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Wibree Assimilated into Bluetooth SIG

So last October, Nokia announced they were creating a new, lower-power bluetooth-esque standard - because regular old Bluetooth took too much power and they wanted to put "personal area networking" features on watches and, I dunno, earrings or something. Anyhow, I panned the idea then so I'm happy now that Wibree the brand is getting put out to pasture while Wibree's technology is getting rolled into Bluetooth.

That, my friends, is how keep a standards-adoption-train rolling. Now, maybe this was Nokia's plan the whole time - to strong-arm the Bluetooth Special Interest Group into having to pursue low-power versions of Bluetooth by publicizing a competing standard. I'd like to think it was, because "Wibree" was just too silly a name to take seriously.

The Wibree forum, the group specifying the Nokia developed ultra low power wireless technology, will be merged with the Bluetooth SIG.

Read: Nokia - ShowPressRelease via jkontherun.

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Microsoft unveil "Surface" - fancy touchscreen table

I've mentioned before that it's going to be a great summer for smartphone fans. Windows Mobile 6, the iPhone, Palm's Foleo, HTC's June 5th secret, the hits just keep on coming. What's driving all this coolness? Well, one thing seems to be this whole "multitouch" phenomenon. A touchscreen that can detect subtle and multiple touches really opens up some exciting possibilities for user interfaces. The iPhone was the beginning, I suppose (or will be when it hits), but this new Microsoft technology called "Surface" is just plain awesome.

Microsoft Surface pretty much fulfills the promise of this TED presentation of a tabletop that lets you interact directly and intuitively with everything a computer can do. Just wish it wasn't so expensive. Or a table. Gimme gimme on a mobile device, please.

After the jump, a bunch of images of Surface. Also check out Bill Gates demoing it over at Gizmodo.


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Help Sling Support WM6

It's a little surprising to hear, since WM6 is so close to WM5 in its underpinnings, but the SlingPlayer for Windows Mobile isn't working on WM6 yet. Never fear, though, the folks at Sling are working on it and they'd like your help -- in the form of a private beta for the update. Sling's built up a lot of street cred with the mobile crowd (or with me, anyway), so I suspect that it won't be long before this private beta becomes a public one.

We are actively working on a new version of the SlingPlayer Mobile that will add support for Windows Mobile 6 and are currently looking for people to participate in a private beta of the new Windows Mobile 6 compatible version of the SlingPlayer

Read: Sling Media - SlingPlayer Mobile is not currently compatible with WM6

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Yes Please: Samsung i620 Slider

Look at that hotness and tell me you don't covet it. It looks like the i600 (the internatiol version of the Samsung Blackjack) will be getting an update soon. Samsung is trading super-thin for some slider action, but I approve wholeheartedly. The specs look good - UMTS, HSDPA, WiFi, Triband GSM (900/1800/1900), Video Telephony. Sadly, it doesn't look like that's going to be the case given that little triband spec.

Hopefully, though, Samsung does have a US version in the works.

More pics after the break.

While not too much is known yet, Mobile Gazette says, the i620 will be a triband (only) GSM/GPRS/EDGE phone as well as supporting UMTS (supported bands are unknown), featuring two cameras (one with 2 megapixel and photo light). It's expected to be powered by Windows Mobile 6 and closed, the phone measures something around 59 mm width and 94 mm height while opened it's 131 mm:

Read: the::unwired - UNVEILED: Samsung SGH-i620 Windows Mobile Standard Smartphone shows its face [UPDATE]

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Get Googling: Blackjack WM6 ROM Leaked

Call us crazy, but we're going to try it - a leaked ROM update for the Blackjack. Looks like it indcludes HSDPA too, so it's pretty hard to turn down. A quick search should yield it for you fairly easily. Otherwise, the mere existence of this bugger should mean the official one may come sooner than we feared.

if you're a BlackJack owner and don't want to wait until the official ROM update for WM6 on the BlackJack (expected Q3-ish of this year), it's floating around the web somewhere (hint, AT&T Samsung forums). Get it while it's hot - because I'm sure it'll be taken down soon!

Read: pocketnow.com - Commentary Library

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Loki - Location Based Search for WM

Loki is new to me and it looks pretty neat. It grabs your location based on some magic involving WiFi (and presumably your IP address), then allows you to do local searches based on that. They've had a Windows toolbar for awhile now, and they've just added a Mac and (more importantly for us) a Windows Mobile client. If you've read between the lines, though, you're realizing it will only work if you have WiFi on your WM device, so Treo and Blackjack owners (among many other) need not apply. More people who need not apply: folks who live outside their limited coverage area.

Now you can get the same Loki WiFi location goodiness on your Windows Mobile device. Loki Mobile allows you to locate yourself and search locally on any WiFi-enabled Windows Mobile device.

Read: Download

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HTC Touch - What We Expected

HTC promised a big announcement and it looks like they've delivered what we expected: a improved-touchscreen version of of the Elf.

HTC's Flash-based site, http://www.htctouch.com/, shows off the new UI goodness. The key point seems to be that it can easily detect sweeps of your finger and that it can tell the difference between a stylus and a fingertip and adapt accordingly. HTC calls it TouchFlo and we call it "not quite as good as the iPhone" - this doesn't appear to be geniune multitouch, my friends.

Nevertheless, the new UI they've slapped on top of Windows Mobile 6 is very lickable - it basically takes the idea of SPB Mobile Shell a few steps forward.

Specs:

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T-Mobile Wing Gallery

Yes, I have the T-Mobile Wing and yes, it’s the hotness. I want to do a video, a review, a shootout, a whole lotta things. But there’s absolutely no T-Mobile signal where I live and apparently Cingular isn’t playing nice with the roaming agreements - I just plain can’t get signal at all. I like to use a device before I review it, so that’s coming. Meanwhile, check out some pretty images after the break.

Anecdote mode on.

…Before the break, though, a note. I currently waiting on a call back from T-Mobile’s customer service. When I told them my plight (i.e. no signal but I’m keeping my T-Mo number for forwarding), they said they’d unlock it (that’s a hint for you unlock code seekers, maybe). Anyhow, the unlock code they had isn’t working, so a “Wing specialist” is investigating. T-Mobile has consistently rated tops for customer service and my experience is in line with that. Oh, and the hold music? The Flaming Lips’ “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”. T-Mobile For The Win! Now just give us 3G, guys.

Update: Unlock worked, they had to do a different code. If you're getting a Wing unlocked, be sure that the person helping you is clear that it's a Wing.

Anecdote mode off.

Check out the pics after the break.

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Sprint PPC-6800 Watch: Now June?

First it was May, then it was leaked into the wild, then it was renamed the Mogul and delayed until October so it could ship with WM6. Now the latest rumor is that Sprint heard our wailing and gnashing of teeth about the delay and has moved the release up to just a couple of weeks from now. Now, the natural thing to do would be to head over to HTC's teaser site for the device to see what the real scoop it - but apparently that site now requires a user name and password. Weird.

Anyhow, we like the earlier release, even if it doesn't mean that it will have WM6 or Rev A EVDO right away

The latest projected launch timeframe for the PPC-6800 is now set for mid-June. While we (constantly and continuously) stress that these dates are estimates, and should not be considered as anything other than internal projections, it does appear Sprint has made considerable efforts to ship the PPC-6800 later this month.

Read: Phone News - HTC PPC-6800 for Sprint Bumped Up to June

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WM6 on a Samsung Blackjack

The leaked ROM was taken off of the forum where I found it, which is unsurprising. I imagine that it wouldn't be too difficult to find with a little Googling, but here's the thing, I think I'm going to recommend against doing that. Not just because you'll be in sketchy legal territory, but also because the update process didn't go very smoothly - my Blackjack froze on the screen you see pictured here. I was worried I was going to have a thin little brick. Luckily, though, it came out ok after I removed the battery. There's not a lot of surprises here - it's Windows Mobile 6 on a Blackjack. I don't think it's the final update, though, as the boot time was very long and there were a few little strange spots in the settings (Hardware Rev0.0 -- what!?).

So the verdict is: wait. I hope you won't have to wait long. In the meantime, you can stew by watching this quick little video of a Blackjack running Windows Mobile 6.

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Windows Mobile Device Center Patched

Huzzah! Microsoft promised a WMDC patch in June and they've delivered. The Vista-only ActiveSync fixes that file sync bug but also looks to add some nice features as well. My #1 fav: "Automatic Device Authentication," as in "You can stop having to enter your #$@@#$ PIN every time you plug in your phone to your computer." Joy! WMDC 6.1 works with Windows Mobile 2003 and up.

This new version of the Windows Mobile Device Center contains key improvements and new features to support Windows Mobile 6 devices. The Windows Mobile Device Center 6.1 is only supported on Windows Vista.

Download: Mobile Device Center (via Mobility Today)

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New Office Mobile for WM5, WM6

I didn't really expect anything important to happen at the Computex Conference in Taiwan, but Microsoft's Windows Mobile division is apparently just too prolific to let a conference slide by without giving us something to want. First they came through with the patched WMDC and now this: the unwired is reporting that the next version of Office for WM will be available *for free* in Q3 for all WM5 and WM6 devices.

It will include support for the new XML document format, which means it will only be 6 months behind DocsToGo. The unwired also speculates TIFF support will be included as a part of a new ability to receives faxes on your smartphone.

As expected, the updated Office Mobile version (the name isn't clear yet - some sources say Office Mobile 2006 while others say Office Mobile 2007) will allow Windows Mobile devices to open documents created with the new Office 2007 XML formats.

Read: the::unwired - UPDATE: Office Mobile Update comes to Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6

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Sprint WiMAX WaTCH

See the clever thing I did with the title there? I slay me. Annoying capitalization is probably the only thing that makes me unhappy about WiMAX - the next-gen "sorta like WiFi but gets really long range so you can use it like cellular networks" technology that folks have been talking about for years. I'd hoped that WiMAX would take the form of a consumer uprising against the horrendous mobile carrier business model, but that is not Sprint's plan. Shocker, that. Anyhow, WiMAX should actually appear for reals in select cities by the end of the year and Sprint is dumping something around 2 billion in the next couple of years to make it available generally by the end of 2008.

Sprint plans to invest up to $800M in 2007 and between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in 2008. Sprint will use its extensive 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings that cover 85 percent of the households in the top 100 U.S. markets to deliver WiMAX to initial markets (Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, DC) late this year and commercially launch the service in 2Q of next year, providing service coverage to as many as 100 million people by the end of 2008.

Read: Sprint Press Release

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Non-Smartphone Handhelds Are a Dying Breed

Matthew Miller points to an IDC study which shows that handheld shipments - like the traditional Palm Pilot or Windows Mobile Not-a-smartphone-of-any-sort - have dropped just over 40% year over year. This while the smartphone market is red-hot and well on its way to getting white-hot. Dell already dropped their Axim line and Microsoft has named their non-smartphone WM6 edition "Classic." "Classic" as in "Really? Why are you bothering?"

Say goodnight, handhelds. "Goodnight handhelds."

According to IDC's Worldwide Handheld QView, vendors shipped just over 900,000 handheld devices in the first quarter of 2007, 36.3% less than the previous quarter and 40.6% less than the same quarter a year ago.

Read: IDC - Press Release

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Windows Mobile Marketshare on the Rise

So, hot on the heels of posting that Handheld sales are down 40% we have another report saying that PDA shipments are up 40%. What What WHAT?

The second report comes from Gartner and the devil's in the details here, specifically what the definition of "PDA" and "handheld" are. Gartner has an awfully strange definition of PDA indeed:

a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than 1 pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands. These devices use an open-market OS supported by third-party applications that can be added into the device by end users. They offer instant-on/off capability and synchronization of files with a PC. A PDA may offer WAN support for voice, but these are data-first, voice-second devices. Examples include the RIM BlackBerry 8707v, HP iPAQ 69xx, Nokia E61, Motorola Q, T-Mobile Dash and Sidekick 3.

The Dash and the Q are "voice-second" devices? Riiiight. That's opposed to "smartphones," which are "phone first." So, you know, the Treo 750 is not a PDA. Confused yet? Me too, Gartner's "PDA" seems like a pretty useless product category. But the numbers in this silly little product category are pretty impressive:

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HTC Kaiser Unboxed, Coming Sooner Than You Think

BGR has new unboxing pics of the Kaiser in a gallery plus a few details that might interest those of you who haven't been following this hot slider PPC:

  • Quad Band GSM/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPa
  • Capacious 75mb of user-accessible RAM
  • GPS
  • 3 megapixel camera
  • The standard stuff: WiFi, Bluetooth, WM6, etc.

The rumor the Boy Genius is spreading is that it'll be available in late July, which I myself find a little overly optimistic. But here's to hoping.

Let's start it off like this…the HTC Kaiser is the best darn Pocket PC I have ever used! It really has everything you have come to expect nowadays.

Read: HTC Kaiser Unboxing : The Boy Genius Report

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Google Maps - Playing GPS Catchup on Other Devices

A story is making the rounds that Google Maps Mobile now supports GPS. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I've been using GPS in conjunction with Google Maps Mobile on my Windows Mobile devices for awhile now. Since February. Heck, I even posted a Valentine's Day Video detailing how to set up Google Maps with a Bluetooth GPS puck.

So congrats to you, Blackberry 8800, for getting GPS support in Google Maps Mobile. It's almost like your OS offers quality 3rd party app support and development. Almost.

Google's mobile maps software will now use the GPS capability of many newer handsets (with GPS carrier support) to pinpoint your location and make directions and navigation just that much nicer.

Read: Google maps for mobile gets GPS - Engadget Mobile

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HTC Prepping Big Announcement June 5th

Engadget Mobile (among many others) is reporting that HTC is planning some kind of major announcement on June 5th. Folks are speculating based on the invite to the London event that it will be some sort of iPhone-killer because the new gadget should herald "a new mobile experience that will change the way we use and control our phones."

Funny that we haven't seen prototypes of this thing - usually HTC devices are well-rumored and well-understood long before they actually arrive. Stay tuned.

Read: "Major announcement" from HTC on June 5 - Engadget Mobile

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New Live Hotmail Ad Site: I Can Has Funny

The new launch of Hotmail wouldn't normally be a big deal, but for Windows Mobile 6 users it just might be - the "New Live Hotmail" offers free push email and other OTA syncing for personal use. That's actually pretty exciting to me, as it means I can get my business email pushed out via Exchange and my personal email pushed out via Hotmail (that is, if I want to change my personal email address yet again).

In any case, Microsoft's new online-only ads (the pictured one has a half-second of possibly NSFW groaning, FYI) are funny and well-made. They highlight the new features of the updated Hotmail webpage, mainly by playing on the "Male/Mail" pun. Ars Technica linked them awhile ago, but the site is just now working properly for me.

(Forgive my attempt at kitty pidgin in the title. Just trying desperately to stay hip and cool here at WMExperts.)

Read: Windows Live Hotmail

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Flash/YouTube Plug in for TCPMP

The Core Pocket Media Player (TCPMP) has long been the most popular multiformat media player for mobile devices. Although many have migrated over to the for-pay Core Player, TCPMP still is around and still gets a lot of use from power users. Here's one more use: playing YouTube (or any other flash) videos. Plan on instability, thought, it's a v.02 release as of this writing.

Also as of this writing, no plans to add it to Core Player.

It is designed for Pocket PC 2003, Windows Mobile 5.0 and higher. It has two parts: 1. A program to download YouTube movie by PPC. 2. A TCPMP plugin to play flv file directly on PPC (the plugin will never support CorePlayer)

Read: SourceForge.net: Files via Pocket PC Thouhgts

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WMExperts (sorta) at Mossberg's D conference

The big news this week is that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs will be sharing a stage and throttling each other talking for an hour or so. Also big news this week, Palm's attempting to re-establish their relevance by announcing a mystery device. Both are happening at Walt Mossberg's exclusive D: All Things Digital Conference. Both are big deals to us here at WMExperts, so we're heading out to San Diego for the conference. Or rather, to haunt the halls outside the conference like serfs at the king's gate, as registration for the event is four grand and press passes have been wait-listed since there were literally "serfs" hanging around kings' gates.

So expect sporadic updates (but also expect some T-Mobile Wing video fun - post questions about the device here) in the next couple of days. With any luck, we'll be able to get some surprises in here too.

Apple, Inc., CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, the seminal figures in the development of the personal computer, will make a rare joint appearance at The Wall Street Journal's "D: All Things Digital" conference this year. The two men will jointly discuss the history and future of the digital revolution in an unrehearsed, unscripted, onstage conversation on May 30 with D co-producers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher

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Ah, the price we pay for being on the bleeding edge. Windows Mobile Device Center is how Windows Vista wants to sync with your Windows Mobile device - it's a leg up on the old ActiveSync program in pretty much every respect but one - file syncing doesn't seem to work for you WM6 Standard Edition folks. Never fear, though, Brighthand is reporting that Microsoft feels your pain and will get WMDC fixed up right-as-rain in a little less than a month.

Currently, Windows Mobile 6 users can synchronize files between PCs and smartphones with Active Sync 4.5. Microsoft will update Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) on Windows Vista PCs to support file synchronization with Windows Mobile 6 by mid-June

Read: Microsoft Promises Fix for Windows Mobile 6 File Synchronization Snafu

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Palm's "Foleo" to be announced today

It looks like a little mix-up with Palm's Press Release RSS Feed let the news slip a little early - the mystery product that Palm's been hard at work at is a "thin client" of a sort - a device that hooks up to your smartphone and act like a mini-laptop. I'll be putting up more details at our sister site TreoCentral as more details come in.

It'll run some version of Palm's next-gen Linux-based operating system and sync auto-magically with your smartphone. It's not the magical stand-alone device Mike Overbo and I were hoping for, but signs are pointing to it being pretty darn close.

I'm posting this info here at WMExperts for a couple of reasons. The main one is that Palm is surely going to make this compatible with the Windows Mobile versions of their Treos - and I strongly suspect that means it should be just as compatible with any other Windows Mobile device. Why would Palm limit their market to just Treos when it would take virtually no work at all to make it compatible with the many Windows Mobile phones out there?

According to a RSS news feed from Palm, their mystery "3rd category" device is a compact smartphone companion product named Foleo that lets you view and edit emails using a large screen and fullsize keyboard

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Word of the Day: "Multitouch"

Microsoft announced their "Surface" computer table (more on that in just a bit), the iPhone's multitouch is likely to come up in today's "chat" between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at the D Conference, and now this: Smartphone Thoughts is reporting that the HTC announcement next week will be that they've added multitouch to the Elf, a little WM phone that I've been ignoring because I thought it was sorta, well, boring and ugly (check out the gallery at Boy Genius) to see what I mean.

But Multitouch will make any device pretty. And multitouch on Windows Mobile 6 - my my, that's something that makes my heart go pitter patter.

This special Elf will have a multitouch display like the iphone. So you will be able to slide your finger across the screen to run commands and interact with the device in the same manner as Apple’s much hyped iphone

Read: Smartphone Thoughts - Daily news, views, rants and raves

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E-Ten Offers Free WM6 for Glofiish X500, M700

You'll need to, you know, actually own one of the above devices and register it in order to get the download. It's nice to see companies offering this update, especially for free. Sorta makes you wonder why HP is being so miserly about WM6. Seriously, WM6 is able to run on any device that's powerful enough to run WM5, I'd think that customer goodwill alone should be enough to convince any company to offer the upgrade. Kudos to E-TEN for offering it earlier than most.

E-TEN's WM6 download page, via Pocket PC Thoughts

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