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5 years ago

T-Mobile Announces Shadow - $149.99 on Halloween

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We were less than enthused with the T-Mobile Wing, but this Shadow appears to more than make up for it. Specs are about the same - Quad-band GSM, WiFi, 2mp camera, microSD. It also has a nice 5-way/jog wheel that I first used on the Blackjack II and think should be standard now for WM smartphones. There's also a slide-out “suretype” keyboard, as well.

But, ah, T-Mobile, I might not use the words “High Speed Internet” when describing the features. I know it has WiFi and all, but EDGE doesn't count as high speed anymore. Hate to have to be the one to tell you that, but there it is.

Anyhow, it comes in brown and green (erm, “copper” and “sage”) and sells for a very reasonable $149.99 with contract.

Read: T-Mobile Shadow - Brown phone details from T-Mobile

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5 years ago

WM6 on Blackjack - Will We Ever See It?

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MoDaCo lets us know that the Samsung i600 has received its Windows Mobile 6 update from Samsung. The i600 is the international version of the Blackjack that's a bit more powerful (WiFi).

We previously knew that it would be Q3 at best for the Blackjack WM6 Update and we were hoping for Sept 17th. No dice there, but we did get a leaked WM6 Blackjack ROM back in June that wasn't really ready for primetime (see our video of WM6 on a Blackjack for the proof). We're also holding out hope that the update will include AT&T Video Share, since settings for it appeared on the hacked ROM. If the plethora of links above doesn't show you that we've been wanting this update for awhile, here's one more where we saw the Blackjack running WM6 at Digital Life on October 1st.

We already know the Blackjack II is coming (see our hands-on with the Blackjack II)- probably in November. Selling a new device doesn't exactly count as a Windows Mobile 6 upgrade, though, does it?

The soles of our shoes are worn through from tapping our feet on this one. We do hear the WM6 update for the Treo 750 on AT&T is due very soon, so maybe then. Maybe.

Anyway, if you're an i600 user, go getcher update here. Note: this will not work on a Blackjack.

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5 years ago

How To: Customize Your Tilt

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How To: Customize Your Tilt

If you saw our Video First Look at the Tilt, you know our major complaint is that it doesn't have an especially good out of box user experience. The Tilt is ok on its own, but it certainly has a lot of annoying tweaks and twacks that keep it from being the stupendous device the hardware promises.

So what do you do? You hack the mutha. After the break, what we did to bring our Tilt up to speed. Note to hardcore Windows Mobile fanatics and newbs alike: this is the "lite" version - it's a guide your grandmother could love. In other words: Registry Editor not required!

Step One: Start with a clean slate

This tip comes to us courtesy of taylorh, who gathered that the screen you get where AT&T is loading "custom apps" was a pretty good sign that something "ugly" was going to happen. So he stopped it cold:

When you get to the 3 second countdown before it 'configures', press the reset hole on the bottom and you'll end up with a totally clean Device. It'll be AT&T branded, AT&T configured, etc, but none of the extraneous garbage that you may not want. The one thing you'll need that you won't get is the "proxy manager" so you'll have to get these from here:
http://www.gadgetech.info/treo/hacks/disableproxy/index.shtml
Note, that the 'disable' only lasts until you reboot the device then the proxy setting comes back. To remove it permanently use a registry editor to remove the "EnableAutoDetect" setting completely (rather than just setting it to 1.)

So that's good advice, eh? The best part is, as taylorh mentions, you're not going to have to muck around with any internet settings in your Connections tab. It's all good to go.

Step Two: Kill off some annoying settings

Number 1 annoying thing on the Tilt? Well, there are a few contenders, but the big one for me was the default screen timeout during calls. Seems like the screen goes black and untouchable the instant a call connects for me (I know it's longer, but still). Totally unacceptable.

The fix, though, is dead simple. Go get KaiserTweak by Jorrit Jongma. KaiserTweak was designed for the HTC Kaiser, aka the AT&T Tilt minus the AT&T. You will need to unzip both of the included files into the same directory and then use File Explorer to launch the program.

But then you're able to customize a plethora of settings. All of the settings have "default" and "advised" clearly labeled, meaning you know immediately whether or not it's something you want to mess with. First thing I messed with was the annoying "Fast Screen Off" setting. But there were other useful settings like:

  • Turn off SMS Sent Notifications
  • Change photo save locations
  • Change keyboard backlight timeout

You can ignore most settings, in my opinion, but the above were very nice to be able to clean up.

Step Three: Save the Today Screen!

Lordy, the default Today Screen on the Tilt is a piece of work. It's no good at all. Which is aggravating to high heaven because the Kaiser, which is identical to the Tilt, has an awesome Today Screen. As I see it there are two ways around this issue:

The second option is free and is actually pretty slick, especially if you're not interested in the other system features packed into SPB Mobile Shell. Installation couldn't be easier. Head over to this link at pocketnow and download the 6-tab version (I prefer that one), install it on your Kaiser.

The it's just a matter of going into Settings -> Personal -> Today -> Items Tab and unchecking all the cruft you don't want and checking that HTC Home Plugin. Badda Bing.

Bonus Round

You might want to install the TouchPal soft keyboard, which will allow you to do some light typing without sliding open the keyboard. That was the last "hacky" thing I did for my Tilt.

Honestly, though we're just scratching the surface here. Some folks have successfully taken the entire ROM off of a Kaiser and replaced the one on the Tilt with it. Others have added the Audio Manager application to replace Windows Media Player and then edited the registry for HTC Home plugin to point to it. The list of things you can do to customize your Tilt goes on and on.

What did you do to get your Tilt how you like it? Bonus points if you can tell us how without recourse to a registry editor. :)

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5 years ago

Google Goes IMAP

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Google Goes IMAP

I hate to say it, but Exchange Active Sync suddenly just lost a bit of its shine. Google is now offering IMAP for free and it's seriously tempting. The one thing I sincerely wish EAS (or at least my EAS, 1and1) would do is server-side filtering - I want the massing influx of press releases and various group emails I get every day to get out of my inbox and into their little folders.

With Gmail, "folders" are actually "labels," meaning it's technically one giant archive of email split into just two folders: "inbox" and "everything." So you can set up a filter to Label something and then Archive it and you essentially have moved it into that "imap folder," but it's also easily searchable. It's a nice setup.

Will anybody be dropping EAS for gmail now that it has IMAP? Can we really live without push? Can somebody explain to me why Gmail is still in beta? Why is a duck?

Google has upped the ante when it comes to relying on Gmail as a full featured e-mail service with its introduction today of free IMAP access to your Gmail account. In short, this means you'll be able configure Gmail to easily keep your account in sync with your home and work PC, mobile phone, and any other device used to access Gmail with.

Read: Today @ PC World Google Offers Free IMAP Access to Gmail

Thanks to Mike over at Phone different, who was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning at CTIA and caught the news before the rest of us! After the break, a quick setup video he forwarded on, and here's their help site.

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5 years ago

Video First Look: Motorola Q9h

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5 years ago

Video First Look: Pantech Duo

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5 years ago

Round Robin: Windows Mobile Guy On a Treo 680

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5 years ago

Review: Mobi Products Cradle and PowerCradle for Treos

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5 years ago

Treo 800w Mockup Leaked?

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Treo 800w Mockup Leaked?

My. Oh. My. Take a look at what jrinehart has posted up in the TreoCentral Forums:

Our analysis is a little difficult to express because it's colored over with an overwhelming sense of relief. Relief that it's really possible that Palm means to give us a 320x320 Treo on Windows Mobile, on a CDMA Network (Sprint), without an antenna. We'll try to put that aside for the moment and say this:

Yes, we fully expect a Treo 800w from Palm in the near future. Yes, the look of this device is an interesting meld of the Treo 500v (and Centro) and the Classic Treo look. Yes, it does in fact look like it's been stretched horizontally a bit and could very well be a photoshop job.

Even so, Yes, we want to believe. Let the Silly Season begin again!

Attached is a pic of the 800w from my solutions engineer at Sprint. He is going to send me an actual picture of a real live device when he gets a chance. They have started the hardware beta of the device and I should get to see one next month during a Sprint meeting. It is also rumored to be at a Sprint solutions show on Oct. 25th here in my home town. If it is, I will be sure to get some photos of it there and post them soon as I can.

Read: Treo 800w. I just held one. Thanks to Malatesta for the tip!

Update: Over at the post at TreoCentral on this subject, the TC team has ginned up a version of the image that isn't so wide, but instead is shrunk down to more believable proportions. Take a peek at it after the break and see if it doesn't make you believe in the 800w a bit more.

Click for full size. We manipulated the proportions of the 800w image, making the keyboard match the width of an existing Treo 750 and squaring the screen. Also included for reference is a Treo 500v and a Palm Centro.

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5 years ago

Mogul Gets Rom Update

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Mogul Gets Rom Update

Big ups to codyppc for tipping us that the expected Mogul Rom is indeed upon us, with the following updates:

  • Improves Bluetooth compatibility and performance.
  • Corrects keypad function when using On Demand.
  • Corrects Alarm so it will ring when device is charging.
  • Corrects several Sprint Music performance issues like fast-forwarding.
  • Enables Sprint Music store to function on early production devices
  • Adds new Sprint start up and sign off screens

Go download it at the HTC: Support page. Oh, and just so you know, we're still hoping for an update that will enable the GPS "lite" chip on the Mogul in January or February as well.

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5 years ago

CTIA: Blackjack II Hands On!

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CTIA: Blackjack II Hands On!

We're going to save the best for ...ah, screw it, here's the highlight of the CTIA conference: The Blackjack II. Specs are much improved:

  • Triband HSDPA / Quadband GSM
  • Windows Mobile 6
  • 2mp camera
  • 128 RAM, 256 ROM
  • 1700 mAh battery (!)
  • 260 MHz Dual Core ARM 9 Proc
  • AGPS (more on that after the break)

Improvements over the original Blackjack are myriad and manifold: slightly better screen, significantly improved battery life, Windows Mobile 6. The scroll wheel has been integrated into the 5-way, which is really slick and easy to use. It should be standard in every 5-way from now on.

More of our impressions and photos after the break!

Photos

You know that's what you're really looking for, here they are first:

Impressions

The Blackjack II, when I first heard of it, looked pretty lame to me. I wonder why Samsung was even bothering with it - it's pretty much just a product refresh and didn't seem to add significant features.

However, after my hands-on I take it back. The build quality on the Blackjack II is significantly better than the original - nary a creak or battery door shuffle. This is no small feat, as I was generally happy with the quality of the original Blackjack.

I was also a little nervous to see that my scroll wheel had been taken away, but moving it to the 5 way was totally the right way to go. It cleans up the lines of the device (and let them add chrome on the sides, for whatever that's worth) and takes away what might have been confusing redundancy with that OK button. What is adds is a very quick-scrolling wheel - it practically flies under your thumb. It also means you no longer have to keep re-positioning your thumb in order to keep scrolling. Instead, just keep that circle moving until you're finished.

The screen is supposedly slightly larger, but I didn't have a Blackjack on me to test - it did look very bright and crisp. Also better: the keyboard. The keys felt much less cramped in a way that's difficult to describe but very real. They also stuck out a bit more than the original's.

Now, on to the AGPS. Witness our confusion about the differences between gpsOne, AGPS, and full GPS. It's a crime that carrier-intervention has made these things so confusing and has locked them down so often. Expect more of the same with the Blackjack II: Microsoft tells us it works great with Windows Live Search, but they don't know what AT&T plans. AT&T says, well...

WMExperts: So this has AGPS, right?
AT&T Rep: (after they grabbed the one who "knew") Yes, it works great with TeleNav and allows you to get directions easily.
WMExperts: So will it be locked down or will I be able to use it with Google Maps?
AT&T Rep: It works great with TeleNav and allows you to get directions easily.
WMExperts: Um. Windows Live Search? Anything else?
AT&T Rep: It works great with TeleNav and allows you to get directions easily. WMExperts: Cough

Some uncomfortable silence ensued, as you might imagine.

Anyway the Blackjack II is a "product refresh," but it's a great product refresh. It's supposed to be available for the holiday season, so you can probably expect this to be in stores by November at the latest.

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5 years ago

Treo 750 to WM6: 2008 now? Update: Probably not

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Treo 750 to WM6: 2008 now? Update: Probably not

As Jennifer Chappell notes over at TreoCentral, Palm has announced that they're a big partner for the upcoming Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 (yes, that's what it's called - that whole phrase. I'm just happy they didn't put the word "Live" in there.)

If you're interested in seeing what's coming in 2008 with MSCDM, check out our liveblog of the announcement. If you're interested in what it means that Palm is going to support it with a software update to the Treo 750, well, we don't exactly know.

...but it makes us think that the Treo 750 on AT&T won't see an official upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 until then. Please, Palm, prove us wrong.

In the meantime, the Australian Hack to WM6 suddenly look quite a bit more appealing.

As expected, Palm today announced that it will make the Palm(R) Treo(TM) 750 smartphone compatible with Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, delivering increased security and easier phone management, as well as access to information on the corporate network. IT professionals will be able to confidently manage large Treo 750 deployments with features such as policy enforcement, inventory and reporting, and software targeting.

Read: treocentral.com

Update: Well look at this: the AT&T booth has a flyer for the Treo 750 that claims that HSDPA and Windows Mobile 6 will be available in 2007. Prying about doesn't really yield anything substantial except some winks, nods, and hints that it's coming very soon. Go ahead, get your hopes up, it won't hurt again. We promise.

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5 years ago

CTIA: Liveblogging the Steve Ballmer Keynote

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CTIA: Liveblogging the Steve Ballmer Keynote

Updated: We've added a ton of photos to the liveblog, after the break. Don't forget - there's real live shots of the all new Blackjack II in red inside!

We're waiting for Steve Ballmer's keynote to start. We're expecting him to announce some server-side services for Windows Mobile to compete with the Blackberry Enterprise Server stuff - device management and whatnot. But you never know - this is, after all, a conference dedicated to “Wireless IT” and “Entertainment.” Dieter wants Slingbox capability built into Windows Media Center - but that's shooting the moon.

In any case, click through and get ready to hit that refresh button. We're starting up in 10.

(all photos by Joel Martin)

9:25
We're starting in 5. The Tilt failed us for DUN for some reason, so we're stuck updating over Internet Sharing on a Touch. Oh EDGE, how I hate thee.

9:28
I don't know who thought these pre-event commercials were a good idea, but when your “texting” commercial makes me think of a Mattress Warehouse commercial, that's not a big help to your company.

9:30
You can tell we're starting because they're shining a bright, white spotlight into the crowd and playing some song with deep bass. So much for saving my vision and hearing. Here comes Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA.

We're at the “largest data event” in the world. New keynote format this year - just one speaker per day. That's a nice change, it got a little schizophrenic before. About to list some stats from CTIA's wireless survey. Let's see:

  • Subscriber count: as of June 30th, 243 million wireless subscribers in the US. About 81% of the population.
  • text messages, about 1 Billion per day in the US. That's a lot, baby. 28.8 were send in 2007.
  • the full survey is at http://CTIA.org

...and now the Ballmer intro.

- that's new, ain't it?

9:35 Ballmer's on stage! He's looking sharp. Plans on talking about “trends” in an “increasingly mobile” world and the change from “software” to “software services.” Code for: We still want to take on Google, eh?

How have things changed in 6 years? 6 years is an eternity in the mobile space. He's showing off the Sprint Touch - retail on November 4th (we knew that). It's a “crossover” device that's good for business and also TV, video, etc. Small, lightweight, and sexy form factor. You damn skippy, Ballmer.

Talking about how WiFi was just getting popular 6 years ago, but now we got ourselves 3G and WiFi isn't as important.

User expectations have changed, too. Thin vs. Thick clients in PCs

Top, most-desired item in every emerging market: smartphones. Yep. 6 years ago, Microsoft had ONE phone, ONE model, on ONE model, in ONE country. Today: 160 models, 140 form factors, 20 million WM will be sold this year. Don't forget that when you next hear iPhone sales numbers, folks, 20 million WM phones.

9:42
Microsoft's improvement over the past 6 years - they're getting interested in cellular networks and providing services over that. Models of computing:

  • desktop computing (thick clients)
  • enterprise
  • online (services in the cloud, talking to thin clients)
  • devices. (Pictures of WM devices, Zune, XBOX 360)

Devices are #1 on Microsoft's innovation agenda. Yesterday's idea: having all these models separate, having multiple email, text, phone accounts. Will advertising work with devices the way it does with online? Maybe not so much - there needs to be a more sophisticated meld of business models (am I stretching too much to read Google digs in all these).

Mobile phones are the most popular device out there, period. How to we get it to “fully participate” in the same experiences you can get in the other computing models? That's Microsoft's target. Enterprise brought to the phone.

Oh, there's a picture of a Blackjack up there, it's red? It has a few different buttons - looks like a Blackjack II to me.

“In many countries, the phone will be the PC, for people with less money.” Talking about a “docking station” to turn your phone into a PC. Basically he's talking about opportunities for growth in the mobile space. “Think of it like a universal remote” for your business and personal phone. The phone needs to be able to cover both sides of your life.

9:48
Making fun of people who carry multiple devices, well, not mocking so much. “It strikes me as odd.” Pushing multiple form factors to meet multiple tastes. Yet despite that, the basic services and things you want to do are often the same from person to person. In other words - he's fond of the Windows Mobile busines model of licensing the OS to partners who innovate on form factors.

“Microsoft has a fairly expansive view of the mobile space.” Focused on partnership with operators, developers.

Work, Life, Platform: the themes for today.

Work

Security management, deployment, applications, communication, IT integration. Listing through th myriad of types of communications and applications necessary in enterprise computing. Need to offer tools to IT departments to manage all that. See's a “clash” coming - IT needs to manage some things, but end users want to control the devices they're using (especially in their personal life). Need to balance IT's need to manage with personal users' need to customize.

Announcement

Microsoft System Center, Mobile Device Manager 2008. Helps IT manage, secure, and provide secure access for smartphones. Will work with “forthcoming versions of WM devices.” Versions coming in Q2 next year to support this service. It will manage the phone like it would manage “mission critical data” on a PC. What can it do? Provisioning, data encryption, password requirements, data compliance, mobile VPN management. They're trying to make it standards-compliant, too. The idea is to bring devices (from the 4 above) closer to enterprise. Brian Hoskins up for a demo! 9:56: Demo

Setting up a new device, in case you lose yours. “Self enrollment website” You can create an “enrollment request” yourself - anybody who can log into active directory can request to set up a new device.

You get the password from the site, punch it into your new phone, and it automagically enrolls into your management system. Sets up policies, password settings, the whole shebang. Fast, easy, cool.

Showing stuff on server side now. Device status, device history, blocked devices, pending enrollment, recently wiped devices. Ha - Steve Ballmer has had his wiped a buncha times for this demo.

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5 years ago

CTIA: Hands-On With the Sprint Touch

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CTIA: Hands-On With the Sprint Touch

As we mentioned in the sidenote yesterday, we're at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment Expo this week. The conference starts today, but last night we got a chance to hang out with Vincent Nguyen of Slashgear and ogle his Sprint Touch for a spell.

New details and photos after the break, y'all.

Form factor

As you can see below, the Sprint Touch is different, subtly different, from the HTC Touch. It's a smidge (technically speaking) taller and (as we mentioned in our first hands-on with the Sprint Touch) just a bit thicker. It's also slightly “blockier,” denser, and heavier. Still, it's basically the same shape and feel as the original Touch: great in the hand.

In all the pics below, the one that's just barely bigger is the Sprint Touch.



(Photos by Joel Martin)

TouchFlo 2 and Keyboard

I wasn't expecting the Touch to feature the improved TouchFlo features that HTC has been showing off lately. Stuff like:

  • “circle to zoom in on a picture,”
  • a nice new “big theme” start menu,
  • HTC's Today-screen close submenu with large thumbable buttons
  • Much faster flick-scrolling

...So seeing it on the Sprint Touch was a welcome surprise.

Even better is the “suretype-esque” keyboard that Sprint/HTC have put on there. It's very similar to TouchPal but with an added feel of refinement. It really does make the Sprint Touch very usable - I can't wait for somebody to hack it off there and make it available to the GSM crowd.

Last bit - the touchscreen on the Sprint touch seemed much more responsive to my thumbs. I don't know if that's a sign that I've been beating on my GSM Touch too much or if they've genuinely improved the screen on it. Just pointing it out.

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5 years ago

CTIA: Hands-On with I-Mate's 8502

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CTIA: Hands-On with I-Mate's 8502

If you're not familiar with I-Mate, you're forgiven and absolved. They're the little Windows Mobile Smartphone Company That Could - releasing devices with tiny but passionate followings but somehow always managing to get completely snubbed for the big dance. As in: they don't have any carrier support in the US and they're perennially "working on it."

All of which is a real pity, because they were showing off some fancy gizmos yesterday. My favorite: The 8502. If they ever release this thing for real (it's slated for Decemberish) and if they ever bring the price down (retail for around $6-800!), it will be killer.

  • Full QWERTY keyboard, one-handable
  • 240x320 Screen
  • WiFi, GPS, Quadband HSDPA/GSM radio
  • a claimed 4 hours of battery life (put on your skeptic face)
  • Thinner than a Treo 750

I mention that last because, believe it or not, the Treo 750 is the thinnest smartphone with a font-faced full QWERTY and a touchscreen widely available in the US. Anyhow - the keyboard on the 8502 felt a little "clacky" to us but was usable. I still am not a fan of I-Mate's tiny 5-way joysticks, but if it gives me a bigger screen I won't complain.

Bottom line, though, is the 8502 basically offers all the benefits of the AT&T Tilt in a candybar form factor.

Photos after the break.




Compared to the AT&T Tilt and the iPhone

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