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5 years ago

Back from Digital Life, AT&T Needs to get its Windows Mobile 6 Act Together

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Apologies for the ghost town on Friday. We (ok, it was just me) were in New York City last week, covering an antiquated OS in a new package (aka the announcement of the Palm Centro). Digital Life is a pretty ho-hum conference overall, featuring mainly also-ran video games. Microsoft's announcements were limited to talking about their Media Center initiatives.

Microsoft did have a few devices out, showing off Windows Mobile 6. Pictured above, a Blackjack on AT&T running Windows Mobile 6. Why hasn't this been released yet? Why hasn't Windows Mobile 6 been released for the Treo 750 yet? Canada, Australia, and Europe have it. What's it gonna take, guys? A hunger strike?

...We now return you to your regularly scheduled Windows Mobile News and Reviews. Coming up later today, part 2 to HobbesIsReal's Guide to Windows Mobile Installation! Update: Let's make it tomorrow, a crazy big news day today.

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5 years ago

Ultimate Search hits 1.5

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Ultimate Search hits 1.5

Not everybody can have a Treo with a search bar right on the Today screen. And not everybody has Windows Mobile 6 yet, either, sadly enough. What to do? Perhaps take a peek at Ultimate Search, which puts a souped-up search bar on your today screen. Here's what's in the soup (does that metaphor even work?):

  • Google
  • Wikipedia
  • Movies
  • Local
  • Dictionary
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Answers.com

That looks pretty nice, actually. If the point of a search bar on your today screen is to get info fast, then being able to use a specific search type makes that point ...pointier. It's $11.95 and there's a free trial.

Oh, and notice that "YouTube" search? I suspect you'll be a lot happier using that particular option if you've installed the "Full YouTube on Windows Mobile" hack. I should mention that the whole system has been significantly improved since we first posted about it, so definitely revisit it if you haven't.

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5 years ago

Amazon MP3 Store Launched

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Amazon MP3 Store Launched

[editor's note: Dieter's leaving a jet plane for NYC today, Any breaking news today will probably have to come from me, Mike Overbo of diametrically-opposed evil twin sibling smelly-iPhone-centric site Phone Different.]

Amazon has launched a beta of their MP3 store. This store will probably actually make its own stand, as opposed most of the other online stores that try to compete with iTunes that end up as also-rans. Case in point, Virgin's online store just closed down. Exactly how Amazon got EMI and UMG to kowtow to the MP3 format is beyond me, but they got them to do it. Here's the sweet and low-down:

  • Top 100 songs: $.89 (unless otherwise noted)
  • Top 100 albums: $8.99 or less (unless marked otherwise)
  • Other songs: Usually $.99
  • Other albums: all over the place. Under $4.99 to $11.99
  • Bit rate: 256kbps, mostly variable bit rate (VBR)
  • Song Encoding: MP3
  • DRM: none
  • Album Art: yes
  • Transferrable license of music: no
  • Big labels present: Universal Music Group, EMI
  • Big labels absent: Warner, Sony BMG
  • Indie labels: about 20,000 of 'em
  • # of Songs that AmazonMP3 has: 2 million
  • # of Songs that iTunes has: 6 million
  • Works with Macs: yes
  • Works with PCs: yes
  • Works with Linux: single songs only, no albums. Album downloader application in the works.

Interestingly, the current #1 song is, natch, 1234 by Feist. You know, the gal from the new iPod Nano commercial. #1 Artist? The Apples in Stereo.

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5 years ago

Samsung SCH-i760: Not So Hot

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Samsung SCH-i760: Not So Hot

Forum user levinda was one of the "lucky" few who managed to sneak in an order for the Samsung SCH-i760 when it was briefly available via a backdoor method. The i760 looked like a sweet device to me, if only because the unique keypad on the front would give it a bigger screen. The devil, though, he's in the details, and according to levinda, the details suck:

- [...] Basically, unless you have really big hands it is almost impossible for me to use one-handed, even when I didn't need to slide the keyboard out!

- I thought the front keypad would enable one-handed use for quick typing of SMS. Wrong! It only has ABC text input. [...]

- Power button. Any time I wanted to turn on the phone I had to hit the power button on the top (not easy one-handed for a lefty) or slide out the keyboard. [...]

- No abilty to diable the touch screen during a call. Why don't all WM phones have this option? [...]

- WM softkeys not alingned under their screen functions

Read: I Jumped To The i760...For Less Than 48 Hours - WM Experts

Basically the Treo is still king of one-handed QWERTY use (as we mentioned here) and the SCH-i760 just isn't as well-thought-out as it should be. If you're going to try something new with button placement on a Windows Mobile device, make sure that you do some usability testing.

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5 years ago

How To: Install, Uninstall, and Transfer Files on Windows Mobile

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Join us in reading Hobbes' epic How-To install guide, the definitive one for how to get the stuff you want on your Windows Mobile device. It's geared to the new user, but even an old-hat like myself has learned a thing or two from this monster guide. If you're like me, you have a friend or family member who's always hitting you up for help with their Windows Mobile smartphone. My new advice to them: read this article. -- Ed.

Window Mobile (WM) phones can certainly make a huge impact on your productivity on a personal level as well in your professional career. It can offer hours of entertainment with games, movies and music while making sure you never miss a beat from the office while away from your desk. When someone buys their first WM phone, they can usually be placed into two different camps. Those who have only owned a regular cell phone and this is their first smartphone... and those who have owned smartphones in the past, but never a WM phone (i.e. they have only owned Palm OS, Symbian, Blackberry, etc.). In either case, as with anything else in this world, there is a learning curve in order to reach that level of comfort and understanding with their new phone, though this learning curve is probably smaller than some might think at first.

This is going to be the first part in a series aimed at addressing the most common questions, beginner misunderstandings, avoidable unneeded frustrations, etc... that many brand new WM users face. Or for some long time or casual WM users, it may simply answer questions you might have been too embarrassed to ask about!

Part one focuses on how to copy files to your WM phone as well as how to install and unistall software applications on your phone. This guide is written with the beginner in mind, so it does go into a little more detail than you would normally find.

How To: Manually Transfer Files From the PC to the Phone

There are times you will want to transfer files to your new Windows Mobile phone. They may be Word or Excel docs for work, your collection of MP3s, a program you want to install, or pictures of your 3 year old that you are itching to show anyone who will look. There are a few different ways you can transfer files from your PC to your WM phone. Sometimes you will have to make a judgment call as to which way will be the best for the file(s) that you want to transfer, depending on it's size, how many there are, and the location in relation to your phone. In other words, is the file big or small, do you have 2 or 163 files, is it on the PC sitting next to the phone or is the file 2,000 miles away on you boss' laptop. These tutorials assume you have a basic knowledge of Windows XP or Vista on your PC.

Transfer with ActiveSync

If you only need to transfer a few small files and you can connect the phone to the PC that has the files, then you can use ActiveSync to transfer the file. Please be aware that if you are using Windows XP vs Windows Vista, the steps below are very similar with only minor differences. The big difference is basically in the name of the Utility that you use depending the OS on your PC. In Windows XP you will use ActiveSync, which you may need to install on the PC (you can download the latest version here). In Windows Vista it already comes with its version of ActiveSync called Windows Mobile Device Center. Here is how you would do it with both WinXP and Vista:

  1. Open Windows Explorer on your PC (usually Start / All Programs / Accessories / Windows Explorer )
  2. Connect your phone to your PC
  3. In XP: After ActiveSync shows it is connected, click on the "Explore" button on ActiveSync on your PC

    In Vista: After Windows Mobile Device Center on your PC shows it is connected to your phone, hover your mouse over File Management and then click on the "Browse The Content Of Your Device"

  4. In the ActiveSync Explorer or the Windows Mobile Device Center Explorer window you just opened on your PC, browse to the folder on your phone you want to copy the file to.
    In WinXP: The window will usually open in your phone's My Documents folder in WinXP ActiveSync. In order to browse anywhere else, you will have go up one level by double clicking on "My Windows Mobile Based Device" and then browse to any folder on your phone or select Memory Card and browse to any folder there.
    In Vista: Vista's Windows Mobile Device Center it will open up to the root directory so you will have to start by clicking on the phone for the internal memory or the SD card to explorer's it's folders.
  5. Now in Windows Explorer on your PC find the file that you want to copy to your phone.
  6. To copy the file to your phone, simply drag the file from Windows Explorer to the the window of the ActiveSync Explorer or Windows Mobile Device Center Explorer window.

  7. A progress bar will show the status of the file transfer. Please note that if you are using Windows XP, you will not be able to browse either the ActiveSync Explorer window or Windows Explorer until the transfer is completed, but if you are using Windows Vista you will be able to continue to browse while the files are being copied.

You really only want to use this option if the file(s) you want to transfer are small. You also do not want to do this if you are going to transfer a lot of files.

Transfer with a Card Reader

One of the easiest ways (and the way I personally do it most of the time) is to simply remove the memory card from your phone and plug it into a USB card reader connected to your PC. Then you simply use Windows Explorer to drag and drop any file(s) you want copy from your PC to any folder on your phone's memory card.

There are times that this will really be your only option, too. For example, when you want to transfer a VERY large file (i.e. the map file for the whole USA for your GPS navigation program) or a large group of files (i.e. 682 MP3 files) then you want to use a memory card reader for two reasons: First is that copying large files or a large group of files via ActiveSync may literally take **hours** longer. I am not kidding. When I first tried using Active Sync to copy about a GIG of MP3s to my phone, 6 hours later it was still trying to finish them. It only took a matter of minutes with my card reader. Secondly, if ActiveSync does not recognize the file format, it may try to convert to a format it likes better, but then makes it not usable for the intended program (I had this happen to me when I tried use ActiveSync in WinXP to transfer my map files for my GPS navigation program).

Transfer with Email

Now if there is a program that is on a PC that is not next to the computer that you want to install on your phone, then you can email the CAB file to your handheld so you can install the program. Please note that for this to work, you will need to have a CAB file to send, and not the EXE installation file (see the next section for details on this). On the PC, send an email to an email account that you have already set up on your handheld. (Look for a future How To article on WMexperts or browse the forums if you need help with this). Then make sure you attach the CAB file to your email. And send.

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5 years ago

AT&T Tilt, Samsung SCH-i760, XV6800 in the wild

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Mobility Today scored some live shots of the hottest sliders coming this fall. On the Verizon side we have the UTStarComm XV6800, which has a blue casing that manages to look even uglier than its name sounds. Also on Verizon we have the near Samsung slider and I agree with Ciccone - it's a lot chunkier than I expected.

The real hotness, though, is our first real shot of an AT&T branded Tilt instead of unlocked Kaisers. The good news is that, except for the badge, there appears to be virtually no change. The bad news is that, according to Engadget Mobile, the Tilt will be missing it's rumored launch date tomorrow due to "some pesky network certification issues."

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5 years ago

Blackjack 2 Rocks Touchscreen?

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Blackjack 2 Rocks Touchscreen?

After reading Andrew's full-throated defense of the Treo over at Treonauts, I was slightly abashed to realize that the Treo really does still have a very nice form factor - it's just that Palm got it right early and hasn't managed to significantly improved on it. To wit:

The Treo 680, 750 and 755p are still the smallest and lightest smartphones featuring both a large high resolution touchscreen and full QWERTY keyboard on the market today!!! [The Treo weighs 5.4 ounces while competing devices in this category are between 5.6 and 6.33 ounces.]

Exclamation points aside, he's right that a combination of a one-handed QWERTY keyboard and a hi-res screen is still an ideal form factor and one that I'd like to return to someday. "Someday" being "when Palm finally gets off their duff and throws a 320x320 screen into the Treo 750," because that really shouldn't be all that difficult (they've done it just fine with the PalmOS 755 and 680).

However, in the past few days I've realized that some other company is likely to challenge Palm in this particular form factor space - that company just might be Samsung. Mobility Today is one among many sites showing a photo and video of this sweet-looking Blackjack-esque device. The spec sheet is literally a list of the things that Palm has failed to deliver on (in the US, anyway):

  • Windows Mobile 6
  • HSDPA (ok, they've done that)
  • WiFi
  • GPS

All on a thin little touchscreen device looks to be 320x320. You can watch the video below to get a better feel for it, but don't look at the "mouse" feature too much. The less that's said about that crime against user interface on a smartphone, the better.

Video after the break.

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5 years ago

HTC US Head Honcho Resigns

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HTC US Head Honcho Resigns

If you love Windows Mobile, you probably love HTC. The company has done more than any other to innovate on the Windows Mobile platform, consistently releasing a dizzying array of new models and new form factors year after year. HTC's United States HQ in Bellevue, Washington has an open office right now, though, as the man in charge there resigned earlier this month:

Todd Achilles, the face of HTC Americas in the United States and throughout the Americas, resigned about a month ago, a company spokesperson said.

The smartphone vendor is actively pursuing candidates to replace Achilles, said Jason Gordon, an HTC spokesman.

Read: RCR Wireless News via Engadget Mobile

I doubt we'll see any serious repercussions, though that's not to say that Achilles hasn't been an important force in the company. As the linked article mentions, Achilles appears to have been big on innovating by helping HTC release devices that aren't strictly Windows Mobile - HTC Shift anyone? Here's a suggestion for the replacement guy: You can quit pretending HTC is a tiny niche player and start throwing your weight around. Your first opportunity: force carriers to name the devices consistently, so I can stop referring to your gadgets with slash after slash after slash. HTC Tilt / 8925 / Kaiser, I'm looking at you.

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5 years ago

How To: Browse Shared Network Files with Pocket Internet Explorer

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In a thread in our forums where folks are discussing the fact that the Treo 500v doesn't have WiFi (more on that below), Windows Mobile superuser surur points something out that I didn't know:

Mal, did you know this neat trick. If you go to PIE, and type in the address bar file://computername/ you can browse your shared network files. No additional software needed. This of course only works when connected internally to the network, usually via WIFI.

That is a neat trick. As surur says, it will only work on Wifi-enabled Windows Mobile devices that are on a network with Windows-shared files. As Malatesta (the referenced "Mal") points out, it's a little eerie for open networks. If nothing else, consider it yet another reason to make sure your WiFi network is secured and that you know what you are and are not sharing on your computers.

Anyhow, the whole thread is a great discussion on whether or not WiFi is a necessary component on modern Windows Mobile devices. My own personal feeling is that:

  1. Yes it is,
  2. Hell will freeze over when Palm puts WiFi in a Treo, and
  3. It's actually surprising that the Treo 500v lacks WiFi, because it looks like it was pretty much "built to spec" for a Windows Mobile 6 Standard-Edition device. There doesn't appear to be much in the way of Palm-specific "special sauce" in there, so it's difficult to believe that it would have been hard to include it. It must have just been a cost/battery life decision.
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5 years ago

Sprint, Microsoft Using gpsOne Chips for Really Real?

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That seems to be the case, check out the details that crossed the wires yesterday:

Starting on Tuesday, when Sprint Nextel customers use the search bar in their phone browsers, the results will automatically incorporate the users' location. Some customers will also be able to use voice commands to conduct searches.
The capabilities are an extension of a relationship that Microsoft and Sprint formed late last year that initially involved including Microsoft's Live Search in the browser on Sprint phones.

Read: Yahoo! News

I ignored this story initially because the handsets mentioned were bland feature phones. Then DrDoom pointed out that there's no reason LBS can't work on devices like the Mogul very very soon. Seems like a no-brainer that it should be built into Live Search.

I hate gpsOne not because it's inaccurate, but because it's so often locked down just because the carriers haven't figured out a good way to use it to bilk us out of more money. So this news is actually good news. As DrDoom said: "Because even if its only using the towers, SOMETHING is better than NOTHING for LBS." You damn skippy.

Update: Malatesta smacks me down in the comments -- and rightly so. It's not gpsOne/aGPS, it's just tower triangulation. Although that would still be SOMETHING, as stated above, it's not ANYTHING yet for Windows Mobile. In point of fact, Malatesta doubts it ever will be. Grumble grumble.

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5 years ago

HTC to Manufacture WM Devices for Sony Ericsson

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You know what I hate - when I make a prediction about technology but forget to tell somebody. Then, when I am proven right, I can't legitimately say "Ha ha! Told you so!" Case in point: Sony Ericsson wants in on the Windows Mobile game and has tapped HTC to manufacture the handsets for them.

"Volume shipments of the smartphone - Sony Ericsson's first Windows Mobile-based smartphone and HTC's first ODM orders from a first-tier handset vendor - are expected to top over one million units and to account for 10-20% of HTC's total shipments projected for 2008," said the Chinese newspaper

Read: cellular-news

These things take time, so we're likely a year out from seeing anything in the stores. I'll make another prediction now - actually it's more like wishful thinking: Sony will resurrect the "Clié" name for these smartphones. Sony saw the writing on the wall back when they pulled out of the PalmOS. At that time, they were making the coolest PDAs available, bar none. Hopefully they'll bring back some of that hotness -- only this time on a smartphone platform that actually has multitasking and, you know, a future.

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5 years ago

Sept 25th: AT&T Gets Tilt, Q9 Global

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Sept 25th: AT&T Gets Tilt, Q9 Global

In our forums, bubbatex reminds us that yesterday Boy Genius gave us solid leads on some releases. Exactly one week from today, on Sept 25th, we should see the AT&T Tilt (we thought it would have been released by now), the Q9 Global (nee Q9H, I guess). He's also mentioning the Pantech Duo (which I've been studiously ignoring here at WMExperts, but no more) should hit on October 9th.

Readers of this site know that the Tilt looks to be the Best Windows Mobile Phone Ever. Period., but the Q9 Global isn't going to be any sort of slouch, either. The Pantech Duo is one of those neat dual-sliders, though I'll admit I find the extra thickness a poor tradeoff for that 2nd keypad. Still, it's an HSDPA WM6 Standard device with some pretty good looks and a pretty good price, $249 after rebates.

After the jump, the leaked docs BGR snagged as proof of our impending Tilt bliss.

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5 years ago

Review: Mobi Plug-in SD and microSD Reader

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5 years ago

Review: BlueAnt Z9 Bluetooth Headset

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5 years ago

New Memory Card Standard Coming

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New Memory Card Standard Coming

Apparently "Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Micron Technology, and others" are developing a new flash memory card standard they hope will replace the now-common SD card standard. The good news: it should be faster and require less power than current memory cards. The bad news: yet another memory card standard out there.

We already have MMC, SD, miniSD, microSD, Compact Flash, xD, Sony's whateverStick, and so on and so on. I'm happy these days that I can put everything on a microSD and then use adapters for basically any smartphone I would want to use. If this UFS is to be the new standard, let's hope that the consortium gets everybody on board, because I smell a BluRay vs HDDVD kind of situation in the offing and it doesn't smell good.

The goal of the new specification, dubbed Universal Flash Storage (UFS), is memory cards with high-speed access to large multimedia files, while at the same time reducing power-consumption. The target performance level is a significant advancement beyond that of the varied flash cards popular today. Under the new standard, a 90-minute movie that that takes up 4 GB on a memory card will be loaded in seconds.

Read: Mobile Phone Makers Developing Another Memory Card Standard

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