Call the shots
By Helen Bradley
Like a new outfit, your mobile
phone isn't ready to hit the streets without the digital equivalent of matching
shoes, handbag and belt. Your mobile phone can be decked out with all manner of
custom ring tones, screensavers and logos to suit your mood. So what can you add
to your new phone and how do you do it?
The first thing to understand is that not all phones are capable of being
accessorised and, if they can be, you'll need to locate the items which are
compatible with your particular brand. For example, an Ericsson phone can
receive only Ericsson-compatible items. So, if you're unsure, check the
specifications which came with your mobile phone to see if you're able to
download accessories and what ones your phone can handle. You may find it can
download ring tones, but not screensavers, for example.
Badge of honour
In most cases when you start your phone you'll see a logo on its screen
indicating the carrier you are using, for example Telstra or Vodafone. This logo
can be removed on some phones (notably Nokia phones) and replaced with a logo of
your choosing or one which you've drawn. You can change this logo as often as
you like, but in most cases you'll be able to store only one logo on your phone
at a time. Any new logo you download will replace the old.
If you are using a Nokia phone that can download logos, all you need to do is to
ring the phone number of the logo provider and choose a logo from the categories
which are listed. Alternately you can save time by browsing logos online and
finding the one to use. Online logos show an ID number you can use when calling
to download it. Once you've chosen the logo, it will be sent to your phone, but
you may not receive it immediately, depending on how busy the service is.
Eventually, some time within a few minutes and a few hours of making the call,
your phone will receive the logo and you'll be notified. You will, of course,
have to have your phone turned on during this time and you will need to have
been in an area covered by the network.
Ring my bell
A ring tone is what you hear when your phone receives an incoming call. With a
compatible phone you can use any ring tone and you can change them as often as
you like. Some phones can store only one ring tone and new ones you download
will replace the old ones. Other phones may be capable of storing five or more
ring tones at a time. Downloading a ring tone is similar to downloading a logo:
you dial the number and step through the menus to choose the tone and download
it. You can also browse ring tones on the internet to save time on the phone.
A fun way of communicating with friends is via picture messages. These are small
graphics that you can send by themselves or with some short message text
included. (Some new mobile phones come with cameras so you can take pictures and
quickly send these images too.) To send a picture message you will dial a
number, type the ID number for the picture to send and then type the number of
the phone to send it to. You can send it to yourself or a friend and, when
you're finished, the picture message will be sent. If you send the picture to
yourself, you'll get a message when it arrives and you can then choose from a
number of options, including looking at the picture, saving it or discarding it.
If you don't choose save, it won't be saved. If you're sending a picture message
to a friend, they won't be able to see it unless their phone is capable of
receiving and viewing it.
If you're a Vodafone user, the company's website (www.vodafone.com.au/voda_help
/ringtonesLogos.jsp) contains plenty of great information and answers to every
question you're likely to ask about downloadable accessories. The site also
offers downloadable ring tones and logos and a tool for composing ring tones and
drawing logos. For Nokia phone users, the hip Mstyle.com (www.mstyle.com.au) is
a great place to start. If you're using another phone, check the phone
manufacturer's or phone service's website for information and links.
The final word
Before you go mad downloading ring tones, images and other accessories, be aware
of the cost. These are premium services and you'll be paying charges of at least
$2 a minute or more for the call so, be warned, the cost can quickly mount up.