Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Memory structure of Series 60 (S60) smartphones

Disk C - Flash memory based storage ("disk") memory. This disk is used for storing user data, files and applications. Disk C: is a Flash disk, which means that it preserves its contents even when the power is off or the battery is removed. Old S60 phones like the 7650 or 3650 only had about 4 MB C: drive. New phones like the N90 have almost 30 MB of internal storage available for the user. This memory also stores your settings, important system data files, Contacts and Calendar databases and more.

Disk D - RAM-disk (size depends on phone: about 400 kilobytes in older phones, about 1,8 MB in newer phones like 6630, 6680 or N90). This disk is created in DRAM memory, which means it is volatile. It is meant for internal system use and not to be used by the phone user. Some applications temporarily store their data on this disk, which makes them work faster (DRAM memory is much faster than Flash). It is useless to save any user data on D: because all contents of this disk are lost when you switch the phone off or reboot the system.

Disk E - memory card. Memory cards (in MMC or SD format) can be used to expand the built in storage memory (disk C:). On memory cards, users can install applications and store different kinds of data (e.g. music, videos, documents, etc). Memory cards use Flash memory, which means that they preserve their contents even if the phone is turned off or the card is removed.

Disk Z - read only Flash memory containing the Symbian operating system. Contents of Z: drive cannot be modified by the user as this memory area is protected and read only. Firmware upgrade can only be made by authorized service centres using special Flash programming devices and Nokia service software called Phoenix.

Operating memory (RAM) - this memory is for program execution. It is not visible as a "disk" or drive letter like C: or Z: and it is not directly available to the user. Think of it as of RAM memory of your desktop computer: you don't save any files or data in it, it is only used by the system and applications. Of course, the more of it the better as it lets you execute more advanced programs or run more applications at the same time. Old Symbian OS phones like 7650 or 3650 only had 8 MB RAM of which about 3,5 MB was free. Newer phones like e.g. 6630 or 6680 have 16 MB RAM of which about 8 MB is free. The newest NSeries smartphones like the N90 have 48 MB RAM of which about 21 MB is free!

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