uTorrent Mobile: A First Look
July 26, 2007
Remotely controlling a P2P application via the web is nothing new. eMule popularized the feature, while µTorrent and Azureus introduced the concept to the BitTorrent community. This technology allows the individual to log into their home machine from a remote location and, among many other things, add torrents, pause a download, or discontinue a download.
Sounds great if there's an internet cafe or lap top nearby. Unfortunately, many of these remote interfaces don't have the capacity to support mobile devices such as cell phones or PDAs - at least on the devices we've tested the concept on. But that's all changed. A new project called "µTorrent mUI
" aims to bring mobile user interface compatibility to the µTorrent client. And it appears Sindre Sorhus, the developer behind the project, has done just that.
To review the latest iteration into the BitTorrent foray, we armed ourselves with a Palm TX PDA, the latest version of µTorrent, and a torrent of a “really.great.creative-commons.movie.avi”.
After downloading and setting up our creative-commons torrent, the first thing we do is head over to http://www.utorrentmui.com on the Palm TX. The Palm TX PDA is basically a small computer, which runs version 5.0 of the Palm Operating System. The Palm Treo and a few other major mobile phones use a similar operating system. Plam TX's default browser, known as "Blazer" is an adequate web surfing mechanism, and hopefully should be able to support µTorrent mUI.
Great success! We’re greeted by a basic login screen. Providing you’ve already set up your µTorrent to accommodate remote web access, simply enter your remote computer’s IP address, the correct username and password, then hit “Log In”.
BAM! There’s our really.great.creative-commons.movie torrent! The initial screen gives us a few options, especially useful if we have more than one torrent going. All available options are self explanatory. The “settings” link allows us to throttle our upload/download bandwidth. Now let’s click on the torrent link.
Oh Snap! From this link, we can check a lot of vital information on our torrent download, such as its size, ETA, and tracker information. We also have a few options at our disposal. Two other options that didn’t quite make the screen shot are “Remove” and “Delete”.
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The bottom line
µTorrent mUI has all the basic features you could want in order to remotely control your µTorrent application. You can stop, start, pause, and resume a torrent, while also throttling bandwidth. The one big thing that µTorrent mUI lacks is the ability to add torrents, which the official µTorrent web interface does nicely. However Sindre informs us that this is a feature he greatly desires, and that he's actively working on for future versions. The complexity of doing so over a mobile device remains challenging, as no current BitTorrent trackers support such portables. However if Sindre was able to overcome the challenge of reverse engineering the undocumented µTorrent web API (Application Programming Interface), incorporating the ability to add torrent files shouldn’t be too far behind.
µTorrent mUI is a fascinating step forward in bringing file-sharing technology to mobile devices. It’s useful in that it allows the individual to remotely monitor a download, or kill a download that’s become idle. Sindre told Slyck.com that when the Mac µTorrent is eventually released, he’ll certainly make his application compatible.
µTorrent mUI is a work in progress, however should not be underestimated. The developer behind the project has demonstrated a degree of talent, and it’s likely the file-sharing community will be expecting great things. So for now, enjoy µTorrent mUI for what it is. If you’re out and about, and absolutely must know the status of your really.great.creative-commons.movie.avi.torrent, uTorrent mUI delivers the goods. And best of all, it's open source.
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