Developed to enhance the hardware performance of smart mobile devices, Smith Micro Software’s StuffIt Wireless Windows Mobile Edition is a compression utility for all Smart Phones and PDA's powered by Windows Mobile 5.0 or 6.0. The wireless compression technology not only allows wireless devices to run more efficiently, but can also reduce the storage-capacity requirements in the wireless device. Matthew Covington, director of compression solutions for Smith Micro, states the original focus of the company was the development of software used to control data transfer in wire-based modems in a PC. That expertise is now being applied to the development of software to manage and control wireless data transfer in smart mobile devices, such as the StuffIt Wireless software line.

In addition to providing full support for the Zip file format, StuffIt Wireless for Windows Mobile includes the StuffIt X file format which allows users to compress files more efficiently, and also allows the compression of file types, such as JPEG images, that Zip is unable to compress. Covington states the JPEG compression technology used by the software compresses files from 20% to 30%, without compromising the image quality of the original JPEG file (see the Figure).

Among the capabilities provided by the software, the device allows users to compress and send images via FTP from an internet-enabled device. The ability to compress files, combined with the ability to compress multiple images into a single archive, can significantly reduce the time required to wirelessly transfer a group of files. Users can also view archived images by thumbnail, without having to decompress the archive, further speeding up the process of wirelessly exporting digital files.

"In today's digital age consumers demand constant connectivity and expect to be as productive out of the office as they are in it. Mobile devices such as Windows Mobile 5.0 smart phones and pocket PCs were created to meet such professional demands," said Jonathan Kahn, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Compression Group. "StuffIt Wireless Mobile Edition fills the missing component by adding an essential compression and decompression utility for all Windows Mobile powered devices. With StuffIt, users can view, extract and compress information in the popular StuffIt format, thus saving memory, and significantly increasing the storage capacity of the device and storage cards."

Wireless service providers and mobile device OEMs can also benefit from the software. For example, reduction in the size of transferred files allows repurposing of bandwidth for higher-margin services. Smaller size in transferred files also reduces storage costs for multimedia message service (MMS) on the wireless network, which can benefit subscribers in the form of reduced messaging fees. The software also supports Strong 256-bit AES encryption when creating StuffIt X archives.

When the software is incorporated into the handsets by OEMs, it directly adds value by improving key performance metrics specified for the handset. For example, in addition to the reduced memory hardware costs derived from maximizing the use of limited memory, the increased file transfer speed enabled by the software can also extend battery life. This is significant for scenarios where users frequently transfer files (such as sending high resolution photos of a live event as it occurs).

Covington states battery life can be extended further if OEMs apply power management techniques that operate in conjunction with the StuffIt software, such as blanking the screen during wireless file transfers. In the future, it is possible that the technology used in StuffIt software might also be used for wirelessly streaming content.

The only basic system requirements for the installation of StuffIt Wireless software are the support of either Windows Mobile Edition 5.0 or 6.0. The software is available directly from Smith Micro at http://www.smithmicro.com/stuffit/wireless/mobile/.