Best Connected Applications
- Freeware is indicated with asterisks
- All have versions for both Pocket PC and Smartphone unless otherwise noted
- Download directly to your device via the URL in parentheses after the name
*Live Search for Windows Mobile (m.live.com)
Live Search offers local search, maps, directions, Web search, and "instant answers" to questions you might have. The local search feature lets you search for local businesses, points of interest, restaurants, hotels, stores, and more. Search results include address and telephone number. You can save the information to contacts, get map directions, place a call, and more. You can use voice input when you're doing a local search.
*Yahoo Go 2.0 (get.go.yahoo.com)
In addition to maps and directions, Yahoo Go offers extensive local information, including weather, local news, movie theaters, and city guides for restaurants, lodging, parks, and shopping. It also includes a range of other Web sources related to your location, including Flickr photos, Web images, Wikipedia articles, mobile Web sites, and more.
*Google Maps (google.com/gmm)
This software offers interactive maps that let you zoom in or out on the map or move around in all directions. You can get detailed driving or walking directions, as well as live traffic updates for many major cities. The search results give local business locations and contact information, which can be integrated into your Contacts. And, as with the desktop version, you have the option of viewing your desired location via satellite imagery.
Aggregators of RSS and Other Content
Viigo gives you convenient access to news, sports, entertainment, weather, markets, blogs, or any RSS feed that you want. The site has a well organized Channel Library that lets you select from hundreds of sources of information.
In addition to being an RSS, podcast, and vidcast aggregator, mDigger also lets you gather content from regular mobile sites. It has a very helpful catalog of RSS feeds worldwide. You need to register on the site, set up your feeds, and download the application. mDigger downloads the full news story to your device such that you can read the news offline, and makes performance snappy.
*WorldMate mobile travel services
MobiMate offers free versions of their WorldMate travel software for Windows Mobile devices. This software provides travelers with features such as an itinerary viewer, global weather forecast, world clocks, a clothing size and measurement converter, a world day/night map, and a tip and tax calculator. The commercial version of the program adds real-time flight status, satellite weather imagery, and other features.
Handy Weather has weather news and forecasts for over 40,000 cities. It has a wide range of information for both current conditions and a 5-day forecast, and includes a feature that shows the trend for temperature. It offers various types of maps, including current temperature, satellite maps, and surface analysis maps.
*MSN Direct (phone.msndirect.com)
This freebie from Microsoft lets you conveniently access news, weather, and stocks on your home screen via live updates. To download directly to your device, point your mobile browser at phone.msndirect.com.
Better Measure is a unit and currency converter that includes a calculator and digital ruler. The currency converter is especially powerful because it supports over-the-air updating of exchange rates from the Internet. It uses RSS-CB (RSS for central banks), an extension of RSS feeds oriented for machine and application uses. Better Measure can connect to various World Bank or other RSS-CB compliant exchange rate feeds and is the first Windows Mobile application to support this relatively new standard.
vTap lets you search for videos on the Web and then play them on your device. It gives you access to the universe of Web video, including YouTube, Yahoo Video, and Metacafe. You simply type in a keyword, and as you enter letters, vTap immediately starts showing a list of results. This character-based incremental search expedites your search. When you select a search result, the video downloads to your device and plays in the vTap player.
Mobile Widget Platforms
Zumobi widgets are called "tiles."Â The default set of 16 tiles includes AccuWeather, stock quotes, AP national news, AP sports, Flickr, MTV movie news, and even a couple games. The Zumobi interface presents all of the tiles on the home screen and makes it simple and quick to zoom in on particular tiles. You can go to the gallery on the Zumobi Web site to select from scores of additional tiles in 10 categories to create a set of 16 tiles that most suits your interests.
*Yahoo Go (get.go.yahoo.com)
Yahoo Go 2.0 offers a number of widgets for news, sports, weather, entertainment news, finance, and more. And it gives convenient access to Yahoo oneSearch, which is a mobile-optimized search engine. And if you have a personalized Yahoo account, you can use Yahoo Go 2.0 to access items such as your Yahoo e-mail, calendar, and stock portfolio. But Yahoo Go 2.0 has a fixed number of components, where the soon-to-be released Yahoo Go 3.0 is a more open widget platform, with many more widgets available, including eBay, MySpace, and MTV. You also have the ability to customize which widgets you want.