Twitter is better with Gravity

If you own a recent Nokia phone with the Symbian S60 operating system (S60v3, S60v5) and are using the microblogging services Twitter or Laconia, you may be interested in using a new Twitter client for the phone:



Gravity v1.00 is the first fully-featured and native Twitter client for the S60 platform. It supports multiple accounts, Twitter Search, Laconica, TwitPic and wraps everything into a gorgeous looking interface.

  • Compatible with Twitter and Laconica
  • All functions available on your S60 phone: tweet, reply, DM, follow & unfollow, create favourites, search, auto-update and many more …
  • Tabbed view of your Timeline, Replies, Messages, Friends, …
  • Setup and use as many accounts as you want at the same time
  • Twitter-Search section with multiple search tabs and Twitter Trends
  • Post pictures via TwitPic
  • Open URLs from any Tweet
  • Kinetic scrolling on S60v5 ( Nokia 5800 and Nokia N97 )
  • Theme support on S60v3 ( fixed dark and bright theme )

The only downside to this software is that it may create too much traffic whereas the alternative – Twibble (which I’d also used since its first day as a public release) – seems to generate less traffic.

I’m on a 1GB flat for my phone, which means I can generate 1GB in traffic via the phone and only pay 9,90 EUR / month. I actually don’t need 1GB at the moment because we also have DSL here, but it makes sense if you happen to download more than 41 MB / month (9,90€ / 0,24€/MB = 41,25 MB) + it isn’t limited to a proxy server, special online pages or other crazy limitations. And DSL sometimes fails, so it’s a good fall back option.

Creating a sceenshot of Gravity is a bit complicated as the Shift (Pencil) key on the phone (which is used in combination with the middle joystick button) also triggers the input form for new tweets on Gravity:


The beautiful part is that you can really SCROLL between tweets like you would do on an iPhone – bila the touchscreen on my N95 though..


And another good part is that it’s now much easier to insert images on your tweets (Twibble also has this but isn’t as comfy to use).

Gravity comes with a 10day demo version and I instantly (!) registered it after using it for only 2 minutes. Now, you’d have to know for yourself if you’re willing to cough up ~ 10,- € (in Germany – sijui why they are adding VAT on for other countries) for an otherwise free and time consuming service such as Twitter, but then, again, there are other – much more useless – applications for the iPhone ppl are willing to spend money on and also: there are only a few really good applications for Symbian devices. Gravity is one of them.

You’ll also need to access the download page for the registered version via a normal computer as the phone’s internal S60 browser is having problems identifying the .sisx format. Jan, the developer behind Gravity, also mentioned that he’ll be working on some bugfixes now, so maybe there’s a way to include this as well (refers to the purchase of the software directly from a phone. Update routines are just flawless!).

Verdict: If you’ve been on Twibble before, you’ll LOVE Gravity. Highly recommended application.


UPDATE: After some recent updates (currently 1.1x), Gravity also has the following additional features:

  • Configurable Audio Alerts for Timeline/Replies/DM’s
  • Group support for creating custom tabs with user-defined filters (S60v3)
  • Post pictures to MobyPicture and TwitPic
  • Preview pictures from MobyPicture or TwitPic
  • Full-Screen mode on S60v3
  • Built-in auto-update function and beta access for testing the latest features

And while I think that Gravity is the best application I’ve ever bought for a phone, I’d like to add two remarks:

  • There should be a cheaper version of Gravity as not everyone out there is able to cough up 9,95 € on a mobile app – and sometimes it’s technical reasons as to why a prog like Gravity is only successful in developed countries: how would you pay for this app from e.g. Kenya (where there is money but no payment system such as Paypal?). And how about a sponsored (& localized) version with fixed banners? Would it make sense? And what would ppl be willing to spend on an app (in other countries than Germany)?
  • There should be a mobile WordPress editor that’s just as easy to use as Gravity. After all these years of using WordPress for blogs and mobile phones, I’ve often called for better mobile blog editors and tested quite a few on this blog. Twitter indeed already is some sort of microblogging, BUT! it would be great if there also was an easy-to-use editor tool on the phone which could provide true mobile blogging.

liveblogging from AfrikaCamp in Vienna, Austria


Fellow blogger Mzeecedric and I are today attending AfrikaCamp which just started a few minutes ago.
Please stay tuned for more as I will try to update this post throughout the day (see updates below). Oh and btw, there’s no ustream from the event (no videos). Sorry!

First of all: Africa = continent = many different countries, cultures, etc. (just to be clear on that).

AfrikaCamp is some sort of follow-up to the BarCampAfrica , which recently took place @ Mountain View/Google HQ in the US.

It’s my first ever vísit to Vienna btw and I am already quite surprised how great this city is!

10:00 am:
We arrived at W@lz, the location for the AfrikaCamp.

The whole of Austria is covered in snow.

11:00 am:
Sessions planning started, Cedric and I will be talking about and some blogs we’ve created for dev aid sector / German NGOs.

There’s free WiFi. Yaay!


Free chocolate provided by FairTrade. Nice!

Christoph Chorherr giving an introduction to the different session to some of the ~ 40-50 attendants.

BarCamp-styled sessions.

11:30 am:
Attending the first session by Helge Fahrnberger of about and OpenStreetMap project they are doing on Ouaggadougou.
Helge is one of the organisers of the AfrikaCamp.

Helge Fahrnberger talking about and OpenSourceMap.

12:00 am
Christoph Chorherr talking about two schooling projects in SouthAfrica: “social sustainable architecture” and “Ithuba Skills College“. Interesting quote from a school headmaster in SA: “We provide schooling but no education”.

[pic to follow asap]

They are also using dry toilets as the sanitation system. GREAT!

12:47 am
Yours truly presenting Erik’s slides on AfriagadgetP1010348
Mwalimu JKE :-)

Had to recharge my netbook after 6hrs in use. Lovely little live-blogging device (despite of its tiny keyboard).

01:20 pm
Having lunch with a guy called Kavindra who works in Vienna as a consultant at a Indo-European Developemnt Agency. Nice vegetarian stew followed by free drinks – thanks to the organisers of this fine event!

02:00 pm
Attending a session on by Martin Konzett, Karola Riegler, Florian Sturm and Anders Bolin

Audience clearly dominated by MacBooks. Hmm… ;-)

Martin and Anders showing a preview of their upcoming documentary on mobile phone uses in East Africa. Martin says there’s a 90% penetration of Nokia phones in Africa. Very promising documentary btw which will be released soon. Martin and Florian shot it with a Nikon D90 with different lenses

Says this guy is a famous athlete who’s constantly on the phone.

A pouch / CD sleeve made of a Kanga as alternative cover for the upcoming DVD.

Martin also talks about empowerement and mobile financing. Someone from Togo in the audience mentions that we need to have a better infrastructure in many African countries. Debatte started about technology and how it is used in many places.

03:00 pm
Attending a session by Andrea Zefferer & Andrea Ben Lassoued who are presenting their projects @ and

Clean-IT is a project that focusses on an improvement of working conditions among IT-manufacturers (in China) by setting some social standards on the demand side…

P1010374 focusses on finding sponsors who are willing to support disabled kids.

03:30 pm
coffee break

04:00 pm
Giving a short video interview to Martin Konzett and Anders Bolin, both of ICT4D. Talked about AfriGadget and that we’re are currently looking for a French speaking editor who could cover parts of the francophone Africa on AG. I hate being in front of a camera, my first ever interview/pitch. Camera goes on (fisheye lens) and you’ll have to talk about your agenda for 4 minutes.


But I wasn’t the only one – seen here: Florian Sturm, Anders Bolin and Martin Konzett playing the same game with Andrea Zefferer.

04:30 pm
AfrikaCamp continues, two or three more sessions – but without us. We had to leave a bit earlier for downtown Vienna. Met an old friend of mine with whom I’d been schooling back in the days in Nbo and whom I hadn’t seen in ages.

Soo….AfrikaCamp imho was a great success, met many interesting people who are doing interesting projects, having the right visions on what works in the African context and what doesnt (NGOs tend to be more realistic then the bigger donor orgs). guys are quite ambitioned, doing a good job on a tight budget. Make sure to check out their awesome documentary once it’s released on DVD (see comment below)

Else: Vienna is a GREAT city, will def. be back for more. Even my new netbook proved to be portable enough and was a great live-blogging device.

Kudos to Helge, Christoph and Karola who organised this BarCamp + Africa event!

Cheers from Vienna :-)

Florian of ICT4D also compiled a very interesting summary of the sessions I couldn’t attend. It’s a pitty that you can’t follow all sessions at once as everyone has interesting ideas to present.

A list of all sessions + list of interviews are also available.


FireShot Pro capture #43 - 'MobilePress - Enable The Mobile Web' - mobilepress co za

Following my other mobile blogging related posts, both my colleagues @AfriGadget – Frerieke & Erik – adviced me to take a closer look at a wonderful (new) WordPress plugin called MobilePress.

“MobilePress is a WordPress plugin that will render your WordPress blog on mobile handsets, with the ability to use customized themes.” – We’ve seen this feature with others before, but – as the author correctly points out: “Plugins exist, but, at best, contain sneaky ads and backlinks and are not all together well written.” I do share those feelings regarding the WordPress Mobile Plugin as mentioned earlier.

Despite of MobilePress being just the right choice for the mobile accessibility of your WordPress-based blog, I am still using the out-dated WPhone Admin Plugin because MobilePress (currently) lacks one important part: it automatically chooses the right rendering option based on the browser.

Now – I would like to choose that myself! WPhone does that by providing a “use mobile admin interface” checkbox on the WP login screen.

Mzeecedric and I recently had to look for a solution to a low-bandwidth blog-access issue and ended up using WPhone. I would, however, prefer to use MobilePress (also because it’s from SA, yay! :-) once such a “use mobile admin interface” functionality is integrated so that blog editors can actively choose a low-bandwidth login to the WP backend while using a normal browser.

(It’s btw interesting to see how a plugin is used for another purpose – something else than what it had been designed for. See M-Pesa in Kenya and how it is used these days.)

JKE’s Nokia E71 review: (1) mobile blogging

“I just hope it doesn’t arrive when I’m around”, she said. “…coz you’d spend more time with it than with me”.


Donna of WomWorld/Nokia contacted me the other day, asking if I’d be interested in testing the Nokia E71 business phone as a blogger. What a rhetorical question…


[disclaimer: this post is REALLY long! You’ve been warned! :-)]

Continue reading “JKE’s Nokia E71 review: (1) mobile blogging”

Mobile Citizen Reporter

Just in line with my previous series on mobile blogging, check out the following:


Add this for other mobile operating systems (other than Nokia’s S60 line – though Series 60 is quite good for this special task), combine it with a monetary incentive programme (~ citizen reporters get paid in terms of airtime or via M-Pesa for each published multimedia item) and hook this up to or A24.

mobile blogging, part 3

It’s almost one year ago that I published three (1, 2, 3) articles on mobile blogging – and nothing has really changed since then.

Back in 2007, both the Nokia N95 and the Apple iPhone were released – two completely different phones that were only compared on numerous blogs due to setting new standards on each segment: the N95 being a true multimedia phone with a decent 5mp cam, 640×480 @ 30fps video (albeit a mono mic), a (slow) internal GPS module and a really nice multimedia player. With the latest firmware, it even plays flash videos (YouTube & Co.) and has different applications run at the same time (sort of multitasking). The iPhone on the other hand provided a compatible device that suits Apple users – a nice user interface and all-in-one device like the N95 which unfortunately still missed some basic phone tools (MMS, Bluetooth exchange, etc.). And although both phones aren’t the only cool devices out there, they sold quite well. Even if the iPhone doesnt feature all these special goodies the N95 comes with, Apple’s phone still has the best browser on a mobile phone.


GoogleReader on my N95…

Back in 2007 I had bought the N95 because the music player on my Nokia 6230i had constantly failed (due to a bug in the firmware) and because I urgently wanted to have a new, sexy phone. Something that enables a better mobile blogging experience.

And that’s exactly the basic point here: until now, no mobile phone has actually delivered this *sweet mobile blogging* experience so far.

Back in 2007, I argued that it’s a software issue. And still believe it is. So instead of buying new phones, a systematic adjustment between the phone’s software (firmware & single programmes) and your blogging platform (WordPress, Vox, Typepad, etc.) comes into mind.

Sure, there’s this WP iPhone app some of us have tested some time ago, but still: it doesnt work that well, and it doesn’t provide a similar experience we’re having online on our laptop, surfing the net with decent browsers on bigger screens with full JavaScript support etc..

And this – I believe – is also one of the many reasons for the success of Twitter. Twitter just filled that gap on mobile blogging, phone manufacturers have failed on providing. Why? Because that special Twitter experience is the same whether you’re online via a browser window on your laptop, use it via an extra widget somewhere on the desktop, have it run as a stand-alone utility on S60 & iPhone platforms or just use SMS (for sending only, though).

You know I had a discussion with my Minister of Finance earlier this week on getting a new phone (again), and I had mentioned the new Nokia E71 and why it could be an improvement on what I am looking for (~ mobile blogging device). However, with the above mentioned discussion on mobile blogging being a software issue, I am rather confused now and think I should stick to my N95 at this point. Maybe wait for Google Android’s phone being released by the end of this year?

Another interesting developement since 2007 is the success of so-called Netbooks – which are lightweight laptops at 7″-10″ screen sizes, often equipped with an energy saving CPU, a solid state disk and enough flexibility to provide surfing the net, answering your e-mails and doing some other office work. Battery runtime still is an issue though, often only giving 2-3 hrs. Netbooks are currently sold for 300-400,- EUR in Europe and are small enough to fill that special gap the need for mobile blogging has created.

So here’s my conclusion: instead of waiting for the ultimate mobile web experience via a dedicated & maybe also expensive smart phone, I’ll bet on another setup: ppl – especially those in need in a rural Africa – will imho be introduced to the combination of basic GPRS & UMTS (3G) phones, hooked up to cheaper laptop computers such as netbooks.

Not today, not tomorrow – but maybe in two years time when basic netbooks wil sell for ~ 150,- EUR and will also be sold on the African continent in a big style. Why? Because a mobile phone is – although it is often shared with members of the extended family – still a device for a single user (despite of these new Nokias that come with multiple phonebooks). A computer though can easily be shared with others. Here’s what I had in mind:


Solar panels are already for sale in rural Kenya as well as simple GPRS-capable phones, netbooks could be equipped with a free & open OS (+ BT, serial port & USB cable driver package) and it would still cost below the amount you’d normally spend on a) getting a normal desktop pc online or b) a fancy smartphone that just still doesnt deliver the real web experience.

And the best part: this setup isn’t reduced to the needs of a rural environment, but also applies to urban areas in the US, Europe or Asia. In other words: if I had to do true mobile blogging right now, I’d go for this setup (ok, maybe without those solar panels).

Netbooks are what Twitter is used to be to SMS: added value.

mobile blogging, part 2

Mobile blogging…as in blogging directly from the phone or another portable device other than notebooks. Why would someone want to blog from a phone?

Well, computers in the form of desktop personal computers or laptops are still expensive. Despite of relatively high initital costs, an uncertain power supply and restricted internet access not only in “underdeveloped” countries for conventional computers, interesting stories are often best caught through the use of mobile devices. Another very important reason is that many consumers today are using mobile phones as the mobile phone sector is a fast growing market. We do not necessarily need to have a look at the unstable political situation in a country like Burma/Myanmar to understand the importance of being able to directly post content to the internet through a mobile device – but it serves as a good example to illustrate what should be possible with todays technology.

Obviously, the process of mobile blogging may be split up into a) the creation of content/media and b) uploading everything to a website/database on the internet.

As mentioned in my previous post on this subject, I initially assumed that it would all depend on the right gadget.
An advanced smartphone with a dedicated QWERTY keyboard does of course add comfort to the process of entering longer text, but it isn’t necessary to use one in order to get your stuff online. Hence it comes down to the right software solution on both the phone and online.

Another interesting observation is that manufacturers of mobile phones have in the past often only put an emphasis on giving users the ability to pull content from internet to their phone. Apple’s iPhone is a very good example for this as it comes with a media player which plays YouTube videos and a flexible browser which even display the URL. But also other phone manufacturers like the big players Nokia and SonyEricsson implemented RSS-capable browsers into their phones that automatically pull the required content from the internet without any computer in between. Now compare that with other mobile multimedia devices such as an iPod or a Creative mp3 player, which in the past always required a computer in between to synchronize content. With todays mobile phones, you can directly pull content from the net via GPRS, EDGE, UMTS or WiFi. Sexy.

The internet, though, and especially the Web 2.0 approach online lives from user generated content. I think that the use of the internet through a mobile platform will become more and more important in future, especially since mobile phones have become the leading platform for IT in developing countries.

And this upcoming development where we’ll see global players like Google distributing a sound software solution which combines and contains all these different services (telephony, messaging, streaming of multimedia content and uploading it to a site online) is reason enough to believe that we’re just at the very beginning of mobile services. Especially those that are I) easy to use (~usability) and II) don’t cost anything extra to the user – because he’s the one who creates content. Mobile phone operators seem to have understood that so far, which is why everyone wants to jump on the train of providing the right platform for content generation.

Anyways, I promised to deliver a small – not complete – overview of decent phones that already add some comfort for compiling mobile blog post. If you think there’s any phone that should be part of this list, pls feel free to drop a comment below. Thank You!

Ok, let’s start with Nokia ‘s range of phones:

1. Nokia N95

nokia N95

Since I am using this phone, I can acknowledge that it’s a great phone with a good camera but lousy built quality (compared to other slider phones), a slow camera (autofocus), weak battery runtime, chronical shortages of RAM which limits true multitasking and a simple T9 keypad – which of course doesn’t offer the same comfort as a QWERTY keyboard. However, since it is one of Nokia’s flagships and just offers a wide range of services at once, I included it here in this list. The N95 also connects to Nokia’s SU-8W bluetooth keyboard:


The downside to this external solution? Relatively small keys, a bluetooth connection that will further drain the battery on your phone and a huge price of at least EUR 100,-. That’s a lot of mbeca just for a keyboard.

The new N95 8GB version (N95-3) as well as the improved version for the US-market (N95-2) come with an improved battery and more RAM and some other minor changes that don’t affect its blogging capabilities.

2. Nokia E90


Woooohaaaa! Expensive, bulky and a little bit buggy, which is why Nokia took it from the market for some weeks. Since it’s also based on the Symbian S60 platform (as opposed to the previous “Communicator” models which were based on Symbian S80 platform), it also runs the same programs as other S60 3rd edition phones. Comes with a sweet QWERTY keyboard (as pictured above), 3,2mpix cam (which is ok), two displays (!) and average battery runtime.

3. Nokia E70

nokia e70 silber


Fellow blogger Kirima is using such a phone for surfing the inet from his rural home. I like this phone, even the previous models that came with a foldable keyboard like this one were nice (although they are known to be having some software issues…).

4. Nokia E61/61i/62


Sigh. The E61 (no camera, joystick instead of joypad) and the E61i/62 are very nice for mobile blogging. Especially the above pictured E61i which comes with an average 2mpix cam and a perfect QWERTY keyboard as well as the whole connection range of GPRS up to WiFi. VoIP included. Sweet!

5. Nokia E51

Best Nokia release imho. A small, brick-styled (candy bar) business smartphone with a 2mpix cam, the S60 platform and VoIP capabilities. This phone will sell quite well, I think, despite of its humble appearance. Comes with a T9 keypad.

6. Nokia N93/93i

nokia N93i

I played with the N93 and the N93i in a shop last weekend, and while N93 is still better than the N93i, both phones are actually only good at recording videos because of their stereo microphones (important fact) and extremely good lenses + optical zoom. No QWERTY keyboard although of course you can also connect the above mentioned bluetooth keyboard.

7. Apple’s iPhone

iphone bastel anleitung

…delivered to you as a printable cut&glue version (pdf), because that’s the best way to handle this design object. :-)

Seriously, the iPhone is a great innovation and comes with a VERY unique user interface. It lacks a few features that other phones have but has its own market and will therefore be just as good as other phones. I like the iPhone although I’ve figured out for me that it does not have what I need in a phone.

No exchangeabooool battery, no keypad or keyboard = no tactil feedback while pressing the virtual keys on the display, no MMS (not really needed if e-mail is used instead), lousy camera. I think the iPhone is good for WiFi environments – so if you’re in the USA and hopping from one Starbucks WiFi hotspot to the next – then this is your phone.

Have to ask fellow bloggers Christian and Erik on their mobile blogging experiences. And what about the iPhone that was on display @ Skunkworks Kenya earlier this week ?

8. SonyEricsson K800i


SonyEricsson’s sweetest phone ever (except for the T39m, yes :-)!
Comes with a nasty little joystick that often tends to retire within the first three months, but satisfies its user with a very decent 3,2 mpix cam and the best T9 keypad from SE ever. Included in this list because I see many ppl using this phone as a camera and music player. Actually had plans of buying this as a substitute to my N95.
The K800i comes, like most other new SE phones, with a little program that enables direct uploads to (= Google). More on this later (part 3) as Nokia also supports the “blogging” platforms offered by Yahoo!.

Hmmm….SonyEricsson => Google and Nokia = > Yahoo! ??

9. SonyEricsson P1i

sony ericsson p1i

The SE P9i comes with a full QWERTY keyboard, a 3,2 mpix cam, WiFi and a stylus similar to those found on Windows Mobile phones.

10. SonyEricsson M600i

sony ericsson m600i

Obviously, the M600i comes without a camera but with a QWERTY keyboard.

11. HTC phones….

This list will never be complete, and while I am just confused about which HTC phone I should add to this list (Aegeus, saidia mimi tafadhali…si i hear u r back online anyways :-), I will update this post during the next few days and even deliver a part 3 which will cover the other side of the game: the software solutions that make mobile blogging possible.

Pls stay tuned!

mobile blogging, part 1.5

As long as part 2 on mobile blogging is in the pipe (blogging…as in “publishing content online”), check out this story on the “Mobile Journalism Toolkit“.

An impressive setup with the right, self-made (!) add-ons to improve the N95’s performance. Now I only wish Nokia would improve the firmware on the N95-1 and even add some extras to the S60 browser.

(note to myself: i should become a journalist so that I can get my hands on fancy gadgets instead of saving my mbeca for these gimmicks..)