This is a review of Nokia Conversations application.
The Nokia Conversations application was installed on a Nokia E71, an S60 3rd edition, FP 1 device.
Three applications must be installed. They are the “Nokia Internet Services Support Package”, “Phonebook Extension Manager” and “Conversation”.
Installation is far from straightforward. Follow the instructions to the letter given in the Nokia Beta labs Conversation page.
Installation instructions are given separately for different S60 versions and for N Series and E Series devices.
Its surprising that the most popular smartphone OS, S60 that has been around for several years does not display SMS threads, i.e. grouping of messages in a single conversation into a thread.
Nokia conversations, an application for SMS threading has been in beta for years. Nokia beta labs released a new and improved Nokia Conversations on December 19 2008 and it has been very well received. The update has been a long time coming since the first release in September 21 2007.
The application installs itself in the S60 address book and allows two views – conversation view and the default phone book. The conversation view shows the contacts with the number of messages exchanged with each one. When you select a contact, all the messages are groups one after the other in a reverse-chronological order with the latest message at the bottom, just above the text box where one can write a new message. This is neatly done.
When in Conversation view, contacts in the address book can be sorted based on the time messages were received or based on the alphabetical order. When sorted based on the time messages were received, the contact from whom the most recent message was received sits on the top of the list.
The Conversations can configured to display only the contacts in the address book as opposed to viewing all messages in a threaded format.
The application integrates seamlessly with the address book. It may sound surprising that the Conversations application is not a part of the messaging application but a part of the address book. But I guess that’s because the address book will contain the contacts, which are linked to the messages in the thread. However, you should remember to go to the address book to view and continue a text conversation, instead of the Messaging application. That is not a very intuitive design. When I get a new message, I am always taken to the messaging application to view it. And to reply to the message and continue the conversation, I have to go the address book, which I find mildly irritating. But that’s not a deal breaker for me.
When the Conversation view is selected first time, it takes a couple of seconds to populate all messages from the Messaging application to the Conversations application that’s installed on the address book. This application does not slow down the operations on the address book. I can still search for contacts from the idle screen on my E71.
The application crashed once but overall, its quite stable and does not cause any trouble during use.
I cannot search for a contact in the Conversation View. I find that to be painful since I have to scroll through the entire contact list to pick a conversation with a contact that I want to continue. But then, that could be a design decision too. When you get into a conversation, you will keep receiving messages from a contact and so that message will always appear on the top of the list in the Conversation view. So you don’t have to search for a thread!
The other gripe I have is that I cannot use the “Green” Send Key to send a message in the Conversation View. Because Nokia Conversations is integrated with the address book, pressing the Green Send Key will make a voice call to the contact. That’s not intuitive again but the design of S60 probably has such a constraint. This must be fixed in later versions.
Nokia Conversations is a great application for heavy text users. I am finding it very useful. Despite the quirky design due to its integration with the address book, its a must-have. And its free. Get it at the Nokia Beta labs.