Ok, because there are a lot of questions out there, both from non-symbian users, and those new to the OS, I thought I would try to compile some FAQ’s, at the suggestion of Moderator HF4, to answer some frequently posted questions. If my list is a bit Series 60 oriented, this is simply because this is where my experience lies. I will address Series 80 and 90 a bit, and of course UIQ, but anyone with more experience with these interfaces, please PM me stuff you would like added, of course with recognition going to you for your contributions:
What is Symbian?
The short answer: Symbian is a C++ based Operating system designed for mobile phones with support for Java MIDP 1.0 and 2.0 as well.
The Nitty Gritty: because it is an actual operating system... with file types, all that sort of thing, you can add third party apps, of which there are quite a few... in addition, unlike most other phones, Symbian phones support external memory. There are different 'flavors' of symbian as well. Series 60, which includes phones like the 3650, 6600, N-gage, Siemens SX1, etc., is a user interface for Symbian designed by Nokia, and is by far the most prevalent version of Symbian out there... then there is UIQ, another interface, most commonly found in the Sony Ericsson P800/P900, and is a touchscreen based interface, but also including some upcoming Motorola, BenQ, and Arima phones.
There are other 'flavors' of Symbian, but these are the two most prevalant. These other flavors include Series 80 and Series 90, these being the Nokia Communicator series, which are QWERTY based, and the Nokia 7700 (now defunct), and other upcoming pen based phones.
Some informative sites:
www.series60.com -- lots of info regarding the most commonly used Symbian interface.
www.symbian.com -- this is the official site for the Symbian OS, very informative and has a pretty up to date list of symbian phones, their availability, and their specifications.
www.sonyericsson.com -- take a look at the p900 for the idea behind a UIQ device.
www.allaboutsymbian.com -- These two sites are VERY in depth on just about any kind of Symbian phone out there, regardless of interface. Also good sources of software.
Speaking of Software, where can I get it?
As mentioned above, www.my-symbian.com , www.allaboutsymbian.com , www.handango.com , and any number of personal sites on the web. While there are lots of programs you have to pay for, there are a few gems out there that are free, and a must have for Symbian phones.
What are some must haves?
Ok, this is where I focus on Series 60, as it is again my experience range. For any Series 60 phone, you ought to buy/download a file manager. This allows you to manipulate the file system on the Operating System much as you would with Windows Explorer on Windows. You can copy files, delete and uninstall, etc. In addition, these allow you to change your operator logo, take screen shots, and a number more useful utilities.
The two main ones that are used are SeleQ and FExplorer. Personally, I prefer FExplorer, simply because it works flawlessly and is free, but SeleQ has a number of strong supporters, and is also widely held as being a great program.
The rest of the software for Series 60 is up for grabs whether it is a must have. It depends on the application you are trying to accomplish. For me personally, I love AciveMail because it automates the email checking process. For others, Full Screen Caller ID is a big deal. The best way to find out what you want to install is to evaluate what you want your phone to do, and then look for that software… for most cases, there is a software SOMEWHERE that will do what you need it too.
What are some Symbian phones?
Ok, this list grows all the time, and is by no means complete, but probably these are the most common ones you will see in use around the forums:
Nokia N-Gage QD
There are MANY others, but as I said these are the most common. The prices can range between 100 – 150 USD for the QD and the 3650, to up to the 700 USD range for the P900.
Series 60 phones use MMC cards. It is important to note that these are MMC and not SD, as Series 60 to date is not compatible with SD cards. As far as I know, UIQ phones use only memory stick cards, however, there may be some non SE phones that use something else.
For a thread here in the forums that will help you choose a capacity/brand that is compatible with your phone, check out:
MMC Compatibility List
All information was compiled from the forums, and from the following websites:
I hope that this has been helpful… these aren’t just phones, they are the ultimate cross between a PDA and a phone… and if you change your paradigm to think of them as computers in your pocket, complete with removable media and OS, then you will see the potential they possess.
-Matt Crandall a.k.a. ollywompus