After stumbling across Alvin’s excellent post on UnleashThePhones.com, I got thinking about my own Nokia N9 and what I have installed on it.
I’ve had my N9 since it arrived in January 2012, bought on New Year’s Eve of 2011. Was a feeling of merriment influencing my online purchasing decisions before going out for the night? I can’t say. (hic!) What I can say is that ever since first powering on the N9 and holding that warm blue polycarbonate slab in my palm, it’s been nothing but MeeGo love ever since.
Along the way I’ve picked up a new E7, a new E6, a new N8 and a new 808 PureView (which I also love like a man shouldn’t love a telephone). But the N9 always draws me back, especially when my main usage on a particular day is all about the web, the Twitter, the email, and not so much the photography. That’s what the 808 PureView is for. Right?
So I read Alvin’s post and thought, sure, looks like you’ve got some real nice apps on there, buddy. But does he have it all? As a man, yes. As an N9 owner, yes, but there’s always more to be had.
Now, I should just explain quickly here that EverythingN9’s very own Arie took my N9, modded it, sent it back, and that was in the summer last year. Since then it has given me no trouble at all, apps have opened quickly, and things have breezed along the way they should do. While Arie was tweaking it, he did some sort of modder’s magic by removing the stock Twitter app, some other stock add-ons such as Nokia Music (not available in the US) the Search feature (it never seemed to work very well) and some other apps and features that were either useless or I’d never use anyway. Wasn’t there some Golf game? Yeah…gone.
So my N9 was fairly slick, but of course I then had to fill its memory with my own choice of Nokia Store and developer created side-loadable apps. So here is my list of my top apps that I’ve installed on my N9, the ones that I can’t live without, the ones I highly recommend. Naturally it’s down to personal preference; if you’re a big gamer, then you’ll see I’m not really. My Games folder is a little sparse. But that’s ok, because I don’t play that many games, especially on a phone. Am I getting too old? Probably.
So. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. By the way, where possible, I’ve hyperlinked the title of each app to the Nokia Store/developer page.
At last, an Amazon Kindle app for the N9 (and I believe the developer is working on a version for Symbian). Sync your purchased Kindle books with the app and you can either download them for reading offline, or read them in the cloud. Excellent.
My podcast app of choice, ever since my happy N900 days. gPodder will sync and download and play your podcasts with simplicity in a nice UI.
Set your N9 to silent automatically when it’s bedtime, have it switch to 2G when you arrive home to save battery, have it set to Beep profile for meetings or for work, the list goes on and on. I love this app, just set it and forget it!
WAZAPP (Free but you should donate!)
Now called ‘OpenWhatsApp’, this is what you need if you’re a user of WhatsApp for free texting all over the world. The UI has been developed with love and care and some would say is more beautiful than the original app.
I don’t usually watch Flash videos on my N9. But when I do, I prefer Firefox (says the Dos XX man). Except that I don’t use it for much else to be honest. But together with FLASH PLAYER, you can watch real Flash videos on your N9’s curved glass screen. If you’re trying to watch a video in Opera, Web or SnowShoe and it ain’t working for ya, try Firefox. It probably will.
I flick back and forth between these two excellent Twitter apps. And they each have their pros and cons. Alvin said he likes Rocket because it integrates right into the N9’s UI, posting updates on the Feeds screen and becoming a share option in Gallery. Superb. Tweetian is nice because you can scroll sideways to move between Timeline, Mentions, Messages.
Don’t let the pricetag put you off, Soundwave is nothing short of wonderful. With no Shazam on the N9, and a non-working Eyrie app last year, it looked like we wouldn’t ever be able to hold up our N9s toward the pub speaker like our Android and iPhone mates could to identify “No More Mr Nice Guy”. Well now we can, and not only is developer knobtviker’s UI beautiful, it actually works better than Shazam on my 808 PureView, especially in noisy surroundings. Definitely worth splashing out the money on this one.
BILLBOARD STANDBY SCREEN ($2.99)
Unlocks the power of your N9’s amoled screen. Not satisfied with ‘just the clock’ on your standby screen? Then go for broke and put the weather, date, all kinds of info on there. Remember, only the pixels that are working are lit, so the low power screen remains on low power. I now couldn’t imagine my standby screen showing ‘just the clock’!
knobtviker was at it again, and here is a superb, just superb Dropbox app. Makes moving your files around in the cloud a piece of cake, and in a great looking UI too. Buy this app, it just makes sense.
REFER IT (free)
I wrote about this indispensable dictionary app a while ago here on EverythingN9. Needless to say, I use it a lot still and I find it so useful the way it looks words up quickly. Highly recommended.
Another developer treat by Crochik, GApp is a Google app hub of sorts that allows users access to Gmail, Gtalk, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and more. To be honest, I only use it for Gmail when I need to search my account for that all-important email regarding a certain flight or message from a friend. You can’t do that quickly or easily in the stock Email app on the N9 (hey, it ain’t no BlackBerry!) but with GApp, my problems are solved. Arie reviewed the app in its early stages here.
I don’t play games that often, but when I do, I play Monopoly. (It’s that Dos XX guy again). Monopoly, by EA Games, isn’t available in the US Nokia Store. However, I learned a trick of using a UK sim card in my N9, and then visiting the Store, and all of those weird and wonderful apps only seen in the UK pop up. Monopoly is well made, smooth and addictive. If you liked playing the board game as a kid, then this will be up your street (haha, great pun). It is a tad on the pricey side, but I’ve enjoyed it since I bought it, so for me it’s value for money. Play against the “computer” or several virtual players if you want to really challenge yourself.
Apart from these ‘regular’ apps, I also have MESinput which allows you to install custom keyboards for your typing. Right now I have one (can’t remember the name right now) that allows long presses of almost every key, which then brings up the Swype version of that said key. So for example, if I long press Q, a little pop up gives me the option of Q or I can slide my finger a little to the right and select ‘1’. Likewise, the ‘.’ can also be used for an apostrophe, and ‘x’ can be used for ! , ‘a’ is @ and so on and so on. Very useful if you’re not a fan of pressing the number/symbol key first then selecting the number or symbol you need.
Another thing I’ve done (which Alvin clearly pointed out) is overclocked the processor. I’m a bit chicken when it comes to this, mainly because Arie himself told us all that when he overclocked his N9 to 1300MHz, it burned out and became a totally useless brick. Alvin has his set to 1150, and I think that is a safe spot. I think our good friend Stephen Quin also has his set to that, so I might be brave and ratchet mine up 50MHz to that level. Of course, this should not be done without fully appreciating that if your N9 ‘bricks’ it’s totally your own fault – this is risky! But I think if you follow guidelines and use it properly it can squeeze a bit more speed out of your N9 for you.
One app/tweak that many people enjoy, but I don’t, is FasterN9. Now I know the developer spent a long time working on this, and lots of people enjoy a faster N9, literally, but I tried it once and it was the only time my N9 became bricked somewhat and needed reflashing. Since then, I’ve not tried it again, because now, with all the fiddling that has gone on with my N9 since I got it over and back from Arie, I’m not sure one mod-magic will work nicely with another mod-magic, if you see what I mean. My N9 is plenty fast anyway, so I’m not hankering after more speed for transitions or anything like that.
For a phone that is over a year old now (mine anyway) I am still utterly impressed with the N9’s build quality and MeeGo-Harmattan OS. The UI is still slick, smooth and so damn easy to use, even when I’m playing around with my 808 PureView, I long for swiping down to close, or even just swiping left/right to get back to the homescreens, instead of using the homebutton, which now, for me, seems so clunky. Yes, it’s a shame Nokia ditched us, but we have our N9s, and they still work every day and they’re still spectacularly awesome at doing what a smartphone should be able to do. I’m so glad someone like Alvin is in love with his; people who cling to their Androids and iPhones might just realise that, if Alvin (a mobile phone aficionado) loves one, well, they can’t really be all that bad. And we know, of course, that they are the very opposite of bad. Unless of course you’re reading this with a Michael Jackson viewpoint of the word ‘bad’, in which case, they are the ‘baddest’.
Oh man, I’m losing it here, I can tell, so I will leave you with the famous words of one, Stephen Siobahn Augustus Felop: “Never let anyone doubt our ability to craft, hone and refine the perfect device. It is uncommon, it is brave, nay! It is revolutionary. Behold! The Nokia N9 is here. And we will release it. And then we shall forget it. For it is too beautiful to look at. Instead, we will cradle the sublime design, sense its enormous potential – then stuff Windows in it and call it a Lumia. See ya!”
Any comments or questions on this article can be posted below.
Please note: Prior to undertaking any modification detailed above, understand that there are risks involved. Whilst every modification has been tested to work on the author's Nokia N9, there are no guarantees it will work on a different Nokia N9 or other mobile phone. EverythingN9 will not take responsibility for any effects of a mod, including hardware or software damage, telecommunication charges, or legal implications.