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5 years ago

Review: Sprint Mogul, PPC-6800

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Review: Sprint Mogul, PPC-6800

The Sprint Mogul has been out for little while now, but with Verizon's recent release of their own version called the XV6800 I wanted to offer a review of the Mogul (Henceforth we'll call it the "PPC 6800.")

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5 years ago

Pick Our Next WM Smartphone and Review (and Win!)

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We'll be posting up a full review of the Motorola Q9h and the Mogul next week (and even a mini-review of the Motorola MC35). There'll be more smackdowns to come too (intra-carrier style), but for now I'm itching to try something new out. I've already said that I prefer the Q9h to the BlackJack II, but as sbono13 pointed out in the comments, the BJII is a full $200 bucks cheaper (with contract) than the Q9h... so I'm thinking I should give that device a full rundown as well. Toss in the fact that I have (unfairly?) poo-poohed the Pantech Duo and the Samsung i760 and suddenly we're looking at a whole smorgasbord of Windows Mobile smartphones. That's a situation I love, but I can't decide.

So, what to do about that itch? Let you decide. Head on over to the thread associated with this post and vote in the poll. We'll leave the poll open through Tuesday, February 5th. We're also making your choices public so we can track 'em, not because we're nefarious, but because we'll choose one lucky voter from the top choice to win a $100 coupon at the WMExperts Store!

After the break - see the smartphones sitting on my desk, waiting on my eternal judgment (and the full rules to the contest). To vote, just click on this here link

Here are the

I'd like to stick to phones that have carrier support in the US, if you're wondering about the choices above.

Contest Rules

  1. Not open to Smartphone Experts employees or contractors (but mods, go for it)
  2. Coupon only good for merchandise, you'll have to pay the S&H (sorry)
  3. 1 entry per person
  4. Contest ends on February 5th at Midnight.
  5. The winner will be chosen at random from all the people who voted for the smartphone that receives the most votes (in other words, there's strategy involved!)
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5 years ago

Pantech Duo Coming in Red Next Week

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Pantech Duo Coming in Red Next Week

We weren't terribly impressed during our First Look at the Pantech Duo, but we're willing to give the little guy another chance (stay tuned, should be fun). We're hearing from a few sources that it's actually more popular than we expected.

Given that, it's not a gigantic surprise that it's joining the red phone bandwagon next week. The price for a red Pantech Duo is still going to be $99 after contract.

[via Crave]

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5 years ago

TouchFLO II (aka Manilla) Leaked?

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TouchFLO II (aka Manilla) Leaked?

Take a look at what the:unwired has discovered, a program calling itself Manilla that looks like it's a next-gen update for HTC's TouchFLO interface. The origins are a bit sketch, but the interface looks awfully pretty. Some folks at XDA were able to get the interface up and running, but whatever it is it's still very much in the “development only” phase.

Improvements seem to include the ability to preview email right inside TouchFLO, add your own bookmarks and favorites (YAY!), a better interface for settings like Ringtones, and more. After the break, all the pretty horses screenshots. Big ups to all sorts of folks at XDA for pulling them out


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5 years ago

WMExperts Rumortastic Giveaway: Treo 800w + Extras

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Update: Now that we have the new specs on the Treo 800w, we thought we'd update the specs on the contest itself. Instead of a 6 gig microSDHC card, the prize package will now have an 8 gig card.

We are confident, very confident, that the Treo 800w is coming in the next few months. And we are confident, mega confident, that it's going to be a super cool device. Confident enough that we're going to run out and buy one the very day they are available, whenever that day may be. A Windows Mobile 6 Pro device with 320x320 resolution, WiFi, (probably) GPS... and you can easily use the sucker one-handed. That mops the floor with the Treo 700wx and even makes the Mogul a little nervous.

And we don't even use Sprint! So - we're going to give the Treo 800w away. Yes, folks, we're running a contest to give away a rumored device that hasn't been released yet. It's future-iffically rumortastic!

Giving away what might potentially be a non-existent device will, naturally, require a few rules and, er, procedures - get those after the break. The short version is this: In the comments of this post, make a guess about the release date of the Treo 800w. We'll do a random drawing amongst the people who get it right. The winner will receive:

  • A Treo 800w after it is officially released. If they end up calling it something else, well, let's just say we're giving away the next Windows Mobile device Palm releases for the Sprint Network. Got it?
  • An 8 gig microSD Card. Yeah, the WMExperts Store has 8 gig cards now.
  • Any 2 software titles from HobbesIsReal's excellent “Must-Have Windows Mobile Software” article. Sure, Palm will include some “secret recipe” stuff on the 800w, but you can always make Windows Mobile a little better. We believe in the software in Hobbes' article, you should too.

Full rules and info after the break. We're taking off early for the Holidays, everybody, so consider this contest a gift from WMExperts - one of those “we promise we'll make it up to someday” kinda gifts, but a gift nonetheless. See you Wednesday!

How to Enter

Register and post a reply to this post with a guess at the exact date (just the date, not the time) the Treo 800w will be released. You may guess as many times as you like, but only your most recent guess in this thread will count as your entry.

That's it!

More Rules

  1. One entry per person (i.e. your most recent guess) 1.5. Although you can guess as often as you like, your guess must be at least 2 weeks away from the date you're posting (ex. if you post on January 1st, your guess cannot be before January 14th).
  2. Contest will end at midnight the day before an official date is announced by either Palm or Sprint. Which basically means you'll want to settle on a date early, because when we find out officially, well, we'll have to disqualify any posts made that day.
  3. Not open to employees or contractors of Smartphone Experts (sorry to our writers and mods!), Palm, or Sprint (no cheaters!)
  4. Open to US residents only (hey, it's Sprint)
  5. We'll pick the winner randomly from all the posts that get it right or, if none do, from the posts that get closest (assuming there's more than one). “Closest” can be before or after, this isn't The Price Is Right, people.

Hop to it, People!

Update: Since we now have Sprint's planned release date: July 22nd, any votes for that date on or after May 5th at 4PM EST don't count.

Of course, if you don't believe Sprint will hit that target, feel free to keep guessing. :)

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5 years ago

HTC Losing WM Standard Edition Share?

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DigiTimes seems to have gotten ahold of some internal Microsoft data with some surprising info - HTC may be rocking the touchscreens (2 million Touches sold, didja know that?), but they're not doing so hot when it comes to non-touchscreen, Standard-edition Windows Mobile. In fact, they've dropped, apparently, from a 50% share worldwide down to just 30%. Who are the losing to? Motorola and Samsung, and Moto has a tiny lead:

High Tech Computer (HTC) has lost the title as the global top ranking vendor of Windows Mobile-based smartphones (excluding touch-screen models), with its share of the segment falling to below 30% currently, trailing behind Motorola and Samsung Electronics, according to internal data from Microsoft.

Motorola, Samsung and HTC have been competing fiercely in the segment with each vendor accounting for a 20-30% share globally, with Motorola now leading the contest with a small margin, the data showed.

- HTC share of Windows Mobile smartphone segment declining

As we just said, though, HTC is hanging on to their Pro mantle, at 50% share. Nobody else is even close, Palm's a distant second at 10%.

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5 years ago

Rogers in Canada Gets Samsung Jack, AKA BlackJack II

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5 years ago

Windows Mobile 6.1 to be Announced Feb 11?

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Windows Mobile 6.1 to be Announced Feb 11?

We won't be going, but the big mobile conference that's coming up next is the Mobile World Conference (AKA 3GSM) in Barcelona. It's happening Feburary 11th-14th. There's usually big news there, since, you know, the US is a relatively small portion of the wireless market these days. Last year we were treated to the official unveiling of Windows Mobile 6. This year, maybe we'll see the official unveiling of Windows Mobile 6.1? Msmobiles (by way of pocketinfo.nl) seems to think so, pointing out that Microsoft has a big ol' press conference from 15:00 to 16:00 hours, Barcelona time.

If not Windows Mobile 6.1, there's sure to be plenty of other WM news coming out of the conference. We here at WMExperts are just about recovered from the pre-Holiday gadget-annoucement madness and are getting a little tired of the current lull.

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5 years ago

Gmail IMAP Works for Windows Mobile!

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Gmail IMAP Works for Windows Mobile!

When Google offered up free IMAP for their Gmail service, there was much rejoicing. When we discovered that it send Windows Mobile blank emails instead of HTML emails, there was much lamentation. We we discovered that the iPhone handled Gmail IMAP with aplomb, there was gnashing of teeth and tearing-out of hair.

We're back to rejoicing now, as per XDA (via JAMM), Gmail's IMAP service doesn't seem to be sending out blank emails anymore. Huzzah!

We're testing it out now, we heartily invite y'all to do the same. How goes it, are you back in the blessed IMAP land?

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5 years ago

SkyFire Browser Beats the Pants Off the iPhone -- No Foolin'

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I had a chance to get a demo of the upcoming SkyFire browser (over Skype) last week and I gotta tell you - it's hot. Here's the skinny - it's currently in private beta (sign up here) with a public beta planned for later this quarter. It works on Windows Mobile Pro and Standard (and Symbian, hush), and it's really, really awesome. As in, “my envy for the iPhone's browser may soon be coming to an end” kind of awesome.

Here's how it works - it's a server-side solution (more on that inside) based on Gecko (same bits behind Firefox's rendering). Basically everything gets rendered on the server and then sent out to your phone. That solves some of the processor / speed issues, but it also adds more benefits, like full AJAX, Flash, Javascript, you name it. I watched the browser instantly load an embedded YouTube video (from a random page on our site) and start playing with nary a jag and nary a lag -- this over a UMTS connection, mind you.

The SkyFire teams told me “Our goal is that if Firefox can render it, then your Windows Mobile phone will render it the exact same way.”

There more, including a screenshot gallery, after the break!

For the first time ever, smartphone
users can experience the “real Web” to access and interact with any Web
site built with any Web technology, including dynamic Flash, advanced Ajax,
Java and more - at the same speeds they are accustomed to on their PC -

Screenshots

Server Side is Awesome / Not Awesome

So the benefit of having 90% of the work on a server is you get snappy rendering, full support for basically any web standard, and fast downloads. You get the desktop browser pushed out to your phone.

The downside - that server best stay up, hey? It also best keep your data secure and private (SkyFire says that's been their #1 priority, even in their early betas). Lastly, though, server's ain't free. SkyFire hasn't settled on a pricing model yet, but they're leaning towards ads before subscriptions to keep the service free. The company was keen to show me their portal - which pulls from multiple search engines - so that's probably going to be part of the model.

The Software Itself

One .cab file for the browser, that's all you install to get full Flash, AJAX (the thing can handle the craziest of Google Maps/Apps AJAX), etc. Since it's all handled server-side

The SkyFire browser has all the necessary zoom and bookmark features you'd expect from a browser of this sort. It also has a “fit to screen” feature -- but with a neat difference. Instead of re-rendering the entire webpage to fit your screen, it actually just renders the different sections of text to fit your screen in place. So you still get the basic layout of the site, but when you zoom into a piece of text to read it you know it will be set to the right width for comfortable reading at your mobile's resolution.

...It's about time we had a browser that's not only competitive with the iPhones, but that beats it in several categories. The fact that it's all server-side is the real story here, though, as that's SkyFire's greatest strength and weakness.

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5 years ago

Review: Seidio Clip Holster for Mogul and Verizon XV6800

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5 years ago

Review: Navibe GB735 Bluetooth GPS Receiver

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5 years ago

Moto Q9h vs. BlackJack II

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5 years ago

GPS vs. aGPS: A Quick Tutorial

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GPS vs. aGPS: A Quick Tutorial

With discussions and speculation about what features the new Treo 800w will have, the convoluted and very confusing issue of aGPS versus GPS naturally arises and which, if either, the 800w will include. So what is aGPS? How does it differ from real GPS if at all? We'll fill you in on the full skinny -- which sadly can be anything from "just e911" to "Better than standard GPS."

Read on to learn what all of these terms actually mean and what it means for Windows Mobile users in general as this technology spans CDMA and GSM across the U.S on every device.

aGPS vs. GPS: The Basics

Okay, first let's do the basic definitions: aGPS = assisted global positioning system, while just regular GPS is non-assisted.

So who's assisting and why does it matter? When you use a GPS system and you turn it on, it needs to find orbit and clock data for the relevant satellites, this in turn results in what is called TTFF, or Time To First Fix how long before you get your location pinpointed. This initial TTFF is often called a cold start and on SiRF III systems (the latest GPS systems available), it can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes to acquire a signal. That time is dependent on your location, amount of interference and horizon information: open fields are faster than canyons or urban environments where buildings can interfere with the satellite-receiver line of site.

But when you use assisted GPS this whole process is much faster. Very often cellular network towers have GPS receivers (or a base station nearby) and those receivers are constantly pulling down satellite information and computing the data. This data is then passed on to the cellular phone (when requested) and acts like a cheat since the relevant satellites to your location are already identified and all that GPS computations is handled by 3rd party computers. This is the result of such a system, to you the end user:

  • Faster location acquisition
  • Less processing power is required by the device
  • Saves battery life
  • Location acquisition indoors or in non-optimal environmental settings

Sprint describes how their system is supposed to work from their online FAQ:

Q: What is Assisted GPS? How do you find me if only two satellites are available?
A: To meet the defined industry standards, a precision location fix requires a minimum of three GPS measurements. The term "Assisted" refers to how Sprint network resources are used to provide a more robust measurement when only two satellites are visible.
  • Precision fix in tens of seconds.
  • Very High accuracy (typically 5m-50m).
  • Line of sight to three satellites is not required as in regular GPS technology, but two satellites must be visible for a precise AGPS fix.
  • GPS chipset required in device. (All Sprint phones sold since Jan 2002 have the GPS chipset. Contact your Sprint account representative for additional information.)

This is why many of us in the forums often cringe when someone suggests that having a standalone SiRFIII chip in a phone is preferable to an aGPS system, although the confusion is quite understandable and that brings us to our next point: the caveats.

Caveat #1: aGPS configurations

This story of aGPS so far seems fairly reasonable and straightforward, but alas it is not. See aGPS is not some monolithic, written-in-stone-standard. In fact, Qualcomm, who makes the most popular aGPS chips (called GPSOne) has four different possible configurations for aGPS. How aGPS is actually implemented on the device appears to be up to the device OEM/cellular carriers.

These four options are:

  • Standalone - Your handset has no connection to the network, and uses only the GPS satellite signals it can currently receive to try and establish a location.
  • MS Based - Your handset is connected to the network, and uses the GPS signals + a location signal from the network.
  • MS Assisted - Your handset is connected to the network, uses GPS signals + a location signal then relays its 'fix' to the server, which then uses the signal strength from your phone to the network towers to further plot your position. You can still maintain voice communication in this scenario, but not 'Internet/Network service' ie Web Browser, IM, streaming TV etc..
  • MS Assisted/Hybrid - Same as above, but network functionality remains. Normally only in areas with exceptional coverage.

Standalone mode is important. This means you do not need the carrier network at all to use GPS and usually you can install any GPS mapping software to boot. This is how the HTC Tilt and modern BlackBerries work and the Sprint Q9c (a review of which will be posted on WMExperts next week). Here there is virtually no difference between a standalone SiRFIII GPS system and a standalone (aka autonomous). The fact that the Sprint Q9c operates in standalone should be a sign of how Sprint plans to adopt aGPS systems in their Windows Mobile lineup (read here and here regarding possible updates for GPS for the Mogul and Touch). Interestingly, someone came up with a hack to enable the assistance servers for the Q9c to give all the benefits of a true aGPS system.

So which configuration of aGPS is important to how you can utilize the service. If it 100% relies on assistance-servers, then using it off-network is not an option, which may be the case with the BlackBerry 8830 (Sprint Worldphone):

Q  Does GPS work internationally?
A  No, the GPS chipset on the 8830 is disabled when the device is in GSM/GPRS mode due to Qualcomm requirement.

Caveat #2: The role of the mobile carriers

Now for the other shoe to drop: the carriers. Every modern cell phone has an aGPS chip on it because of the enhanced 911 requirement, which is also why you don't have many phones with a separate SiRFIII chip on board: it is redundant and expensive.

But on Sprint, Verizon and some other carriers like AT&T they have devices with aGPS on board that is not accessible to the end-user for any purpose except for e911 (like the ppc-6700 or the Treo 700wx). Now why this is the case is a matter of debate and a lot of speculation, which ranges from the carriers have purposefully disabled this feature to the APIs were not ready (API= Application Programming Interface) or maybe even a combination. Some have also suggested that these devices need an internal antenna plexed to the chip in order to gain a satellite signal, although since cheap flip phones on Sprint can do aGPS, this remains controversial. Regardless, the fact that simple flip phones could do aGPS for mapping and $500 WM phones cannot, rubbed many in the mobile community the wrong way.

The point of this caveat is that it is up to the carriers ultimately do decide on whether certain devices have:

That last option, for whatever reason, is currently the most common but it at least appears that the carriers (except for maybe Verizon who is truly draconian) are moving towards the more open system.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully you have learned how aGPS can mean everything from it does nothing except for 911 to it is superior to traditional GPS. Where new WM devices fall on that spectrum is an ongoing adventure, but hopefully you now have the knowledge to ask the right questions:

  • Is the aGPS autonomous?
  • It is locked down (e.g. hidden COM ports)?
  • Can it use assistance servers when < 3 satellites are available?

Having answers to those will allow you to better gauge what GPS or aGPS really means.

PS Feel free to bookmark or pass this article on to others to help dispel any confusion out there on the 'net ;-)

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5 years ago

Firefox Mobile: First Look!

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Firefox Mobile: First Look!

Back a couple months ago we mentioned how the Mozilla Project was taking a serious stab at mobile browsing to which our response was "Hallelujah! What took you so long?".

Well, looks like the project is finally off the ground as Mozilla has launched their Wiki site to discuss development of their new super mobile browser, which will evidently come in Touch-screen and non-Touch screen flavors. Some of the goals are pretty basic but well thought out:

  • 1-2 taps for most frequent activities
  • Finger taps -- no stylus required
  • Familiar (to desktop users) where possible
  • Intuitive

For the non-Touch screen devices, a "virtual cursor" is on deck for easy mobile navigation. And just to whet your appetite a little more, we've tossed some screens shots of what the future browser may look like after the break. Delicious.

Touch Screen

Non-Touch Screen

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