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5 years ago

AT&T Re-Structuring Data Plans

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AT&T Re-Structuring Data Plans

We've been hearing rumblings that AT&T has restructured data plans and believe we have finally deciphered things where it's understandable. If you are currently using a MediaNet plan, they are being discontinued and replaced with an Unlimited Data/Messaging Plan that will run $30 a month. Instead of having a variety of MediaNet flavors to choose from (Basic, the Works, MediaNet 200, MediaNet 1MB), you have one data package. The common line of thinking is that this move was done to compete with Verizon's data plans. It appears that there are some additional incentives for customers on AT&T's Family Plan as well.

There is one word of caution, these plans are intended for use with non-PDA phones (Motorola Razor, Samsung A737, etc.) that have internet and messaging capabilities. For Windows Mobile devices, AT&T requires their PDA Data plan which, coincidentally, also runs $30 a month. We bet that some of you may be paying more than $30 for the AT&T PDA plan (heck, some of us are!). In other words, it might be worth a call (and some savings) to AT&T and see if you are on the current $30 PDA Data plan and if you're not -- get on it.

[Read: Engadget Mobile]

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5 years ago

The Straight Story on President Obama's Smartphone

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We ourselves have reported that it was possible that President Obama may need to ditch his BlackBerry for a Windows Mobile device, the Sectera Edge.  It's actually pretty slick, with one-button access to switch between hyper-secure and non-secure modes.  Plus, unlike BlackBerrys, its email isn't routed up through Canada -- something that would be an absolute no go for presidental missives.

Well, here's the rub: we were wrong to call it a Windows Mobile device, turns out that it's a Windows CE device.  The difference?  Windows CE is the OS that underlies Windows Mobile.  In essence it's a modular framework -- you can pick a little of this, a little of that, hit "Go" and kapow -- you have something like Windows Mobile, or a set-top DVR, or an embedded system for a smart car.  (Ok, it's not that simple, but that's the gist of it).  It's also quite a bit more secure than, well, darn near anything else out there on the planet.  PCMag has a great write up on it if you're interested.

So that's the first thing.  The second thing -- nobody outside the White House knows if this is his new smartphone.  That's right -- all the reporting you've seen claiming that "Obama gets to keep his BlackBerry" or that this Edge is his new device is based on assumption.  Near as we can tell, a bunch of tech-blogs like us were speculating about the Sectera Edge and it trickled its way out to the political blogosphere and then into the mainstream media and somewhere in that chain the "Maybe" part got stripped out.  Turns out that "Maybe" part is, you know, kind of important.

It also appears that Obama may be dual-devicing it, as he may get to keep his actual BlackBerry for personal, non-president-related email.

Above, CNN manages to get the story right, showing the relevant part of the press conference where the administration says "He's keeping his BlackBerry" (for shame, btw, because "BlackBerry" is not synonomous with "Smartphone") and that it's secure.  CNN then goes so far as to show a short demo of the Sectera Edge, but rightly admits that the White House is staying mum on what exact device Obama will have on his hip.

Here's the short version: He's got something and we don't know for sure that it's the Sectera Edge.  Either way, you'll likely never get to have one yourself, no matter how hard you (ahem) hope.

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5 years ago

Touchflo 3D vs. SPB Mobile Shell

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Touchflo 3D vs. SPB Mobile Shell

One of the attractions to the new HTC line-up is TouchFlo 3D. There is no argument that graphically, Touchflo 3D is a eye catching application. While it may be pretty to look at, how functional is it? Before Touchflo 3D hit the market, one of the more popular Today Screen alternatives was SPB's Mobile Shell. There are some reservations over Touchflo 3D's usefulness and SPB Mobile Shell might be a viable alternative for those HTC owners who are looking for something different. Could Mobile Shell hold it's own against the animated graphics of Touchflo?

We decided to compare these two applications and as Michael Buffer so aptly put it, "Let's get ready to rumble!" (key techno dance music please). Read on after the break to see how they measure up against each other.

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5 years ago

Windows Mobile: It's 'Automagic' - and its cloud services may come free

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If you haven't yet read Dieter's excellent "Smartphone Round Robin: HTC Fuze, Windows Mobile, and Choice" post yet, do so now. It's required reading for the following:

Believe it or not, Microsoft hasn't forgotten that for all of the hardcore work we do with Windows Mobile, it's still the little things that count (and about which we most often gripe).

Andy Lees, senior VP for Microsoft's mobile side, recently sat down with The New York Times for a heart-to-heart.

“Everyone who is a business person is also a human being,” he said. “We want also to do human things like photos, music, communications, IM, texting and social networking.”

We also get a glimpse of things to come, most likely with the birth of SkyMarket/Box/Line, and undoubtedly with Windows Mobile 7 (and Windows 7). And the word Lees is using to describe how everything's going to work: "Automagically."

“What should happen,” he said, “is when you take a picture it should automagically arrive on your PC and be in the cloud. I should be able to fix the red eye on the PC and have it automagically go back and fix the red eye everywhere else.”

Lees also goes on to say that a most of the services Microsoft will be offering should be free. “I don’t think anyone is going to make money on synchronizing data,” he said. “It is simply what people will come to expect.” Huzzah!

NYT: Can Windows Mobile Get The Magic Back?

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5 years ago

WM6.5 pre-Beta ported to HTC Fuze/Raphael

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And the WM6.5 leaks-n-ports are starting....

Looks like Da_G, famous for his kitchens, has released his "very beta" port of WM6.5.  He say very beta because he expects bugs and even gives a list of known issues already, so this is only for the brave of you who absolutey must have the latest.

Officially, this build is 5.2.21139.5.0.0 for you number counters and you can find the thread/download right here.

It does have the Pro version of "Chrome" which is also known as Sliding Panels found on WM Standard, so that should be fun.  We should mention that this build of WM6.5 is built off of one ROM that is X-months old--so we don't know how much of this stuff is new, what has been left out, or what has been added since.

Hopefully once someone gets some actual screen caps, we'll post 'em here.

[via XDA]

 

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5 years ago

Microsoft to Fire 5000, Warns of Rough Times Ahead

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As you no doubt have heard by now, Microsoft reported that they weren't very happy with their quarterly earnings report.  Sure, they managed to haul in $16.6 Billon in revenue and that number is still technically a 2% increase year-over-year, but it's not the kind of growth that they feel will be necessary to keep things looking great durng the economic downturn. Still, they missed estimates and nobody likes that.

To deal, they're laying off 1400 folks immediately and another 3600 over the next year and a half. Steve Ballmer wrote a letter for the company about the unprecendented move.

Now comes there part where we get crass: rumor has it that the bulk of the initial layoffs are coming from the Entertainment & Devices division, which is where Windows Mobile lives.  Now we know that more people doesn't always equal faster progress or better product and we don't know exactly which parts of the E&D division are taking the hit, but either way we find this news disappointing.  Although this division certainly isn't the core of Microsoft's business, it is a place where a lot of great innovation has happened recently (Xbox & Zune) and where we expect a lot of cool innovation ought to happen in the very near future (Windows Mobile and "Project Pink").  So the crass part of us says "Hey, don't let that stuff we're excited for get derailed by these layoffs, Microsoft!" and the business part of us says "Do you really want to direct cuts at one of your most successful divisions?"

The human part of us, though, hopes these folks will be able to find work and quickly.

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5 years ago

Hole in your Bluetooth: Are you vulnerable?

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We'll preface this post by saying that all security threats should be considered serious, though some are more serious than others. Case in point: The recent realization by Seguridad Mobile [via] that a hole in the Windows Mobile 5 & 6 Bluetooth stack could allow someone to snoop around your phone, download files, or upload malicious files.

In a nutshell, we're talking file sharing. Normally when you share files with someone over Bluetooth (be it a friend or a PC), you're limited to a couple directories by default. But by exploiting this hole, someone could really wreak havoc with your phone. But to do so takes some work — and previous authentication privilages with your phone. In other words, you probably don't have to worry about someone just walking by and stealing your data. But now you know about the threat, and knowing is half the battle.

That said, here are a couple of Bluetooth safety reminders:

  • If you're not using Bluetooth, turn it off. Your battery will thank you.
  • If you do use Bluetooth, don't allow other devices to see it at will. (See the unchecked box here.)

In other words, don't talk to strangers.

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5 years ago

Smartphone Round Robin - Announcing the Winners!

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As it did the year before, the Smartphone Round Robin needed to go into overtime again this time around -- but we're finished now!  If you haven't been following along, here's what you missed:  Each of the editors of our five Smartphone Experts sites swapped phones for a week or so, reviewing and leanring what it's like to wear another smarphone user's shoes.  The result is the entire series of articles you see linked on this handy page, the Smartphone Round Robin of 2008.

What will you learn there?  You'll learn that there was no single smartphone that 'won' the Round Robin -- but that's by design.  There's no perfect smartphone out there, but there just might be the perfect smartphone to fit your needs.  If you're looking to get a new smartphone soon, think about what you need it do to and then hit up these articles -- you'll find that depending on what each of us care about, we'll give you a useful perspective on whether a given smartphone matches up. 

Actually, we explain it all pretty well on this page. Oh, yeah, one more thing, we are giving away fabulous prizes:

Find out who the winners are, after the break!

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5 years ago

Sprint Treo Pro NOW Available Online--err NOT now

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Update: It appears Sprint has now pulled the Treo Pro from their website completely, so our "jump the gun" remark was pretty accurate.  Who wants to bet your orders don't ship until at least Monday? Oh, Sprint.

Even though we are expecting some stores to have the Sprint Treo Pro for sales this Sunday (25th), it looks like Sprint.com has jumped the gun and begun advertising Palm's latest WM Treo this morning.  So you can hop over there now and order up.

No real suprises: $549 for the phone, -$200 for a contract and minus another $100 for a MIR, which brings it down to $249.  One caveat on that MIR: read the fine print to make sure your current plan qualifies.

We are still awaiting more confirmation on this, but it appears the Treo Pro has 96mb RAM and 512mb ROM, meaning Palm has doubled the available storage memory for programs, bringing it to about 336mb. More than enough for photos, data and program storage.  On the other hand, RAM may have taken a hit, meaning you may only have ~42mb of RAM after a soft reset. (See page 363 of the user manual --> .pdf).  We're working to confirm this last part, so take with a small grain of salt.  And yes, it's okay to pray that it's not true.

Other than that, it's running the same old Qualcomm MSM-7501a processor at 528mhz, which IS a nice bump from the 400mhz GSM version, plus a 1500mah battery for a nice 5hrs talk-time.

Thanks GrayKode!

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5 years ago

HTC announces the (new) Touch Cruise

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HTC announces the (new) Touch Cruise

HTC has announced the next iteration of the Touch Cruise, a keyboardless black slab. And if it looks familiar, it should. We've already seen it is the Iolite and most recently as the XDA Guide. Here are the dirty details:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.
  • Size: 102 x 53.5 x 14.5mm. Weight: 103 grams.
  • Qualcomm MSM7225 528 MHz processor.
  • WCDMA/HSPA: 900/2100MHz. HSDPA 7.2 Mbps (the U.S. version also will sport the 850 and 1900 bands).
  • Display: 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen.
  • Camera: 3.2 MP, with fixed focus.
  • 512 MB flash ROM, 256 MB RAM.
  • microSD.
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR.
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.
  • GPS/A-GPS.
  • 1100 mAh battery.

The (new) Touch Cruise — that's it - we're gonna call it the Touch Cruise 2 — also sports the same "Footprints" feature as the XDA Guide. The official party line on that:

The new HTC Touch Cruise is the first mobile phone to offer HTC
Footprints, an application experience that enables people to
permanently chronicle their special moments by capturing a digital
postcard on their phone. Once captured, Footprints provides the
ability to take notes and an audio clip of that favourite restaurant
or special place while identifying its specific geographical location.
In addition to identifying each postcard with its specific GPS
co-ordinates, Footprints also auto-names each postcard with its
general location or area.

Flipping back through their photos, HTC Touch Cruise users will be
able to retrace their steps to that exact location in just a few
touches. Unlike other devices with geo-tagging functionality, HTC
Footprints works effectively outdoors and indoors, offering a more
accurate record of location for future reference and navigation.

In fewer words: Photo tagging.

Unlike the last/first/original Touch Cruise, it appears there will be an official U.S. release, with an estimated price of $500 to $600. Of couse, that price would drop should any carrier decide to pick it up. But anyone think AT&T's in the market for another keyboardless touchscreen phone just yet?

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5 years ago

SPB Weather 2.0

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SPB Weather 2.0

SPB Software is probably best know for it's Mobile Shell application but they also offer a wide range of Windows Mobile applications. One of which was recently updated, SPB Weather. It has a few more bells and whistles than previous versions and as promised, we have just finished putting SPB Weather 2.0 through the ringer. Check after the break to see what the forecast bears for the latest SPB application.

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5 years ago

Official 6.1 ROM released for Verizon XV6900

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We saw a Windows Mobile 6.1 ROM leak for the Verizon XV6900 — that's the Touch — a couple of months ago, and now it looks like a new (and more official) ROM has been made available. PCDPhones (used to be part of UTStarcom) has the new release. [via]

Here's what you're getting:

  • Upgraded OS to Windows Mobile 6.1
  • Added EVDO Rev A capability
  • Updated the MMS client to be compatible with WM 6.1
  • Added Microsoft Remote Desktop Application
  • Added capability to use VzNavigator application.
  • Added capability to read micro SD card of up to 16GB memory.

Go snag it here. And let us know how the GPS holds up after the update. (And we've said it before, and we'll keep on sayin' it: Back up your data first!)

 

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5 years ago

Early Windows Mobile 6.5 build in the wild

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Well look at that. No sooner do we resign ourselves to the fact that it'll still be some months before we see Windows Mobile 6.5, the crazy kids at XDA Developers [via] cook up a build for the HTC Blue Angel (aka XDA III and T-Mobile MDA III, among others.)

This obviously isn't a full build but reportedly has Live for Windows Mobile 6.5; CMHome for 6.5Pro, the new IE 6 build, TouchRecognizer and Touch LockScreen. So, we're getting a better idea of what we're in store for, but this is by no means a finished product. In other WM6.5 news, some new screen shots have purportedly leaked out, giving us another peak. Be gentle.

Update: another video after the break

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5 years ago

Smartphone Round Robin: HTC Fuze, Windows Mobile, and Choice

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The Smartphone Round Robin took quite the unexpected hiatus -- I've been awfully busy these past few weeks and truth be told it was Windows Mobile itself that helped me manage my increasingly hectic worklife. In case you missed it, here's my Video of the Fuze, including some details on how I've decided not to use TouchFlo 3D.  Now that I'm back on Windows Mobile, it's time to explain why it's a great OS. Although the Round Robin contest is now over (we'll announce the winners tomorrow!), I'm betting you all will have plenty to say about this year's take on WM.

So read on!

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5 years ago

Treo 700wx starts to get "custom ROM" treatment!

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Well 2 years into its release and customs ROMs are finally getting the work through for the aging 700wx. Better late than never, eh?

Thanks to Waffles (ppcgeeks), LLC23 (wmexperts) and Ebag333 (wmexperts), we now have a dedicated thread located here to discuss the project and most importantly, the inherit risks of re-flashing your device with a non-standard ROM.

Custom ROMs are nice as they allow users to not only replace unwanted stock carrier apps with their preferred ones, but it also enables the ability for pre-tweaking of the registry.

Plus there is that holy-grail for WM users: flashing with newer versions of Windows Mobile. This means the potential to put WM 6.x on the 700w/wx is only a matter of time, perseverance and assistance form ambitious WM users--so maybe you should pop in and lend a hand to make some history, hmmm?

So far the project is confirmed working on Sprint devices but Verizon and Alltel still need some experimenting. Ebag333 has even created a 700wx ROM-kitchen for easy implementation making the future of this project very promising for those who are not too comfortable with the whole process.

Keep up the great work guys! This will keep us busy till the 800w release ;-)

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