To say the third annual Smartphone Round Robin was a blast would be a gross understatement. We got to see the best and brightest of the major smartphone platforms, and wee what our friends and colleagues thought of Windows Mobile.
But let's get to the really important stuff. In addition to 30 one-on-one videos and 30 platform reviews were the hundreds and hundreds of forum comments you left for your favorite SPE editors. And with each post you were entered to win a Windows phone of your choice.
And so without further ado, it's time to name that winner. But first let's recap all the major platforms: There's Windows Mobile, of course, and the iPhone. And then there's Android and webOS, and of course, BlackBerry. Nokia was the new addition to the group this year and certainly gave us all a run for our money.
Now before we get to who actually won a free Windows phone, let's talk about what the Round Robin's really about: You guys and your comments, forum posts, e-mails and ...
OK, OK. Kidding. And the winner is ... (after the break, of course):
This is some pretty big news: it appears that HTC is getting in on the e-Book business. Watch out Apple iPad?
The latest version of Manila/Sense 2.5 (2012) features a tab dedicated to reading e-Books that can be purchased by Boarders or, evidently, though Adobe. No word on Amazon.com at this time.
HTC Reader 1.0 is the name of the program that will render the e-Books and overall it looks pretty great. It follows the usual UI/UX that HTC has laid out with their other tabs, which includes a directory for browsing, book art, and of course reading the book. There does seem to be some scrolling action needed, in addition.
The other big news is that this latest ROM comes from a Chinese Rhodium Shipped ROM. To translate and as we mentioned in the last podcast, this is coming from a Touch Pro 2 ROM that is ready to market. That HTC, they never rest.
Does this mean the reason for the Sprint WM6.5 ROM update is taking so long is so they can get their hands on this version? We have no idea and zero indication that is the case, but that notion has at least entered the realm of plausible. Keep your fingers crossed.
In the mean time, you can expect some custom ROM action to start including this latest build as it spreads through out the community.
[Big thanks to tek818 for the screenshots & info!]
To refresh, Flash Lite is what Mobile Internet Explorer has been using for at least a year already (Microsoft really doesn't get enough credit for that fact). It's not full Flash, but it will allow you to watch YouTube and some other embedded videos within the browser, which is a start. In fact, due to the aging OS and standard hardware, doing full Flash would really drag the device down.
Other fixes/changes include:
Flash Lite 3.1 support (disabled by default)
Complete bookmark sync in Opera Link
BIDI support also for language extensions
phone numbers in plain text are converted to links
support for background sound
general bug fixing (stability, UI)
That's right Standard users, you finally get keypad support! Looks like Opera didn't forget you exist. To turn on Flash Lite, since it is off by default, go to Tools --> Settings --> Advanced and set Plug-ins to “On”.
Although the LG eXpo is a very capable device (see full review), in fact it's one of my favorites right now, it does have some ... quirks.
One of those, and we're not joking, is no email notifications. That is, there is no listing under Settings --> Sounds & Notifications for email or even SMS, for that matter.
We're not sure why that is the case, or how that passed AT&T's testing, but it is what it is and needless to say...it's annoying. (We even had a question on during the last podcast),
To address this, I threw together the registry entries to bring back SMS and Email notifications as I know this bothers quite a few folks out there, myself included. This will enable sound, vibrate, pop-up and even LED support on the eXpo for SMS and Email.
While AT&T and Microsoft had positive earnings reports last month, Sprint joins Verizon in having "not-so-great" news with their latest earnings report. While Sprint has had eight consecutive quarters of improvement in customer care satisfaction and first call resolution, the company continues to record losses in customers and net operating revenue.
Customer losses for the 4th Quarter included 69,000 retail customers, 148,000 net wireless customers and 540,000 post-paid customers. This is up from the losses last quarter where Sprint reported losses of 135,000 retail customers, 545,000 net wireless customers and 801,000 post paid customers. Sprint did see it's first gain in CDMA subscribers in six quarters, gaining 3,000 post-paid customers.
While Sprint's subscriber losses seem to be stabilizing, their revenue losses seem to be increasing. Sprint reported a consolidated net operating revenue of $7.9 billion, a net loss of $980 million (up from a $478 million loss last quarter). Sprint does report a free cash flow of $666 million, the highest in company history.
Sprint notes in the report that they are continuing to build on their 4G network. The 4G service is currently available in 27 markets, serving 30 million customers people. Sprint hopes to expand that to additional markets building the coverage to 120 million people by the end of 2010. With the Virgin Mobile merger complete, a handful of new phones heading to market and an increase in 4G coverage, Sprint may be able to turn things around in 2010.
In case you haven’t heard, there is a huge event happening this month; an event that people around the world will be watching. No, I’m not talking about Mobile World Congress; though we (Dieter and Phil) will be there. I’m referring of course to the Winter Olympics.
Several Windows Mobile heavyweights are listed as sponsors of Vancouver 2010; one of them, Samsung, has a free application available to allow you to follow the games easily from your Windows Phone. Weather Updates, Medal Tracker, Schedule, and News are just some of the features that Samsung puts at your fingertips.
Head on over to the Samsung Vancouver 2010 site for the application (you’re looking for the “Download Wow” button in the bottom right corner).
Google has given their mobile synchronization a little more gusto by adding the ability to remotely wipe all data from your Windows phone, lock idle devices, and password access for each phone. These improvements are only for the Google Apps Premier and Educational customers. So those of us who use Google Sync won't be able to enjoy these features.
Google may very well be setting the stage for businesses to choose Google Apps over the more costly Microsoft Exchange. Google has even set up a costs savings calculator on the Google Apps website. The administrative features are also available for those using iPhones and Nokia E series phones.
The essence of this site is our enthusiasm for all things Windows Mobile. A common thread among WinMo enthusiasts is the unending desire to tweak and improve the devices that use. One technique that we have mentioned multiple times, and is a very popular solution for many hard core Windows Mobile junkies is the use of custom ROMs.
The hazards of flashing your device have been documented elsewhere, but HTC has assisted in alleviating one of those dangers with the official release of the stock ROM for the AT&T Tilt 2. This ROM enables you to re-flash your hardware back to using the standard (and more importantly, supported) ROM in the event of a need of hardware or software support.
So often in the gadget business, you know something without actually “knowing.” For example, we’ve known Windows Mobile 7 was coming for quite a while, though it is only now being confirmed. Likewise, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer making some noise at Mobile World Congress in regards to Windows Phone (potentially Windows Mobile 7) was mentioned in passing at CES (and a couple other times since then); but now it’s officially official.
According to Microsoft’s News Center, Steve Ballmer will be hosting a press conference to discuss Windows Phone at MWC. Slated for Feb. 15 -- that's next Monday -- the press conference will be streaming live and viewable from Microsoft’s Windows Phone page. After the conclusion of the press conference, an on demand version will be made available.
With as rampant as the speculation has become over WM7 and what it will or will not include, we’re not going to read much into the fact that this is only a press conference instead of a full-blown keynote. We’ll be there Monday to watch it go down.
Ran across an interesting Windows Mobile application the other day that turns your Windows phone camera into a document scanner. MobiPDFScanner from Mobitoad gives you the ability to convert pictures of a document into .pdf format. From there you can save or email the files, giving your camera a little more versatility.
Ease on past the break to read more about MobiPDFScanner to see if it was a hit or miss.
“Busy people don’t want another social network, what they want is the convenience of aggregation. We’ve done that. Hotmail customers have benefitted from Microsoft working with Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and 75 other partners since 2008.”
We're not sure pushing Hotmail (isn't it Live Mail now guys?) is the way to go, but at least they're adamant about it. We guess.
Regardless, Windows Mobile users are the first to get this with Google Maps 4.0 which was just released this afternoon. Rejoice!
As seen from the screenshots, you can add Buzz as a Layer to your maps. It ties in nicely with Latitude for your location by bringing up popular businesses and locations of interest near you. You can then simply select the location, write a few comments and even add a picture for others to see. Still confused? Check out Google's own video tutorial for more info.
Overall, it's quite nice, even if it apes FourSquare and since people would rather not sign up for yet-another-service, we'll place out bets with Google.