Published July 05, 2007
Do you have iPhone envy?
Are you looking at your current phone and thinking: "I wish I could have an iPhone. Those iPhones, I've heard, are darn pretty hot."
Fortunately, there's software that can enable many phones with some, if not all, of the features that Steve Jobs has shown on his fancy magic slab. And all of this comes at a fraction of the price of the iPhone.
iTunes integration: The ultimate iTunes integration — actual compatibility with everything including purchased music — comes on Motorola's SLVR L7 phone.
Tea Vui Huang's popular Mass Storage Synchronizer lets you sync (non-purchased) iTunes music onto Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Palm Treo phones.
On other phones including the Motorola RAZR V3xx, you can use Nutsie, a software application that streams a subset of your iTunes library to you over the air.
iSync: Sure, the iPhone syncs nicely with Macs. But so do many other phones listed here, especially models from Motorola and Nokia. I like the Nokia N80 and E61i, for instance.
Safari: Nokia's smartphones, such as the E61i and N95, actually run a Web browser derived from the same engine as Safari. Other phones, though, can get full Web browsing power by loading up Opera Mini.
In some ways, Opera Mini is even better than a "desktop-class" browser for devices with very small screens because it reformats pages into one long column and collapses menus and navigation bars to reduce scrolling.
Google Maps: You've probably seem the smart-looking Google Maps iPhone ad on TV. But actually, this feature isn't so special. Everybody can do that — Google Local for Mobile is compatible with many, many phones. On the Helio Ocean, Google Local even combines with GPS to show the attractions right near where you're standing, right now.
Podcasts: Apple's iPod popularized podcasting, otherwise known as online radio shows that you can take with you. But iTunes is not the only software pushing podcasts onto phones. Melodeo has gone even further with its Mobilcast client.
The new version 5 promises better sound quality and runs on a slew of Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones. With it, you can stream podcasts or download them for later listening when you lack a cell signal.
Visual Voicemail: Blackberries get the closest to Apple's Visual Voicemail service thanks to SimulSays from SimulScribe, a service that both transcribes your voicemail messages and lets you step through them in a list.
But any phone can take advantage of SimulScribe, which doesn't do the list but sends you your voice mails as e-mails or text messages so you never have to dial in again.
Okay. So maybe this won't give your phone a 3.5-inch screen or "multi-touch" interface, but at least you won't be absolutely seething with jealousy.
Anyway, who knows how this iPhone thing will actually perform? Maybe you'll feel you got the better end of the deal with your own pumped-up phone.
Copyright © 2007 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Ziff Davis Media Inc. is prohibited.