UIQ 3 has been available to the public for almost a year now. There are a lot of applications already available, but I say there's always room for more and for holes to be filled.
With Sony Ericsson's M600, P990 and W950 phones still shipping and three new UIQ 3 phones on the way (Sony Ericsson P1i, Motorola Z8 and Sony Ericsson W960), there's going to be increasing demand.
Here are some of the applications I would like to see developed. I would like to hear from you too, so remember to put your wishes in the comment thread below!
1. Search application.
A global search application to help locate all files and information stored in application data files (e.g Contacts, Calendar, etc).
Other Symbian platforms are already well served (there are no less than three search utilities for S60, including one that's free from Nokia) and this is actually something I would like to see built into UIQ 3 in the same way that it is into some Eseries S60 3rd Edition smartphones.
Having moved up from the P900, where there were 3 database apps for UIQ 2 (Epocware's Handy Databank, Yellow Computing's YData and DDH Software's HanDBase), I was disappointed to find that there's nothing available yet for UIQ 3.
However, it seems good news may be on the way, based on my correspondence with the good people of DDH Software. I think we can expect to see a UIQ 3 version of HanDBase before too long. There's always room for multiple solutions though, especially for something like databases, which have a broad area to cover.
3. More Powerful Photo Viewer.
On UIQ 2, I used both Resco Photo Viewer and SplashPhoto. They were great for manipulating photos, and were notable for their fast loading, sharp thumbnails and more. Now that there are more camera equipped UIQ 3 phones on the way and the fact they all have higher megapixel resolutions, I think there's a real need and an opportunity for developers to create software for handling images better. On a personal note, I would love to see support for the SVG format, which is after all used in the UI of the phones.
4. Skype Client.
I'm surprised we haven't seen this before and among fellow users I know this is one of the most requested applications for UIQ 3. A native client would be best, but 3rd party solutions like Fring or iSkoot would also be good (as usual, our friends, those S60 3rd Edition users are luckier here!). In a white paper for the P1, there is a mention about Skype, but there are no details available. Will it be available for P990? Your guess is as good as mine...
5. Personal Finance Manager.
I know about Epocware's Handy Expense and Lubisoft Outlays, but I really want something more powerful, since they do not provide a complete finance management solution, but rather a sub set. Both of these apps are for expense tracking software to keep record of daily expenses. I would like to see an application like RMRBank, where users can manage and analyse their bank accounts, car fuel consumption, investments, income and salaries.
It is worth noting that there is Java solution for this, Malcolm Bryant's JABP is an excellent app and ticks many of the boxes and as a side benefit it runs on multiple platforms. However, it is a Java solution and therefore consumes lots of RAM and can be a little slow. I would like to see a native solution for this.
6. Profile & (7). Today Screen.
See my rant about this at "Where's the Today screen?". Actually, Epocware's offering, Handy Day UIQ 3, is good but does not quite fit (it's a combined today screen and application launcher) what I want, so this is an area where I would like to see more activity.
8. Alternative App launcher.
Tracker and Magic Launcher will be familiar to UIQ 2 users (there were a number of others too). Unfortunately, none of these seem to have made it across to UIQ 3. Swiss Manager does offer something of this functionality with its Favourites system, but it's part of a more general utility.
The built-in application launcher is great, but the layout is not adjustable (on the P990, icons ca not be moved and cannot be changed). One benefit of UIQ 3 is the ability to access the 5 most recently used apps from the Task Manager, but for power users this is a bit limiting.
Again, this is a particular hobby horse of audiophiles and power users, but I would love to see a Symbian phone ship with a built-in OGG-compatible music player. Currently you can play OGG files on UIQ 3 using ALON Audio Recorder (though at a cost - at $24.95 it is one of the more expensive applications). It would be good to see the open source OggPlay bought to UIQ 3. The team behind it seems to be quiet nowadays but anyone can contribute, so if you are a developer looking for a challenge then why not take a look and give us UIQ 3 users the excellent OggPlay!
10. Call Recorder.
It would be great to have an application to record phone calls (don't forget if you do this, you should inform the caller, as there are legal implications in some countries) - our S60 friends have several solutions to choose from! I would have thought the profile of the typical UIQ user would suggest this could be a popular application.
How about you - what would you like to see for your UIQ smartphone?
Asri al-Baker, June 14th 2007