Since the launch of the iPhone App Store by Apple last year, we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of applications, games and ringtones for mobile phones. Phones are now getting smarter than ever before and many now allow us to install extra applications and add functionality to our phones. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be compiling a list of the top applications for each of the different mobile phone operating systems; Symbian S60 3rd edition, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, iPhone & Java.
I’m starting off with Symbian 60 3rd Edition (also known as S60 V3). If this doesn’t mean much to you, don’t worry, S60 V3 is probably the most common operating system and is found in most Nokia N-Series (N95, N96) and Nokia E-Series (E71, E66) handsets. Over the last few months there have also been a few handsets from Samsung that run S60 such as the Samsung INNOV8. The latest touch screen phones from Nokia – the N97 and the 5800 XpressMusic run on Symbian software, but as they are touchscreen, they run on S60 V5 so the applications listed here won’t work on them. I’ll be compiling a list of Symbian 60 5th edition applications shortly.
Mobile Messenger provides a universal instant messaging platform that works seamlessly across your desktop and mobile phone and fully integrates with your address book. As well as being able to chat using MSN/Windows Live Messenger you can also chat with AIM and Yahoo Messenger contacts. The application remembers your username and password for quick login, supports sound notification of a new message and reacts quickly. Mobile Messenger uses very small amounts of data, doesn’t drain your battery and is extremely easy to use. You can choose between sound or Vibration alert, have group chats and all your contacts appear in one clear list.
We all love killing time on YouTube, and this app makes it really easy to search for videos and play them back on your phone without having to navigate to their website first. During playback you can pause, fast forward and rewind as well as play video full screen in landscape mode. One slight word of warning here is that watching video’s uses a lot of data, so make sure you have an unlimited internet bundle on your account or are connected to a Wi-Fi network (if available on your phone).
3. Google Maps
Google Maps is an incredibly popular application on the internet, and there are times when it would come in handy when you’re out and about. The great news is that you can now get Google Maps on your phone. It’s not a scaled down version either, it’s a fully functional application that has been optimised to run on a mobile phone. You will need to pick up a GPS signal in order to use some of the features in Google Maps, so if your phone hasn’t got it built in, you’ll need to get yourself a Bluetooth GPS receiver. This will then allow Google Maps to track your location in the application for driving directions, business listings and traffic information. If you’re out walking and getting a little bit lost, Google Maps now has street view for major towns and cities that will help you figure out exactly where you are and where you need to go. Follow the link for download information and a demo video.
This one is a must for drivers who don’t have safety camera alerts on their Sat Nav. It’s a GPS based app, so again you’ll need a Bluetooth GPS receiver if you don’t have GPS built into your phone. It uses your GPS location to warn you of any upcoming safety cameras, but the thing that makes this different to others, is that it’s interactive. If you find a location where there isn’t a camera, give it the thumbs down, if a new one appears, a couple of presses adds it to the database and other users will be warned too. As Trapster uses an internet connection for constant updates, it can warn you of upcoming safety cameras, Mobile speed cameras, Checkpoints, places where police are waiting with hand held speed guns and places where police frequently wait with the hand held speed guns. On a serious note though, this application isn’t an excuse to speed. It is a way to help protect your license. Speeding kills, so drive safely and don’t attempt to use your phone while driving.
Fring is similar to Mobile Messenger, in as much as it lets you chat to your friends, but supports a much wider range of IM apps. You can use Fring to chat to friends that use MSN/Windows Live, ICQ, Google Talk, Twitter, Yahoo and AOL. The big difference here is that you can also use Fring to call contacts on Skype and other VOIP services.
Joiku is a great app that might remove the need to have a Mobile Broadband Dongle. When you launch Joiku, it creates a connection to your 3G mobile network, and then uses the WiFi antenna on your phone to create a wireless hotspot that you can then connect your laptop to in order to browse the internet. It’s not just limited to one laptop though, you can connect multiple devices all at the same time. I’ve got this installed on my N82 and frequently use it to connect my iPod Touch to the internet for emailing and internet. There are a couple of basic requirements for this app though. Your phone must have Wi-Fi Built in, and to avoid any nasty surprises with your bill you need to be on an unlimited internet tariff that includes laptop access.
7. Opera Mini
Browsing the internet on a mobile phone isn’t always the most enjoyable experience. The Opera Mini browser is much easier to use than the standard one built into most S60 devices and has a few more features too. If you use the Opera browser on your home PC you’ll be able to synchronise your bookmarks over the air, you can save pages for viewing later as well as view video’s from sites such as YouTube that are embedded into sites. You’ll also find that Opera Mini loads pages a lot faster than the standard browser too.
8. Bit Defender
As phones get smarter, so do viruses. Bit Defender is an anti-virus application for S60 devices. While it’s unlikely that you’ll get a virus on your phone, when you do they’re extremely difficult to remove without you losing all your data. There are paid anti-virus solutions available, but for a free one this does a great job.
I’m sure there have been times where we have all needed to find the answer to something quickly – Google on your mobile is the first place I normally go, but having to wait for the internet browser to load, then type in google, then you have to wait for the page to load – it’s not really very fast. Google Mobile is a stand alone search app and can search your phone as well as the web. to find the information you need, just launch the app, type in what you’re after and hit search. Simple as that. Google Mobile is an app you’ll never want to be without.
I covered this recently when Nokia first announced it, It’s only availble for Nokia handsets, but this small app lets you discover useful and relevant information and services by simply pointing your camera phone at objects. For instance, point your camera phone at a movie poster on the street to read reviews, glance at ratings, lookup show times, and even find the closest theatre and purchase tickets in the UK if your phone has a built-in GPS. This one is still a beta application, which means there are known problems with it, and it might play up now and again.
That’s it, that’s our current top ten. Let us know what you think to these apps, or if you’ve found a great application that you can’t live without, then tell us about it using the comments form below.