by Larry Magid
Special to the Mercury News
December 25, 2006
As I’ve said in the past, cell phones are evolving into pocket-size computers. But now, thanks to a free service from Campbell-based SoonR, you can use any Web-enabled cell phone to access data and some applications that are running on your regular-size PC or Mac.
SoonR, which you can access at www.soonr.com, allows you to use your phone to view photographs stored on your computer along with documents from several applications including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Windows users can access e-mail, contacts or the calendar from Outlook, and both Mac and Windows users can make free or low-cost international calls using the copy of Skype that’s running on your home or office computer.
You can also access desktop search programs including Google Search, Windows Desktop Search and X1 to quickly find files or messages stored on your PC. Eventually, it will work with the desktop search function built into Vista, after the new operating system becomes available at the end of January.
According to SoonR director of product management Carol Golsch, the idea is to “give you, as close as possible, the exact experience you would have on a PC.” Windows Outlook users, for example, can read, reply, forward or delete any e-mail message, and whatever they’ve done from their remote device is reflected on the PC.
In addition to making applications and files available to a cell phone, SoonR also allows you to log in from another PC or Mac or any Internet-connected device. You can, for example, share folders with yourself and others that you can access or download from anywhere.
The picture viewing is particularly compelling. In addition to browsing your photos, you can also view a slide show from your phone or another computer.
A new feature introduced this month allows to you store documents and folders on SoonR’s servers so that you can access them from a cell phone, a PC or any other Internet-connected device even if your PC is turned off.
Once you sign up for the service on the Web site, your phone gets a text message that lets you access the SoonR site on your phone’s browser. There is no need to download software to the phone. There’s no charge for the service but you may have to pay extra to access the Web from your phone.