Networking PDAs: The software side

By Jeffrey Fritz, |  Hardware

tml">Last time, we discussed various hardware options for connecting Palm OS,
Windows CE, and other PDAs to a network. Of course, hardware is only half of the
battle. To network anything you need a combination of hardware and software. Whether
you own a Windows CE device or one of the Palm platforms, your PDA can play on your LAN
nearly as well as desktop machines or laptops.

Don't assume, however, that all the network software you need is in the PDA box.
Although network applications come preinstalled on many PDAs, they may not be enough to
get the job done.

Let's start with Windows CE and Pocket PC devices. While Windows CE may look a lot
like Windows 9x, many of its preinstalled applications support networking in a quirky
fashion. For example, the built-in CE version of Internet Explorer is slow and has such
limited security capabilities that sites that require strong encryption, like certain
Web banks, may lock you out.

Then there's the matter of matching the network software to the specific processor
inside your Windows CE device. If the software doesn't support the processor in your
PDA, it won't run properly. CE download sites usually list the processors their
software works with.

Fortunately, there is CE networking software readily available that is more robust
than what is available out of the box. For example, href="">Foliage Software Systems'
iBrowser is a full-featured Web browser developed for use on Windows CE systems.

In addition, Ruksun
Software Technologies
has released a number of Windows CE-based network
applications, including:

  • Messenger Force, an instant messenger application
  • Scotty FTP, a graphical FTP client
  • Telnet Force, a Telnet client with VT100 emulation
  • News Force, an offline Usenet news reader
  • IMAP Force, an enhanced email package that supports both IMAP and POP3

River Run's Mail on the Run!
doesn't interface directly with a mail server. Instead, it uses a PC as an intermediary
between the PDA and the mail server. This may not suit your needs, though, considering
that you can simply launch a POP3 or IMAP4 client on the PDA and get a simpler, cleaner
direct connection.

Look for other packages at href="">, href="">ce4you, and href="">

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