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On The Net - Issue 11

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.

Featured site : Handango

In our regular look at some of the top PDA sites around, we look at one of the big names for users of mobile devices: Handango.

If you're looking for applications, games, electronic books, and other file times to spice up your handheld device, Handango is pretty much the leader, whatever type of device you have. They currently offer over 50,000 software titles, and 25,000 digital media titles, and have made it easy for software developers to share their products, and for users to download them, try them, and hopefully pay for them. This year, they're celebrating their fifth year of operation, and offer their services in a number of different languages and countries.

If you've ever used on onsite software site before, Handango won't offer too many surprises - you can search for titles, browse through categories to see what takes your fancy, and read reviews written by real users, to decide whether it's worth downloading and trying some software. Most software downloads include a handy screenshot of the item, to help make a decision, and the number of member downloads give a pretty good idea of popularity.

Where Handango comes into its own, is with it's GoPass service - this essentially keeps a track of your downloads and orders - if you've downloaded some software, you can view your orders and download them again (with registration codes if needed) if you paid for the software, or browse through the trial versions you've downloaded, and see if you want to keep them. It also follows the Loyalty Card model, rewarding you with points for purchases, and you can set up watcher alerts so that if a new product gets released, you can get access to an early download of the latest items in their catalogue. Users with smartphones or online PDAs may also want to try out the "download to my phone" option, to get software installed, for situations where PC connectivity is a little fiddly.

Handango supports all of the major PDA and smartphone types, and is a pleasure to use. If you've not paid them a visit - set yourself a spare hour, and go browse!

Broadband on the move?

You may have heard of a fairly new service, called OnSpeed... essentially this is an Internet acceleration service that can bump up the speed of a dial-up connection to near-Broadband Advice speeds - ideal for those looking to keep the costs down, or outside a broadband area. The OnSpeed service makes clever use of compression and image reduction to keep page sizes down, thus offering a faster download.

Internet acceleration services have been around for a while, but what makes this one a little different for us mobile users, is that if you have a connected Pocket PC, you can use OnSpeed to gain some strong speed improvements using your GPRS connection - as well as a speed improvement, you're downloading smaller images and content - keeping the GPRS costs lower too.

OnSpeed offers a free 14 day trial, so give it a go, and see if the performance improvements warrant the subscription fee for home and mobile combined use.



Always one to keep up the latest stuff for our mobile devices, I've recently discovered the joys of Podcasting. If you're an Palm or Pocket PC user, you may be familiar with Avantgo, the service that lets you download news stories from a variety of newsfeeds around the world, and have them synced to your mobile device. The newish concept of podcasting takes this a step further, and lets you download audio content from a variety of feeds, in mp3 format. As you may have guessed, the name Podcasting is all to do with the current iPod craze, but there's nothing special to tie this to Apple's handheld music players - the audio files are standard MP3 and can be played by most mobile audio devices, including most Pocket PCs, and a fair range of Palm and smartphone devices.
So what type of audio files are we talking about exactly?

If you want to try podcasting, you'll need some podcasting software for your PC or Mac - this checks for new files on a regular basis, and downloads them to your desktop's drive - you then copy them to your PDA or mp3 player and listen at your leisure. Personal favourite is Juice (formerly iPodder) - available as free software for Windows, Mac and Linux systems from

You'll find more on podcasts at Frequencycast, including details on how to make your own.

Article from Palmtop User Issue 11. Click here for Issue 12's article


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