Even before I got my trusty old Nokia N73 back in 2006, I was a fan of Symbian. One of the many advantages of the platform is its vast number of high quality applications; if there’s something your S60 phone can’t do out of the box, you have a great chance of finding third-party software that will add just the functionality you need. I have a keen interest in expanding my software arsenal – I’m always on the search for new exciting applications, and I thought it would be a good idea to turn this pursuit of mine into an article and share my findings.
About two months ago, I got my hands on Nokia’s first S60 touchscreen device – the 5800, shortly after its Swedish release. Though it seems to take some time for my favorite applications to get proper Symbian^1 support (a few of them still haven’t), I have now managed to install a rather impressive set of programs on the Tube. Some of the applications below are Nokia specific and a few of them cost a few bucks, but most of the software is free of charge and available regardless of phone manufacturer. I will update this list whenever I come across applications worthy of putting here, and state all additions at the top of the page.
- Internet & GPS
- System Tools
- Games & Emulation
- Noteworthy 3rd Ed. Apps
- Leave a Comment
2010-02-14. Added the C64 emulator Frodo to the Games & Emulation category.
2010-02-07. Added Nokia Custom Dictionary to the System Tools section.
2010-01-20. Added the Skyfire browser to the Internet & GPS category.
2010-01-17. Added SPB Weather to the Utilities, Free iSMS and Communities to the Communication category, as well as TuneWiki, Wikitude, and the iSearch and Wikipedia Reader widgets.
2009-11-27. Added Spotify to the Multimedia category.
2009-11-14. Added Opera Mobile, Midomi, Shazam, Open VideoHub, Compass Touch, Windows Live Messenger, Sky Force Reloaded and Playlist DJ.
2009-10-23. Added Best Full Screen Message to the Utilities section.
20009-10-20. Added the instant messengers Nimbuzz and Palringo to the Internet applications category, as well as the free Twitter client Tweets60.
2009-08-23. Added SPB Brain Evolution to the Games & Emulation section.
2009-06-02. When the OVI Store was launched a couple of days ago, I went a bit bananas and installed over 20 freeware apps in a row. The quality of the programs naturally varied, and I haven’t had time to properly evaluate them all yet, but three of the gems I’ve found so far is Mippin, the newly released Facebook widget and Searchme. They are all added to the Internet Software category.
- Opera Mini
Probably the meanest, leanest and quickest browser available. What it lacks in advanced features, it makes up for in speed and by simply being enjoyable to deal with. And if you don’t have an unlimited data plan, this is the browser to use since all pages are sent to a server in Oslo where they get compressed before being directed to your phone. This both makes it faster, and saves you money, so you can go catch the new Star Trek flick instead. Opera Mini rocks.
- Opera Mobile 10
Opera Mini’s big brother has reached version 10 in beta form. The two browsers are quite similar, though.
- Google Maps
Google Maps is of course a must on any handset. Works splendidly on the Nokia 5800 – even Google’s location-aware service Latitude is fully functional on the latest releases.
The Skyfire browser was pretty hyped before its initial release, but didn’t quite live up to its expectations. It has grown since then, however, and with version 1.5 they have finally introduced support for Symbian 5th edition devices. You can download Skyfire from get.skyfire.com.
- Google YouTube
Google’s YouTube client for Symbian doesn’t have full 5th Edition support just yet, but almost. It’s downloaded by visiting m.google.com/youtube with your phone’s browser. The application isn’t available in all countries yet from the YouTube website, but you can now grab a copy from the OVI Store instead.
Qik is a neat little tool that allows you to stream live video from your mobile device to the web.
WikiTude World Browser is one of the most popular augmented reality applications for Android, and now it’s also available for Symbian powered devices. It will: “present the user with data about their surroundings, nearby landmarks, and other points of interest by overlaying information on the phone’s screen”. I both hope and think we’ll see more AR Symbian software ahead.
This widget will let you enter what to search for, and then choose where you want to perform your search from a list of many different services, like Wikipedia, Google, Twitter, IMDb et cetera. Can prove to be quite handy.
- IMDb Widget
The IMDb widget makes browsing and searching the world’s largest movie datebase more convenient on your Symbian ^1 device.
- Wikipedia Reader Widget
A Web Runtime application that enables the reading of Wikipedia articles in a format appropriate for mobile devices.
- SPB TV
Spb TV is exactly what it sounds like: TV on your mobile device. Many TV stations around the world
publish their own public video feeds, and Spb have gathered their channels and created this application to easily access them all – around 100 of them in various languages. The quality of the content may of course vary, but with so many channels, there is hopefully always something worth watching. There’s a review of Spb TV at AllAboutSymbian.com.
I’ve been using the iPhone version of Google Reader for my RSS feeds only to get increasingly annoyed by it – mainly because I have to do horizontal scrolling all the time when I read the posts. For that reason, I’ve wanted a dedicated application, but until now I haven’t found one I like. And while Mippin isn’t a typical RSS Reader, it’s actually great for that purpose (using the My Sites feature). Recommended.
A visual search engine that displays previews of the websites in your search results. Perhaps more flashy than actually useful, but I still think it should be included in this compilation.
This is cool – JoikuSpot uses your phone’s 3G modem to turn it into a Wi-Fi hotspot that you can connect to with other devices, like your laptop. It can be very practical when you’re on the road, for example. There’s both free and premium versions available. JoikuSpot can also be installed directly to your handset via the Download! application.
- Compass Touch
If your device has a built-in magnetometer/digital compass (like the Nokia N97), you can use this little tool as a traditional compass.
Finally an official Facebook application for Symbian. The widget is rather slow at times and it lacks a few key features, but I guess it’s better than just connecting to Facebook’s mobile website.
This app is part of Nokia Messaging, and also goes under the not-so-catchy name Nokia Messaging for Social Networks. It’s basically a Facebook and Twitter client, in some ways better than the Facebook widget above. The software is still in beta, and support for more communities will follow later on.
- Free iSMS
Free iSMS fills a big gap in Symbian 5th Edition, namely the fact that text messages aren’t being threaded and displayed as conversations, like on any other modern smartphone platform. Why Nokia didn’t incorporate this feature, or why messages haven’t always been threaded is a mystery to me. Luckily, this free application will do just that for you! Last time I tried it, iSMS had too many bugs, but now it works surprisingly well and is highly recommended. The application’s only drawbacks are slow scrolling (definitely no kinetics there), and that it’s unsigned. This means that you have to sign the app yourself in order to install it. Signing applications is easy once you have your codes, and this guide at Symbian-Guru.com describes the process step-by-step.
In mid-February 2010, the promised official Skype client for Symbian was finally released. It uses quite a lot of system resources, but if you’re a Skype user, this is a must-have. You can download it from skype.com/m
Fring is an excellent chat client. It supports a wide range of social networks such as Skype, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, SIP, Twitter, Yahoo! and AIM. And it’s all free for your communication pleasure.
Lonely Cat Games instant messenger supports the most common protocols. The application has been in alpha and beta for an impressive two years, but don’t let that scare you off – it functions very well. I like its no-frills approach, and that Slick seems to be the only one of these instant messengers that stores your login information locally and not online.
Another instant messenger: one of the better ones and it’s available for several different platforms besides Symbian. You can get it by visiting m.nimbuzz.com with your phone’s browser. A downside with Nimbuzz is that the program gathers information about you to be used commercially in as many ways possible.
Palringo is by some people considered to be the ultimate instant messaging client for Symbian, and I must agree that it is very complete. Why not download all the IMs and see which one you like most? You may grab your copy of Palringo from palringo.mobi.
- Windows Live Messenger
The official Live Messenger client for Symbian. If you’re really into MSN, this is the only way to roll.
Talkonaut is a free application for calls over the Internet (VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol) and it supports the Jabber, Google Talk, ICQ, MSN, AIM and Yahoo networks. I don’t use it much myself, but Talkonaut surely qualifies on this list.
- Nokia Messaging
“Mobile email made easy”, is Nokia’s tagline for this service. Among other things, the application allows you to access all your different email addresses from one place. Until the final release has arrived for the Nokia 5800, you have to download Nokia Messaging from the Beta Labs site. There are two articles at AllAboutSymbian.com about the setup of this program, which can be found here and here.
This is Google’s Gmail application, written in Java. You could of course both use the built-in email feature (from Main Menu/Messaging/Mailbox) and Nokia Messaging for your Gmail needs, but I think this dedicated client brings the best Gmail experience on the Nokia 5800. However, the application won’t utilize the entire screen unless you change a setting. From the main menu, enter Settings/Application mgr./Installed apps., then highlight Gmail in the list. Tap Options/Suite settings/On-screen keyboard and select the Off option. Check out this article at AllAboutSymbian.com for further information.
I dare to say that ProfiMail currently is the most powerful email application for Symbian, all categories. And I haven’t encountered any issues at all with the latest version (3.14) on the Nokia 5800. I use ProfiMail for my Hotmail accounts, and Google’s Gmail client for my Gmail addresses. Really worth checking out.
If you enjoy Twitter and want to use it on your Symbian device, Gravity by mobileways.de is in a league of its own. Still, it’s always nice with alternatives – read Symbian-Guru’s Guide to Twitter On S60 for an extensive report on the subject.
Tweets60 is another Twitter client – a free alternative to Gravity. Get it from tweets60.com.
This is an oddly titled social networking application: you can record video and audio, take geo-tagged pictures and share it with your friends in real-time, see where your friends are and find places nearby that other users have created. There are a lot of social networking software around these days, and I’m excited about them, but unfortunately they are not of much benefit unless your friends actually use them as well.
The steady rising Swedish stream-on-demand music service Spotify is finally available for Symbian.
Spotify is currently only for premium (£9.99/month) members, and one of the top features is that you can download songs and play them even when you’re offline. You can now walk around with four million songs in your pocket!
Mobbler allows you to listen to your Last.fm radio stations and to scrobble tracks played using the Symbian Music Player. It’s quite good, actually.
- Midomi Music Identifier
Like Shazam below, Midomi is an application that identifies songs: just sing, hum or let your phone listen to a
song that is played, and it will identify it for you. Cool.
Shazam has the same purpose as Midomi: to identify songs for you. Unfortunately, neither of these apps are as good as Shazam on Android.
The very popular TuneWiki, a music player which displays perfect lyrics for the songs you play – synchronized, karaoke-style, finally has a proper Symbian version.
- Playlist DJ
Playlist DJ automatically analyzes and profiles your music collection, to allow you to create playlists with the help of mood and tempo sliders. It’s a nice idea, but I get some funny results on my collection. For example, I maxed the Happy slider and dragged the Sad slider to the bottom, and what did I get at the top of my playlist? Karma Police by Radiohead! Not the most cheerful of songs, but perhaps the folks behind Playlist DJ beg to differ.
- Open Video Hub
This is an open-source application for downloading, watching and sharing online videos – mainly from YouTube. It actually displays videos in a higher quality than Google’s YouTube client. The main downside with Open Video Hub is that it needs to be signed before you can install it (if your device isn’t hacked).
- LCG Jukebox
I started using LCG Jukebox on my Nokia N73 in 2006, simply because I got annoyed by the crackle the
standard Music Player somehow generated between songs (later on, firmware updates took care of that), and because I had more precise control over the volume with Jukebox. Even though the built-in Music Player is one of the best features of the Nokia 5800, I still enjoy this software from time to time.
- Nokia Photo Browser
Yet another great application coming straight from the Nokia Beta Labs: an image viewer with a nifty 3D interface. If it only had some file management features, this could replace the standard 5th Edition Gallery photo browser altogether. You most likely need a Nokia device for this application to work. Here is a video of Photo Browser in action.
This software is used to view and zoom-in on images, which might not sound that intriguing at first. But the advantage with PhotoFlow is its speed – the program is much faster than Symbian’s standard Gallery application. It also has a rather nice looking ‘carousel-style’ interface. You can get PhotoFlow from the Download! application.
- Paint Pad
Paint Pad is a great little drawing utility, almost like a version of Microsoft Paint for your 5th Edition device. Supposedly, it’s a Forum Nokia source code example that has been rewritten and enhanced.
- Alon MP3 Dictaphone
I write songs, and I often use my cell-phone to record ideas worth remembering. Alon MP3 Dictaphone is the best utility I’ve found for this. Besides recording audio in the MP3 quality of your choice, it can also capture phone calls (without beeps) and play Internet radio.
A very basic utility for taking notes with your phone: to write something down, just draw on the screen like you would on a piece of paper.
XpressDrums lets you make up drum beats. Perhaps not the most useful of applications, but it can be fun to play around with.
- Nokia Sports Tracker
Probably my very favorite of all utilities emerging from Nokia Beta Labs, Sports Tracker is a GPS-based tool for tracking your sports activities, with information such as distance, speed, time and routes being stored in a training diary. Really worth checking out if you haven’t already!
PhoneTorch lets you use the camera LED as a flashlight. It works surprisingly well, I can prove to be an indispensable tool!
This is a barcode reader: just point your phone’s camera at a mobile code to connect directly to a website, view a message or get a phone number ready for dialing. I prefer the UpCode reader, but on Nokia’s Mobile Codes site, they list a few other alternatives. UpCode can also be installed directly from your device with the Download! application.
- AccuWeather Widget
This free widget gives you a fairly accurate nine-day weather forecast, and it can even use the GPS to pinpoint your exact location for a more precise forecast. You can grab your copy of AccuWeather from the OVI Store, or you may click the link above for a direct download.
- SPB Weather
SPB Weather is my favorite weather application for Symbian, and it’s accompanied by an excellent homescreen widget that unlike AccuWeather actually work as it’s supposed to. It has a $14.95 price tag, but you get a lot in return.
- Handy Weather
While I’m on the topic of weather applications, I cannot fail to mention Handy Weather – which is a slightly more advanced and professional alternative to the AccuWeather widget. It’s not free though, and will set you back $24.95.
WorldMate is a tool mainly intended for travelers, and the free mode provides weather forecasts (which the program can read out loud), a currency converter, a day/night map and a world clock. If you purchase the application and “go gold”, you get automatic flight delay alerts, flight schedules, a travel dictionary and satellite imagery for weather – among other things.
- Handwriting Calculator
I guess this application has limited relevance because of the standard calculator, but I wanted to include it anyway. In a nutshell, it allows you to calculate handwritten math expressions.
- Handy Clock
Handy Clock is a great clock, alarm, timer and stopwatch application. The best of the lot, in my opinion, and it fills a gap since no such features are included in Symbian 5th Edition from the start (at least not on the 5800).
- Handy Expense
I sometimes use this program to keep track of my expenses. I know there are more advanced utilities out there for that purpose, but I prefer Handy Expense. Follow the link for more information and to download the trial version.
This application is usually available on Symbian S60 devices from the start, but on the Nokia 5800 you have to grab this Word, Excel and Powerpoint document viewer from the Download! application. I suggest you do, it’s good, though I wish the Adobe Acrobat Reader was included as well.
An open-source dictionary for your Symbian phone. Sure, a perfectly fine dictionary comes with the Nokia 5800, but this program still deserves to be mentioned.
I have enjoyed Y-Browser since my Nokia N73 days, and it still is my favorite file manager for Symbian. It has plenty of more features and options than the standard one.
Another classic file manager, alongside the above mentioned Y-Browser.
- Handy Taskman
The Nokia 5800’s built-in task manager is pretty basic, and this is a welcome improvement. It provides more options and information, and I’m especially fond of the ability to close all running applications with one tap. One of the utilities for Symbian 5th Edition that I just can’t do without.
- Handy Shell
I don’t use this tool myself actually, but I can see why it’s popular. Handy Shell replaces the Active Standby screen, and gathers the most commonly used functions and displays vital information for quick and easy access.
- Nokia Custom Dictionary
This application from the Nokia Beta Labs enables something I’ve wanted to do since I got my first Symbian device in 2006: edit, export and import custom T9 dictionaries! It’s very useful if you want to transfer your dictionary to a new device, or if you want to delete unwanted words or share dictionaries with your friends. Go grab your copy from the Beta Labs site.
- Zip manager
Quite self-explanatory, I assume – this is a utility that handles ZIP files. Get it from the Download! application (now replaced by the OVI Store) on your device.
A screen capture utility that doesn’t have full 5th Edition support, but it works well. I had to install it to the phone memory in order for it to start, though. Temporarily assign the Camera button as the Shortcut key for taking screenshots and you’re ready to rock.
- Best Full Screen Message
This utility displays your incoming text messages in full screen, so you don’t have to go to the Inbox to view them. Quite handy, actually. I just wish Nokia would get a grip and add proper threaded messaging to Symbian 5th Edition soon.
- Phone Guardian
I’ll conclude the Utilities section with two phone security/anti-theft programs. Phone Guardian by SymbianGuru is perhaps the most advanced of the two, and among other things, it allows you to remotely lock your device with a text message in case it gets lost or stolen, and you may also track it by using your phone’s GPS. May be a welcome addition to the built-in security options found here: Settings/Phone/Phone mgmt./Security.
- WaveSecure Lite
Basicallly the same as the above-mentioned Phone Guardian, but in a different package and with slightly less advanced features. You can get this from the Download! utility as well.
- Sky Force Reloaded
One of the better looking games for Symbian 5th Edition – the graphics are nice and polished even without hardware accelerated 3D. Sky Force Reloaded is a classic shoot ‘em up action game, controlled with the accelerometer.
- Resco Bubbles
This game takes use of the accelerometer, and the objective is to pop bubbles with a ball in a certain order. You control the ball by tilting your device. Quite addictive.
- SPB Brain Evolution
SPB is probably the premier developer of software for Windows Mobile, and it’s nice to see that they’ve started releasing application for Symbian as well. This game will hopefully help you keep your mind in shape by improving your memory, logic, arithmetic, and puzzle-solving skills.
- SPB Puzzle
I have never been into puzzles IRL, but I’m rather fond of this jigsaw puzzle game. Somehow, it’s surprisingly satisfactory to put a piece in its correct place.
How would you like to play all the 90s LucasArts DOS adventure game classics on your phone, like Sam & Max, Simon the Sorcerer, Full Throttle and Monkey Island? Sounds too good to be true? Luckily it isn’t! These games are all created with SCUMM (“Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion”), and this program is a virtual
engine for it. ScummVM is available for many different platforms. The latest version is compatible with 5th Edition, but it gets confused by the automatic screen rotation, so I suggest you temporarily turn that off
(from Settings/Phone/Sensor settings/Turning control/Auto-rotate display) when using ScummVM. A highly recommended download!
- Frodo is a Commodore 64 emulator for your Symbian device. It’s free, but if you want to enable audio, the on-screen keyboard and sensors and vibraton as well you need the Bilbo library, which you’ll get by donating a sum of your choice to the developer.
Noteworthy 3rd Edition Apps
Some of these applications will probably work just fine if you have a hardware QWERTY keyboard or a numerical keypad on your phone, but they are at the moment hard (or impossible) to operate with an all touchscreen device. Hopefully they will be fully 5th Edition compatible soon.
Ozone is a web browser that is currently only available for 3rd Edition phones. You can still run it on the Nokia 5800, and it’s really fast. But there’s no way to enter text, so it’s pretty useless on an all touchscreen device.
- Resco Photo Viewer
This was my favorite image viewer on the Nokia N73, because it was quick, convenient and gave a good overview of all the pictures. It’s not touchscreen compatible yet, but I think it could be really useful on the Nokia 5800 as well.
- Vampent’s GameBoy and Nintendo Emulators
I think I can safely say that these emulators are my favorite applications ever for Symbian, by far. They are made by a Chinese company called Vampent, and just couldn’t work any better, really. When the Nokia N73 was my main device, I loved walking around with hundreds of great Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advanced, Nintendo and Super Nintendo games in my pocket. For me, the main reason not to buy the Nokia 5800 was that it is an all touchscreen device – since games and emulators are limited without hardware buttons to control them with, but eventually my curiosity took over and I got one anyway. These emulators will probably work like a charm on the upcoming Nokia N97, though.
A nearly as great emulator as the ones mentioned above, but for the Sega Game Gear and Master System platforms. Also a favorite of mine.
- 5th Edition Software Blog @ DailyMobile.se
- Top 10 Apps worth buying for S60 5th Edition phones – AllAboutSymbian.com
- Top 20 Freeware for the Nokia 5800 & S60 5th Edition – AllAboutSymbian.com
- How to Sign Unsigned Applications – Symbian-Guru.com