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5 years ago

HTC To Deliver Video Improvements After All?

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HTC To Deliver Video Improvements After All?

You know about the so-called “missing driver” controversy on HTC devices utilizing Qualcomm chips, you've read our exclusive Insider Q&A and learned that the situation is not as clear as you might have thought, and now you're a regular visitor to http://HTCClassAction.org, whose updates page tells us this:

A response from Peter Chou himself (CEO of HTC) has surfaced saying they hope to release a driver at the end of March. [...] According to Fudzilla, Dr. Florian Seiche, vice president of HTC Europe, stated “Video acceleration drivers for HTC devices will see the light of the day”

...Then you dared to dream, just a little bit, that HTC's official “sorry folks” response might have just been a smoke screen, a white lie to buy some time for HTC to deliver unto us video drivers that would turn our devices into God Machines, tiny extensions of SkyNet in the palms of our hands, displaying Omnimax quality at 240x320.

If so, then we have three things to say to you. 1. Time to start taking your meds again. 2. Yes, it's true, a fix might be coming, but 3. According to Engadget Mobile, it's not technically going to be a video driver. Instead, look forward to enhancements to the already existing software stacks that should hopefully speeds things up a bit.

That's really not too surprising given the fractious issues brought up in the Q&A: Video drivers are difficult to develop and just as difficult to implement -- if HTC can get us a quick fix and then move on to doing the next device right, that might have to be good enough. Better that than spend 6 months spending too many resources on current generation tech.

Or are we going too easy on HTC? What say you?

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5 years ago

WebMessenger IM: Now Free / Mini-review

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5 years ago

Moto and RIM File Dueling Lawsuits

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Moto and RIM File Dueling Lawsuits

Oh JOY! More lawsuit-fun-time in the fountain of patent wars that is the smartphone industry. This time around it's RIM vs. Motorola, both saying that the other is infringing on their smartphone patents. RIM started the excitement on the 16th, claiming that Motorola violated 9 patents and that Motorola has been charging “exorbitant royalties” for licenses on patents that Moto has.

One of the patents RIM holds and is suing over: “a mobile device 'with a keyboard optimized for use with the thumbs.'” You read that right, they hold a patent on putting a QWERTY keyboard on a phone. The same patent they successfully forced Handspring (who made the original Treo) to settle on.

The basic skinny here is that both companies hold patents on very basic smartphone functions and they've been working together as best they can to license these patents to each other. Looks like the relationship is getting a might bit frosty, though. Maybe Motorola is, as RIM contends, getting a little greedy. Or maybe RIM just smells Motorola's blood in the water.

Not to be outdone, Moto has countersued, claiming that, Nuh-uh, it's RIM who's the dirty patent stealer, infringing on 7 Motorola patents. The intellectual property Moto is defending is as ridiculously simple and obvious as RIM's:

a method of storing contact information in wireless e-mails, a way of recognizing incoming phone numbers, a way of controlling access to new applications on a wireless-messaging device and ways to improve functions on the menu-driven interface of a phone handset

The fun doesn't stop there, though. This is all going down in Texas (RIM's suit is in Dallas, Moto's is in East Texas). East Texas is home to the “rocket docket,” where IP suits get moved through the system lickety-split and often favor the plantiff. Suddenly RIM's decision to place their US headquarters in Dallas instead of someplace closer to Canada is starting to make a little more sense. Lawsuits over basic cellphone functionality are getting so commonplace these days, RIM needs to be close to the action, whichever side of it they may be on.

(Note how we kindly didn't bring up the recent BlackBerry outage. Oops! Just did.)

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5 years ago

Sprint Releases Samsung Ace World Phone

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Sprint Releases Samsung Ace World Phone

We told you it was was coming soon and we didn't lie. The Samsung Ace is available now on Sprint. It's $449 before contract, $199. It's a little spendier than we'd hoped, but we sorta forgot about the Ace's key feature: It's a world phone. That's right, in addition to the CDMA bands, the puppy also sports GSM 1800/800 Bands (as in, no 3G on GSM that we know of). You can hit Fn + S to switch between radios (slick!)

The battery is also a full 1300mAH, which is slightly better than average these days for a YAQKWMS

Go check it out at Sprint

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5 years ago

Sony XPERIA X1 Runs WM 6.1

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Sony XPERIA X1 Runs WM 6.1

We mentioned in our podcast that the folks at the Sony booth at MWC wouldn't let people really get a full hands-on with the new XPERIA X1, and now we know why. The X1 is running Windows Mobile 6.1, as confirmed by adonis demon1.

We also have confirmation of the specs: 800x480 screen resolution (apologies for the mix up in our former post - stupid us for trusting Sony's own press release. 528MHz(!) processor, 128mb RAM, 256 ROM, 1500mAH battery. This thing is loaded for bear.

We only have 3 gripes (and another thought about Windows Mobile 6.1) - both after the break.


Them gripes:

  1. It's not here yet.
  2. It uses Sony's ridiculous Memory Stick format instead of some form of SD. (Seriously, Sony, you won the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray format war, can't you just be happy with that and give up on this stupid memory format?)
  3. The keyboard, though we can't be sure until we've used it, has some weird button choices. The Enter key is huge, there's a big, wasteful Tab button, and it looks to us like it's going to be a royal pain hunting down all the different alt-punction bits we're going to want.

Back to the headline. Many expected that Microsoft would announce Windows Mobile 6.1 at MWC. Certainly the cat is out of the bag on this one (and has been for awhile). The only bright side to it is that the next big conference is going to be CTIA on April 1st in Las Vegas -- so we might have a chance to see it unveiled live there. One of the keynotes is from our boy Robbie Bach. As we said after the recent management shakeup, it's about time he let the XBox and Zune coast for awhile and pay attention to WinMo. A keynote seems like a good time to do that, eh?

1: Wait, isn't that Angel? No, he's just a vampire. Still, though, hot and slightly evil - close enough.

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5 years ago

AT&T Tilt ROM Update Tomorrow (Update: It's Here!)

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AT&T Tilt ROM Update Tomorrow (Update: It's Here!)

Update: The update is out now, you can go get it from HTC's site - looks like we should have been clearer when we said “AT&T will be releasing” the update, it's technically coming to you direct from HTC. Which is something we should have figured, since HTC seems to prefer providing their updates directly (ala the Mogul update) rather than mucking about having the carriers provide it. (Tip of the hat to Tilt Site for pointing out the distinction!)

Thanks to nbarksdale in the comments for telling us it's here. :D

We have it from reliable sources that AT&T will be releasing a ROM update tomorrow, February 15th. The update isn't going to add any significant new features -- unless “working properly” counts as a feature. It's not Windows Mobile 6.1 or a magical driver to speed up the display, either. Instead, expect a bunch of bugfixes, mostly related to speed and Bluetooth issues.

Here are the things you'll no longer suffer through on your Tilt once you apply the “software version 1.62.502.0”:

  • Device freezing during unlock process when a password is enabled on the device.
  • Pocket Outlook unresponsive when launched while on an active voice call.
  • Fast Forward and Rewind not working with Bluetooth headset and the Tilt.
  • DTMF tones for the slide out QWERTY keyboard not working.
  • Intermittent unresponsiveness from Touch Screen (aka Start Button Issue).
  • Excessive background noise while using a BT headset.

The update comes out tomorrow, but you might want to head to our How To article on Customizing your Tilt today so you can be prepared. A new ROM means that AT&T will be throwing a lot of crapware “bonus applications” onto the device, and the tips in the comments are something you'll want on hand when you apply the update.

Thanks anonymous tipster!

Update: We lied [about there being no new features available: WOW, can't believe I let that be so ambiguous!!] -- looks like there'll also be a new version of BlackBerry Connect tomorrow as well - though that might be available for any Windows Mobile device that uses BlackBerry Connect. It won't be built-into the ROM, but you can download the new version via the standard stub-app included on the Tilt.

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5 years ago

Palm Gets their Swagger Back, Windows Mobile-Style

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You may have heard that there was a serious BlackBerry outage this week, millions of people were unable to get email or browse the web [corrected] on their CrackBerrys for several hours, causing some consternation amongst the addicts:

For Blackberry users, Monday left us feeling like a toddler with no Spongebob. Thought of “Why! Why?” and “What in the world is going on!” flowed through our heads. We cried to each other, and to those who could have cared less, and waited it out (as we had no other choice) and hoped for the best.

The worst part was twofold - as the above article claims, RIM wasn't immediately forthcoming about the problem. When they did let us in on what happened, it was the same thing that happened last April, a software upgrade gone wrong, a problem they promise would never happen again.

Of course, I did a little personal crowing about the entire situation. Turns out that I'm not the only one who had that thought, as Palm has launched what can only be called a multimedia, Simpsons-character-Nelson-style “HA HA!” directed at RIM. Though it rings a little tinny to CrackBerry fans, I find it hilarious.

First up - a new front page graphic at Palm.com and a New York Times full page ad to go with it. “Palm Smartphones include voice, email, text, Web, calendar and contacts ...And most importantly, uptime.” Take a close look at this picture of their NYT ad: “Has anyone heard from out West Coast team? Anyone? Anyone?” ...It must have taken a firm resolve not to add “Bueller?” at the end of that.

Now the hilarious graphic at top, from Palm's new “No Middleware” information page on the benefits on an Exchange Server.

Now, there are a few benefits to having a Network Operations Center handle everything - namely it takes some work off of the shoulders of IT folks and end users. It's a philosophy I don't ascribe to, however. Were my Exchange server to go down (it happens), I could call up the person in charge of it and ream him out directly, not wait for a faceless giant to clue me in. It ties in very directly with my thoughts on the BlackBerry during the Smartphone Round Robin (First Look and Final Thoughts), where I hijacked Umberto Eco's comparison of Macs and PCs for the purpose of comparing Windows Mobile to BlackBerrys:

In this case, the Catholic smartphone is the BlackBerry, the Protestant Smartphone is Windows Mobile. Basically, the BlackBerry takes all the work of setting email up and moves onto the priests of BlackBerry - the BIS servers.

The benefit of having a 3rd party company handle your email pushing is, as I said, getting work off your shoulders. Here's the thing, though, that work is getting much much easier for both IT pros and for end users. Microsoft is very close to perfecting their auto setup for Pocket Outlook and on the IT side, when then release Microsoft System Center, Mobile Device Manager 2008, they will have all the important management features of the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and match its ease of use for people standardized on Microsoft tech. RIM will keep innovating, though, so there may always be an “this is easier on us” advantage to their NOC, but the ease-of-use margin is getting thinner, thin enough that a little something like a nationwide service outage might be enough to push some folks over.

At that point, there are only reasons I could see using BES:

  1. Lock in - you're already on BES and changing over to a full Exchange solution is a hassle
  2. You're not on Microsoft tech for your server and email solutions.

Microsoft really needs to address the 2nd reason someday -- offer a push email and management solution that's not dependent on Exchange servers. They never will, though, so we'll be depending on companies like Seven, Good, and, yes, RIM to fill that hole. As for the first reason, well, jump on in, kids, the water's fine. ;)

...Back to Palm - check out the chutzpah, right? Company's had all sorts of bad press lately, but despite all that they're unapologetic about the Treo and its capabilities. Sure, they've been all about the Centro as a low-end consumer device lately, but their Enterprise/power user Windows Mobile Treos are still pretty darn good, too, and they don't want us to forget it. Sure, they're not top-of-the-line (yet: the Treo 800w and the Drucker can't come fast enough), but they're solid devices. I still think that the Treo 750 has the best one-handed usability of any device out there by dint of its great keyboard and the ability to use a touchscreen when needed.

I'm not going to convince BlackBerry users of that, of course (check out the comments on our sister site, CrackBerry.com - where they posted about Palm's teasing), but that's alright. Next time (and there will be a next time) your Crackberrys are all cashed out I'll be standing over on the street corner with a WinMo device in my pocket. When you come over, shaking and needing a fix, I'll tell you the truth: Windows Mobile is a much more powerful hit.

So Bravo, Palm, for having the brains to add Windows Mobile to your Treo offerings way back when and for not being shy about its qualities now. Some haters are going to tell you that you should be one to talk after all the problems you've had in the past year or so. Don't listen to them, just put your energy into righting that ship and delivering unto us the Treo 800w and the Drucker postehaste.

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5 years ago

Viigo - A Great Windows Mobile RSS Reader

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Viigo - A Great Windows Mobile RSS Reader

If you're not already using an RSS reader on your Windows Mobile phone, you're really missing out. Even with the best browser out there, you're still visiting each page individually, hunting around the page for the content you're actually looking for. RSS is much more efficient - you just pick the sites you want to follow, subscribe to their RSS feeds (here's ours!), and the headlines and stories get synced to your device. Just the content you want, none of the extra fluff.

To get started learning about RSS, check out our How To article:

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5 years ago

Head of the Windows Mobile Unit Leaves Microsoft for Vodafone (Updated)

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CNet is reporting that several executives are leaving Microsoft today, among them Pieter Knook, head of the Senior Vice President of the Mobile Communications Business. There isn't a lot of information just yet, but looks like an amicable enough retirement.

Taking his place is Andrew Lees, who was formerly in charge of Server & Tools marketing -- business software and suchlike. Hopefully Lees' experience positions him well to push out the advanced services we're all hoping the Danger acquisition will bring to Windows Mobile. His new boss, Robbie Bach, has had his hands full with the XBox 360 and the Zune lately, but hopefully it's time for a little more love to get paid to Windows Mobile.

See, it being Valentine's Day and all, you knew we'd find a way to bring love into it.

Update: Looks like Knook was snapped up by Vodafone:

Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote, Profile, Research) has launched an Internet Services unit and appointed Microsoft veteran Pieter Knook as its director to further develop the group's mobile Internet strategy, it said on Thursday.

The unit will focus on the provision of distinctive consumer Web services such as mobile Internet access and content through mobile devices.

Interesting. We just said that Microsoft's next focus needs to be services that work well for the consumer and it appears that Knook will be working on exactly that, just for Vodafone instead of Microsoft.

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5 years ago

iPaq 610 Lawyered Out of Existence

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iPaq 610 Lawyered Out of Existence

Mobility Site [via Morning Paper] points out that the iPaq 610 - a sweet little number with a regular 12-key plus a neat touchy-feely scroll wheel overlaid on top of it - has been '86'ed for the US:

You recently registered via HP’s website to be notified when the HP iPAQ 610 BusinessNavigator is available to purchase.

We appreciate your interest in this product.  However, due to recent legal issues between suppliers of mobile phone technologies, HP has decided not to offer the iPAQ 610 Business Navigator to U.S. customers as previously planned.

No word yet what exactly these “legal issues” are, but it's a safe bet that some lawyer somewhere is popping the cork off a bottle of champagne.

What the iPaq 610 was: Quad Band, Tri-Band HSDPA. Windows Mobile Pro (Touchscreen), aGPS, dedicated landscape/portrait mode button, 3mp camera w/ flash, Wifi, VOIP. Basically they were targeting it to field force salespeople.

After a break, a quick video of what could have been.

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5 years ago

Qualcomm, HTC, chipsets and features: An Insider Q + A

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5 years ago

Samsung i325 “Ace” Coming Very Soon

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Samsung i325 “Ace” Coming Very Soon

It's looking like our guess that the ho-hum Samsung Ace would be arriving on February 17th is looking to be right. The latest in the trickle of rumors about the “basically-the-same-thing-as-the-original-BlackJack-just-on-CDMA” is the entire user manual in PDF form, courtesy of PhoneNews.

A quick perusal of the pdf tell us that, yep, it's a lot like the BlackJack--but on Sprint. It even has the Scroll-Wheel-pop-up menu from the original BlackJack -- and appears to have the same charging plug. Weird that it took this long for Sprint to get it, no? Weirder still that Samsung and Sprint aren't calling it a BlackJack: 'cause that's what it is.

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5 years ago

Bank of America Reveals 800w

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Bank of America Reveals 800w

Check out what leadbyxampl has discovered in our forums: the Bank of America mobile banking site lists the devices that it's compatible with. It's standard fare ...except that they list support for the Treo 800w. Now, this sort of “leak” happens quite a bit and it's no confirmation of anything (not that we need it, we know the Treo 800w is coming). Well, ok, it might be a confirmation that the 800w is coming “soonish” -- the listing gets a little extra street cred for correctly identifying the internal code name for the PalmOS Centro. If they're “in-the-know” enough to call the Centro a “Gryphon,” perhaps their listing of the 800w isn't just some hopeful bank teller.

Maybe folks entering in the Rumortastic 800w Giveaway want to give Bank of America a call? (Hint: that's a joke.)

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5 years ago

Trick of the Day: Speed up your web browsing in Internet Explorer Mobile!

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5 years ago

Ask WMExperts: Sprint Touch Edition

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Ask WMExperts: Sprint Touch Edition

The voting came in on our “Pick Out Next WM Smartphone” contest and the winner was the Sprint Touch by a wide, wide margin. Actually, the real winner was blue4shizzle, who was picked in a random drawing from amongst the votes for the Touch. Congrats Blue - email coming shortly with your prize.

It's actually no surprise to me that the Sprint Touch was chosen to take the place of the Motorola Q9h. Our comparison of the iPhone and the original HTC Touch, lengthy-video-style, is still amongst our top articles.

So! I'll be rocking the Sprint Touch for a couple weeks, forwarding my text messages because I still can't find a service that offers universal phone and text forwarding (Dear Google, Please Fix This, Love WMExperts). If you've got questions, the Sprint Touch currently sitting in my hand has answers. Ask 'em in this thread and I'll answer them.

If your first question is “How's all that TouchFLO 2 action?”, let me answer that right here, right now: Sprint ruined it by putting their own apps on it, apps I don't want. Time to get registry hacking.

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