Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My top 10 Symbian applications

So I thought I would compile a list of my favourite (or 'killer') mobile applications that I frequently use on my Nokia E55 and post it here. And I came up with ten of these. Hopefully this post will be useful to someone who is new to the Symbian platform. Despite the use of S60v3 screenshots, I believe that all of these are also available in Symbian S60v5 (Symbian^1) touchscreen forms as well.

Gravity (commercial)

Gravity is probably the only Symbian twitter client worth considering for 'power' users. Features includes list supports, drafts, favourites, picture posting (including scaling), RT, URL shortening, delete tweets, user search, scheduled tweets, basic geolocation etc. Not only that, it also supports basic Facebook, Google Reader and Statusnet. With such a massive list of feature you would expect Gravity to perform poorly, but no, it is quick, have a sleek and intuitive UI all in a package requiring less than 400KB of space. Nokia, quickly hire this guy.

Alternative: TweetS60, Twittix

Foreca Weather (commercial)

I've tried many different weather applications on my Symbian device and the only one to cut the mustard is Foreca. Spb Weather may have a sleeker interface, but Foreca trumps it with the amount of information it downloads (scalable obviously). It supports up to 10 days of forecast (not much use in this country where the weather can change dramatically without notice), satellite images and various maps showing different information (wind directions, cloud cover etc.)

Alternative: Mobile Weather, Handy Weather, Spb Weather

Mobbler (freeware)

Mobbler is a last.fm scrobbler/streaming radio. Use it as a standalone application to listen to last.fm radio or with the default Symbian music player to scrobb your playlist. It really is that simple. The latest version supports Local File Playback which automatically plays the local file on your memory card instead of streaming online if it is available thus saving on data transfer. Scrobbling can also be done offline.

Viewranger (commercial)

Ovi Maps is one of the better routing application out there but as it is only constricted to street mapping, you'll have to look elsewhere if you ever want to venture offroad. The best out there (on any mobile platform) is Viewranger. Maps supported includes Britain's Ordnance Survey (25k and 50k), USA's NatGeo (100k and 24k), France (100k and 25k) and Germany (50k). It also supports 'pay as you go' map tiles download and a sweet panoramic feature. Any serious walker or cyclist should consider this. A more detailed review is available here.

Activefile (freeware)

Symbian's default file manager for better or worse, is a basic affair. The average user may be fine with it, but just like with Windows Explorer, power users will be left wanting. Activefile is a freeware file manager that aims to satisfy the needs of these power uses. Features includes the ability to open/send protected and hidden files, battery and memory monitors, process/task manager, sending fake SMS and backing/restoring SMS.

Alternative: Y-Browser

aRed (freeware)

aRed is a little known freeware that only offers one thing: giving the user the ability to cycle through open applications using the red (disconnect) button, much like how a Windows user uses Alt+Tab. It works in the background and can be set to start automatically on reboot.

Nokia Custom Dictionary (freeware)

Frustrated by the lack of words on your Symbian's predicted text system? Well fret no more. This new release by Nokia Beta Labs allows the user to edit the list of custom words used by the phone's predictive text system. Users can add, edit or remove words and even import/export an xml file, allowing the user to easily transfer the custom dictionary to a compatible phone. It may just be a beat release, but already it is a killer app for me.

MetrO (freeware)

I have been using various versions of MetrO since the early Palm OS days (ah the memories - Sony's NR70 was my favourite, amazing how some of its features has yet to be replicated by modern smartphones). Since then the nifty public transport (over 400 cities are supported) routing application has been ported to various mobile OS and even resides on the web. MetrO features a crude and outdated UI inherited from Palm OS, but it works well. An indispensable tool for any traveller who wishes to leave their motor vehicle behind.

Resco Photo Viewer (commercial)

Let's be honest - Nokia/Symbian default Gallery application is quite possibly the worst photo viewing application ever created - on any platforms. Whoever designed it hates humankind. Thankfully there are developers out there who recognised the Gallery application for what it is - utterly useless. Resco, whose Windows Mobile-based Photo Viewer I used a lot back in my Pocket PC days, is one of them. It supports plenty of image formats, has a built-in image editor (colour/contrast adjustment etc.) and is also much quicker to use and navigate.

Ovi Maps (freeware - on Nokia phones only)

Last but not least, Nokia's Ovi Maps. Ovi Maps supports vector mapping, satellite and terrain layers, GPS positioning and compass (on compatible phones with the necessary hardware). It supports 6-7 digit UK postcodes as well as co-ordinates input. With turn by turn voice navigation free in 76 countries, premium content by Michelin and Lonely Planet and offline access to maps from 180 countries; Ovi Maps is quite literally the killer app.

Note: whilst this is a Symbian application, it isn't compatible with none-Nokia branded Symbian smartphones - at least not officially.


Unknown said...

Hey...gonna list these..tnx so much!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. It is englightening to see so many good softwares for Nokia phones.