Me and Nokia, we go a long way back; my first mobile phone was a trusty Nokia 3210 and it’s unique gaming proposition Snake.
I switched it for a Nokia 7710 because I was thrilled to be able to go on the Internet. The CSD data transport protocol, WAP and WML were very limited however and the phone crashed regularly (apparently it was the first Nokia with the Series 40 OS and it showed) so that didn’t last too long really.
A couple of years of infidelity later, while half the world went crazy about those iPhone’s and the other half was busy looking very business-like on their Blackberrys, I returned to Nokia for the Symbian-powered Nokia e61i, which I absolutely loved not in the least because of the hardware keyboard (a feature I missed on smartphones years after I bailed on my e61i).
And now I, the prodigal son, after a long string of good, bad and broken smartphones, have finally returned home, buying a 2018 Nokia 6.1 with 64GB internal memory (and 4GB or RAM) for under €300. Great build-quality with a aluminum unibody shell, 5.5 inch screen, fast charging, fingerprint, Zeiss lens … And it is running bloat-less stock Android 8.1 and given the Android One stamp it will receive continuous security updates and 2 years of OS upgrades. After 2 weeks of usage I can say this is the best smartphone I have owned to date! It sure feels good to have come back home ;-)
With all the continuous Iphone 3G and HTC Touch buzz, one would almost forget how much truly awesome software there’s out there for Symbian-based handsets.
Just look at my Nokia e61i: it’s not just a phone, but also;
To be completely honest; except for MfE and the browser I don’t use all of this on a daily basis, but I can assure you that just calling someone on the phone works swell as well ;-)
With the nineties browser wars and the quasi MSIE monopoly that followed after the Netscape debacle behind us, the desktop browser scene can be considered a mature market, with some very good products vying for our approval. Time to shift our attention to the next battleground; mobile browsers. Netfront and Pocket Internet Explorer dominated this emerging market for quite some time, but as of late some newcomers are making great advances in this area. And apart from Opera Mobile and Mini (the Mozilla-guys are really ages behind here), these all share the same open source core; WebKit.
The history of WebKit in 10 1/2 sentences
WebKit is a fork of KHTML, the html rendering-engine that was developed by the KDE-community for its Konquerer-browser. In 2002 Apple decided to build it’s own browser based on KHTML and thus WebKit was born as the core-component of what would become Safari. Since it’s inception, WebKit has gained enourmous momentum; Safari now has a market share of approx 6% on the desktop, but smaller projects such as iCab and Epiphany (the Gnome browser!) picked up WebKit as well. But there’s more; Adobe decided to incorporate it in Air (the Flex-like platform for building desktop-software). And Trolltech, the company behind the Qt GUI-toolkit and one of the primary backers of KDE, announced they would include Webkit in Qt 4.4 as well.
WebKit 0wnz Mobile
But the mobile area is where WebKit is really taking the world by storm; it not only powers the mobile version of Safari on the iPhone and the iPod Touch, but WebKit (in its S60webkit form) it’s also the basis of Symbian’s S60-browser. Nokia ‘s Mini Map Browser, as it’s officially named, was first released in november 2005 and thanks to the succces of Symbian it’s probably the most widespread mobile browser by far. Being a proud Nokia e61i-owner myself, I can testify that it is a great browser indeed; I didn’t even bother with installing Opera Mini (which I used instead of Netfront on my Sony-Ericsson w810).
Next to these two well-established WebKit-derivatives, the lesser known Iris (for Windows Mobile), newcomer Digia (for Symbian UIQ-devices) and last but not least the browser of Google’s highly anticipated mobile Android OS are also part of the family.
Mobile Web, but there’s more then One
So thanks to KDE’s great job on KHTML and Apple’s (and Nokia’s) subsequent work, we are at a point where users of ‘smartphones’ and similar devices can access the internet almost as if they were using a desktop-browser. But screen-size, text-input, data transfer (bandwidth and price) and context remain very different from normal browsing, so don’t believe the “one web”-hype just yet. But still; these sure are great web times for building mobile(-ready) websites and -applications!
So I bought a 2nd hand Nokia e61i which had a messed up keyboard configuration. Symbian OS does not allow you to change your keyboard settings as I had hoped for somewhat naively. The configuration is ‘hardcoded’ in the firmware and cannot be changed officially except by Nokia Service personnel. A good thing there’s Google, a nice little hacker tool and the Nokia Software Update utility.
These are the steps I followed to flash my Nokia with the correct firmware (only possible under MS Windows XP or Vista afaik);
- Backup your phone‘s data using e.g. the Nokia PC suite (this will not back the old firmware, only your data)
- Press *#0000# on your phone and write down the firmware info you see, in my case this was:
- nokia e61i-1
- Check the product code of your phone (underneath the battery) and write that down. In my case this was “0542890”
- Go to this page to find alternative product codes for your phone, crosschecking with the info from (2) and (3). I decided I needed “0538563 EURO A Mocha/Silver” (which has QWERTY) instead of the current “0542890 EURO D French Mocha/Silver” (which has AZERTY)
- Download and install “Nokia Software Updater” and “Nemesis Service Suite“
- Think twice before proceeding, the steps below may cause permanent damage to your phone and may void your warranty! You have been warned!
- So you’re sure you want to proceed? OK;
- Make sure the USB connection between your PC and phone can remain in place for the next 30 minutes or so (no cats or children that might want to play with that USB-cable). The USB-connection is your phone’s lifeline, if it gets cut during the upgrade, your phone dies (well, kinda).
- Fire up Nemesis:
- click on the right top button (with the magnifying glass) to scan for a new device
- click on the 2nd icon labeled “Phone Info“
- in the “Production data edit” pane check the box next to “product code” and press “read“. The value there should match the product code you wrote down earlier
- replace the product code with the one you think you need (cfr. step 4) and press “write” (and do a “read” again to make sure the value is correct).
- close Nemesis
- Start Nokia Software Updater (can be done from within the PC Suite).
- NSU actually is a pretty straightforward wizard that will guide you through the upgrade process. You will be warned several times about the dangers of flashing your phone, but by this step you should know what you are doing, no?
- During the upgrade, your phone will restart several times, you’ll hear Windows play the sound to indicate USB-devices are plugged out/in. Don’t worry, this is normal.
- Close NSU when it says it’s ready
- Disconnect the USB-cable
- Check your phone’s firmware information by pressing *#0000# again. In my case this was
- nokia e61i-1
So there you have it, not only was my keyboard mapping problem solved, I also got a free upgrade to the latest Nokia firmware. Qnd there zqs much rejoicing! ;-)
Allez, geïnspireerd door Dag Wiers’ nieuwe Nokia e71 heb ik me net een Nokia e61i aangeschaft. Die e71 is immers een heel mooi toestel, maar ik ben nog altijd 3/4 Hollander en het mocht vooral niet te veel kosten (daarmee kent ge direct één van de twee redenen waarom ik de iPhone3G liever van op afstand bewonder).
Op koopjeszoeker.be (en op die manier in één ruk op kapaza, hebbes, 2dehands, ebay, …) ging ik dus op jacht naar een gebruikte Nokia e61i. Koopjeszoeker biedt de zoekresultaten ook via RSS (goe bezig Pieter!) aan en ik voegde de feed van die zoekopdracht vorig weekend toe aan mijn Google Reader. 5 dagen, 4 mailtjes en 3 telefoontjes later was de verkoop gesloten.
Nu m’n nieuw oud speelgoed nog herflashen om de toetsenbord-instellingen perfect te krijgen (there’s no such thing as a goedkoop koopje) en we zijn weeral zoet voor een jaartje.