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5 years ago

Blackjack 2 Rocks Touchscreen?

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Blackjack 2 Rocks Touchscreen?

After reading Andrew's full-throated defense of the Treo over at Treonauts, I was slightly abashed to realize that the Treo really does still have a very nice form factor - it's just that Palm got it right early and hasn't managed to significantly improved on it. To wit:

The Treo 680, 750 and 755p are still the smallest and lightest smartphones featuring both a large high resolution touchscreen and full QWERTY keyboard on the market today!!! [The Treo weighs 5.4 ounces while competing devices in this category are between 5.6 and 6.33 ounces.]

Exclamation points aside, he's right that a combination of a one-handed QWERTY keyboard and a hi-res screen is still an ideal form factor and one that I'd like to return to someday. "Someday" being "when Palm finally gets off their duff and throws a 320x320 screen into the Treo 750," because that really shouldn't be all that difficult (they've done it just fine with the PalmOS 755 and 680).

However, in the past few days I've realized that some other company is likely to challenge Palm in this particular form factor space - that company just might be Samsung. Mobility Today is one among many sites showing a photo and video of this sweet-looking Blackjack-esque device. The spec sheet is literally a list of the things that Palm has failed to deliver on (in the US, anyway):

  • Windows Mobile 6
  • HSDPA (ok, they've done that)
  • WiFi
  • GPS

All on a thin little touchscreen device looks to be 320x320. You can watch the video below to get a better feel for it, but don't look at the "mouse" feature too much. The less that's said about that crime against user interface on a smartphone, the better.

Video after the break.

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5 years ago

HTC US Head Honcho Resigns

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HTC US Head Honcho Resigns

If you love Windows Mobile, you probably love HTC. The company has done more than any other to innovate on the Windows Mobile platform, consistently releasing a dizzying array of new models and new form factors year after year. HTC's United States HQ in Bellevue, Washington has an open office right now, though, as the man in charge there resigned earlier this month:

Todd Achilles, the face of HTC Americas in the United States and throughout the Americas, resigned about a month ago, a company spokesperson said.

The smartphone vendor is actively pursuing candidates to replace Achilles, said Jason Gordon, an HTC spokesman.

Read: RCR Wireless News via Engadget Mobile

I doubt we'll see any serious repercussions, though that's not to say that Achilles hasn't been an important force in the company. As the linked article mentions, Achilles appears to have been big on innovating by helping HTC release devices that aren't strictly Windows Mobile - HTC Shift anyone? Here's a suggestion for the replacement guy: You can quit pretending HTC is a tiny niche player and start throwing your weight around. Your first opportunity: force carriers to name the devices consistently, so I can stop referring to your gadgets with slash after slash after slash. HTC Tilt / 8925 / Kaiser, I'm looking at you.

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5 years ago

How To: Browse Shared Network Files with Pocket Internet Explorer

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In a thread in our forums where folks are discussing the fact that the Treo 500v doesn't have WiFi (more on that below), Windows Mobile superuser surur points something out that I didn't know:

Mal, did you know this neat trick. If you go to PIE, and type in the address bar file://computername/ you can browse your shared network files. No additional software needed. This of course only works when connected internally to the network, usually via WIFI.

That is a neat trick. As surur says, it will only work on Wifi-enabled Windows Mobile devices that are on a network with Windows-shared files. As Malatesta (the referenced "Mal") points out, it's a little eerie for open networks. If nothing else, consider it yet another reason to make sure your WiFi network is secured and that you know what you are and are not sharing on your computers.

Anyhow, the whole thread is a great discussion on whether or not WiFi is a necessary component on modern Windows Mobile devices. My own personal feeling is that:

  1. Yes it is,
  2. Hell will freeze over when Palm puts WiFi in a Treo, and
  3. It's actually surprising that the Treo 500v lacks WiFi, because it looks like it was pretty much "built to spec" for a Windows Mobile 6 Standard-Edition device. There doesn't appear to be much in the way of Palm-specific "special sauce" in there, so it's difficult to believe that it would have been hard to include it. It must have just been a cost/battery life decision.
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5 years ago

Sprint, Microsoft Using gpsOne Chips for Really Real?

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That seems to be the case, check out the details that crossed the wires yesterday:

Starting on Tuesday, when Sprint Nextel customers use the search bar in their phone browsers, the results will automatically incorporate the users' location. Some customers will also be able to use voice commands to conduct searches.
The capabilities are an extension of a relationship that Microsoft and Sprint formed late last year that initially involved including Microsoft's Live Search in the browser on Sprint phones.

Read: Yahoo! News

I ignored this story initially because the handsets mentioned were bland feature phones. Then DrDoom pointed out that there's no reason LBS can't work on devices like the Mogul very very soon. Seems like a no-brainer that it should be built into Live Search.

I hate gpsOne not because it's inaccurate, but because it's so often locked down just because the carriers haven't figured out a good way to use it to bilk us out of more money. So this news is actually good news. As DrDoom said: "Because even if its only using the towers, SOMETHING is better than NOTHING for LBS." You damn skippy.

Update: Malatesta smacks me down in the comments -- and rightly so. It's not gpsOne/aGPS, it's just tower triangulation. Although that would still be SOMETHING, as stated above, it's not ANYTHING yet for Windows Mobile. In point of fact, Malatesta doubts it ever will be. Grumble grumble.

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5 years ago

HTC to Manufacture WM Devices for Sony Ericsson

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You know what I hate - when I make a prediction about technology but forget to tell somebody. Then, when I am proven right, I can't legitimately say "Ha ha! Told you so!" Case in point: Sony Ericsson wants in on the Windows Mobile game and has tapped HTC to manufacture the handsets for them.

"Volume shipments of the smartphone - Sony Ericsson's first Windows Mobile-based smartphone and HTC's first ODM orders from a first-tier handset vendor - are expected to top over one million units and to account for 10-20% of HTC's total shipments projected for 2008," said the Chinese newspaper

Read: cellular-news

These things take time, so we're likely a year out from seeing anything in the stores. I'll make another prediction now - actually it's more like wishful thinking: Sony will resurrect the "Clié" name for these smartphones. Sony saw the writing on the wall back when they pulled out of the PalmOS. At that time, they were making the coolest PDAs available, bar none. Hopefully they'll bring back some of that hotness -- only this time on a smartphone platform that actually has multitasking and, you know, a future.

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5 years ago

Sept 25th: AT&T Gets Tilt, Q9 Global

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Sept 25th: AT&T Gets Tilt, Q9 Global

In our forums, bubbatex reminds us that yesterday Boy Genius gave us solid leads on some releases. Exactly one week from today, on Sept 25th, we should see the AT&T Tilt (we thought it would have been released by now), the Q9 Global (nee Q9H, I guess). He's also mentioning the Pantech Duo (which I've been studiously ignoring here at WMExperts, but no more) should hit on October 9th.

Readers of this site know that the Tilt looks to be the Best Windows Mobile Phone Ever. Period., but the Q9 Global isn't going to be any sort of slouch, either. The Pantech Duo is one of those neat dual-sliders, though I'll admit I find the extra thickness a poor tradeoff for that 2nd keypad. Still, it's an HSDPA WM6 Standard device with some pretty good looks and a pretty good price, $249 after rebates.

After the jump, the leaked docs BGR snagged as proof of our impending Tilt bliss.

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5 years ago

Review: Mobi Plug-in SD and microSD Reader

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5 years ago

Review: BlueAnt Z9 Bluetooth Headset

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5 years ago

New Memory Card Standard Coming

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New Memory Card Standard Coming

Apparently "Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Micron Technology, and others" are developing a new flash memory card standard they hope will replace the now-common SD card standard. The good news: it should be faster and require less power than current memory cards. The bad news: yet another memory card standard out there.

We already have MMC, SD, miniSD, microSD, Compact Flash, xD, Sony's whateverStick, and so on and so on. I'm happy these days that I can put everything on a microSD and then use adapters for basically any smartphone I would want to use. If this UFS is to be the new standard, let's hope that the consortium gets everybody on board, because I smell a BluRay vs HDDVD kind of situation in the offing and it doesn't smell good.

The goal of the new specification, dubbed Universal Flash Storage (UFS), is memory cards with high-speed access to large multimedia files, while at the same time reducing power-consumption. The target performance level is a significant advancement beyond that of the varied flash cards popular today. Under the new standard, a 90-minute movie that that takes up 4 GB on a memory card will be loaded in seconds.

Read: Mobile Phone Makers Developing Another Memory Card Standard

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5 years ago

Samsung SCH-i760 Kinda Sorta Released

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Apparently if you give Verizon's business unit a call and ask for SKU# SCHi760ZKV, they'll kindly set you up with the device that's due to be officially released on Sept. 24th. Or at least they did, who knows if they've shut it down or not yet. The i760 is something I've been looking forward to for awhile, an innovative little slider with a standard keypad and a shifted-down 5-way to make more room for a large touchscreen. We saw it accidentally appear on a corner of Verizon's site before, so it's little surprise that it's accidentally appeared again - but now in physical form in people's grubbby hands.

The specs, they are nice:

  • 60 x 110 x 20 mm
  • 150 grams
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • 400 MHZ Samsung (naturally) Processor
  • 128MB ROM
  • 64 MB RAM (54.5MB for the User)
  • 2.8" touchscreen, 320x240
  • EVDO
  • MicroSD
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WiFi (both B and G)
  • 1.3 mp camera
[...] if you need the best and brightest on Verizon, this is, hands down, your best bet. Run, don’t walk, to you phone and call those CS reps. Give them this SKU for the device, SCHi760ZKV, and tell ‘em BGR sent ya’.

Read: Verizon quietly releases the Samsung i760 | The Boy Genius Report

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5 years ago

AT&T Teases Moto Q9H

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AT&T Teases Moto Q9H

AT&T has put up a teaser site for the Motorola Q9H. They're really not helping the name confusion by just calling it the "Motorola Q Global" on the site, but I suppose it is a nice way to poke at i's already-released cousin the Motorola Q9M on Verizon (See our First Look Video), which is US-only.

There's no new information on the site (Well, it does claim that there's "Integrated GPS," but let's assume that just a slippery way of saying you can use the built-in TeleNav with a Bluetooth GPS). On the other hand, it really does reenforce for me that the Q9H is very much different from the Q9M - it has more buttons, is more rounded at the top and bottom, and comes will DocsToGo for really real document editing (not the standard, half-baked implementation of Pocket Office). Sure, it lacks the sweet Q9M interface, but I can live with that.

I've been testing the Q9M for awhile now and while I still think it's a big ol' slab, it's also a better phone than the Blackjack or Dash so far. Being an AT&T man, the Q9H just might give the HTC Tilt some competition for pocket space. Maybe.

We were hoping for the August 24th launch, but unless it was launched in secret by ninjas and sold only to their ninja buddies, I'm gonna assume they missed that mark. ETA: unknown.

Also unknown, whether or not the "Mystery Qs" are ever going to amount to anything.

via IntoMobile

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5 years ago

Motorola Ditches Qualcomm, Cuts R&D

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Motorola Ditches Qualcomm, Cuts R&D

It looks like Motorola is joining the crowd - the crowd (including Verizon) that's running away from Qualcomm like Howard Hughes at a leper colony.

Moto is switching to Texas Instruments for their cell radios, primarily because of "business reasons." I'd bet dollars to donuts that one of those "business reasons" is that Qualcomm is looking like they're never going to get out of this patent fight hole they've dug themselves into.

We believe Motorola's decision was purely business as our technical contacts had suggested many Qualcomm-based [third-generation] WCDMA designs in the pipeline and a general preference amongst Motorola designers for Qualcomm, despite the higher pricing. Our checks reveal that Motorola found Qualcomm "hard to do business with," which we interpret as either too high-priced, or also having something to do with the royalty rates.

Read: Barron's via phone scoop

In other Motorola news, mocoNews is reporting that Moto is cutting their R&D budget by 15% to help with profitability. I like profit as much as the next guy, but given the reception Motorola technology has been getting lately, cutting R&D sounds a bit penny wise and pound stupid.

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5 years ago

HTC Juno to come to T-Mobile?

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HTC Juno to come to T-Mobile?

T-Mobile's top device lately is the ho-hum T-Mobile Wing (read our review of the T-Mobile Wing). However, they look to come roaring back with the Juno in mid-October, according to the Boy Genius. Look for the sweet TouchFLO interface and a slide-out keyboard on the bottom (which, as BGR notes, looks like it's something more than a standard 9-key).

Screens that are flush with the face of the device are the hotness right now, so this Juno, or whatever it will be called eventually, looks to bring T-Mobile back in the game again. Or at least as "in the game" as you can be when your network doesn't have 3G data, even though we've been expecting them to start rolling it out any day now.

On the bright side for T-Mo, SlashGear is reporting that their data plans just got a nice little price cut to the tune of 10 bucks a month, now just $19.99.

While Juno is the codename, we haven’t got word of the official launch name yet. It’s a Windows Mobile based device and has a "consumer friendly interface, most likely HTC’s TouchFlo," says our source. He also goes on to tell us that it will have a QWERTY keyboard, but from the looks of things, is that SureType?

Read: The Boy Genius Report

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5 years ago

OutSync Syncs Your Facebook Friends' Photos

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This is pretty slick: check out Outsync, which is a free Windows desktop app that syncs your Friends photos into your contact list. If you rock Windows Mobile (Of course you do), it means less mucking around looking for pictures (or demanding your friends hold still so you can use your cameraphone) to get photos on your caller id screens. Big thanks to Mel Sampat for making the app. You can check out a Channel 10 video of it in use here, too.

Are you on Facebook? Do you use Outlook and Windows Mobile? If you answered yes and yes, get OutSync, a free app to sync your Facebook friends' photos with Outlook

Read: MelSam's Blog : Sync your Facebook contacts with Outlook (and Windows Mobile)

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5 years ago

Palm Announces Treo 500v

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Palm Announces Treo 500v

I present you with an equation:

Yet Another Qwerty Keyboard Windows Mobile Smartphone +
Thicker than the competition +
No ringer switch (!) +
Tri-Band GMS and only the 2100 Band on UMTS means it won't work well in the United States +
We already gave you all the deets ourselves yesterday
=
Yawn.

Sorry, Palm. I'll give you points for trying and maybe I'll change my tune when I get my hands on one, but after all this, I still don't understand why I wouldn't get a Dash, or a Blackjack, or a Q9H (when it arrives). The Treo 500v is a big, wet kiss for Vodafone and their network, but on this side of the pond I can't say we're especially jealous. See, we had our first kiss a long time ago when the Q hit and have been smooching thin little smartphones ever since. Er, not so much smooching and holding them up to our cheeks, but you get the idea. YAQKWMS indeed.

Ok, ok, ok. I will give you points for the generous 150mb of user storage and the long battery life. Plus, nice job finally ditching that hateful Treo Athena connector in favor of miniUSB. Don't ever go back.

Palm Europe has announced the Treo 500v, a Windows Mobile Standard Smartphone designed for the European market on the Vodafone network. It should be initially be available exclusively to Vodafone customers beginning the first of October, the price is still unknown.

Read: treocentral.com >> Stories >> Hardware >> Palm Launches Treo 500v in Europe

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