There is plenty of software available for Symbian S60 3rd edition phones such as the Nokia N95, and of course, the E71. Since acquiring my E71, I have tried out a lot of software, and after a flurry of installs and uninstalls, I have settled down to a core of programs that I regularly use (or have ‘just in case’).

Downloaded Software: Web service integration

Since the S60 platform has been around for a while, there are many excellent pieces of software about. Since I use many of the social networking and cloud-based services on the internet, I’m very interested in ways that I can integrate with them via my E71.

This list includes only software that I have downloaded, not preinstalled programs. These are nearly all native S60 apps, unless stated.

  • Skype (3‘s Skype client based on iSkoot, limited to 3 network)
  • Twibble (good Twitter client, J2ME)
  • Google Maps (works well with the internal GPS and can display KML files)
  • Google Mail (Gmail on the move, J2ME)
  • Google Search (add Google search to your homescreen)
  • Mobbler (superb last.fm client, with radio)
  • Socialight (Find out what’s been tagged near you, works with internal GPS, J2ME)
  • Yahoo! Go (nice way of browsing Yahoo’s services, including Flickr)
  • Fring (Skype, Twitter, SIP, Google Talk, etc)
  • CalSyncS60 (Sync your E71’s calendar with Google Calendar)
  • Jaiku
  • Opera Mini (Superb little web browser, J2ME)
  • Qik (stream live video to the internet from your phone)
  • FE Updater (update your location to Fire Eagle using the E71’s GPS)
  • Yahoo! Zonetag (geotag photos and upload them to Flickr, and update your location to Fire Eagle!)
  • NeoReader (barcode / QR code reader – read those funny squares you sometimes see)
  • JoikuSpot Lite (share your 3G data connection on the E71 via wifi – great for using with my iPod Touch)
  • Yahoo! Go (Flickr, maps, news, mail etc. Basically if you use any of Yahoo!’s services, download this! Also does location-based searches via GPS – very handy.)
  • Skyfire (amazing browser that supports Flash on the E71 – currently in beta. I’ve used it to watch videos on Vimeo and it worked really well)
  • Nimbuzz (a multi-talented instant messenger that supports Skype)

In short, this list of software allows me to use VOIP services (Skype is my service of choice), take and upload geotagged photos to Flickr, sync my calendar, stream video, find out where I am and how to get where I’m going, and keep up to date with what’s going on in the world via email and Twitter (and let people know what I’m up to, and where I am).

Supplied Software

The E71 comes with a bewildering range of software preinstalled. Picking some of the packages that I’ve found useful, here’s a brief summary:

QuickOffice 4 allows the creation of MS Office compatible documents on the move, as well as viewing existing ones. I’ve only used the Document side of this software, and it works pretty well. Basic formatting is straightforward, but to be honest I’d probably format a document later on my computer.

Nokia Maps 2.0 is installed on the 2GB MicroSD card that came with the phone, and doesn’t need network access to view maps. So finding directions etc is straightforward and quick. GPS lock is suprisingly quick if you have a good view of the sky. I haven’t yet made extensive use of it, but from a superficial play, it looks pretty good.

Dictionary is a great little app for looking up words on the move, or if you download extra language packs, makes it an excellent means for translating foreign words when you’re on holiday.

Adobe PDF reader is great for viewing PDFs, and the built-in Calendar app is reasonable enough to work out what you have to do, when, and have it remind you. The best bit about it for me, is that I can use CalSyncS60 to sync it with my Google Calendar (which in turn can sync with other calendars), so that I don’t have multiple versions and cause myself any social embarassment!

The “to do” function of the calendar is a little weak, as all to-dos have to be associated with a date, so I prefer to simply use the Notes app to jot down lists. I’m getting rather handy with the E71’s QWERTY keyboard and predictive text now 🙂

If any reader has come across some good “to do” software for S60, I’d be happy to hear from you!

I’ve had fun playing with the Nokia Sports Tracker to measure how far I have cycled or walked, and to see statistics such as average speed, maximum speed (35mph so far!), routes, graphs etc. Results can be stored locally or synced with the Nokia Sports Tracker website (I haven’t got around to doing that yet – not sure if I want to!).

Web Browsing

I’ve spent many hours surfing the web via my E71 when I have been away from home. The built in browser is based upon the Webkit engine (the same used in Apple’s Safari browser) and, since the phone comes with Flash Lite installed, I find it works very well for most of my needs. Zooming in and out of a page works well, with results being nicely anti-aliased (smoothed). I sometimes reach for Opera Mini, especially if I roam outside of the 3G network – it’s nice to have a backup that has pages compressed at the server-side.

The screen is sufficiently large enough, and especially with it’s natural landscape orientation, to browse the web for hours without becoming too cross-eyed. A combination of Nokia’s browser and Opera Mini allows most websites to be displayed correctly while you’re on the move. However, I look forward to trying out the new Skyfire browser when it becomes available.

What software is missing?

I would love to see a better “To Do” manager, and a blogging client that is compatible with WordPress. For the latter I have tried Scribe, but sadly it didn’t work on the E71. I’d also like a native S60 Twitter app, as Twibble, great as it is, does seem a little slow and clunky. The Jaiku client is wonderful, but not many of my friends use Jaiku – a Twitter equivalent would be great.

Other than that, at this point in time, it’s all there.

Mac Support

As a Mac user, connectivity with OSX is vital to me. Thankfully, Nokia have made the Nokia iSync plugin so that contacts and calendars are synchronised on my Mac, and the Nokia Multimedia Transfer program to sync photos with iPhoto and music with iTunes. In short, with these two pieces of software installed, the E71 plays very well with Macs.

Pairing the E71 via Bluetooth allows you to set up the device as a modem for your computer, and it’s pretty straightforward to do. Since the E71 supports Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) connections with newer Macs are rather nippy indeed.

Conclusion

Without reviewing every piece of software that came pre-installed, and every program I have downloaded in huge detail, I’ll summarise by saying that I can do pretty much everything that I want to do online, on my phone.

While S60 software seems to lack the finesse and good looks of software on the iPhone, it makes up in terms of functionality, and in my case, price. All of the software listed here either came with the phone, or is available for free online. I can type up documents, send and recieve emails, use Skype and other IM services, take photos and send them to Flickr, update and browse Twitter, surf the web, listen to internet radio, find out where I am and what’s around me. I can leave myself notes and appointments to remind me what I have to do and when. In short, the E71 is a mini computer, QWERTY keyboard included.

Oh yes, and of course, I nearly forgot – you can make phone calls on it too… 😉