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5 years ago

Motorola Q9M Unboxing and First Look Video

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5 years ago

Palm Announces Windows Mobile 6 -- in Australia

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Palm's Australian site is officially showing that the Treo 750 will be getting a free update to Windows Mobile 6 "soon" (people are betting "soon" equals early September, as we previously reported). Is anybody else thinking about putting on a sandwich board reading "Give us WM6 NOW" and marching around AT&T's headquarters? The ROM is ready, it's been ready for a long time. Maybe with the rough week Palm's been having they could cap it off with a little good news - convincing AT&T to just let them release the darn thing in the US.

Windows Mobile® 6 for your Palm® Treo™ 750 smartphone is Microsoft’s latest release featuring an improved calendar, more email options, great security features, and Windows Vista™ compatibility. This update also includes additional enhancements like Voice Command via Bluetooth® wireless technology, USB cable charging, and active call access.

Read: Palm Australia - Products - Palm Treo 750 Smartphone - What's New

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5 years ago

How To: Buy a Windows Mobile Phone

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How To: Buy a Windows Mobile Phone

PCWorld has just posted a general overview of the basic issues that face somebody interested in buying a Smartphone. For those of us in the mobile world, there's no new information here, but it's a nice one-stop article for new people who don't know the difference between UMTS and IMAP (mixed categories.. shudder):

There is no single greatest handset for all users, but with a little bit of forethought, you can easily choose the best phone and service plan for your own business needs.

Read: PC World - How to: Buy a Mobile Phone

I link it for two reasons: 1) the above mentioned "save this link for the next time somebody asks you about mobile phones" and, more importantly, 2) I think the article is exactly backwards when it comes to buying a mobile phone. Let's assume you're interested in buying a smartphone and, naturally, you think that you're going to want a very powerful device -- so you've settled on Windows Mobile as your platform of choice. What next?.

If you're not careful, you'll let the gadgetlust tail wag the smartphone dog. So read on for the "default advice" I give to friends, family, and even enemies (turn the other cheek, right?) about how to buy a Smartphone.

Step One: Pick Your Carrier

Seriously, this is step one and failing to make this step one is, I think, most often the biggest pitfall for a new smartphone buyer. It's very easy to be taken in by the gadget lust, but let me speak from long, personal experience:

Paying cancellation fees sucks. Getting stuck with a carrier whose coverage and plans don't fit your needs sucks a lot. I've paid 4 cancellation fees in the past two years. If I'd followed my own advice, I would have paid just one and been happier in the long run.

Really, there are stupendous Windows Mobile devices available now on every single carrier in the US. Even with the new stuff coming out soon, you'll be much happier in the long run sticking with the one carrier that best fits your needs instead of switching around to get the latest and greatest. So, how do you pick your carrier? There's no one way, but this is what I recommend:

  1. First, coverage. If you don't have good signal at home and in your office, find the carrier that has the best signal. Invite friends over who are on other carriers and check their bars. Check with your coworkers. Heck, waltz into a store and ask to borrow a test device for an hour. You might think you can "get by," but I promise you: if you have horrible signal in the places you live and work at, you'll end up switching again.
  2. Second, plans. If you're lucky enough to have several carrier options when it comes to coverage in your area, the next step is to delve into the mysterious and hateful world of cell phone plans. Here's a fair warning: this step will depress you. Nearly every carrier has overpriced data plans, overpriced text messaging, and confusing-as-all-get-out choices. Generally: assume that you'll need slightly more minutes than you think; Get unlimited data, period; get more text messages than you think you'll need, too -- as every single carrier is milking text message costs these day as a part of their master plan to be as evil as possible.
  3. Third, the little things. Maybe your family uses a certain carrier. Maybe your friends do. Maybe, like me, it's important to be able to switch up devices by swapping your SIM card out. Maybe you need a phone that will work in Europe. Maybe you think the customer service at certain carrier is better. I should say, though, that in the mobile space, the grass always seems greener on the other side. Take it from me, with the possible exception of T-Mobile, every carrier's customer service is slightly worse than you'll get from the most offensive fast food employee you can imagine. Maybe you prefer a certain 3G technology, or believe that a certain carrier will have better 4G tech.
    ...Maybe, just maybe, you're loyal to a certain carrier. ...Ok, scratch that last.

Step Two: Pick Your Moment

This step is tricky. If you're caught in a contract, it might be worth it to wait it out and avoid the cancellation fee. If you're not, it might be worth it to wait for the latest and greatest smartphone that's coming out soon. Or heck, your life is a little hectic right now, you can afford to stop hitting refresh on your favorite gadget blogs for a few hours and go outside. Go Fishing or something: HobbesIsReal swears by it. :)

The point is don't act hastily. Let the decision sit in the back of your mind for a bit. Let it stew (or fester, if that's your style). Eventually you'll feel that, yes, now is the time.

Step Three: Pick your Smartphone

FINALLY, you get to the good part. Reading reviews. Fondling the device at the store. Going through a spec breakdown device by device. Oohing and Aahing. Still, I advise caution here. I oohed and aahed at the Vox, only to find it wasn't for me.

We're assuming, of course, that you want the power, work-friendliness, and customization you can only get on Windows Mobile. That basically means your decision tree is very simple.

Decision One: Pro or Standard?

With Windows Mobile 6, the Touchscreen devices are "Pro" and the non-touchscreen devices are "Standard." On windows Mobile 5, the nomenclature is "PocketPC Edition" and "Smartphone Edition." At this stage in the game, anything you're considering will either be WM6 or will be upgraded to it very soon. So relax.

The real question is whether or not you need the extra power and ease of use of the touchscreen. Nobody can answer that for you but you - so you'll really need to get the gadgets in your hands and play around. Generally speaking, the Pro editions are slightly faster and slightly easier to use because you can interact directly with the screen instead of navigating around with the 5-way pad. Also, generally speaking, the Standard editions are slimmer, sexier, and have slightly better battery life.

So it's power or pocketability, basically.

Decision Two: Which one?

Well, we've finally come to it, you've already done your due diligence, having:

  • Picked a Carrier and a Plan
  • Waited to be sure you made the right decision
  • Picked your platform

...here's the good news / bad news - once you've made those decisions, it's highly likely that you'll only have 2, or at the most three, devices to choose from. The only exception is if you're considering importing some unlocked GSM phone, but let's leave that out of the picture for now.

When you're choosing between the devices that are available for your carrier and your platform, you basically just go with your gut. Maybe one-handed use is important so you go with a Treo 750. Or maybe you want a super-powered device, so you wait for the HTC Tilt. Or maybe you think the MotoQ9 is ugly as sin so you get the Blackjack. The best thing to do is get ahold of an actual phone and play around with it, plus read as many reviews as you can.

Here's a teaser: WMExperts is currently working on a comprehensive buyer's guide that you can use to compare specs, comment on phones, and generally figure it all out. Coming in September, Web Gods Willing.

Wrapping Up

Sad but true, nearly every point I've made here comes from personal experience. More specifically, personal experience doing the wrong thing. I've switched carriers out of a desire for a different phone, only to find that my signal was unacceptable. I've left carriers in a huff over customer service only to find it was worse with the new guys. Most often, though, I've snapped up too many new phones to count only to find they didn't fit my needs.

So slow down, chill out, and follow my easy three step plan to smartphone bliss. I know I will from now... OHH, SHINY! Where's my credit card!?

Did I get something wrong? Let us know in the comments!

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5 years ago

Congrats to the Folks Behind Our Store

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Congrats to the Folks Behind Our Store

Our parent company, Smartphone Experts is in the news today - they/we ranked #37 in the Inc 500 list of fastest growing private companies in the US and #1 (Number ONE BABY) in the retail category.

In case you're wondering, we always have and always will keep a strict firewall between our writers and our online stores, but I'll break it just a tiny bit now and say that the folks that run the e-commerce here are simply awesome. I'm sorely tempted to start naming names here, but I'm pretty sure I'd be end up writing about everybody in the company.

So I'll just say kudos and congratulations to everybody on the store side. I can't take any credit for the list (though I'm 2 for 3 when it comes to working for privately-held companies that make the inc ;) ), but I'm incredibly lucky to be associated with such fine folk.

I'll also say that, from personal experience, buying accessories from our WMExperts Store is better than most online stores I've dealt with (Yep-- I pay for stuff too when I need to). Oh, and there's a new corporate site at http://www.smartphoneexperts.com , too, complete with a not-horrendous picture of yours truly.

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5 years ago

Nokia Gets Windows Live Mobile Services

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Nokia Gets Windows Live Mobile Services

One of us! One of us! Either Microsoft and Nokia decided to bury the hatchet or else Nokia decided they couldn't live without online services. Either way, more buy-in to Windows Live services is good news for Windows Mobile users, even (especially) if it's on a competing platform. Windows Live is so tightly integrated in Windows Mobile 6 that it's almost a crime not to use them (thankfully, though, you're not forced to use them). More users, especially on MSN Messenger, is a Good Thing.

Welcome to the fold, Nokia users. Pay no attention to the fact that after the Beta these services might not be free. Gooble gobble!

Nokia announced today that it has teamed up with Microsoft to offer Windows Live services directly on S60 compatible Nokia smartphones.

Read: Nokia announces Microsoft Windows Live suite download for phones

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5 years ago

Verizon Releases Motorola Q9M

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Verizon Releases Motorola Q9M

It's here, kids, in all its multimedia glory. Officially listed as the unwieldy "Motorola MOTO Q™ Music 9m Smartphone," the Q9M doesn't really offer any surprises (and with all the leaks, that's to be expected). Spec highlights:

  • Dimensions: 4.6" (H) x 2.6" (W) x 0.47" (D)
  • Weight: 4.76 ounces
  • Usage Time: up to 273 minutes OR Standby Time: up to 212 hours
  • Exclusive Multimedia User Interface (UI) with dedicated Multimedia and Standard home screen toggle key
  • 64 MB end user memory
  • 2.4" 320 x 240 TFT display with up to 65K colors
  • Windows Mobile® 6 OS with Documents–to–Go for viewing and editing email attachments
  • V CAST Music Capable
  • Wireless Sync capable
  • Bluetooth® Stereo Wireless Technology
  • miniSD™ removable memory support
  • Dual stereo quality speakers

The thing I'm itching to try is this new "Exclusive Multimedia User Interface," which actually looks pretty sweet. Also pretty sweet - that they're including DocsToGo by default. I still think it's absolutely insane that Microsoft kept Windows Mobile 6 Standard from having a full-powered office suite.

Now all we need to find out is what those Mystery Qs are. Also, how to console Sprint users who are going to have to wait until November.

The media–centric Motorola MOTO Q™ Music 9m Smartphone offers 2 Home Screen options – one Multimedia and Standard. The exclusive multimedia home screen together with the thumbwheel and center navigation key allows the user to maximize the V CAST Music experience while the standard home screen offers one–touch access to voice, email and Text messages.

Read: Motorola MOTO Q music 9m Smartphone

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5 years ago

Sprint Roadmap: Touch, Treo, Blackjack

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Sprint Roadmap: Touch, Treo, Blackjack

Here come the leaks, this time courtesy of Sprint. Phone news has a pretty clear idea of what's coming based on a leaked roadmap. The Windows Mobile highlights:

I've read elsewhere that the Treo 800w will have WiFi and GPS. I've heard rumors like the before regarding the Treo. These rumors - they are almost always lies. WiFi on a Treo - don't be ridiculous. More likely it will just be a Windows-version of the Treo 755p hardware [Edit: I meant 755p, not 700p. Thanks for the tip, D-Bo!], and I'm just fine with that. That's "just fine," and in "it's fine, but I still wonder why the heck Palm is so allergic to WiFi."

Read: Phone News - Sprint Roadmap Explains All New Devices

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5 years ago

Qwest Beats Verizon to the HTC 5800, 6800 Punch

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Whoa - sometimes I forget that Qwest is even there. But there they are - releasing the HTC Libra / S720 / SMT5800 before Verizon does. They're calling it the "Fusion" and I appreciate that it has a name that matches its function (i.e. a fusion of a regular smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard). I don't know yet if the QWERTY keyboard is at all improved over that of the HTC Vox, but we can hope. Qwest is selling it for $199.99 after discount.

Also on Qwest - the HTC Mogul for $299.99 after discount. Kudos, Qwest, you stick it to the big V.

Qwest Wireless today launched the HTC 5800 "Fusion," a small candybar style smartphone with a numeric keypad on the front and slide-out QWERTY keyboard underneath. This is the first version of HTC's Libra / S720 to launch in the States. It features Windows Mobile 6 Standard (Smartphone), stereo Bluetooth, 2 Megapixel camera, and MicroSD slot.

Read: Qwest First In US With HTC Slide-Out Smartphone (Phone Scoop)

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5 years ago

How to: Get Threaded Text Messaging on your Windows Mobile Device

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Here's another sweet hack from the forums. Palm inexplicably hasn't put threaded messaging on the CDMA versions Windows Mobile Treo (i.e the 700w and 700wx), but it's available on the GSM only Treo 750. So - hackers to the rescue! I've done this successfully on both an HTC Touch and a Mogul - as promised by the thread's title, the instructions really are dead-simple.

A couple of caveats:

  1. You'll want to use Resco Explorer or some other file browser that can get to hidden files.
  2. You'll lose MMS. Yeah - there are ways around it, but basically you're making a decision between threaded SMS and MMS. The only time I use MMS is when I'm testing it on a new phone, so no big loss for me.
  3. Windows Mobile 6 Pro or Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC edition only (i.e. touchscreen), sorry kids.

So head on into the forums and get your thread on. Big ups to codyppc for writing up the instructions and to hannip for figuring it all out.

Ok, due to the large number of people still having trouble installing the sms app, I have decided to write another tutorial for nOObs. With pictures. Many said the old threads were outdated.

Read: WM6 Threaded SMS Install Instructions for nOObs. w/pictures - WM Experts

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5 years ago

AT&T Windows Mobile 6 on 8525 (Blackjack, Treo 750?) in October

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Steve Green over at PocketPC mag says he has the inside scoop on WM6 for the 8525: October 5th. As he says, that's a bummer - it makes hunting for the leaked 8525 WM6 ROM pretty tempting. I still think AT&T plans on releasing Windows Mobile 6 for the Blackjack and the Treo 750 at the same time. That's also a bummer, because I get about one request a day from people asking how to find the Windows Mobile 6 ROM for the Blackjack. My advice is the same bitter pill I've been offering since I gave it a shot: don't. Unlike the 8525 and the Treo 750 ROMs, the Blackjack ROM definitely feels like it's not the final version.

My source in AT&T has said that the official release date for the upcoming Windows Mobile 6 update for the 8525 will be October 5th. This is a huge disappointment for us who have been biting our nails for the release to be in late August or early September.

Read: AT&T 8525 WM6 Release Date

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5 years ago

Smackdown: MoBlog Clients on Windows Mobile

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5 years ago

Review: Aquapac Form Fit Weather Proof Case

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5 years ago

HTC Touch Coming to Sprint

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HTC Touch Coming to Sprint

Gearlog has made it official - the HTC Vogue (the CDMA version of the Touch) is coming to Sprint, and it's being called the Sprint Touch. Yay for keeping names the same!

Specs are as we expected:

  • EVDO
  • 400mHz processor

What's new is that the TouchFLO cube is going to be "nerfed" - by which I mean ruined by replacing some of the useful shortcuts with Sprint-specific stuff: IM, communications manager, SMS, software store and mailbox. Ok Ok, most of that stuff is useful, but I like having links to Tasks and Calendar on the TouchFLO cube, replacing one of them with "software store" makes me mad. Fortunately, folks have figured out how to gleamhack the cube to make it do what you want. Here's some good news, though, they're including better software keyboard options.

Also, apparently, the EVDO is upgradable to Rev A and when that happens the gpsOne chip will work with telenav. Could we actually be getting a gpsOne device with a gpsOne chip that isn't broken by evil carriers? Somehow I doubt it, it's more likely it will be similar to the recent broken-by-AT&T-GPS on the Blackberry 8820. In other words - the gpsOne chip will finally be useful, but only if you pay for crap services you shouldn't have to pay for. Telenav be gone, Windows Live Search is just as good.

One last bit - might this new Touch help Sprint deal with the iPhone? I know I prefer it, see part 1 and part 2 of the Touch vs. iPhone Smackdown

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5 years ago

Sprint WiMAX WaTCH: It's Called XOHM

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Sprint WiMAX WaTCH: It's Called XOHM

The latest WiMAX news, it has a new name. That's pronounced "Zohm" and the good news from the new teaser site is that it's "coming spring of 2008." You still shouldn't expect the full rollout until the end of '08, though. There's also a news page were you can see all the folks they've teamed up with: Google, Clearwire, Intel, Motorola, Samsung. Not mentioned is Nokia, who's been rumored to want to bring one of their fancypants tables to the WiMAX network.

Oh, apparently we're on the verge of another internet revolution, too. I can't remember, are we post-Web 2.0, Web 3.OH, or what now? And to think I used to have a hard time pinning down the definition of postmodern literature.

The Internet is on the verge of another revolution. Coming in Spring of 2008, Xohm promises to bring fast, secure and smart wireless access to cities, enabling the possibility of a whole new range of high-bandwidth applications and uses. Xohm also will expand the Internet experience by partnering with the best companies in the industry to enable a new class of devices with Internet capabilities. Beyond just laptops, the vision of Xohm is to empower PMPs, video cameras, MP3s and more with Internet access.

Read: Xohm is Coming

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5 years ago

Verizon Rumor Roundup

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Verizon Rumor Roundup

We've had a mess of Verizon rumors in the past couple of weeks, so let's get clear on what's coming from them Windows Mobile-wise. Fortunately, we have a nice way to do that courtesy of phoneArena, who snagged some internal documents from the big V.

Release dates for all these devices have been all over the map, and some rumors dates have been missed. Suffice to say that they'll all hit in 2007 and I personally think they'll hit in the order I present them after the break, read on.

One note - my guesses at the release dates could likely be inaccurate, as PhoneArena's documents say this is the order:

  • Motorola Q9m / Q9c - August / Q4
  • Samsung SCH-i760 - September
  • UTStarcom SMT5800 - October
  • UTStarcom XV6800 - October

Motorola Q9M and Motorola Q9C

We discovered the Q9C, enterprise version of the Q9 yesterday, and it looks to be the ho-hum version of the media-software-enhanced Q9M. What do we get with this device?

  • Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition
  • EVDO for data
  • Bluetooth
  • microSD Slot
  • 4.6" x 2.6" x .6"
  • 4.7oz
  • 1130 mAh battery, 5 hours talk time
  • 320x240 screen
  • 1.3 Megapixel camera
  • Q9M has fancy new interface, pictured at the top of the article.

UTStarcomm XV6800

This is the Verizon version of the Sprint Mogul and as you can see from the phonearena pic, it's not as pretty (or so says I, anyhow). Here we get the same specs as the Mogul:

  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition
  • EVDO for data (upgradable to Rev A)
  • WiFi and Bluetooth
  • 59 x 110 x 18.5 mm
  • 384 MHz processor
  • 256 RAM, 64 ROM
  • 165 Grams
  • 1500 maH battery
  • 320 x 240 touchscreen (2.8 inches)
  • 2 Megapixel camera (actually 1.9, but let's not split hairs)

UTStarcom SMT5800

The poorly-named SMT 5800 also doesn't look all that pretty. I was initially impressed with its GSM cousin, the Vox, before ultimately knocking the Vox in my review it because of it's poor keyboard and processor. Specs:

  • EVDO (upgradable to Rev A)
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • 128 RAM, 64 ROM
  • MicroSD
  • Bluetooth (but no WiFi?)

Samsung i760

The Samsung i760 has been near the top of my covet-list based on its combination of the slider and keypad form-factors. I also look forward to the same fit and finish that Samsung brought to the Blackjack on a device with a touchscreen. Specs are respectable, but not out of this world:

  • 60 x 110 x 20 mm
  • 150 grams
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • 400 MHZ Samsung (naturally) Processor
  • 128MB ROM
  • 64 MB RAM (54.5MB for the User)
  • 2.8" touchscreen, 320x240
  • EVDO (I think Rev A, but that's not for sure?)
  • MicroSD
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WiFi (both B and G)
  • 1.3 mp camera
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