Today, almost everyone of us has a mobile phone: someone is the owner of a smartphone or a communicator, and someone has enough of an ordinary tube. But not every owner of a mobile miracle at the turn of the millennium imagines what potential lies in a small plastic box stuffed with electronics. Today we will talk about the possibilities of accessing the Internet via conventional and “smart” mobile phones, and this article can be useful both for those who hear the combination of “mobile Internet” for the first time, and for advanced users in this matter.
From the very beginning, it should be noted that, despite the variety of platforms used today when creating cell phones, in order to access the Internet, your device must in any case support one or another data transfer protocol. Due to the widespread use of GSM networks in the domestic expanses, perhaps the only possible way to implement an Internet connection is the GPRS packet data transmission protocol (General Packet Radio Service), which was first introduced in GSM networks of the 2.5G generation back in 1999. The maximum speed threshold for data transmission via GPRS is limited to 115 Kb/s, whereas in practice even 30-50 Kb/s can not always be achieved, which is most often due to congestion of cellular channels. However, in this context, even 30 Kb/s is quite enough to perform everyday operations with e-mail, browsing and reading news feeds. In addition, the density of operators’ base stations equipped with equipment for the implementation of GPRS has reached such a level today that you can use the mobile Internet in almost any locality of the country, wherever you are.
So, in order for you to use the global network, you will need a phone with support for GPRS or another data transfer protocol (EDGE, UMTS, HSPDA). As for GPRS, today it is already difficult to find a phone that lacks this standard, but things are a little worse with 3G networks so far: due to the high cost of equipment and the lack of demand for relevant services, 3G networks have not yet reached such a wide distribution, but in the next few years the situation will certainly change radically. In order to clarify the hardware requirements for your phone, which is supposed to have the ability to access the global network using third-party software, and not only through the manufacturer’s built-in tools, which most often do not pretend to be full-featured applications, it should also be noted that the mobile phone must support J2ME technology (MIDP), or, in addition to everything else, be managed by its own full-fledged operating system. The most common operating systems today are Symbian and Windows Mobile. Of course, if you have your own OC in your phone (or rather, smartphone), you have huge opportunities to expand the functionality of your device, among which there are programs to meet almost any network needs, but nevertheless in our article we will focus on software products for all common platforms.
Symbian: be always ready for everything
The Symbian operating system itself was born from the first mobile multitasking 32-bit EPOC OS, which was used in the popular Psion handheld keyboard computers in the past. As a person who has experience of active use of Psion 5mx Pro and Psion Revo, I can safely say that at the time of the release of EPOC (1997), there was no other operating system in the world in which multitasking was implemented at such a high level. And many modern versions are far from the functionality, flexibility and stability of EPOC in 1997. In turn, Symbian OS has adopted all the best traditions of its predecessor, including, of course, the same multitasking, adaptability to hardware components and extreme flexibility for both software developers and end users.
Without delving into the various subtleties of Symbian distributions, it is only worth noting that the most popular among smartphones today is the Symbian Series 60 in its various modifications, which are limited to the so-called Feature Pack of three versions. In most cases, programs written for the Series 60 are compatible with all Feature Pack releases, although exceptions sometimes occur (Eseries is still uncommon). Today we will consider the necessary set of software designed to perform a certain range of tasks, which, among other things, is compatible with all Series 60 smartphones and Cyrillic character encodings.
Having tried a lot of mail clients on his Nokia 6600 over the past year, your humble servant eventually chose only one – ProfiMail. The author of this program is Lonely Cat Games (www.lonelycatgames.com ), which specializes in software development for mobile devices. It is also interesting that ProfiMail is available in versions for both Symbian and Pocket PC 2002/2003/WM 5 and Windows Mobile Smartphone 2002/2003/WM 5, and the functionality and interface of the program are completely identical in versions for all platforms.
Among the main advantages of ProfiMail we note the following:
– support for a large number of accounts;
– traffic counter;
– HTML support;
– address book;
– filters by size and content;
– customize fonts, colors, templates;
– automatic mailbox update(s);
– SSL support for SMTP and POP;
– correct work with sent and received attachments;
– sorting messages by various parameters;
– working with drafts of letters;
– support for the Russian-language interface;
– built-in convenient file manager ProfiExplorer;
– built-in tool for viewing images in JPG, PNG and other formats;
– highlighting links starting with http:// and binding to the browser;
– audible event alarm;
– support for predicative input with the T9 dictionary when writing the text of a letter.
In general, ProfiMail can do almost everything that is required for normal work with mail “on the run”, and you do not have to think about how and what to do to read or write another letter: the program interface (as, in fact, almost any Symbian software) will be understandable even to a child.
Among all other ICQ clients in the Symbian community, the most popular is a Russian development called StICQ, or simply “stasia”. The project originates in 2004, when a Russian programmer finally decided to make all his friends happy with an intelligent client with full Cyrillic support. Having brought his brainchild to a stable version in all respects, Mr. developer, unfortunately, disappeared in an unknown direction, so work on StICQ is not currently underway due to the lack of sources, although in the existing version the client looks better than all other analogues both in terms of functional content and usability.
The list of features of “Stasi” includes:
– work directly with contacts stored on the server;
– search, add, delete contacts;
– support for multiple user entries;
– audible event alarm;
– support for various sets of sounds (including the well-known steamboat and Oh-oh!) and icons;
– 10-step sound volume control;
– message history support;
– traffic and memory usage counter;
– support for various ICQ servers;
– support for predictive input with the T9 dictionary when writing text messages.
Among the disadvantages, it is worth noting the incorrect work with large messages (sometimes the client just crashes), the inability to copy the text of the received message to the buffer and the recording of an excessively informative event log, which eventually needs to be deleted ly. Otherwise, it is pleasant and convenient to use StICQ absolutely at any time of the day and in any environment.
It would be an unforgivable mistake to ignore the RSS feeds in our review, because today it is extremely difficult to do without “magic ribbons”, and probably everyone would like to view the news they are interested in on their way to work or home in electronic form, and not banal paper, as other passengers of public transport do. Owners of smartphones running Symbian should recommend an RSS aggregator called HeadLine, which, unlike most similar software products, correctly understands the Cyrillic alphabet.
HeadLine allows you to fully customize the interface in accordance with the user’s wishes, set the parameters for updating the feed or all feeds, open the title you are viewing in the browser to display the full text of the news (you can choose from the list if you have several browsers installed). In general, absolutely nothing superfluous – read only what you want to read. The only drawback noticed is a slowdown when processing a feed consisting of more than 50 headers. Otherwise, no flaws were noticed.
If this article had been created just three months ago, then in the browsing section it would be possible to present an overview of at least two browsers for Symbian OS – Opera and Netfront – where each of them would have its pros and cons. But the release of the Java version of the Opera Mini browser radically changed the course of events. Opera Mini is a revolutionary Internet navigation engine for all Java-enabled mobile platforms (J2ME). This loud statement cannot but be supported by mentioning the capabilities of the browser, which takes up only 50-100 KB in your phone’s memory.