Standardization long has been needed in the mobile phone industry. I hate switching phone manufacturers simply because that means buying a new travel charger and spare charger for the office. I'm probably not alone in that I have a drawer full of Motorola, Samsung, and Treo chargers whose corresponding phones have been banished to the recycling bin.
Luckily, this may be about to change. An initiative backed by mobile phone manufacturers as well as operators will result in a universal charger based on the micro-USB interface for new mobile phones. Read on after the break to see what industry leaders have signed off on this initiative, who led the way to standardization two years ago — and who's unlikely to to join in.
Every time I see the Touch Pro 2, it seems to get better and better. I finally got my hands on it for real yesterday and, well, it's a solid, incredible piece of hardware. Every time HTC iterates their slider design I always think to myself "Well, they've pretty much perfected this form factor" and every time a new one comes out I realize they're better at design than I am. Ahem.
The Touch Pro 2 feels great in the hand and though it's a tad hefty, it's a good kind of heft. The tilting slider hinge is back and feels solid. You may not actually want to tilt it all the way up during normal use as it does block the number row (yes, a full number row) of the keyboard.
More thoughts and -- of course -- more photos after the break!
We didn't really give the Pantech Duo the attention it deserved. It was (and is) a neat little dual-slider that, sure, felt a little plasticky and looked a little cheap, but nevertheless was a totally legitimate Windows Mobile Standard device. Well, it looks like Pantech themselves must've thought even less of the Duo that we did, because for their update to the device they're dropping the "Duo" altogether in favor of calling it the "Pantech Matrix Pro."
The Matrix, you may recall, was a simple feature phone from Pantech, so that's the brand they're continuing by adding "Pro" at the end of it. Likely the Matrix sold pretty well for them, so this wasn't a bad move. On the other hand, we're still feeling guilty for giving the Duo short shrift -- seeing Pantech do the same adds a pang.
Anyhow, the Matrix Pro hangs onto the dual-sliding action and improves the look a bit and the specs just a tiny bit more
Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
3G HSDPA, Quad-Band EDGE
AGPS, Bluetooth (No WiFi)
2 MP Camera
528 MHZ Qualcomm MSM7201a Processor
256 ROM / 128 RAM
3 hours talktime
320x240 QVGA Screen
Price and availability unknown -- more's the pity, because we totally owe it to Pantech to give this Matrix Pro a spin. [via Engadget Mobile]
HTC may want to just call it the Touch Cruise, but new's new and so we'll call is the Touch Cruise 2. What we have here is a surprisingly good phone: today's low-end is definitely yeterday's high end. The phone itself is lighter than you might expect, but the body doesn't feel cheap and the OS is very responsive -- probably because this is the "light" edition of TouchFlo 3D and at the end of the day, HTC has it specced as a QVGA (read: 320x240) device. It sure is the best QVGA screen we've ever seen, after handing the device we double-checked to make sure HTC's site really did have it at QVGA. The device could stand to be a little smaller, but judged on its own merits as a simple GPS phone, we've got no complaints. The Touch Cruise 2 is a significant step up over the original Touch Cruise, which felt a little boxy.
We also played with Footprints a bit, HTC's custom-built GPS-tagging system for photos. It's more than just throwing coordinates inside the EXIF data, you can jump right to maps (or even directions) for any photo with a tap. The Touch Cruise may not be one of HTC's flagship devices, but it definitely holds its own in their line up.
We'll rehash the specs after the break as well as present you with, what else? More photos.
By Dieter Bohn, Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm EST
Microsoft may not have gobs of Windows Mobile 6.5 demo units out at MWC09, but that doesn't mean your intrepid friends at WMExperts weren't scouring the floor trying to find one. Find one we did, at Texas Instruments' booth. It's running on a development platform (the OMAP34x-II) they've created to help manufacturers use their new OMAP3430 processor. We'll cover both our thoughts from our brief time with Windows Mobile 6.5 as well as some tidbits about this processor that ought to have Qualcomm and Broadcom a little nervous.
Go on and click the link for more. Or else you could click the thumbnail above for the full size image of that beautiful, creepy, awesome Grey Crowned Crane. It's mesmerizing, innit?
Oh, while you're staring: think about this. That's a capacitive touchscreen you're staring at. We know, we know, WM6.5 doesn't support it and you'll likely never see such a thing actually sold to consumers and frankly, there were times we couldn't hit the button we were aiming for (the fact that it was a huge 4" screen helped). But it's there: Windows Mobile 6.5 on a capacitive touchscreen.
But you should read on now and pay attention, we're going to bring up HDMI.
By Dieter Bohn, Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm EST
Couldn't come up with the scratch to make it to Barcelona, Spain, for Mobile World Congress? It's cool. Microsoft and your friends at WMExperts have you covered.
Join us after the break at 9 a.m. EST (that's 3 p.m. Barcelona time) right now for a live feed (courtesy of the boys and girls in Redmond) of Steve Ballmer, Andy Lees and friends as we hope to get our first official glimpse of Windows Mobile 6.5, My Phone, and maybe a monkey dance for old times' sake. (Note: You'll likely need Silverlight to see the feed. Get it here.)
Update: Yeah, the live show's over. Sorry if you missed it (these European times are killer). We'll try to find a recorded version.
Sprint has added mobile broadband to its "Simply Everything" plan, calling it "Simply Everything + Mobile Broadband." We had to curb out enthusiasm a little bit (thanks, PreCentral) when we were reminded that Sprint's mobile broadband isn't the same as using your phone as a modem, tethered to a laptop. We're talking data cards only, folks.
That said, for $149, you get all the usual from Sprint's "Simply Everything" — unlimited voice, texts, GPS and data — plus 5 gigabytes of tethering data. That's (unfortunately) the usual cap these days.
Hit up sprint.com/nowires for more details, and see the full press release after the break.
During all the excitement of the 2009 Mobile World Congress, AT&T has quietly acknowledged that it should have a fully ready Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in 2011. AT&T has pledged in the past to introduce the 4G Network in 2010 but, according to Senior Architecture VP Kris Rinne, will see the first phase limited to trials in 2010, with commercial services available the following year. This will put AT&T's 4G Network about a year behind Verizon's 4G network, which is for trials later this year with commercial services planned for 2010.
AT&T doesn't seem too worried about Verizon's time line, maintaining that it can rely on HSPA+ and have the advanced 3G networks reach 20Mbps sometime later this year through software upgrades. The LTE network theoretically is at least five times as fast in downloads, about 100Mbps and has a lower latency that should make multi-layer games, VoIP, and two way calling more practical than on 3G networks.
Speaking of time lines, it's probably safe to say that Apple's future plans for the iPhone could well be a factor here. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that AT&T has no idea what Apple's plans are.
A few weeks ago we mentioned the pending release of SPB Mobile Shell 3. And while the application hasn't gone live yet, it does have it's own Web site, and a video presentation has surfaced on You Tube. Still no hard a release date (Aprilish maybe?) but the updated version is being billed as having such features as multi-home pages (hello, Xperia X1 panels?), widgets, kinetic scrolling, 3D screen switcher, hardware acceleration support, Facebook integration and support for Windows Mobile 6.5.
Barcelona Bureau Chief Dieter Bohn was able to get his hands on the application at Mobile World Congress. Check in after the break for his impressions and a few more pictures.
What do you get when you take an Acer DX900 and strip out a few bits? The Acer X960. Gone are the DX900's dual SIMS and G-Sensor, here to stay are quad-band EDGE, tri-band HSDPA, 256 ROM/128 RAM, and the 480x640 screen. The processor goes from a Samsung S3C 6400 to the 6410, and what that means is outside our present knowledge.
While not the powerhouse (at least on paper) that the Acer F900 and M900 are, the X960 may just manage to beat them on battery life (we don't yet know the battery size on any of them) by dint of it's slightly smaller resolution screen. The question we're asking is whether the X960 is really differentiated enough from the F900 (likely by price) to find a market.
Welcome to the party, Acer, now let us know when your stuff will ship and for how much (yeah, and where too).
We already saw the Acer DX900 Glofiish rebrand, but what we were really hoping for from these guys was something new. They're somewhat delivering with the F900 and the M900. The F900 (that's it on the left there) is your non-keyboarded device and the M600 is a standard horizontal slider. Specs look pretty darn beefy, though:
Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Tri-Band 3G, Quad-band Edge
G-Sensor, FM Radio, Light Sensor
Samsung S3C 6410 Processor
256 ROM / 128 RAM
480 x 800 WVGA Touchscreen
In addition to all that, the F900 gives you a 3MP camera. The M900 steps it up with a 5MP camera and a fingerprint reader. We were hoping that Acer would make a splash at MWC09 and except for RAM and ROM being a little low, these 900 series devices initially look like cannonballs to us. Will they hold up to a hands-on? Find out after the break.
Microsoft broke ground early by unveiling Recite, a searchable voice notes application for Windows Mobile. The application is being labeled a "technology preview," which is basically a demo of what the application can do. While it lacks a lot of features that we expect the final version to have (e.g. delete messages, sort messages, play messages, etc.) the "technology preview" will let you record a note and search through the recordings. Follow the break for a few screen shots and more information on this new application from Microsoft.
The Samsung Valencia joins its brother, the Samsung BlackJack II, in being a simple, straightforward front-facing QWERTY messaging machine. Well, simple except for mysterious internal storage specs. The look is updated a bit, the processor may be a bit snappier, and the keyboard looks to be a might bit easier to type on. The hardware itself is nothing to write home about, it does the job but isn't an snazzy as the BlackJack II or as svelte as the Q9h. It's straightfoward stuff that we wouldn't be ashamed to put in our pocket. We're also moderately impressed with the custom home screen, but not so impressed that we'd choose it over the default sliding panels.
The fact that it's Tri-Band Edge, however, makes us suspect it's probably meant for pockets outside the US.
Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
3G, Tri-Band Edge
393 MHz ST Micro 8810 Processor
128MB Rom, 128MB RAM, 20GB Storage, or maybe 2GB, or maybe none.
7 hours talk time
320x230 QVGA screen
More photos after the break, plus did you notice the reference to a mystery? Did you notice that reference to internal storage in the spec list? Yeah, odd. (update: Odd enough that we're already updating the post)