This would be big, really big. We've been reporting on Sprint's woes for quite awhile now and apparently we're not the only ones who've noticed that Sprint has fallen on hard times of late. The parent company of both T-Mobile USA and T-Mobile Europe, Deutche Telekom, is reportedly looking into purchasing Sprint. They'd merge T-Mobile and Sprint with an eye toward competing with the two big guns in the US market, AT&T and Verizon.
Things are still at a very early stage, of course -- supposedly Deutsche Telekom is basically just “thinking about it” right now. The mess: Sprint has CDMA, iDEN, and is planning on WiMAX. T-Mobile is EDGE and just now rolling out 3G services. That's a whole lotta different radios to manage, it doesn't sound like much fun.
In other news, we reported earlier that T-Mobile has lit up New York city with 3G and is rolling it out in other areas as well. We also heard that they were just doing 3G for voice and not for data. Turns out that's only partially true -- T-Mo is rolling out 3G for data, just much more slowly and they basically can't guarantee whether faster data will work for you or not yet. It's catch as catch can. Also contrary to reports: they will do full HSDPA and not just UMTS. Phew.
Have you caught it yet?
What many thought to be the biggest deal between two heavyweights, Microsoft and Yahoo, is offiically over.
Long story short, talks broke down as Yahoo refused to budge from their $37 per share requirement (MS would "only" go as high as $33). Clearly something changed with Microsoft as TechCrunch put it:
Microsoft is making it clear that this is not just a breakdown in discussions between the companies. They are withdrawing their earlier bid and are saying they will not go hostile. They
Happy Monday, everybody. We have Sprint's planned release date (and some other juicy new details), courtesy of Malatesta. We're confident that the date is correct -- although, as release dates tend to do, the date could possible change. Still and all, we're going to alter our Treo 800w Rumortastic Giveaway at 4pm EST today. What we're going to do is declare that after 4pm EST today, nobody can guess the particular day we have in mind. Other days will still be open for guesses if you doubt a) our source or b) Sprint's ability to deliver.
Here's what we're giving away:
- A Treo 800w after it is officially released. If they end up calling it something else, well, let's just say we're giving away the next Windows Mobile device Palm releases for the Sprint Network. Got it?
- An 8 gig microSD Card. Yeah, the WMExperts Store has 8 gig cards now.
- Any 2 software titles from HobbesIsReal's excellent “Must-Have Windows Mobile Software” article. Sure, Palm will include some “secret recipe” stuff on the 800w, but you can always make Windows Mobile a little better. We believe in the software in Hobbes' article, you should too.
Head on over to the thread and post your guess, make sure it's at least 2 weeks out!
Stalkees rejoice! It turns out we actually can block text messages with AT&T now. As in: "Oh, I'm sorry boss, I didn't get your SMS over the weekend. See, it's not on my phone. How weird. Snicker." While it's always been possible to block phone calls, blocking text messages has always been, well, impossible. Perhaps not impossible, but certainly there was no decent way to do it.
Now, if you have AT&T, you can simply log in, register, and within minutes start blocking and adjusting.
Cool new features include:
- Block text messages sent as email (from email accounts)
- Block all multimedia messages sent as email
- Block all messages sent from mobile numbers
- Block messages sent from specific email accounts or domains
- Allow all messages sent from specific email accounts or domains
Now we have a little more control over what comes beeping in at 3am in the morning. I think a sprinkle of AT&T's SMS block and a pinch of Extreme Text could be the perfect mobile recipe.
While we've perhaps been a bit unfair to the Samsung SCH-i760 here at WMExperts, we do have to admit that it's a perfectly valid choice for Verizon customers who dislike the XV6800 for some unfathomable reason. Looks like the i760 is about to get an upgrade, as these FCC documents show.
The Samsung SCH-i770, if the battery cover at right is any indication, will be identical to the SCH-i760 in shape and functionality. Well, nearly identical. The i770 will add a SIM card slot making this device a true world phone.
We're expecting that GSM radio to be Edge-only (850/1900MHz), although on the bright side we're thinking Windows Mobile 6.1 isn't out of the realm of possibility.
No, not the Voice Command Application built into most Windows Mobile phones, but the Voice Command service wherein you call into Sprint's servers and they interpret your voice and connect your call. It was a for-pay service that was useful for some of the Sprint-based phones that lacked on-board voice recognition.
In any case, PhomeMag tells us that it's going the way of the Dodo on July 1st, so if you're using the service, be sure that you've got your contacts downloaded fully and start looking for another option - we recommend WM's Voice Command ourselves, though it's not nearly as fun and cool as Nuance Voice Control
Amongst the many sagas we keep track of here at WMExperts, few are as contentious and difficult to follow as the HTC Video Driver issue. It's been awhile since we covered this, so before we get to the latest piece of news in the now-month-long delay in a promised software fix, we feel like we ought to present the history of this torrid affair.
Read on for the skinny!
Several HTC devices (most notable the AT&T Tilt / TYTN II) have a significant delay in both rotating the screen and in video playback. Some hardy investigators determined that the Qualcomm chip inside these devices has on-board hardware acceleration for video, but the devices did not have the necessary drivers to take advantage of it. HTC's initial response was, many thought,
Over the weekend, Malatesta gave unto us the full specs of the HTC Touch Diamond. The leaks for the Diamond and Raphael (aka the HTC Touch Pro) put us into a frenzy and in that frenzy we guessed that HTC's May 6th “mystery event” in London would be about releasing “something beautiful” -- and the Diamond definitely fits that description.
[HTC] expects revenues this year to grow more than 20 percent year-on-year, helped by sales of its new “Touch” phone next month. [...] “This is the most important product for HTC this year,” Cheng said. “With this phone, we’re confident of landing orders from most major operators.” But Cheng also warned of possible delays in shipments, as HTC has yet to obtain certification for the new handset model.
So there ya go - we're getting a big old announcement on May 6th but we might not actually get a chance to see these devices for quite awhile.
As noted a couple of days ago, the Alltel Touch got a new ROM update that added EvDO Rev. A, fixed some BT issues and added video messaging.
But no aGPS.
Interested in taking the plunge to void your warranty and beat everyone to the punch? Then follow the links for the threads and be careful:
Java ME: So difficult to install and use on Windows Mobile it's insane. You can try to follow the instructions here if you're bold (or crazy). Really, though, why would you bother?
Flash Lite: Soon to be built-into Windows Mobile 6.1. Not all that powerful... which is annoying, really. Sure you get some video but you also get the “opportunity” to view other flash content on the web, ...like ads with monkeys that you're supposed to hit with a mallet.
Sony Ericsson has decided that these are two horrendous tastes that would taste great together:
On Wednesday, Sony Ericsson plans to announce new technology that lets developers combine Adobe's Flash Lite and Java ME into a single Java application. The combination of the two technologies allows developers to get past shortcomings in each technology, said Ulf Wretling, director of Sony Ericsson Developer World. - PCWorld [via]
Please, SE, keep this abomination off our precious Xperia X1. This plan of yours can only end in tragedy.
Update: You know those bits below that talk about how this is finally a bit of good news for T-Mobile customers? Yeah, strike that. Turns out that the 3G is only for voice communication, not data. So not while we've been waiting for 3G-enabled phones on T-Mo, now we find that even as they arrive they might not be all they're cracked up to be at first. Bummer, T-Mo.
Take the set of T-Mobile users, join it with the set of Windows Mobile lovers, and you get a pretty unhappy lot. With the exception of the excellent Shadow (and the upcoming Shadow II), there's not a lot of good news for this group of people who love powerful phones and customer service that doesn't make you want to stab your eye out with a stylus. So we offer unto this group two potential pieces of good news:
Well this little gem slipped through the cracks around these parts (and others). Evidently, Sprint and IBM have teamed up to implement IBM's Lotus Expeditor.
The fun part? It's only Sprint's WM6 smartphones that are part of the IBM/Sprint agreement (currently), meaning those lucky users will get first shot.
How is all of this integrated you may ask? Well, who knew that Sprint had a next-gen Java platform that was in beta testing and getting ready to roll out. Called "Titan" the platform
...can run generically written rich GUI applications that can run across a broad range of devices and desktop computers. The platform also includes APIs to give you access to Sprint specific phone features.
Hey, we're all about better integrated Java on Windows Mobile instead of the emulator-feel of the current platform. What's cool of course is the combo with IBM will allow developers "...to create collaborative, desktop-style applications for client and mobile devices" and since we all know IBM Lotus Notes email and Lotus Sametime are fairly popular amongst the business crowd, perhaps it won't be long till those are bundled on future Sprint Windows Mobile devices.
Ugh. HTC may offiically be jumping the shark with their "Touch" labeling of everything. Lets take this slowly.
First, we have the HTC Touch Find, which is just a re-branding and slight improvement in roundness of the HTC Touch Cruise. This device, according to Engadget Mobile should hit European carriers (Movistar and probably others) soon.
Next, others have are trying to puzzle out the difference between the HTC Touch Pro, which is expected to be announced this Tuesday and the T-Mobile MDA-Compact IV, which had a brief photo shoot at CeBIT 2008 (via Phone Magazine).
If you recall the HTC Spy Shot, you can see two devices on the lower right -- one appears to be the Touch Pro and one appears to be the MDA Compact IV. Below, the MDA on the left and the spy shot on the right:
Do you see what deuxani sees [via]? We do: we see what seem to be some brand new HTC smartphones. There on the lower right two spots and again on the lower left - those sure don't look familiar to our eyes. Engadget Mobile suggests one of them is a T-Mobile MDA Compact IV (i.e. European-only, like the previous MDA compacts), the rest looks like new stuff to us. The sort of new stuff that HTC might unveil at a special event in London on May 6th.
Thankfully, these all appear to be Windows Mobile (note the dialer on that lower-left slider). It won't be long, though, before we're seeing spy shots of HTC hardware sporting Android. That'll be tough, won't it? Meanwhile, we'll be staring at this spy shot long and hard, looking for evidence that we're finally going to see some higher screen resolutions for Windows Mobile come out of HTC's Magic Labs.
Ok, so the headline is a pitch-perfect example of why we're not writing ad copy. The gist, though, is that HTC is preparing to really start this effort to increase their brand awareness that they've been chatting it up for some time now (their December financial report was just the most recent instance of such chatting). We're also just starting to see HTC get carriers to admit that its HTC that makes stuff like the Shadow, the Tilt, the MDA, the Mogul, and so on -- we're all for these being clearly known as HTC devices. In fact, we think it's better for the carriers to associate themselves with the HTC brand than it is to pretend that the “Verizon XV6800” came out of Verizon's labs. You guys have that network thing down, stick with that.
Anyhow, back to HTC. The next step is to up and get some commercials on the air. And of course, on YouTube, as you can see in the (slightly creepy?) video above. Expect to see more from HTC in the coming weeks and months. More, that is, in addition to the mystery event on May 6th, the just-leaked images, and the fact that there's a better than 50% chance that the phone on your belt is already an HTC product. Oh, and then there's this from HTC's YouTube page:
It's going to be a light posting day here at WMExperts. We're attending Sofcon in California today -- an academic conference dedicated to talking about the future of mobility, to wit:
What do consumers want? How can providers deliver it? What obstacles must be cleared? What partnerships make sense? What grand challenges need to be solved? How can Silicon Valley help close the gap with the rest of the world? Where should investors, creators, and customers of the mobile industry place their bets?
Should be a good time for a recovering academic like yours-truly, however I wouldn't expect any big news, Windows Mobile-wise.
The point of this post, though, is to let you know that we've switched the WMExperts RSS feed to full posts, including the “read more” bits. We'll make a trade-off in the near future by adding some ads for the WMExperts Store, but since a full third of our readership seems to be coming in via RSS, it was the right thing to do.
In other site news (and speaking of yours-truly), I'll be a guest on the 100th episode of The Cell Phone Junkie. It's truly a big accomplishment for Mickey and Joey and they deserve congratulations for hitting 100 shows. Here at WMExperts we're only 1/10th of the way there with our podcast. If you're not already a listener, you should be. Check it out.
New to us: Phonemag brings us a link to a review of the MWg Zinc II at TrustedReviews. It's a quad-band GSM WM6.1 Pro device, with a sliding keyboard and a wicked-fast 500MHz Processor. Since a small player like MWg isn't likely to get carrier pick up in the US here, the story here is actually that Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro is pretty quick and nice. We (and Microsoft too) have devoted most of our attention to the improvements to WM Standard Edition, but there are a couple of benefits to the Touchscreen side too.
The features for Pro that might get the most attention are Threaded SMS messaging, a new Task Manager, and the slightly improved Pocket IE. Still, it's good to know that WM6.1 adds “teh snappy” too. ...or at least it does on a 500MHz processor.
How do you improve upon a grainy, leaked spy shot of upcoming HTC Devices? Why, with a grainy, leaked spy shot of a document detailing the specs of said devices! Just such a document made its way to Engadget Mobile, who also kindly provides a gallery. Here's what we've got coming down the pike from HTC:
- Diamond. This replaces the Touch and looks to be available on Sprint. It's new, squarish look is pretty nice and it continues the trend of eschewing physical buttons for on-screen interaction. Expect WiFi, Bluetooth, EVDO (Rev A?), and a 3mp camera. More details -- we lack them. Expected in November.
- Raphael. This looks like a great device, replacing the Mogul on Sprint again. WiFi, GPS, EVDO, 3mp camera. It's also nice to see that HTC has found a design look they like and are going to keep it across multiple devices. Expected in September.
Perhaps the best news about both devices, though, is that they're going to sport VGA displays! These certainly qualify for HTC's claim that
We've been feeling, well, empty here at WMExperts lately and at a bit of a loss as to explain why. Could it be that there's a dearth of gadget rumors? No - HTC has some fancy stuff coming out and our sister site TreoCentral reported (before anybody else, btw) that the 800w has entered some sort of public/private Beta test. Could it be that we haven't been able to play around with new gadgets lately? No - a quick perusal of our Reviews Archive definitely shows that the flow of useful toys and accessories has been steady. What is it, then?
Oh yeah, it's been several weeks since we reported on what is increasingly looking like the death spiral of Motorola. Silly us. Read on for the latest in Moto-Woe-la (get it?): Two bits on that pesky Carl Icahn, Motorola's latest financial results, and peek at their upcoming device roadmap. Like a car crash, we know you won't be able to look away.
Alright, the Alltel Touch (see our Hands-On here) is officially the best of the Touch devices available today. More memory and power than the GSM version (though it does lack WiFi), smaller than the just-introduced-to-the-US Touch Dual, less likely to force you to use crapware than the Sprint Touch, and has a 4th side to the TouchFLO Cube, unlike the Verizon Touch.
Oh, here's one more reason: Alltel has already managed to crank out a ROM Update for the little guy. The update adds some sweetness:
- Adds EVDO Rev. A capability for faster download and upload speeds
- Improves Bluetooth performance, fixing connectivity issues with some headsets and other devices.
- Adds ability to receive video messages.
New kid on the block tmonews [via] has the scoop: the T-Mobile Shadow II in the black, glossy flesh. We had heard from a little bird at CES that the next version of the Shadow would support Hotspot@Home, which lets you use your WiFi connection for calls and seamlessly transfers them to the cell network. That little bird appears to have been correct. What else do we see: it may or may not be Windows Mobile 6.1, but regardless it sports the Shadow's classic 6.1-esque sliding home screen.
What else do we know? Not much, except we'll admit that we think the original Shadow looks a whole lot better and a whole lot less finger-print-prone.