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Old 09-22-2010, 03:13 PM   #1
N13L5
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Nokia's Symbian S60 5th edition - slim pickings

Only very few things I could find:

The built in Adobe Reader is useless, since it uses up a third of the screen for its UI, with no option to go fullscreen. How inept can you get, Adobe?

AlternateReader is a freeware pdf reader and absolutely blows it out of the water...
Fullscreen mode and good zoom, various options on how you want to scroll and page down/page up.

The big drawback is that pdf still just barely works for a 4" screen - fun its not.

Then there's Barns&Nobles' eReader. its insanely slow, which negates its extensive feature set. Its totally centered around buying more books online, rather than reading what you have - it insists on connecting as soon as you start it. You can copy .pdb books to one specific directory to open them, which did not work for me, cause apparently my pdb books were the wrong type of pdb. By the time I figured that out, I had already removed the thing.

It has that dictionary feature that I haven't seen elsewhere, which I'd love if the whole package wasn't so slow.

ZX Reader on the other hand works as expected, its quick, lets you open files from wherever they are on your phone, goes full screen with sensible controls. More specifically, it lets you page up and down with the volume rocker/buttons on your phone instead of pushing around the screen with your finger. I mean, I like the big screens on touchscreen phones, but I'd still prefer to have a few more buttons for basic functions! ZX Reader does lack an option for a serif font though. Thats the one thing I really miss.
Its freeware too, and the most usable one I found for crummy old S60.

QuickOffice this is a full Microsoft Office compatible package, it sets you back around $20 or so.
I used it for reading, but it sure isn't meant to do that. I had to split books into separate text files for chapters, cause otherwise its impossible to ever find where you were in a book. The scroll bar is extemely inaccurate. But at least the latest version doesn't swallow the first or last line of any given screen of text anymore...

Mobi Reader - its hard too believe, but they're stuck on a 3 year old non-touchscreen version, that gives you a little over half of your screenspace to display your book. You can't even blame that on Amazon, cause a 5th edition compatible reader should have been released long before Amazon bought them out to snuff a competing format identical to their own. :P

Regrettably, this is all I found, googling around the web for readers... And I almost didn't manage to install ZX Reader due to an expired certificate. Nokia has this "signed" sheme, which is costly for developers. A kind programmer filling a need offering freeware has to pay Nokia for certificates to give away his software. No wonder Nokia's app availability is marginal and its smartphone market share is collapsing.


If anyone found something else, plz let me know

Last edited by N13L5; 09-22-2010 at 03:18 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:03 AM   #2
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There is at least one more ereading program, Foliant.

I've been trying out Foliant on my X6 for a while now and it's pretty stable and responsive.

It supports FB2 and TXT formats and is a java applet, so there shouldn't be much difficulty in installing it on numerous devices.

It's also a fully touch-screen program and works in full-screen mode. You move between pages by swiping the screen, and to access the menus you just press on the screen for a few seconds and the menus appear.

Last edited by ghostyjack; 09-23-2010 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:34 AM   #3
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ah thank you for that!

there's always something that you miss no matter how many times you google something. Posting on a forum always yields something useful

Overall, I think most Java apps are aweful, but they can be as good as non-java apps, if they were written by a really good hacker.

So, I'm gonna go download and see if it beats ZX reader, though ZX reader has shown me how much nicer it is to page up and down with the volume rocker of my phone:
When I hold my phone in reading position, my left thumb is automatically on the volume rocker, so as soon as I read the last sentence on screen, I got the next page instantly, without having to take my right hand off the unit and swipe my finger, which is kind of lengthy and disruptive by comparison.

I guess I should just admit it, I'm not that big of a touch screen fan, its good for some things, and I certainly like the big screens, but I do wish touchphones still had more real buttons around the edges...
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:36 AM   #4
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Foliant's not a bad app, it give's you enormous amount of control of the layout and looks pretty slick.

The only difficulty for me was actually finding a download file for it. A lot of websites will only allow you to download it from them if you register with them (which I'd rather not do).
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Old 10-05-2010, 02:01 PM   #5
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I tried Foliant now.

+ The UI is very cleanly done, looks much like an iPhone app.
+ UI Runs smoothly, no weird hickups.
+ it can access the file system to open books
+ remembers last read book and page you were on
+ many useful options in the very extensive settings, including custom profiles
+ full screen reading mode
+ it lets you search for and download books from a few websites, and this functionality stays nicely out of your way, when you're really just starting it up to read something you already have.

- doesn't come with a serif font, would have to find and install one to use.
- doesn't support ePub
- simply crashed upon opening graphics heavy FB2 books
- keeping my finger on the screen in full screen mode fails to get me any menu, I can neither exit full screen mode nor get out of the program without shutting down the phone...

Last edited by N13L5; 10-06-2010 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N13L5 View Post
- doesn't support ePub
On Symbian, what does? Nothing. This platform is almost completely ignored by ereader developers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by N13L5 View Post
- keeping my finger on the screen in full screen mode fails to get me any menu, I can neither exit full screen mode nor get out of the program without shutting down the phone...
Didn't have any problems with getting the menu up on my X6 (I was using 0.6.0).

It's pretty stable for me, so until anyone can find anything better or uses epub, I think I'll stick with it.
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:05 PM   #7
N13L5
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On Symbian, what does? Nothing. This platform is almost completely ignored by ereader developers.

I should have mentioned that ZX Reader supports ePub in the original post, where I reviewed the readers known to me. Its a very decent reader too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostyjack View Post
Didn't have any problems with getting the menu up on my X6 (I was using 0.6.0).

It's pretty stable for me, so until anyone can find anything better or uses epub, I think I'll stick with it.
Does your X6 (I'm not familiar with that phone) use Symbian S60 5th edition? or is it already on Symbian ^3 ...?

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Old 10-08-2010, 11:58 AM   #8
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The X6 is 5th edition.

I didn't know ZX reader was epub, I'll have to check it out.
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Old 10-09-2010, 12:13 AM   #9
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It also reads FB2 and txt and I think rtf...


But ZX reader's certificate is expired.

Since its free, the kind person who wrote it probably doesn't feel like paying Nokia big bucks for a new cert.

I managed to install it by setting the current date on my phone to 2008
(I think.. I remember I tried a few years like 2007, 2008, 2009)

Once its installed, you can set the date back to the real date and it'll keep running just fine.





Symbian is supposed to be an open system, but that's BS... the "signed" and super short certificate expirations work to freeze out small developers and especially anyone who wants to offer freeware. Basically, Nokia folds not only to Telco's on everything, but also skewed the system to keep application prices high for large developers.

Contrast that with Google: Developers sign their own apps, using their developer account, there is no cost... And the minimum duration for certificates is 25 years...

Some larger developers will hate having to compete with smaller ones and be forced to spend more cash to make better apps, and charge less, cause god-oh-god, there's free apps made by some genious in a garage, that blows their big-ass corporate software teams out of the water, cause they're hired by some non-technical HR guy and run by a Dilbert type boss.

Last edited by N13L5; 10-09-2010 at 01:11 AM. Reason: just had to add Dilbert to the equation
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:55 PM   #10
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Ummm. Sorry to bump this old thread. I realize that people would no longer be using Symbian now, considering all the newer and shinier Android devices out there. Anyway, you also missed out SmartReader, which is a perfect port of the CoolReader app for Android and various eInk devices that run on OpenInkpot. It can read ePub and FB2. Oh yeah, Foliant now also supports ePub along with FB2, which is a great relief.

I have a hoard of Symbian devices at home, including the old N72, N73, N-Gage (& QD too), and the newer S60 5th edition and Anna and Belle devices. Although I am chiefly an Android and iOS user now, I harbor fond memories with Symbian devices, because that is what got me started on developing. In fact, I started reading eBooks back in 2004 on my N-Gage. So when I had the strange urge to use a Symbian device for a while, I booted up my N97 and thought, 'Well, now that I have my Symbian, why not read a book?' So I looked for new readers and I came across this post and the things i mentioned earlier.

Oh, FBReader have also ported their app to Symbian now. There is also another application that works fine on my Symbian device. It's called Dorian, which has been implemented by QT and works on S60 5th edition devices that have QT installed. A version for Belle and Anna devices have also been made. Bugs have been fixed and the UI has gone through a major cleanup. It's called Ionic and works only on devices that have QT 4.7.4+ installed. Hope this will be of some help to other wayward Symbian enthusiasts that stumble upon this page like I did.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:18 AM   #11
N13L5
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Ummm. Sorry to bump this old thread.
I even went so far as to buy a Samsung i8910 with Symbian on it... I still have it, in perfect condition, with 1080p video recording...

But the app signing bs was one thing about Symbian that drove me crazy, like all of Nokia's other knee falls to Telcos like keeping Skype off Symbian for years and years, to appease the damned Telco crooks.

I don't feel all that sorry or nostalgic for Nokia, cause they always sided with Telcos against their customers.

We can thank Apple for stopping this pandering to Telcos (though Apple did it only for their own benefit), and then Google for offering the least shackled system yet.

And while Android has become pretty 'shiny' as you called it, in its latest versions, its the ability of every programmer to sign their own app, and the freedom of using multiple sources for apps, that is what I really like better about it than any system that has gone before.

Next up: a real Linux phone

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