Now that I've got a phone I'll be using for a while, I wanted to write an overview of the Symbian Series 60 apps I have on my phone, just like my popular post about the apps on my Nokia 6600 from January 1st, 2004. It's not enough to just point back to my other post and simply do an update, because the 6680 uses a new version of the Symbian OS base (8.0a), and a new version of the Series 60 UI (v2, 2.6), many apps that I used before now don't work and haven't been updated. I know more and more people who have this phone (or the Nokia 6682 which is basically the same phone for the American market) and who are asking me about the phone and which apps to use, so this will be a the post to point to. I really think the Nokia 6680/6681/6682 series could be a breakout Series 60 phone for Nokia, especially here in the U.S. where we really haven't had a Symbian phone that's hit critical mass yet.
To make sure I was current with my list off apps, I spent a few hours going through every mobile software site I could find looking for interesting apps that either I hadn't seen before or hadn't tried, then tested them on the 6680 to see if they worked. Sadly, many of my old favorites like ReadM and WirelessIRC (among others) don't really work at all, which sucks. But wow, even still I've got tons of apps to go over - and these are just the ones that I find useful or interesting - there's many more out there. And because most people are just coming to the Series 60 platform for the first time, I've decided to also go to go over the phone's internal and pre-installed apps that I use as well since I know a lot of people may not know what they already have on their phones.
First thing's first. In order to use your phone to its fullest and install all these apps as well as a decent amount of multimedia files, you'll need a good sized memory card. Remember that the 6680 uses the "Dual Volt Reduced Size MMC" (DV RS-MMC) card, which is different from the non-dual-volt kind and only available online (that I've seen). This used to be a pain, but now there are several sites out there where you can order larger sized cards. I just got my 512MB memory card to replace my 256MB one, both from USA Memory. This isn't as good as the 1GB+ sizes you find in the SD world, but it's better than the 32MB or 64MB that usually comes with new phones. I have to say that these types of MMC cards are a bit twitchy, I had to buy another card reader before my computer would see it, and I've heard of them getting corrupted a bit easily as well. Just so you've been warned. :-)
So I might as well start all this with a quick overview of the Nokia 6680 itself since I haven't had a chance to review that either yet. Whew! Lots to go over, let's go!
Mini Nokia 6680 Review
I'm definitely very happy with the 6680. Unlike some of the latest Series 60 models I've used like the 7610 and 6630, this phone has a very conservative and clean design which looks really good in my opinion and attracts compliments whenever I pull it out. (The "iPod white" ones look especially nice.) It seems like Nokia has finally worked through all the little quirks that have plagued many previous S60 phones: There's no rounded designs or funky keypads, the buttons are all intelligently placed with the soft buttons big and easy to find and a joypad that's not hard to work, the memory card is accessible without taking out the battery, it has stereo playback, and the main 1.3 megapixel camera in the back takes great quality pictures (with a smooth digital zoom up to 6x) and practically unlimited length video, has a flash and a cover to boot. The OS has been steadily improved and this phone has nice new touches like the "Active Standby" mode and an "offline" mode so you could use the phone on airplanes. In general it's Nokia's best Series 60 phone yet. I'm so glad I bought this phone with my own money, so I get to keep it. :-)
So I'm quite happy, but hey, I can nit-pick a bit as well. I think the cover on the back feels plasticy, slides a bit too easily, and ignores the keypad lock so many times I pull the phone out of my pocket to discover the slide door is open and the camera app turned on (though it times out after a few seconds so it doesn't kill the battery or anything, it's still annoying to find). The keypad is nice, but a bit tight - especially the "clear" and "pen" keys. I've gone to select several images or other files to send via Bluetooth only to hit the wrong key and instead of multi-selecting been prompted to delete the file instead. Also the general bulk of the phone can sometimes seem a bit too much - I think the new trend (set off by the Moto RAZR) is in thin, light color camera phones, so even though this phone does a ton more, I'm sure many consumers are going to be a bit put off by its 130+ gram bulk. Functionally, the phone could use a lot more useable RAM as I still get memory full errors once in a while. And god, when is Nokia going to put standard 3.5mm audio jacks on their phones!?
One thing that I have to do is get used to is the fact that this model in particular has two cameras. I'm used to clicking the right soft key to activate the main camera in the back, but if the cover is on and you do that, the front camera facing you turns on instead so you end up looking at yourself which can be quite disturbing late at night. Having that front camera is sort of fun, actually - the image quality isn't as nice (only VGA), but it makes lining up shots of you and someone else a lot easier. That said, since here in the U.S. I won't be able to use the video-call features, I'd probably be happy losing it like the 6682 and gaining back that extra few grams in my pocket.
Honestly, the great camera and the high-speed data connectivity (here in the U.S. it acts as a class 10 EDGE device and maxes out at around 110kbps) combined with the ability to install all the software below makes it a monster phone. If you've been sitting on the fence about getting a smart phone until now, now is the time.
I've been using Series 60 phones for years now, and have gotten into certain habits about where apps should be located. Generally the idea is centered around the goal of getting the most used app icons "closer" to the main menu so there's less clicks to get to them. Arranging icons on Series 60 phones is sort of an art. On one hand you have commonly used folders and placement - like the Settings app in the Tools folder, and the Bluetooth app in the Connectivity folder. I don't want to move those because I don't want to get too far away from the norm so if I pick someone else's phone up I'll have a general idea of where stuff is. But also I always add an "Apps" folder that other phones don't have, where I put most of the third-party apps I install. I guess Nokia will do this in the future as well with an oddly named "My Own" folder - same difference.
An important thing to do is get rid of redundant or useless app icons into the Extras folder so you don't have to wade through them looking for something else. Examples: Camera (I have that as my right-click option, so I don't need it), Contacts (same thing, just press down on the joypad at the home screen), About, Help, Go To (or Favorites or whatever that useless app is called) and others. I put all those in the Extras. This isn't for the stuff that I use infrequently, this is for the icons I will *never* use and have absolutely no use for. So even though I don't use the To Do app, or the Recorder app, I *might* use them, so they're somewhere else. To me the Extras is where I put stuff that I'd delete from the UI if I could, but since I can't and have to put them somewhere, they go in there.
So I end up having essentially 8 folders (Series 60 can't go more than one-level deep, so it's just the top folder and the 7 sub-folders): Top Menu, Tools, Connectivity, Media, Apps, Games, Office and Extras. "Office" is a new one for me, and I'm still debating its usefulness - it was there by default on the 6680 filled with QuickOffice and some other basics so I left it. Media appears by default on some Series 60 phones and not others, so I renamed the default folder on the 6680 called Imaging into Media (which makes more sense to me) and use that instead.
The Nokia 6680 also has a new twist on how the icons are used, what's called "Active Standby" which simply means you can include five app icons to the standby level of the interface (different from the top level of the "menu") along with a calendar and todo list summary below it. This is pretty nice and I've added some things like New Text Message and Gallery to the icons. Old habits die hard though, so I don't actually use those icons much - I like that they're there, so I haven't turned them off, but I haven't included them in my little S60 world-view yet. I think I may soon though, as it only takes a max of two clicks on the joypad to get to any of those apps. This is the same as using the top level menu and the "9-up", but with the advantage of not having to hunt for the Series 60 Menu Key.
Sorry, I know - this is a bit over analysis, but these phones have been with me 24/7 for two and a half years now...
Okay, the apps, by folder:
Camera/Video: Even though I don't have an icon for this on the top level, I figured I would write about it here since it's permanently attached to my right soft button from the standby screen. The Camera has a pretty good selection of options on the 6680, including brightness, contrast, sequence mode, digital zoom, timer, different resolutions and picture sizes, flash options, night mode and more. The Video mode can take up to an hour of video and decent resolution. The camera is definitely the killer app of this phone.
Log: You can get to a subset of this folder by clicking the green call key from the standby screen, but by using this icon you get more functionality, including a summary of calls and data usage. Because of that I keep this icon on the top and in a convenient spot. The default focus when you enter the top menu is actually the middle icon, so this is up and to the left (two clicks).
Calendar: I should use the calendar more (which is why it's on the top level), especially now that there's a summary the day's appointments on the standby screen, but honesty I don't use the calendar much except for anniversary reminders (I've got to find a decent sync solution for my Mac) and when I need to set an alarm to wake up or something. It's a pretty basic calendar, but has several views and does the job.
Gallery: The newest version of the Gallery is great - all your media appears in a clean list regardless of their storage location (phone or memory card). This is where you go to view and manage your media files - to listen to music, send pictures and videos to your computer via bluetooth or via email. It probably should be moved somewhere a bit closer to the top since I use it so much, but it's been in that corner in one form or another since my 7650, so I'm sort of hesitant to move it around.
Messaging: This is where you send and receive SMS, MMS and Email messages. I have this as my left soft button as well, but I end up switching back and forth to it from other apps so much that I've kept the app icon anyways. I wish this app used the screen real estate a bit more efficiently, especially for the email bit, but it does the job. You end up spending a lot of time in this app (texting, etc.) and when you're messing with apps as this is where Bluetooth-transferrred files arrive as well.
Web: This is the Nokia internal web browser which is finally named "Web" and not something insane like "Services" or what not. This is also the WAP/WAP2 browser and the default that's started up via messages with links and other apps (you can't change this) so it stays right in the middle, despite the fact that I normally use either NetFront or Opera to do any real web browsing.
Netfront: My first third party app in this list (don't worry, there's more). I go back and forth between NetFront and Opera for day-to-day web browsing. I think in the latest round that NetFront has won, it seems to render pages faster and better, and pays enough attention to the CSS to give you a feel for a page without completely destroying it. Many times I keep both browsers in the top level so I can go back and forth, but for now NetFront is on top. [ Link ]
Notes: When I need to write something down quick and I don't have a pen, I pull up this app and use T9 to type. This is good for phone numbers as well, so you don't have to try to manage the contacts app while someone is just giving you all their contact info quickly. Since you can cut/paste by holding down the pen key, this works well. Also, if you want to send your buddy nearby a message via Bluetooth, you can use this app to do it (rather than via standard messaging - which needs SMS).
Agile Messenger: The best Instant Messaging client for the Series 60 phone hands-down. It allows you to log into all the major services, has an easy-to-use tabbed interface where you can have multiple conversations easily, can run in the background without sucking up all your battery, and also has some neat functionality like push-to-talk-like audio messages - just hold down the joypad to talk and then if the person you're chatting with has Agile, they'll hear the message in about 15 seconds, otherwise a normal IM client will get a link to a web page where the voice message is played as wave file. Works great. [ Link ]
Profimail: This is the best email client for the Series 60 phone. It maximizes the use of screen real-estate by ignoring Nokia's guidelines and that's a good thing - you can see many more messages at a time as a result. It's been constantly updated and has an impressive feature list including secure connections, IMAP, HTML message viewing and more. If you're really going to use your smart phone for email, this is the app to have. [ Link ]
I won't go into each one of these apps in detail, I'll just say that this is the folder that you need to have handy any time you want to change something important on your phone.
- Setings: If you want to change the default standby icons, network, etc. use this.
- Profiles: To choose your ringtone and volume.
- Themes: For your wallpaper and other eye-candy (you can download tons more themes as well).
- Memory Card: Used to format your MMC and check free space.
- File Manager.: Basic app used to manage files (I usually use FExplorer below instead).
- App Manager: Used to uninstall apps. I used this a lot as I try apps and then toss them if they don't work, or if the trial has expired and I don't want to pay.
- Speed Dial: This is where you set up the speed dial numbers, so you can hold down a number key and dial an associated contact.
I've gotten rid of anything else in there (moved to Extras) as these apps are the most important and I don't want anything in my way. Despite the fact that this should be a "set and forget" area, I find myself in here at least twice a week for something or other.
Again, I won't go over each app in detail, but here's a quick rundown:
- Bluetooth: This is where you go to name your phone, turn on/off Bluetooth and pair with other devices.
- Sync: If you want to use a SyncML service like Funambol's Sync4J, this is where you got to set up the service. (One would think that this is the app you'd use for iSync as well, but it's not sadly).
- Connection Manager: To check your live data connections (and close them if need be), use this app to give you updates in real time of the kb's uploaded/downloaded.
I've got a few other apps that were in here by default and I've left them as I *might* use them some day, though they're pretty useless right now. Any other apps I might have found in this folder, I moved to the dreaded "Extras" folder (where Symbian apps go to die).
- Device Manager: In theory, by setting this one app correctly, it would connect to a central server to download the settings for all the other apps. I've yet to see it work though (probably a good candidate for the Extras folder).
- IM: This app is Nokia's Wireless Village client that you can use with a service like Yamigo.com.
- PTT: This stands for "Push To Talk" (using data connections) and though I haven't found a server to use it with yet, I'm sure I'll run across one sooner or later. :-)
You know, there could be a real business in just setting up a public web service which all these different apps can connect to.
Image Print: This app can send images to any Bluetooth enabled printer (I've never seen one, but I'm sure I will some day). Not just one picture at a time, but you can also choose how many images per page. The app also allows you to print with a USB connection as well, but this would require a "PictBridge" capable printer. It also allows you to "print" to your MMC memory as well, again, for printers that support this sort of thing.
Image Mgr: This is a basic image manager, but with some nice eye candy to show off your photos to your friends. It has a funky UI which shows images fading off into the distance and also has an "Image Show" option which displays your images full screen in landscape mode. You can sort of do this with Gallery, but this app does it faster and with more pizzaz. If you want to show off a bunch of photos to a friend, start this app up.
Video editor: This is a full-on video-editing app on your phone. It allows you to cut and paste sections of various videos and put them together with basic effects like b&w conversion, slow motion, and you can add audio tracks as well. I can't imagine working through all this on the phone since I have iMovie on my Mac which could handle the relatively small .3gp movie files with ease, but if you wanted to create something on the move, you can.
Movie Director: This is an interesting app that automagically creates what are essentially little music videos from the images or video you've taken with your phone. Called "muvees", it basically adds a music track, backgrounds and the Ken Burns effect. It has custom settings or a Quick muvee option which allows you to choose the general look and feel of the resulting video from a set of downloadable templates. Easy to make, fun to send to people who are amazed you can do this sort of thing on your phone. [ Link ]
Mobile Theatre: This came with the 6680 and it seems like another 3gp/Real movie playback app in addition to the Real Player. Why do you need two different video players? Well the Real Player for whatever reason doesn't support fast forward or reverse and this app does. Why doesn't Real or Nokia just fix the other movie playback app? God knows.
Virgin Radio: I wrote about this app not too long ago - you can get it for free from Virgin Radio UK and it's simply a music streaming app for 3G networks. It works just like it should: You turn it on and it asks you to connect to the network, after a few seconds it gives you a choice of Virgin music channels to listen to, and within 15-20 seconds, you start hearing streaming music. Simple and easy, but very cool. [ Link ]
Ogg Player: This is a free Ogg and MP3 Player for Series 60 phones. It's got a much nicer interface than the integrated music app for playing music (browsing your music files is just nicer). This is one of those great examples of open source apps. The default skin is gorgeous (it supports skins!) and the functionality great. I don't have any .ogg files, but if I want to listen to any audio on my phone, I use this app. [ Link ]
SmartMovie: This is a commercial app which plays back full-screen .avi, DiVX or XVid encoded videos from your memory card. It works great! I recently bought DivX Pro, and it's pretty simple to grab a movie off the web - movie trailers from Quicktime for example (great for quick demos!) - convert them to DiVX encoded AVIs and play them on the phone full-screen. If you've got the apps and/or the patience you can rip your DVDs, etc. as well which will shrink down to a reasonable level and look and sound great via this player. [ Link ]
Virtual Radio: This is another streaming radio service, but for all those shoutcast stations out there! You turn it on, it asks you to connect, it gets a list of stations, which you can choose from and *poof* you're listening to streaming music. Very cool. I haven't used it for long periods of time or done anything like jogging with it, but if it manages the buffer okay, it seems like it'd be really great. [ Link ]
To-Do: Like I wrote above, I don't actually use the to do list much. This mostly has to do with how disorganized I am and the lack of ability to make different lists. When I used a PC I was able to sync with Outlook and all the to-do items from that did come over which I found useful for a bit, but in general if I need to remember stuff, I write it free-form in the Notes app instead. However, now that the to-do list shows up on the front screen in the Active Standby mode, I may start to use the lists again, it definitely would help my ability to remember things.
Calculator: The best thing about this calculator is it uses a tape-like metaphor, which is honestly better than just about any other calculator app I have handy, including the one on my Mac or Windows desktops! I constantly use this app for things like adding check totals together before depositing them into ATMs or figuring out the amount to tip or things like that. Essential app.
Converter: This was vital as well, but when I was living in Europe and wanted to work out money conversions or couldn't remember exactly how much a kilogram was or a kilometer or something. Very handy still when talking with people from other countries who want to know the temperature in Celcius, etc.
Recorder: This app has two flaws, first and most important, it has a hard limit of 1 minute. I have no idea why since the video app lost that arbitrary cap long ago. This should be able to record audio for as long as you have space on your memory card, just like the video recorder. Secondly, it only saves audio in .amr format, which doesn't allow you to do cool things like create on-the-go mobile Podcasts or anything. Still, when I'm driving, sometimes I pull this app up so I can take audio notes of things I don't want to forget, so it's not completely useless.
Quickpoint: Part of the QuickOffice suite that comes with the 6680, this app allows you to view PowerPoint presentations on your phone. The commercial version actually allows you to edit it as well. I have to say, this works only marginally well. PowerPoint slides usually don't include the fonts, so the rendering is usally bitmapped font in their place, Also, it's slooooow. Opening up a 4-slide test with minimal graphics takes a long time, though I will say the outline opened pretty quickly, which I think is the real use of this app. If you were cranking on a last minute presentation and needed to change something small (in the commercial version) or you needed to get at the meat of a presentation someone emailed to you while mobile, this would do the trick. [ Link ]
Quicksheet: Also part of the QuickOffice suite that comes with the 6680. I have to say it's pretty cool to use a spreadsheet on your phone. It actually works pretty well - though the import took a little bit of time (I wonder what it was doing?) the resulting spreadsheet is pretty usable. You can navigate from cell to cell easy enough and adjust column widths, though it doesn't do anything more interesting like sorting columns so I wouldn't want to try anything super-complex, but to just view a basic spreadsheet this works. [ Link ]
Quickword: Part of the QuickOffice suite that comes with the 6680. This works, not great - the fonts are nothing like what you'd see in a real document, but for the most part you're reading a Word Doc on your phone without the crud, which is a minor miracle in and of itself. The commercial version might be worth getting if you were going to do any editing on the go using the Bluetooth Keyboard, for example. The Notes app just won't cut it for any real data entry, so this would be a good solution. [ Link ]
Adobe PDF: This app is pretty useless for me right now, actually. Maybe it's my grey-market phone, but it gives me memory errors on trying to load any real-world PDF document. It also has a pretty limited range of zoom levels when you can get a document open, and is in general not particularly usable. This app is sort of a placeholder for when Adobe gets around to developing an mobile PDF reader that's actually useful. [ Link ]
FExplorer: This app is essential. Not only does it do the basic task of allowing you to navigate and manage files on your phone and memory card, it also has other important functions as well. You can access files that are stored in your message inbox which is handy for saving files your phone doesn't understand how to open or to forward on files that you've been sent via MMS. You can also snap screen captures, view process information, compress unused memory and restart the phone. [ Link ]
Opera: Like I wrote above, I go back and forth between this web browser and NetFront. I think they're both pretty great, though Opera definitely wins out in usability, right now NetFront is marginally better. That said, I wouldn't be without this app - if something doesn't work on Nokia's internal browser or NetFront, I pull it up in Opera. [ Link ]
SlovoEd: There are a bunch of language translation dictionaries out there - it must be low-hanging fruit I guess. But SlovoEd's Spanish to English dictionary is pretty great and has been used in real-world, honest to goodness, I really need to know this word in another language situations by yours truly. The best thing is that because T9 predicts your word, you can actually find what you're looking for faster than many other systems. [ Link ]
TaskSpy: This is a handy app for wacking errant Symbian apps that won't close or seeing if there's some nasty processes sucking up extra memory that you don't know about. It also has a Windows-like Task Manager graph of resource use. Great for programmers. [ Link ]
PuTTY: This is an open-source SSH client for Symbian phones. I wouldn't want to do a ton with it considering you're typing on a keypad, but in general it works great to log into your system and see what's up. I've never had to use it in anger (restarting a server or anything) but it's nice to know it's there if I need it. [ Link ]
ProfiExplorer: This app comes with ProfiMail, it's not as functional as FExplorer, but it has a nice tree-view menu which packs a lot of information into a small space and sometimes it's just nicer to use to manage files. [ Link ]
Nokia Sensor: This is a neat (though probably useless) app from Nokia where you can create a custom profile page on your phone which, when the app is running in the foreground or background, gets sent to other phones running the same app on their Nokia Series 60 Version 2 phone over Bluetooth. It's sort of locale social networking. I bet you it'd be a neat app if we all ran Series 60 phones. :-) [ Link ]
Nokia LifeBlog: This is another neat app from Nokia, but one that's much more useful. It allows you to see your text messages, pictures and video in a timeline, and lets you sync to your PC and/or post photos over the air to TypePad or Flickr using the Atom API. The Windows App companion to this app sorta sucks in a big way, but this app is definitely convenient to have around as it looks great, is quite useful for managing pictures, and posting to Flickr is quicker and easier than via MMS or email. [ Link ]
PicoBlogger: This is a very cool app that I only recently discovered. I had read about it, but hadn't tried it until now. It allows you to "moblog" your photos, video, etc. to the PicoStation.com website (no setup involved) or to any other blogging system (including all the biggies like Blogger, TypePad and Flickr) by using industry standard web service APIs. The semi-neat thing is it'll intercept your photos as you take them and prompt you to post them online immediately. I say semi-neat because sometimes I want to take several quick shots and don't want to have to say "no" after each of them, but still, for many non-pro users, this is a neat app to have around. [ Link ]
MobiPocket Reader: This app is sort of goofy to have installed. I doubt I'll be paying money for eBooks from their small website, but the cool thing is you can do it all from your phone. So if in a pinch if I want to get online from my phone, buy an eBook to read download it immediately and start reading, this is the app to have just in case. [ Link ]
eReader: This company was called PeanutPress until Palm bought it, then sold it to Motricity which changed the name to eReader and expanded the apps which read the eBooks. If there was going to be an eBook system that I invested a lot of money in, this would be it. In fact, I still have a few eBooks that I bought in 2002 from these guys, but I can't figure out where to put the ebooks on my memory card to read. So really, I'm not even sure if this app actually works on the 6680 or not. Another placeholder waiting for an updated version. [ Link ]
Yellow FTP: Great app that I've had for years. This is the app that gave me the "epiphany" about mobility - that smart phones are really little connected computers in our pockets. This is a full-on FTP client which allows you to connect to a server via FTP (sftp isn't supported it seems) and upload/download files wirelessly. The first time I did that I realized that I was using an honest to goodness computer in my hand. It's too bad this app doesn't seem to have been updated in years, it could really use a UI refresh and sftp support. [ Link ]
YEdit: This is a neat little app for creating/editing html files right on your phone. It's meant to be used with YFTP so that web admins can tweak their site on the go, I think. Not the most useful app in the world without a Bluetooth Keypad, but still it's pretty neat. [ Link ]
Python: This is the 1.0 version of Nokia's Python Scripting runtime. Though it's been out for several months now, I haven't seen any really cool scripts yet that I would *need* this on my phone to run, so it's still mostly just a hacker's toy. The *next* version of Python S60 is going to rock - with phone and addressbook access, 2D drawing API and more, so get started now. [ Link ]
Flash Lite: This is another runtime, but for Flash Lite files instead of Python scripts. Again, I haven't seen many must-have Flash Lite movies floating around out there yet, so this is mostly just an app to have for developers at the moment. The stuff I've seen is really compelling (go to Flash Lite Exchange to see examples), so it shouldn't be too long before there's a lot more Flash Lite content out there to see. [ Link ]
Psiloc Screen Capture: This is a last minute addition to this list. As I was putting together this post, I realized that many applications weren't being captured correctly by FExplorer's screen capturing function, so I went on the hunt for an app that would work on the 6680, and capture clean images. Some of the screen cap programs out there produce really fuzzy jpegs. But Psiloc's app is great - it will auto-save so you don't have to confirm each time, and it worked on just about every app I had except some of the games which take over the button presses and screen. The only complaint is that it defaulted the save folder to my phone's memory and not the MMC. [ Link ]
Super GoBoy: My favorite app on the phone, this version of GoBoy from WildPalm allows you to play GameBoy Color ROMs that you have stored on your memory card. I've got a ton of them and they're all way better than any Java game you can download right now. The coolest thing about this version is the sound support, which works great. Nothing like full-on Tetris DX with mind-numbing Russian music playing in the background, or any of the Super Mario games as well. Kick ass app. [ Link ]
Frozen Bubble: This is another one of those incredible open source apps which puts many of the commercial vendors to shame. It's a version of Bustamove where you have to connect the bubbles to clear the levels. It looks and sounds great, is easy to play and never, ever, ever, ends. Me, my wife and my 3yo all play this game, it's just awesome. [ Link ]
SkyForce: I haven't ever actually bought the full version of this game, I must admit. But I like having the demo on my phone to show people what an action packed video game dedicated to the Series 60 platform can look like. It just looks and sounds soooo good and really gives the viewer an idea of the possibilities that are out there for mobile gaming. [ Link ]
vNes: The Vampent Nintendo Entertainment System Emulator. Before I got on my latest emulation kick, I hadn't given much thought to NES games as they were written two decades ago and meant for 8 bit consoles. But then I discovered Super Mario ROMs and I changed my mind completely. This NES emulator for Series 60 phones completely rocks! It uses the original ROMs, has full-on sound, adjustable screen resolutions, saves, etc. and is completley playable. Very cool. [ Link ]
vSun: The Vampent SNES Emulator. Unlike vNES above, the Super Nintendo emulator just doesn't cut it. You can play the games, but they're just too slow to really enjoy them. That said, the games do start up, look good and are somewhat playable, so it's worth it to have the emulator around. Maybe some games are more playable than others as well, I tested Super Mario World and it could definitely do with a speed boost. [ Link ]
Card Deck: I had this same app on my 6600, yet I still don't have a clue how to play any of these games. It came included on the phone and is a basic card-game app with various types of solitaire to play. The problem is that it's all sideways, none of the rules don't seem to make sense and the help is obtuse.
Snake EX: Of course Nokia has to include Snake on its phones! This isn't as nice as the N-Gage Snakes game which is 3D and really fun, but still it's a nice simple, colorful version of the snakes game we all know and love.
So that's a ton of apps, and yet there's more out there. There are actually some really good apps I don't have on my phone simply because they're not useful to me right now. An example would be some of the mapping applications from Smart2Go, TomTom, WayFinder or others - all of them are either insanely expensive or don't have maps of the Bay Area. There are also a bunch of other games out there as well from companies like Noumena, utilities from EpocWare and PsiLoc, and gazillions of ringtones, wallpapers and themes you can get as well. Finally there's got to be plenty of Java apps out there (both customized for the Series 60 screen and not) and content you just can't find except through a specific operator. Though I think Series 60 still suffers from a lack of a truly killer app, there's a lot out there. And as this phone becomes more common, more developers are going to start taking advantage of its insane number of APIs and functionality in Java, Python as well as traditional C++, so we're going to see even more apps coming soon.
Note about N-Gage Games: Sadly, the Blizzard-group's hacked games that I ran on my 6600 don't seem to work on the 6680. Big ol' frowny face there. It'd be really nice to play any of the 8 or 9 N-Gage games I actually purchased on MMC and play them on my 6680 right now, but it looks like I'm going to have to wait until Nokia launches their N-Gage software platform. At E3 the 6680 was one of the phones that was shown off using the new system, so hopefully within the next six months or so, we'll be playing full-on FIFA 2005 or Ashen on this phone as well (legally, to boot!).
Whew, that's a bunch of different apps to think about! I hope you took this overview for what it is, simply an overview of all the things you can do with a 6680 smart phone. Yeah, I've got these all loaded up now, but I don't need all of them really. Many are simply trials which I'll delete after I'm done playing with them, and many are apps that I like to have around just to show off to others or really "just in case." In case of what?! I don't know, but the idea is that I've got plenty of storage - all those apps plus sample sound files and a month's worth of video and images still barely topped 120MB on my 512MB memory card, so it just shows you what you can fit on phones today.
Comments welcome below - though tech support questions will most likely get ignored because I don't have the patience to answer them. Any apps I totally overlooked? Got any hints or tips on the apps above? :-)