Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

March 3, 2014

Nokia's Fastlane speeds up app use on phone

BARCELONA, Spain — By design, Nokia’s new Android smartphones will underwhelm users of high-end phones. The Nokia X line was created with emerging markets in mind, so the company emphasized keeping prices low, meaning the user interface is relatively simple.

The home screen resembles the one on Nokia’s Windows-based Lumia phones, even though it’s Android underneath. But Nokia Corp. added a Fastlane feature, a screen with quick access to your most-used apps. You get to it by swiping from the left or right edge of the home screen or tapping the back button at the bottom.

The basic Nokia X phone costs 89 euros ($122) and has a 4-inch screen, measured diagonally, and a 3 megapixel camera. A X+ version with an SD storage card costs 99 euros, while an XL with a 5-inch screen and 5 megapixel camera goes for 109 euros.

In the brief time I had with the Nokia X at last week’s Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, I found the Fastlane feature to be a good start. It’s something I would like to see on more phones, including Nokia’s Windows devices.

I hate to spend time customizing gadgets, getting the icons for the most-used apps on the main home screen. The nice thing about Fastlane is that you don’t have to spend any time on that. Your favorite apps are just one swipe away — sort of.

The top of Fastlane shows you what’s coming up, whether that’s alarms about to ring or future events in your calendar. Below that are your recently used apps. The ones you just used will be at the top, so you don’t have to scroll down.

For some apps, you get information that normally comes with notifications, such as previews of text messages or alerts that three people have tried to reach you on WeChat, a Chinese social network. You see small versions of recent photos and can tap for the larger version in the photo gallery app. You see calls you missed, songs you heard and websites you visited.

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