Windows Mobile Weekly Roundup

by Todd Ogasawara

Here's the weekly summary of a mix of Windows Mobile and general mobile tech related items from my personal blog.

Why Do Techie Sites Give Up on Mobile Formatting?
I read a lot of web-based news sites on either a Smartphone (240×320 resolution) or Pocket PC/Phone Edition (480×640 resolution). Over the past year or so general news sites seem to have really redesigned their websites for mobile devices to optimize readability and navigation. Three in particular come to mind.

MSNBC http://www.msnbc.msn.com/


Time Magazine mobile site

Time Magazine at http://mobile.time.com/

USA Today http://wap.usatoday.com/

A number of tech sites, on the other hand, seem to have erased their mobile formatted sites in the same time period. Computerworld, PC World, and Wired come quickly to mind. I'll guess that the rise of RSS awareness and tools may be used as a reason. But, anyone who uses their phone or PDA to frequently view the web knows that RSS is a great adjunct. It is not a replacement for interactively viewing a web site well designed for viewing on a mobile device.

Google Mobile Transcoder & Google Pages
Two Google items I noticed while browing the Official Google Blog.

http://google.com/m takes you to Google's web transcoder that transforms non-mobile friendly web pages into mobile device friendly ones according to the blog item Viewing the web through a mobile lens.

The blog item titled Simplicity and power talks about recent enhancements to the Google Page Creator (as in web page). One of the new features is called Pages for mobile and is described like this: This feature has an awesome power-to-complexity ratio: Now, every Google Page Creator site automatically has a mobile edition. So when people visit your site from their mobile browser, they will see it optimized for their particular phone.

Opera Mini 3.0
Opera Mini 3.0 is a free feature-rich web browser available for many different smartphones and PDAs (including Windows Mobile based ones).

The features new to 3.0 are: RSS feed reader, photo sharing to blogs, content folding, secure connections (https, I'm guessing), and a faster user experience created by maintaining an open connection to the web server.

I haven't tried this myself. So, please let me know your experience with it.

Windows Live Search for mobile beta
Jason Landridge's blog describes Windows Live Search for mobile beta as... [giving] you fast access to local search and maps, driving directions, and even local traffic information. When you get your search results, you can click to call the phone number of the place you found, or even look at a satellite photo (on some phones) to find the best parking nearby!

However, after looking at its FAQ and learning that this app started life as a J2ME (Java) client app, I'm not even going to try to install it a device. My experience with Java apps for Windows Mobile devices has been uniformly horrible so far. They either don't install, don't run, run slowly, or simply look bad on a Pocket PC or Smartphone. There is a cab file download for Windows Mobile devices on the site. But, I'm still going to pass on this one. Especially since its website doesn't even indicate if the installer is for a Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition or Smartphone.

2 Comments

awi
2006-12-04 12:13:44
If you like to have a browser on the your phone, I highly recommend you to try opera mini. I have used the opera mini 2.0 since january 06 and I have able to browse to my pages fast and efficient from USA, Europe and Asia. With Opera Mini 3.0 I have been even more impressed and they give it away for free!!
jackass
2006-12-13 14:14:04
I installed the live search to BlackJack. It is a CAB file with smooth install, and no problems. Pretty good driving directions and clear maps. I am now going to pair it with Bluetooth GPS sensor to see what it does there!


You ought to give it a chance.


I agree with your Java applications performance on the mobile devices. Google Maps for example, is looking horrible when standing next to Live Search.