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Nokia, GPS, Mobile Browsers, and Elephanta Island



Tues 02.19.08 – Photo of colorful lanterns taken by Ms. Jen on the walk up to the Elephanta Island caves with a Nokia N82.
Due to the lack of reliable internet connection, I am once again using the Lifeblog on the Nokia N82 to post this photo and text to my blog. Go Lifeblog Go. And get GPS embedding capacity while you are out there.
Now on to the subject at hand… If you were to go to the Nokia Urbanista Diaries website and look for my photos from today’s expedition to the Elephanta Island caves, you would see my photos going out and coming back, but no photos for while I was there.
Why you ask? Well, if Sports Tracker does not have a data connection it will not map photos. No data connection means that Sports Tracker will think that there is no photos associated with the “workout activity” (yucky sports language again).
From one developer to another, this is silly. I had the GPS positionsing on at the same time, ShoZu was able to map all the photos even on Elephanta Island where there is no data connection to the main land cell towers. [Update from later: I realize that it is good to use the cell tower / data connection for when one does not have satellite, so I would like to propose here that Sports Tracker use both or one when the other is not available, but not to make it so that if there is no data connection that the photos are not uploaded.]
Why is Sports Tracker relying on triangulating one’s position from the data connection to the cell tower rather than the far superior native GPS positioning that is already on the N82? I rechecked my settings, with live sharing off I should have the ability for Sports Tracker to rely on satellite data rather than triangulation from cell towers.
Thus, when I went to upload my “workout” to the server, no photos were found. In terms of our photo work flow for posting mapped photos to the Urbanista site, this means that I needed to find a computer with an internet connection that also has a usb port so that I could upload the cave photos manually to the Sports Tracker “workout”.
This is when the trouble started: where to find an internet cafe: found; do the computers have a usb port to use: no, too old or already taken with mouse & keyboard; does the ancient computer at internet cafe have flash 8 or 9 installed and/or the latest browser that will support AJAX: no, no, no; does the computer at the internet cafe have connection faster than molasses during a blizzard: no, the frozen molasses is faster. Epic Sports Tracker upload in India Fail.
Being the determined little taurus turtle that I am, I went back to my hotel room and started to see if I could access my Sports Tracker account from the N82. You can, kind of. The site mostly loads, which is more than the nseries.com site does, due to the fixed width layout there is some amusing overlapping. (Did the dev team at Sports Tracker test the site on the mobile device, the N82, that they are co-promoting with their own product?)
Once I was logged into my account the list of workout activities did populate on my profiles page, a grey box with a whirling circle sat down to the right a bit loading loading loading, never to load. Whether that grey box was the flash obect for the photos, map or workout list, I did not know as none of the three ever loaded on the N82’s browser.
Now, supposedly the N82 comes with FlashLite. Supposedly.
Ok. Let’s talk folks. If Nokia or Apple or any other mobile device maker wants to market their high end devices beyond the US & European markets, then they need to acknowledge that not everyone has access to a internet enabled computer and if they do, it may only be of glacially slow speeds. And in some markets, the mobile is preferred over the computer.
A friend of mine in LA who hates computers recently bought a iPhone and after a month or two of using it realized that she wanted to purchase some music on iTunes and needed to update her iPhone. Only one problem, she couldn’t do either, as she does not and chooses not to own a computer and the iPhone requires a computer (Mac or PC) to interface with the Mothership. I have previously blogged here about my repeated frustration with Nokia’s PC only focus. Nokia and Apple, what about the millions and billions out there with no computer and whose only connection to the internet is your mobile device? Time to make all activities be functional purely from the mobile device with out having to access a computer.
Given that Nokia has a huge market presence in India and I have seen by far more Series 60 Nokia devices out and about in India than I ever do back in LA, should not all Nokia websites and software / web applications be fully functional on the phones produced by Nokia?
Flash may tell a lovely story to computers on a fast broadband, but what about the rest of the world?
The nseries.com website does have feeble mobile version, but as soon as you click on the links one will either get an error code or a very minimal functioned and designed site. Please look at m.twitter.com or m.flickr.com for great examples of fully funcitoning and well designed mobile versions of the Twitter and Flickr web apps.
It is possible to break out of our preconceived notions that our main work flow occurs on a computer and that the mobile is an additional device. The mobile is the main device for more people around the world than not. Let’s move into the present with the devices and the applications.

2 Responses to “Nokia, GPS, Mobile Browsers, and Elephanta Island”

  1. Max

    Me from Mumbai,India..I have to agree with u that most of the internet cafe’s here have crappy hardware & really slow internet connections..But thats not the case everywhere..Here me and most of the people here have home connections with speeds of 2mbps(2048kbps) download and upload is pretty decent too between 256 to 512 kbps max.And also we have EDGE mobile services operational here which give speeds of 240 kbps max. on the mobile device itself.
    Unlike 2 mbps home connections these Internet cafe owners cant afford such speeds and end up providing sloppy speeds maxing out to 256 kbps.
    I read womworld regularly and ur blog sometimes.All i can say is this if only i had known of ur plans i would have loved to help u.Allowed u too access my PC.Atleast u wouldnt have had problems then uploading ur pics to the sports tracker & other places.