I am still going to reformat my blog and add some links, etc., but I wanted to try out my first review with a new product that Laridian just announced yesterday afternoon and I have been beta testing for a bit.
palmsolo’s review: Laridian’s PocketBible for Windows Mobile Smartphones
One of the first things I load on my devices is a form of the Bible from Laridian, either MyBible for Palm Powered devices or PocketBible for Windows Mobile devices. Today, Laridian announced the release of their third version line of products for the Windows Mobile Smartphone. You will also notice a nicely reformatted Laridian website that went through a nice overhaul. I had the chance to beta test PocketBible for Windows Mobile based Smartphones and have to say I am impressed again with their products.
Main PocketBible display
PocketBible for WM Smartphones is designed as a product that you read and there are no note taking or text entering abilities in the program. I am pleased with this strategy because I cannot stand trying to enter text on the phone keypad myself. As you can see on the many screenshots I have included, they packed quite a few features in this product. The Bible translations are formatted differently for the Smartphone so you will have to purchase new Bible translations even if you already use PocketBible on your Windows Mobile Pocket PC. I know there are probably not that many multiple device geeks like myself so this may not be much of an issue. I loaded PocketBible and 5 different translations, ESV, KJV, NASB, NIV, and NLT on my Secure Digital card and it ran like a champ, even in beta testing.
5 translations loaded on my SD card
After launching PocketBible you will see there are two buttons at the bottom of the display that are accessed with the two top Smartphone buttons. The right button access the Menu and on the Menu you will find 9 options; Select Bible, Forward, Back, Find, Bookmarks, Options, Book Properties, About, and Help. Laridian uses the keypad shortcuts so you can quickly jump to any menu item without having to scroll through the list. The Select Bible function takes you to another page where you can choose a Bible translation that is stored on your device. You then press the left Done button to view the Bible. The Forward and Back functions do just that, move you forward or backwards from where you currently are in reading the Bible.
Pressing 4 opens another Find menu where you have the options to Find, Show Find Results, Next Match, Previous Match, and Highlight Find Hits. One very powerful feature in PocketBible on the Pocket PC is the thorough and speedy find functionality. I searched for Jesus in the entire Bible and PocketBible gave me my results within 2-3 seconds. After you enter your search term you press the left Done button to conduct the search and I personally would like to see this labeled “Go”, “Find”, or “Search”. Done implies that I am done with this task, which confused me for a second. Your search terms will be highlighted and a hyperlink to the verse containing the term will be present in the left side of the list. Find is a very cool function and extremely fast on the Smartphone. I was even using an older generation Orange SPV E200 device for my evaluation.
Initiating a Find
Entering my Find terms
Voila! results in seconds
You can Add, Delete, and Categorize bookmarks to your favorite verses as well using the Bookmarks function in the Menu. Book Properties shows you the copyright and other details on the translation you are reading. About shows you what build of PocketBible you have loaded and the Laridian info. Help is actually quite useful with PocketBible since it will go into detail about how to navigate, add bookmarks, and more. I found it useful since I was so used to navigating in PocketBible on a Pocket PC.
Working with Bookmarks
Excellent Help is provided on the device
If you select the Options function from the menu then you will be taken to the Options page where you can change settings for the Appearance, Navigation, and Miscellaneous options. There is also a Debug option to help troubleshoot the application if you are experiencing problems. The Appearance options include changing the font size, from 1-7 with 3 being the default, using red letters for Christ’s words, indenting poetry, and turning on or off footnotes. Navigation lets you toggle on or off T9 input (I’ll write a bit more about that later), use abbreviations for books, and whether to show the books in alphabetical or Biblical order. I personally prefer Biblical order since that is how I learned them. The Miscellaneous options also include the toggle for selecting a book by abbreviation or full name (must be a simple oversight here), display exit in the menu, and delay for flash power-up.
Setting up the Appearance Options
How do you want to Navigate?
OK, now that I went into detail with the right Menu button let’s get back to the main reading pane. On the left bottom of the display you will find the label for the current translation, book, chapter and verse at the top of your display. Tapping the left hardware button brings up the GoTo page. At the top are two button, OT and NT, for the Old Testament and New Testament. These only work if you have the T9 entry turned off. If you have it toggled on then these buttons will not appear. Selecting OT starts you in Genesis and selecting NT starts you in Matthew, if you have the selection for Biblical order set up in the Options. If you chose alphabetical then the OT and NT act rather strange. Selecting OT will start you at the very top of the alphabet and selecting NT starts you at J. However, it doesn’t actually filter the OT and NT books like it should at this time. If you use the T9 option, then you start entering the book name to select it. However, you must at least know part of the book name to go to it. You can also press 0 to scroll through the available T9 options after you enter at least one letter. If you are not familiar with the books of the Bible then you may want to leave T9 off so you can select from a list of the books. After selecting a book, you then can enter a chapter and verse to start reading.
Selecting where to start reading
Choose the book from a list
Or use T9 to select a book
One thing that took me a bit to get used to was the up and down press of the directional pad moves you up or down a line or a link at a time while a left or right press moves you up or down a viewable page at a time. I was used to up/down presses moving me up and down pages and left and right moving me forward or back to the previous chapter in PocketBible on my Pocket PC. The navigation they created in the Smartphone version makes perfect sense, it just took a bit to get used to for me.
Red letters can be useful too
Reading is enjoyable on the Smartphone with PocketBible and navigating through the books and different translations was a breeze. You cannot view multiple translations on the Smartphone, but I don’t see why you would really want to on such a small display. You can now load up your Bible and all your favorite translations and pack them along to get in that critical daily Bible reading or to share the Gospel with a friend or neighbor while you are out and about. Congratulations to Laridian on an excellent job with another incredible product.
You can purchase PocketBible for the Windows Mobile Smartphone for only $10 (affiliate link) and Bible translations range from FREE to $24.99.