RSS

The popular and positively reviewed Nextgen Reader has recently been updated to version 3.0 with a number of improvements (support for Windows Phone "Tango"). The RSS app, fully supporting Google Reader, now sports faster startup time and the recently released update squashes a number of known bugs.

A tutorial is presented to the user once launching the app for the first time. This guide walks the user through a number of features and functionality present in Nextgen Reader. As well as the tutorial, this version of Nextgen Reader also features a new subscriptions view.

What else is new in version 3?

  • Both flat list & folder level navigation support in final update. That is folders -> list of feeds -> list of articles (in collapsed view)
  • Read it later now known as Pocket
  • New tutorial at startup
  • Improved startup time and performance
  • New subscriptions view
  • Collapse/expand folders from appbar menu
  • Show all/updated sources from appbar menu
  • Support for favicons
  • Articles list with filters on top (unread, all) similar to mail app
  • New: Mark items older than a day/week as read and sync
  • Save to Readability (settings -> accounts)
  • Pin 'All Items' or 'Starred' tile to start screen
  • New live tile option (based on phone theme)
  • Customize update mode per live tile e.g. images on front
  • Post link in status update (e.g. sharing to Facebook)
  • Many more improvements and bug fixes

A pretty large update, which appears to be the norm when it comes to this app. As well as synchronising your Google Reader account, the app also recommends other feeds that are separated into different categories. You can download Nextgen reader from the Marketplace for $2.49 (£1.49), with a free trial available.

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Flud, a popular social RSS client on iOS, has been released for Windows Phone. We previously looked at Flud when it appeared at the Mobile Acceleration Week in New York back in November. With Flud you'll be able to know what your friends (fellow "Fluders") are reading, and vice-versa. This appears to be the norm with every social app now - to see exactly what your friends are up to.

The app itself is nicely designed with a clean Metro UI and features some interesting functionality, including Google Reader integration. Be sure to add "WPCentral.com" as a news source to get the latest from our feed. A quick run down of the features available in Flud:

  • Find Fluders who share your interests in news, blogs, and topics
  • Flud articles you love and share them with your followers
  • See what your followers are reading with the Activity Feed
  • Access your Reading List wherever you are, no Internet required
  • Easily add, reorder, or remove feeds
  • Connect to Google Reader, Twitter, and Facebook

You can download Flud from the Marketplace for free.

Via: GoWindowsGo; Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this.

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Sorry folks, the contest is now closed!

Here at WPCentral, we're pretty big fans of Nextgen Reader which is billed as "the fastest Google Reader client around" (we tend to agree). That's why we're excited to team up with the developer, NextGsoft, to give it away to all of you for $0 for the next 36 hours.

That's right, normally this highly rated app fetches for a $1.99, but for the next day and a half you can get it for nothing at all. The app hit v2.0 back in September with Mango support (see our video review) and since then it has received numerous updates, including version 2.4 which just went live in the Marketplace today. That version brings a bunch of new features and fixes to the table:

  • Live tiles now support images.
  • New manage sources hub with search, add, rename and delete feeds/folder.
  • Improved scrolling in article view.
  • Pin tiles easily to start screen from manage sources hub.
  • Added change password/account option.
  • Improved sharing page.
  • Bug fix: save post title in read it later.
  • Bug fix: support for Japanese font.
  • Bug fix: better support for multiple YouTube videos in article.
  • Many other improvements and bug fixes.

So how do you get the app for not a single penny? You just have to do the following steps to get an unlock code:

  1. reTweet this story and/or follow Nextgen Reader on Twitter (or both!)
  2. OR do the "Like" thing on Facebook
  3. THEN Fill out this form for your registration key and you're good to go (the key will be emailed to you within the week which will unlock the Trial)

From WPCentral and NextGsoft, enjoy your free Google RSS client! Grab the trial of Nextgen Reader version 2.4 here in the Marketplace and read more at the Nextgen Reader site for details on the update.

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Pulse app updated to v1.1, gets less laggy

The popular (and free) Pulse RSS news app just got a bump this morning to version 1.1 adding some background-updating and some Mango fast-app switching. It's also substantially less laggy now, no doubt due to the Magno-recompile.

Unfortunately, not too many other features were added as far as we can tell--still no Google Reader integration, nor ability to add custom feeds (just search). Nor are there any Live Tiles, so in that sense, the alternate Fuse app is still significantly out pacing it and may be a good choice for those who need more.

Edit: Ah yes, as some folks in comments remind us, this app has always been Mango-ized and has a uncustomizable Live Tile. So what's new? Perhaps just bug fixes and generic "performance enhancments". Enjoy! We're sticking with Fuse.

For those who like free, basic but still solid, you can pick up Pulse v1.1 here in the Marketplace.

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For those of you who use Google Reader on-the-go, you probably know about NextGen Reader. If not, you'll want to definitely check out new version 2.2 which has a nice package of new features, including a very impressive improvement in data delivery (always a huge addition to any update).

If you recall, version 2.x went Mango, giving some Live Tiles and custom feeds for your Start screen. Now in v2.2 the developer has gone even further:

  • Fixed live tile issues.
  • Faster sync. (changes synced immediately)
  • Huge bandwidth savings. (up to 6-10x times)
  • Google Reader service does not supports like and share in reader feature anymore.
  • Option to sort articles by oldest first.
  • Mark above as read. (tap and hold on 51st item to mark above 50 items as read)
  • Hap-tic feedback. (vibrate when download completes, or star icon tapped)
  • Display name of the folder when inside a category instead of "All Items".
  • Support for awesome readability mobilizer.
  • Lock orientation option now works in mobilizer page as well.
  • Live tile doesn't display '999' if you've more than 1000 unread items.
  • several bug fixes and improvements.

If you haven't seen our earlier hands on with v2, check out the video after the break. We're big fans of a dedicated, Metro-inspired Google Reader app and this fits the bill perfectly. You can pick up NextGen Reader here for $1.99 in the Marketplace and yes, there's an ad-free trial too.

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Weave (see review) is a superb looking news reader app for Windows Phone. The built-in categories contain top sites and resources, with users being able to add more to any category. Articles can be shared with friends via social networking and email. Weave has recently been updated to 3.5, which brings YouTube, mp4, and podcast support.

If you're not aware of Weave, some app highlights:

  • 33 pre-loaded categories including world, financial, deals, fashion, video games, technology, and sports news just to name a few!
  • Add new categories at any time 
  • Over 180 pre-loaded, high-quality news sources including CNN, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, Engadget, USA Today, NY Times, IGN, Entertainment Weekly, and many more!
  • Feed search – you can search for new feeds by topic or website name
  • Easily manage your feeds and categories via the settings screen
  • Preview articles with a touch of a finger
  • View full articles at your leisure
  • Share articles with your friends, via email
  • Post an article to your Facebook wall
  • Tweet an article to your Twitter followers
  • Send an article to Instapaper

You can download Weave from the Marketplace for free (ad supported) with a paid version available.

Via: @SelesGames

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Fuse news reader finally goes Mango with v1.3

For those of you using Fuse, the great looking news reader from Rudy Huyn, you'll want to check our v1.3 as it just went live in the Marketplace. The new update finally brings those much needed Mango features, joining our growing list. New additions include:

  • Fast app resume
  • Multiple live tiles (you can pin feeds or groups)
  • Background agent to update live tiles
  • A choice between 5 types of live tiles (seen below)

All in all it's performing great for us and looks to be a solid update to an already fantastic app. Pick it up here in the Marketplace for $1.29 with a free trial. And check our our early sneak peek video of Fuse in action.

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As far as RSS readers go, Pulse set the standard a few years ago by releasing their award-winning app for the iPad. Since then, the app has gone to the iPhone and Android as well, bringing it's unique and stunning UI along the way.

Today, Pulse has announced that they have developed a version of their news aggregating application for Windows Phone.  The Pulse app lets readers track their favorite news sites by displaying them in a mosaic that updates as content changes.  The WP7 will take this even further, utilizing live tiles, to bring new content to your home screen.  Users can list up to 20 sites from Pulse's 200+ content partners, as well as other sites of their choosing. Of note, this is just the first step in bringing Pulse to Windows Phone, so users should expect more features and a richer client with future updates.

Pulse also allows makes for easy sharing, via Twitter, Facebook and email buttons.  Content can also be texted to users' contacts.

Pulse has been submitted for certification to the Marketplace and it is expected to be available any day now.  We do know that Pulse will be a free app and once a Marketplace link becomes available, we'll update the post.  In the meantime, check out a video demonstration after the break. 

Update: Pulse is now available. Grab it here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, Mike P., for the heads up!)

Source: Pulse

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Weave v3.1 for Mango lands in the Marketplace

Just a few weeks ago, Weave, the super slick RSS news reader, received a major UI overhaul which we gave high marks due to its exceptional elegance. Now, v3.1 is available in the Marketplace (paid version) and it's all Mango outfitted for your pleasure.

For Mango features, you have your fast app switching/resume, which allows multitasking to finally be enabled. On top of that, the app is smoother for scrolling and quite zippy to use.

If you haven't tried Weave yet, you really should. One of the its best features are the 33 preloaded categories e.g. politics, technology, Windows Phone, etc. with each category featuring some of the best blogs and news sources around. In turn, you don't have to sit and think about which RSS feeds you should subscribe too (though of course you can manage those and even add new ones). There's a free version (currently non-Mango) and the paid version (with trial) which fetches for $2.99. Grab the Mango v3.1 here in the Marketplace.

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Early look: NextGen Reader 2.0 for Windows Phone Mango

Fans of NextGen Reader will be excited to know that the developer has completed v2.0 of the app, which will see it become Mango-fied, adding all sorts of neat new features sure to make this app even better. For those unfamiliar, NextGen is billed as one of "the fastest Google Reader clients" for Windows Phone. Indeed, due to its minimalist Metro design it's not only fast but is packed full of features.

We were able to play around with an early release of the app and have come away quite impressed. In addition to the Mango v2.0 update, there will be one more for NoDo users (v1.17) and he's already started on v2.1 for Mango. Check out the video above for our quick hands on and look for the final release to hit the Marketplace soon (we'll announce it). As to all the new Mango features in v2.x, here you go:

  • Support for Live Tiles.
  • Pin your favorite feeds or folder to your home screen.
  • Displays unread count and latest article on the back side.
  • New settings page with metro design.
  • Share status using phone or app accounts.
  • add your second twitter account in app.
  • Support for multitasking or fast application switching.
  • System tray is now visible at top.
  • Context menu's are back - just tap and hold.
  • New "system default" theme option.
  • New icons for read or unread button in article view.
  • Many more enhancements and over 15 bug fixes

For those who want to try v1.16 now for NoDo, grab it here in the Marketplace.

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There are plenty of RSS readers on Windows Phone, but few look as good or unique as Rudy Huyn's (TVShow) latest.

Fuse is nothing short of breath-taking. The app comes with three themes: ribbon, ipsum and square and the toughest decision you'll have to make is which to use, since they all look so good. The app also supports Google Reader, Instapaper, Read it later, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and has the ability to generate unique QR codes to share an article with others.

We like the ability to search for RSS feeds instead of entering the address manually, the super smooth and eye-popping graphics, tutorial and just over all ease of use. The app will be released in a few days to the Marketplace at which point we'll post our full review. But right now, we're leaning towards calling this one of the nicest, smoothest apps we have seen yet on Windows Phone. A real gem.

Update: Price will be $1.29 on release. Visit the website for the app for more information: http://feelmygeek.com/fuse/

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There are a few "must have" apps for Windows Phone and we think Weave is one of 'em (see early review). So it's exciting to see it hit the big version 3.0 after some extensive beta testing, which we were lucky to see first hand. The free version (ad-supported) is now available for your usage and the paid, no-ad version is coming later this week (selectable backgrounds held it up, but hey...as SelesGames says, you get selectable backgrounds). The new animations, design and features make this app even better, so we so no reason why if you haven't already, you shouldn't give it a spin.

Features include:

  • 33 pre-loaded categories including world, financial, deals, fashion, video games, technology, and sports news just to name a few!
  • Add new categories at any time
  • Over 180 pre-loaded, high-quality news sources including CNN, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, Engadget, USA Today, NY Times, IGN, Entertainment Weekly, and many more!
  • Feed search – you can search for new feeds by topic or website name
  • Easily manage your feeds and categories via the settings screen
  • Preview articles with a touch of a finger
  • View full articles at your leisure
  • Share articles with your friends, via email!
  • Post an article to your Facebook wall!
  • Tweet an article to your Twitter followers!
  • Send an article to Instapaper!

Personally, we're waiting for the paid version because it rocks pretty hard. But for only the occasional news reader out there, this free edition is solid as can be. Grab it here in the Marketplace, let us know in comments your thoughts on their redesign.

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Review: SBSH GoNews Touch

One of the things that I like about technology is that it is often the simplest solution to the simplest of problems that affect our lives the most. A perfect example of this is RSS feeds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a method of delivering or receiving a series of articles in a central location. For example, I read an odd assortment of computer, gadget and sports news every day. Instead of visiting each site multiple times throughout the day, I can make use of the provided RSS feeds and a feed aggregator (I personally use Google Reader) to read all of the news in a central location.

Because of its simplicity, RSS works extremely well with mobile devices. A quick search on this site will return reviews of several RSS readers that offer differing features for various prices (this is one reason why we love Windows Mobile as a platform). One product that has caught my attention recently is GoNews Touch by SBSH.

 

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Review: SPB News 2.0

One of the major benefits of having a mobile device is the ability to stay connected and have instant communication in many different forms. One problem that can come up with the relatively small devices that we carry is actually getting access to the vast amount of information that is available on the Internet. Every once in a while, evolutions in separate technologies sync up and complement each other extremely well. Such is the case with mobile devices and syndication.

For the uninitiated, syndication in the form of Atom or RSS feeds (you can find ours here) offers a simple method of gathering articles or news items from various places around the internet and centralizing them in a feed reader. We’ve featured a number of feed readers on WMExperts including Newsbreak, Viigo, FeedMe, and even Google Reader within Kinoma Play.

SPB software sets the standard when it comes to Windows Mobile software. SPB is updating their Insight RSS aggregator and giving us SPB News 2.0 for $19.95. A free upgrade will be available for owners of Insight.

The full review is after the break.

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Google Reader now on Kinoma Play

Couple of cool updates for Kinoma Play this week. First up is the addition of Google Reader. (For the uninitiated, Google Reader is an RSS reader. For the un-uninitiated, see Malatesta's oldie but goodie piece on the importance of RSS.)

For all intents and purposes, what Kinoma is giving us here is access to feeds already in Google Reader. And that's nice because there's little I hate more than having to reload (or export) feeds from one place to another. Just sign in, and everything shows up. Kinoma says its GR app is in beta, so be forewarned.

Also added is Yelp (a location-based local business search) and Flights, as the name suggests, tracks flights.

More info over at the Kinoma blog. To get the new apps, first get the latest update of Kinoma Play, then choose "Get apps" from the home screen.

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FeedMe is a nice, light RSS reader

If you're in the market for a free, lightweight RSS reader, here's one you might want to check out. FeedMe does all the usual things you'd expect from an RSS reader. You set up the feed, and it pulls in the stories. But it goes further than that, allowing you to actually search the Web, Yahoo and Google News, search within feeds, Feedster, Live Search, etc.

Here's the full feature list:

  • Supports RSS, RDF, and Atom feed formats
  • View feed content in full HTML fidelity with pictures
  • Supports MP3/WMA podcasts (Also supports streaming WMA)
  • Download Manager: Allows you to view the progress of current downloading podcasts
  • Downloaded Podcast channel allows you to view all your downloaded podcasts easily
  • Today folder, Watch folder (find content with certain keywords)
  • Cache all the content for seamless reading experience
  • Play all downloaded podcasts in a playlist in Downloaded Podcast channel
  • Pick a feed from an OPML file (You can open the OPML file from local device or from a URL)
  • Options to automatically download latest episodes of a podcast and purge old files
  • Config file auto-save and auto-recovering

It comes pre-loaded with everything you see in the picture on the left, though it was missing the WMExperts feed. Surely that's just an oversight. FeedMe is available on Windows Mobile Pro and Standard phones (.net 3.5 needed), and you can download it here.

FeedMe via Channel 10

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How To: Learn Mobile RSS and Why It Matters

Ed Note: Malatesta checks in with a great tutorial on RSS and why it makes your mobile life better. If you're not already subscribed to the WMExperts RSS Feed, here's the link to our feed. As Malatesta writes below, RSS really is like "TiVo for your favorite websites." If you're not using it now, you should be.

RSS or Really Simple Syndication (as of RSS 2.0) is a method by which a user can check updates on his or her favorite website, blog, news site etc without having to actually “visit” that site through their web browser. Instead, the information or “feed” is retrieved automatically and brought to the user instead The benefits are simplicity and speed as you don’t have to check every website to see “what’s new” but rather you can just view the headlines directly.

The purpose of this tutorial is to introduce this technology to the Windows Mobile user who may not be aware of how this system can dramatically increase productivity and decrease frustrating browser load times.

How it works: Desktop

To use RSS, you don’t need to know how the system works in detail but it is nice to know some of the basics. For one, if you are viewing this story through a Firefox webrowser, you may notice this icon in your address bar (at right).

That’s now the universal symbol to indicate an RSS feed is available for a website. Not all sites have them but you’ll be quite surprised that many nowadays do. If you want, you can simply click that symbol with your mouse cursor and a dialog window will ask if you want to “bookmark” this RSS feed. Doing so will add a new folder with RSS “live” bookmarks to your browser. The term “live” is used since they are updated automatically, pulling down the latest headlines, bloglines and information—what you see is what is on that site at that moment!

Say you do this for your top 10 or 20 websites. What this means is now you can check to see if those sites have any new stories posted simply by looking at your Live bookmarks. No change? No new story or posts. In essence, you can literally check up on all your sites within seconds by just looking through your RSS feeds.

Besides your home or work browser, you can also use RSS feeds hosted by websites like Google Reader or Bloglines. This allows you to view anywhere all your RSS feeds from any computer. You can also access these feeds from your mobile browser, if you prefer.

How it works: Windows Mobile

You can do the exact same thing on your Windows Mobile device (Standard or Professional) as your desktop. As mentioned above, using your Google RSS feeds via your Pocket Internet Explorer, Opera Mini/Mobile, etc are all ways to keep your RSS feeds up to date and save you time from visiting all of your sites just for updates.

There is also a “client based” approach by which you download a special RSS reader program. Some are free, others costs money, though they are usually fairly priced. What’s the benefit for a client-based approach? For one, it still saves your from launching your web browser and having to navigate to a site. Number two, client based RSS programs tend to have many more features (especially the pay-ware type): send a link as email, view pictures, sync on schedule, sort for keywords, Today Plugin and system notifications for updates, as well as full Podcast support.

But the best part of mobile RSS is this: Stories are pulled down from the sites (including photos), formatted for your PPC or smartphone with no “fluff” from the site i.e. you are just viewing that one story: no ads, no other stories and no filler for graphics, which wastes bandwidth and time. What you get is only the story you want to read about, accompanying photos and smooth legibility within seconds.

This is what I mean by saving time (over a 3g connection):

3 seconds: Time to launch RSS reader (Newsbreak) 45 seconds: Time to pull down the RSS feeds of 17 websites (x 15 headlines each = 255 headlines!) 1-5 seconds: Time to pull down actual story with pictures & graphics (only if you click on the headline to read the story)

So instead of me visiting 17 separate websites on my mobile browser, I simply pulled down the headlines, all in less than 1-minute. Now I can minimally browse through the headlines and determine if I want to read any of the stories. When I do find a story that interests me, the story takes 1-5 seconds to pull down the text and any graphics. Take a moment to think of how long that would take to do via a mobile browser. Very impressive! Now let’s see how to set this up…

Setting up

Adding RSS feeds to most clients is easy as they usually allow you to manually type in the RSS address, import a list of them from an external file, or the preferred: search an online database. For an example, say you want to read Engadget Mobile, you would launch the “New” window and go through the process, searching for your preferred site. Once you have all your feeds set up, you can then save and export all of them to your storage card or computer for safe-keeping or even share them with a friend.

But what else can these programs do for you? Take for instance, what is in my opinion, one of the best pay RSS programs out there: Ilium Software’s Newsbreak 2.1 ($19.95) (see here for full review). Using this program, you can have it auto-update your feeds every 2 hours, auto-search it for keywords (e.g. “Windows Mobile” or “Iraq War”) marking them with an icon and it will actually notify you when new stories are published, all without you even touching the device. Think of TiVo but for your favorite websites.

That is getting technology to work for you and is what makes your device truly a “smart” phone.

RSS programs can also handle Podcasts of your favorite shows or sites, allowing them to be automatically downloaded and even kept on your Storage Card to save space. Then on you way to work or on a break, throw on some headphones and listen away.

“Read more online!” Nooo….!

There is one down side to some RSS feeds. Running a website is not a free business, which is why you tend to see flashy ads and banners on many sites as they help pay the bills. No money, no website. But what if you never had to visit the website? Well, if you’ve been paying attention that is exactly what RSS technology enables!

For some sites, they get around this in two ways: (1) they put a small ad at the bottom of your RSS story (2) They only give you part of the feed/story, leaving the torturous “Read more online…”, a link to their site so you can finish reading the story.

Now in a way, this still is better than before as now your web browser will launch, but it takes you right to that story. Still, sometimes they take you to their full-site instead of their mobile one (assuming they even have one) and you spend the next 15-20 seconds pulling down needless graphics.

Unfortunately, they are only two solutions for this, as you cannot change that websites’ RSS feed content (that is up to them). (1) Don’t use their RSS feed and save it for home (2) Follow the dreaded “Read more online…” link and bite your tongue.

But there is a 3rd solution that helps ameliorate the pain: Developer John Cody has developed a free plugin called “John Cody’s SkweezeIt!”. After installing, when you click the “Read more online…” link, a pop up window will ask you “Do you want to Skweeze this link?”. What it is doing is now giving you the option to run that link directly through Skweezer, a web site dedicated to reformatting and removing waste from websites to make them more palatable for your mobile browsing experience.

Using this free and superb option (trust me, you’ll think it’s wonderful if you’ve had the “before and after” experience), clicking that dreaded link becomes a much easier option to choose.

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All's been relatively quiet on the Viigo front of late, with the RSS reader's "Project Tango" Windows Mobile beta, well, still in beta.

For the uninitiated, Viigo is a pretty robust RSS reader that stores and gives you access to your feed list from Viigo's servers. Switch devices and your feeds follow you. No need to manually re-enter them, which is a godsend. You can also manage your feed list from a standard Web page.

In addition to being a standard RSS reader, you also get election news, weather info, sports scores — as our cousins at Crackberry.com beat us to the punch just noted, NBA scores are now available — stocks and airline information, and local classified listings.

However, a number of users (including yours truly) recently ran into an issue that kept them from logging into their accounts from the phone, thus denying access to their feeds. That issue has been fixed in a new build. Go get it here.

If you haven't tried Viigo, give it a shot. The beta's free and works on touchscreen and non-touchscreen phones. And as long as you're adding RSS feeds be sure to check out our new combined RSS feed for the Smartphone Experts Network.

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Full Posts on WMExperts RSS Feed

It's going to be a light posting day here at WMExperts. We're attending Sofcon in California today -- an academic conference dedicated to talking about the future of mobility, to wit:

What do consumers want? How can providers deliver it? What obstacles must be cleared? What partnerships make sense? What grand challenges need to be solved? How can Silicon Valley help close the gap with the rest of the world? Where should investors, creators, and customers of the mobile industry place their bets?

Should be a good time for a recovering academic like yours-truly, however I wouldn't expect any big news, Windows Mobile-wise.

The point of this post, though, is to let you know that we've switched the WMExperts RSS feed to full posts, including the “read more” bits. We'll make a trade-off in the near future by adding some ads for the WMExperts Store, but since a full third of our readership seems to be coming in via RSS, it was the right thing to do.

In other site news (and speaking of yours-truly), I'll be a guest on the 100th episode of The Cell Phone Junkie. It's truly a big accomplishment for Mickey and Joey and they deserve congratulations for hitting 100 shows. Here at WMExperts we're only 1/10th of the way there with our podcast. If you're not already a listener, you should be. Check it out.

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