Seeking real Java software
February 20, 2007 5:07 AM   Subscribe

How can I find real Java software for a Motorola SLVR L7? I've only ever seen stupid games. I need a PDF reader, a text editor, and a French-English dictionary, or else dictd and a dict client.

Yes, I've used for the dictionary but its quite painful in Motorola's browser, and data has just become expensive for me.

As a separate matter, does anyone have any opinions about Symbian vs. Linux phones? I'd kinda like my next phone to run pdflatex and a spell checker.
posted by jeffburdges to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Remember that the version of Java on your phone isn't 'real' Java in the desktop sense. It's a stripped-down version called J2ME which places a lot of restrictions on what actions you can perform.

For reasons of security, J2ME apps run in a 'sandbox' which isolates them from the rest of the phone. It is very difficult to access, for example, the phone's internal functions (camera, phonebook etc.) from within a Java app. Accessing the filesystem is also a very difficult to do and almost impossible to do reliably between handset platforms.

Therefore, the kind of application you require is best served with a native application (ie one written for your specific handset) which has full access to the filesystem and will run *much* faster. Smasung phones, for example, come bundled with Picsel reader which handles PDFs. Unfortunately, Motorola handsets are still a very small market. The kind of apps you require are all available as native Nokia Series40/60 downloads, but few developers bother to make native Moto apps - there just isn't the market.

That said, have you had a browse through Handango or GetJar? I know of at least one J2ME PDF reader but, having just tested it, it will only run on older Siemens handsets. Here's a free French-English translator.

With regards to your second question, I really like Symbian as an O/S and there's tons of software to choose from. There's not a not of choice with regards to Linux phones at the moment - ironically, Motorola are probably the biggest player in the Linux phone market. You may want to keep an eye on the Neo1973 project - you'll be able to compile your own apps for it.

I hesitate to suggest this, but a Windows smartphone would do almost everything you require out of the box...
posted by blag at 7:59 AM on February 20, 2007

You didn't mention email. I can only suggest one application, if only because it's the only one I care to mess around with on my older Moto phone. Gmail for mobile application (the link on the right), is the greatest java thing for your mobile since sliced bread.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:42 AM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ahh, I see, I didn't know J2ME was soo limited. GetJar looks useful, thanks.

I didn't mention email since the SLVR has well integrated email, but gmail sounds quite nice. I've sadly not found SSL support in the client, so it might not support gmail's pop3 or smtp. fyi, I've seen an ssh client but the SLVR has no WiFi.

What is available for Windows smartphones but not Symbian? I can't imagine pdflatex runs on either. I'd assume both Windows and Symbian have pdf viewers, text editors, spell checkers, dictionaries, and ssh?

Also, does anyone have any opinions about stylus vs. keys? I've never used a stylus device before.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:41 PM on February 20, 2007

It doesn't need WiFi, just GPRS. Which, if you are complaining about data rates getting expensive, I think you have. Have you actually tried using MidpSSH?

On the ringtone question you also asked here, go for constant bit rate, either 32 or 64 kbps, possibly mono.
posted by xueexueg at 3:54 PM on February 20, 2007

You mean as an mp3? I've got little keys next to ringtones. This suggests that PC software is required to set ringtones.

I'm avaoiding any significant data usage for now, just switched from a French contract to a UK pay-to-talk. Vodafone is about 7.5 £ per meg, like 14 $ per meg! O2 has better pay-to-talk data deals, but they are mini-contracts and quite limited.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:38 PM on February 20, 2007

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