Cell phones and Linux

ONE of the things I liked about the Motorola V3 RAZR was that it came with user-friendly software that made it easy to sync my phone with my PC. With my phone connected via a USB cable, I could call up my phone book, dial a number, or send SMS from the PC—a feature that’s great for avoiding thumb fatigue.

For awhile, I lost this connectivity when I switched to Ubuntu Linux, because the bundled software that came with the phone ran only on Windows XP. Fortunately, a free and open source program called KMobile Tools brings some of the same features to a Linux PC.

Like Motorola’s Mobile Phone Tools, Kmobile Tools lets me quickly pop up the phone directory on my mobile phone and choose a number to send a message to or to call.

The opening screen displays the signal level and battery life, and also indicates if a new text message has arrived.

The documentation says the program allows you to import from or export to KAddressBook, but I haven’t figured out how to do it yet.

I tried sending a text message to myself to see if this function would work, and was pleased to find that it did. The program also lets you read and review incoming messages or those that you’ve sent out.

Kmobile has been tested on a variety of Motorola, Nokia, Siemens, Sony Ericsson and LG mobile phones, and runs on a number of Linux flavors. (In Ubuntu, you can install it easily using the Synaptic Package Manager.) The Web site provides more details about which phone models work well with the software.

Unlike Motorola’s Mobile Phone Tools, Kmobile Tools won’t help you upload files to or download them from your phone, but who knows? Maybe a future version will.

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