Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Portables Hardware

Smartphones For Text SSH Use — Revisited 374

Posted by kdawson
from the extremely-mobile-sysadmins dept.
jfischet writes "Back in 2005 a Slashdot user asked this question and the responses were helpful — but I'd like to ask again to see what has changed in three years. I'd like to know what this community thinks is the best choice of smartphone for remotely administering Linux/UNIX boxes via SSH."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Smartphones For Text SSH Use — Revisited

Comments Filter:
  • by jjh37997 (456473) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:15AM (#23533573) Homepage
    An iPhone with shell access seems the perfect match.
    • by brenddie (897982) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:19AM (#23533601)
      this guy has a good example http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone [thebestpag...iverse.net]
      • ... I actually *had* heard of this phone. I REALLY wanted one when they came out, but I couldn't buy one because AT&T/Cingular won't carry them. I think they won't even support them. Unfortunately the area I live in only has acceptable coverage with AT&T/Cingular, so riddle me this:

        HTF do I get a decent smartphone with AT&T/Cingular?
        • by empaler (130732) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @05:20AM (#23534649) Journal
          Speaking as an ex-employee of several Danish mobile telcos, I don't see why you would need their specific support for the phone.
          Simple check list:
          1. Does the phone use a standard type of wireless signal that your carrier supports (e.g. GSM900)?
          2. Can you find instructions on how to set up GPRS on Cingular [google.com]?
          3. Do you want to pay the full, unsubsidized fee for the phone?
          If you can answer yes to all three of the above, you've got a winner.
          • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @07:11AM (#23535037)
            because you are danish I will be nice.

            it doesn't work like that In the USA. the USA cell system sucks, only AT&T and t-mobile have any GSM coverage, and don't expect working 3G data access without paying out the arse for it. If you happen to go to an area that has better verizon than AT&T coverage your screwed.

            Basically 1) fails 50% of the time. Not to mention that GSM in the USA is on a different set of frequencies than in Europe, so unless it is a quad band GSM your still fscked.

            I love this country no one can agree on anything so nothing ever really gets done properly, and it takes 5 tires to get it right.
            • by jddj (1085169) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:29AM (#23536123) Journal

              and it takes 5 tires to get it right.

              Gotta agree - Americans love that full-size spare...

            • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @03:00PM (#23537405)

              and don't expect working 3G data access without paying out the arse for it


              Uh, you mean like $15 per month for unlimited EDGE/HSDPA for AT&T's MEdia Net?

              If you happen to go to an area that has better verizon than AT&T coverage your screwed.


              AT&T and Verizon's coverage quite good. Even T-Mobile works really well 95% of the time.

              Not to mention that GSM in the USA is on a different set of frequencies than in Europe, so unless it is a quad band GSM your still fscked.


              Quadband, you mean like nearly every decent GSM handset released in the last 5 years?
    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:29AM (#23533643) Homepage Journal
      When I read the headline, I thought "I wonder how long it's going to take for some fanboy to recommend the iPhone, despite the fact that it doesn't have a keyboard & is inferior for text entry compared to say a blackberry, or even some of the HTC monstrosities."

      And there you were - right in the first post. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in fanboi nature.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by XaXXon (202882)
        Likely you've never used an iphone keyboard for an extended period of time. The keyboard is actually quite good. Well, I do suppose it's good for typing english. I'm not sure I'd want to program on it. It likes to tell you what you mean.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dmsuperman (1033704)
          I have. I also have my Nokia N800, which allows for fullscreen touch keypad entry. Both are probably the best methods of input, as far as touchpad entry goes, but hardkeys are ALWAYS better suited for typing, especially typing in programming text, than softkeys. It's much more acurate, faster, and not only that but it doesn't require you to continue wiping your screen for (because I don't know about you, but I don't always have an opportunity to wash my hands when I need to do some quick typing.)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I'm not sure I'd want to program on it. It likes to tell you what you mean.

          Yes, that wouldn't be a lot of fun programming, or using a shell.
        • by zappepcs (820751)
          Personally, I like the SideKick. Not sure what future models will look like, but I hope there is room inside the case for something that allows Telnet/SSH client with room to customize terminal emulation, and on the text editor, I'd like to see templates applied in a way similar to EditPad Pro where can select dictionary and context highlighting etc. These are modifiable and can be tweaked for just about anything, and are. Features like that would pry my fingers off the SideKick and get them wrapped around
      • First Hater Alert (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:38AM (#23533673)
        When I read the headline, I thought "I wonder how long it's going to take for some fanboy to recommend the iPhone, despite the fact that it doesn't have a keyboard & is inferior for text entry compared to say a blackberry, or even some of the HTC monstrosities."

        The iPhone is fine for typing text. And the fully dynamic interface allows for some interesting possibilities for shell control, along with more room for a wider view on the screen. Penny Aracde [penny-arcade.com] of course, put it best... "If you find such things unpleasant, then I suggest you develop a taste for forced labor because by the year twenty-twenty all that sneer is going to get you is a slot in the underclass boiling corpses."

        Don't be so dismissive until you see what terminal possibilities might arrive with the SDK.

        And there you were - right in the first post. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in fanboi nature.

        Don't your eyes scratch a lot with that wool you keep pulling over yourself?

        • Not having used one much, let me ask how, exactly, you are supposed to deal with 'keys' that are substantially smaller than a fingertip and have no tactile feedback to boot? Everyone I know who uses one still has trouble getting it to input the letter they want.

          The really annoying thing is, it would probably be great for writing with a stylus, but that does not (last I checked) work on an iPhone.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by DurendalMac (736637)
            I've used the iPhone keyboard and have had very little difficulty. It's surprisingly tolerant of big ol' fingers mashing on the keyboard. Tactile feedback? Not really necessary. It makes a clicking noise and you see the letter on the screen.
          • by dotancohen (1015143) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:17AM (#23533863) Homepage

            The really annoying thing is, it would probably be great for writing with a stylus, but that does not (last I checked) work on an iPhone.
            The last idiot who flicked me the iFinger got it cut off and now I have the perfect stylus. I had to drive a nail through the bone to keep it straight, but once the blood dried up there is almost no smell at all.
          • Re:First Hater Alert (Score:5, Informative)

            by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:34AM (#23533927)
            Not having used one much, let me ask how, exactly, you are supposed to deal with 'keys' that are substantially smaller than a fingertip and have no tactile feedback to boot?

            A few ways - one, the keyboard displays a larger version of the key you are currently pressing, and does not actually take input until you lift away - so if you hit the wrong key you can slightly adjust your finger to be on the right one. That's much quicker than it all sounds.

            Secondly, truly predictive input. I'm not just talking about word completion (though it does that) but by also recognizing what you are typing by the pattern of the keys you press - so the predictor knows you are off to the side a little while typing and makes suggestions based on what you would have hit if you'd hit the right keys to start with. That works really, really well to the point where most miskeys don't actually mean you have to go back and correct a word as it simply corrects it for you.

            With more specific tasks (say, for instance, a terminal) in seems to me there is further automatic aid that could be rendered while typing. If people are having trouble getting text right they aren't trusting the correction as much as they could/should be - or they need a little more practice.

            The really annoying thing is, it would probably be great for writing with a stylus, but that does not (last I checked) work on an iPhone.

            I really liked Grafitti, did not like Jot (think that was the name) as much, but I greatly prefer the iPhone keyboard for text input over Grafitti which I used heavily for several years before my Palm died.

            You also have the possibilities to support gestures in an application as well, which could be interesting for control.

          • by lymond01 (314120)
            Not having used one much, let me ask how, exactly, you are supposed to deal with 'keys' that are substantially smaller than a fingertip and have no tactile feedback to boot?

            Rather than the button press people seem to think they want when speaking of "tactile feedback", it would be nice to be able to feel the keys so you could text by touch. Not that any phone makes this terribly easy, but some people are quite adept at finding the right keys by touch on their normal phones. The iPhone has feedback aplenty
          • by dwater (72834)
            The iPhone has bluetooth, doesn't it?

            Why not do what I did with my Nokia E90 and buy an Apple bluetooth keyboard? It works really nicely with my Nokia.
          • by dissy (172727)

            Not having used one much, let me ask how, exactly, you are supposed to deal with 'keys' that are substantially smaller than a fingertip and have no tactile feedback to boot? Everyone I know who uses one still has trouble getting it to input the letter they want.
            Or the lazy mans way: http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/input/8193/ [thinkgeek.com]
        • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:31AM (#23533917) Homepage Journal
          The iPhone is fine for typing text.

          Yes, for short messages, typing in URLs, etc, it is fine.

          What the submitter asked for is not fine general text entry, but the best choice, specifically for ssh. An iPhone (where every slash, period & ampersand is three taps away) is a poor choice for ssh text entry.

          Don't be so dismissive until you see what terminal possibilities might arrive with the SDK.

          Right, thanks - we're looking for a solution right now, not a possible solution that may come about one day.
          • Actually, the GP made a reasonable point. You, however, are putting up a straw man each time you dismiss people's comments automatically, calling them fanboys, just because you happen to disagree. Grow up.

            The point he made that blew over your head is that the keyboard on the iPhone (since it isn't physical) can adapt to whatever situation it needs to in order to make efficient typing for the application at hand. Therefore, the keys that would be useful for a SSH session would be on the screen, one pus
        • Don't be so dismissive until you see what terminal possibilities might arrive with the SDK.
          Actually, I'm going to do exactly that. Why should I spend $400 now for something which someone else might program, someday? Because there's no way in hell I'm spending another $100 for the right to program my own phone.
      • by taniwha (70410)
        I don't have one but I have helped my kids jailbreak their iTouches - you use ssh in the process (they even use sshfs with Amarok to load music into them) - so I'd guess if you're looking for a smart phone with ssh an iPohne would be a natural response
      • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:07AM (#23533823) Homepage Journal
        You've really got some issues. Lighten up.
      • by vic-traill (1038742) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:32AM (#23533921)

        When I read the headline, I thought "I wonder how long it's going to take for some fanboy to recommend the iPhone, despite the fact that it doesn't have a keyboard & is inferior for text entry compared to say a blackberry

        Different Blackberry models have different keyboards. To call the iPhone keyboard inferior for text entry as compared to a Blackberry is to ignore the different performance characteristics of different Blackberry keyboards.

        I'm on my third B/B (7250, 7280, 8830) and of the three the current keyboard - on the 8830 - is the best for me. But I know people at work for whom this isn't the case, the particular bevelling of the 8830's keyboard hindering them rather then helping.

        I have limited typing exposure to the iPhone, but a tonne of Blackberry keyboard time under my belt, some good, some significantly worse.

        Note that the B/B Pearl is an entirely different beast, and if you're comparing residential (i.e. non-commercial/business) market phones, you'd could arguably end using the Pearl as RIM's entry.

        I've yet to see a truly comprehensive test of keyboard usability across smartphones. Here's an individual who seems to do pretty well on both a B/B (a 7250?) and an iPhone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsUPYmUzYXA&feature=related [youtube.com].

    • I own one, and the "keyboard" is a bitch, especially in portrait mode, which is the mode you're stuck with in almost every application save "Safari". You can't use the larger landscape keyboard in SMS, Notepad, Email, etc.

      The error rate is high because (big fuckin' surprise, just like everyone predicted) there's no tactile response. There's no caps lock or sticky shift. Only alpha characters are on the main keyboard; you have to go into sub-keyboards, and there's no way to return automati
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Just a factual correction - Double tap the shift key for caps lock.
      • by Firehed (942385)
        How many handheld devices really have enough physical keys to make SSH useful to any extent? I agree that the iPhone sucks at it (from firsthand experience as well, though I think you're making it out to be slightly more tedious than it really is), but most of the blackberries and such don't look tremendously better-suited to it. The half-keyboard ones would be completely useless and the full-keyboard ones seem to have buttons EVEN smaller than the virtual ones on the iPhone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dwater (72834)
          > How many handheld devices really have enough physical keys to make SSH useful to any extent?

          Well, I'm bound to be wrong if I come up with an exact number, but at least 5 have been mentioned already : Nokia 770, N800, N810, E70, and E90. OK, the 770, N800 and N810 aren't phones and they supersede each other (though they do VoIP), but the other two seem to be worth investigating, if you ask me.

          I use an E90, and the keyboard is functional, though I wouldn't want to use it in anger - for that, I use an App
      • ...when using your iPhone keyboard.

        1. Caps Lock -- tap the shift button twice and you are in "caps mode". You can also drag your finger press from shift and enter a capital letter in that fashion -- 1 tap!. And after character is "typed", you're back with the regular alpha keyboard.
        2. Punctuation characters like "/" -- again, one tap to drag across the ".?123" button and the "/" character (as well as parenthesis, quotes, commas, digits, etc....) are all accessible. And again, after you lift your tap, your k
    • Behold the pinnacle of human achievement:

      http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone [thebestpag...iverse.net]
    • by okoskimi (878708) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:42AM (#23533959)

      No matter how much you like your shiny iPhone, the poster cited SSH as his primary use case. It means his primary use case is typing shell commands. Which means a phone with a real keyboard will work best for him. Yes, you CAN type text relatively OK with the iPhone. No, that does NOT make it the best phone to type text on. Get a clue!

      If the guy had asked for a smooth web browsing experience, recommending a (3G!) iPhone would have been understandable. But for SSH? Pure fanboy, or pure ignorance. Take your pick.

      Oh, as for what phone to use - E70 is better if you want the regular phone form factor and have good eyes. But personally I would prefer E61i (with Blackberry form factor), as it has much larger screen (although slightly smaller resolution) which means text is easier to read. And it has more RAM, which means you can run more applications simultaneously. E.g. with E70 running a Java MIDlet and the browser simultaneously is going to be iffy because both are RAM-hungry applications. E61i is newer too, so it has a more recent version of the web browser.

      • by Firehed (942385)
        Nobody who's used SSH on their iPhone would claim it to be a good experience. It's nice to be able to get at it for that one bizarre thing that prompted the need for roadside SSH access in the first place, but there's a reason that I don't attempt it every day.

        I don't know, maybe the truest of fanboys who just blindly promote Apple products might claim it to be a good idea, but nobody who has actually tried it (such as myself) would say it's something other than a "I'm glad I was able to do it that one tim
    • by Firehed (942385) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @02:14AM (#23534043) Homepage
      No, not really. I have one of the terminal apps installed on my iPhone and have used it for quickly SSHing in to my home machine. While it works, it becomes incredibly tedious on the virtual keyboard (much more so than normal typing, since autocorrect isn't present and wouldn't pick up on weird bash command names anyways). Yes, I even tried using vi remotely. Again, possible, but not the slightest bit recommended.

      I love the benefits of the virtual keyboard for most uses. SSH is most definitely not one of them. The VNC app is much more useful given that touchscreens are much better suited to visual interfaces (and it's surprisingly useful even over EDGE with decent signal strength, enough so that I was able to start a SuperDuper! backup of my system while at a red light on my way to the Leopard launch - no need for the fanboy comments, please - I'm clearly not one of the senseless evangelist types).
    • by catwh0re (540371)
      I VNC and SSH into my main machine from an ipod touch.
  • Palm OS + pssh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:17AM (#23533585)
    If you have a Palm OS device (i.e. a Treo), then pssh [sealiesoftware.com] is still the way to go. Alas no, this solution hasn't changed since 2005...
    • by eck011219 (851729)
      Hey -- I'm a web designer (and therefore not as up on security issues as others) but occasionally need to SSH in for something or other. I use pssh on my Treo 755p, too, but get all the warnings about how insecure pssh may be. Have you found it to be secure enough and, if not, what do you do to augment it? All I typically ever have to do is a bit of quick content editing in vim or something before I can get back to my office, but if there's something I could be doing to further keep the connection to myself
  • Hmphf - frist posit?

    Anyway, my solution is not a smartphone. I use an LG CU500, bluetooth tethered to a 12" G4 iBook. I get a real keyboard and AT&T (originally Cingular) gets me 3G in most places I go. Even on "edge" service, SSH is tolerable, 200ms-ish of latency.

  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:23AM (#23533613)
    I've found the Sidekick 3's terminal app is pretty good because you get a pretty easy to type on keyboard. The font is readable and the terminal emulation is good. You also get a decently wide screen, not full 80 columns though. They also have good help for how to type in Ctrl-C, and other control sequences, etc,
    • by garcia (6573)
      Yeah, if you like super lagged conditions and continual disconnects it's fucking awesome for remote administration! Using the hiptop for any sort of SSH connection over a few commands long would be miserable. You would have to use screen or else the continual connection drops would fuck you over too much.

      Danger's devices have a terrible build quality, especially with heavy use. While the Sidekick3 is the first Danger device that has lasted more than 6 months without a handset replacement, you know it's b
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:27AM (#23533637) Journal
    Putty [coredump.fi] on a Sony-Ericsson M600i works ok for me, but most of the time, I'd keep the M600i in my pocket and use my Nokia N800 through Bluetooth.
  • PuTTY (Score:4, Informative)

    by Russianspi (1129469) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:31AM (#23533655)
    I use Pocket PuTTY [pocketputty.net]. I don't know if it is the perfect answer, but it works for what I do.
  • This interests me. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoshJ (1009085) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:35AM (#23533667) Journal
    I'd like a relatively cheap smartphone or mini-laptop (think EEE PC)- under $200 would be great- that can connect to secure wifi or a cell network (with a reasonable plan) that I can use for SSH purposes / internet when not on my computer. Any suggestions on the hardware side? (I'm not the OP.)
  • by Jaegar (518423)
    I've had good results with the BlackBerry and MidpSSH. The terminal software is average, but having the ability to open a connection via your BlackBerry Enterprise Server is very useful. It's nice to not have to open up any Internet facing SSH ports while still being able to connect to any of your servers.
  • An interesting question, but honestly doesn't it seem like a good idea to wait a month or two longer and see what terminal kinds of apps come out of the iPhone SDK & app store? That's one area I was thinking we'd see several options arrive from, and while the iPhone may not have a "real" keyboard there is much that could be done with completion and a nice wide display.

    • That doesn't help you if you need a solution *now*. And in any case, how long has the iPhone been out now? A year? And you suggest waiting a few months LONGER for the thing to MAYBE be IT-ready when and if the platform is truly opened up? Pick up a four-year-old Blackberry and MidpSSH (free software) and you not only will have your solution, but you won't have to cycle through four taps of a virtual button to create the symbol you'll need to insert into a text string.

      Not to mention the array of remote deskt
    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)
      The existing installer.app VT100 terminal is functional, and about as good as it will get with the touchscreen. I've used a Blackberry, Palm, N770, and my iPhone. The experience is comparable for command line on all of them, but none of them are worth a squat when I go to use nano or lynx for whatever reasons.

      It really depends on what you need to do with it. If you just want to check security logs or do a manual backup, the iPhone is good enough.
    • by Idaho (12907)

      An interesting question, but honestly doesn't it seem like a good idea to wait a month or two longer and see what terminal kinds of apps come out of the iPhone SDK & app store?

      Yes, because it would be so convenient to have a terminal application on a phone that doesn't have a keyboard.

      "something could be done with completion", yeah come on, just imagine a terminal app working that way for a second....done? OK, then let's be serious again now.

      I guess one could buy a bluetooth keyboard to go with the iPho

      • by itsme1234 (199680) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @07:22AM (#23535071)
        "I guess one could buy a bluetooth keyboard to go with the iPhone"

        No, you couldn't. Don't assume iPhone would do anything that a windows mobile device does (for the last five years I might add). No, no, no. When Apple says bluetooth they mean precisely two (out of more than 20) profiles: Hands-Free Profile (HFP) and
        Headset Profile (HSP). That means NO keyboard (and "no" many other things like quality audio out - and no remote control for that matter, no serial profile=no bluetooth GPS, no file transfer over bluetooth, no [about 20 times more no]).
  • Nokia E70 (Score:5, Informative)

    by thesupraman (179040) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:45AM (#23533713)

    I've been running one for close to 2 years for just this purpose.

    Runs symbian putty perfectly, does 802.11 for when you can get to it, has an ok real web browser, and does real email (imap/pop/smtp).

    And on the plus side, actually fits in a pocket, and can support real typing.

    Pity nokia seem to consider it a dead-end product, and go out of their way to ignore it.
    • by oo7tushar (311912)
      I second the E70. One of the first apps I installed was Putty. It's been good for connecting remotely as well as editing a few vi scripts just to get things running and tested.
      • ...and I third it, though I actually use putty it on an E90, which has a more conventional keyboard (iinm) - albeit at a price. I also use a bluetooth keyboard (the Al Apple one, as it happens) when I want to use it more extensively - I'm told it works with all S60 phones that have bt (and I don't see why it wouldn't).

        I've used it for logging into my various Linux systems (Ubuntu, Ubuntu server, Fedora Core) as well as OS X.

        Works nicely enough on the E90 with the high resolution display (800 x 352 pixels) u
  • This is just a hunch but if you are the kind to remotely administer your systems, you would also be the kind to want an open phone platform. I'm guessing openmoko [openmoko.com] is right up your alley.
  • by BrianCarlstrom (717058) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @12:49AM (#23533733) Homepage

    pssh on the Palm Treo is the only thing that seems to work for me. Keep in mind I want to use Emacs via my smart phone, so I need Control and Meta (aka Alt) to work well. pssh uses the center key for these, with one click for Control and a second for Meta. It also has a very small font which allows me a 80 column wide view.

    I have considered switching to a HTC phone such as the AT&T Tilt with Pocket PuTTY. Unfortunately, it seemed to hard to use for two reasons. One, I couldn't easily find a way to have a really small (but usable) fond. Two, I couldn't find a way to easily enter Control and Meta. I tried this mostly at the store, so if there are solutions to this, please let me know!

    I have tried the iPhone with server side ssh script on a friends iPhone. Again the font and keyboard issues made it seem not too feasible. It seems like the font issue would be easy to fix, but the keyboard Control/Meta issue seems even harder to address on the iPhone. Again, please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm thinking of getting an iPhone 2.x in July... web surfing has become more important than my ssh access.

    • by Tumbleweed (3706)
      Keep in mind I want to use Emacs via my smart phone

      Oh MAN! I don't know where to even BEGIN with this one!
  • Well, I don't know if it's the best, since I haven't got much to compare it against, but my Treo650 with pssh works quite well. It is by no means a replacement for a laptop with a vpn client, but it nicely handles the "service X has died for some reason and needs to be manually restarted" and "minor configuration tweak Y required" type scenarios.

    The screen size is pretty good for a phone (640x640 resolution too), and while the font in terminal emulation is small, it's mostly readable. There are a few key-c
  • I mostly use it for the occasional Debian apt-get update/upgrade and sometimes to run backups. In general, tasks that don't require lots of input are fine. The E61i's QWERTY keyboard is pretty good, it's mostly the limited screen that makes longer tasks trickier.
    • by raju1kabir (251972) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:29AM (#23533913) Homepage

      I use the E61i with midpssh, which has worked better for me than Putty, though I have long forgotten why.

      The E61i's keyboard works great, I can type at a decent clip, and it has a proper control key. Some unix nerd characters (vertical bar, etc.) require 3 or 4 keypresses to get to but it's not that bad. Between wifi, GPRS, and 3G/UMTS I can pretty much always get online.

      For example, even in countries where there seems to be no working data service over prepaid GSM SIM cards (e.g., Syria), I've just turned on the wifi sniffer and followed it to a fancy hotel, and then loitered in their lobby to fix a weeping server. The hotel people think I'm just sending text messages.

      Downsides: It's a big phone physically, it could use more memory (get the web browser plus a few ssh windows going and you've hit the ceiling), and when the wifi isn't making a connection to a given access point it's very difficult to diagnose why. For example, I've never managed to get it to connect via my MacBook's internet connection sharing, which would be nice so I could sync up the email when I was at an internet cafe and save money on subsequent syncs over the cell network during the day.

    • by Ecyrd (51952)
      My vote goes to the E61i as well; I also like the fact that it's got a huge battery compared to most other smartphones, and also that it's relatively thin, so it doesn't bulge in your pocket.
    • I have an e61, no i, no camera, with putty. I has saved me £100s through testing/fixing on site via ssh.

      No camera is a feature, because many sites won't let camera phones in for security reasons.

      Prior to that, I used an SE k750i with putty - horrendous, but it worked!

      I also have an SE p1i, but owing to the fact that it doesnt have profiles, its useless as a business phone, and the contract its on is so expensive for data, I was very careful to remove putty after one bill.(O2, you really know how to

  • I would like to call it "WHIP-320" now, however ;) It has an ARM9-core at 200 MHz, 32MB RAM and 32MB flash, 802.11b/g and runs a 2.6 kernel.
    I did not have to do everything to get it running a terminal (with SSH) though, most of the work was done by some french dudes at http://www.freephonie.org/doku/white:dev [arisme.free.fr] (yes, that's two URL's, they are related).
    It's an awfully small screen, and you probably need (magnifying) glasses to get work done, but... it *is* an SSH terminal and can help out a lot if you encoun
  • sidekick 3 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by markybob (802458)
    i use the sidekick 3, which has a ssh application. it's been great and i'd recommend it to everyone who needs remote access to a box
  • When will we have a means to use the egde/3g connection to send text messages at internet bandwidth rates? Something like twitter and a twitter listener (for notifications) could replace text messages on the cheap...
  • Nokia E70 or N95 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by glomph (2644) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:17AM (#23533865) Homepage Journal
    Being my two phones of the past 3 years.

    The E70 has a -real- keyboard, and runs Putty perfectly.
    over the GPRS/3G network, or over WiFi, your choice.

    The N95 has a regular phone pad, but I use a folding external bluetooth keyboard if I'm doing a lot of text.
    and -every- feature of the N95 rocks. Putty runs perfectly, as always.
    • by dwater (72834)
      > The N95 has a regular phone pad, but I use a folding external bluetooth keyboard if I'm doing a lot of text.

      I guess you're referring to the Nokia keyboard, but the Apple bluetooth keyboard works fine with the N95 too, I'm told (I use it on an E90), and I think there's even one or two other options in that respect.

      It's nice to have the option of taking a keyboard along when you know you might need it, and yet not have to when you think you won't (but be able to use the phone's instead if you're wrong).
  • DS Lite, bitches (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BillX (307153) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:38AM (#23533941) Homepage
    DS Lite, bitches [gbadev.org]. When you tire of SSH (and DSLinux + Boa as wearable web server), just VNC into your box through the coffeeshop's wireless. (I think it can play games too.)
  • personally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by atarione (601740) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @01:53AM (#23533991)
    I would much rather just have a small non smrt phone and a EeePC or similarly diminutive laptop with a actual albeit smallish keyboard.
    • by vanyel (28049) *
      I don't always want to be packing even an eee around all the time, whereas my treo is always there and can be used in a pinch if something's down while I'm away from a real connection. And to be honest, I'm not sure typing on the eee is any easier. It's too small to touch type on really, and too big to thumboard. At least for me, and I really wanted to like it too...
  • This may be of use to someone, if not the poster. The Palm Centro (typically $100) is a fullblown Treo (Thankyou Apple for forcing Palm to cut price of a Treo by 75%) but more compact. It works well for me, is usable as a fairly decent speed modem with my laptop, can do ssh, a bluetooth keyboard is available (although I would just use my laptop) and has taken several hits with just minor scratches. Please also note that if you don't like your phones browser, many phones can accept the free mini-Opera bro
  • Duh, Android! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by straponego (521991) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @02:07AM (#23534015)
    ...Oh, you want something that actually exists? Well, I shall follow the responses with great interest.

    Seriously, I'd have caved in and bought an iPhone by now were it not for my need for SSH with a decent keyboard. Oh, and that I want a less restricted development environment. Some of the Android phones should fit the bill, if you can hold out a few months.

  • I know this doesn't quite fit the request but MIDs [engadget.com] are probably a good solution. Packing full Windows or Linux you can run Putty or SSH as you would from your desktop. Most MIDs are not phones Willcom in Japan has a MID phone so it won't be so long until the US has something similar. Then again, if you have a MID with good wireless coverage why would you need a phone?
  • I know it isn't a phone. But the N810 is a good choice for what you say you want to do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlXtreme (223728)
      I second using the n810 for ssh, you can easily use your current phone and connect via BT and GPRS/3G.

      The keyboard on the n810 is much better than the regular smartphone keypad. I have a N95 and although I've installed putty on it ssh'ing from the tablet is much more doable.

      And it runs Linux. What more could you ask for?
  • I use a blackberry 8820 with BES, and the rove mobile/idokorro ssh. With tmobile, for $65/mo, you can have unlimited GLOBAL roaming. Plus, use an 8820 and have 802.11g and gps. I use the BES (device to my-network AES crypto) to do IP-acling, and use ssh keys on the phone for access control, plus passphrases.

    The blackberry now supports a smartcard bluetooth reader so you could fairly easily rig it to deauthenticate when removed from a short radius of your body. 88xx screen and keyboard are decent -- not
  • so of all the handhelds on the market, the one that most definitely comes close to a reasonable portable ssh, imho has got to be the nokia n810. people pooh pooh maemo, but the thing will run debian and probably something like ubuntu mobile or something..

    nevertheless.. the best -class- of device is still something like it or the iphone/ipod touch/ type devices, an openmoko, palms, blackberrys; something that is already halfway a computer. If it is itself a standard platform and a keyboard will at least pair
  • Has a keyboard, although it doesn't have some of the control keys on, but I haven't done anything complicated enough to need them yet, just basic SSH access for simple commands.

    I've also gotten VNC to work on it, but it's kind of a pain to use with a small screen, but it is possible. nice thing with t-mobile is the data plan is only $20/month.
  • A real keyboard. (Score:3, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @04:02AM (#23534413) Journal
    I don't know what smartphones will let you plug one in, but you're going to at least want a laptop-sized keyboard.

    I actually like typing with this keyboard [apple.com] (wired version), and it's small enough to fit comfortably in a backpack, pretty much no weight to it at all. The wireless version could probably fit in a briefcase, and it speaks bluetooth, so I'm sure there's a phone out there that will work with it.

    The other possibility is to ask why you want a smartphone, and not a real laptop [asus.com] -- not like it costs more than the iPhone anyway.

    The iPhone is nice, but you can't beat a real keyboard, no matter what you're typing on.
  • PocketPCs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dogun (7502) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @04:22AM (#23534471) Homepage
    I use the HTC Mogul (hate Sprint, but *shrug*.)

    Challenges:
    No escape key.
    No builting software for remapping buttons to other keys.
    Pocket Putty doesn't support arrow keys correctly, initially.

    Solutions:
    Bind an escape key using a button remapping tool.
    Set these, for whatever your most important connection is:
    HKCU\Software\SimonTathan\PuTTY\Sessions\SessionName\NoApplicationKeys: 1
    HKCU\Software\SimonTathan\PuTTY\Sessions\SessionName\NoApplicationCursors: 1

    After that, the device is pretty usable over ssh. Not perfect, but it's a good start.
  • I've been using various PalmPilot's with serial cables and IR modems to telnet and ssh into unix boxes for years. The pssh PalmOS application on a Treo or Centro cell phone works just fine, although the font is microscopic for an 80 character terminal.
  • Here's my setup for when I need to do remote support while on the move:

    HTC Kaiser (also sold as HTC P4550, TyTN II & AT&T Tilt 8925)

    The phone has a slide-out keyboard which is quite useable and a 240 x 320-pixel, 2.8-inch display. Bluetooth and wifi (802.11g). The TyTN II is a quad-band handset with 3G and HSDPA and it also has GPS + Tomtom satnav!

    PockeTTY [dejavusoftware.com]

    VNC [freewarepocketpc.net]

    WM6 Remote Desktop (RDP)- can be downloaded from here [pdaphonehome.com] if not pre-installed.

    Roll-up fabric bluetooth keyboard [channeladvisor.com]

    More phone info in the user forums
    • by Phil John (576633)

      I've always found Choung Networks mToken to be the best WinMo SSH client, has helpful extras such as port forwarding and a custom font to fit as much as possible on a tiny screen.

  • I have been using a Motorola Q Phone with zaTelnet Professional for my SSH needs. It works like a champ! I have very large hands and have a hard time typing on a laptop keyboard but the Q Phone's keyboard provides for surprisingly easy typing.

    At work, we're trying out a number of different mobile phones for our on-call phones. My list of necessary features includes also SSH. We're looking at the Tilt and the latest generation of the Q Phone. I have to say the Tilt's only nice feature is the wider scree

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid

Working...