Tag Archives: PPC

SPB Mobile Shell 3.5 For Windows Mobile Phones.

SPB Mobile Shell is a user interface for Windows Mobile Professional (touchscreen phones) that implements touch navigation, widgets, and multiple pages to put more functionality at your fingertips.

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Convert movies for your iPhone

Convert Movies for your iPhone.

Apple iPhone Corinne Schulz

I’m not sure how you people can watch movies and TV shows on those little screens, but you sure are doing it! Every time I turn around on the bus or in the airport, somebody is watching video on her iPod. (If she’s supercool, she’s watching it on her new iPhone.)

It’s easy to buy videos designed to view on those little screens, of course, but if you want to get your own DVDs and Web movies onto your iPod or iPhone, you’ll have to dive into the wide world of video converters.

The first thing you should know is that most commercial DVDs are copyright-protected and to break that copyright protection is a legal violation in many countries, including the U.S. None of the software on CNET Download.com will “crack” encrypted DVDs.

The second thing to know is that iTunes itself is a decent converting tool. Simply select a file from your video list, right-click it, and choose “Convert Selection for iPod” to create an MP4 movie. If you’re dealing with Web video or DVDs, however, you’ll likely need another conversion tool. Also, in my experience, iTunes conversion is mighty slow.

The iPhone and most video iPods support two basic video formats: MPEG-4 (.mp4 and .m4v) and MOV (QuickTime). The truth is that converting video files is all a matter of managing free codecs, and many programs will accomplish the same goal, but I’ve found a few interfaces and functionalities that I like.

Plato DVD to iPod ConverterPlato DVD to iPod Converter

(Credit: Plato Global Creativity)

The most user-friendly tool I’ve found for ripping a DVD into an MP4 file for the iPod or iPhone is the free Plato DVD to iPod Converter. Simply hit Open, select your DVD location, and hit OK. You’ll have an iPod-ready video before you know it.

An excellent bare-bones option for converting video formats is the slightly confusing Kate’s Video Converter. It includes everything you need to transform video into MP4 or MOV files, but you may have to experiment a bit to find the codec you need.

One of the more interesting video converters I’ve seen recently is CinemaForgeLite, a tool for grabbing Web movies from sites like YouTube and transforming them into iPod-ready video files. A simple wizard walks you through the process, or an advanced interface lets you customize settings like frame size and bit rate. It seems to work best on YouTube and major video-sharing sites.

Where to Get the Cheapest Mobile Data Plans.

Stacey Higginbotham

We’ve talked about how popular wireless broadband is for a growing spectrum of the population. I personally would give up my iPod before my 3G USB modem. But how much bandwidth can you really get? DSL Reports recently noted that Canadian wireless provider Telus is backtracking on its original unlimited wireless broadband plan and capping users at 1GB for $65. That has some rural users in a tizzy since they use it for their home network. I’d be in a tizzy too, since I use my modem whenever I travel or visit coffee shops rather than pay for Wi-Fi.

In the U.S., Sprint started enforcing a 5 GB data cap on unlimited plans in May; since few people reached those caps the wider consumer market hasn’t protested. But with the iPhone, reasonably priced 3G data plans and the carrier focus on increasing data usage, how long before consumers believe 5GB isn’t enough?

As this article from the Register makes clear, wireless broadband is pricier to deploy than fiber or DSL, and as more people use it, carriers need to upgrade their networks via new infrastructure (base stations and backhaul) and buy more spectrum. That’s expensive, which means that limits –even on potentially fat LTE networks– could be here to stay. Here are details on a few North American mobile broadband plans to show how much you can get for your dollar or loonie. If anyone can help me with Telcel’s plans, I’ll add those too.

Verizon Wireless: 5GB data plans range from $24.99 to $44.99 for phones and are $59.99 for wireless modems.

AT&T: 5 GB data plans range from $30 for unlimited personal use to $60 for unlimited use plus tethering for phones and $60 for wireless data cards.

T-Mobile: Unlimited data plans for phones range from $29.99 for the Sidekick to $89.99 for an enterprise BlackBerry plan. Unlimited data cards are available for $49.99 a month, but they only work on the EDGE network.

Sprint: Has an 5GB wireless data plan for phone included in its $99 Simply Everything plan or as part of two other plans that range from $69.99 to $169.99. Wireless card users pay $59.99 a month for up to 5 GB.

Rogers Communications: Offers data card plans for $100 that give users up to 6 GB and costs 50 cents for each MB over the limit.

Bell Canada: Offers up to 5 GB for $80 a month for data cards and 1GB for data on smart phones for $100. It sells a $10 unlimited data plan with the Samsung Instinct phone.

Updated with more plans:

Leap Wireless: As keith pointed out in the comments, Cricket has a 5 GB data card plan for $40.

AT&T GoPhone: Kevin over at jkontherun drew my attention to the prepaid AT&T GoPhone’s data plan for $20 a month. It has the same 5GB cap and requires you to pop out the SIM card, but it’s a steal.

Skype and Windows Mobile Devices..

Changes to our mobile lineup.
By Peter Parkes.

The last couple of weeks have been busy in the world of Skype on mobile. We’ve announced our partnership with Verizon in the US to deliver free Skype-to-Skype calls in the US and internationally to its 91 million subscribers – a significant step.

As part of our continual review of our mobile range, we’ve decided to make a few changes to our lineup. Skype Lite and Skype for Windows Phones are no longer available for download. This isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly, but the reason is simple. Neither of these apps offered a great Skype experience.

Skype Lite only works in a small number of countries. Where it does work, making a call requires you to use up your allocation of minutes from your mobile network, making the Skype-to-Skype calls sort-of-free-per-minute rather than actually-free-per-minute. And with the latest version of the Windows Mobile OS, it’s been increasingly challenging for us to maintain an app which behaves as you’d expect on a wide range of handsets without working with a mobile operator partner.

And that’s why we’ve removed these apps from our site. However, if you already use one of these apps, you can carry on using it – we’re not disabling them. If that’s the case, we’re assuming that you’re aware of its limitations, so we don’t want to prevent you from carrying on. Additionally, where we can work with mobile operators to make these apps work well – which is what we’re doing with Verizon – we’ll do just that.

Finally, where we can make downloadable Skype apps truly great, we’ll shout from the rooftops. And if you haven’t already tried it yet, you should try Skype for Symbian. It works on over 200 million smartphones – yours may just be among them. Alternatively, if your phone isn’t on our list of supported devices, you should grab a Skype To Go number to make great value calls to phones abroad.