The Twenty Five Coolest Things To Do With Your S60 Smartphone

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Steve Litchfield and Ewan Spence brainstorm the 25 coolest things you can do on your Series 60 smartphone. There would have been an order, but fisticuffs couldn't produce a consensus, so in the end we picked the order out of a hat!
Multitasking Screenshot 

Run a professional multitasking OS

This may not sound that exicting, but if you have any interest in computers at all, you'll realise that the realisation that at any one moment there are up to 20 different programs all running at the same time on your humble S60 smartphone, in similar fashion and sophistication to the operating systems used in mainframe computers a decade or so ago, is somewhat awe-inspiring. It'll certainly give you fresh respect for your three-and-a-half inch best friend (careful - Rafe). To see what's running on yours, press and hold 'Menu' to see just your own running apps or install TaskSpy to really get under the hood.

Work out who just called your landline

We've all been there. You're in the bath and someone calls your landline. It rings for ages and then the caller hangs up. You finally get to the phone and do 1471 to hear the number that called, but you don't recognise it. Is it someone you know? With Lookup, just type in part of the number and your Contacts store will be searched in seconds for any partial matches.

Lookup Screenshot 
MetrO Screenshot 

Find your way round your capital's tube system 

Yes, yes, so you left your A-Z at home and you really don't want to buy yet another one. And trying to navigate around your local underground just from the wall maps is somewhat frustrating. Why not install Metro (dozens of cities around the world are supported) and you can do proper tube routefinding in a fraction of a second. Between any two points there will always be many different possible routes, but Metro will tell you the shortest and quickest.

Catalogue your CD (or book, or model car, etc) collection 

Now this may not sound that cool, after all, collectors of most things are usually considered fairly nerdy, but if you're serious about your hobby, whatever it is, wouldn't it be neat to have information about all your 'things' readily available on your smartphone? And no, you don't have to type it all in on the S60 phone keypad. Install HanDBase and you'll be able to enter data on your desktop PC, or even import it from 'that spreadsheet you started two years ago', and only then sync the data across to HanDBase running on your smartphone.

 HanDBase Screenshot
 Mobile Search Screenshot

 Search for the nearest (and best) restaurants

There are now several so-called mobile portals, but the best and easiest way to find 'local' stuff to you is using Nokia's Mobile Search tool. It's very frugal on bandwidth and is often able to locate the details of the closest Italian restaurant (or tyre centre, etc.), given a clue as to your town or postcode.

Read the Bible (or other major reference works)

Again, regardless of your hobbies or spiritual inclinations, there are bound to be large tomes (e.g. the Bible or technical reference works or programming tutors) that you'd really like to carry around with you but they're just too heavy. There are several 'ebook' systems available for Series 60 smartphones, but the coolest is probably iSilo, which can convert anything in plain text or HTML format into a compressed, browseable (just like a big web page) document on your device. 

iSilo Screenshot 
OggPlay Screenshot 

Listen to your CD collection

We've banged the drum about this enough in the past on All About Symbian, you must have got the message by now - most recent Series 60 smartphones can play your digital music files, in stereo. It's best to experiment with tracks ripper from your own CDs, it's totally free. You can use MP3, Ogg Vorbis or WMA files, depending on what you want to use on your desktop's hard disk. On the smartphone, you'd then play your music with the built-in Music Player, Ogg Vorbis or WMAPlus, respectively.

Watch your DVD collection

As with digital music, it's fairly straightforward to watch video on your smartphone. If you'd like to go all the way and rip content from your DVDs ready to watch on your device, try Makayama's Mobile Media Maker . It's not perfect and won't work with every single encrypted DVD, but it does work with a lot of them. For those that prove problematic, use DVDx with DVD Player. Converting DVD content isn't trivially easy or quick, but it's the coolest thing in the world to plug in your headset on a long journey and immerse yourself in a favourite film - on your smartphone! 

 Video/DVD Screenshot
 Photo Screenshot

Take photos and videos of your family - the camera that's always with you

This is going to sound rather obvious, but assuming that your S60 smartphone's camera is 1.3 Megapixels, or above, did you know that the photos you snap with it (light permitting) are perfectly good enough for professional printing (by the many web-based services - e.g. Truprint). So snap away whenever there's anything interesting going on, your smartphone is always with you, so you'll never have to think 'Damn, wish I'd brought the camera with me'. Discard the ones that didn't come out well and print the rest for the family album. Rather than having loads of boring 'posed' shots, you'll have some fabulous 'action' images that bring your memories to life! 

View live traffic cams 

2006 will be the year that real time traffic information becomes ubiquitous. Apart from the traffic systems built into Route 66 and TomTom MOBILE 5, see Traffic TV, which offers webcams as well as raw data. When you're on the move, your smartphone is your natural companion! 

TrafficTV Screenshot 
 Quickword Screenshot

 Use it as a laptop computer

Many Series 60 smartphones come with Quickoffice pre-installed (if yours didn't, you can buy it/try it here), which means that if someone emails you a Word or Excel file, there's a good chance you can view it on your smartphone and reply immediately, if the need is urgent. If you plan to do a lot of this sort of thing (pretending your smartphone is a laptop), make sure to upgrade to the full version of Quickoffice and also get a Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Being able to hammer out 50 words per minute into your S60 smartphone is really, really cool - in a business sort of way.

Play sports

It's true that you won't get fit playing sports on your smartphone, but you can have almost as much fun. There are a number of really professional, realistic sports games for Series 60. For example, Golf Pro Contest and Virtual Pool Mobile. If we on the editorial team had a dollar for every minute of their time whiled away playing these two games, we'd be extremely rich. But we haven't and we're not. Ah well. 

Virtual Pool Mobile Screen shot 
(Zoomed) Scanned map in Gallery Screenshot 

 Browse round digital maps

If you're really lucky, there are specialist map browsers already available for your country. For example, GB Roadmap. But you can also easily scan in any maps you like as .JPG images and then zoom in and scroll around them, all for free. Come to think of it, they don't even have to be geographical maps - you can do the same with technical schematics and diagrams, to help with your work or studies.

 Chat to others round the world

If the smartphone is all about communication, then you're not limited to voice, or even email. What you need is to get hooked into the Instant Messaging clients of the world. From the open clients such as the J2ME TipicME (running jabber) which opens up MSN Messenger, Yahoo and AIM, the C++ Shape Services application IM+,  to the dedicated IRC client Wireless IRC (surely the best chat UI interface ever developed), if there's a chatroom on the planet, you can get into it!

 Wireless IRC
 Froogle Screenshot

 Find out whether you can buy the item on the shelf in front of you more cheaply online

It's easy. Use any browser on your Series 60 smartphone (usually Web or Opera) and go to or You might like to put this address in your browser's bookmarks. Type in the thing you're looking for and you'll more or less instantly get some example (real) prices from online stores! Do note that you'd have to add packing and postage to online prices, by the way...

Run a voice-guided satellite navigation program

Yes, I know this sounds ambitious. And expensive, too, most of the decent kits start at £200 or so. But this does include the Bluetooth GPS hardware as well - if you already own one of these then you might be able to save money by getting just the software, perhaps on eBay. But, once set up, all will be forgiven, with your trusty smartphone guiding you to your destination with 3D display and voice instructions. It's jaw-droppingly impressive, really.

Get mapping Screenshot 

Bring up an aerial photo of anywhere in the UK

Type into your S60 smartphone's browser. After typing in a postcode and choosing either of the photo formats, you'll see a nicely sized aerial shot of that postcode/street. The photos are meant as thumbnail previews for a larger screen, but they work well as main images on the small smartphone screen.

Publish a personal blog or photo blog

It's a complete doddle to post new entries on your personal blog (think 'diary on the web'), using the built-in Messaging application to fire off new text by email to your blog submission address. Even more impressively, you can fire in photos to your photo blog in the same way, or use applications like Shozu to make the process slightly slicker.

Shozu Screenshot 
 Doctor Who

Recreate the spine chilling "Are You My Mummy" Scene from Doctor Who.

A possessed child who can make electrical devices shout out "are you my mummy?" was the highlight of "The Empty Child," an episode of BBC TV's Doctor Who last year. And with a freeware audio editing suite such as Audacity you can grab that very sample from the BBC website. Add in two or three mintues of silence before the sound, and move the MP3 to your S60. Now run the MP3 while leaving your phone on a pub table and watch the horror/shock/surprise as fans of the Timelord realise what's going on.

Turn It Into An iPod

While we're pretty confident that Nokia are going to have some sort of sync solution to Windows Media Player with music phones such as the N91 and 3250, that's no good for us right now. Luckily it's possible to sync Apple's iTunes to any USB Mass Storage device with the use of a bit of software, Rafe's handy tutorial on using MSS to get iTunes files into your S60 smartphone, and Steve's guide to sorting out an iPod like user interface .


Getting Out Of Meetings 

The classic method of getting a workmate to call your mobile during a meeting could do with a bit of technical help, and the profile settings on your S60 smartphone come in useful here. Set up a new profile (such as 'Escape Routine') and change the sound on the Alarm Clock to be the same as the regular phone call sound your workmates are used to. As you go into the dreaded meeting, set an alarm for whenver you need to get out, and prepare to apologise profusely to the room as you whisper to your mythical caller that you'll be "out in a minute."

Read the BBC News Website

It's probably the nicest, most well presented low-bandwidth 'pda/mobile' web site on the Internet. And given that it's the same information as the full BBC web site, it gives you absolutely everything the main site has (except possibly the audio video streaming). Forget the BBC's Wap/XML site, you want to point your browsers at to keep you abreast of everything in the world. Plus the site works on your desktop PC too.

 BBC News

Learn Everything the Off Key Does.

There are a number of undocumented shortcuts that are available to S60 users. Once that's easy to spot is holding down key zero when in the dial screen. Holding other numbers kicks in speed dialling, but the zero key brings up the built-in S60 Browser. How's that for quick access? Anything else? Well the applications key held down brings up a mini task manager. Tap the key again to scroll down the list, and then hold it down again to jump to that app. Multitasking and access all on one key. Finally, holding down the off key may switch the phone off, but a tap will bring up the 'change profiles' menu. You can navigate this with quick taps, and when you get to the profile you want, hold down the off button to select it.

The Ultimate Nightmare on The London Underground.

One for the practical jokers here. Londoners realise 'The Tube' has one good thing going for it. No mobile coverage. So set an alarm with your ringtone as if you wanted out of a meeting (see above) and start having a very loud conversation back to "Vodafone Test Base" declaring the quality to be excellent and that this new aerial in the phone works a treat on the Northern Line. For added kudos, run some spoken word content (choose your favourite podcast perhaps?) through the media player so people in the carriage can just hear mumblings from the test centre. Nightmare complete. 

ZX Boy 

Relive Your Youth With 6,500 ZX Spectrum Games on one 512mb MMC Card

One of the great things about computers is that they can pretend to be another computer. Back when I were a lad we had computers with screen resolutions of 256x176 pixels, only 48K of RAM to play with per title, and had to rely on story rather than graphics for our kicks. Which pretty much describes your typical mobile game. So grab Wildpalm's Spectrum emulator ZXBoy , then head over to World of Spectrum for all your historical favourites. If the Speccy wasn't your forte, why not try Series 60 emulators for the Sega Game Gear and Master Systems, Nintendo Gameboy, Commodore 64 and the Nintendo NES .