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Got a Treo

My phone has been a continued source of annoyance for me. I love how small it is. I love the big color screen. I love the EVDO internet connection, but that's about it. The rest just makes me angry. The reception is horrible, text messaging is worse, and I have now proven to myself that I never want a flip-phone again. They're just uncomfortable to use.

It was with this in mind that I placed a successful auction bid on a brand-new shiny Treo 755p, and received it yesterday. Having been a happy user of java-powered internet products(Opera Mini, Gmail, and Google Maps especially) on my phone for some time, i was a little put out when I saw that PalmOS doesn't come with support for java applications. After lots of running around, I determined that I would have to download a zipped package, install some "hotsync" crap on my PC, and hook the phone to that to get java installed.

That hurdle overcome, I installed Opera Mini. The browser that comes with the phone, called "Blazer!!1," is predictably pretty terrible. I don't understand what is with cellphone manufacturers and crappy, terrible web browsers. Do they just put something out, and say, "eh, whatever!" and just assume that nobody will ever use it? Anyway, I installed Opera Mini, and found that it crashed every time I ran it. When I searched for opera mini crashes, I found this page talking about changing settings for the installed version of java. I made these changes, and Opera Mini worked fine after that. Well, sort of.

The next step for me, and the one that produced the most frustration, was getting gmail's mobile application installed and working. It's another java application, and even gmail's own notes say that it will run(unsupported) on a Treo phone. However, if I load the page with the blazer web browser, there's a browser sniff that directs you immediately to an error message about the Treo not being supported, and no link for you! Using Opera Mini was little better. The page loaded, and gave me a download link, but the phone would freeze up and crash when I clicked on it.

For those of you that have no idea what any of what I'm about to say means, I apologize. Feel free to skip ahead to "It worked!"

After heaving back and forth for an hour or two, I got an idea. I loaded my webpage with Opera Mini on the phone, and tailed the access_log for the webserver to see what the $HTTP_USER_AGENT string was. Having copied that down, I installed the User Agent Switcher extension for Firefox, and changed my browser to identify as Opera Mini. The link to the file appeared, so I copied it into a simple page that I have for posting simple links. I then loaded that page with blazer on my phone, downloaded the file, and installed it successfully.

When I tried to launch it, I was given a nasty java error. So I searched again for "exception in static initializer" gmail, and found this usenet thread, from which I managed to paste the proper url into the page I mentioned before. I uninstalled the first version, and installed the second version.

It worked! I now have an almost fully-functional PDA phone. One that is not gigantic, has a high-speed connection, a big screen, a QWERTY keyboard, and all the apps I like to use.

5:54 PM, May 25, 2007

5 comments

tim cut in with:

Shoulda waited for an iPhone.

7:12 PM, May 25, 2007

bahua interrupted with:

The iPhone is only on Cingular, right? Yeah, no thanks. I'll take EV-DO now, please.

7:31 PM, May 25, 2007

Daniel Goldman commented:

Have you seen the Opera Mini Demo?

11:43 AM, May 28, 2007

bahua cut in with:

No I hadn't. That's pretty cool! Though it shows the font resizing, which appears to have gone away on the install I have on my phone. I would very much like to set the font as its smallest setting, but it seems that I cannot.

12:31 PM, May 28, 2007

ck took the time to say:

I've had the treo 650 for about 18 months now and love the gmail and google maps applications I have installed. Sorry to hear you had so much trouble getting things installed.

11:41 PM, May 28, 2007

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