The Mobile Web - Search, Mail, Maps, RSS and More

You have a Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-connected PDA, and you want to check your favorite websites. The chances are that you will be disappointed

The mobile web is not the same as the regular web you see on your laptop or a desktop PC right now. Everybody who has ever peered into the small screen trying to decipher the minuscule font know what the difference is. If you check a regular website on your PDA (or even worse, a cell phone), you had better be ready for a lot of scrolling up and down on the small screen.

With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that comes standard on most new PDAs, the mobile web will be an essential part of the lives of more and more people.

Mobile Portals

Here we have to choose among the 3 Internet giants - Yahoo, Google and MSN.

All three have something that they do best and unfortunately all 3 lack some aspects which makes it necessary to use their competitors' service.

Click on the links below to see the difference between the regular Yahoo and the Mobile Yahoo, for example.

The focus of these mobile portals is mainly on:

Yahoo Mobile

Yahoo changed completely even the URL of their site - it is called WAP.OA,yahoo. It looks the best among the three with an easy choice for fonts and icons. Checking (and sending) email is a breeze with the simplified interface.

The search function and directions are decent. Why to bother checking Google and MSN at all then? Well, Yahoo does not do everything best. Their driving directions do not have a turn-by-turn maps (like MSN) and their search is not as good as Google's.
Yahoo Mobile is as simple as the regular Google and this is its biggest selling point (no banners or text ads unlike the regular Yahoo).

MSN Mobile

Maps are the best (if they can just make the font larger...). Their step-by-step driving directions are really nice and here MSN shines over its two competitors which rely just on plain-text directions.
The good old Hotmail is simplified in the same was as Yahoo's mail.
Windows Media offers streaming radio and video which is entertaining if you have Wi-Fi on your PDA, it is probably a bit slow on Bluetooth.

Google Mobile

Local Search and the driving directions can be a life-saver. If they can just make Google Maps to work with Pocket Internet Explorer... Mobile Gmail is available on

Optimize any website for mobile

You can enter any web address (URL) in Google Mobile Content Proxy and see a stripped-down version, optimized for PDA and cell phone screens:

Other maps for PDA

MapQuest PDA portal is not useful, the font is too tiny and there are no maps on the driving directions (like Yahoo and Google but unlike MSN). The paper map leader Rand McNally has a decent website but no PDA portal at all.

Ask Mobile

RSS Reader


The online reader Bloglines (bought by Ask Jeeves recently) is the best. It is easy to use and the font is ideal for mobile devices.


UpToDate mobile wins hands down. The drawback? You have to pay an yearly subscription to use it.

Epocrates MobileCME (free) is a promising endeavor. Dr. Rose's Peripheral Brain is a project based on the clinical notes of a single physician from the Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington

HP iPAQ Mobile
Mobile Sites - Dave's iPaq
PDA Hotspots
Ohhh. The pain, the pain: The Bluetooth pain - ZDNet, see the photocast here

Created: 2006
Updated: 01/09/2007

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