In this season of giving, we at BargainPDA would like to highlight a few websites that offer free and low cost software to deck your handheld with. Whether you use PalmOS or Windows Mobile; Dell, HP, palmOne, or others, you will want to take a look at these websites and support the many developers who make some great programs for your use. One thing to remember is that in some cases, you get what you pay for. In other cases, paying for something may be the worst thing that you can do if there is a better (read: free) alternative. Here is a list of a few websites to get you started on the road to jingling the change in you pocket.
Possibly the largest collection of handheld software that is completely free. The listings here are updated quite frequently, and one can usually find a few gems and a few jams (in a good sense). The quality of software on these websites is very much reflected in what is available through them. They also offer an easy search applet (via Google) for those times when you know the kind of application, but not its name.
Palm Open Source
For those looking for more developer and programming related freeware, Palm Open Source offers many applications. All of the software here is open source, meaning that programs can be freely distributed and edited (though any edits must be reported back to the original developer). Though much of the software is not as polished as some shareware that one may find on larger sites, it is nonetheless extremely effective if you have a specific need.
There is also a portal for those who use the PocketPC/Windows Mobile operating systems.
Palm Pilot Archives
Palm Pilot Archives is an old website. I can remember when I first got into PDAs and finding this website. The software here is part freeware (free), part shareware (trial, then pay), and part donationware (free, but developer asks for a donation). It is a portal to direct downloads, as well a link to many other developers and software websites for the PalmOS. There are also links here to software for other mobile and desktop operating systems.
Possibly the most popular suite of websites devoted to offering mobile computer software, PalmGear (PalmOS), PocketGear (PocketPC and Windows Mobile), SymbianGear (Symbian OS), and eReader (electronic books for all platforms) give a person access to the largest library of mobile computer software for download and/or purchase. Prices for software found on these website can range from free, to hundreds of dollars depending on the application. A strong characteristic of these websites is the ease in finding what you are looking for. If they have it, you will find it.
Another website that covers the gamut of mobile software availability is Mobile Ground. Mobile ground is a relatively new entry into the mobile software portal space. But, what it lacks in age, it makes up for in polish. There is an excellent layout and search function to Mobile Ground. There is also some content here that you will not find at Handango or the Motricity group websites. Much of the software here is low cost or free, making mobile ground a great place to sleigh this holiday season for mobile software for yourself or that techie on your list.
The final entry in our directory of mobile software websites is Handango. Much like Motricity and Mobile Ground, Handango features mobile software and electronic books for every platform PDA. The separating factor with Handango is its Amazon-like GoPass system that makes it extremely easy to setup and account, download software, redownload software, contact a developer on a software issue, or get updates to previously downloaded (and purchased) software. This flexibility, plus extraordinary support for wireless devices like the palmOne Treo 650 and HP iPAQ h6310, makes Handango an excellent place to shop for software for your PDA.
A final option for looking for mobile software includes finding the developer directly. Some mobile software developers have shopping carts on their website that can make it quite easy to purchase software. The spin here is that the developer recoups most of the purchase price instead of using a portal as a middle person (therefore paying fees). If you choose this route, just doing a search on Google or Yahoo (or some other search engine) will net you a direct line to the developer. And sometimes, you may be asked to beta test upcoming software and lend your opinion into making the software better for other users.