Thursday, November 02, 2006
Google Mobile (Gmail Mobile) on a Treo 700p
Though I'm pretty happy with the mobile version of Gmail in my Treo browser, I am intrigued by Gmail Mobile which recently came out. Of course I immediately went to this site on my Treo, and found that "Your device does not support this filetype". (As an aside, this is true, read the FAQ: Verizon devices are not supported because the greedy bastards lock you into their "Buy-it-now" or whatever it's called version of BREW so you have to buy every Java app from them directly.)
Still, I don't like to pay for things and I do like to find new cool things to do with my Treo. Taking a look at the gm-Palm-Treo_700p.jad file that was downloaded, I found that it was a tiny text file that had as its first line:
ERROR: Gmail is not supported on your device
Hmm. It did, however contain a link to a JAR file, which I downloaded on my PC and attempted to launch. No go, which I guess is understandable.
OK, I have two possible approaches. One is to convert the JAD & JAR files into a PRC, which seems to be to be easiest. There are some instructions on Sun's site that tell you step by step how to do this and make it look as easy as possible: take your JAD & JAR files, run Converter.bat, and they magically become a PRC file that you can install. Unfortunately, the article is almost five years old, and in five years the MIDP has gone from version 1.0 to version 2.0 (heh, gotta love Sun) and it no longer includes Converter.bat or really anything recognizable from that article. As much as I would like to flip Verizon a big fat bird by easily installing a PRC, I am stymied at this time.
The other approach is to download "WebSphere Everyplace Micro Environment" from Palm and install it so you can run Java apps on your Treo. You will have to fill out a form (hint: say you're a developer and that you work for a corporation in order to get authorized; I remember signing up for this download before and failing) and pretend to have a Treo 650, but then you can download it. I installed the JVM itself (J9JavaVMMidp20) and the two JSR-172 files in case we need "Web Services" to get to Gmail. I then saw that IBM Java VM appeared in my program list. I launched it and clicked Install, and then began typing in the URL I discovered earlier. Then I hit a snag -- there is no underscore character on the Treo keyboard, and you can't hit Ctrl-Space to bring up the list of alternate characters, and there isn't even a paste button. Shit! So I typed http://www.gmail.com/app instead. This came back with an error "The application descriptor was missing the required MIDlet-Name field". Remembering the JAD file I had downloaded before, I noted that it actually did contain this field, so it wasn't that the file wasn't compatible; to prove this I typed http://sbreck.blogspot.com in the URL field and got the same error. Hmm. Do you think maybe Google did this to prevent Treo people from installing this? That would be devious. So I typed in the JAR file URL and what do you know? After a security warning, it came back with "AMS successfully installed "Gmail" midlet"!
I launched it, logged in, and it seemed to work fine! Very speedy and nice. Java is a bit weird because it doesn't really work that well with the Treo four-way navigation (like to highlight buttons) but I would probably use this instead of m.gmail.com going forward.
Plus it was the satisfaction of running a Java app without paying Verizon that made it extra great. Go, Google!
I ran into the underscore issue myself a while back...
After a little googling, I found that doing a "Opt - S - Alt" brings up a menu with some of the screwball characters... including the underscore.
Thanks for the instructions on this - when I feel like I'm firing on all 8 cyclinders, I'm going to have to try this.
Thanks for the post!
I think I read somewhere that you must install “IBM something” besides “Java bla bla”
I don’t know much about that but I know that I installed alternative mail client Movamail http://movamail.com/ an it woks wonders for me. Enjoy !
anonymous: thanks for the kind words.
sally: thanks for the tip, I think I have only pressed that accidentally which may be the only time I've ever seen that screen come up.
Hulsh: the WebSphere thing shows up in your Treo as IBM Java VM, so you're right.
all: sorry for the late reply, I followed some tip six months ago to send comments to a Google Group and then you could make an RSS feed of them. this clearly hasn't been working for the last six weeks so I haven't seen any comments at all... they are all just emailing me now so I can hopefully be more responsive.
This worked great for me. Getting the JVM installed to my desktop was the hardest - especially to find the two files I needed. But I found the two PRC files from the Palm Stuffit Download and I dragged and dropped them into my Palm Desktop Quick Install area, did a quick sync and JVM was on my Treo 700P. I then tried to install, had the same problem as you, but typed in the URL you gave and it installed fine with the same error message. Once you are able to to log into Gmail you need to press the center button on your Treo in order to enter user/name and password. After that it was smooth sailing. Thanks!
anon 12/29: the JAD file that the Treo tries to download was just a text file containing the link to the JAR file.
I don't even really care about gmail so much. I do want other java apps, though. The problem is I cannot even get java working on my 700p. I've read countless other forums and blogs. Its frustrating.
Should I delete them all and try to re-install?
everything installed, worked smoothly.
but then when it came to the last step, actually signing in, i could enter no text in the username & passowrd fields...
ANY IDEAS, ANYONE?
won't let me enter my own freeform info. whattup, anyone?
@ anon 2/06: press Menu, then Add New Email Address. I know, it's annoying. That's why I use m.gmail.com on Blazer instead of the java app usually :)
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