Snap

One of the ideals of Microsoft’s connected ecosystem of Xbox consoles, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 and RT is easy portability between the various platforms. Make it easy for developers to write one game and release it to more than one Microsoft platform and consumers win too since they get more software to choose from.

Last December the Xbox One saw its first port from Windows 8: Microsoft’s Halo: Spartan Assault. Now NinjaBee/Wahoo Studios (nobody can say the difference between the two labels) has brought their own Windows 8 game over to Xbox One as part of the ID@Xbox program: Nutjitsu. This one is basically the exact same tablet/PC game but with Achievements.

If playing a tiny retro-style game on your expensive new console doesn’t hurt your pride, you might want to give Nutjitsu a try. Read on for our full review with video!

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Sprint Snap gets updated

Well, this one snuck under our radar.

Sprint released an software update for the HTC Snap last month. Last month being July.

The software provides several enhancements to the Snap including resolving issues where the Snap gets stuck in vibrate mode and does not save ringtone settings.

You can download the software update over at HTC's Support Site. Thanks goes out to member Palm_forlackofchoice for alerting us to this update.

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If you are rockin’ an HTC Touch Pro2 (or one of the many carrier variants), chances are you are a power user when it comes to Windows Phones. For myself, the Touch Pro2 is the perfect form factor for a Windows Phone. The massive high- resolution screen, spacious QWERTY keyboard, in a fairly thin phone is the perfect balance of features and portability.

When it comes to power users, there is one feature that we can’t seem to get enough of no matter what the specs are; and that is battery life. Traditionally, the quest for an extended battery meant compromises when it comes to portability because larger battery capacity meant larger physical size. Seidio’s Innocell Extended Battery comes in an OEM form factor that gives you extended battery life without adding bulk or requiring a replacement battery door for your device.

For the full review of Seidio’s Extended Battery, hit the jump.

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Headline pretty much says it all here. TMoNews has it on good authority that updates to Windows Mobile 6.5 for the Touch Pro 2 and Dash 3G (aka the HTC Snap) will be coming on Jan. 20 (after that rumored Jan. 6 date came and went). Here's exactly what they heard:

Touch Pro2 and Dash 3GOn January 20, the Windows Mobile 6.5 software upgrade will be available for customers with the T-Mobile Touch Pro2 and the Dash 3G. Customers can obtain the update on T-Mobile.com at www.t-mobile.com/wmupgrade.

Considering T-Mobile was the first carrier to launch the Touch Pro 2, it's an update we're very happy to finally see. Now, where's that HD2?

 

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Well, speak of the devil.  We were just lamenting how devices like the Ozone have seemingly been left out of the Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade fest, without even a release-window scheduled.

And soon after that we get word that XDA member udK has posted the shipping upgrade ROM for the Ozone (v2.16.605.15)  How convenient! (See our full review of the Ozone here)

Running WM6.5 build 21845 and with about 67MB of RAM/64MB ROM, it sure seems zippy enough when we loaded it up on our phone.  Overall, it looks exactly the same as the WM6.1 version, but it does have some little graphic enhancements (Outlook), is snappy as all heck, has MyPhone/Marketplace and even features a new home-screen customizer (see below) which is quite nice. The customizer allows you to enable/disable panels and even move them up/down to your liking.

Then there's all the internal stuff: new kernel, better battery life, performance enhancements, better Exchange support, etc.

While not as drastic as a change from WM6.1 to WM6.5 Professional, we do think the Ozone (one of our favorite devices in 2009) definitely deserves this update.

Of course, being an unofficial/official update, we have to throw out all the warnings and caveats as needed.  But if you're cool with it (and we did it ourselves), then you can download right here.

[thanks, Ronnie, for the tip!]

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This is actually been at this price for about a month now, but it was news to us, so perhaps news to you.

If you're looking for a cheap and halfway decent Windows starter phone, the Snap is completely free at Best Buy (down from $149, then $99) with a 2-year contract. See our full review for a refresh.

We'd say the phone is about worth that with a 2 year contract and it's actually a fun device, especially if you slap WM6.5 on it before that official release comes down the road.

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Hot on the heels of the Sprint Treo Pro's custom ROM comes one for the Sprint Snap, a device which I love and hate (hint: the KB drives me nuts).

As usual, credit goes to those mavericks at XDA.  Specifically jockyw2001, who did the HardSPL to unlock the ROM and ookba who brings a beautiful WM6.5 custom job with all sorts of goodies loaded up.

It's a pretty basic install:

  1. Run HardSPL
  2. Run SDA Application Unlock,
  3. Install Custom ROM

So how is WM6.5 for Standard?  Pretty. It's zippy, looks nice and works.

Ookba has done a great job of cooking all sorts of customizations, including Titanium Weather (similar to NRG Weather), button configuration utility, HTC UI Tweaks, IE keymaps, HTC Comm Manager, Skyfire, Opera Mini, HTC's Unlock screen...basically it feels more like the Verizon Ozone now (except the KB).

After the jump are a few screenshots. Remember, it's always nice to tip or at least give a thanks to these folks for all the hard work!

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For those of you rocking the original HTC Touch Pro on Sprint, and we know there are plenty of you out there, an official ROM update was recently released. Here's what you get:

  • TouchFlo 3D updated to improve speed and stability.
  • Dialer application enhanced to improve the handling of incoming calls.
  • Resolves an issue using the “r” and “w” keys on the virtual keypad.
  • Improves contact searching performance.
  • Includes a variety of minor bug fixes.

This is a full-on ROM update, so be sure to back up all of your important data first because the device will be wiped in the process.

Also, HTC has released a hotfix for the Sprint Snap that "is designed to correct and prevent a memory block issue that can cause the Sprint Snap to lock up or freeze during boot up."

This one's merely a hotfix, like loading an app. That means your data should be safe (though we'd recommend a backup first, just in case), and you'll need to reload this fix should you ever hard-reset the Snap.

ROM update for Sprint Touch Pro
Hotfix for Sprint Snap

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Review: Verizon HTC Ozone

The Verizon HTC Ozone (Cedar) is the answer to the aging Motorola Q9 series and fits in nicely with Verizon's revamped and full-featured Windows Mobile lineup.  The phone is a sister device to the HTC Snap but differs from that model in significant and beneficial ways.

I've had the chance to use the device extensively ever since the quick hands-on report weeks ago.  In short, Verizon customers are very lucky to have such a great WM Standard device. Packing WiFi, EvDO Rev A and a GSM radio with a cozy keyboard, the HTC Ozone sets the bar for non-touchscreen devices and breathes new life into this series.

Read on for the full run down!

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That the HTC Touch Pro 2 and Touch Diamond 2 will be upgraded to Windows Mobile 6.5 isn't really news. HTC CEO Peter Chou spilled the beans on that one before WinMo 6.5 was even announced. But we are learning that the Snap also will be graced with the upgrade, and HTC will make the upgrades available for all three phones on the Oct. 6 Super Duper Windows Mobile 6.5 launch day.

That said, we're still not entirely sure if we're just talking unlocked phones, or if U.S. carrier-sanctioned phones will get in on the action, too. Stay tuned.

AreaMobile.de via wmpoweruser

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Just a few days ago we gained the ability to flash custom ROMs to the HTC Touch Pro 2 on T-Mobile. Now comes an unlocker for the Verizon Ozone, aka the HTC Cedar.

Note that this DOES NOT work with Maple-based devices such as the Sprint Snap and T-Mobile Dash 3G. In fact, says XDA creator jockyw2001, "Running this sspl on a Dash3G will definitely brick it." So, there. If you do want to flash a Dash 3G, hit up this thread. Sorry, Sprint Snap folks. No flash for you. Yet.

If you're ready to customize your Ozone, check it the thread here, and be sure to read all the instructions first.

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Price war on the HTC Snap!

Uh oh. Looks like there's a bit of a price war brewing around the HTC Snap, and that's good news for you, the consumer. See, first Sprint released its version for $149.99. Then came Verizon with the Ozone at $49.99. Tough to beat that (and Malatesta's been raving about it for days now.)

Now it looks like Microsoft and T-Mobile have teamed up to lower the Dash 3G — which remains true to the Snap we originally saw — to $49.99 as well on the WMDeals Web site. That's a huge drop from the $169.99 on the T-Mobile site. So if you're looking for a front-facing QWERTY on the cheap, well, that's half of the four major U.S. carriers offering it for $50. Hey, Sprint. Care to join?

Oh, and if you're holding out for a T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 (on or about Aug. 12), look for it on the site soon. (The Shadow 2009 also is going for $49.99.) This lower price on the Dash 3G apparently isn't available is stores, so call 866-464-8662, press option 3 for new service, and mention promo code "Windows Mobile" when ordering.

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Telus Snap $29 at Best Buy Canada

Yeah, it's pretty tough to beat the $49.99 Verizon Ozone, which is VZW's contribution to the HTC Snap line. But Canada's Telus network has done it. The Telus Snap is running $29.99 at Canadian Best Buys. Of course, that's with the Canadian standard three-year plan, and Verizon and Telus aren't in some international, cross-border competition, so we're kinda talking apples and oranges here.

If any of our neighbors to the north pick this up and want to do up a review, e-mail us. We'll make ya famous.

MobileSyrup via IntoMobile

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Verizon Ozone: Hands On!

So last we checked in we went over the Sprint version of the HTC Snap (hands on; review), which while a pretty solid WM6.1 Standard device, it did have quite a few annoyances (cough, keyboard, cough).

Lo and behold, the Verizon version (called the Ozone for some reason) is like a dream come true. It's as if someone waved their hand and magically fixed all the boneheaded problems with the Sprint model.  Not only is the design better, it has WiFi and is a world phone with a GSM radio — all for $100 less than Sprint is selling . How is that even possible?

Dare we say ... way to go Verizon? Read on for some quick pics, an overview of features and some brief comparisons to the Sprint Snap.

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Looks like the wait for the T-Mobile Dash 3G (aka the HTC Snap) is finally over as the phone has gone live on the carrier's Web site [via] and also is available in stores today. (For some reason the Web site didn't have the image of the phone, so we added ours. We're helpful like that.)

The Dash 3G will cost you $169.99 after contract and "instant discount." Just a reminder that that's $20 more than what Sprint's charging for its version of the Snap, and a full $120 more than Verizon is charging for the Ozone. But then again it is the most faithful to the actual Snap we first saw back at CTIA, so there you go.

So, who's going out and snagging one? Let us know in the forums.

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At this point, there's very little about the T-Mobile Dash 3G that we don't know. Let's recap:

We also expect it to run about $170 after contract. At this point, about the only thing we don't know is the actual launch date. Could be any day now.

We now also have a look at the owner's manual, courtesy of Cell Phone Signal. One interesting thing to note is that in the page we see here, T-Mobile's 3G frequency of 1700MHz is missing. We have to believe that's just a European printing thing — TMo's the only carrier in the U.S. using 1700MHz for 3G, anyway — and that a phone called the Dash 3G is, in fact, still packing 3G for us in the States.

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We've been pining for an over-the-air ability to update Windows Mobile firmware for quite some time now. From the introduction of Windows Update in WM6, which has never been used, to the promises of Windows Mobile 7, this feature has been on the cusp of being a reality for far too long.

Interestingly on the HTC Sprint Snap if you look under Settings --> Device Management, you can see a Firmware Update option that seems to actually be functioning. When launched there is "FUMO" in the title bar which stands for Firmware Update Managed Object as documented in the MSDN Center for Windows Mobile. Furthermore, it is checking in with a server, responding with "No firmware update is available" after a few seconds.

We know devices like the AT&T Epix can do these types of updates, but we haven't seen this feature from HTC,WM or Sprint yet (as far as we remember). 

Now the big question is will Sprint/HTC actually use this anytime in the future, perhaps for WM6.5 or just bug fixes? We bet on the latter due to the how the OTA system works.  Lets hope we can give it a go sometime.

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