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5 years ago

Touch Dual to Hit Best Buy this Weekend

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Here's a quick note to spice up your weekend: The first official Windows Mobile 6.1 device is going to be available in the US this weekend. Specifically it's the Quad-band Touch Dual, which HTC is selling fully unlocked at Best Buy locations for $549.99. You should also be able to pick it up at their website.

The Touch Dual is a very nice device, with it's sliding 20-key suretype-y keyboard and 3G wireless and TouchFLO 2. It's not too surprising that the first official Windows Mobile 6.1 device we're seeing is something unlocked and un-related to carriers. 6.1 isn't that different from 6, is the approval process really all that difficult, guys?

Thanks to Ray for the tip! [via

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5 years ago

Review: Alarm Master for WM Standard

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5 years ago

Review: BlueTrek UFO Bluetooth Headset

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5 years ago

Review: Sony Ericsson HBH-GV435 Bluetooth Headset

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Review: Sony Ericsson HBH-GV435 Bluetooth Headset

In the wide world of electronics, Sony (four letters or not) is a household name. From the Playstation gaming consoles to the drool-worthy Xperia X1 (read the review here, or more details here), the Japanese company has been making quality electronics for a very long time. The joint venture between Sony and Swedish telecom company Ericsson has resulted in a mature line of mobile phones (and accessories).

The HBH-GV435 Bluetooth Headset ($59.95 at the WMExperts store) was designed by Sony Ericsson for maximum comfort and sound quality. How does it stack up? Read on...

Look

In one word
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5 years ago

Treo 850 (GSM) Pics emerge....

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Treo 850 (GSM) Pics emerge....

Well, looks like Palm has a busted dam as leaks are appearing everywhere these days

BGR managed to get some exclusive first shots at the GSM Treo 850 (expected for Vodafone this summer) and we gotta say...looking sharp!

Of course the question now arises: why does the 850 look so cool and yet the 800w looks so...."eh"? Heck, it even looks quite...dare we say...thin.

The only specs known so far are it that is 100mb of RAM (post OS, like the 800w--so 128mb stock) and a 400mhz processor. Also, it's sporting the Centro-style soft keyboard, has two-shift keys (ahem!!!) and what looks to be a Wifi button on the side. Natch.

In addition, from that Vodafone roadmap, it stated that this device would have:

  • Quad-band GSM
  • Windows Mobile 6.1
  • 320x320 Flush (!) screen
  • 2mp camera
  • 1500 mAh battery (huge!)
  • GPS, WiFi (!), Bluetooth 2.0

(Palm, any chance of swapping out the 800w's guts and shoving them in the 850s hot bod?)

Look for this to drop later this summer on Vodafone, probably with a brief exclusive and then a general GSM roll out thereafter.

One more pic after the jump (side shot compared to BB 8800...fight!)

Thanks Phil750 for spotting this in our forums.

Update: Yes, it is running WM 6.1 Professional, that is this is a Touchscreen device, despite what others are saying. Pro devices have "OK" buttons and softkey support ;-)

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5 years ago

HTC Kaiser 6.1 Update Official Any Day Now

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HTC Kaiser 6.1 Update Official Any Day Now

A Windows Mobile 6.1 update for the HTC TYTN II / Kaiser will be officially available any day now (likely by the end of the week). So says Paul of MoDaCo, adding:

The update is for HTC TyTN II devices, and will be followed later by a AT&T branded update. The update adds Windows Mobile 6.1 with improvements such as the 'Getting Started' wizard, Threaded SMS and general performance and battery life updates, as well as HTC's 'video performance' update. So what's it like? Performance IS improved, however with no real video acceleration, don't get your hopes up TOO much!

...So it looks like our fears last week that the update would never be seen on the Tilt were unfounded. We're happy to hear that the update is 'improved' and though we understand (and partially agree with) the decision not to try to develop better video drivers, the lack of them here still stings, just a little.

(Oh, right: following that MoDaCo link will start you on a path towards hunting the leaked version of said ROM, which is indeed out on the internets as of this moment.)

Thanks to surur for the tip!

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5 years ago

Sprint Busts a Cap on Yo ....Data

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Sprint Busts a Cap on Yo ....Data

It's bad enough that we bash Sprint and give them grief every now and then, but when they bash themselves in the head... that's just crazy. See, the one thing Sprint had going for them may be coming to and end. That's right boys and girls: Sprint's unlimited internet plan now is "unlimited" with those scare quotes. The rumor is that they'll cap you at 5 gigs a month, joining the likes of AT&T and Verizon. Really, it's tough to blame Sprint, after Verizon and AT&T made record earnings, if they jumped off a cliff Sprint would probably think about doing the same.

Maybe after losing 1 million customers Sprint just snapped like a crazy parent fed up with the kids, and like any angry mom decided to restrict privileges. Now sprint users are grounded from unlimited internet. Since all the major the companies will be rocking similar data caps, might we suggest switching to the fastest provider? If you're sticking, then the expected dooms day is July 13th 2008 -- get your download on while you still can.

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5 years ago

Smartphones and Identity: You Are What You Dial

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Here we have another WMExperts editorial that starts relatively small and ends up turning into a big ol' discussion of what a smartphone is and what it should be. Today's question: how does your identity define your smartphone and, more importantly, how does your smartphone define your identity? Here we go!

Darla Mack asks the following question: (trackback here)

Men think that women want pink phones and cute phone charms and such. Women think that men want to have the “biggest, first, most expensive, etc. etc.”. But does anyone really know?
In my mobile journeys I've found that women do in fact want the same as men.

I'm inclined to agree -- the idea that you can slap a pink cover on a gadget and call it “female-friendly” is more than a little silly. It might be slightly less silly to argue that a given operating system's interface is “gendered,” though. I'm far from an expert on questions of gender and find the whole thing somewhat difficult to talk about (more on that in a moment).

It's more than just gender, though, there's a whole swath of people worldwide that don't seem to be getting properly addressed by the way smartphones get marketed these days. Can Microsoft (et al) find a way to direct their development and their marketing to address the needs and desires of different demographics without pandering or stereotyping?

I don't know, but I have a few thoughts. Read on!

Are Smartphones Gendered?

The default assumption, I'm guessing, is that Windows Mobile is too analytical/left brained overall and therefore oriented towards the typically male way of thinking about the world. All those regimented menus, submenus, lines, squares, checkboxes... it all seems to read decided “male.”

The numbers bear that reading out, as we reported last November:

According to a recent research by Microsoft, only 14.6% of the Windows Mobile users are women, compared with 85.4% of men.

I doubt that the divide is as stark as that for all smartphones, but at the recent BlackBerry WES 2008 conference I heard the same refrain from the few women I spoke with: “I wish there were more women here and in this industry.” There's definitely a problem here: Smartphones seem to be designed by men and for men.

I mentioned that talking about different demographics and the needs of those demographics is a little difficult to talk about. Here's why: While it's clear that smartphones are primarily designed by men and (for now, anyway) primarily used by men, it's much less clear that smartphones are “gendered.”

I have argued before that while Windows Mobile is not intuitive in a basic “I just get it / lizard brain” sense, it can be intuitive in a “Now I understand the metaphors for how this works” sense. Just as a manual transmission car isn't intuitive at all, it can still become “intuitive” to a frequent user (or, in smartphone parlance, a “power user”).

Take the earlier list of the things that are purportedly 'male' about the Windows Mobile interface. Are all those lines and checkboxes and questions of memory management and registry edits more intuitive to a male brain than to a female? Many would probably argue yes. I think that I would argue it's much more complicated.

I also think that Mack might agree, she writes:

We may take a back seat to being a mobile front runner when it comes to dropping bucks but that doesn't mean that we aren't technologically equipped to know a powerful device when we see it.

The line between “how a male brain works” and “how a female brain works” is movable, fluid, and fuzzy at best. Is “left brained” as “typically male” as we think it is? Frankly, no. The inverse also applies.

Since I'm no longer the academic I once was (and wasn't much of one even then), I can't name off the various studies about gendered interfaces, but they exist and they're a hell of a lot more nuanced than what you're reading here. Trust me - start digging into the concept of the “Cyborg” and you'll find enough material to set yourself up with complex and interesting reading for life.

So with Windows Mobile, while there seems to be evidence for it being 'gendered' based on who's making it and who's using it, trying to actually pin down the 'gendered elements' of the OS with any kind of accuracy and without blatant stereotyping is a task that's pretty much impossible to tackle.

Instead I think Microsoft ought to try to just make the interface more “lizard brain intuitive” than it is now -- more automatic transmission than manual transmission. As they do it, though, they ought to at least be aware of what their concept of “lizard brain” intuition is -- that concept needs to be much, much larger than upper-middle-class-white-male-executive-with-money-to-burn.

A Global Understanding of Who a Smartphone User is and Can Be

Saying that the target market is “upper-middle-class-white-male-executive-with-money-to-burn” may sound harsh, but the data bears it out. Gartner just released a study last month saying as much:

Sixty-eight percent of the world’s population is women and children who could benefit much from mobile technology, but the majority of mobile devices are designed by men, for men, according to Gartner, Inc. The user profile to which most mobile products are targeted is a western adult male (age 20 to 64), but this represents just 32 percent of the global population.

As I attended SOFCON 2008: The Mobile Future Conference last month, I heard the same thing over and over again: the internet is going mobile and phones are becoming more important than computers.

As people described this issue it became clear it was more than just a catchy marketing phrase (though, yes, it was that too): in the very very near future more people will be accessing the internet on cell phones than do on computers. Accessing it for the first time and nearly every time via a cell phone. The cell phone is literally going to be how the vast people understand and interact with the internet.

People might get excited by the One Laptop Per Child project, but that's nothing compared to the cellphone.

A cell phone is power, it is in an increasingly real sense a cornerstone of modern identity. Who I am is as much my phone number and email address as it is my name and physical address. Imagine having a very close friend of yours who doesn't have an email address, or a voicemail box, or -- yes -- a telephone. Barring snail mail, there would be no way to communicate with this person unless you were in person. This disconnected person would seem like a ghost, adrift in a world of connected nodes of communication, a neuron without a synapse. Where would he or she speak from or be spoken to except their physical place? Nowhere -- and as physical place becomes less important being disconnected make you more ghostlike.

This still describes the majority of people on the planet, but that's changing and changing rapidly. What companies like Microsoft and Nokia and RIM and Apple and Palm should be thinking about is much much more important than who has the most market share in North America:

  • What does it mean to make a smartphone that is a person's sole means of interacting with the larger world?
  • What does the internet look like when seen only through the screen on a smartphone?
  • What kind of smartphone do you need to make when it's the only means of communication for an entire family? An entire village?

...and most importantly:

What does it mean not only to supply somebody with a smartphone, but to supply them with an identity?

I don't know the answer to these questions, but they are the real stakes of the smartphone market. If you're in the business of providing tools that give people a “21st Century Identity,” you better be damn sure that it's not limited by a gendered way of thinking, a “western” way of thinking, or whatever superstructure you want. You had better do your best to design it to free people's minds instead of limit them.

In a couple hundred years I'm confident that the smartphone will be considered just as important as the PC as or as the Internet in terms of how it changed the world. It will be the primary 'PC experience' and the primary 'internet experience' for the vast majority of the planet. It's a revolution of technology and of identity. I know that people who work on creating smartphones are beginning to think of them this way, we as users should do the same.

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5 years ago

Office Mobile 6.1 Only Saves to .docx

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Sigh. We've complained already that Office Mobile 6.1, released last November and available to all WM6 devices, doesn't include the ability to create new documents on Standard Edition. Sure, there are ways around it, but that's a hassle.

Now find a way around this hassle: Office Mobile 6.1 won't let you save in legacy office formats, only .docx, RTF, and straight text. Foleo Fanatics1 pointed this out yesterday and it sure seems to be the case. We know a lot of folks who haven't updated to the latest office and will be forced to find converters for this sort of thing (and woe betide any Mac user who doesn't have the latest office trying to get a docx document converted). We know you're proud of .docx, Microsoft, and we like alright too even if it's not really the completely standards-based XML you kinda-sorta promised us way back when.

So: workarounds? Save everything in .rtf rich text formats? Switch to Docs to Go (If and when the Pro version supports .docx)? Include an extra attachment with every document you send out detailing to your recipients how to convert the .docx format if need be? What do you folks recommend?

1Making fun of 'Foleo fanatics' after the Foleo has been cancelled is beneath us. Besides, we sort of believed in the Foleo too. You guys keep fighting the good fight, we believe Palm will bring it back in '09!

Update: Lyle writes in:

I was just reading your article about Office Mobile 6.1 only saving to .docx. I am confused. The first thing I did when I got my phone was go to Menu>>Tools>>Options>>Default Template>>.Doc
Now, every time I write something in there and save, it automatically saves as .doc. I didn

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5 years ago

MultiTouch coming to WM? Yup.

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MultiTouch coming to WM? Yup.

Looks like Flick Software has made a program that successfully emulates the iPhone's patented "MultiTouch".

For those curious, even devices like the HTC Touch line (including the Diamond) all use resistive touch screens i.e. less cool than capacitive like in the iPhone.

The two programs, iSwish and iZoom, are still in testing and unfortunately looks like Flick Soft's website is down: www.flicksoftware.com

We'll keep you posted on any new info.

Via: Electricpig

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5 years ago

BlackBerry Bold vs. Windows Mobile: Form Factor Fight!

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5 years ago

Review: REDFLY Mobile Companion

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5 years ago

Review: Astraware Casino

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5 years ago

Review: Smartphone Experts Retractable Sync & Charge Cable

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Every geek (and most everyone else) on the face of the planet has experienced it, the tangled mass of wires resembling spaghetti that is caused by multiple gadgets and their associated cables. Various solutions to the cable management problem exist, but most are not meant for portability and are expensive.

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5 years ago

Review: Plantronics Pulsar P590E Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

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