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WinMo Watch: NerdSplosion

Take a gander at what CrunchGear has dug up: A Windows Mobile-based watch with specs that are actually halfway decent:

  • Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHZ
  • CPU: AM403 DGT ARM926 @ 266MHZ CPU+533MHZ
  • 1.45 inch Touchscreen
  • 1.3 MP Camera
  • Support T-flash memory expansion up to 1GB ( includes free 512MB Card)
  • Bluetooth (headset necessary for calls) and Wifi(!)

WiFi, seriously? The little guy is set to go on sale on April 25th for $629, though the fact that it was originally slated to be released today and the fact that a device only 10 days out still has “tentative specifications” is keeping us from plunking down our hard-earned cash. Also, that touchscreen might be a little small to be composing emails on via WinMo's built-in handwriting recognition, dontcha think?

On the other hand (er, on the other wrist), compared to other nerdwatches I've owned, this fares pretty well. I place it above the calculator watch but below the one that broke out and transformed into a robot. You know the one, stop pretending you didn't wear it then and don't miss it now.

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A perusal of the Microsoft Press Release announcing they've completed the Danger acquisition tells us a few things. First, we were right as rain when we told you it was all about the services, baby:

Danger’s expertise in building great, intuitive client software for mobile handsets connected to powerful hosted back-end services fosters rich consumer experiences in communication, media sharing, entertainment and personalization.

It doesn't stop there, though. Microsoft is starting up a whole new consumer-focused division within their mobile group called “Premium Mobile Experiences” (PMX) to be headed up by Roz Ho, who formerly headed up the Mac Business Unit. The MacBU was highly regarded as a small, nimble, and highly successful group within Microsoft, churning out Mac Office updates that were often better than what could be found on the Windows Desktop. Hopefully we'll see more of the same in the PMX.

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AOL My Mobile Beta for Windows Mobile

Now more than ever there are an abundant amount of ways to get info you need on your Windows Mobile device. Things like weather, stocks, and news are only a few clicks away thanks to options like MSN direct, Yahoo Go, and now the new AOL My Mobile.

Still in beta and ready to hit devices is the new AOl My Mobile. The new feature-filled app is stuffed with all the goods and sports an adroid-ish interface. My Mobile aims to get content to you easier and faster than the standard web search. It also brings along some of the favorites like AOL Mail, AOL contacts and AIM. It has quick access to the basics like sports, city guide, movie phone and much more. Once you input your address, My Mobile retrieves info that's relevant to you like weather, and the ability to do a local search for something like "Pizza".

Unfortunately it doesn

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eLive Mobile: Stealth WM Services Project?

Over at seattlepi, Todd Bishop notes that Microsoft had a job listing for what looks to be some sort of new mobile services initiative from Microsoft: eLive Mobile. Now it could be any number of things, but here's the nut of it:

The Elive team is embarking on the mission to create a "Connected Entertainment" experience, realized through ELive service, that spans multiple devices such as Zune, Xbox, PC and Mobile phones.

Microsoft seems to be working very hard behind the scenes on adding more and better services to Windows Mobile. We've discussed their Live services many a time , most recently noting that they're planning big things like adding more "search-centric" services with their "wave 3" rollout. They've also mentioned that they intend to fix that pernicious bad branding issue, although we have to say that adding "e" to "Live" does not quite do it for us.

So it won't be a ZunePhone, but we do know that "Zune features and interfaces will eventually make their way onto Windows Mobile." Perhaps eLive could be just those features and interfaces.

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New Live Search App in the Pipes

One bit that was lost in all the CTIA Hoopla, but did appear during our Keynote LiveBlog, is that we can expect an update to the Live Search application on Windows Mobile in the relatively near future -- hopefully well before Windows Mobile 6.1 updates are rolled out.

We got to see a firsthand demo of the new features. There's a weather info pane (finally!) as well as a “Web Search” panel (as though the difference between Live Search and Windows Live on Mobile wasn't muddy enough). There's also this new feature called “Collections” that a sort of mashup between your standard local searches and a mini-RSS reader. Mainly it is a place to save your most common searches. Sadly, a feature like Google Maps' “location” based on towers isn't going to be included.

We've always been sweet on Live Search what with the free, the ability to speak direction requests [edit: fixed], the GPS integration, the Movie times, the Gas prices, and the Traffic. The new version looks to be a nice upgrade.

In any case, it's en route and just another data point for folks trying to figure out just what Microsoft's mobile services strategy is going to be.

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Verizon XV6900, the Touch, Hits April 16th

Engadget Mobile has the word: The Verizon XV6900, aka the Touch, is landing on Verizon's (electronic) shelves on April 16th and the brick-and-mortar ones by the end of the month. You're looking at $349.99 with contract, which smells a little overpriced to us. It's also going to come in white. Or Arctic Blast. Or Snowy Frozentime-color. Or whatever they decide to call it.

On a completely unrelated note, we missed our chance go “go magenta” in support of Engadget Mobile while we were at CTIA. They were inexplicably sued by Deutsche Telekom (owners of T-Mobile) because the used magenta in their logo. Yeah. Crazy. Sometimes you gotta wonder if lawyers at these giant corporations just get bored sometimes. Fight the power, guys.

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Guitar Hero III Coming Tomorrow for Windows Mobile

So sayeth lukeuei over at Backstage at MED. The link to purchase should pop up here. Now, some confessions:

  • Confession 1: We missed the last “little” WMExperts Podcast because I was at CTIA last week and couldn't fit it in. I suggested to lalala that I might fit it in this past weekend, but I found myself needing to defeat GHIII on Medium instead. To make up for it we're bringing our CTIA co-reporter Kevin Michaluk on as a guest on this week's podcast.
  • Confession 2: I went to a RIM party at CTIA, thrown to celebrate the launch of Guitar Hero III on the BlackBerry. I was somewhat mortified that a high-level game like GHIII would make it to the BlackBerry platform before Windows Mobile, but this mortification was eased by the fact that Magmic and RIM gave us free drinks.

Based on this latter confession, that I was shoulder-to-shoulder with the folks who brought you the CrackBerry, I can tell you this much: Guitar Hero III (at least as it appeared on the BlackBerry Pearl) stunk it up. Sound was intermittent, button response was terrible, and I wasn't fond of the subscription pricing model. Either it will be great on WinMo and we'll have something else to brag about or, ah, it won't.

We'll let you know either way.

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Windows Live (Lite) Now Available for All

Ok, don't hate us here, we are just the messenger. Hot on the heels of telling you that a new version of Live Search for Windows Mobile is coming down the pipes, we're telling you that you can now download Windows Live for any Windows Mobile devices. Yes, these are different apps. Yes, we're tired of complaining about how silly it is to have to differentiate between “Live Search,” “Windows Live” and “Live Search that isn't an app but is instead just a web search.”

You can hop over to http://wl.windowsmobile.com direct from your device to get Windows Live. Then again, you may already have it installed, as Windows Live comes pre-installed on a few devices. On most, though, the carriers give it the big old Ax because it competes with services they want to charge you for. Good on Microsoft for finally making an end run around these clowns and giving us a direct download, right?

Sigh. Not so much. The direct download version of Windows Live has support for Live Hotmail , Contact sync, and Spaces, it does not include their Live Messenger client (which is heads and shoulders above the default Oz client that most US WinMo devices ship with). This direct download might give you a Live Window (we couldn't resist) outside of your walled garden, but it definitely doesn't completely free you from your carrier.

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Sprint WiMAX WaTCH: Delayed

Ouch. Not a month after Sprint promised us that XOHM, their WiMAX service, was all set to launch on time later this month, we hear that this isn't really going to be the case:

Sprint Nextel will delay the commercial launch of its Xohm WiMax service until later in the year, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The Overland Park, Kan., carrier was originally scheduled to launch the service this month. But it will come later this year, said spokesman James Fisher. It's the latest in a series of setbacks for the troubled company.
- [Cellular News via Engadget]

Not all that surprising given Sprint's many recent woes, but still a bummer. Folks are hoping for summer and noting that the fact that Hesse didn't really focus too much on XOHM during his CTIA Keynote should have sounded the alarm that this would happen.

At least their

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HTC Q1 Earnings: Rockin'

With the way smartphones are selling these days, it's a little surreal to see certain companies (Cough Palm cough) posting losses. HTC, on the other hand, is raking it in just like they should be:

With the posting of the Taiwan-based company's 1Q 2008 financial earnings report, we see that HTC earned NT$32.7 billion (US$1.08 billion) in revenue for the first quarter of 2008. That's a 38.6% year-on-year increase, but a 16.2% decrease from the previous quarter. - [IntoMobile]

While revenues dropped a smidge compared to the previous quarter (that's a holiday quarter too, so no worries there), their profits increased by 24% -- cutting some operating expenses seems to have helped them there, as have the stellar sales of the Touch. HTC also expects, what with WinMo 6.1 and Android coming this year, to move up to #3 worldwide behind Nokia and RIM.

...In other words, it's truly time for HTC to quit pretending they're an underdog. Seriously, guys, you're a powerhouse, feel free to flex some muscle and get carriers to let you sell your devices with less of their crap onboard. The TYTN II ROMs are a lot better than what ships on the Tilt, for example.

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Another BlackBerry Service Outage? Wokka Wokka!

Reports are sporadic at the moment, but it looks as though CrackBerry addicts could be in the midst of their third major service outage in a year. Remember when Palm got their swagger back by Knocking the NOC? That's “Network Operations Center,” the centralized server through which all BlackBerry emails must go. Up until recently, it had been the paragon of reliability and stability, but in the past year some “upgrades” have managed to knock the NOC down for hours at a time.

That's what BlackBerry users across many carriers are reporting this morning... BES users seems to be ok, and not everyone seems to be affected, but the word so far is that there are BIS difficulties today. - ALERT: Nation Wide BlackBerry Internet Service Issues?! | CrackBerry.com

Update: Looks to be “limited” to Verizon, AT&T and maybe T-Mo. Definitely limited to certain areas of the country. Service coming back already for some folks, though there are still delays. In other words, this might not strictly be RIM's fault, but instead the fault of the carriers. Keep an eye on our sister site, CrackBerry.com, for updates.

I learned from the CrackBerry.com Podcast that a relatively short outage of the NOC can actually cascade into a longer outage as RIM's servers try to catch up on all the email that didn't get sent out.

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Hands on with Velocity 103 and 111

The Velocity 103, ladies and gents, is a sweet device. Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro, Quad-band 3G on GSM, 128 meg RAM, 256 ROM, 4 Hour Talks Time, AGPS, TV-out, WiFi, and a 480x640 Touch screen.

We know that people throw the term “Treo Killer” around a lot, but the Velocity 111 just might do the trick. It's a Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro device with a flush touchscreen at 240x320 screen resolution and all the other trimmings of the 103.

It also sports a decent-enough QWERTY Keyboard that has a design that's ripped off directly inspired by the BlackBerry 8800 keyboard. The BlackBerry “inspiration” doesn't stop there, though, check out the white scroll ball in the center. Tell you what - that scroll ball works darn well on a Windows Mobile Device. We approve.

Velocity doesn't have any carrier deals set up, so if you're hankering for either on of these you'll need to a) wait and b) try to find it unlocked somewheres.

Full Gallery after the break!

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What do you want to know about the XPERIA X1?

The current contender for Best Damn Windows Mobile Device of 2008 is the XPERIA X1. They've been keeping the beast behind glass, but we managed to score some one on one time with it tomorrow morning.

So! What do you want to know about the XPERIA X1? Post your questions in the comments and we'll toss them at Sony Ericsson like so many darts at a target tomorrow.

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Hands-On with Windows Mobile 6.1

Boom! If you've been following our Twitter feed, you may have read that we attended a Microsoft “Happy Hour” event. And what a happy hour it was - Microsoft saw fit to provide us with a Windows Mobile 6.1 unit to test out. So check it out - Windows Mobile 6.1 on a BlackJack II. No - we can't give it away and no, we still don't have a firm date for when the OS will be available yet (signs point to early summer).

There's a couple rough cuts in the video that we decided to make so we didn't give away our co-reporter CrackBerry Kevin's cell number on the internet. ;)

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Hands-On With the GSmart T600

There were a few device we'd never seen before at the Microsoft booth. Our favorites would definitely be the offerings from Velocity, but the GSmart T600 was new as well. While seriously underpowered, it's at least a little pretty. You're looking at a Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro device with Tri-Band Edge (No 3G and no US release, kids) a 520MHz Marvell processor, 64MB RAM 256 MB, and a 640x480 screen.

...In short, nothing to get too crazy over here in the states (though it does have some sort of television feature that didn't work so hot on the demo unit), looks like a device made by a Taiwanese company for the Taiwanese consumer. Here's the thing that we're noticing at CTIA though: Windows Mobile goes from awfully good to really great when it gets on higher resolution devices - 320x240, I don't ever want to see you again after, say, August.

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Hands-On with the TechFaith Vista 850

Like the non-US GSmart T600, the Vista 850 weds Windows Mobile 6.1 with a white case. Unlike the GSmart, it's Windows Mobile Standard. Also it's actually a Quad-Band phone, so it should work just peachy in the US. It's Edge-only, though, which is a bit of a bummer. Combine that with a 200MHz OMAP processor (seriously guys, it's not ok to use that anymore), 64MB of RAM, and a 240x320 screen and you'd be looking at a fairly low-rent device.

But wait, what's this? 2 GB of ROM for storage. Sounds to me like somebody's thinking about making this a media phone. Also, like the Velocity's offerings, we're seeing a trackball on this little guy.

As is often the case with these smaller companies, pricing and availability is unknown, but don't expect it to be released with any US carriers officially.

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Hands-on with the Jabra BT3030

Just had a quick look at the Jabra BT3030 Bluetooth Stereo Headset ($79.95) and color me impressed. It's a little thicker than I'd like, but it will do 7 hours of music (8 of talk), can be worn around the neck like the Dogtag is resembles, or just be clipped to your shirt. This is very likely the first A2DP pendant that I wouldn't be mortified to be seen in public wearing. We have it in the WMExperts store, which means you can expect a full review from us on Monday -- I'm that excited to play around with this headset.

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Hands-on with BlueAnt's Upcoming Headsets

BlueAnt has a couple of neat headsets coming out in the coming months. The first is the BlueAnt Z9i (in red), a minor update to our fave here at WMExperts, the BlueAnt Z9 (see our full review — though since that review BlueAnt has released a couple firmware updates that make it much better). The Z9i adds the swank textured/metallic look you see above as well as real, honest-to-god Multipoint. The hardware is slightly better too, a flexible ear-hook and more eargels to choose from. Expect it sometime in May.

The other is the BlueAnt V1, which they’re touting as the world’s first voice-controlled Bluetooth headset. Think Z9 but instead of punching little buttons to control the headset, you simply speak to it, as in “Pairing Mode” and “Redial.” It’s unclear as of yet how this will work with / break Voice Command functionality on a Windows Mobile phone — mostly because the headsets on hand are still early prototypes. Expect it to be released this summer, almost surely before August we’re told.

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Simulscribe - Quick Video Demo

One of our main concerns is getting info when we need it. This has brought about great features such as text messaging and email on the smartphone. Great features that, say, our mothers aren't going to use when they need to talk to us right away. So she calls me while I'm at a concert, goes to voicemail, which I'm not about to listen to. When then? I get the voicemail sent to me in text so that I can read on my phone while the music blares in the background. Right now I

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T-Mobile Replacing Overheat-able Batteries for Wing

Golly, whilst away at CTIA, we received a package we weren't expecting. Inside, a brand new battery manufactured by “Celxpert” to replace our stock “Dynapack” battery. Also inside, an explanation:

T-Mobile and HTC are providing a replacement for the T-Mobile Wing battery made by Dynapack at not charge to you due to rare occurrences of the battery overheating.

It's supposedly very rare and all that, but likely enough that T-Mobile and HTC figured that replacing every single Wing battery out there (at least every single Dynapack Wing battery) would be cheaper than dealing with the inevitable burning-pants lawsuits.

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Picasa on Windows Mobile

Google's Picasa photo services aren't our favorite (we're Flickr Folks), but a new service they're offering might just get us to switch. Over at the Google Mobile Blog (via My Today Screen, welcome to the WinMo Blog World, guys!) there's info on how Picasa is now optimized for Windows Mobile.

The best part is that you can actually cache the stuff locally for offline viewing. How's that? Well we told ya a month ago that Google released their Google Gears for WinMo, and so now we're starting to see the benefits of that. Neat, eh?

Using the newly announced Google Gears for Mobile, they have added a few new features like viewing albums of your choice offline, and adding a Picasa icon as a shortcut for faster album access.
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Hands-On with Opera Mini 4.1

With all the new browsers on the scene, Opera found it only fit to show the new comers it still has a couple of tricks up the sleeve. In enters the new Opera Mini 4.1 Beta with new features like the ability to save pages offline and runs up to 50% faster. I

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