The seven best Windows Mobile downloads

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Your smartphone is simply a tiny PC, so to get the most out of it why not customise it with some free applications. We've rounded up the seven best, which you won't be able to live without.

Skype for Windows Mobile - Beat roaming charges

If you've traveled overseas with a mobile phone as your central means of communication, you very likely know the pain of being hit with exorbitant international roaming charges- even if it's your company footing the bill. Among the various ways to reduce those charges and the impact on your organisation's coffers, one of simplest is using a mobile VoIP client, like Skype for Windows Mobile, where available. (While the Skype mobile application is free of charge, you must pay for service plans to make certain calls. ) The software works on hundreds of different Windows Mobile Standard and Pocket PC (with touch screen) devices, and its mobile interface looks very similar to Skype's desktop PC software, known for being easy to use. One click on the Skype icon gives you access to your contacts. The application's main screen includes information such as presence status and missed calls, new chats and voicemail notifications. The app also supports multi-person calls, call forwarding, and SkypeIn (incoming calls from non-Skype users) and SkypeOut (outgoing calls to non-Skype users). Skype-to-Skype, or calls between two users of the software, is free.

Note: You need a 3G or Wi-Fi-enabled handset with a high-speed wireless connection to use Skype for Windows Mobile. A minimum of 12MB of free storage memory, or 6MB if you are installing from a memory card, is also required.

Opera Mini - Browse the mobile web better

All web-enabled Windows Mobile devices come equipped with some version of the Windows Internet Explorer Mobile browser, but why stick to the basics? Opera Mini, is a free browser that runs on most Windows Mobile devices, offers a number of valuable options.

For instance, you can switch the orientation of your device's screen while browsing from standard (vertical) to landscape (horizontal) by hitting the hash (#) key at any time. Or, you can set the default orientation setting to landscape to always view pages horizontally. Just like the browser on your desktop computer, Opera Mini gives you a tiny cursor that you can move around to any spot or link on a page, instead of having to scroll up and down to get to the links you want. Alternatively, you can also use the numeric keypad to move around a page with Opera Mini; for example, the 2 key scrolls up and the 8 key scrolls down.

The browser uses a "Small Screen Rendering" function to fit any webpage to your display, whether or not that page is WAP-optimised for mobile devices, so you don't have to scroll back and forth to see the full content. And because Opera Mini compresses the webpage data before sending it, the content is delivered more rapidly- and costs less, for those of you without unlimited data plans, because that content is squeezed into smaller packets. Opera Mini even helps you decide where to begin reading the content on a specific page: The "Suggested Starting Points" feature first shows you a page overview - a zoomed out view that shows the entire webpage layout - and then positions the browser over the spot that it deems most relevant. Click your browser's Enter key once to zoom into the recommend spot.

Final bonus: You can easily sync the bookmarks from your PC's browser to your phone using the company's Opera Link service.

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Al Sacco

PC Advisor (UK)

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