An anonymous tipster has sent in some screen shots and impressions of the upcoming Internet Explorer 6 browser that's coming to Windows Mobile in the very near future, the vaunted '6 on 6.' The bad news -- it's not at all clear that Microsoft will make this an independently-available download. We do know for sure that it will be baked-into the ROMs of many future smartphones. That leads us to the good news -- the screenshots we have here are from an upcoming WinMo device. Square Screen, 320x320 resolution, and the black theme are your clues as to what we're looking at (Yes, we have a guess).
The tipster sends these impressions along with the images: It's not going to bowl anybody over, not nearly impressive enough to replace either SkyFire or Opera Mobile 9.5. It's not all that much faster than the current generation of IE on Windows Mobile, though the added zooming functions are nice. Flash lite is here and works well (minus a few memory errors), though you're not going to enjoy videos much when you're zoomed-out.
You can set the browser to identify either as mobile (so you get served mobile pages by sites that auto-detect) or as desktop (so you get the full pages) and instead of a simple 'zoom out' feature as currently exists on WM6.1 there's a separate “Zoom / Panning Mode” for getting around.
After the break, we make with the screenshots and also toss in a couple of our own showing the current-gen IE from a Treo Pro for comparison.
Celio, the group that brought us the REDFLY Mobile Companion, reportedly is at work on some more goodies - one hardware-related, the other software.
Engadget reports that the REDFLY PC Software will let you essentially run Windows Mobile on any XP- or Vista-based computer. Real-life scenario: You've got a netbook or laptop but no WiFi. You've got some major blogging to do but don't want to bash it out on your smartphone. The REDFLY PC Software would let your laptop control your phone, data connection and all, with a much more reasonable keyboard.
Also on tap is the hardware-based Smartphone Dock (above). Think of it as a BYO keyboard and monitor sitution. Plug in your phone and you've got desktop-sized Windows Mobile goodness. Why do that instead of just using the desktop computer? Security could be one reason. Easy access to your contacts and e-mails when you're on the go could be another. Anyhoo, this is just in the concept stage right now. And the price would need to be very competitive to make sense.
That last addon is something people who use VOIP services have been waiting for years. Anyways, it's a free service with a nifty Today Plugin, so if you use Skype, MSN, AIM, Yahoo, Twitter, etc. you may want to take it for a test run (or mobile site: m.fring.com)
And kudos to the fring developers who just got their official “Designed for Windows Mobile” certification.
One of the more common gripes about a touch screen device is that on incoming calls, it doesn't take much to accidentally tapping the screen, inadvertently answering the call. If I had a dollar for every time I accidentally answered a call while taking my AT&T Fuze out of the case, I could probably afford an early retirement.
Have no fear, a solution to this headache is available. Fuze Mobility forum member herg62123 has created a tweak for the AT&T Fuze/Touch Pro that will add a slider to your answer screen. Instead of tapping the "answer" or "ignore" buttons on the screen you simply move the newly created slider over which action you want to take. Once the call is answered, a screen appears over the mute, speaker, etc. buttons than can be pulled down with a swipe of a finger. If it prevented the screen from blanking out during the call it would just about be perfect.
The "Slide to Answer" application comes in two styles, one with the standard white background and the other with a black background and can be found here. Currently Herg62123 is ironing out the finishing touches on v5 of this application. The black background works fine in V5 but you need to use V4 for the time being for the white background. The slider to answer flows nicely but the pull down for the screen takes a little more effort. Regardless, if you're all thumbs and find yourself accidentally answering calls, this app is definitely worth a try.
An Ars Technica reader forwarded a customer survey question he'd seen after being solicited by AT&T for his opinion: "AT&T's new product is a small, security-enabled cellular base station that easily connects to your home DSL or Cable Internet, providing a reliable wireless signal for any 3G phone in every room of your house. The device allows you to have unlimited, nationwide Anytime Minutes for incoming or outgoing calls."
Sprint has been offering femtocells for a while now under the name AIRAVE. For the uninitiated, it's a router-looking device that hooks into your broadband Internet connection and spits out a short-range (like, inside your house) 3G signal. Helpful if you're in an otherwise poor coverage area.
Sprint's and AT&T's offerings are different from T-Mobile's @Home service, which needs special handsets and doesn't just spit out a pure cellular signal.
No word on what AT&T might charge for the service. Sprint is charging $100 for its AIRAVE base station, $5 a month for the service, another $10 for unlimited use, plus the usual taxes and fees. [edited] So, how much is a better signal that you're already paying for worth to you?
Fresh off his MacWorld coverage, head WMExpert Dieter Bohn is on the ground in Las Vegas, along with our friends at Crackberry and Android Central for the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, and he'll be liveblogging Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote address tonight at 9 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. on the West Coast.
And that's just the tip of the Windows Mobile iceberg. Once CES gets going, Dieter will be sending us the latest and greatest from CES as it happens. What we're hoping for: Some Windows 7 love, possibly a Windows Mobile 6.5 sighting or two, and maybe some new phones. And if we're real lucky, maybe another monkey dance. (From Ballmer. Not Dieter.)
HTC, everyone's favorite Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer, has released its 2008 numbers, and Digitimes breaks it down for us.
High Tech Computer (HTC) has announced revenues for the fiscal year 2008 (ended December 31, 2008) reached NT$152.56 billion (US$4.61 billion), with 28.65% on-year growth. Net income after tax was NT$28.68 billion, with a net EPS of NT$38.03 for the full year, according to the company.
No mention of straight profits. Fourth-quarter revenue was up about 21 percent over Q4 of 2007.
The Touch Diamond-series phones and T-Mobile's Android-based G1 are cited as movers and shakers on the year. For 2009, HTC plans about 10 new Windows Mobile and Android devices and is looking to grow revenue 20 percent.
Already up and running in Baltimore, Clearwire's "Clear" WiMax service just went live in Portland, Ore., making it the "Fastest City in the West." Hold for applause.
And now we're getting a clear (nyuk nyuk) look at the pricing plans. Here's the breakdown, from clear.com:
$10 for a 24-hour pass
$30 a month for 200MB of data.
$40 a month for 2GB.
$50 a month for unlimited data.
For a service that's likely to supplant home and mobile broadband service, $50 a month for unlimited data isn't too bad. It will be interesting to see how the pricing structure holds up when the service takes hold with mobile phones. That there aren't really any phones out there that use WiMax is a whole 'nother ball of wax. Though there is that Russian HTC Max that we‘re still drooling over.
KeepSync Proxure Inc. has announced the availability of its new KeepSync synchronization solution, which will give Windows Mobile users another "over-the-air" solution for synchronizing everything from photos to music files to documents with their laptop or desktop. It can be used over the internet or with an in-home network as well. Users also have the ability to "share" folders and files with other KeepSync users such as videos and photos.
KeepSync is very similar to Microsoft's Live Mesh. There is one key difference between these two OTA solutions; the cost. While the KeepSync application is free there is a "pay-as-you-go" fee for synchronizing over the internet. The cost ranges from a $10, 250-credit package to a $100, 10,000 credit package. Best we can tell is that a credit equals one megabyte of transferred data. In contrast, Live Mesh is FREE.
You can find more information at KeepSync's website where a fully functional, 15-day trial version is available. You'll have to create a user account but the trial version does come with 25 credits to use with internet sharing. Proxure will be demonstrating KeepSync at the 2009 CES Show this week (we'll be there, too!) and we'll see what this new kid on the OTA block has to offer and whether or not it's worth the cost.
Dieter got lucky the other day and found the Sony Xperia at a local Sony Store in San Francisco, CA while attending MacWorld. However, not everyone has a Sony Store in their neighborhood and not every Sony Store was reporting inventory. Fear not, the Sony Xperia X1a is now available for delivery through SonyStyle.com. For the time being, ground shipping is free with the Xperia helping ease the bite of the $799 price tag a little.
The Internets are abuzz with what appears to be network problems today for AT&T in the northeastern United States. The old Cingular forums mention problems in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Boston, though they're also saying that service is coming and going.
For our money, we're guessing it's the giant bandwidth suck that's coming from all of those iPhones converged on San Francisco right now. Then again, it could be something else. Like alien invasion.
Personally, things are fine here on the Gulf Coast. What say you? Anyone having any problems today?
Oh, Moto, say it ain't so. Word on the streets (that'd be the EverythingQ streets) is that the foundering Motorola has given up the ghost on the Q line and replacing it with ... well, that remains to be seen.
EverythingQ is confident in its sources, but this is still unofficial news, so anything's possible. But consider the following: The lackluster Q11 (lackluster as in minor cosmetic changes, no 3G but the addition of WiFi) was released in a few nations but still has yet to be seen in the U.S. The Q9 "Napolean" (pictured above) is still MIA for most people, though EQ does note that it made into a government contract.
One thing we do know for certain is that the death of the workhorse Motorola Q line would leave more than a few of us a bit teary eyed. (Listen to Dieter sing its praises in the latest WME podcast as he preps for CES this week). We'll just have to see what's next, and hope for the best for Moto.
In what is shaping up to be an active 2009 CES, Pharos has announced the Traveler 137 GPS Smartphone, which we first got wind of back in the fall and later recognized as a Velocity Mobile design.
The quad-band, Windows Mobile 6.1 based handset will have integrated GPS and navigation software. Expected to be available late in the first quarter of this year, the Traveler 137 distinguishes itself from other GPS enabled phones by not requiring a cellular signal to operate as a navigational device. Pharos uses its Smart Navigator software with the Traveler 137 for a "pay as you go" service.
The Traveler 137 comes with the standard Windows Mobile features including Bluetooth, WiFi, a 3-megapixel camera and as preloaded maps of the United States. Additional maps can be purchased through Pharos. The Traveler also has the ability to use Windows Live Search maps. The projected pricing for the Traveler 137 is $599.95.