Today I am going to look at the software applications bundled with the Nokia E61. The first part of the series looked at my first impressions of this potentially remarkable device and if you missed it you can read it here.
The screenshot on the left (or above in the forum) shows a game called Golf Pro which is available for free to all E61 owners- I downloaded my copy using a small net application on the E61 wirelessly and it was a shock to see such good graphics and golf ball physics in a Smart Phone game. Having not played many Symbian games this was a first for me and it easily competes with the Windows Mobile offerings out there, indeed it makes Links look quite poor.
Feedback via the comments link would be useful concerning Symbian games- they seem to be an unknown quantity to a lot of Palm and Windows Mobile users but I am supecting they are a lot better than many of us think.
It was quite a shock to realise that my SIM card is 3G enabled (it is supplied by my work) and the speed is incredible! Again, I should be more up on these things but GPRS has suited me for a long time so far. The E61 includes over 50 icons with various applications and connectivity areas which I have barely scratched the surface of so far. In this article I will look at the main applications and as usual will be comparing to the Palm and Windows Mobile offerings.
The main screen of the E61 is similar to what you would find on a Windows Mobile device. Tasks and upcoming calendar entries are shown along with the time, a row of favourite applications, signal strength, battery level and descriptions for the two hard keys just below the screen (again these hard keys are similar to Windows Mobile 5.0).
Interestingly I have not found a phone key pad screen? Either I am incredibly stupid or there is not one- in any event it does not really matter because dialling contacts is very easy. Just hit the numbers on the keypad and a smll box pops up or use the Contacts application to choose the recipient of your call.
Talking of contacts this application is very basic and a bit of a let down in my opinion. It shows each piece of information for a contact in seperate fields and this can lead to a bit of scrolling- it does allow you t choose exactly how you want to communicate though- email, voice, text etc.
The size of the font in contacts is also quite large and thus you do not get many entries on each screen. There is a screen shot at the end of the article which highlights this.
The calendar application is also very basic but I really do like it. It looks the part, is easy to use and reminds me of the standard Palm calendar except that it looks much more professional and is much easier on the eye- amazing that the two most important applications on an ‘organiser’ are the least well featured but they do the job well.
The built in Web application on the E61 is quite imply the best I have ever seen on a mobile device!!!
It is much quicker than Blazer and as quick as Opera mini using GPRS and I found that it could handle standards neither of the others could. Of personal interest to me is that it can cope with Coranto (our news posting system) which I cannot even get to work on a MAC or a Palm or a Windows Mobile device and at times on a PC
The Web screen on the right shows what happens when you press ‘back’. You get a choice of magnified pages that you have already visited and simply scrolling through them and clicking the one you want will bring it back up- marvellous.
It gets better though- this is the only mobile device web software I have used that gave me a desktop internet feel in my hand. Evenm on a VGA Fujitsu Loox it was never this good. This application alone will be a good reason to purchase for many people…
Also bundled for FREE is a copy of WorldMate which includes world time, weather, currency conversion and of course the famous map. It does not contain all of the features of the Pro version but for free it is a nice to have and considering the unfairly high price of the commercial version it does add value to your purchase.
Navigating around the myriad of icons built in to the E61 is easy and dificult: easy because the joystick and shortcut buttons are so good, difficult because it is similar to the old style Pocket PC environment. It’s a real surprise to find that Symbian is a mix of the Palm and WM interfaces- as quick and stable as Palm with the bells and whistles of WM- sounds like a perfect match doesn’t it?
In many ways it is the best compromise between the two other operating systems and I for one am a fan already. The E61 has a BIG problem at the moment for someone like me who would class himself as a power user. There are ceratin things I need to do with a Smart Phone outside of the core applications. Here’s a list and the current status-
eBooks- nothing available at the moment. eReader does not work on the latest Symbian OS and MobiPocket are trying hard (see this thread).
Movies- is now possible in decent quality thanks to Smart Movie ($30!). I hope that better will come along in the future though.
Finances- Handy Expense has been released but it is not a proper financial application and this is something I really do need.
There are many other things I would like to accomplish with the E61 but because there are so few apps re-developed for it’s OS at this time you have to consider it a device without 3rd party applications. A real shame because in all other respects it is fantastic and no doubt be we fantasticer (new word) when they arrive. Tomorrow I will look at more hardware features such as connectivity and phone capability plus yet more built in software including the wonderful Office applications.