The break in application compatibility when moving from S60 2nd Edition to 3rd Edition, much publicised and indeed criticised from some corners, is, we believe, a good thing in the long run. The only real downside is that existing S60 applications won't run as-is, while there are the advantages of being based on Symbian OS 9, with its extra security (no need to even think about malware from here on in, despite what some security companies might say...) and single-chip architecture (which means cheaper and more reliable devices - in theory, anyway).
Making the move to a S60 3rd Edition device does therefore mean some changes in the third party software you'll need to install. Already the application catalog for S60 3rd Edition is looking moderately healthy, but the AAS team have been using the platform intensively for six months now and would like to present what we consider 'essentials'. These applications are the cream of the crop and are recommended as stable, efficiently-written and relevant to everybody. If you try out no other software for your new smartphone, try these:
I know we plug this often, but there's simply no other application out there that does the job of keeping all your secrets and keeping them automatically on both PC and smartphone. Read our full review.
Nokia's free tool, with country-specific databases. Useful when looking for a specific business or image.
Another free tool from Nokia, although one that's not officially on their web site. Search is a local search tool, for delving into all your PIM databases and documents, and was originally released as part of the E50 software package. It's now available widely across the Internet.
The ubiquitous free ebook and news reader, a good aggregator for everything you ever want to read on the move.
One of the freeware classics from the S60 canon, AutoLock is essential for any 3rd Edition device with exposed keypad. The alternative is to have your device making calls and deleting entries without your knowledge, as it's jiggled around in your pocket or case.
If you only use S60's built-in Calculator once a year then you'll still save time by installing Calcium. It's brilliantly intuitive and completely free.
Perhaps the luckiest application to be in this line-up, HanDBase squeezes in because, in addition to being the best database for S60 3rd Edition, it's also the ONLY database. Considering that early Psion palmtops were centred around their flat file database and that such an application is almost unheard of on modern devices, it's just good to see a proper database make a comeback. And with full PC-compatibility, via its Windows version, and tremendous flexibility. Whether it's for cataloguing your CDs or DVDs, or for keeping your company address book to hand, a database (in the same way as a spreadsheet) can be a fabulously useful general tool.
Just about the only 'system' utility created so far for 3rd Edition, this lists processes, RAM, applications and more. Essential for troubleshooting if an application turns out to be a rogue. Read our full review.
We're cheating here, with links to all four major navigation packages, with very, very different characteristics. Wayfinder scores with a small device footprint and more up to date maps, at the expense of GPRS costs for the per-route downloads. Navicore is fully featured and includes every function but is more than a little quirky in places. Route 66 Mobile 7 is just about perfect and only the slightly odd interface lets it down. While TomTom Navigator 6 is its usual immaculate self, with no introduction needed. You only need one of these though!! Read our full reviews: Wayfinder, Navicore, Route 66 Mobile 7, TomTom Navigator 6.
Another title from Epocware, but no apologies as they're so consummately programmed. Handy Weather provides five day and detailed forecasts for just about anywhere in the world and also happens to be gorgeous to look at and demo to friends. Read our full review.
If you can afford to travel then you can afford WorldMate. It bundles in every travel function you can think of, even real-time flight status updates. It's true the same functions can all be gained for free from the Web directly, but if your time is money then you'll save a packet by letting WorldMate do the hard work for you, and with style.
Much commented on here at AAS and much reviewed, this Java-based browser is RAM-hungry but unique at reducing your GPRS bill and increasing your browser speed. Read our full review.
The current pick of the third party file managers for S60, the free Y-Browser includes flexible application opening and a handy text-mode file viewer. Read our full review.
Now the majority of S60 devices have Wi-Fi (and flat rate data plans are becoming more prevalent) the smartphoen is moving into territories beyond simple phone calls. Podcasting may be the buzzword du jour on the internet, but the ability to pull down millions of hours of audio programming from the internet is not to be sneezed at. Nokia's free podcast client should help you manage these downloads, and allow you to search for new content, no matter if you're looking for music, the latest news, or an entertaining drama serial.
For anyone on a sensible GPRS data tariff, WidSets are a very pretty and intuitive way to access news stories and pictures from your favourite RSS sources. Like Opera Mini though, this runs under Java and so is hungry on RAM.
An easy choice this. The S60 3rd Edition world is very low on quality 'native' games (as opposed to RAM-hungry, simplified Java ones), and Oval Racer stands head and shoulders above the rest - it's a staggering piece of work on any platform and to have it here on S60 first is especially gratifying. Read our full review.
Although we've linked in some places to entries in our own AllAboutSymbian Software Shop (so that if you do buy them here you'll be helping keep AllAboutSymbian going), we're under no pressure from any of the developers represented above. These are genuine choices and unbiased opinions.)
As with many of these S60 3rd Edition-related articles, these are still early days, and we'll be revising the article in future. Watch this space!
The AAS team, Dec 2006.
PS. Don't forget the free applications provided by Nokia on the Support web site for your device - go check these out, from Zip manager to Adobe PDF reader....