Nokia N95 - from a developer's point of view

Tags: programming, j2me,

Added: 2007-05-23T10:55

Nokia N95 - from a developer's point of view

(Updated 2007-05-27 - see below)

I've had my hands on the Nokia N95 now for about a week (thanks, work!).
I was excited to get it, as it had build in GPS - which my N80 didn't.

However, there are a few flaws.

* Battery life.
* GPS sensitivity
* SatNav - or rather not.
* Easy to crash/hang
* Applications aren't killed properly by the phone
* Security permissions

Battery life.
The battery life isn't too great - however, if you turn off Wifi scanning, and turn the screen brightness down, and set the timeouts short, you'll be OK.

The main thing I wanted this phone for was to be able to write location based apps - without the need to carry round an external Bluetooth GPS device.
It seems to take about 5-10 minutes sometime to get a lock, which is very long. Other times, it's there in a few seconds.
Suprisingly, it works better indoors than the external GPS device I used to use. I can only surmise that if it knows where it should be, it can listen more sensitively to the signals.

It has GPS. Which tells you where you are. It can display that location on a map. It can (by going on the Internet) download routes from A to B. However, if you want the functionality that you get in a car based SatNav - i.e. the voice telling you where to go - you have to pay a fee.
Otherwise, you have to keep looking at the screen, and checking that your current location is on the blue line that connects your start to your destination.

Easy to crash/hang.
Reboots so far? About 20. Hangs that needed the phone power cycled? About 50. And that's in a week. (Admittedly, lots of the hangs are caused by me loading a J2ME app on to it that doesn't exit properly. However, holding down the blue key should bring up a "task manager" that you can kill it off by - but this doesn't work).

If for example, you are trying to browse the web - if you press cancel when it is displaying "Connecting via ", it will reboot the phone.

Applications aren't killed properly by the phone.
When re-installing an app, if the app is currently running the phone kindly mentions that it "can't remove app when running - kill app?". So you say "yes", and it does something, but doesn't kill the app. You have to reboot the phone to be able to re-install the app.

Security permissions
Not sure if this is a problem with the phone, or the settings applied by the Telco, but I can't seem to read/write from the phone storage.

String url = "file:///C/Debug/foo.debug";
FileConnection filecon = (FileConnection), Connector.READ_WRITE);

throws java.lang.SecurityException: Access denied.

So - if you're a general user, it'll probably be a fairly good phone.
But if you're a developer, it can be quite annoying.
I'm currently on SW version v10.0.018 (15-03-07) RMS-159 N95 (44.01) so I'll eagerly upgrade when there is something to upgrade to.
Currently, although I hear about a v11, it doesn't seem that it's available on the Nokia Updater to Orange UK phones (yet).


I've flashed it to 11.0.026 - I'll let you know if there are any improvements. However, I'm still missing the SIP client.

posted by Calum on 2007-05-23T10:55 under

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