Friday, May 25, 2007

Now Your Mobile Phone Can Help You Save on Gas

With gas prices at record highs, you need all the help that you can get. Now you can use your i wireless phone and to help you find the cheapest gas around. There are two ways to get gas prices on your mobile device:
  1. With your mobile browser, go to and search for prices by City/State or Zip Code (e.g. "Iowa City, IA" or "52245")
  2. Send an MMS or email to (for gasoline prices) or (for diesel prices) with the City/State or Zip Code as the body of the message (leaving subject field blank). A reply will be sent to you shortly with the 5 lowest gas or diesel prices from the area that you requested.

i wireless Transitions to HTC S621

i wireless has started selling the S621 variant of the HTC "Excalibur." The only two differences that I have noticed between the S620 and S621 so far are:
  • The S621 has symbols (in blue on the keys) more commonly used in the U.S. vs. the more European-centric symbols on the S620. The “J” and “L” keys have the symbols for the pound and euro on the S620. These are replaced with the “@” and “=” on the S621.
  • The S621 has predictive text. The S620 does not.
Don't know which one you have? Look underneath the battery, in the lower, left-hand corner of the IMEI label. The S620 says “EXCA200.” The S621 says “EXCA100.”

More Free Games!

GameJump provides access to free, ad-supported mobile games and applications. My HTC S620 is not among the phone models supported, but there are plenty of other phone models sold by i wireless that are. Go to from your mobile phone to start downloading games and having fun.

Free Your Photos From Their Cameraphone Prison!

According to research from mobile imaging provider Ontela, over 90% of cameraphone users are interested in a service that lets them upload pictures to their PCs. Despite this interest, 75% of users failed a test to see whether they could transfer photos from their cameraphones to a popular online photo-sharing service. If you are one of the many people who have taken photos on your phone but can't seem to get them out of your phone, you will want to check out radar. Once you sign up for a free account, all you have to do is send your photo to a designated email address via MMS (picture messaging) or your email client, if your phone has one. Your photos are instantaneously posted on your own page on Radar, complete with a title (if you included one in the subject line) and date and time you sent each photo. If you want to make your photo private, all you have to do is precede your title with a "p." How easy is that? Granted, you still need to know how to send an MMS or an email from your phone, but it's obvious that Radar understands how to make a complex process simple.

I'm All A-Twitter!

Twitter lets you broadcast what you are doing to anyone who is interested anytime and anywhere. As a member of Generation X, I think I'm a bit older than the target market for Twitter. I've heard that John Edwards uses Twitter to update potential voters on his whereabouts, but I can't imagine there are too many people who want to know what I am up to RIGHT NOW...or RIGHT NOW...or RIGHT NOW. My life is just too boring, and all of my friends are too preoccupied with their own families to worry about what I am up to. But based on the level of addiction my step-kids had/have with instant messaging, Facebook and MySpace, I can see the attraction for those of you younger that me. Try it out on your mobile phone at

Smartphones to Account for 22% of All Handsets Worldwide By 2012

According to Berg Insight, global shipments of smartphones will increase from 10% today to 22% by 2012. Symbian OS was the leading smartphone operating system in 2006 with a market share of 63 percent. Linux was the second largest platform, followed by Windows Mobile. Microsoft’s performance in the smartphone segment is consistently improving, even though Windows Mobile is still far from threatening either Symbian OS or Linux for the top market positions. The once popular Palm OS has virtually disappeared from the market and is now being converted into a version of Linux. Apple’s OS X will become a new entrant on the smartphone operating systems market this year with the launch of the iPhone.

Access Your Google Calendar From Your Mobile

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of Google and their mobile applications. I have a Gmail account, I use Google Maps when I travel, and I try to stay on top of all of my family's activities with Google Calendar. Well, now Google has designed their Calendar offering for the small screen, and for me, it is love at first sight. The layout is simple, pleasing to the eye, and makes sense. Navigation is simple enough, but a tad slow with GPRS. The "Quick Add" feature makes adding an event to your calendar on a mobile phone painless.

To experience it for yourself, go to If you don't already have an account, you will be prompted to sign up...and of course, it is free.

Bank of America Launches Mobile Banking

If you are a Bank of America customer and have an Online Banking ID and passcode, you can now do your banking from your mobile phone, including:
  • Check balances on your checking, savings and credit card accounts, as well as mortgages and home equity lines held with Bank of America.
  • Pay your bills and e-bills.
  • Transfer money between accounts and to other Bank of America customers.
  • View transactions for checking and savings accounts, mortgages and home equity lines, including posted and pending transactions.
To get started, go to

Receive Your Voice Mails As Text Messages or Emails

I have held off on blogging about two similar, compelling services that I learned about at CTIA Wireless 2007 because I have not been able to successfully test either one yet. SimulScribe and SpinVox both take your voice mail, transcribe it into text, and send it to your device. SimulScribe offers a free trial of their service, but i wireless is not currently listed among the supported carriers, and the test messages I left on SpinVox's trial voice mailbox never came back to me as text messages.I like to try things our before I recommend them, but the Wall Street Journal just published a nice review of these two services, and I'd like to share the article with you while WSJ is providing free access to it.

If anyone out there gets either of these to work, let me know. If the transcription works well, it's a service that I could really get used to.

Norton & Symantec Coming to a Windows Mobile Phone Near You

According to PC World, Norton will begin selling two smartphone security suites for devices running Windows Mobile on May 29. Norton Mobile Security for Smartphones is intended for the average consumer and Symantec Mobile Security 5.0 is designed for enterprise users. Included will be antivirus, antispam, firewall and data encryption capabilities. Unfortunately, a VPN (virtual private network) component will be sold separately. If there is one thing that I took away from Andrew Seybold's Wireless Data University at CTIA Wireless 2007, it is the growing importance of having VPN on your mobile device.

Symantec currently offers free trialware downloads of their Symantec Mobile Security products here. You may want to check the site May 29 to see if they offer a trialware version of these latest products.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"inside the i" is Now Mobile

I know it should not have taken this long, but thanks to Winksite, "inside the i" is now available in a more mobile-friendly format. Be sure to save this URL in your mobile device:

Vote for Your Favorite Portable Utilities & Applications

Voting has opened for CNET's Webware 100 Awards, and there is a category for apps that bring the web to your mobile device. Vote for your favorite or simply learn about the 25 finalists. Some of them I have blogged about here, while others will have to go on my ever-expanding list of apps to try.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

i wireless Coverage Map Updated

i wireless has updated its local coverage map. A larger version can be seen here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Listen to Streaming Music (Internet Radio) on Your i wireless Phone

This is my new favorite application! With Mundu Radio, you can listen to streaming music on your Symbian, Windows Mobile or Palm-based mobile device. According to Mundu, there are over 50,000 radio stations broadcasting on the internet. You can listen to any of these stations through Mundu Radio if they stream in MP3 format. I listened to a number of the 50 stations that come with Mundu Radio "out of the box" and soon discovered for myself what Mundu's FAQs would have told me: At GPRS speeds, you want to make sure that you are listening to stations streaming at 24 or 32 kbps or you will encounter breaks as the Mundu Radio client rebuffers the stream. Finding stations broadcasting at that bit-rate takes a bit of trial and error, but once you know which stations you have to choose from, listening to them is enjoyable enough. If you have a phone with Wi-Fi (like the HTC S620), you can listen to stations with higher bit-rates over a Wi-Fi connection. There were a few streams that I was unable to connect to, such as Sporting News Radio, but with over 50K stations to choose from, I can probably get my sports news elsewhere.

If you would like to try this application out for yourself, you can download it for free here.

Most of You are Men Under 35

According to research from comScore and Telephia, 30 million (or 17%) of 176 million US internet users were accessing data from their handsets. The most frequent mobile internet users are men under 35.

Microsoft's Mobile Browser for Windows Mobile

Microsoft has been limiting the distribution of their Deepfish beta, but I finally had an opportunity to try it out recently on my HTC S620.

The idea behind Deepfish is to make the mobile browsing experience more similar to the desktop computer web-browsing experience. While Deepfish does preserve the formatting of web pages, I found the navigation clunky and unusable as my daily browser. Web pages initially load zoomed waaaaaaaay out so you can't read any of the type, then you move a rectangle around to show which areas you want to zoom in on. You can read text and click on hyperlinks, but you still have to do scrolling left and right and up-and-down sometimes to read body copy, which I find annoying.

I'm sure web designers and advertisers like the idea of their designs reaching mobile users in the format that they intended, but at this stage in the life of the mobile web, what people really care about is content, not presentation. Google figured this out a while ago, when they started reformatting full-sized web pages for the small screen.

I do applaud the fresh approach to the problem at hand. I might be tempted to keep Deepfish on my device in case I ever want to see a webpage in its entirety on my mobile device, but will continue to use Internet Explorer or Opera Mini as my primary browser.

I don't know that this link will work, but if you want to try Deepfish out yourself, you may be able to do so through this link.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Who Are You?

Curiosity has gotten the better of me, so forgive me while I turn the spotlight on you, my readers, for a moment...

Stats provided by sitemeter indicate that 14% of recent visitors to inside the i had the domain The next nine domains represented based on number of visits were all internet service providers (which are usually near the top), and the remaining domains each had less than 1% of all visitors.

So, for whatever reason, it appears that this blog is really, really, really popular with employees of Dohrn Transfer Company. Why it appeals to employees of one particular trucking and warehouse company, I haven't a clue. I'm hoping someone out there can help me out.

Want to Work at i wireless?

i wireless is hiring a Data Specialist! This person will be responsible for conducting industry research, coordinating and facilitating the development process of new and existing revenue generating data services from conception to point of sale, and developing and conducting comprehensive staff training. Here is the full job description. If you are interested, fax (515.258.7400) or e-mail your resume to (be sure to mention what position you're inquiring about in your e-mail).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Listen to Your iTunes Music Collection on Your Mobile Phone

Avvenu Music Player is another compelling mobile application I learned about while at CTIA 2007. I guess this would be considered a place-shifting technology (a la the Slingbox). With Avvenu, you can stream your iTunes playlists from your home computer to your Windows Mobile 5 smartphone. You can also share your playlists with your friends.

For the Avvenu Music Player to work, you need to download an application to both your host computer and the WM 5.0 device that requires you

Once you sign up for a free Avvenu Music Player account, you simply need to install the Avvenu Connector software on the PC with your Apple iTunes® music collection and install the Avvenu Music Player to your mobile device. Then you will launch the Avvenu Music Player on your PC (which runs within an internet browser) and select which songs or podcasts you want to be able to listen to on your mobile device. The beta version of the Avvenu Music Player includes Anytime storage of up to 250 music tracks.

I was initially disappointed that I was not able to get this to work right away, but soon realized that Avvenu needed to upload my selections. Since my computer was not on and connected the entire time, this took a couple of days. Once I had filled up my 250 track quota, though, it worked as advertised. It was pretty cool to hear the songs I had stored on my computer emanating from my S620, and yes, it even worked when my computer was turned off.

Once I got beyond the initial "Wow" factor, I realized pretty quickly that this application just isn't quite ready for prime time yet (which makes sense, as it is still in beta testing). It takes a few minutes for my playlist to load when I start up the application on my mobile device, and while longer before I could get it to play my first selection. Once the music does start streaming, there is a good 60 seconds of silence in-between tracks as well. I don't know how much of these delays can be attributed to network data speeds and how much to attribute to this being a beta version. Only time will tell.

I guess if you really want to be able to listen to your iTunes collection on your phone, this application will do, but as a music lover I find the dead silence between songs annoying enough that I will probably be uninstalling Avvenu from my device soon.

Instant Messaging for Your Windows Mobile Device

It has been a while since I posted anything about instant messenger applications available for your mobile device. Geodesic is one of a number of companies I talked to while at CTIA 2007. They have developed a mobile application that they call mundu IM. This application is interoperable with all the major IM services (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, GTalk, Jabber and ICQ), and you can be logged into all of the services simultaneously. I recently took advantage of mundu's 5-day free trial and was impressed.

Although I don't regularly use IM, I do have a screen name for five of the six services, so I entered in all of my information, and when I started up the application, I had no problems logging into any of the services. Mundu IM is fairly intuitive. All of your contacts are viewable with an icon next to them, showing which IM service they are on, and you have the option of sorting your contacts by the groups (folders) they are in or the IM service that they are on. There are a number of other user-customizable options as well, including the ability to set a different presence status for the different IM services and you can choose whether or not you want to see your offline contacts. You can even access saved chats (although I'm not sure how long they are stored) and mundu IM will tell you if you have unread e-mail if you have active e-mail accounts with any of these services.

As I stated earlier, I'm not a big IM user, so I didn't put mundu IM through extreme testing with multiple chats going on at the same time (although I think it has that capability) but it worked well enough in the 1-to-1 chats that I tried. The application did not run incredibly fast, but it was noticeably faster than EQO (Although, to be fair, I tested EQO last Fall, and it was on a Motorola KRZR. They may be due for a retest). I'm sure as our network data speed increases and the processors on these mobile devices get faster, mundu IM will run faster as well.

I know software versions can sometimes be misleading, but Geodesic brags that mundu IM is v4 (EQO is still in beta). It does have the refinement that comes from a more mature product. Geodesic sells a lifetime license for mundu IM for $11. If I was a bigger IM user, I would not hesitate to buy it.

Currently mundu IM is only available for Palm and Windows Mobile, but they promise to soon have versions available for Symbian and Windows Mobile Pocket PC.

Just Launched: HTC P4300

i wireless just launched the HTC P4300. For those of you that were disappointed that the Qtek 9100 came and went so quickly, this is the device for you! Key features of the P4300 include a slide-out QWERTY keyboard (with much bigger keys than the S620) and a touchscreen (yes, a touchscreen!). The HTC P4300 runs on Microsoft's Pocket PC Phone Edition.