Sunday, July 6, 2008

Getting GPRS/EDGE on the iPhone with Mobitel

If you are using an iPhone (2G version) with a Mobitel connection, this is how to add GPRS/EDGE settings to the phone.

  • Go to Settings -> General -> Network -> Edge
  • For the APN, type mobitel3g (don't mind the '3g' part. This is the network name they are using)

That's all. No user name or password is needed. Now try going to safari and opening a web page.

GPRS/EDGE signal indicator
On the status bar, if you see a rectangle to the right of signal bars, that means you have GPRS. If there's an 'E' on it, that means you have EDGE signal.


Installing 3rd party applications on the iPhone

iPhone users in Sri Lanka are obviously using unlocked iPhones. Mostly they maybe using it only for phone-like purposes. This article is for people who are interested in customizing the phone and making full use of it by installing custom applications.

Note: Information on this article applies to only iPhone 1.1.4 software version. I haven't tested this on any other versions.

Cracking the iPhone
There are places who unlock the iPhone. I don't know which method they use but this is what I did to unlock my iPhone.
  • Download and install iTunes.
  • Download and install ZiPhoneGUI for windows (requires .Net Framework 2).
  • Connect the iPhone to the computer.
  • Use ZiPhone to crack the iPhone. Only one really easy step is needed. Just click the button!
ZiPhone GUI :

When talking about phones, people only refer to unlocking. It's the same with the iPhone too but "Unlocking" means making it possible to use other mobile service providers. With the iPhone, unlocking is only one part of cracking the iPhone. To make the full use of it, you have to "Jailbreak" it. ZiPhone does this automatically for you.

The term "jailbreak" is used for cracking the iPhone OS. The iPhone OS is shielded from outside world. Files in it cannot be edited or seen by the outsiders. Hackers use a procedure called Jailbreaking to get access to the entire operating system running on the iPhone. This means breaking the jail in which the OS is imprisoned. After that anything can be done to the OS like modifying and installing files. The iPhone can be accessed from a computer through the USB cable or Wi-Fi.

Open source community
Because of the ability to access the iPhoneOS and the architecture of the OS is so elegant, a community has been born who began writing open source software for the IPhone, even before Apple introduced the iPhone SDK. Other than that, official apps which are based on the Apple SDK will begin to arrive from the July 11th (but they won't be free).

There are thousands of applications written by various people for the iPhone. I have mentioned a few of them on a previous post. Here, I'm going to explain how to get access to them and install them.

Software sources
Open source community use concept called "software sources" in software installation. A software source is a place which contains a list of software applications. A company may introduce its own software source to list its own applications. So to install an application, you need the corresponding source for it.

Installing software
If you cracked the phone using ZiPhone you automatically get an application called "Installer". I don't know about other methods but just look whether you have that application installed. Then you only need to have internet on the iPhone. For that, you can use GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi or 3G(iPhone3G only). To get info about getting GPRS/EDGE on a Mobitel connection, see this post.

Installer is an application that manages 3rd party software installation on the iPhone. It can manage install/uninstall and update procedures very easily.

Install the software using the Install tab. Applications are categorized in groups like Games, Multimedia etc... Here, you have a group called "Sources". Install the sources inside it. After that, the installer will have access to those software sources as well. The Installer will display a message like "Refreshing sources". This means it's refreshing the list of available software from the sources. After refreshing, the list of software available to you will be much larger and updated. Go to other categories and install the software you like.

Sometimes after refreshing, you receive updates for applications which are already installed on your iPhone.

Installer needs sources to pull software. By default Installer comes with a set of sources specified. So it have access to software provided by those sources only. By manually adding sources to the Installer it checks for software from a broader range of providers. You can do that by going to the "Sources" tab.

Here you can see what are the sources that Installer have access. You can remove them if you don't need them. You can also add them manually. Usually if you visit a web site of iPhone software, they will specify a URL to be added as a source. You can type that URL here and add them to Installer.

For other tips of useful software and patches for the iPhone, see posts iPhone Tweaks and iPhone Games.

CAUTION: Installing buggy 3rd party application may reduce the stability of the iPhone. Install them at your own risk.

iPhone Games

Here are some of the games I have installed on my iPhone. This is on 1.1.4 firmware and you need have Installer app installed on the iPhone. Jailbreaking and installation procedure is available on this post.

Raging Thunder
An accelerometer based car game. You have to use the phone itself as a steering gadget. Graphics are nice.

A 3D alien shooter. Unfortunately the demo has only 1 level. Other than that, it's really exciting.

A game which requires the use of your brain. Flip the box using your finger to accomplish the goal.

Really cool and gives you the natural feeling of moving cards using the finger.

This is somewhat hard for me to play. The computer is really intelligent.

Make continuous blocks of gems. Really cool. Flip the gems using your finger.

The classic wooden table game. Use the iPhone as a tabletop. Tilt the phone carefully to move the ball to the target without falling into the holes.

Move the bat using to bump the ball back and hit the bricks.

A nice pool table.

Tetris with cool colors.

Here are some great OFFICIAL iPhone games which are to be released with the AppStore on July 11th. Unfortunately they will not be available to Sri Lankans and will be costly too.


Super Monkey ball