What is freeware and how to obtain it?

Freeware is free software, available for use at no cost or for an optional fee (donation). As explained in an earlier post, distributing a free application via the Nokia OVI Store will cost the developer money. Applications in the OVI Store can be traced back to the original developer using their Publisher ID, which is embedded in the application. The Publisher ID costs US$200 per year and is not available to individuals (the developer must be associated with a company or organisation).

There are legitimate software developers who wish to freely share their applications with other smartphone users, but cannot afford the costs associated with distribution via the OVI Store. For these developers, the satisfaction (and fame) of knowing that thousands of people enjoy using their application is far more important than the fortune they may or may not make from sales. Since the software is available for free, the developer attempts to minimize all costs associated with creating (and distributing) their application.

End users can download free applications from developers who have:

  • Registered a domain and maintain a website describing their application, or
  • Uploaded their application to a file hosting facility and provided a download link in a forum (for example).

So, a good starting point for finding free applications is to “hunt” through well-known Internet forums. An Internet forum is an online discussion site where developers and end users can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. Owing to the wide variety of conversations (called threads) that can be initiated, forums are typically structured into sub-forums and topics. With regard to the N8 smartphone, topics to search for include:

  • Symbian^3 applications,
  • Symbian^3 hacks/mods,
  • Symbian S60v5 applications, or
  • Symbian S60v5 hacks/mods.

A good example is to visit Daily Mobile. A forum has been dedicated to the Symbian^3 platform which contains 3 sub-forums namely Themes,  Applications & Games and Modding. Within each sub-forum, there are numerous topics or threads. I found an interesting topic under Modding called New N8 Multiple Mods (No Hacked N8 needed). This topic was created by a forum member called sklchan, who has packaged a number of Symbian^3 modifications (or mods) into one .SIS file. The file is called sklchan N8 mods v4.00.sis, downloadable from www.multiupload.com.

Some of the more interesting (and very useful) mods include:

  • KS Improvement (improves the speed of Kinetic Scrolling) – phone is more responsive when scrolling through installed applications,
  • Camera Sound Mute (allows the capture tone to be turned off when taking photos) – useful when I take pictures of my child’s Christmas concert,
  • Continuous Auto Focus (extra option available in Video Settings) – especially handy when creating videos of closeup objects,
  • 30 FPS video (increase video capture mode from 25 to 30 FPS) – additional 5 frames per second creates even high resolution videos,
  • Audio Recorder (increase maximum duration of audio recording from 1 to 12 hours and quality from 64 to 256 kbps) – turns the N8 into a powerful dictaphone,
  • Startup/shutdown animation – redirects the phone to look for the startup and shutdown (.gif and .mp3) files in the Animation folder on the E: and F: drive. (and not C: drive).

I didn’t install the Landscape Dialer mod (enables the phone dialer to rotate, and work in the landscape position) because with SPB Mobile Shell installed on my N8, I have customized my 10 home screens to work in portrait mode only. I strongly suggest bookmarking this topic (also found here) and regularly checking for updates whilst the developer (sklchan) continuously improves the mods. Please note that you cannot install these mods unless you first obtain a developer certificate from the OPDA website which allows the installation of unsigned applications on the N8. Kindly refer to the previous post for additional information.

Other forums that are worthwhile looking at (for applications and hacks) include:

There are also a number of bloggers who like to review applications (or software) as opposed to those who prefer reviewing phones (or hardware). For example, visit MobiCreed and Nokia N8 Applications. I have also provided other links to useful websites on my blog. Look for the headings ApplicationsHacks and Tips and Tricks.

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