What good is a mobile device if you can’t get to your files? Sure, you can HotSync them to your handheld, but what if you’re away from the office and need that crucial document sitting on the server? Mobilefile ($49.95), the latest product from Cutting Edge Software, makers of Quickoffice, aims to solve that problem by providing a means to share your PC files and access them with your Palm Powered handheld, no matter where you are. So, we decided to give Mobilefile a go and see if it could help us with our file woes.
Here’s how Mobilefile works.
First, you install and configure Mobilefile Desktop software on your broadband Internet connected desktop or laptop computer. (It may take a little work to configure it to work with your router, as it did with us.) Next, you set up a “share” folder and simply drag files, copies of files, shortcuts to files, and shortcuts to folders into it. Then you install and configure Mobilefile on your Internet-connected Palm Powered handheld, which includes a Palm with a snap-on modem, a wireless modem “sled”, or a Treo, Kyocera, or Samsung smartphone — anything capable of establishing a TCP/IP-based connection to the Internet. (We set it up to work with a Palm m515 handheld using a snap-on modem and a HandEra 330 with an 802.11b Compact Flash card.)
Now you’re ready to use your Palm handheld to connect to your shared folder and access your files using Mobilefile. After connecting to your PC, your files will appear in two windows: one for the files stored locally on your handheld and another for the remote files in your PC’s share folder. From there it’s easy to retrieve files and send files to your share folder.
As with most wireless technologies, it can occasionally be a struggle to set it all up. But once you’ve configured your devices and software, you can finally enjoy it. And enjoy it we did. There are a few benefits of Mobilefile that are not readily apparent. For one thing, it virtually expands the Storage of your handheld, as long as you have enough space on your handheld to handle the document you’re retrieving. It also enables you to install applications directly on your handheld, or a fleet of handhelds, remotely, since Mobilefile handles PRC and PDB files. And if you’re working with Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, Mobilefile — in conjunction with Quickoffice — can automatically convert these documents. Plus, it’s also an excellent way to back up files from your Palm to your desktop, and you can share files — peer to peer –with other Mobilefile users using infrared.
In essence, Mobilefile is simply an easy-to-use FTP product for Palm Powered handhelds. But it’s an elegant tool that any mobile professional who’s left an important contract or presentation slides back at the office will find truly indispensable.