Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Avantgo/Handheld Headlines

Hello! The buzz today is that tomorrow Avantgo is making everyone who has a custom channel
re-register their channel and that they may not have over 8 subscribers. If they wish to have more
than that, there is a fee.Click here to read
page from Avantgo.

So, regretfully, I will take off the link from the Handheld Librarian page to Avantgo.

Some of the conversation on the lists I have seen has been--what software or service is
there out there which can replicate Avantgo without having to pay? From what I have seen,
the people we are trying to reach are going to have to pay, by buying the software to do
what avantgo does, either isilo, or documents to go, or some other specialized document
reader or web parser, or we are going to have to pay to get our information to the people
we want to have it. Isilo does a great job of reading web pages; however, you would download
it as a file and then to your handheld rather than the software going out and automatically
updating your selected web pages or channels as Avantgo does. For every software solution
out there, there is a limitation of some kind or another.

Has anyone used plucker? This was mentioned as a possible
solution by several people. I went to their site, and it is free. From my limited knowledge of it,
it appeared to be something each user would have to set up at their machine with some html
code regarding the channels they want to put on their handheld. It did not appear to be as easy
as Avantgo, but it would be good to hear from others. This would not make it easy at library
sites to have more than one person hotsyncing at a station.

A few people mentioned Mazingo offering the
same type of service as Avantgo; however, it appeared
they only support pocket pcs.

My concern is for libraries that wish to provide content in a handheld friendly format
to their users, but do not have enough handheld users or enough content to justify
paying for an avantgo channel. Avantgo has chosen to charge the information provider
rather than the information user. However, if libraries provide handheld friendly content
in other possible formats, the user has to pay to select the software/reader that can read
the selected format.

There are too many handheld reading software packages that are too limited in scope
for a library to have to decide how they are going to package their content for a handheld
until wireless becomes really widespread. This is too reminiscent of the e-book
device wars that seemed to end with a pda platform for e-book reading.
If anyone has further experiences/opinions on
applications out there, please share them!

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