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Join us in reading Hobbes' epic How-To install guide, the definitive one for how to get the stuff you want on your Windows Mobile device. It's geared to the new user, but even an old-hat like myself has learned a thing or two from this monster guide. If you're like me, you have a friend or family member who's always hitting you up for help with their Windows Mobile smartphone. My new advice to them: read this article. -- Ed.

Window Mobile (WM) phones can certainly make a huge impact on your productivity on a personal level as well in your professional career. It can offer hours of entertainment with games, movies and music while making sure you never miss a beat from the office while away from your desk. When someone buys their first WM phone, they can usually be placed into two different camps. Those who have only owned a regular cell phone and this is their first smartphone... and those who have owned smartphones in the past, but never a WM phone (i.e. they have only owned Palm OS, Symbian, Blackberry, etc.). In either case, as with anything else in this world, there is a learning curve in order to reach that level of comfort and understanding with their new phone, though this learning curve is probably smaller than some might think at first.

This is going to be the first part in a series aimed at addressing the most common questions, beginner misunderstandings, avoidable unneeded frustrations, etc... that many brand new WM users face. Or for some long time or casual WM users, it may simply answer questions you might have been too embarrassed to ask about!

Part one focuses on how to copy files to your WM phone as well as how to install and unistall software applications on your phone. This guide is written with the beginner in mind, so it does go into a little more detail than you would normally find.

How To: Manually Transfer Files From the PC to the Phone

There are times you will want to transfer files to your new Windows Mobile phone. They may be Word or Excel docs for work, your collection of MP3s, a program you want to install, or pictures of your 3 year old that you are itching to show anyone who will look. There are a few different ways you can transfer files from your PC to your WM phone. Sometimes you will have to make a judgment call as to which way will be the best for the file(s) that you want to transfer, depending on it's size, how many there are, and the location in relation to your phone. In other words, is the file big or small, do you have 2 or 163 files, is it on the PC sitting next to the phone or is the file 2,000 miles away on you boss' laptop. These tutorials assume you have a basic knowledge of Windows XP or Vista on your PC.

Transfer with ActiveSync

If you only need to transfer a few small files and you can connect the phone to the PC that has the files, then you can use ActiveSync to transfer the file. Please be aware that if you are using Windows XP vs Windows Vista, the steps below are very similar with only minor differences. The big difference is basically in the name of the Utility that you use depending the OS on your PC. In Windows XP you will use ActiveSync, which you may need to install on the PC (you can download the latest version here). In Windows Vista it already comes with its version of ActiveSync called Windows Mobile Device Center. Here is how you would do it with both WinXP and Vista:

  1. Open Windows Explorer on your PC (usually Start / All Programs / Accessories / Windows Explorer )
  2. Connect your phone to your PC
  3. In XP: After ActiveSync shows it is connected, click on the "Explore" button on ActiveSync on your PC

    In Vista: After Windows Mobile Device Center on your PC shows it is connected to your phone, hover your mouse over File Management and then click on the "Browse The Content Of Your Device"

  4. In the ActiveSync Explorer or the Windows Mobile Device Center Explorer window you just opened on your PC, browse to the folder on your phone you want to copy the file to.
    In WinXP: The window will usually open in your phone's My Documents folder in WinXP ActiveSync. In order to browse anywhere else, you will have go up one level by double clicking on "My Windows Mobile Based Device" and then browse to any folder on your phone or select Memory Card and browse to any folder there.
    In Vista: Vista's Windows Mobile Device Center it will open up to the root directory so you will have to start by clicking on the phone for the internal memory or the SD card to explorer's it's folders.
  5. Now in Windows Explorer on your PC find the file that you want to copy to your phone.
  6. To copy the file to your phone, simply drag the file from Windows Explorer to the the window of the ActiveSync Explorer or Windows Mobile Device Center Explorer window.

  7. A progress bar will show the status of the file transfer. Please note that if you are using Windows XP, you will not be able to browse either the ActiveSync Explorer window or Windows Explorer until the transfer is completed, but if you are using Windows Vista you will be able to continue to browse while the files are being copied.

You really only want to use this option if the file(s) you want to transfer are small. You also do not want to do this if you are going to transfer a lot of files.

Transfer with a Card Reader

One of the easiest ways (and the way I personally do it most of the time) is to simply remove the memory card from your phone and plug it into a USB card reader connected to your PC. Then you simply use Windows Explorer to drag and drop any file(s) you want copy from your PC to any folder on your phone's memory card.

There are times that this will really be your only option, too. For example, when you want to transfer a VERY large file (i.e. the map file for the whole USA for your GPS navigation program) or a large group of files (i.e. 682 MP3 files) then you want to use a memory card reader for two reasons: First is that copying large files or a large group of files via ActiveSync may literally take **hours** longer. I am not kidding. When I first tried using Active Sync to copy about a GIG of MP3s to my phone, 6 hours later it was still trying to finish them. It only took a matter of minutes with my card reader. Secondly, if ActiveSync does not recognize the file format, it may try to convert to a format it likes better, but then makes it not usable for the intended program (I had this happen to me when I tried use ActiveSync in WinXP to transfer my map files for my GPS navigation program).

Transfer with Email

Now if there is a program that is on a PC that is not next to the computer that you want to install on your phone, then you can email the CAB file to your handheld so you can install the program. Please note that for this to work, you will need to have a CAB file to send, and not the EXE installation file (see the next section for details on this). On the PC, send an email to an email account that you have already set up on your handheld. (Look for a future How To article on WMexperts or browse the forums if you need help with this). Then make sure you attach the CAB file to your email. And send.

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9

Palm Treo 500 Emerges, Updated with New Pics

Well look what we have here, a shiny new image of the Palm Treo 500, nee the Palm Gandolf, which will be announced officially on Sept. 12th. Things that we have confirmed now:

  1. It's not as ugly as the PalmOS Centro and it thankfully a bit wider, making typing easier
  2. 3G, thank the lord, though no word if it's HSPDA or UMTS for sure (put your money on HSDPA)
  3. Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition (i.e. no touch screen, a first for Palm)
  4. It's a Treo, the Treo 500.

(In short, we were right all along.)

We're happy to see that Palm is keeping the "Treo" moniker on it, contrary to recent rumblings. We're also happy to see that it's being called the Treo 500 - sorta makes sense since many consider a non-touchscreen device to be less powerful than touchscreen brethren. Sadly, the screen here is dark, so we don't know yet if Palm has cooked in any of their fabled UI improvements onto Windows Mobile Standard or not.

After the break, the full image along with some nice marketing copy from a phone shop in the Netherlands, plus babelfish's best attempt at a translation.

Update 1: When it rains, it pours, Alles Windows Mobile has specs:

A reliable source informed us that Palm is to announce the new Treo 500v very soon. It will run Windows Mobile 6, will come with a 240×320 screen, has 150MB of memory and communication will be possible using UMTS. The expansion slot will be Micro-SD, just like the Treo 750. The dimensions are slighly less than the Treo 750: 61×110x16mm, and also the camera (2.0MP) and Bluetooth (v2.0) are slighly better. The device will be available in grey and white.

Also notable is that the Vodafone version looks to be a Treo 500v, like the Vodafone Treo 750v.

Update 2: Alles Windows Mobile comes through with more pictures, after the break. They show that, yes, the Treo 500v is a little fatter than we'd like. Another sad note, the white picture seems to cast some doubt on the whole shootin' match just a wee bit.

Click for the full image:

with the palm treo 500 you can remain according to your own wishes linked. the combination of tel., e-mail, messaging, the web, and windows mobile with palm extra's as a result of which you more easily than ever productive can remain receive e-mail from several accounts business or personal. the web goes up where you stand also with fast 3g networks or relax and lustre to your favoriete musiek, play videoclips, or make and send photograph.

Update: More pics

Two more images courtesy of Alles Windows Mobile (who asked us to re-post rather than link directly to the image to save their scanty bandwidth). Note the giant "Cyclops-eye" style camera:

This second image, of the white one, is a tad suspect. Why is the keyboard blurred out? Also note that the white version has no Vodafone logo and the Treo logo is moved. Perhaps it's pre-production, perhaps its the unlocked, non "v" version, or perhaps we are all getting played for fools.

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Foleo Cancelled, A Curious Absence

Here's me over at TreoCentral, reporting on Palm's big news yesterday afternoon:

Colligan states that Palm wants to focus their development efforts on the Linux Smartphone Platform, though he did write that Palm still plans on developing the a "Foleo II" and releasing it sometime in the future -- based on the new "unified platform."

Read: treocentral.com >> Stories >> Business >> Foleo Cancelled!

It looks like the overnights are in and the results are good for Palm. Sure, it's a black eye, but a black eye is better than walking around with your pants down. Reading over the reactions, I'd say it's about 10 "good move, Palm" to 1 "aww, bummer." Note that I've yet to come across a single "Palm, you idiots, don't cancel this!" reaction.

Even to the bitter end, I gave the Foleo the benefit of the doubt; which is to say "I seriously doubt the Foleo will work, but I kinda hope I'm wrong."

More after the break

Who was the Market?

I've said myself and I've read elsewhere (to many places and too long ago to properly cite) that the Foleo seemed to be designed specifically with me as a tech journalist in mind. Carrying it around conferences, using it during interviews, blogging on the go all would have been easier and better.

It also hit me hard as a former grad student - carrying this thing to classes and the library would have saved me quite a lot of pain and sorrow. In some ways I'm sorry that Palm didn't push the student aspect of it harder - though I understand why they didn't: their desire to focus on email (more on that below), cost, and perhaps the relative failure of the Newton eMate. The eMate, if you'll recall, was based on a popular PDA format translated into a mini-laptop form factor. Sound familiar? The eMate (the "e" is for "Education") didn't fly, either.

No, the target market from the Foleo, as stated by Palm from the get-go, was "Business Executives." This was why the email app got its own big button on the Foleo. This was also why Palm felt it could charge an outrageously exorbitant amount of money for it, apparently. Despite what you'll hear from motivational speakers, however, not everybody is an executive - it's not that large of a demographic. Of course, I'm sure Palm planned on expanding the market beyond executives and technophiliacs - but how exactly they were going to do that is beyond me.

Mobile Companion

The is the heart of the Foleo debate - just what niche does the Foleo fall into? This is another reason that the Foleo was a bit of a tech journalist dream - it gave us a chance to rethink the categories we use to think about gadgets. That was clearly Palm's intention - to shake up our preconceptions about what gadgets are. But the idea of a "Mobile Companion" was complicated from the start. Unlike the original Palm and also unlike the Treo, the Foleo didn't have an instant "AHA" moment when you saw it. Instead, it took a bit of explanation for you to understand that this was a thin client for your smartphone - or perhaps a thin client for your desktop via your smartphone - or perhaps a linux appliance - or perhaps ... you get the point.

Again, I'll come back to something I've said before about the Foleo - it was simultaneously three years late and three years early. In the form that we saw, it was clearly three years late - the technology and the ideas behind it were all here three years ago (it was, after all, little more than a Palm TX on the inside). Three years ago we certainly would have been wowed by the Foleo and by Palm's forward-thinking. Three years too late also? You bet. If the Foleo was supposed to really be a thin client for a smartphone, then the smartphone would need to be something better than what we have now - a phone that would have the power, storage, flexibility, and connectivity that we typically associate with laptops nowadays. We're close, but I'm thinking of somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 gigs of storage, faster processor, longer battery life, ... an uber-smartphone. They'll get here someday and when they do there really will be a market for a "mobile companion."

That, in the end, is where the Foleo failed. Palm said again and again that the Foleo wasn't meant to replace your laptop. Here's the rub: it should have been able to replace your laptop. On its own, perhaps not, but in conjunction with an uber-smartphone, yes. That's why I say that the Foleo was three years too early - smartphones just don't deserve to have "mobile companions" yet.

So it's good that Palm is focusing its efforts on just the smartphone OS - more competition should bring the day we have a smartphone worthy of a Foleo that much sooner. It's also important to note that Palm will continue to support Windows Mobile, bringing their "special sauce" of UI improvements to the platform (Yay for threaded SMS!)

A Curious Absence

So now what? Now we wait for Foleo II, I guess. Strangely, though Colligan's decision to Ax the Foleo has been almost universally praised, there's suddenly a hole in the market right now. Palm almost succeeded in creating their brand new "3rd category" of mobile devices. Now that they've tried, suddenly tiny laptops seem overburdened with cruft, UMPCs (even super-hot ones like the HTC Shift) seem to be trying to fit too much in too small a space.

A UMPC with a UMPC-specific OS designed to sync automatically with your smartphone and perhaps (finally) with "the cloud" directly would actually be pretty neat. Now that the Foleo is just an idea without all the hassles that a real-world device with real-world bugs and hassles brings, I almost feel it's more compelling. Unburdened of its physical form, the "Platonic Ideal" of a "Mobile Companion" is something that's really compelling.

...In a few years.

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Here's another sweet hack from the forums. Palm inexplicably hasn't put threaded messaging on the CDMA versions Windows Mobile Treo (i.e the 700w and 700wx), but it's available on the GSM only Treo 750. So - hackers to the rescue! I've done this successfully on both an HTC Touch and a Mogul - as promised by the thread's title, the instructions really are dead-simple.

A couple of caveats:

  1. You'll want to use Resco Explorer or some other file browser that can get to hidden files.
  2. You'll lose MMS. Yeah - there are ways around it, but basically you're making a decision between threaded SMS and MMS. The only time I use MMS is when I'm testing it on a new phone, so no big loss for me.
  3. Windows Mobile 6 Pro or Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC edition only (i.e. touchscreen), sorry kids.

So head on into the forums and get your thread on. Big ups to codyppc for writing up the instructions and to hannip for figuring it all out.

Ok, due to the large number of people still having trouble installing the sms app, I have decided to write another tutorial for nOObs. With pictures. Many said the old threads were outdated.

Read: WM6 Threaded SMS Install Instructions for nOObs. w/pictures - WM Experts

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How To: Buy a Windows Mobile Phone

PCWorld has just posted a general overview of the basic issues that face somebody interested in buying a Smartphone. For those of us in the mobile world, there's no new information here, but it's a nice one-stop article for new people who don't know the difference between UMTS and IMAP (mixed categories.. shudder):

There is no single greatest handset for all users, but with a little bit of forethought, you can easily choose the best phone and service plan for your own business needs.

Read: PC World - How to: Buy a Mobile Phone

I link it for two reasons: 1) the above mentioned "save this link for the next time somebody asks you about mobile phones" and, more importantly, 2) I think the article is exactly backwards when it comes to buying a mobile phone. Let's assume you're interested in buying a smartphone and, naturally, you think that you're going to want a very powerful device -- so you've settled on Windows Mobile as your platform of choice. What next?.

If you're not careful, you'll let the gadgetlust tail wag the smartphone dog. So read on for the "default advice" I give to friends, family, and even enemies (turn the other cheek, right?) about how to buy a Smartphone.

Step One: Pick Your Carrier

Seriously, this is step one and failing to make this step one is, I think, most often the biggest pitfall for a new smartphone buyer. It's very easy to be taken in by the gadget lust, but let me speak from long, personal experience:

Paying cancellation fees sucks. Getting stuck with a carrier whose coverage and plans don't fit your needs sucks a lot. I've paid 4 cancellation fees in the past two years. If I'd followed my own advice, I would have paid just one and been happier in the long run.

Really, there are stupendous Windows Mobile devices available now on every single carrier in the US. Even with the new stuff coming out soon, you'll be much happier in the long run sticking with the one carrier that best fits your needs instead of switching around to get the latest and greatest. So, how do you pick your carrier? There's no one way, but this is what I recommend:

  1. First, coverage. If you don't have good signal at home and in your office, find the carrier that has the best signal. Invite friends over who are on other carriers and check their bars. Check with your coworkers. Heck, waltz into a store and ask to borrow a test device for an hour. You might think you can "get by," but I promise you: if you have horrible signal in the places you live and work at, you'll end up switching again.
  2. Second, plans. If you're lucky enough to have several carrier options when it comes to coverage in your area, the next step is to delve into the mysterious and hateful world of cell phone plans. Here's a fair warning: this step will depress you. Nearly every carrier has overpriced data plans, overpriced text messaging, and confusing-as-all-get-out choices. Generally: assume that you'll need slightly more minutes than you think; Get unlimited data, period; get more text messages than you think you'll need, too -- as every single carrier is milking text message costs these day as a part of their master plan to be as evil as possible.
  3. Third, the little things. Maybe your family uses a certain carrier. Maybe your friends do. Maybe, like me, it's important to be able to switch up devices by swapping your SIM card out. Maybe you need a phone that will work in Europe. Maybe you think the customer service at certain carrier is better. I should say, though, that in the mobile space, the grass always seems greener on the other side. Take it from me, with the possible exception of T-Mobile, every carrier's customer service is slightly worse than you'll get from the most offensive fast food employee you can imagine. Maybe you prefer a certain 3G technology, or believe that a certain carrier will have better 4G tech.
    ...Maybe, just maybe, you're loyal to a certain carrier. ...Ok, scratch that last.

Step Two: Pick Your Moment

This step is tricky. If you're caught in a contract, it might be worth it to wait it out and avoid the cancellation fee. If you're not, it might be worth it to wait for the latest and greatest smartphone that's coming out soon. Or heck, your life is a little hectic right now, you can afford to stop hitting refresh on your favorite gadget blogs for a few hours and go outside. Go Fishing or something: HobbesIsReal swears by it. :)

The point is don't act hastily. Let the decision sit in the back of your mind for a bit. Let it stew (or fester, if that's your style). Eventually you'll feel that, yes, now is the time.

Step Three: Pick your Smartphone

FINALLY, you get to the good part. Reading reviews. Fondling the device at the store. Going through a spec breakdown device by device. Oohing and Aahing. Still, I advise caution here. I oohed and aahed at the Vox, only to find it wasn't for me.

We're assuming, of course, that you want the power, work-friendliness, and customization you can only get on Windows Mobile. That basically means your decision tree is very simple.

Decision One: Pro or Standard?

With Windows Mobile 6, the Touchscreen devices are "Pro" and the non-touchscreen devices are "Standard." On windows Mobile 5, the nomenclature is "PocketPC Edition" and "Smartphone Edition." At this stage in the game, anything you're considering will either be WM6 or will be upgraded to it very soon. So relax.

The real question is whether or not you need the extra power and ease of use of the touchscreen. Nobody can answer that for you but you - so you'll really need to get the gadgets in your hands and play around. Generally speaking, the Pro editions are slightly faster and slightly easier to use because you can interact directly with the screen instead of navigating around with the 5-way pad. Also, generally speaking, the Standard editions are slimmer, sexier, and have slightly better battery life.

So it's power or pocketability, basically.

Decision Two: Which one?

Well, we've finally come to it, you've already done your due diligence, having:

  • Picked a Carrier and a Plan
  • Waited to be sure you made the right decision
  • Picked your platform

...here's the good news / bad news - once you've made those decisions, it's highly likely that you'll only have 2, or at the most three, devices to choose from. The only exception is if you're considering importing some unlocked GSM phone, but let's leave that out of the picture for now.

When you're choosing between the devices that are available for your carrier and your platform, you basically just go with your gut. Maybe one-handed use is important so you go with a Treo 750. Or maybe you want a super-powered device, so you wait for the HTC Tilt. Or maybe you think the MotoQ9 is ugly as sin so you get the Blackjack. The best thing to do is get ahold of an actual phone and play around with it, plus read as many reviews as you can.

Here's a teaser: WMExperts is currently working on a comprehensive buyer's guide that you can use to compare specs, comment on phones, and generally figure it all out. Coming in September, Web Gods Willing.

Wrapping Up

Sad but true, nearly every point I've made here comes from personal experience. More specifically, personal experience doing the wrong thing. I've switched carriers out of a desire for a different phone, only to find that my signal was unacceptable. I've left carriers in a huff over customer service only to find it was worse with the new guys. Most often, though, I've snapped up too many new phones to count only to find they didn't fit my needs.

So slow down, chill out, and follow my easy three step plan to smartphone bliss. I know I will from now... OHH, SHINY! Where's my credit card!?

Did I get something wrong? Let us know in the comments!

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Rant: gpsOne is Not GPS

Pardon my rant:

I joined in the crowd talking about the FCC approval of the ho-hum HTC Iris because it's out there in the blogosphere and we here at WMExperts are super hip with the blogosphere, natch. However, I'm seeing it reported that the Iris has GPS. It does not. It has gpsOne. People: don't say a gadget (especially a rumored gadget that people might save up their pennies to buy) has GPS when it only has gpsOne.

What's the difference and what's my beef? Read on after the break.

What's gpsOne? Here's what Qualcomm says; here's Wikipedia:

gpsOne is primarily used today for Enhanced-911 E911 service, allowing your cell phone to relay your location to emergency dispatchers, one of the traditional shortcomings of cellular phone technology. Using a combination of GPS satellite signals and the cell towers themselves, gpsOne allows your location to be plotted with greater accuracy than traditional GPS systems in areas where satellite reception is problematic due to buildings or terrain.

Read: GpsOne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Basically here's the difference: GPS provides very accurate location information that you can use in various applications like Windows Live Search, TomTom, or Google Maps. GpsOne is locked down 95 times out of 100 so all it does is tell 911 dispatchers your approximate. In fact, many folks who have tried to unlock gpsOne capabilities have found it to be inaccurate and have even ended up making their phones dial 911 by mistake.

The situation is even worse on Windows Mobile, actually, because many WM devices could use those chips if there were an API and carriers allowed developers easy access to the gpsOne chip. If you've been holding your breath for carriers to do something nice for you, stop: they're never going to. It's especially aggravating because, as Sbono13 notes, gpsOne actually can work on certain plain-jane featurephone in conjunction with Google Maps. When will we see GpsOne available for apps on a Windows Mobile device? I'm going to guess never. It's sad, but not too sad, because at the end of the day gpsOne isn't as accurate at true-blue GPS anyway.

Look, I want GPS native on my Windows Mobile devices as much as, if not more than, the next guy. Witness my slathering over the upcoming AT&T Tilt. But until carriers allow that gpsOne data to be used openly (read: never), quit thinking the "gpsOne" tickmark on spec sheets means that GPS is built-in. You're just sowing confusion amongst users and raising everybody's hopes.

Meanwhile, pick yourself up a Bluetooth GPS Receiver instead. Me, I'm going to go take my blood pressure medication.

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Verizon Rumor Roundup

We've had a mess of Verizon rumors in the past couple of weeks, so let's get clear on what's coming from them Windows Mobile-wise. Fortunately, we have a nice way to do that courtesy of phoneArena, who snagged some internal documents from the big V.

Release dates for all these devices have been all over the map, and some rumors dates have been missed. Suffice to say that they'll all hit in 2007 and I personally think they'll hit in the order I present them after the break, read on.

One note - my guesses at the release dates could likely be inaccurate, as PhoneArena's documents say this is the order:

  • Motorola Q9m / Q9c - August / Q4
  • Samsung SCH-i760 - September
  • UTStarcom SMT5800 - October
  • UTStarcom XV6800 - October

Motorola Q9M and Motorola Q9C

We discovered the Q9C, enterprise version of the Q9 yesterday, and it looks to be the ho-hum version of the media-software-enhanced Q9M. What do we get with this device?

  • Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition
  • EVDO for data
  • Bluetooth
  • microSD Slot
  • 4.6" x 2.6" x .6"
  • 4.7oz
  • 1130 mAh battery, 5 hours talk time
  • 320x240 screen
  • 1.3 Megapixel camera
  • Q9M has fancy new interface, pictured at the top of the article.

UTStarcomm XV6800

This is the Verizon version of the Sprint Mogul and as you can see from the phonearena pic, it's not as pretty (or so says I, anyhow). Here we get the same specs as the Mogul:

  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition
  • EVDO for data (upgradable to Rev A)
  • WiFi and Bluetooth
  • 59 x 110 x 18.5 mm
  • 384 MHz processor
  • 256 RAM, 64 ROM
  • 165 Grams
  • 1500 maH battery
  • 320 x 240 touchscreen (2.8 inches)
  • 2 Megapixel camera (actually 1.9, but let's not split hairs)

UTStarcom SMT5800

The poorly-named SMT 5800 also doesn't look all that pretty. I was initially impressed with its GSM cousin, the Vox, before ultimately knocking the Vox in my review it because of it's poor keyboard and processor. Specs:

  • EVDO (upgradable to Rev A)
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • 128 RAM, 64 ROM
  • MicroSD
  • Bluetooth (but no WiFi?)

Samsung i760

The Samsung i760 has been near the top of my covet-list based on its combination of the slider and keypad form-factors. I also look forward to the same fit and finish that Samsung brought to the Blackjack on a device with a touchscreen. Specs are respectable, but not out of this world:

  • 60 x 110 x 20 mm
  • 150 grams
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • 400 MHZ Samsung (naturally) Processor
  • 128MB ROM
  • 64 MB RAM (54.5MB for the User)
  • 2.8" touchscreen, 320x240
  • EVDO (I think Rev A, but that's not for sure?)
  • MicroSD
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WiFi (both B and G)
  • 1.3 mp camera
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How-To: Full YouTube on Windows Mobile

WMExperts Forum Member / hero zbop has done the impossible incredible: Written instructions for getting the full version of YouTube working on Windows Mobile without needing a PhD in Computer Science. That's not m.youtube.com, (which only features whatever videos YouTube has bothered to encode for that site), but the full YouTube. It's not quite plug 'n play, but it's darn close. If you follow zbop's instructions to a Tee you should be able to manage it. They're a lot easier than the earlier mentioned hack.

  • If you already have a version of TCPMP installed, uninstall it now.
  • Install tcpmp.pocketpc.0.72RC1.cab: link here
  • Install FlashVideoBundle.CAB attached [in the linked forum post below] (this MUST be installed in the same location as TCPMP)
  • Soft-reset

You'll also want to read through the whole thread (linked below) for some tips and tricks for configuring TCPMP to get everything running smoothly and quickly (see especially Malatesta's post). On devices with slow processors, you may want to look into those acceleration tips. I'm here to tell you, though, on a lowly Treo750 with lowly EDGE, it works without too many config futzing.

If you follow the instructions exactly and use the preconfigured TCPMP settings, you should be able to play videos smoothly if your network connection is adequate.

Read: Full Youtube and Google Video access! - WM Experts

(Note, you'll need to register in order to be able to download the flash bundle .cab. As long as you are, you might as well use the contest box on the right of this page - might win yourself 25 bucks at our store. ;) )

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It's the Software, Stupid.

So the New York Times just did a write up on Bill Gates' impending (semi)retirement and what it means for Microsoft. Of course the message is that all is well, nobody's worried, everything's fine, move along, nothing to see here, etc etc. On page two, though, we get some nice bits about how Microsoft feels about the oft-rumored Google Phone. Let's take a look:

“How many products, of all the Google products that have been introduced, how many of them are profit-making products?” he asked. “They’ve introduced about 30 different products; they have one profit-making product. So, you’re now making a prediction without ever seeing the software that they’re going to have the world’s best phone and it’s going to be free?”

Zing!

I have a few thoughts on this quote and a bit of editorial after the break. Because Apple's entrance into this space and Google's rumbling have finally made this the conventional wisdom about smartphones: It's the software, Stupid!

  1. There are so many ways to skim revenue off a smartphone it boggles the mind. Money for services, paid either via the carrier or directly, is relatively easy to come by. So the idea that Google won't figure out a way to monetize a phone is a little silly. Nevertheless, that's a nice little jab right there.
  2. Despite #1 there, figuring out a way to make money off online services, especially the mobile variety, is going to be a tough nut to crack. Microsoft themselves just posted a big loss in that division - mostly because of how much they've been investing. So going after Google because they haven't gleaned a clear way to profit off anything beyond ad'n'search is a little disingenuous. Monetizing online services is everybody's problem.
  3. Long overdue here at WMExperts is an analysis of the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction as well as the various sniping from Google, CTIA, and the FCC about it. Let's just say, for now, that if it turns out there's pie to be had in that potential wireless industry shakeup, Microsoft will be getting a piece of it.

The quote continues:

Again, the ability to create compelling software will determine the winners. “The phone is becoming way more software intensive,” he said. “And to be able to say that there’s some challenge for us in the phone market when its becoming software intensive, I don’t see that.”

Read: Microsoft’s Gates Plans Leave Amid Great Change - New York Times via google-phone

Yes and ....huh? Perhaps I'm missing some context here. Presumably he's saying that Google doesn't have the chops to challenge Microsoft when it comes to "the software magic" on smartphones. That's what I think he means, and I think that's probably pretty astute. However, I also happen to recall a certain CEO of Palm named Ed Colligan saying that Apple wouldn't be able to just swoop in and get the software right, that Palm had years of experience and that's what it takes. Well, ok. The iPhone did not get it right the first time, but they got darn close. So maybe Mr. Gates shouldn't throw down like that with Google...

Anyhow, the point is that Gates (and Apple, and Palm too, by the way) all get it, with smartphones today and in the future, it's about the software. The "specs" of phones are all getting really good really fast, they're converging on a fairly uniform set that's good. Processor, storage, screen size, just exactly how many kbits per second your wireless connection can suck down... all of these will get better and there will always be some phone with an advantage here or there, but that's not what matters anymore. What matters now is how powerful, flexible, and elegant the software is.

...or that's what will matter. One of the ancillary benefits of the ginormous iPhone media splash is, I hope, the fact that people are going to realize that it's about the software. The RAZR will go down in history, amongst Cell Phone Historians (good gravy, I wonder if I could get a PhD in that?) as the last mobile phone where the form of the device drove people wild. I see a bright and glorious future coming very soon, on in which we can safely assume that the form factor is going to be pretty darn good in whatever device we covet next. The form will be a given. The function, that's where the action is now.

And I have a lot of faith in the Windows Mobile team and the Windows Mobile developer community when it comes to function. Which brings us back around again, to Google. Google presents an interesting challenge (yes, Billy G, a "challenge") to Microsoft: Can you take the simple, intuitive, and direct spirit of the original Google homepage and apply it to a smartphone? Can you continue to increase the power while also making it more intuitive to use?

Ladies and Gentlemen: Let the countdown to Photon begin. The stakes, they are quickly becoming very, very high.

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That is right - two new announcements rolled into this here post:

  1. Every week day from now through the end of August, we are giving away one $25 coupon good at the WMExperts Store. Contest rules and suchlike are here. To enter, just sign up for our newsletter.
  2. We're going to be sending out a newsletter (see how #2 here follows from #1?) every two weeks or so, which will feature our top stories as well as special deals from our Accessory Store. To sign up, just punch your email in on the new box you see over there on the right.

Obviously we're not evil, so you can unsubscribe from the newsletter (and still be eligible) anytime by clicking the handy link you'll find at the bottom of it. Also in the "we're not-evil" vein, we never ever ever ever give emails out to 3rd parties. We can't believe you ever doubted us. We're hurt, really.

I'll tell you something else (though I'm sure you could figure this out on your own), we're choosing winners randomly from the pool of people who have signed up, naturally. If you think about it, though, that means your chances of winning are better the earlier you sign up, because there will be a smaller pool of people you're competing against in the early days.

...We're also working on a few other neat new features for the site which should be popping up in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

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Palm's ROM Follies

Over at TreoCentral I've left the lion's share of reporting in the capable hands of Jennifer Chappell. My duties there have mostly been relegated to the TreoCast and to story after story after story after story after story after story about Palm's seeming inability to release a simple ROM patch for their PalmOS Treo 700p. It's really depressing, actually, even more depressing because Palm recently announced they're not going to be releasing the Linux Version of the PalmOS until next year. So much for somebody other than Apple pushing Microsoft to innovate the WM platform.

On the Windows Mobile side of Palm's world, things are going a little better. They've released an update for the the memory-aenemic 700w and the ready-for-prime-time 700wx. The update equalizes the two devices (except for the memory issue) and adds A2DP and improved DUN. What it doesn't add is Windows Mobile 6.

Speaking of not getting Windows Mobile 6, there's still no sign of the promised WM6 update for the Treo 750, despite the fact that there have been sporadic units running WM6 for a long time.

Look, Palm, I love you guys from the bottom of my heart, I'm even willing to believe that your Foleo will be at least half as successful as you seem to think. But being a Palm fan has been a lot like being a Vikings fan for a few years now: We believe in the team, every year it looks like they're going to get it together, most years they do much better than the naysayers give them credit for, but in the end -- no Superbowl.

The biggest deal is the addition of A2DP, though that couldn't have been that hard since people have been hacking it onto the 700wx for awhile now. TreoCentral forum member hannip posted a download for Sprint 700w/wx users back in February and made lots of Treo owners very happy.

Read: treocentral.com >> Stories >> Software >> Palm Releases Verizon Treo 700w/wx Updater 1.22

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HTC Touch vs iPhone, Part 1

Here they are on my desk, sitting quietly next to each other. On the inside, though, both are smoldering cauldrons of hate and jealousy. Seriously, there's almost steam rising out of the speaker grills on each phone. We'll get to software in part two (here's a preview, though, it's apples and oranges / featurephone v smartphone), but for today let's just compare the hardware. I'm sure that nobody out there would actually base their purchasing decision between these two on which is thinner (iPhone), but it's still fun to look.

Read on for some pics and thoughts.

Buttons

The HTC Touch has the fewest buttons of any WM device I've used. It's positively button-aenemic, there's power on the top, a camera button, the 5-way, send, end, and a volume slider. Given my standard usage habits, I found this to be pretty aggravating.

Of course, compared to the iPhone the Touch is just awash in buttons. The iPhone has power, home, a volume rocker and a ringer switch. On both devices the tactile feedback on the buttons is satisfying - both have good clicky-ness, though the iPhone's button have more travel.

I know, I know, I'm writing about buttons on devices whose main selling point is that they don't primarily use buttons. Fine, let's move on. Before I do, though, slightly related to buttons are indicator lights. The Touch has 'em (elegantly hidden within the speaker grille and blinking in various colors and rates to tell you your signal for Cell, WiFi, and Bluetooth), the iPhone does not.

Advantage: Touch. Yes, I get what Apple's aiming for here, but the Touch is example #1 that you can have some buttons without killing the elegance of the device.

Touchscreens

Sorry, HTC. The touch loses, but it's not your fault. You thought the touch was playing in the big leagues, but it turns out it was just AAA ball. The touchscreen on the Touch is really very good - it's actually among the top 2 or 3 touchscreens I've ever used in my life, actually. It's not a gigantic screen, but compared to some of the stuff I'd been using lately (Treos and Blackjacks), it's more than enough. Brightness, response, contrast, etc etc.. All fine, good even.

But the screen on the iPhone is just abso-@$@#$@-lutely stupendous. It's gigantic, 3.5 inches, and high-res, and it sports 160 pixels per inch. It's bright. It has the oft-mentioned "multitouch" feature which is fun (but won't change your life, sorry).

The iPhone also has an ambient light sensor tucked away in there so it doesn't blast your eyes out when you're using it in the dark or fail to even appear on in direct sunlight. It's really nice. Also nice is the proximity sensor that prevents it from working when held up to your face. Finally, the iPhone's glass surface really does feel much nicer than the Touch's plastic.

Advantage: iPhone. "Advantage" isn't the right word here. It's a blowout, it's almost not even fair.

Dimensions

The short of it is that the iPhone is thinner and taller, but they are about the same width. Their weight also isn't all the noticeable to me, either.

The long of it is that physically-speaking they're both very satisfying devices to hold in your hand. I prefer the soft-touch-paint approach of the Touch a little more than the brushed-metal feel of the iPhone, I think it helps grip-ability more. But the brushed-metal of the iPhone isn't exactly a slippery doomsday scenario, it seems fine.

The iPhone is more rounded than the Touch on the sides, which is nice but not essential.

Advantage: iPhone by a slim margin. It's a surprising result, perhaps, but I stand by it. Yes, the iPhone is more elegant and polished overall than the Touch. But the Touch's short stature makes it feel very nice held up to the ear and in your hand. By comparison, I'm almost tempted to call the iPhone a slab.

iPhone vs Touch Hardware edition: iPhone wins.

The Touch held up remarkably well for me, much better than expected when I was imagining it next to the juggernaut that is Apple hardware design. It put up a valiant effort, but I suppose from a hardware perspective it was doomed from the start.

Coming up later is the main event: Specs and Software. Stay tuned!

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First Look: HTC Touch Video

We weren't the first on our block to get an HTC Touch, but we may be the most excited. Check out the video first look, below.

Summary for those of you who can't watch the video at work: It's thin, light, and very good looking. Entering text is going to be a hassle without some 3rd party solutions, but the TouchFLO interface is really neat. I'm almost as enamored as this guy. Did I mention thin and light? I never thought a full-featured touchscreen device could be this small (iPhone notwithstanding). Oh, and it works just fine with the new mobile YouTube (thanks to Gwalio for the tip!)

One thing I didn't mention in the video, I really wish there was a 4th screen to TouchFLO. As it is, you get Contacts, a 6-panel app launcher, and a 3-panel media launcher. What I'd like is a 2nd 6-panel app launcher to "complete the cube", as it were, that I could customize with my own apps. Actually, in a perfect world, HTC would snap up the rights to Spb Mobile Shell and combine both TouchFLO and Mobile Shell into a super-launcher. Ah well.

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SDK? We got your SDK right here.

All the brouhaha over whether or not the iPhone will allow third party development is slightly amusing and mystifying to me.

Amusing because, like my pal Mike over at phone different I'm looking at the iPhone like a smartphone, and a smartphone is a platform, and a platform needs 3rd party apps, period. You should head over and read the whole article, as it makes it pretty clear that Apple should do this and makes a good guess about how they will.

You have to ensure that there's a rich ecosystem for developers, as the developers are the people that ensure that a platform (platform meaning smartphones, computers, video game consoles, etc) has applications available on it. Applications are the lifeblood of any platform, and Apple knows it.

Read: Phone Different

Mystifying because - and here's the Windows Mobile bit - how on earth does it benefit anybody to have any sort of ambiguity when it comes to your developers and how you're going to support them? Say what you want about Microsoft, but since they don't have a culture of secrecy like Apple's, it's easier for them to be open about what they're doing and why. I mean, can you imagine, in your wildest, crazies dreams, an Apple employee being allowed to write a blog post about prioritizing features like the great one I just read over at the Windows Mobile Team Blog?

Honestly, I wish that Windows Mobile, its creators, its developers, and even its users could magically make the default opinion of "Microsoft the evil empire" go away. Because it's just not true with WM. When it comes to an Operating System, I'd rather have open and honest development rather than a set of mysterious tablets brought down to me from upon high. That paradigm might work well for a religion, but it doesn't work well for fostering developers.

It may have been crude, but Ballmer was exactly right when he chanted "DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!!." Until Apple really and truly applies that sweaty chant to the iPhone, I'm not worried about it gobbling up the Windows Mobile market.

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The iPhone is Not a Smartphone

Just finished up with the live Apple Keynote blogstravaganza, mostly over at Engadget, who caught the absolutely stupendous image over at the right. And I'm finding myself suddenly less worried about the iPhone decimating Windows Mobile than I was before. A lot less worried.

Here's the relevant quote from Engaget's coverage, straight from the mouth of his Steveness:

And so you can write amazing Web 2.0 and AJAX apps that look and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone, and these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, check email, look up a location on Gmaps... don't worry about distribution, just put 'em on an internet server. They're easy to update, just update it on your server. They're secure, and they run securely sandboxed on the iPhone. And guess what, there's no SDK you need! You've got everything you need if you can write modern web apps..." Weeeeeaaaak

Weeeeeaaak indeed. Like I said just a few days ago, "a smartphone is a platform, and a platform needs 3rd party apps." Jobs' reply: "There's no SDK you need!" In other words: No Apps For You! Use webpage and online apps instead.

Orly? How about security - sure, a web developer can secure a webapp, but it's easier to just depend on a phone's built-in security on an app that's housed on the phone. Or how about when you don't actually have reliable and useful data signal? Too bad, so sad. Or what about the fact that I like to use my phone a little differently than you use yours - so I can install a custom ToDo app, or a neat little shortcut hack, or whatever. Sorry - with the iPhone you can use any interface you want as long as it's the default.

No support for a real developer community means that Apple is releasing an appliance, not a platform. Without a platform, the iPhone is not a smartphone, Q.E.D. Just so we're perfectly clear here: It's looking like Blackberry has better third party support than the iPhone will.

And that photo... at first glance it is (among other things) yet another joke on Steve Ballmer; but if Apple really intends to lock out all genuine "on the phone" 3rd party development... Well then we'll probably see Ballmer smile like that on his own.

Update: phone different's OMGNOAPPZ series weighs in with a slightly more optimistic (though still troubled) take.

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HTC S710 (HTC Vox) Unboxing, Q&A

Here it is - my favorite WM6 device of this year (so far): the HTC Vox/S710. Check out the unboxing video below. After the jump, answers to the questions submitted over the weekend.

In case you're wondering, here's the rundown on the specs:

  • Windows Mobile 6 Standard
  • TI OMAP 201 MHz Processor
  • 128 MB ROM (about 50 MB User accessible), 64MB RAM (again, about 50 MB of Program Memory)
  • 101.5 mm x 50 mm x 17.5 mm / 120g
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE Quad-band
  • WiFi b/g, Bluetooth 2.0
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • Around 7 hours talk-time

On to the Q&A. If you have more questions, post 'em below!

I totally agree with you that its the most exciting WM6 device coming out. My one question is does it have wifi? I'm feeling it doesn't, which would suck a bit.
- Neil

It does indeed have WiFi, which is a relief as the s710 only has EDGE for wireless data otherwise.

2. Carriers?
3. Release Date?
4. Comparison shots with other US devices, Q, blackjack, or similar.
- Josh Smith | April 27, 2007 1:53 PM

Sadly, no idea on carriers or release dates. I strongly suspect that T-Mobile will get it, though, as it looks like an excellent SDA replacement. I'll put up a bevy of comparison shots in the next day or two.

No 3G = No sale. This is not a revolutionary interface like the iPhone so the lack of 3G hurts this device.
- Jerry G

The lack of 3G is a pity (and a big one), but at least there's WiFi to lessen the blow.

how big is it?
what are the dimensions?
- skp

101.5 mm x 50 mm x 17.5 mm. Basically, it feels like your standard feature phone these days. As you can see in the video, it's smaller than the T-Mobile SDA, so it's pretty hand-friendly.

Does the vox have touchscreen? Can u edit windows office documents? How much did u pay for the device?
- Jack Borg

No touchscreen, as it's Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition (aka non-touchscreen edition). Since it's WM6, you can indeed edit office documents, though creating new ones requires a little hack. Let's not talk too much about how much we paid - it's an import right now so it won't feel good to mention it. ;)

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Review: Smartphone Experts Power Bundle for Treo 750

These days, technology like WiFi, 3G cellular networks, and faster processors have surpassed the capability of batteries to keep devices powered for extended periods of time. SmartPhone Experts has recognized the need for users to keep their beloved devices powered and has released a Power Bundle including a wall charger, car charger, and a retractable sync and charge cable for your Windows Mobile PocketPC or Smartphone. How will the SmartPhone Experts Power Bundle for the Treo 750 stack up to your need to have a fully charged device? Read on to find out!

Buy: WMexperts Store >> Smartphone Experts Power Bundle

Wall Charger

The first charger that is included in the SPE Power Bundle is a wall charger. I initially recognized that the charger has retractable prongs that fold into the main part of the charger, keeping it slim and unobtrusive. This design is one of the most important things I look for in a wall charger as I typically obtain a second charger to carry with me to/from work and on business trips as it’s easy to put away and the prongs don’t get snagged on anything in my bag.

There’s also a light on the charger that glows orange. I thought at first that the light would change color after the Treo finished charging, but the light continued to glow amber. This is the only fault that I can find with this charger. I was hoping it would change to a different color when it finished charging the Treo. In addition, the light glows orange regardless of whether the Treo is plugged in or not. Not the biggest deal considering that most outlets are probably out of sight anyways.

The 44” cord allows for extended reach which is nice if you have an outlet that is located in a not-so-convenient place. Overall, the charger works exactly as advertised.

Sync & Charge USB Retractable Cable

The sync & charge cable does exactly as the name states. The most noticeable feature about this cable is that it is retractable, so it’s no more than ~3” long while it rolls out to a full length of 2 feet! I used to carry around a normal USB cable, but it would frequently get tangled up with my other cords in my laptop bag. I haven’t encountered this problem with SPE’s Sync & Charge cable. The connector fits into the Treo perfectly, and maintains a secure connection so it won’t fall out of the Treo unexpectedly. This cable easily synced and charged my Treo, and I didn’t notice any oddities with the design.

Car Charger

The final charger included with the SPE Power Bundle is the car charger. This charger is a standard car charger, not much to write home about. It charges the Treo without issue. The cord is made of a high quality material, and it stretches a good amount to accommodate most users.

Conclusion

None of the chargers included with the SPE Power Bundle are extraordinary, but they all work exactly how one would expect. However, the best part of this bundle is the price. You get 3 chargers for less than $30, which is the usual cost of just a car charger at your local cell phone store! The different chargers in this bundle have all of the chargers and a lot of the features that you would want in a power bundle at a GREAT price. Another outstanding product from SmartPhone Experts.

Buy: WMexperts Store >> Smartphone Experts Power Bundle

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Usability: 5
  • Travel Size: 5
  • Features: 4
  • Value: 5

Overall: 5

Pros

  • Value
  • Folding prongs on the wall charger
  • Small, convenient size for the sync and charge cable

Cons

  • Light on wall charger doesn’t change with charging status of the Treo
  • Arrow indicating the top side of the charger tip is not colored white for easier identification
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CTIA Day 1: Device Ogling

Day One-Half, technically, where we go to a press-only event that preceded CTIA proper. What happened at this pre-show show? Lots of fun ogling some of the latest and greatest coming out soon. Read on for impressions of the HTC Vox, the Samsung i760, and the Motorola Q9.

HTC Vox

First things first: the HTC Vox is as hot as you've imagined. It's tiny, it's actually smaller overall than a lot of high end feature phones (Like the Sony Ericsson W810, just barely), with a great bright screen that has very high density.

Sadly, the keyboard was just a little disappointing, but that's mainly because I wasn't used to it. It's off-center from the screen (which is obvious if you click on the thumbnails above), which is a disconcerting. I could get used to it, though. Sincerely, I could get very used to it. I want this phone. More good news - although there aren't any official carrier announcements in the US (yet!), it is being released in a CDMA/EVDO version on Telus in Canada. This means there's at least a chance this little wonder could be available on every major carrier in the US.

Motorola Q9


The Motorola Q9 is an improvement in every way over the original Motorola Q. Especially, especially in the thumbboard department. I've written before about being disappointed in the MotoQ's thumbboard, and although the Q9 still doesn't have a delete/backspace key on the main QWERTY board itself (for shame), the feel and tactile quality of the new thumbboard is so great I can easily say it's second only to the Treo 750 in the world of Windows Mobile thumbboards. Better than any slider I've used, too -- it's great.

Samsung i760

There's not much to say here: If you like the HTC Vox but don't think you can give up the touchscreen, then you want the Samsung i760. I'm still a fan of their neat little 5-way next to phonepad, and the thumbboard itself is comfortable and easy to use.

Assorted Bits

We spoke to Yahoo about their plans for Yahoo Go. It currently only supports the "tall format" smartphone versions of WM5 (320h x 240w, like the Cingluar 3125). New formats that support other screen resolutions are "coming soon." Also notable is that it doesn't appear that the application does push email any more (it did in the first beta), mainly due to the fact that it no longer integrates with Pocket Outlook but keeps! your! Yahoo! email! within! the Yahoo! Go! application! On the bright side, you can set it to update every so often and it will update everything from Flickr to news to weather to email. So that's nice.

At HTC's booth we learned the above Telus / HTC Vox in CDMA format tidbit and got to take a gander at the HTC Advantage - which I like but don't find especially compelling overall. Big screens are nice, but big devices are not.

We also took a peek at the HTC Artemis, which has a combination trackball and a jogdial-type scroller around it. All-in-all, a great device for folks who don't care about having a thumbboard. If you know any of those people, I'd like to meet them and ask them what exactly is going on in that head of theirs. US availability: unknown.

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CTIA Day 2: Living Proof

Day two consisted of walking the show floor to see what we could see. Sadly, there's wasn't anything earth shattering. Here's the first bit of non-earth-shattering rumor confirmation: LG is indeed a new manufacturer of Windows Mobile phones. The proof is in the image on the right - a simple prototype of a WM6 device that we weren't allowed to touch. The casing: surely not what will finally come to be. In fact, pretty much all we've learned from this is that LG is capable of slapping together a WM prototype.

Whatever the final product is, let's hope it's as sexy as the Prada:

More images and CTIA news (including our thoughts on Microsoft's part of today's Keynote speech) after the jump.

More Living Proof: WM6 on Cingular phones

In case you didn't really believe it, here are the big three Cingular WM phones that'll be seeing the Windows Mobile 6 update: the Treo 750, the Cingular 8525, and the Samsung Blackjack. All are running WM6 with aplomb. Enough said.

Well, not quit enough. I have a message for Microsoft, Palm, Samsung, and Cingular: If you're going to announce a major upgrade for existing users - you should expect that we're going to want to know if it's free or not. It should be in the press release. If not, it should be on the tip of your tongue when I ask. What should not happen is what did happen to us over and over again: confusion that the question was even being asked. Folks: this is information we want to know.

I'll tell you what I feel like - I feel like the guy on the right that got placed on a slide in a Windows Mobile 6 presentation at Microsoft's booth. Check out the expression there: it's saying "I'm really happy about this news but confused as to how exactly it's going to affect me.

Keynote

Today's keynote was a threefer (though Ed Zander backed out at the last minute - bad quarterly earnings must've got him down) from AT&T, RIM, and Microsoft execs. Microsoft's representative was Pieter Knook and as I've said before, anybody with "ieter" in their name is ok in my book.

In any case, Knook's speech was all about Windows Mobile 6 (naturally) and how he's like to see it positioned in the market. He's hoping that mobile devices can "extend the promise of Web 2.0" (those of you who remember "embrace and extend", be quiet). More to the point, Knook emphasized that WM is an "open platform" - not in the evil commie "open source code" sense but in the sense that it's easy to develop for and anybody can release an app for it. Clearly it was a shot across the bows of both Blackberry and Apple - both of which lack WM's gigantic 3rd party app support. Though to be honest, the "open source" stuff rang a little hollow coming immediately after RIM listed something like 100 3rd party apps they support in lieu of actually saying something interesting in their keynote.

But I digress. Some other big data points from the keynote: over 3 million WM devices shipped in the last quarter of 2006 - a 100% increase over the same quarter in 2005. Here's another shocker: there are 55 different manufacturers around the world making WM devices - including (as mentioned above) the new guys LG and Toshiba. 125 operators support Windows Mobile phones on their networks.

Knook rounded out his speech by pointing out some necessary preconditions for real growth in the "prosumer" mobile market. Precondition number 1: simpler data plans, especially when roaming. Number 2: better mid-to-high level tech support from carriers. Hear Hear.

Last bits:

So, my world wasn't tilted on its axis, but it was a good time. We'll finish out today's post with a photo of CTIAs gone by. Sometimes it's nice to remind ourselves what a "brick phone" really is.

We'll hit the show floor one last time tomorrow - and then we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming after that. Sadly, we won't be here for the presidential keynote on Thursday, but WM vs. PalmOS vs. iPhone vs. Linux is enough partisanship for us, let's not bring actual politics in.

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CTIA Day 3: Ubiquio and Randomness

The surprise of the day was stumbling upon the UBiQUiO (Seriously, that's how they want you to do the capitalized and non-capitalized letters) devices. They're full Pocket-PC smartphone (touchscreen and all) available in unlocked GSM versions from Mobile Planet and originally made by a unnamed Taiwanese manufacturer. But if all those sketchy details don't bother you, the price for the upcoming Ubiquio 503 might: $650 for the unlocked version, available in June.

The 503 has some great specs, though: WM6, a 520mhz Intel processor, 256 megs of ROM, 64mb of RAM, quad-band HSDPA/GSM radio, WiFi, and two cameras. Dang. They just had a dummy model of the 503 at the booth, but they did have a live 501 there for me to play with. More details on that one (currently available) after the jump, along with some other random CTIA newsbits.

Ubiquio 501

The Ubiquio 501 is a quad-band GSM PocketPC Windows Mobile 5 device. The thumbboard on it is actually pretty nice, it reminds me of the thumbboard on the MotoQ9 (which is perhaps not a coincidence - "keepin' it real fake" as Engadget would say). It sports a very nice 320x240 touchscreen and otherwise pretty standard specs for a GSM/EDGE PocketPC device: Triband GSM, Bluetooth 1.2, WiFi, and a 2 megapixel camera.

Overall I was pretty impressed with the form factor. Ubiquio decided to make it thin (.53 inches) and wide - which results in a somewhat slab-like device that is nevertheless very pocketable.

In any case, if none of the currently available offerings the the US float your boat, one of these guys might be a worthy import.

JB5 Browser

Jataayu had a small booth at CTIA where they showed me a little of the JB5 browser - the one I wasn't able to get working on my Dash. They were using it on a MotoQ9 and overall it was pretty neat. I was especially font of their zooming feature. I'll be giving it another go and a full review soon.

More Moto Q9

Jataayu weren't the only folks using a Q9, I saw a lot of booth-drones using them. It's like Moto is giving them out like candy. I want some candy, too. Heck - Motorola even embedded them in the floor of their booth (right). I'm thinking Motorola is pinning a lot of their hopes on the Q9 being a success - they really need a success right now.

Yahoo Go!

I did my part for the Windows Mobile community and gave Yahoo guff for not having their excellent Yahoo Go software available on enough WM devices. Right now it only works on tall-screen Smartphones. Seriously, I want to use this, especially now that they're going to be offering unlimited storage for their email. At least their oneSEARCH service works on everything.

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