Unfortunately, right out of the box, my Pocket PC doesn’t do everything I would like. So, I’ve put together a list of applications that you can install to “close the gap” in functionality. Most of the ones I’ve found are freeware and do a great job. I’m running these apps on my Dell Axim X30 624MHz running Windows Mobile 2003.
This little app is part of the standard Dell build. It’s not part of the operating system. One flaw in the WM2003 OS that you’ll hear many people complain about is that when you click the “X” in the upper right corner of the app, it doesn’t actually close the program. It basically minimizes it. The switcher bar app allows you to see all the current running programs and “switch” to them and actually close them down. It also allows you to close all apps and adjust brightness and power settings.
Resco Picture Viewer
The program is also provided for free on the Dell Axim install CD. While WM2003 comes with a picture viewer, it is v e r y s l o w. The Resco Picture View is much faster at loading and has many more options and features. Really check this out.
Another thing I was disappointed with was the appointment alarms. I’m not talking about the three alarms you can set, I’m talking about when you set an appointment in the calendar an you want it to remind you about it. The horrible thing is that the alarm goes off
at the current volume setting. There is no independent control. I like to have the volume set at about the mid point. Any louder than that and it gets annoying for normal use. However, I would like the alarms to go off at the highest volume so I can hear it in my pocket. This is where appReminder+ comes in. It lets you customize the alerts’ volume levels and even set it up to repeat a number of times. Absolutely essential program.
This is a great contact plug-in that allows you to generate the DTMF tones for the phone number of the selected contact. Just tap and hold on the contact and select dialDTMF from the context menu. Then just hold your Pocket PC up to the phone and it dials for you. It has an INI file that you can customize for different locals and even set up a calling card profile.
If you’ve got WiFi on your handheld, then you will want to check out this program. It works much like the desktop/laptop version (Netstumber) by sniffing out WiFi access points. If you have a GPS attached, you can also log the location. This is a lot of fun to play around with. I was completely amazed at how many I could pick up.
A very simple program that lets you do numeric conversions. You can even setup your own custom units.
Pocket Streets and Trips
The desktop version of Microsoft Streets and Trips is a fairly decent mapping and routing program, especially for the price. I picked it up at Sam’s Club for under $20. However, what you may not know is that it comes with the Pocket PC version for free. I was pretty impressed what you could do with the Pocket version. Using the desktop version, you select
the region you want on your Pocket PC, right click and generate the file. Then on the Pocket PC you can zoom and scroll and it also includes all of the Point of Interest (POI) data. The most surprising feature is that it has GPS support on the Pocket version too. I know there are better mapping programs out there, but for the price you really can’t beat it.
PHM Registry Editor
This obviously isn’t something I would use every day, but it’s handy to have on the rare occasion you need it. If you’ve never modified the registry on your desktop PC, then don’t worry about this program.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
A standard desktop program that nearly everyone has on their desktop. Why not the Pocket PC? A good compliment to Pocket Word and Excel.
I guess I wouldn’t necessarily call this “essential,” but it’s at least pretty cool. You can make Pocket PC to PC call for free. They also have their “Skypeout” service where you can make Pocket PC to Phone calls for very cheap. I’ve looked at other similar programs such as the Free World Dialup clients, but the problem is that they require a bunch of non-standard network ports to be opened up. Skype only requires port 80, and chances are, when you’re trying to make a call from Panera or Starbucks, you are guaranteed you can get through on port 80.