mobile

Comcast may branch out from cable and landline internet, moving into the wireless service arena in the future. According to a report out of The Information, Comcast has been looking into the idea of creating a nationwide wireless phone network that relies primarily on Wifi with back-up service leased from already-established cellular carriers.

Instead of having to pursue purchasing large blocks of wireless spectrum and rights to traditional cellular towers, Comcast would leverage its currently-available network of Wifi hotspots to provide the majority of traffic for phones. Its Wifi network is growing with installations of public access points — over a million across various markets — in large cities and special residential routers that Comcast provides with a publicly-available signal in over eight million homes. But it naturally wouldn't be able to cover the entire country comprehensively — that's where other carriers come in.

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The UK mobile operator is looking to attract more custom by offering more affordable 4G plans. Since the company launched 4G in the UK, consumers have commented on how expensive the new plans were, especially taking into account how little data was included. Along with the new pricing, EE also unveiled PAYG 4G.

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Ever since Microsoft first announced to the world their intentions to “re-imagine” Windows it has been a rather wild ride. Their new touch screen user interface, WinRT wasn't just radical for its looks, it ushered in a totally new apps eco system while simultaneously sending the Start Menu to the technology grave yard.

The changes to the OS ran deep and Microsoft had been busy readying Windows 8/RT to run on the highly power efficient ARM processors. Their plans for that became clearer when they shocked the technology world by announcing their own tablet computer, the Surface. With the changes to Windows came a new declaration that Microsoft re-position themselves as a Devices and Services company. They have built their eco system and the next logical step has been to control the hardware that uses it. The culmination of their efforts in re-imagining Windows and becoming a devices and services company can we seen best in one single product, their Surface tablet running Windows RT.

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Update (1pm ET): The Windows Phone Store link is now active

For those of you who commute or find yourself traveling a lot, you’ll soon be able to make your life a lot more interesting as 121Cast's SoundGecko app has finally landed for Windows Phone. We wrote on SoundGecko earlier in anticipation of the app and that day is just about upon us.

The app has passed Windows Phone certification and is just waiting to be “pushed” to the Store. Windows Phone Central managed to get our hands on it slightly early and we’re more than glad to give you the tour in the video above.

The service, found at www.soundgecko.com, is free for the basic level and it allows you to convert 30 articles a month into audio format. The service works by finding a web link of a story you want to listen to later and sending it to SoundGecko (you can even use the nifty Chrome plugin to automate the process).

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PlayUp - The new JBL-Noka portable speaker with NFC

[Updated with new images and Nokia link]

Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Nokia’s own Chris Weber have revealed that JBL and Nokia are getting together for some new NFC-enabled mobile speakers called PlayUp.

Much like the Play360 currently on the market from Nokia, the new JBL-Nokia offerings look to improve upon their existing model of high quality portable media speakers. The device is expected to feature NFC and Bluetooth for easy connectivity and since Nokia’s new Lumia lineup will feature NFC, it makes a good pair for retail.

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SEE Tickets is a UK tickets distributor that covers concerts, festivals, theatre, sport events and more. While no app is presently available on the Windows Phone Marketplace, the website team have refreshed the mobile version of the website for Windows Phones and have even gone as far as providing the visitor with a quick way to pin a shortcut to the home screen.

The mobile version of the SEE Tickets website allows those who are on the move to browse events that are currently scheduled. While tickets can be purchased through the website, which makes it a complete user experience, it would be great to see an official app launch on the platform. To be able to quickly view tickets, make purchases and receive notifications and reminders of upcoming booked seats would improve functionality.

Be sure to check out the new mobile version of SEE Tickets and let us know what you think in the comments. For a website to make use of the "pin to start" feature is a step in the right direction.

Thanks, pepsijosh, for the heads up!

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We’re going to say right off the bat that we’re not into the whole JunoWallet thing—but we do recognize many of you are, so it’s with that sense we’re glad to announce that they have a well polished app for Windows Phone now.

For those of you who don’t know, JunoWallet (www.junowallet.com) is a mobile service that brings “deals” to your phone. Basically you have to fill out surveys that then earn you credits.  Those credits will then allow you to redeem things like gift-cards and other items from the JunoWallet company.

It’s like the opposite of online anonymity. Instead of not wanting companies to track you, you’re embracing the system to earn free stuff. And we have heard of people making quite a bit of money off of these deals—basically just filling out forms all day.  Granted, you can fill out fake info and we suppose that could work too—like we said, we don’t do this stuff, so we’re not completely privy on all the ins and outs...

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While Samsung has not exactly wowed many with the Omnia M announcement a few weeks ago, the low-end Tango phone is important for the company and the platform as it allows them to compete with Android. Such is the reason why their launching of the device China Mobile and China Unicom is quite inspiring (China Telecom is supposed to get one too, but it was not yet announced).

The phones are slightly different due to the radio difference and they also vary on memory, with the Unicom version have 8GB of storage while Mobile gets 4GB. Other than that we're talking about 1GHz CPUs, 4" 800x480, 5MP rear and 0.3MP front facing cameras and everything else we expect from a Windows Phone these days. Interestingly, these are not technically Tango phones as they have 384MB of available RAM though they will run the Tango OS.

No pricing or release dates were revealed by either carrier, which is unfortunate. It should be interesting to see how Samsung prices their device against the even more low-end Nokia Lumia 610.

Source: MyDrivers; via Unwired View

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We recently covered the announcement of HTC's upcoming Windows Phone based event, which will be held in London on the 1st of September. We have now learned of three more locations around Europe that will house the same event which include Madrid, Berlin and Paris. If you are thinking on attending, be sure to visit the respective Facebook page and RSVP.

Here are the details from each Facebook page (please double check times and locations):

  • London - 18:30 - 23:00 at Victoria House, Southampton Row entrance, 37 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4DA (Facebook)
  • Madrid - 19:30 - 23:00 at C/ Jorge Juan, 99, Puerta D del Palacio de los Deportes (Facebook)
  • Berlin - 20:30 - 23:00 at Spindler & Klatt, Köpenicker Straße 16, 10997 Berlin (Facebook)
  • Paris - 19:30 - TBA at TBA (Facebook)

Are you heading along to the events to see what's up with coming devices?

Thanks Christian for the heads up!

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For those of you who still like the idea of "web portals" (which to us seems as dated as an AOL CD) you'll be pleased to know that Microsoft has taken the time to give a nice overhaul to their MSN Mobile website.

The new homepage now matches the recently re-launched desktop version, features ease of access to email, more minimalist graphics and faster downloads.

Overall, we have to give credit as it does look quite nice and were we not to rely on our native Bing, MSN Messenger or ability to push Hotmail, we suppose this would be our next best thing. (Speaking of Hotmail, login to the new revamped "preview" edition here)

Navigate to http://mobile.msn.com/ on your device to check it out, as it should be live. Unfortunately for us, at this time on our TP2/eXpo we were still with the old layout. Guess these things take time.

Read more on the MSN Blog: Behind the Butterfly (awesome name, by the way).

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Color us surprised (not really).

The Mozilla team, who have been talking about a mobile browser for Windows Mobile since January 2008, have at least temporarily pulled the plug on Mobile Firefox aka Fennec for Windows Mobile 6.5 and any future iterations e.g. Phone 7 Series.

They cite the obvious changing landscape between the two platforms and the "closed" nature of WP7s as reasons for the "hold" on development. They forgot to mention the slow-as-molasses part.

While we here at WMExperts have always been fond of the promise of a Mobile Firefox, we've been more impressed with the delivery of such a product from Opera Mobile, who have routinely developed and improved upon the browsing experience without fanfare, hype, "milestones" or the chaos that often results from an open source attempt.

Sure, Mobile Firefox could have been a good thing, but it's been 2 years since Mozilla committed themselves to a serious mobile browser. Two years! To which we reply with, "Sorry we don't have time to wait, we're moving on." Microsoft built a whole mobile OS within the last year whereas Mozilla can't get us decent milestones for their browser. 

Sorry fellas, we would have missed you a year ago had you succeeded. But now, it's hard to miss vaporware.

[via Techie Buzz]

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LAS VEGAS -- We were promised more answers at MIX10, and now we're getting them. Microsoft this morning announced its developer tools for Windows Phone 7 Series.

Front and center is Silverlight. The Silverlight 4 Release Candidate is now available, "which will enable developers to create and deploy even more robust applications and rich interactive experiences." It finally brings what was born as a Flash alternative to the mobile space -- and not just as another way to view content in a browser. Silverlight's a major player here, folks, along with the XNA framework that's already been discussed.

Developer tools are free, including Expression Blend, and a preview of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express is part of the download. What, you're not up on your Expression Blend? It's a "development workflow tool which includes features such as Path Layout to enable developers and designers to build and animate innovative UI design via ground-breaking visual layout mechanism, without the need to write code. The beta also supports Silverlight 4, .NET Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010." Think of it as more of a visual tool, rather than coding line by line.

Windows Phone Marketplace replaces the Windows Marketplace for Mobile (finally, Microsoft manages to find a shorter name for something), which brings "a new merchandising tool that will enable developers and designers to bring applications and games to market and increase the discoverability of applications with customers while supporting one-time credit card purchases, mobile operator billing and advertising-funded applications."

There's tons more to come this week, and we'll dive deeper into things as the week progresses.

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It has been quite a few weeks since Opera graced us with a new beta of Opera Mobile 10 and we've been wondering just what have they been up to in the mean time.

The answer is they've been busy adding Flash Lite support to the browser in addition to improving speed by 50% (according to them).  Not bad, not bad. Then again, they were rumored to be adding Flash lite one year ago.

To refresh, Flash Lite is what Mobile Internet Explorer has been using for at least a year already (Microsoft really doesn't get enough credit for that fact). It's not full Flash, but it will allow you to watch YouTube and some other embedded videos within the browser, which is a start. In fact, due to the aging OS and standard hardware, doing full Flash would really drag the device down.

Other fixes/changes include:

  • keypad/smartphone support
  • Flash Lite 3.1 support (disabled by default)
  • Complete bookmark sync in Opera Link
  • BIDI support also for language extensions
  • phone numbers in plain text are converted to links
  • support for background sound
  • general bug fixing (stability, UI)

That's right Standard users, you finally get keypad support!  Looks like Opera didn't forget you exist.  To turn on Flash Lite, since it is off by default, go to Tools --> Settings --> Advanced and set Plug-ins to “On”.

Grab the browser here: www.opera.com/mobile/download

[via RedmondPie]

 

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Whew, busy day for software.

Crashing in on Google Map's update today is none other than Microsoft who has effectively re-launched their Bing service.

First up is the browser client, which now offers a "Streetside and enhanced aerial view" in addition to normal maps and uses Silverlight (something we heard about yesterday) to power it all.  There's also an "application gallery" which

...will give users the opportunity to develop “geospatially rich data visualization applications.” Users can seek out applications such as Travel Webcams and Twitter Maps, which uses Twitter’s newly released geolocation tool to map their geographic location as they tweet — even from the Streetside mode.

In conjunction, Microsoft has also revamped Bing Mobile v5.0, which was something it needed as the old user interface was...well old and not very touch friendly.

Overall, the visual changes go a long way to making this standout program even better and the new"wait screen" is a nice twist. However, they also took out some things like gas prices and it is a little slow to load and keep in the background.  Still, we'll assume it will only be improved  upon.

Sound off in comments on your likes/dislikes or new things you found!

  • Web:  www.bing.com
  • Mobile: (via Mobile IE, not Opera): m.bing.com\download

[Microsoft Press Release]

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For those who just can't wait till Opera 9.7+ and want to add Flash support to your existing in-ROM Opera Mobile browser, aDEO at XDA has updated that amazing little tool called fixOperaFlash.

Hacking Flash into Opera has been around for awhile, but aDEO's app makes it the process a matter of clicking a few buttons with a fancy and sophisticated installer. The program was just recently updated to v1.5.2, with updated Flash library package and some minor bug fixes.

Basically you just download the .exe, put it into your \Windows\Opera direction, run it and follow the directions so detailed here.  Make sure you choose the right device from the selector.

So how does it work? Pretty well though any limitations come clearly from our aging MSM processors, which struggle to run Flash inside of the resource intensive Opera Mobile browser--in other words, don't plan on too much multi-tasking when watching embedded YouTube videos! Still, it works well on the Touch Pro 2.

Having said that, this is a great example of smart programming, so give it a spin if Flash is what you need.

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Though we'd be straining to tell you specifically what has changed with v2.23 since Google evidently doesn't believe in change logs or auto-updates via software (rolls eyes), we can tell you that this is a newer version from v2.09. Yep. That's why we get paid the big bucks here at WMExperts.

Actually, some of the controls during play seemed to have changed a bit (shrunk down?) and there seem to be some nice animation effects. But perhaps that's just out imagination. Maybe you can help discern the mystery.

Anyways, go here to directly download the .cab to your phone.

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In what amounts to a direct shot across iTunes' bow (or it's a direct imitation of, depending on who you ask), Samsung is now offering movie downloads to customers in the UK and Germany. [via Engadget]

You get the option to buy or rent a DVD-quality flick, plus a mobile copy. For example's sake, The Dark Night's going for £16.99 (about $25 U.S.) to buy; £3.99 ($6 U.S.) to rent. The selection isn't half-bad, but we wouldn't really recommend trying to watch a movie on something smaller than an Omnia. But, hey, they're your eyes.

Check out all the fine details at www.SamsungMovies.com.

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