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5 years ago

WMExperts Top 10 of 2007, Plus Our Faves

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Hey, everybody else is doing it, why can't we? Below - our most-read articles and posts of 2007. A couple more months and it's likely we would have seen more from the Smartphone Round Robin - but no matter.

What do we learn from the list below? That people like the smackdowns (can't blame ya) and we all spent the bulk of 2007 champing at the bit to install Windows Mobile 6, then Windows Mobile 6.1 Of course, we're still waiting for 6.1 -- and many of us are still waiting for Windows Mobile 6 (Cough BLACKJACK cough!). We also learn that the HTC Touch was the sleeper hit of the year - it's certainly done much better than we expected. Don't get us wrong, though, we love the little bugger.

Anyhow, this is the spot where we say thanks a ton to all of you readers. We got started abound February of last year and have been growing in traffic ever since. Here's to hoping 2008 connects us with even more of y'all.

After the break, the top 10 by traffic of 2007 plus a few of our own favorite articles that you may have missed!

Top 10 by Traffic

  1. HTC Touch vs. iPhone, Part 2: Video Smackdown. #1 with a bullet - it's a 25 minute, point by point comparison between the HTC Touch and the iPhone.

  2. Giant ATT-Cingular 3G WM5 Smackdown: Treo 750 vs. 8525 vs. Blackjack. A little out to date, but still useful, this article is a comprehensive comparison between what were the top three on AT&T at the time. Yes, we're going to do a followup with the new devices.

  3. BlackJack WM6 Update: Q3 at best. Remember when getting Windows Mobile 6 on the BlackJack in October of 2007 seemed like a curse? We do.

  4. Windows Mobile 6.1 Coming with New Interface? Sure, Boy Genius may have gotten his hands on an actual Windows Mobile 6.1 device in December, but we told you it was coming and what it would look like in October. Boo. Yah.

  5. HTC Touch vs iPhone, Part 1. Twice in the Top Ten? Yep - y'all love your comparisons.

  6. Hack Available for PPC-6700/XV6700: AKU3.3. We still the a lot of 6700s in the wild even though it's been replaced on pretty much every network by the 6800. The 6700 may never see Windows Mobile 6, but at least it can be upgraded to the best that Windows Mobile 5 has to offer.

  7. How-To: Full YouTube on Windows Mobile. We sort of wish our iPhone YouTube Spoof had made the grade, but that's alright. It's more fitting that an article actually explaining how to do it get in.

  8. WM6 on a Samsung Blackjack. Yeah, we know, two “Windows Mobile 6 on BlackJack” articles. This second is the hacked ROM, and yes, seriously we still don't recommend you try to use it - it's slow and buggy.

  9. How To: Customize Your Tilt. One of the reasons the Tilt didn't fare well in the Smartphone Round Robin is that its out-of-box experience is just plain horrendous. So we threw together a “for the n00bs” how-to for customizing your Tilt.

  10. Review: Jabra BT8010. The BT8010s were one of the first “hybrid” bluetooth headsets on the market and they're pretty neat. We prefer the Voyager 855s now, but it's hard to argue strongly against the BT8010s, they're nice.

Our Faves

  1. How To: Buy a Windows Mobile Phone. So Windows Mobile is available on a dizzying array of devices on pretty much every network you can imagine. We break down what you need to do if you're thinking WM.

  2. How To: Install, Uninstall, and Transfer Files on Windows Mobile. We could have taken any article from our growing “How To” section, but we decided to stick with the basics.

  3. Video First Looks. We've done a ton of Video First Looks at a ton of smartphones. Check it: HTC Touch Dual, BlackJack II, Samsung SCH-i760, Sprint Touch, T-Mobile Shadow, Motorola Q9h, Pantech Duo, and ATT Tilt

  4. iPhone vs Windows Mobile, Email Smackdown. Point-by-point analysis of why Windows Mobile beats the pants off the iPhone for email productivity.

  5. Smartphone Round Robin: Triumphant Return to Windows Mobile!. It's our Love-Poem to Windows Mobile. Our Ode. Our Paean. If anybody ever asks you “Why Windows Mobile?”, send 'em here.
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5 years ago

New Rules for Traveling with Batteries

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New Rules for Traveling with Batteries

It looks like somebody from the TSA has noticed all of the stories about batteries exploding and decided to do something about it. Of course, this being the TSA, “something” apparently means “introduce unnecessarily complex and bureaucratic policies that will mystify the average person.” Basically, the rules are thus: you can carry on spare batteries, but not check them. Except when you have too many batteries, where “too many” is determined by -- wait for it -- the number of grams of lithium content in your batteries. You can check batteries when they're installed, though, because why make things clear-cut?

Now, they do sort of try to make it clear that the vast majority of consumer-grade batteries are just fine, probably. Below, an excerpt from a not-too-distant interview before the law TSA:

Before the [Security Checkpoint] sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the [Security Checkpoint]. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.”

We know, going straight to Kafka when complaining about bureaucracy is cliché, but he is the master. Happy new year, everybody, we're happy to ring it in with crazy new laws!

Read: Safe Travel via Matthew Miller

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5 years ago

Adios, Analog

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Adios, Analog

Well Golly - it looks like TDMA won't be the only thing to have its lights turned off next year - the Analog Cellular network is going too. I don't know which is crazier - the fact that folks are still using analog cell phones or the fact that this somewhat comforting fall-back technology is going away. AP suggests checking your grandma's emergency 911 cell phone (it might be analog), but that there's a very slim chance - 1% to be precise - that this will affect you or yours. That number is much higher if you have GM's OnStar in your vehicle - older OnStar-equipped cars use analog too.

Analog has long-been the more reliable option for rural areas and that may not change as quickly -- Alltel will take a bit longer to drop analog and some smaller carriers will keep it. Still and all - my first “cell” was analog and I still have a soft spot for the Ericsson.

Meanwhile, it reminds me of the first digital phone I got - I was told my multiple people that this “digital thing” was a phase. People want to hear your real voice, not some digitally de- and re-constructed facsimile. I, on the other hand, have always welcomed our digital overlords.

Read: chicagotribune.com

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5 years ago

Treo 500 Getting Unlocked Soon

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Treo 500 Getting Unlocked Soon

Ah, Treo 500, you arrived on a wave of crazy, mixed up “gandolf” rumors, landed with a splash, and were promptly washed away across the sea - we'd hoped you'd be available in the United States, but our hopes were dashed. Turns out, though, that though the Treo 500v is slightly underwhelming on paper, it's actually not to shabby in person. Great build quality and a relatively small price make it a modest success. Palm looks to capitalize on that modest success by offering it unlocked (instead of tied to Vodafone), according to Reg Hardware. It should happen sometime next year.

Good on Palm. Now, if they'd only make a version that would work in the United States (and bring back the ringer switch!), we'd be happy. During the TreoCast recording last week (and getting published soon-like), Mike suggested that such a move would help the 500v out in China. See, China requires miniUSB on all their cell phones .... and the Treo 500v is the only Treo (heck, the only anything) that charges via miniUSB. hmmmm.

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5 years ago

ATT's 1-800-YellowPages Now Free (with Ads) - For Suckers

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AT&T is now switching their telephone directory service, 1-800-YellowPages (that's 1-800-935-5697), to ad-supported instead of cost-per-call. That's a good thing, we suppose, but we are reporting it here mainly to thumb our nose at, well, pretty much anybody not using a Windows Mobile Smartphone. See, we have Live Search, which is a stupendously awesome directory app that only costs whatever your data plan charges - i.e. nothing extra for most folks. Maps, Movies, Gas Prices, Restaurants, you name it.

“But WMExperts,” you say, “Typing in a search while you're driving is incredibly unsafe. Dialing into an ad-supported directory service is a much better idea.” You might be right, except that Live Search does voice recognition too. Oh, and GPS (for free). And you can even get it to do tower triangulation-style location with a little help from Navizon if you don't have GPS pre-loaded.

So, yeah, we still really like Live Search. Yes - someday it might have little ads of its very own, but that day is not here. So quit calling into directory services, start using your smartphone like god intended it.

AT&T has announced that its 1-800-YellowPages directory service is now available free of charge. The service is available on any landline or wireless phone in the United States, and offers directory lookup service for callers

Read: AT&T Frees Up Directory Assistance (MobileBurn)

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5 years ago

Hack to Improve GPS on Sprint Motorola Q9c

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Hack to Improve GPS on Sprint Motorola Q9c

So as a few of you may know, the Motorola Q Q9c on Sprint is the first Windows Mobile device on that network to have GPS enabled (throw your hand-made confetti in the air!). Not only is it enabled, but it is fully “open” meaning the COM Ports are visible to external programs, like Google Maps or the arguably superior Microsoft Live Search with Speech input (cue more confetti).

Interestingly, it appears that the GPS enabled on the device is only set for direct satellite connections--there are no connections to Sprint’s aGPS assistance servers. In this sense, the Moto Q9c’s GPS is more like a true-standalone unit. Good, right? Not really, it could be better.

StarmanDX over at Sprint Users kindly posted this little trick which will not only keep your satellite guidance, but add Sprint’s assistance servers. The benefit? Your GPS signal acquisition should be a lot faster, stronger, and work indoors as well as city environments. Win-win if you ask me.

Full instructions after the break!

Preliminaries

One caveat: you need your MSL, which stands for "Master Subsidy Lock" and is a 6 digit code to program your phone. Remember when you called Sprint to activate your phone and they had your program in your number in that “special menu”? To get there you had to enter your MSL. Some of us tricksters now know to write that down for future use. But you probably haven’t done this, so here’s the trick: you need to call Sprint and get it. It’s technically not a big deal and are supposed to give it to you if you ask, after all it is your phone not theirs. So here are some things to say to the Sprint CSRs or better yet, try Tech Support:

  • Just ask, sometimes they give it. Worked for me!
  • Say you took your phone to a Sprint store and they need your MSL to reprogram part of the phone
  • Tell them that you are trying to change your user name within the settings on your phone and the phone is requiring the MSL code
  • Say you are developing application for the phone

Yeah, it’s a wee bit of a white lie, but it’s worth it. Now once you have that number, store it somewhere safe and remember to do this for all your WM devices in the future, you may never know when you need it.

One other note before the actual hack: you have to trust the settings are saved. If you go back into this menu, it’ll all be erased, but once entered it’ll stay. So have faith that they stuck.

And now for the trick and thanks again to StarmanDX!

Enable aGPS Sprint assistance servers for Moto Q Q9c

  • Dial ##073887*
  • Hit Send/Green Key
  • Enter your MSL
  • Hit H (GPS Settings)
  • Enter 68.28.31.49 for the IP address
  • Enter 5017 for the port number
  • Save/Exit

(ps Nope, I do not know how to do this for AT&T Q9h's or Verizon's Q9ms. Sorry, Sprint only!)

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5 years ago

Review: PointUI

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5 years ago

Review: Seidio 1300mAh and 1600mAh Extended Batteries for your Treo 750

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5 years ago

Tiny Twitter - free Twitter Client

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Tiny Twitter - free Twitter Client

If you don't have threaded text on your Windows Mobile phone (and let's face it, you probably don't), using Twitter can be a pain sometimes. All these incoming and outgoing texts get to be a drain on your attention - not to mention your SMS bucket. Plus, really, sometimes you want an immediate SMS update regarding what your friend's friend is eating for dinner - but mostly you don't.

Enter Tiny Twitter, a really great mobile twitter client. It's built on .Net CF (for those of you on WM5) and elegantly pulls your Twitter feed into a single screen. It has options to directly message folks, auto-update as often as every 4 minutes (as the app says, “your choice”), and more. All in all, it's a clean, fast, good app. Recommended for twitter users.

via PocketPCThoughts

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5 years ago

Intel's Solid State Drive -- The Future of Mobile Memory?

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We have been talking about developing technologies for offering massive storage for mobile devices for 2 ½ years now in the "Flash or HDD? That's the Question thread".  Intel just announced a huge step in offering GBs for cell phones with their new Solid State Drive (SSD) that is smaller than penny and weighs less than a drop of water, according to their press release:  

The tiniest in the industry, the Intel® Z-P140 PATA SSD is designed for ultra-small mobile internet devices, digital entertainment and embedded applications and is part of the proposed Intel “Menlow” platform. The Intel Z-P140 PATA SSD comes in 2 Gigabyte (GB) and 4GB densities, extendable to 16GB.

According to the Intel Product Brief this little SSD can hold its own with Read Throughput at 40 Megabytes / sec and Write Throughput at 30 Megabytes / sec and is tested with a Mean Time Between Failures at 2,500,000 hours (which if you are curious is 104,167 days... which is just over 285 years... which leads to... how in the heck did they come up with that?).

Today we are begging phone manufacturers to include at least 128 mb in any given phone and we willingly fall to our knees in praise when they put 256 mb of memory / storage in a phone.  Could you imagine the reality of having somewhere between a 2 GB to 16 GB of internal memory / storage on a phone be commonplace? Because we here at WMExperts can (and do).

When is this really going to be a reality?  I am not sure.  The Intel Fact Sheet does not come out and say specifically, but it does alludes to the possibility that it will be released with their proposed Menlow platform, which will be released to manufacturers sometime during the first half of 2008. Though, again, it's not clear that that the Z-P140 PATA SSD will be included with this first generation release of the Intel Menlow platform. 

All of which means that 2009 is probably the most optimistic projection for inclusion in GSM phones.  For those of us on CDMA networks here in the states, well, we'll probably be waiting another year after that for the typical catch-up and personalization phase (assuming, of course, that our CDMA carrier is even around anymore!)

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5 years ago

Sprint Gets New CEO, Still Screwed

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Sprint Gets New CEO, Still Screwed

Sprint has named a new CEO, Daniel R. Hesse, who's been around the wireless block a few times. He was CEO of AT&T Wireless back when it was, er, still AT&T Wireless (best not to revisit the merger madness in too much detail) from 1997-2000. He's also on Nokia's board of directors (Imagine Nokia putting serious effort into making a CDMA smartphone for the US market. Now imagine a square circle. About the same, eh?). Most recently, though, he ran Sprint's local phone division, spun off as “Embarq” to placate the the monopoly police after the Nextel merger. ...In other words, the world of wireless executives is small and Hesse is probably as good a choice as any.

Of course, he has his work cut out for him, and how. Sprint still looks to be on a collision course to switch to WiMax and be pretty much the only player planning on a 4G network that isn't based on GSM. That's assuming they even last long enough to get there. See, according to Skydeck, nearly 40% of their customers plan on leaving Sprint at then end of their contracts. They also have the lowest customer satisfaction and the lowest percentage of customers who want to stay with them.

Yeah, it's ugly:

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5 years ago

Will the BlackJack II, Treo 750 Be Upgraded to Windows Mobile 6.1?

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I was just chatting with Merlyn3D about the BlackJack II and he wondered, innocently enough, whether or not the BlackJack II would be upgraded to Windows Mobile 6.1. I smacked my forehead - of course it will be upgradable. We know because Microsoft told us so in October.

But WMExperts,” you ask, “Windows Mobile 6.1 is still in the ethereal land of myth and rumor. How could Microsoft have confirmed the upgrade back in October, when 6.1 was but a whispered dream?

We reply: that's some fancy prose there, bub. But check it: at CTIA in October, they announced Microsoft System Center, Mobile Device Manager 2008 (aka MSCMDM). As part of that announcement, they mentioned that it would require “forthcoming versions of WM devices.” “Forthcoming versions,” eh? Sound like WM6.1 to you? Because it does to us.

They also mentioned a couple of devices that would--for sure--be compatible with the device-management software:

  • The Treo 750
  • The BlackJack II

So either the Treo 750 (recently upgraded to Windows Mobile 6) and the BlackJack II have secret settings for MSCMDM or - more likely - they'll require an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.1. Those were the only two devices named by, er, name; but we also know that HTC, Palm, Motorola, Sprint, and i-mate all announced they'd be on board with MSCMDM at or around launch in the 2nd Quarter of 2008. Nothing shocking there, but good to file away.

So WM6.1 is probably coming. But when? Make a couple (wildly optimistic) assumptions: that both Microsoft and these device managers will be on time; then you should see WM6.1 before Q3 of next year, say by the end of the summer. Why “wildly optimistic?” Maybe you haven't noticed, but Palm got their WM6.0 update for the 750 in just under the wire and Samsung has yet to release the long-promised upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.0 for the original BlackJack. So we aren't going to be placing any bets that Palm and Samsung will get their upgrades out on time.

At least we know WM6.1 running on at least one Q9h somewhere, somehow. Hope, as it tends to do, springs eternal.

Read: CTIA: Liveblogging the Steve Ballmer Keynote - WMExperts

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5 years ago

iPhone #2 in the USA?

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iPhone #2 in the USA?

So on Friday afternoon, Mike over at our iPhone Blog stumbled across this primo piece of linkbait over at Roughly Drafted. It's not good news:

In its first full quarter of sales, the iPhone has already climbed past Microsoft’s entire lineup of Windows Mobile smartphones in North America, according to figures compiled by Canalys and published by Symbian.

Ok: some context. You can't get Canalys' number's without paying a lot of money, so instead what many folks do is find some sucker who's willing to pay for those numbers and publish them. Symbian is often that rube, and so we have the numbers and they show something startling: in one quarter (maybe two, we're working secondhand here), the iPhone had garnered 27% of US marketshare in the smartphone category. Ouch.

Now we're going on record saying that we're not believing the numbers 100%, but we can't tell if the fishy smell of the numbers is coming from the fact that the report is fishy or the fact that we're living in De Nile. It might be the denial thing, since we've already seen numbers claiming that the internet sees more Mobile Safari users than it does PocketIE users.

So now what? Well, like Morning Paper (thanks for the link, there, pals!), we're taking the news philosophically. Well, philosophically with a side of “we don't believe it yet.” Look at the bright side - if it's true, we're suddenly rootin' for the underdogs, which is more fun and more gratifying. Plus: it looks like the platform that lost the most to the iPhone is the PalmOS. We're not saying, we're just saying.

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5 years ago

More Details on Future Versions of Windows Mobile Emerge

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While it's clear that there's still plenty under wraps, we are seeing more details about Windows Mobile showing up today.

So, what's the gist of what's coming down through Microsoft's pipe? Everyone knows that Windows Mobile 6.1 is coming through the tubes, and that it's a relatively small update. It does some stuff that will be awesome (threaded messaging, for example), but beyond that and a few minor key tweaks, nothing fundamentally significant will change for the people using it.

For the next version after that, Microsoft is going to pare down their desktop version of Internet Explorer and stick it into Windows Mobile. Core apps like Office, Outlook Mobile, Windows Media, photos, etc. will all be re-vamped (re-imagineered?) so as to be easier to use. It sounds like the tweaks will be subtle enough that it won't freak out long-term users but still deliver some good, solid UI improvement payoff.

The next version of Windows Mobile after that last version of Windows Mobile is going to get the crazy redesigns, fully integrated search love, and should be able to present information to you based on your context. For example, while you're on the phone with someone the screen shows you their card in your address book, or a driving map to where they are, or the meetings you have with them in the next 2 weeks, or the next 20 emails you're going to send to this person. Microsoft will no longer optimize Windows Mobile for styli at this point, unless you think of your index finger as a stylus.

At this point, with 6.1 and then the next and then this version of Windows Mobile getting rumored, I don't know where to put the codeword "Photon." My guess is that it applies to all of them and none of them. Might be time to retire that particular codeword.

At the recent CTIA conference, Ballmer was asked about the Zune phone. As usual, he dodged the question, but said that they'd probably roll achievements from the Zune into Windows Mobile. As to which version of Windows Mobile will get those improvements, we've got no answer yet. Unofficially, it sounds like piecewise into both of the next big versions. At any rate, we know it's coming someday.

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5 years ago

WorldMate Has a Flavor, er, Free Version

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WorldMate Has a Flavor, er, Free Version

So point your Smartphone/Standard edition device at http://mobile.mobimate.com/sp and your PocketPC/Pro at http://mobile.mobimate.com/ppc - because WorldMate just became free. We're guessing they're hoping the free feature set, which includes an “itinerary viewer, global weather forecast, world clocks, a clothing size and measurement converter, a world day / night map and a tip and tax calculator” will entice you to pony up for the paid version, which gets you “real-time flight status, flight schedules, packing list, animated satellite weather imagery and global dialing code guide.”

The subscription is $6.95 per month, which is a little steep for a bunch of info you can find on the web for free. We're not complaining, though, because we're going to give the free version a shot here right quick... nom nom nom. (Excessively corny “has a flavor” and “nom nom nom” jokes brought to you by icanhascheezburger)

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