verizon

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Microsoft: No, no, no, no, no!

So a day after a Wall Street Journal piece gets everyone in a tizzy over a possible Pink-Verizon Windows Mobile thing, Microsoft's coming out and denying the whole thing.

No Zune phone. No Microsoft phone. No way, no how, get over it.

It's certainly not the first time we've gone through its, and it likely won't be the last. But, hey, it's cool. We're still looking forward to Windows Mobile 6.5, and we've got high hopes for Windows Mobile 7.

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One of the biggest arguments in the Windows Mobile world is whether Microsoft will ever build its own phone. We've repeatedly heard a resounding "NO!" from MS execs, but we've heard execs deny things before, only to do that exact thing later. (We're looking at you, Apple.) That said, we are still expecting to see the Zune creep into Windows Mobile.

And with that we turn to a brief Wall Street Journal story [via Engadget and BGR] in which Microsoft is rumored to be in talks with Verizon to launch a multimedia-focused touchscreen phone early next year to compete with the iPhone, if/when it actually comes to Verizon. And the the phone to do that is rumored to be none other than the fabled "Pink" project.

Microsoft's project, which is code-named "Pink," is aiming to produce a phone that extends the tech giant's Windows Mobile cellphone operating system, adding new software capabilities. It would also likely include Microsoft's new Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a mobile application store along the lines of Apple's, these people say.

Who "these people" are we have no idea, and the WSJ ain't sayin'. But, heck, we can tell you that any MS phone would have Marketplace access. That's a given. As for it being "along the lines of Apple's" App Store, we'll have to wait and see. Unless you mean that they both sell apps.

So for now, we'll put it to you. Should Microsoft attempt to take on the iPhone head-to-head? Or do you think this is all just another unsubstantiated rumor?

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A bit of a fuss is being made today over the emergence of the Motorola A4500 at the Federal Communications Commission. But here's the thing: The new documents we're looking at – radio specs and a bunch of pretty pictures – were all submitted back in October and just made available today.

Now allow us to put on our tinfoil hats for a minute: We know the A4500 (or Napoleon, or Q9n – whatever) made its way into the wild after a brief production cycle for a government contract. Hmmmmm. Government contract, docs not made available until exactly six months after the first submission ... See where we're going here?

The long and the short of it is we're really not expecting to see this thing out on Verizon – or anywhere else – anytime soon, if ever. That said, we could also be dead wrong and so we reward you with more pictures after the break, just in case.

PhoneScoop via BGR

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So there we were, perfectly content with T-Mobile rolling out the HTC Snap/Captain/Dash 2 sometime soon, when this had to come along and muck up the works.

According to Engadget, what you see here is the HTC XV6175. And as you might guess from the excellent and memorable brand XV6175, that'd make it bound for Verizon. This is pretty much in line with what we've seen from that leaked HTC roadmap as the Willow, which we've also heard could make an appearance as soon as June.

No word on pricing or actual availability. Let's just hope it's quicker than Verizon managed to launch the Touch Diamond.

And is it just us, or does that rendering here look vaguely like a Treo 800w from the waist down?

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A new "unofficial" ROM for the Samsung Omnia has made its way into wild at MoDaCo [via BGR], promising to unlock some sought-after features. Currently available in the U.S. from Verizon Wireless, the Omnia's GPS chip has been locked down, much to the chagrin of, well, everyone. Out of the box, you're forced to use VZ Navigator for all of your GPS needs. But using this ROM, update you should be able to use free third-party apps like Google Maps and Live Search.

Other changes in addition to the GPS unlock are:
  •  5 percent battery increments
  • Ability to disable threaded text messaging via system settings
  • Pop-up keyboard keys a la iPhone
  • Auto-lock keypad settings now include Off, 2s and 5s
  • Opera Mobile 9.5 build 15679
  • Weather Bug and Windows Live Widgets
  • Favorite settings, now known as easy settings
  • Windows Live

If you are brave, let us know how it works after the update. But by all means, back up your data first, and read through the thread at MoDaCo. This is unofficial stuff, so be careful.

And while this unofficial fix is nice, we're still waiting for that official, open GPS unlock that Verizon said was coming. How 'bout it, guys? (fwiw: A BGR commenter says official GPS unlocks are coming May 11.)

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Just a heads up that we're still expecting Verizon to finally release the HTC Touch Diamond on April 10 – that's Friday, as in tomorrow.

The $300 you'll have to spend (after a $70 rebate, no less) to get the thing is downright highway robbery, though, when you consider that the Touch Diamond 2 will be making an appearance pretty soon. Sure, Verizon's will have an SD card slot, and that's nothing to sneeze at, seeing as how everyone else must make do with the 4 gigabytes of internal memory. But that price point is still a little hard to swallow.

Any of you folks out there in TV land planning on picking one up tomorrow? Let us know in the comments.

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It's release date rumor day here at WMExperts, and the latest nugget surrounds Verizon and the long-awaited release of the HTC Touch Diamond.

The Boy Genuis Report says that the Diamond finally (FINALLY) will see the light of day on April 10 -- that's this Friday!

Better late than never, we guess, and we'll go ahead and through out our prediction for the Touch Diamond 2: Verizon will get it on May 2, 2010; the rest of the world will get it in the next couple of months.

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Just when you were ready to hear the end of life rumors concerning the Motorola Q Series come true, someone throws you a curve ball. Verizon Wireless has announced that it will be re-releasing the Motorola Q9c. [via EverythingQ] The re-release brings the company's TALKS feature to the phone. Everything else appears unchanged.

TALKS for Verizon is designed to assist blind and visually impaired customers.  It is a screen reader that adds speech to the standard user interface by using Windows Mobile to convert text displayed on the handset to highly intelligible speech. Additionally, TALKS will allow users to dial contacts, add/edit contact entries, compose email, write documents in Mobile Office, and use Mobile Explorer through voice commands. 

Does this mean that we may actually see the Q line continue with the Q11? Or maybe even the Napolean? Or is the Motorola Q9c simply a convenient test model for the TALKS application? Regardless of what all of this means, it's nice to see the Motorola Q line still hanging around.

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There's hint that Verizon may be bringing one of the new HTC phones that appeared in the 2009 device lineup that leak a few weeks ago. Pocketnow is reporting that a Verizon HTC phone has been mentioned over at the GSM Global Certification Forum. The model XV6175 is mentioned as supporting quad-band GSM, qualifying it as world phone compliant. The connection goes something like this: Verizon traditionally brands its devices with a XV prefix and has been known to carry phones capable of global roaming, which ties the international service to Verizon's partners.

While it remains a mystery which device the XV6175 may actually be, three leading candidates seem to have emerged: the Cedar, Whitestone and Twin. The Cedar and Whitestone have been rumored to be headed to Verizon, so they're the stronger candidates. The Twin is world phone-capable, but there are no rumors having this phone headed to Verizon. At this point, everything is conjecture beyond the fact that an HTC device, model XV6175 will be a world phone. And tomorrow that may even change. We'll keep our ear to the ground and as things develop, we'll keep ya' posted.

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With all the hub-bub about CTIA, we let this one slip under our radar: Verizon and Palm let loose the WM6 update for the very long-in-the-tooth (but reliable as heck) Treo 700wx. (nay on the 700w, though check out Ebag's custom ROM for that one).

The update can be found here and is the usual ActiveSync installation.

Users in our forum are reporting that their devices are actually zippier than before, while a few say slightly more sluggish, so YMMV.

Improvements in WM6 include:

  • Calendar functionality - See the big picture at a glance. A Topline bar in the agenda view shows when you're free or busy, and when you have scheduling conflicts. Drill down to view meeting attendees, contact information, acceptance status, and reply-to or forward meeting requests.

  • Email support- Send and receive HTML emails with tables, bullets, and colored text intact1,2,The "smart filter" for contact search is available so you can search for emails stored on your company's Exchange Server2. Send an automated "out-of-office" message from your device2.

  • Office 2007 support - Open and edit Microsoft Office Word and Microsoft Office Excel® documents, and view Microsoft Office PowerPoint® documents. Backward compatible with Office 2003.

  • Windows Vista® compatibility - Easily sync your smartphone to your Windows Vista PC, via the Windows Mobile Device Centre (WMDC).

  • Powerful security and IT policies2 - Remotely wipe devices and SD cards clean in case of loss or theft. Plus, IT can create and enforce tougher security policies, such as password protection to better manage the entire device fleet.

  • Email hot keys - Work in the fast lane with single-key access to your most frequently used email functions. Press "r" to reply, "a" to reply all, or "m" to move to one of your folders.

  • Email Inbox search - Find that important document or email. Automatically search for attachments, senders, or keywords by simply typing a few letters while you're in your email inbox.

  • Access Sharepoint - Get what you need then get going. Access documents stored on your company's SharePoint servers via links in HTML emails1,2.

  • Voice Command via Bluetooth® wireless technology - Get more done while you stay hands-free3, Dial by voice, or hear your upcoming appointments with your Bluetooth headset.

Sure some of us have been using WM6 on our old WM Treos for months now, but official is still nice. Too bad it is not WM6.1 though.

Treo™ 700wx Updater 1.24

Thanks to Broncot and post your experiences or ask questions here!

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If you are a Verizon Wireless Customer, pay close attention to your mail. We all get those "changes in policies" letter that usually go straight to the circular file but what Verizon Wireless is sending out deserves some attention. Verizon is sending out letters that gives customers 45 days upon receipt to opt out of the information sharing plan. The plan would share all of your carrier related data (billing information, technical data, location and service purchases) with Verizon's affiliates and agents. Essentially turning your account information into an open book for who knows who to see.

Additionally, if you are a paperless customer (good for you) and you go to Verizon's website, the option to opt out of this share plan is listed but the modification isn't available. Unless this changes, paperless customers will need to call Verizon's Customer Service.

[Read:BoyGenuisReport.com]

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We reported a few weeks ago that Verizon finally is set to launch its own Touch Diamond, and the Boy Genius Report snagged a few pics that prove it's not just vaporware.

BGR is also reporting the VZW Diamond has a Qualcomm 7500A processor running at 528 MHz; 256MB ROM/128MB RAM, and everything else we've come to expect in the Diamond (though we're curious about the state of its GPS).

Of course, this is good news for you die-hard (and contract-bound) Verizon customers. As for the rest of us, we'll just sit back and wait on the Touch Diamond 2 to make an appearance in a few months.

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Let the LTE/4G race begin! We've reported that AT&T is planning to have LTE service by 2011, but it looks like Verizon may get there first. Verizon Wireless Chief Technical Officer Dick Lynch, in a presentation at Mobile World Congress, announced that Verizon is committed to equipping two U.S. cities with Long Term Evolution (LTE) data networks by the end of 2009. Characterized as "pre-commercial deployments," the LTE networks would be a precursor to full commercial deployment slated for 2010 that would include 25-30 cities. It's anybody's guess which two U.S. cities will be the test sites, but LTE tests have been performed by Verizon in several cities including Minneapolis, Columbus (Ohio), and New Jersey. 

No word if AT&T has adjusted its projections in response to Verizon's announcement. If Verizon is successful in deploying the 4G service later this year, it may give them an advantage over AT&T. Then again, the timetable for devices capable of handling 4G is a lot more sketchy than the timetable for having the service available. Some projections don't see the 4G devices hitting the market until 2011. If this is the case, AT&T's timeline mirrors device development. Verizon may be leading a race for a data network very few, if any, consumers will be able to use.

[Read: ARS Technica]

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Take a page out of the playbook it recently bought from Alltel, Verizon Wireless is launching  a "Friends and Family" plan [via] that lets you call five to 10 numbers for free, a la "My Circle." That should alleviate any fears Alltel subscribers may have had after thei were swallowed up by Verizon.

The "Friends and Family" deal goes live on Sunday. Here's what you need to qualify:

To take advantage of Friends & Family, you need to be on a qualifying Nationwide Single Line plan with 900 or more Anytime Minutes. Single line customers can select up to 5 numbers to add to their Friends & Family calling group.

If you are on a Nationwide Family SharePlan®, you need to have 1,400 or more Anytime Minutes, and you can select up to 10 numbers that will be shared among plan members.

Once you make a change to Friends & Family numbers, the information in your account(s) will update the following day. There is no charge to sign up and no charge, ever, to make changes to your Friends & Family calling directory.

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Might Verizon finally be getting the HTC Touch Diamond? Engadget Mobile thinks so. They've got a spy who says the Diamond will see the the light of the big V for the first time "in early to mid-March."

How late to the party are they? By comparison, Sprint supposedly will end-of-life its Touch Diamond in July.

In other VZW news, Engadget's tipster also points to a new phone "unlike anything anyone has seen before." What that is, we've got no idea. Also, the Samsung Omnia may be reduced to $99 with contract in mid-March.

But, really, with all the new HTC goodness we know is in the works, are you really going to be excited about snagging a Diamond just now?

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You read a lot from us and other blogs about carrier testing – that's when AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and the like put a phone through its paces to make sure the thing will work on its network and not give you a third-eye or something. Most of the time we're griping about how long testing takes, or about what features will be stripped out of a phone. This is far from unimportant stuff, but we've always wondered exactly what goes on in there.

Pocketnow.com has the answer, having been given a tour of Verizon's national phone test lab in Bedminster, N.J. And Verizon is known for having some of the toughest testing out there. Hit up the video for an inside look at what goes on before a phone gets anywhere near your melon.

Verizon Wireless National Test Lab Tour

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 Now that Verizon has completed their Alltel marriage/merger, they're sitting on a few assets they no longer need -- like an ex bachelor who suddenly realizes a married man doesn't need a Miller Light neon sign. When we say "realizes," we mean "compelled to by federal regulators." When we say "a few assets," we're talking $3 billion in wireless assets. That's one heck of a yard sale.  

And, like any good yard sale, the neighbors show up first. AT&T apparently is first in line a wallet full of cash thanks to its recent iPhone and tower sales. Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts & Co, and Providence Equity Partners LLC also will be there looking for whatever deals they can get.  All of the above, however, have to keep those self-same federal regulators happy, so AT&T will probably find themselves haggling a bit.

The Wall Street Journal (pay site) via Engadget Mobile

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A couple of policy changes are taking shape over at Verizon, as first spied by the Boy Genius Report. First, with regards to Verizon's rebate policy, is that all rebate forms now must be submitted alongside a copy of the relevant customer agreement. That means you have to have a new contract (or re-up on a current one). Before, you could buy a phone at the full off-contract price and still collect a rebate. (Not that any of our readers *cough* would ever do that.) So: loophole closed.

Next is the change in policy with regards to Verizon's Test Drive Program. Effective February 15, 2009, Verizon will be discontinuing this program, which allowed new customers to try out Verizon's services for 30 days, risk-free. If you weren't satisfied, Verizon would waive the wireless access and usage charges, and you'd quietly go your separate ways. After the 15th, you'll have to pay those fees if you opt out. Verizon notes that the Test Drive Program remains in effect for new lines of service that activate up to and including February 14, 2009, and port out within 30 days of the activation date. So, if you're thinking of giving Verizon a test drive without penalty, Valentines Day is the cutoff. 

Another change in store for the 15th involves the New Every Two Program, which discounts new phones when you re-up every two years. Customers with an existing monthly calling plan that is $79.99 or greater currently enjoy a $100 discount on new handsets. Effective February 15, this discount will drop to $50. Customers with a $34.99 to $79.99 plan who have enjoyed a $50 discount will now settle for a $30 discount. Bottom line, if you're eligible for the NE2 discounts and are considering changing phones, to get the most out of this program you might want to visit your local Verizon Store before February 15.

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Engadget got their hands on a Verizon roadmap for 2009 and as you might expect, there's some Windows Mobile-related hotness, specifically:

There will be at least two HTCs released this year: a version of the Touch Diamond and an unnamed handset closely resembling the Touch HD.

This has the ring of truth to us, as HTC was very adamant that the Touch HD wouldn't make it to the US, which made us sad.  So marketing it as a new version of the Touch Diamond makes sense maybe also matches up with that seminal HTC tweet "sad news, US. we looked into it- by the time we could bring Touch HD to the states, it would be old news. we do have other cool stuff coming"

If we had to guess, we'd say the unnamed Touch HD-Esque device outlined above sounds an awful lot like the Topaz C we ogled in the massive HTC 2009 roadmap leak.

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