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BitTorrent Comes to Cell Phones 101

An anonymous reader writes "Finally, a BitTorrent interface for the mobile phone. Dubbed uTorrent mUI, the web user interface allows the end user to control torrent downloads remotely. The interface still lacks the ability to add torrents, however bringing BitTorrent capabilities to the cell phone is a giant step forward."
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BitTorrent Comes to Cell Phones

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  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Klickoris ( 1104419 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @06:40PM (#20003653) Homepage
    Awesome. I've always wanted to download stuff on the go. Porn on the go, here I come.
  • Pretty Misleading (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @06:42PM (#20003699) Journal

    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.
    The title of this article is pretty misleading. It looks like they've basically made a webpage for their BitTorrent and then made a special css for a cell phone viewing it.

    Not extremely innovative, I've seen web interfaces for torrent clients [].

    Neat? Yes. A good project? Maybe. "Huge step forward?" Not really, in my opinion.

    I question the motives for bringing torrents to cellphones unless you can use other cell phones as download points (hence the name Peer to Peer). That's where the speedup comes from. I think cell phones are pinched at their access point, P2P apps on the phone aren't going to change that, they will even make it worse if both phones are fighting two separate choke points. Not sure if this is well thought out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Poromenos1 ( 830658 )
      What a misleading article... I have a BitTorrent client for my mobile phone called SymTorrent (there's also a Gnutella one, Symella). I think it's open source, too, but it only runs on symbian. Still, pretty handy (I don't know for what, but I'm sure it'll prove to be some day!)
    • Re:Pretty Misleading (Score:4, Informative)

      by nonsequitor ( 893813 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @07:00PM (#20003913)
      As the parent poster pointed out, Azureus has had a remote web interface plugin for a long time. Making it able to be controlled remotely from anything with a browser and net access. How is this news? Wake me when the hacked iPhone has P2P song sharing via WiFi with autodiscovery of peers via ad hoc network magic.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wake me when the hacked iPhone has P2P song sharing via WiFi with autodiscovery of peers via ad hoc network magic.
        No one has whispered softer, sweeter nothings in my ear than you, sir.

        I want to have your abortion.
      • by Firehed ( 942385 )
        Not only that, but this one's rather dangerous. Go to (or just visit it from any phone that has an address bar) and watch all of the details being passed along as a GET request as plaintext. Honestly, what's the point of obfuscating the password field on the login page when you're going to display it in the address bar? Neither of Azureus' plugins nor uTorrent's WebUI does this as far as I can tell, and both are considerably better in my opinion. Hell, I've now got both of them running
      • Azureus has had a remote web interface plugin for a long time.
        Is there an OSX client with similar functionality? Or, better, one you can control via a shell using ssh? It seems like it should be an easy thing to do but the basic bittorrent client for OSX doesn't have it.
    • by Nanoda ( 591299 )
      I agree; I use Torrentflux [] myself to remotely administer my torrents, but almost always I'm adding torrents during lunch so I have a TV show to watch when I get home. Managing upload rates doesn't interest me at all.

      I can see this being somewhat useful if you have a long bus ride and want to add some torrents, but none of the torrent sites I use seem to have a cut-down mobile interface, so I don't see where you'd get them in the first place.
      • by kwark ( 512736 )
        A torrentsite without RSS! My favorite TV stuff gets downloaded automatically using these feeds, so no need for a mobile interface.
    • You can actually have a real torrent client on your phone (well, not really if it's one of those useless eye-phones that is), with an application like WinMobile Torrent []. It seems to have all the main features of a torrent client, including multiple tracker support, partial downloads, priorities, etc.
    • by boldie ( 1016145 )
      Yes, KDEs Ktorrent has a plugin that does this. Last time I checked the iPhone has ssh through some web 2.0 thing and that would let you control just about any CLI app.
  • The phone doesn't need to understand trackers, many popular sites have links directly to the .torrent file - you'd just need to copy and paste a link to a .torrent file and be done with it. I'm sure if the phone can throttle the bandwidth on a torrent it can handle that...
  • Useless (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @06:44PM (#20003721) Homepage
    This may be the most uselss application I have ever seen promoted on /. It might be useful if your torrent program was extremely limited, but uTorrent already allows you to schedule torrents, change speed automatically when they finish, and to impose speed and total download caps if you need them. These features make the ability to remotely monitor your torrents relatively useless, unless you are interested in obsessing over exactly when one of them finishes. But the rest of us have the ability to leave our computers and let uTorrent intelligently manage things without us, with no remote monitoring capability required.
    • I often like to start downloading TV shows as soon as they come out. I'm usually at work late or will be going out many evenings, but it's nice to get home and find that the TV show you missed a couple of hours ago is just finished downloading. I'm not that familiar with the uTorrent features, but I'd be interested in anything that helped me pick and start a torrent manually. There are often many versions of a particular piece of media, and I don't want to get the wrong one. So if I could take a minute out
      • ... which is a feature (ability to add new torrents remotely) the program being promoted doesn't have. (And I agree with you, that it would be the only useful feature such a program could have.)
      • You DO know the activity you describe is most likely illegal and is bound to get you jailed for up to ten years (+$500,000 fine)?

        Repeat after me: I do not have the right to steal media content
        • Re:Useless (Score:4, Insightful)

          by posterlogo ( 943853 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @10:18PM (#20005535)
          Maybe you're right legally, whatever...TV seems like a gray area. There's probably some rule about rebroadcasting. Morally, you can take your high and mighty attitude and shove it. I've paid my $40+ monthly to the cable monopoly. Setting my DVR or getting it off a torrent, I couldn't care less. Whatever points you want to make about it are legal technicalities that yes, could get potentially be troubling. What's more troubling, though, is your attitude, as illustrated by your use of the word "steal". It must be nice to be naive like you and assume everything in the law is about fair and just and therefore anything "most likely illegal" is morally wrong. I guess some people are OK with enabling the MAFIAA companies to buy legislation to screw over the consumers. I don't know where you get off preaching to people here.
          • by kat_skan ( 5219 )

            I was under the impression that most shows have the commercials stripped out when they're distributed like this. You were, of course, never under any impetus to watch the commercials, but is it really still moral to patronize a third party who are distributing a derivative work without compensating the people who actually created it?

            Don't get me wrong, I'm not so high-and-mighty; I do something very similar, only it's shows that are only on in foreign markets. This is convenient, but I think moral is reac

        • You DO know the activity you describe is most likely illegal and is bound to get you jailed for up to ten years (+$500,000 fine)? Repeat after me: I do not have the right to steal media content .

          Oh, please. I have never heard of *anyone* getting prison time for downloading protected content. Do try to keep up old boy-- it's a well-known fact nowadays that downloading copies of files is not "stealing", nor is it "piracy". No-one is deprived of anything natural by the act of copying files off the networ

      • by man_ls ( 248470 )
        This post, and another one that talked about downloading "linux distributions" (quotes included) onto their phones are the reasons ISPs are doing packet shaping on torrent connections....with the majority of torrent traffic being used for illegal purposes, its no wonder.
      • Would this be different to Azuerus and the RSS reader extension using something like's RSS feeds?
        I use it to pick up the Daily Show and Colbert Report each day, I just turn on the client and later the shows are downloaded and ready. The RSS reader has a feature that ensures that only the new episodes are downloaded. And eztv only has one entry for each episode so you don't get hundreds of downloads for each show.
        I know it isn't a mobile access to your client but it might cover the problems you
        • You sir, just gave me the best news ever. I always get the eztv rips when I download and a few things like the Daily Show are keeping me tied to Comcast tv service. If I could have them automatically downloaded, it makes life that much more sweet and drop cable TV.
          Now all I need is FIOS and I can kiss Comcrap goodbye!
    • But the rest of us have the ability to leave our computers and let uTorrent intelligently manage things without us, with no remote monitoring capability required.
      No, the majority on slashdot do not have this ability at all.
  • Wow... (Score:1, Interesting)

    Isn't something like 50% of the net's total traffic (by volume) torrent?

    Seems this would really tax wireless capacity.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Informative)

      by dextromulous ( 627459 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @06:48PM (#20003763) Homepage
      This is a "remote control" for bittorrent related things running on other computers, not a bittorrent client.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        With all the "who's gonna download crap onto their phone?" posts, this is what occurred to me. Can you use this to schedule/direct torrents to download on another computer? That would be something.

        You know, cos getting in on torrents when their streaming is full force is like getting in at the last second on an ebay auction.
        • by Have Blue ( 616 )
          No, actually. "The interface still lacks the ability to add torrents" is right there in the summary.
      • Ahhh! Thanks for clearing that up.
  • "...however bringing BitTorrent capabilities to the cell phone is a giant step forward."

    a giant step forward towards...what? I mean, seriously...just much space ya got on your phone there that you need to torrent files to it?

    Is it April 1, 2008, already?
  • by greyspectre ( 1114091 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @06:57PM (#20003869)
    Awesome! Between hosting webservers and downloading torrents, I'll never have to use my desktop again. Does anyone use a cell phone to make a freaking phone call anymore?
  • by Wog ( 58146 )
    This would be like setting up a very simple web page to control a nuclear missile silo and proclaiming, "NUCLEAR MISSILES NOW LAUNCHED FROM CELL PHONES!"

    All this is is a remote interface, just like the http interface uTorrent already has. Useful? Now for most, but maybe so for some. The fact that you can't add torrents to it is a major limitation, but if you are out with friends and say "So yeah, I hear it's a great film. We can go back to my place and watch it if it's done. Let's see..." then it's a handy
    • by Atragon ( 711454 )
      A whole new level of reality added to missile command...
    • by Anaerin ( 905998 )
      You know, I used to administer web servers from the pub, using VNC on a Palm m100 and a Nokia 7110 linked by IR. Sure, it wasn't the fastest interface (14.4k on Orange, using dual "Data Call" links, 2x9600 Baud "ISDN"), but it did the job.

      And I'm fairly sure I was shuffling Gnutella (v1.0 - Or whatever the original leaked release was) jobs on my work machine with it too.

      Oh, and IIRC we had monitoring servers set up that exposed a WAP interface so we could override/trigger/clear error conditions after
  • Now, don't get me wrong - it's a very neat proyect, but is it that far from a BT client with web server capabilities and Opera mini in your cell? I know of atleast one person who used to have his computer bookmarked in his cell for stuff like this.
  • oops, it is not.
  • No it's not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AaronStJ ( 182845 ) <AaronStJ@gmail.cUUUom minus threevowels> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @07:01PM (#20003931) Homepage
    > bringing BitTorrent capabilities to the cell phone is a giant step forward.

    No it's not. It's not really that impressive at all. They made a web remote control UI for the existing PC-based program, and then went to the website from their Palm. This has nothing to do with bringing BitTorrent capabilities to the cell phone.
  • This is lame (Score:5, Informative)

    by diablobsb ( 444773 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @07:06PM (#20003967)
    good cellphones (pda-like) could always do that....

    there are even bittorrent CLIENTS for cellphones....

    check out... []
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      There is also Python for Symbian so could imagine BitTornado working there as well.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by yohanes ( 644299 )
      A client for Symbian platform also exist. SymTorrent is a full-featured and complete BitTorrent client for Symbian OS 3rd edition en []. s This is a free/open source (GPL) program. As a person who blogs about S60 3rd edition freewares, I have tested it, and it works very well.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by qyiet ( 851101 )
      Torrent clients arn't restricted to WinCE. I already have a SymTorrent [] installed on my Nokia N91 [].

      I must admit I have yet to use it for anything beyond testing, but it's nice to know I could get a "linux distribution" straight to my phone
    • That is the reason I like the Symbian platform. It has two good torrent clients 1. SymTorrent (GPL)( and 2. Wizbit ( and for controlling Azureus Opera will do the job over GPRS/3G
    • by Damork ( 35069 )
      Then there are already versions for Symbian S60 platforms like:

      SymTorrent ( =en [])

  • Great... (Score:2, Funny)

    by suitepotato ( 863945 ) the **AA can subpoena my cell phone company.
  • and it works just fine on my cell phone
  • -This should supply the missing vector needed for cellphone virii disguised as ringtones and wallpapers and pr0n dialers which access premium rate overseas #s

    now our phones can be as fsck'd as our PCs -esp the ones running Windows Mobile....

    I'm just sayin'
    • by Fizzl ( 209397 )
      Atleast with Symbian based phones, it is pretty impossible to write self propagating virii. Even with silly people happlessly clicking every "Yes" and "Confirm" dialogs.
      The way capabilities locks work, you really have to identify yourself to Symbian signed to get a certificate to use any advanced API's. You can use self-signed certs for simple apps, but with that you cannot really do any damage or access any propagation vectors. Alternatively, you can get a developer cert to use capabilities. With this, you
  • This was news years ago.

    A way to control torrents on my PC from my cell? I've never been able to do that with any torrent client that had a web interface. Or just the torrent client through a shell. Or any of a number of remote desktop apps that exists for the cell..

    For God's sake, we've even been able to download torrents on the actual phone for quite a while now, even that is old news.

    Besides, who uses torrents anyways? Usenet FTW!
  • eMule had this before bittorrent even existed
  • Somehow that strikes me as being more useful, what with it having 1.4TB of storage and all.
    • by Firehed ( 942385 )
      What NAS? Off-the-shelf unit or custom-built? I'm in the market, and something with a bit-torrent client built in would be a huge boon.
      • by bitserf ( 756357 )
        I am using the Synology CS407e [] but even their lowend DS-106j model has a built in client. I believe these devices run some form of Debian too. Works great sharing stuff over SMB to XBMC :)
        • by Firehed ( 942385 )
          Awesome. I'd been looking at Infrant units, but those seem even better. I wonder how I'd missed them.
  • Because you know, open source eMule mods having a web interface that could be accessed from a phone or, well, anywhere, is completely different. And they've only had that for years.

    I really believe BitTorrent is just a tad overrated. Or maybe I'm just bitter because it's not truly P2P, it's peer to lousy-tracker-with-no-seeds-that-shuts-down-after- a-week-because-mom-cut-the-network-cable-down-to-t he-basement to peer (P2L2P). Or maybe I've just had bad experiences with about 90% of the trackers I ever
    • The type of content you want is very important. For example, I use Bittorrent primarily to download Anime. It works very well for that, and I haven't had any issues with the Trackers shutting down (and even if that happens, my client can get all the information that a Tracker would give it from other Peers, which is very helpful). It also works very well for downloading new Linux distros. If, on the other hand, you want to download the latest pirated movie, or other illegal/dodgy content (okay, some Anime
  • Text MONEY to 77733 to donate to Bram Cohen! (He doesn't do this for free you know)
  • I'm sure this is news in iPhone Land but here in Europe we've been doing this for some time now.
  • Now I can kill my battery even quicker!

    Screw this crap.

    Hey eggheads, we're all tired of the carrot before the horse crap. Put all your giant brains together and build me a battery. The most amazing, spectacular battery in the world, nay, universe. I want it to power my Treo (which dies after eight hours just sitting there, and yes I have my auto-sync set to 5 minutes and 15 minutes...all the more reason for an awesome battery) for at least five days using 100% of every damn thing its advertised for. I d
  • From the article:

    Torrent mUI has all the basic features you could want in order to remotely control your Torrent application.

    From the summary:

    bringing BitTorrent capabilities to the cell phone is a giant step forward.

    Yeah, I know I'm selectively quoting from the summary (i.e. another line says "allows the end user to control torrent downloads remotely".I also understand that I'm splitting some hairs here, but there is nothing new on the cell phone. So do we consider it to be bringing capabilities to a phone every time a new web application is built or an old host app has a new web front end built for it? Nothing has changed on the phone. That's the *point* of building web-based

  • This made me think of bit torrent over a massive LAN mesh network. I bet the RIAA/MPAA will be angry when that starts, actually so will anyone else in the business of selling software/media.
  • You can do this incredibly easily and in a much more lightweight fashion from any computer/phone/toaster with Internet access.

    1. On your machine you use to download torrents, run rtorrent [] within screen [].

    screen rtorrent

    2. SSH [] into your box: from Windows try Putty [], from your phone try PocketPutty []; from Linux:

    ssh youraddress

    3. Reconnect to the screen

    screen -r -x

    Simple. No fancy-schmancy GUIs required.

  • I used to have a Treo 270 and run Onager [] over GPRS to control mldonkey [] which is a general P2P-tool that also handles bittorrent. That was like five years ago.. Though it didn't last too long; mldonkey evolved faster than onager. Every phone since then has included a webbrowser that you can use to control, for example, mldonkey over a web interface.
  • ...or is this a massive security risk?

    From what I can tell, you are esentially giving him your uTorrent login info.
  • Since I assume that the data-rate costs are pretty astronomical in most countries. Or a people starting to want to pay to pirate now? :)
  • Have you any idea how high my phone bill will be if I use this???

    Imagine seeding for 24 hours with this thing... ai ai ai

  • Symtorrent [] is a Bit Torrent client designed specifically for S60 phones. N70, N95 etc.

    Make sure you have a generous data plan, though!
  • Linux personal Web & file server + DDNS + TorrentFlux + Cellphone with data (read: internet) access = BitTorrent WITH file downloads on a cell phone.

  • This is such a tiny amount of functionality, it's hard to believe it got ahead of a story about helicopters on If they had bittorrent downloads to the cell phone through http proxies, that would be worth something, but how often do you start, stop, and pause bittorrent downloads? And when they finally get downloads to the cell phone, they're not going to support http proxies.

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