Archive for October, 2011

The last few years have seen a very swift rise of the popularity of smartphones. So much so, that is almost impossible to imagine life without them. But are they really perfect?

Android
Thanks to the customizations, free applications and variety of handsets it is available on, Android is steadily on the rise. Google claims 3,00,000 Android phones are activated on a daily basis, globally. But Android too has its own problems.

Gaming
The Android platform has still not captured the imagination of game developers. Probably because of the non-standardised hardware, gaming developers find it difficult to make the games run on every phone. This is where iPhone has a definite advantage.

Manufacturer Customisation
Google helps handset makers to put a skin over the OS. Example-HTC Sense. Almost every manufacturer is doing this. Though this is designed to make the phone have additional functionality, in most cases this has an opposite effect. Software tends to crash, memory usage goes up and battery life goes down.

Poor Task Management.
Android phones have never been good at handling apps which open in the background or do not close fully upon exit.. The lack of built in task manager created this problem which was solved by many third party apps.However most people do not use them and end up sacrificing battery life and performance.

Too many screen resolutions make it tough for app makers
Varied screen resolutions for different devices(add tablets to that variety)and the app developers have a major task on their hands to make the apps look proper on every single screen. Some apps end up looking weird on some devices.

Bad battery life
The apps are to blame for this. They have a habit of being bullish when getting online updates.

Symbain^3
Symbian remained the way it was for a long time, a bit too long, according to some people. Symbain^3 arrived in 2010, with Nokia N8 Smartphone. A lot of hopes rested on the new OS. However Symbain^3 evoked a variety of responses-happiness,relief,disappointment,anger, resentment and even aggression.

Everything’s still the same?
The interface on the N8 looks lot like the one on the much older N97, which says lot about the new OS. Not much has been done to make it slicker, or even look a bit different.

Feels clunky with too many menu options
There are still too many menus to manage the options and settings in both the OS and within apps.

Handicapped Widgets
Widget size on the three home screens is limited, which not only reduces functionality, but also makes certain widgets a pain to use. Imagine catching up on your twitter timeline and only being able to read one tweet with every scroll.

Ovi Store is sparse
Despite Nokia’s best effort, the Ovi Store is far behind Apple’s App Store and Android Market in terms of the sheer number and variety of apps available.

Even Nokia may drop Symbain
There is a strong suspicion that Nokia will judge the response to the Meego based devices and then decide if it has to completely drop Symbian.

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Without doubt Symbian’s glory has faded considerably, but the fact remains they were the first to introduce most of us to the concept of smart phones and apps. Most of those very apps still stand out in the crowd. This list is a mixture of old classics with new hits, just in the right proportion for people with every flavour of Symbian, old or new, to have a go.

1.Opera Mini
Opera Mini steals the cake in this list more deservingly than anywhere else. It was and still is the ‘go to browser’ for most Symbian users out there. It routes websites through Opera’s servers, and the compressed data is a boon, especially with 2G speeds that most of us are subjected to.

2.Nimbuzz
IM, VoIP,Twitter, Facebook, Myspace. Use this one app to connect you to the world. The easy to manage tabbed interface unclutters your social life, all under the roof of this one app.

3.UC Browser
With more than 400million downloads and 300million users all over the world by september this year, UC Browser, like Opera Mini, does data compression and more. Built-in file manager and an ultra cute logo are a major up.

4.Skype
One of the best VoIP clients on the horizon, legendary stability and across-platform user base of more than 800millions users.

5.Fring
A VoIP and video chat service par excellence, this one has become favourite because it allows you to use text/voice/video chat in all your favourite services like google, yahoo, ICQ etc.

6.Core Player
Core Player was to Symbian what VLC player is to PCs.

7.Xplore
Xplore provided Nokia users what apple users struggled to get till yesterday. An explorer that provides uninhibited access to the file system plus much more, AV playback, folder copying or transferring you an entire drive over Bluetooth.

8. SmartMovie
SmartMovie, like Xplore above, had a talent centuries back,(Ok, make that 8-10 years) that most mobiles are learning today: Playing AVI files flawlessly. The bundled converter makes the whole process absolutely seemless.

9.Snaptu
Snaptu can best be called as service aggregator. From facebook and twitter, to various news services and blogs, it fetches all content and brings it in easy to eye way. Plus you can click and upload pics using this app at a go.

10.Ovi Maps
Nokia is one of the few companies that actually provides what we demand from every company: Free turn-by-turn guided navigation software. This one is here for staying.

11.Shazam
Shazam identifies music by scanning small snippets from songs and comparing them against a database. With twitter and Facebook sharing thrown in to solve the sharing obsession, this one is a crowd favourite.

12.Handy Taskman
Symbian always had a built-in Task Manager, but Handy Taskman was still loved. While it shows system resources, it mainly loved for its ability to kill the tasks taht phone couldn’t.

13.Symtorrent
Symtorrent brought torrents to Symbian. Till date it is the only torrent client on Symbian side.

14.Socially
Access Facebook,Twitter,LinkedIn & Foursquare from one place.

15.Quick Office
Quick Office has been bundled with Symbian phones for a very long time now and being free doesn’t make it any less important. A light and responsive suite for viewing and editing your documents on the go. A version is now available for other mobile operating systems as well.

If you know any better Symbain apps, do feel free to share with me at http://www.amaanbali@gmail.com