There are many excellent instant messenger programs for your mobile phone, but Nokia's Contacts on Ovi is not one of them.
Contacts on Ovi is Nokia's new name for their instant messaging client Nokia Chat, but it's still no match for the competition. And that's not just because Chat on Ovi, err, Contacts on Ovi is a rather clumsy name for a chat program.
Nokia Chat didn't work on S60 3rd ed. Feature Pack 2 phones. Contacts on Ovi does, and there's also a mobile Java version for S40 phones.
As the name suggests, Contacts on Ovi squeezes itself into the Contacts application of your phone. It sits right in between the Contacts and Groups tabs, so switching between these two will take an extra keypress. You can also launch Contacts on Ovi by hitting its own icon, but you can't remove the Contacts on Ovi tab from your Symbian phone book.
Many users of Nokia's SMS threading program Nokia Conversation will be unpleasantly surprised when they find out that Conversation won't coexist with Contacts on Ovi on their phone.
Just like the old Nokia Chat, the new Contact on Ovi connects to Nokia's own chat network, GoogleTalk, and other Jabber-based IM networks. That doesn't mean you can just install the program, enter your GoogleTalk info, and start chatting. Instead, you'll have to create an account for Chat on Ovi first. Tip: you can use a fake phone number and a fake email address if you don't want to share your real contact info with Nokia. Then you'll have to add your GoogleTalk contacts to Contacts on Ovi, and remember that when you update your GoogleTalk contact list you'll also have to update your Contacts on Ovi contacts. Your name will appear twice in the contacts lists of your friends, because they'll see your Contacts on Ovi identity in addition to your GoogleTalk name. They'll probably get confused and won't know which one to use to contact you.
Contacts on Ovi doesn't connect to ICQ, MSN, AIM, Yahoo, or any other non-Jabber network. There are plenty of competiting multi-network chat clients out there that are a million miles better than the piece of code that the programmers of Contacts on Ovi managed to cook together. Programs like Slick, fring, Talkonaut, Nimbuzz, and eBuddy have their own shortcomings, but they all do more than Nokia's chat app, and they all do it better too.
Contacts on Ovi is still in beta testing, and in its present state it's nowhere near ready to use. My favorite feature of Contacts on Ovi? Check the screenshot in the picture above.
• Contacts on Ovi from Nokia Beta Labs
This post was stolen without referring to the source by the copycats of SymbianCentral.
Saturday, 24 January 2009