Best TaskMan: Yet Another S60 Task Manager
A while ago I talked about Handy Taskman and how it can enhance application management on S60 handsets. While my claims are still valid regarding Handy Taskman, I think another application which can do the same with a little more flexibility is Best TaskMan,produced by SmartphoneWare. Like Handy Taskman, it is aimed at replacing the built-in Nokia Task Manager, but can also co-exist with it. When installed, it can be located in the Applications folder. As you launch the application, you’ll see three tab sheets:
- Quick start.
The Applications tab sheet allows you to move among open applications, close one or more apps, switch to the focused app, and view the application info like the amount of memory it occupies and its attributes. If you go to the Settings submenu, select Settings, make sure Best TaskMan is set to replace the built-in Nokia Task Manager and that it is set to auto-start, you can hold down the Menu key to get to the application instead of selecting it from the Applications folder.
Anyway, the Applications tab sheet lists all open applications unless you define one or more applications by going to the Settings submenu and selecting Tasklist exceptions. The defined programs won’t appear in the list of open apps, and you may also close them from the Settings submenu. Also, some of the applications might not be closed by Best TaskMan. For instance, if I open the Music Player on my N82, Best TaskMan indicates that it is a system application and fails to close it. This is a bit strange because I can use the Exit option in Music Player to terminate it, so I don’t understand why Best TaskMan cannot do the same. The last item in the Applications tab is related to the phone memory, and displays the available free RAM.
If you go to the View submenu, go to the Advanced submenu and select Processes, you can view system processes like the Taskman itself or, in the case of screen reader users, several program names which are related to the screen reader being used. Handy Taskman doesn’t provide such a feature. You can also view the process information or terminate it from this window.
The second tab sheet, Memory, allows you to view both brief and detailed information about the phone memory (that is the phone RAM), the phone disk memory and the memory card. I find Handy Taskman more accurate as far as displaying memory information is concerned, because with Handy Taskman you can easily understand what the program says. With Best TaskMan, however, you can’t say if it’s displaying the free memory, the available memory or the total memory. For instance, it just uses the combination “1.7GB” for my memory card. I have a 2GB memory card and more than 1.1GB of it is empty at this moment, so I can’t understand where 1.7GB comes from. Finally, the memory tab allows you to compact the memory for optimal performance.
The third tab sheet, Quick start, provides users with a more convenient way of opening applications. Once there, however, you should press “Key 1”, select Add applications and define one or more programs for this window. In other words, the Quick start tab doesn’t give users the ability to access and open installed applications directly. This is the area in which Handy Taskman outperforms Best TaskMan because the former offers a Windows Vista-like search and open facility whereby you can start typing the first letter(s) of an application and quickly switch to it by pressing Select. Also, Handy Taskman has a Favorites tab sheet which is similar to Best TaskMan’s Quick Start window.
A Best TaskMan feature which is absent in Handy Taskman is its ability to move around and switch to open applications by means of a single key or a hot key. You can define this key/hot key in the Settings window under the Switcher hot key control. You may also define a hot key for the Quick start tab sheet to gain focus more quickly. It is worth mentioning that if you are a screen reader user (TALKS in particular), you won’t hear the name of each application as you press the application switcher key or key combination. I’ve assigned this feature to the Multimedia key on my N82, but I don’t hear the name of each application as I press it. As a consequence, this quasi-ALT+Tab style of navigation isn’t currently accessible.
Now you might ask which application is better, Handy Taskman or Best TaskMan. My answer to this question would be quite straightforward: try them for yourself to see which one better suits your needs given my review. I for one will be staying with Handy Taskman 1.06, although the fact that I’ve not yet been able to find a Symbian-signed release of Handy Taskman V2.0 has disappointed me a bit. If you know where I can get this new Handy Taskman release, I’d be more than happy to use your advice. Best TaskMan is at V2.01, and is also a Symbian-signed application, but doesn’t have online documentation, so you should stick to its web site if you need help.
Related Info: Best Alarms V1.03