Tethering Your Phone To Your Palm (via IR)

Surfing WWW With Your Palm

Okay hang on to your hats. This is where I show you (kinda) how you don’t need no “Mobile Internet Kit” to make your Palm talk to your mobile phone, unlike what that salesman insisted when you asked about getting mail from the Internet.

Yeah of course he will try to sell you the Mobile Internet Kit. Why not? It’s another $149 (in US Dollars I think, I dunno, never needed to buy it heheheh!) to his commision.

Here’s what you need:

  1. Data-enabled mobile phone (eg Nokia, Siemens)
  2. Infra-Red port on the mobile phone
  3. PalmOS version 3.3 and higher (note: For versions lower than 3.3, you need the IR patch from Palm.com)
  4. Web Browser for PalmOS (Avantgo reader will do fine for most purposes)
  5. Mail software capable of POP3. The stock Mail app that comes with PalmOS is not able to do this!

Step 1 – Activating Data Services

First and foremost, call your mobile operator and request for “Data Services” to be activated. Note that, naturally, your costs will go up for the subscription to this service, as well as additional charges for any airtime you use under this. Each operator, be it Singtel, M1 or Starhub, labels it differently. I personally only have experience with M1 (I’ll tell you my frustrations with Singtel at another time), and they call it “M1 e-Data”. This is all you need. However if you have the money to spend, go for the full “M1 e-Office” service.

Proceed to Step 2 only after you have confirmed with your operator that the Data services have been activated, otherwise you won’t be able to test the connection.

Step 2 – Configuring your Palm

Okay now we get down to mess with your Palm. Go to your Preference screen, and select Connections. Then follow these steps:

  1. Tap New
  2. In the Name field, type any name you want. I named it “Nokia 8210” because that’s my mobile phone model.
  3. In the Connection Method field, select “IrCOMM to Modem” (this is because I want it to talk to my mobile phone through the Infra Red port)
  4. Leave everything else alone, ie set to default settings

Once you have done that, your screen should look something like this:

Connection Preference screen

Now we move on to your Network settings:

  1. Change to your Network settings
  2. Tap on the Menu silkscreen button, and choose New.
  3. At the Service field, type in a name for the Internet connection you want to you. Since I have a Pacific Internet account, I keyed in “Pacific Internet”.
  4. At the User Name field, key in your UserID that is supplied to you. For those who are a bit clueless, this is the same as the ID you use when you want to connect to the Internet.
  5. At the Password field, key in your Internet password, the same one you use when you want to connect to the Internet. Once you have done this, this field should show “-Assigned-“. If you prefer your Palm to keep asking for password everytime you want to connect to the Internet, then you should leave it blank, and this field will show “-Prompt-“.
  6. At the Connection field, choose your newly created mobile phone connection, in my case, “Nokia 8210“.
  7. At the Phone field, key in the same phone number you would use to dial if you were going to connect to the Internet normally at home.

One you have done all those, your screen should look similar to this:

Network Preference Screen

If you’ve come this far without getting lost, congratulations! Effectively your Palm can now talk to your mobile phone! If you want to test the connection, activate the Infrared on your mobile phone (Nokia phones -> Menu option 9) and then tap on the Connect button as shown in the screenshot above. If you can successfully connect, it means all you need now is just the right software to do the things you want to do on the Internet, eg mail software to retrieve mail, and a web browser (not WAP browser) to surf the net etc. Heck you can even do IRC on your Palm if you wanted to 🙂

How do you tell whether the connection is successful? Simple.. you should be able to see a sequence of events happening like so:

1. Dialing

2. Handshaking

3. Connected!

What if the connection fails? Most commonly, you have entered the wrong USERID or PASSWORD for your Internet connection. If you can connect to the Internet with the PC, but you can’t with the Palm, it’s most likely a password error. Just make sure you have the capslock on or off depending on your password and userID requirements. It must be exactly the same as what you use on your PC.

Now, on to Step 3, where I suggest some software for you to try out for your newfound freedom to connect to the Internet anywhere! 🙂