How To Get The Most Out Of Your Mobile

IF you are relying on the built-in applications of your Java-enabled cellphones, you are missing out on something - the powerful programs to make your device do more for you. To harness this hidden potential of your phone, the most convenient way is downloading free GPRS applications available from various online resources, for example, Get Jar that has one of the most extensive collection of applications categorised by cellphones (manufacturer wise) and then further classification under categories like email, chat, etc., is there as well.

Email Application 'Flurry'

First, let us take a look at an email application called Flurry. It's true that with a GPRS-enabled device, one can browse web mail sites but it takes more time to read an compose online and vendor specific application like Gmail Midlet doesn't get installed on a low-end Java phone. On the other hand, downloading emails and composing offline can be a great help, saving precious billing bucks, particularly for those with a large number of emails spread over multiple accounts.

This is exactly what Flurry does. To use this service, a user has to first register over its website, provide a username and password for any of the popular email service account to be checked, say Yahoo! or Gmail, and that's it. The link to download Flurry is sent to the user's cellphone and after entering the log-in credentials of Flurry, emails are fetched. Even on a standard 128 x 128 display with support of small fonts, up to seven rows are displayed - with sender name (in blue) and subject columns. Along with standard mail operations, news mails can be composed and sent.

Downloaded mails can be viewed offline by restricting network access to the application when asked during start up. As the size of this application is relatively small (153KB), it gets installed over any entry level Java-enabled phone, like Nokia 6030. Moreover, Flurry has a contact list option that can be used to create new mails quickly. But there's one drawback - if you have multiple accounts configured over its website, all those accounts are checked simultaneously, and new mails arrive in the same inbox. On a positive note, the readability of even HTML mails is not lost. For test purposes, ZDNet's HTML newsletter was read in text mode, and with graphics eliminated, the entire text was easily readable.

Instant Messaging Applications

Another frequently used application category for net junkies is instant messenger (IM). There are plenty of sleek messengers available over the internet for cellphones. For this discussion however, we are going to take a look two free, functional and smaller in size messengers so that even a low-end Java-enabled phone can use them. First is IMHereLite - a mere 61KB application that asks for your MSN username and password upon start up. At first, the application says its running in the background - just wait for a while and the message disappears. Now, using the option menu, click on connect.

A connection progress bar appears which actually works. The connection is made pretty quickly and the group of contacts is shown, rolled up under the white circular icon with blue arrows - a typical MSN reminder of course. Online contacts are shown in green, while offline in red. Select a contact to chat with and press invite, a chat session is initiated after a brief pause saying - "Waiting for chat session". While chatting, your part of conversation appears with caption "I say" and the other party is shown with proper nickname. Note that your peer would come to know it's not a PC but a mobile device being used as this is mentioned in other person's MSN window.

A plus point here is that emoticons are displayed as it is - which means you do not have to remember the key combinations, just select the graphical icons to be displayed. Remember that there's no scroll bar to go throw the contact list, instead an up and a down arrow (at top and bottom of the screen) tells you if there are more contacts available which can not be displayed on the current display. Another such application is LiveMSN, having a size of 64KB. It works basically the same way and can be called a twin application. One drawback of these small applications is that only the nicknames of contacts are shown, not the email address. This means, if your contact happens to be someone who constantly keeps on changing nicknames which are not self-evident about the real identity, you will find yourself asking "Who are you?" a lot. Apart from that, these applications are really handy for a quick chat.

Offline Messengers

Another category of applications is that of offline messengers, and organiser type applications are of real value as all cellphones do not come with a task-list or to-do list apps. One such small (just 10KB) application is Mobile Stickies by GSMdev. There are no bells and whistles here - just three useful menus with colour coding; high (red), medium (yellow) and low (green) using which, tasks can be defined under each category. Each sticky note can have a maximum of 1,000 characters. A similar application is SmartShop (8KB) which does away with any sort of categorisation. Instead, it allows users to add items with "New" menu - and these items have check boxes against them which can be marked or unmarked simply by a press of the main cellphone button. This is much like the check box control found over web mail sites and, thus makes, for a really simple task list or shopping list or any kind of list organisation where tracking of "done" or "not done" is required.

A Java-enabled cellphone with a GPRS connection is a real work horse if put to proper use with proper applications, so start exploring now.

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