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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

First outing with Nokia 6120 Classic and Symbian

I got a $0 Nokia 6120 Classic for half a month now and so far its the most fun I have had with a phone packed with so many features. Powered by the Symbian S60 3rd Edition OS, it is essentially a smartphone since it can perform communications as well as PIM (Personal Information Manager) capabilities. The phone's processor running just above 300Mhz is snappy and responsive, almost as good as running apps on Palm OS. Multitasking is as straightforward as leaving an app without properly exiting, ie. by pressing the menu button when running the app, and switching apps by triggering the tasklist by holding down the menu button.

The included apps that come with the phone don't do justice to such a powerful device as there are quite a number of S60 apps, both free and pay, found on the web. It took me quite a while and some help through forums to finally find some good sites for good starting points to find apps. I will cover this in a later post.

Generally most of the more functional apps are payware since Symbian has this draconian DRM-ish developer signing process to access its more security critical APIs. Simple stuff like themes and basic apps like calculator or games do not require this hence are mostly free. To work around this signing barrier and to release apps fast, independent developers would release their code unsigned and users need to acquire a developer cert from symbiansigned.com to sign the apps themselves, ie. the user has to become a developer. Although there are abundant guides on developer signing, this may still turn off the less persistent and adventurous users who hate to dabble with such complications. Fortunately this is not a common practice and so far only those very experimental apps such as rotateme and gnubox require this. Developers who want to release production freeware have the option to release it via the proper freeware channel.

I have been a Palm OS user for quite a long time and I am delighted to say that Symbian S60 OS is as robust and feature rich operating system especially for the mobile platform as Palm OS have always been. Up till now, I have not had any crashes that require any battery removal.

Backed by a strong companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson, Symbian has matured into something that Palm Inc. failed to accomplish. With competition heating up with the smartphone platforms like Google's open platform Android, Apple's cool iPhone, Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows mobile and Palm's update to Palm Linux, it will be an interesting time to see improvements in smartphone platforms.


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