Content marketplaces (read: App Stores) have become the central part of modern day Smartphone and consumer devices. Application stores are basically an evolved version of Digital Distribution Platforms, which were already popular in the PC industry. I’m sure most of you would have heard of Download.com or Steam etc. Though Apple made the concept popular for mobile devices.
By 2009, almost all the major smartphone platforms have their own content stores now. The App Store, Android Marketplace, Windows Mobile Marketplace, etc. are some prime examples. But none of these stores has an audience of the magnitude of Ovi Store by Nokia. This is because of the fact that Nokia is the market leader in the smartphone industry, and the have the largest consumer base in the world.
The Ovi Store itself is divided into four main categories: Applications, Games, Audio & Video and Personalization. But my focus today would be on the Applications category, which is the most attractive to a power user. Another thing about Ovi is that it personalizes the range of available applications according to your device. So my list would naturally consist of applications that easily run on Series 60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 devices. Of course there would be versions of these applications that also run on Series 60 5th Edition or other versions of 3rd Edition.
So lets get started with my roundup of the 5 most useful applications in Ovi Store. At the end I would also list two personal recommendations, which are actually pretty cool to use. And of course you can also share your favorite applications via the comment section below.
We get things started with the No. 1 video sharing service in the world. Of course YouTube also has a mobile version which allows you to do pretty much everything you can on the desktop version, and can stream videos via the RTSP protocol – or Flash player depending on what is supported on your device. But the experience isn’t that smooth and videos would often hang up in the middle.
The solution for this problem is YouTube for Series 60, the official YouTube application for Symbian devices. The application is a Free download from the Ovi store and runs on all Series 60 3rd and 5th edition phones. It lets you search for videos and can play them in full screen with no onscreen controls. The videos are fast and responsive plus you can fast forward/rewind them without the need of buffering.
One thing you should take note of here is that you can’t sign into your YouTube account from the application so you wont be able to rate, favorite videos etc. But this is one deficiency the application more than makes up for thanks to its straight forward interface. On a side note, you’d need a high speed connection to get a smooth viewing experience, which means only Wi-Fi in Pakistan.
Gravity is undoubtedly the best fully featured twitter client for the Series 60 platform. Its best features include its fast and highly responsive user interface which is a breeze to navigate, built in support for picture/photo sharing via TwitPic, TwitGoo, MobyPicture, Posterous, Yfrog or img.ly, and audio alerts for updates, replies, direct messages etc.
It supports multiple services including Ping.fm and Laconica, along with multiple user profiles thanks to its tabbed profile organization. You can also define up to 10 search queries to keep tabs on your products and brands. You can also create user groups with multiple accounts and filters. All in all, this is a must have twitter client for your device. You can get this application on a trial basis or for one time only purchase (costs $10), but it is totally worth it.
The No. 1 instant messaging service is also available for your cell phone. True there are other mobile clients out there which let you connect with a ton of services at once, but none of them provide a full featured experience like Windows Live Messenger does. The official client from Microsoft supports many features of the desktop version including full support for voice and video. You can share files and photos with your contacts and do pretty much anything you can on desktop version.
But that’s just one part of the service, Windows Live integrates with your phone’s contact list and adds a tab of Windows Live Contacts, with all their contact details for quick information. You can fire up their live space with a simple press or drop them an email, thanks to the full integration of Windows Live Hotmail in the Messaging application. You can also create blog posts for your Live Spaces blog and post photos as well.
Qik is perhaps the best live streaming service for mobile devices. Sure there are others like Ustream but their clients are very buggy and I’ve never been able to get them to work without trouble. Qik was pretty straight forward to use though. I just downloaded the client from Ovi Store and setup an account on phone. I was streaming in 2 minutes. The interface is pretty easy to use, and is very similar to the Camera application we have on our devices.
You can set videos as public and private and have them automatically posted to several social services including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. You’d obviously need a decent internet connection, like 3G or HSDPA but it also works on Wi-Fi so we can still use it here in Pakistan.
I was really excited when I first heard about Share Online on the Series 60 devices. Being able to take pictures and upload them instantly to the internet was awesome. Sadly, the only officially supported services were Flickr, Ovi Share and Vox. So what if you wanted to share with others like YouTube or Facebook? Thankfully Pixelpipe came with a solution. This Share Online extender integrates with the application and allows you to upload stuff to almost all the popular (and semi-popular) social services on the web.
All you have to do is setup an account and sharing destinations (pipes) and you’re all set. A single upload will post to all your services and you can also add tags, captions and geographic information. You can send to specific services too with Pipe tags in captions like @facebook for posting only to your Facebook albums. A really useful and simple application for those who live their life on the internet.
That’s it for the top applications on Ovi Store. All of the applications (besides Gravity) are free downloads, and must have for anyone who likes to do more than just calls and text on their phones. But that’s just my opinion, you are bound to have your own preferences so please do share them in the comments. Or share any Series 60 application you like even if its not on the Ovi Store. Who knows the developer might take note and put it up there.
And as promised, here are two bonus applications which I find rather interesting. P.S. I use these a lot.
Midomi Music Search
Midomi Music Search is something which I always wanted on my device. My phone already comes with Nokia Say and Play, which lets me speak an artist, album or track name and it plays it. But what Midomi does is completely different. You can discover music in totally unique ways with this application.
For starters, you can hold your phone to any playing music track and Midomi will tell you what song that is, pretty much like Samsung Jet could do. But where Midomi beats the competition is that you can also search for music by singing a song in your own voice, or by just humming a tune. I’ve tried it so many times and it has never failed for me. After discovering the song, you can buy it online via Nokia Music Store, watch videos, read more details or lyrics etc. Its a really fun application to use.
Nokia Mobile Server
Don’t let the name fool you. The Nokia Mobile Web Server app actually puts your phone on the web. It is an application from Nokia Beta Labs, a research division at Nokia. It doesn’t necessarily mean that this application would ever see mainstream release, but I really hope it does.
With this application, you can access your entire phone from the Web. And I do mean everything, which includes, contacts, messages, gallery, and even your camera. You can use the internet to take photos, send messages or check phone logs – really neat feature. Unfortunately, covering this application on a whole would require a dedicated article so I’ll keep it for a future time. But don’t let that stop you from trying it out yourself.