*note the small ‘c’ in that title just to make matters clear.
Sometimes in life you can get stuck into a routine. Doing the same things, using the same methods and tools without realising that things have changed and there’s more options available.
Last year I did a little review on the Apple iPhone and found it wanting in many areas to the point that I wouldn’t consider touching one with the proverbial long piece of navigational wood. Just to add, I hadn’t realised at the time that the iPhone doesn’t even do multi-tasking as in being able to do more than run one application at the same time. This is pathetic by anyone’s standards but I digress.
Using the iPhone did however have an impact on me. It spurred me into wanting to see what is technically possible with my own Nokia E65 mobile phone. Could check but can’t be bothered but just for a bit of perspective, the Nokia E65 predates the iPhone by about a year so it’s in mobile phone technology terms given the pace of change almost ancient now.
I’ll also admit that prior to last November I did what most people use their phones for. Making calls, texting and using it as an MP3 player. The odd photo but I’m not so fussed about such things.
What I really wanted to try out was mobile internet access and have a little poke around what other third party applications were knocking about for my phone.
After a week or so Mrs Penguin finally gave in to my pleas of getting a data plan added to my mobile phone contract. (Please note, it is highly recommended that before you try any application for your mobile that uses any kind of data connection that you get one of these plans otherwise you may find your bill to be rather hefty the following month).
With a newly acquired data plan in hand I ventured out into the world of mobile browsing and it’s fair to say that coupled with a change in circumstances and a more hectic lifestyle it has fitted in rather neatly to having less time to sit at my PC.
Like most people who like to keep up on current affairs I’m heavily dependent on my RSS feeds to stay up to date with the latest news. Sometimes being all over the place the availability of these news feeds wherever I am is now a must.
All Nokia smart phones come pre-installed with the default Nokia browser which is a very good feature rich and fast browser. However the feeds feature is abysmal.
After much searching around for a suitable application I came across Opera Mini. I used to use Opera as my main web browser on my PC many years back but for some reason forgot about it after Firefox really started to get going but when it comes to mobiles, Opera are certainly producing the best browsing applications around at the moment.
Opera do another browser, the full Opera Mobile which I will download when I get my next phone but for the time being Opera Mini suits my core demands, that of a very nice feed reader.
I thought I’d do a couple of screenshots from my mobile to emphasise the point. Here’s the main start screen:
It’s got what you need straight away, quick web search function, a straight to URL function, bookmarks (which I don’t use at present) and a link to the feeds. The GUI is nice, it can easily flip from vertical to horizontal format and there’s plenty of options to configure it the way you like.
On to the feeds:
A nice simple list that’s bold if there’s stories unread and a click takes you to another screen which renders the actual content of the feeds meaning there’s often no need to even visit the actual site at all.
Opera Mini works in a slightly different way to most mobile browsers. Instead of rendering the pages on the phone itself which in terms of processing power is pretty puny, it connects via Opera’s servers in Norway which render the pages in a mobile friendly way that then port that back to the phone.
The upside of this is that web pages fit neatly to the screen size of the phone as you can see here:
Although on a normal desktop browser the text of this blog fills the whole centre column, it is re-rendered to fit the screen resolution of the phone and a quick click zooms in to the actual text meaning that there’s no need for left and right scrolling, just up and down.
Anyway, that’s my tip for the day. If you’re the busy always on the go type who needs to keep up with those feeds then I’d highly recommend Opera Mini.
It does work on almost all mobile phones that run the Symbian S60 (Nokia phone operating system), Windows Mobile on them there Motorola’s and Blackberry’s although a word of caution on Blackberry’s. Check with your operator first as use of Opera Mini because it ports traffic outside of Blackberry’s own system may not be covered by a Blackberry data plan. Apparently a few people fell foul of that on O2 last year although no word as to what the current position is.
I’ll try and do a few more posts about mobile applications in the future because it’s interesting to see how things are developing and how they can impact on the way we do things differently.