The primary reason why users are jumping off the ‘burning platform’ – i.e. Symbian-powered devices – is the unintuitive interface.
Compared to the other modern Operating Systems (OS), the Symbian User Experience (UX) is not as exciting and productive. Symbian lacks very little apart from this. Symbian is resource efficient, does multitasking well, and generally gets the job done.
Note that this un-intuitiveness obtains mainly on pre-Belle Symbian versions – Editor
I have often contended that no matter how wonderful an OS Interface is, or how much capable it is out-of-the-box, there will always be some lapses. This is where third-party applications fill the gap.
Hauling a smartphone around without making full use of the power of third-party applications is like permanently driving a V8-powered special Utility Vehicle (SUV) at a maximum of 40Km/hour on macadamized expressway. Hardly what it is built to handle!
Occasionally, I have been tempted to purchase a device powered by iOS/Android (Fruit & Robot). After all, variety is the spice of life. But that temptation is usually momentary. I end up asking myself, What UX can Fruit & Robot furnish that my Symbian-powered touchscreen device can not?
I am still struggling to discover this. Conversely, are there certain functionality available on Symbian that the Fruit & Robot lack? I know of a few.
I employ mercenaries (third party apps) to supercharge my aged Symbian-powered (s60 version 5th) Nokia 5800. Using these, I have not been able to justify being unfaithful to Symbian.
There are activities that we performance frequently on our devices. These activities should be accessible from ANY application. I attempt to highlight a few elegant applications that I employ on my Nokia 5800 to enhance my user experience, and mimic the Fruit & Robot OSes. This is not exhaustive.
With ‘DzSoft SettingBar’ installed, I can drag down from the top of the display. A screen pops up, allowing the following activities:
– Tweak profile settings
– Directly adjust screen brightness,
– Engage WLAN,
– juggle the music controls
– show the current time and battery status.
More interestingly, I am able to specify a maximum of five (5) applications/functions which can be invoked at any time – from any screen.
On my device, I have set those 5 slots to :
– ‘Home Screen’,
– ‘PhoneRotate’ (allows changing the phone screen orientation – at any point – without turning on the orientation sensor, which wastes battery power)
FIVE IS NOT ENOUGH
Of course, you are probably thinking: Just five application slots? That is not adequate! Enter ‘SmartPhoneWare Instant Menu’.
The applications I have assigned to ‘InstantMenu’ are the following: MsDict Viewer – (multi_dictionary application from MobiSystems Inc).
Kylom Project (outline application).
EpocWare ‘Handy Calendar’ (Appointments, reminders, etc).
Sticky Notes – ubiquitous electronics stick-it notes.
To further embellish instantaneous accessibility to my phone applications, I make use of JBak TaskMan.
The last software that I utilize is Usanov-Kornilov Nikolay’s QuickLaunch. This application allows you to specify five (5) application icons that popup on your touchscreen – in the usually anytime, anywhere fashion.
The apps I have assigned to QuickLaunch are:
– UC Mobile Browser (surprised?)
– LonelyCatGames X-plorer
– Opera Mini – better known than ‘money’!
– Quick Office – a versatile office application
LOCKING MADE EASY
We often need to (un)lock our device several times during the day. I have avoided using any of the physical keys on my Nokia 5800 – they will eventually fail. I prefer instead to use software solutions.
The camera, powerOff, (Un)Lock, Call (Green), Terminate (Red) and Menu (white) buttons have been permanently on holidays on my device. I do not use them (does that remind you of the buttonless Nokia N9?).
The ‘dzSoft DzLock’ application provides a variety of methods to (un)lock my phone. Swipe, double tap proximity sensor, cover the sensor for 3 seconds – are examples. You can (un)lock anytime, from
I urge people who spend good money on smartphones to get good Return On their Investment (ROI) by making use of software that brings out the power of their device.
Are you really making use of that smartphone?
So, you know why Symbian has me by the Jugular, and I am not complaining !
If you think I am ‘missing something’, please elaborate!