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5 years ago

WM Alt Browser Update: Minimo and Opera

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WM Alt Browser Update: Minimo and Opera

Two exciting bits of browser news to share today. Minimo, the Mozilla-based browser for Windows Mobile, has been updated to 0.2. That's a tiny version number, but it's not a tiny set of features you'll get. The previous version of Minimo was well-nigh unusable (for me, anyway), so I hope this one is better. Check it out: Minimo project page

We also get a new version of another alternative browser: Opera. You can download a trial here, but it'll die on June 1st or within a set time period, whichever comes first. Get browsing!

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5 years ago

Coming in May: Some iTunes Store Music on your WM Device

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Looks like EMI is the first record label to respond to Steve Jobs' Open Letter calling on labels to let Apple sell DRM-free music. And how! The music will cost an extra 30 cents per song, but you'll be able to upgrade your current purchases. The better news is Jobs anticipates more labels coming onboard soon. The new DRM-less songs will be 256kb AAC, which means they'll play on basically any modern music player - including, drum roll, Windows Mobile devices.

8:24 Announcing premium downloads. Free from DRM, and higher sound quality.
- 8:25 Upgrade ability as well.
- From press release: $1.29 for premium tracks (DRM-less), $.99 for standard (DRM), and $.30 for upgrade

Read: Mac Rumors: Apple/EMI Press Conference Coverage [Live Updates]

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5 years ago

Review: Monaco Aluminum Case for BlackJack

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5 years ago

Pinger For All

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Pinger For All

Pinger, the neat little service that lets you send really quick voice mail messages to people (think of it like a combination of SMS and voicemail), announced at CTIA that they've upgraded their service so that you can send these quick little notes to anybody in the US. Previously, if you sent a message to a non-member, they had to muddle through the signup process -- which was my biggest roadblock to using it.

They also showed off a neat little Blackberry app that allowed you to browse through and send Pinger messages - and also said that they're working on a WM version. Neat.

Pinger, Inc. today expanded its service to tens of millions of Blackberry and US mobile phone users. Pinger, which provides text messaging for your voice, released a mobile application to optimize the Pinger experience for Blackberry users. In addition, Pinger expanded general support for mobile phones on nearly every US mobile carrier

Read: Pinger Press

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5 years ago

Deepfish Updated, sorta kinda not really available for download

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We mentioned Deepfish way back before WMExperts was really really live, but it looks like it's making the rounds again. Deepfish is a new browser for Windows Mobile that has some really nice zooming features (ala iPhone). Sadly, it appears that they're not allowing for any more downloads of the current Beta. Bottom line: it's really clear that Microsoft has been giving thought to alternative and innovative mobile user interfaces lately.

Deepfish is a new type of mobile information browsing experience, aimed at preserving the rich layout and full form of documents on mobile devices while providing novel ways of effectively navigating that content on small screens.

Read: Microsoft Live Labs - Take Deepfish for a Swim

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5 years ago

ZenZui = Smartphone GUI + Mobile Content

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ZenZui = Smartphone GUI + Mobile Content

Ever since Pieter Knook mentioned it in his keynote, the WM Community has been all atwitter about ZenZui. Near as I can tell, it's a combination of two major things: a fancy thumbable interface (that's also friendly to T9 phones) combined with a unique way to provide and cache mobile content.

With ZenZui, your phone screen is a portal into your own customized Zoomspace, an information landscape of personalized, cached content in the form of Tiles that directly reflect your lifestyle. Using a single thumb, you fly in and out of your Zoomspace – two simple taps get you directly to any Tile.

The "Tiles" allow you to zoom in and out of the content you're looking for relatively quickly and easily - it's actually a really smart way to build an interface. Take a look at the embedded YouTube Video after the break. The content comes from two directions, apparently: tiles created by companies and tiles created by independent developers - the users pick their favorites and share them with each other "virally." Basically it looks like ZenZui is trying to get money to folks without making us users crazy with ads and spammy content and whatnot.

In any case, it makes a little more sense when you watch the video. It'll probably make even more sense when we use it. I'd say this is a good idea without a future, but it's a Microsoft spin-off, so I'll say it's a good idea with a good chance.

Read: ZenZui

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5 years ago

CTIA Day 3: Ubiquio and Randomness

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CTIA Day 3: Ubiquio and Randomness

The surprise of the day was stumbling upon the UBiQUiO (Seriously, that's how they want you to do the capitalized and non-capitalized letters) devices. They're full Pocket-PC smartphone (touchscreen and all) available in unlocked GSM versions from Mobile Planet and originally made by a unnamed Taiwanese manufacturer. But if all those sketchy details don't bother you, the price for the upcoming Ubiquio 503 might: $650 for the unlocked version, available in June.

The 503 has some great specs, though: WM6, a 520mhz Intel processor, 256 megs of ROM, 64mb of RAM, quad-band HSDPA/GSM radio, WiFi, and two cameras. Dang. They just had a dummy model of the 503 at the booth, but they did have a live 501 there for me to play with. More details on that one (currently available) after the jump, along with some other random CTIA newsbits.

Ubiquio 501

The Ubiquio 501 is a quad-band GSM PocketPC Windows Mobile 5 device. The thumbboard on it is actually pretty nice, it reminds me of the thumbboard on the MotoQ9 (which is perhaps not a coincidence - "keepin' it real fake" as Engadget would say). It sports a very nice 320x240 touchscreen and otherwise pretty standard specs for a GSM/EDGE PocketPC device: Triband GSM, Bluetooth 1.2, WiFi, and a 2 megapixel camera.

Overall I was pretty impressed with the form factor. Ubiquio decided to make it thin (.53 inches) and wide - which results in a somewhat slab-like device that is nevertheless very pocketable.

In any case, if none of the currently available offerings the the US float your boat, one of these guys might be a worthy import.

JB5 Browser

Jataayu had a small booth at CTIA where they showed me a little of the JB5 browser - the one I wasn't able to get working on my Dash. They were using it on a MotoQ9 and overall it was pretty neat. I was especially font of their zooming feature. I'll be giving it another go and a full review soon.

More Moto Q9

Jataayu weren't the only folks using a Q9, I saw a lot of booth-drones using them. It's like Moto is giving them out like candy. I want some candy, too. Heck - Motorola even embedded them in the floor of their booth (right). I'm thinking Motorola is pinning a lot of their hopes on the Q9 being a success - they really need a success right now.

Yahoo Go!

I did my part for the Windows Mobile community and gave Yahoo guff for not having their excellent Yahoo Go software available on enough WM devices. Right now it only works on tall-screen Smartphones. Seriously, I want to use this, especially now that they're going to be offering unlimited storage for their email. At least their oneSEARCH service works on everything.

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5 years ago

CTIA Day 2: Living Proof

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CTIA Day 2: Living Proof

Day two consisted of walking the show floor to see what we could see. Sadly, there's wasn't anything earth shattering. Here's the first bit of non-earth-shattering rumor confirmation: LG is indeed a new manufacturer of Windows Mobile phones. The proof is in the image on the right - a simple prototype of a WM6 device that we weren't allowed to touch. The casing: surely not what will finally come to be. In fact, pretty much all we've learned from this is that LG is capable of slapping together a WM prototype.

Whatever the final product is, let's hope it's as sexy as the Prada:

More images and CTIA news (including our thoughts on Microsoft's part of today's Keynote speech) after the jump.

More Living Proof: WM6 on Cingular phones

In case you didn't really believe it, here are the big three Cingular WM phones that'll be seeing the Windows Mobile 6 update: the Treo 750, the Cingular 8525, and the Samsung Blackjack. All are running WM6 with aplomb. Enough said.

Well, not quit enough. I have a message for Microsoft, Palm, Samsung, and Cingular: If you're going to announce a major upgrade for existing users - you should expect that we're going to want to know if it's free or not. It should be in the press release. If not, it should be on the tip of your tongue when I ask. What should not happen is what did happen to us over and over again: confusion that the question was even being asked. Folks: this is information we want to know.

I'll tell you what I feel like - I feel like the guy on the right that got placed on a slide in a Windows Mobile 6 presentation at Microsoft's booth. Check out the expression there: it's saying "I'm really happy about this news but confused as to how exactly it's going to affect me.

Keynote

Today's keynote was a threefer (though Ed Zander backed out at the last minute - bad quarterly earnings must've got him down) from AT&T, RIM, and Microsoft execs. Microsoft's representative was Pieter Knook and as I've said before, anybody with "ieter" in their name is ok in my book.

In any case, Knook's speech was all about Windows Mobile 6 (naturally) and how he's like to see it positioned in the market. He's hoping that mobile devices can "extend the promise of Web 2.0" (those of you who remember "embrace and extend", be quiet). More to the point, Knook emphasized that WM is an "open platform" - not in the evil commie "open source code" sense but in the sense that it's easy to develop for and anybody can release an app for it. Clearly it was a shot across the bows of both Blackberry and Apple - both of which lack WM's gigantic 3rd party app support. Though to be honest, the "open source" stuff rang a little hollow coming immediately after RIM listed something like 100 3rd party apps they support in lieu of actually saying something interesting in their keynote.

But I digress. Some other big data points from the keynote: over 3 million WM devices shipped in the last quarter of 2006 - a 100% increase over the same quarter in 2005. Here's another shocker: there are 55 different manufacturers around the world making WM devices - including (as mentioned above) the new guys LG and Toshiba. 125 operators support Windows Mobile phones on their networks.

Knook rounded out his speech by pointing out some necessary preconditions for real growth in the "prosumer" mobile market. Precondition number 1: simpler data plans, especially when roaming. Number 2: better mid-to-high level tech support from carriers. Hear Hear.

Last bits:

So, my world wasn't tilted on its axis, but it was a good time. We'll finish out today's post with a photo of CTIAs gone by. Sometimes it's nice to remind ourselves what a "brick phone" really is.

We'll hit the show floor one last time tomorrow - and then we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming after that. Sadly, we won't be here for the presidential keynote on Thursday, but WM vs. PalmOS vs. iPhone vs. Linux is enough partisanship for us, let's not bring actual politics in.

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5 years ago

CTIA Day 1: Device Ogling

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CTIA Day 1: Device Ogling

Day One-Half, technically, where we go to a press-only event that preceded CTIA proper. What happened at this pre-show show? Lots of fun ogling some of the latest and greatest coming out soon. Read on for impressions of the HTC Vox, the Samsung i760, and the Motorola Q9.

HTC Vox

First things first: the HTC Vox is as hot as you've imagined. It's tiny, it's actually smaller overall than a lot of high end feature phones (Like the Sony Ericsson W810, just barely), with a great bright screen that has very high density.

Sadly, the keyboard was just a little disappointing, but that's mainly because I wasn't used to it. It's off-center from the screen (which is obvious if you click on the thumbnails above), which is a disconcerting. I could get used to it, though. Sincerely, I could get very used to it. I want this phone. More good news - although there aren't any official carrier announcements in the US (yet!), it is being released in a CDMA/EVDO version on Telus in Canada. This means there's at least a chance this little wonder could be available on every major carrier in the US.

Motorola Q9


The Motorola Q9 is an improvement in every way over the original Motorola Q. Especially, especially in the thumbboard department. I've written before about being disappointed in the MotoQ's thumbboard, and although the Q9 still doesn't have a delete/backspace key on the main QWERTY board itself (for shame), the feel and tactile quality of the new thumbboard is so great I can easily say it's second only to the Treo 750 in the world of Windows Mobile thumbboards. Better than any slider I've used, too -- it's great.

Samsung i760

There's not much to say here: If you like the HTC Vox but don't think you can give up the touchscreen, then you want the Samsung i760. I'm still a fan of their neat little 5-way next to phonepad, and the thumbboard itself is comfortable and easy to use.

Assorted Bits

We spoke to Yahoo about their plans for Yahoo Go. It currently only supports the "tall format" smartphone versions of WM5 (320h x 240w, like the Cingluar 3125). New formats that support other screen resolutions are "coming soon." Also notable is that it doesn't appear that the application does push email any more (it did in the first beta), mainly due to the fact that it no longer integrates with Pocket Outlook but keeps! your! Yahoo! email! within! the Yahoo! Go! application! On the bright side, you can set it to update every so often and it will update everything from Flickr to news to weather to email. So that's nice.

At HTC's booth we learned the above Telus / HTC Vox in CDMA format tidbit and got to take a gander at the HTC Advantage - which I like but don't find especially compelling overall. Big screens are nice, but big devices are not.

We also took a peek at the HTC Artemis, which has a combination trackball and a jogdial-type scroller around it. All-in-all, a great device for folks who don't care about having a thumbboard. If you know any of those people, I'd like to meet them and ask them what exactly is going on in that head of theirs. US availability: unknown.

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5 years ago

HTC Advantage (Athena) Coming to the US

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HTC Advantage (Athena) Coming to the US

Two bits of good news about this UMPC/PocketPC hybrid device. One: Engadget reports we'll see it here in the US under HTC's own brand name:

Another from HTC we saw coming, but that's still a pleasant surprise: HTC's Advantage (codename Athena) will in fact be making it Stateside! Noice, but even better, HTC will be releasing the Advantage (now camera-free) under its own brand.

Read: HTC Advantage coming to US... under the HTC brand - Engadget Mobile

Two: Coolsmartphone reports that it's going to rock Windows Mobile 6.

What do you get if you add Windows Mobile 6 to the HTC Advantage X7500 ? Well, you get the... err.. HTC Advantage X7501.

Read: CoolSmartPhone.com - Windows Mobile 6 + HTC X7500 = HTX 7501!

You know what I'm excited about: not having to report that WM6 is installed, because no more WM5 devices are coming anymore. That day is coming very, very soon, perhaps it's today?

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5 years ago

Blackjack ROM Update

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Blackjack ROM Update

The update will prettify some icons, improve roaming capabilities, and erase all the data on your device (standard for a ROM update), so be sure you're confident that your data is backed up before applying the update.

Samsung has released a update for the system software on the BlackJack, a Windows Mobile Smartphone exclusively offered by Cingular Wireless.

Read: Samsung BlackJack System Software Update Now Available

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5 years ago

CTIA: Palm to Provide WM6 Update for all Treo 750s

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Been traveling all day, but here's some early CTIA news:

Palm today announced that an update to the Windows Mobile 6 Professional operating system will be available for Treo 750 smartphone customers around the world.

As a Treo 750v owner, all I can say is W00T. Sure, the earlier rumor about free WM6 updates for vendors was false, but that didn't mean that updates wouldn't happen for us WM5 users. It was confirmed for the Dash, now it (finally) for the Treo 750. Who's next? I don't know yet, but I'm looking at you, Cingular. WM6 on the Blackjack and the 8525 sounds pretty tasty to me. Update: Ask and ye shall receive - Engadget reports that the very devices I was wishing for in the preceding sentence are also getting WM6 treatment.

In any case, if you're hot and bothered about the particular phone you have in your pocket, this MSDN blog entry may offer some hope:

CTIA is next week. It's the biggest industry event for the cellular industry in the US, and a great opportunity for other operators to announce upgrades ;-) I promise to post them on my blog as soon as they are announced....er, if anyone were to annoucne anything :-)

Read: treocentral.com >> Stories >> Business >> Palm to update existing Treo 750 to Windows Mobile 6

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5 years ago

WMExperts at CTIA

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WMExperts at CTIA

One of those good news / bad news posts. Bad news first: Expect light posting tomorrow through Wednesday. Good news: when we do post, it'll be good stuff, because WMExperts is heading to the CTIA Wireless conference.

More good news / bad news. Bad news first (it should always be first): I'm not expecting anything epically groundbreaking this year, though I could be (read: hope I am) wrong. Good news: George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton are speaking at the conference. Former presidents talking at a gadget-related conference? I don't know why, but I do know it'll be fun to watch. Stay tuned.

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5 years ago

CNet Smackdown, Blackjack Pwns Blackberry 8800

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Yes, I'm giving away the ending, no, I don't care. The Blackjack absolutely decimated the Blackberry 8800 in a head to head, and rightly so. If Cingular/AT&T (Can I stop calling them Cingular yet?) would just get off their duff and put up 3G in my area I'd switch to the Blackjack in a heartbeat. As it is, I'm mostly a Dash man right now. Hurry up AT&T!

With its slim profile, a plethora of wireless and multimedia options, and solid call quality, the BlackJack simply overpowered the camera-less, 3G-deficient BlackBerry 8800. One can only hope that RIM comes back stronger with the rumored BlackBerry 8820. Until then, the BlackJack retains its crown.

Read: CNET Prizefight: Samsung BlackJack vs. RIM BlackBerry 8800 - CNET reviews via Smartphone Thoughts

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5 years ago

No Palm Buyout, Thank You Very Much

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No Palm Buyout, Thank You Very Much

I just finished listening in on Palm's financial results conference call (liveblogged over at TreoCentral) and here's my quick analysis:

  1. Not only did they refuse to address the buyout rumors, they smacked down buyout rumor questions hard. They're going to have a "financial analyst meeting" next month in New York, so the rumors may continue to swirl, though. In any case, they're happy being independent.
  2. It doesn't look like Palm is going to be ditching Windows Mobile anytime soon. They plan on developing "hardware platforms" which they'll slap an OS on afterwards - meaning that whatever work they do hardware-wise these days will likely result in both Windows Mobile and PalmOS devices.
  3. Since the rest of the planet doesn't seem to like PalmOS much, Windows Mobile has been a big factor in Palm's international growth. Can't say I blame the rest of the world, I'm so done with the PalmOS (until they fix it, at least. got multitask?).

(In related news, Palm got a stay in the NTP case. RIM may have caved, but Palm has not (yet)).

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