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We knew it was coming. Heck, it's been in people's hands for awhile already.  Regardless, HTC officially let loose the 1.48 ROM update for the HD2.

Improvements are as follows:

  1. Flipping back and forth between songs is easier than ever.  Whether you are listening to a defined playlist, or letting your phone shuffle your songs for you, your music will play continuously and fluidly.
  2. Taking full advantage of the G-Sensor, Opera can switch seamlessly from portrait to landscape mode to allow more flexibility and allow for you to browse your websites however you want.
  3. Staying connected to your loved ones is as important to you as it is to us, and we’ve enhanced our voice quality even more in this update.  Now updated, we’re delivering crystal clear sound quality, making it even easier to feel close to your loved ones, even when you are on the move.

Get that update here.

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WMExperts discount from Fictionwise

Fictionwise.com, a Barnes & Noble Company, is your one-stop shop for fiction and non-fiction ebooks. Fictionwise offers thousands of titles compatible for your Windows phone (via Microsoft Reader, Adobe Reader, Mobipocket, etc) as well as other formats for the eReader, Kindle, Sony Reader and Franklin Reader. Titles range from sci-fi to romance to history to politics.

Why are we telling you this? Well, Fictionwise.com is giving WMExperts.com readers a 25% discount for the Holidays. Just enter "wmexperts25" when you check out to receive the discount.

The discount expires on December 31, 2009 and we like to thank Fictionwise.com for extending this offer to our readers.

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Don't know if you've heard the latest comments made by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, but in a recent interview he stated "I think judgment matters,...If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

This drew a huge negative reaction from privacy proponents and the Google backlash received some more momentum. Combined with controversial Rupert Murdoch's threat to de-list themselves from Google (due to Google profiting off of Fox New's reporting) and Microsoft literally stepping in and offering them a better deal and we're getting odd bed fellows.

Here's one more.

Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, on his personal blog has now linked to Bing and appears to be urging Firefox's development away from Google as their default search engine. We'll leave the details of the Google and Firefox alliance to the great article at ArsTechnica, but this raises the question:

Has the age of Bing begun?  Does Microsoft actually stand a chance to beat Google on their own turf?

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webOS Hands-On Video, Smartphone Round Robin

And so it begins. We kick off the third annual Smartphone Round Robin today by going head-to-head with Palm's webOS, the Pre and the Pixi — and one Dieter Bohn, esq., of PreCentral.net.

We've all seen webOS before, so it's the bells and whistles I was really interested in. Does it stand up with long-term multi-tasking? Will the Pre really skip across a pond? Things like that. And I have some of the same knocks as longtime users of webOS. The Pre is great, that's for sure. But will webOS hold up over time? Are the trade-offs made by the Pixi -- speed and WiFi -- really worth it?

So, I've started a thread in the PreCentral.net forums to help sort some of this out. And for our part, we've got video after the break of Dieter learnin' me a thing or three about this newfangled platform. (Note: No Pixis -- or Pixies -- were harmed by the monstrous HTC HD2 in the making of this video). So check it all out after the break, and get ready for more Round Robin coverage to come.

Let's get it on!

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Best of Smartphone Experts, 13 Dec 2009

As we bring you the best of SPE for the past week, don't forget that starting Monday, we'll be starting the Smartphone Round Robin in earnest - with new hands-on videos on six sites. If you haven't already, go ahead a take a listen to our kick-off podcast hosted by The Cell Phone Junkie and take a tour of the Smartphone Round Robin website, where you can learn how to enter to win one of six smartphones we're giving away!

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LG HBS-250 Holiday Giveaway Winner

Congratulations goes out to WMExperts member slimcane for winning the LG HBS-250 Bluetooth headset giveaway.  Slimcane's post on the Touch Pro 2's "IsSlideOut" registry value was selected from the dozens of entries that were posted to the forums during the giveaway period.

WMExperts would like to thank everyone for participating in the giveaways that have been held over the past few months and we hope to have more accessory giveaways in the near future.

In the meantime, we are about to start our 3rd Annual Round Robin and invite everyone to participate in these discussions as well as the contests for prizes.  You can find the Round Robin's contest details here and more about what the Smartphone Round Robin is all about here.

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Fix for SMS syncing bug with Microsoft My Phone

A few days ago we reported that a new version of Microsoft's My Phone was available.  Unfortunately, for some,  it also introduced a new bug: the inability to sync your SMS messages (something Tiger Woods would be happy about).

Luckily, a registry fix has been found:

  • Go o HKLM\Software\Microsoft\My Phone
  • Change the registry value “DisableSMSDataType” from “1″ to “0″

Seems easy enough and we're sure someone can .cab this up if you don't feel like touching your registry (though see our guide on the how-to for a quick primer).

By the way, sound off in comments if you experienced this bug. On our custom ROM, we never saw this and this "fix" wasn't pre-installed.

[MobileTechWorld via TamsWMS]

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LG Expo Promotional Video Surfaces

While we wait for the delays on the new LG Expo from AT&T to get settled, sit back and enjoy a promotional video for the new Windows Phone.  The Expo should prove interesting with it's detachable projector (sold separately) and fingerprint "smart sensor" technology.  It will be interesting to see if the actual projection comes close to the "simulated" projection.

LG and AT&T has also created a microsite for the Expo (along with a few plugs for the movie Avatar) for those wanting to see more of the Expo.  Still no word on the new release date but pricing is scheduled to be $199.99 for the phone after rebates and contract discounts with the piggy-back projector costing $179.99.

Read: wmpoweruser.com

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Here is a real strange but evidently real issue for Omnia II users: if you  have Exchange + McAfee Anti-Spam E-mail Toolbar working in tandem, it appears that some of your emails won't come through when using the Omnia II with WM6.5.

User UpHillBattle (indeed) writes

I'm experiencing a strange problem with my new Samsung Omnia II (WM 6.5). I have set up ActiveSync (on the cell phone) to sync e-mail, contacts, calendar and tasks with an Exchange Server. I used the same setup on my older HTC Touch Cruise (WM 6.1) and had no problems then.

The sync appears to be successful after setup, but later some e-mails are synced to the Omnia II while others are not. I have reset the device to factory settings and set up the connection again, only to experience the same thing: Success at first, then later some e-mails are received, while others are not.

Upon some diligent testing he later responds

...it's the McAfee Anti-Spam E-mail Toolbar. For those of you that don't know McAfee, it has an optional toolbar that can be enabled in various e-mail clients (Outlook 2007 in my case) and that lets you manually mark (or unmark) e-mail messages as spam. When I disable the toolbar, everything is fine - when I enable it, I get the problems described above.

Both Samsung and McAfee have been made aware of the problem and a fix of some sort is expected in the future (vague, eh?).  Until then, if you have this gruesome-twosome setup, best to follow UpHillBattle's advice.

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Telus sure has an odd pricing scheme, at least for those of us used to two-year deals in the U.S. But hey they did get their hands on the LG IQ and if you sign a whopping three-year contract it can be yours for a low $99.

Only want to do two years?  That will cost you an extra $300:

  • 3-year contract: $99.99
  • 2-year contract: $399.99
  • 1-year contract: $449.99
  • No contract: $499.99

But hey, that IQ sure is a nice phone and we have to admit, we'd like to get our grubby mitts on it.  Featuring WM6.5, 1gHz processor and a 5MP camera, it's pretty swell.  Luckily AT&T has the eXpo coming very soon, once their shipping issues are straightened out.

Get the LG IQ now.

[via MobileSyrup]

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No surprise with Microsoft calling for December/January release time-frames for WM6.5 updates that there will a ton of announcements in the next few weeks.

Recently we got wind that India's Touch Diamond 2 had been blessed with their official update (available here), which could please a few million users we suppose.

Likewise, Orange has released their WM6.5 upgrade for their Touch Pro 2 (available here).

Finally, Australia's open-channel Touch Pro 2 is also eligible for their WM6.5 upgrade. Open-channel is down-under speak for non-branded versions aka not on Telstra. Get that update here.

While having cooked ROMs is a blast, using official released base ROMs is even better for stability, plus not everyone has time for customs.  So if you're one of the few who needs these (and you do), go get 'em.

[via XDA , WMPoweruser, Windows Mobile for Australia]

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5

Swype Input keyboard ripped for most devices

You almost have to feel sorry for the companies that dare place their proprietary software onto a Windows phone these days.  For if it is good software, the hounds are let loose to rip it out and .cab it for all others to use within moments.

The latest victim would be Swype, the new fangled keyboard app that is featured on the Verizon Omnia II.

The app is available in .cab form and acts just like another optional input system on your device, so there is no need to only use it while learning its funky moves.  It is suppose to work on Touch Pro 2, Diamond 2 (Pure) and other VGA+ devices, though mileage may vary (reports of ROM variation having an effect have been reported).

[via 1800 PocketPC]

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T-Mobile to get Windows Mobile 6.5 on Jan. 6?

Take this with a big grain of salt, but TMo news has received word that T-Mobile's Touch Pro 2 (see review) and Dash 3G are to get their WM6.5 updates on Jan. 6, 2010.

While the exact date could be question, one doesn't have to look far to see that even Microsoft is calling for December/January WM6.5 updates for the Touch Pro 2 (more provoking is how Dash 3G is listed as "Date not yet available").

We'll keep following this rumor to see if it has any teeth, but hey ... you know it is coming sooner than later.

[via T-Mo News]

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Vodafone is/isn't ditching the HD2

There's a little bit of confusion regarding whether Vodafone is letting the HTC HD2 die on the vine as it prepares to launch the iPhone 3GS.

A report from Electric Pig (and picked up by Engadget) says that Vodafone wouldn't be restocking stores in order to deal with a current backlog of orders. And that's just the case. Not that Vodafone is "ditching" the HD2. Not that the iPhone 3GS has anything to do with anything. Subsequent forum posts from Vodafone spell it out:

We just wanted to update you all on the current situation with the HD2:

We haven't recalled or stopped selling it, at the moment we have simply ran out of stock. When our next batch of stock arrives, this will be used to fulfil our outstanding back orders but we won’t be taking any additional orders via Telesales.

Now everybody simmer down. You Vodafone customers should consider yourselves lucky to be on the same continent where the HD2 is selling! :-/

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Hack: Dual clock now available for Sense 2.1

Here's a cool trick: if you want either a dual clock or just an analog clock, download this .cab at XDA by ancola66.

First disable your TouchFLO under Today --> Settings, install the .cab, restart device and then re-enable TouchFLO.

To toggle between the 3 screens (regular clock, analog-only or both), simply tap the area below the HTC Task Manager.

I'm running it on my own custom ROM (due out shortly, ahem) and it works very well. It definitely gives the today screen an elegant look.

Edit: One bug is that the analog clock shows "AM" when clearly it is PM. C'est la vie.

[via XDA]

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For those who don't want to buy through Sprint or if you just have a ton of Best Buy gift cards available, this Saturday may be your day if you're in the market for the Sprint Touch Pro 2 (see review).

Rumor has it that the big ol' Best Buy is finally receiving the phone in stock for a Saturday launch. Forum user dbldwn02, who evidently works at the chain store, has seen the boxes with his very own eyes, so you know this has to be real [/sarcasm].

The bad and surprising news, if true, is that even after rebates you are still looking at a hefty $350 price-tag.  At least though those rebates are instant.

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Touch Pro 2 tip: Fix the "Cases with magnets' issue

One annoying side effect of the Touch Pro 2's slide-out keyboard is magnets in close proximity tend to wake the phone. And if you don't have a screen lock, your battery could be heading south right quick.

Magnets often are found in your favorite phone cases — specifically the side pouches with the flap. Having your TP2 in one of these can cause it to power-on randomly, draining your battery throughout the day. (This is an issue we found during our initial reviews of the Touch Pro 2.)

A simple fix for this is to disable the "slide to wake" feature of the Touch Pro 2. What this refers to is if the phone is off and you slide the keyboard out, it'll wake up. It's actually a smart feature as the only reason you would slide out the keyboard is if you were to use it.  However, this mechanism relies on magnets to pass under the screen and trigger it.

Cool, eh?  Unless you  have a case with magnets, then it's a nuisance.

To fix, simply download and run this .cab file or manually alter these registry values:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\KEYBD]
"SlideWakeup"=dword:00000000

Thanks BigD5 for the tip!

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Google has once again taken the lead in innovation by rolling out their QR code based 'Favorite Places on Google'.

A QR code, seen above, is a 2D tag system that is gaining popularity as the standard for matrix codes.  Google is sending out decal codes to 100,000 local businesses that are the most searched on Google.  In turn, they can place these decals in their store front.  When a tech-savvy (and probably Android wielding) customer walks by, they can scan the code and pull down coupons, information, reviews, etc.

Pretty brilliant.

The question is where is Microsoft on this front? A few years ago they had a QR development program called 'Windows Live Barcode', later renamed 'Confucius'. It then vanished and presumably reappeared as 'MS Tag' which is now a proprietary matrix code system, albeit a very nice one. However, QR code support is gone.

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Announcing The 3rd Annual Smartphone Round Robin!

We are ridiculously excited to announce that today we're launching the 3rd annual Smartphone Round Robin! If you've never heard of the Round Robin, buckle up: Each year the sites of the Smartphone Experts Network spend some time out of our comfort zone, examining the platforms of our sister sites and learning how other smartphone users live. This year, the event will span six weeks, eight sites, over a dozen phones, over five hours of video, hundreds of photos, several hours of podcasts, dozens of discussion threads, and of course dozens of comparison reviews. Seriously.

What's in it for you? Plenty, we hope. To start with, each site will be giving away one smartphone (or your choice!) representing its platform. We have a Twitter contest for accessory prizes every week too. You can find contest details here.

More than that, though, every year we hear from grateful readers who have said the Round Robin helped them decide on their next smartphone, made them happier about the one they have, or even compelled some to switch outright. Researching and learning six platforms and all the phones on each is a massive undertaking - so we're doing it for you and you can just follow along.

If you want to know more about how to play along with this crazy event, hit up SmartphoneRoundRobin.com, where we explain the contest, the schedule, the participants, and even have an archive of the last two events.

The event begins in earnest on Monday, but today we're releasing the first of several podcasts, all of which are hosted by our friends at The Cell Phone Junkie.  We'll toss direct links to download and subscribe after the break, plus let you know who's playing along this year.

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The mobile browser battle is heating up again, and Skyfire is bringing it. The release of Skyfire 1.5 brings full-screen action, smoother scrolling and an even deeper experience. Here's the full rundown of what's new:

  • Full VGA Support. Skyfire now provides native support for the VGA and wVGA resolutions as seen on many recent Windows Mobile phones.
  • Smooth Scrolling. Kinetic scrolling has been added to Skyfire. Flick and you will see that scrolling has become very smooth.
  • Finger friendly UI. There are many UI updates to enable finger friendliness, increase the ease of use and add a bit of fun to the Skyfire experience. We updated as well the start page to be simpler-to-use with high-resolution devices
  • Full screen mode. For touch screens we have a mode that will completely remove all UI elements from the screen to provide maximum visibility onto the page. Tap the bottom right corner to bring back the toolbar.
  • Auto-Move text entry. This keeps any text entry box visible when the virtual keyboard is used. This convenient feature assures that web site forms are easy to use, in case the SIP (i.e., virtual keyboard) covers it.
  • Latest versions of Flash 10 and Silverlight. 1.5 has been updated to the newest and most stable versions of both rich-media formats.
  • Performance enhancements.  Both Skyfire’s client and servers have been upgraded for faster, more responsive browsing.

That enough for ya? Check out Skyfire's official video after the break, and download the new version here.

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HTC Hero clone runs WinMo? Weird.

We've seen some odd things of late, but the G3 is definitely on top assuming that this ad is accurate (we're skeptical, see below).  Perhaps HTC was just getting lazy or they were like "eh, forget it, lets just throw WinMo on this and see what happens!".

The new HTC G3: a clone of the HTC Hero but sporting WM6.5?

  • 460MHz processor
  • 320 x 480
  • 3.2"
  • 128MB RAM, 256MB ROM
  • 5-megapixel camera,
  • GPS
  • Wi-Fi
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • FM radio
  • $220

On the other hand, look at the image: clearly that's Android copy/pasted into this mockup, with the Android buttons and no Windows Start key.  This is starting to look more like an advertising error or maybe HTC is confusing everyone. We have a feeling we'll be seeing more of these situations in the future as Android and Windows Mobile routinely swap bodies....they're swingers like that.  Yeesh.

[via UberGizmo]

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