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4 years ago

Voice Search comes to Google Maps

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Voice Search comes to Google Maps

There is a little joy in Mudville tonight. Especially if you were hoping that one day Google Maps would have voice search capability.  Because today is that day.

Google has updated Google Maps to version 4.1 for Windows Mobile and has added voice search the the app. It will detect different variations of English as well as Mandarin. The voice search is activated by the call button on your phone.

It also appears the search is location based (a good thing). When I searched "Yankee Pizza" the results were limited to the one local pizzeria. In searching "wal-mart" it brought up the closest store to my location.

In the short time I've tinkered with Google Maps voice search, it is a little buggy (locked up once) and isn't as fast as Bing's voice search. But it is a step in the right direction.

You can download the .cab file for Google Maps with Voice Search here or point your mobile browser to m.google.com. [Google Mobile via FuzeMobility.com]

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4 years ago

Welcome to Windows Phone 7, Dell -- it's darn good to see ya

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Whoa. We've all been wondering if and when Dell would ever legitimately get back into the smartphone game -- and we've been wondering if we'd ever see a portrait QWERTY phone ever again. Looks like both questions might have been answered in this leak Engadget scored. The Dell Lightning has a 4.1-inch OLED display as a vertical slider, powered by the (now) usual 1GHz Qualcomm QSD 8250 Snapdragon processor. There's also a 5MP camera, 1GB of ROM/512MB of RAM with another 8GB of onboard storage, GPS, accelerometer, compass, FM radio, full Flash video playback, and it'll be GSM, to boot. Oh, and if that's not enough, it might well be upgradable to LTE sometime in 2011. Welcome back, Dell. [Engadget]

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4 years ago

Sony accepting pre-orders for the Xperia X2a

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We haven't mentioned much about the Sony Xperia X2a. The predecessor to the Xperia X1 has been making the rounds overseas and it appears to be headed to the U.S. Market.

Over at SonyStyle.com, Sony is accepting pre-orders for the X2a (only $599.99) and is noting expected availability as on or about April 29, 2010.

The X2a is a sliding keyboard styled Windows Phone running Windows Mobile 6.5. It features Sony's "tile" user interface and an 8.1mp camera. Other features include a 3.2", 800x480 screen, Qualcomm 528mhz processor, 1500mah battery, 256mb RAM, 512mb ROM, and is shipped with a 4GB MicroSD card.

From the advertisement's footnotes: "This device is 3G enabled for tri-band HSPA (850/1900/2100 MHz). Please check with your preferred carrier as some features, applications, and services are not available in all areas. GSM network with compatible radio band required. Not available in all countries. Local SIM card required to make local calls, sold separately. Check with a service provider for details."

 

So if you're on AT&T (or another compatible network) and are dying to get your hands on a Sony Windows Phone, now's your chance.

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4 years ago

Review: Krusell Orbit Flex Multidapt Leather Case for AT&T Tilt 2

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Making the decision of which case to purchase for your phone is based on your own personality and lifestyle as the phone itself. Windows Phones that have a sliding keyboard like AT&T’s Tilt 2 tend to be a little more difficult for case manufacturers to design to the features of the specific hardware.

Krusell has been making cases for Windows Phones for a long time. Many Krusell cases feature their Multidapt modular clip system, which allows you to use the case with a number of different clips and holders. The Orbit Flex case for the Tilt 2 is versatile enough that it can be used a number of different ways depending on your needs. The full review is after the break.

Pros: 
Plenty of features. Multi-adapt offers a lot of flexibility.
Cons: 
Pricey. Tight fit can make removal a little tricky.
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4 years ago

AT&T launches Buzz.com

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AT&T launches Buzz.com

AT&T has launched a social network/search engine website called Buzz. Not to be mistaken with Google Buzz, AT&T Buzz seems to be a cross between social network and a search engine. It is as if you added a yellow page search engine to Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, AT&T Buzz is integrated with Facebook in that you can access it through your Facebook Account and Buzz posts can be mirrored to Facebook. If you don't have a Facebook Account, you can sign up for a stand alone Buzz Account.

Features of Buzz include:

  • A location based search engine (type in what you're looking for and the city).  Searches can be done base on a business name or service/product.
  • A comments section for businesses plus the ability to make a business your favorite.  This feature is described as a social bookmark for your part of the world, and
  • An "Ask and Answer" feature where you can ask for recommendations on Buzz to get suggestions from your friends (e.g. where's a good plumber?).

Buzz can be accessed via your desktop/laptop computer at www.buzz.com as well as your Windows Phone by pointing your mobile browser to m.buzz.com. AT&T is also looking into developing a standalone Buzz application (similar to Bing Mobile, Facebook Mobile, etc.) for certain mobile OS's.

After spending a short period exploring the Buzz.com website, it looks like an interesting way to find local businesses and get local feedback on who's the best and who to avoid.  Keep in mind that Buzz is still in the Beta stages so glitches and bugs may still be present.

[via: AT&T]

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4 years ago

HTC HD Mini passes the FCC

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HTC HD Mini passes the FCC

The HTC HD Mini has passed the FCC with support for North American 3G Bands. The mystery now becomes where and when will the Mini land.

T-Mobile has been enjoying success with the HTC HD2 and while the HD Mini would be an interesting companion piece, it may also be an unlikely companion piece. AT&T is another strong possibility with the HD Mini replacing the AT&T Pure, which hasn't performed as well as expected. The long shot may be seeing the HTC Mini being sold unlocked and unbranded.

With the Kin being released next month and the Windows Phone 7 on the horizon, it will be interesting to see where the HD Mini lands and if it can hold it's own amidst all the new Windows Phone offerings. [via Engadget]

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4 years ago

Sprint Touch Pro 2: Now $199 (w/ agreement and rebate)

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Well, the always expensive Sprint Touch Pro 2 (originally $350 w/contract; see full review) has been reduced to a somewhat more fair $199 ($150 instant discount, $100 MIR).

Makes sense. The phone is running WM6.5  (albeit a very good build with Sense 2.5) and is hitting its 6 month stride.

Still, with the T-Mobile HD2 running for $99 (see here and here) with comparable pricing plans, that $199 still seems a bit steep. But hey, if you've been holding out for the TP2 and don't mind having a non-Windows Phone 7 device in six months (we hear there are a few of you), then go for it! [Phone News]

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4 years ago

The Windows Phone 7 architecture: memory, customization, Live ID

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In a leaked document, evidently found by Tweakers.net, some more information has emerged on the internal design, some limitations and drivers in Windows Phone 7.

Most the information seems to work in favor of a stable, consistent and consumer friendly mobile OS, but one cannot deny the big role Microsoft is now playing in overseeing their new OS (though it's still much less than Apple's grip on the iPhone and iPad, but is that really saying much?).

Some things worth noting are the following:

  • Windows LiveID will be used to sync data services and enter the Marketplace, much like the current setup, so no real changes there
  • Carrier and OS upgrades will be handled, approved and distributed only by Microsoft via Over-the-Air (OTA) and/or Zune sync (desktop)
  • No changes to the home screen are allowed by OEMs or carriers (not news) but either can customize certain tiles, ring tones and wallpapers
  • Carriers can include their own software but with very strict requirements including being limited to six applications (at a total 60MB storage), no trial-ware (hurray!) and all apps must be approved by Microsoft
  • There is support for external storage cards, though it remains to be seen if they will be initially allowed on devices
  • Microsoft will supply the 2D graphics and DirectX 10-based Direct3D 11 runtimes (good); OEMs will develop and distribute the drivers for both the 2D and 3D graphics (bad?)
  • Support for Bluetooth 2.1 but not 3.0 (yet)
  • 480x320 support, though not fully endorsed? May be good for front-qwerty...

Other details related to the memory architecture, which is more or less interesting for programmers and the tech savy.  In short, it's a 32-bit OS with a dual layer architecture. The kernel and application processes are allowed 2GB of memory each and programs are allowed 1GB of virtual memory (up from a measly 32MB in WM6.x). The file systems are based IMGFS for system files, and TexFAT for user files, with the later being "...best suited for non-removable media, such as NAND and NOR flash memory".

Overall the news is a bit mixed, though we're a bit happy Microsoft is putting the handcuffs on carriers, especially regarding the addition of their own software/services and blocking the addition of trial-ware. Likewise for ROM updates, which will now be centralized. However, we're a bit worried about the 2D/3D driver situation as that has been a problem in the past.

What say you? Read the original article here (Google Translated).

[via SlashGear]

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4 years ago

Review: SPE Leather Sidecase for Tilt 2/Touch Pro 2

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Review: SPE Leather Sidecase for Tilt 2/Touch Pro 2

The choice of a case for your Windows Phone may be just as tough as choosing the phone itself. Smartphone Experts offers a wide range of cases from top loading to holsters to side cases.

One of SPE's more recent cases is the SPE Leather Side Case. The case is offered for the HTC Touch Pro 2 and Tilt 2 Windows Phone series. Follow the break to read more about this new case from Smartphone Experts.

 

Pros: 
Fit and feel. Build Quality.
Cons: 
Velcro closure might not appeal to everyone.
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4 years ago

ZuneHD cracked wide open, could be interesting for Windows Phone 7

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One of the larger concerns we've heard regarding Windows Phone 7 is its relatively closed nature, sending shivers -- or sounding a battle cry -- through the likes of XDA Developers and other hacking sites. And it looks like the call to arms has been answered, as the Zune firmware has been cracked open, paving the way for sideloading apps outside of the Zune Marketplace. As the heroes put it, "the limitations of XNA are now no limitations at all."

Here's to hoping we see some killer apps in the near future, and later on Windows Phone 7. [Zuneboards via Engadget]

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4 years ago

Review: Wilson Electronics Sleek

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Review: Wilson Electronics Sleek

With all of the technological advances in cellular radios, much of the country is still subject to a lack of consistent cellular coverage. One thing that consistently happens when an accepted standard has weak spots is that third party companies look to fill in the gaps to provide a solution that benefits customers. We’ve seen this niche targeted with such products as Cell Ranger’s Stix products, which are designed to amplify the available cellular signal into something that is more usable for your phone.

Wilson Electronics has been in the RF industry for decades. Wilson’s product catalog includes everything from amplifiers to antennae. At CES Wilson announced a new product, dubbed Sleek.

Pros: 
Boosts signal significantly. Simple installation.
Cons: 
Phone Mount not the greatest.
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4 years ago

Review: SlideIT

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Review: SlideIT

Dasur software has recently released SlideIT for Windows Phone as an alternative to the traditional on-screen keyboard. SlideIT will not only allow you to use the keyboard in a traditional manner (pressing one key at a time) or you can slide your finger across the letters to create words.

Sounds a lot like Swype, right? There are a few differences with SlideIT that separates it a little from Swype. After the jump, we'll give you a quick low-down on this new keyboard alternative.

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4 years ago

Thursday lulz: How Windows Phone 7 got its name

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4 years ago

KIN: 'Full Bleed, No Chrome'

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KIN: 'Full Bleed, No Chrome'

So a lot has come out in the last 72 hours about Microsoft's KIN project. Some of us get it, a lot of us don't, most of us still have many questions.

One interesting article, written by Microsoft itself, addresses the design process behind KIN. Although we can see inspiration coming from the same roots as Windows Phone 7, that is Zune (which in turn was inspired by Windows Media Device Center), a lot of KIN comes from a different source: magazines.

Read more after the break ...

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