Nokia 6682 Review Part 4 of 5: Freeware Applications, Battery Life and Upgrading Firmware
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- The SymbianWiki has a list of Series 60 Freeware.
- The Symbian s60 homepage.
- Russel Beattie has a list of what software is on his Nokia 6680.
- GetJar has a list of free Java applications for 6682.
- S60 Freeware. And Symbian Freeware.
- MySymbian’s list of S60 freeware.
- Gadget 17’s list.
- UK Online’s list.
- Simon Judge’s list.
- AllAboutSymbian’s list.
- Symplification is a great blog for Nokia/Symbian information.
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.
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:
- Part 1: Initial Opinion
- Part 2: Software Applications
- Part 3: Contacts, Camera, Headset
- Part 4: Freeware Applications, Battery Life, and Updating Firmware
- Other posts tagged with Gadgets, Nokia 6682, Mobile Phones
- The Holy Grail of Synchronization: How to synchronize Microsoft Outlook (multiple locations), Google Calendar, Gmail, iPod, and mobile phone with Funambol / ScheduleWorld.
- Nokia 6682 Phone with USB connector and charger
- 512 MB memory upgrade
- Bluetooth Headset
- Extra headphones