Sick … and the state of mobile apps

Yesterday I was sicker than a dog. I haven’t been that sick since I was in China in 1995. I was a pitiful sight. Just curled up in bed and could barely move. You know I’m sick when I don’t even turn on the laptop.

But, as I started to get better I was playing with my Nokia N95 phone — mostly cause Maryam kept calling me to make sure I was still alive. Many of the mobile apps really have some major holes. It’s like the authors of them don’t really use their cell phones with their own apps.

Twitter’s Mobile App, for instance, doesn’t let me click on URLs that are included in posts. I’m going to try Tiny Twitter to see if it’s better (Java required, so won’t work on your fancy new iPhone).
Google’s Mobile Reader isn’t even close to the desktop version. No river of news, no sharing, no keyboard shortcuts that I can figure out.

On the other hand, Google’s mobile search really is nice. Especially after you customize it for a while and add things like stocks, weather, and your favorite news sources.

And Google Mobile Maps rocks. I look at it everytime I’m about to get into my car because it shows live traffic data for the San Francisco area. Except I can’t figure out how to make it use the GPS device in my Nokia.

You can tell that Kyte.tv was designed by a young startup that gets mobile phones. It’s a little complicated to use and figure out what it’s for, though.

Shozu rocks on mobile phones except that once in a while photos and video don’t get uploaded so I have to open the app up and make sure that things got sent up OK. I can’t figure out why that happens.

I haven’t tried out Radar.net yet, but that’s next on my list.

Anyway, I’m staying home today. I’m also going to take some time off of reading feeds. I’ll be honest, I’m addicted to feeds and I’m not getting my work done, so gotta get off of those for a while.

What do you think about mobile apps? Which ones do you love and hate?

UPDATE: Jaiku has a new mobile version coming next week. Gotta get that and try it out.

30 thoughts on “Sick … and the state of mobile apps

  1. Well you are definitely a good journalist! And “the Apple” seems to have had a lasting effect on you. Dads are not always right but they only mean the best for their sons! ;)

  2. Well you are definitely a good journalist! And “the Apple” seems to have had a lasting effect on you. Dads are not always right but they only mean the best for their sons! ;)

  3. Gmail Mobile makes me a very happy individual. These days, I want nothing more than a downloadable mobile Google Reader experience as clean and functional as that Gmail mobile app.

    I don’t hear a lot of people asking for that though. . . so perhaps I’ll never see it. :(

  4. Gmail Mobile makes me a very happy individual. These days, I want nothing more than a downloadable mobile Google Reader experience as clean and functional as that Gmail mobile app.

    I don’t hear a lot of people asking for that though. . . so perhaps I’ll never see it. :(

  5. @ Daniel Goldman – I tried Opera Mini on my SE K800i and it kept crashing it. A shame as it means going back to some sort of weird T-Mobile horror-hybrid (UK version).
    Speaking of mobile (cell) phones, how I wish (etc) that one day they would bring out a call charge plan that could be understood. Over £48 ($96) last month alone and I have no idea why. Little graphs come with the bill, cute little written explanations of what allowances I’ve overshot and so forth, none of it making anything any clearer. Ah well. What would be good would be a £120 per month flat rate for TV / mobile / internet. I’m dumb enough that I would pay MORE if it meant that I knew how much it was going to be each month so I could budget.

  6. @ Daniel Goldman – I tried Opera Mini on my SE K800i and it kept crashing it. A shame as it means going back to some sort of weird T-Mobile horror-hybrid (UK version).
    Speaking of mobile (cell) phones, how I wish (etc) that one day they would bring out a call charge plan that could be understood. Over £48 ($96) last month alone and I have no idea why. Little graphs come with the bill, cute little written explanations of what allowances I’ve overshot and so forth, none of it making anything any clearer. Ah well. What would be good would be a £120 per month flat rate for TV / mobile / internet. I’m dumb enough that I would pay MORE if it meant that I knew how much it was going to be each month so I could budget.

  7. Robert, depending on the device your using, you might want to point your web browser at http://readermini.com John Tokash developed it to be an optimized Google reader experience on the Nokia N800 small screen but might work for you as well. He hosts the service, so you might not be comfy with entering your Google Reader credentials, but he only provides a front end to Google’s service and he doesn’t store your credentials on the server.

    We covered this on our podcast and blog: http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkontherun/2007/01/john_tokash_min.html

    Hope it helps!

  8. Robert, depending on the device your using, you might want to point your web browser at http://readermini.com John Tokash developed it to be an optimized Google reader experience on the Nokia N800 small screen but might work for you as well. He hosts the service, so you might not be comfy with entering your Google Reader credentials, but he only provides a front end to Google’s service and he doesn’t store your credentials on the server.

    We covered this on our podcast and blog: http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkontherun/2007/01/john_tokash_min.html

    Hope it helps!

  9. Hey Robert,

    Thanks for taking a look at Tiny Twitter… this is an app I put together after getting annoyed w/ the onslaught of Twitter SMS’s. Keep in mind it is a nights and weekend kinda thing and there are some known issues on the Nokia. Well, I think so anyway; I don’t have a Nokia device in hand… hey, Nokia if you are listening and want to lend a developer a hand I would love to get a N95 for “testing” 

    Anyway, on Nokia’s the full tweet content does not render and you have to expand to see it all (that’s kinda lame I know). Also, I do not let you browse links yet. I actually saw your tweet on this earlier today and started looking into it. If it can be done, it’ll get done this weekend and the Tiny Twitter v. Scoble 1.0 will be ready to roll sometime late Sunday/early Monday.

    Hope you are feeling 100% again!

  10. Hey Robert,

    Thanks for taking a look at Tiny Twitter… this is an app I put together after getting annoyed w/ the onslaught of Twitter SMS’s. Keep in mind it is a nights and weekend kinda thing and there are some known issues on the Nokia. Well, I think so anyway; I don’t have a Nokia device in hand… hey, Nokia if you are listening and want to lend a developer a hand I would love to get a N95 for “testing” 

    Anyway, on Nokia’s the full tweet content does not render and you have to expand to see it all (that’s kinda lame I know). Also, I do not let you browse links yet. I actually saw your tweet on this earlier today and started looking into it. If it can be done, it’ll get done this weekend and the Tiny Twitter v. Scoble 1.0 will be ready to roll sometime late Sunday/early Monday.

    Hope you are feeling 100% again!

  11. Robert -

    Check out mgmaps.com. It’s a version (unofficial) of Google Maps Mobile that recognizes the internal GPS of the N95. Your position will show up as a little blue thumbtack, and you can get directions and traffic and whatnot.

  12. Robert -

    Check out mgmaps.com. It’s a version (unofficial) of Google Maps Mobile that recognizes the internal GPS of the N95. Your position will show up as a little blue thumbtack, and you can get directions and traffic and whatnot.

  13. I wouldn’t know. I live in Canada
    http://digg.com/tech_news/Canada_Worse_than_3rd_World_Countries_when_it_comes_to_Mobile_Data_Access
    http://www.thomaspurves.com/2007/04/09/canada-worse-than-3rd-world-countries-when-it-comes-to-mobile-data-access/
    In Canada you get FOR. Fear of Rogers(my carrier).

    Rogers is the only network that can fully support the mobile internet. I think I tried it once for about 5 minutes, and I got an $80 surcharge on my next bill.

    Thanks but no thanks. Maybe in 20 years mobile apps will be popular and affordable in Canada. Until then I am going to use my iPhone for…. phone calls.

  14. I wouldn’t know. I live in Canada
    http://digg.com/tech_news/Canada_Worse_than_3rd_World_Countries_when_it_comes_to_Mobile_Data_Access
    http://www.thomaspurves.com/2007/04/09/canada-worse-than-3rd-world-countries-when-it-comes-to-mobile-data-access/
    In Canada you get FOR. Fear of Rogers(my carrier).

    Rogers is the only network that can fully support the mobile internet. I think I tried it once for about 5 minutes, and I got an $80 surcharge on my next bill.

    Thanks but no thanks. Maybe in 20 years mobile apps will be popular and affordable in Canada. Until then I am going to use my iPhone for…. phone calls.

  15. I own a Blackberry 8700g. I found the IM+ Skype software. If you have a Skype account and internet capabilities on your cell, you can talk with Skype through your phones internet and cut down on minutes used on your cell phone plan quite a bit. It covers all U.S. and Canadian calls. Skype is around $30 a year and IM+ Skype is a one time fee of $30-$35 with updates free forever.

  16. I own a Blackberry 8700g. I found the IM+ Skype software. If you have a Skype account and internet capabilities on your cell, you can talk with Skype through your phones internet and cut down on minutes used on your cell phone plan quite a bit. It covers all U.S. and Canadian calls. Skype is around $30 a year and IM+ Skype is a one time fee of $30-$35 with updates free forever.

  17. well, mobile versions of flickr and facebook are OK, could be better. check out T9Space.com, it is a very good mobile formatting site. Also, Windows Live Search for Mobile rocks, the mapping, directions, lookups etc integrate nicely with contacts on windows mobile 6, and with windows live messenger on WM6. The google mobile mapping app is ok, could never get it to work with my GPS (microsoft’s did)

  18. Having owned several Nokia phones, and the supposed super cell – Razr – I’m convinced that the people who design these things don’t use cell phones at all! One of the reasons I now use a Treo is that despite being the Studebaker of cell phones, at least the software is decent. If Jobs ever loosens the padlock on the iPhone it could revolutionize cell usability.

  19. well, mobile versions of flickr and facebook are OK, could be better. check out T9Space.com, it is a very good mobile formatting site. Also, Windows Live Search for Mobile rocks, the mapping, directions, lookups etc integrate nicely with contacts on windows mobile 6, and with windows live messenger on WM6. The google mobile mapping app is ok, could never get it to work with my GPS (microsoft’s did)

  20. Having owned several Nokia phones, and the supposed super cell – Razr – I’m convinced that the people who design these things don’t use cell phones at all! One of the reasons I now use a Treo is that despite being the Studebaker of cell phones, at least the software is decent. If Jobs ever loosens the padlock on the iPhone it could revolutionize cell usability.

  21. Robert,

    Try Mobile Gmaps on the N95 so you can use the internal GPS and Google Maps. It is a great mashup that can be found here, http://www.mgmaps.com/download.php

    Doesn’t Google Reader appear as a listing of news with numbers next to each post so you can quickly jump to it, go to more (press 0), or mark all as read (press #)? I know that isn’t as slick as the desktop, but it’s not bad.

    I know you like Flikr so you may want to try out Zurfer on the N95 too, http://zurfer.research.yahoo.com/index.php

  22. Robert,

    Try Mobile Gmaps on the N95 so you can use the internal GPS and Google Maps. It is a great mashup that can be found here, http://www.mgmaps.com/download.php

    Doesn’t Google Reader appear as a listing of news with numbers next to each post so you can quickly jump to it, go to more (press 0), or mark all as read (press #)? I know that isn’t as slick as the desktop, but it’s not bad.

    I know you like Flikr so you may want to try out Zurfer on the N95 too, http://zurfer.research.yahoo.com/index.php

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