Windows Phone News

Sorry folks, we're just throwing this out there to say this is in NO WAY the HTC Obsession nor the HTC Supersonic (a rumored Sprint WiMax Android device), so don't get your hopes up.

In fact, an anonymous comment at Andoid Central notes that this is actually a rendering from late 2008, made by a fella who loves to concept work as a hobby.

So yeah, move a long. Nothing to see here.

[Android Central via UnwiredView]

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While we gave IM+ a fairly positive review months ago, a lot of folks balked at the hefty price tag ($39.95), especially compared to free IM clients like Palringo.

Well, it looks like maybe the folks at ShapeServices, who make IM+, are going to do something about it as a "lite" version is floating around. More importantly, it appears to be free.

The main difference between "full" and "lite" is the latter doesn't have that "push" feature for IMs, GPS-MyLocation, Facebook chat or Twitter.  

However, it still supports AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo!, MSN, ICQ, Jabber and MySpace (hah!). In addition, there's a green bar on the top that scrolls about the "full version" with an arrow to download it. Overall, not to shabby.

What's curious is the build date: September 29, 2009 Version 7.1.1 Lite. So either this is an old build or perhaps IM+ abandoned the idea? We're also hearing an update for the paid version is coming soon. Thanks goes to CaliBoyPhillip for originally posting about about this version here.

For those with MS Tag, just scan and download below ;-)

Update:  Speak of the devil, the paid version just got updated (bumped to v. 7.6.1) Early reports indicate that it finally includes Skype chat.  More later.

 

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We normally don't want to weigh too heavily on rumors, let alone rumors about counter-espionage/intelligence that companies take in order to protect their upcoming releases.

But this time we have a little something to add to the story that we can now go public with.

Evidently, Eldar Murtazin from Mobile Review, has told Engadget Mobile that HTC has made "controled [sic] leak of some devices" and has been putting out false information to throw people off their trail. That article focuses on Android, tablets and the sort coming from HTC.

While the above applies to hardware, HTC is also engaging in this behavior in software too. How so?

Remember that T-Mobile HD2 ROM leak a few weeks ago that we broke here at WMExperts? That was v2.01.  We have it on good word that it really ticked off HTC as they considered that ROM pretty secure--it was limited access only.

To prevent that from happening in the future, they purposefully leaked another ROM, v2.02, the famous "landscape in Manila" version. They were trying to out the leaker and they knew no one could resist leaking that upgrade, even if it wasn't complete yet.  

We were told, from one of our most trusted sources, that

...its a trap, they have a certain Serial and IMEI of the device that it was suppose to be for...

Yup.  According to our source, Manila 2.5 with landscape was a 'Canary trap' by HTC (thanks BigDiesel07 for the reference).

HTC is getting aggressive in trying to prevent further leaks, especially ones that are related to high profile devices.  Whether they will be successful or not remains to be seen, but they are actively trying to find where these leaks are coming from within the company and they will use subterfuge to do it.  

So if we see a reduction in the future of "new builds", you can point to that moment as the turning point. Then again, you sure can't fault HTC for wanting to cut down on the leaks and protect their property.  Just part of the biz.

[Thanks anonymous]

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Behold, the HD2 that we'll see on T-Mobile. HTC's product page for the device is now live, and we learn that it's getting a memory boost over its European brother. ROM capacity will be 1GB (up from 512MB); and RAM is up from 448MB to 576MB.

An easy answer for the change could be that's what T-Mobile ordered. But that's no fun, is it? A better guess is that in testing Windows Mobile 7 on it -- remember that we're all assuming it's getting WM7 -- a need for more memory was discovered. Either way, it's not a huge bump up, but we're not the types to turn down free RAM. (Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)

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Of all the other smartphones and all the other operating systems we've looked at over the course of the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, none is as similar to Windows Mobile as Android. That's a little odd, as Windows Mobile at its core is rapidly aging, and Android is one of the newest players of the bunch. But it's true.

With Windows Mobile you get a high customizable operating system, with myriad options available to manufacturers, carriers, modders and end-users. We're constantly preaching the benefit of custom ROMs, chopped up from official releases and recompiled into smaller, faster packages. Android? Same thing. It's available on most major carriers, in several form factors (though front-facing QWERTY keyboards haven't really materialized), and with multiple versions of the operating system.

So is Android merely Windows Mobile's brother by another mother? Will its rapidly rising market share (and mind share) swallow up Windows Mobile and everyone else in its way? Let's talk about that a little after the break.

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Here's one that will blow your mind.  Evidently, Verizon is or was planning on releasing the Palm Treo Pro.

Yup, that device from last year, featuring Windows Mobile 6.1, WiFi and EvDO Rev A. from what we're told is making its rounds on Verizon (or was).

From the photos above, you can see the following:

  • Software: T850EWW-1.00-VZW
  • Firmware: 1.12.40v
  • Verizon plugin for email
  • Verizon network plugin

That is newer firmware than the Sprint version (1.11.30F) and we're told it features CE OS 5.2.20765 (Build 20765.1.4.4).

Our thought? Hard to make sense of it.  The firmware and photos don't really lie, but since there is no branding anywhere on the device it's hard to judge.  Plus, there's that whole 'Why in the world would Verizon get this phone now!?' issue.

Ah, but we will share what we think is the official explanation:  

...through my conversations with folks at VZW, it was made clear to me that this unit would not ever be officially released. Verizon has a number of them, and they are for sale (if you know how to get at them), but they will not be seeing any acknowledgment or release

So we'll just leave these here for you to discuss amongst yourselves.

Oh and sorry to 'anonymous' for losing these in our mailbox form a few weeks ago. Blame Phil.

Edit: The more we think about it, the more flashbacks we're having with the Motorola Napoleon--a device branded by Verizon, never officially on sale, but was still sold to a few select customers.  Verizon...you truly have some strange policies!

 

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Funny how on the last past podcast we were just lamenting the XBox Live's "point system" for purchasing games, videos, services, etc.  It was hardly transparent, made you do conversions and came across ... well ... as slightly dishonest.

How we pay for things in XBox is relevant for Windows phone users because, make no mistake, XBox and Zune integration are coming down the pike in addition to our Marketplace.  How we pay for those services across our "three screens" will be quite relevant to the success or failure of such an ecosystem, if we can be so bold.

Luckily, Microsoft has evidently heard the cacophony of complaints regarding this system and appears to be at least re-evaluating the process.  Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg said in a recent interview:

We never intended to ever mislead people. I think we want to be transparent about it, and so it is something that we're looking at. How can we be more transparent and let people see it in actual dollars?

Well, perhaps they won't be ditching the points system, but at least they are considering improving it.  

Microsoft, do us a favor: just ditch the points and go with dollars.  Things are complicated enough already, and there is NO benefit for the consumer with the points system.  Not a single one.

[via Gizmodo]

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Since our big story on Seven a few days ago, leaks and information have continued to come forth.

We'll just summarize them all here since nothing is conclusive yet, but there are lots of interesting tidbits:

  • Windows Mobile 7 session at MIX 2010 announced: Evidently Microsoft is going to host a session on how to make apps and games for Seven in March at the big MIX '10 conference.  Looks like that Mobile World Congress debut is quite likely. (via MobileTechWorld)
  • Twitter comments are coming from some Microsoft/Danger employees. Mention WinMo7 team, doughnuts, private testing, and milestones. Tweets originate not from a Sidekick client but from Microsoft. Project Pink lives? (via EngadgetMobile)
  • Part II: List of those tweeting from Danger/Microsoft: Carlos Picoto, Director of program management at Microsoft; Jeff McKean - Senior Product Planner at Microsoft; Bruno Silva - Director of Development at Microsoft Corp., Zune; Daryl Welsh - Director of Test -Premium Mobile Experiences at Microsoft; Michael Ducker - Program Manager, Premium Mobile Experiences at Microsoft; Namrata Bachwani - Release Manager at Microsoft (Thanks azimmerm)
  • Our leak of the HTC Obsession gets backed up by another anonymous source at WMPU, who says that it is really the Diamond 3, which seems kind of obvious. Also AT&T may grab it too. (via WMPU)
  • Our own source reveals to us that Seven is backwards compatible with WM6.x applications (contra an earlier rumor), but it is limited to resolution restrictions. A security warning pops up on launch, but the program will work.  That info leads naturally to...
  • ...the idea that Seven is based on WinCE 7 aka Chelan, which our man with the knowledge Conflipper confidently states.
  • Finally, commenter drphysx, mentions this article from a few months back, which we think dovetails nicely with our big post.  It seems to fill in the background info on decision making. It's all theory, but we think its well thought out.

We're sure that's just the tip of the iceberg and we're expecting a lot more info to come forward in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned!

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Sure, the Palm Pre and its multitasking mayhem may get prime placement in Fox's "24," but who does Kiefer Sutherland and the rest of the production team call when it's time to blow something up? That's right. Windows Mobile. User JohnCody at XDA Developers spotted the venerable T-Mobile Dash as the trigger for a bomb underneath a manhole cover. OK, it's had a few modifications. But when you want to assassinate a fictional head of state, you don't want to take any chances with a new OS, do you?

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OK, that's singularly the weirdest headline I've every written. But it's true. Our fearless leader is championing Palm's webOS in the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, and its our job (you guys think I'm doing this by myself?) to teach him a thing or three about the latest in Windows Mobile.

You saw our sit-down during which Dieter took a look at the Touch Pro 2 and HD2, right? And you've been to the forums to answer some of his questions about the latest and greatest, right? And you know that anytime you do so you're entered to win a WinMo smartphone of your choice (up to $1,000), right?

C'mon. Let's show the boss the error of his webOS-lovin' ways, shall we?

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We assume you've heard the whole China-Google-IE6 debacle that's going on, along with the the Apple-Google falling out, so it really comes of no surprise that Microsoft is using this opportunity to edge Bing over Google search.

In fact the rumor du jour is that Apple is seriously considering replacing Google search as their default search engine on the iPhone with Bing.  And why not?  Bing has turned out to be a big hit for Microsoft, which is no small feat considering the competition.

We expect as Google gets bigger and more powerful this will happen more often. How long do you think Firefox will continue their relationship with Google and Chrome? We've also heard recent inside report that some OEMs are not happy with Google and the Nexus One for obvious reasons.

Sure if Microsoft pulls this off, it's partially because they're a pawn, but a win is a win in business. Plus the better Bing does, the more money Microsoft can sink into fixing our Bing for Mobile 5.0 application, ahem.

[Businessweek via The iPhone Blog]

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One of our favorite pocketpc freeware sites, Freeware for PocketPC, has released a pretty darn good marketplace app dubbed OpnMarket (hey, it's freeware, they evidently have to pay for extra "e"s).

In fact, dare we say, it's snazzier than Microsoft's own attempt?  Best analogy is it feels similar to the Netflix Mobile Manager application, with kinetic scrolling and tight graphics. Of course, it only works on touchscreen devices. Sorry WM Standard.

So do we recommend?  Heck, yeah!  For one, it showcases a lot of hobby developer software and number two, it's all freeware. The store itself works well enough, and did we mention free?

The application does require registration, which can be done on the device or on their website.  This will allow you to manage your programs via a "dashboard" interface as well as keep your software up to date.

Use MS Tag to download now and give it a go.  Read more on it here.

[Thanks, Veselin N., for the tip!]

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Everybody, meet Mel. Mel, meet everybody. See, Mel was part of a pretty cool thing Microsoft did leading up to the Professional Developers Conference last year in Los Angeles. A bunch of WinMo devs took a train from Seattle to L.A., and on the 36-hour journey they developed some eco-friendly apps. And Mel, as you can see, introduces himself as a member of the Windows Mobile 7 team. That in and of itself isn't that remarkable -- there surely are tons of people on it. But Mel did out himself before WM7's even been announced, and that makes us smile.

So thanks, Mel. Now check out more on the WinMo Train Race after the break.

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We’re hearing rumblings of people randomly experiencing excessive battery drain after upgrading their Verizon Touch Pro2 to the official 6.5 ROM. Depending on whom you believe the problems could be attributed to the automatic weather updates or the new radio ROM. While this isn’t affecting everyone, there are enough reports of people having issues that this is worth discussing.

Recommended solutions include turning off the weather updates, performing a hard reset, or re-flashing your device entirely.

Any Touch Pro2 users on Big Red apply the 6.5 update yet? Are you guys having issues with battery life? Have you found any fixes or workarounds? Discuss.

Thanks to John for the tip.

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Bing to change privacy policy

Microsoft has announce a change in Bing's privacy policy. Bing, Microsoft's search engine, currently retains the IP addresses from searchers for 18 months before they're deleted. The change will lessen that time to 6 months.

Bing immediately takes measures to "de-identify" the data by removing account information that could identify the person conducting the search (email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, etc.). Reese Solberg, Bing's Privacy Manager, states in the Bing Community Post that, "This is a strong step forward in our journey to protect the privacy of our customers while providing a great set of search tools.".

The new policy will be implemented over the next 12 to 18 months. You can find the full announcement over at Microsoft's "On the Issues" Web site.

Via Bing Community

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We're almost there, folks. It's the penultimate week of the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, and this week Android Central's Casey Chan teaches me a thing or three about the little green robot. I've said it many a time, but Windows Mobile and Android share a lot in common, and we're definitely going to get down to the bottom of it.

In addition, I've started a thread over at AndroidCentral.com to get the help of the Android faithful. Head on over and see what they have to say. And remember than anytime you comment in an official Smartphone Round Robin thread, you're entered to win a free smartphone from that site (up to $1,000). So get to it, boys and girls!

Oh, and check out my Android hands-on with Casey after the break.

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Okay everyone, time to put on your rumor helmets (they're like beer helmets, but filled with vodka). Here's what we are hearing about Windows Mobile 7 from various sources (none of which has been announced by Microsoft). 

We'll spill the beans on what we're hearing about supposed various versions of Seven, two WM7 devices including full specs (the LG "Apollo" and HTC "Obsession") time-frames and even features.

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An e-mail powerhouse with an aging operating system whose shelf life may or may not be slowly ticking down. Slightly iterative hardware every six months or so. Adored by business users. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

But, no, we're not talking about Windows Mobile. It's BlackBerry week in the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, and CrackBerry Kevin brought us two of his platform's best -- the Bold 9700 (CrackBerry review) and the Storm 2 (CrackBerry review). The former, a front-facing QWERTY device with a new navigation feature. The latter, a follow-up to Research in Motion's much-maligned first touchscreen device, and the first without a physical keyboard.

So join us as we jump into the world of the CrackBerry. A suit-and-tie device for people who are more than suit-and-tie people. Who knows ... we might even surprise ourselves.

And remember, we have a forum thread running at CrackBerry.com, and a post could be worth a free smartphone of your choice (up to $1,000).

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