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5 years ago

Introducing 'Around SPE'

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Introducing 'Around SPE'

You may not realize it, but the site you're reading right now is a part of one of the premier networks of smartphone news and review sites. We call it the 'Smartphone Experts Network' and if you haven't heard, we've recently added a new member to our family, Android Central. That brings the number of our smartphone communities up to five sites. You can find links to these sites and to their latest stories either in the sidebar or footer of every SPE site.

I thought now would be a good time to introduce a new weekly blog post I'll be putting up at each of our sites called 'Around SPE,' which will give you a very quick roundup of the biggest stories at each of our sites. Now, 'big stories' are just a tiny part of what we offer, as each of our sites also feature vibrant communities, engaging podcasts, and also accessory stores if you're looking to make your smartphone a little better.

In addition to our new sister site, there's also some other SPE Network news to share, so follow me after the break to learn more!

Let's start with a quick note about Smartphone Experts:

Beyond the launch of Android Central, there's also a couple other things that may interest you. First and foremost, we're going to be launching the 2nd Annual Smartphone Round Robin on November 17th! If you're unfamiliar with the Round Robin, here's how it works. An editor from each of our five sites must, for one full week, give up their smartphone of choice and use a competing smartphone. During the course of that week, each editor will be publishing a review of that new smartphone from their unique perspective. It's a great way to gain insight into how all these different smartphones work.

We have chosen our devices for this year (it was tough!) and everybody's getting ready to give up their own favorite phones to try their hand with the others. We're going to mix things up a bit this year with some multimedia coverage and maybe another surprise or two -- so stay tuned! If you want to get caught up, you can check out all the articles from the 1st Annual Smartphone Round Robin here.

One other quick note -- I'm an RSS fiend and I figure maybe some of you are too. I've created a Combined RSS Feed for the SPE Network that mixes all of our daily postings in a single feed. Heck -- you can even Subscribe to SPE Network by Email. I'm going to go ahead can call the combined feed a “Beta” for now, there are a few kinks to work out in our system. The good news is the URL will always stay the same.

Alright, enough of that, let's get to the news of the week!

-Dieter Bohn, Editor in Chief, Smartphone Experts

The biggest news of the past week in the entire smartphone world is -- without question -- the release of the T-Mobile G1. At Android Central, we've been covering the news from every angle. The most important angle has to be our full reviews of the device.

If you're unfamiliar with Android, our video overview of the platform is a great primer. If you're interested to hear how this first ever 'Google Phone' is from a hardware perspective, our hardware review of the T-Mobile G1 has you covered. Finally, we've also published a full review of Android on the G1. Grab yourself a tasty beverage and dig in. If you have any questions about the G1 or about Android in general, be sure to stop by the new Android Forums.

Over at CrackBerry.com, you'll find there was a lot of news out of the first-ever BlackBerry Developer Conference. While the BlackBerry App Center/App Store news was big, perhaps the most exciting takeaway wasn't made in the form of an announcement at all, but rather that RIM is becoming a much more sociable company as they focus their energy on the consumer market. Day 1 and Day 2 highlights give a good impression of what went down at DevCon.

Who are we kidding? The biggest news of the week was that Kevin has posted his full hands-on review the BlackBerry Storm!

One of the best things about Windows Mobile is the multiplicity of devices available for the platform. This week at WMExperts.com has been a pretty good example of that. We gave one of the first reviews of the Samsung Epix on the web, looked forward to the AT&T Fuze, and celebrated the official launch of the Touch Pro on Sprint.

A story that may have flew under your radar is a roundup of rumors coming from what appears to be an insider at HTC. If you're of a more technical bent -- or just want to see what sorts of crazy hacks are possible on Windows Mobile, check out Registry Edits I Have Loved.

The iPhone Blog has been focusing on how The iPhone made huge financial numbers this week for both Apple and AT&T, with almost 7 million iPhones sold -- (temporarily?) eclipsing both Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Just imagine what an iPhone HD could do! At 5500 Apps and 200,000,000 downloads to date (some of which you can win right now in TiPb's AT WORK contest!), however, questions remain as to whether or not developers for the iPhone's market defining App Store will likewise enjoy the “long tail” of success.

Over at TreoCentral, we read that Access recently unveiled their new version of the Access Linux Platform (ALP). Although not strictly-Treo-related, it is an interesting look at what might-have-been for the Treo. Access is the company that ultimately purchased the rights of Palm's original next generation platform, then called Cobalt, before scuttling it. It will be interesting to see if ALP picks up any traction against Android or Palm's upcoming OS.

We also learned that Sprint is finally joining their competitors in trimming the outrageous fees they charge for early termination of cell phone service contracts. In an interview with the Associated Press this week, Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse, said Sprint could start lowering the fees as soon as December, pending updates to its billing software.

That's it for this week, folks! Stay tuned for more details on the Smartphone Round Robin and be sure to say hello over at Android Central!

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5 years ago

Thar she blows! The white Diamond!

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Thar she blows! The white Diamond!

Well, look at that. We'd heard rumors that there was a white HTC Touch Diamond roaming the waters of Europe, and it looks like someone's managed to capture the elusive beast, albeit chained to a display.

Dutch site jouw Mobiel (translation) has the lowdown on the Touch Diamond Ice White, which is said to be on sale in the Netherlands next month. Specs are said to be the same as the traditional black diamond.

And there's an added bonus.

If you're over in the NL and pick one up, you'll also be greeted by a voucher that lets you "Pimp My Diamond." (Xzibit probably not included.) You send the voucher back to HTC and get your choice of a gold, silver or pink back cover that has Swarovski Crystals inlaid.

Let it never be said again that Europeans don't care what their phones looks like.

Via coolsmartphone

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5 years ago

Windows Mobile Team Picks up New Exec, Faces New Challenges

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Originally noted over at the Microsoft Exchange Blog and then noted, well, all over, the Mobile Communications Product Group at Microsoft now has a new leader: Terry Myerson. Myerson comes over to the WinMo team after heading up Exchange (Andy Lees is still the SVP, in case that was unclear). Why's that important? In recent years Exchange has become pretty much the de-facto corporate email solution, they've pretty much taken the lead under Myerson's watch.

Windows IT Pro had a sit down with Myerson about the move and what he thinks about the future of Windows Mobile. Despite the iPhone's unprecented quarter (seriously, it was ginormous), Myerson doesn't think that Apple's going to drive them out of business anytime soon. He cited WinMo's 18 million licenses in the past year and 30 phones they introduced in 2008.

More on what exactly Myerson is facing after the break!

The main focus moving forward (besides helping Windows Mobile 7 get out the freaking door) looks to be a continued focus on Enterprise while making that same device usable outside of work:

“Microsoft’s strategy for Windows Mobile has always been to nail tough business requirements while not forgetting that all of us go home to our families and friends,” Myerson said. “And we want people to carry a single phone that crosses those two worlds seamlessly.”

Myerson also cited the Danger acquisition -- we're hoping we will see the fruits of that either in Windows Mobile or in WM services right quick. In all, it looks like a good move for the WinMo team bringing on an Executive with a proven track record of success with Exchange.

Here's the thing, though, although we agree with the argument that there's plenty of room in the smartphone market for even niche players and with the argument that competitors like the iPhone and Android raise general awareness of Smartphones and therefore can help Windows Mobile (the rising tide argument), we really don't want Windows Mobile to be stuck as a “niche player.”

Think about how quickly the smartphone market has changed in the past year: the iPhone has gobbled marketshare like a hungry, hungry hippo; Android has gone from a glimmer in our eyes to a shiping device; RIM has managed to pivot and introduce their own iPhone-competitor in the Storm. We fully expect the next year to be just as crazy -- there's no market like the smartphone market, as I said at TiPb earlier.

Given that the latest rumors are pegging the Windows Mobile 7 release for late 2009, that would likely mean we wouldn't see devices until 2010. If the next version of Windows Mobile is going to be a little more than a year away, it's going to need to feel like a device that's “five years ahead of the competition” if it's going to viable in this crazy-fast smartphone marketplace. That's in addition to the “big launch” Robbie Bach has said we can expect someday.

While we hate to raise expectations too high, that's pretty much where we feel the smartphone market is at: it's changed so much in the past year and is changing so quickly now that Microsoft needs to target the next version of Windows Mobile to beat the next versions of the competition, not what they have out now.

In other words, Myerson and the rest of the WinMo team have their work cut out for them.

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5 years ago

Sprint Double-Officially Launches Touch Pro

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We brought you a hands-on with the Sprint Touch Pro back in September and earlier this month we broke the sad news that it was going to be delayed a bit. Well, Sprint and HTC have finally officially broken cover by letting us know that it's really coming and fairly soon.

Here's the details:

Customers will be able to purchase the device in select national retailers beginning the week of Oct. 26 and in all Sprint sales channels, including online at www.sprint.com, 1-800-SPRINT1 and Sprint Stores, on Nov. 2

...In other words -- you should be able to find it this coming Monday (or, we suspect, Sunday) if you're lucky; if not, you should be set on Nov. 2nd. Price is still set at $299 after contract. We're expecting big things from the Touch Pro on Sprint -- traditionally HTC's stuff has been over-performing on CDMA compared to their GSM brethren. If that's the case with this Touch Pro, we could be looking at a real screamer.

Specs after the break, in case you forgot them. So is the press release, in case you want the official line.

Specs

  • Size: 4.17 (L) x 2.05(W) x 0.70 (D)
  • Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Connectivity: CDMA 2000 1X/EVDO Rev.A/1xRTT and IS-95A/B voice or data. Dual band (800 and 1900 MHz)
  • Operating system: Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
  • Display: 2.8-inch VGA touch screen
  • Camera: 3.2MP, with autofocus, flash and video calling
  • Internal memory: 512 MB flash, 288 MB RAM
  • Expansion slot: microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible); supports up to 16 GB
  • Keyboard: Slide-out five-row QWERTY keyboard
  • Bluetooth: v2.0 with A2DP support (Stereo Bluetooth)
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • GPS: GPS/AGPS
  • Interface: HTC ExtUSB (mini-USB and audio jack in one; USB 2.0 High-Speed)
  • Battery: 1340 mAh
  • Talk time: 250 minutes
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM 7201A 528MHz

Press Release

Bellevue, Wash. — Oct. 24, 2008 — HTC Corporation, a global leader in mobile phone innovation and design, today launched the HTC Touch™ Pro for Sprint. Bringing a beautiful new angle to mobile business productivity, the HTC Touch Pro uses styling and functionality similar to the recently launched HTC Touch Diamond™ and introduces a variety of business-focused enhancements that make getting work done on-the-go quick and easy.

The HTC Touch Pro is priced at $299.99 with a two-year subscriber agreement, after a $100 mail-in-rebate and a $25-or-higher data add-on or Everything plan with data. Customers will be able to purchase the device in select national retailers beginning the week of Oct. 26 and in all Sprint sales channels, including online at www.sprint.com, 1-800-SPRINT1 and Sprint Stores, on Nov. 2.

“People have already shown a tremendous initial response to the HTC Touch Diamond for Sprint, and we are pleased to also offer the HTC Touch Pro as another choice to customers,” said Jason Mackenzie, vice president for HTC America. “The HTC Touch Pro is the perfect device for those who demand the ease of use of TouchFLO 3D and the styling of the HTC Touch Diamond but also crave a more powerful mobile business experience.”

The HTC Touch Pro is a professional workhorse that allows people to balance their professional and personal lives in ways that matter most to them. Building on the strong feature set found on the HTC Touch Diamond, the HTC Touch Pro adds a five-row, slide-out QWERTY keyboard for easy data entry, expandable storage capabilities with a microSD card slot (1 GB card included) and a business card scanner application to automatically capture and convert business card information to the contact list using the built-in 3.2 MP camera/camcorder. Additionally, with Windows Mobile 6.1, users have access to security and device management capabilities demanded by many business customers. “The HTC Touch Pro marks the addition of yet another robust Windows Mobile device for our portfolio and demonstrates our commitment to delivering the best wireless technology today,” said Kevin Packingham, Sprint senior vice president of Product and Technology Development. “Combined with worry-free pricing and exclusive Sprint content, the HTC Touch Pro delivers an unparalleled user experience – all on Sprint’s Now Network.”

Sprint customers will have direct animated access to arrange their favorite contacts, photos, weather and music by using HTC’s intuitive TouchFLO 3D interface. By combining a rich, dynamic presentation with integrated multi-media features, people have the ability to graphically personalize their device with 3D animated transitions.

Lightning Fast Connectivity

The HTC Touch Pro for Sprint provides a mobile Internet experience that uses the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network. With EV-DO Rev. A technology access, the HTC Touch Pro provides customers with blazing fast speeds that reach more than 253 million people, 16,986 cities and 1,625 airports and brings customers instant gratification so they stay connected to life and work fast and on-the-go. With EV-DO Rev. A, peak download data rates increase to 3.1 Mbps and peak upload data rates increase to 1.8 Mbps; average download speeds improve to 600 Kbps to 1.4 Mbps and average uplink speeds increase to 350 Kbps to 500 Kbps.

Beyond this lightning-fast connectivity, customers can also interact with their device in new ways. With the new HTC Touch Pro for Sprint, users can zoom and pan Web sites and automatically view optimized content that has been specially created to fit the display. Using gravity-sensor technology, turning the device sideways automatically rotates the Web page view from a portrait to landscape view.

In addition to game-changing Web browsing, the HTC Touch Pro offers direct access to exclusive Sprint content, including live and on-demand programming from Sprint TV® as well as over-the-air song downloads from the Sprint Music StoreSM and even a custom YouTube application for watching a variety of user-generated video content.

Unmatched Style With Complete Productivity

Like the HTC Touch Diamond, the HTC Touch Pro is crafted with precision to fit comfortably in a user’s hand and brings together elegant touch screen response with the direct precision of HTC’s distinctive sliding keyboard design. A new five-row QWERTY keyboard layout makes typing-intensive tasks like composing email or working on Microsoft Office® documents quick and easy. Built-in TV-out functionality means users can deliver the perfect PowerPoint® presentation from the Touch Pro.

Bursting with Innovation

The Touch Pro delivers an unrivalled combination of features and functionality. The 2.8 inch display provides near-print quality viewing that enables beautiful Web browsing and viewing of photographs. The built-in camera includes an optical auto-focus lens that ensures the photos you take will be clear and consistent. Advanced wireless and auto sensor screen pivoting are just a few of the features that make the Touch Pro experience stand out.

Unmatched Customer Experience

Customers purchasing devices at Sprint retail locations can get the most out of their phone by having it personalized just for them before they leave the store. With Ready Now, Sprint retail associates work with new or existing customers to explain, set up and demonstrate the features and applications of their new phone.

Sprint’s Ready Now program is a first in the industry – no other wireless company offers a similar customer experience. The service is available whenever the customer wants it during business hours; however, only existing Sprint customers have the option to schedule an appointment online by visiting www.sprint.com/readynow.

To take advantage of all the great features on these new phones without having to worry about additional monthly charges, Sprint customers can sign up for the $99.99 Simply EverythingSM plan, which includes unlimited domestic calling, messaging, email, Web surfing, GPS navigation, Sprint Music Premier, Sprint TV® Premier, NFL Mobile Live, NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, Direct Connect and Group Connect on compatible phones. The Simply Everything plan is available to current customers without renewing their contract. New lines of service require a two-year agreement.

Key HTC Touch Pro Specifications

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5 years ago

Review: 24 Hours with the Sprint Touch Pro (Updated)

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5 years ago

PIM Smackdown Redux with Extreme Agenda

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5 years ago

SPB Finance

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5 years ago

AT&T Fuze reportedly plays peekaboo online again

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The HTC Touch Pro — known as the Fuze around the AT&T circles — has already made a couple of appearances online, albeit briefly. First were a couple of Fuze-branded domain names, and then came an initial appearance on AT&T's business page.

Engadget Mobile is reporting that the Fuze has again found its way onto AT&T's business site, though apparently it's gone into hiding again.

Where will the elusive Fuze pop up next?  We suggest you keep an eye on a certain *cough* Windows Mobile site *cough* in the near future.

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5 years ago

SPB Mobile Shell teams up with Xperia X1 panels

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Aside from its top-notch hardware, one of the more interesting (and curious) things about the Xperia X1 is its nine-panel interface. As we've previously reported, Sony Ericsson has released the software development kit for the panels, so that anyone can develop their own.

It turns out that one of our favorite developers, SPB Software House, has done exactly that and already worked up its popular Mobile Shell for use on the X1.

As you undoubtedly know from our review, Mobile Shell 2.0 effectively skins Windows Mobile and makes it much more touch-friendly, with crisp icons, dial-by-photo, weather info and slick graphical menus. These things look great on "normal" devices. We can only imagine what the X1's souped-up hardware can do for it.

In this implementation, Mobile Shell serves as one of the nine customizable panels, allowing use of the other eight as you please. SPB's press release says it will be included with all X1's for free. It's also available now as a cab file (download here) on SE's Web site.

Check out a flurry of YouTube videos after the jump for a look at SPB Mobile Shell on the Xperia X1.

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5 years ago

Reminder: Palm Treo 750 WM6 update expires soon

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We've warned you once that Palm will stop hosting the Windows Mobile 6 update for the Treo 750 on Oct. 31. Here's warning No. 2:

Palm will stop hosting the Windows Mobile 6 update for its Treo 750 on Oct. 31.

Again, you don't have to install the update if for some reason it's not your thing. But go ahead and download it in case you want it later.

And as we noted earlier this week, HTC is also getting ready to pull the plug on a few WM6 updaters. Our friends over at Kinoma (Thanks! And be sure to check out Dieter's chat with them on the Treocentral Treocast) just compiled links for the Treo and HTC downloads, and we share said links with you now.

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5 years ago

Alltel Touch Diamond unboxing

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Alltel Touch Diamond unboxing

We've known for a little while now that the HTC Touch Diamond was coming to Alltel. Now we know that the phone actually does exist and that someone has their hands on it, thanks to a thread over at Howard Forums.

There's still been no word of an official release date (or price, for that matter), a little birdie tells us it could be anytime now. Stay tuned.

Thanks, Brandon, for the tip!

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5 years ago

Inside an HTC Facility: Rumors Galore!

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Inside an HTC Facility: Rumors Galore!

So an interesting thread popped up over at ppcgeeks lead by criticalaudioinc.

A fairly recent member, Criticalaudioinc claims (and has verified with a moderator) that he works for HTC in one of their "repair/order/design" facilities and seems to have quite a grasp on the technical aspects of their phones. He then basically spilled his guts in 50 pages of posts. Must have been all that coffee.

So take the following with a shaker of salt, but here is a nice summary of what was revealed in the thread.

Read on for some interesting tid bits about the Diamond, Touch Pro and something about a CDMA Touch HD....!!

WMExperts: We sort through & summarize 50 pages of geek talk just for you!

(Note: we have added questions to facilitate criticalaudioinc's answers for sake of brevity; all block quotes are verbatim except for spelling corrections)

Delay for Sprint Touch Pro release--why? Needs a ROM update to fix the following:

  • Camera Lag issues: Software
  • GPS Lag issues: Software/reg edit
  • TF3D exception issues: software/reg edit/update
  • Camera Update - Software
  • System Performance with Processor - Software Update/patch
  • Speaker Volume issue - Check Hardware - Software/AD Update
  • Control PAD malfunction - Software/Update

CDMA Touch HD?

HTC is currently in discussion again on bringing the HTC Touch HD to the US, I currently have a GSM model that we were asked to convert to CDMA, All that was needed was to pull a board from the diamond and re-solder and flash the the rom. From what we can see it is working pretty well the solder isn't pretty but again its a test. But its looking good so far.

Battery Life + Heat Problems on Sprint Diamond?

Battery life issue on the diamond is due to the radio in constant refresh, basically instead of interval of 300ms the diamond was set to 100ms and causes battery drain. The heat issue is also another cause but the reason for the heat is due to the heat plate was not added to the sprint version behind the keys like it was supposed to and sprint and HTC are discussing that.
...the heat plate is on the Pro, also I tested the phone and over clocked the processor to test to see if there was a heat issue, there was not a problem at all, and the processor took the over clock nicely. I tested the radio also for the heat issue and after 2.2 hours it was warm to were it could be noticed but correct me if I'm wrong what phone doesn't get warm with that amount of talk time.

ROM Update for Sprint Diamond?

Once the updates are fully verified and fully tested which is what we are doing as we speak HTC will obtain the updated rom, Normally it takes around 4 to 6 weeks to release but I think there going to push this due to sprint is climbing down there backs about this.

Verizon: Crippled Touch Pro?

Yes, will it be crippled SADLY yes, it will have a lower CPU and memory, but from the test model I honestly did not see a difference unless you use some serious programs.

Is Sprint anxious to release the Touch Pro?

...they want the phone out before AT&T due to rise in iPhone sales, AT&T also had another rise in 3G sales due to the delay and from what the corp was telling me they are starting to lose an amount of customers due to the delay and moving to AT&T.

Video Cables for TV Out on the Sprint Touch Pro?

Video cables do not come with it sadly due to the high costs and such.

Release date for Sprint/Best Buy?

...the release looks to be nov 2 for EVP, telesales and Corp Consumer. Now From the information I was provide Bestbuy wants this shipped by the 24th which is what HTC wants pushed, and possibly out the 26th

How do you mass flash these damn WM devices anyways?

We use computer systems with 16 USB port configuration. We currently have 153 systems, These systems are designed to flash 16 phones in 7 minutes that is around 2448 phones ever 7 minutes with all 153 systems. That is around 20983 phone per hour all together.

Update: For further reading, check out this thread started by Stroths!

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5 years ago

Palringo Adds Location Info to New Version

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Palringo Adds Location Info to New Version

Palringo is one of our favorite instant messaging systems out there despite the odd requirement that you create a Palringo-specific account to use it. That new login is looking less burdensome, however, now that Palringo will be bringing live location information to the latest version. They plan to help your friends and family know where you are when you are messaging them, making it easier for meet ups or friend locating. Now when you instant message your boss about being late, you better make sure it

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5 years ago

Jabra BT530 Bluetooth Headset

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5 years ago

Samsung Epix: The Hands-on Low Down Review

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