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Skyfire sets sights on our CrackBerry cousins

Having become pretty popular with Windows Mobile, the Skyfire browser apparently is  making its way over to our BlackBerry cousins. According to an e-mail snagged by the Boy Genuis Report, a search is on for Alpha testers.

We are looking for early Alpha testers to help us develop Skyfire for BlackBerry. If you like to be the first on the block, and on the bleeding edge (bugs!), please sign up and give us a steady stream of feedback so together we can make browsing on the BlackBerry the best it can be.

You can bet CrackBerry users will be lined up down the street for this one. Because if there's one thing that platform needs to improve on, it's the browsing experience. (Yes, we really just said that. Hey, browsing's been getting better on Windows Mobile in leaps and bounds lately.)

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Taiwan getting Touch Diamond 2 this month

As we in the United States patiently (or not so much) await the arrival of the HTC Touch Diamond 2, another overseas launch reportedly is drawing near. MobileTechReview says that the TD2 will be released in Taiwan "Later this month" for about $650 U.S. We've previously reported that European dealer Expansys plans to start selling on April 19, and T-Mobile Germany will get in the game in June.

We're still hoping for a U.S. release sooner rather than later. But in the meantime, you can check out Dieter's hands-on with the Touch Diamond 2 at Mobile World Congress.

Via Engadget Mobile

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Unofficial ROM unlocks Omnia GPS

A new "unofficial" ROM for the Samsung Omnia has made its way into wild at MoDaCo [via BGR], promising to unlock some sought-after features. Currently available in the U.S. from Verizon Wireless, the Omnia's GPS chip has been locked down, much to the chagrin of, well, everyone. Out of the box, you're forced to use VZ Navigator for all of your GPS needs. But using this ROM, update you should be able to use free third-party apps like Google Maps and Live Search.

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HTC Cedar makes return trip to FCC

We don't pretend to make heads or tails of most FCC filings, with all the electronic testing hullabaloo and acronym mumbo jumbo, and this is no exception. We've already seen the HTC "Cedar" make its way through the feds under the CEDA200 codename. But Engadget has spied a CEDA100 at our favorite federal agency and notes that it's not at all uncommon for HTC to do this and that it could signal versions coming to Sprint and Verizon.

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Review: Change Skins for SPB Mobile Shell

For those patiently awaiting the release of SPB's Mobile Shell 3.0, we ran across an interesting utility over at FuzeMobility for the current versions of Mobile Shell that allows you to change the appearance of this popular utility.

Change Skins is an application that will let you enjoy customizable skins with Mobile Shell and change them "on the fly," without the need for a soft reset. I took Change Skins for a test drive on my AT&T Fuze, so follow the break for screen shots and impressions on Mobile Shell customization.

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Windows Mobile 6.5 future in the U.S.

The anticipation for Microsoft's release of Windows Mobile 6.5 is building. Windows Mobile 6.5 devices are on the verge of release (albeit most starting out with Windows Mobile 6.1) and more leaks are surfacing on the new OS. Robbie Bach, President of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, made an interesting comment during his keynote speech at the 2009 CTIA conference.

"We expect all the major operators to continue to support Windows phones going forward. In fact, by this fall, when Windows Mobile 6.5 releases, we'll have over 10 phones available in the U.S. alone, and you'll see that number continue to grow."

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Video: Need for Speed Undercover on Touch HD

We're expecting a goodly number of games to hit the Windows Marketplace for Mobile later this year (check out the full list of initial participants), but some of you may not be completely sold on a Windows phone being good for real gaming.

Feast your eyes north at a demo of Need for Speed Undercover on the Touch HD (running Windows Mobile 6.5 nonetheless) and tell us if your fears are assuaged any, especially considering the upcoming Touch Pro 2 and Touch Diamond 2 have virtually the same specs as the Touch HD.

HD Blog.it via Mobile Tech Addicts

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Live Search for Mobile - it's RE-DONK-ULOUS!

This is one of those things that we're instantly going to regret posting (rather, we can think of a couple of people who will make us regret it), but it's just too funny not to. Microsoft has a new site pimping the local search capabilities of Live Search for Mobile, featuring Larry & Gary's Mobile App Shack (there's one app store name we didn't think of).

Check out the hilarious spoofs of used-car commercials at Loco4Local.com. Just make sure you're not eating or drinking, lest something come shooting out your nose.

Via Smartphone Thoughts

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Just a heads up that we're still expecting Verizon to finally release the HTC Touch Diamond on April 10 – that's Friday, as in tomorrow.

The $300 you'll have to spend (after a $70 rebate, no less) to get the thing is downright highway robbery, though, when you consider that the Touch Diamond 2 will be making an appearance pretty soon. Sure, Verizon's will have an SD card slot, and that's nothing to sneeze at, seeing as how everyone else must make do with the 4 gigabytes of internal memory. But that price point is still a little hard to swallow.

Any of you folks out there in TV land planning on picking one up tomorrow? Let us know in the comments.

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As the days go by and the seasons change, we hold out hope that one day Microsoft's branding schemes will begin to make a little more sense.

Today is not that day.

ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley spotted a Wall Street Journal post in which some new names have solidified as candidates for a Live Search refresh. First there's Kiev (which we're now told is spelled Kyiv - thanks, Peter, though we actually prefer the straight Cyrillic ????), the largest city in the Ukraine and after which a tasty chicken dish is named. It also "seems to be the uber-brand for Microsoft’s upcoming search release," Foley writes.

OK. Then there's Kumo, which is still floating around but losing ground as the new name for Live Search, Foley says. Instead, it could be overtaken by Bing, which either reminds of the legendary crooner or a sitcom character, depending on your generation and/or culture level.

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Palm Treo Pro, Samsung Omnia now available from Telus

As expected, the Palm Treo Pro and Samsung Omnia are now available on Canada's Telus network.

The Treo Pro runs $149.99 with a three-year contract. A two-year deal jacks up the handset price to $400; a one-year deal pushes it to $500, and the price sans contract is a whopping $549, which also is what an unlocked Treo Pro costs in the states.

The Omnia is going for $129.99 with a three-year deal and reaches $500 without a contract.

Via TreoCentral

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AT&T 3G MicroCell enters the trial phase

Back in January, we reported on the AT&T Microcell, a 3G HSPA-enabled femtocell unit. We are now learning from Engadget Mobile that AT&T will begin testing the MicroCell in selected, signal deprived homes next week. The selected participants not only get to keep the unit but are also paid $200 for their involvement. The downside (if you could call it a downside) is that participants can't be away from their home for more than a week during the trial and can't move during the trial period. All in all not a bad deal to be at the front of the line for the femtocell service.

The trial period runs through June 9, and hopefully AT&T will evaluate the results quickly, make whatever adjustments are necessary and have the Microcell available to everyone post-haste.

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HTC Touch HD gets a ROM update

If by chance you have an HTC Touch HD (or, ya know, live outside the United States, where it actually was released), there's a ROM update waiting for you from HTC. [via] Fixed in this European-only update are:

  • Updated the Connection Setup Database.
  • Improved emergency call connections while using Airplane Mode.
  • The GPS position updating speed has been enhanced.
  • A Title bar display flicker in TouchFLO 3D has been corrected.
  • Fixed multiple browsing issues.

So if you're lucky enough to have a Touch HD, go getcher update here.

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Samsung reserves 'Omnia' name for Windows Mobile

So we're still holding a bit of a grudge after it came to light that the Samsung Omnia HD would be running Symbian's S60 operating system and not Windows Mobile, as the original Omnia does. But lo and behold, Samsung has stripped the new phone of its Omnia name, reverting back to the old number scheme that we loathe with every fiber of our being have all gotten used to. Thus, the Omnia HD (which just cruised past the FCC) is now the i8910.

The reason for the change, you ask? Blame Windows Mobile, which is what Sammy told Mobile Crunch.

To avoid confusion between the original Omnia, which is Windows Mobile, and Omnia HD, which is Symbian, Samsung is deferring to the model number.

And Mobile Crunch posits that this news means we should expect more Windows Mobile Omnias in the future, which makes sense to us. Good news, indeed!

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T-Mobile 3G expansion roadmap leaked

Along with the speculation that T-Mobile is getting the HTC Snap and Touch Pro 2, it now looks like the service provider will be expanding its 3G Network. Tmonews has posted a leaked memo purportedly showing a list of cities  to receive 3G coverage the rest of this year.

As early as this month Shreveport, La; Lubbock, Texas; and Wichita Falls, Texas are to go live with 3G. June has cities such as Henderson, Nevada; Pueblo, Colorado, and Daytona Beach, Florida going live. Along with others, we'll keep this filed in the Rumor Mill for now but if true, combined with the new phone releases, it will be an productive year for T-Mobile.

Via AndroidCentral and IntoMobile

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Garmin M20 Sighted at 2009 CTIA

With all the excitement about the HTC Snap and Samsung Propel, there are a few more devices making an appearance at the 2009 CTIA. One such phone is the Garmin M20 Nuvifone. It first surfaced at the 2009 Mobile World Congress and made a positive first impression. It is still on track for a late summer release and it will be fun to take this new Windows Mobile phone out for a test drive.

Unwiredview.com was able to get a little hands on time with the M20 during the 2009 CTIA and appears to be equally impressed. The M20 is a GPS enabled Windows Mobile phone that sports a 2.8" VGA touchscreen along with features not uncommon to your average Windows Mobile phone (wifi, bluetooth, 3.0mp camera, etc.). What makes the M20 "not your average Windows Mobile phone" is the GPS. As I understand it, the M20's GPS is a true GPS unit, not aGPS, which means the GPS functionality is not dependent on the cell phone signal. So, if your out hiking and loose your signal, have no fear the M20 will still get you back to civilization.

Follow the break for a hands on video of the Garmin M20.

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Who's on board the Windows Marketplace

Microsoft recently touted a list of developers that already are on board for Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Someone the names are familiar. Some we talked to about their plans to join the Marketplace. Other names are a little more obscure.

Who's missing? Obviously scores of other developers, some small, some large. But this is a sure sign that the Marketplace will have some momentum when it's launched later this year.

After the break, we take a quick look at all of the names Microsoft released earlier at CTIA.

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When iPhones congregate, it's not unusual to hear a sucking sound – from the mass amounts of bandwidth being digested. So much so, that AT&T cracked under all the Apple weight at South by Southwest.

But the iPhone's sole U.S. carrier reportedly is again beefing up its network – it did so for EDGE before the original iPhone (2G) launch and again before the iPhone 3G – and that would mean faster speeds for all of us.

So the next time you're multitasking with your WinMo phone on AT&T's network, and you see someone with an iPhone, go ahead and thank them. Better yet, give 'em a hug and tell 'em "Thanks, from Windows Mobile." Then back away slowly. You can't be too careful. :)

Via The iPhone Blog

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OK, we were just about to break out the tinfoil hats and officially hop on board the Windows Mobile 7 conspiracy train over this one. We've already seen a couple of purported screenshots of the operating system that we're not expecting to see until next year. Now comes a video from the mothership itself. [via Engadget Mobile]

Take a look for yourself, as our curiosity was momentarily piqued. But it turns out that it was just a little flash presentation set up for the spot. So we're now going to go sit in the corner and remind ouselves (yet again) that there are months and months to go before we expect to see Windows Mobile 7.

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HTC Snap = T-Mobile Captain; No Inner Circle?

Here's an interesting tidbit: seems as if Conflipper (known for his custom-ROM work, especially with WM6.5) had gotten his mitts on the finalized ROM for the upcoming T-Mobile/HTC Snap which is rumored for a July release (see Dieter's video hands-on)

This is what he can discern from the ROM files:

  • Internal codename for T-mobile is "Captain" (aka Maple aka Snap aka Dash 3g)
  • Model number for HTC is S522
  • The much hyped "Inner Circle" files are not in the shipping ROM (!)
  • "A new feature...lets you send an Audio Postcard to your contacts, You take a picture from the camera, the camera will then give you a selection of boarders you can add to it. From there you can add a 60 second audio clip the the picture. And send it to either an email or a MMS account."

Obviously it is not 100% confirmed that HTC's new "Inner Circle" won't be there but as of now, it appears that in the final/shipping ROM, those files are currently missing and that is worrying.  Reasons for this decision, if true, are not known--perhaps HTC is still tweaking that new app?

We'll keep you posted.  Thanks Conflipper

One more bit: a headache inducing animated Gif after the break that's supposedly the startup screen for the T-mobile Captain.

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Here we have an unboxing of the HTC Touch Diamond 2. Unfortunately, it's not yours truly doing the unboxing; instead this video is shared by KnowYourMobile. [via wmpoweruser]

But good things come to those who wait, right? Dieter got a hands-on with the Touch Diamond 2 back at Mobile World Congress, and hopefully it won't be too much longer before it makes its debut, for reals, for all the good boys and girls.

And as a bonus, after the break, we bring you another hands-on video of the Touch Pro 2, courtesy of PocketPCItalia.

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