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4 years ago

T-Mobile due to disappear in 2011?

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T-Mobile is due to fold up it's tent by the end of 2011.  Or so says 24/7 Wall St.

The financial analysis website has compiled a listing of companies they see as not making it to 2012. Other companies joining T-Mobile on the list include Blockbuster, Reader's Digest, KIA Motors, and Radio Shack.

While we're not holding our breath on this prediction, the opinion is based in part because T-Mobile is the number four wireless provider and will face competitive challenges that will either force the company to merge or collapse. Profits have declined over the past year which will make it difficult for T-Mobile to develop. The analysis points out that "it (T-Mobile) has to begin to offer 4G service to compete with Sprint’s new WiMax service and LTE-based products from AT&T and Verizon." and T-Mobile is likely not to get either complete before the competition offers such service.

It is yet to be determined how many new customers took advantage of their recent "Mother of all Father's Day" sale where every phone was free (two year commitment required) and the company is rumored to get the new iPhone 4. On the Windows Phone front, T-Mobile has seen some success in offering the HTC HD2 and we still don't know what impact Windows Phone 7 will have on the market. So all may not be as bad as 24/7 Wall St. makes it out to be.

So, what do you think? Is T-Mobile's goose cooked?

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4 years ago

Bing + Zune = happiness

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Bing + Zune = happiness

For those who don't know, the Zune Marketplace went offline today and users were only given a few hours notice. As of this writing, they're still offline (6pm) and it could take all night before they're done.

But done doing what? That's the cryptic part here as there was no pre-announcement, but as ZDNet did some digging, they found out that Microsoft is arranging a marriage between Bing and Zune.

In fact, you can kind of see it working now. Go to Bing.com, search for your favorite band and you'll get a bunch of info on them plus songs which can be played (see the little 'play' button?). Of course it doesn't stream right now and instead you get the image to the right, but we think by late tonight it'll be a different story.

Nice to see Microsoft taking Zune to the next level and putting these two services together, it just makes sense. To what extent though these features overlap remains to be seen. It would be nice to have a Bing search launch my Zune software and add it directly to my Zune HD or, come November, my Xbox and Windows Phone 7.

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4 years ago

Google Voice: No invitation required

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Google Voice has been out for about a year now and up until today, you had to request an invitation to use this service. Today, Google has announced that Google Voice is open to the public.

It’s still only available to residents of the United States but offers you free call, SMS messages, voice mail transcripts, and having one number for all your phones. To get your Google Voice number simply log into voice.google.com with your Google account and follow the set-up wizard.

There is a slight charge for International Calls (here's the rate schedule) and while there's still not a Windows Phone mobile app for Google Voice (hopefully that will change), you can still access things through your mobile browser at google.com/voice/m .

[Read: Google Voice Blog]

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4 years ago

Review: AT&T 3G Microcell

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Review: AT&T 3G Microcell

The AT&T Microcell went into test markets a little over a year ago and has been slowly rolling out the units nationwide earlier this year. In a nutshell, the Microcell uses your broadband/high speed internet access to connect your phone to the AT&T network. The result is having five bars of reception where you may have none.

There's been some criticism over AT&T Microcell polices that has overshadowed what the Microcell brings to the table. Some do not agree that AT&T should charge minutes and data used through the Microcell against your package minutes or data. There are also concerns that the hardware is priced too high.

While these concerns have merit, if you are in a location that has poor reception, the Microcell is a welcomed sight. The Microcell rolled out to my area recently and having poor signal coverage at the house, I jumped at the opportunity to get five bars of coverage.

Follow the break for more details on the installation of the Microcell and how it performs.

UPDATE: There is some relief for those concerned about the price. AT&T is currently offering a $100 mail-in rebate on the Microcell. The one catch (and you knew there would be a catch) is that you have to sign up for the unlimited voice package ($20 a month) to be eligible for the rebate.

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4 years ago

WMExperts Podcast Episode 103

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4 years ago

Spotify coming to Windows Mobile next month

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Looks like some major software development for Windows phone is still going on, as those Swedish developers of 'Spotify' plan to have a full fledged Windows Mobile by next month.

Spotify is quite popular in Europe already and for those who are unfamiliar, its a bit similar to the GrooveShark service: users are allowed to stream music to their device, but instead of Spotify hosting the music files themselves, it relies on a peer-to-peer model. So perhaps it's more like Limewire but without the permanent status.

Reportedly it looks great on a 480x800 device and has the following features:

  • Offline mode
  • Save offline audio files to phone, or storage card
  • Multi resolution support
  • Multitasking support – Yes you can run Spotify in the background and play Bubble breaker at the same time

Sounds good to us. We'll keep you posted on the release and have a review to boot. Oh and one downside? So far Spotify has yet to launch here in the States, so the availability of this program and service...well it may be limited unless you use some proxy-trickery.

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4 years ago

Review: HTC Extended Battery and Cover

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Review: HTC Extended Battery and Cover

 

You can never have too much power.  As Windows Phones become more versatile, the need for power becomes more critical and sometimes the stock battery isn't enough.

We use our Windows Phones to surf the internet, text, email, watch videos, listen to music, play games on, and in between those activities we make a few calls.  While power management has improved greatly with Windows Mobile sometimes the standard battery isn't enough.

For those needing a little more staying power with their Tilt2, the HTC Extended Battery and Cover may be just what you're looking for.  You know the drill, to read more on HTC's extended battery and cover, follow the break.

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4 years ago

Marketplace Spotlight: 5001 Amazing Facts

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4 years ago

Windows Live Calendar goes mobile

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Windows Live Calendar goes mobile

There seems to be a lot of work going on over at Windows Live. We've seen ActiveSync support show up and now LiveSide.net is reporting that the Calendar is now accessible from any web-enabled mobile phone. Supported phones and browsers include: iPhone/iPod Touch with Safari 3.0+, Opera on Windows Mobile 6.1.4+, S 60/5th Gen+, Blackberry 5+, Opera, Palm, Android.

Just type in calendar.live.com into your mobile browser and you will be prompted to enter in your Windows Live ID/password.  From there you will either go directly to your calendar or you will receive an interesting message that reads, "Windows Live is designed for you, but maybe not for your browser". The message continues to say "the website works best when viewed using Internet Explorer 6 or later, Safari 4.0 or later, Firefox 3.0 or later, or Google Chrome 4.0 or later".  All of which is a little confusing seeing that these are desktop browsers.

You do have the option to disregard this message and continue with the cautionary statement that, "some webpages may not work correctly." In using Opera 9.7 on an AT&T Tilt2, Windows Live Calendar "mobile" crashed the browser about every other time. In using Internet Explorer, while I still received the warning message but continuing worked better.

When Windows Live Calendar "mobile" worked, it worked just as it would by accessing it through a desktop computer. I could not replicate the nicer, cleaner graphics and interface of the "mobile" version on the Tilt2. Oddly though, I was able to access the mobile version using an iPhone.

In a jam, being able to access your Windows Live Calendar via your mobile browser will but the inconsistency of appearances and performance is really disappointing.  One would think a Windows Phone would reflect the "improvements" to the Windows Live calendar before another device would.

I just can't help but think Microsoft could come up with a more effective, efficient and easier way of making Windows Live truly mobile.

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4 years ago

New Windows Phone 7 'features' video looks pretty good

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Microsoft is continuing their desperately needed PR push by presenting this new 'features' video on YouTube. While nothing really new is demonstrated per se, it is nice to see it in all of its glorious action and real life scenarios--gives you a real feel for how it will all work.

Despite some of those initial 1.0 limitations, you have to give Microsfot credit for that UI--it looks nothing like Android or the iPhone. Not an easy accomplishment if you think about how you would design a mobile OS.

Check out the video after the jump, it's worth the 3 1/2 minutes.

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4 years ago

AT&T updates Microcell policy: data usage now counts

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AT&T's Microcell is slowly rolling out nationwide adding more cities here and there. The microcell itself will run you about $150 and we know that customers can use package minutes with the microcell. AT&T subscribers can also purchase unlimited minutes through the microcell for an additional $20 a month.

We are now finding out that with the recent changes to AT&T's data packages, any data used through the microcell will go against a customer's monthly data package.  Back in the good old days when everyone had unlimited data, this never developed into an concern.  Now that AT&T has put limits on data packages, it may become one for some. 

According to an AT&T spokesperson who spoke with us:

A 3G Microcell functions as a miniature cell tower, and data transmitted using the Microcell uses the core wireless network just like a call placed while driving down the highway uses the core wireless network. The only difference is how that data or call gets there – via a broadband connection versus via a cell tower. As a result data and voice consumed through that access point are billed according to the users’ plan.

While the microcell will double as a data and voice solution it was primarily intended to be a voice solution for those areas with weak coverage. The optimal data solution likely remains to be wi-fi and nowadays is just about standard on all Windows Phones.  Using wi-fi for data downloads won't go against your data package. Granted, not everyone has a wireless network in their home and while the microcell can be a dual solution, just remember it's use will go against both your package allotments.

Then again lets be honest, we are now doing some of the work for AT&T by using our own data-for-data, unloading the stress on their towers--seems odd and sneaky to be penalized. On the other hand, AT&T has a leg up on competition as Sprint doesn't even offer 3G coverage via their AirRave. Thoughts?

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4 years ago

Windows Phone 7 Xbox hubs are now 'live'

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For those of you who remember when Windows Phone 7 debuted, you may recall that the Xbox gaming hub was not 'live' at the time--the personal avatar didn't do the little jig  as it was just a place-holder, as well as not updating all the gaming achievements that you may have won.

As we approach RTM, we knew of course that would change and we're getting word now that, indeed the Xbox hub is now live and ready to go. From Michael Klucher, a WP7 developer:

My Windows Phone 7 device has really become my phone. I keep it updated with the latest builds and use it as I would any phone I’ve ever owned. I play games(from App Week), check my email, listen to music, and surf the web. This week started out like most others, I flashed my phone, entered my Windows Live ID, and went into the Games Hub…

Whoa! That’s me! By me of course I mean my Gamertag, Avatar, and latest Achievement in the Games Hub! I couldn’t believe it, we’ve had the Games Hub working for a while, but up until now it’s been on internal networks inside Microsoft. This week was the first time I really got to see my “true” gamer identity on the phone.

... It’s an incredible experience to see something that many of us have been working on really come together and shine

We can't be the only ones who are excited about this Xbox integration and we're pretty psyched to see this all in person at some point. Combined with the re-launch of XBox & Zune in the fall, Microsoft has a great opportunity for synergy here, lets hope they deliver.

[via Deranged Shaman ; Thanks, Sergio F., for the tip!]

 

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4 years ago

Windows Phone 7 shows us some love; in Landscape

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As more and more details trickle out in relation to Windows Phone 7 and the different features and such that will be supported, some little features that we take for granted in Windows Mobile 6.x remain noticeably absent. We can now scratch Landscape support on the start screen off of that list.

CNet’s Ina Fried takes fabulous look behind the scenes at some of the people and processes behind Windows Phone 7. In the associated photo gallery, one of the images shows a glimpse of a Windows Phone 7 (displaying a landscape start screen) running on a development board.

Other tidbits in the article include a discussion on how Microsoft came to the decision on leaving out such things as copy and paste, as well as multitasking.

For the full read, head on over to the CNet post.

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4 years ago

Lets confuse things: Microsoft Announces Mobile OS for Enterprise; Motorola already on board

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Microsoft is working another Mobile OS for enterprise devices (commercial devices) that is based on Windows Mobile 6.5.

"In the next six months we will release a new embedded OS called Windows Embedded Handheld, based on Windows Mobile 6.5 technologies ... [and] in the second half of 2011, we will release a version of Windows Embedded Handheld based on Windows Phone 7 technology," Microsoft's Steve Ballmer said via video during a Motorola enterprise smartphone launch event.

Ballmer feels this strategy will allow Microsoft to work on a clear path for enterprises to migrate their business applications to Windows Phone 7.

In reading the report over at PCMag, this sounds like a stop-gap measure until Microsoft can put out a version of Windows Phone 7 for enterprise devices sometime in 2011.

Before Windows CE garnered all that attention last month on tablets, it had always been featured prominently on rugged enterprise devices--think factories, out in the field (US Census), warehouses, etc. Forgoing  the bells and whistles of the traditional Windows Mobile, Win CE was more stripped down and geared towards business needs. WinCE is the core upon which Windows Mobile is built around.

With WM6.5.x and WP7 embedded (next year), Microsoft will continue this push by working with partners to deliver such rugged phones and devices to large companies. The first up is Motorola's ES400 (see image right) being launched on Sprint through their direct enterprise channels (i.e. you'll never see it in a store).

Interestingly, the ES400 features a skinned version of WM6.5.3 that nicely echoes the WP7 Start screen. The phone also has some nice features including an old-school PocketPC VGA screen

  • 600-MHz ARM11 processor
  • GSM HSPA, Sprint's CDMA EVDO
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g
  • 3-inch, 640-by-480 touch screen
  • camera/red LED scanner

Below all of that it is still WM6.5.3, but you'll have to dig deep to get it. It also features some battery-saving enhancements and it is expected to have a 3-year product life cycle (with a software upgrade in the future). See Sprint product listing here:  www.sprint.com/ES400

The reason why this is important is two fold:

  1. Demonstrates Microsoft is still committed to enterprise/delivering a tailored experience--this was always their market, they plan to keep it
  2. Shows there is a push back against using high-end consumer smartphones for enterprise e.g. iPhones--sometimes popular consumer devices don't have a place in the real business world

Additional reporting by George Ponder [Thanks, isaacl, for the tip]

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