How to Turn your Mobile Phone into a Tiny Laptop

I do a lot of bus riding, a bunch of waiting around in lines, and often find myself sitting on park benches. I’m not sure why I find myself in these predicaments so often, but I think that I wait in the lines so that I can get on the bus, which takes me to the park bench. Anyway, the point is that I’m often sitting around with nothing to do, and I don’t always carry around my laptop (I like to stay light on my feet and keep a cool, carefree attitude about me, as to hopefully distract the public eye from my growing gut and balding topical regions.)

I used to while away this time kicking a rock at another rock, but as I’ve grown more and more entwined (read: surgically implanted) into the world of Internet and computing in general, I’ve found myself exploring the options on my mobile phone for quite some time. Now, before the flood of comments come in about how you could just get a PDA and have an actual OS that runs Word, Excel, etc. let me remind you – PDAs are for losers. Please re-read this entire blog from Post 1 and realize that I (clearing throat) am most definitely a winner. Enough with the arrogance and on to the “How to Turn your Mobile Phone into a Tiny Laptop”.

  • Step 1: While you might assume that Step 1 would be “Place Phone on your Lap,” you’d not only be wrong, you’d be choke full of good-natured sarcasm (at best) or silly stupidity (at bestest). There won’t be any steps per se, as you can pick and choose from which of the features below you’ll like (per se.)
  • Gmail. The best thing happening with Internet Email is also the best thing to happen to Mobile Phone Email. Reasons to use Gmail on your PC? Check here or here or here or … you get the picture. When it comes to your phone though, being able to check email with all of the features you’d expect (Reply, Reply to All, Mark as SPAM, Trash, Search, and more), and getting it done very quickly, nothing beats Gmail Mobile. They claim that it works on nearly all devices, too. My girlfriend can’t get it to work on her phone, however, but I suspect it’s because she has no Java client. Therefore, all devices = all devices that support Java. To get it, point your phone’s browser to
  • Google Maps. This little application actually works better on my phone than it does on my laptop – faster zoom in/out and panning of maps and at least as fast search results. You get 9 results at a time, controlled by the numbers on your phone, and you can search quickly by using queries like “pizza.15206” or whatever ZIP code you’re in. In fact, this works so fast that I can typically bring it up on my phone at the beginning of a city block, do a search, and have directions by the end of the next block (and that’s traveling in a bus or car). Invaluable, get it by pointing your phone’s browser at
  • Opera Mini. Finally, you’ll most definitely want to browse the Interweb, to hit hot sites like and, no doubt. However, a lot of phones out there have crappy WAP browsers that break sites up in silly ways, don’t let you use any features more advanced than text, or scrunch images all up. Opera Mini does a wonderful job at bringing the web to your mobile phone. Point your phone’s browser to for the download!
  • GcalSync. Thought I was done with the Google references did you? Well, this particular app does use Google Calendar, however it isn’t sponsored by Google. Visit on your mobile and download the program. It allows you to set up a few options and then, using Java, syncs your phone’s calendar with your Google Calendar. Busy bodies away! Note: This requires you to give up your Gmail login info, which might not be the safest thing in the world. Also, this program seems to have major issues with keeping the network connected. A great alternative is to simply send a text message to GVENT from your phone, with the word Next in it to get Google to txt you back with the info for the next meeting in your calendar.

These are the features I’m currently using, which make my phone everything that my computer is (when I’m not using it for work.) Games? you ask. Well, try the trial version of Pac-Man.

Also, I have to recommend the Sprint Network for their new Video on Demand feature where you can watch things like The Colbert Show from anywhere in the wireless world!

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