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AddressBookOne launched

If you're looking for a solution to pull your contacts from various sources under one roof to manage, AddressBookOne might do the trick.

AddressBookOne went live this afternoon and offers members the ability to pull contacts from various sources (connectors) including Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Exchange, and Plaxo. There are efforts being made to add Twitter, Yahoo and Windows Live to the list.  AddressBookOne creates a single point of management with the ability to merge multiple instances of the same contact. 

You have two levels of membership, Free and Premium. Free membership allows you to connected to up to three contact sources and manage/merge your contacts. Premium membership runs your 19.95 British Pounds (about $30 U.S.) annually and gives you an unrestricted number of connectors plus direct synchronization with your Windows Phone.

We're going to take AddressBookOne out for a test drive over the next few days and will get a review up shortly.  In the meantime, for more information about this new service, head on over to AddressBookOne.com.

 

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Sprint, Windows Phone 7 & SERO Premium

Awhile back, we noted that SERO (Sprint Employee Referral Offer) on Sprint was dead and was replaced instead with 'Everything Plus'.

Both plans were attractive for their low price points (SERO was $29.99 a month for 500 anytime minutes, unlimited data/text; 'Everything Plus' was higher at $59.99) but a new twist was instantiated by Sprint: no 'high end' smartphone were allowed on old SERO plans (EP plans are okay). These devices included Palm Pre, Pixi and all Android devices. In fact, the only exempted smartphones were Windows Mobile devices and old Palm Garnet phones e.g. Centro.

It was safe to assume though that when Windows Phone 7 comes out on Sprint, it too would be restricted on SERO, meaning current customers would have to migrate to higher plans, in most cases literally doubling their monthly bill.

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Sprint SERO Plans Not Changing 7/10: Part XXI

Ugh.

So if you have been following our long and convoluted posts from the last 2 days about Sprint, you may know that Sprint is is not increasing data plans nor re-categorizing smartphones/pda into more expensive plans. This was despite some hysteria earlier that suggested this would be the case on July 13th.

However, the plot thickens but only for SERO plans (all regular subscribers can go back to CuteOverload)

Basically, on July 10th Sprint is reportedly soft-launching their new SERO system renamed "Everything Plus", followed by a hard-launch (new website) on July 13th.

What are the changes?

  • Everything Plus 500 is going to be $59.99
  • Everything Plus 1000 is going to be $79.99
  • Simply Everything for $99.99 will still be an option

It's like the old SERO plans except you get GPS Navigation included and charged more. Much more. Signing up may also be more strict i.e. you might actually have to know a Sprint employee. The gall!

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If you've been following our ongoing coverage of the Sprint SERO program, you'll know that it was ended a few weeks ago and replaced with "Everything Plus".

While not as cheap as the old plan, "Everything Plus" is no slouch either, offering 500 anytime minutes plus unlimited...everything (Text, Internet, PictureMail, Nights & Weekends, Sprint Navigation) for $59 a month.

The problem is that up till now you needed a Sprint employee's email address and their last 3 digits of their employee number. A significant challenge without actually knowing someone at Sprint!

Problem solved! Sprint has always had a wink-nod approach to these special referral programs and this one is no different as Vice president of strategy for Sprint, Russ McGuire has posted all the info you need ;-)

So you or someone thinking of signing up with Sprint, maybe picking up a new Treo 800w or that $99 Touch (c'mon, there's like at least 5 of you) then you'll definitely want to do the above.

(Of course as we write this, the site is down. Figures.)

via GearDiary

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Hope you were smart and heeded our story last week, as we stated Sprint's much appreciated super-duper-secret awesome pricing plan has come to an abrupt end today.

Those going to the Sprint SERO (www.sprint.com/sero) site are now redirected to their Everything Plus system, which is still an exclusive employee referral program but somewhat less crazy-cheap..

The catch now is you need to actually have their email and last 3 digits of their employee ID--much harder than the old generic email system of yore, eh?

The benefit for new users? The plans are still very competitive:

  • Everything Plus 500 is going to be $59.99
  • Everything Plus 1000 is going to be $79.99
  • Simply Everything for $99.99 will still be an option

The older plans started at $30 and $50, so the increase is significant but at least you now get unlimited Sprint TeleNav and some Sprint TV offerings (pretty pointless on WM devices we suppose).

As previously noted, older SERO customers are 'grandfathered' in so you're all set. You should also be able to order new phones and get the discounts without having to change plans.

Sweet.

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Breaking down smartphone OS usage

 

The marketing research company Comscore has released the numbers from a July 2010 survey that breaks down smartphone OS usage in the U.S. and European markets.  The numbers have Windows Mobile holding it's own and in some cases, well ahead of Android, iPhone and Blackberry devices.

Nokia still dominates the European market representing more than half of the smartphones in use. However, Nokia share of the European market has slid 14.4% since last year likely due to the increase shares of Android and iPhone.

Windows Phones did the best in Spain and Italy, taking second place behind Nokia with 11.9% and 11.4% of those markets respectively.  The worst came with the U.K. market with Windows Phones coming in last at 7.1%.

Comparatively, in the U.S., Blackberry remains on top with 39.3% of the market with Windows Mobile coming in behind the iPhone (23.8%) and Android (17%) at 11.8% of the market.

It will be interesting to see how Windows Phone 7 will impact this survey when it is conducted next year. Will Microsoft see market gains with the new Windows Phones? Shortening the gaps between competing Operating Systems or increasing the lead?

via: wmpoweruser.com

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Opera Mini 5.1 released for Windows Mobile

While the rest of the world is focused on Windows Phone 7, our pals in Norway haven't forgotten about Windows Mobile.

Today, Opera released an updated version of Opera Mini, bringing the version up to 5.1 and adding some new features including:

  • The ability to set Opera Mini as the default browser
  • Support for devices with high-resolution (high DPI)
  • Improved page layout and font rendering
  • Support for auto-rotation/accelerometer support
  • Advanced configuration support for power users

While its big brother, Opera Mobile, gets a lot of attention, Opera Mini has gone a long way since its days of needing a separate Java client, making the differences between the two less obvious. Having said that, we've always liked Mini a bit more than Mobile just for its sheer speed. And no, Opera has not said anything about Windows Phone 7 support, though we know native browsers are a no-go for at least v1.0 of the new OS.

Anyways, you should be able to grab version 5.1 today by navigating to m.opera.com on your phone. Check out some of the screen shots below and the full press release after the break. Sound off in comments on your thoughts after you tried it!

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File this under: unconfirmed rumor but very plausible

We just got word of some limitations for the Windows Phone 7 platform for so-called non-EFIGS countries, an abbreviation for non-English, French, Italian, German and Spanish language markets, which are also the initial launch languages for WP7.

Reportedly, these limitations are the following:

  • Marketplace functionality will be limited
  • No Xbox Live service
  • No Zune support
  • Only web and e-mail content could be displayed on native language without localized phone menus
  • Just default keyboards for starters, no local characters
  • No copy/paste -- global limitation

Some of this isn't too surprising as this comes down to infrastructure support and roll-out i.e. currently there is no Zune support outside of the U.S. due to Microsoft not investing in localized servers/structure. We know of course that there will be Zune and Xbox LIVE services for non-U.S. countries at the Windows Phone 7 launch, namely those EFIGS countries--this is something Microsoft has been doing behind the scenes for months in preparation for WP7.

But, due to the sheer size, cost and logistics, it makes sense that Microsoft won't have that same level of functionality for non-EFIGS countries, at least not initially. There is no reason to believe that Microsoft won't eventually offer the same level of service offerings as EFIGS counties, as it is in their financial interest to do so, but unfortunately, those countries may have to wait a bit longer.

[Thanks, msav, for the tip]

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Weatherbug demoed on Windows Phone 7

 

We knew Weatherbug was being developed for Windows Phone 7 and now a video demo of the popular weather app has surfaced.

The WP7 app will give you the option of having a live tile for Weatherbug on your home page that will display current conditions of any of your city locations.  The live tile is updated with push notifications that includes alerts/badges for serious weather events. Tap the tile and you launch the full application.

The Windows Phone 7 Weatherbug app utilizes BING maps with layers to show animated weather patterns. Weatherbug also lets you tap into local weather cams. All in all, Weatherbug for Windows Phone 7 looks really good.

via: mobilitydigest

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Peeps are back up

 

Seriously, Twitter's back in action with Windows Phones.

Earlier this month Peeps went down due to an authentication protocol conflict and while we thought things were fixed last week (apparently for systems other than Windows Phones), it actually working now.

Now that order has been restored, we can sit back this weekend and tweet until our hearts are content. 

Really... we can.

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Windows Phone 7 on parade...literally

 

And to have a little fun, looks like the Windows Phone OS team had themselves a little parade to celebrate that whole "RTM" milestone last week, to which we also give a salute.

While it's too early to tell if Microsoft will regain market share, we think that Windows Phone 7 certainly goes the distance in amping up the competition. For a such a turnaround in 20 months, Microsoft seems to have their mojo back and we're pretty psyched.

(Oh and yes, the joke is that these photos were taken with a Sprint HTC EVO)

Check out the rest of the gallery over at Flickr for some cheesy fun.

[Thanks, Tim!]

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15 minutes with Windows Phone 7

The U.K. based Clove Blog got their hands on the final build of Windows Phone 7. This is the RTM build that was unleashed on the device manufacturers and carriers a few weeks ago.

The author admits being skeptical about Windows Phone 7, having jumped shipped from Windows Mobile to Android. But after 15 minutes of tinkering with the new OS, he left with a more positive frame of mind and reported "that Microsoft might just have done enough to stop being walked on completely by the competition."

A few more observations during the fifteen minutes with Windows Phone 7 included:

With regards to the speed of Windows Phone 7,  "It is fast, I mean really fast. There was no lag, screen and icon transitions were smooth and as good as if not better than any competing OS."

The keyboard may have left the biggest impression with Clove.  They found that the on screen keyboard worked hassle free in both landscape and portrait mode adding, "Windows Mobile on screen keyboard has traditionally been shocking and the OS now accommodates the capacitive touch screen which allows the fat finger and thumb prodding of the QWERTY keypad." 

via: wmpoweruser.com

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WP7 Rumor: HD3 gets a release date for T-Mobile

 

While there is still some speculation that HTC will unveil the HD3 next week in London, another rumor has surfaced showing the HD3 (known to some as the Shubert) is heading to T-Mobile on November 17th.

We've heard rumors and seen signs that the Shubert is headed to T-Mobile and it's nice to see a release date being projected. Now we just need to figure out if the Shubert, the HD3 and the HD7 are one in the same.

via: tmonews.com

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Asus Windows Phone 7 also heading to AT&T?

 

Looks like that secret Asus device featuring Windows Phone 7 that appeared awhile ago is rearing its brushed-metal slabbiness again. Moreover, at around 6:40 in the video (featured after the break) you can clearly see an AT&T logo under the Marketplace.

Assuming this is accurate, AT&T will evidently have a whopping five phones with Microsoft's new OS, living up to their WP7 'premier carrier' title. (And we haven't even heard from Dell yet.)

The video was recorded at Gnomedex 10 and features Larry Lieberman (LinkedIn profile), project manager for the application platform of Windows Phone 7, who proceeds to take us through the usual WP7 tour of features.

In that sense, not too much is revealed. The usual "by Christmas time" release date is mentioned as well as the infamous "reboot" of the whole mobile OS program when Microsoft switched from 'Photon' and the old model to 'Metro' and the Zune paradigm. What's impressive about that is Microsoft has done all we have see so far in just 20 months, which isn't too shabby for the lumbering giant, especially when compared to the "evolution" of Windows Mobile.

Check out the video after the break!

[Thanks, Brian H., for the tip!]

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Samsung GT-i8700 pics surface

Courtesy of Gizmodo, we give you the Samsung GT-i8700 Windows Phone 7. Samsung dropped the chrome trim we've seen on the developer's unit which gives is a cleaner, sleaker look. Beyond what little information is displayed on the screen shot, we don't know much about the specs of the GT-i8700.

The matte black backside adds to the clean look and the curved backing likely takes away any boxy feel the phone might have.  But I'm wondering what the two notches are in the upper left corner? Microphone? A place to attach a carry strap?

Another observation is that the GT-i8700 looks a lot like the Samsung prototype we ran across last month. If the GT-i8700 and the prototype are one in the same, how the heck does the Cetus SGH-i917 fit into the picture?

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Verizon Omnia II software upgrade available

Verizon has released a software upgrade for the Samsung Omnia II (SCH-i920). The upgrade contains a handful of enhancements including Windows Mobile AKU Update to 5.0.93, Qualcomm updates, Widgetplus updates, and Facebook app updates.

You can find the Upgrade Too here with step by step instructions. Remember, upgrading your Omnia II will erase any data you have on your Windows Phone. It is important to backup your data before upgrading.

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Sprint Samsung Intrepid hands-on

Here was the big surprise today! The Sprint Samsung Intrepid is basically the Jack but for CDMA.

The keyboard was pretty good on it, though there is no space between the keys, so it is a bit cramped. The screen is a bit odd at that resolution, but it seems to work. The Start menu has four rows, allowing it a lot to fit on the screen.

The device was speedy to use and seemed like a nice middle of the road front-facing QWERTY device. Will it beat out a Treo Pro? Tough call, but I do like the minimalist look of the Treo Pro better. Still, this seems like a compelling device and Samsung has been quite successful with this line so far.

This particular Windows phone will be available Oct. 11 on Sprint.

More pics after the jump!

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Hands On: LG GM750

One of the devices on show at Microsoft's Open House was the LG GM750, which is going to get some special attention here because of what LG has done to Windows Mobile 6.5: it's unrecognizable.

To refresh, the LG GM750 is due on Vodafone in a short time and has the following specs:

  • BT 2.1
  • WiFi
  • 3-inch 240x400 display
  • 1000 mAh battery
  • 5 MP camera
  • GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100)
  • Optical joystick

We all know HTC likes to re-skin the OS with its TouchFlo/Sense UI systems, but LG, in one of its first Windows Mobile devices, has gone way, way beyond what even HTC has done so far. From playing with the phone for some time, it seems that LG has re-skinned roughly 95 percent of the OS — in fact the only thing that I recognized as being Windows Mobile was the Start bar, Mobile Internet Explorer and Start menu, everything else felt like a different OS altogether. E-mail, SMS, settings, menus, contacts, dial pad all felt like they were part of some proprietary operating system, like a "feature phone" on steroids.

A very strange experience, but not bad either. The soft keyboard seemed okay and the 5-megapixel camera was actually quite fast with very good results. Plus the vibrate/tactile feedback just plain works well here.

I wont comment if it is necessarily better than TouchFLO (we'll leave that to you), but considering the devices is running on the MSM-7200a chipset, it actually handled quite well — it was fast, responded well to touch and their layout grew on me after awhile. What was really weird though is how there is no Windows key on the device. In fact, the only keys are those Home/End keys, with the traditional softkeys as touch-only. 

We have to give credit though: LG has brought its game face to the table, doing some quite impressive re-workings of the OS. And considering they're the new guy in town, this is quite remarkable.

Many more pics after the break!

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Hands on + Video: Toshiba TG01

The good: Wow. What a device. If there was one phone that blew me away it would be the massive TG01.  The combination of a huge 4.1-inch screen and 1GHz Snapdragon was an experience to witness.

When Windows Mobile 6.5 hits 1GHz it becomes something different.  It is so fluid, fast and quick to the touch it changes the game.  And that screen was just this big, bold, beautiful source of visual goodness--I was like a moth staring at the spotlight.

It was a little strange surrendering all hardware buttons--even the Phone/Send and End keys are part of the screen, but all in all it works just because it is so huge.  Now I see why HTC made the HD2, they must have played with TG01. Man if this phone had a capacitive screen, it would be the Zune phone that everyone wants.

The bad: Well for one, there is no promise of this thing coming to the States, so this may have been my only chance.  Number two, the soft keyboard was awful.  Perhaps the screen sensitivity could be tweaked or there are other versions to be made, but I literally missed every other letter when typing.  Maybe they can license HTC's fantastic soft keyboard.  Finally, there is no 3.5mm headset jack.

Availability: Now, import only. Price varies.

Want to see this beast in action? Take a look after the break! Trust me, it's worth it.

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Hands On: AT&T Tilt 2, Pure and Verizon Imagio

To wrap up the Microsoft NYC Open House this week, we got to play with some of the latest and greatest Windows phones featuring Windows Mobile 6.5.  It was all the usual suspects if you will: AT&T Touch Pro 2 (aka Tilt 2), Pure; Verizon Imagio. (Toshiba TG01, Sprint Intrepid & the LG GM750 were covered elsewhere).

All in all we came away very impressed. All the manufacturers present have really stepped up their game and we think customers win out in the end with this years crop of WM6.5 phones.

Read on for some great photos and our thoughts on these three devices.

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Full list of Windows Mobile 6.5 phones

Today's launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 truly is a global event, with dozens of phones either already available or being unveiled. At home, we have the following [via Microsoft]:

And after the break, a list of everything released worldwide.

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Sprint announces the Samsung Intrepid

Sprint this morning announced the addition of the Samsung Intrepid to its Windows Mobile lineup as a follow-up to the Ace. Here's what's we know thus far:

  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional.
  • 2.5-inch touchscreen at 320x240.
  • WiFi b/g.
  • 3.2MP camera.
  • World Phone.
  • Microsoft's Tell Me service is on board!

Other rumored specs were a 528MHz Qualcomm processor, with 512MB ROM/256MB RAM.

The Intrepid will be available Oct. 11 for $149.99 after contract and rebate.

Full presser after the break.

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Where did the Tilt2 go?

The AT&T Tilt2 has vanished from AT&T's inventory. At least online that is.

Checking both the main AT&T Wireless website and the Premiere Customer site (business accounts) the Tilt2 is no where in sight. We've seen the Tilt2 marked as "out of stock" and offered as refurbished but never completely taken off the inventory listing.

The only three remaining Windows Phones listed with AT&T are the Samsung Jack (currently out of stock), the Samsung Propel and HP Glisten.

Granted this could be a regional issue or just a simple oversight.  But could this be a sign that AT&T is making room for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 units? If so, doesn't it feel early to be clearing out room for a phone that isn't supposed to hit market until November?  If we get any updates, we'll pass them along.

 

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