Seven months after I published my personal Nokia E71 review claiming it’s Everything and More I hadn’t realised that Nokia would continue to develop new functionality considering by today’s standard, a phone more than 6 months old had to be old somewhat. Perhaps the economic downturn has slow things down and product lifecycles are now stretched much longer than it would have survived the attention span of buyers.
Regardless, I love surprises like this especially when it’s completely unexpected. I had the phone connected to my PC to do a routine calendar sync and midway running Nokia PC Suite (curious, is there such a thing as a Mac Suite?) and received an alert that a new firmware 200.21.188 was available. I hadn’t even bothered to find out what the new firmware was supposed to fix much less the opportunities it would bring. Today I discovered by accident that the new firmware had installed Internet Radio and something dodgy called “My Nokia” along with some new themes.
Palringo continues to be my preferred IM app on the E71 and I know that the developers have been actively rolling out new releases which I’m most pleased. It can still be further improved in the usability department but let’s not get me started about the the one thing that irritates me most in Palringo. Moving on, when Nokia introduced FM Tuning years ago, I thought the concept was quite cool before MP3 monopolised our conscience and that someday we’d be able to listen to a good FM station while we’re waiting for the bus (not necessarily a Brunei past time) or waiting to see the doctor (a common post-festive celebration phenomenon) etc. There is and has been usually just one problem with this concept—radio reception that requires the earphones to be plugged in and is never with me when I needed them!
With Internet Radio, ear phones are completely optional (unless where privacy is preferred). The Station Directory allows you to browse stations sorted by Genres | Language | Country | Top Stations … all no brainer stuff and sound quality comes in Standard (less than 48 kbps), High (48—128 kbps) and Best (> 128 kbps) for those discerning listeners . At home, Internet Radio access by WiFi and comes up with a list of internet stations (you can access them via GPRS or 3G too). Curious, I entered “MIX FM” thinking that this would be the same station as the Malaysian one that I’ve found to be a lot more entertaining and interesting. In just a few seconds of buffering, the E71 changed personality and became a good friend—one that I quickly discovered to require content filtering of some sort. I remember but vaguely the title of a Pussy Cat Dolls track where a certain f word is used in the lyrics and the DJ doesn’t speak a word of English except when he’s saying the name of the station: Mix FM :P Nice huh, a station that plays uncensored hits!
Then I moved on to see what MY NOKIA is about and got the following screen. Oh well, at least some content isn’t available. No big deal—we’re used to not having most stuff anyway like really fast and reliable broadband. Just two nights ago, a photographer friend in Hong Kong had 30Mb fibre broadband installed at his home and he said that new bandwidth should allow him to upload Vimeo HD video files a lot quicker than before! Tsk Tsk.
A behind the scene shot of the setup. I must be out of my mind to go through the steps to shoot the E71 but I was in the mood and even while setting it up, MIX FM kept me entertained. Oh, before I forget, check out also a station in Singapore called “247 Music Radio—24 Hr Non stop Commercial Free Music” Yeah baby, no commercial sounds right! No DJ even better :P
Now, those who are interested in Internet Radio and do not possess a Nokia E71 or similar, there’s this neat little USB powered dongle called iRadio Pop. Plug it right, install the software and you have access to more internet radio stations (the guys at Concepts have pre-programmed your favourite local Brunei stations too) than you can imagine. Perfect for those who fancy a foreign dialect such as Korean (not me but some members of my in-laws are those kind who only very recently became fans of Jan Shim Photography—sure took your sweet time eh girls? :) Those interested in the iRadio Pop can pick one or two up at Concepts Computer store. I understand from a source that they now have the new and attractively priced Acer Aspire M7720-492X that’s powered by Intel Core i7 920 (2.66Mhz / 8Mb cache) CPU. Mighty tempting considering I’m just venturing into resource intensive apps such as Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom for my photography workflow. Am I defecting from Dell? We just wait and see!