Mobileread
DRAFT - A Beginner's Guide to WinCE Ebook Reader Software
#1  Nate the great 11-23-2008, 11:36 PM
*****
This guide has information that applies to all of Microsoft's Embedded Operating Systems. I wrote it with WinCE based devices in mind, but a lot of the software I mention is OS agnostic.
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The first thing you should know is that there are 3 families of CPUs that your device might be using, ARM, Mips, and SH3/SH4. The software written for one CPU will not work on another CPU. If you have a choice, try to use a device with an ARM CPU. It has the most software available.

The second thing you should know is that you will encounter device specific and OS specific peculiarities with the software. For instance, Mobipocket v4.9 will work on a particular WinCE 3.0 device, but won't work on another WinCE 4.2 device. Or, the PDF viewer for Mips CPU won't run reliably on any WinCE below v3.0.

The main way to find out if a program will work is to install it and test. Well, actually you should ask someone first, but there is no guarantee that they will have used the device or software in question.

Some devices are picky about where you can install programs. Some will let you install a program on CF card. Others will only let you install on to the devices RAM.

Types of Installation files
The files I've installed fell into 1 of two types: CAB and Executable. A CAB file is meant to be copied to the handheld and run from there. The executable is slightly more complicated. Some need MS ActiveSync to be installed and running. Others do not. You might even encounter a few that need to be copied to your handheld and run from there.


ActiveSync
You will probably want to install this. As you install more programs, you will very likely encounter one that comes packaged in an installer that demands ActiveSync.

The downside of ActiveSync is that it only runs on XP. There is a similar program for Vista, but I'm not sure that it is similar enough to fool the installer. Also, the Vista program doesn't support synchronization with WinCE devices below v4.2. You can find out more here.


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I'm just going to cover the big 4 formats (Mobipocket, MSReader, PDF, Ereader) right now, and discuss other reader software later.

Mobipocket Reader
Now, the first ebook reader you should use is Mobipocket. This is the only one that I know for certain has software for all 3 CPUs. You can find it here. You want one of the ones labeled "HPC". You might also try the one labeled "OldWindowsMobile". This will work on a lot of WinCE devices, and has a couple extra features. There are 2 small problems, though. The first is that this version of MobiReader doesn't support large images; it ignores them.The other problem is that it doesn't recognize the MOBI suffix you find on newer ebooks. It will read the ebook, you simply have to change it from something.MOBI to something.PRC.

BTW, there is a free activation code on Mobipocket's forum. Without it certain features will disappear after 2 weeks.

MSReader
The only reader I know of for LIT works only on ARM CPU. You can download it here. It works reasonably well, and can be authorized as a valid device. I think I encountered a third party LIT reader for Mips. If I find it again I will add a link. There is no MSReader for SH3/SH4.

Ereader
This appears to support all 3 CPU families. I haven't tested it, so I can't make any promises. Here is download page on ereader.com. This is not where I got it; that site has vanished. I'm going to have to put together a better set of download links for this.

PDF
Devices running WinCE 4.0 and later should come with a PDF viewer. I don't know of a PDF viewer for SH3/SH4. You can find ones for ARM and Mips here. Scroll down.

Almost forgot HTML/RTF/DOC/PPT
Most WinCE devices come with Pocket IE and Pocket Office, so you should have at least basic support of these documents.


P.S. I provided a number of links to various sites. When you're comfortable, you should look at the other software on those sites. There is some very useful stuff out there.
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#2  Nate the great 11-27-2008, 08:16 PM
I've been thinking about this post, and realize I may have been too narrowly focused. Microsoft has had a bunch of different PDA Operating Systems besides WinCE (PocketPC, Windows Mobile, etc), and much of this post applies to them as well. But since I don't have any experience with them, I need to do some research.

I also need to explain what the various installation files are, and how they are used. Mentioning Mobipocket Desktop would also be a good idea.
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#3  Ralph Sir Edward 11-27-2008, 10:38 PM
You missed Gower software's mu-book reader. It reads HTLM, RTF, TXT and some others.
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#4  Nate the great 11-27-2008, 11:20 PM
I don't know that I would recommend it to anyone. It was very slow when I ran the Mips version on a couple different devices. But then again, I think I only used it for PDFs.
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#5  Nate the great 11-27-2008, 11:36 PM
Okay, I tried it again. It was much slower than Mobipocket Reader at pagination, and turned pages slower as well.

My problem with adding uBook is that there are vast numbers of 7, 8, 9 year old devices out there that are still perfectly functional. uBook won't run well on them becuase of the older, weaker CPUs.
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#6  igorsk 11-28-2008, 05:34 PM
PocketPC and Windows Mobile are based on WinCE kernel.
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#7  Nate the great 11-28-2008, 05:46 PM
Yes, I knew that.
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#8  DaleDe 11-29-2008, 12:43 PM
Quote Nate the great
Yes, I knew that.
Well, yes. I believe he was suggesting that this can be a confusing point for users and should be covered in the Tutorial. The wiki has information on this.

Dale
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#9  ondabeach 05-20-2009, 04:46 AM
Hi All,

Check out ZuluReader, a new ebook reader app for Win Mobile and WinCE devices. It reads ePubs and RTF's. You can download it from my website www.zuluexpress.com.

Don't judge ZuluReader on the website though lol. I am an app developer not a web developer, at the moment the website is pretty yuck but ZuluReader is way cool (IMHO).

I am looking for beta testers, so download it and see waht you reckon. As a bonus you get Steve Jordans' ebook The Onuissance Cells included in the install.

Cheers.
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#10  jgray 05-25-2009, 09:46 PM
Quote ondabeach
Hi All,

Check out ZuluReader, a new ebook reader app for Win Mobile and WinCE devices. It reads ePubs and RTF's. You can download it from my website www.zuluexpress.com.

Don't judge ZuluReader on the website though lol. I am an app developer not a web developer, at the moment the website is pretty yuck but ZuluReader is way cool (IMHO).

I am looking for beta testers, so download it and see waht you reckon. As a bonus you get Steve Jordans' ebook The Onuissance Cells included in the install.

Cheers.
You really need to change that home page so that some basic information is available without requiring javascript. With all the web exploits around, I won't enable javascript on unknown and untrusted web sites. If I can't at least see some basic information on a home page without scripting and/or flash, I will go elsewhere. Besides, what can you possibly be doing on a home page that absolutely requires javascript?

BTW, lots of Firefox users run the NoScript plugin. It is just safer surfing that way.
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