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5 years ago

GPS On the Mogul Coming: CONFIRMED

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GPS On the Mogul Coming: CONFIRMED

Listen up, Mogul owners: we have some happy news to report, following up on some previous noodling and speculation about GPS on the Mogul. Sprint has posted an official statement about their ROM hijinks:

The Bad News:
So the last ROM update for the Sprint Mogul didn't go so hot - Sprint is currently suggesting you downgrade to deal with some nagging bluetooth issues - the very issues the upgrade was supposed to help with.

The Good News:
They intend to make a fix available by the end of the month.

The Awesome News:

Additionally, HTC is currently developing a separate ROM update which enables the EV-DO Rev. A and GPS capabilities that are already built into the Mogul hardware.  Sprint and HTC plan to make this software ROM available in early 1Q 2008. We would also like to extend our thanks to those customers that have taken the time to identify and report these issues to us.

Read: Buzz About Wireless

Thanks to Doc31 and TC99 for the tip! Looks like Malatesta was right, Sprint is indeed turning on GPS for WM devices!

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5 years ago

BlackJack II Surfaces, GPS Confirmed

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BlackJack II Surfaces, GPS Confirmed

When we had our hands-on with the BlackJack II a month ago, the AT&T reps at CTIA weren't exactly helpful on the subject of just what flavor of GPS was onboard - was it real or was it the tower-triangulation-fake-out kind. Well it's starting to look like it's really real for sure, at least according to the “coming soon” info now popping up on AT&T's website.

In one spot we see “GPS support,” but poking around more reveals “integrated GPS” and PDADB tells us it's SIRF III. Boom. Still no word on whether they've really managed to lock it down to just TeleNav (as was hinted to us at the CTIA conference), but let's hope not.

Otherwise the specs remain what we expected: slightly better than the original but not mind-blowingly better. You should be able to go get yours on Friday.

Oh, and AT&T - just one more thing. This doesn't count as the promised upgrade of the original Blackjack to Windows Mobile 6. We're all still waiting for that one. Remember us - your customers? You know, the ones who were disappointed when we thought it was delayed until Q3? (ah, if only we would have had it in Q3). Yeah, we're still here. Mmmhmm, yep, that's right, we didn't forget. You going to release that anytime soon?

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5 years ago

WM6 For Treo 750 “in the Queue”

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WM6 For Treo 750 “in the Queue”

While it's not fair to say that the Windows Mobile 6 upgrade for Treo 750s has been “delayed” (because no official date was ever officially given, officially), you and I both know that something has been holding it back. We've covered the “delay” many a time.

Well Palm has finally chimed in on the subject, via The Official Palm Blog:

Our commercial launch of the WinMo 6 update for those already using the AT&T Treo 750 is just around the corner.

They ask us to stay tuned, so tuned we will stay. Unfortunately, we don't have much more information about what else the update will include beyond the standard WM6 stuff. Here's to hoping it includes OZ's pretty good IM client, which AT&T has been tossing into their other WM offerings.

Palm has previously promised the update “in 2008,” so I suppose we won't have to keep tuned to this particular channel much longer.

Thanks to michaelalanjones in our forums for the tip!

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5 years ago

Microsoft's J Allard on the Zune Phone

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No, there won't be a Zune Phone, as we've said before and will surely have to say again. But “J Allard comments on how the Zune's features and interfaces will eventually make their way into Windows Mobile, thereby vindicating our own speculation” just doesn't seem like a very pithy headline.

Over at the New York Times Bits Blog, Saul Hansell got a chance to corner J Allard, who is in charge of Zunes these days and maybe kinda sorta has something to do with Windows Mobile. Hansell put up some of Allard's comments (really just the highlights), and they're interesting. One - the iPhone is a good phone but a mediocre iPod - since you have to look at the thing to interact with it. Allard also joins us in giving Mobile Safari its due.

More interesting to us, though, is the stuff on Windows Mobile. 1st: the iPhone is good for Windows Mobile because it's made some space for innovation by pushing carriers out of the way. 2nd: Allard on the Zune's interface with regards to Windows Mobile:

The phone will be one part entertainment…. What you will see from us is more of these signature experiences. When you see the Zune, you’ll say say, I want my music experience on the phone to be like that. Hey, I want my telecommunication experience on the phone to be more like that.

Read: New York Times Blog

Sound familiar? It should, because we totally told you so:

The Zune isn't doing all that well in the market of MP3 players (and that's not too surprising), but what if Microsoft doesn't care? What if they're using the Zune to build up their “interface chops” and using what few buyers they've gained as secret beta testers? We know that we won't see a “Zune Phone”, but we also know that the Zune and Windows Mobile share the CE Platform underpinnings.
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5 years ago

Sprint to Finally Switch On gpsOne for its Windows Mobile Stable?

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As has been previously discussed on WMExperts, all modern CDMA phones on Sprint and Verizon have Qualcomm’s gpsOne chipset in them for e911 purposes and they have also been used for 3rd party services like TeleNav, offering GPS services directly to the consumer via the carrier. Part of the reason why the carriers want to charge for these services, besides the obvious, is to recoup the cost of being forced to implement the e911 initiative, something that we all help pay every month (e911 tax). This may also be the motivation for why Sprint legally threatened the developer of Mobile Gmaps, who offered a free aGPS mapping solution to Sprint customers.

Read on as Malatatesta collects the evidence that gpsOne (though not full gps) for the Mogul, Sprint Touch, and even the 800w!

However, to much dismay of a lot of device owners, Windows Mobile (and Palm OS) devices are not included as having user accessible aGPS on Sprint, despite some of their cheap flip phones and high end BlackBerries having the feature available. Speculation as to why this is the case has ranged from the function being blocked by the carriers to the unavailability of an API (application programming interface) for gpsOne and Windows Mobile. In order to solve this problem, it presumably involves the clumsy cooperation of Sprint, Microsoft, Qualcomm and the device OEMs to implement and flash the firmware (side note: perhaps a reason to be skeptical of Android?). No small feat, yet one that has been lingering now for well over 2 years since WM5 was introduced.

To add to the confusion, Sprint itself has unintentionally misled some of its own customers, initially listing “GPS” as one of the features on the Mogul and continuing to list all WM and Palm OS devices as GPS-enabled (not just e911 capable). No wonder why everyone is confused!

So will we ever get aGPS and Location Based Services (LBS) on our Windows Mobile devices? Rumors have been floating that indeed the HTC Mogul will be getting access to aGPS when it gets it long touted EvDO Revision A firmware upgrade (now pushed back to January 2008). These rumors have come from various places including the Site Administrator and Sprint Master Agent at EVDOinfo.com, who goes on to say that it “...will allow GoogleMaps, GPS Directions and Sprint Locator Service to all work.”.

But now we have this bit of information which nicely corroborates the idea that indeed Sprint is finally preparing to roll out aGPS/LBS on Windows Mobile devices. It turns out that listed on Sprint’s own HTC Touch specifications page, they have added this gem:

GPS Enabled: View your approximate location and use available applications to navigate roadways throughout the country. (will not be available until Q1 2008 upgrade)

So assuming this is not more misinformation or technological confusion, this appears to be the first (some-what) official acknowledgement by Sprint, which is quite significant and it jives well with other information.

What does this mean in the long run? It seems safe to assume that if this is information is accurate, the HTC Mogul, HTC Touch and presumably every forthcoming WM device will have this feature enabled sometime in 2008, including the Palm Treo 800w. To what extent will the end-user have access to the feature? That is not known. It may be that customers will have to subscribe to a pay service like TeleNav or, due to increased competition from other carriers and flashy feature-phones, maybe Sprint will actually allow open access by 3rd party developers to take advantage of the technology.

Here’s looking to 2008. Let’s hope Sprint comes through on this one ;-)

Further Information

For those interested, you can read about aGPS HERE. It's actually preferential to traditional GPS as the cell towers/servers do the work of pulling data, decreasing your "cold start" times dramatically, as well as increasing accuracy when in valleys or urban environments. It can be a combo of just satellite, satellite + server, server and variants there in.

To see a demonstration of how gpsOne actually works, go HERE.

(Hat tip to j10376 at ppcgeeks.com for the Sprint Touch link)

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5 years ago

BlackJack II, Video First Look

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5 years ago

Review: Motorola S805 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

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5 years ago

Smartphone Round Robin: Treo Jennifer on the Tilt

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5 years ago

Blackjack II coming Blackfriday

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Blackjack II coming Blackfriday

See that in the title - apparently it's not cool to put a space after the word “black” anymore. Anyhow - the update to the Blackjack is supposed to land on AT&T's shores November 21st, the same day as the Motorola Q9c hits Sprint. The Blackjack II is essentially just a refresh of the original Blackjack, but it does have some improved specs (including Windows Mobile 6, a much bigger battery, and AGPS). We got a look at it at CTIA, click here for the pics and our first impressions.

Overall we're actually pretty excited for the Blackjack II - it's not a stunner, but it's a solid refresh. We especially like the 5-way/scroll wheel - Microsoft should really force their manufacturers to make that standard issue.

A quick note - that AGPS - it's the standard “kinda sorta GPS” that we're starting to get to know, and it's very likely only going to work with TeleNav.

Read: pocketnow.com - Release Date for the Samsung BlackJack II Announced

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5 years ago

Round Robin: Help Treo Jennifer!

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Round Robin: Help Treo Jennifer!

We're working on week 3 of the Smartphone Round Robin and besides a little trash talkin and a few delays, it's going great. “Week 3” will be bleeding into week 4, no worries there, right?

Anyhow, Jennifer Chappell, our Treo expert, is on the Tilt right now and looking for some help in the TreoCentral Forums. These might be questions you've answered before, but it's worth answering them again anyway because each day you post is another entry in the contest to win a smartphone of your choice.

Go on and help a TreoGal out, hey?

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5 years ago

RIM CEO Talks Smack about Windows Mobile

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RIM CEO Talks Smack about Windows Mobile

Since I'm currently using a Blackberry 8310 as part of the Round Robin this week, a cross-platform dig from RIM's CEO Mike Lazaridis is something I absolutely have to comment on:

“The Apple iPhone has severe limitations when it comes to effortless typing. Of course you have more screen space, with more artistic interactions, but that’s not enough. We’ve seen this before when Palm tried virtual keyboards. When they launched the Treo they licensed our keyboard,” Lazaridis said.

Read: intomobile

Ok - fair point about the iPhone's soft keyboard. About Palm, though, well.. let's just say that Handspring (yes, this happened before Palm bought 'em) licensed your keyboard because your company is a Sue - Happy - Madhouse and not because there's something magical about BB keyboards. Although I'm only 3 days into my CrackBerry experience (see the relevant thread over at CrackBerry.com's forums - post there to win too, btw), I'm fairly sure I still prefer the Treo's keyboard. Just saying.

More Smacktalk after the break - Read on.

Moving on, Lazaridis had a few choice words for this site's platform:

“Windows Mobile isn’t that big a competitor…They are a modest force to RIM. Microsoft should be working at services, not at distributed PCs, which is what Windows Mobile actually still is.”

Microsoft should be working on services, eh? Maybe you weren't paying attention, but the day before your keynote at CTIA, Microsoft had a keynote of their own, announcing Microsoft System Center, Mobile Device Manager 2008. MSCMDM basically allows admins to manage Windows Mobile devices from the exact same interface they already use to manage Windows PCs. Frankly, having a mobile platform that's actually a “distributed PC” doesn't sound all that bad to me - Mo Power Mo Better.

...And really, Lazzy (can I call you “Lazzy?”), if you weren't afraid of Windows Mobile, would you really be developing a full Virtual Blackberry System to sit on top of our devices? Maybe you're just bitter because it looks like you're going to miss your “fall release” of the software. Oh... wait... you already did. :p

I think “Your overconfidence is your weakness,” there, Lazzy. I'm sure you'd reply “Your faith in your friends manufacturing partners is yours!”, but then we'd be calling RIM the evil Empire and Microsoft the Rebellion and that might get a little confusing for everybody. Moving on.

Yes, yes, I'm just stirring the pot here, but it's fun and everybody loves a little smacktalk. I'll have my initial thoughts on the BlackBerry 8310 up tomorrow, so be sure to check back. Here's a hint, though: I'll be nicer to CrackBerry fans in that article, but not entirely nice. Meanwhile, we'll call this a Round Robin Official contest post here too - let's have some more lighthearted trash talk, eh?

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5 years ago

Verizon Knocks T-Mobile Off Top Spot in Customer Service

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That's a bit of a shocker - T-Mo has been king-of-the-customer-service hill for a long time now, but a recent JD Power study shows they've been bested by Verizon. The other piece of news is less surprising - satisfaction with carrier customer service is down all around and has been trending steadily down for years now.

As a part of this Smartphone Round Robin I've been making weekly calls to AT&T to change up my plan to reflect my phone - since both the iPhone and the Blackberry have their own special data plans and services to deal with. I don't know if AT&T has been putting something in their water coolers lately, but the support I've been getting has been absolutely stupendous. Hold times: short; representatives: friendly and smart; phone system navigation: still crap, but really - whose isn't these days?

My biggest complaint with most carriers these days is their data packages are byzantine and surreal. T-Zones, BIS, iPhone data, MEdia Net, Dial-up packages: I doubt even Kafka could have come up with these varied, conflicting, and mysteriously priced plans.

How 'bout y'all: happy with your provider? Are you thinking the grass is greener on the other side? If it's Verizon on the other side, apparently it just might be.

Verizon Wireless ranks highest in customer satisfaction among major wireless carrier-owned retail stores, performing particularly well in store facility, store display and price/promotion. T-Mobile closely follows Verizon Wireless in the rankings.

Read: JD Power Press Release. Thanks to VerdeSam for the hill picture

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5 years ago

Sprint Q2, er,Q9c to Hit Nov 23rd

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Sprint Q2, er,Q9c to Hit Nov 23rd

Update: Looks like out intuition that it was the same clueless person who used a PalmOS screenshot on the image at right who also dubbed the Sprint Q9c the "Q2." Both have been fixed at Sprint's promo site. It will indeed be the Q9c, so we can breathe a sigh of relief about that. Then take another breath and hold it until Sprint releases the sucker on Black Friday.

Alright, I've had it. Motorola, listen up: You are not HTC. If you want to be HTC, you need to crank out a ton of different form factors. Just because you can't develop a coherent naming strategy doesn't mean you're competing with HTC. It's just silly.

I'm referring, of course, to the Smartphone-Formerly-Known-As-the-Motorola-Q9. Sprint's version is now apparently going to be known not at the “Q9C,” but as the “Q2.” Take that with a grain of salt, however, because the promo site that names it as such also slaps a PalmOS screenshot on the sucker. So what I'm saying is we can still believe in a Christmas miracle - Motorola and Sprint not confusing things by slapping a “2” after the “Q” instead of a “9.”

In any case, it's rumored to hit on Black Friday for $149.99 after rebates.

Read: Motorola Q9c Windows Mobile smartphone to hit Sprint on November 23rd

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5 years ago

Zenzui is Zumobi, Still Chock Full of Tiled-Browsing Goodness

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It looks like the folks who were making ZenZui (which we wrote about before) decided that “ZenZui” doesn't mean much - so ZenZui becomes Zumobi. That's “Zoom” and “Mobile” crammed together - which is awfully clever.

Nothing else about the “display web content in zoomable tiles instead of traditional browser windows” idea has changed if their snazzy flash demo is to be believed. What is different (and what's actually news here) is that they're finally going to be offering a public beta on December 14th.

They'll also be offering a “Zumobi SDK” so developers (and hopefully sub-developed-developers like little old me) will be able to create their own tiles for the platform.

Read: Zumobi via Jason Landridge

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5 years ago

HTC Cruise Announced

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HTC Cruise Announced

The Touch Cruise is looking to be the new king of the GSM hill - Quad-band GSM/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA, WiFi, GPS, FM Radio, HTC's TouchFLO interface, and a decent amount of processor power and memory all wrapped up in a pretty slim form factor. That's 'slim' as in “no physical keyboard” slim, 15.5mm, just about 1.5 mm thicker than the original HTC Touch.

Actually, comparison-wise, the Touch Cruise pretty much beats up the original Touch in every conceivable category except size. The little guy even is going to come pre-loaded with TomTom GPS software (with maps for Europe, though). That “European map” bit is your clue that HTC is going to start selling it SIM-free in Europe and we don't have any US carrier info yet. We called up AT&T and they said something about front-facing cameras giving them an inferiority complex about their network and would we please stop bringing it up.

Go on and get your press release or your Official Specs, you crazy rascals.

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