View Full Version : How to read e-books on (almost) any phone


Bob Russell
09-14-2007, 09:16 AM
Did you know that you can read e-books on almost any phone, even if it isn't an expensive smart phone with a relatively big scren? Check out the scoop at WAP Review (http://wapreview.com/blog/?p=393), where we learn why it's actually not bad reading on a tiny phone screen.

"I found that I could read just as fast and with as much enjoyment on the smaller screen as with the PDA or even a printed book. Sounds impossible, but I think having a limited amount of text of the screen helps me focus."

There are examples of software to read on mainstream smart phones, but the key discovery is a piece of software called TequilaCat Book Reader (http://tequilacat.nm.ru/dev/br/help.html) that is a Windows application which easily creates Java Midlets for your phone.

"By itself, Tequilacat can only create Java books from plain text files, but the latest version (2.2.8) uses plugins to support other formats. A plugin can be any command line utility that converts a file to plain text from another format. The Tequilacat website has links to plugins handling HTML, PDF, Aportis DOC, RTF, TCR and Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents. The Shell's file browse will only show files that can be converted using the filters you have installed.

All that's left is to copy the Midlet to your phone using Bluetooth, a data cable or by uploading it to a mobile file sharing site like Mobango and then downloading it to your phone."

Check out the entire article at WAP Review (http://wapreview.com/blog/?p=393).

Steven Lyle Jordan
09-15-2007, 12:09 AM
Judging by the lack of responses, I'd say this is still a tough-sell in the West. Mind you, it does sound like a fairly involved process just to get the software onto your phone... it would be nice if the telcos could load Tequilacat onto the cellphone when you buy it, at least.

I wonder if SW like that is loaded onto Eastern cellphones, or left to the owners to download and install it themselves? If it's preloaded, that might help explain the easier adoption of phone reading in the East...

DeGodefroi
09-16-2007, 06:34 PM
The only thing installed on the phone is the java applet. Not tequilacat, that is installed under windows xp etc.

mores
09-16-2007, 06:46 PM
thanks for the info.
i'm not in the need for a java-reader, since my phone has got a "real" operating system (symbian) that's supported by mobipocket and a bunch of other readers.

reading on that small screen actually is pretty cool.
but forget images, or nicely layouted e-magazines. those are just not readable, the whole design gets messed up.

Draccy
09-21-2007, 05:15 PM
Thank you very much for this information, I'll definitely be trying this out as I await my sony reader. It could be a cute fix for when I'm at my neice's very long dance recital.

Again, thanks for sharing the great tip!

mogui
09-22-2007, 02:01 AM
I have a Moto V186 and I am interested in trying this. I know my phone has the requisite java runtime package but I am not sure how to access the ebook from the menu. I must do more research first. maybe there is a forum that will help. I have sofware for putting files onto my phone and for backup.

Anybody else here using the Moto phone for reading?

Update: While exploring for methods to get files onto my phone, I discovered another reader called Wattpad (http://www.mobilerated.com/wattpad-1483.html). It runs as a java app. The Wattpad site has over 20,000 files (http://www.wattpad.com/) you can load onto your phone for reading in the Wattpad Reader. Exciting!

BTW, This site (http://www.mobilerated.com/) has many downloadable games in the form of java apps for your phone.

mogui
09-27-2007, 01:19 PM
I downloaded Tequilacat. It is a PC application. You can bring text files into it and tell it to "build" them into ".jar" files. You have control over some things. You can specify the name of the midlet, and the books title in your list of java applications on your phone. What you get from Tequilacat is a jar file that you can load into your phone.

I discovered it was necessary to make sure there weren't paragraph marks at the end of each line in the original text file. Then the jar file came out quite readable on the phone. Let me emphasize. There is no e-reader app running on the phone. Tequilacat packages your book into an executable java file that runs like a program and allows you to view the text and scroll through it.

Did it work well? Sort of. If I want to read a text all the way through it is just fine. But any attempt I made to use bookmarks, then suspend the program, and later resume, ended in an application error or in exiting the text. I will use it, certainly. It shows me what is possible with my phone. But it needs work. To be fair, the problem may lie in my phone and not in Tequilacat.

Before I talk about Wattpad, I must relate how I got java applications installed on my phone. I have a Motorola V186. I downloaded P2Ktools (http://www.motox.info/showthread.php?p=107133#post107133). When you unzip p2ktools you will find a directory of drivers, among other things. Then when you plug your V186 into your PC via the USB cable, Windows will prompt you to install 4 or 5 drivers, one at a time. It should be pointed at the aforementioned drivers directory.

When the drivers have been installed, unplug the phone and bring up p2ktools. Then plug in your phone to the USB cable. My phone was powered down. Soon the p2ktools app will tell you at the bottom of the screen that you are connected and what type phone you have. Then you can select areas of the phone (such as the filesystem, java apps, etc.) that you wish to view, refresh them, and you are in business. This app will allow you to install java apps such as games and Tequilacat formatted ebooks.

Wattpad was a disappointment for me. I like the idea of a reader. I like the idea of downloading preformatted ebooks to the reader on my phone. But Wattpad wouldn't let me install the books on my phone from my PC! It required me to install them directly to my phone from the internet. I don't use my phone for internet because the screen is just too small to be useful. As far as I could tell, Wattpad had only that one limitation. But then, I didn't get to read anything with it. Maybe Wattpat is great if you are connected.

Bob Russell
09-27-2007, 01:32 PM
Thanks for the nice hands on info!

mogui
09-27-2007, 11:59 PM
Yesterday I went window shopping for a PDA phone. A year ago they were hard to find. Palm seems to have no market here. Now they are everywhere in abundance. There are dozens of choices. For the most part, the manufacturers are Chinese.

It is easy to find a quarter VGA (320x240) color touch screen that is sharp and readable. These machines offer an ebook reader. Typically there are two SIM slots with a micro SD slot as well. SD capacities go up to 1G; quite sufficient for a phone. They are GSM phones. I didn't see any quad band phones, but I would guess they are out there. The PDA phones in the larger more reputable shops have an unidentifiable operating system. It seems they all use the same one. It could be Linux or Symbian or even something else.

These phones feature a file manager that lets you browse the file system and tap on files to cause them to play/display. Many have speakers on the back to allow you to play your MP3s as though the machine were an old-style transistor radio.

What surprised me was the price. A full-featured brand name phone at a good store was under 2000 RMB (US$266). But there are many little shops with roll-up garage doors and someone sitting at a glass display counter. These shops are about 3 meters wide, or less. The PDA phones offered there were cheaper and different.

The low cost PDA phones were typically around 1000 RMB (US$133). They looked good and worked well. Some of them had absolutely no branding whatsoever. They used a very familiar operating system with Mobile in the name. Legitimately licensed? Maybe not at this price. But one never knows, with deals being made all the time.

Snow went with me as my translator and purchasing agent. Chinese women are very good at dickering for price. She was of the opinion that the cheaper phones were of low quality. I came close to buying one for 1000 RMB. It had everything I wanted including an ebook reader. Snow said, "Don't buy it." So I didn't.

I may buy one of the better ones in the coming weeks. Before I do I will find a way to put a few English books on an SD card to test how well they display. maybe I will carry a laptop and card reader to the store.

mogui
09-28-2007, 11:37 PM
ReadManiac is bookreader midlet for mobile phones. With ReadManiac, you can search, download and read books using practically any mobile phone with JAVA support.

Midlet comes in two versions: Standalone application (ReadManiac FULL) and midlet with emebeded book (ReadManiac LITE).

Standalone application (ReadManiac FULL) is installed to phone once, and than used to search, download from internet and read books without a help of PC. Midlet has dedicated search engine for searching books in several on-line libraries. ReadManiac download these books directly to phone's memory. Once installed, it becomes library in the pocket.

Midlet with embeded book (ReadManiac LITE) is built with ReadManiac Building Wizard on PC. Wizard embeds selected book into midlet. Resulting midlet that can be installed to phone and used to read embeded book.

ReadManiac aims to be Commercial Quality Freeware.
Readmaniac (http://www.deep-shadows.com/hax/ReadManiac/Overview.htm) seems to combine the functionality of Wattpad and Tequilacat. I haven't tried it. There is a Russian version (http://www.readmaniac.com/) of the site too.

mogui
09-30-2007, 12:04 AM
I think having a few books on my phone is a good thing. I always have my phone with me, so whenever I am on hold somewhere, I can continue reading something I like. In an earlier post I reported some success with my Moto V186. But the screen is a tiny 128x128. I really wanted something larger.

I found a phone by gaoxinqi the seems right. I checked out the manufacturer. They sound legit and they are willing to put their name on
their product and guarantee it for a year. The shop where I bought it is substantial too, just in case I have problems. The price was right. After my wife bargained with them, I paid US$233.
5935
The manufacturer often brands other products (MP3, MP4 players) as GXQ. This model is NT6306. It has a quarter VGA screen that is 3.2 inches diagonally. This resolution is common to pocket PCs. The screen size of this device is marginally smaller than a pocket PC but larger than a typical Treo.

The internal memory is about 40M while the micro SD card (T-Flash) that came with it is 512M. It can take a card up to 1G. It has Bluetooth. I think the operating system is Symbian. The executables are not visible in the file system. It has two cameras, one facing away and one facing the operator. It takes 640x480 photos. So far the camera performs well. I have not tried taking a video yet. The phone can use 2 SIM cards. Of course it is unlocked.

The PDA features are what you would expect from a PDA, address book, todo list, notes, games and a few utilities like conversion and a calculator and such. The input method can be English or Chinese. You can select the language: English or simplified (mainland) Chinese.

This smartphone has rich multimedia features, a good media player and MP3 player. It has a speaker on the back that can be quite loud. The fidelity is OK. I have not tried the earplugs yet. Watching movies in the car is OK. The player will go full screen. I found an application on the device that will run on the PC and format videos to fit the device.

The phone is all set up for internet browsing. I will get the GPRS turned on today and try it out. To connect to the PC you just plug in the USB cable and the phone looks like two external hard drives to the PC. I have not tried Bluetooth yet.

But you are all waiting for me to describe the eReader, so here it is. There is a reader application under Multimedia. When I first got the phone there were no eBooks on it, so That was the first thing I loaded onto it after I connected it to my PC. But they didn't show up in the eBook list! Then I thought maybe the OS didn't like spaces in the filenames. I fixed that and voila, they appeared!

But the eReader is one of the really dumb Chinese kind. Chinese writing is all run together; no spaces. So Chinese software engineers think English should be the same way -- no word wrap! Very ugly.

So it was back to formatting each file for line length. I have a utility that will convert a whole directory at a time so that was the work of a few minutes. I loaded the books back on the device. They looked fine. But there was another problem. The books were cut off after about 4 pages! How strange!

Now I am researching the OS. I need to confirm that it is Symbian. I will have one of my ladies call the factory today and find out what I can do. There are readers available for every operating system out there. I will confirm that the phone will run J2ME. There are half a dozen reading solutions in Java.

All-in-all I like the phone. But, of course I am a gadget freak. Stay tuned for futher discoveries.

mores
10-05-2007, 04:52 AM
Now I am researching the OS. I need to confirm that it is Symbian. I will have one of my ladies call the factory today and find out what I can do. There are readers available for every operating system out there. I will confirm that the phone will run J2ME. There are half a dozen reading solutions in Java. judging by the image you attached to your post, it is not a symbian OS. if it's a touch-screen, it would need to run UIQ2 or UIQ3 gui, which looks a lot different.
if it's a non-touch-screen device, it'll run S60 (like on a lot of nokias) or S90 (as in the nokia communicator).
symbian is a layered OS, the core is called symbian, the user interface can look different.

when i google "NT6306 symbian", i get a bunch of hits, all in chinese or korean, i can't separate those two, sorry.

so i would suggest you download mobipocket for S60:
http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/application.asp?device=SymbianOs
(dunno if it's second or 3rd edition you need)
transfer the SIS file to your phone and use a file browser (on the phone) to run it. if it'll start installing, you're good to go.

mogui
10-05-2007, 10:57 AM
Thanks mores. I am still puzzled by the identity of this operating system. I was guessing Symbian but it could just as well be GNU/Linux. There is also an OS used in China called smartNX.

When I browse the filesystem exposed over USB, I see no obvious directory of executable files, no sis files and nothing that looks like Java. I am guessing the executables are all in ROM and they cleverly hide them from USB access.

We tried to call a local service center about this, but they appear to be closed for the October holiday. I am concerned that I may not be able to download applications for the phone. The home page that comes up over GPRS is all Chinese. I will need to ask friends for help. I have been busy lately and have neglected this.

I did some searching to see if I could find a GUI that was similar so I could infer the OS. I had no success.

I am enjoying the phone, though it is not as useful to me as a Palm device might be. One good thing is that it allows me to write in either English or Chinese, which helps me with my study.

I appreciate your efforts to help me identify the OS. I will post new information as I discover it.

mogui
10-26-2007, 03:47 AM
6757

I regret to say the Chinese PDA phone hasn't worked out very well. Here are the problems.

1/ The size of eBooks is limited to 1000 bytes. How anyone got this design idea, I cannot imagine. It is clearly a fake eBook reader. Maybe they just hate their customers.
2/ The phone does not support Java. There is no way to add programs to remediate the deficiencies of the phone.
3/ If your MP3 is over a certain length (maybe 6M), it quits playing in the middle of the song.
4/ The Tflash (micro SD) card fails to read when the phone is connected to the PC via USB. While attempting to copy a file, the card loses its connection to USB.
5/ The phone does not have a common operating system such as Linux or Symbian or Palm. Thus it is impossible to get help.

The phone has a lot of appeal -- large screen, good sound. But it doesn't hold up in the long run. Mine developed a screen crack. The touchscreen stopped working. It had not been dropped. One of my ladies called the factory in Guandong Province. They seemed to know nothing about the phone. They referred us to a repair shop in Kunming. The phone numbers for the repair shop failed to work. I have a support email in the works.

GXQ markets other products such as land-line phones and MP3/MP4 players. Be wary of putting your money down for any of them. This company is clearly more interested in your money than in your well-being and satisfaction.

This product (GXQ NT6306) is badly in need of a firmware upgrade. Will it get one? Stay tuned.

fizzy
07-07-2008, 07:00 AM
:help:hi, i wonder if you could help me....i too bought a mobile phone similar to yours from china.it is the t200+ and i am having trouble loading films and ebooks onto it, mainly because i am not technically minded and don't know how to do it even though i have had limited success sometimes. any help you can give me will be gratefully received. thanks fizzy6757

I regret to say the Chinese PDA phone hasn't worked out very well. Here are the problems.

1/ The size of eBooks is limited to 1000 bytes. How anyone got this design idea, I cannot imagine. It is clearly a fake eBook reader. Maybe they just hate their customers.
2/ The phone does not support Java. There is no way to add programs to remediate the deficiencies of the phone.
3/ If your MP3 is over a certain length (maybe 6M), it quits playing in the middle of the song.
4/ The Tflash (micro SD) card fails to read when the phone is connected to the PC via USB. While attempting to copy a file, the card loses its connection to USB.
5/ The phone does not have a common operating system such as Linux or Symbian or Palm. Thus it is impossible to get help.

The phone has a lot of appeal -- large screen, good sound. But it doesn't hold up in the long run. Mine developed a screen crack. The touchscreen stopped working. It had not been dropped. One of my ladies called the factory in Guandong Province. They seemed to know nothing about the phone. They referred us to a repair shop in Kunming. The phone numbers for the repair shop failed to work. I have a support email in the works.

GXQ markets other products such as land-line phones and MP3/MP4 players. Be wary of putting your money down for any of them. This company is clearly more interested in your money than in your well-being and satisfaction.

This product (GXQ NT6306) is badly in need of a firmware upgrade. Will it get one? Stay tuned.

Steven Lyle Jordan
06-28-2009, 10:38 PM
I was recently reminded that I've never tried to install Wattpad on my LG Dare, so I decided to try it. Alas, it makes the third java e-book app that, despite assurances to the contrary, would not install on my phone.

At this point, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Verizon, my carrier, and the way they trick out the phone to prevent its downloading anything other than what comes in Verizon's app store (which they will dutifully charge you for). Since they don't have an e-book reader in their apps... not even a PDF reader... a Dare owner on the Verizon network is SOL on e-books.

Oh, well... there's still my trusty PDA...

Andybaby
06-29-2009, 03:34 AM
At this point, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Verizon,


YES.

Verizon locks down there phones with customfirmware
they disable bluetooth AND Java aps.

they want you to only buy there crap.

switch to T-mo or At&t and get a phone from them. they are fully open, have bluetooth that isn't crippled and has java support.

Verizon phones suck.

but your phone should have a simple TXT reader one it. but it would be hard as hell getting it one cause like I said, bluetooth is disabled.

there are ways to install stuff, but it involves hacking and breaking verizons filesystem and not all phones are able to do this...

last time I tried was with my Moto Razr 2 years ago, and it was buggy as crapy.

Steven Lyle Jordan
06-29-2009, 08:08 AM
Yah... not worth the trouble. Maybe when ANY cell service reaches my valley I'll switch. Meantime, my PDA is fine.

=X=
06-29-2009, 01:42 PM
I was recently reminded that I've never tried to install Wattpad on my LG Dare, so I decided to try it. Alas, it makes the third java e-book app that, despite assurances to the contrary, would not install on my phone.


At this point, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Verizon, my carrier, and the way they trick out the phone to prevent its downloading anything other than what comes in Verizon's app store (which they will dutifully charge you for). Since they don't have an e-book reader in their apps... not even a PDF reader... a Dare owner on the Verizon network is SOL on e-books.

Oh, well... there's still my trusty PDA...

Steve the problem is not with Verizon but with your phone. Your phone has to come with a Java virtual machine in order to run Java. That is the real reason you phone will not work.
Most lower end phones tend to be bolted down to reduce cost.
However you should be able to read off of their web site at m.wattpad.com (http://m.wattpad.com) through the Dare browser.

If you want more out of your phone you might want to look at smartphones. Like a PocketPC phone or a BlackBerry.

I've had both a PocketPC and BlackBerry of the years on Verizon and have enjoyed the quality of Verizon services without any restriction on my phones.



=X=

Steven Lyle Jordan
06-29-2009, 02:48 PM
Steve the problem is not with Verizon but with your phone. Your phone has to come with a Java virtual machine in order to run Java. That is the real reason you phone will not work.
Most lower end phones tend to be bolted down to reduce cost.

According to other sources, the LG Dare can in fact download and run 3rd-party apps. It's just the Dare on Verizon phones that are specifically locked down by Verizon, taking that ability away from you. (Wattpad confirms this.) Of course, the fact that the Dare (which, as far as I can tell, wasn't considered a "low-end" phone when Verizon offered it) is locked out of accessing outside apps is one of those things Verizon has a knack of not mentioning when they give you the phone... you always have to find these things out the hard way.

However you should be able to read off of their web site at m.wattpad.com (http://m.wattpad.com) through the Dare browser.

Well, as I'm the kind of person who wants to own his e-books, reading them off of the site (if I have access, if the document is available, etc, etc) isn't for me.

At any rate, it's not worth replacing the phone over, at least not until I find myself needing to replace my PDA as well, and decide to go the smartphone route. It just would have given me another convenient e-book reader, that's all...

=X=
06-29-2009, 04:57 PM
According to other sources, the LG Dare can in fact download and run 3rd-party apps. It's just the Dare on Verizon phones that are specifically locked down by Verizon, taking that ability away from you. (Wattpad confirms this.) Of course, the fact that the Dare (which, as far as I can tell, wasn't considered a "low-end" phone when Verizon offered it) is locked out of accessing outside apps is one of those things Verizon has a knack of not mentioning when they give you the phone... you always have to find these things out the hard way.

Steve you are missing my point. Wattpad is a Java executable. LG Dare does not support Java it supports BREW(a competing technology to Java). To say Verizon locks it's phone because you cannot install an incompatible executable is incorrect. It's like trying to download a Mac program on Windows and saying Microsoft locks it's OS because it does not work.

Verizon does not lock it's phone, but it does not make installing 3rd party apps easy. You have to buy their PC-Phone connection and install them manually. See links below on how to install and 3rd party apps.

Example of how to install Flash games on your LG Dare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZeOiwUzfXM&NR=1)

You need to install a BREW app on your LG Dare, and there are BREW apps you can install see the links below:

LG Dare Apps (http://www.filebuzz.com/findsoftware/Lg_Dare_apps/1.html)



Well, as I'm the kind of person who wants to own his e-books, reading them off of the site (if I have access, if the document is available, etc, etc) isn't for me.

At any rate, it's not worth replacing the phone over, at least not until I find myself needing to replace my PDA as well, and decide to go the smartphone route. It just would have given me another convenient e-book reader, that's all...

Yes same here I much prefer to download the Books, your not missing much, the formatting on the Wattpad apps is not very good. I much prefer PDF, eReader or Mobi files over Wattpad.

BTW I switch to the smartphone route once my PDA died. I can tell you that was a great choice, I wish I would have switched sooner. Having to carry one device instead of a phone and PDA is just too convenient.

=X=

Steven Lyle Jordan
06-29-2009, 08:33 PM
Steve you are missing my point. Wattpad is a Java executable. LG Dare does not support Java it supports BREW(a competing technology to Java).... You need to install a BREW app on your LG Dare, and there are BREW apps you can install see the links below:

I did know that, actually. I also know that the Wattpad site specifies that it works on the LG Dare. When I asked them about my problem, they reported to me that "their app does not work for the LG Dare on Verizon."

I'll check out the BREW download link, but I had also tried that from another source, and it hadn't worked out. I'm not expecting much, but if I try it and it works, I'll let you know.

Jill74
06-30-2009, 12:30 AM
this post is very informative. Im sure newbies in mobile read will find this very helpful