I saw on Twitter recently that the developer had updated this $1.99 app in the Nokia Store, and I had to admit that I had not heard of it. The app is developed by Alexander Fokin, and he has created quite the range of Symbian apps, twelve of which are currently available in the Nokia Store for download. As a huge N9 fan, I was very interested to see how this app would fare on my E7. I paid for SwipeUnlock via the Store app, and it downloaded and installed quickly.
SwipeUnlock worked straightaway. By pressing the menu button while the screen was in standby, instead of seeing the usual lockscreen with your homescreen’s wallpaper and a big ‘Unlock’ button, you see the SwipeUnlock screen.
On this screen will be displayed your signal strength, remaining battery as a %, whether you’re on 2G or 3G or wifi, the time (obviously!) and if you’ve received any missed texts or calls. These are displayed at the bottom of the screen, in very much the same way as MeeGo-Harmattan on the N9, but also Belle FP2 on the Nokia 808 PureView. But unlike on those two platforms where the user can swipe away the actual SMS notification and be taken straight to that message, SwipeUnlock will simply unlock the screen. BUT, if you tap the notification, you will be taken straight to the Messaging inbox, where you’ll see your message in the list. It’s not as efficient as MeeGo or Belle FP2, but it still does the job better than Belle Refresh does alone.
Also, taking another great idea from MeeGo on the Nokia N9, you can swipe up just a little and then hold – a selection of quick-launch apps will appear at the bottom of the screen for extra-fast access to those apps you use a lot like Web, Camera, etc.
Unfortunately, the app is buggy. I experienced some awful scrolling where the animation would ‘stick’ and it would look like Solitaire when you win (remember Windows 95, people?) It would also freeze, and I’d have to use the physical unlock switch slider on the side of the E7 to actually use the phone.
But much worse, since installing the app, I’ve actually not been able to unlock it at all (not by using the physical slider, pressing the home button, or even the power button) and the only way to get access to the phone to call someone was to hold the power button down for around 12 seconds until the device did its own ‘soft reset’ and rebooted. It was a lengthy and frustrating process, especially since I had to call a friend back rather urgently. And this behavior happened another two times later in the day. So yes, two more times I held down the power button so I could reboot it. Sigh. Not good. And its now uninstalled. No more unlock problems now. But I feel so disappointed because the app works so well when it works. It’s just not quite cooked yet, it would seem.
It’s a shame it’s not quite operational yet, but I haven’t tried it on my Nokia N8, so I might have more luck there. But at least I still have Sleeping Screen, with its very cool SMS and call notifications.
I have always been a fan of Nokia’s own Sleeping Screen app which used to be exclusively available in Nokia Beta Labs, but graduated to the Store sometime last year. And it’s free. Of course it’s not totally essential, as nearly all S^3 devices (sorry E6!) will display a clock and some notifications on the standby screen. But Sleeping Screen certainly adds a little pzazz – something for your LG and HTC friends to be envious about!
I hope the developer of SwipeUnlock continues to work on the app, because it does have plenty of potential for Symbian Belle phones. There’s nothing like a bit of MeeGo to make them feel better!
Download the app from the Nokia Store: