Being able to connect your mobile phone up with a PC is definitely a bit plus. For people who travel around a lot, you could establish a connection with the Internet or the office while you’re on the road (where there’s no phone socket available). You could also customise the phone’s features with the appropriate software as well.
But how would you connect up your mobile phone with the PC? Currently, there are three possible ways that you could do this - via a data cable, which plugs into both the phone’s data port and out to the PC’s serial or USB port; using infrared (IR), where no cables are involved between phone and IR port but requires line of sight and close proximity; and Bluetooth - a wireless connection within a theoretical maximum range of 10 metres.
Out of the three, IR is probably the most popular choice - because, for most people, there isn’t the need to actually go out and get extra equipment to make the connection possible. Most laptop (or notebook) computers have built-in IR ports, and a lot of phones nowadays come with one as well.
But do you know that some phones that don’t come with IR ports also have the ability to be connected up to a PC and be customised in the same fashion as well? You’ll be glad to know that there is a company out there making these data cables, and the software required to make this possible.
Mobile Action’s data cable collection
Taiwanese manufacturer Mobile Action seems to be a certain leader in the field of mobile phone connectivity - especially in the area of data cables. For the purpose of the review, they managed to send me several sets of cables to test on different phone models - which I must say I was most impressed.
Let’s cut to the chase and get straight into the products, shall we? :)
Each particular data cable purchased comes in a plastic packaging, and includes a CD-ROM which includes the necessary software and drivers to get you going. The packaging is pretty generic, but a sticker on the front indicates the type of cable included and the models which it is compatible with.
The data cable
Both serial (RS-232) and USB cables are available, but may not be available for all models. On top of being able to communicate faster than the serial cable, the USB type comes with a little bonus of being able to charge your phone’s battery when it is connected up to the PC.
The cables have pretty good build quality - unalike some of those dodgy after-market data cables that you may be able to find in small phone or electronic shops.
The CD-ROM software
The main software application that comes with the data cable, called Handset Manager, provides for all the customisation features as well as managing the data on your handset. If you’ve purchased the USB data cable, you will also need the CD-ROM for the necessary driver files.
In addition, modem drivers are available for phones that come with a built-in data modem (for example, most phones with WAP have this ability). Once installed, this will allow you to use your mobile phone as the dial-up modem device instead. Again, this is useful for those who have a laptop computer who wants to be connected while on the road. Should your phone be GPRS enabled, the CD-ROM also comes with such drivers as well.