Person holding a smartphone

Making your way around some of the more popular technology blogs on the Internet, you’ll find there is no shortage of coverage when it comes to different apps available for the Apple iPhone. The BlackBerry crew gets their fair share of attention too, so where does that leave all the Nokia owners in the audience? The Symbian OS may not be as sexy or “out there” as some of its competitors, but that doesn’t mean that Nokia smartphones should be left out in the cold either.

As a proud owner of a Nokia E71, I have scoured the web to find some of the best productivity and communication apps available for Nokia smartphones. If you’re looking to stay connected and make the most of your Finnish handset, you’ll want to look at these mobile applications.

1. JoikuSpot Light

If you happen to be downtown in a major metropolitan area, you probably won’t have too much trouble finding an available Wi-Fi hotspot. From bookstores to coffee shops, these access points can be quite plentiful. However, that’s not always the case, especially if you venture to other parts of the city or out the city altogether.

What if you could use your phone as a makeshift Internet access point? Using JoikuSpot Light, you can. In essence, this application takes your Nokia’s cellular connection and rebroadcasts it as a Wi-Fi hotspot. This way, any device with Wi-Fi can go online.

There are shortcomings to JoikuSpot Light, of course. You cannot define the name of the SSID access point, nor can you secure it with a password. To do that, you’ll need to purchase JoikuSpot Premium. A single license is 9.00 EUR (about $12) and a 10-license bundle is 49.00 EUR (about $66).

2. Opera Mini Web Browser

Nokia S60 smartphones typically get pre-loaded with the Symbian mobile web browser and, by and large, it gets the job done. However, there will be times when it struggles to render certain web pages. You want to have a good alternative close at hand. This is not unlike how you should have multiple browsers on your home computer, just in case.

One of the best alternatives for Nokias is the Opera Mini web browser. This gives you a similar interface as its desktop counterpart, offering a start page with quick access to shortcuts and search engines.

A major difference between the Symbian browser and Opera Mini is that the latter tends to render web pages the same way as they appear on a regular computer rather than trying to force them into a mobile environment. This can draw more data (and longer loading times), but sometimes it’s worth it.

3. Gravity Twitter Client

In case you haven’t noticed, Twitter is the hottest thing since sliced bread. To keep pace with your BlackBerry, Android, and iPhone buddies, you’ll want to have a good Twitter client on your Nokia smartphone too. One of the best is Gravity.

With this Twitter client, you can manage multiple accounts and have multiple “columns” dedicated to each account. You can track your replies and direct messages separately from the main stream, as well as set up custom groups to better filter the onslaught of tweets. (You can follow me too, should you so desire.)

The time-limited trial version is free, but you’ll need to pay $9.95 for the full version.

4. Slick IM Messenger Client

Staying connected with the world at large goes well beyond voice calls, texts, and e-mail messages. Rather than download individual clients for each of the different instant messenger protocols, you can keep them all in one place with Slick by Lonely Cat Games.

This unified IM client supports no fewer than seven different protocols: ICQ, Yahoo, AIM, MSN, Google Talk, Jabber, and Facebook chat. Your contact lists are automatically populated and there are audible alerts for new messages, even if you have Slick running in the background. And yes, you can set your status for each IM protocol too.

5. Mail for Exchange

Using the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol, Mail for Exchange isn’t exactly the most exciting of applications available for Nokia smartphones. However, it is a necessary component to one of the more important functions you’ll want.

You can combine Mail for Exchange with Google Sync, allowing for the full synchronization of your calendar and contact lists. Your Google Calendar entries are synchronized with your phone’s calendar and the same is done with your contact lists, including phone numbers, addresses, and other information.

Google Sync only allows for synchronization with your main Google Calendar, however. To sync more of your calendars, you can try NuevaSync. The free service allows for synchronization over multiple devices and up to 11 calendars.

Many More Apps for Nokias to Consider

These five apps offer just a glimpse of what is possible with a Nokia smartphone. To further address your productivity and communication needs, you can try out the apps for Gmail, Google Maps, Active Notes, Qik, Facebook, Screenshot, AP News, and so much more.

You can now turn to your iPhone and BlackBerry friends and say, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”

Image credit: hillaryfox / iStockphoto

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