Garmin Forerunner 405/405cx vs Polar RS800cx G3

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”)

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

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

Part 2: Tweeting E71 – Enter the Challenger: Twittix

Twittix Followers In the series on Best Tweeting Experiences for Nokia E71 we’ve been having a look at Gravity from Mobileways.de so far. Gravity seems by many to be the king of twittering on S60-based mobile devices including the Nokia E71.

As in all stories involving a king you usually also have someone out to get the king’s crown and the kingdom of S60-Twitterers. In our story, the most likely contender at the moment among paid Twitter clients seems to be Twittix from Viking Informatics, sold and marketed by Mojosmobile.com.

Now, Twittix is a native S60 client for Twitter. It costs about €5 and brings you all the things you’d expect from one of the top two applications in the market: timeline, tweeting, replying, direct messages, My Tweets, people you follow, followers, etc. In my last post on this topic I said that Gravity has set the bar, so naturally we will be comparing Twittix to Gravity. In the following I will focus less on what these two great applications have in common and a lot on what makes them different from eachother.

Twittix packs a few features that Gravity doesn’t which changes the user experience a bit. You can forward tweets via sms, which means that you can share interesting tweets or just your own tweets with anyone with a mobile phone – you’re no longer bound by who’s on Twitter. Personally I’m a big fan of breaking down barriers like that so this is a definite plus for Twittix and something Mobileways should seriously consider implementing in Gravity.

With Gravity you can see how many followers and how many following a profile has. Twittix takes it further and lets you view profile and even browse who is followed and who is following. Smart feature which makes Twittix a stronger tool for finding new connections.

Twittix Profile In addition you can pick any profile and introduce that person to anyone currently following you. This too is a plus point for Twittix.

Twittix has other features which Gravity is missing, but the above features are the ones that in my mind makes Twittix more than just a “wannabe Gravity”.

Twittix is missing some features too, though.

One major missing feature is the ability to create and store multiple Twitter searches. That feature makes it possible for you to not just use Twitter as a social engine, but also as a knowledge engine. Twittix is missing literally endless searches and Twitter trends – two features which are much more about what is going on than who it is going on with. Twittix does have one search and more on this front is coming in version 1.01, but at this point it’s just not enough for content focused users.

Essentially this is what it’s going to come down to for many users: What kind of Twitter user am I? Am I a user-focused Twitterer or am I a content focused Twitterer. Many user focused and social twitterers will choose Twittix for its ability to stay in touch with people and connect people to other people – including connecting themselves to all of those people. Content focused users should stick to Gravity for its access to a wealth of information about things that interest you regardless of who it’s coming from. If I were to come up with a tagline for Twittix it would be “The Social Twitter client”.

With both clients it’s a bit of a give and take and both are excellent software products. You have to make up your own mind, but for me the graphics of Gravity, the many searches you can make along with the ability you do have to stay up to date with people still makes Gravity my Twitter tool of choice – even at €5 more than Twittix. The look and feel of Twittix is not polished enough for me – very subjective, I know, but that’s my opinion.

All that said, it looks like Twittix is carving a niche for itself and judging from some of the activity in the blogosphere the kingdom might not be entirely safe for Gravity just yet.

Have a look at the feature by feature comparison on this Google Doc.

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Part 1: Best Tweeting Experience for Nokia E71: Gravity

Twitter client Gravity on E71 Packing my E71 for a series of tests of various applications for the E71. This time I’m taking a look at the best applications for twittering with focus on what works on E71, which in turn will work on most other S60-based handsets as well. Each Part will hold a rather in-depth test of each application hence why I’m just putting a single test in each post.

Intro

Brief on Twitter according to Wikipedia:

“Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers).”

So far so good. Same as with many other internet related services also Twitter works really well on Symbian S60 in general and especially well on Nokia E71. To create a bit of an overview I’ve grouped the choices into three categories: Paid for installed clients, Free installed clients, Browser-based clients (all free).

Paid, installed clients: Gravity

Gravity is the leader of the moment (see image), providing:

  • Timeline
  • Replies
  • Direct Messages
  • My Tweets
  • Favourite tweets
  • Friends (people you follow)
  • Followers
  • Browsing of User Tweets, User & Replies, Search
  • Nearly endless Twitter searches
  • Twitter top trends
  • Picture tweeting with Twitpic and Mobypicture
  • Full-screen mode
  • – and those are just the Twitter specific features.

For the rest Gravity holds settings for the profile, timeline updates, replies updates, messages updates, and auto-update settings. In case you loose your phone your account and password seems secure as the password is represented by asterisks. In-application update feature makes sure you have the most recent version at all times – if you want to. You can add several additional Twitter and Laconica accounts.

Finally and probably most impressive of all the graphical design and touch and feel of Gravity is unparalelled on the S60 platform and rivals the best of other platforms. Oh, and in case you were wondering I actually coughed up the 10-or-so Euro for the application. It rules supreme and has set the bar for what Twitter applications should be able to do on the E71 and S60.

It comes with a full-blown trial to test the whole thing for what I remember to be 10 days, which should be more than enough to get a good idea of what you’d be paying for – just the way I like it.

Gravity can be picked up through the vendor’s website at http://mobileways.de. The author is to be found on Twitter (of course)

Have a look at the feature by feature overview on this Google Doc.

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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.