Posts Tagged ‘Symbian’

Another Symbian Phone Bites the Dust

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Symbian has lost another manufacturer. Samsung has announced it will discontinue using Symbian on its phones. This follows closely on the heels of a similar announcement by Sony Ericsson. One by one Symbian is losing manufacturers, even members of the Symbian Foundation.

Symbian has been the dominant OS for a long while, but iOS and Android have been rapidly gaining ground. Gartner is predicting that Android will bump Symbian from the number one slot by 2014. Interestingly Microsoft almost falls off of the same chart. Not too many people rooting for Windows lately.

Symbian has remained popular largely due to the high volumes of cheap cell phones that run it. Some higher-end phones, like the Sony Ericsson Vivaz sport Symbian though. At this point the Vivaz is the last of the Sony Ericsson phones to offer the OS. Being a fan of the Xperia line, I am not too disappointed to know that Android is becoming a big part of Sony Ericsson’s future. Nokia is still holding on firmly, but even Nokia is showing interest in its own spin-off.

Do you have a Symbian phone? Did you just pick up a Vivaz or maybe even a Samsung recently? Hopefully you’ll get a lot of use out of it. Your next phone very well could be sporting iOS or Android.

Sony Ericsson Vivaz Now At AT&T

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

AT&T logo

The Sony Ericsson Vivaz is now available at AT&T. The review unit I tested a while back was silver, but AT&T went with Galaxy Blue. There will even be Venus Ruby available for a limited time. The Ruby version doesn’t appear to be currently available, at least on AT&T’s site.

Here are the specs:

  • Symbian OS
  • 3.2″ TFT Touchscreen (non-capacitive), 360 x 640 pixels
  • 8.1MP Camera with LED light
  • 720p Video
  • 4GB internal memory, expandable to 32GB with microSD
  • Bands: GSM/GPRS850/900/1800/1900 MHz, 3G – UMTS/HSDPA800/850/1900/2100 MHz, Edge
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP
  • Touchscreen Keyboard

When I reviewed the phone, it felt like a feature phone. I even called it anything but a smart phone. Sony Ericsson calls it a smartphone, and AT&T requires a smartphone plan though, so evidently I was mistaken. It is hard to picture anything not iOS or Android as “smart” nowadays.

The camera buttons on top, separated by video or still, are a nice touch. I liked being able to push the video button for movies and the camera button for stills. The picture quality at 8.1MP is as good as you’d expect from Sony, which is to say really good. I took quite a bit of video with the Vivaz while I was testing it. I took videos of everything from my son’s t-ball games to some other products I was testing. The video quality was good, but I had some trouble with the zoom. It was kinda choppy when I zoomed in or out mid-video. I was testing a prototype version though, so I am sure they fixed this by the time it was launched. The biggest problem with the camera though that is less likely to be resolved is the lack of a tripod mount. In taking video with the Flip HD or even my Sony Digital SLR, I like to mount it to a tripod. The phone is too thin to accommodate a mount though. This phone was targeted to the point and shoot crowd though, so this isn’t really a deal breaker.

I was able to talk to Sony Ericsson a little about the phone. This is geared for the young college/high school student who wants a really good camera and easy access to social networking tools. The included social networking software gives you access to Facebook, Twitter, and more in a single location. This mimics in part the Timescape app on the Xperia phones, though it was made clear that this is nothing like Timescape.

If you don’t mind using a stylus to type, and you are a fan of Symbian, this could be the smartphone for you. With a 2 year contract, the Vivaz comes in at just $79.99. This price also includes an online discount of $50. $80 for a 720p video camera and 8.1MP digital camera is a great price. If you really want a camera that can make calls, this is really the phone you’ll want to get. The call quality is really good, and the antenna held on to phone calls in typically dead signal areas. I was able to talk through most of the places my calls usually get dropped.

What do you think of the Vivaz? Are you a fan of Symbian? Is Symbian still relevant? Let me know in the comments.

Vivaz Coming to AT&T September 5

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Sony Ericsson

The Vivaz from Sony Ericsson has been announced for a September 5 release at AT&T.

The Vivaz will be available in Galaxy Blue, and for a limited time will also be available in Venus Ruby. The unit I got to test was silver. I think I prefer that color, but the blue isn’t so bad.

Here are the specs:

  • 3.2″ (360×640 pixel), 16,777,216 color 16:9 nHD touchscreen (TFT)
  • 8.1MP Camera with 4x zoom, photo light, auto focus, face detection, image stabilizer, Geo tagging, and smile detection
  • 720p HD Video Camera with video light and touch focus
  • 75MB onboard memory, expandable with microSD up to 32GB
  • Bluetooth with A2DP
  • Video Streaming
  • Auto rotate

The phone is $79.99 with 2-year contract from AT&T after a $50 mail-in rebate. A smartphone data plan is also required. Both AT&T and Sony Ericsson are referring to this phone as a smartphone. In my earlier review I called it a feature phone. I’m still not sure I would call it a smartphone though, especially next to the Xperia X1, X2, and X10.

As I mentioned in my video review, the camera features are really nice. I liked the separate still camera and video camera buttons. The smile detection feature worked really well. The screen is large enough to get a good view of the action while shooting videos.

There were a few bugs on the unit I tested, but I am assuming some of them have been ironed out. It looks like the stylus-requirement is still there. It is easy to lose the stylus that comes with it since there is no place to store it on the phone itself. After a while I ended up using my finger instead of the stylus and simply avoided anything requiring typing. Other than the learning curve and stylus requirement, this phone is worth a look.

Symbian doesn’t offer as much as Android and iOS, but there are a few decent apps available. I downloaded Opera Mini early on and it was pretty useful. The multi-tasking features are easy to use as well. You can go from one app to the next fairly easily.

This is a great camera phone. As I said earlier, I am not sure I would classify this as a smartphone. If it is a smartphone, it should be closer to the Xperia’s $150 price. I think $80 is pretty reasonable for this phone, at least from my experience with it. It takes great pictures and the video light is really convenient. The smile detection feature is among my favorite on the phone. I tested it on a number of different smiles, and it worked every time. I was really impressed with the feature.

If you are in the mood for a really nice camera phone, the Vivaz is for you. $80 is a great price for an 8.1MP camera and HD video camera. There are a number of nice communication features wrapped up in this relatively small package. Be sure to check it out. You can check out my video review of the Vivaz here.