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PORTLAND, OR, United States – A friend of mine in LA recently bought a Nokia N8. As a five-year Symbian phone owner, I have my regular apps and settings that I just migrate over with each new handset I get to try out. It’s almost second nature – I install the same applications without even thinking about it. However, my friend – a very typical Californian social media fan – was a bit frustrated because she wasn’t sure which apps were best for which purposes. So, in a social networking and messaging heavy world, what’s a new Symbian^3 user to do?

Which apps must a new Symbian user simply, positively know about? Here are some that I use all the time that I feel are must-haves.

Gravity: There’s no doubt that Gravity is a first-install app for any new Symbian user. Gravity combines three very popular social networks including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare all in one beautiful application. If you’re into Google Reader, Gravity will handle it as well.

Gravity is such an amazing Twitter client, that I wish other platforms had it. However, it’s a Symbian exclusive and that’s a very good thing for us Symbian users.

Nokia Panorama: If you’re on an N8, you’re holding the best camera phone on the market today. Apps that take advantage of the Carl Zeiss optics are worth checking out. Panorama, which graduated from Nokia Beta Labs, is a great way to take panoramic photos quickly and easily. The next time you’re on a building top, canyon view or at the beach, use Panorama to capture the memory so you can share the wide view you saw in that place and that moment.

Nokia Situations: How embarrassing is it when your mobile chimes with an incoming SMS or rings in the middle of a meeting while at work? Nokia Situations helps solve that problem. This Beta Labs application was released late last year and triggers actions based on situations such as switching to “Silent” at night or to turn of Wi-Fi when not at home. Personally, I also have Nokia Situations set to go to “Meeting” mode while I’m at work (based on the phone viewing my work’s Wi-Fi network). You can also set Situations to answer calls via SMS whenever you set your phone to Silent. The options are plentiful and give your phone needed smarts based on where you or or the time of day. Who doesn’t need more automation these days?


AccuWeather: Weather is a must-have piece of information for any smartphone owner to have. AccuWeather has built a beautiful application that provides current conditions and forecasts for where you happen to be or any city worldwide. AccuWeather also has a widget that can be embedded on any of your homescreens to give you easy access.

WhatsApp Messenger: Many people know of BlackBerry Messenger, but what about all of us who don’t use a BlackBerry and want to message to their hearts’ content? WhatsApp is a cross-platform group messaging service that allows you to have group chats with as many people as you want. Also, the app can notify you of missed events even if the application is not currently running. WhatsApp also allows you to send video, images and audio for free.

What applications would you recommend for a new Symbian^3 user?

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