Recent Articles

Headlines

5 years ago

Macworld Thought: Microsoft's hands are tied, update-wise

18

Covering Macworld yesterday the only big iPhone news was a minor feature update - we still get to look down upon its lack of 3G and the fact that it's handcuffed to AT&T like a cliché sitcom episode where the two adversaries become best friends forever after 23 minutes (plus commercials) of being chained together.

Ahem. There is one new iPhone feature that we need to tell Microsoft about, but fixing the same problem on Windows Mobile turns out to be a very thorny issue. Read on for much more on this after the break!

Envy the Jiggly

We still have to envy that iPhone browser and now there's one more thing to envy - iPhone users can easily re-arrange their home screen. Yes, on WM Pro devices, adding, deleting, and re-arranging the Today screen is a relatively simple affair. On WM Standard devices, it's a freaking nightmare trying to customize the Today screen. On both - not only is it darn near impossible to re-arrange the Programs folder, in many cases that Programs folder is cluttered with carrier-sponsored “crap-apps” as well. Let's not discuss that items in WM Pro's Start Menu don't appear under Programs, because it's just too painful.

The bright light at the end of this customization tunnel is that Microsoft may finally be learning that they can control the user experience themselves a bit more - and thus let us control it at well. Someday that time may come, but that day is going to be a long way off.

Whither Windows Update

Here's the essential problem. Because AT&T has managed to cow AT&T so effectively, they have kept AT&T off their home screen. More to the point, they can seemingly push out updates with little-to-no interference from AT&T, testing-wise. This may not be the case at all -- AT&T may just fast-track iPhone updates -- but I think it is. Compare the relative ease with which Apple can develop and distribute an update with the situation with Windows Mobile.

On nearly every Windows Mobile device that has needed or deserved a serious update of some kind, there seems to be a delay. There are a few counter-examples, but they are few. Compare that to the situation with updates to Windows Mobile 6, or even AKU updates and critical bugfixes. Microsoft has to develop the update, the manufacturer has to try it out on their device, the carrier has to have their say, it all has to get tested and run up and down that three link chain a few times, and then the update gets out to the user -- who so rarely applies these major patches that he or she is usually unaware of the patch, afraid to apply the patch, confused about how to do it, and so on. And all that assumes we're talking about a single device here, for updates meant for all WM devices you need to iterate all of the above across the hundreds of different WM devices out there.

Nightmare.

Now, Microsoft has included a Windows Mobile Update app in Windows Mobile 6, but it's unlikely (bordering on impossible) that we'll ever see that little bugger offer us any new updates. There are just too many hoops that updates have to jump through.

3rd Party Apps to the Rescue

In the meantime, however, we the users can fix this situation -- with 3rd party apps that extend and improve upon the Windows Mobile interface. On Windows Mobile Pro we're all still very fond of SPB Mobile Shell (especially for the new user). On WM Standard.. well, I'm still looking for my favorite solution and haven't found it yet. I would love to hear suggestions for non-touchscreen devices.

So while the fact that Microsoft knows they need to offer simple features like rearranging icons is the light at the end of the tunnel, that tunnel seems very long right now. Yet, while stuck in the dark tunnel of WM's user interface, you can use a 3rd party app to light your way. Nice, eh?

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Are you Pro or Standard?

26
26

Are you Pro or Standard?

I'm a little busy today folks, reporting for the other side of the Smartphone Divide (and ogling that sweet MacBook Air). Judging from the state of the internets, it looks like there's going to be a dearth of Windows Mobile news today anyway. So here's a question, posed by Coppertop in the forums:

For those who jumped from the 750 (or any other Palm Device) to the BlackJack II, do you miss the touch screen?“

...Which raises a bigger question: Are you Touchscreen or not? Are you Pro or Standard? I recently made the jump from Pro to Standard myself and I don't think I'll be looking back anytime soon. The memory management seems to be just a hair better to me on Standard (or maybe I just am sick to death of deciding how to deal with that ”X“ button).

You?

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Samsung Ace Unleashed on Sprint Febuary 17th

0
0

Samsung Ace Unleashed on Sprint Febuary 17th

PhoneArena is reporting from a scooper that Sprint will be releasing the not-exactly-highly-anticipated-yet-it-is-still-kinda-cool Samsung Ace WM 6 smartphone on February 17th with an MSRP of $449.99. (One hopes and assumes that's without a contract!)

To give you a refresh on the Samsung Ace, this is Sprint's new "world phone", meaning it is supposed to rock both CDMA and globe-trottin' GSM, plus:

  • CDMA/EVDO (Rev 0)
  • GSM/GPRS
  • 1.3mp camera
  • WM 6 Standard
  • microSD
  • BT 2.0

The rest is standard-fare. While not a great device and not exactly anything cutting edge there, for you Sprint globe-trotters it should be a decent-enough phone to keep you happy when you're out and about. Personally, I'm hoping someday for a Sprint Palm Treo world phone ;-)

Speaking of, still no word on the Treo 800w release date, so why not take a guess for our contest to win one?

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

GPS Config for BlackJack II and Q9h (and others)

2
5 years ago

Windows Mobile News Roundup - While We Were Out at CES 2008

0

Truth be told, beyond a few more catch-up CES postings later today, there wasn't actually as much action as we'd hoped for, Windows Mobile-wise, at CES 2008. There wasn't much action outside CES, either, but there were a few pieces of Windows Mobile news you might want to know about.

First off, our favorite software keyboard, TouchPal, has hit version 2.0. For those wondering how CooTek managed to give it away for free before, now we know. There's still a free “standard” version, but they've added a “professional” version for $19.99 (on special for $10.98 for the rest of January) that has some fancy new features like Mistyping correction, Dynamic layout resizing, and more. If you're rocking either a Touch or a slider device, we still recommend this software - it's as cool as when we first saw it.

(via pocketnow.com)


Given alltel's track record of picking up phones, it's not surprise that they are now offering the HTC Touch. The specs are identical to the Sprint version, but the cool silver is all alltel. It's $199.99 after contracts and whatnot. The only bummer here is now when we refer to “HTC Touch” we have to specify whether we're talking about the GSM or the alltel verion. Ah, branding.

(via Mobileburn)


We're thinking something was lost in translation when Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Bill Gates said Microsoft wouldn't compete with the iPhone. Gates said, “No, we won't do that. In the so-called smart phone business we will concentrate solely on software with our Windows Mobile program.” We're going to assume that he meant that Microsoft would never release a phone that was just media + phone, but rather that they're sticking with the power of Windows Mobile.

Yahoo News


We don't use Windows Live on Windows Mobile ourselves here (we would if more of our buddies would drop AIM or if Microsoft and AIM would start talking to each other, civilized-like), so we missed the brief moment of panic many had when they saw the error message at right. It basically implied Windows Live client on WM may not be free for much longer. Not to worry, though, Microsoft doesn't currently plan on charging you directly for their services (yet), opting instead to let the carriers keep paying for it (yep, they are).

MoDaCo

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Hands-On with the Samsung SGH-i780 - CES 2008

12

The Samsung i780 has all the right pieces to be a full-on Treo Killer: Windows Mobile 6, flush 320x320 touchscreen, front-facing QWERTY (a must-have for Treo lovers), WiFi (b/g), 400Mhx proc, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, A-GPS, a 2mp camera, HSDPA, and a little mouse.

Yet Treo-Killer it is not. As we're fond of telling people, you can't just throw Windows Mobile software and sweet hardware at a device and assume it will come out right. You have to think about the integration of the two - how well they work together and what your various buttons and interfaces do with Windows Mobile.

After the break, a gallery and the deets on why the i780 won't be taking the front-facing QWERTY/Touchscreen crown in its current iteration.

The i780 is European-only, no 3G support in the US. That makes it a non-Treo-Killer since the Treo's homebase is here. No matter, though, the US is actually a relatively small market for a company like Samsung so I can't be mad at them about that.

What I can and are mad at them about is the “Optical Joystick/Finger Mouse.” It's a nice enough idea, but it works ...poorly. Let's set aside the fact that using a mouse on a touchscreen is sort of a silly idea in the first place, that it really doesn't add that much one-handability. So what do I have then? I have a tiny little square where the 5-way usually is (more on that in a second). I suspect you could adjust the settings, but I found you had to keep pushing and sliding the mouse around to get where you wanted to go.

So no big deal, right? Like when I discovered that the scroll wheel on the T-Mobile Shadow up to snuff, I figured I could just revert to the old 5-way to get around. Wrong. The SGH-i780 lacks a 5-way. It's touchscreen, mouse, or nothing at all. Not the way I want to interact with a mobile device. Not the way you do, either.

Ok, so saying there is no 5-way is a bit of a lie. You can switch from “Mouse mode” to “D-Pad” mode to get that little touchpad to revert to a 5-way. So to go down you slide your finger down on the pad. To go down again - move your thumb up and then slide down again. And so on.

So, the SGH-i780? Feature-packed, implementation challenged.

Gallery below, in case you haven't been scared away yet. Actually, take a look, that flush 320x320 screen is gorgeous

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Hands-on with the LG WiMAX and KS20 - CES 2008

0

Yep, somehow this one got by us earlier. LG has a WiMAX version of the KS20, which is the Windows Mobile version of the Prada phone. Got that? Good, let's move on.

Let's start with the WiMax. It runs on Clearwire (they who recently broke up with Sprint) but is only tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900), so it'll need a revamp before it will work in the US. It feels just as sexy as the HTC Touch, but in a boxy sort of way.

As for the KS20, we don't really have too much to say. It's a quad-band Windows Mobile 6 Pro device with a 2mp camera and WiFi. Essentially it's an HTC Touch-alternative. There is a newish implementation of the today screen that's slightly more thumb-able than the default, but it certainly doesn't hold a candle to TouchFLO.

In other words, we're a little disappointed in ya, LG. We know you have the chops to make great phones (ref. the LG Chocolate), we just wish you'd try a little harder with Windows Mobile.

Gallery after the break!

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Hands on with the HTC Shift - CES 2008

1

We know that we're not the first people go get their grubby mitts on the HTC Shift, but that doesn't mean that we're not excited about it. Between this, the HTC Advantage, and the Redfly, the desire for some sort of WM-based UMPC is growing within us like a benign cancer. The only way to cut it out is probably going to be to empty our wallets sometime soon. Sigh.

Anyhow, the Shift is an incredible device. It's a combination Windows Mobile 6 Pro “smartphone” (though it doesn't make calls) and a Windows Vista UMPC. They both run at the same time (you hit a button to switch between them) and interact with each other just a tiny bit (I believe Vista uses WM for its 3G internet access).

More after the break!

The shape and built of the device is essentially an oversized AT&T Tilt - you can use it all closed up like a tablet, slide it out flat and attempt (awkwardly) to use it flat, or tilt the screen up as above. The keyboard is, sadly, not quite full-sized.

Specs are impressive:

  • 7-inch, 800x480 touchscreen
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 30GB hard drive
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11g
  • GSM/EDGE/HSDPA
  • 1.2 mp camera (for video conferencing)
  • Baby-sized (but usable) touchpad for the mouse

The US release of the Shift has been delayed slightly, but it's due out this quarter. Price will be pretty steep (likely around $1499), but not too steep given that this is a full-on Vista UMPC AND a sweet Windows Mobile device.

Here comes the gallery:

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Update: Forums are back up

0
5 years ago

Hands-on with HP's Windows Mobile iPaqs - CES 2008

2

HP's iPaq offerings at CES this year are nowhere near as exciting as what was leaked last week - namely the Oak and the Silver - but they're alright. First up, HP is still trying to get traction with their cute-as-a-button iPaq 500. It's a decent little candybar phone on Quadband GSM/EDGE (only) and WiFi. The rest of the specs are decided low end - but with 6.5 hours of talk time maybe that's ok. AT&T and T-Mobile don't seem to think so - HP still hasn't managed to pick up any official carrier support in the US.

The only other notable thing about the iPaw 500 is it features “HP VoiceReply.” It's just a plug-in that lets you record a voice reply to an email and send it as a wav instead of trying to type it out on T9. While you're driving. And shaving. And eating a burrito. Really, you should just pull over.

...After the break, HP has a brand new non-smartphone iPaq coming that's just a beast - the iPaq 210 Enterprise

The iPaq 210 Enterprise

First thing's last - when I asked the HP rep “Seriously, who's your target market for a Windows Mobile 6 Classic device” (“Classic” being the new nomenclature for “Non-Smartphone.”), he replied:

“Existing enterprise customers who want more power.”

...In other words, don't deride HP for thinking they're going to have a retail smash hit with the iPaq 210.

All that aside, the 210 is actually a great device - it's a trip down memory lane for us to get just a little excited about a straight PDA. I mean, this thing has dual memory card slots! Anybody else remember Handera?

So, Specs: It's about 5 “ by 3” by .63“ (yeah, huge), but in that huge package you get Wifi b/g, Bluetooth2.0, a 624 MHz processor, 64 RAM / 256 ROM, a 2200 mAh battery, Microphone and speakers (hello VOIP), SD, CF, and 480x640 screen.

This thing just might be the King of PDAs. Of course, that's a dying kingdom, isn't it?

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Hands-on with the Redfly - CES 2008

0
0

Hands-on with the Redfly - CES 2008

When we wrote about the Redfly mobile companion last week, we said that it was still as flawed by the Foleo in the headline - but that’s not really what we meant. It’s just flawed in one aspect: price. Other than that, the Redfly looks pretty sweet.

We got a chance to get a hands-on with the Redfly last night and listen up: You’re almost surely going to want one. After the break, some details on how it works, our impressions, and of course a small gallery!

What the Redfly does

Unlike the Foleo, they Redfly is a completely inert object when it’s not tied to a smartphone. The Redfly is almost literally nothing more than a screen, keyboard, battery, and graphics processor. That’s right - no internal memory, no internal processor as you’d typically think of it. It’s a dummy terminal for your Windows Mobile phone.

You connect up your Windows Mobile smartphone via USB or Bluetooth. USB is slightly preferred because its faster and also charges up your smartphone. Then Redfly’s magic software takes over - it basically turns off all input on your smartphone and then tells Windows Mobile :

Hey, I know you think that you’re loaded on a Mogul, but not anymore. Right now you’re powering a Redfly. You used to have a 320x240 screen, but not anymore — now you have an 800x480 screen.

…and so on. Instead of using a touchscreen the Redfly gives you a trackpad mouse to move around to mimic the action of tapping the screen.

Specs

The Redfly gives your Windows Mobile smartphone the following:

  • a 800x480 screen, a full keyboard (with several nice shortcuts to common functions)
  • a spare USB port to use to read USB Memory sticks (they’re mounted directly just like a memory card) or for an external mouse.
  • VGA out at 800x600 (though it has to “letterbox” it to 800x480)
  • 8 Hours of battery life (the Redfly lasts 8 hours and charges your smartphone to boot)

The Redfly is 1 x 6 x 9 inches and weighs 2 pounds. It has an 80 key QWERTY keyboard that is, tragically, not full size. As you can see in the gallery below, it still might be usable. That would take some time to tell, though. It will work with pretty much any Windows Mobile 5 or 6 Smartphone, Standard or Pro, though they’re starting small with compatibility with just a few of the most popular smartphones.

Impressions

The hardware quality is good but not superb - the units on the show floor may have been pre-production (we hope) as a couple rubber grommets fell off our unit as we toyed around with it. The latch is sturdy and it feel great to hold.

It’s a bummer about the keyboard not being full sized, but we’ll hold off final judgment until we’ve used it for really real. As for when that will happen, it should be this quarter sometime.

The other bummer is the price - $499. Now, the folks at Celio (who make it) said that it was just the initial price and that it might eventually be released in a less expensive version. This version, like the Foleo, is being targeted directly at hardcore executives.

Other than the above 2 caveats, the Redfly really impressed us. We’re absolutely on board with a dummy terminal for our Windows Mobile phone. It’s a powerful operating system, there’s no reason you couldn’t use it as a mini-laptop. Add in the fact that you won’t have to muck around with syncing anything ever and the Redfly might be a winner.

…For about $250 less than its initial price. ;)

Also in the gallery below, a little bitty Redfly that lacks the screen and keyboard - it basically allows you to plug your smartphone directly into a projector/monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Definitely not as cool, but a neat idea.

Gallery

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Verizon Announces SMT5800, Hands-On

0
0

Verizon Announces SMT5800, Hands-On

Last night at the Digital Life Expo, the fine folks at HTC told me that this would happen, and sure enough, it has. Verizon has announced the SMT5800, well behind the other guys. The specs are pretty standard - it's that Smartphone Edition of Windows Mobile 6 in a slider-form factor that we initially loved but eventually became disillusioned with. Still, it's a decent enough phone:

  • 2.0 megapixel camera with video capture
  • Bluetooth® 2.0 including stereo with support for certain profiles
  • microSD™ memory card slot (for up to 8 GB of removable memory)
  • 2.4“ QVGA, 240 x 320 65k-color screen
  • CDMA2000 1x/EV-DO digital dual-band
  • Dimensions: 4.1” l x 2.0“ w x 0.7” d
  • Weight: 4.2 oz.

Available Jan 21st for the surprisingly high price of $299.99 after rebates and such. After the break, our hands-on with the SMT5800 at CES 2008!

Read: Verizon Wireless Connects With Mobile Professionals With The SMT5800

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Microsoft “Demos” Future Version Windows Mobile by Accident? - CES 2008

1

Making a cameo appearance on the big screen during the Gates keynote, a future version of Windows Mobile! Maybe. It could be Windows Mobile 6.1, but it doesn't look anything like what BGR leaked awhile back. And yes, it could be just a custom skin. If that's the case, then color us impressed with HTC's customizations. If that's not the case, then either we just caught MS with their pants down or they're viral marketing geniuses (or this isn't new at all and we're the ones lacking trousers).

Take a look at the new Start Menu of listing programs / settings / etc. It looks like there's a left/right menu on top to switch between “Programs,” “Settings,” “Photos,” “Internet,” and so on, then up/down to switch between the stuff within those categories.

Full gallery after the jump!

(p.s. since we lost connectivity last night, expect our live coverage article to be updated with some photos in just a bit)

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Bill Gates 2008 CES Keynote Redux

0
0

Bill Gates 2008 CES Keynote Redux

Our live coverage of the Bill Gates Keynote last night hit a snag, so we're back today from the blogger's lounge here at CES with the pictures and the deets that we missed after going offline. Actually, I just saw Bill Gates walking through the show floor - nice to see him mixing with the rest of us gadgetheads. :D

Read on to see a gallery of the even and to see what Microsoft is proud of now ...and what they're hoping will happen in the “next digital decade.”

Oh, and either Microsoft doesn't care about leaks anymore, or they're leaking stuff themselves. Be sure to check out the Treo 800w shot and the possible future version of Windows Mobile!

The Treo 800w appears

Yes, yes, we could be wrong that it was the Treo 800w that appeared, but we aren't. It showed up on the big screen twice with nary a mention from anybody up front. Palm is either very happy to be getting some viral press from this or very unhappy that they've failed to control the release of yet another one of their devices.

Also appearing, something that looks like Bill Gates' dreamphone - someday we'll all have magical phones with flexible, semi-transparent displays no thicker than a few sheets of paper that we can just roll up and stick in our pocket. Someday.

Name that Windows Mobile

Also appear on the screen - what looks to be a future version of Windows Mobile. It might even be Windows Mobile 7, given that it seems to have a “pivot” interface of some sort.

Interesting, no?

Videos and Cameos

Probably the focus of they keynote wasn't product announcements, but more of a general looking back and looking forward. Though Gates & Co certainly did show off quite a few products - from Zune Social to the Ford Sync - there wasn't anything that we hadn't at least heard of before.

So the highlight for us was to see Bill yukking it up in a couple of videos. We'll also mention last first here - the evening ended with a Guitar Hero showdown that brought Slash himself onto the stage. Without further ado, a quick gallery of the various celebrity cameos -- all of whom were mugging it up trying to get a soon-to-retire Bill Gates off their back.

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5 years ago

Windows Mobile 7 to Sport Gesture Navigation?

1
1

Windows Mobile 7 to Sport Gesture Navigation?

Wow. So at the Bill Gates keynote last night, he mentioned that a major focus of Microsoft's current R&D is focused on “natural interfaces.” He showed a demo of a research project for a camera that could recognize faces and places. What he didn't mention is that apparently Microsoft is working on adding all sorts of natural interface option to, wait for it, Windows Mobile 7.

A blog called InsideMicrosoft scored an internal presentation with gobs - gobs of pictures of examples of how one could interface with Windows Mobile 7. Shaking the phone. Waving your hand around the camera. Better touchscreen interfaces (yes!). Plenty of options.

The images themselves sometimes make it a little difficult to get a handle on what WM7 looks like - though surely it's early enough on in development that the looks aren't finalized yet.

Interestingly, one of the major UI improvements that is mentioned in the article is “Pivoting.” Pivoting looks like you go left and right to get between major “categories” that are listed at the top of the screen. Gee, that sounds a LOT like a certain set of screenshots that accidentally appeared in the keynote, don't it?

hmmmm.

Read: InsideMicrosoft via Engadget

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
Show More Headlines

Pages