Are you not using a smartphone, but still want access to a few apps? It might be possible – if your phone can use J2ME, there’s a wide variety of apps out there for your phone whether you realize it or not. They are, however, hard to find, so I’m going to list the best ones I know of.
I don’t own a smartphone. I know, technology bloggers are supposed to be hip cats, up to date with the latest cool technology and slang. Sorry, that’s not me. I don’t have a smartphone and don’t really want one. I love being offline from time to time, love only paying $20 a month in phone bills and can easily make my dumb phone smart using ifttt when necessary.
But it’s not like I use a rotary phone. For 30 bucks I got a phone that came with 30 dollars worth of coverage, an MP3 player, an FM radio (which I love) and the ability to run J2ME apps. Internet usage simply takes up minutes, which I have way more than enough of.
You can find J2ME apps at GetJar, but it’s a nightmare to use. I’m the only other technology blogger on earth to own a phone using such an antiquated operating system, so I suppose it’s my responsibility to point out the best J2ME apps below.
The browser that came with your phone probably sucks. Opera Mini won’t magically turn your J2ME phone into a smartphone, but it will make browsing on the device very simple. Even if you plan on only using the browser to check the occasional score or stock, I recommend you make this app the first one you download.
I love how my email doesn’t follow me everywhere I go; it’s among the perks of not owning a smartphone. If you still want occasional access to your email, however, you should check out the Gmail app for J2ME. It downloads your inbox locally, so you can minimize the number of minutes used, but there’s nothing in your Gmail account you can’t access with this tool.
It’s become impossible to find on Google’s website; I’m sure Google is planning on dropping support soon. Still, you can dowload Gmail for J2ME at Softonic.
Are you lost? It’s nice having a map, which is why I’m glad the world-famous Google Maps offers a version of their ultimate atlas for J2ME users.
It’s designed to run with minimal data usage, and runs very well for me without draining my minutes. Head to google.com/gmm on your phone’s browser to download it. Sorry, Google doesn’t offer a direct download for your PC.
It’s been a truism since the GameBoy – no device that fits in your pocket is worthwhile without Tetris. While I’m sure there are plenty of Tetris clones out there for J2ME phones, my favorite is Jordan Kiang’s Tetris Midlet. It’s very familar if you’ve played the GameBoy version, and runs well on pretty much every phone.
If you find your time is constantly disappearing, you should look into the Pomodoro time management system. Basically, work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. It’s simple, but it makes it a lot easier to focus.
If you’d like your J2ME phone to act as a Pomodoro timer, you’re in luck. Pablo Seminario has built a simple timer for the platform that looks great. I’ve been using it for a while now and I love it.
Before you take to the comments, please read the following lists of common questions:
Q. Couldn’t you get better screenshots?
A. If my phone had the ability to take screenshots, sure. It doesn’t, so my poor photos are what you get. Sorry.
Q: Are there any other J2ME apps you recommend people check out?
A: As a matter of fact there are. Here’s a quick list:
- Albite Reader for reading epub files
- ZeeMe lets you play Zork and other interactive fiction titles
- NooSkewl also offers some cool J2ME games
Q: Something here doesn’t work on my phone! Can you help?
A: I couldn’t possibly. There are too many different J2ME phones, and it’s hard to say which apps will work on which phones. There’s a reason people buy smartphones! Ask on MakeUseOf Answers, or Google the problem. Sorry!
Q: Wow, Justin, you should really get a smartphone.
A: That’s not a question. Here’s a question for you – will you pay for a data plan for me? Because if not, I’m not getting a smartphone.
Q: I know of some better apps! Can I tell you and the rest of the world about them somehow?
A: You sure can! Leave them in the comments below.