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  • EEVblog #80 – Nokia E71 + Garmin Mobile XT = Embedded Hell

    Posted on April 22nd, 2010 EEVblog 31 comments

    Dave cuts loose on the ridiculous battery life on the Nokia E71 mobile phone.
    The code monkeys at Garmin and Nokia get a serve.


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    • Patrick

      Good post. heads up though, Ovi is a Nokia brand, rather than a separate company

    • Curtisbeef

      Flying Spaghetti Monster be praised!

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Amen!
        May you be touched by his noodly appendage!

        • Adrian

          Ramen!

          • http://lerch.no-ip.com/atm James Lerch
            • EquinoXe

              And may Parmesan be upon Him..

              All Hail the FSM

    • Joe Fenech

      Another good topic!

      Hard to believe that the e71 is one of Nokia’s most successful smart phones. Nokia has released the GPS software recently for free. I
      think the only reason they are working on the fixes is that the installed base of the e71 is large. The unlocked e71 goes on sale for ~$190 quite regularly (usually at Dell)

    • Will

      Great blog post! I must say I’d also been frustrated with my old Nokia phone, this time a 6120c with a perpetually buggy LCD driver (sometimes it’d just go to sleep and never wake up).
      Years after the phone’s release and many firmware updates the problem was still unresolved.

      Add to this a generally buggy operating system with bizarre quirks every so often, and it’s no wonder I gave up on Nokia. Glad to hear I made the right choice.

    • http://thexmoschallenge.wordpress.com/ Berni

      I never liked symbian at all. The whole OS just seams to be like the firmware of some cheep chinese copy of a phone.

      Windows Mobile is the way to go right now with smartphones. The first release of 2002 really was hell with the occasional crashes and slow speed, but the next version already worked like a charm. Only thing is that a lot of the software that comes with is just useless (IE, MediaPlayer, image viewer…) So you have to install some software to make it work properly. But in the end if properly installed it just works.Back when phones just started to be able to play mp3 files you could watch a divx movie on a windows smartphone (With a 3rd party player ofcruse).

    • Prad

      Dave actually made the E91 wear a white rubber while throwing it down. LOL.

    • Ty

      So, third party software used multitasking badly, killed the battery life, and the user (understandably) blamed the phone manufacturer instead.

      I think this is the exact situation Apple is trying to avoid with their extremely cautious approach to third party multitasking on the iPhone. I kind of see their point after watching this!

      • http://www.hyakphoto.com JM

        Yeah, after this I will no longer complain about my iPhone’s lack of 3rd party multitasking.

        You’d think Garmin of all companies would know better on power consumption in mobile devices, though.

    • IanM

      The only thing that makes my E71 crash is realplayer – again, a 3rd party application.

    • Nial

      Dave, you need to make…

      “It’s a heap of shit”

      …your catchphrase.

      :-)

      Nial.

      • http://www.toddfun.com/ Todd Harrison

        @Nial
        I agree! He should make t-shirts with

        • Nial

          I was going to ask for T shirts but it would be hard to capture the wide eyed passion and the accent!

          :-)

          Nial.

    • http://truthspew.wordpress.com Tony P

      Part of it is that when you try to implement multiple function, the complexity goes up logarithmically.

      The synopsis: None of the features will work as well as a device dedicated to that specific function, E.g. a camera, mp3 player, etc.

    • giomini

      I also have nokia E71, installed garmin xt and installed energy profiler, and had trouble with battery life. garmin xt is really a piece of shit, then i tried sygic navigator and works pretty good, never crashed. the only suggestion i can give to you is to unbrand (i don’t know if the word is right) the phone and update the firmware. the most recent ones works better, but sometimes it still crashed, only while writing a name to search in the phone book.

    • ivan

      guys,
      you are lucky you don’t know what software you have in your new car… Dave can remove the battery from the phone but can hi remove the power in the running car? The removing of the ignition key doesn’t help because it is only a signal. Hi can try with the fuses but for safety reasons not all ECUs are powered through fuses.

    • http://www.piku.org.uk James

      I’ve got a T-Mobile G1 (the first smartphone from our benevolent Google overlords) and two days is about average for its battery life.

      Well, it’ll last four quite easily, but then there’s not actually enough spare charge in the battery to do anything useful with the phone when it wakes up from standby.

      The real battery killers are 3G Internet and the GPS. If I run both of those the phone will be stone dead in two hours. And that’s really crap because having live Google Maps on a phone is really useful for navigating around places you’ve never been to before – but not if it’s going to suck the battery dry.

    • http://sven.killig.de Sven Killig

      Thanks for introducing me to Nokia Power Profiler! Seems I have to look over my software, too:
      http://sven.killig.de/Timers

    • http://www.glacialwanderer.com/hobbyrobotics/ Maurice

      Pretty good post, but I disagree on how you bash the Nokia phone when your main source of problems is some software you installed on it. I think you should focus more on the software being “a piece of shit” instead of the phone. The only way for a phone to prevent junk software is to lock down the OS like many BREW systems or the current iphone OS. I’d prefer an OS like Android/Symbian that allows multithreading even if it means when you install a bad app the battery life can go to crap.

      I happen to work for a large mobile phone hardware manufacturer (not Nokia). I hear your pain about buggy and unoptimized firmware. The problem is these new smart phones are incredibly complicated. I focus on 3d graphics drivers and on phones today just these graphics drivers are millions of lines of code. I used to work on PC drivers and in many ways the phones today are more complex. Anything this complex is going to have bugs. In the real world phones will ship when they are good enough or you will be waiting forever for a bug free phone.

      So I’m just saying I hear your pain and there are a lot of smart people trying to make phones better, but realize these are incredibly complex systems. We’re not talking about a flashlight here :-)

    • Robert

      So, you’ve been unhappy with the phone from almost day one yet, two years later, you still haven’t returned it? For someone so outspoken I found that rather strange.

    • http://www.soasystem.com shafri

      i have a fren who got this nokia battery problem complaint and re-sell his handphone to get a new nokia model. my poor fren, if only he knew its just the damned software in it!

    • wtf

      another crapo drive rant. It sucks dave

    • http://toolhacker.com Wartex

      He spends an hour on the blog and does something productive, while you bothered to post just to run your mouth. Run along, loser.

    • Joe Fenech

      Great wtf…please go tell someone who cares!

    • http://monda.hu L

      Such rants make me roll on the floor. I guess I like the style. Keep coming them, Dave! :)

    • Ling SM

      I have n95, e71 and e72 with garmin. If you NEED gps for its functions, guess you have live with its bugs. If you do not need it, guess it is not worth reviewing. To me, it boils to garmin map and its bug. For me, is worth it because garmin has the widest user base that keep updating the map for free and at a fast rate. The navigation prompt faster than others that prompted after and very near junction, but I heard the later ver maybe too slow for e71.

      The other feature on e71 that eats power is the wifi, I set mine to the minimum 4mw, and I could goes for 1 month with recharge if i do not use the smart phone function. But usually I have to charge everyday because I abuse this guy quite badly: gps while listen to audio book, as well downloading podcast daily, and as a bedtime audio player. Guess, if you use it as a smart phone, the leakage is not felt as you need to recharge very often.

    • Wonko The Sane

      To get 20 Days battery life you have to…

      Disable WiFi
      Disable Bluetooth
      Disable GPS
      Disable 3G (HSDPA)

      Stand next to your local mobile transmitter…

      – I would guess that the Garmin hidden utility was polling the GPS module to keep the ephemeris data correct – this can take up to 30 mins to download from the satellites.

      Current software either gets the ephemeris data from the internet, or ‘guesses’ based on the time as taken from the phone – this can cause some errors, but the longer the unit is getting the data from the satellites, the better the positional accuracy

    • JH

      Mobile operators always seem to fill their devices with shitware. I have a Samsung i8910 which runs Symbian s60 5th on Orange in the UK. I suffered through abysmal battery life until I re-flashed the bastard with custom firmware that upped its standby from 2 days to around 10! I even get more than an hour out of it if I use wifi! Moral of the story – Do not trust Mobile operators/developers!