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5 years ago

WMExperts live at Mobile World Congress!

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Mobile World Congress is officially under way in Barcelona, Spain, and we boxed up the head WM Expert, Dieter Bohn, and shipped him to Europe to digest and send back all the latest in Windows Mobile and cell phones in general.

So sit back, relax and prepare to take in an onslaught of news as we're expecting some pretty major releases.

If you want to keep track of everything MWC09, pre- and current, use this link to do so. And as always, the latest Windows Mobile news will flying at you at the top of the page here.

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5 years ago

Pre-register for Microsoft's My Phone service

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So we're totally expecting an avalanche of Microsoft news Monday from Mobile World Congress. (hint: remember that Spain is a few hours ahead of the United States.) In the meantime, Windows god/guru/kung fu master Paul Thurrott snagged a page where you can pre-register for the new My Phone service.

Head on over and give them your e-mail addy, and they promise to let you know when you can actually get in on the sync goodness. And, no, we're not cool enough for a promo code.

Thanks to our frenemy Rene from The iPhone Blog for the heads up.

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5 years ago

Around SPE for Feb. 15, 2009

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Around SPE for Feb. 15, 2009

With our editor-in-chief, Dieter Bohn, off in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, the inmates site editors are left running Around SPE this week. So, while he'll be breaking news and giving us some hands-on observations on all the new software and hardware on display, we'll be keeping you covered here at home, starting with a quick recap of where we are right now:

CrackBerry.com

In the world of BlackBerry, T-Mobile customers were happy to see the official roll out  of the next-generation BlackBerry Curve 8900. With AT&T said to be dropping support for 2G phones, there has been some worry that this new Curve wouldn't come to AT&T, but with the 8900 SKU now showing up on AT&T systems, it's likely the device will launch there in the next month. The BIG new this week comes from the CrackBerry Podcast. Kevin was in NYC on for a RIM Business Solutions Press Preview. While there, him and Craig recorded a podcast and for the first time had an employee from Research in Motion on the show. Joined by Mike Kirkup, Manager of Developer Relations, they tackle a bunch of topics from the upcoming App Store to OS 5.0 and whether or not Flash support will appear in a BlackBerry browser and more! Listen Here. More after the break!

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5 years ago

Microsoft Recite: Voice Notes for your Windows Mobile Phone

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Looks like Microsoft is getting in on the early release action -- a day before Mobile World Congress 2009 even gets started, they've made the website for Microsoft Recite live.  Great, so what is it?  It's an intelligent voice note application.  You hit a button and speak your random note into it: "Get Milk," "George's favorite band is the Georgia Satellites," "Sara's anniversary is November 13th," etc.  Recite will store your notes for playback later.  How do you find them?  Just speak again "George's Band" -- and the software will use some fancy algorithms to locate your voice note and then play it back for you.

Unlike Jott (et al), there's no transcription or other method for getting your voice notes off the app if you so choose (which may cause you headaches).  Microsoft is also recommending you have an unlimited data plan, just in case.  Oh, and Bluetooth headsets need not apply.  It's a technology preview (read: Beta), but actually works much better than you might expect.  It's a neat little app and might come in handy for folks that prefer voice notes.  It's also free, which we're pretty sure is better than not-free.

You can download it here. You can follow the official Recite Blog here.  You can watch a neat little video about the entire thing after the break.

Update: Did we mention it was a "Technology Preview?"  We did?  Good.  Because the app is crashing intermittently on a Treo Pro. When it doesn't crash, it works quite well.  Here's one nice bit: since it works directly with the audio files, it doesn't matter if you speak in English, French, or even Esperanto. 

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5 years ago

Video: WinMo 6.5 peeped on a Touch HD

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Here's video of two things not yet available in the United States: an HTC Touch HD, and Windows Mobile 6.5. The Touch HD we can't do anything about. It's just not coming. WinMo 6.5, on the other hand, should make its official debut this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We can't vouch for anything here, but it does look pretty snappy.

So now we've seen picture after picture after picture of Windows Mobile 6.5, an early port, and finally some grainy video. Is there anything left? Fortunately we've got Dieter on the ground in Spain to bring you the official announcement in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Thanks, Chris, and everyone else who sent this in.

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5 years ago

Q&A with Mozilla Fennec's Brad Lassey

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Unless you're a real dev-type, the "Milestone Release" of Mozilla's Fennec mobile browser likely was a nonstarter — it's a pre-alpha build and not at all intended to serve as a daily browser just yet. But what it does do is show us that work on the browser is progressing nicely for Windows Mobile.

We're serious about our excitement for Fennec from what we've seen in the desktop release. When all is said and done, it likely will give the iPhone's mobile Safari a run for its money. Javascript engine. Extensions. Cloud syncing for bookmarks and the like. We could go on. But if you're a desktop Firefox-lover, you know where we're coming from.

Fennec developer Brad Lassey, who joined the company in October 2008 to work on mobile products, agreed to answer a few of our burning questions about Fennec. Will it be available for non-touchscreen phones? What's up with Fennec for our cousins over at NokiaExperts? When might we see a proper Windows Mobile beta? And what can we do to help?

Lassey's answers, after the break.

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5 years ago

Retail stores could change Microsoft's game

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If you build it, they will come.

OK, so "Field of Dreams" this ain't. But the news that Microsoft has hired a VP of Retail Stores [via ZDNet] and intends to dive into the retail market means this is a whole new ball game for Windows and Windows Mobile.

First, the man behind the curtain: David Porter has been hired away from Dreamworks Animation SKG, where he was head of worldwide product distribution.

“There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers,” Porter said. “I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we’ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success.”

Now, peddling the wares: We've, er, mentioned before that the sheer volume of Windows Mobile devices can be a wee bit overwhelming. And as Malatesta just pointed out, it's getting to the point where phone manufacturers and carriers aren't even mentioning Windows Mobile, as if it's an anchor dragging the user into the briny deep.

But imagine a place where you can go and interact (read: play) with the latest Windows Mobile phones and — this is important here — see firsthand how Windows Mobile and the new versions of Windows and its upcoming cloud services work together. Yeah, this is hardly groundbreaking stuff in the retail world, so scoff if you want. But until now, Microsoft has relied on others to show off the fruits of its labor. Sure, Microsoft made the operating system, but it's been up to the (ever dwindling) big-box stores and late-night infomercials to give you any sort of a good look at what you'll be using.

Same goes for Windows Mobile. We've all stood there in a carrier's store or at a kiosk in a mall, but you're on their turf. Microsoft bringing you into its environment means you see its products on its terms. We're well aware that nary a brick has been laid yet. But a proper place to showcase Windows 7 and (eventually) Windows Mobile 7 could do great things for what we hope and pray expect to be an entirely new way of doing business for Microsoft.

Update: Did we totally call this, or what? Microsoft's Robbie Bach, from Techflash:

"We have plenty of distribution. These stores for us are about building our connection to customers, about building our brand presence, and about reaching out and understanding what works and what improves the selling experience. Apple, you would think of it as a volume distribution play. You should think of ours as much more of a brand and customer relationship investment, more than anything else."

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5 years ago

Sprint Treo Pro: Reportedly getting RAM fix, almost ready to launch?

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While we've known about that pesky Sprint Treo Pro delay for a few weeks now and that it had something to do with Sprint's certification process, up till now we had no idea exactly what was wrong.

According to PhoneNews, what is being fixed is that annoyingly low RAM that we've reported on previously and talked about in the Podcast.  In case you don't remember, the Treo Pro only has ~43 MB of free available RAM after a soft-reset, which is about 20 MB or so lower than its GSM cousin. 

HTC engineers have confirmed that the issue causing the continual delay of the Sprint Treo Pro lies in continuous ROM testing and certification to resolve a perpetual low free memory issue after many insiders discovered that the Treo Pro had ~40 MB of  free memory with no applications running, despite shipping with 256 MB of RAM.

Evidently the problem is this: The RAM on this device is on separate chips and Windows Mobile has problems recognizing this extra amount of memoryso it is physically there, just not being seen by the system. This mirrors some similar issues with HTC's Touch Pro (Verizon) and other original Touch devices, so it sounds very plausible.

At first, my initial assessment having used the device was that it wasn't too big of a deal. But with more extensive usage, I recanted on that notion: 40mb is too little for a 2009 device. Also, we should point out that the Treo Pro only has 128 MB of RAM (like the GSM version), not 256 MB. Although this begs the question: How does a device get so far in development without anyone noticing the extremely (and unusual) low amount of RAM? This isn't like some rare software bug but rather a standard and obvious device specification.  

Finally, we're getting word that some Sprint stores are getting re-stocked as we speak with new Treo Pros with the new ROM on board, so keep an eye out for those. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to get my Treo Pro packed and ready to send to the HTC gods ;-)

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5 years ago

Zune team splits up; WinMo gets hardware side

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No, there still isn't going to be a Zune phone. But CNET's Ina Fried lends even more credence to some of Zune's features showing up on Windows Mobile phones. She reports that Microsoft's Zune team has been split in two, with the software end now reporting to the Media Center side under Enrique Rodriguez, and the hardware side falling under the auspices of Tom Gibbons, how also heads the design end for Windows Mobile. So, the phone's not coming to the Zune. But bringing the Zune to the phone?

Rodriguez wasn't ready to offer details on when the Zune service would come, say, to Windows Mobile, but he did say to expect products within this calendar year that take the Zune service beyond just Microsoft's own line of digital music players.

Add this to what we recently learned about Microsoft's "reference chassis" for the future of Windows Mobile, and the picture is continuing to become a little less muddy. Microsoft's moving the pieces around the board, and Zune services are just part of the start of something new. The end game definitely isn't year, and probably not even for 2010. But it's clear Microsoft is plowing ahead with Windows Mobile.

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5 years ago

SPB Wireless Monitor

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SPB Wireless Monitor

Recently I reviewed Phone Dashboard Minute Tracker which can track your minutes that you use each month to help make sure that you never go over your minutes on your plan.  As a result, I was asked several times if it could track the data usage, and the answer was No.  So I went looking for a utility that could.  The very week (November 18th to be exact) I started looking, SPB released version 3 upgrade for their Wireless Monitor

SPB was gracious enough to give me a copy to review.  I have put it through its paces and have come up with a verdict...

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5 years ago

HTC, AT&T Team up for media blitz in U.S.

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HTC became its own branded company about 2 years ago and since then has really swept up the Windows Mobile market.

So it was just a matter of time to start seeing HTC commercials airing on TV, flaunting its highly successful Touch-line of devices. And in fact at least on Comedy Central, we've been seeing these commercials airing all week, especially during the Daily Show/Colbert Report time slots.

What is really interesting here? Not a single mention of Microsoft or a peek of Windows Mobile!  It's all TouchFlo3D. (Same goes for a Cellular South commercial, which has been pimping the HTC Touch Diamond with nary a mention of WinMo.)

And check out the 2nd version of the HTC commercial after the jump. Unfortunately they're only video-copied versions, but they'll get the point across.

via FuzeMobility

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5 years ago

HTC Touch Cruise passes FCC, headed to AT&T?

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The HTC Touch Cruise has passed FCC review and done so sporting AT&T's 3G bands. The Touch Cruise also sports the "Footprint" feature we saw previously. "Footprint" essentially is tagging a photo with GPS coordinates which allows you to track back to where the photo was taken. A few more specifications from the Touch Cruise include a 528Mhz processor, 512mb ROM, 256mb RAM, and a microSD expansion slot. The device measures 4.02x2.11x.57 inches and weighs in at 3.63 ounces. The Touch Cruise will run Windows Mobile 6.1 and have Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS functionality.

The weakest point in the specifications may be the 1100mAh battery. For a device that is marketable for the "Footprint" feature which relies heavily on GPS, I can't help but think this is an awfully small power source. No confirmation on pricing, availability or if AT&T is a lock on picking this phone up. But we're not going to bet the farm on it, given that it still has that other keyboardless phone.

Thanks, Marco, for the tip.

[Read:Cellphonesignal]

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5 years ago

The Windows Mobile 6.5 leaks keep coming

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Mobile World Congress starts Monday, and we're expecting Microsoft to officially unveil Windows Mobile 6.5 at some point early in the event.

Unofficially, the leaked ROMs keep flying through the Interwebs. One of the more recent – and the best we've seen since learned about Outlook Live earlier this week – hit today at PocketPC.ch. [via] There are a few dozen large shots reportedly taken of an HTC Touch HD, and we get a great look at the (er, HTC) on-screen keyboard, as well as the phone screen, both of which you can see above.

We've got more pictures after the break, and hit up the translated page for more chatter.

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5 years ago

Opera Mobile goes Turbo

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Opera Mobile goes Turbo

If you didn't realize that the 2009 Mobile World Congress was just a few days away, you'd swear there was something in the air. Between new phones to updated software, news from the Windows Mobile industry isn't letting up. It's also turning out to be the week of the browser, with Mozilla and Skyfire already coming to the table.

Not to be left out in all this excitement, Opera Mobile has announced it is going Turbo. Opera Turbo (pdf link) is boasting an 80 perecent traffic compression by using the trick of rendering Web sites on their servers then sending the compressed version to the mobile browser. What's that mean to you? Faster load times. Opera Turbo is reported to support Flash and AJAX. This is all in the same vein of what Skyfire's been doing for a while now, but it's good to see other browsers throw their hat into that ring.

Opera plans to show off Turbo in Barcelona next week, and we'll add this to Dieter's "To Do" list.

Via IntoMobile.com

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5 years ago

Review: Pocket Tunes Deluxe 5.0

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Review: Pocket Tunes Deluxe 5.0

 

If you haven’t been using Pocket Tunes 4.1, you’ve been missing out. In my opinion, PocketTunes is one of the few truly powerful media players for Windows Mobile. Offering synchronization with iTunes, Internet radio and support for different skins, Pocket Tunes has been on my must-have list ever since it was first released for Windows Mobile.

If you remember (or want to read) my review of Version 4.1, there were a couple of issues we wanted resolved. I’m guessing that the folks at Normsoft were listening; because they took care of the biggest issues that I had, as well as resolving some issues that I hadn’t even thought about.

Read on for all the updates in Version 5.0.

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