Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

How to Maximize the Browsing Experience on 3rd Edition

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If you have an
S60 device, chances are you’re very fas60 Applicationsmiliar with the lack of RAM on the device, specifically when trying to use the full HTML
Web browser. For the most part, the browser doesn’t have too many problems opening web pages right out of the box, but it’s when you want to open other applications that the experience starts to deteriorate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to open a text message or opened something as simple as the calendar to reference a piece of information and discovered that the Web browser had closed on me due to a lack of RAM. Sometimes all it took was a simple press of the Menu key for the Web browser to crash.

Luckily, there are a few tips I’ve found to greatly improve the performance of the built-in browser which do not sacrifice too many of its features to make browsing any less enjoyable.

1) Turn off the Mini Map

You can do this by navigating to Options>Settings>General>Mini map>On/Off inside the Web application. By default, the Web browser is preset to have the Mini Map turned on. What I’ve noticed when I’m scrolling through HowardForums.com or a similarly longer web page such as ringnokia.com is that the browser always seemed to want to quit on me when it would normally bring up the mini map. Turning it off reduces the amount of resources needed to run the application effectively.

The good news is that changing this setting doesn’t turn off the mini map entirely. The mini map can still be accessed by pressing the ‘8’ key on the keypad, so you can still scroll to specific parts of larger websites quickly without wasting unnecessary memory. Just be careful you don’t jump the gun and try to use the mini map too quickly.

2) Turn off Flash

Another setting that doesn’t help the browser when it comes to multitasking is how it responds to flash content. No Flash In all the browsing I’ve ever done on
S60, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation where I’ve absolutely needed Flash content from a website. The only feature I’ve ever really wanted from Flash would be to watch Flash movies from Newgrounds or flv videos from YouTube, but since those features aren’t available anyway on the current version of Flash for
S60 3rd, I don’t see a problem in turning it off completely. Similar to the settings for the mini map, Flash can be turned off by navigating to Options>Settings>Page>Load Content and choose Images “(no Flash)”. The other alternative is to display text only which would also improve the performance and speed of the Web browser, but I still like to view images while I’m browsing. 🙂

3) Turn off Automatic reload

If you navigate to Options>Settings>Page>Automatic reload, you will be able to adjust whether or not you want this feature turned on. I use the Back button almost every time I use the browser itself, so automatically reloading websites certainly comes in handy. It gives me a chance to know which content I’ve already viewed, versus hitting the Back button on IE or Firefox, which just sends me to my previous and outdated page. While that’s all fine and good, having the browser do this sacrifices precious amounts of kilobytes that really don’t need to be wasted. With the Automatic reload off, the previous page is loaded from the page that was saved in the cache instead, so less resources are used. It also allows to load the page just a little bit faster too.

4 ) Have patience!

I’m as guilty as the next
S60 user for doing this. All too often, I try to rush the Web browser by scrolling through a website before it is fully loaded. Sometimes browsing a web site before it loads completely can be a good thing (see #5), but not while the browser is still trying to load content. You’ll be much more likely to crash your browser while trying to scroll through it before that loading bar disappears rather than giving the website a couple more seconds to load.

5) Don’t be afraid of the Stop button

As mentioned above, sometimes not having the complete web page loaded can be a good thing. For example, trying to load content from Stefan’s old website has always been a chore because it’s absolutely loaded with images, embedded objects, and links, and I think it’s archived monthly when it should probably be something more like weekly, or daily since he used to post so much. To keep the browser from crashing due to a content overhaul, don’t be afraid to stop it from loading after the content you’re looking for has appeared. Doing this will almost always prevent the images from appearing, but it will also keep your browser open so you don’t have to start the process over again.

6) If all else fails, reformat

Over time, the entire operating system seems to get gradually sluggish due to various files being left behind from applications being installed and uninstalled, user data being entered and deleted, and applications like Messaging and the Gallery being filled and emptied repeatedly. As of now, I have not been able to find a way to track these hidden files (like the fingers left in the registry from a piece of Windows software), but I do one way to get rid of them! On the device’s standby screen, press “*#7370#” and use the code “12345” for confirmation. Doing so will reformat EVERYTHING on the device and bring it back to all defaults like when you first opened the box. This is a bit of a crude method to free up some RAM, but sometimes it is necessary. When I turned my N95 on for the first time, I had anywhere from 17.5-18mb of available RAM. After using the phone extensively for about a month, installing several applications and uninstalling a few, I was left with only 15.5-16 on a good day. This may not seem like much, but when you’re only left with such a low amount to begin with, every kilobyte counts.

With the front page of Howardforums.com loaded, Best Taskman open, and Screenshot running in the background to capture these images, I was able to still get almost 8.5mb of RAM available for other applications.

Task Manager

It may not be much, but it would still be enough to open the Notes application or the Calendar if I needed to check an appointment.

I just happened to reformat my N95 a couple days ago and I’ve been very happy with the results. I’ve been able to browse the web, watch videos from tinytube.net, and respond to text messages with my BH-501’s connected without too many difficulties. There’s no question that the amount of RAM is much too low on current
S60 devices, but if you treat the browser appropriately and adjust the proper settings, it can still be an enjoyable experience.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to see an
S60 device that can run something like the image below comfortably one day (perhaps the E90?.

EVERYTHING open

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Written by Jonathan

June 15, 2007 at 2:21 am

Posted in s60 Suggestions

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