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Micro-USB now becomes the European standard

The European cellphone market, led by the European Commission, has adopted  Micro-USB as the standard for cellphone charging/sync ports. We first made mention of this movement back during the 2009 Mobile World Congress and it appears the movement has picked up a little steam.

Cellphone manufacturers including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple, Motorola, NEC, LG, RIM, Qualcomm, Samsung and Texas Instruments support the standardization.  The surprising name on this list has to be Apple because of its long-standing and widely used licensed, proprietary connector.  The most noticeable company missing from the list is HTC, which uses the mini-USB port.

The standardization should be an across-the-board savings from reducing production costs, eliminating everyone's drawer full of chargers, and reducing waste at the local landfill.  The first devices under the new standard should hit the shelves in 2010, eventually leading to devices and chargers sold separately.

Now if we can only get that pesky 3.5mm headphone jack as standard.

Via SlashGear

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7

Verizon HTC Ozone available online now

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.

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Official T-Mobile Touch Pro 2, Dash 3G specs

There's almost nothing here that we didn't already know about the Touch Pro 2 on T-Mobile, but here you go anyway, courtesy of TmoNews. Official looking specs are official looking specs, and we're not about to turn that down. Click the pic to make things more readable. But for those who don't like to squint, here's what we've got:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional (upgradable to 6.5).
  • Dimensions: 4.19x2.36x0.67 inches.
  • Weight: 6.45 ounces.
  • Bluetooth 2.0.
  • 480x800 display.
  • 512MB ROM/288MB RAM
  • Radios: Quad-band EDGE plus T-Mo's 3G flavor of 1700MHz.
  • WiFi b/g.
  • 3.2MP camera.

And so on and so forth. We're still looking to see the Touch Pro 2 on T-Mobile in the middle of July.

A spec sheet on the Dash 3G, which we're expecting a little before the Touch Pro 2, is after the jump.

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Best of Smartphone Experts, 28 June 2009

In case you missed it, each site in the Smartphone Experts Network posted our Smartphone Experts Roundtable podcast, where we discussed the biggest smartphones announced and released this month: BlackBerry Tour Review, Nokia N97 Review, iPhone 3GS, Palm Pre Review, and the HTC Hero Announcment.

Here's the rest of the big Smartphone news of the week!

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A look at the next generation of TouchFLO 3D

And you thought the Android kids were the favorite child of HTC now with that whole Sense thing. We couldn't tell you at the time, but HTC has been hard at work updating TouchFLO 3D. And quite an update it is. Our sources had told us that Manila 2.5 (Manila's the not-so-super-secret nerd name for TouchFLO, btw), basically takes the Windows Mobile out of Windows Mobile, and boy howdy does it ever.

You get a pretty good feel for it in the above video from German site handy-faq. [via pocketnow] Even the deepest settings don't appear to take you out of the TouchFLO 3D environment and kick you back into Windows Mobile. That's been one of our biggest gripes about TouchFLO in the past – it looks great at first, but you lose the experience of it pretty quickly. Well, no more. And although we don't see it in this video, we're also told that there may be some pretty massive Facebook integration to look forward to.

In the beginning of the video you hear mention of the Firestone, which we believe is the first device we'll see with Manila 2.5. (We've also heard the name Leo being thrown around, which may well be the Firestone's more official moniker from HTC, just as the Maple evolved into the Snap, Rhodium to Touch Pro 2, etc. Or it could be the other way around.)

Now that you're salivating ... Will we see Manila 2.5 on upcoming phones such as the Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2? Let's hope so. And if not, we'll remind you of three little letters.

X. D. A.

More screen shots of Manila 2.5 after the break, courtesy of Italian site UDK-lab.

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Firefox mobile browser hits Alpha 2

When Firefox released the first Alpha build of its mobile browser -- aka Fennec -- in May, it left a lot of you underwhelemed. Hey, it was an Alpha build. Don't say we (and Mozilla) didn't warn you. But work has been progressing, and Mozilla just released the Alpha 2 build. Here's what's new in Alpha 2: [via Pavlov's blog]

  • Improved panning performance
  • Newly designed theme
  • JavaScript error console is now built in
  • Improved add-on support
  • Numerous bug fixes
  • Improved UI polish

As per the usual, Mozilla is developing for the HTC Touch Pro. So back up your info, and get to testing. Here's the download link. (Don't have a Touch Pro? Try out the desktop versions.) And let us know in the comments how things look.

Update: Here's one fairly big known bug worth noting:

Allow panning/scrolling in iframes - Websites that display large amounts of content in IFrames, including Google Mail and Reader, will be very hard, if not impossible, to use.

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Two weeks of parties for Dash 3G, Touch Pro 2

As much as we're not exactly enjoying what feels like the world's ... longest ... roll-out ... of HTC phones this summer – love the phones, hate the wait – we are happy to see carriers putting s little more muscle that usual behind Windows Mobile phones. Case in point: T-Mobile's throwing a little shindig from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale starting July 14 for the Dash 3G (which should actually be released on July 15) and Touch Pro 2 (which we're looking for on July 22). Here's the breakdown of events, and hit the links to register:

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3

A look at new Exchange and Outlook Mobile features

We've previously discussed some of the upcoming changes Outlook Mobile may see with the launch of Microsoft Exchange 2010 (we say may because it's up to your IT department to actually implement them). A recap:

  • Threaded e-mail.
  • Voicemail transcription.
  • Sync SMS.
  • Block/quarantine phones.
  • See when messages you've replied to or forwarded.
  • See if a contact has some free time for you.

And, the really cool part: When your business (or Exchange provider, at least) upgrades to Exchange 2010, an upgraded version of Outlook Mobile can be pushed to your Windows Mobile 6.1/6.5 phone.

Now, see a few of those changes in action. Part 1 is above, and the second part of the video is after the break.

Technet [via wmpoweruser]

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Marketplace will have 600 apps at launch

Inevitably, all app stores will be compared to Apple's App Store. Never mind that Windows Mobile has had apps for sale back when Steve Jobs was saying he'd never build a phone. But consolidating all the apps under the Microsoft umbrella presents some interesting quandaries. Submitting your app to Windows Marketplace for Mobile means following Microsoft's guidelines, and that can mean changes to an app that's used on Windows Mobile for some time, lest you end up on the banned list.

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For all you dev types out there (and for the rest of us who like behind-the-scenes looks at things), Microsoft has updated its Applications Submission Guidelines (pdf link) for the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Not sure what's changed since the initial draft back in April, but being up to date is better when it comes to getting apps approved.

Strangely, they left out the launch date for the Marketplace. And Windows Mobile 6.5. Hey, Redmond, go ahead and e-mail us and we'll get that posted up soonest. :)

See also:

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Maybe it's because there are three versions of this phone floating around (and we're still betting AT&T will announce one at some point), but it seems like the HTC Snap is everywhere at the moment. Sprint's version is on sale now. Verizon's was just announced and is coming real soon. And now here's video from MobileBurn (and they have a bunch of pics here) of T-Mobile's variant, aka the Dash 3G, which we're still expecting in mid- to late-July.

Mike also notes in the video that the "Inner Circle" feature, which pushes e-mails and the like from a select group of contacts to the top, appears to be missing, confirming what we first heard some months ago.

Look. The Snap's a fine phone and a nice evolution for Windows Mobile messengers. And we definitely don't want to overlook the importance of a that kind of workaholic phone. (Hell, I'm using a Moto Q9h.) But we're dying for something shiny and new. OLED. Capacitive touchscreens. Multitouch. Marketplace. Something. Anything. Please. Soon.

/rant

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Google Voice invites going out today

OK, folks, the wait is almost over. After weeks and weeks (and weeks!) of being in closed beta, Google announced that invites for Google Voice are "on their way" and "starting to go out today," depending on who you ask.

Instead of trying to rehash what all comprises Google Voice, check out the little video above, or read our previous post. We're also hoping beyond hope that it launches with the rumored number portability, but we're not betting on it, seeing as how you have to choose a number initially.

Needless to say, we'll have more on the implications of Google Voice for Windows Mobile ... just as soon as we get our invite. (Looks longingly at the cool kids' table.)

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Smartphone Experts Roundtable 5


Join Dieter, Matthew, Rene, and Kevin as they discuss all of the insanely great new smartphones that have been announced and released in the past month. On the docket:

(Update: links and player fixed.)

Show notes after the break.

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Verizon officially announces the Ozone

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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Verizon Ozone rumored for June 29 launch

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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Zune HD + OLED screen = us drooling

Obviously, watching this video from Engadget of the interface and OLED touchscreen of the Zune HD won't do it justice. But it's as close as we're gonna get till September, which it is rumored to launch. And it's still pretty darn good. And for any of you haters who don't believe Microsoft is capable of designing a compelling UI, well, let's just hope at least some of this makes it into Windows Mobile 7.

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AT&T femtocell to launch by end of the year

We've mentioned that AT&T's femtocell system entered the test phase, and now are learning that the system should launch nationally by the end of the year. The hardware is expected to be a stand alone device supplied by Cisco. While the initial test phase is winding down, additional testing is expected to be done before the nationwide release but development and application of the femtocell units may not end with improving reception in signal deprived households.

"Some people think that integration is putting a femto into a residential gateway, and that’s one aspect. We’re looking at other things in the home [and asking]: How can I leverage all the elements in the home? There’s a lot of research and investigation in these areas and nothing definitive on what we’re going to do." Gordon Mansfield, AT&T's Executive Director for Radio Access Network Deliver.

No word on pricing for the femtocell unit, but it was reported earlier that the unit would cover approximately 5,000 square feet and allow up to four simultaneous, secure voice or data connections. The unit connects to a user's broadband connection and re-routes calls and data over that connection rather than the service provider's wireless connections.

Via Slashgear

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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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What Flash might look like on Windows Mobile

Admittedly, we're borrowing a lot from our Android brethren today. But with good reason. The hardware of the just-announced HTC Hero is pretty much the same as what you'll find in the latest Windows Mobile phone from the Taiwanese manufacturer. Qualcomm 7200 processor at 528MHz, 512MB ROM/288MB RAM and so on and so forth.

And so, with the announcement that we'll see a Flash 10 beta on Windows Mobile this fall, let's take a look at how Flash looks on the Hero. Of course, there are two major differences here: The operating system, and the browser. Android uses Webkit for its default browser, same as the iPhone's Safari, and it's a smooth little devil. So we're not really talking apples and apples here, but we should get a decent idea of what Flash could look like in a Windows Mobile browser – be it Opera, IE (gasp) or, eventually, Firefox.

Gander the video here. Discuss in the comments.

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Will TouchFLO 3D get some Sense?

And that's the question of the day. HTC has released a slick new phone (pun intended — the darn thing's got a Teflon shell!), with a slick new UI called Sense. So, of course, one of the first questions asked is, "Will Sense come to Windows Mobile?"

HTC, so far, isn't saying, of course. Can't really blame them, seeing as how Sense is all of 6 hours old at this point. But NetworkWorld [via wmpoweruser] is saying otherwise:

The company calls the new software HTC Sense, and it will be introduced in HTC's entire portfolio of mobile phones starting with the HTC Hero. The company is the world's largest maker of Microsoft Windows Mobile smartphones, and handsets running that software will also run HTC Sense in the future.

That's taken from an interview with HTC's chief marketing officer, John Wang, though it's not a direct quote. So we're taking it with a bit of a grain of salt. But we're willing to bet we'll see some Sense knocked into Windows Mobile at some point (sorry, it's just too hard to resist). Whether it replaces TouchFLO remains to be seen.

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We can only hope this is how apps are born

Let it never be said that the Windows Mobile dev team doesn't have a sense of humor. Peep the video after the break.

Warning: This Facebook video about Windows Marketplace may contain scenes that are inappropriate for small children, eagles, octopi, other furry creatures and anyone who doesn't like to hear NSFW language bleeped out. For everyone else, prepare to laugh your buttocks off.

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