Category Archives: PDA

Google Maps for Treo Smartphones

This week Google released a downloadable mobile Google Maps application for Treo smartphones. Perhaps proving that Palm OS is not dead yet, this is a great example of an application that can provide a better experience than a web browser.

Overall the application is pretty quick, even on my poor old Treo 600. Local business integration and traffic are great. The Satellite view is kind of cool, but I’m guessing most users would stick with the street view. Bonus points for over the air install (i.e. no need to install from desktop and HotSync to the device).

How to make it even better?

  • Add bookmarks to save favorite locations
  • Quick Connect link to find contact address on map
  • MS Mobile version for Treo 700w/wx
  • Use cell tower to find approximate location

Google Mobile Maps Example
Google Mobile Maps Example

Update: To learn more, check out an in-depth review with lots of screenshots on Treonauts.com: Google Maps: Completely Hooked.

(Via Treocentral)

PDA Mobile Websites

PDA Mobile Websites
Over 3 years ago, I posted my small collection of websites optimized for PDA or small screen viewing. Since then I’ve had a steady stream of visitors (recently averaging about 10,000 page views per month) and some great referrals from other sites, but the page and its contents were being neglected and needed a refresh.

This past week I rewrote by bookmark system from an old database to del.icio.us. A short Perl script periodically grabs my del.icio.us bookmarks and creates the page content. Now as I discover new mobile websites, I can tag in del.icio.us and they’ll be picked up automatically.

Now that the new data flow is in place, I want to play with the UI a bit and try with some different layouts to understand what works best for this kind of mobile page.

If you’ve got a PDA or mobile phone, bookmark my page to keep this list at your fingertips: http://cantoni.mobi/

Why Post From a Blackberry?

Dave Winer has recently switched to a Blackberry and is (re-)discovering what it means to read news and post to your blog from a mobile device. As they say, “What’s old is new again!”. I’m glad to see some renewed attention in this area; there is still a lot of room for improvement and innovation here.

Dave hits a few good points, in response to the hypothetical question of posting from a Blackberry:

I’ve seen a few blog posts asking why would you want to post from a Blackberry? After all, you could carry a laptop with you, and of course typing on a laptop keyboard is much easier than typing on a PDA keyboard (it is, no argument there). And maybe it’s a good idea to take a break from blog posting sometimes, maybe it’s a good thing that you can’t post from every conceivable place.

Being able to publish while mobile will be useful (even essential) to a certain type of user. It might not have broad appeal for all the bloggers out there, but if you’re a traveler, or like to push the latest pix, mobile blogging could be a killer app. Being able to publish to your blog would seem essential here, rather than having to join another service. I’ve written before about mobile client blogging apps. Dave is creating a web-based application that looks promising, talking to various standard blog engines.

TypePad Mobile Launched

About 5 months after acquiring SplashBlog, TypePad today announced the release of TypePad Mobile:

Today we’re excited to announce the release of TypePad Mobile, a free application for your Palm, Windows Mobile or Symbian Series 60 smartphone that lets you post photos and entries to your TypePad blogs and photo albums with just a few clicks.

I expect the new software will work very well. SplashData has a history of writing solid Palm OS applications and with this software being integrated directly into TypePad, should provide a smooth interaction for the user.

I don’t have a TypePad account, so can’t really try it out. I’m still waiting for a good mobile blog posting solution for Movable Type. Actually, I wonder if this new software will also support Vox? It would make sense to do so. I just got an invite to Vox yesterday and will be checking it out soon hopefully.

(Via Jeff Clavier)

SplashBlog 2.0

Earlier this year, I discovered SplashBlog, a really nice mobile photo blogging client for PDAs. At the time, I thought:

A gave this application a quick test … and it looks like a great solution for mobile picture blogging. In fact, this could be a great moblogging application in general if they allowed posting without images. … Currently SplashBlog supports TypePad or SplashBlog.com sites, but promises to add support for more in the future. If support for standard XML-RPC / MetaWeblog API sites like MovableType and WordPress become available, this application could really take off.

It looks like the 2.0 release included significant software as well as business changes. Now the application is free (was about $20) and you get a free SplashBlog.com account good for 100 picture uploads. To use more, you subscribe to the Pro account for about $30/year.

I was hoping that other blog software (like MovableType, WordPress, Flickr, etc.) would be supported, but it looks like they are going to focus on their own online service. I checked with SplashData’s customer service to confirm; they replied:

That’s correct, we have stopped supporting TypePad since version 1.5,
because we found it impossible to add the features needed to grow SplashBlog
and still support 3rd party blogging.

What we do offer now is a photogrid javascript feature, that allows you to
generate code to drop into your personal website: http://www.splashblog.com/portal_photogrid.aspx

I guess I can see the value in the SplashBlog-focused change and I have seen some nice mobile photo collaboration shown (at PalmSource conference, for example). But, if you want to capture a large number of users, supporting things like Flickr would seem to make sense. Maybe even at $20/copy, you can’t make a business out of selling Palm blogging software?

(Note: I was going to point to my SplashBlog account as an example, but their site is down at the moment.)