Quick Access to Applications

Quick Access to Applications

You might install a lot of applications, and if you're on a Series 60 phone, you might run a bunch of them at once. With all this potential disorder, you need to be able to quickly launch and switch between applications.

Nokia smartphones can be loaded with applicationsboth factory-installed and user-installed. However, to launch any application, you must go through multiple menu items (for Series 40 devices) or scroll up and down in a grid (for Series 60 devices). It is a slow process for busy people on the move.

Different phone users want quick access to different applications. For instance, a mobile photographer probably wants to start the Camera application quickly to catch a precious moment. The frequent instant-messaging user wants to keep the Messaging application available at all times, even though he might temporarily switch to other applications from time to time.

Assign Soft-Key Shortcuts

The easiest way to add a shortcut to an application is to assign it to a soft key in the phone's idle screen (a.k.a. the home screen). On a Series 60 device, you can use the Tools Settings menu and then select Phone Standby mode to customize the soft keys (see Figure). On a Series 40 device, the menu path is Settings Personal shortcuts (see Figure).

Some Series 40 devices, such as the Nokia 6230, allow you to customize the application shortcut for the right soft key only. The left soft key is always mapped to the GoTo menu, which contains a customizable list of applications and bookmarks for quick access, and the middle soft key is always mapped to the Main menu.

Assigning soft-key shortcuts for Series 60 devices

Assigning soft-key shortcuts for Series 40 devices

Notice that only the factory-installed applications can be assigned to the idle-screen soft keys.

On some Series 60 phones, such as the Nokia 3650, assigning the Call Forwarding application to a soft key is the only way you can launch the application.

Speed Launcher

If you need quick access to a user-installed application on a Nokia Series 60 device, you can use the speed launch feature, which allows you to launch an application with just one touch of the keypad from the Main menu. To do that, first you press the menu key to enter the Main menu. All the applications and top-level folders are listed in a grid of icons in this menu. For the first nine applications in the grid, you can simply press their corresponding number key to launch them. For instance, in Figure, the Opera browser (it's the "O" with a "www" underneath it) is in the position corresponding to the number 3 key on the keypadthat is, the rightmost key on the top row. If you press the 3 key, the Opera Mobile Browser for Series 60 application is automatically launched. Please note that the numerical shortcut works only immediately after you enter the Main menu. If you use the navigation pad (a.k.a. joystick) to move the highlight around, the shortcuts stop working. They will work again if you go back to the idle screen and get back into the Main menu.

One-touch launch for applications in this grid

The 0 key does not launch any application in the main menu screen. But in the idle screen, if you press and hold the 0 key, the phone's default web browser (i.e., the Services application) is automatically launched.

You can use the Options Move menu to move the icons around in the grid (see Figure), and hence, change their speed launch numbers. Naturally, the application icons near the top of the grid are easier to access since they require less searching and scrolling once you are in the Main menu.

Quickly Switch Applications

The slow response of launching applications is one of the major complaints among Series 60 device users. As most users have several frequently used applications, a neat trick is to keep those applications running in the background all the time, thereby saving on startup and shutdown time.

The background applications are possible only with the multitasking Symbian operating system. This feature is not available on Series 40 devices.

You can place a running Series 60 application in the background by pressing the red "End call" key (the key with the red telephone symbol) while the application is running. The next time you open the same application, it will pop up instantly and appear in the state exactly as you left it.

Moving the icons in the grid to optimize access

You can see a list of background applications by pressing and holding the Menu key (see Figure). You can select any application from the list and bring it to the foreground. If you press the c key while you are scrolling through the list, you can force the background program to exit.

Switching between background applications

Voice Commands

Finally, most Nokia smartphones have a utility application for voice commands. Depending on your phone model, you can access it via the Tools Voice commands menu, or the Extras Voice commands menu, or the Settings Personal shortcuts Voice commands menu. Using the voice command utility, you can map any voice recording to a selected number of applications. For instance, you can record yourself speaking the word camera and map it to the Camera application. The voice commands for applications work similar to the voice dialing tags [Hack #26]. You simply press and hold the right soft key for the phone to pick your spoken command and launch the matching application.

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