We do need competition

Apple is in the news:

  • Apple, Samsung overtake Nokia in smartphone market
  • Apple Has More Money On Hand Than The US Government

Nokia also:

  • Nokia reports loss of €368m

While Nokia is still the leader in phone market, it has lost the top place in the smartphone market.

In any market, competition is good and monopoly is bad for customers. With the failure of Nokia to be that competition, it may goad Apple into being even more dollar hungry. Nokia always builds phone that integrate well with other non-Nokia technology: be it tethering, a much better file system (though this point is debatable), or support for memory cards. Apple builds devices that integrate badly with non-Apple hardware. Three versions of iPad, each with a different diskspace capacity could have been avoided simply by adding support for cards. Similarly iPad only offers a crippled version of Bluetooth.

I am not against Apple: at this time it definitely has the better product on its shelves. However, we should not write off Nokia either: with our support it can regain the slot that it had, and deserves.

Nokia – continue to build open devices please. In my opinion the following are the most important of the steps Nokia should take:

  1. Stop creating new, incompatible flavours of Symbian. Select one OS for all $200+ devices, and stick to that. Focussing on one platform will help improve it
  2. Support Unicode. iOS has done that for ages
  3. Improve the dialer: the phone is used most for making phone calls. Nokia dialer is from the stone age (Nokia recently pushed an update that improved this big time)
  4. Make the phone snappy even if it means having a faster processor
  5. Let users select which browser they want as default. Let them set Opera as default. This will be the winning stroke over iPhone, which allows only Safari as default

Gurbani search on Nokia!

After working on this for more than two months, I am successful in setting up my Nokia N97 phone to be able to search Gurbani. I normally use SriGranth.org for this, but Gurmukhi characters would not show.

Nokia N97
Nokia N97
After working on this for more than two months, I am successful in setting up my Nokia N97 phone to be able to search Gurbani. I normally use SriGranth.org for this, but Gurmukhi characters would not show.

One easy way to fix this, without adding Gurmukhi Unicode fonts to the mobile, is to install Opera Mini (not the full version, Opera Mobile). Now, enter config: as a URL which takes you to advanced settings page. Set Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts to Yes and then Save. That’s it, now visit SriGranth.org.

If you want to add Gurmukhi support to other applications also, the solution is here; in short:

  1. Download this file http://rapidshare.com/files/327695116/Full_character_support_in_every_language_s60v5.zip.
  2. Unzip, and upload the four TTF files to the /resource/fonts folder on the memory card. Retain the file names.
  3. Restart the phone!

Now, visit SriGranth.org using the default browser. It works! (although the rendering is still incorrect but its better than nothing). Opera Mini based method advised first has correct rendering also, although it will involve higher data download.

I use a combination of both, for best results. However, the second solution comes with a caveat: once the phone is using these fonts, if you connect it to the PC in the mass media mode, the phone reboots. To avoid this each time you need to connect, you will need to remove the card (by pressing the power butting, going all the way down and selecting the remove card option; and then physically removing the card) and then attach the phone to the PC. If you want to connect the card itself to the PC, you will need to use a card reader.

This should also work for other Nokia phones, including 5800EX although I have tried it only for N97.

Once I did this, I was also able to read Gurmukhi emails using the Gmail mobile app. Also, there is a nice browser called UC which can be downloaded from here and also can render Gurmukhi once these fonts are used.

Note that once you update fonts using this approach, all content on the phone will be displayed using this font. If you do not like that, you can always go back and remove these four files and restart the phone.

I am also eagerly awaiting the release of Symbian version of GurbaniAnywhere which will allow me to search Gurbani even without Internet access.

NOTE: Please do post comments if you know of other, better ways of doing this, especially those that do not require an internet connection.

UPDATE 17th Jan 2012: There is now an App for NOKIA for this purpose (please see comment below). Can be installed from http://store.ovi.com/content/227787.