MaxDox Redux - Create your own mobile Java e-books


Well, I say "redux" like I just posted about MaxDox the other day, but believe it or not, it's been two years(!) since I last posted about them. They pinged me via email last week to tell me they now have a free version of their software available (for Windows, Mac and Linux!) for download. MaxDox Publisher allows you to create downloadable mobile eBooks which run in Java. Supposedly it's very simple so it works on a lot of handsets - even on older phones like S30 models. It's a very neat concept actually, there's something appealing about being able to create a self-contained presentation or catalog or something that you can distribute and not have to worry about markup or connectivity.

I have to admit, that I really do hope that over the next couple years as browsers get more powerful and connectivity becomes more prevalent that something like this would no longer be needed. But if you wanted to be more conservative - one could say "practical" - this would be a good solution for the forseeable future. There's lots of areas where it fits really well. I can see it being very useful as a quick prototyping tool for UIs for example. Or better for documentation to accompany relatively complex mobile applications (Like Yahoo! Go). The app would be available to help with basic set up issues and FAQ, and then the user can delete it once they're an expert. The Pro version of the software allows you to open links and have the phone send SMS messages, etc. - for a lot of simple mobile Java "apps", this could really be a time saver.

Ooh, here's another fun idea: Are you a mobile entrepeneur? Take your 10-slide Powerpoint presentation (go read Guy's post about this), convert it into a stand-alone Java doc, throw it up on a server (with a short URL preferably) and start sending out SMS messages with links to the download. When you're at a cocktail party and you're giving someone the elevator pitch? Ask your audience for their mobile phone number so you can send them the document right that second... Someone who would be otherwise reluctant to give you their phone number would be intrigued and now not only do they have your presentation on their phone (which they're bound to show someone just because it's cool) but you also have their phone number and can follow up in a week or so. See?

Here, I whipped up a 5-page mobile presentation to show you what I meant. I used PowerPoint to create the slides, exported them to PNG, used Macromedia Fireworks to reduce them to 176x194, and then used the Comic Strip template in MaxDox to create the document. It took about 20 minutes, and the total size for the app is 76k - most of which is the PNG images. The fonts aren't super-readable. If I wanted to spend more time, I'd probably go back and either 1) do the presentation in MaxDox or Fireworks from the start so I could see exactly what the results would look like or 2) figure out which font converted best. You can download it for your phone here: or

Sorry for the long URL, it's the only thing I have handy at the moment. :-)


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