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Windows Mobile 6.5 Spotted on the Exeda

Various leaks of Windows Mobile 6.5 seem to be popping up everywhere. Now it's appeared on the funny looking Compulab Exeda, the crazy little guy that runs Windows Mobile and Android. OK, the phone's not really a looker. But it's the interface we're after here. What we're seeing is a different take on that honeycomb interface, so we're pretty much expecting some variation of that when the real thing's released.

It's possible that this is still an alpha build of the OS, but we're still expecting an official announcement about 6.5 (and all those cloud services) soon at Mobile World Congress. Will the syncing be seamless like Microsoft says? Or will we have just another skinned Windows Mobile phone in our pockets? Let us know what you think in the comments

Via Engadget

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Update: MobilityToday got their hands on the above sheet to confirm our earlier post.

So after Sprint's trigger-happy posting of the Treo Pro, we received word from Sprint on the snafu:

"Sprint inadvertently posted information on Sprint.com regarding an upcoming product, Palm Treo Pro, this morning. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Sprint looks forward to welcoming this exciting, new device into our portfolio as soon as it has been approved through our customary testing process. We will share details on the correct availability date as soon as the standard testing of both the device and its interaction with our network has concluded. Thank you for your interest in Sprint products."

And now we're hearing that the release date has been pushed back to Feburary 15th.  This makes sense if they still need to finish testing and make possible changes to the radio/ROM.  It also coincides with the rumored Palm Pre release date, which we now think may be a confusion with the Pro ;-)

We suppose your orders will continue to be on "backorder" till this is resolved.  We'll keep you posted if we hear anything different.

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Verizon launches 'Network Extender' femtocell

We've been expecting a femtocell from Verizon, and now it's available and it's called the "Network Extender."

While the principle is the same as Sprint's AIRAVE — the router-looking piece of hardware uses your broadband Internet connection to spit out a short-range cell signal — the pricing is different. Instead of paying, say, $100 for the hardware, then a monthly fee for the service, Verizon's Network Extender costs $250 up front, with no monthly fees.

We're all for paying more up front to forgo the monthly shakedown. You'll save money in the long run. But we keep coming back to the same ol' argument when it comes to femtocells. If you're already paying for service on a company's network — and Verizon arguably still has the best — why would you want to pay more for a signal that you're supposed to have in the first place?

So, any of you Verizon chaps going to shell out for this?

Verizon Network Extender [via BGR]

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WM6.5: Successfully ported to (CDMA) HTC Devices

Well, that didn't take too long...

Just days after the succesful port of a very early release of WM6.5 on various GSM devices, Conflipper over at ppcgeeks has released a kitchen that opens the door for a ton of  CDMA devices (Touch, Diamond, Touch Pro, Mogul).

Now, be warned: this is pre-release, early build stuff for WM6.5, meaning a lot of "things" are broke--so your help is needed. 

Also, we should be on the lookout for a newer WM6.5 build around January 26th...so sit tight.

Having said that, here's what to expect...

Read on for the nitty-gritty details!

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Align your touchscreen automatically

I've gotta admit I've never really understood (though I'm sure I'll be corrected in the comments) just why a touchscreen has to be manually aligned after a hard-reset. For as high-tech as our phones are, its accuracy relies on my steady hand? That's no good. I certainly don't have a surgeon's touch, thanks to all the caffeine, nicotine and a few other -ines that got me through law school late nights blogging.

But, like with so many things in life, the folks at XDA Developers have us covered with AutoAlign Screen, which conveniently enough, will automatically align your screen. As XDA member azharsunny puts it, you'll save time, precisely calibrate your screen, and keep you from digging out that stylus. 

The cab files currently are for the HTC Touch HD & Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, HTC Touch Pro and HTC Touch Diamond only.

Edit: Looks like some people are having problems with the app. Be sure to back up your phone before first (which you should have done anyway). Consider yourselves warned.

Via pocketnow

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Touch Pro ROM Update on the way + GPS Fix?

We caught word just a few days ago about a HTC Diamond ROM update for Sprint and worldwide, but now it look like the Touch Pro is getting ready for one too.

Evidently, Alexandr Skaryd from XDA had a conversation with HTC Europe about the GPS lag problem.  The crux of the convo is below:

Dear Mr. Skaryd I just wanted to get back to you in order to see if you have gotten the GPS working better. I would also like to inform you that there will be a ROM upgrade available in the near future (1.19). Please feel free to get back to us at any time if you have any further questions or queries. Kind Regards Dave Montanya HTC Europe

The bigger news is that HTC appears to be aware of this GPS lag and one can hope that this upcoming ROM addresses this problem.

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AT&T Re-Structuring Data Plans

We've been hearing rumblings that AT&T has restructured data plans and believe we have finally deciphered things where it's understandable. If you are currently using a MediaNet plan, they are being discontinued and replaced with an Unlimited Data/Messaging Plan that will run $30 a month. Instead of having a variety of MediaNet flavors to choose from (Basic, the Works, MediaNet 200, MediaNet 1MB), you have one data package. The common line of thinking is that this move was done to compete with Verizon's data plans. It appears that there are some additional incentives for customers on AT&T's Family Plan as well.

There is one word of caution, these plans are intended for use with non-PDA phones (Motorola Razor, Samsung A737, etc.) that have internet and messaging capabilities. For Windows Mobile devices, AT&T requires their PDA Data plan which, coincidentally, also runs $30 a month. We bet that some of you may be paying more than $30 for the AT&T PDA plan (heck, some of us are!). In other words, it might be worth a call (and some savings) to AT&T and see if you are on the current $30 PDA Data plan and if you're not -- get on it.

[Read: Engadget Mobile]

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The Straight Story on President Obama's Smartphone

We ourselves have reported that it was possible that President Obama may need to ditch his BlackBerry for a Windows Mobile device, the Sectera Edge.  It's actually pretty slick, with one-button access to switch between hyper-secure and non-secure modes.  Plus, unlike BlackBerrys, its email isn't routed up through Canada -- something that would be an absolute no go for presidental missives.

Well, here's the rub: we were wrong to call it a Windows Mobile device, turns out that it's a Windows CE device.  The difference?  Windows CE is the OS that underlies Windows Mobile.  In essence it's a modular framework -- you can pick a little of this, a little of that, hit "Go" and kapow -- you have something like Windows Mobile, or a set-top DVR, or an embedded system for a smart car.  (Ok, it's not that simple, but that's the gist of it).  It's also quite a bit more secure than, well, darn near anything else out there on the planet.  PCMag has a great write up on it if you're interested.

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Touchflo 3D vs. SPB Mobile Shell

One of the attractions to the new HTC line-up is TouchFlo 3D. There is no argument that graphically, Touchflo 3D is a eye catching application. While it may be pretty to look at, how functional is it? Before Touchflo 3D hit the market, one of the more popular Today Screen alternatives was SPB's Mobile Shell. There are some reservations over Touchflo 3D's usefulness and SPB Mobile Shell might be a viable alternative for those HTC owners who are looking for something different. Could Mobile Shell hold it's own against the animated graphics of Touchflo?

We decided to compare these two applications and as Michael Buffer so aptly put it, "Let's get ready to rumble!" (key techno dance music please). Read on after the break to see how they measure up against each other.

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If you haven't yet read Dieter's excellent "Smartphone Round Robin: HTC Fuze, Windows Mobile, and Choice" post yet, do so now. It's required reading for the following:

Believe it or not, Microsoft hasn't forgotten that for all of the hardcore work we do with Windows Mobile, it's still the little things that count (and about which we most often gripe).

Andy Lees, senior VP for Microsoft's mobile side, recently sat down with The New York Times for a heart-to-heart.

“Everyone who is a business person is also a human being,” he said. “We want also to do human things like photos, music, communications, IM, texting and social networking.”

We also get a glimpse of things to come, most likely with the birth of SkyMarket/Box/Line, and undoubtedly with Windows Mobile 7 (and Windows 7). And the word Lees is using to describe how everything's going to work: "Automagically."

“What should happen,” he said, “is when you take a picture it should automagically arrive on your PC and be in the cloud. I should be able to fix the red eye on the PC and have it automagically go back and fix the red eye everywhere else.”

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WM6.5 pre-Beta ported to HTC Fuze/Raphael

And the WM6.5 leaks-n-ports are starting....

Looks like Da_G, famous for his kitchens, has released his "very beta" port of WM6.5.  He say very beta because he expects bugs and even gives a list of known issues already, so this is only for the brave of you who absolutey must have the latest.

Officially, this build is 5.2.21139.5.0.0 for you number counters and you can find the thread/download right here.

It does have the Pro version of "Chrome" which is also known as Sliding Panels found on WM Standard, so that should be fun.  We should mention that this build of WM6.5 is built off of one ROM that is X-months old--so we don't know how much of this stuff is new, what has been left out, or what has been added since.

Hopefully once someone gets some actual screen caps, we'll post 'em here.

[via XDA]

 

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Microsoft to Fire 5000, Warns of Rough Times Ahead

As you no doubt have heard by now, Microsoft reported that they weren't very happy with their quarterly earnings report.  Sure, they managed to haul in $16.6 Billon in revenue and that number is still technically a 2% increase year-over-year, but it's not the kind of growth that they feel will be necessary to keep things looking great durng the economic downturn. Still, they missed estimates and nobody likes that.

To deal, they're laying off 1400 folks immediately and another 3600 over the next year and a half. Steve Ballmer wrote a letter for the company about the unprecendented move.

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Hole in your Bluetooth: Are you vulnerable?

We'll preface this post by saying that all security threats should be considered serious, though some are more serious than others. Case in point: The recent realization by Seguridad Mobile [via] that a hole in the Windows Mobile 5 & 6 Bluetooth stack could allow someone to snoop around your phone, download files, or upload malicious files.

In a nutshell, we're talking file sharing. Normally when you share files with someone over Bluetooth (be it a friend or a PC), you're limited to a couple directories by default. But by exploiting this hole, someone could really wreak havoc with your phone. But to do so takes some work — and previous authentication privilages with your phone. In other words, you probably don't have to worry about someone just walking by and stealing your data. But now you know about the threat, and knowing is half the battle.

That said, here are a couple of Bluetooth safety reminders:

  • If you're not using Bluetooth, turn it off. Your battery will thank you.
  • If you do use Bluetooth, don't allow other devices to see it at will. (See the unchecked box here.)

In other words, don't talk to strangers.

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Smartphone Round Robin - Announcing the Winners!

 

As it did the year before, the Smartphone Round Robin needed to go into overtime again this time around -- but we're finished now!  If you haven't been following along, here's what you missed:  Each of the editors of our five Smartphone Experts sites swapped phones for a week or so, reviewing and leanring what it's like to wear another smarphone user's shoes.  The result is the entire series of articles you see linked on this handy page, the Smartphone Round Robin of 2008.

What will you learn there?  You'll learn that there was no single smartphone that 'won' the Round Robin -- but that's by design.  There's no perfect smartphone out there, but there just might be the perfect smartphone to fit your needs.  If you're looking to get a new smartphone soon, think about what you need it do to and then hit up these articles -- you'll find that depending on what each of us care about, we'll give you a useful perspective on whether a given smartphone matches up. 

Actually, we explain it all pretty well on this page. Oh, yeah, one more thing, we are giving away fabulous prizes:

Find out who the winners are, after the break!

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Sprint Treo Pro NOW Available Online--err NOT now

Update: It appears Sprint has now pulled the Treo Pro from their website completely, so our "jump the gun" remark was pretty accurate.  Who wants to bet your orders don't ship until at least Monday? Oh, Sprint.

Even though we are expecting some stores to have the Sprint Treo Pro for sales this Sunday (25th), it looks like Sprint.com has jumped the gun and begun advertising Palm's latest WM Treo this morning.  So you can hop over there now and order up.

No real suprises: $549 for the phone, -$200 for a contract and minus another $100 for a MIR, which brings it down to $249.  One caveat on that MIR: read the fine print to make sure your current plan qualifies.

We are still awaiting more confirmation on this, but it appears the Treo Pro has 96mb RAM and 512mb ROM, meaning Palm has doubled the available storage memory for programs, bringing it to about 336mb. More than enough for photos, data and program storage.  On the other hand, RAM may have taken a hit, meaning you may only have ~42mb of RAM after a soft reset. (See page 363 of the user manual --> .pdf).  We're working to confirm this last part, so take with a small grain of salt.  And yes, it's okay to pray that it's not true.

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HTC announces the (new) Touch Cruise

HTC has announced the next iteration of the Touch Cruise, a keyboardless black slab. And if it looks familiar, it should. We've already seen it is the Iolite and most recently as the XDA Guide. Here are the dirty details:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.
  • Size: 102 x 53.5 x 14.5mm. Weight: 103 grams.
  • Qualcomm MSM7225 528 MHz processor.
  • WCDMA/HSPA: 900/2100MHz. HSDPA 7.2 Mbps (the U.S. version also will sport the 850 and 1900 bands).
  • Display: 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen.
  • Camera: 3.2 MP, with fixed focus.
  • 512 MB flash ROM, 256 MB RAM.
  • microSD.
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR.
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.
  • GPS/A-GPS.
  • 1100 mAh battery.

The (new) Touch Cruise — that's it - we're gonna call it the Touch Cruise 2 — also sports the same "Footprints" feature as the XDA Guide. The official party line on that:

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Official 6.1 ROM released for Verizon XV6900

We saw a Windows Mobile 6.1 ROM leak for the Verizon XV6900 — that's the Touch — a couple of months ago, and now it looks like a new (and more official) ROM has been made available. PCDPhones (used to be part of UTStarcom) has the new release. [via]

Here's what you're getting:

  • Upgraded OS to Windows Mobile 6.1
  • Added EVDO Rev A capability
  • Updated the MMS client to be compatible with WM 6.1
  • Added Microsoft Remote Desktop Application
  • Added capability to use VzNavigator application.
  • Added capability to read micro SD card of up to 16GB memory.

Go snag it here. And let us know how the GPS holds up after the update. (And we've said it before, and we'll keep on sayin' it: Back up your data first!)

 

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Early Windows Mobile 6.5 build in the wild

Well look at that. No sooner do we resign ourselves to the fact that it'll still be some months before we see Windows Mobile 6.5, the crazy kids at XDA Developers [via] cook up a build for the HTC Blue Angel (aka XDA III and T-Mobile MDA III, among others.)

This obviously isn't a full build but reportedly has Live for Windows Mobile 6.5; CMHome for 6.5Pro, the new IE 6 build, TouchRecognizer and Touch LockScreen. So, we're getting a better idea of what we're in store for, but this is by no means a finished product. In other WM6.5 news, some new screen shots have purportedly leaked out, giving us another peak. Be gentle.

Update: another video after the break

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Treo 700wx starts to get "custom ROM" treatment!

Well 2 years into its release and customs ROMs are finally getting the work through for the aging 700wx. Better late than never, eh?

Thanks to Waffles (ppcgeeks), LLC23 (wmexperts) and Ebag333 (wmexperts), we now have a dedicated thread located here to discuss the project and most importantly, the inherit risks of re-flashing your device with a non-standard ROM.

Custom ROMs are nice as they allow users to not only replace unwanted stock carrier apps with their preferred ones, but it also enables the ability for pre-tweaking of the registry.

Plus there is that holy-grail for WM users: flashing with newer versions of Windows Mobile. This means the potential to put WM 6.x on the 700w/wx is only a matter of time, perseverance and assistance form ambitious WM users--so maybe you should pop in and lend a hand to make some history, hmmm?

So far the project is confirmed working on Sprint devices but Verizon and Alltel still need some experimenting. Ebag333 has even created a 700wx ROM-kitchen for easy implementation making the future of this project very promising for those who are not too comfortable with the whole process.

Keep up the great work guys! This will keep us busy till the 800w release ;-)

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What do you do when you're one of the biggest GSM chip makers out there and one of your sweethearts -- HTC in this case -- starts looking elsewhere (say, nVidia)? Well you you throw on the old spice cologne, get a hair cut, and start acquiring AMD's graphics and multimedia technology assets to improve what you've got.

Qualcomm is hoping this move will provide better 2D and 3D graphics features, as well as better audio/video and display support. This drastic make over wasn't cheap.  Qualcomm is dishing out $65 million to AMD for these assets and offering employment  to AMD employees that were involved in the new technologies. We were starting to suspect that Qualcomm was letting itself go (so to speak), so hopefully laying out this cash  for the proverbial face lift and gym membership will get 'em back in shape.

[via phonescoop]

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While everbody awaits what we expect will be the announcement of Windows Mobile 6.5 at Mobile World Congress in just under a month, we here at WMExperts know from long, hard experience that with Windows Mobile the announcement of a new version of the OS comes well before that OS is actually available on devices.  Even if Microsoft does announce that they've shipped it off to manufacturers, it takes awhile to bake it in to a device, customize it, and get it finalized for a launch. 

So this DigiTimes report [via] claiming that we'll see 6.5 devices in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2009 comes as little surprise, especially since the report also claims that Microsoft won't ship the OS to manufacturers until "Mid-2009."  From "Mid '09" to a 3rd quarter launch of a 6.5 device is actually quite fast, so perhaps that will mean that the cool new 6.5 interface we saw surface back in November will be enough to convince phone makers that they don't need to take the time to re-invent another skin to slap on top of it.

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Microsoft will help you build, certify your app

As we continue to learn more about the upcoming Windows Mobile app store called Skymarket, it now appears that Microsoft will help developers certify their programs.

Over at InnovateOn.com, Microsoft is offering help through four stages of app development: Learn, build, test and market.

Developers will get tools and resources for building their applications, 5 hours of free e-mail tech support, up to $400 worth of testing and complimentary code signing, said to be worth another $400.

For us non-binary folks, this should help separate the wheat from the chaff and mean better applications overall.

Via wmpoweruser

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VLC Coming to Windows Mobile?

To be filed under the category of “Rumors that we really hope will become a reality”, the folks at VideoLan have given us hope that VLC will be coming to a Windows Mobile handheld near you. Jean-Baptiste Kempf of VideoLan used verbiage on his Blog that indicates that a port to Windows CE could be in the works. While that’s not a sure thing, I’ve definitely got my fingers crossed for some WM love.

VLC is a popular, open-source media player that is popular on most desktop operating systems. In addition to featuring playback of most popular media type natively, VLC features the additional ability to stream video across a network.

Ever since TCPMP (The Core Pocket Media Player) development was ended and Core Player was released, Windows Mobile has been lacking a free media player with as much functionality. If VLC is truly coming to Windows Mobile then that particular hole should be filled nicely.

[via wmpoweruser]

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Find your way with the O2 XDA Guide

We're not likely to see this in the U.S. anytime soon, but the HTC Iolite is headed to O2 in Germany as the XDA Guide, with a pretty big focus on navigation (natch), but no major surprises.

What's under the Diamond-esque hood:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.
  • Qualcomm 7225 processor at 528 MHz.
  • Quad-band EDGE/dual-band HSPA.
  • Bluetooth 2.0 w/EDR.
  • WiFi b/g.
  • aGPS.
  • 256MB RAM/512MB ROM.
  • MicroSD.

Missing from the OS is TouchFLO 3D, with the phone instead sporting the less intensive TouchFLO 2D. Making up for that, however, is the "Footprints" button, which lets you take photos directly from the TouchFLO interface. If GPS is available, location information can be tagged to the photo, as can some comments. TomTom navigation software also is on board and has a dedicated hardware button.

Peep a bunch more pictures over at the::unwired. [via]

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HTC Trims Back 2009 Projections

While we reported earlier this month the HTC's revenue was up 29% for 2008, HTC is now lowering their expectations for 2009 revenue growth. Taiwanese based  Commercial Times is quoting HTC CEO Peter Chou as saying that HTC expects double-digit 2009 revenue growth as smartphones gain popularity globally even amid a global downturn. Chou continued, "The visibility in 2009 is extremely low, so things could be a bit worse in the short term. But we still expect to maintain double-digit growth (this year)." Back in October of last year, Chou predicted 20% growth in 2009. While not providing a specific number for projected revenue, HTC seems to be optimistic with the positive reception they received at the 2009 CES. Looking at the leaked HTC lineup one could easily understand HTC's optimism in predicting "double digits," we just hope it's closer to 20% than it is to 10%.

[Read: Reuters and Electronista.com]

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