MobileInfocenter

Handheld Friendly Links for Connected PDAs

So you have a fancy new smartphone or wireless PDA and are looking for some mobiles sites to check out? Read on for more about a large PDA Portal of handheld friendly websites. In addition, we are currently testing an all new mobile version of PalmInfocenter.

New PalmInfocenter Mobile
Currently in beta testing, the new version of the PalmInfocenter mobile channel has been reprogrammed and highly optimized for the latest handhelds. The new PIC mobile site is a low bandwidth version of the site and includes the latest news articles and discussions. The site recognizes the handheld you are using and automatically sizes the images and text to the native handheld resolution. Once out of beta, users will be able to log in and post comments from your PDA. Feedback, as always, is welcome.

PDA Portal
www.PDAPortal.us is a directory of PDA-friendly web sites, meant to be used as a browser home page. The site now contains more than 400 PDA-friendly web sites in 10 languages, which can be accessed by category, popularity, alphabetical order or via keyword search. Additionally, users can search the web, check stock prices and check the weather for any U.S. ZIP code. The portal is a independent, non-commercial site developed by A. Perrotta, initially for his own use.

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Wireless Internet is a long time coming

Opus @ 12/29/2003 1:05:46 PM #
This will be interesting to see how the wireless Internet develops. I still wonder if most of us will be looking at web pages via browsers on big computers, or if our main access will come in PDA/Cell phones wirelessly. It makes more sense that we'll eventually go to the latter, but I'm wondering how long it will take.

Opus

RE: Wireless Internet is a long time coming
tomthemacman @ 12/29/2003 1:18:03 PM #
I personally think it will take a while. Our sites at the moment are designed for big displays and fancy graphics cards, and our PDAs and Cell Phones are designed for text and a few images. I believe there should be a web portal that will (excuse the term) Textify the pages with different options for different types of browsers.

Well, that's just my thoughts.

RE: Wireless Internet is a long time coming
Scott R @ 12/29/2003 1:35:42 PM #
Trying to automatically "dumb down" a site to make it look good on a mobile device is rife with problems. The best mobile sites are the ones that are designed strictly for the purpose. On my sites, I create a main "desktop-friendly" version optimized for 800x600 and a separate mobile-friendly version for a 160-pixel width. Now that more PDAs are going high-res, I now have to decide whether to make my mobile sites a bit "bigger" or be completely anal and create separate "medium-res" versions. If your site is template/DB based, it doesn't have to be too, too difficult.

Scott

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

Dumb Down a web site?
MadMax @ 12/29/2003 9:44:34 PM #
OK,
First of all I am a long time fan of PIC. I look here every day for news & insight on "The Palm Economy".
Last month I retired my Clie NZ-90 for a Treo 600 GSM. Yeah, 320x480 resolution for 160x160. I now can carry ONE device (Palm, phone, Email, & oh yeah, web browsing).

Regarding the dumbing down? Not to take anything from Ryan, however, I doubt what I am about to say is a surprise to him; we wouldn't have this thread if there wasn't substance to it. He has to make money and I like PIC. However, we're all pretty much "just reading" the posts here. That is what 99% of us are doing. PIC doesn't exist for love & friendship. It's for fun & profit. If you can't charge admission, you have ads. To get paid for ads, you need visitors. So, to dumb down all the fluff? Do it. Find a new way to "get the ads revenue".
Not a plug for Treocentral - as this moment, the Treo 600 forum has 47,782 posts with 5,634 threads. ALL SINCE 10/31/03. What's the point? they have had MAMMOTH traffic since the debut of the Treo Smartphone (a Palm / phone that can be used by all. And if you're lucky enough to own one, you are proud to whip it out to show to ANYONE)
I am glad to see PIC looking to have a Smartphone friendly site. I visit this site & other wireless friendly sites via my Smartphone VERY often. ...Not everyone can visit a full blown web site when we're sitting in front of our laptop/desktop. That is usually when I've got "work" to do...

Prediction: this will be a very active thread.
MadMax

Will Maddux
Maddux & Associates
Fax: 925-830-1504
Mobile:510-703-4555

Wireless Internet is Already Here
jss1432 @ 12/30/2003 8:37:43 AM #
The wireless Internet is already here: a T3, PPC, or Hiptop will display most normal web sites just fine. That's because web markup is really resolution and scren independent.

The only trouble are web sites that make extensive use of frames, flash, JavaScript, and images. Those are poorly designed web sites. Properly designed web sites will look great and flashy on big screens and still be readable and usable on small screens.

Note that making web pages readable on PDAs is not only a good idea and good engineering, it's also the law: making web pages usable on small screens requires companies to do pretty much the same thing they already need to do in order to make web pages accessible to the disabled.

RE: Wireless Internet is a long time coming
Scott R @ 12/30/2003 12:56:18 PM #
MadMax, I'm not sure what your point is. PIC has had a mobile-friendly version of the site for quite some time. It does, however, lack a mobile-friendly version of the forums.

jss1432, one-size-fits-all web sites aren't a very good idea, IMO. Doing such a thing results in either a very bland experience when browsing on the desktop, or a very slow and cluttered experience on the handheld. When I'm on my desktop, it's fine to see big banner ads, links to popular threads, etc. but when I'm on my mobile device I don't have time to download all that. Depending on your data provider, you may also have a data limit. Further, you end up scrolling all over the place just to find the primary links or content you're looking for. A separate mobile-friendly version is definitely the way to go.

Also, AFAIK, there is no law that requires that all sites be friendly to the disabled. I believe that law applies only in certain instances for certain corporations.

Scott

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: Wireless Internet is a long time coming
MadMax @ 12/30/2003 2:10:50 PM #
Scott,
>>MadMax, I'm not sure what your point is. PIC has had a mobile-friendly version of the site for quite some time.
Agreed.
>>It does, however, lack a mobile-friendly version of the forums.
Agreed.

the points were:
A) the fact that there is some much traffic -covering topics on convereged devices- Palm specifically, is proof that there is a market out there.
B) sometimes its just the "information" that we're looking for. Do I prefer to surf on my PDA? No, and I doubt most do.

RE: Wireless Internet is a long time coming
mj6798 @ 12/31/2003 6:02:59 AM #
jss1432, one-size-fits-all web sites aren't a very good idea, IMO.

I think they are a very good idea, and not just for handhelds: by designing independent of resolution, not only do you make your web site accessible to handheld users, you also make it more usable for everybody.

Doing such a thing results in either a very bland experience when browsing on the desktop,

Bland is good as far as web sites are concerned: it's
the hyperTEXT markup language, after all. If you don't have information to convey, don't hide that fact with a lot of useless graphics. And if you want to use flashy graphics, you can use Flash--just don't make it an essential part of your web site.

or a very slow and cluttered experience on the handheld. When I'm on my desktop, it's fine to see big banner ads, links to popular threads, etc. but when I'm on my mobile device I don't have time to download all that.

Most handhelds use proxies, so you never get a full-size image unless you ask for it. Furthermore, handheld browsers could filter out ads just like their desktop brethren do already.

And with handheld SVG implementations, you will hopefully get zoomable images from well-designed sites anyway.

Further, you end up scrolling all over the place just to find the primary links or content you're looking for.

Not if the web site is at all well designed. A well-designed web site will put its content into a readable order, then position it on the screen using CSS. Handheld browsers will just use the original order by default (with no CSS) or get a specials handheld version of the CSS.

Web sites need to do that kind of work anyway in order to be accessible to people with low vision or other impairments.

A separate mobile-friendly version is definitely the way to go.

That's both unnecessary and a huge hassle for users because none of the URLs they know from their desktop will work on their handheld. And the mobile sites usually don't receive much support anyway: they break, go away, are slow, etc.

RE: Wireless Internet is a long time coming
mj6798 @ 12/31/2003 6:19:50 AM #
AFAIK, there is no law that requires that all sites be friendly to the disabled. I believe that law applies only in certain instances for certain corporations.

In the US, there are three laws: the ADA, Section 508, and the Telecommunications Act. It's not quite been worked out what they mean in detail for web accessibility, but if you are a big company with deep pockets, you better make your web site accessible or risk getting sued. The government is required to make most of its web sites accessible under Section 508.

Other countries have even more clearly defined accessibility requirements in their laws. Not only does that mean lots of web sites that have to be accessible in those countries, it also means that US businesses doing business there risk getting sued under those laws in those countries over their web sites.

Accessible web sites aren't just a good idea and good for business, they are also pretty much the law.

RE: Wireless Internet is a long time coming
Scott R @ 12/31/2003 11:47:53 AM #
"Accessible web sites aren't just a good idea and good for business, they are also pretty much the law."

Prior to this sentence, you pretty much stated what I already did: the law regarding making sites accessible applies only to certain instances and certain companies. Are you really trying to suggest that every person running an enthusiast site, blog, etc. is breaking the law if their site is not accessible to the blind. I am completely in favor of making sites more accessible, but doing that often does require additional effort and, as such, ends up not being done.

Regarding your comments about a one-size-fits-all web site, I respectfully disagree. Please supply me with links to some sites that look great and load fast on both low-res, low-bandwidth mobile devices and high-res high-speed computers and I'll be happy to change my opinion on this.

Scott

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

Does somebody know?

JarJar @ 12/29/2003 1:32:34 PM #
By the way, are PQA's dead?

PQA's used to be a good way to view information on my old Palm VII. I now have a TREO 600, but it doesn't seem to support PQA's out of the box.

RE: Does somebody know?
Scott R @ 12/29/2003 1:34:58 PM #
Yes, Palm killed them. A bad move on their part because they had a lot of advantages over the present alternatives.

Scott

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: Does somebody know?
bcombee @ 12/29/2003 1:46:05 PM #
http://www.palmoswerks.com/stories/storyReader$116

It's an article I wrote back in 2002 about PQAs dying. It has a utility to let you take apart PQA files, turning them into HTML that you can post for your own use.

--
Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com

RE: Does somebody know?
EdH @ 12/29/2003 2:02:49 PM #
Ahhhh yes. Web clipping. Yet another Zen-ism..... ;-)

RE: Does somebody know?
hkklife @ 12/29/2003 2:23:03 PM #
AH, web-clipping. Never liked the idea at the time, still don't like it. RIP.

BTW, methinks the time's just about ripe for Palm to release a totally data-centric handheld, since the Treos are handily mopping up the smartphone market.

Perhaps the recent team up news with RIM points to something like this on the horizon...

I'd like something with specs similar to a Tungsten 1 or 2, but with a GPRS modem built in. Heck, the T|W formfactor with OS 5 and a better screen would be fine with me. No silly earpiece/mic to get tangled up for half-hearted attempts at grafting cellphone functionality-just a pure wireless 'net enabled handheld. BT or wi-fi on top of the GPRS model would make it an absolutely killer unit. An average business user on an average business trip (ie not out in the boonies) could theoretically never be away from their e-mail etc.

RE: Does somebody know?
tomthemacman @ 12/29/2003 2:40:05 PM #
You do know that Handspring is owned by Pa1mOne, right?

Visor -> Visor Deluxe -> Visor Pro -> Treo 90

G4s shall inherit the earth! Go Apple before it is too late!

RE: Does somebody know?
Scott R @ 12/29/2003 3:59:26 PM #
"It's an article I wrote back in 2002 about PQAs dying. It has a utility to let you take apart PQA files, turning them into HTML that you can post for your own use."

Unfortunately, turning a PQA into a mobile-friendly HTML page results in you losing many of the advantages of the PQA concept...

First, a PQA allows you to have a dedicated icon for the applet. So, I can launch the "MapQuest" PQA in one tap, for instance, versus launching the browser, than popping the window for my saved bookmarks, then choosing "MapQuest."

Second, the GUI interface is all stored on the PDA. So launching the app is instantaneous. You don't have to wait for it to download it from the web site. Even subsequent page refreshes will be faster because common GUI elements are stored locally versus having to retrieve them anew from the web site.

Better stop now before I go on a tangent and start talking about how WeSync was another great idea they didn't recognize.

Scott

http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: Does somebody know?
hkklife @ 12/29/2003 4:01:15 PM #
Uh, yeah, I am extremely aware of that fact. That's exactly why there's no need for Palm to fool around with anything voice-enabled in the future--every single instance of overlap needs to be eliminated under their dual product lines. Either they completely drop wireless handhelds marketed under the Palm/PalmOne name (and let the T|W die a quie death) while letting Handspring take care of the voice market OR they focus on non-voice-enabled wireless under the PalmOne banner.



RE: Does somebody know?
southbound747 @ 12/29/2003 4:08:07 PM #
i personally don't want 2 devices anymore. i'd like the treo line to improve. adding voice to a device isn't such a biggie. to not have it is worse than having it. why palm would make a purely data centric device is beyond me. perpaps data centric....but to eliminate voice wouldn't make sense really. i wish my ux50 had a phone isnside it so i could have directly connected it to the internet. it was a great device. but it is a pain having to use it with a bt phone or trying to find a hotspot.

but whatever...

i am sur ein a year or 2 the treo line will evolve nicely enough. convergence is where this is ultimately moving.

RE: Does somebody know?
southbound747 @ 12/29/2003 4:13:06 PM #
btw, above i meant, primarily data foused...would be ok...but to eliminate voice entirely seems silly when the technology for a wireless modem and to have voice isn't too different (or often is the same...)

RE: Does somebody know?
nygman @ 12/29/2003 11:54:30 PM #
What would really be nice is Wireless VoIP. If I could slide the .... when it gets here .... Palm WiFi SDIO card into my T3 and connect through the many open wireless access points and make a phone call from my home phone, I would be be happy :). If 802.11b can achieve 11Mbits, and most home broadband connections are less than 1Mbit, I dont see why I couldn't use my palm as a wireless VoIP access point. By integrating these technologies, I could have my palm be my home phone at home in my wifi zone, and then a "mobile" while out. It could be the ultimate telephony device. Hell, if anyone would develope this, I would invest, I think it would be the next killer app....

-Gerard Rose

RE: Does somebody know?
Mike Allwitt @ 12/30/2003 12:28:42 AM #
How about a T3 (sans slider) with a CDMA or GSM/GPRS Radio in it (T4)? Throw in a bluetooth headset and it's got killer PDA-Phone written all over it. I don't like having two devices (T3 and T616) but I also don't want to be limited by form factors. PDA's deserve big, useable screens, preferably with virtual graffiti (as any thread on PIC will attest to). Phones are supossed to be small and functional. All to offen you get a klunky mix. Not to rip the Treo 600, But I like my T3's Screen.

Just my $0.02



Mike Allwitt
Logic X Design, Inc Database Consulting

- Yeh, it's cool. Was it supposed to do that?

RE: Does somebody know?
anthonysjennings @ 12/30/2003 5:14:31 AM #
re: PQA

The Palm Bluetooth Card CD-ROM comes with a little app that enables PQA's to be used on the Tungsten W. It should, in theory, work on other Palm OS handhelds with a cell phone in it.

Why this app is on this particular CD is a mystery to me.

RE: Does somebody know?
Scott R @ 12/30/2003 12:55:11 PM #
"The Palm Bluetooth Card CD-ROM comes with a little app that enables PQA's to be used on the Tungsten W. It should, in theory, work on other Palm OS handhelds with a cell phone in it."

The Tungsten W runs Palm OS4. PQA's will not work under OS5.

Scott


http://Tapland.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

What, no ska?

mikecane @ 12/29/2003 5:37:59 PM #
To tell us that we *really* need a PPC OS PDA with a VGA screen to view websites?

He's slacking again...

RE: What, no ska?
Courante @ 12/29/2003 9:38:40 PM #
treo 600 ought to be enough for anybody!
RE: What, no ska?
Bartman007 @ 12/30/2003 3:04:46 AM #
Fine, I'll play the role of ska

[ska]
Even with 480x320 and Wifi, web browsing on PalmOS is absolute crap. It is not comfortable to browse the web at under 640x480. Can your PalmOS handhelds do that? NO!
Well, there are several PPC's that can.
Palm sucks, PPC rules.
[/ska]

Hehe, just kidding =)


Peace,
-Bartman007

Hndheld friendly websites - decreasing??

Rhauer @ 12/30/2003 3:03:45 PM #
I have been using a TT with Nokia 6310i for a while now, and it seems like the number of handheld friendly websites is on the decline. It seems like I used to be able to get CNN or ABC News, CNET, NY Times and a few more that I can no longer receive.

PDAPortal.us - Recommended

theharmonyguy @ 12/30/2003 10:14:51 PM #
Just wanted to mention that I'm a Kyo7135 user and I've had PDAPortal.us set as my home page for a while now. It's a great site. I haven't used all that many handheld portals, but of the few I've seen it's the best. Lots of text so it loads fast and can be used with a text browser or a graphic browser. Yet laid out very well and easy to use.

I haven't tested out the mobile PIC site yet, but I do have the AvantGo channel. I echo that it's great to see PIC keeping on top of the smartphone trend - I love being able to keep up with forums via my handheld. Keep up the good work y'all.

PDA Optimized Web Site List

brianc @ 12/31/2003 7:46:56 PM #
I also maintain a list of web sites optimized for PDA displays:

http://www.cantoni.org/palm/links.html

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