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5 years ago

Mystery Smartphone Intrigues, Tempts, Mocks, Smells like Palm

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Engdaget posts up this mysterious device that seems customs designed to mock yours-truly. Why's that, in this week's WMExperts Podcast (coming soon), Mal and I describe what our ideal Windows Mobile form factors might be and I described the above device exactly. It matches it so exactly that I'm feeling a little creeped out right about now.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that the above could end up as a Windows Mobile device -- we see tell-tale soft-buttons on the bottom. More tellingly - a close look at the keyboard reveals it to have not only the same layout but the same button placement as Palm's recent smartphones -- the Treo Pro and the Centro. Seriously, click the image at right to see a full-sized comparison. This could be a prototype for Palm's upcoming Linux-based system, but I'm getting a Windows Mobile vibe off of this, and it's a vibe I'm starting to dig.

Update: At TreoCentral we hear rumblings of codename 'Roteo'

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5 years ago

Android Central Reviews the HTC Fuze

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Our pal Casey has put in his Smartphone Round Robin 2 cents on the HTC Fuze and it's definitely worth a read. He takes the goal of looking at a device through the eyes of an Android User pretty seriously and the result is a fair and interesting impression of what Windows Mobile looks like to a certain set of user: namely, the sort of user who is a little savvy about smartphones but not about to get into the sort of registry edits that sometimes get us excited.

In other words -- he likes TouchFlo 3D on the Fuze for new users, Windows Mobile for power users, but isn't so sure that the Fuze would work well for the middle-of-the-road folks the G1 appeals to. In that sense he might not be too far off -- I've seen brand-new smartphone users positively giddy over TouchFLO 3D.

Anyhow, it's one more perspective on the cognitive dissonance between the skins we put on top of Windows Mobile and the standard Windows Mobile UI -- go check it out and comment there for your chance at a G1. Or comment here for a chance at getting a Fuze of your own. Or -- why not -- both!.

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5 years ago

Acer: Smartphone coming sometime, somewhere

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Back in September we wrote about a Digitimes article that stated Acer was planning on launching a smartphone in the first quarter of 2009, most likely in Western Europe and Russia. At the time, we were a little ho-hum, thinking it was just another manufacturer hopping in the smartphone pool.

Turns out, Acer had acquired E-Ten, a company not well-known here in the states, except for when we write about its Glofiish devices (or Glofish

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5 years ago

AT&T Mulling a Single Smartphone Platform?

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Macworld [via] has a story up explaining that:

AT&T hopes to standardize on a single operating system for AT&T-branded smart phones as a part of a “dramatic consolidation” of its mobile platforms

...additionally, the statement was made by Roger Smith, who is the director of next generation services and product realization and therefore in a position to actually make good on such an extreme statement. Furthermore, he said this at a Symbian conference and suggested that Symbian would be a strong contender for that single platform.

Erm. What?

Before you blow your top thinking that AT&T is planning on dropping Windows Mobile, the iPhone, and BlackBerry, we're wondering if there's a more prosiac (and less explosive) explanation. Perhaps the “branded” in “AT&T Branded Smartphones” actually refers to hardware, to stuff that AT&T gets made itself as opposed to stuff made by, you know, everybody else. In other words, if they do make good on these plans and they decide to go with Symbian (which we're doubting -- on both counts), you can expect to say goodbye to things like future iterations of the SMT5700. In other words, no biggy.

Then again, Smith does go on to complain about fragmentation, support, and the like. It may mean that AT&T intends on dumping support for the “non-AT&T OS” fully onto the manufacturers of said devices and focusing only on supporting whatever platform they decide on. That wouldn't be entirely crazy -- back in 2007 European carrier Vodaphone let everybody know they were planning on dumping everything except Symbian, Linux, and Windows Mobile in order to reduce support headaches.

Nothing like a vague and explosive statement from a carrier executive to spice up your Friday, eh?

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5 years ago

Vodafone releases HP Voice Messenger

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5 years ago

Verizon Semi-Unlocks GPS .....For BlackBerrys

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We received a missive from Slartibartfast yesterday (no, not that Slartibartfast) that piqued our interest:

BGR is reporting from a Howard forums thread that VZ unlocked blackberry GPSs. Is your GPS initiative gaining traction at VZ?

Indeed, BGR was reporting and our friends at CrackBerry.com confirmed and chatted it up in their forums. Like ol' Slarti there (can we call you Slarti?), we felt the teeniest, tiniest tinge of excitement as we briefly believed that not only was Verizon actually going to be switching to a sane and reasonable GPS policy, but that maybe our sternly worded letter may have, you know, been read. Then we came back to earth. For one, this is on BlackBerry, not WM. For two, well, we're just not that big a deal.

For three, and here's the kicker, it turns out that while GPS on certain BB models have been unlocked, it's only been unlocked for BlackBerry Maps, not for other 3rd party GPS applications on the platform. In other words, it pretty much looks like RIM put the screws to Verizon to allow their own on-board Maps app to work properly so as to not screw with user expectations for the platform, but didn't fight so hard that they got the big V to open GPS up completely. Member fyrfyter at CrackBerry.com speculates that the screwdriver in this particular negotiation was the BlackBerry Storm, and that seems reasonable to us.

It's (half of) the sort of pressure on carriers to open things up we'd like to see from Microsoft, though. Any sign of weakness in Big Red's Lock-Down Armor is a good one, right?

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5 years ago

Software updates: Live Mesh Mobile, Kinoma Play

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5 years ago

Review: Jabra BT4010

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Review: Jabra BT4010

All of us know someone who is technophobic. The fear of technology, and sometimes just the fear of change, has prevented many people from making the move to a Bluetooth headset. The learning curve in deciphering the various beeps and led flashes is partially to blame for this phenomenon.

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5 years ago

WMExperts on the Treo Pro, Round Robin Style

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I'm gonna be honest here, folks, this is a tough one for me. My goal in the Smartphone Round Robin is to look at another platform from a WinMo perspective. Of course, the Treo Pro runs Windows Mobile, so it's a pickle. Not to mention that WMExperts has already:

What to do? Well, for one, I ought to explain why we went with the Treo Pro instead of the Centro. Find that in the video above, where you'll find that I'm eschewing our traditional Round Robin format and replacing it with a trip down Treo memory lane. The goal: I'm trying to work my way towards the full review later this week, when I'll examine what makes a Treo a Treo and how exactly that design philosophy can jive with Windows Mobile.

It's just a start for today, the video above poses the questions but doesn't provide the answers. It certainly feels like there's a "Treo-ness" up there in the world of Platonic ideals that applies to Palm's products more so than it does to others. It has something to do with the fact that Treos seem to hit all your standard smartphone functions at 75% efficiency but none of them at 100%, whereas most smartphones will give you 90% at one feature but only 50% at the rest.

Rather than show you all of my cards now, I'm hoping y'all can take advantage of the Smartphone Round Robin contest and comment on this post with your feedback. What makes a Treo a Treo and how can Palm find a way to not become 'just another Windows Mobile manufacturer?' Who knows, maybe your answer to that question will net your the HTC Fuze and the Redfly that Celio has generously sponsored for a lucky reader. (I haven't really hit on it yet (I will), but stuff like the Redfly is a big reason I'm a fan of Windows Mobile).

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5 years ago

Sync your phone with Windows Media Center

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5 years ago

SlingMobile Getting Update Before X-mas?

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SlingMobile Getting Update Before X-mas?

While 320x320 users (Treo Pro, 800w, Epix, i780, Saga) and newer resolutions like 800x480 (Sony Xperia) have been suffering without any SlingPlayer support, we're getting word that may be ending very soon.

We're hearing that the latest version, which will update resolution support and perhaps other performance issues, has just entered private beta testing. Hmm...maybe this update will finally bump it to v2.0 along with their desktop software? One can hope at least.

Furthermore, we can tentatively expect an official update by the end of the month, right in time for the holidays.

For those wanting to lend Sling a hand, you can always sign up for their beta program here.

[Info via SlingCommunity + Deleted Posts]

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5 years ago

Windows Live gets Live-r

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Windows Live gets Live-r

Microsoft-based Channel 10 has all the deets on the relaunch of Windows Live, which starts now. Of interest: SkyDrive online storage has been bumped to 25 gigs, web pages overall have a much cleaner and better interface, and the cool yet underused Windows Live Homepage now does all sorts of fancy aggregation that might interest you (above: a nice explanation of how that works).

Of course, as noted over at Ars, this does little to help the confusing array of overlapping services offered under the “Live” moniker. We hope they're right that the upgraded SkyDrive space and the new sync abilities may be slated to be subsumed into Live Mesh someday.

When that day comes, we assume you'll be seeing all of these fancy services available seamlessly on Windows Mobile. Until that day comes, you're forced to recognize that Microsoft has some of the best cloud sync services available -- if you can just figure out which one you're supposed to use and get it set up.

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5 years ago

New Smartphone Numbers Show a Weak Quarter for WinMo

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Although Windows Mobile is still seeing progress in worldwide numbers, the situation isn't quite as rosy as it might be when it comes to smartphone marketshare. Gartner's new numbers [via Engadget Mobile] show a few distressing trends for WinMo fans.

Firstly, we've long said that even if WinMo isn't #1, there's plenty of space for everybody in the rapidly growing smartphone market. That's still true, but we may need to stop saying the market is 'rapidly growing,' since it had its lowest year-over-year growth ever.

Next up: BlackBerry is clearly holding onto its lead in the US market and RIM still managed to increase their sales over 80%. Apple also grabbed a big old chunk of marketshare (though whether they can hang on without another iPhone 3G-style launch is an open question). Speaking of the iPhone, their big big iPhone 3G sales pushed them past worldwide Windows Mobile shipments for the first time.

Meanwhile, other numbers from Needham & Co [via] basically reiterate the above trends. One notable bit you can glean from the graphs, however, is that it looks pretty clear that the iPhone is hurting RIM more than it is Microsoft -- but that steady downward trend since late 2006 needs to be fixed there Microsoft, and fixed in a hurry.

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5 years ago

Video Driver Issues Still? HTC Touch Diamond and Pro Are Put Under the Spot Light (Updated)

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image credit

Heading back in the time machine, you may recall a problem with some HTC devices lacking hardware video acceleration. Some people got fired up, threatened a law suit and starting furiously hacking their devices.

Fast forward a few months and the issue sort of died down, what with the Touch Pro and Diamond being released world-wide. These devices were promised by HTC to have better video performance and while it some aspects they do, in other areas evidently they fail.

Update: Ok, this is getting long. Join us after the break!

Over at XDA, member branko.savic & DSF did some intense side-by-side testing between the Samsung Omnia, HTC Universal and HTC Touch Pro. The test involved a video file encoded at 480x640 resolution, 25 FPS and 574 kbit/s and benchmarked via CorePlayer. The results were astonishing:

Omnia: Raw framebuffer: 442.74% (!)

Universal: Direct Draw: 165.28%

Touch Pro: QTv display: 152.44%

Furthermore, a bunch of comparisons between a Nokia N82, Dell Axim x51v and Touch Pro/Diamond were demonstrated using Quake 3 Arena. Once again, the stuttering of the new HTC device compared to the quite old Dell Axim is clearly evident.

(Watch x51v) (Watch Touch Pro)

So much ado about nothing or a big disappointment? Seems as if a lot of the graphic improvmenst on the new HTC devices come from a beefier 500+ mhz processor instead of solid direct draw/openGL hardware support. Yet devices like the Samsung Omnia and even Treo 800w both seem to have more advanced video support. What say you?

Big thanks to DSF for the details! You can also find more on this story at wmpoweruser.

Update: Below is a pretty incredible video -- an HTC Toronado clocked at 180MHz (right) puts the smackdown on an HTC Touch Pro clocked at 528MHz. YARLY.

...Now for some caveats: it's always difficult to say for sure why one WinMo device might perform better than another, so don't take any of the above as conclusive evidence that there's an issue here. On the other hand, it definitely looks like it merits more investigation.

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5 years ago

Will the T-Mobile Shadow II have 3G?

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