast and how far you’ve trained. Download here: http://sportstracker.nokia.com/nts/main/download.do
  • Google Maps with Google Latitude: This two in one application evolved from the original Google Maps application which in itself is pretty good. Google Maps lets you see where you are and search for points of interest anywhere. With Latitude, however, Google Maps becomes an entirely different application. Latitude lets your contacts know where you are on a Google Map – or were you were the last time you updated it. Very interesting start of location-based-services from always interesting Google!! Download here: http://m.google.com/maps.
  • Alternatively you can use Nokia Friend View, which does more or less the same thing and can be downloaded here. During non-scientific testing Nokia Friend View did seem to load maps much slower than Google Maps. In addition one could imagine many Nokia users going to Nokia Friend View, while many users of anything will use Google Maps. Lost that battle Nokia – on to the next.

Media Playing:

Now we’re going to have a closer look at which special applications you might want to get for playing media on your E71. The E71 is an OK media player when you have little other options and you can actually enjoy a movie if you have a pair of headphones with you and some time to kill:

  • CorePlayer Mobile: Plays this interesting range of video formats: H.264 (AVC), AVCHD, MKV, MPEG-1, MPEG-4 part 2 (ASP), DivX, XviD, WMV*, Theora*, Dirac*, MJPEG, MSVIDEO1. That’s just such an impressive list and I haven’t found comparable applications anywhere. Download it here!!
  • YouTube: Now there are some things that CorePlayer Mobile is just OK at. One of those things is Youtube. So the guys at Youtube have developed their own app – the YouTube app. It does a decent job at viewing YouTube videos over any type of internet connection. Only things missing is an overview of your own account and an upload feature. Get the YouTube app here: http://m.google.com/youtube.
  • Internet Radio: In one of the most recent firmware updates to firmware 200.x.x.x Nokia included the “internet radio” application in the update. You can tune in to any station in the overview via the internet connection on your phone. Make sure to make a backup of your data before you upgrade to newer firmware.

Various applications:

  • Google Translator: Excellent translation tool for your S60-based Nokia. Attempts to determine which language you’re translating from and just allows you to select your target language. Works pretty well and is downloadable here.
  • Google Docs: The well-known Google Docs application now with editable documents also on Nokia S60 phones. Find it at http://m.google.com/docs.

The most interesting single application developer seems to be either Nokia or Google. Find all Google applications for S60-based Nokias at http://www.google.com/mobile/nokia_smart/

I am looking for:

  • Good Facebook application
  • Solid GPS Navigation application
  • Comments and additional insight on all of the above applications and application categories.

What Would Google Do? – review

As I recently purchased and downloaded my first audiobook from Audible.com, Jeff Jarvis“What Woould Google Do?”. At that point in time I promised to add a few comments on the book, and Jeff was kind enough to wish me a good time with his book and add a few insightful comments on writing versus reading books.

Well, Jeff, it was not bad – not bad at all!

The “What Would Google Do?” (“WWGD”) audiobook is a 9 hours unabridged version of the usual old-tech versions. As previously mentioned it comes with some of the benefits and drawbacks of  audiobooks. While it from a technology point of view is much better than another recent consumption – the audiobook version of Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” (3,7 hours with no chapters) – it still has a long way to go to create the right kind of experience for audiobook consumers.

With two sound files of 7 chapters each, all of those chapters entitled Chapter 1, 2, 3 through to 7 there is little possibility to navigate the audiobook (making this blog post much more work). That is where audiobooks can most easily win the most ground. Not this time. Maybe in the future.

As for the content of WWGD, Jeff has put together an interesting account of how we got this far. How did the Internet change the game, how has that impacted the old-style, atom-bound, based on making stuff companies, and what does everyone need to do to survive and thrive in the new, transparent, distributed, free economy. And that’s all good and well.

But not great!

Jeff claims that WWGD is “one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual”. Jeff, that’s not entirely accurate, is it!? The thought experiment is limited to reflections and ideas that are not new. The prophecy is not new either – Jeff just chimes in with the other internet gurus.

And while his observations seem accurate and his suggestions seem interesting, I can’t really get rid af the feeling that Jeff could have done better – gone deeper – spend more time analyzing. And I start thinking about why he wrote this book and the way he wrote it. I read his own words on his own hypocrisy again and conclude that Jeff solely made this book to make money – and not so much because he has a message that needs to go out.

Jeff, you mention tbat the way forward is the free economy – if done right. So, why didn’t you try to get it right? Why not just give the book away – free of charge, and earn money on the side-effects? Is it because you somehow don’t believe in your own content – or is because you don’t believe in free?

I’ll not go into further detail than that it’s a pity you didn’t. I – for one – would have had a lot more respect for you and for “WWGD” if you’d eaten your own dog food. Not eating your own dog food always raises concerns with your potential customers, since what you’re essentially saying is: “It’s good enough for you, but not good enough for me”.

And that’s how I’ll think of “What Would Google Do?”. It’s a good account of what has already happened, but not good enough to become the next prophecy of what is around the corner for any of us. I recommend reading it if you would like a book about the past ten years of business and the internet.

For prohecies I will go somewhere else. At this point I’m looking very much forward to Chris Anderson’s book about the Free economy. Will tell you more about that as soon as I get my hands on it!

Thoughts on Reading Audiobooks

Reading books used to be time consuming. Not so with audiobooks – but does the new format deliver!?

Around the 2009 presidential inauguration of president elect Obama, Amazon.com-owned Audible.com started sponsoring Slate.com. I heard about it in the Slate Political Gabfest podcasts. In true internet fashion Audible.com were giving away a book if you’d sign up for a test membership.

For a few years now getting the time to read books has been very challenging, but staying up to date with news on business and politics has been no problem thanks to podcasts, and for a while they have indeed dominated my listened tracks.

So if there is time to listen to news, there will probably also be time to do that and read a book per month, and I went to the special offer at Audible.com and downloaded my first book.

I’ve now been testing the format for about a week, and I’ll comment a bit on the format.

While you can consume a book without stopping whatever else you’re doing – cooking, cycling, walking, etc. – and while you do get the same content, the format of Audiobooks – for all its advantages – also has some shortcomings:

  • if you’re listening to a book, which has interesting graphs, you don’t get those
  • if you’re interested in quoting from the book you’re reading you’ll have to write the actual quote by listening and writing, listening and writing, until you get it right.
  • BIG ONE: you can’t easily search through an audiobook. I’m listening on an iPod Nano, and it just doesn’t have the entire text of the book in the “show notes”, and the chapters don’t necessarily come with easy navigation either. So flipping an audiobook open and finding a specific reference is tedious, and can’t be recommended.

There are probably plenty of other reasons that audiobooks aren’t even close to replacing books at this point, but I’ve downloaded my first audiobook and trying it out. It’s a very recent book by Jeff Jarvis with the title “What Would Google Do?

I’ll get back to that book and talk a bit about it in a future post – for now, I just want to get on with the book!

To all you spreadsheet junkies out there

Take your Google spreadsheets with you and edit them on the go.

Google has added mobile editing for its Google Docs spreadsheets. This means that you can now edit all your spreadsheets on the go. Symbian S60 phones – like the Nokia E71 – support this new feature. In fact the only ones left in the dark are Blackberry and Windows Mobile users. Thanks to Maarten and Adam for this!

Nokia Sports Tracker – now with maps

Many Nokia users will recognize the Nokia Sports Tracker applicaton – especially popular with Nokia users with GPS-enabled phones. In fact Nokia has taken this great little application and added integration between the Polar Wearlink Belt for Nokia and the Nokia N79, so training freaks can now be 100% mobile with their phone while training: listen to music, receive calls, know the distance and how the body reacts to the entire thing.

Now, for those of us not lucky enough to have an N79 or the special Wearlink Belt from Polar, there’s no need to be too disappointed. Nokia added a missing feature to its Sports Tracker Beta v. 1.82 in October of 2008 – they now support maps!

Little known to many, but posted here, the “new” beta is not available of the official Nokia Sports Tracker website. You have to go to Nokia Research and download it. Then install it to your Nokia S60 3.1 device (N82, E71, N95, etc…).

If you’re completely new to how Nokia Sports Tracker works go ahead and have a look at their website and of course make sure to look at some of our family runs – like this and this. Looking forward to more like this from the good folks at Nokia (and Polar).