verizon

Now take this with a big ol' grain of salt, but Verizon reportedly may get the latest and greatest er the second-most recently launched um the Palm Treo 800w ... wait for it ... in February 2010.

That's according to a PhoneArena tipster called "SnapDude," and even PA admits that this is far from official. Now don't get us wrong, the Treo 800w was a favorite around here for a while. But Palm has followed it with the Windows Mobile-powered Treo Pro and, of course, the Pre. Heck, we were talking nearly a year ago about Verizon bringing the 800w and still haven't seen it.

On the other hand, we can't help but chuckle when thinking about Verizon blabbing just days before the Palm Pre launched on Sprint that it would be getting the Pre. And then to not get the 800w out the door until February 2010? Well, karma's a fickle mother sometimes.

The other WinMo phone release rumored in the PA post is the Samsung Omnia II. We know Verizon and Sammy play well together, but is it realistic to think that the Omnia II could be released by Christmas? We'll see.

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Thanks to some eagle-eyed (and tenacious!) forum members, it looks like Verizon has slapped a big ol' "While Supplies Last!" badge on the venerable Palm Treo 700wx (as if the exclamation mark is really necessary).

Usually that's a good sign that the device's run is coming to a quiet end.

Coincidentally, forum member Scott who has been relentlessly hounding Verizon on the status of the Treo 800w, has nailed those guys down to a specific date for release: October 12th.

(see our earlier coverage here)

Sometimes, the stars just align perfectly and everything comes together. Stay tuned...

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We're gonna pat ourselves on the back here a little bit and pretend that it was our open letter and persistent persistence that finally got Verizon to open up the GPS on the HTC Touch Pro and Samsung Saga – and, finally, the Samsung Omnia.

Note that the update page is up, but the download link isn't yet live. But here's what's getting updated:

  • The latest Microsoft AKU Update 1.5.1.
  • Enhanced zoom for Internet Explorer.
  • Slight UI Modifications.
  • Various additional improvements to improve handset function.
  • Open Standalone LBS Supported and Performance Enhanced (This may Support 3rd Party Applications).
  • VZ Access Manager Supports Bluetooth Connection (SPP).
  • Correction of memory shortage issues.

OK, so it probably had nothing to do with us. That's cool. And it's the Saga, Touch Pro and Omnia owners who are the real winners here. Thanks for finally getting it done, Verizon. (And thanks, cplush, for the tip!)

Now, Verizon, about that Marketplace thing ...

Update: Rut-ro. Sure enough, the link got pulled. Keep an eye out folks.

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Leave it to Verizon to spoil the party. The great news that Microsoft will make Windows Marketplace for Mobile available for Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 was tempered somewhat a whole bunch by news that Verizon won't allow the Marketplace upfront. Instead, VZW is launching its own app store and will announce it July 28.

From Gigaom [via]:

Verizon’s Ryan Hughes, VP Partner Management, said in an interview Friday that the network operator’s app store will be the sole marketplace on devices sold by the company, meaning stores such as Research In Motion’s BlackBerry App World or Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Marketplace won’t get placement on Verizon handsets unless a consumer downloads them. Hughes also said that Verizon is focusing on aggregating content from four different developer communities: Windows Mobile, Palm, Android and BlackBerry.

So it sounds like Verizon will be shipping phones without Marketplace already on them. It's not yet known exactly how Marketplace will be pushed out to current phones, whether it's just an app install or a full ROM upgrade, so we're not sure how Verizon customers would go about getting the Marketplace post-purchase.

If this turns out to be on the level, Verizon will lose any goodwill gained by finally unlocking the GPS on the Saga and Touch Pro. (And we're still waiting on the Omnia, tap, tap, tap.)

Update: Gotta love Daring Fireball's reaction.

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Dear Verizon,

So here we are, halfway through the year and many moons removed from our open letter imploring you to unlock the GPS on your Windows Mobile phones. And in December 2008, you promised to do so in the first half of the year for the Samsung Omnia and Saga, and the HTC Touch Pro. And we rejoiced.

We're now a little past the midpoint of 2009, and indeed the Saga and Touch Pro have had their GPS chips released from the shackles of VZ Navigator, free to get turn-by-turn directions from the likes of Google Maps and Bing, among others. And for that, you have our thanks. While we're not quite ready to overlook you locking customers into (and having to pay for) VZ Navigator in the first place, it still means a lot in this crazy smartphone game when a company promises to do something and then follows through. So, thanks.

But while two out of three ain't bad, the job's not done. We can talk all night, but that ain't getting us nowhere. It's time to get the Omnia unlocked.  No more hacks. No more unofficial ROMs. Let's get that done so we can all turn our focus to some of the great new phones you have coming down the pike and go back to being one big, happy smartphone family.

We're still watching.

Love,

The WMExperts Team

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Microsoft Bings Verizon Wireless

Earlier this year, Microsoft and Verizon announced a deal that would bring Live Search to Verizon's phones as the default search engine. All that changed about a month ago that now has Verizon Wireless customers Binging to their hearts' content.

Bing, Microsoft's new Search Engine (formerly known as Live Search), will now be pre-loaded on the majority of Verizon phone (Windows Mobile and others) and become the Service Provider's default search engine.

Microsoft is reporting that in the first 20 days after Verizon started using Bing, the search engine handled 19 million queries. There's no telling how much of this activity is due to the "newness" of Bing, but Microsoft seems happy with this arrangement and hopes it will boost their advertising revenue. Revenue which has declined over the last quarter.

For those non-Verizon Wireless customers who would like to enjoy Bing as their mobile search engine, you can find Bing's mobile app here.

Via On10.net

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The HTC Snap can't claim to be the first Windows Mobile Standard phone to announce it'll get the Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade — that honor goes to the Samsung Jack. But an upgrade is an upgrade is an upgrade, and if the above shot from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group [via wmpoweruser] is any indication, the CDMA version of the HTC Snap also may be rocking 6.5 in the near future. (You'll recall that the codename for the Sprint and Verizon versions of the Snap was the Cedar.)

As for when the Windows Mobile 6.5 update will become available? That's still anyone's guess. But summer's churning by, and we're still expecting 6.5 sometime this fall.

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Just a reminder that the Verizon Ozone is on sale today, online anyway. It'll be in stores in a couple of weeks. Here's what $50 and a two-year contract gets ya:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard.
  • World phone.
  • 1500mAh battery.
  • 4.5 x 2.5 x 0.5 inches.
  • 256MB ROM/192MB RAM
  • WiFi b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0.
  • 2.4-inch screen.
  • 2MP camera with autofocus and video.
  • MicroSD.
  • VZ Navigator.

Head here to snag one. And if you do, let us know if the GPS works on apps like Google Maps or Bing Mobile (previously Live Search), or if it's locked down to just VZ Navigator.

And, Verizon, thanks for fixing the Touch Pro and the Saga, but we haven't forgotten. We're still waiting on the official ROM update to unlock the Omnia's GPS.

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Verizon Wireless today officially announced the HTC Ozone (a variant of the Snap). We're not learning anything, really, that we didn't already know, but official is official, and that's a good thing.

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard.
  • 1500mAh battery.
  • WiFi
  • Visual Voice Mail, for $2.99 a month.
  • VZ Navigator, for $9.99 a month (no word yet on whether the GPS will be slaved to it).
  • The Ozone will cost $49.99 with a two-year contract.

Full presser after the break. As we already knew, the Ozone will be available online and by phone on June 29; in stores July 13.

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The march of the HTC Snap continues. Sprint's got it in Best Buy stores (and it should finally be in Sprint stores on Sunday), and now the Boy Genuis Report says that Verizon customers can get the Ozone online starting June 29. It'll be in stores a couple weeks after that, on July 13. No word on pricing. We're still looking for the T-Mobile variant in the coming weeks, too, so that just leaves AT&T the only of the big four U.S. carriers lacking a firm Snap sighting.

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Verizon Ozone will have $70 rebate

Not exactly an avalanche of news here, but look at the bottom right of this rebate form from Verizon and you'll see the HTC Ozone, which is getting a $70 discount on top of the other bones the big V is throwing our way en route to the low, low price of $49.99 with a two-year contract. That's not anything we didn't already know from that leaked document we saw a few days ago, but it's always nice to see something official. We're still expecting the Ozone online on June 29 and in stores July 13.

Via Crackberry

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A ROM update has been released for the Samsung Saga on Verizon, and it might just have a little gem in it for which we've been waiting quite a while. First, the fine points of the upgrade:

  • The Latest Microsoft AKU Update 1.5.1.
  • Enhanced zoom for Internet Explorer
  • Slight UI Modifications.
  • Various additional improvements to improve handset function.
  • Open Standalone LBS Supported & Performance Enhanced. (This may Support 3rd Party Applications)
  • MMS Over GPRS Supported. (GSM Mode)
  • Softswitch For GSM (Allows handset to select correct network overseas)
  • Multiple Qualcomm Patches Applied To Improve Phone Performance.
  • VZ Access Manager Supports Bluetooth Connection (SPP).

Notice the fifth item there? LBS, of course, is location-based services. That could be cell-tower triangulation, or, GPS! So, that'd unlock two of the three phones that Verizon promised to unshackle in the first half of the year, with the other being the HTC Touch Pro. We've got a week left. Will we see the Omnia get an official update soon?

Go here to get the upgrade, and make sure you follow Samsung's overly complicated upgrade process.

Thanks, again, to cplush for the tip!

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Verizon Ozone specs in detail

For you Verizon-types looking longingly at the HTC Snap on Sprint and (soon) T-Mobile, here's a tasty morsel: Specs, specs and more specs, courtesy of the Boy Genius Report.

First, the necessities:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard.
  • 1500mAh battery
  • 4.5 x 2.5 x 0.5 inches
  • 256MB ROM/192MB RAM
  • WiFi B/G
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • 2.4-inch screen
  • 2MP camera with autofocus and video
  • MicroSD
  • VZ Navigator

Now, the fun stuff: Sign a two-year contract and you'll pay just $49.99 for the Ozone. Yep, you heard that right. Going sans contract, the Ozone will cost $430.

The Ozone has EV-DO Rev. A comes with a SIM card and is a "World Phone," so you can take it overseas, if you're so inclined. Also, Verizon will allow you to use the Ozone as a modem (for a yet unknown fee, natch), and it'll sport visual voicemail.

Again, look for the Ozone online come June 29, and in brick-and-mortar stores starting July 13.

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That Verizon Touch Pro ROM update that unlocks the GPS? It's now officially up on PCD's Web site (that's where the official Verizon releases congregate), and it's there as a Version 2. Apparently a GPS bug was discovered in the first update that PhoneNews was hosting, and PhoneNews now lets us know that this new version takes care of it. And since it's the official official version, here's the changelog:

  • Added Visual Voicemail support.
  • Added EVRC B capability
  • Added Standalone GPS Capability.

Go get it here. And as always, back up your info first. And happy flashing!

Update: Sorry, folks, looks like the update's been pulled again. And nobody's saying why. We'll keep you updated.

Update 2: It's up again! Only change anyone can tell is in the date of the file.

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Verizon unlocks Touch Pro's GPS

We've been pushing and pushing for Verizon to unlock the GPS on its smartphones, and it looks like they're finally starting to get the job done.

A new ROM has been released for the HTC Touch Pro, says PhoneNews. [via] Version 1.08 opens up GPS for use in Google Maps as well as Live Search for Mobile. A commenter also notes that the GPS even works in airplane mode. The update also gives visual voicemail and a new voice codec.

For now, PhoneNews has the only link to the update, but keep an eye out for one from Verizon itself. UPDATE: That previous ROM had a bug, apparently. New link here.

Now, about unlocking GPS on your other phones, Verizon ...

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Dear Verizon,

Last November we published an open letter exhorting you to stop limiting GPS functionality on Windows Mobile handsets. Our arguments were quite good, if we do say so ourselves. The competition you're facing right now is tough in large part because those competing carriers have platforms with GPS that works freely with any app. It makes for a better customer experience on your network and (this is nearer to our hearts) on Windows Mobile. If you feel like you're hedging on GPS, we really suggest you go back and read it again

So naturally we were elated when we heard in December that you intended on unlocking standalone GPS for the Omnia, Saga, and Touch Pro in the first half of 2009. Sincerely, that's really great news. So consider this a friendly reminder: there are only a couple of months left in the "first half of 2009" (trust us, we've been paying attention to that date elsewhere).

How about it, big V? Are we going to see some ROM updates soon? Will the rumored May 11 date pan out? We're able to go with unofficial ROMS and GPS hacks, but we're really not happy about it.  We like being happy – it makes us better customers.

Love,

The WMExperts Team

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Lo, how we dream of they day when a manufacturer will name a phone and a carrier will just use it. But that day is not today.

And so we bring you, courtesy of the Boy Genius Report, the Verizon Ozone — aka the HTC Snap/Willow/Maple. No release date or pricing, and it's safe to say it won't beat Sprint's variant out the door. But it does have WiFi, is a world phone (CDMA and GSM radios), and sports IE6, visual voicemail and VZ Navigator (which points to the dreaded locked-down GPS.)

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15

Review: Verizon Touch Diamond

After reviewing the HTC Touch Diamond 2, taking a look at Verizon's version of the original Touch Diamond felt like a step back in time. Why Verizon waited so long to come to the table with the Touch Diamond is a mystery. But as they say, "better late than never." Right?

The Touch Diamond isn't a new phone and while most will be familiar with it, once it's branded by a service provider a phone can take on a life of its own. It's no secret that the Touch Diamond runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and comes loaded with TouchFLO 3D. But what other changes did Verizon throw onto the Touch Diamond?

Find out after the break.

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Hey, you can't blame us (OK, this guy can) for joking that we didn't expect to see hide or hair of a Touch Pro 2 on Verizon in 2009. After how long it took VZW to get the original Touch Diamond out the door ... well, let's just say we weren't optimistic.

But we're swallowing our man pill tonight and are gazing at what appears to be a pretty legit-looking Verizon-branded Touch Pro 2, brought to us by d474rpr.com. And the green scheme doesn't look too shabby.

And in the same post from d474rpr.com we get a look at the HTC Cedar, said to be destined for Alltel. The Cedar, as you'll remember, is along the same line as the Snap and Willow, though it certainly sports a close look to the Palm Treo 800w.

The next question is: Will we see the Cedar on Verizon as well (possibly as the XV6175), since it gobbled up Alltel last year? It's certainly a possibility, and we've already seen a couple of them go through the FCC under the CDMA variety.

So, um, thanks to WMExperts commentor ckeegan for the snark tip. :)

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