Rumors

According to a PPCGeeks forum user, Big Red is aiming to update its Touch Pro 2 (again) with a build of Sense 2.5. However and perhaps not surprising, there are no Documents, Footprints, Programs or E-Reader tabs on board.

The ROM itself is not yet available (officially or unofficially) and is only Windows Mobile 6.5. Release is expected "soon" which bodes well for Verizon's customers.

Now we know where this is going and what you are going to ask: What about Sprint?

Sprint has still not yet released their WM6.5 update, which is really starting to push the boundaries as far as timeliness. We reported here a few weeks ago that HTC had made a CDMA ROM with Sense 2.5 on board for a Chinese carrier, so this Verizon news is not that shocking. What this also might mean is the reason why Sprint is taking so long, is to get Sense 2.5 (and one can hope. WM6.5.3) cooked in, which would be a nice touch. 

Either way, it's nice to see companies like Verizon going that extra step for what is one of the most popular Windows phones to date.

[MobileOSNews via WMPoweruser]

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Today, Engadget got their hands on some more mock-ups and some new videos of Microsoft's "Courier," that project lead by J Allard (MS's Chief Experience Officer). If it comes to fruition, it looks as groundbreaking as Project Natal. The new videos are noted for showing real-life situations on how useful the Courier could be for professionals. But honestly, the device tells its own story, making it very drool-worthy.

The sophisticated and intuitive e-Journal is much smaller than previously thought, coming in under 1 inch thick, weighing in a little over one pound and not much bigger than a 5 x 7 photo when closed. Names like "Infinite Journal" and "Page Stream" are tossed around as is the necessity of the Courier Pen, making this centered around hand-writing recognition (something we've seen mentioned earlier in regards to WP7).

The device is said to be developed on CE6, the same as Windows Phone 7 Series, which seems to be Microsoft's new toy to be used on everything. The big question we have is will this in any way interact or sync with Windows Phone 7? It would seem a no brainer to have something like that on board between the two platforms, but until we hear more...

Either way, 2010 is looking very good for Microsoft: Windows 7, Windows Phone 7 Series, Project Natal, Zune and now Courier. Anyone else getting excited?

Anyone else shocked we didn't take a chance to poke fun at the iPad in this post? Feel free to take up the torch for us in comments ;-)

Read more at Engadget and Gizmodo

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In what has to be one of the most cruel geek teases in recent Windows phone history, the back and forth about whether the HTC HD2 will receive a Windows Phone 7 ROM update seems to be coming to end.

Over at ZDNet, Mary-Jo Foley received a response from Microsoft on the question and Redmond restated their position that WP7S will have very strict hardware requirements that they plan to enforce.

No surprises there, but the Microsoft spokesperson ends with 

We currently do not have plans to update the HTC HD2 to Windows Phone 7 Series.

Of course that wording does leave open the possibility. After all, plans do change and there was no "it definitely won't". Still, we think if MS wanted to be cagey, they would have given their usual "we do not comment" response in regards to the HD2 question.

None of this would have been such a big deal had not HTC themselves tweeted that the HD2 would get the update. In the future, we hope these companies can all be on the same page.

Anyone still holding out thinking it will get the coveted update?

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9

First look at the Project Pink/Pure phone

Looks like the folks at Gizmodo got their hands on our favorite traditional "blurry cam" shots of the new Pink-Pure phone, which looks to be coming to Verizon sometime soon. (More info on the Pure and Turtle here)

The Pure is thought to be running the same core OS as Windows Phone 7, but with a different UI on top. As we've previously speculated, the Pink phones appear to be high-end feature phones, where as the WP7S is more in the traditional smartphone category.

The source who leaked the images also said it was very intuitive and better than Android.

Besides those two images, Conflipper has been leaking out some actual screen shots from said Pink device, specifically of the dialer/lock screen. While nothing special, it does hint that these phones may be a good deal for the masses, who want a centralized social-media device without any learning curve and more limited power.

   

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During the unveiling of the Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft recognized that one size doesn't fit all.  Some Windows Phone users prefer sliding keyboards, some prefer front facing keyboards, and some would rather see a larger screen and no keyboards.  Some hope Microsoft keeps the door open for such design variations and a recent podcast from Australia is suggesting these options may be more than just a possibility.

In a recent "Frankly Speaking" podcast, hosts Michael Kordahi and Andrew Coates suggest that Microsoft may cut back the number of Windows phone designs to three styles or chassis.

Chassis one would resemble the “big touch screen” phones similar to what were used to demo WP7S at the Mobile World Congress.  Heck, it might even include the HD2 if an upgrade is made available.

Chassis two would incorporate a sliding keyboard into the design and Chassis 3 might be a candy-bar styled phone with a front-facing keyboard.

Keep in mind this is all speculation but having a choice on styles could make a lot of consumers happy and still maintain the consistency Microsoft is hoping to achieve with Windows Phone 7 Series.

Read: ZDNet.com

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Since the introduction of Windows Phone 7 Series, there have probably been more questions than answers, especially around the notion of multitasking, notifications, application development, etc. Microsoft has stated that the majority of that will be addressed next month at MIX10, a conference dedicated to development on Microsoft's various platforms (which are becoming more and more interlinked).

To steal some of that thunder are a few documents that reportedly show exactly what developers can expect, and what they can and can't do.

First up is confirmation of preemptive multi-tasking, which is a very good thing.  But now the catch: not all applications and programs will have access to that feature. From what it appears, developers will have to get their applications approved for use of multi-tasking features: the public will have access to managed API's and upon approval, access to native APIs.

Think of it as a compromise between the current "no multitasking" on the iPhone versus the wild west approach of the past Windows Mobile platform. Of course the success or failure of such an approach depends on how fair Microsoft is in granting such permissions.

The other thing to note is what WP7 is built on: XNA, Silverlight and .NET CF. XNA UI is for event-driven XAML based application developtment, whereas XNA is better suited for gaming (see XBox programming).

Overall, it looks to be a great strategy, offering developers low-cost access to well know development tools that have been tried and tested in the past and at the same time, setting rigid, but on request flexible, guidelines to guarantee a certain level of performance and adherence to the "3 screens" (Computer, TV, PC) vision Microsoft is putting forth.

More images after the break...

[XDA Developers via Engadget]

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So now the info has dropped on Windows Phone 7 Series and without rehashing all that information, it seems to have raised more questions than answered.

One of these is where does 'Turtle' and 'Pure' fit into all of this new strategy?  Are they the first phones to run WP7? Are they just next-gen Sidekicks? 

While we can't answer all of those now, we do know from the FCC documents that the 'Turtle' is at least real and probably the 'Pure' too.

Conflipper, famous for his in-depth knowledge of all things Microsoft and Windows Mobile, has managed to get his hands on the firmware for said device(s).

While he can't run any of those files for obvious reasons, a good ol' Hex editor can reveal a lot and indeed this is what he has found thus far ....after the break!

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Looks like that T-Mobile HD2 (US version, slated for March 24th) just keeps getting better and better.

Not only does it come with a memory boost (or rather, has memory allocated differently) which seems to shape it up for a Seven upgrade in October (that's what we're hearing too), but it looks to also feature Swype.

To refresh, Swype is that new soft-keyboard that first appeared on the Verizon Omnia II. It was then quickly ripped and ported to other devices (to the chagrin of the developers), due to its overwhelming popularity. The company has also recently secured a nice source of funding, meaning we can expect more form them in the future.

Fast forward to today and we find the latest T-Mo HD2 ROM dump features a unique file: 

PACKAGE_LEO_1_5_IME_Swype

And to the right you'll see a screenshot of that very file in action. We're also told that this new build is "...slightly more accurate and looks much more polished than the original". What can we say other than we approve of this addition greatly? Nice move HTC and T-Mobile!

[Thanks, Tek818, for the info and screenshot!]

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No shock here, but as the closer we get to Mobile World Congress next month, the more news is leaking out.

Unfortunately, it's still just crumbs from a a giant, delicious Microsoft cake.  Perhaps someday we'll see what that cake is and tastes like. Until then...enjoy these bits:

Stephen Chapman of Microsoft Kitchen (msftkitchen.com) has been finding all sorts of morsels.  For one, Windows Phone 7 will be featured and discussed at Energize IT 2010, a conference for developers.  Its focus will be "...the client to the cloud, this fun-filled demo-intensive exploration will excite you about the possibilities of the Microsoft-based platform".  Sounds right in line with this whole "three screens", mobile and cloud computing system that Microsoft has been slowly edging too.  Looks like it will all be pieced together during that conference.

Likewise, he also managed to get his hands on a Chinese Office 2010 .pdf. On one slide, he found the same image reported earlier, mentioning a Spring release-to-manufactures (RTM) deadline.  The interesting part?  The document is dated December 11, 2009.  Guess those "it's delayed again" headlines were a little premature?

In addition, WMPU has a clip up from Fox News where Microsoft's CFO says what we've been hearing for awhile, that they (Microsoft) will have more say on Windows Mobile 7 in February at Mobile World Congress.  So yeah, confirmation of what we already expected.

Finally, Eldar Murtazin of mobile-review.com, aka the person who everyone keeps citing, even though his info keeps turning out to be off-the-mark, has scribbled some info on his Live Journal.  In fairness, in this post he's citing Evgeny Pavlov, product manager HTC Russia via Twitter, and even Eldar seems a bit skeptical.  Evidently, Mr. Pavlov was twittering some of the minimum specs of Seven.  We won't quote the specs, because it doesn't even make much sense.

But what we want to do is nip this in the bud:  the image to the right is not a screen shot of Windows Phone 7.  Eldar received this from either Mr. Pavlov or someone at HTC. So please don't pass it around speculating.  We have run it by our folks in-the-know and, to quote "Looks like a pretty skin - almost like an iPhone? Not anything like what I have." Of course, you've already figured that out, right savvy readers?

Of course, you are encouraged to doubt our info as well, like the good skeptics you are ;-)  Lets hold off till something more definitive, eh?

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We know the HTC Trophy is on HTC's 2010 roadmap, and up until now all we've had to spark our interests is a small, fuzzy, low-res image. We are now seeing a high-res image of the Trophy surfacing that looks really good. But unfortunately it's merely a fan render (though it's a very good one) from XDA Developers Forum member Elcondor. [via Slashgear]

The Trophy is reported to be a front-facing QWERTY keyboard, 3-inch capacitive touchscreen with 512MB ROM, 256MB RAM and running Windows Mobile 6.5.

If Elcondor is anywhere close with this image, the HTC Trophy will certainly turn heads. While all the details are sketchy on the Trophy, we are hoping things come more into focus at Mobile World Congress in a couple weeks.

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Looks like Microsoft is once again denying anything about a Zune phone. Quoting a Microsoft spokesperson: "we have no plans to create a Zune phone," which seems pretty open and shut.

Then again ... Assuming there is something in the works, it's not like they would confirm either.  And as NeoWin points out, they also denied ever making an MP3 player, too.

With the rumors flying high this week, especially with the USB reference codes found in the .inf file from the latest Zune software update, Microsoft is probably feeling some heat from their OEMs over the issue--don't forget, they are also very interested in the prospect/denial of such a device.  We can understand if they are nervous and causing some little waves with Redmond.

Regarding that Zune update, consensus seems to be swaying from an actual "Zune phone" to "these are plans to incorporate the Zune experience into Windows Mobile,"

Check out Paul Thurrott's piece over at WinSuperSite, which delves deeper into that issue as well as detailing the recent changes to the Zune software, it's a good read.

Oh Mobile World Congress, you can't come soon enough.  Please rescue us from ourselves.

[via NeoWin.net]

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So the iPhone Fanboys Gadget Blogosphere have received their fabled Apple Tablet, known hitherto as the iPad (hit up The iPhone Blog for complete coverage). Featuring a 9.7 inch capacitive display, a 1GHz Apple A4 processor, 802.11n WiFi, and flash storage of 16, 32, or 64GB; the iPad hardware falls somewhere between cell phone and notebook computer.

From the software point of view, the iPad is running a modified version of the iPhone OS. As of now, that means it has most of the same shortcomings as the iPhone including but not limited to lack of multitasking and support for Adobe Flash. To be fair, however, the iPad does support copy and paste (snicker).

What does this mean for the WinMo faithful? The market for devices in the dark void between cell phones and Laptops has been steadily heating up for years, but it seems to be hitting the boiling point in 2010. Already this year we’ve seen Microsoft announcing the slate form factor at CES and Apple releasing the iPad; and that’s not even touching on the major push that Netbooks are getting right now. Even on the Windows Mobile front we’re starting to see devices starting to push the obnoxiously large boundary with the HD2.

Looking at the hardware numbers that have been bandied around in the last week or so in regards to “Seven”, it’s not hard to speculate that perhaps Microsoft already has an eye towards devices with similar hardware running a Windows Mobile based OS. Could Ballmer and Co. be taking a hard look at MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) running Windows Mobile 7? We’ve seen attempts at this in the past, but nothing that ever hit the big time. Here’s hoping that Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona is the turning point in the evolution of Windows Mobile.

Apple iPad: Just right? Or too big, too expensive?(poll)
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Flashback 2008...

MaryJo Foley of ZDNet is continuing her Microsoft "code name of the day" contest, which seems really kind of fun and a neat way to gather info. Well, today's entry is "Rouge."

Rouge? Pink?  Sound related?  She thinks so. Using info that she's gathered she states: 

Best guess on what it is: Microsoft’s business-focused premium mobile services

Meaning/context of the codename: Rouge sounds like the business-side complement to Pink, Microsoft’s forthcoming family of consumer-focused premium mobile services.

Basically, Rouge was meant to beef up Microsoft's "... family of Office Communications Server, its corporate instant-messaging/VOIP/conferencing product."

Call us crazy, but that sounds like the sort of thing we heard described to us about Seven Business Edition, with real-time document editing between multiple sources.

So is there a code-name for the supposed Media Edition?  What do you get when you combine Pink and Rouge?  How about Project Awesome.

[via ZDNet]

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Whatever Microsoft is up to, they are sure up to something big.

Long Zheng (iStartedSomething) has taken a look-see at the update Zune desktop software, which just came out today.

Going through the .inf file (responsible for identifying the driver, associating the device with USB) he was able to find a few lines of code that, for the first time, specifically reference a phone.

In fact, there are three hardware Product IDs associated with the 'phone' class in addition the the three current Zune players (see above image).

Zheng also contemplates whether this is just part of a larger integration with Windows Mobile and his tentative conclusion is 'no' stating 

Whilst it is possible there might be system-wide Zune integration into Windows Mobile 7, this particular driver references specific hardware IDs that are locked to a vendor (Microsoft) and product which under USB body regulations cannot be masked, thus this has to be Microsoft devices. 

That's right folks, it looks like we are looking a three-pronged strategy from Microsoft:

The big question is what is the Zune phone built on?  We wouldn't be surprised if it's not WinCE based but something different, putting it outside the class of Windows Mobile devices.  

Does this lend more credence to the idea that the 'Zune phone' is targeted towards the younger crowd and will be released within the next two months as one analyst has claimed?  Maybe the "Project Pink is DOA" story was Microsoft doing its own spinning? Like we've said, next month will be real interesting and we'll be there to cover it...

[via iStartedSomething]

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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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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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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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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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