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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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5 years ago

Blackjack 2 Photos Emerge

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Blackjack 2 Photos Emerge

Well, it's not the i780 that the FCC just passed, it was the SCH-i617, aka the Blackjack 2. What's new about the Blackjack 2? It's, uh, prettier and it actually has Windows Mobile 6 (grr). It does look like the main buttons are placed a bit more nicely - reducing constant accidental pressed. It has a few more keyboard shortcuts, too. Ok.

Really, though, it looks like a pretty straightforward refresh of an already good product. Let's hope that Samsung had hidden some WiFi or GPS in there, hope against all evidence to the contrary.

Source via Engadget Mobile

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5 years ago

Update: Mogul ROM Update to be Released Oct 22nd?

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It is now being rumored from DaSuper, a Sprint employee, over at The Buzz that Sprint will be releasing it’s first major ROM upgrade for the Mogul this month (one that does more than just add a music store) that will hopefully address the serious Bluetooth issues that have plagued the Mogul since it’s release.

Can it be true? Is the anticipated major ROM update for the Sprint Mogul (aka PPC-6800) really coming out before the end of this month (Oct 22nd to be exact)? If you are still waiting for Sprint’s promised ROM update for the PPC-6600 from over 2 years ago, then I understand if you have your fair share of doubts.  This was originally rumored to release by the end of last month, so only time will tell. 

There is a lot of hope these Bluetooth bugs will be fixed (if the ROM is truly released) as the port of Alltel PPC-6800 ROM seems to fix the Bluetooth issues all of us Mogul users face every day.   Is this going to history repeating itself with continual unfulfilled promises from Sprint for ROM updates or is DaSuper really onto the scoop of the year for everyone who owns a Mogul?

I've just confirmed that The ROM Update which addresses Bluetooth issues should be posted by 10/22 at [HTC's Mogul Update site]? The first update is currently posted on this website (Version 2.09.651.3_1.32.00), so in order to minimize confusion, users should not go to download the ROM Update until 10/22 or after.
[source]

To keep up to date if Sprint really follows through this time, keep an eye on the Mogul ROM Update Watch! in the discussion forums!

Update (from Dieter): DrDoom reports that folks "in the know" are saying that January or February is a more likely date. Bummer, that. *However*, said sources are also making vague rumblings about GPS (or maybe it's aGPS/gpsOne) being switched on for the Mogul, which we've reported on before and are thoroughly confused about. I Can Has GPS?

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5 years ago

Blackjack 2 Hits FCC

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Blackjack 2 Hits FCC

Yeah, so the image isn't all that impressive, but here's the news: the FCC has approved the Samsung SGH-i617. The SGH-i607 is the Blackjack. The silhouette above looks very similar to the current Blackjack form factor. It could even be said to look much like this rumored touchscreen version of the Blackjack we saw last month. We can definitely expect HSDPA and Bluetooth (duh), but the jury is still out on whether this will just be a refresh of the Standard/Smartphone-Edition Blackjack or a Pro version with a touchscreen.

Now, whether this will be available before WM6 on the current Blackjack is anyone's guess. Given how AT&T has delayed and delayed (and DELAYED) the release, I wouldn't be surprised.

Read: FCC Site via Engadget Mobile

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5 years ago

Sprint CEO Ousted

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Sprint CEO Ousted

Before we get to the doom and gloom, let's remember that Sprint has a few good things going for it:

  • Great data plans on 3G
  • um...

Ok, ok, they do have the Mogul and the Sprint Touch is coming soon (a little bird bubbatex in our forums tells us November 1st), so they're doing alright on the device front. On the network front, though, they're all over the map. Nextel's iDEN, Standard CDMA, and working to create WiMAX (which they're calling "XOHM", but that's another discussion). I seem to recall they even tried resurrecting Trenchcoat Guy recently and that didn't help, which stinks because he was way cooler than CanYouHearMeNow? Guy.

The real issue is that their stock price is consistent - consistently down. So Gary Forsee has to go, replaced by CFO Paul Saleh. Hopefully Saleh can get things moving, because - get this - I think that #3 Sprint might be looking at upstart Alltel's recent move into easier-to-do-than-WiMAX WiFi plans with more than a little jealousy (buyout rumors aside).

In between the two is T-Mobile, of whom we should not speak until they get 3G (that's getting delayed, too, by the way, their spectrum isn't going to be freed up on time). At the top of the heap, of course, are Verizon and AT&T, shaking their giant, evil corporate heads and thinking "kids today."

Forsee, who has also served as chairman and president, has come under fire as telecommunications giant Sprint's subscriber growth and share price have disappointed investors.

Read: MarketWatch; thanks to Overthrow for the tip

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5 years ago

Google to Compete Directly with Windows Mobile

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The oft-rumored, pratically fabled Google Mobile Phone isn't what many thought it would be. The rumors were all over the map, so much so I avoided writing about it because it was difficult to ascertain even a tiny clue about what was going on.

Well, now we know. Google isn't making the hardware. They're making the software. They're going to compete directly with Windows Mobile, on very much the same business model: make the OS and let hardware people make the phones. The only difference is that, much like their internet offerings, the OS will be free, likely subsidized by ads:

“The essential point is that Google’s strategy is to lead the creation of an open-source competitor to Windows Mobile,” said one industry executive, who did not want his name used because his company has had contacts with Google. “They will put it in the open-source world and take the economics out of the Windows Mobile business.”

Some believe another major goal of the phone project is to loosen the control of carriers over the software and services that are available on their networks.

Read: For Google, Advertising and Phones Go Together - New York Times

Analysis after the break, go getchyer panic and then getchyer happy thoughts: click the "read more" link.

Initial Panic

Right now everything feels quiet, like a calm before the storm, like sitting in a foxhole on a foggy morning, like sitting in a jeep on a lost island and watching a cup of water ripple - the T-Rex is coming.

Microsoft has been viewing Google as their main competition for a long time now. If that feeling wasn't cemented before, it is now.

I really hope that this doesn't mean I won't be able to use GrandCentral someday.

Why It's Good for Windows Mobile Users

Now, the bright side for Windows Mobile lovers - there are a lot of bright sides.

Writing a Smartphone operating system is hard. So hard that, at least up to this point, Apple has taken a flyer on it and developed a closed-system that doesn't offer an SDK (we got your SDK right here), or cut and paste. It's a supercharged-feature-phone, but not (yet) a smartphone. Heck, Palm has been saying they're developing something nearly identical to what Google is talking about for years now and they're still 12-18 months away from releasing anything. The point is that will take a long time before Google's featureset will be comparable to Windows Mobile.

Competition is good, despite what people are fond of saying about Microsoft's embrace and extend philosophy. In fact, there's so much growth potential in the smartphone space, anything that grows the market will grow it for everybody (at least for now). The rising tide raises all ships metaphor still applies.

Free (with ads) sounds scary. But I, and I think a lot of other people, will pay a little more for keeping our precious smartphone screen real-estate ad free, thanks.

I really and truly do hope that Google achieves their goal "to loosen the control of carriers." That helps everybody. Carriers are evil, really really evil . Google's motto is "don't be evil." Carriers could learn from that.

Bottom line: It's still the software, stupid, which I wrote in response to a round of Google rumblings back in July:

And I have a lot of faith in the Windows Mobile team and the Windows Mobile developer community when it comes to function. Which brings us back around again, to Google. Google presents an interesting challenge (yes, Billy G, a "challenge") to Microsoft: Can you take the simple, intuitive, and direct spirit of the original Google homepage and apply it to a smartphone? Can you continue to increase the power while also making it more intuitive to use?

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5 years ago

Review: SPB Mobile Shell

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5 years ago

What is the Best Screen Type for Smartphones?

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5 years ago

Video First Look: ATT Tilt

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5 years ago

Great Video Streaming Link Site

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Great Video Streaming Link Site

zbop, bringer of Full YouTube on Windows Mobile software, posts up a link in our forums. And what great link it is: http://www.channelchooser.com/mobile.php, which is a ginormous link list of sites that stream video for free over the web. The list is broken down by category and features some relatively big heavy-hitters that I'd previously assumed I would need to buy mobiTV to get.

You'll want 3G or WiFi for most of this stuff - it's mainly streaming WMV and thus should work on pretty much any Windows Mobile smartphone.

My DirecTV package doesn't include Chess TV, so I'm glad zbop has shared this site with us all. Thanks!

Read: Watch television and videos on your mobile & PDA

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5 years ago

Zune Marketplace Getting some DRM-Free Music

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So Zune Marketplace only works with the Zune - not Windows Mobile - despite that fact that both the Zune and Windows Mobile share the same underpinnings. With any luck, though, that may change in November. In November, Microsoft is going to make approximately 1 million of their 3 million song catalog DRM-Free.

It's still unknown whether or not Microsoft is going to change their policy regarding the strange and obscure incompatiblity between Plays For Sure and Zune's PlayReady (my guess: not likely). But we might have another non-subscription option for buying music for our Windows Mobile besides what's available on iTunes or the new Amazon Music Store. In this writer's humble opinion, Amazon is your best bet right now -- let's see if that changes in November.

Here's the bit from the press release, though I suspect nobody is really feeling any real "shockwaves" just yet:

Sending shockwaves through the industry and the crowd of the Digital Music Conference in Los Angeles today, Microsoft became the latest and largest music retailer to offer DRM-free digital music. Today’s announcement comes less than two weeks after Amazon.com launched its own DRM-free digital music store. The Microsoft Music Store will offer consumers more than one million DRM-free songs.

Read: Digital Freedom 2.0 - Protect Your Digital Rights

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5 years ago

The First Device

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The First Device

I'm in the midst of writing Part 3 of my iPhone vs HTC Touch series (Part 1 here and Video Part 2 here), partially because my comrade Mike over at the iPhone blog, Phone different has said that he's going to call me out on our iPhone podcast because I recently used the phrase "iPhone killer" in my Sprint Touch Hands-on Impressions. The upshot of this link-heavy introduction is that I have a new concept in my arsenal of smartphone punditry that I learned from the Foleo and its curious absence (of all things): The First Device.

It's an awkward name for an important thing, which I'll explain after the break.

Foleo Cancellation One Last Time

As I wrote after the Foleo was 86'ed, the Foleo was interesting not for itself (it was underwhelming itself), but because it was an attempt to create a 3rd category of mobile devices, it was an attempt to "go back to formula" when it comes to mobility. It failed, sure, but what was exciting about it was that it made all of us step back and rethink mobility just a little bit. It's not about specs, or form factor, or even User Interface, but some mysterious combination of everything that makes up a gadget that makes it compelling.

This is another reason that the Foleo was a bit of a tech journalist dream - it gave us a chance to rethink the categories we use to think about gadgets. That was clearly Palm's intention - to shake up our preconceptions about what gadgets are. But the idea of a "Mobile Companion" was complicated from the start. Unlike the original Palm and also unlike the Treo, the Foleo didn't have an instant "AHA" moment when you saw it.

The initial "AHA" moment only lasts a little while, though. It gets the money off your bank account, sure, but it doesn't keep the gadget out of the drawer and in your pocket (or in the case of the Foleo, your gadget-bag).

I need to talk about the First Device in the context of the Foleo because it was the Foleo's creator, Jeff Hawkins, who planted the seed in my head. He clearly understands the concept very well. In our conversation at the Foleo launch event, Hawkins again and again spoke about how important instant-on was.

He spoke about how previously, if he wanted to Google something quickly, he'd go to his Treo. With the Foleo available, it supplanted his laptop and he'd use that instead. The point was that the Foleo became his go-to for quick information. It became his First Device.

First Device

That, in a nutshell, is that the "First Device" is: your go-to gadget that you grab first when you want to "do something." That "something" is different for everybody

  • a quick search
  • YouTube
  • SMS
  • getting directions
  • checking your To Do list
  • jotting down a quick note

...these days it could be pretty much anything.

A "First Device" is what smartphones are to most of us. You have this thing that you grab right away to Get Things Done or Be Entertained. You need it to have a few compelling features:

  • Instant On
  • Easy to Use / navigate (software-wise)
  • Aesthetically Pleasing (in other words, fly)
  • The right size

It's not just about immediacy, though that's important, it's also about filling a need that you have. After you've used your First Device, you want to feel like you got your thing done with a minimum amount of hassle, you want to feel like you accomplished something cool.

A gadget becomes your First Device over time. You have the initial "AHA" moment, then you come back to it, and eventually you learn whether or not a given gadget gets your thing done without getting in your way. Eventually you build an affinity for that gadget and it becomes your First Device or you learn to loathe how it keeps you from doing your thing and it becomes an eBay auction.

Different devices are better at being different kinds of First Device. Blackberries, for all their faults, are great email First Devices. Feature phones are great phone call First Devices. PalmOS devices are good catch-all First Devices, though it's hobbled these days by its looks and speed. Windows Mobile... more on that below.

It's not enough to make a Smartphone that's able to do anything. What a Smartphone needs to do is be a compelling First Device in the category that matters to you most.

iPhone vs. Windows Mobile as a First Device

For me, the iPhone is a good media-First Device. That's to be expected, given Apple's institutional experience with the iPod. But the iPhone is a shockingly good Web-First Device. If I want to check the web quickly (and I'm in a WiFi zone) and I have a Windows Mobile device, a powered-down laptop, and an iPhone sitting on the coffee table before me, I'll usually grab the iPhone. Words can't describe how much better Mobile Safari is compared to anything else out there I've used (including the Webkit-enabled Nokia devices).

Windows Mobile can be a great First Device in nearly every category. The problem, in my opinion, is that it's very personal - you need to do some work to make Windows Mobile become a First Device for you. A Windows Mobile device I've set up is a killer First Device for me in 85% of the uses I want. But were I to hand it to somebody else, it makes a terrible First Device.

Afternoons and Coffee Spoons

Doctor, every time I drink coffee I get this horrible pain in my right eye.
Take the spoon out of the coffee.

Apple made a perfect cup of coffee, web-browser-wise, and then took the spoon out. Everybody else has made a mediocre cup of coffee and left the spoon in -- just in case you want to add more sugar or cream or whatever.

The spoon in this metaphor is the ability to customize your device. It's wonderful to have, but it often pokes you in the eye. It also means you'll be less likely to be able share your coffee with somebody else.

At the end of the day, I do want that spoon in my coffee cup so I can adjust the coffee to my tastes. That's why the iPhone can only be my First Device in a couple of categories. Windows Mobile isn't nearly as pretty, but I can stir in some hazelnut flavor or whatever (Captain, the metaphor is breaking down!) to make it fit my tastes.

I just have to remember to take the spoon out sometimes.

What's your First Device? Sound off below!

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5 years ago

Great New Soft Keyboard

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Great New Soft Keyboard

Just yesterday I hoped that we'd see a thumable QWERTY/suretype mashup keyboard from HTC, well today it looks like somebody's beaten them to the punch: CooTek. If you're one of the 800,000 Touch users, it behooves you to go check out TouchPal. As you can see from the screenshot above, it's eminently thumb-able and has a very nice word prediction setup. It also handles punctuation very well.

Basically you can just tap tap tap away and use the auto-word completion dictionary to get your words right. But if you need to be exacting, you can tap-slide in any direction to get a specific character or punctuation mark. The upshot is that each button can put out up to 4 different characters, but in 90% of your usage you don't really have to think about it. Using it for 10 minutes has pretty much convinced me to make it my primary input method.

Best of all, it's a free download until Dec 8th, 2008 (a bit random, but I'll take it). It comes in both QVGA and VGA flavors.

They claim you can get up to 300 characters a minute. Check out the video after the break to see somebody with faster thumbs than I have do just that.

via PocketPCMag

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5 years ago

Verizon: Still Evil

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Verizon: Still Evil

So Verizon will let you change your plan without re-upping your contract. That's Good.

Verizon, like all carriers, are very unforgiving about letting you get out of contracts early without paying early termination fees. That's Bad.

Verizon can choose to cancel your contract on you for "good cause" and then still charge you the early termination fee. That's ugly Evil.

Consumerist found the nasty clause in Verizon's contract:

We're all very familiar with the idea that a consumer has to pay an early termination fee if they drop service before their contract is over, but this clause comes as somewhat of a surprise: "An early termination fee will apply...if we terminate [your service] early for good cause."

Sorta makes two empty cans o' corn and a bit of string look a little more appealing as a communication option. The Green Giant won't be charging you any early termination fees. He "stands for goodness", not evil. If only tin cans ran Windows Mobile.

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