Recently got a Nokia N95 smartphone, and these are my notes about it.
- 1 General N95 configuration
- 2 Links to recommended free N95 apps
- 3 Non-free apps to install
- 4 currently testing
- 5 other apps to try
- 6 To do
- 7 Non-free apps can trial from Mosh
- 8 Some toys or games that use the accelerometer
- 9 Useful mobile websites
- 10 SIP VoIP configuration for the N95
- 11 N95 likes
- 12 N95 dislikes
- 13 N95 add-on software dislikes
General N95 configuration
- Set up a local wireless network, check it works for browsing the web, then insert a SIM card, and then go: Menu -> Download! -> update the catalog, then install "Psiloc Connect". (This apps auto-switches to a WLAN connection if one is available, which saves a lot of hassle).
- Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Connection -> Wireless LAN -> Show WLAN availability: Yes; Scan for networks: Every 2 minutes.
- Open the Web browser, the do: Options -> Zooming Options -> 75%; Settings -> General -> Access point -> "Psiloc Connect"; Settings -> Privacy -> Form Data saving: Form and password; Settings -> Page -> Screen size: Full screen.
- Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> General -> Personalization -> Display -> rotate screen: Automatic; Light Sensor: Set to maximum (improves readability); Light time-out: 30 seconds; Font size: small.
- Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> General -> Personalization -> Standby Mode -> Active standby: Off
- Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Phone -> Call -> Summary after call: On; Show call duration: Yes; Speed dialing: On.
- Menu -> Applications -> Camera -> Options -> Settings -> Default Image name: Date.
- Press Multi Media key once -> Options -> background images -> graphics -> theme 1. Also Options -> Image effects: Off. Also Options -> Start-up animation: Off.
- Menu -> Applications -> Share Online. Set this up with Flickr username and password, and select Flickr and mark "set as default".
- Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> General -> Date and time -> Clock type: Digital, Time Format: Digital, Network Operator Time: Auto-update.
- Menu -> Applications -> App. Mgr. -> Welcome -> Options -> Remove (after have seen the welcome once, it's not useful any more). Also remove the "welcome demo" app.
- Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Applications -> RealPlayer -> Streaming -> Network -> Default Access Point: Psiloc Connect; Also Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Applications -> RealPlayer -> Streaming -> Proxy -> Use Proxy: None.
- Menu -> Maps -> Go online at startup: Always ask; then Options -> Internet -> Default access point: Psiloc Connect.
Links to recommended free N95 apps
- Google mobile apps - install the following apps: Gmail + YouTube + Maps. Provides an easy way to use Gmail, view YouTube videos, and use the Google Maps with your location shown with a red dot using the inbuilt GPS.
- PuTTY - then click "S60 third edition" to download, then open the ZIP file and install the PuTTY sisx installer file. Provides an SSH client on your phone.
- Enhanced Calculator for S60 - Nokia source, or Calcium calculator. Provides a calculator that uses fewer keystrokes than the standard inbuilt one (by not overloading a single key for all the numerical operator functions).
- DivX player. Need to have registered for DivX labs first, using a throw-away email address, before you can login to download this installer. Allows playing DivX and Xvids on your phone.
- Nokia's snakes game. Or install via Menu -> Download! -> Games -> Snakes. Provides a 3D snakes game.
- "System Rush: Evolution" game demo: install via Menu -> Download! -> Games -> System Rush. Provides a 3D racing type game, in tubes.
- Nimbuzz. Provides Skype voice calls, and gmail chat and ICQ chat.
- Nokia Device Status - Nokia source. Provides a way to view system information about the phone.
- Nokia internet radio. Or install via Menu -> Download! -> Applications -> Internet Radio. Provides a way to listen to internet radio on your phone.
- Screenshot. Provides a way to take screenshots.
- Large clock screensaver - info page. To enable, go Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> General -> Personalisation -> Themes -> Power saver -> Select "Large Time"; then Options -> Change -> Black for background colour, and Yes to saving power. Provides an easier to read clock screensaver.
- Nokia mosh client - info page - link to MOSH. Or install via Menu -> Download! -> Applications -> MOSH. Provides an app for downloading new applications from the MOSH website.
- Nokia Sports Tracker - Nokia info page. Or install via Menu -> Download! -> Applications -> Sports Tracker (although this is an older version, and the direct download version is more up-to-date).
- The new Nokia messaging client - it's quite similar to the inbuilt one, but looks a little better. Or install via Menu -> Download! -> Applications -> Nokia Messaging. Then configure with email address + password. Then turn off download notifications, with Menu -> Applications -> Email -> Settings -> General -> Download Notifications: Off.
- Nokia's Global Race game. Provides a car racing game.
- Nokia Location tagger - info page. Provides a way of using the phone's GPS to record your location in the EXIF tags of pictures you take.
- Multiscanner to scan business cards or other printed material in English: installer. Note: later versions are reported to not work on the N95. Provides OCR for printed English words, using the phone's camera. OCR quality is so-so, mostly fun as a toy.
- I-nigma. Provides a QR code reader / scanner.
- Wellness Diary - general info page.
- Nokia conversation - install Nokia_Internet_Services_Support_Package, then go Menu -> Applications -> App manager - > Find and uninstall the "Nokia Contacts Service Support Package", then install Phonebook Extension Manager, then install the conversation application.
- Shozu. Provides a way to upload photos and updates to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
Non-free apps to install
- mobile dictionary
- WeFi - provides easy access to free WiFi spots, if available.
- Nokia Magnifier - Info page.
- Nokia Audiobook player - info page.
other apps to try
try once get 3G internet set up:
- JoikuSpot. Menu -> Download! -> Applications -> JoikuSpot premium.
Less sure about:
- Qik - Stream videos live online with Qik. This is the fastest way to get your videos online. Yet another cool application for free.
- DONE: Reinstall, to get the desktop back working correctly. To do this, dial *#7370#, and then use 12345 as the "lock code". This will restore the phone to it's out of the box state, and wipes everything clean.
- Change carrier to Exetel.
- Get a bluetooth adapter for my laptop.
- Set up mobile broadband over bluetooth on Linux.
- Get a VoIP DID (Dial in Direct) number from Exetel.
- Set up Voxalot least cost call routing.
- DONE: install one of these apps to automatically connect to the best available access point - devicescape easy wi-fi / Psiloc Connect / smart connect.
- Hack the phone to allow installing unsigned apps. Requires firmware <= 188.8.131.52, for v31 try this method.
Non-free apps can trial from Mosh
- PanoMan 3.
- Handy Taskman For S60_V3. Then move the icon from the "Handy" folder into the "Applications" folder, and delete the "Handy" folder. The start Taskman by holding down the menu key, and go Options -> Settings -> Task List: Running Tasks.
- iPhone v3.3. May have to set phone's date back a year to install, and after installation set the phone to use network operator's time. Then have to go select this theme under Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> General -> Personalisation -> Themes -> General -> iPhone3.3 lillium.it, in order for it to become active.
- Super Mario Planet.
- Desert Commandos Java game.
- Shazam ID. May have to set phone's date back a year to install, and after installation set the phone to use network operator's time.
- MicroPool demo version - can play indefinitely against the computer though.
- SimCity Metropolis.
Some toys or games that use the accelerometer
- Frozen Bubble game (it's beta quality, but fun to try): RD Accelerometer DLL + Frozen Bubble Twisted - Beta 1.
- Accelerometer-API Plugin (if needed), then Lightsaber, Version 1.62. Install to the phone's memory when prompted.
Useful mobile websites
Some sites are particularly useful on a mobile phone when out and about, these are some of the most useful ones:
- Sydney weather forecast.
- Mobile movie session times guide.
- International flight arrivals at Sydney Airport - useful when picking friends or family up at the airport.
- Public transport infoline - allows finding the quickest way from one place to another using Sydney public transport. Be sure to tick the "make this my favourite search" box the first time you use it. This website could be made more mobile-friendly though (less superfluous graphics, less cluttered layout, easier to use on a mobile, fewer steps, more sensible defaults).
SIP VoIP configuration for the N95
VoIP is great if either:
- you want to make cheaper calls (with slightly worse voice quality) and you have either WiFi or an unlimited or very cheap mobile data plan, or:
- it's fantastic if you are traveling overseas and want to be able to make and receive calls home, and you will have WiFi, but don't want to pay absurd roaming rates. These characteristics mean VoIP is especially useful overseas in countries where ubiquitous fast WiFi is often included as standard in the accommodation, such as Japan.
You can use any VoIP provider - there's a great big worldwide list of companies here, with ratings, including for Australia.
These following setup details were for PennyTel because people were using them on Whirlpool, and they had a plan with no monthly fee + reasonable rates called "Free Access Untimed". But use whichever company you like, it makes no difference to me. If you want to use this company you will need to go to http://www.pennytel.com.au/ and register. Be sure to record your "PennyTel Phone Number/Username" and your password, you will need those in the steps below. You'll have to give your email address, residential address, and a phone number to register, but you don't have to pay anything until you want to be able to make outgoing calls.
To set up the N95 to use this, I did the following:
- Define an Access Point (AP) [Only if have not already done so]
- Go to: Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Connection -> Access points and enter AP info, it could be Wireless LAN(WLAN) or General Packet Radio Service(GPRS). For GPRS settings, please consult your mobile operator
- Define a SIP profile
- Go to: Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Connection -> SIP Settings, Select Options -> Add New
- Set Profile name to Pennytel
- Set Service profile to IETF
- Select your access point(AP)
- [Tip: In the next line, copy the "sip.pennytel.com" part onto the Nokia's clipboard by holding down the pencil, and dragging the cursor over this text, then pressing copy, then releasing the pencil. This will save in data entry time, because you can then paste in "sip.pennytel.com" as needed].
- Set Public user name to sip:<your pennytel username>@sip.pennytel.com
- Disable use of compression
- Either set Registration to "Always on" (to always connect to VoIP and be able to receive incoming VoIP calls), or "when needed" (which I think will only activate VoIP when calling out and selecting "internet call"). I used "Always on", but this option may place more of a drain on your battery.
- Set Use security to NO
- Proxy server - no configuration
- Registrar server address: sip:sip.pennytel.com
- Realm: sip.pennytel.com
- User name: <Pennytel VoIP Username>
- Password: <Pennytel VoIP Password>
- Transport type: Auto
- Port: 5060
- Define Internet Telephony Settings
- Go to Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Connection -> Internet tel -> Options -> New Profile
- Name: Pennytel
- SIP Profiles: Pennytel
- You should then see two icons in the status bar (near the battery indicator), one consisting of 4 small squares (representing the WiFi AP connection) and second new one showing handset and the globe (representing VoIP).
- Then make a test call to 771 - this automated number will tell you your pennytel balance (even if it's zero dollars) and then hang up on you.
- To dial, type 771 (just like a normal phone number), and select "Internet call", and see if it works and if you can hear the automated voice clearly.
Note: You can receive incoming calls on your N95 now, but you can't make any outgoing calls without buying some credit for your account. So now go and make an incoming call from your landline to your VoIP phone, to check if it works.
If you want to use VoIP calls by default, with plain phone as a fallback if VoIP is unavailable, then go: Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Phone -> Call -> Default Call Type: Internet Call.
On VoIP codecs: By default Nokia uses the g7.11 codec which uses 90kbps each way, which is more than the 50kbps that you get from 3G. So if you're on 3G the best codec to use is probably g7.29 which uses about 40kbps each way. If you need to change the codec priority order, then download and install Nokia's SIP VoIP Settings app.
I'm coming from a very old phone before this, so I'm easily impressed:
- It has a real browser, based on WebKit (used in / related to Safari & Chrome & KHTML).
- It can run SSH (requires installing the free PuTTY port).
- It has WiFi.
- It runs fine with no SIM card inserted - great for testing stuff and exploring the phone's functionality.
- It has a pretty decent camera (5 MP).
- Inbuilt stereo speakers, although the quality of the audio is significantly sharper using the headphones compared to the speakers.
- Automatic screen rotation based on handset orientation (has an accelerometer).
- Has inbuilt GPS.
- You can copy and paste text - it's not as quick as on a keyboard, but it's usually much quicker than retyping.
- Has an inbuilt reasonable VoIP client - so if you have this phone + WiFi or mobile data, then you have a portable VoIP client, which integrates well with all the usual mobile phone functions. E.g. calls show under missed calls/received calls/dialed numbers, incoming VoIP calls have caller ID, and make a call using VoIP you dial a number normally but just choose "Internet Call" as the calling method, and when you receive a VoIP call it rings just like a normal call, and so forth.
Dislikes for the N95 hardware or standard software:
- The battery life is very short - you literally have to charge it every night, or it will bleep repeatedly during the night and then run out of power at about 3 AM. This contrasts with my previous basic phone which could run for a week without being recharged.
- The phone should be able to update its firmware over the Internet. It has Wifi, it has a real browser, it can download directly from web sites, it has several gigabytes of spare space, so why do I need a Windows computer to update? Instead it should let the user check for an update on the phone, which connects to Nokia, tells the user if an update is available and asks if they want to proceed, then downloads the right installer, and updates the firmware, all without requiring a PC. Note: this seems to have been added to the N96 (the N95's successor) and is known as "Firmware Over the Air".
- The built-in browser has no "open link in new window or tab" function, although it does support multiple windows / tabs (allows up to 5 of them). Here's hoping that Mozilla Fennec for the S60 provides a suitable replacement browser with this functionality. Also the built-in browser does not remember the zooming option (e.g. if set to 75% zoom, will reset to 100% zoom next time you start the browser).
- You can't use the inbuilt FM radio without a SIM card in the phone (starting "Visual Radio" gives an error like "cannot activate in offline mode"). That's just odd - since when does an FM radio require a SIM card?
- You have to pay for turn-by-turn voice navigation on the N95. You can download the maps and even the audio data for free using the inbuilt mapping application, but the voice navigation won't work unless you have a subscription. This is a bit of a bait-and-switch because GPS was one of the key features of this phone, and GPS in a phone is only really made useful with turn-by-turn voice navigation. Furthermore, generally other personal GPS devices have no ongoing usage costs (apart from for updates to later map versions) - so when you say the phone has GPS, the standard assumption is that it will also have turn-by-turn voice navigation. In my personal opinion, turn-by-turn voice navigation really should have been included with the phone out-of-the-box ... but then it would have competed with the Nokia 6110 navigator, and we couldn't have that!
- The GPS takes about 2 - 4 minutes to lock on and give the current location and has some limitations. That's much longer for a lock-on than my dedicated GPS (which takes about 1 minute). I'll try later with A-GPS enabled, which supposedly improves things significantly.
- You have to have the keypad slider in the open position for best GPS reception. This requirement was removed in the N96.
- The CPU is just a little bit too slow to play standard TV resolution DivX or XviD files - there's a bit of lag or dropped frames or blurriness, enough to detract from the smoothness, and after about 10 minutes of watching an XviD or DivX video, I find I have a headache - if the hardware was about 30% beefier, then it would probably be enough.
- The screen looks like it should be a touchscreen, so people touch it, leaving finger prints on the screen. It doesn't have a touchscreen, but the N97 (2 generations on) will have a touchscreen.
- Why does a SIM card need to be inserted to use the "share online" app? For example, I should be able to upload my photos to flickr without having a SIM card in my phone.
- The Menu -> "Download!" app does not work: it says "catalog list needs to be loaded. Continue?", then you have to say "yes" for the app to do anything, then it says "Updating catalog list", then it gives an error: "Some catalogs failed to load. Try again." This is on a Wifi link that works fine for all other purposes with the phone (browsing web pages, making VoIP calls, sending emails, etc). Update: This app works fine with a SIM card inserted - but a) the error message should explain this, and b) why is this needed? It should work fine without needing a SIM card to be inserted, there's no technical reason to require this.
- Nokia's Download! application needs to distinguish between full apps, and demo / evaluation apps. It currently does not, and there's a big difference from the end user perspective. At the moment, you often only find out that something is an evaluation copy when it just stops working and asks for money ... which sucks.
- The http://mobile.nokia.com site in the default bookmarks (e.g. "download apps") is completely and utterly useless, and seems to have been outsourced. Nokia: Stop trying to sell crap to your customers, and just provide a gateway to Nokia's best free downloads. For example, why did I have to assemble by hand the above list of the best free apps with direct download links? Shouldn't the http://mobile.nokia.com site do this for me?
- When you change access points (access points are the means by which you have a data connection, so for example moving from one WiFi network to another, or moving to/from Wifi and 3G), you have have to manually change the access point to use in order for Internet apps to work and to select the most cost-effective and fastest access point. You can buy 3rd party add-on apps that do this automatically (e.g. Psiloc Connect for around AU$20, or BirdStep's SmartConnect app which is apparently no longer available for sale), or it was included out-of-the-box in s60 Feature Pack 2 (the N95 has FP1, the N96 has FP2). Nokia recognized this shortcoming, and licensed SmartConnect for the E-series phones as a free download (available through the Download! app), but regrettably they did not do the same thing for the N-series phones (such as the N95). This is a silly omission, since a mobile device will by definition be traveling between different access points, and having to manually change access points every time you move in every app you're using becomes very tedious.
- Although the phone can save images with the date as part of the file name, the naming format is DDMMYYYYxxxx.jpg, rather than YYYYMMDDxxxx.jpg, which would have been preferable, since it would help sort images in order of when they were taken.
- You cannot hot-swap the batteries, even if you have the recharger connected. I.e. you have the charger connected and plugged in (so the phone has mains power), and you want to change from one battery to another. If you try to do this, the phone will turn off. Instead it should allow hot-swapping of the battery.
N95 add-on software dislikes
- Fring was unreliable and flaky with both ICQ and Skype (drops skype calls after 10 seconds, poor quality skype audio, loses ICQ chat messages, loses transferred files). Probably more a fring problem than an N95 problem. Which is a pity, because fring sounds super-userful, but it's just nowhere near reliable enough for practical use, in my opinion. Nimbuzz was a better replacement.
- Why can't nimbuzz make video skype calls? Would be quite handy. I asked their support email, and response was: "Thanks for your interest, but unfortunately we do not support video calling yet. It is on our road map, but we do not know when it is going to be working. We will announce it as soon as it is available."
- Nokia messaging: when setting up my email, why do I have to enter a "phone number"? And this is a completely bogus reason. There is no technical reason to require this information whatsoever that I can see.
- Worldmate is buggy - could not even get the demo version off their website to start up correctly! Seems unable to use the default access point, even though I used that very access point to download the software - others have reported the same problem, but the solution (remove, power off, power on, reinstall latest version) did not work for me. Update: This software works with a SIM card inserted, but not without a SIM card. Again, this software should work without needing a SIM card.
- Nokia's Podcasting app seems impossible to install. I cannot install the PC suite application because my desktop runs Linux and it's a windows-only app, and the windows machines I have access to run windows 2000 (PC suite demands XP or Vista). Installing the SIS directly via the web generates an "update error". Copying the SIS over to the phone via USB, then running that file, also generates an "update error". I have tried it with this version, this version, and this version , and not a single one of them will install correctly (i.e. they are all broken). Furthermore, the instructions given on the podcasting info page suggests using the Download! app (although the podcasting app is not available there), and using the mobile.nokia.com site (which also has the podcasting nowhere to be seen). This is easily the most frustrating-to-install S60 app I have encountered. Hopefully Escarpod for S60 will be completed soon and provide equivalent functionality.