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September 3, 2008

Five things I need Ovi to do right now

LONDON, England – Charlie mentioned it the other day, and International Herald Tribune did a piece here earlier so I figured it must be my turn to have a stab. Ovi. Finnish for “door” dontcha know, is being slowly released into the wild and is, it seems, getting better every day. Does it have everything right now? No. But it does have some very cool features which though excited about, I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out.

Syncing has long been one of my big bugbears. The combination of time, laziness and once having my phone stolen means that I’m a voracious syncer [pron. sinker], and treat contacts like a collector would treat his stamps – I don’t mind swapping but I’ll never throw one away. Almost 1,800 contacts sit in my address book which makes the prospect of syncing a scary one. Even over my mobile connection (I first fired up my new Ovi account in Starbucks and couldn’t get on the T-Mobile Hotspot from my phone – huh?)

Surprisingly, I thought, those 1,800 contacts flew from my phone to Ovi in just a few minutes, quickly followed by my calendars, notes and To Dos (the latter two being empty). I also added some headshots of Mike and Charlie and ran both across on a re-sync in seconds. Even Charlie was amazed at the speed. This was the single easiest, and quite possibly fastest, sync I’ve ever done from my phone. No messing with Bluetooth or WiFi, it was fast, and simple. Brilliant. Ovi really need to nothing else, because it has neatly given me a new solution to one my biggest irritations with the need to own a phone – the need to keep a backup of my data.

I added my Flickr account to Ovi too so I can see my snaps on my Ovi homepage. It’s dressage really, in that it’s lovely to watch, but not as meaty as hoofing over fences. It did get me thinking though. What if I could get that same Flickr stream dumped to my phone every time I synced? Now that would be medal-winning stuff. But that’s not all I want. So here it is, the top five things I’d like to do on my Ovi account right now:

1 – Send my Flickr shots to my phone – If I’m syncing anyway, why not send some snaps back at the same time. Would totally save me doubling up and make my gallery on my device a bit more substantial. It’d also be an easy way to turn my phone into a photobook (not all my pictures are taken on a phone!).

2 – Don’t squash my headshots
– Headshots seem to be suffering some form of squashing when they hit my contacts on Ovi. Once that’s fixed it’ll be a cool feature and really make me want to put more head shots on my device.

3 –  Sync my Facebook pictures
– What’d be an easy way to get lots of headshots onto my device, via Ovi? Well, I have a lot of friends on Facebook, and the same friends in my contacts. Mmmm. Given I’m quite liking the whole picture/number combination thing all of a sudden, I reckon it’d be quite cool to sync my facebook friend’s pics with my contacts on Ovi. And then put the whole lot on my phone. It’d certainly save me having to snap my buddies whenever I see them and could end up being quite funny.

4 – Live search in contacts
– This only affects those with loads of contacts, but if Contacts had live search it’d narrow down the list as soon as I start typing a name into the search box. A bit like it does on my E71 homescreen. It’d make finding (and editing) contacts in Ovi sooo much easier.

5 – Make my homepage editable – I’m not one for Notes or To Dos, so they’re the first thing I’d like to lose off my Ovi homescreen. Plus, I’d love to see my Flickr shots in my right or left hand column, and maybe ditch the welcome banner so I’ve more space for my stuff. In short, let me customise it the way I can my Facebook page. Then I’ll be very happy.

Now, I’ve used Ovi for all of about 30 minutes so these really are first impressions. I’m sure there’ll be a bunch more and I’ll be hitting up the dudes in Ovi Care to let ’em know what I think. Meanwhile, take it for a spin and let us know what you think below.