Nokia Conversations – Threaded SMS

by admin

in Must-Have,Utilities

This is a review of Nokia Conversations application.

Review Conditions

The Nokia Conversations application was installed on a Nokia E71, an S60 3rd edition, FP 1 device.

Installation

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.

First View

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.

Main Features

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.

Handling

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.

Weaknesses

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.

Conclusion

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.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

twerneexoxops September 13, 2009 at 9:30 AM

Any here??

smoogeimibe August 14, 2009 at 4:55 AM

This look interesting,so far.
If there are any real people here looking to network, leave me a post.
Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.

See ya,

Clicycicdat April 24, 2009 at 6:16 AM

I’m the only one in this world. Can please someone join me in this life? Or maybe death…

HillComanchy March 6, 2009 at 8:17 AM

I have an old blackberry 8700c, I want to create a home screen icon that takes me directly to the SMS Inbox folder, or to a specific folder from my exchange mailbox, how do I do that?
I found out that pressing alt with the wheel lets me move or delete an existing icon from the homescreen, but how do I add an entirely new one ?
http://www.cebst.com/blackberry+8700c.jpg
That’s what it look like: http://www.cebst.com/blackberry+8700c.jpg

Jonathan February 15, 2009 at 10:53 PM

I don’t think I’ll be installing this. I bought this phone after seeing (and using) threaded SMS with the WMP update and the iPhone. The last revision was painful–if it isn’t integrated it isn’t useful.

Also I could not adjust the font size in the app. I’m using the Psiloc? font magnifier to make the E71 screen usable…not just a giant banner displaying three lines of text…and it hurt my eyes having such large text.

I assumed it had (industry-standard) threaded-SMS when I bought the phone…and it still doesn’t. I’ll keep checking back. Does Nokia want to stay competitive?

Oh, and thanks for the post, I wanted to see if there was an update, have seen it & will keep checking.

Suraj Venkataraman February 16, 2009 at 5:08 AM

Hi Jonathan,
Thanks for sharing your views and your experience.
What would you expect from an “integrated” conversation application?
I don’t think there would be an update soon. betalabs.nokia.com says its pretty stable!

SSSasky January 31, 2009 at 12:27 AM

I’ve been using conversation for a little while now on my e71, and overall, it works pretty well. I have my messaging key (short press) set to open Conversation, so when I get a new text I can go straight to Conversation. Long press goes to messaging.

I always use the green call key to send my messages, and it’s always worked fine for me–it’s never tried to place a voice call. Maybe different hardware integrates the software differently?

My biggest gripe with the program is the lack of customization. I come from a Treo, where the threaded SMS is just small black font on a white background. The message is displayed in full, and you get many lines of text on the screen.

Conversation on the other hand, uses a theme-based background and a huge font. Only the first few words are displayed from each message, and new messages scroll by slowly like a billboard. I would much rather a simpler, smaller font and complete messages, but I haven’t found this yet for s60.

Suraj Venkataraman January 31, 2009 at 8:02 AM

Hi SSSasky,
Inside the conversation app, when I press the green call key, the phone makes a voice call, all the time. Good for you that it works, i.e. sends the message. Maybe the firmware version in different regions are different. I am in Asia (India) and it may be different from the firmware in North America.
Yes, the messages are big and they scroll left to right and that’s quite irritating.

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