How to: run 2 mobile gmail apps on the same phone

Do You have more than one Gmail account and java enabled mobile phone (probably 99% of phones on the market now), and you would like to conveniently access both (or more) accounts without having to logoff/login between them all the time?

There is a simple way to do it, you can have several gmail clients installed on your phone, each configured with different mailbox name and password. On phones that allow more than one java program running at the same time (89% of them do...) you can even keep several mailboxes open.

The only problem that keeps you from doing so, is the fact that most phones will not let you to install more than one instance of any java app. To overcome this, we need to edit java midlet name. While at it, you can also customize application icon, for example, to coincide with your avatar for that mailbox.

Ok, first, we need to get the .jar file, which is the actual body of the program. If you go to gmail.com/app using non-mobile browser, you will not get a download link for your phone model. I used Firefox addon, called " User Agent Switcher" to create simple UA filled with "x" in each field. This tricks google into thinking that we connect from unknown mobile browser and giving us a download link for a generic java app (not optimized for your specific phone). If you want to find app exactly for your phone model, then you need to find your phone's precise UA string. (Google for it?)

Now, download .jad - the java declaration file, from given link.
Use Notepad to open .jad file. It contains path to .jar.

Now, download .jar file. Back it up. Unpack with RAR, 7Zip or any other program that works wth .rar files. Inside, find META-INF\MANIFEST.MF. Change midlet name - this allows to install several identic apps under different names. Then change text after mdlet-1: this will be the name that will appear under icon of installed app. And last, I changed icon to my avatar. For this, save your avatar as 32x32 or 64x64 .png file.

Now, it's time to put the changed manifest back into jar :). You can do it by opening original .jar and drag-n-drop new manifest overwriting the old one. If you changed icon, drop it in the .jar root, nearby or instead of GmailIcon.png.

Now, send your .jar to the phone, install, login, enjoy.

You can switch Firefox back to original UA profile.


why I abandon ... part 1: PDAs

After 3 months of mourning for my ipaq hx4700, I have purchased an UMPC to replace it. With ipaq, I got used to long battery life (extended 5000 mAh), some 12-14 hours of heavy usage like browsing with WIFI. I also came to understand the limits of pocket pc and windows mobile software. The main drawback of any wm device is that even the most powerful of them, such as HTC Advantage, or my upgraded ipaq hx4700 with 128 mb of RAM, and even the upcoming ipaq 200 series, are not able to deliver FIE (as in Full Internet Experience). Sadly, it is not a hardware limitation, but a platform and software problem. Same devices would provide FIE under some flavour of mobile linux, like upcoming MID. But, MID are not on the market yet.

As to the rest of functionality that my pocket pc used to provide, it is all performed very well by my symbian s60 v3 smartphone NOKIA 6120 classic in a sleek 90g package.

There I have 5 mailboxes (hotmail, gmail), calendar, opera mobile that takes case of 90% of my browsing and RSS reading, bluetooth stereo music player and radio, and to rule them all - the magnificient FRING, that gives me mobile access to Skype, Gtalk, MSNmessenger, ICQ and twitter. I also have there a bunch of navigation programs like TomTom6, Nokia maps, gmaps, mgmaps, yandex maps, smartcomGPS. I also blog and photoblog on a phone. Even this article is written during my daily 10 km walk along Baltic beach. All of this is backed by unlimited internet package that costs only 30 euro per month.

I guess that 90% of my mobile computing needs are covered by smartphone. And those 10% left will not be done by windows mobile device despite its bigger screen or keyboard. That is, I say good bye to PDAs, you have been replaced by smart and miniature candybars.

Next, I will tell why umpc will replace a notebook too.