How much memory is enough memory?

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I have been using the Nokia 5800 ExpressMusic for close to two years now. This is one device that I have used to near destruction. It is packed full of really useful applications that I use on a day-to-day basis. Some of these applications I would not want to do without. It is the primary reason I have tenaciously hung on to Symbian (s60V5) for so long.

While I could almost keep using this particular phone for eternity (it meets my mobile needs), it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to get the kind of functionality that I crave from the device.

True; I have as divergent an array of functional applications as a man could wish for on Symbian, but – and this is the big but – the limited onboard memory of the Nokia 5800 is finally beginning to cramp my style.

I have always embraced the principle of having as few background tasks as possible running. This is to ensure minimal battery consumption, enhance system stability and make judicious use of my lean memory.

However, I am beginning to hit a brick wall.

I am unable to make use of some applications (e.g. Opera Mobile and SPB Mobile Shell) without having to shut down ALL other running apps! The problem here is that there some apps I am unwilling to EVER shut down!

These apps run in the background and are essential for me. As such, they must remain in memory at ALL times. I list them below:

  1. SPB WireLess Monitor – This app monitors data traffic usage other things). It warns me when I hit a predetermined (by me) data consumption level.
  2. JBak TaskManager – Manages processes and task switching on the phone (among other things)
  3. SmartLight – perpetually keeps the screen display ‘on’ – except when on the the ‘Home Screen’. Great while reading an ebook, or browsing the web.
  4. SBSH PocketLock – Has rendered the physical screenlock switch superfluous and redundant.
  5. Handy BlackList – allows me to keep unwanted calls / callers off my phone
  6. Total ReCall – automatically record conversations on the phone
  7. Smartbian AutoHangUp – automatically disconnect a call after a specified duration
  8. Virtual KeyBoard – allows you run most apps designed for ‘physical keypadded’ devices on your touchScreen
  9. Magic Message Manager – automatically categorizes smss into defined folders (among other things) – as they arrive / as they are sent.
  10. Youlu Address Book – an awesome contacts management (among other things)
  11. Swype.

I have mentioned about ten apps up there – apps that have to remain perpetually in memory to be useful.

There are others I would love to have running (Handy alarm, Handy Profile, PlanTask, Emoze, Nimbuzz, WhatsApp, SmartSettings), but as can be seen, this will quickly get the phone hitting its threshold on memory!

Thus, getting the best out of this ‘memory-starved device’ entails perpetually having to keep exiting and restarting applications to free memory.

It would therefore seem that the amount of memory available after booting up a device is critical (where swapping-to-disk as you have on PCs is not as refined).

When I eventually dump this Nokia 5800, the volume of available memory will be the first feature I will look for).

Will I jump to another platform? Not likely! I am not willing to ‘gamble’ on any platform that has ‘immature’ / pseudo-multitasking abilities. iOS and Android come to mind.

I will, of course, stick to Symbian devices until Symbian is killed, dies, or the other immature OSes ‘grow up’ on more efficient resource management.


  1. TOUCHÉ. You hit the nail on the head. I use a 5230(younger brother of 5800 spec-wise) and I have d same problems. Of special note is Opere Mobile(not mini) browser. Mtn blocks mini so I browse wit opera mobile and its sweet…………….when used as the only running app which isnt often.Its the reason am using UC browser at d moment.its frustrating. My whatsapp is always running,so are other apps. The lack of memory is crippling. Somehow I think bad software contributes too. I dont think symbian manages memory well enough

  2. Sorry about your predicament, it doesn’t cost anything getting those apps on a beta symbian fone with higher memory esp as most of the apps are free… Okay it costs the phone.

    I used a 5800 too, but what were u thinking installing all those apps on it, even without any other app installed opera mobile can’t keep 5 tabs of full web page running

  3. It’s odd, but I’m having the same issue of memory and slow perfomance on my N8 too.

    I use Glo’s Always Micro package, and the following programs are always open: Total Recall, X-Plore, Gravity, Battery Monitor 2, Swype, SPB WireLess Monitor, Youlu, MumSMS, DzLock

    To ensure that the phone wouldn’t slow down too much, I stopped using SPB mobile Shell. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with this phone. It now self-reboots, and hooks,at least once a day.

    I’m preparing to perform another hard reset.

  4. This memory crunch has got so bad that – any time I encounter a new app that needs to be resident in. memory to work, I lose interest (unless it is a similar AND better one than those ones with permanent residence on my phone memory.

    I also avoid installing themes for the same reason.

    And the app I miss usting the most is SPB Mobile Shell – arguably one of the best Symbian app ever built.

    As can be imagined, I have tried out a memory manager (CellPhoneSoft Swiss Manager Pro / RamBlow) to mitigate the situation..It does not seem to help….

  5. I have the following apps always running on my phone:
    * Java – A java emulator for Android, for apps like opera mini hack (3.x or 4.x), critical when I really need to stint on data usage.
    * Elixir – A push email app.
    * NetQin – Installed for its blacklist feature
    * Youlu Address Book.
    * ZDBox – Task manager with some useful widgets like digital battery level indicator.
    * Alarm
    * Facebook
    * Winamp A music playing app
    The following apps are almost always on:
    * ColorDict/DictionaryForMIDs for Android
    * Quick KJVBible
    * Word Master – Anagram software
    * Opera mini for Android

    This second set do not need to be running all the time but since I’ve never had any memory issues, I never bothered exiting them.

    Where I have issues is on the internal storage. I had about 200MB available when I purchased the phone but it’s all gone. I actually have about 22MB left. Because the system will start nagging if the internal storage space is less than 20MB, I have to uninstall some apps sometimes and also keep hunting for equivalent, if not better apps, but which occupy less storage space.

    For instance, mail (a Yahoo! push mail client for Android) will not reside elsewhere but in my precious internal memory and would not access my Google mail account, nor would Yahoo! push my mail to Google Mail (Google push mail client), except I give them $20 per annum, it means using both apps actively until I found K-9 Mail and uninstalled Mail and disabled Google Mail.

    This problem of apps insisting on installing only on internal memory is a general problem in Android OS that is being addressed gradually. Most developers are beginning to rewrite their apps to enable them install on memory cards.

    By the way, my phone is supposed to ship with 512MB RAM, though only about 418MB is visible to me.

  6. Sorry, Elixir is not a push email app, it’s a system resources monitor with some useful widgets too.

  7. you mean the LG P500 Optimus One, right?

    Do you think the internal memory installation problem will be fixed when it gets its Gingerbread update?

  8. Harry ((( This problem of apps insisting on installing only on internal memory is a general problem in Android OS that is being addressed gradually. )))

    Being addressed GRADUALLY? Growing up, non?
    Aha! Gotcha! See what we meant about what we meant about immaturity? I mean in CERTAIN OSes?

    An Android would surely not run on a Nokia 5800 Hardware.. It would SUFFOCATE!

    (( runs for cover ***)

  9. I remember trying to install the new ovi map on my phone,it insisted on installing in the fone is so annoying.i have less than 10mb left in my fone memory. Have had to uninstall some things just to keep the damn fone moving. I had to uninstall the pre-installed games.Imagine. Its pathetic considering I have enough free space on my memory card

  10. And to AFewGoodMen who believes more is necessarily better (more RAM, faster processor, more dis N dat), see how snd Android’s 512Mb is being SQUANDEREd thru apps installing on internal memory in this day and age!

    If an app insists on installing on phone internal memory, I dump it without thinking. There are always more SENSIBLE alternatives out there….

  11. @Eye.Bee.Kay:

    Maybe you need to go through the post again. I said I never had memory problems but rather internal storage problem. Maybe built-in storage and RAM are not differentiated on your device.
    * Storage 200MB
    * RAM should be 512MB but about 418MB visible to me.

    I still have a handful of apps that are installed on my memory card. To be precise, I have 47 downloaded apps on my memory card and 26 downloaded apps on the internal storage.

    Efemena has just confirmed experiencing a similar experience on his Symbian device. The problem is only visible on devices with less that say 400MB of internal storage for app junkies like me, mind you not RAM.

  12. @Spacyzuma:

    You mean the LG P500 Optimus One, right?
    Do you think the internal memory installation
    problem will be fixed when it gets its Gingerbread update?

    Yeah the LG P500.
    I’ll want to believe so. Mind you, a good number of apps on the market presently would allow you install them on memory card but there are some still that will not install elsewhere but the internal storage, like the mail I mentioned earlier. Youlu address book is another. Elixir and ZDBox and some others would work from the memory card but the associated widgets will be disabled and that’s very unacceptable.

  13. …. but there are some still that will not install elsewhere but the internal storage, like the mail I mentioned earlier. Youlu address book is another….

    Youlu address can install on the memory card. See my installation details…:

    App:Youlu Addr. Book



    Install date:23.06.2011 7:36:20 pm

    Icon path:E:resourceappsYoulu_0x2002D119_reg.mif

    App type: normal

    ….. some others would work from the memory card but the associated widgets will be disabled and that’s very unacceptabke…….

    Like I said, Youlu overalls on the memory card. And it places two widgets on the screen.

    That would seen ttp contradict your claim above.

    Care to elucidate?

    I have always wondered about the TRUE REASON why an app would insist on bring installed on , and running from internal memory, seeing that internal memoryis often fixed and at a premium..

  14. The apps listed above reminds me of my lost Love; Nokia E61i. It was so special to me that even after 3.5yrs of usage I still felt reluctant to sell it at a good price.

    One of the reasons why we departed was this issue of insufficient memory (guess I over stressed it sha).

    After our departure in March 2011, I have been unable to settle with another.

    I sure have flirt with and wished I could settle with Nokia N8&E7 but the memory and speed of these devices are just not enough for me, but they are excellent devices. Am even planning to get an N8 for my family cos the best camera is the 1 you always have with you. The Digi Cam is always at home doing nothing.

    I am currently using a Nokia 5230 which am to sell.

    Am eying Samsung Galaxy SII, iPhone5 and Nokia WP7 (being saving like forever).

    I miss my apps.

  15. @Eye.Bee.Kay:

    Well I think apps running in different platforms could behave slightly differently. Remember that though the apps were developed by the same software company, they most likely do not share the same codebase.

    [I have always wondered about the TRUE REASON why an app would insist on bring installed on , and running from internal memory, seeing that internal memory is often fixed and at a premium..]

    * There is a kind of competition going on in the Android market place whereby any app ranked within the first three or so in any category within a specific time frame, its developer receives some cash award, and that’s some good amount. This is a move from Google to encourage developers to flood the Android market place with thousands of high quality apps within a short frame of time to rival Apple Appstore. Users download, use and comment on apps so that new users wanting to trial any app will see the comment of other users as a guide to the quality of the app.

    * The ranking system also places a highly ranked app in good stead for further download that further increases its ranking – sort of vicious circle but on a positive note.

    Now on a general speak, apps residing within the internal memory run faster giving users good experience as compared to others running off the SDcard. So because of this fact, every developer would want his app to run directly from the internal memory. To ensure their apps run strictly from the internal memory, they started writing their software to enforce installing only on the internal memory and would not run at all otherwise.

    Resources will always remain scarce. People want to keep trying out new software and they easily fill up the relatively meagre internal resource, and when apps keep insisting on installing on internal memory, it means they can’t keep trying out new softwares. The end result was that users started complaining and voting down apps that will not install on SDcards, gradually forcing developers to change their stand on choice of where apps should reside.

    By the way, the term internal memory as used here actually means internal storage.

  16. Great read. Now I have some insight as to why my nexus 5 android runs out of battery in literally less than half a day.

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