One of the beautiful things about the Symbian S60 OS (operating system) is that it is an open OS platform for mobile phones. By open OS platform, I mean that the OS allows for applications developed by a 3rd party to be run on the platform. These (third party) applications can now be installed onto a phone powered by the OS to either improve functionality or add a new function altogether to the phone running on the OS.
I must say here that the Symbian S60 OS is not the only open platform available. There are obviously others, like Windows Mobile, Android, etc. In order to install applications for any of these OS you must get applications that are compatible with them. Even within a particular OS community, there may exist different versions and care must be taken to ensure that the application being installed is compatible with the particular version of the OS in view.
As I mentioned in the second part of my review, the Nokia 5800 is powered by the Symbian s60 5th edition OS. Nokia says the 5th edition has backward compatibility with 3rd edition. In other words, applications that work on s60 3rd edition should also work on the 5th edition.
As such, after I got my 5800, I set out to install my favorite applications from the 3rd edition. It wasn’t long before I discovered that only a few of the applications developed for 3rd edition actually work on the 5th edition. In fact a majority of the applications that were really useful to me do not work. On launching such apps, the phone simply freezes and it has to be rebooted to get it working again. I hope this is not what Nokia meant by backwards compatibility.
It is not uhuru yet for Symbian s60 5th edition devices, so don’t go expecting all your old applications you used on the E71, E90 or N96 to work on your 5800 just yet.
Thankfully, a few developers are beginning to develop applications specifically for the 5800 and I hope that in the near future there will be more than enough applications for s60 5th edition.