windows mobile

Verizon today announced the LG Fathom, a 3.2-inch horizontal slider running Windows Mobile 6.5.3. The Fathom will be available at business channels on May 27 and in stores June 3. It will cost $149.99 after the usual two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate. Monthly plans begin at $39.99 for voice and $29.99 for unlimited data.

Other specs of note:

  • 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n.
  • Bluetooth 2.1.
  • MicroSD up to 16GB.
  • 3.2MP camera.

Full presser after the break.

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[Ed. note: This story was originally posted at AndroidCentral.com]

Microsoft issued a news release late late night, announcing it signed a patent agreement with HTC over its entire line of smartphones running the Android operating system.

Specific terms of the deal, including how many patents or what they cover, were not immediately released. Microsoft's statement did say the agreement "provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for HTC 's mobile phones running the Android mobile platform."

“HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property,” Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, said in the official statement. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”

The announcement comes as HTC is facing a lawsuit from Apple Inc., which alleges that HTC infringes on a number of its patents with many of its Android phones, and a few Windows Mobile devices, too. It is unknown for which patents HTC is paying royalties to Microsoft, and whether they overlap any of Apple's claims.

CNET's Ina Fried reports that the disputed patents range from the user interface to the operating system itself, and that this is the first time Microsoft has publicly said that HTC was violating patents. Microsoft for years has alleged that Linux infringes on a number of its patents and has sought licensing deals with manufacturers who use the open-source OS, which also is the framework for Android. This, however, is Microsoft's first licensing deal with the mobile OS.

Full text of Microsoft's press release after the break. 

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Since the announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series, we've seen an LG WP7S phone and heard rumblings of a Samsung phone in development running the new Microsoft OS. However, one of the more popular smartphone manufacturers, HTC, has remained fairly quiet on the WP7S front.

HTC is having success with Android phones and as well with the new T-Mobile HD2 but will we see a HTC WP7S phone?  HTC's Chief Executive Peter Chou shed some light on that subject in a recent Forbe's Magazine interview.

Chou was upbeat when questioned about Windows Mobile 7 Series, describing himself as being "thrilled" with the many changes Microsoft has made. Chou expects HTC to release a WP7S phone by the end of the year.

HTC doesn't plan on abandoning Windows Mobile phones either. Chou commented, "Windows Mobile 6.5 and 7 will coexist", believing that corporate users will likely continue to use the latter. 

It will be interesting to see what HTC will offer with either Microsoft system.  We know that a mystery HTC "Windows Phone" recently passed through the FCC and the HD Mini is lurking in the shadows.  Chou's comments are encouraging and may mean that either could be the first of several HTC Windows Phones to head our way this year.

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We've only seen Windows Mobile 6.5.3 officially on a handful of handsets. Now hows about on a 7-inch tablet? Enter the Mangrove 7 from C-motech, which we spied this week at CTIA in Las Vegas.

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 is Windows Mobile 6.5.3. And if you're used to Titanium (and clearly as you'll see in the video, I've been using Sense), then you'll be used to it here, for better or for worse. The OS looks like it's just slapped atop a larger screen, with no customizations. The photo gallery hardly uses the massive screen real estate, and the on-screen keyboard is -- and we're putting this kindly -- laughable, at best. (We're really not being mean ... Just watch the video.)

As for specs, the 7-inch screen is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor ... which is severely hobbled by the fact that there's only 512MB of ROM and a very meager 256MB of RAM on board. The RAM's a killer.

Anyhoo, it's great to see Windows Mobile 6.5.3 on a tablet of this size, and it was a pleasant surprise at CTIA. It's just a shame that it appears to have been done on the cheap, and it's not like you're going to see this in stores anytime soon. Check out the video after the break.

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With all the talk about Windows Phone 7 Series and where the whole Windows Phone experience is heading, we started reminiscing.  Remember the good old days when Pocket PC was new and innovative? We stumbled upon one of Microsoft's commercial/promotional videos on the mobile operating system that would eventually evolve into Windows Mobile.

The circa 2000 commercial touts innovative technology such as portable email, voice notes, pocket Outlook. State of the art hardware included a blazing fast 130mhz processor, 16-32mb of RAM and 65K color touch screens.

While these specs pale in comparison of the 1ghz Snapdragon processors and on-board memory measured by the gigabytes, this commercial gives you a feel of how far the industry has come in ten years.

Read: windowsphonethoughts.com

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One of the hurdles Microsoft faces in making a success out of Windows Phone 7 Series is winning over the software developers.

Microsoft may be able to establish consistency with regards to the WP7S hardware but if you don't have functional software to put on the phone, it won't survive for long. To do so, Microsoft needs to garner the support of developers, large and small. Microsoft's willingness to tackle the fragmentation that Windows phones has historically possessed is a step in the right direction but there's still plenty of work needed to be done. 

Follow the link to read more.

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We still don't have a clear picture if the new Windows Phone 7 Series operating system (also known as "Metro") will actually be made available on any current hardware (the HTC HD2 is a possibility, but its standing changes day by day). But you might be able to at least make your phone look like it's got what it takes, thanks to some clever skinning. Everything's still in the early stages and is a little janky, but you get the idea. [XDA]

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This is sort of out of left field, but evidently Skype has discontinued and pulled the Skype Mobile software for Windows phones.

Why? They sort of answer in their FAQ, but to be honest it is more of a dodge:

Unfortunately, Skype Lite – a version of Skype for your mobile phone – and Skype for Windows Mobile are no longer available for download from our site.

We’ve chosen to withdraw Skype Lite and Skype for Windows Mobile because we want to offer our new customers an improved mobile experience – much like the version that has proved so popular on the iPhone, and which is now available on Symbian phones. Our focus is on providing a rich user experience that allows you to enjoy free Skype-to-Skype and low cost calls as easily on the move as you do at your desktop.

We felt that Skype Lite and Skype for Windows Mobile were not offering the best possible Skype experience.

Fair enough and we actually agree. Skype for Windows Mobile was really a huge program (~10MB) that ate a lot of resources. Granted, it did offer nearly the "full Skype experience" but at processing cost.

For Skype/VOIP, we here at WMExperts have always found Fring a much better alternative.

Still, Skype is obviously begging the question with their response: are they going to, you know, release a new version that is much more awesome and built better? Or are they just pulling it and wiping their hands altogether of Windows phone?

For the time being, you can still download and use Skype here. Or if on your phone, just scan the MS Tag to the right to direct download (11.7MB!) 

[WMPhone.de via WMPoweruser]

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We'll be live from Microsoft's press event. It starts at 9 Eastern / 3 CET. We're Ready.Set. - no need to refresh the page, just watch the excitement, live after the break!

Update: That's all folks. Feel free to read the liveblog or check out some of the new posts on the front page - plenty is here now and plenty more to come!

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Windows Phone 7 Series is official, and so ends the Windows Mobile era. You undoubtedly have questions, and we have answers. So here we go.

  • The usual suspects are lined up around the block for Windows Phone 7 Series, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, and manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc.
  • Manufacturers include Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc.
  • The first phones are expected to be available by the 2010 holiday season.
  • Xbox Live and Zune are coming to the phone. But don't even think about calling it an Xbox phone or a Xune phone.
  • The Zune ecosystem is going international (finally!), as is the desktop software.
  • The Windows Phone 7 Series experience is based around a series of "hubs." The hubs include "People," "Pictures," "Games," "Music and video," "Marketplace" and "Office."
  • The Windows Mobile name is no more. Gone. Kaput.
  • Bing is front and center, as you'd expect.
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15

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 Recap

For those using custom ROMs, the familiarity with Windows Mobile 6.5.3 should be quite high, as folks have been using builds from this branch since last summer. But for the majority of we assume what has changed in 6.5.3 won't be as clear, so we've thrown together this little overview guide to explain.

While the changes aren't as big as say 6.1 to 6.5, Windows Mobile 6.5.3 is pretty significant, especially in the case of the UI layout, which hasn't been changed in nearly 10 years (we're looking at you Start menu). Capacitive support is also important.

The bigger point is though is this: Windows Mobile 6.5.3 represents one of the fastest Windows Mobile revisions we have seen from Redmond. After just four months from WM6.5's release, an upgrade is available to OEMs which have begun to roll it out on new devices, including the just-announced Sony Aspen.  They did this while another team is hard at work on working on their next generation OS, Windows Mobile 7.  

Far from abandoning support for this soon-to-be-legacy OS, Microsoft has ramped up development, in fact we believe there will be a Winodws Mobile 6.5.5 at some point.

Sure, for some it's too little, too late.  Fair enough. But we're still glad to see Microsoft putting all of their energy into this platform for what seems like the first time.

After the jump, we'll gloss over the change-log for WM6.5.3 ...

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We're almost there, folks. It's the penultimate week of the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, and this week Android Central's Casey Chan teaches me a thing or three about the little green robot. I've said it many a time, but Windows Mobile and Android share a lot in common, and we're definitely going to get down to the bottom of it.

In addition, I've started a thread over at AndroidCentral.com to get the help of the Android faithful. Head on over and see what they have to say. And remember than anytime you comment in an official Smartphone Round Robin thread, you're entered to win a free smartphone from that site (up to $1,000). So get to it, boys and girls!

Oh, and check out my Android hands-on with Casey after the break.

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2

Visiting Microsoft at CES

 

Unsurprisingly, there wasn't much at Microsoft's CES booth that we hadn't seen before. The HTC HD2 and yesterday's official announcement that it will be available "this spring" on T-Mobile was on the tip of everyone's tongues. But other than that, there were no new Windows phones announced.

We did take a spin with Ford Sync, which is Microsoft's system that will pair just about any device -- Bluetooth or otherwise -- with a new Ford or Mercury vehicle. Voice commands are the key to the whole thing, so you keep your hands on the wheel.

The Zune guys were more than happy to hear that we're hoping to see Zune software integrated into Windows Mobile in the next year or so. But we could get neither them nor the Windows phone folks to spill the beans as to what might or might not be coming in Windows Mobile 7.

Awkward moment of the morning: Our pal Rene Ritchie from The iPhone Blog hits up the Bing team to ask about the Bing iPhone app. And they'd never heard of it.

Photos of the exploits after the break.

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Market Share by Net Application is a company that analyzes website traffic and generates a trend analysis based on this activity. While there are many naysayers about how successful Windows Mobile 6.5 has been, Market Share's latest trends analysis may put some of the "Windows Mobile is dead" comments to rest.

From November to December 2009, Windows Mobile experienced a 50% increase in web traffic measured by Market Share. Windows Mobile jumped from a .04% share of the traffic to .06%. The growth is second only to the Android OS. The iPhone remains at the top of the heap, claiming .44% of the traffic, with Symbian pulling in .23% of the traffic.

There was no explanation for the increase, but the increase could be a sign that a)Windows Mobile 6.5 is more successful and inviting than many thought b) Microsoft's advertising campaign for Windows Mobile is more successful than first thought or b) the spike is device related. We are seeing more powerful Windows phones hitting the market (LG Expo and HTC HD2) that improve Windows Mobile's browsing capabilities.

Regardless of the reason behind this spike, it will be interesting to see if this trend continues into this new year.

Via WMPoweruser

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Seeing Windows Mobile and the Xbox 360 coming together really shouldn't be a surprise to anybody -- we've seen evidence to that effect before. But there's a new job posting out that points directly to the future of WinMo. From the listing: 

We're connecting players via the LIVE services on new devices beyond the console. We need a Principle Program Manager who can help drive the platform and bring Xbox LIVE enabled games to Windows Mobile. This person will focus specifically on what makes gaming experiences "LIVE Enabled" through aspects such as avatar integration, social interactions, and multi-screen experiences.

That's just vague enough to make us wonder if we'll actually be playing games on Windows phones, or if they'll become some soft of ancillary device in the Xbox experience. Either way, it's something we're looking forward to. [Mobile Tech World via Engadget]

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What could we possibly have to say about Apple and the iPhone that hasn't been said countless times already? Plenty. Given that Apple has spent the past year largely consolidating its power in the mobile space, and Microsoft has spent the past year making many wonder if they're going to continue in the mobile space, it's fitting that we take a look at the two here in the second week of the third annual Smartphone Round Robin.

There will be no talk of iPhone killers.

There will be no talk of the death of Windows Mobile.

OK, there may be a little. Keep reading for more.

Update: Addendum

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Sure while everyone is taking pot-shots at Windows Mobile and market share hub-bub, people are using it left and right to get things done in the world.  The latest group to do so is not some fly-by night company but the United States Army.

Launching their Go Mobile Gear, designed for the modern, tech savvy solider (who would be laughed off the battle field for having a pansy iPhone), the U.S. military has approved a handful of  "...communications and conferencing devices that can fit into a soldier’s pocket while going easy on the service’s pocketbook."

Soldiers can use these devices to access "...the Army Knowledge Online portal, a repository of online information, distance learning tools, e-mail and other resources for 2.6 million Army users. The Web-based service is now part of a broader service known as Defense Knowledge Online."

So what does the military consider to be solid devices for the troops?

(Funny, I have half of that stuff....Army here I come!)

The whole kit (we imagine only one phone of course) can be had for about $1,000.  It's a pretty huge endeveor too by the military, which states:

Each piece of the Go Mobile kit has to meet stringent Defense Department information assurance requirements," Parker said. The project is getting ready for its first phase of deployment for garrison training. The next phase will be the tactical environment, which will require hardening of the equipment to military specifications, including both Mil-Std 810-F and Mil-Std 810-G requirements.

And joking aside, the military is evidently "tech agnostic" as they do plan to look at and roll out iPhone and Android sometime in the future.  But for now, it's all WinMo baby.

[Government Computer News via Federal Computer Week]

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