April 10, 2024

Series 60 Freeware

So I haven't posted to my blog for ages yet again, but I thought I'd post the draft of an upcoming AAS article that I have written here instead. Hopefully somebody will find it useful.

One of the major killer features of smartphones is the ability to add third party programs. Doing this can add features and entertainment value. Series 60 as a platform has a lot of software available. However one of the major complaints I hear is there is not enough freeware. This always suprises me for two reasons - firstly what's the problem with paying for software - most of the time it's less than £15 and if you spent £100's on a phone that's not too much to ask - and secondly there is freeware available. Part of the trouble is by it's very nature it is more difficult to track down - partly because the authors don't feel the need to promote it so much and partly because it often doesn't get listed on the major shop sites like Handango. So without further ado here is some of the freeware I use on my Series 60 phone - this isn't a comprehensive list, but it should give you an idea to what's available and with a bit of luck you will discover something you didn't know about...

fexplorerFExplorer by Dominque Hugo is possibly the best known piece of freeware for Series 60 (as well as one of the oldest). It is basically a file manager which allows you to see the content on your phones internal memory (you can also look at the internal ROM drive, but you wont be able to change any thing) and your memory card. This is useful not only for organising your files and pictures but also in deleting those hard to get rid of files. Using a file manager for moving photos around is often a lot quicker than using the Images / Gallery application on your phone. FExplorer also has a whole host of ther useful functions. It has a built in basic editor for text files, it has a screenshot function (especially useful for reviewers!), and a function to set an image file as the Operator Logo on the phone (thats the image you see on the top right of the Telephone screen - it will often de defaulted to your Operator). You can also send files to other users over MMS, SMS, infra red and bluetooth. There are other file managers available but they are shareware. If you want decent freeware it does not come much better than this (well may be it's a bit boring, but it is very useful).

GoBoyGoBoy is a Gameboy Colour Emulator for Series 60. It allows you to play Gameboy ROMs on your phone. There are hundreds of public domain ROMs available, some of which are very impressive. There's more information available on the WildPalm website. If you want sound in your games you will have to upgrade to the Plus version (which costs $10), but the games are perfectly playable without sound. There are legal issues surrounding the use ROMs of commerically released games (some saying that if you own the game it's alright to use a ROM since you have already paid for it). But this isn't the place to get into that debate. There are also several other freeware (often open source) emulators available, including ones for the MSX, and Commodore 64. There's more information on Series 60 emulation here.

avantgoAvantGo is a well known off line browser for PDA's. It allows you to view specially made version of websites offline. For example there is a BBC AvantGo channel. Other channels include The Guardian, VNUNet, the Weather Channel and more. For Series 60 things are a bit different - because Series 60 devices are connected device you can update AvantGo over the air via GPRS. This can result in a lot of GPRS charges, but it does mean you don't have to remember to Sync every day. It is just a simple matter of telling the software to update. You can choose which channels your subscribe too and there are often personalistion channels within the options too. You need to set up an account on the AvantGo website and download the software from there. The set up is a bit involved, but if you persist it's worth it if you think you might use a tool like this. 

mobipocketMobiPocket is an eBook Reader, but it also has a eNews feature. eNews is intended to be like AvantGo download News to read offline when you sync your phone with your desktop PC. It does this well, but when you have a WAP / Web browser on your phone it becomes a bit unecessary. However the program is an excellet eBook Reader (you might also want to try ReadM further down this list). One of the nice features is the ability to go online and download new books over the air. You do need to set up an account to do this, but once you have it is a very easy way to get new books onto your phone. The program supports eBooks in the .prc and mobipocket formats (along with a few others. You can organise your eBooks in a library, set bookmarks and easily navigate through any book. There is a Pro version of this software, but it's more than most people need. Some people find the idea of reading an eBook on your phone a bit strange, but once you start you're unlikely to stop. It's great for that 5 minutes on the bus, or waiting for someone when you dont want to play a game. MobiPocket is available from the MobiPocket website, where you can also buy eBooks (including some useful ones such as a dictionary).

JJKeylock is a handy little utility. It adds an auto keylock functionality to Series 60 phone. It will automatically lock your phone's keypad after a preset amount of time of inactivity. This is useful for those who always forget to lock the keypad and end up having their phone make calls without them. You can download this program here. An alternative keylock program is available here.

forwardFoward is a simple program by Ashley Montanaro. It allows you to forwward on (by bluetooth, MMS etc.) that ave been received by bluetooth, MMS, infrared etc and are in the Messaging Inbox. It also allows you to save such files elsewhere on the phone. This is very useful for getting files from the inbox to elsewhere on the phone (especially useful if they don't open automatically). For example you can use it to move a SIS file to the memory card before installing it so that you can retain a copy of the install file after the install script has run. Also by the same author is Torch, which is the simplest freeware program on this list. It simply blanks the screen and makes sure the backlight stays on. This means you can use the phone as a Torch. I'm not joking when I say that this is a very handy function. There's also something to be said for using your £300 phone as a torch...

Bemused was orginally written and concieved by the above author, but it has since gone open source and is now maintained by Alex Ibrado. It allows you to control (via Bluetooth) various PC programs. The orginal use and the most popular function is for controlling WinAmp. You can also control Windows Media Player and Powerpoint. WinAmp functions include viewing a list of available songs, selecting them, playing them fast forwarding and all the other controls you would expect. The program is skinnable so you can make it look like whatever you want it to be. The usefulness of such a program is debateable (you'll probably get a range of about 10 metres at most), but it's good for lazy couch potatoes and those wishing to show off!

puttyPuTTY is a free SSH client developed by Simon Tatham and others. The current version contains SSH protocol support, terminal emulation, and a basic user interface. However as an opensource project it is constantly under development. You can use PuTTY to remotely administer servers (I've used it to fix AAS server problems), and generally log in remotely to boxes. It is a specialist tool, but if you use desktop SSH this is likely to be a must have tool.

For those that don't know SSH is a way to make secure connections between different computers (compared to say HTTP or FTP which are insecure).

Agile Messenger allows you to connect to various IM accounts and send an recieve messages from your phone. You can connect simultaneously to Yahoo IM, MSN IM,  ICQ IM and AOL IM. This means you should be able to contact anyone with an IM account. It will download your contacts (if your using one an IM that stores those things centrally). Instant Messaging can be very useful on a mobile. It's a lot cheaper than SMS chatting (as well as being quicker). Perfect for organising a meet down the pub.

You can connect to the servers through a GPRS data connection. Alternatively its possible to use your desktop PC's internet connection via bluetooth. Some people use this second method to stay connected all day and use their phone as a personal IM tool.

Pocket Counter by JamSoft is a stop watch, count up, count down and general time utility program. The basic use of the prgoram is as stop watch with a lap timer. Optionally times can be exported to the Notes application (which means effectively means you can export to a PC via Notes as .txt file).

SMS Assistant by Thomas Eerola is a program which allows you to reply to missed calls or SMS's automatically with a predefined SMS message. This mean you add an 'out of the offcie' auto reply function to your smartphone. The author also produces SRuler which is a virtual ruler which is displayed on the screen of your phone. Both programs can be downloaded from the authors website.

RealOne is installed by default on most Series 60 phones. However the Helix project has produced a new version that has several extra features. The most notable of which is support for MP3. This is a way to get an MP3 player on Series 60 phones that dont have support for them built in. It also improves support and play back of various real video and real audio formats (including real video 10). There is also support for various graphic formats added as well as better support for streaming video files. The new version is an initial port of the Helix DNA Client Architecture to the Symbian OS Platform. The source code is also available. Indeed this is probably the largest Symbian Open Source project.

Switcher from Knowledge Intelligence is a relatively simple task manager, but is very useful for switching programs and more importantly killing programs and tasks that refuse to die. You can also use it to free up and compress RAM memory on the phones (programs sometimes dont free up memory that they have been using and your RAM can dwindle away - especially if you dont restart the phone very often. You can view running programs either as applications or as processes.

ReadM is a eBook Reader. Its has numerous options and features including slectable fonts, screen orientation and auto scroll. It is a highly configurable reader for electronic books, which could be scaled down to a barebone plain text viewer, but, if necessary, it could be enhanced with quite sophisticated bookmarks system (including highlights and text corrections) and with support for a variety of most popular text and audio formats (including Aportis DOC, TCR, and MP3.) Plain text files inside GZIP and BZIP2 (not ZIP) archives are also supported. You can download books via infrared, Bluetooth, or Internet connection (there are several popular Internet portals with free eBooks in supported formats, e.g., www.memoware.com.) The books you download could also be shared with other mobile devices and beamed through infrared or Bluetooth, or send with e-mail or MMS. ReadM can be used as an embedded viewer for compatible formats in e-mail attachments, MMS, or WAP pages. You can also playback any MP3 music files with ReadM (MPEG Audio Layer 3 versions 1, 2 and 2.5 are supported.)

VexedVexed is Ewan Spence most well known OPL application. It is a puzzle game where you have to move matching tiles together in order to get them to disappear. It's very easy to get into it, but as the name imples it can be very frsutrating when you get stuck on a level. As well as 40 odd levels in the standard game itself there are several expansion packs available so you can prolong your vexation. Vexed is available from its Symbian Diary. Vexed is also available through FreEPOC which is a software house dedicated to releasing freeware programs for Psions and Symbian phones. One of the applications available from them is PhotoCal which is a photographers calculator (also written in OPL). Also available if Event Core which is a skeleton OPL program with source code to help you get started in the BASIC like OPL language. Using Event Core you can quickly write your own programs as well as learn more about how OPL works. You will need the OPL run time to use OPL programs, but these are available either within the install files of the programs or from the author's website.

Doom one of the famous first person shooters and the most famous piece of shareware is available as freeware (or at least the engine that runs the shareware .wad file is freeware). The Doom engine is available from WildPalm, but you'll need to track the wad (level) file seperately. These are relatively easy to find using Google. You might also want to get hold of the MMC add on which allows you to store the data files for Doom on an MMC card so that they don't use up your precious internal memory space. You get the best playing experience if you play in Full Screen mode - things do looks a bit stretched but it is worth it. In theory you can get sound support, but you need to have another of WildPalm's program installed so it can use the sound engine, this seems to be a bit hit and miss though.

Triz is a tetris clone by Wellu Mäkinen, there are quite a few Tetris clones around, but this is a nice basic one, with good game play, nice colours and graphics, and nice speed (it gets quicker fairly soon). The same author has also released  Bombz which is a Minesweeper clone. I guess these are two old favourites and might not appeal to some, but they are free! These are both C++ apps and are a great improvement over the J2ME programs that people usually use to play these two classics.

Xedious is a Clone for the classic coin-op arcade game Xevious. Maps and graphics adapted from the xbat game for Unix. The game contains 16 levels and three difficulty settings (not that I have ever got near the end). This is a nie scrolling shoot 'em up game (think 1942). The author of this software is also responsible for the fMSX Emulator for Series 60. Also on the author's site is a handy program for transferring contact databases between two Series 60 phones (including the thumbnails. Contact transfer does the the transfer by infra red.

Nokia provide a variety of freeware games for Series 60 including Card Deck, Bounce, and Tiple Pop. These are available from this page of the Nokia USA site. These programs are respectively a card game (actually multiple card games), a platform where you bounce a ball though levels and a puzzler.

If you are browsing this article from the mobile site you can download many of these programs in the downloads section (Series 60 Freeware section).

Posted by Rafe at 04:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack