Posts Tagged ‘Nokia


A Trip Down Memory Lane: A Tribute to Nokia

If you’re one of those old enough to have a mobile phone in the late 1990s and early 2000s, you’d know how prominent Nokia was as a brand.  And as we finally bid farewell to this once great brand, I thought of giving tribute by having a trip down memory lane.

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Fitness Fanatics Rave About Lumia’s SensorCore

A lot of gadgets today are equipped with sensors that measure your steps and your calories.  However, despite the global increase in the usage of health apps, not all of them offer a more holistic approach to health and fitness.

Lumia 630, Lumia 1520, and the Lumia 930

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Gear Review: Nokia Lumia 630

I’ve recently featured the Nokia Lumia 630 as a “fitness phone,” but how does it fare as a smart phone?  Here’s my more detailed review:

Lumia 630 packaging

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Meet the Nokia Lumia 630: The Fitness Phone

Last Saturday, July 05, 2014 I was introduced to “the fitness phone” Nokia Lumia 630, Bing Health & Fitness, and Windows Phone 8.1 all at the same time, coinciding as well with Bing’s fifth anniversary.  What does a “fitness phone” have over typical smart phones you ask?

Lumia 630

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Sports Tracker: Now Open

To those who have been eagerly awaiting the new Sports Tracker site, well it is officially open for business!  If you were a user of the old Nokia Sports Tracker Beta you still have until August 31, 2010 to import your workout history into the new site.

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Technology Review: GPS on A-GPS—Alternatives to Garmin?

Garmin Forerunners are arguably the most practical GPS (Global Positioning System) solutions for runners albeit comes at a premium price.  That premium fortunately gives room for alternative solutions but aside from competing brands, an option that is getting more prevalent are devices with embedded A-GPS (Assisted GPS).

A-GPS is a system which can improve startup performance of a GPS satellite-based positioning system by having GPS computations handled by third parties like cellular network towers.  The result is less processing power required on the device, less power consumption, and faster location acquisition—at least on paper.

A-GPS is now widely available in a variety of consumer products from digital cameras to laptops but more commonly on mobile phones.  A-GPS is a sensible alternative to Garmins because of its availability and relatively lower cost, but are they really good enough?

The competitors of this test

The Test

For this test we’ll need the following:

  • A device with A-GPS
  • A software to track the A-GPS readouts
  • The great outdoors

For this test I’ll be using Nokia 5800 ExpressMusic, currently situated in the middle tier of the price range.  All settings are set to defaults except that network support (Wi-Fi, HSDPA, 3G, Edge, or GSM) is disabled effectively disabling the “A” (assistance) in the A-GPS and focusing on its GPS capabilities.

I opted to disable network assistance for practical reasons: the cost of bandwidth (typically P10 per 30 minutes of usage which is the minimum) and availability of network (Wi-Fi and 3G isn’t always available all the time everywhere).

Utilizing the device’s A-GPS is Sports Tracker 3.01 for Symbian Series 60 by Sports Tracking Technologies, available for free download via Nokia Ovi.  Alternative tracking software is also available for various devices and platforms but I chose this software as it is specifically designed for Nokia Series 60 devices.

I’ve had my Nokia 5800 for quite a while now but wasn’t really able to successfully track a run because of A-GPS’s major drawback—time to first fix (TTFF), or is the time it takes for your location to be pinpointed.  When we run we usually are eager to start our run as soon as possible so we’d rather start running than stand by for the device to have a “fix.”  Fortunately though, during New Balance Trail Adventure Run, I had enough patience to wait for that fix while waiting for the gunstart.  Of course I still had my Garmin Forerunner 405 to validate the results my Nokia 5800 would track.

Nokia 5800s aren’t the handiest devices around (111 × 51.7 × 15.5 mm) so I had to place it in one of the pockets of my hydration belt for convenience.  The drawback was that I had to start it earlier before gunstart because of accessibility issues and when the race was over I actually forgot about it and was able to end the track after a while resulting in a slightly longer distance.  Running with a device that really isn’t designed for such activities are manageable but can be a bit cumbersome and may take some time to get used to.

The Results

At the end of the day I was finally able to compare the GPS readings between my GF405 and Nokia 5800.  The result: practically the same! I was really surprised that both readings are almost exact copies each other.  At this point we can easily say that the GPS in A-GPS devices do complement more expensive dedicated GPS devices.

Comparing GPS readouts

Here are my assessments:


  • A-GPS devices works practically the same as dedicated GPS devices
  • A-GPS devices are relatively cheaper than dedicated GPS devices
  • “Real-time” plot of your route depending on your software


  • TTFF is very, very long without assistance (significantly more than 10 minutes)
  • The accuracy of A-GPS devices (at least as far as my Nokia 5800 is concerned) are very low compared to dedicated GPS devices (normally at 30 meters compared to a typical 5 meters for GF405)
  • Activating assistance (even through Wi-Fi) doesn’t guarantee a faster “fix”
  • Activating assistance is costly unless you have unlimited data plans
  • A-GPS devices aren’t always portable
  • A-GPS devices’ tracking capabilities are software dependent (normally third party software)
  • Uploading your GPS tracks online is trivial


Tracking-wise A-GPS devices work the same way as dedicated GPS devices although at a much lower accuracy but the difference is practically negligible as far as tracking your route, distance, and pace is concerned.  Depending on your software you may even see your actual route in “real-time,” a feature that isn’t always available in dedicated GPS devices (like GF405).  Typically A-GPS devices are much cheaper than dedicated GPS devices (my Nokia 5800 is much cheaper than my GF405) but despite all of these I still don’t see it as a serious alternative.  Its biggest drawback, the very long TTFF, is enough to turn most users off especially if they have experienced dedicated GPS devices like Garmins.  I remember being furious when my GF405 didn’t lock within five minutes but even in an ideal situation I never saw my Nokia 5800 lock within 10 minutes, even in the presence of Wi-Fi!  (I think 3G is the preferred medium of assistance for A-GPS.)  In fact the first time I used A-GPS on my 5800 it took 30 minutes before it was able to have a GPS lock.

To summarize, if you have A-GPS feature with your portable devices and have enough time to wait for it to “fix” it is a viable alternative to dedicated GPS devices like Garmins, but if you can afford it nothing beats a “dedicated” device.  At the current state of technology it isn’t good enough yet to replace dedicated devices but is good enough to complement it.  With all the “overheads” I had to consider for it to work I’d say I learned to love more the convenience my GF405 gave me.  In this case you really get your money’s worth.  With the rate of improvements in technology who knows maybe one of these days an A-GPS device will come out matching the “dedication” of Garmins, but until then Garmins still rule!

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Nokia Sports Tracker is Closing!

Just as when I’m getting the hang of using the A-GPS of my Nokia 5800, the tracker site is closing!  Here’s the excerpt from

After two and a half years of operation, the Nokia Sports Tracker beta service will close as of June 30, 2010.  Thanks to all of you exercise enthusiasts who used the service and contributed valuable feedback to its improvement.

We want you to stay active.  You can keep tracking workouts through a new, non-Nokia service provided by Sports Tracking Technologies available for free in the Ovi Store.  The new service is open for registrations at, and you’ll even be able import your workout history from Nokia Sports Tracker until August 31, 2010.

There you go, you still have some time to transfer your Nokia Sports Tracker data to the new Sports Tracker website which is now accepting pre-registration and will be launching soon.  As an alternative you may simply export your data from your phone as a GPX file and import it to third-party sites like Garmin Connect which I use to store all my Garmin data (Garmin not required to signup), albeit would be exported as one lump of data losing all lap details.

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