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Useful Applications for Smartphone? 80

Posted by Cliff
from the when-is-a-phone-not-a-phone dept.
merlinbasenji asks: "I've recently purchased an Audiovox SMT5600 Smartphone for Cingular, and I'm looking for suggestions for good applications like: calendars, browsers, games, email client, etc. Anyone have a favorite, or had a bad experience with specific applications?"
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Useful Applications for Smartphone?

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  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @03:23AM (#14962336) Homepage
    Here is a list of things that any phone more advanced than a Nokia 5160 could concievably do (especially with Symbian or other smart phone OSes), but which don't ship from the manufucturer, and are thus relegated to half-written, poorly integrated shareware apps that don't work on different smart phones running the same OS:

      * Answering machine. Who needs voice mail on the provider side? Your phone probably has memory onboard + expansion slot memory. It has enough brains to record voice memos, do voice dialing, and play MP3s as ringtones. How hard is this to implement? Plus there's no monthly fee!

      * Time-of-day call ignore. Are you in a meeting for a certain time? Have lectures or classes? Doctors appointment? Your phone should automatically go into a silent mode (and kick over to the answering machine). Why let yourself be the point of failure?

      * Selective disturb. Studying, working on a project, or otherwise engaged, but don't want to drop off the face of the earth? Make it so that only certain call groups can contact you, just in case.

      * Privacy mode. Automatically reject calls from caller-id blocked numbers or long-distance (based on an area code list) numbers, or from people in certain groups.

      * Smart synchronization with Palm or WinCE PDAs. Most smart phones have bluetooth, but so far I have yet to find a way to sychronize the smartphone with the PDA in any useful way. Don't we have vcards and other standards for this?

      * Smart synchronization with a PC. Even just a stupid Windows client + some documentation would be fine. I can write something that'll let my Linux desktop sync if it's documented! This could be as simple as dumping the data from the internal memory to the expansion memory in a parsable format, and then restoring it the same way -- the PC could have a program to read the memory card and deal with the data.

      * Some kind of automation system. I have run across lots of little situations where I need to do something to a lot of contacts (move them into a group, delete duplicates, etc), and have found there's no batch interface. You have to deal with everything one click at a time.

    All of this stuff is pretty simple to do, and would elevate a smartphone from a fancy phone with a colour display and better ringtones. No Symbian OS phone I know supports time-based silencing, call ignore lists, answering machine, selective disturb, or sychronizes well. You can fake some of that with custom ring tones, but that's a hack.

    The most disapointing feature of mobile phones are the SDKs; you can't write this stuff if you want to, in many cases (and the Java support is terrible). Why make something programable if the only thing it'll do is load the code that shipped with it?
  • by nasch (598556) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @06:34PM (#14967828)
    Sorry about that...

    I have that exact phone and have been very happy with it. Here are the 3rd-party apps I use:

    - Smart Database Viewer, because it doesn't come with Pocket Excel
    - Smartphonenotes - notes that synch with Outlook notes
    - Pocket DVD-Studio for ripping DVDs to smartphone-usable format. There's also Mobile Media Maker that's cheaper but has fewer options and can only do smartphone output, not Pocket PC.
    - gStart - Start menu replacement
    - Total Commander - file explorer with actual features (contrast with built-in one)
    - AlarmSet - just what it sounds like
    - Tasks+
    - SplashID - for passwords
    - PHM Registry Editor
    - TCPMP as mentioned by others
    - WordNet CE - English dictionary
    - S-Tris Tetris clone
    - Games from www.absolutist.com
    - BTToggle to turn Bluetooth on and off. I haven't had much luck getting BT to work, but the utility works.
    - Mobipocket for eBooks
    - Jeyo Personalizer - setting home screens, etc, not all that useful but OK

    All but the first three are free. Others I can think of that I've tried or looked at and didn't buy:

    - City alarms - looks good but don't really *need* it and it's $10 I think
    - Torch - sounds good and works, except it doesn't override the screen timeout. So it ends up being pretty useless
    - CPTools - haven't had time to evaluate this one
    - PTab - another Excel substitute
    - Wordpad (I think that's what it's called) free notes/text editor but doesn't synch with PC
    - Rubber Stamped Data - backup utility. Works, but don't feel like paying for it

    That's all I can think of/find right now. Have fun!

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