Although perhaps most notorious for turning the mobile market into a dumping ground for dozens of models, the old Nokia was also famous for some iconic phones as well as some innovations that were far too ahead of their time. Even before mobile gaming became the lucrative industry it is today, Nokia was actually the first to put out a proper gaming phone way before smartphones became the reigning device category. For those old enough to remember or those who want to see what the fuss was all about, a Symbian/S60 emulator now lets you turn your Android phone into the modern version of the Nokia N-Gage.
Next to the Nokia 3650 and its circular keypad, the N-Gage was one of Nokia’s quirkiest phones but also perhaps its most prophetic. It predated gaming phones by almost two decades and even launched years before the PSP made that handheld gaming form factor cool. Unfortunately, it was also burdened by the limitations of technologies of that era, something that even today’s cheapest Android phone can surpass without breaking a sweat.
The EKA2L1 emulator tries to bring back those Nokia glory days by allowing today’s hardware to run the nearly ancient Symbian mobile operating system. It supports the three major versions of the S60 OS as well as the devices they ran on, including the N-Gage. That means, in theory, you can now turn your Android phone into a Symbian gaming phone if you want to take a stroll down memory lane or have a few laughs at the predecessors of today’s mobile games.
In practice, however, you can’t simply install EKA2L1 and just run the games. It takes a bit of setup and, more importantly, requires ROMs of those games. If you’ve had any experience with emulators, you know where this is heading.
EKA2L1 has actually been around on PCs for a while but it just recently got its first release on Google Play Store. Given what it does, it’s probably not certain how long it will last there but, since it’s an open source project, it’ll probably live on longer than its Play Store presence anyway.