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5 years ago

HTC Announces Touch Diamond 2

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Where would the Touch Pro 2 be without a keyboard-less little brother? Adrift, that's where. Adrift without a sibling that sports nearly identical specs, to wit: 

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro
  • 3G, quad-band edge
  • WiFi, GPS, FM Radio
  • Motion sensor
  • 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7200
  • 512ROM/288 RAM
  • MicroSD Expansion
  • 4.25" x 2.09" x .54"
  • 4.15 oz
  • 5mp Camera
  • 1100 mAh Battery
  • 3.2" 480x800 WVGA screen

Right, you guessed it, pretty much identical specs, thinner and cooler form factor. Even better, take a look at the bolded section there — the Diamond 2 drops the onboard memory in favor an an honest-to-god microSD card slot. HTC may not have brought the U.S. the Touch HD, but if it denies us this, too, there will be blood ... continued grumbling. Which brings to availability: Q2 2009 for Europe and Asia, global availability "later in the year." In other words, it should arrive slightly ahead of the Touch Pro 2 and U.S. release seems, well, seems inevitable.

We're a little teary about HTC dropping the facets on the rear of the device, but not that teary. Plus, we're actually pretty excited to see what looks to be touch-area underneath the screen that looks to be a dedicated zoom bar, just as with the Touch Pro 2.

Full press release after the break

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5 years ago

Review: Google Maps with Latitude

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Review: Google Maps with Latitude

Google's watching you. Or at least that is what some of the headlines read when Google launched its latest version of Google Maps. The reason behind all the conspiracy theories cropping up like wild fire is that the newest version includes a new feature called Latitude.

Latitude is a feature that utilizes cell-tower triangulation, GPS or your home IP to approximate your location so friends can find where you're hiding located. In turn, you can see where your friends are. Hence the "big brother" analogies that immediately came to mind. Now that all the dust has settled we took the latest version of Google Maps with Latitude out for a test drive. To see how much attitude latitude has, read on after the break. And be sure to listen to what Dieter and Malatesta have to say about Latitude in this week's WMExperts Podcast.

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5 years ago

More on the Touch Pro 2 and Touch Diamond 2

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A few more tidbits from the HTC Press conference that didn't make it into our post on the device earlier.  Tidbit the first: the Touch Pro 2 is certainly more than just an minor update to the original Touch Pro.  The changes come in both hardware and software and they're significant and significantly cool.

HTC is introducing a few software features along with a few innovative new hardware features, all of which make the Touch Pro 2 one Mean Business Machine.  The Touch Diamond 2 is also getting a few neat software features. You know what time it is, it's time to join us after the break.

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5 years ago

HTC CEO Peter Chou Outs This Afternoon's Announcement: Windows Mobile 6.5

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Just back from HTC's mega-packed press conference (no kidding, it was literally standing room only).  We've already posted on the HTC Touch Pro 2 and the HTC Diamond 2, but the best moment of the conference came at the end.  After Microsoft Exec Andy Lees took the stage and promised "more to come" about Microsoft's outing, HTC CEO Peter Chou re-took the stage and went ahead and said what Lees wouldn't: that announcement will be Windows Mobile 6.5

We can't blame Chou for doing it, though, because he wanted to make sure everybody knew that the Touch Pro 2 and the Touch Diamond 2 were both ready to rock with Windows Mobile 6.5 whenever it comes out and that anybody who gets one will get a free upgrade.  We also got a tiny bit more color on when the two devices will actually launch (with WM6.1): The Diamond 2 in "early Q2" and the Touch Pro 2 in "late Q2."

We have more to say on both of these phones, which are actually a bit more stellar than our previous posts let on (especially that Touch Pro 2.  Prepare for a few Zowie Moments.)

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5 years ago

HTC Announces Updated TouchFlo 3D for Touch Pro 2 and Touch Diamond 2

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As if the Touch Diamond 2 and the Touch Pro 2 weren't enough, HTC packed some sneaky little software updates in its press release. Our favorite: HTC Pure Push Internet technology. Here's what HTC has to say about it:

HTC Push Internet alleviates slow downloading and rendering of Web pages on a mobile phone. Users can preselect their favorite Websites to get immediate access to them when needed.

Sounds like you can save pages to your phone and HTC will periodically send updates of the page to you in the background. Could be a real timesaver for those who haven't discovered RSS on Windows Mobile yet.

There's more, too. TouchFlo 3D apparently is going to be better integrated with Windows Mobile at a deeper level (meaning, yes, that TF3D might actually be a more substantial update to WM 6.1 than WM 6.5. We're just saying). They're enlarging touch-focus areas throughout the OS and delivering "more consistency."

Finally, HTC has taken a page from the webOS and is presenting you with a new contact information screen that will show you all your recent calls, emails, and texts for that contact — whether in-call or not.  A personal contact history for each contact that aggregates all that info sounds pretty spiffy to us.

More detail as we get it!

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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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