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Sunday 21 March 2004

Mobile phones [billox]

For the last 16 months I've been using the superb Nokia 6310i, a tough, no frills handset with a 7 day standby time on it's standard battery with normal usage.
The problem was that I fucked the case up. Fag burns, impact damage and scratches didn't do it any favours. So I got an el cheapo case off of ebay and it turned out to be a turkey.
So I've been on the market for a new handset for a few months now. It seemed that everything on the market was a new fangled colour screen with polyphonic ringtone rubbish. The smartphones were too big, too expensive, bugged and lacked functionality they should have had. Even the Sony Ericsson T610 was underwhelming, they were all phones that did what my old phone did, but they weighed more, had colour screens and the batteries ran flat in a few days. Fuck that.
Then I found this.... - the Nokia 6600. It's basically an N-Gage in a decent case.
It has 10 days standby time, comes with a 32MB MMC card, support for up to 256MB ones and the Symbian series 60 OS. Good start.
Nice large 65,536 colour TFT screen, low weight and snappy performance.
The real killer application of this phone is the N-Gage games. Yup, almost 100% compatibility. They are about 8 megs each. Bluetooth and IR unfortunatly only support writing to the 6 megs of onboard memory by default, but there is a way round this. Fortunatly mine came with a free Belkin MMC card reader so I can directly shuffle games onto the card, install them and they come up as an icon in the main menu, no pulling the battery out to change games ala the N-Gage. W00t!
The keypad isn't designed for playing games like the N-Gage, but the keypad will take multiple simultaneous keypresses, and the specs that count... CPU, screen size and resolution are all identical.
And of course it has all the Java goodies like Opera, XHTML rendering, support for various email clients, MP3 players, Realplayer and all the normal Java games.
Currently looking at getting a GBA emulator working on it, at this point I'm not really sure weather or not its possible, but there is a thriving community so it will happen eventually.
A damn good buy, if you're in the market for a new phone go get, now!


  1. A word of warning. The fucker wrote this blog 20 mins after buying the phone. Other people I know who've lived with this phone a bit longer winge that it's huge, has nothing like the advertised battery life, and isn't really worth it vs the competition for the price.

  2. My boss has one. It is pretty darn big. I suppose, though, if you want to play GBA stuff on a phone (which is pretty cool no?) then that's worth considering it. Assuming it's possible and at a time when it is possible.
    I'm a little odd in that I like my phone to be good at telephone calls.

  3. Slim, your concerns are well founded, I am down to 2 bars after 24 hours of playing with the phone. I wasn't expecting the battery to behave like this at all.
    I'm hoping it's because I played couple of hours of Red Faction and spent the rest of the day at a local festival taking photos, recording videos then emailing them to the wife who was at home on eBay.
    The size and weight of the phone I'm happy with, it travels well in my front trouuser pocket, where my 6310i used to go. I certainly don't need a seperate bag for it like I did with my old 9000 communicator :)

  4. You'd expect it to be like that with that sort of use though. They can't achieve miracles with batteries yet.

  5. You're just replying to this to get my new profile picture at the top of the EED homepage.A correction to my original blog, the phone supports up to 512MB MMC cards, it's just my card reader that only supports 128MB.
    I have also found a Gameboy emulator for it, a port of Frodo, a C64 emu, a MAME port and even a ZX spectrum emulator.

  6. In that case, I demand a digital photograph of paradroid running on the Nokia 6600.

  7. Find me the ROM and I'll get you one....Ok, got it sorted now, unfortunatly these pics do more to show that my digicam is crap, but you can just about make out that its paradroid. Maybe I'll look into getting a screengrabber. - Is more of a demonstration of how crap my digicam is, but you can just about make out that its Paradroid running.

  8. Phone size - for those of you who haven't seen this phone in the flesh, some pictures of it with other Nokia phones is here....

  9. I think what is clear from all of this is that you have the world's worst digital camera :)

  10. Sorry Billox old boy, but that phone is teh suck. Looks more like a StarTrek phaser than a phone, and please sort your digicam filter out; all your pics seem to have mode_glaucoma set to +1 :)

  11. Yeah, it was $130 AUD, it's one of these cheapo COACH jobbies, (Camera On A CHip) - it's 2MP, just crap.
    Brit, it may look like a phasar, but it doesn't look like I'm trying to cuddle my handheld console when I make a phonecall, ala the N-Gage.
    And I can walk up to random people in the pub and make it play some Star Trek style beeps and then proclaim 'Yup Scotty, no intelligent life here' which is a real crowd pleaser.

  12. I'm not sure I feel comfortable saying this, but ... Billox is right. Ugh.
    I picked up a 6600 yesterday to replace my 13 month old 6310i that was suffering from some dodgy keys. It is a remarkably cool phone.
    The whole process of making calls, sending texts etc is made stupidly easy, as you'd expect from Nokia. In fact, despite my worries, I'd say its easier to navigate around and do stuff than the old super-simple mono Nokia software. Likewise, sound quality in a call is much improved over the 6310i.
    And then there's the other stuff... EMail and Web access via GPRS is great. Its all tightly integrated with the contacts list, so if you highlight a contact, you can choose to send them and email in the same way you can choose to call them or send them a text message. Similarly, if you take a picture with the built in camera, you immedietly get the option to send it to a contact. Fantastic.
    Third party software support is huge. I've discovered equivalents of every program I used to use on my Ipaq, so no need to carry around a bulky PDA anymore. Apps like IRC and Instant Messenger work surprisingly well on the small screen - seems to squeeze more on there than the Ipaq ever did, and no wanky stylus to contend with.
    And yes, it does play NGage games, as far as I can tell at full speed with all the bells and whistles. I've given Sonic and Tomb Raider a go so far, and they're both massively impressive. Hard to believe you can play Tomb Raider on a fucking phone these days...
    Bad stuff: it feels a little bit plasticy, unlike the old 6310i which was of similar built quality to an ICBM. And the PC software is utter toss.

  13. Yeah, I'm getting happier with it all the time. I figured a great way to send pictures, video and even software for free on it through my provider, and I guess it applies to all GPRS phones with email. You can attach as much as your email server will let you relay and in my case I only pay a 22c connection charge, no charge for upstream data on my GPRS service. Beats paying 75c per MMS message.
    I was using the irc client on it last night, I was very impressed by it. Although Slim kicked me off as soon as he saw me, oh well :)-. Oh yeah, and one other thing that really rocks is the handsfree on the thing. I was having a conversation with the phone on the worktop whilst I was fixing myself a drink and I could hear the caller just fine and they could hear me perfectly.

  14. Just discovered a cool little program for the 6600. It's called Psiloc Where I am ( and is kind of a location sensitive event engine.
    Basically, you teach it what certain locations correspond to which it recognises according to the Cell details. You can then assign events accordingly. A simple example is that I've made it recognise when I enter the office, and told it to switch to 'Meeting' profile. This way, my 'Theme From Outrun' ringtone won't cause embarrassment. Another idea would be that you can program it to turn off when entering a cinema. Great idea.

  15. Other great stuff....
    Hold down the menu key to bring up a list of active tasks, you can then use it for task switching between web browser, IM and IRC etc and if you hit C it'll prompt to kill the task. very nice.
    Also, a new version of Smartmovie just came out, it supports the Directshow codecs and Xvid. If you use a 512MB MMC card you can watch whole films on the phone, you can even rotate the image to better fit the screen. l33t!

  16. Well, to steer clear of the accusation that people with three day old phones make hasty judgements, I thought I'd update this blog after three weeks of usage.
    Still basically loving the phone. I put a 128Mb MMC card in and have packed it with NGage games. Most of these are useless other than as eye candy, they're simply not feasible to play on a mobile phone. But its very impressive to drag out Tony Hawks to set jaws agape. I'm also impressed with the level of third party software... in particular, WirelessIRC and Agile Messenger are useful. There's even a port of PuTTY that works surprisingly well and does SSH2.
    Gripes? Well, the battery life isn't stellar. Three days on average, but I'm starting to get the hang of plugging in to recharge when I get into work. There's also an annoying bug when mailing with attachments. If you select a picture from the gallery and 'Send via Email', the picture will be attached and sent normally. However, if you compose an email from scratch and insert a picture as an attachment manually, the picture will be marked as 'text/plain' in the headers. This causes some mail clients to display a stream of nonesense text - the files are intact, and can be saved and viewed, but its annoying nonetheless.

  17. Yeah, I've seen that email bug. I think if you put some text in the email it doesn't do it, not 100% sure on that though.
    I've now settled into a routine of surfing,, and on the tram on my way to and from work now. Works just fine with images turned off and costs me less than a newspaper each morning.
    It works very well for googling answers in pub quizes, recipes in the supermarket and I used ebay on it to compare prices just a few days ago when I was in a department store looking at watches (I turned images on for that)
    I've found a VPN client called Movian which works with all the major vendor's IPSec implementations, a VNC client and as you say Dave, PuTTY (love the way predictive text learns all the unix commands :), so I have full remote access to my home and work LANs when on the move, although VNC is unbearably slow.
    Using the calender full time, I've found that I can beam meetings and calander notes across via Bluetooth to my IPAQ owning colleague and via IR to my Palm Vx owning colleague, pretty handy.
    Found a couple of nice games, one is a Mophun Rally game and the other is an American 10-Ball pool game, both are multiplayer over bluetooth, but yet to try that out, although one person I know now has one now and a couple of others are seriously considering it. I'm still very happy with it.

  18. Googling an answer to a pub quiz :-/

  19. I am running a free polyphonic ringtones site and I am trying to increase the number of links to it. Can you please add my link to your blog ?Titile : Mobile MidiURL :
    Thanks and sorry for the disturbance,Alex Martin

  20. Thanks for that.
    I love the ringtones. I personally adore your rendition of "chariots of fire", which if you listen carefully, appears to have been made by forcing a pig to swallow an accordion, then squeezing it. Enjoy!