As handhelds become increasingly wirelessly enabled, there is a growing need for a new way for developers to distribute their Pocket PC applications. Currently they can use CAB files but this method has several drawbacks. Spb Software House thinks it has a better way in Spb AirSetup, which the company hopes will become the de-facto standard for over-the-air Pocket PC application distribution.
Pocket PC CAB files have no compression, which means downloads can be quite large. Most people using GPRS are still paying by the megabyte, so even downloading a free trial can end up costing the user money. This discourages users from using wireless devices to download trial applications, not something developers want.
CAB installs also lack the ability to present the user with the choice of install location. Many Pocket PC users prefer to install software onto memory cards. Especially in the case of many Pocket PC Phone Edition devices with 32 MB of RAM, installing applications onto a Storage card is a must.
Finally, CAB installs lack the ability to present the user with an End-User License Agreement (EULA). This agreement is important to developers because it protects them from potential legal complications.
Spb AirSetup has none of these drawbacks. First, it compresses CAB files, cutting down on the file size and the time required to download. Spb Software House says that, in internal testing, CAB file sizes shrunk anywhere from 24% to 47% in size, and further savings are possible depending on the nature of the CAB install.
Second, it allows the developer to specify the location of the application install, or to give the user an option of internal RAM or any system Storage card. And third, it provides an integrated EULA and HTML-based Read Me file. This allows developers to present a trial install guide, help file, or any other support materials.
No special software is needed on the handheld and, of course, it doesn’t cost people installing the apps anything. For $100, developers can use Spb AirSetup to create an unlimited number of install packages for distribution.