Skip to main content

My new Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic

Recently I bought a Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic Smartphone to replace my aging Nokia 6600. 5800 is Nokia's first device based on the S60 5th Edition platform, running Symbian OS v9.4 on a 434MHz ARM11 CPU. Notable features include large(3.2inch 640x360) resistive touchscreen with tactile feedback, HSDPA(3.5G), 802.11b/g WLAN support, GPS (with optional AGPS), accelerometer, stereo FM radio with RDS, 3.2Mpixel camera with Carl Zeiss Optics, blah blah... the list is quite long. For a complete list of specifications see the link to the device specs page, there is no point in copy-pasting the list here.

After unpacking I plugged in an Airtel 2G SIM and the 8GB MicroSD that came with the device. Unfortunately the state owned BSNL is the only mobile service provider in India providing 3G connectivity. Though BSNL has excellent 2G coverage all over the country, their 3G coverage is limited only to few cities. Other operators are yet to receive licenses to roll out 3G networks. So for the time being, I'll have to remain contended with 2G services, which means no high speed data and no video call.

The sound quality of the device didn't really disappoint me, however being an Xpressmusic phone, I had expected better quality headphones. The HS-45 headphone that comes with it, is of average quality. I plugged in my friend's Sennheiser headset and the audio quality simply blew me away. So there is nothing inherently wrong with the device's audio output, it is just that the supplied headphones are of mediocre quality.

The inbuilt browser is nice. Adobe Flash is properly supported (in fact excellent flash support, one can watch YouTube videos smoothly over a WLAN connection).

GPS reception is good, I could get my location even indoors. However the initial lock-in time is variable. Sometimes is takes upto 5mins to lock-in to the satellite signals, whereas at other times it takes less than a minute. However with AGPS enabled, startup becomes lightning quick. AGPS allows the device to download the ephemeral data about the GPS satellites from Nokia's AGPS server through the internet, rather than decoding the same from the GPS signals. AGPS works only if a cellular packet data connection is available (for some strange reason it can't use WLAN).
 The Nokia Maps application is utter crap, atleast for me. It doesn't provide any detail about any location in eastern India. On the other hand Google Maps just rocks. In the satellite view, I could even figure out the room of the building, where I was. Google Maps also provides turn by turn navigation instruction for traveling from point A to point B on the map. With inbuilt Google Latitude, selected friends can see my instant location on the planet at anytime and I can see them on the map as well.

The inbuilt mail client is simple with minimal features but works quite well. I configured it for periodically monitoring my Gmail Inbox and a few other IMAP Folders and alert me whenever a new mail arrives.

The music player app is good enough for playing wma, mp3, aac, aac+, awb and perhaps someother formats as well. However syncing the music folder with my GNU/Linux computer was a bit troublesome. I'll write about this in a subsequent post. Initially I had to use Nokia Music(part of Ovi Suite) on Windows XP to transfer tracks.
The device comes with a subscription to Nokia music store, which allows downloading of first 100 tracks from the site free of cost. Unfortunately all the songs in Nokia's music store incorporates Microsoft's DRM, making them unplayable in my GNU/Linux laptop. Really annoying! I can't freely play songs that I have legally downloaded.

Anyway as a concluding remark, I must add that the phone is quite hackable(though nothing compared to a Freerunner!), in the sense that Nokia freely provides the SDK/S60 emulator as well as the Symbian C++, Open C++ and Java API for accessing the device features. Nokia has also ported Python to the S60 platform and I could easily get a Python shell running on the device. I could access the shell through a serial console emulated  over a bluetooth link. The well documented APIs, helped me to very easily write simple Python scripts to play around with the sensors(accelerometer, rotation, ambient light, proximity and gps positioning) scattered throughout the device. I haven't written any full fledged application, but the potentials are limitless.


Joanne said…
One thing that bothers me with music phones is their incompatibility with high-def audio formats, although that shouldn't matter much considering the space provided on each device isn't enough to hold these.

audio brisbane

Popular posts from this blog

Force an application to use VPN, using iptables in Linux

Enforcing an application, for example a torrent client like Transmission, to always use the VPN interface or any particular network interface for that matter, is trivially simple using iptables on Debian, Ubuntu or any other GNU/Linux distro.
Personally, I am running Debian Sid on the Raspberry Pi. Occasionally I use it for downloading files ( legal stuff, seriously, believe me :D  ) using Transmission Bittorrent client over a VPN connection. Sometimes it happens that the VPN connection fails and doesn't reconnect for whatever reason and Transmission continues pulling stuff directly over my internet connection, which I would like to avoid. Fortunately it is very straightforward to enforce rules based on application owner UID. Transmission runs under the owner debian-transmission in Debian (use htop to check this) and the following two lines of iptables ensures that any process with owner having UID, debian-transmission, will not use any other network interface apart from the Open…

Some more fun with SSH port forwarding and socks proxy

Few days ago I made the following post:

Prologue: Our Institute has several nice Dual Core Machines deployed for the students. Unfortunately the machines are behind a NAT with no port forwarded for external SSH access. Student's hostel is a bit far off from the computational centre. As such if someone felt the need of accessing the machines during non-office hours, it was a wee bit difficult. The sysadmin would not have agreed to forward any ports. Something had to be done....

SSH has a very useful feature - Remote and Local Port Forwarding. We have an old rickety PIII running Ubuntu 8.04.1 in the Hostel, it is connected to the net and is accessible via SSH from the internet. Using a tiny little shell script running on one of the machines in the Institute, I managed to make the old PIII an intermediate gateway for gaining SSH access to the Institute's machines from anywhere in the internet. The script is of few lines, but nevertheless powerful enough to serve our purpose.


Rendering LaTeX in Blogger.

Rendering LaTeX in Blogger is pretty easy thanks to the JavaScript LaTeX equation render engine from
To enable LaTeX rendering go to the Blogger Dashboard --> Layout --> Edit HTML . Then add the line
<script> type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
just before <body/>. Half the job is now done.
Then, for example to render:
\int_{0}^{\pi}\frac{x^{4}\left(1-x\right)^{4}}{1+x^{2}}dx =\frac{22}{7}-\pi
Use the code:
<pre lang="eq.latex">
The LaTeX code will now be displayed as:
Ofcourse Javascript needs to be enabled in the Browser for the renderer to work.