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HP 910C Hands-on, with Bonus Treo Pro Comparison

Not much more to say about what we have for you here, the first of our galleries of what Microsoft is showing off at CTIA this year. We've already reviewed both the Treo Pro and the HP 910C, two Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro devices that are pretty much in the exact same category: Front-Facing QWERTY, Touchscreen, 3G on GSM, and only available unlocked.

We're giving the slight edge to the Treo Pro here, but only based on size and the slightly larger screen resolution (320x320 vs 320x240). If you're looking to power through a lot of email, though, the 910 ain't no slouch and has a bigger keyboard.

Meet us after the break for more images!

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Hands-On with the Sprint Diamond

It's announced, it's coming in a matter of days, but until then, the best you can get is our hands-on gallery and impressions.

Those impressions now: Yeah, it's not as shockingly small as the GSM Touch Diamond, but it's still plenty wee. We prefer the finger-print-friendly paint on Sprint's Touch Diamond and are also digging the red color (seriously!). TouchFLO 3D seems ever-so-slightly snappier than we've seen it in the past, but without a full-on review don't take that as gospel.

One other note -- although I like the fancy zoom-in / zoom-out touchy-feely features of the d-pad (towards the end of the video), the standard up/down/left/right feel of it is a little sub-optimal -- a bit hard to distinguish from the surrounding area.

After the break -- some more images as well and a quick comparison to the current generation Touch.

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CTIA Keynote Day 1: Livebogging

We're live at CTIA 2008 in San Francisco and the Keynote is set to begin in about 10 minutes. On tap is Marco Boerries of Yahoo's "Connected Life Division," plus CEOs of T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, plus the Chairman of Clearwire.

What to expect? We're hoping for new software from Yahoo (Yahoo Go 4.0 would be nice), maybe a mention of the Kickstart from T-Mobile, and perhaps a surprise or two from Verizon and Sprint -- i.e. it's be nice if Hesse talked up Windows Mobile this year instead of the silly Instinct.

Anyhow, it will be relatively low-key, but hit us up after the break for what news we can gather!

New updates at the top, Yo.

The Liveblog

10:30: Alright, show floor time. We'll catch you guys soon -- more as we find the gadgetry out in the booth sea.

10:28: No more "one more thing" expected, folks.. or not -- They've created an SDK within the iPhone SDK with Blueprint.

10:26: It also includes a new yahoo-developed, cross-platform mobile browser -- sort of. Companies can basically make 'apps' of their websites that are essentially mini-browsers.

10:25: Yahoo Go is built on blueprint. You can develop Yahoo Go widgets with Blueprint.

...Now you an make standalone apps for Windows Mobile, Java, and Symbian. Develop for all three platforms with one language. That's actually pretty cool. Available as a developer preview today.

10:20: Blueprint as a new mobile platform. "The best way to create mobile internet services." It's not another mobile OS, not a platform for games, not proprietary, not limited to Yahoo.

It offers a very quick mobile services development platform based on XML. Basically it's a large set of XML setup you can program a mobile app in and it will display very nicely on different platforms -- iPhone, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian, etc. They are opening it up for anybody and anybody can distribute however they'd like. Yahoo would prefer you use Yahoo's ads on your apps, but not requiring it.

10:15: Demoing oneConnect. Socially connected addressbook is pretty sweet. Come on, Microsoft, you need to get this sort of stuff done on WinMo.

10:12: OneConnect for the iPhone. A socially connected address book. Nice to see somebody at CTIA admit the iPhone exists, eh?

It works with Yahoo Messenger and can fall back to SMS-based Messenger, all integrated. pretty cool.

Post status to facebook, twitter, etc. "Pulse" like Friend Feed -- includes a bunch of social network feeds into a neat iPhone screen. Should be available in the App Store any minute now.

Sigh -- bring this to Windows Mobile, okay, because I think Yahoo Go is still a big disappointment.

10:11: It's too bad that Microsoft didn't take these guys over -- Ballmer gives a lot better speech than this. Yahoo's OneSearch powers AT&Ts MEdiaNet search now. They're going to launch a Today Screen Search Bar for Windows Mobile soon (it's on Nokia now).

Talking up Yahoo Go very briefly.

10:10: OneConnect and Yahoo Blueprint is on the agenda. Both appear to be ways for 3rd parties to use their Yahoo Go! platform. The stuff is cross-platform, so they hope folks will target it instead of targeting individual platforms.

10:08: Marco Boerries of Yahoo takes the stage. Whoa, he's low key.

10:06: The chat is over. Next up: Video introducing Yahoo Mobile.

10:06: Dobson: BlackBerry isn't open, but it has the best email experience in the mobile world (I beg to differ)... Making the point that closed can be good.

10:05: Do you want to put any device and any software on any network? Scattered applause (I whooped). "We need to be careful not to all run to the same side of the ship." Um... Talking about how people go to Verizon for support for their phone but don't go to their cable provider for support for their desktop computer.

10:04: Verizon/McAdams: We get another bite at the Apple with the release of LTE. (Wokka Wokka Wokka!)

10:01: Consumers rights to have unfettered, Open access to the web on mobile devices -- why not on T-Mobile (aka: I hate you T-Zones)? Dobson -- standard answer about how the experience sucks on a two inch screen. They'd rather make the mobile internet fit what consumers want. (Pah! Don't try to figure that out, T-Mo, it changes too quickly.)

9:58: McAdams wants to put cell radios in Thermostats, medical devices, airplane engines, etc. Plenty of opportunity to expand the industry -- hm, these embedded devices might actually be a great way to actually utilize Verizon's Open Initiative.

9:55: Why not use any phone on any network, eh? Dobson: well Europe has it. In the US we have CDMA vs. GSM. People who put a random, unlocked phone on a T-Mobile network don't have an optimal experience. Hm.. oh, he's referring to data and MMS setup, ok sure. (Well, the solution is to FIX THAT and MAKE IT EASIER, not to lock it down... it looks like Dobson might agree...)

9:54: Dan Hesse "there's such a thing as too much choice." 1 in 5 cell phones given as gifts last Christmas were returned.

9:52: What's up with the Open Initiative on Verizon? McAdam says we're seeing results of it now. (Tell that to VX6800 owners!). Showing off a random featurephone and a wireless router that you can plug a Verizon card into and it makes it into a WiFi network (meant for insurance agencies for emergency hotspots). That last is pretty cool.

9:50: Walled Garden or Wild West. Does the "wild west" hurt customers? Dobson says you need to have "stewardship and control." Dobson hating on municipal WiFi because of the security and variability of the network. "Walled Garden sits in the past" and that helps innovation explode. Talking about that balance. Ok, fine.

9:47: McAdam of Verizon (will this be rich?). Hm, "What the carrier thinks of open is irrelevant." Ok... "Opening up the doors and protecting the network [..] is the only thing we have to do." He's talking up their new open initiative. Put the risk on developers to place bets on new ideas.

9:45: Dobson of T-Mobile's turn. Most important piece is unleashing innovation. (Come on, Dobson, stick it to everybody else over Android and openness. Come on). http://developer.tmobile.com for getting everything you need to develop apps for T-Mobile. Ah, here he mentions Google. But only in passing. Chicken.

Faster time-to-market, speeds and feeds, somehow that helps with openness. Ah, open source can speed up time to market. KK, we'll buy that.

GSM: Advantages and disadvantages of being open via SIM-swapping. Up to 30% of devices in NYC are on non-T-Mobile locked devices (!). Dobson says he wants to ensure 4G LTE has that same SIM-swapping ease.

9:42: Hesse starts is up as you'd expect: "Open is not regulation." Open applies in three cases: to the customer, to the developer, to the device. In the 3 and 4G world, there's less need for 'walled gardens' because data is faster. Hesse talks up full HTML browsing across all of Sprint's devices. Of course, he mentions the "Simply Everything" plan. Today Sprint launches "One Click" (hi Amazon, now is when you file the lawsuit). They're 'tiles' for shortcuts to "voicemail, email, text, google search, a website, etc." Gawsh, we hope he's talking about featurephones there, because we've managed that fine.

For developers, "Open means making it easy to put apps on the network." Yes please.

For devices (please stick it to Verizon...). Mentions that GSM has it easier to switch because of SIM cards (holla!), but at least Sprint allows for MVNOs (what?). He does mention that with WiMAX you can more easily 'bring your own device.'

9:40: Larget introduces the CEOs: T-Mobile's Robert Dobson, Sprint's Dan Hesse, and Verizon's Lowell McAdam. It looks like they're all going to share the stage and have a nice little coffee chat about Openness.

9:35: Video telling us how much wireless companies have done for us. Now Largent is talking about how wireless is rocking and rolling despite the fact that the economy as a whole hasn't been doing so hot.

Here comes the stats:

  • Data Revenue: 14.8 billion in the first 6 months of 2008. It's more than 20% of overall carrier revenues.
  • America has just pulled ahead of Western Europe in Mobile 3G adoption - that's a big shift. 28% percent of US consumers have a 3G device.
  • Text messaging is huge. 75 billion text messages every month. 160% increase over last June. 2.5 billion texts a day.
  • More fun stats at http://ctia.org

9:30: Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA is up. Get ready for wireless stats. He's talking up how incredible the last year has been -- we fully agree, just think about how much awesome we've had. Ah, here comes the campaign to "influence legislators."

9:27: About to start. One thing I forgot to mention that we're expecting: plenty of political talk about how regulation of the Wireless Industry is evil and bad. He we go!

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When it rains, it POURS. This time we find them from nomad2000, again in our forums, who found them at treo8. What we know:

  • 400Mhz CPU , but snappy response
  • 256MB ROM, 128MB RAM! (Other reports show “In use: 43.96mb, Free 57.72mb”)
  • 320*320 screen
  • GPS
  • Full Tri-band 3G, Quad-band GSM
  • 2 Megapixel camera
  • microUSB connector!
  • 3.5mm Earphone connector
  • 1500mah battery (this is looking like it might actually be true?)

Hit the thread / comments after the break to see a massive number of them!

Update: Also after the break, Scottymomo has dug through his cache and found the original flash demo that was taken down by Palm. There's lots of juicy Treo Pro details to dig through, so click through!

New details on the Treo Pro

  • The battery is pretty much confirmed to be a near-unbelievable-for-this-size 1500 mAh.
  • The WiFi switch is over on the side and works exactly as you'd like it to
  • There is a decidedly non-Treo-esque power button up on the top, which brings the Treo more in line with traditional Windows Mobile devices.
  • Plenty of program memory to work with:
    • Storage Memory Total: 103.05mb
    • Program Memory Total: 101.18mb
    • Program Memory in use (not sure what was running at the time though): 43.96mb
    • Free: 57.22
  • The Treo Pro includes the HTC Memory Manager. Check out the little drop-down in the upper-right of the today screen.
  • Speaking of HTC customizations, it also looks like the Treo sports something very similar to HTC's wireless manager
  • Preinstalled software includes Adobe Reader, Embertec Java for java apps, Telenav, and Sprite Backup.
  • The microSD card and reset holes are underneath the battery cover, but you don't need to remove the battery to access them. It will support microSD cards up to 32gb!
  • It has the 800w's neat screensaver
  • LED isn't all that useful

Be sure to check out scottymomo's new post for the images and the rest of the details!

Treo Pro Gallery

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In the forums some users have found a neat little exploit to see other devices on the Sprint network. But is it something to worry about?

Probably not.

The trick is to use Resco Explorer --> Menu --> File --> Network --> Map Drive

After waiting a few moments if you hit the [+] sign to expand the list, you may see a bunch of device IDs. Interestingly, these appear to be all Sprint devices as WiFi is not enabled at the time and my Treo 800w is on Sprint.

So what is going on here?

Click to read an explanation plus some more screenies...

Basically this appears to be info broadcasting from our devices (and laptops with connect cards) to the carrier towers. Snce a WM device is basically a PC, you can see who's on the network. There are two important caveats here though:

  • None of the devices in the list are user accessible
  • This is not exclusive to Sprint's network

The former is important for those concerned with security. But this appears to be equivalent to turning your Bluetooth on in "Discovery" (Visible) mode in a crowded area. You too will see the screen populate with devices. In fact, using a freeware tool like BT Spammer could allow even more malicious use than browsing your carrier network.

Lesson learned? Don't leave your BT on in "Visible" mode--not only does it zap your battery, but it is a security risk! Thank you though to all the commuters at Penn Station NYC for giving me hours of amusement.

The latter caveat is also relevant. This doesn't seem to be a Sprint network thing as forum member alcedes says he can do the same thing on AT&T (and suspects T-mobile won't be much different).

So, is there any real concern here?

Doubtful. We don't see any thing serious, alarming or unique and at this point it seems more of a novelty. The only real danger here is you'll kill your battery if you leave it on "Map Network Drive" for an extended duration. Most WM devices are not acting like file hosts, so they should not be accessible and we don't see any open ports.

But hey, we'll keep you posted if t3h 1337 h4x0|2z find some ZOMG! cheats with this knowledge ;-)

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In addition to the expanded compatibility and retail availability of the Redfly, we're also happy to announce that Celio is sponsoring a giveaway. Yes, folks, we're giving away a free Celio REDFLY. Heck, Celio also tossed in 10 T-Shirts as runner-up prizes as well.

One more piece of news: there's now an Official Celio REDFLY Developer Forum, where you can go and get questions about the Redfly answered by the WMExperts community and by the folks directly at Celio. Which apps work with Celio? Which ones dont? How long does the battery last? What graphics capabilities does the Redfly really have?

Contest details after the break!

How to win a Celio REDFLY

  1. Comment on this post or head to the associated thread new Redfly forums at WMExperts
  2. Answer the question at the top of the thread, namely “How will the Redfly help me or my business?
  3. While you wait patiently for September 1st (the date we'll announce the winner), read our review of the Redfly or check out the compatibility list.
  4. On Sept 1st, we'll pick the winner and 10 runners-up randomly from all the posts in the thread (one entry per person).

More Rules

  1. Not open to Smartphone Experts employees or contractors (Sorry, writers!)
  2. Only one entry per person from the thread will count towards the drawing, but you can enter as often as you'd like.
  3. Not really a rule, but remember that the Redfly has a limited (but growing) compatibility list, check it out here.

Thanks again to Celio for sponsoring the contest!

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Can customs seize your Windows Mobile device?

A bit of hoopla was raised last week over border search policies disclosed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In almost every news story, the word "laptop" was used in the headline. And this is true. Your laptop can be seized and its information inspected for an unspecified amount of time, no suspicion necessary.

If you're visiting WM Experts, you're probably a fine, upstanding member of society, and a model patriot and benefit to the American way of life, blah blah blah.

But the next logical question is, "Can they take my Windows Mobile device?" Check in after the jump for the answer, and for some tips that could save you some time and embarrassment. (Though if you're looking for a way to completely sneak one past the government and cause some shenanigans, you're at the wrong place.)

Welcome back. So can The Man snag your phone and look at your data?

The answer is: Absolutely. Along with just about anything (electronic or otherwise) you have on your person.

From the Policy Regarding Border Search of Information (pdf link), dated July 16, 2008 (bold section emphasized by us):

CBP [Customs and Border Protection] is responsible for ensuring compliance with customs, immigration, and other Federal laws at the border. To that end, officers may examine documents, books, pamphlets, and other printed material, as well as computers, disks, hard drives, and other electronic or digital storage devices.  These examinations are part of CBP's long-standing practice and are essential to uncovering vital law enforcement information. For example, examinations of documents and electronic devices are a crucial tool for detecting information concerning terrorism, narcotics smuggling, and other national security matters; alien admissibility; contraband including child pornography, monetary instruments, and information in violation of copyright or trademark laws; and evidence of embargo violations or other import or export control laws.

The policy isn't new, and it applies to anyone entering the United States, citizen or not.

Handling the information

So customs can snag your device, copy your data or inspect it on site, and there's not a whole lot you can do to stop them from doing so. If they find probable cause that you're up to no good, they may "seize and retain the originals and/or copies of relevant documents or devices, as authorized by law."

And your data can be copied and shared with just about any other governmental agency.

Copies of documents or devices, or portions thereof, which are retained in accordance with this section, may be shared by CBP with Federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies only to the extent consistent with applicable law and policy.

Absent probable cause, they can only keep information regarding immigration matters.

Other provisions

Windows Mobile is primarily still a business device, and businesspeople tend to travel with sensitive information.

There are provisions for "business information," though it doesn't say much more than "We'll do what we can to keep your stuff from falling into the wrong hands." And it adds that "Depending on the nature of the information presented, the Trade Secrets Act, the Privacy Act, and other laws may govern or restrict the handling of the information."

But we don't recommend claiming that the photos you took of the, er, entertainment, on your - cough, cough - "business trip" to Tijuana are proprietary information.

Attorney-client privilege is also addressed. While claiming such can't keep them from being searched, it should bring an extra level of oversight in the handling of your data.

Correspondence, court documents, and other legal documents may be covered by attorney-client privilege.  If an officer suspects that the content of such a document may constitute evidence of a crime or otherwise pertain to a determination within the jurisdiction of CBP, the officer must seek advice from the Associate/Assistant Chief Counsel or the appropriate U.S. Attorney's  office before conducting a search of the document.

What can you do?

The easiest answer is, leave your laptop or WinMo device at home. But that's not much of an answer, is it?

Here are a couple of simple solutions.

1. The cloud: We love the cloud. We talk about the cloud all the time. Store your data in the ether, and you don't have to worry about someone snagging it off your device. (Who has access to it way up the sky is a whole 'nother matter, but that's for another day.)

2. The ninja-stealth move: We'll keep saying it until we're blue in the face. Backup software is your friend, and SPB Backup 2.0 is perfect for this one.

It's as simple as doing a full - and encrypted - backup of your device, and saving that backup to a storage card (which you should already be doing) or, better yet, somewhere in the cloud (though the 20-meg or so file sizes could be a problem there).

Then, before heading back across the border, do a hard reset and wipe your device. When you get back home, restore from the backup, and you're right where you left off. No muss, no fuss.

The caveat

This isn't a foolproof way to keep your data completely out of the hands of, well, anyone but you, nor is it meant to be. If Jack Bauer wants to make sure you're not using your phone to make his next 24 hours a living hell, he's going to do so. (And, yes, we're well aware that it takes more than a simple reformatting to make data irretrievable.) This is just the equivalent of keeping a screener from riffling through your underwear in your suitcase, looking for a shotgun.

That said, there isn't a whole lot of legal precedent for this sort of thing yet, so there likely will be some bumps in the road.

Look, we certainly don't endorse transporting anything illegal over U.S. (or anyone else's) borders. And we're all for catching terrorists before they strike. So please don't view this as a way to circumvent policies and procedures meant to safeguard all of us.

But your data, your privacy and your Fourth Amendment rights are priceless, too.

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Samsung Omnia - Hardware Hands-On

Samsung Omnia: HERE. Sure, sure, we've mocked the 'me-too' nature of the form factor, the somewhat strange 240x400 screen resolution, and the fact that we don't actually know when it's going to hit AT&T (we're still holding out hope for September). Here's what we haven't put enough emphasis on: the sucker is armed to the teeth with features:

  • 3G, WiFi, FM Radio, GPS
  • 5 Megapixel camera with Flash
  • 16gig of onboard storage
  • Accelerometer
  • Speedy 624 MHz processor
  • Respectable 1440 mAH battery
  • DIVX video supprt
  • Yes, that higher screen resolution
  • Opera 9.5 on-board
  • Surprising good software enhancements

We'll get to those 'surprisingly good software enhancements' in our next piece. For now, just know that our mantra of “don't throw features at a phone and assume it will be good” still holds and it looks like the Omnia has a decent chance of passing that test.

So check out the video above, check out the photo gallery after the break for more images and head-to-head comparisons with other Windows Mobile devices, and check back again very soon for a more in-depth look at the Omnia.

Samsung Omnia

Omnia and Sprint Touch

Omnia and HTC Diamond

Omnia and AT&T Tilt

Omnia and Samsung BlackJack II

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Microsoft Shake Up to Lead to Zune Phone?

Apparently we weren't the only ones who found Microsoft's services strategy utterly confusing and slapdash -- Microsoft did too. To that end, as reported by All About Microsoft, they're splitting up their Platforms and Services unit into two different units as well as giving the previous president of that division a retirement to go work for Juniper networks.

The two new divisions will be “Windows/Windows Live” and “Online Services Business.” The W/WL will have three folks in charge and the OSB will get a new guy. Steve Ballmer sent out a letter to the company about the changes with some interesting tidbits about their feelings on Google, Apple, and Yahoo. Short version: We're working on search and Apple's done better with the “end-to-end” experience.

There's plenty to parse here, including the possibility of a Zune phone, so read on!

Zune Phone?

When Ballmer writes “We'll do the same with phones--providing choice as we work to create great end-to-end experiences,” it's likely to start up the rumor mill again with regard to that Zune phone he's repeatedly denied being interested in. Well, that and the fact that JKOnTheRun has it from an inside source that we'll see it based on Windows Mobile 7 (oh, btw, congrats guys!).

I'll stay neutral on the Zune Phone -- ok no I won't: I'm not opposed, but I'd prefer to see Zune features included in all Windows Mobile Phones, okay? I still like Microsoft's strategy of working with hardware partners to make Windows Mobile quite a bit, I just wish there'd be some more consistency (and hotness) across the different handsets. If Microsoft were to throw their own hat into the hardware market, I hope they can find a way to do it that doesn't undercut the entire ecosystem by introducing yet another non-standard Windows Mobile interface into the mix. So Microsoft: go ahead and make your Zune Phone, but offer the innovations therein to your partners, ok?

Services

Back to the Windows Live branding debacle. I'd like to think that this new split is going to help things along. I'd like to think that, but I don't. Windows Mobile is precisely the sort of platform that needs to straddle the gap between traditional business space services that will fall under the “Online Services Business” and consumer-focused services that are part of “Windows Live.”

It's all very frustrating, because the truth of the matter is that Microsoft's offering is much better than anything anybody else has put out there except for RIM. There are some quirks and bugs with Windows Live on Windows Mobile, sure, but they're nothing compared to the Mobile Me mess right now. Toss in Live Mesh and Live Search and you have yourself an excellent suite of great online, cloud-based apps. That's not even counting what we see coming, consumer-wise, after the Danger acquisition.

In poker terms, Microsoft has a straight right now, they just haven't noticed yet because they can't seem to put the cards in the right order. With any luck, they'll be smart enough to keep betting, stay in the game, and take a shot at the big money.

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Review: Motorola H12 Bluetooth Headset

CrystalTalk is Motorola’s latest audio technology that is reported to deliver maximum audio performance in even the noisiest of environments.  The Motorola H12 Bluetooth Headset ($89.95) is Moto’s first headset to incorporate this technology.  According to Motorola, CrystalTalk uses dual microphones to cancel out background noise, enhance your voice and channel pure, clear audio directly into your ear.  On paper, it would seem the H12 is leading the pack of mini-headsets on the market today.

To see if CrystalTalk and the Motorola H12 deliver the maximum audio performance, read on!

Out of the Box

The Motorola H12 is a lightweight headset, weighing only .4 ounces, and is very similar to the Motorola BH680.  Measuring 1.65 inches long and .7 inches wide, the H12 is a smidgen larger than the H680.  The best way to describe the headset’s diamond cut metal surface is sleek.

The H12 comes packaged with two charging cradles, the AC adapter, a few ear buds of assorted sizes, a Quick Start Guide and a clip that allows you to snap the headset to a shirt button.  The headset also has a clear plastic ear hook that can be reversed for left ear use.

I don’t understand Motorola’s thinking on providing two chargers.  One is a charging case (just like you get with the BH680) that the headset sits down into that the other is a stylish cradle that the headset leans on.  Both charge through magnetic contacts and with only one AC adapter, having one in the office and the other at home doesn’t make sense. I would have preferred a single charging cradle and a means to charge the H12 in the car instead of the two cradles.  As is, the cradle is the only way to charge the H12 and probably the H12’s greatest limitation.

The H12 has a dedicated power button which is nice because there is no doubt as to whether the device is on or not.  Volume keys are found on the top side of the headset and a main button rests on the top surface of the H12.  The buttons are large and easy to manipulate while the headset is worn as well as when it’s not.  A small LED light is just below the main button to alert/confirm functions through various blinks and colors.

Performance

The H12, after fully charged, goes into pairing mode when first turned on.  Pairing the H12 with my Samsung BlackJack II was uneventful and in a matter of seconds, I was connected.  The Bluetooth connection between the phone and headset was strong.  No static was present when carrying the phone on the opposite hip in a case.

The H12 was extremely comfortable to wear.  While you can wear the headset without the ear hook, the hook was not uncomfortable and added a level of security to the wear.  The shirt clip is an interesting accessory which allows you to clip the H12 to a shirt button.  It’s essentially a “U” clip that goes around a button and the H12 snaps in between the thongs.  Using the shirt clip is a little awkward and takes some time to get used to.  While it adds a level of convenience, I prefer a lanyard carry option better.

I was interested to see if CrystalTalk was as good as Motorola claimed.  Earpiece volume was good but a little muffled.  Increasing the volume helps but you still have a slight muffle to the volume.  In looking at the ear bud design a good portion of the earpiece is covered with the rubber ear bud.  At first I thought the cut out was dependant on the ear bud size but the other ear buds had small cut outs for the speaker as well.  Taking the ear bud off noticeably improved the volume but made the H12 noticeably uncomfortable to wear.

Microphone performance and volume was good, maybe a touch better than any other headset on the market.  In using a normal tone and volume, my voice came in clear.  Background noises such as traffic and the air conditioner were almost eliminated.  Louder noises such as the car stereo were filtered out nicely.

The H12 has a nice feature set including last number redial, call reject, voice dialing (phone dependant), call mute and call hold.  The H12 also has the ability to answer a second call or reject a second call.  The LED confirms these actions as well as alerting owners to low batteries through a series of colored flashes.  Battery life is rated by Motorola to be approximately 8 days of stand by time and 5.5 hours of talk time.  With the limited charging options, battery power should last you the day or in between destinations when traveling. 

Overall Impression

So is the Motorola H12 Bluetooth Headset ($89.95) with CrystalTalk technology leading the pack of Bluetooth Headsets on the market today?  The H12 is a solid performer that is comfortable to wear, has good microphone performance, a good feature set, and decent battery life.  But with the volume muffled by the ear bud design and limited charging options, if it’s leading the pack it’s not by much.

I have to recognize the dedicated power button one more time.  This feature of the H12 is something that other headset engineers should strongly consider.  I’ve tested several Bluetooth headsets that power on through the call/main button and it is difficult at times to tell if the headset is on or off.  I’ve caught myself staring at headsets waiting for the blinking blue light and turned the headset off when I thought I was turning it on too many times.  It’s refreshing to look at the headset and know for certain the thing is on or off.  It may be a minor feature to some but I think Motorola hit the nail on the head by having a dedicated power button.

Compared to the Motorola BH680 Bluetooth Headset ($59.95) the H12 is more comfortable, has slightly better microphone performance but the BH680 has slightly better speaker volume and battery life.  Otherwise these two headsets are almost equal. 

I really think if Motorola redesigned the ear buds the H12 would be very hard to beat even with the limited charging options.  As is, the H12 simply makes choosing a mini-headset a little harder to make.  It should be on everyone’s short list.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Build: 4/5 (those darn ear buds)
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Battery Life: 4/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Pros

  • Really comfortable to wear
  • Strong Microphone performance
  • Dedicated Power Button

Cons

  • Ear Buds seem to muffle headset volume
  • Limited Charging Options
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Weekly Software Wrangle - Week 4

Hitch up the software wagon and let's head out on the range. It's time once again to Wrangle this week's new, updated and free software for WM Professional and WM Standard.

This week we are featuring new software for WM Standard, PBA Bowling and Flyder US and UK. Updated software includes SmartReg and USB Modem. Freeware includes All Mobile Mines SE and Maufait InstaFind.

WM Professional new software includes a look at mDesktop and Touch Commander Suite. Updated software includes PhatPad 4.5 and Fizz Traveller. In Freeware, we'll take a look at the apps available from www.spoontools.com.

Let's get started with the Weekly Software Wrangle Week 4 now!

WM Standard: New

First up is PBA Bowling v1.0 by Concrete Software, Inc. Special recognition goes out to Lightning Toads Productions, LLC who provided their Toadlet mobile game engine to Concrete Software. Concrete Software licensed the Toadlet Engine from Lightning Toads to incorporate many features, including life-like physics, into PBA Bowling. You can learn more about Lightning Toads Productions and their products here.

Now, more about the game:

The biggest name in bowling, Professional Bowlers Association is now available for your mobile device.

Choose from the most realistic bowling balls and lane conditions. Enjoy full 3D environments and motion enabled throwing technology (device must have a camera).

Test your skills against a long list of the internationally recognized professional bowlers. Unlock special ball abilities and patterns. After working on your game versus the professional bowlers it

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(Join us this week as George reviews 4 Weather Apps for Windows Mobile Standard and then gives them all a big smackdown on Friday. Today's entrant: Elecont Weather)

Weather applications are increasing in popularity and Paragon Software Group has tossed Handy Weather ($17.95) into the growing selection of applications.  I’ve reviewed several weather applications lately and find them very useful to help plan your day on the go as well as planning for the days ahead.  There are a lot of good weather applications available and I was curious how Handy Weather would stack up.

Read on to see how it shapes up!

Installation was straightforward and easy but set up threw me a major curve ball.  Handy Weather claims to have over 40,000 preset cities in its database.  You first select you country, then State/Province/etc., then city.  I selected United States which prompted a listing of States.  I saw Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, and then it went on to California.  Alabama was missing!  I could pull up weather information for every State in the Union but Alabama.  I could pull up cities from the Federated States of Micronesia but not Alabama.  I could see the current conditions for Yap but not Birmingham!

Seeing that I couldn’t use any city in my home State, I choose Destin, Florida.  If I couldn’t be in Birmingham, I might as well be on the beach.

Handy Weather is a weather application and Home Screen Plug-in.  The application will place a weather forecast bar on your Home Screen that will show you the current conditions and the next four day forecast.  A series of weather icons are used and the temperature is displayed.

Clicking on the banner will send you to the application itself.  The main screen of Handy Weather is a seven day forecast and by clicking on the individual date, you pull up forecasted conditions including forecasted weather plus projected temperature, wind speed and direction, UV index, and humidity.

The application also includes three forecast maps; satellite, surface and temperature.  The maps are graphically pleasing but lacked detailed information.  Only eleven North American cities are shown on the Current Temperature Map, fourteen on the Satellite Map, and none are indicated on the Surface Analysis Map.  It would have been nice to have seen the selected Cities shown.

Handy Weather does not have animated maps, radar images or notifications of severe weather alerts.  It will allow you to see a graph of forecasted temperatures and conditions over a five day period.

The Options Menu for Handy Weather is limited.  You can change the language, units of measurement and update frequency.  Not much more.  I would have preferred to see the ability to modify the information bar content (current conditions or three day forecast as opposed to just the seven day) as well as graphical appearances.

Overall Impression

On the surface, I liked Handy Weather($17.95).  It gave you a snapshot of the seven day forecast along with a little more detailed information if you needed it.  Compared to other weather applications, Handy Weather would be a basic model giving you just enough information on the weather but not too much.  Unfortunately, it seems to be a work in progress.

Because Handy Weather does not include a single city in Alabama, it doesn’t do me or anyone traveling to Alabama any good.  In contacting Paragon Software, the omission of Alabama was an oversight on their part and steps are being taken to include Alabama in future releases, the first expected at the end of the month.

Based on the limited options, the oversight of including any city in Alabama, and basic features I’m almost of the impression that Paragon Software slapped this application together hastily in order to get a weather application on the market.

How do you forget a State?  When developers saw 49 States listed under the United States of America, shouldn’t that have been a sign?

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Installation: 4/5
  • Functionality: 3/5 (where’s Alabama?)
  • Graphics: 4/5 (more detail on maps)
  • Ease of Use: 4/5 (navigation is easy)

Overall:

Pros

  • Easy to navigate through

Cons

  • City Database missing an entire State
  • Lack of Detail in Maps
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Ah...and here I thought I was going to get by this week without posting any Treo 800w info.

Guess not what with a certain something on the down-low wrapping up this week. So good morning to everyone as we have a slathering of rumortastic info for you, including two more traditional blurry shots (see above and below) of the very long awaited Treo 700wx successor, the 800w.

(Fret not Verizon fans...read our earlier post on the Verizon 800w, if you're jonesing)

Keep reading for price, specs and a ton of other info info after the jump...

First up: we're hearing that the 800w will finally drop on Sprint on Sunday, July 13th. That puts it ahead by 9 days our date of July 22nd--curse you Sprint! Well, it still remains to be seen what the final release day will be, but we're getting close. (What, YOU know the date? Well throw her up in our contest thread already! And yes, July 13th is now also off limits for future guessing. So complicated)

The price is $249.99 (of course with "instant savings" and a mail-in-rebate)--if true, that's actually a very sweet price and should enable the 800w to go up RIM quite nicely.

What else can we dig up?

How about the battery is now confirmed at being a not-too-shabby (but hardly hulked out) 1150mah. If that sounds familiar it is because the Palm Centro uses that same size battery and in fact is the exact same battery. Yikes. So similar we are hearing that new Centros have a battery that even says "STD battery for 690/800w". That sure seems convenient for someone.

Oh and those new leaked pictures above? That is still a tester unit (see the blurred out serial). We're still expecting a few more shiny additions to the finalized version, so while the Black Charcoal which we 1st reported is accurate, expect a wee bit more pizazz in a few more weeks ;-)

And last but not least, if you need a re-count of what we know for device specs, here ya go:

  • MSM-6800 chipset
  • ~100mb of Program / ~170mb of Storage Memory (both after OS)
  • WM 6.1 (5.2.1944)
  • ARM1136 processor
  • WiFi
  • Soft touch paint
  • Dedicated Wifi button + Ringer switch on top
  • Micro-USB connector
  • 2.1mp camera
  • No headphone jack (uses microUSB to 3.5mm adapter)
  • 1150mah battery

Plus the usual:

  • 320x320
  • RevA (on release?)
  • GPS (network independent)
  • Palm Threaded SMS

So whaddya think? Palm has a winner or a snoozer here? Sound off!

Thanks to BigChris for the heads up!

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Weekly Software Wrangle - Week 2

Time to open the stables, saddle up, and start wrangling this week's software. This week we'll rope in some new and updated software for WM Standard and Professional, as well as take a peek at some freeware.

This week we're looking at new software for WM Standard, including GPSed and Genius Converter. Updated software includes Elecont Smartphone Manager and PDA Tuner PRO Live Online Radio and TV. Featured freeware includes Ilium Software Screen Capture and SplashNews for Smartphone.

Over on the WM Professional side, new software this week includes Pocket Workout Wizard v3.2 and Skybox. Updated software includes HiCalc - Your Trusted Calculator and Pocket DB for WM6 Professional. The freebies include IRCy Dictionary and Scatto.

Without further ado, let's start riding over to this week's Wrangle!

WM Standard: New

First up is GPSed: Track and Map Your Trips - beta v1.0 by SHAPE Services. Right out of the chute, you'll notice that this beta is FREE to download and use with the tag line "Mapping Your Impressions."

GPSed is a location-based service for trip tracking from Windows Mobile Smartphones. In real time tracks are traced on Google maps and stored in an online archive. With a simple geotagging feature it is possible to pin photos to a map precisely at a place they where taken.

Record tracks of your trips anywhere on the Earth from a PDA. Tracks are traced on Google Maps and stored in an online archive. All you need to start tracking is a WM PDA with an internal or external GPS receiver. In areas without network coverage it is still possible to record tracks by your Smartphone. These tracks can be imported to GPSed online service when you are in the area with good network coverage. Positioning data can be transferred online via GSM, EDGE, 3G or WiFi networks.

Pin your photos to a map with one-click geotagging feature. Take photos while traveling and link them to a map precisely at a place they were taken. The geotagged photos will be stored on your computer for easy and private access. See your geotagged photos in one click on Google Earth. You can get free desktop service GPSed Photo Take'n'Pin on GPSed web site. Then, share your position coordinates and tracks with friends and family. Just select "Email to Friend" and your friends will receive a link to your public tracks. Let your friends see your instant position on a map when you are recording tracks with GPSed.

Features: - Send your position coordinates to your friend via e-mail or SMS. - Make your tracks Public/Private. - Waypoints with geotagged notes. Stop at a point of interest and record a memo. - Detailed track information. - Tracks auto-zoom. - Search among your tracks and public tracks of other users. - GPSed is fully compatible with WM Smartphones equipped with the internal GPS receivers. GPSed is also compatible with mobiles that can connect to the external GPS receiver via Bluetooth and with any GPS receivers (like Garmin GPS, TomTom GPS and others) that can record tracks in GPX, PLT, KML and other formats.

Get GPSed beta for FREE here.


Next up is GeniusConverter v1.0 by Total Wireless Solutions. This is a very inexpensive and handy unit conversion program that you can carry around on your Smartphone.

GeniusConverter is an advanced unit converter containing over 360 units in 31 categories that will take care of all your unit conversion needs be it complex scientific conversions related to Radio Activity, Thermal Conductivity, .... or practical daily conversions like Fuel Usage, Temperature, ....

With GeniusConverter on your smartphone you no longer need to remember those complex conversion factors and formulas. A must have utility for everyone who is related with units and measurements.

Features: - 31 Different categories comprising a total of 360 Units. - SWAP option available for swapping 'From' & 'To' units. - ROUND option available for rounding-off the results. - High degree of Accuracy & Reliable conversions. - Easy to use and friendly User interface.

Get GeniusConverter v1.0 for only $5.00 here.

WM Standard: Updated


Elecont Smartphone Manager v1.0.145 by Elecont starts off our Updated WM Standard apps this week.

Elecont Task Manager is the easiest way to manage running programs on Pocket PC or Smartphone. It is similar to Windows taskbar. Activate or close any program with your finger or joystick in two clicks. Explore memory usage for each program and close the most expensive program before you start a new one.

Features: - Windows-like taskbar on Home and Today screen - Memory usage information for each program - Animated effects - Whole memory and battery usage on Home and Today screen - The easiest finger and joystick interface - Activate any program in two clicks - Close any program in two clicks - Close all programs in two clicks - Exclusion list for running programs - Free full-functional 4-day trial version. Free updates.

Get Elecont Smartphone Manager v1.0.145 for $9.99 here.

PDATuner PRO LIVE Online Radio & TV v3.1 by Beta3 is our second featured updated software. How 'bout some music, online radio and TV from around the world in your pocket?

PDAtuner - LIVE Music, Online Radio & TV. Online - updated weekly online - no upgrade costs - NO download required - save on memory - uses your existing Windows Media Player or any of the free mp3 players! - Visit PDAtuner com on your pda/smartphone to see all channels available

Features: - LIVE Music, Online Radio & TV from around the world on your Pocket PC. - Over 1000 US & Canadian streams. - Over 1000 international (Non US) streams. - Channels categorised by Country, State... - Channels grouped by genres - 60s70s,.. Contemporary, CHR, Christian, Classical....News, Sport - over 30 genres. - Windows Media and mp3 formats listed giving you the widest channel selection. - NO download required - save on memory. - ALWAYS up-to-date - NO future upgrade / version costs. - Simple - Buy, get Registration key and visit PDAtuner.com to register on first visit - login is only required on first visit. - Reliable - we check every channel weekly. - Favourites - add and remove with one click - stored online so you can access PDAtuner on any device/computer. - Clean fast interface designed by a usability expert.

Get PDATuner PRO LIVE Online Radio & TV v3.1 for $11.90 here.

WM Standard: Freeware


Ilium Software Screen Capture - Free for Smartphones v1.1 by Ilium Software is a free, fast, and easy to use screen capturing program for your Smartphone. Download a copy today and you'll be able to take screenshots quickly, whenever you need to!

Using Ilium Software Screen Capture takes just six simple steps:

  1. Start the program on your device
  2. Use the Options menu to define the key you want to press to take your screenshots
  3. Leave the program open - do not hit the Exit button yet
  4. Take your screenshots! (If you have sound on, you will hear a camera "click" noise when the screen is captured)
  5. To stop the program, open it again and hit the Exit button
  6. Find your screen captures in your My Documents folder on your device

With Ilium Software Screen Capture, it's fast and easy to get any screenshots you need from your device. Download it today and you'll be ready to take screenshots on your Smartphone anytime!

Features: - Ilium Software Screen Capture lists several keys that you can choose from to take your screenshots. - These keys correspond to different buttons on your Smartphone. You can use the pound sign (#), asterisk (*), or one of the numbers on your keypad. - Whenever you press the button you've defined, a screenshot will be taken and saved to your My Documents folder, until you stop the program as described above. - Please note: Because Ilium Software Screen Capture is a free utility, we will be unable to provide phone and email support for it. However, the complete instructions are listed above, and following those steps is all that is required to run the program properly.

Get Ilium Software Screen Capture for FREE right here.


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Here we have another WMExperts editorial that starts relatively small and ends up turning into a big ol' discussion of what a smartphone is and what it should be. Today's question: how does your identity define your smartphone and, more importantly, how does your smartphone define your identity? Here we go!

Darla Mack asks the following question: (trackback here)

Men think that women want pink phones and cute phone charms and such. Women think that men want to have the “biggest, first, most expensive, etc. etc.”. But does anyone really know?
In my mobile journeys I've found that women do in fact want the same as men.

I'm inclined to agree -- the idea that you can slap a pink cover on a gadget and call it “female-friendly” is more than a little silly. It might be slightly less silly to argue that a given operating system's interface is “gendered,” though. I'm far from an expert on questions of gender and find the whole thing somewhat difficult to talk about (more on that in a moment).

It's more than just gender, though, there's a whole swath of people worldwide that don't seem to be getting properly addressed by the way smartphones get marketed these days. Can Microsoft (et al) find a way to direct their development and their marketing to address the needs and desires of different demographics without pandering or stereotyping?

I don't know, but I have a few thoughts. Read on!

Are Smartphones Gendered?

The default assumption, I'm guessing, is that Windows Mobile is too analytical/left brained overall and therefore oriented towards the typically male way of thinking about the world. All those regimented menus, submenus, lines, squares, checkboxes... it all seems to read decided “male.”

The numbers bear that reading out, as we reported last November:

According to a recent research by Microsoft, only 14.6% of the Windows Mobile users are women, compared with 85.4% of men.

I doubt that the divide is as stark as that for all smartphones, but at the recent BlackBerry WES 2008 conference I heard the same refrain from the few women I spoke with: “I wish there were more women here and in this industry.” There's definitely a problem here: Smartphones seem to be designed by men and for men.

I mentioned that talking about different demographics and the needs of those demographics is a little difficult to talk about. Here's why: While it's clear that smartphones are primarily designed by men and (for now, anyway) primarily used by men, it's much less clear that smartphones are “gendered.”

I have argued before that while Windows Mobile is not intuitive in a basic “I just get it / lizard brain” sense, it can be intuitive in a “Now I understand the metaphors for how this works” sense. Just as a manual transmission car isn't intuitive at all, it can still become “intuitive” to a frequent user (or, in smartphone parlance, a “power user”).

Take the earlier list of the things that are purportedly 'male' about the Windows Mobile interface. Are all those lines and checkboxes and questions of memory management and registry edits more intuitive to a male brain than to a female? Many would probably argue yes. I think that I would argue it's much more complicated.

I also think that Mack might agree, she writes:

We may take a back seat to being a mobile front runner when it comes to dropping bucks but that doesn't mean that we aren't technologically equipped to know a powerful device when we see it.

The line between “how a male brain works” and “how a female brain works” is movable, fluid, and fuzzy at best. Is “left brained” as “typically male” as we think it is? Frankly, no. The inverse also applies.

Since I'm no longer the academic I once was (and wasn't much of one even then), I can't name off the various studies about gendered interfaces, but they exist and they're a hell of a lot more nuanced than what you're reading here. Trust me - start digging into the concept of the “Cyborg” and you'll find enough material to set yourself up with complex and interesting reading for life.

So with Windows Mobile, while there seems to be evidence for it being 'gendered' based on who's making it and who's using it, trying to actually pin down the 'gendered elements' of the OS with any kind of accuracy and without blatant stereotyping is a task that's pretty much impossible to tackle.

Instead I think Microsoft ought to try to just make the interface more “lizard brain intuitive” than it is now -- more automatic transmission than manual transmission. As they do it, though, they ought to at least be aware of what their concept of “lizard brain” intuition is -- that concept needs to be much, much larger than upper-middle-class-white-male-executive-with-money-to-burn.

A Global Understanding of Who a Smartphone User is and Can Be

Saying that the target market is “upper-middle-class-white-male-executive-with-money-to-burn” may sound harsh, but the data bears it out. Gartner just released a study last month saying as much:

Sixty-eight percent of the world’s population is women and children who could benefit much from mobile technology, but the majority of mobile devices are designed by men, for men, according to Gartner, Inc. The user profile to which most mobile products are targeted is a western adult male (age 20 to 64), but this represents just 32 percent of the global population.

As I attended SOFCON 2008: The Mobile Future Conference last month, I heard the same thing over and over again: the internet is going mobile and phones are becoming more important than computers.

As people described this issue it became clear it was more than just a catchy marketing phrase (though, yes, it was that too): in the very very near future more people will be accessing the internet on cell phones than do on computers. Accessing it for the first time and nearly every time via a cell phone. The cell phone is literally going to be how the vast people understand and interact with the internet.

People might get excited by the One Laptop Per Child project, but that's nothing compared to the cellphone.

A cell phone is power, it is in an increasingly real sense a cornerstone of modern identity. Who I am is as much my phone number and email address as it is my name and physical address. Imagine having a very close friend of yours who doesn't have an email address, or a voicemail box, or -- yes -- a telephone. Barring snail mail, there would be no way to communicate with this person unless you were in person. This disconnected person would seem like a ghost, adrift in a world of connected nodes of communication, a neuron without a synapse. Where would he or she speak from or be spoken to except their physical place? Nowhere -- and as physical place becomes less important being disconnected make you more ghostlike.

This still describes the majority of people on the planet, but that's changing and changing rapidly. What companies like Microsoft and Nokia and RIM and Apple and Palm should be thinking about is much much more important than who has the most market share in North America:

  • What does it mean to make a smartphone that is a person's sole means of interacting with the larger world?
  • What does the internet look like when seen only through the screen on a smartphone?
  • What kind of smartphone do you need to make when it's the only means of communication for an entire family? An entire village?

...and most importantly:

What does it mean not only to supply somebody with a smartphone, but to supply them with an identity?

I don't know the answer to these questions, but they are the real stakes of the smartphone market. If you're in the business of providing tools that give people a “21st Century Identity,” you better be damn sure that it's not limited by a gendered way of thinking, a “western” way of thinking, or whatever superstructure you want. You had better do your best to design it to free people's minds instead of limit them.

In a couple hundred years I'm confident that the smartphone will be considered just as important as the PC as or as the Internet in terms of how it changed the world. It will be the primary 'PC experience' and the primary 'internet experience' for the vast majority of the planet. It's a revolution of technology and of identity. I know that people who work on creating smartphones are beginning to think of them this way, we as users should do the same.

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Weekly Software Wrangle - Week 1

Like our sister sites, we thought it was high time to deliver to you a Weekly Software Wrangle, where we herd and rope in some of the new and updated software for WM Standard and Professional.

This week we're looking at new software for WM Standard, including PhoneyCall, Fizz Alarms, and WM Tip Calculator. Updated software includes Extreme Agenda, AE Button Plus, and CorePlayer Mobile for Smartphone.

Over on the WM Professional side, new software this week includes Lexisgoo English Dictionary, In The Bag Shopping List, and Ringtones Deluxe +250 Volume 4. Updated software includes Softick Card Export, Master Kick and Zoomboard.

So saddle up, partners, and ready your lassos! Be sure to holler "YEEEHAWW!" as you stampede over to this week's Wrangle!

WM Standard: New

First up is PhoneyCall by AIM Productions. This little gem seems diabolical and outrageous on the surface, but the ability to send yourself a fake phone call sounds like a great way to escape a long-winded conversation, for instance.

PhoneyCall comes with pre-recorded communications sounds, or you can create your own. So not only will the fake call ring on your phone, but you can have an interactive chat with the fake caller. For a bystander this sounds even more realistic!

Get PhoneyCall for $19.99 here.


Next up is Fizz Alarms 1.0 for Standard from Fizz Software Ltd. If you want a more robust and feature-rich alarm program for your WM smartphone, then Fizz Alarms may be worth a closer look.

Fizz Alarms is your every day time manager. From repeating alarms, stopwatches to counters. Its your time so take control.

Features: - Comprehensive Alarm Support - Control your alarm recurring options - Control your alarm volume playback - various options - WAV, WMA & MP3 support - Snooze Support - Stopwatch Support - Save your lap times - See your laptimes at a glance - compare the speed bar. - Multiple Counters - Name your counters - Select different sounds for each counter - Snooze time - at end of counter - Digital or analog main clock face - Windows Mobile 6.1 support - all screen sizes - Super Simple Interface - Localised in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch & Russian

Get Fizz Alarms 1.0 for Standard for $14.95 here.


Windows Mobile Tip Calculator v3.0 by Neutronix Corporation rounds out the new WM Standard apps this week.

Calculate your tip amount and split the bill faster and easier than ever before using Windows Mobile Tip Calculator.

Featuring the most powerful bill splitting and itemizing functionality available on the market today, Windows Mobile Tip Calculator allows you to split bills not just by the number of people in your party, but accurately, based on who had what, and how much. Your friends who only had a salad will be happy to know they're only paying for the salad they had, and not part of the two steak & lobster entrees your other guests enjoyed.

The built-in tipping guide provides you with suggestions for common tip amounts on most types of situations and services where tipping is customary or recommended. Whether you're tipping the paper boy, or your server at a fine dining restaurant, you'll know exactly how much to tip, and who owes what using Windows Mobile Tip Calculator.

Get Windows Mobile Tip Calculator v3.0 for $14.95 here.

WM Standard: Updated

Extreme Agenda - Your Organizer v3.26.1 by Birdsoft is our first featured updated software.

Extreme Agenda is the premier Personal Information Manager for your Windows Mobile Smartphone.

It features Powerful Agenda Views, Photo Contacts, Todos, Search, and even Notes and a Secure Wallet in one easy to use package!! And with complete customization and great high-end features found only on other platforms you can't go wrong.

And now we have taken Extreme to the Extreme in new Version 3.0. A Project view, Innovative Spinner Selection screen, timeline week view, and so much more... Free upgrade available if purchased after May 1st. Contact Birdsoft for details..

So if you want to upgrade your Smartphone's built-in Pocket Outlook Applications, there is only one real choice!

..::Take Your Agenda to the Extreme::..

You want more than just pretty icons! We offer more powerful features like Linking, Templates, and Notes, friendly one-handed operation, half the footprint, a smarter price-tag; the list goes on and on.... It justs works more!

Get Extreme Agenda for $21.95 here.


AE Button Plus v2.6.3 by AE Software extends functionality of hardware buttons by allowing you to directly assign built-in action (of more than 40) or remap to "virtual" button single, double, tripple and "long" keypress of almost any hardware button on Windows Mobile devices.

Features: - Intercepts almost any standard button: application buttons, WM5 softkeys, volume slider, red/green phone buttons, Win, Ok... - Distinguish up to 4 different keypress events on each button grabbed (single, double, triple and "long" keypresses) - Remaps each of the keypress event to "virtual" application button or dirrectly assign it to one of the more than 40 built-in actions - Contains built-in task manager, actions menu, clock display and other useful functions - Gather uptime statistics and makes prognosis on battery uptime left

Get AE Button Plus v2.6.3 for $7.99 here.


CorePlayer Mobile for SmartPhone v1.2.4 by CoreCodec, Inc. is at the center of the CoreCodec

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We're live at the CTIA 2008 Keynote, speakers to include Robbie Bach of Microsoft (head of the division that includes Windows Mobile, Hint Hint), Richard Branson of Virgin Mobile (who we just spotted chatting up a small group outside), and Dan Hesse of Sprint. We're assuming hoping that Windows Mobile 6.1 is announced today. Tune in after the break for live updates.

It's all done now, folks, we have a full gallery of the Windows Mobile 6.1 features they showed during the keynote after the break!

Gallery

Liveblog

Times below are MST, newest updates at the top.

10:59 - We're done!

10:56 - "Sprint features increasing openness, or as we prefer to call it, open freedom." "Walled Garden company is the company of the past." Do it Sprint. Bragging about full HTML "off portal" browsing - i.e. letting you go to any web page. Woo.

10:55 - expect multimode devices that do both 3G and WiMAX.

10:53 - WiMAX video. Confirmed, XOHM pronounced "zome."

10:50 - No mention of how they've been flailing about lately. Hm. Time to talk WiMAX. They're going for WiMAX, expect a 2 year time to market advantage.

10:49 - Samsung Instinct. Like no other touchscreen phone, pay no attention to the fact that it sorta kinda looks like an iPhone. GPS too. Available this summer.

10:46 - Talking up Simply Everything. $99 for everything - talk, text, data. etc.

10:43 - I should have made a drinking game out of this. "Last year the mobile industry hit a tipping point."

10:41 - wireless company of the future. Launching Push to Talk to CDMA. "The button." Also adding Push to text. Push to email.

10:40 - intro video talks up how the company that can deliver "immediacy" will have the pole position.

10:40 - Steve Largent is back, bringing on President and CEO of Sprint, Dan Hesse. Care to tell us how you're going to survive there, Hesse?

10:38 - Bach is wrapping up. You can tell because he's saying stuff like "inflection point" and "just the beginning."

10:37 - Hey Bach, tell us when! Hey! When? Free? When?!

10:36 - Sprint: HTC Mogul and Touch, the Q9c, and the Samsung Ace will get 6.1

10:35 - AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Alltel will offer 6.1 phones. Now he's going to talk up AT&T: Samsung BlackJack II, Moto Q9h, AT&T Tilt, and Pantech Duo will all get Windows Mobile 6.1

10:33 - "Best looking mobile phone in the industry today." Cocky, nice. Will run 6.1 and the panel experience. Demoing the panel experience. It's not as fast as I'd like... SE will be selling creating panels with partners for other things like services.

Neat little widget panel showing calendar, weather.

10:32 - Bach is back on stage. Talking about Sony Ericsson and likely the XPERIA X1? Yes, the XPERIA X1. Another Demo.

10:31 - Flash Lite will be built-into Windows 6.1. Showing the full YouTube. Ah, the waterskiing squirrel. ...oh, looks like the new IE won't be out until the end of 2008. Bummer.

10:30 - Showing it on a BlackJack II. The click and zoom is very nice, actually, better than you might expect without a touchscreen.

10:29 - Time to show the Windows Mobile 6.1 browser. A new version of Internet Explorer Mobile. Makes sense to bring IE6 and IE7 to windows Mobile. Desktop-like browsing he says, full page not the mobile optimized page.

10:28 - Showing Live Search for Mobile now. Adding Web Search, Weather. Nice. and "Collections." List of most common searches, i.e. "Upcoming music events" that lets you find what's new for whatever area you're in.

10:27 - Bill Gates what to have lunch with Snyder. THREADED TEXT confirmed (as if you didn't know). It's not very real-estate friendly, it takes up a lot of space per message. "Bringing that to market over the next couple of months."

10:26 - Productivity now. Outlook Mobile. COPY/PASTE on all Windows Mobile phones (incl standard). Yay. Also showing smart filter. Hold Shift key to select multiple messages (nice!)

10:25 - Automatic profiles (sets to vibrate when you're in a meeting).

10:24 - neat photo plug in. We'll have photos ourselves, folks, after the keynote is over.

10:23 - A new "getting started" center. Nice. 10 Minutes. 10 Hours. 10 Days. That's Microsoft's mantra. Has email settings, bluetooth settings (can automatically pair, it tries the pairing codes automatically). How to transfer music to your phone, a new music plugin for the home screen.

This is all standard edition, by the way.

10:22 - Samsung BlackJack II, updatable to 6.1. Showing new today screen. "The sliding panel" See most important information on one screen. Can scroll left and right through notifications, shows details of the notification. Each line of the today screen expands to show more details as you move the 5 way over them.

10:22 - Demo Time!! And Bach invites somebody on stage to demo. Oh yes, it's the Master of Mobility, the Wizard of Wireless, the Warlock of Windows Mobile, Dereeeeeeek Snydeeeeer!

10:20 - Simpler and easier to use for voice, data, communications, entertainment. Showing a BlackJack II. New home screen. New Web Experience. "Full Desktop experience you might expect." (not from what we've seen in screenshots.. hm..). Richer entertainment experiences. Talking about Systems Center Mobile Device Manager (which we wrote about during the last live keynote blog from Steve Ballmer).

10:20 - Announcing Windows Mobile 6.1

10:19 - Services. Tellme. Danger. Musiwave. ScreenTonic. Lots of companies Microsoft has purchased to improve services.

10:18 - Driving innovation. Infrastructure, PlayReady, partnering with nvidia for video chipsets. Web - Silverlight (glee, though nothing new here) and mentions they're going to add Flash Lite.

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