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Starter kit for your smartphone

February 8, 2009

Not infrequently, the smartphone memory gets wiped clean off. This usually happens in 2 cases: either the phone was restored to it’s factory settings, or an firmware update has been applied. When it happens, all the stored data, be it contacts, photos or apps are forever gone . While it’s highly recommended to do so once in a couple of months to keep things fast on your mobile, the necessity of reinstalling back all the applications proves to be a real pain. More so, if you didn’t keep track on what kind of applications were installed before hand. Perhaps you don’t even have a proper app library on your PC. So, to make life a bit easier for s60 users, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 most needed applications to start with.

While Nokia is slowly bringing UDP (User Data Preservation) across it’s latest smartphones, that basically keeps in the phone memory stored  data intact after a successful update , the majority of the users still have to reinstall everything from scratch. Incidentally, to remove any possible conflicts with previous app leftovers, the memory card should be formated as well. I’ve used several times the back up tool that is included in PC Suite and sadly encountered some glitches and conflicts afterwards, so I recommend using that tool only to backup messages and contacts.
And before going through the list and installing anything there’re some things to note here. The most widespread applications get constant updates, so the user should always first look for the latest release of the corresponding application. It’s important to mention here that some of the older apps will not install because of expired certificates.
The easiest workaround for this is would be setting the time of your mobile back a few months ( up to a whole year for some apps) before installation. After the app has been successfully installed, you’re free to set the time back  to the correct settings. The other way is to download a newer version but it’s sadly not always up to date. The most links below should have the latest available versions as well as a list of supported smartphone models.
In the end, the fresh start is altogether an exciting and cumbersome process. Here’re my top picks when I want my phone up to speed:

1. X-Plore

An application that saw constant improvements and fixes since the early days of s60, and with time passing grew it’s functionality and speed, that makes it an indisputable king among other file managers for s60 phones. The built-in file manager still has a long way to go in terms of functionality, so X-Plore is the best to begin with, and then use it to install other 3rd party apps you might pick up from my list. Alongside a very functional file browser you get a zip archive viewer/creator, text viewer (including doc.) and simple yet effective built-in audio and video player. A hefty package that is a remarkable accomplished for a single app, plus it doesn’t limit the user if  you don’t buy it.

Possible alternatives: ActiveFile, Y-browser, FExplorer.

2. Jbak TaskMan

At first I was using commercial managers like Best TaskMan, and was a bit skeptical of this freeware app. Now it has fully replaced the standard task manager. The reason it quite simple: not only it’s free, but the functionality it offers even surpasses paid apps. The user interface might look a bit simple, but it’s not long before you’ll discover how versatile and usable it really is. Highlights include viewing and closing running processes, starting any app by entering it’s name, and customizing the launch menu with app shortcuts. We’ve got a truly great and free jewel here.

Possible alternatives: Best Taskman, Handy Taskman.

3. Smart settings

Not only it assigns a Quick Launch bar for the soft key, but it also serves as an advanced key lock/unlock tool. Greatly improves the functionality of the phone.

Possible alternatives: Best Menu, Phone Shortcuts, AppQLaunch.

4. Opera mini

It’s a small Java based web browser that offers great speed while consuming less traffic that the built in safari browser. Needless to say it has become my top choice when no wireless networks are available. If you never heard of it, you should hide in shame.

Possible alternatives: Opera, Skyfire.

5. Headline

This handy applications manages rss feeds for a quick dose of the latest news. Works like a charm.

Possible alternatives: Resco News, S60Newsreader.

6. Profimail

From the same people who brought X-Plore, Profimail has proved to be the best e-mail manager solution for symbian phones. Features include a wide support of various e-mail services, ability to view, download and send attachments. Again, the bag is not complete here without the additional bonus of built-in image and zip archive viewer, as well as support for word documents. It’s hard to find something equally good, but some people might be satisfied with simpler alternatives like: Psiloc GSync, Emoze.

7. FreeSigner

There’s a number of  ways to sign applications. The probably easiest way to do that would be on the mobile itself. With FreeSigner it’s possible to simultaneously sign numerous apps on your mobile.

Possible alternatives: Mobile Signer, SignSIS, SmartSIS.

8. Smartmovie

During my time with symbian, Smartmovie was always my top choice for watching converted videos on a mobile. The latest 4.0 release with thumbnail previews and .flv support only confirms that. The only downside I can find is the price.

Possible alternatives: DivX Player, CorePlayer.

9. Mobitubia

A free application that allows not only viewing and searching through youtube videos on your mobile, but also downloading them. Sadly it’s long since it has last seen a public update so it constantly crashes on my N85. Visit the homepage for the list of supported devices. You can also try the mobile version of YouTube, just enter this link in your phone’s browser.

Possible alternatives: emTube, vTap ( enter this link in your phone’s browser).

10. AutoProfiles

Like the name implies, this application automatically changes profiles according to a pre set schedule. I use it mainly to have my phone in ‘silent’ profile during the night, and have ‘general’  profile activated again in the morning. Very helpful little app if you tend to forget to turn off your mobile at important moments.

Possible alternatives: Best Profiles, Handy Profiles, Profile Scheduler.

That’s it for my top ten list of the most needed applications for Symbian, hope you enjoyed it an found it at least a little helpful. What is so great about symbian phones, is that they offer amazing out-of-box functionality, and some users might be perfectly content with what they already have.

The included Safari web browser and image gallery is great, and Nokia’s push email mostly gets it’s job done well. But that wouldn’t be a smartphone without the ability to install some amazing 3rd party apps, would it?  So expect more application reviews, as this list is evidently too short to count in all of the good stuff that is available for symbian.

Categories: s60 apps
  1. February 28, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    hey bro, hows the starter kit coming along?? nice to see you have put a long list urself 🙂

  2. Jr
    April 14, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Good article. I’m a seasoned veteran with s60 presently using n95 8gb-nam and appreciate your choice of apps. To add to your list, for email, users can use the free new and improved nokia messaging app that now supports html. To toggle bluetooth on and off quickly, use bt switch. Good screen saver is cclock , shows time and date, etc. EQ Restart to quickly restart your phone. Joiku spot to tether. Fring for i.m, which i like cause i can make voip calls using 3g. I use skype unl plan for $2.95 and voipbuster, $10 eur get you 120 days of service. Works great. So much more, seek and you shall find. have a good day.

  3. nexudus
    April 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Glad you liked it Jr ! I’m actually compiling a second list of apps at the moment (cClock is one of them). But the situation is a bit sad right now, not many new apps are made for S60. That may change when the first Symbian Foundation devices launch later this year….

  1. April 21, 2010 at 1:43 am
  2. May 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm
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