Planned obsolescence and propietary gear - Dear lazyweb, a sports tracking app for a N95 phone?

Submitted by gwolf on Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:24

Grah.

I got my current phone (a Nokia N95) back in January 2008. It was the first phone I ever paid for, and I don't expect that to change - The feature set I need from a phone is extremely basic, but I wanted to have a GPS unit on me, without needing to plan for it beforehand. As I recently blogged, I just got over the 5000Km mark (5269 as of last Friday), with almost daily usage since I registered.

A couple of days ago (although please note I don't log in often to the web page, I just upload my , I was greeted by this gem:

IMPORTANT NEWS

Thank you Nokia Sports Tracker beta users!

After two and a half years of operation, the Nokia Sports Tracker beta service will close as of June 30, 2010. Thanks to all of you exercise enthusiasts who used the service and contributed valuable feedback to its improvement.

We want you to stay active. You can keep tracking workouts through a new, non-Nokia service provided by Sports Tracking Technologies available for free in the Ovi Store. The new service is open for registrations at sports-tracker.com, and you'll even be able import your workout history from Nokia Sports Tracker until August 31, 2010.

In my case, instead of Thank you they could have just said Fuck off. They are directing me to a new application available in Nokia's Ovi store. Of course, this application is linked to a new 100% Flash-powered website. That would be a big turnoff for me, yes, although there are many ways around it (after all, I don't need the website functionality every day). However, I find the list of supported phones does not include the N95 (any version). This means, my two year old phone (which I bought as soon as the model arrived in Mexico) is obsolete now and they want me to (spend more money and) switch to a new one. Am I going to do that? Hell no!

The N95 phone is quite good. The only gripes I have is with the (slow, buggy and memory leak and phone crash prone) Symbian S60 operating system. I will probably keep using the SportsTracker application, although I won't be able to link my tracks as easily as I do today.

So... Dear lazyweb, do you know of any similar program? The feature set I use in Sports Tracker is:

  1. Have different activity profiles. I use Running and Cycling, and very ocassionaly Walking.
  2. Of course, GPS tracking, getting average and top speeds, altitude profile, etc.
  3. Aggregation into something website-friendly
  4. The ability to do my uploads post-factum (i.e. do not rely on a data plan, allow me to upload my excercising when I get home)

There are probably more things I'd want. But I am a geek, and I basically enjoy tracking myself, and sharing my tracks with $world.

Thanks, dear lazyweb. I am confident you won't let me down.

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Dmitrij's picture

Pain....

=((((( found out from your blog. I used it a lot as well when snowboarding. The new site sucks and E71 is not supported either released in July 2008.

Lukas's picture

Sportstracker

As far as I know SportsTracker saves .gpx-files (or was it .kml?) that can easily be imported into google maps or some such application.

jre's picture

N95 sports tracker

I just installed the Endomondo sports tracker. I found it with the "similar" link, when I saw that the new Nokia sports tracker is not available for the N95. It's also Ovi/Nokia.

Havem't tested it, yet, but most of your requirements seem to be fulfilled.

> top speeds, altitude profile, etc.
Don't know about them

suihkulokki's picture

Just not there yet?

Notice that the new sports tracker site has been gradually adding more phones to what they support. They started with supporting the most new ones (touch symbian) and only last month came out support for S60 3.2 phones. It would be really surprising if no n95 version came out before closing the old site. N95 was one of the bestselling symbian phones recently. So I would say it just poor marketing.. Putting a text up "still working on adding support for more phones" would certainly make the notice much less hostile.

James Duncan's picture

I'd upgrade

Get a Nexus One (open sourced Android OS) and use Google's My Tracks (http://mytracks.appspot.com/). My Tracks is also open source, shouldn't randomly disappear, and hooks up to Google Maps. I like it.

Anonymous's picture

Just an Hack

I suggest to use two application: on the phone a simple gps logger is required; python is available for Symbian and doing a logger writing on a file should be easy (< 100 loc). On the PC some application for the presentation. I don't really know if there is any available but I expect some application integrated with Google's My Tracks in the future.

Anonymous's picture

www.runningfreeonline.com

www.runningfreeonline.com supports uploading gpx files which can be generated from the Nokia SportsTracker mobile app. It doesn't require Flash, which is overkill, and you can upload multiple workouts in a zip file. Also, it is multisport but you'd have to use the website to specify the type of activity. Though you don't have to put up with Flash!

As a sidenote, the new app (SportsTracker) is now available for the N95, and it also exports workouts as .gpx.

Hope this helps!

gwolf's picture

And after two months...

In the end, I was stuck for a couple of days with an "updated" version of the app which lacked upload functionality - but finally got contacted by the people at Ovi (where I had sent a complaint regarding the lack of availability for the N95, motivated by suihkulokki's insider view) telling me the app was now available for my phone model as well. Regarding James Duncan's: I know basically any modern smartphone will have this functionality. However, I prefer not to change my phone, it costed me a fair amount of money, and I just don't want to change it.

As expected, the new SportsTracker is very similar to the one I had, although it has some new bits of functionality (i.e. pairing with a Polar Bluetooth heart rate monitor, which sounds interesting to get). Still, as others have pointed out in other comments here (i.e. Runningfreeonline), having the website 100% flash-backed is a serious annoyance. Of course, the application is very well integrated with it (specially with the upload action). I could do some exports to .gpx and manually upload it to just about anywhere, but it is a needlessly manual thing.

As for writing my own app for this: A good thing about a complete application is that it's not only a logger, but graphs the trip's data on screen (i.e. map, altitude, speed, both instantaneous and against time). And something that made me very happy about the new SportsTracker is that it uses OpenStreetMap's views as a base for the maps!

Anonymous's picture

My Tracks

My Tracks is also open source, shouldn't randomly disappear, and hooks up to Google Maps.