While iOS and Android might be making lots of hype recently, statistics shows that Symbian still rules the market. It feels good to have such a large brotherhood of users. I have used both Symbian 40 and Symbian 60 3rd Edition phones in the past. The Nokia 5800 I am currently using runs on Symbian 60 5th Edition. You see Nokia makes affordable semi-smart and smart phones in India. So, until Android appeared very recently, Symbian was the only natural choice. iPhone costs almost 4 times more here than in the US. Apple seems to fail to understand India.
Anyway, as I was saying, I have a Nokia 5800 and I really happen to like it. Apart from being a tough device, it has a really large number of freeware applications. OK. Apple Store and Android Market has a larger collection of apps, but hey all useful apps of all sorts (almost – no freeware PDF reader, for example) are available. And here is a list of 10 apps that I have used and liked in the past year.
1. Opera Mini
While the default browser is more functional, Opera Mini is a lot faster. Even a very large page opens pretty fast. This is because the server at Opera somewhere compresses the pages before sending it to your phone. The inbuilt keyboard enables on-screen typing, something I really like and feel Nokia browser should include it too. It also lets you save pages for offline reading. You can also subscribe to feeds on it (although you should not use this feature – use Google Reader instead).
2. Google Maps
If you are still in the stone age of road-maps and atlas, then let me introduce you to GPS and internet based navigation. Download Google Maps. You can view your location anywhere on earth on high resolution maps. And the search… oooohh… I love the search. I have used it in real situations to search for all kinds of places like restaurants, addresses and even hospitals (nothing serious – just visiting a lady who recently gave birth to a tiny baby). Such a life saver it is. You can even share your location with your friends with Latitude if you are feeling really ‘social’.
If you, like me, constantly keep feeling guilty about not calling your cousins who live abroad more often, then this is the thing for you. Skype allows you to call others Skype users for free over the internet. You can also make calls to phone numbers, but for a fee. The voice quality over even a 2G connection is quite decent. If you haven’t used Skype yet, trust me and use it.
This app manages your online social life. Currently it supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. You can read your notifications, read other user’s updates and post your own update. And since everyone and all their friends are using one or the other social network, it makes sense to have an app like this. Alternatives like Facebook for Nokia, Tweet60 and Trill are more full-fledged clients for their respective networks.
fring is a chatting client for multiple IM services like Yahoo, Google Chat, MSN Live, Twitter and SIP. And like Skype, you can use fring to call any phone number over the internet for a fee.
This thing is still unavailable in the OVI store and only Nokia knows why. This is a torrent client and enables you to download all kinds of stuffs via torrent from the web. And since torrents are one of the greatest wonders of the internet, having a torrent client along with a web browser in your pocket just makes sense.
BeeTagg is a 2D barcode reader. The two most popular formats – Data Matrix and QR Code are supported along with its own BeeTagg Code. 2D barcodes, also known as hardlinks because they link the offline world with the online one, are gaining popularity with the number of camera phones increasing rapidly. A hardlink allows such 2D barcodes containing information such as phone number, note or URL to be printed on any material and on being scanned by a phone with the reader, it can open the appropriate program on your phone to handle the contained information.
8. Nokia Internet Radio
Nokia Internet Radio allows you to listen to thousands of internet radio stations from your Nokia phone. The directory of stations is classified by region, genre and language. You can also add your own icecast and SHOUTcast radio stations. Download this because listening to the radio is far more entertaining than listening to your phone’s music collection over and over again.
Most of the times, knowing the lyric makes the difference between humming a song and singing it. So for all of us who like to sing along, TuneWiki displays the lyrics of a song as you play it. It has a database of over 2.5 million lyrics and can stream SHOUTcast radios and displays the up-to-date Top 50 Chart. It also integrates with Facebook and Twitter.
You may lose your phone someday. Trust me, the feeling sucks. Not only do you lose your phone, you lose all your messages and contacts as well. And in the wrong hands, these kind of information may create havoc. (Did not create any havoc in my case, though). F-Secure is an app you should install just-in-case. It informs you by sending an SMS to a pre-set number whenever the SIM on your phone is changed. You can set it to lock automatically in case of SIM change. You can remote lock and also wipe your phone by sending an SMS to the phone.
And the 11th app on my list:
11. Chromatic Guitar Tuner
I included this because I like to pluck on the strings of a guitar sometimes. And all guitarist knows how incredibly useful a guitar tuner really is especially when you don’t have any reference. Chromatic Guitar Tuner, as the name suggest, is a guitar tuner that recognizes all 12 notes. Although it saves tons of time for beginner like me, it is not very precise though. Not a substitute for a ‘real’ tuner. You will need to fine tune the guitar by yourself.
Download these apps and make your Symbian smart phone really smart. If you think I should try out any other good app, let me know. I love playing with new apps.