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January 26, 2008

My Phone Software FAQ

by Matthew

By far one of the most asked questions for me is, "What applications do you on your device?" Followed closely by, "What applications should I load?" My favorites programs have changed over the years but here are a few of my current favorites (in no particular order or preference):

  1. Jaiku - Recent purchased by Google, Jaiku is a SocNet that allows users to converse in a threaded environment. Unlike Twitter where users need to follow endless people to see all sides of the conversation, anyone can participate in a conversation if its either public or one of their contacts participates. Additional user can feed nearly any RSS feed into their posts, Flickr feeds even the images in your browser and very shortly in the mobile clients as well. With the Google buyout Jaiku became invite only, so you'll need to find an invite to truly enjoy this excellent application. Cost: Free, but needs an invite currently.
  2. Palringo - Unlike some other IM applications Palringo is free with support for AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Jabber (i.e. Gtalk), iChat, ICQ, and Gadu-Gadu. Accounts are free but does require a data connection from the device to function. The good news here is that it will work over WiFi. Another nice feature of Palringo is a the ability to have chat rooms, although not Yahoo or AIM supported one, just with other Palringo users. Palringo's user forum has a listing of a few created and posted by users. The biggest thing separating Palringo from the other IM apps is the ability to send pictures and audio clips, similar to push to talk. Cost: Free
  3. Shozu - This application is quite popular among S60 users for its ability to post to Flickr and many other photo and video sharing sites. Shozu can even post images and video via FTP. Shozu can be configured to send to as many accounts as you wish. If you happen to have more than one Flickr account that isn't a problem for Shozu. Shozu supports quite an extensive list of devices and most popular sites including Facebook. Don't have a data plan but have Picture Messaging (MMS) not a problem for Shozu. Cost: Free
  4. Gizmo - IM and VOIP what more can I really say? Read my previous post about Gizmo's latest update and some highlights. - Cost: Free
  5. X-plore - A file manager that goes way beyond the built-in file manager. Cost: $9US
  6. Y-Browser - Gives you many of the same options as X-plore with a different GUI with the added bonus of being free. If you are able to sign your own applications the author has a version which gives you some extra functionality. Cost: Free
  7. Podcasting - A free application from Nokia gives you the ability to not just listen but subscribe and download a number of popular audio and video podcasts. If you favorite isn't listed in the directory or the directory of your choosing isn't listed either can be added without much fuss. Cost: Free
  8. Google Maps - Just like Google Maps on the computer but in a mobile format. The downside is there is no pre-caching or pre-loading of Maps which can eat into the wallet without an unlimited or small data plan. Google Maps does a better job of locating addresses and other locations than Nokia Maps. The most recent update to Google Maps gives you two options for pinpointing your location. Google Maps can triangulate based on cell towers or use built-in GPS. When first launched it narrows down your location with cell towers, then if GPS is selected with pin-point further when available. Cost: Free
  9. Nokia Maps - Unlike Google Maps, maps can be pre-loaded or downloaded on the fly but can only pin-point a location using GPS not cell towers. Nokia maps generally loads quicker and will not use data nearly as much as Google Maps but can be picky about how addresses are entered when searching. Maps are broken down by country in most cases except for a few where they are broken down into states and provinces. If by some bad luck you find yourself out of a coverage area Nokia Maps still functions with any pre-loaded or downloaded maps. Voice navigation and city guides can be purchased for a nominal fee from Nokia but are not required for routing or other searches. Cost: Free, voice navigation and city guides Available for a fee.
  10. SIC! FTP - A S60 FTP client. The developer doesn't provide any documentation but this application does the job once setup. Cost: Free
  11. Screenshot - Does exactly as it describes, captures screenshots. Simple and basic yet does the job perfectly without any fuss or fanfare. Cost: Free
  12. Bloove Agent - This application once loaded on the device is nothing more than a conduit to connect to Bloove's website. Bloove is awesome for editing, creating even deleting contacts. From the website you can change every aspect of a contact, short of assigning a thumbnail. Have groups? No problem, contacts can be added or removed with a click of your mouse. Speed dial numbers can be assigned, even syncing up to 100 SMS in the current version. Bloove is working on a paid version of this free beta version that will allow additional SMS storage and Contact archiving. Bloove's support through their forum is outstandingly responsive. While using the application I noticed some fields were missing that have been added to S60v3. I posted about these missing fields and received a response the next day that they would add them. Within a week the fields were available online as if they had always been there. The first time I using the application about 200k was used syncing about 400 contacts and the 100 SMS. Additional syncs haven't used much data at all since only the changes are synced from then on. All changes are instant and on the fly. I recommend a high speed connection such as WiFi or 3G for best results but works well over EDGE. Its is quite a sight to see when after clicking save to see that contact instantly changed on the device screen, I'm not kidding its that fast. I don't pay for many online services but this one I would seriously consider in a heart beat. Cost: Free, with a more robust paid version in the works.
  13. smsbug - Granted I don't use this one much but it is a favorite of mine. With smsbug you are able to send SMS to anyone on nearly any carrier around the world for only 3 cents euro (about 4 cents USD), that cheaper than many carriers charge for regular domestic messages. Messages can be sent from this J2ME (Java) client, WAP site or web site. To use the J2ME app or WAP site will obviously require data access but this app uses very little data. smsbug's support and customer service is a bit lacking however the cost savings for international text messaging is HUGE! Once registered you can even give credits to your friends or family. Cost: 3 cents euro plus data access.
  14. Handy Taskman - Similar to Task Manager in Windows or System Monitor in Ubuntu, Handy Taskman allows you to see what's running, how much free memory is available in all memory areas, kill or close running applications, along with launch both recently used or  lookup and start applications. This is one of those applications that should be standard on every smartphone and thankfully thanks to Epocware it is available on most of them. The links to the Nokia N95 version but it is available for many other makes and models including UIQ. Cost: $19.99

These are just a few of some of the great applications I have come to know and love. After writing this post I considered re-titling it freeware hit list, as most are free applications. Do you have favorite application I left out? Please share it with everyone in comments.



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Another useful freeware is PuTTY for Symbian OS, a free SSH client.
available here : http://s2putty.sourceforge.net/


Great post!
I found about about bloove and smsbug which I think will work for me, I am giving them a try right now...
Thank you Matthew!


Thank you for the palringo hint - i used frings before and didn't get google talk to work there. Palringo seems to use less memory and works very well with gtalk :-)


Palringo seems really cool but I can't seem to get it working. I registered on the site, downloaded the app and when I try to connect, i get a login error. I can't even get into the forums.

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