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Mobile devices application ideas.

Is there anyone working on creating applications for Mobile devices like PDA's and Java Enabled phones ? Considering the screen and memory/processor limitations, what do you feel are the various kinds of applications that make sense to develop. I'm basically working in 3d visualization and would like to know  whether 3d viewing makes sense , is there a need for it on such devices ? Any other ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

We are currently developing data acquisition and control software for Pocket PC's (imagine a tricorder).  The data handling aspect has an unlimited scope of possibilites with 2D/3D visualisation.  It is planned for the future as it would be extremely usefull to manipulate an view the data in various forms.  To date there are very few (~2) libraries to aid application development with better graphing and visualisation.  More choices would be good.  We would be very interested in applying an easy-to-use 3D library to our app. for viewing the logging of data in real-time.

The gaming/entertainment industry on the PPC is already developing real-time 3D apps.  Depending on your expertise, today's PDA's are full of power and potential to handle sophisticated applications.

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

What sort of library are the gaming guys using for creating 3d apps? Is it proprietary ? Do you have a good implementation of something like OPenGl for these devices ?

Coming back to your application , what sort of 3d viewing do you require ? Do you have triangulated data that you wish to render ?

Tuesday, March 4, 2003


To my knowledge most of the 3D games developed for PPC's are a hybrid of the released DOOM source and a bit of their own stuff.  Gapidraw is a popular library to handle the 2D stuff, and an easy platform to build on a 3D engine.  I can't say I've seen OpenGL stuff, but wouldn't doubt that some sort of an implementation exists.

While our current application deals with all data in general, a plug-in architecture still needs to be designed for more specific data handling and viewing.  GPS data for example will need to be handled within a 3D view.  AFAIK, our primary milestone is 2D, with 3D in the future after that.
All in due time.  And many long hours.  ;-\

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Yeah data acquisition.

If you get a reciept printer or scanner to
work with it and have access to the
corresponding printer/scanner access apis
you could also pull off a portal Point of sale (POS) station.

I have seen young adults do Pepsi taste tests out on Queen Street in Toronto with a Palm collection the results of the taste taste.

At expos in VAncouver I have seen actual POS systems.

But really if you don't need the mobility you couls save a crapola of trouble by using a laptop.

Li-fan Chen
Tuesday, March 4, 2003 is start-up that makes 3D gaming engines for handheld devices (like Pocket PC and Symbian cell phones). Their screenshots are pretty amazing, but I haven't seen a real demo.

Also, Macromedia has been beta-testing the Flash Player 6 for Pocket PC. I think it be released publicly in just a month or two.

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

To me, PDAs are ideal for holding collections of data.

I'd love to see a PDA application for downloading e-books from Project Gutenberg ( ), with which I can search for authors, genres, and titles that I want.  Select a title for download, and it's automagically downloaded to your Palm and set up for use with a good reading application.

There's interesting potential for games on the PDA, and I'm not thinking of first-person shooters.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, March 4, 2003

You're going to read a book on your Palm??

There are almost no apps of consequence on wireless. Most of the data capture, etc. will be custom. Games might be interested but latencies are so bad that it'll be tough to produce a decent networked game that needs speed.

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

I *have* read books on my Palm.

And I'm not thinking of networked games, either.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, March 4, 2003

I've seen some very neat games on Palm OS -- sure, there are lots of puzzle games and ports of old arcade games, but there are also some interesting concepts in cooperative gaming.  At PalmSource 2000, the game AutoPond was really popular -- it involved using IR beaming to collect items, but you had to go out and find people who had items you wanted to complete your goals.  When you "met" a new device, you would find out about any devices that one knew about, expanding your field of possibilities even more.

As for e-books, I use my PDAs for all sorts of reading.  My use here falls into a few quick categories:

1) Reference -- I can carry a large dictionary around with me all the time, and also things like the CIA World Fact Book.  A lot of people like having religious texts too.

2) Clippings.  If there are web sites that update frequently that I like to follow, having the articles synced to my device means I can check up on them when I have a free moment.  I use AvantGo to grab sites like Salon, The Motley Fool,, and the American Bar Association newsletter.

3) Short stories.  I like having a collection of stories from FictionWise on my device all the time.  I'll read one or two a night before going to sleep, or pass the time at lunch reading through them.

Another really neat application I've seen is a translator that lets you build up sentences for common activities in your local language, and not only does it translate it into another language, it provides an interface for the person to whom you are talking to answer the question in his or her native language, and it translated that back.

Just look at a site like to see a whole universe of apps that people have found to be useful.

Ben Combee
Wednesday, March 5, 2003

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