First of all the Incognito is a US$130 no-contract mobile phone that runs java apps rather than a rather expensive, full GNU/Linux, Debian based handheld, can it really replace an n800 (untethered)?
What it has going for it built in, besides unlimited voice, text etc:
CDMA Data ( mobile internets that are not too slow )
Multi-server email client (pop/imap)
60MB builtin storage for apps and stuff, Micro SDHC Card Slot
Where this device really shines is in the generous 60MB storage for apps if you use an SDHC card for music, pix, and whatever. Considering that most java apps are about 250KB you can have LOTS of software installed. There are a few caveats…
MY FIRST QUEST
The built in MP3 player is basic at best. You can point it to a folder of songs and it will play them in order of filename or tag. **No shuffle** There is a nice EQ and it supports a bluetooth stereo headset quite nicely with AVCRP controls like volume and track navigation. I had to replace this because having a shuffling mode makes a large collection of MP3s is more enjoyable for me. This is where my troubles began…
THE JAR AND THE JAD
I searched google for “j2me mp3″ and many results came up, and I was really excited because I thought I could load all of these programs on my phone and find something suitable. Some download links pointed to a “.jar” file. the Incognito will not install these and you will have to find a “.jad” type file download link. “.jad” is really just a description of the “.jar” file and is just a plain-text file that you can look through. The “.jad” has some important information that can keep you from installing a new program or cause a headache. The only player I found to work well on the Incognito was KDPlayer by Knyzhov Dmitry version 0.5.6. The problem was that the links on the website contain no “.jad” and I really did not know how to generate one. With a little more searching I found another site that had the file with an accompanying “.jad” but there was another problem I receive an error message about an “Invalid Descriptor”. I downloaded the .jad and .jar files and opened the .jad in a text editor. There was a bad url in the .jad file. The “MIDlet-Jar-URL:” line should point to the file without any http://website.com/address/ stuff. I made the line read
and put the KDPlayer.jar and KDPlayer.jad files in my own little webserver and pointed my phones browser to the .jad and got the app installed. When you first run it, it should ask for permissions to access Multimedia.
KDPlayer is an ok shuffle player but getting it to shuffle requires a Fn-U key-combo to make the number “7″. Also don’t bother making a playlist of over 100 files or the program will take a long time to load it when you start. Instead go into the “Settings”, turn off “read tags” (optionally turn on autostart) and Save those settings. Select “Folders for Scanning” and use the menu button to “Add” a folder. Accessing the SDHC card is tricky as you may only see the internal storage folders listed. Hit the Menu button and select “Back” until you get to the root of the device where you will finally see the “MemoryCard” and select the folder you have your music in. Playing mp3’s with a bluetooth stereo headset on a modern phone is a snap and I dont have the frequent skipping or crash issues I had on my n800.
Unfortunately the version of KDPlayer I ran will not let me advance songs with my bluetooth headset, perhaps a more recent version will have this feature? Otherwise it has become my main squeezebox. The other players I tried were LyricShow, but that player quits when I close the clamshell, but it could be fun for impromptu karaoke duets, and Evan MP3 player crashes on this phone.
SNAPPY MAPPING APP
Mobile GMaps works great on this phone. Use the “unsigned .jad” link on http://wap.mgmaps.com/ from your browser. The signed jad files will often give you a 909 error with something to do with a licence to access certain features of the phone. With the unsigned jad you can allow access to most of the phones features once you run the program. The text in the maps is very easy to read and exploring a map is very smooth. You can use the great open street maps or yahoo maps. Somet things that I learned about Open Street Maps project are that the maps are continuously edited by a very dedicated community of contributors. They can update the maps very quickly and were able to respond during the Hurricane Katrina disaster by describing blocked routes quickly to aid relief workers. Another important point is that commercial maps often contain errors on purpose as a primitive and annoying means of proving copyright. Open Street Maps seeks rather to provide the most useful and accurate maps without such nonsense! Check out their wiki.
The built-in web browser is a bit lacking and only displays mobile formatted pages. I found OperaMini to be much more like browsing on a computer. OperMini cheats in a way by sending web page requests to a server that does the actual request and reformats the page to render on the phone through OperaMini. There is no flash support for web applications but youtube videos run well as OperaMini utilizes the phone’s media player to render video.
Free-to-move around, free as in beer but not really freedom.
The biggest problem with many of the applications for a phone like this are that it is mostly proprietary software that may be free-as-in-free-beer, but the code is not accessible to the community. Many of them are infrequently maintained or abandoned by their developers. On the Nokia 800, it was great to have great Debian-style repositories filled with lots of useful little free apps, but mobile devices such as the n800, n900, and (even jailbroken) iPhone have very locked-down hardware which means that even GPL licensed software binary gets put in a “Debian-style” repository but without access to the source that can be compiled to actually work on that device! Cydia on the jailbroken iPhone is an example where apps like MAME somehow become Adware! Look and see if you can find a link to the developer who ported the software to the device and try to access the modified source!
But there is hope! May the source be with you, always!
That said, I have to mention some really great, truly Free Software does exist for our phones. jmIrc is a well written app that lets you chat on iRC. Setup was easy and it runs fine in the background. If you use Bitlbee you can pipe all of your chat networks (aim, msn, gtalk, jabber, .mac) into an iRC session too! If you just want a dedicated ICQ client, give Jimm a try. Want to access a remote computer via SSH or telnet shell?! midpSSH does a great job and there is something quite empowering about a remote shell to ones favourite server from a $50 no-contract phone! A nice car-racing game was recently made free by GPLv3 license called Opposite Lock! The “Nokia 6630, Sony Ericsson K750″ version works fine on the Sanyo Incognito too. It features 8 player bluetooth mode, but I have not had a chance to try that yet. There are lots of Free Software projects being developed for our little phones. Search the web for “GPL j2me” and let me know what useful apps you find!
A 909 state and unsigning an application.
If you run into an app that you really want to try and you get a “909 Authentication” error you can still install the app if you can get both the .jar and .jad files. Simply remove the sections of the .jad that contain the key information:
MIDlet-Jar-RSA-SHA1: <lots of scrambled text>
MIDlet-Certificate-1-1: <lots of scrambled text>
MIDlet-Certificate-1-2: <lots of scrambled text>
put the .jar and the modified .jad in a web-accessible server and point your phones web-browser to it!
See this page for more info about all this ruckus.
with a no-contract little phone with a qwerty keyboard, I can now do a lot on the run. I had no (cheap) way to access the internet on my n800 when not near wifi, but now I have the interwebs all the time and music too.