I recently got a new phone. The old Nokia 5800 had done well during it’s time, and it sort of seemed a shame to just throw such a capable device in the trash. It has two cameras, and it can connect to other devices via WiFi, Bluetooth and USB. The obvious idea was to use it as an IP camera.
An afternoon of wasted time later, I concluded that this is not worth it. Here’s the story so you don’t have to waste your time too.
EDIT 2013-11-12: A user commented that he had found a proper IPcam app, and it really worked. Read about it in the TrendCam article.
The Nokia 5800 runs Symbian, and even though the hype was great back in 2009 when the phone was brand new, it died quickly. Only one year later the OS was considered dead by many developers.
This became way too clear during my search for apps that could do the IP camera thing.
I searched google a lot and found 3 interesting apps: Mobiola Webcam, SmartCam and Phido Anyplace IP camera.
Mobiola seemed like the most complete package. The webpage was nice and updated and Mobiola exists for several devices and OS’s such as IPhone, Blackberry, WindowsPhone and Symbian S60.
There’s a free version and a paid version, but the Mobiola page does not tell anything about the difference between the two. I decided to try it out anyway. It turns out that the free version is really a 7 day trial… i.e. completely useless if you don’t want to pay for it.
Mobiola got it right though. They call it WebCamera, because that’s what it is. You install some software on the pc, and then connect the phone. This can be done via Wifi and works pretty well. On the phone you can then select which camera you want to use, and you can also use the phone screen as a source.
But.. in the end you’re left with a portable webcam. You can’t use it as a standalone IP camera which was what I wanted.
I found SmartCam on Sourceforge. This is always a good sign, because the software from Sourceforge is free. The downside is that many Sourceforge projects die as soon as the developers have other things on their minds. This seemed to have happened to SmartCam as well.
The sis package for the phone would not install. The certificate for the app had run out. This was quickly fixed by simply setting the time on the phone back to 2011 where SmartCam had its last update.
SmartCam looked A LOT like Mobiola, but not as complete.For example you could not select which camera to use and it did take a little more setup before it worked. Again, it was only a wireless Webcam.
Update: As the creator of SmartCam writes below in the comments, it is possible to change which camera to use. You just have to do it when it’s not connected.
Phido Anyplace IP Camera
I then found Phido Anyplace IP Camera, which due to its name sounds like just the perfect thing. This app was a complete joke. It’s simply an app that can take a maximum of ONE picture every 5 seconds to the Phido webpage where you can see them if you bother to create an account. I didn’t. Calling this an IP camera is complete bullshit.
So… to conclude. If you happen to need a webcam you can do it, and even get a wireless one at the same time. But it seems that no one ever bothered to write a proper IP camera app. 🙁
But…If you happen to find one, please comment below and let me know 😉