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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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5 years ago

Windows Mobile Browser Smackdown

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Windows Mobile Browser Smackdown

Over at pocketables, Jenn K Lee has posted up a comprehensive comparison of the most popular browsers on Windows Mobile. She obviously wanted to eliminate variables like whether or not a given device's power would get in the way, so she used a beefy HTC Advantage X7501 to compare Opera 8.65, IE Mobile, Minimo 0.2, Picsel 1.0.0, and NetFront 3.4. The results surprised me a bit and actually got me to change my default browser to her winner.

Oh, you thought I was going to ruin the fun and tell you the winner? Nope. Go check out the smackdown yourself.

A sidenote: WMExperts is at the CTIA Entertainment conference this week, so expect tragically desolate spaces of not-posting interspersed with glorious liveblogging and hands-on posts.

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5 years ago

Windows Mobile 6.1 Coming with New Interface?

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Windows Mobile 6.1 Coming with New Interface?

In our forums, surur tells us that pocketinfo.nl had reported that Microsoft would be announcing Windows Mobile 6.1 in February, devices shipping in May. The story has since been pulled (interesting), but the scuttlebut is that the main feature of 6.1 will be a new interface very similar to what Microsoft and Vodaphone developed for the Treo 500v: a carousel.

The carousel (check out The Unwired Video of the interface) is actually really cool. You move left or right to switch between different "zones" and then up and down to choose an "action." The idea is that instead of thinking in terms of "applications," you can think in terms of "what do I want to do today?" (Ah, Microsoft slogans, how I love them). So instead of having to go into the Tasks app to make a new task, you just flip to the proper portion of the carousel to do it directly.

6.1 is apparently going to be a vertical scroller with horizontal options in place of the 500v's horizontal scroller. Improved WiFi, Exchange integration, and Bluetooth are also in the mix.

I wasn't expecting any significant improvements to Windows Mobile until we saw Photon hit. Careful readers will note that this interface sounds quite a bit like the recent patent that Microsoft filed:

a list centered around a user's current day can include items corresponding to meetings scheduled for that day using a calendar application, E-Mail received on that day through an E-Mail application, and a weather forecast for the day provided by a weather service application.

We can only hope that Windows Mobile 6.1 will be made available as upgrades to current devices in addition to shipping on new devices in May.

Big ups to Surur for the find!

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5 years ago

Verizon Releases Samsung i760

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Verizon Releases Samsung i760

Given that the Samsung SCH-i760 was already kinda sorta released over a month ago, the news that it's officially available online tomorrow and in stores on November 2nd is a little underwhelming. Still, it's an intriguing form factor and the specs on the i760 are decent enough:

  • Windows Mobile 6
  • EVDO
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • 128 megs ROM, 64 megs RAM
  • microSD slot

Early reports have indicated that the i760 doesn't quite get the details right - there's some little devil in there. Still, it might be worth checking out if you have $350 to drop (after rebates, that is). Me, I'd wait to see just how well it stacks up against the XV6800.

via: jkOnTheRun

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5 years ago

WM6 on Treo 750: Delayed?

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WM6 on Treo 750: Delayed?

The long (looong) wait for Windows Mobile 6 on the Treo 750 may soon be over, according to a document leaked on the TreoCentral forums. Of course, said document states that the target date for releasing it was October 15th.

Grumble.

People have been getting themselves WM6 the hard way, either through a leak or, more recently, by hacking the Australian version. We still don't know what's causing all the delays. It's certainly not Good Mobile Messaging, they've already released their updated software (congrats on that, by the way).

We're more than 6 months out from the original announcement and I'm just plain exhausted. Seriously: I was so excited about Windows Mobile 6 on a 750 that I haven't slept since they told us we'd get it. It's been rough.

Read: treocentral.com >> Stories >> Rumors >> Treo 680 and 750 Updates Coming on ATT

Update: Thanks to tommc4 for the tip!

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5 years ago

Review: Jabra JX-10 II Bluetooth Headset

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5 years ago

iPhone vs Windows Mobile, Email Smackdown

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5 years ago

Sprint Touch Official: Nov 4 for $249

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Here it comes: Sprint Touch, November 4th, $249 after contract and rebates.

It's Windows Mobile 6 (of course), has EVDO for data (upgradable to Rev A), no Wifi (frowny face), 2 megapixel camera, TouchFLO fancy-ness, and so on and so forth. It's a great little (seriously, it's little) smartphone, as we learned in our Hands-on with the Sprint Touch.

I'm very happy to see the Touch get official carrier recognition here in the states - the GSM version is way WAY more popular than anybody expected, selling more than 800,000 units as of October 1st. The lack of WiFi is a bummer, but EVDO helps make up for that. The price is also a bit of a bummer, but not a mega bummer, dude.

Put a TouchPal keyboard on this thing and you'll be a happy camper come November 4th.

Combining a dynamic touch screen experience with industry-leading network speeds, Sprint (NYSE: S) and HTC Corp. (TAIEX: 2498; "HTC"), today announced the upcoming availability of Touch by HTC™, a full touch screen wireless phone integrating Windows Mobile 6 with advanced entertainment features. Operating on the Sprint Mobile Broadband network, the stylish Touch by HTC brings together email and other essential business applications with Sprint's exclusive multimedia content including over-the-air music downloads, live TV and more.


Read: Sprint Announces Touch by HTC(tm), First High Speed Wireless Device to Offer Full Touch Screen

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5 years ago

Windows Live Search for Windows Mobile: Now Fortified With More Awesome

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Windows Live Search (which we rave about all the time) has just come out of Beta and has a sweet new feature built-in: Voice Input. That's right - you can just speak your search instead of tapping it in when you're in the Live Search app. Go get it, have some fun: http://wls.live.com. (I suppose the voice search feature counts as a workaround for Mogul users who have experienced problems typing characters in wls).

Update: Another new feature: local gas prices. Lord knows that's going to be more and more important in the coming years.

The Live Search online search engine (http://m.live.com) has also seen some updates, but I'm not going to write about them because Microsoft is still insisting on calling every damn thing "Live" and I'm tired of it.

Live Search for Windows Mobile with voice input. The updated Live Search for Windows Mobile® 5.0 and 6.0 will be available for download for free on Tuesday, Oct. 16, and now includes voice input (beta version), gas prices, and hours of operation for businesses. The service can also use Global Positioning System (GPS) data on GPS-enabled phones to provide location-aware local search for customers.

Read: Rob's Rhapsody : Live Search for Windows Mobile -- Now with Speech Recognition!!

After the break, a neat video showing wls in action.


Video: Live Search for Windows Mobile -- Now with Speech!

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5 years ago

Microsoft's Mobile Interface patent

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Microsoft's Mobile Interface patent

The Unwired shows us details from a recent patent application from Microsoft. Normally, the right reaction to patent applications is to shrug, perhaps engage in some wishful thinking, and then move on. One can rarely tell whether or not a given patent represents actual plans for devices or just a company covering its bases when an employee has an interesting idea.

This one, though, I believe is a sign of things to come. It's reminiscent of the recent Vodafone interface put on top of the Treo 500v, which is basically a "carousel" of functions. If you want to send an email, you just rotate to email and choose send. That same carousel lets you do other bits like view your calendar. In other words, details like this from the patent sound very familiar:

a list centered around a user's current day can include items corresponding to meetings scheduled for that day using a calendar application, E-Mail received on that day through an E-Mail application, and a weather forecast for the day provided by a weather service application.

Basically, it lets you think "what do I want to do right now" instead of "what do I want to do right now, what application do I need to open to do it, and how to I interact with that particular application." I dearly hope we'll see the fruits of this patent in Photon, the next version of Windows Mobile.

After the break, more patent drawing fun.

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5 years ago

Wake3: WebKit (That's Safari to you) on Windows Mobile Coming Soon

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I've often expressed jealousy about the iPhone's web browser. It makes me green with envy and gives me a bad attitude overall - Think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Raphael on a bad day. After using mobile Safari, Pocket IE makes me want to drive a Sai into my screen. Green. Angry. Chip on my shell shoulder.

I digress. A lot.

The point is that Mobile Safari is based on WebKit, as are desktop versions of Safari (Mac and Windows), Linux's Konqueror (basically), Nokia's browsers, future Trolltech Linux Smartphones, and others. It's a great rendering engine and it's been proven to work well on mobile devices. Soon we'll be able to add another mobile device category to that list: Windows Mobile. Wake 3 is in the process of developing a WebKit-based browser for Windows Mobile.

The video below, besides offering some fun music (turn your speakers down, cube-dwellers), shows that the browser already works. It has a ton of promise - it just looks like they need to do some UI tweaking. First on my list would be making it more iPhone-like: add the tap-to-zoom feature (and make it smarter than Deepfish) and I'll pay you an unreasonable amount of money for this, Wake3.

WebKit is the world's best mobile web browser, used on Apple's iPhone and Nokia’s Series 60 handsets.  Now it runs on Windows Mobile--brought to you by Wake3. 

Read: Wake3 via WindowsForDevices

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5 years ago

Motorola Genghis - To Replace the Moto Q9 Already?

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Well check out this Windows Mobile Standard-Edition blur-shot from a leaked Motorola Roadmap. Details are as scant as scant can be - It's Windows Mobile, it's Yet Another Qwerty Keyboard Windows Mobile Smartphone, and strangest of all - it looks like Motorola is already making a gadget to replace the Motorola Q9. Unwired View is calling it the QX, though no word if the "X" is for "10" or for "We don't know what number to put on it yet." It is definitely "squarer" than the Q9 series, let's just hope that the featureset is improved a bit - WiFi and GPS would be at the top of my list.

Motorola Genghis is a Multi Q line full QWERTY phone, that will be an upgrade to Motorola Q9 business messenger line and just like current Q9s will come in different colors.

Read: Unwired View

Update: They're almost surely fake, bubbatex tells us as much in the comments.

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5 years ago

Mozilla Serious about Mobile

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Mozilla Serious about Mobile

Mobile Firefox anyone? That's seems to be what's on the Mozilla team's mind - and not just some stripped-down version, either, but full-fledged Firefox, plugins and all. Ok, it's not actually Firefox, but it will be based on Gecko and share many features. This looks to be a real competitor to Mobile Safari on the iPhone - full browsing. This also means that Mozilla is killing off Minimo - the little gecko-engine that couldn't. Couldn't work with anything resembling speed and stability in my testing of it, I mean.

For a gear-head like myself, full Firefox on Windows Mobile is akin to the second coming of a messiah. Only, you know, without the fire and brimstone - just a T-Rex icon. The glorious event will happen sometime next year.

People ask us all the time about what Mozilla's going to do about the mobile web, and I'm very excited to announce that we plan to rock it. Here's some information about what we're planning to do with hiring, technology, partnerships, and products, and how you can get involved. Short summary: we are serious about bringing the Firefox experience and technology to mobile devices.

Read: schrep's blog: Mozilla and Mobile via jkOnTheRun

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