Three New Amazing Apps from Nokia BetaLabs

The Nokia N8 came out late last year. This feature packed mobile device is a wonder to hold in the hand. It is so well built – with all metal construction and gorilla glass, this mobile phone feels as solid as a rock. However, what kind of apps make the N8 a great device?

The folks at Nokia BetaLabs have been hard at work trying to make the N8 useful and easier to use. I’ll highlight three of the most recent gems to come out of Helsinki in the recent weeks.

Nokia Sleeping Screen

Most mobile phones are useless when the screens are turned off.  Especially the iPhone – that thing is just dark with no LED light or indication of a missed call email. Nokia Sleeping Screen aims to give you some indication of what’s going on with your phone while it’s been sitting on your desk, with the screen powered down for battery saving.

With Nokia Sleeping Screen, time and date are always present on the device while it sleeps. If you miss an SMS, call or calendar event; an attractive animation pops up and alerts you to this event. Also, there’ s a cool battery charging animation that pops up when you’re charging.

See the video below for more info:

Nokia Drop

One feature I love about Android is Chrome-to-Phone. This utility allows you send links, maps/directions and other bits to your Android phone, straight from your browser. The Chrome-to-Phone feature is standard in Android 2.2+, and Nokia Drop is Nokia’s stab at emulating this awesome utility.

Nokia Drop comes in two pieces – first is an application that downloads to your phone and waits to get push notifications from your browser. The other piece is a browser plug-in, either for Google Chrome or Firefox, that can send three types of content to your phone: 1) links, 2) sending images to your phone as a file, and 3) sending an image and having it assigned as your phone’s background.

Granted Drop is a little limited in what it can do now, but Nokia will be adding functionality as time goes on. I’d love to see the ability to send links from an address and see Ovi Maps pop up with automatic navigation and further ability to send files through the cloud.

As before, here’s a video that explains the concept further:

Nokia Situations

I love my phone to be smarter than me. That is, when I am going into certain contexts, I want it to sense this and do certain things. Such as, when I go to work, go in to Meeting mode so my phone only beeps when I have a call, rather than ringing loudly.  Also, from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM, I want the phone to be silent because my I am sleeping.

I do these tasks routinely, but wouldn’t it be nice for the phone to do it in the background? Nokia Situations facilitates this. For example, when the phone senses my workplace’s wireless network, the phone goes into Meeting mode. You can set a variety of triggers to do certain actions, based on the time, wi-fi networks or location.

It’s a great utility and I’m glad it’s a reality now in Nokia devices.

Another obligatory video:

Conclusion

It’s awesome to see BetaLabs pumping out awesome apps that give us some visual eye candy and effective utility to our Nokia devices. Kudos to the BetaLabs team and keep it up!