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Windows Mobile 6 ROM for 8525 Leaked

Windows Mobile 6 for the 8525! and not just any ROM, mind you, but it looks to be the really real ROM that AT&T will be giving to us.. soon. That's good news to me, because it means that a slightly more stable ROM than the leaked Blackjack WM6 ROM should also come in tow - hopefully with that cool video share functionality. What's most amusing to me about this imminent release is that we just saw a ROM update for the 8525 just a month and a half ago.

You could go searching for the leaked ROM for your 8525, but in my opinion, if you've waited this long, you may as well wait just a little bit longer. If the rumor mill is right, that "little bit longer" should be less than a week or two. If you don't have an 8525 and don't have the wherewithal to wait for the Kaiser, there was a recent price drop that might help you open your wallet.

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Sprint Mogul ROM Update adds Sprint Music Store

ROM Updates for everyone! It's just been a month since the Mogul was released and already we have a ROM update for it. No, sorry, it's not the anticipated upgrade to the speedier EVDO. Instead it lets you buy and download music form the Sprint Music Store.

It'll erase your phone, so make sure you've got all your data backed up.

By downloading the latest ROM, the Sprint Music Store will operate on your device. The Sprint Music Store enables you to purchase and download digital files to play on your device or PC.

Read: HTC: Support: Mogul™ by HTC Software Download (via Gizmodo)

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del.icio.us Plug In for Windows Mobile Pocket IE

This is super cool - it's a plugin for PocketIE that posts a bookmark to your del.icio.us account. I use and love del.icio.us quite a bit, so being able to easily post to it not only from my desktop (I like the Mac-only Pukka for that) but also from my Mobile is pretty cool. The linked page goes into a bit of detail about how much work it turned out to be to make the plugin, so let me just say how much appreciate it.

If you're a social bookmarking fiend, this thing looks like a must-have.

Read: A del.icio.us plugin for Windows Mobile via Jason Landridge

Update: Dale notes in the comments (click, you know, "Comments" to see it) that the plug in has now been repackaged as a easy-to-install .cab file. Cheers, Dale!

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Sprint WiMAX Watch Part 2

The next-gen wireless network is still coming, Sprint reminds us with a little press release. To ensure that it's rolled out to as wide an audience as possible, they're teaming up with clearwire to build the network. So presumably clearwire will handle the areas they already have and Sprint will handle the rest.

The "end of 2008" is still the target date, looks like, to get 100 million people covered in WiMAX goodness.

Under the network build-out plan, Sprint Nextel will focus its efforts primarily on geographic areas covering approximately 185 million people, including 75 percent of the people located in the 50 largest markets, while Clearwire will focus on areas covering approximately 115 million people. Initially, the two companies expect to build out network coverage to approximately 100 million people by the end of 2008, with seamless roaming enabled between the deployed areas.[...] Both companies will provide seamless reciprocal roaming service to each others' WiMAX customers, and Sprint Nextel plans to provide dual-mode (CDMA-WiMAX) services nationwide to its customers over both its own and Clearwire's portion of the WiMAX networks.

Read: Press Release (via jkOnTheRun)

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It's been a rough quarter for Motorola and the result is that they posted a loss of $28 million for the quarter. I'm not at all surprised by the loss. Take a gander at all of the hijinks that they've been though in the past few months:

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Good iPhone Review

Over at Phone different, Mike Overbo just posted his full review of the iPhone. There are a lot of little surprising bits in there, so it's definitely worth the read. Since I'm slowly becoming the "iPhone troll in residence" amongst our little family of sites, I'm going to post the relevant 'graf for WM users (For featurephone users, it's a 9/10, btw):

It will take some big software updates to compete effectively against Blackberries and Windows Mobile and the like in the business segment. Heavy email users will want to utilize their business webmail interface (in Exchange, it's Outlook Web Access) and the VPN option for security. **On the business side, the iPhone is currently 7/10**; a "C" if you want arbitrary letter grades.

Read: Phone different: Review: Apple iPhone 8GB

I'd say I agree with that, actually. Maybe a 6/10 for me on the productivity side, but where Mike dings the iPhone for certain problems I sideswipe it. It's not that the problems can't ultimately be fixed via updates (they could) or that they're that monumental (I'm undecided), it's just that they exist in exactly the places where I need a smartphone to be powerful - Mail, ToDo, and yes, 3rd party apps.

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Toshiba G900 Reviews Trickling In

The Toshiba G900 is the very definition of mobile power. Check out some details on it courtesy of Tracy and Matt's blog: They have a Toshiba G900 and they aren't being reticent with the gadget pron. There's an unboxing, a few hi-res screen grabs, and a video of the ginormous screen.

Engadget has an unboxing gallery as well. US release is still unknown, but obviously it's available in Europe and Japan, as expected. If you're multilingual, check out the review at SoloPalmari.

800x480 resolution on that screen. I can hardly stand not having it.

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HTC Touch Tutorials

I'm going to go ahead and count this new site detailing how to use the HTC Touch as evidence for HTC releasing the rumored CDMA version (Codenamed "Vogue") sometime in the near future. Why? Well, mostly because HTC seems to be throwing much more than their standard marketing weight behind it. The Touch currently occupies almost the entire HTC homepage, which I like except for the fact that they're trying to create a new word, "touchnology". Ugh.

Anyhow, the online tutorials detail how to bring up the Touch Cube (which, by the way, only has three sides. I would kill for a fourth that I could add apps to) as well as how to get around in the standard WM6 bits. I like the Touch, like it better than the iPhone, even. So while the standard interpretation of this site is likely just that HTC is positioning the Touch against the iPhone, my reading is that HTC really intends to release this to a wider audience.

Read: HTC's Touch Tutorials

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HTC Advantage is US Retail Stores

So the HTC Advantage is available in the US, in retail even. Well, it's in CompUSA, as least, if you consider that a retail store and not a dying albatross hanging about the neck of whichever mall it happens to be attached to.

I'll admit, the urge to buy one of these, even at its $899 US pricetag, is growing stronger by the day. The specs on it are just out of this world:

  • 624 MHz CPU with ATi™ Graphic Chip W2284
  • Microsoft® Windows Mobile® 6 Professional
  • ROM: 256 MB, RAM: 128 MB SDRAM
  • 133.5 mm (L) x 98 mm (W) x 16 mm (T)
  • 359g (with battery)
  • 5" Touchscreen, 640x480 resolution
  • HSDPA/UMTS/GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
  • Bluetooth® 2.0, 802.11 b/g
  • HTC proprietary 16-pin combined port (USB 1.1 host/VGA and TV Out)
  • 3 mega-pixel camera with autofocus and flash light
  • 8GB Drive built-in

It makes the Foleo look like, well, a PalmOS device. Yes, it's chunky and yes, the keyboard is too big to thumb and too small to touch-type easily. Otherwise, this thing is a powerhouse of a device by any reasonable standard.

Read: CompUSA.com via pocketnow

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Sprint Has Horrendous Customer Service, Sky Still Blue

I used to be a Sprint customer and a relatively happy one -- if only because their data plans are on the order of $25/month cheaper than what I'm paying now. But I needs me my GSM and SIM swapping. Apparently I'm lucky to have left, as the tech blogging world is all aflutter recently over Sprint and their evils. Check out the related stories:

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I-Mate on the Ropes

I-Mate has been trying to, slowly but surely, break into the US market (or at least gain wide acceptance beyond the Middle East). The big push was supposed to be part and parcel with their new "Ultimate Line" of Windows Mobile devices, but it's not looking good these days. Their finance director had to step down, their devices (with the possible exception of the JAQ series) don't get much play, and they're not HTC.

It's a pity, too, because the "Ultimate" devices are indeed Ultimate - the specs are crazy good on every one of them.

I-mate, the mobile devices specialist founded by Glaswegian Jim Morrison, was punished again by the market yesterday after announcing the resignation of its finance director.

The Dubai-based maker of the rival to the Blackberry, dubbed the "Macberry" but sold largely in the Middle East, said Gregor McNeil would be stepping down for personal reasons.

Read: The Herald via MGN

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I know, I know, everybody's all atwitter over various iPhone software elements making their way to Windows Mobile. The latest is this keyboard over at XDA-Developers, which would be nice if you had a screen as large as the iPhone's. You don't, so this keyboard is going to be a single-index-finger affair. That's nice, it also utilizes Windows Mobile's predictive text, which has an advantage over the iPhone in that it will auto-complete a word for you with a tap. No, it's not as smart as the iPhone's "fix it after you type it" style, but it's still pretty nice.

However - I much prefer one of two other options: a physical keyboard or, barring that, SPB Full Screen Keyboard. It's $9.95 and works great. SPB did try to put in some of that fancy predictive magic that iPhone users have, but in my experience it's not all that useful. What is useful is that it's in landscape mode (it can do portrait too, but I'd advice against it). This, my friends, is eminently thumb-able. If you are one of the strange / lucky ones with a WM touchscreen device sans physical keyboard, this is what you want.

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Engadget Mobile (et al) notices that the Samsung SCH-i760 has popped up on Verizon's site, in the form of a little photo demo gallery. Engadget calls it "arguably ugly", to which I reply: Form follows function, baby, and this function is beautiful:

  • 60 x 110 x 20 mm
  • 150 grams
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • 400 MHZ Samsung (naturally) Processor
  • 128MB ROM
  • 64 MB RAM (54.5MB for the User)
  • 2.8" touchscreen, 320x240
  • EVDO (I think Rev A, but that's not for sure?)
  • MicroSD
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WiFi (both B and G)
  • 1.3 mp camera

Of course, I'm a form factor nut and the thing I like about this form factor is the fact that they moved that 5-way down to the side to allow for more screen real estate. Plus, unlike the Vox, it looks like that slider keyboard is actually usable.

Final specs, release date, and price all unknown. My desire to check one out: known.

Check out a ton more pics after the break, including a real live, "I held this mother in my hand from our CTIA visit back in March.

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WhoNeedsAniPhone developing Flash iPhone-like Interface

Add another site to the growing list of people making iPhone-like interfaces, only this time with a catchier name: WhoNeedsAniPhone.com. I can't say I'm on board with using Flash to develop the interface - yes, it's very fast and yes it lets you get "the pretty" relatively quickly. But in exchange for that it's a bit of a resource hog and (somebody correct me if I'm wrong here) it isn't going to be as compatible with the pantheon of WM devices as it ought to be.

In any case, if the iPhone has taught us nothing else, it's taught us that while using a stylus is acceptable for PDAs, it flat out sucks having to use it with a smartphone. If I can't use a smartphone one-handed, I can't use that smartphone as my main brain, period. That the reason that I'm anti-slider most of the time.

Let's just hope that the interface that rolls out of this beta program doesn't feature as many sentences in ALL CAPS as the about page does. :p

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Palm's ROM Follies

Over at TreoCentral I've left the lion's share of reporting in the capable hands of Jennifer Chappell. My duties there have mostly been relegated to the TreoCast and to story after story after story after story after story after story about Palm's seeming inability to release a simple ROM patch for their PalmOS Treo 700p. It's really depressing, actually, even more depressing because Palm recently announced they're not going to be releasing the Linux Version of the PalmOS until next year. So much for somebody other than Apple pushing Microsoft to innovate the WM platform.

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WM "Business Value" Calculator

So Microsoft has put up a fancy little web gadget that lets you punch in some key stats about your company and then find out just how much money you'll save/make by switching your employees to Windows Mobile -- thereby increasing their productivity. But Good Golly are the terms and whatnot in there above my head. One of two things is going on here:

  1. I am beyond clueless about the financial management of a mid-to-large size corporation. As clueless as I am about brain surgery. More, even. I understand what a "frontal lobe" is and have half a shot at telling you the primary functions of the hippocampus. But "Reduce Sales Force Lead to Order Sales Cycle"? No. Clue.
  2. The "business-speak" language is intentionally ramped up to obscure the details and maximize the chances you have of using this tool to impress the hell out of your boss so he or she will buy you that Sprint Mogul you've been eyeing.

...my guess is all of the above. So go calculate it, then go grab your superiors and explain how they'd be crazy not to buy you a shiny new smartphone.

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CTIA: Don't Ban 3G Chips

Just over a month ago we reported that the International Trade Commission wants to ban 3G chips from being imported into the US because they violated Broadcom patents (Story here). I know a guy who works for Broadcom, and he seems nice enough, but I'm starting to feel like maybe I should punch him in the neck (plus, they're in cahoots with that other popular phone).

In any case, CTIA (they of the superfun wireless conventions) is asking the President to veto the ban because, if it's allowed to stand, they think it will cause $21.1 billion (with a "B") in economic damage. This PDF link provides all the details about how the sky will fall if this isn't stopped. The Spice 3G Must Flow. You go get 'em, CTIA!

CTIA-The Wireless Association® is deeply concerned that the ITC order banning new models of wireless broadband handsets will cause unprecedented economic harm to tens of millions of American wireless consumers, and because of that we urge President Bush to veto the order

Read: MobileCrunch » CTIA Calls for Veto of ITC Chip Ban

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Silverlight: Bearing Down on Flash?

Ars Technica is reporting that there's now a Linux-based browser plugin for Microsoft's Silverlight. Silverlight is a cross platform "media plugin" that looks to be positioned as a very nice Flash competitor. With all the brouhaha about YouTube not working so well on WM phones (er, not working at all except on a select few, like the HTC Touch in my pocket, Nyah Nyah!), Silverlight's cross-platform abilities could make it a real competitor in internet multimedia. There was already a great demo of a Baseball app on Windows Mobile that looks really slick.

Anyhow, the good news here is that Microsoft made the necessary tools available for Silverlight to work cross-platform and somebody got it working on Linux. There are big players on board (hello streaming movies on Netflix!) so I'm hopeful that we're going to see some really dynamic, media rich stuff on mobile phones soon.

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Shiny Kaiser Pics at MEDC Europe

There's another Microsoft Mobile and Embedded DevCon happening, this time in Germany. Which means that HTC is trotting out its latest and greatest. That's probably the best look I've had yet of the hinge on the flip-up slider to come, the HTC Kaiser. Looking good, HTC, I just wish that sketchy leaked roadmap had a US release date on it.

Also new (at left) is this docking station for the HTC Advantage, which adds USB ports (for keyboard and mouse), a headphone port, and a VGA-out. As in - Windows Mobile Device as Desktop Replacement. Foleo, eat your heart out.

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For Whom the iPhone Tolls

No, don't you worry, WMExperts is still here and will still be here after iDay. But despite (because) the fact that capitalization humor is played out, the week's iPhone iNsanity is pretty tiring. So tiring, in fact, that I'm just flat-out not going to cover it here for the rest of the week. There is good coverage over at phone different, especially this post, which details some Windows Mobile vs. iPhone sniping. Then again, there's a rumor that Apple is, in fact, going to get Push Exchange email on the iPhone in the near future, which will definitely take away one of Windows Mobile's primary advantages. If that's true, I hope MS is charging them a lot for it.

The real deal is that the reviews are pouring in from the heavy-hitters in the tech-review world. Opinions are good, generally, but I have to say that I feel for future iPhone users: No cut and paste and EDGE speeds is going to make the iPhone feel a little like the Dash when it comes to being productive with the internets. Oh, and it doesn't look like there's A2DP support either. Oops.

Anyhow, expect light posting for the next few days here at WME. Call it an iPhone funk.

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HTC Advantage Docking Station

Jenn over at pocketables found that HTC Advtange docking station we glimpsed a few days ago. Looks like you can import it from the UK for 70 pounds (or $140US or so, plus shipping, natch). For those of you keeping score, that's in the neighborhood of $300 less than a Foleo will set you back - that's assuming you have an HTC Advantage, though. If you don't, well, move along, nothing to see here.

Read: HTC Advantage docking station costs $140 (Thanks, Jenn!)

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8525 Price Drop

..Must...Not...Refer...to...Jesus...Phone.....Sigh, have to do it.

Here's the deal - a $150 price drop on the powerhouse AT&T 8525 (someday it will even get that promised WM6 upgrade) would and should be news on its own. But Infoworld is pretty sure that the price drop is iPhone-release-related. As in - the 8525 is cheaper, easier to type on, and better for actual business use than the iPhone. Or maybe as in - "Oh, we're out of iPhones, but check out this smartphone, the 8525. It has a full keyboard." The latter thought doesn't make me proud, but it's certainly possible.

Or maybe the price drop has nothing to do at all with the iPhone release. Maybe, just maybe, AT&T is clearing inventory to make way for the HTC Kaiser. That thought does make me proud - proud to be an HTC fanboy.

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HTC Touch vs iPhone, Part 1

Here they are on my desk, sitting quietly next to each other. On the inside, though, both are smoldering cauldrons of hate and jealousy. Seriously, there's almost steam rising out of the speaker grills on each phone. We'll get to software in part two (here's a preview, though, it's apples and oranges / featurephone v smartphone), but for today let's just compare the hardware. I'm sure that nobody out there would actually base their purchasing decision between these two on which is thinner (iPhone), but it's still fun to look.

Read on for some pics and thoughts.

Buttons

The HTC Touch has the fewest buttons of any WM device I've used. It's positively button-aenemic, there's power on the top, a camera button, the 5-way, send, end, and a volume slider. Given my standard usage habits, I found this to be pretty aggravating.

Of course, compared to the iPhone the Touch is just awash in buttons. The iPhone has power, home, a volume rocker and a ringer switch. On both devices the tactile feedback on the buttons is satisfying - both have good clicky-ness, though the iPhone's button have more travel.

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LogMeIn Announces Remote Desktop for your Smartphone

I can't tell you how often the follow scenario plays out in my head:

Pal-o-mine: Dieter, my phone is acting weird. It seems to do XYZ.
Me: Oh, I think that's probably issue Q. Jump into the connection settings.
Pal-o-mine: Uh.
Me: Hit the Start button, then settings.
Pal-o-mine: Uh. Maybe you could come over?

Sigh. That's the price you pay for being an 'expert.' Ah well. LogMeIn, they of the easy-to-use over-the-web remote desktop services, have announced that they're coming out with a similar service for smartphones. As in: you tether your Windows Mobile phone to your computer, install their little app, and then somebody can remotely operate the smartphone over the web. It sounds like a mash-up of Remote Desktop and SOTI Pocket Controller Pro, and I approve. I'd approve more if I were an IT director in charge of supporting a large set of these phones, though. That's their target, and if it works I suspect they'll hit it square.

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Yes, ATT Improved EDGE. Sheesh.

I'm seeing blog posts all over saying "OMG EDGE iz faster lolz!" Yes, yes it is, as we told you it would be a month ago (sigh). It's being called "Fine Edge", and AT&T says to expect up to 100kpbs, but in some areas you might even hit that theoretical ceiling of 200kpbs. It's all very satisfying, actually, because although I am a 3G man whenever possible, sometimes an EDGE-only Windows Mobile phone (like the HTC Touch or T-Mobile Dash) captures my heart and I settle.

The blogosphere was abuzz Friday with reports that AT&T's EDGE network was reaching uncharacteristically high speeds of 200 kilobits per second in advance of the Apple iPhone release.

Read: Did AT&T Quietly Improve EDGE Data Rates for IPhone? - News and Analysis by PC Magazine

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