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Top 30 Free Symbian Smartphone Applications

Published on: at 2:12 PM | Posted By:
Latest Applications 'top 30 freeware' for all Symbian^3 smartphones. Excluding games, which tend to be a very personal taste (though there are some great free games too, if you look around).

Please note that although the '30' are in rough order (with '1' the best), the exact ordering is very subjective and you'd arrange them differently. So take the numbering with a pinch of salt!

Swype

Sworn by lots of people and sworn at by lots of others, Swype is very much an acquired taste - it's a complete keyboard replacement for Symbian that works by looking at the way you trace your fingers around the various keys rather than just by taps alone. It's an intriguing and clever system though does mean a lot of finger exercise and isn't ideal for all. Still, free and worth a try, if only because it might be the single biggest upgrade you ever give your device!

Swype


Opera Mini 6

We've featured Opera Mini many times on All About Symbian, of course. It's a completely proxy-based web browser, which means that all the HTML, images and scripting from your chosen web site are collected by Opera's servers, rendered completely, rationalised to strip out everything you don't need, and then mightily compressed to save download times, arriving  in the form of pseudo-code understood by the Opera Mini client. The end result is a very fast web experience, even on the most bloated sites.

After a multitude of Java-based versions, version 6.5 is a native Symbian application, meaning that the app starts faster, runs faster and text input can be slicker. There's even now multi-touch zoom and the browsing experience is excellent.

Opera Mini 6 Operamini 61


SPB TV

Originally commercial software, with a small amount of channels thrown in for free, this is now freeware, under new management, and well worth grabbing. About a hundred channels of live TV, of international flavour, all available on demand on your phone? Sounds too good to be true? Not really - and quality's usually acceptable too. The channels can be somewhat niche, but then that adds a certain charm too  - especially at this price point!

SPB TV


TwimGo

It's not quite Gravity, but it's not far off, and for free. TwimGo presents a polished (light or) dark kinetic interface, with all the usual Twitter streams, filters and options, including an unusual landscape view showing tweets in tabular form, as shown here. The only disappointments are a slightly small font and no way to enlarge it, plus no way to share photos. Still, highly recommended.

Twimgo


Sports Tracker

A feature of the Symbian world over the last four years, this GPS-logging utility-on-steroids is now back firmly in the hands of its creators and tied to a superb online portal for uploading your runs, walks and cycle rides. Add in a heart monitor and some online friends who can be relied on to call you out for slacking and this is your ticket to getting fit - really!

Sport Tracker 1 Sport Tracker 2


facinate

'facinate' is a next-generation Facebook client and this has to be the easiest way to access the social network on your phone, far smoother and faster than Nokia's built-in Social client. With kinetic scolling everywhere, with media sharing and friend photo browsing, with homescreen notifications and with side-swipe views throughout, this is a must. It's freeware but does have some banner ads inserted here and there.

facinate1 facinate2


Nokia Sleeping Screen

Also from Nokia Beta Labs, this takes advantage of the characteristics of OLED screens to provide animated screen saver functions for Symbian^3 phones even when the screen is 'off'. Clever stuff, and the graphic displays in this low power mode are fairly creative. And - show me another manufacturer being as innovative with OLED!


Nokia Internet Radio

Internet Radio is still an amazing facility to be able to pluck music and spokwn word content out of the 'air' on any phone, subject to your available bandwidth. Nokia's system has a good content directory and a nice system of favourites. This is also ad-supported to a very subtle degree, with ads pointing back to the Nokia Store.

Nokia INternet Radio 1  Nokia Internet Radio 2


Opera Mobile 11

Made in the image of Opera Mini - or maybe it was the other way around! - Opera Mobile is more traditional as a web browser, in that it interprets web site HTML and scripting in the client itself, but with the added benefits over Nokia's Web of text selection and an up-front multi-tabbed interface. And, with a nod to Opera Mini's compression technology, Opera Mobile has 'Turbo' mode, in which Opera's servers compress some of the original site code and content, squirting it through the air for decompression within Opera Mobile itself.

Significantly, Opera Mobile 11.5 brings multi-touch zoom and faster, slicker rendering and support for the native Symbian text entry methods.

Opera Mobile 11


Podcatcher

My most used piece of Symbian freeware* and, annoyingly, it shouldn't really have been needed at all. Nokia had a perfectly good Podcasting utility and they neglected it to the point where it's possibly now not retrievable. Ah well. Aside from not having Podcasting's multitasking abilities (Podcatcher updates feeds and downloads podcasts one at a time), this is just as useable day to day.

With great OPML feed importing and exporting, with a mechanism for searching for podcasts online, with good use of album art and with an innovative 'new shows' tab, Podcatcher has its definite 'pros' though and it's the first thing I install on a modern Symbian device.

Podcatcher 1 Podcatcher 2

*Get Podcatcher for free from here. (There's also a paid for version in the Nokia Store, if you feel like using this instead and rewarding the developer in a small way - I've already done so a couple of times and would urge you to too, if you have a spare quid etc. See also the developer's own blog where he reports on the success of this 'free vs Store' strategy...)


YouTube Downloader

A new application written in Qt, this gives both an efficient window into the YouTube mobile web site and a MP4 streamer and downloader. Resolution goes right up to 1080p, though there's no guarantee that even a Symbian^3 device will be able to play this back smoothly. Rough edges include a clumsy file naming system and a slightly awkward program structure, but this app can do things many desktop apps can't, so it's hard to be too critical.

Youtube Downloader1 Youtube Downloader 2


TuneWiki

Continuing the Internet Radio theme, TuneWiki offers a lyric-based guide to your music collection and is able to play back Shoutcast Internet radio stations, giving you unlimited streaming content. Performance isn't quite as good under Symbian^3 as Nokia Internet Radio - it plays with high enough quality when in the foreground but it's fair to say that if you switch away and start loading up the processor then the music will stutter a little. Still - you get a lot of app for free, with only unobtrusive banner ads here and there.

Tunewiki


cuteBox

DropBox is a staple of modern online life for many of us, as a quick way to back up and share content between devices and users. And cuteBox is a quick and smooth client for the service for your Symbian smartphone. Sensibly, it doesn't try and sync everything down all the time, it just gives you access and lets you upload new content.

cuteBox screenshot1 cuteBox screenshot2


Mobile Documents

This is an alternative email system for Symbian which also supports multiple email accounts and pseudo-push. Most importantly however, it provides a unique and advanced attachment handling system. Recent versions have added pinch-to-zoom and full multi-touch on any image or document, plus homescreen widgets and native Symbian notifications. Highly recommended.

The Mobile Documents viewer


Upcode

One rather strange omission from Symbian in its current incarnation is a barcode or QR code scanner, but this is an easy gap to plug with Upcode. This handles 2D, Bidi and 1D codes and, amazingly, even seems to work acceptably with the EDoF cameras on most current devices, at least if the code is large enough and you stay around 30cm away.

Upcode

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