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Microsoft Office Communicator gets upgrade

For you hard-core worker bees out there, Microsoft has updated Office Communicator Mobile 2007. The update comprises:

  • Joining conferences while on the go is much easier. No more dial-ins and entry codes. There's now one-button access to join.
  • Communicator won't log in to a roaming network, if you so choose, saving you money.
  • There is (er, will be) a plug-in for the Windows Mobile 6.5 home screen that shows your present status and number of current conversations.
  • Making calls is more streamlined. You can make a call with your work identity and dial extensions.

More at the Communicator Team blog, and you can get the Office Communicator Mobile 2007 R2 update at www.getcomo.com.

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We're prepping a piece on a couple of third-party Google Voice apps for Windows Mobile, but isn't it time Google puts out one of its own? And so we join with our smartphone brethren in calling for for one. Click the pic above to hit up Google's suggestion page, then suggest an official Windows Mobile app.

And while we're in a PSA/Rage Against the Machine sort of mood, check out David Pogue's "Take Back the Beep" campaign.

Because knowing is half the battle.

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Video: Touch Diamond 2 with WinMo 6.5

Here's 10 minutes from The Inquirer of Windows Mobile 6.5 running on the — ahem, Windows phone — known as the HTC Warhawk, aka the Touch Diamond 2. [via Engadget Mobile]

For the most part, it's nothing we haven't seen, despite the phone running what purportedly is the final build of Windows Mobile 6.5. But we do get a good (albeit brief) look at the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a nice run-through of Microsoft My Phone (which we've been enjoying for a while now).

Speaking of My Phone, the interview drops a line that My Phone will be a part of Live Mesh at some point, and that there may be a premium buy-in for more storage.

Microsoft Tag is included on the ROM, which makes sense if you're serious about pushing that standard. We also get a good look at Flash running on the latest version of Internet Explorer.

Peep the whole video after the break.

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T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 too much at $299?

When it comes to buying, well, anything these days, we have to count our pennies closer than we used to. And so it gives us great pause when TmoNews tells us that the pricing for the T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 — after the break with a two-year contract — will be $299.

Let's face it, that's a chunk of change. And while we're gladly going to shell out some cash when the time comes for the latest Windows phone, it's tough to argue against other $99 smartphones out there.

Let's hear from you guys. Vote below, and get your rant on in the comments.

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T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 manual available

Ya know, we were just getting used to not having the gratuitous daily T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 post. Our blood pressure returned to its normal (yet still alarming) rate. We were sleeping a good three, four hours a night. Able to feed and bathe ourselves.

No more. Here we go again.

The T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 manual is available for your perusal. (Warning: PDF link) TmoNews has done a good job with a quick run-through and spots a couple of nuggets: The MicroSD card is mounted on the side (yay), but you have to remove the battery cover to get to it (boo). There also appear to be some nice finger-friendly customizations on board.

We're now at T-minus 11 days and counting until the release of the Touch Pro 2 on T-Mobile. What's the over/under on the number of posts we'll have on it before then?

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One of the biggest question burning up the comments and the forums is "When can I get the Touch Pro 2?!?!?!?"

Aside from T-Mobile's announced Aug. 12 release, we're still left guessing when Verizon and Sprint will get theirs out the door. (And other than that leaked render, we haven't seen anything else from AT&T.) We're hearing rumors of a September launch for Sprint (rumors only, folks), and we're now seeing a little evidence that shows we shouldn't expect it before then.

PPCGeeks users Godzson and and Major Nate are shepherding a thread with the Sprint playbook, which most notably has a slew of rebate information. Absent from that playbook is any mention of the Touch Pro 2 (or any other new Windows phone, for that matter).

The playbook is dated July 12-Sept. 7, so it's not looking likely that we'll see anything new before then.

That said, Sprint (and the other carriers) could announce any phone they want at any given time. And if they decided to do so sooner rather than later, well, we'd be just fine with that.

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SMS security hole detailed

Yesterday we warned about a possible threat to basic Windows Mobile security. Turns out things are pretty serious across most GSM-type phones. ZDNet breaks it down:

An attacker could exploit the hole to make calls, steal data, send text messages, and do more or less anything a person can do on their iPhone, researchers Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner claimed at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

That's certainly not good. And it's not limited to just the iPhone.

Meanwhile, a bug in the code written by HTC that controls the user interface on Windows Mobile devices could also be exploited via the SMS messages to create a situation where there are no buttons to push, so the phone cannot be used, said Miller.

Yep, that's bad. The good news is that Miller and Mulliner say it would take a couple of weeks for someone to compile the code needed for such an attack, and they're working with carriers and manufacturers to patch the exploit.

So are we worried? Not too much. It sounds serious, certainly. But we're not going be pulling our batteries while we sleep. If it's that bad, the carriers and manufacturers will patch it.

We hope.

More at The iPhone Blog and Technologizer

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AT&T-capable Touch Diamond 2 at the FCC

That's right, folks, there's a an HTC TOPA210 (aka the Topaz, aka Warhawk, aka Touch Diamond 2) lurking round the Federal Communications Commission. And lo and behold, it's sporting the 850MHz and 1900MHz bands used in the U.S. by AT&T.

Now, that doesn't mean that AT&T will ever release the Touch Diamond 2. They didn't (and still don't) carry the original Touch Diamond. But it does mean that if you manage to find one of these phones either through importing or some deal with the devil, you'll be rocking 3G speeds here.

Now, AT&T, about the Touch Pro 2 ...

FCC [via Engadget Mobile]

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Vito Software Give-away Winners!

Congratulations to our Vito Software Give-away winners! The WMExperts.com members who share bragging rights are:

jfail Sandra Rosenzweig
Pony99CA badersk
ChristopherDean zim2323
mharms1 pelona
benjimen RBeaubien

Check your email for directions on how to claim your prize, a copy of Vito Technology's Communications Suite.

Vito Technology sponsored this give-away not only to show their appreciation towards Windows Mobile users but also to help us find out where you think Windows Mobile is headed.

And thanks to everyone who is contributing to the discussion over in the forums on Windows Mobile's future. I think the resounding tone of the discussion is that Windows Mobile is doing just fine and will be around for a good long time.

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We've discussed as far back as February that Microsoft was likely sending the "Windows Mobile" moniker the way of the dinosaur and instead going with "Windows Phone." Looks like they haven't forgot.

According to The Inquirer (.net, not the tabloid) [via Giz], the change indeed is coming with Windows Mobile 6.5 — er, the next release of Windows Mobile — er, the next release of Microsoft's operating system for mobile phones. And as much as we loathe the idea of trying to discuss various versions of an OS without the handy numeral suffixes (never mind that our little site here is called WMExperts), we'll (hardly) be the first to say that things are in need of a reboot. Badly.

Says The Inquirer:

The name change also "reflects the upcoming desktop operating system release where people away from their PC can have the same experience everywhere," says Microsoft.

The My Phone service certainly seems to have begun that transition to a more seamless desktop-mobile experience.

But what say you, dear reader?

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iHacker Charlie says WinMo at risk, too

So a well known Mac hacker earlier this month claimed to have found an SMS exploit that would let an attacker take over iPhones with a series a text messages. Details of the flaw will be released Thursday at the Blackhat security convention in Las Vegas.

And not content to panic just the cool kids' table, Windows Mobile is now thrown into the loop. [via neowin]

Miller also claims he has found a bug in Microsoft's Windows Mobile devices that that allows complete remote control of the device. Miller discovered the bug last Monday and it's currently un-patched by Microsoft. It's not clear whether Miller plans to unveil full details of the Windows Mobile bug tomorrow or limited details until Microsoft has been made aware.

So there you have it. We're at FUD Level Orange on this one. Certainly a serious security flaw on an iPhone could be patched relatively quickly, but patching a Windows Mobile device, well, it's not like there's some automagical button that'll suck down updates from the mothership. On the other hand, we're not going to panic before panic's due. Stay tuned.

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Billions and Billions and Billions of Apps

Juniper Research has released mobile application market projects that puts the number of mobile application downloads to approach 20 billion (that's with a B) per year by 2014.

Like it or not, Apples' App Store, which passed a billion downloads earlier this year, has led others to develop and research the mobile app store potential. Microsoft is slated to launch its Marketplace later this year and others have (Palm Pre, Nokia, Blackberry) or are developing (Verizon, Handmark) app stores.  Even with such an increase in the mobile app stores on the market, 20 billion per year may still be a tall order to fill.

The report can be purchased from Juniper (for a modest cost of 1750 pounds or $2,897 U.S. Dollars (cough, cough)).  While the details of the survey weren't available, one might assume Juniper is taking into consideration any phone that is capable of a mobile download in this survey. That would include Nokia, Blackberry, Palm, the iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android, proprietary OS, and others in this study.

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When we saw the first draft of technical guidelines for apps in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, we noticed the distinct lack of content guidelines. We never for a minute figured that it'd be an "anything goes" Marketplace, and sure enough Microsoft has released content guidelines [pdf link, via]. Here's the rundown:

  • Any content that is illegal under applicable local law, obscene, or indecent.
  • Any content that contemplates harm against a person or animal.
  • Any content that is defamatory, libelous, slanderous, or threatening.
  • No hate speech or discriminatory content. No threats.
  • Any content that facilitates or promotes, whether directly or indirectly, the illegal (under applicable local law) or excessive sale or use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs, or weapons is not allowed on any section/site, regardless of targeting.
  • Any content with prolonged and/or excessive use of firearms or weapons or other content that facilitates the use of firearms or weapons
  • No sex and nudity.
  • Violence is out.
  • So's excessive profanity.

That's it in a nutshell. What we like to call the Apple Paradox presumably is still in effect: Ban all the dirty stuff, you want, but users can indulge in as many deadly sins as they want via the Web browser.

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Microsoft, Yahoo finally reach search deal

So after months and months of wheelin' and dealin', Microsoft and Yahoo have finally come to terms on a partnership that will take them both closer to Google in terms of market share. As CEO Steve Ballmer puts it, "a stronger No. 2." (Ahem.)

In a nutshell: If you go to the Yahoo search page, you'll see the Yahoo search page. But Microsoft's Bing will be doing the heavy lifting. Same goes at all Yahoo owned and operated sites. Data sharing between the two companies will be "the minimum necessary to operate and improve the combined search platform." And 88 percent of the search revenue on Yahoo-branded sites stays with Yahoo for the first 5 years of the 10-year agreement. Bottom line is Yahoo's anticipating somewhere in the neighborhood of $275 million a year once things are approved and up and running.

At this point, it's tough to say what, if anything, this may mean for Windows Mobile, other than changing up search options. But you can read the entire press release here. After the break, the key terms of the deal as put forth by Microsoft, and video from Ballmer and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz (both of whom will be on a conference call later today). And for the truly hard-core, the two companies have set up a joint Web site here.

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Last week we reported that it was likely that crazy-like-a-fox Carl Icahn was setting his sights on forcing Yahoo to accept a merger offer from Microsoft -- never mind that said offer had been taken off the table and definitely never mind that Microsoft had been making googly-eyes (pun intended) at AOL. So that happened: Icahn has his seats on the board and is pushing for a deal.

Pushing around Microsoft ain't like pushing around Motorola, though. For one thing, unlike Motorola, their executives use email. Witness this one from platforms and services president Kevin Johnson, who write essentially puts the kaibosh on the idea that they're in talks now -- but he doesn't rule them out in the future. It will have to wait until after Wednesday's “big announcement,” purported to relate to Live Search getting better (yet again). (Hey -- at least he admitted the branding sucks.)

The amount of noise Microsoft has been making lately regarding online services is reaching jet-engine-proportions, more on that in a future post.

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T-Mobile announces Touch Pro 2 for Aug. 12

As we might have previously mentioned, oh, five or six times, the HTC Touch Pro 2 is destined for T-Mobile, and now it's official. Come Aug. 12 (again, we might have mentioned that before), T-Mo customers can pick up the "mocha finish" for an as yet unannounced sum.

Specs are in line with what we've previously reported, including WiFi b/g, a 3.2MP camera, Windows Mobile 6.1, GPS, AWS 3G, and so on and so forth. From the picture, you'll notice that there's no 3.5mm headset jack. Sorry, folks. On the other hand, you'll probably be the first kid on your block with the TP2, if that's any consolation.

Full presser and a couple more official pics fter the break.

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HTC Leo = HTC Thoth = HTC Athena 2, Got It?

So all these rumors abuzz about the HTC Leo specs and a "clamshell phone" are a bit on the money and a bit off.

First, while technically a phone, it's more a long the lines of a Mobile Internet Device (MID) then smartphone.

Second, it's not replacing HTC Universal but rather the HTC Athena, which garnered a lot of attention but seemed more experimental than anything.

In short, the HTC Leo is the very same  HTC Thoth that was mentioned in the leaked HTC 2009 Roadmap. Making sense yet?

So what are the specs? What we know so far is

  • Manilla 2.5
  • WVGA/16:9 Screen/4.3"
  • Snapdragon/1GHz
  • 8MP Camera--NEW (up from 5MP?)
  • WM6.5
  • 320mb/512mb RAM/ROM

Look for it by the end of the year and judging by the numerous ROMs floating around, don't be surprised if a few carriers pick it up this time.

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