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On The Net - Issue 04

On The Net is a regular Internet column for handheld computing magazine Palmtop User. The column is put together by the FileSaveAs team, and we'd like to thank Palmtop User for allowing us to include back issues on our site.


Make WAP worthwhile

When WAP, the "Mobile Internet", first arrived on the scene, anyone expecting a multimedia experience with high-speed downloads of content to their mobile phone, was in for a disappointment. Once we re-aligned our expectations, many of us found that, while WAP was slow and unexciting, a few WAP pages were genuinely useful and could live in our bookmarks for occasional use, such as news headlines, sports results, or travel information. There were still two problems however - a lack of actual content (as WAP sites need to have their text specially formatted), and the absence of a decent search engine.

To an extent, both of these problems have now been solved, by the same company, and it's a company that you're probably familiar with - Google.

Entering the address of into your WAP browser takes you to a special version of the Google search page that is specially adjusted for use on a mobile device. The search engine works just as the one you use from your web browser, but web content is reformatted via a proxy service so that you can view it over WAP. Essentially, this means that you can now get to any web page from a WAP browser, opening up a whole host of extra content, and access to your favourite websites on the move. It was possible to do this in the past with the rather clunky Web2Wap service, but now it's as easy as entering what you're looking for into a search engine, and voila - there's the page you're looking for. The downside? It's free from images, and if the web page has a complex design, the layout can be a bit odd, but it's perfectly acceptable, and best still, the resulting pages can be bookmarked for fast retrieval of web content. Mobile Google also offers the option to search only for WAP content, and has a handy number input method for faster typing, allowing you to enter a word such as "palmtop" using the keypad numbers "7256867"

Recent sightings

Following on from our Sound & Vision article in this issue, for a top site containing a wide selection of video clips for the Pocket PC, full of trailers, comedy bits, TV commercials, 3D animations and more, take a look at Pocket Movies. Although aimed at Pocket PC users, the files are in the MPEG-1 format, which can be encoded by Kinoma Producer for playback on Palm OS devices.


Too many TV channels to keep track of? Forget spending out on a TV listings magazine each week by using your palmtop to download TV listings, and even use it as a remote control. Solutions include AvantGo, web, WAP and a the BBC's electronic Radio Times. The Radio and Telly site provides details of what's on offer for the mobile user, screenshots, and help on how to get set up. TV addicts can now move to a paperless world and never need to take a trip to the newsagents again!

Themes are fast becoming the equivalent of mobile phone ring tones for your Pocket PC - a way to express your individuality by brightening your Today view. PDAGold offers one of the largest collection of free-to-download themes - over 3600 at last count, plus details of how to create your own, ratings and popularity charts, and the newest themes to arrive. Currently, the top 5 categories are People, Computing, Art, Nature and Places.

If you have an interest in the future of PDAs and mobile communications, you'll probably enjoy taking a browse around the pages at TheFutureLook. A self-explanatory name for a site brought to you by the people behind UK retailers Dixons.
To get deeper than a few pages, you'll need to register at the site, something that's free, and subscribes you to their rather interesting monthly newsletter. On the site itself, you'll find details of the current intelligent phones on the market, sections on 3G, Symbian OS, satellite communication, Bluetooth, WiFi and some information on MMS and its use on Pocket PC phones. Taking a look in "The Future", the dedicated section looking at what's in the pipeline, reveals early information on the first ever TV phone, due soon from Samsung, and Sanyo's surveillance RoboDog that sends video images of intruders to your 3G mobile.
One page that especially caught my eye, was one detailing a product called ‘Purring Kitty' - a downloadable Java application that brings a whole new meaning to User Interface, for female Nokia owners. Interested? See "The Services" and find out more...


Article from Palmtop User Issue 04. Click here for Issue 5's article


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