// Internet Duct Tape

Nokia 6682 Review Part 4 of 5: Freeware Applications, Battery Life and Upgrading Firmware

Posted in Gadgets, Software, Technology by engtech on September 09, 2006

I sure took my time writing part four of this series. It’s bad when you need to apply “Getting to Done” on your hobbies. In this part of the series I’ll be covering freeware applications, battery life and updating the firmware on your phone.

Synopsis:

  • How to synchronize with Google Calendar.
  • Battery life good, but not great.
  • Music transfer is S-L-O-W.
  • Tons of freeware available, along with my picks.
  • Reading RSS feeds on the phone.
  • Don’t upgrade the firmware.

But don’t you want to read the full text in all it’s glory?

Synchronizing Calendars and Contacts

In my first post in this series I mentioned that one of my goals was automatic synching of:

  • contacts between the phone and Gmail,
  • and calendar between phone, work and Google Calendar.

I’m happy to say I was able to get things synched painlessly and for free. See the complete details in the Holy Grail of Synchronization.

Battery Life

The battery life on the phone is so-so. Here are some techniques for improving it:

  • Charge for 12 hours straight the first time you get it.
  • Make sure it completely discharges and then recharges the first three times you charge it.
  • These steps are true for all electronic rechargeable devices. You can find out more about it on the second page of your manual.
  • Turn off Bluetooth. Having Bluetooth on will cut down your battery life by more than half.

Nokia says the battery lasts 4 hours talk time and 11 hours standby. CNet rates the battery life in real world of 4 hours talk time and 9 days of standby.

I’ve heard up to 5 days, but realistically more like 1-2 days of charge if using the non-phone features. Battery life should be about 8 hours of MP3 play.

There is debate about whether or not having applications running (screensaver, autolock) will affect battery life.

The easiest way I found to discharge my Nokia 6682 is to use the Torch application. See below.

Music Transfer Speed

The music transfer speed is better with the new version of the Nokia PC Suite that came out on August 3rd, 2006. It’s still a bit painful at over ten minutes to transfer an album (without converting to AAC), but at least it’s bearable. Why is the phone USB 1.1 instead of USB 2.0? Unfortunately, I only have a MMC card reader on my laptop.

A Note About Data Plans

Rogers offers an entirely reasonable monthly plan of $3 for 2 megabyte. The only problem is the ridiculous $0.03 a kilobyte if you go beyond 2 MB. The first two MB cost $3 and the next one costs $30? That’s stupid.

How big is 2 MB? Sending four photos from your phone to an online image hosting would go over the 2 MB limit.

One of the qualifications for the freeware applications I mention has to be that they are usable without using GRPS wireless data, because I can’t afford it. Well, I can afford it, but I’d feel pretty stupid spending that much money.

Finding Applications for your Phone

The biggest strength of the 6682 is the wide variety of applications that are available. There are many phones running the same operating system and the software applications are compatible.

The Nokia 6682 is a Symbian series 60 (s60) version 2.0 device. If software supports 6680 / 6681 then it should support the 6682. See a list of all S60 phones.

Essential Freeware Applications

IMPORTANT: Keep a backup of your software on your computer! And back it up to CD/DVD. You can’t copy software from your phone back to your computer, and at some point you are going to wipe out all the software on your phone. Good luck trying to find stuff again.

If you’ve lost the applications that came with your phone on the MMC card, they are *only* available on the European Nokia 6681 page. (If the link moves, go to Nokia UK and find support for the 6681)

Autolock is an essential feature on older Nokia phones that is missing on the Nokia 6682. My friend Aaron was getting tired of my pocket calling him. I don’t know why, my pocket is a great conversationalist.

F-Secure Anti-virus. Good idea before you start trying out lots of applications.

TaskSpy is an application manager much like the Task Manager in Windows. Switches, closes, or kills applications and frees up memory. The same developer makes a file explorer called Y-Browser.

FExplorer is a better file explorer. It lets you access any file on your phone.

Torch lets you use your phone as a flashlight. Great for discharging the battery.

PocketSudoku is the only game I need on my phone.

Non-essential Freeware Applications

Opera Mobile Web Browser. Version 8.60 is free for 6682 owners. I wish I had an unlimited data rate plan.

  • Symbian Ogg Play skinable music player for MP3 and Ogg Vorbis. There’s even a skin to make it look like Winamp or an iPod.
  • Much better player, still has 34:09 limit on displaying MP3 progress bar size.
  • Fast forward is much faster (can do minutes at a time instead of 6 second increments).
  • It handled all of the files that the Nokia Music Players couldn’t handle.
  • Skins have to be installed on the same memory as the player (phone or MMC). Move files between memories is fairly simple using FExplorer.
  • Make sure to set up your hotkeys as the default is ‘no keys’.

    Options >> Settings >> Hotkeys

Symplification has an amazing bundle of freeware software for S60 phones. I use the bundled “Nokturno” theme by Diezelsoft. Highlights:

  • Calcium calculator
  • Cocktail drink library, put in ingredients and it will tell you what it can make
  • FExplorer file explorer
  • ReadM eBook reader
  • TaskSpy shows memory usage, CPU load, active processes and frees RAM.
  • Torch slang for flashlight in UK, displays a white screen so you can use the phone as a flashlight
  • various games, not all of them ran on my 6682
  • various themes

Untried Freeware Applications

These are ones that sounded cool, but I never got around to trying. Now you know why this part of the review took forever to write.

Bemused lets you control Winamp on your computer over Bluetooth using your phone. This makes me want to buy a Bluetooth adapter for my computer.

XXL Screensaver lets you change your screensaver to something different. I don’t use it.

There are a lot of applications for screenshot capture.

You can even play DOOM on your phone.

Simple time tracker to create CSV data files that can be loaded into a spreadsheet.

eBook Maker. Create your own books. I prefer iSilo.

Photographer’s calculator for depth of field from aperture and focal length.

Egg Clock egg timer. Set up simple countdown timers.

Google Maps for Mobiles (requires net connection). Again, I wish I had unlimited data rate

Simple calendar import/export. Never tried it, because I use the Nokia Phone Sync to Outlook Calendar.

Helix Player music/video player. Might be better than Symbian Ogg Play.

Offline RSS Feeds

Because I don’t have an unlimited data rate plan, I wanted to be able to read webpages offline by downloading them on my computer and synchronizing them to my phone using the USB cable. These were the possible solutions I found:

  • AvantGo – should have worked but didn’t support offline synching with the Nokia 6682.
  • Mobipocket – offline sync worked, but it does a HORRIBLE job of converting HTML.
  • iSilo – costs money, but does an amazing job. Worth it.

If you do have an unlimited data plan, MobileRSS does a good job of converting RSS feeds into a format that is readable in your phone’s web browser.

Application Development

Nokia’s embracing of standards and open source software makes me feel tingly inside. Even though I’m sure I’d never use it, it makes me happy that I could run Perl, Python or Apache on my phone. It looks like application development for S60 phones is simple, so if there is a killer app you need you could always make it yourself.

The Nokia forums have great advice for beginning mobile application developers.

“Best” Software

There is a brand of software out there that starts with the name “Best”. The descriptions sound very useful, but they *really* suck. Don’t waste your money.

Lists of Freeware Applications

If you looking for themes, MobileThemes has tons.

Firmware

I thought that firmware upgrades were only available via Nokia stores, but I was able to do it over the Internet.

  • Check your firmware version by typing *#0000#
  • Connect the phone to the computer with the USB cable
  • Plug the phone into the wall electrical socket with the charger
  • Visit this webpage using Internet Explorer

Note: It seems like Nokia changes their URLs every five minutes, so go to http://www.nokia.co.uk/ and search for your model number (or the European version of your model number, ie: 6681 instead of 6682).

The good news: firmware updating over the Internet works!

The bad news: It’s the same friggin’ version that I already had (4.41.0 12-10-05 RM-58), and updating the firmware wiped out any software/themes/settings I had stored, as well as screwing up my contacts. !@#$ Why don’t they list the firmware revision before you download it? Someone must die.

Secret Codes (k0d3z!one!!!)

GoSymbian has a list of all the special codes (like *#0000# for firmware version).

Got any more suggestions or disagree with my choice of software? Please post a comment.

VERDICT

People Who Should Get Raises (Cumulative)

  • Nokia Headphone developers.
  • Image Store auto-sync developer.
  • SyncML initiative.
  • Nokia Open Source inititative. I was so much happier with my phone once I added free software.

People Who Should Get Reprimanded (Cumulative)

  • People who developed the PC Suite Contacts Editor. It’s not finished!
  • Person who changed text entry to support accents without having an option to restrict it to only English character.
  • Web designer who doesn’t put the firmware number on the firmware update page.

People Who Should Get Fired (Cumulative)

  • Person(s) at Rogers responsible for their data rate costs.
  • Person who decided to call a non-blog-centric application Lifeblog. *Everyone* thinks it should be used for moblogging from your phone. Manage expectations and change the name to “Lifelog”.
  • Person who designed (I use the term loosely) the wrist strap.
  • “1 Trial Use” bundled software.
  • Person who decided to only include the extra applications on the MMC card and not on the CD-ROM.
  • Person who developed the half-sized MMC card adapter that I can never, ever detach.
  • Person who decided the PC Suite application would only support Microsoft/Lotus.
  • Person who decided on USB 1.1 for a phone released in 2005.
  • The Nokia USA web team. Why are the support links missing on your site? Why do I have to go to the Nokia UK site to find good support for my phone?

Other posts in this series:

Related posts:

Full disclosure: I’m reviewing a new mobile phone I got for free from a marketing company in Toronto called matchstick.ca. They gave me a sweet package as well:

  • Nokia 6682 Phone with USB connector and charger
  • 512 MB memory upgrade
  • Bluetooth Headset
  • Extra headphones

22 Responses

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  1. Azad said, on September 17, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    This is a great resource I spent days coming up with about 70% of what you have.

  2. engtech said, on September 17, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    thanks, I’m glad you liked it.

  3. Jeremiah said, on September 23, 2006 at 6:08 am

    you are amazing thanks for publishing this page. it has saved my life and given me hours of enjoyment!

  4. MH said, on September 23, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    Wow!!! Nice work I have been looking for allot of this stuff for months. Nice comprehensive summary! Thanks!

  5. GregF said, on September 24, 2006 at 11:47 pm

    Very nice review. I’m not sure if this is the right place, but I have a question about the OS. Is it possible to upgrade to S60 3rd, and is there really any reason to do so?

  6. engtech said, on September 25, 2006 at 12:46 am

    I can’t find anything about upgrading from 2nd to 3rd edition. I think you would have to update the firmware, and Nokia doesn’t provide a firmware with the 3rd edition.

    I find with these devices they usually design it around a certain version of the operating system, and they don’t go to the trouble of making the older phones work with the newer version, or even making the newer version available for the older phone.

    The cellphone companies want to sell you a new phone. They don’t want you to keep using your old phone for more than 1-2 years.

  7. RickK said, on September 29, 2006 at 5:36 am

    Thanks, this convinced me to get it. So far I have not been dissappointed.

  8. blaine said, on October 19, 2006 at 7:04 am

    My favorite free app is Frozen Bubble. It’s totally addictive.
    http://www.blainekendall.com/index.php/archives/2006/09/06/the-most-fun-with-my-phone/

  9. Raul said, on January 19, 2007 at 1:46 am

    Hello,

    Great articles, thank you for that.

    Just want to comment on an annoyance that I found on my 6682. I installed the Alarm Manager and the Auto Lock on the CCM memory. Both were working great but in order to upgrade the CCM I removed both programs…

    To my surprise, a minute later my keyboard was locked and the alarms that I had started going off at its usual time. I found that those programs still keep on running on the phone, even though I removed them and I’m using a totally new and empty CCM memory.

    So how do I get rid of these “ghost” programs running there without a way to control them or set them up? The quick answer would be to re-install them again so that I can get the controls back… yes, but what if I want to actually get rid of them?

    Any take on that?

    By the way, I’m using a 2GB MMC on the phone and it works really well.

    Hope to read more from you.

  10. engtech said, on January 19, 2007 at 2:05 am

    Do they show up in Tools >> Manager?

    That’s the only way I’ve found for getting rid of apps.

  11. Raul said, on January 19, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Ha ha… that’s the annoying part!

    When I removed them initially I used Tools>>Manager to remove them. Now they don’t show up anymore in the Manager but they continue working… that’s why I’m calling them “ghost programs”… can’t see them, can’t modify them but they are there and working. They follow the last set up I had on them.

    They even run without any CCM card inserted… and they were originally installed in the CCM card.

    This morning I re-installed the programs just to be able to adjust the settings of the software… but I still don’t know how am I going to get rid of them eventually.

    To all the readers, please don’t get me wrong, I am not talking bad about this phone, I love it and it works beautifully for me… but it is just weird how this programs behave.

  12. engtech said, on January 20, 2007 at 12:36 am

    Try installing the TaskSpy application?

    It will let you see what’s running in the background and shut it off…

    If that doesn’t get rid of it, try:

    1. kill the running apps with TaskSpy
    2. reinstall the apps
    3. reboot
    4. make sure the apps aren’t running with TaskSpy
    5. uninstall the apps

    and if THAT doesn’t work, you could use a filemanager app (like FExplorer) to manually browser through the file system and delete the offending apps.

    When I ran FExplorer on my phone I found the remnants of quite a few “deleted” applications.

  13. Rickery said, on March 24, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Tried the software updater with my 6682 (today) as well and got the same result as you… already up to date at 4.41. This site: http://www.mynokia6682.com/2007/01/ says that the current firmware version is 4.65.0. I bought a Kingston 2 GB RS-MMC DV card but my phone doesn’t recognize it. The Kingston support guy said try upgrading the firmware… no luck with the card or the firmware. Rogers is my provider as well… maybe the lock they have on the phone prevents firmware updates that are not branded??
    Any thoughts on getting either of these things going?

    Thanks

  14. engtech said, on March 24, 2007 at 8:11 am

    No idea. I left it at 4.41. I’m suspecting that the 4.65 is only available as a pay upgrade or if you bring your phone in for support — no idea why.

  15. Rickery said, on March 28, 2007 at 5:22 am

    In case this is of use to anyone. I sent Kingston Technical Support the revision information for my card (on the back of the card):

    MMC/2GB
    05346-010.A00LF
    2707031
    TAIWAN

    The verdict is that there is an issue with this card revision and Nokia phones. I will be getting a replacement card once I call the RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) dept.
    Hopefully all will be well when the new card arrives.

  16. bilal said, on April 01, 2007 at 7:27 am

    hey can one help here i have 6682 and 2 gb MMC but it does not work i know that my card works fine but my phone doesnt even read my card when i insert it.

  17. bilal said, on April 01, 2007 at 7:34 am

    My firmware is
    V 4.41
    12-10-05
    RM-58

    And my phone is unlocked
    and provider is cingular
    any idea why my 2 gb mmc is not working
    thanx
    Kingston also replaced my card with another one but still doesnt work
    thanx

  18. cutei said, on April 18, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    hello guyz i just wanna ask about putting application using the usb card reader. i cannot see d application in my cellphone when i put d memory in my cellphone.

  19. engtech said, on April 18, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    @cutei: use the Nokia software suite + USB cable to install apps, don’t manually copy them using your card reader.

  20. andrea said, on April 19, 2007 at 6:52 am

    hey, i wanted to let you know that your post was very informative, even though i’ve had my phone for a while, i’ve discovered a whole new side of it. I’ve installed many applications already, many which you have recommended, and one that turns my camera into a streaming webcam through my msgers through bluetooth! heres the link if anyone is interested…
    http://www.handango.com/ampp/store/PlatformProductDetail.jsp?siteId=308&catalog=0&sectionId=0&productType=2&platformId=4&productId=166841
    thanks so much. great job!

  21. Dinesh said, on October 21, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for your great information :) :):)

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