One of the things that have made Google’s Android platform such a strong player in the mobile space is the simple fact that Google has so many popular services. Google’s ability to tightly integrate these services into the Android experience is one of the things that is so appealing. Microsoft may have the numbers, but Google has everything neatly and seamlessly on Android, where Windows Mobile does not.
Think about it. Where Google has Google Search, Gmail and Google Talk; Microsoft has Bing, Hotmail/Live Mail, and Messenger. Though the similarities between the two giants are well documented, the way that they have approached the integration of their services into their mobile platforms couldn’t be more different. While Google makes use of their services bordering on mandatory (you have to have an account to even use an Android device), Microsoft has chosen to take a much more low key approach through Windows Live for Windows Phone.
Windows Live for Windows Phone hasn’t received much face time; but is worth a quick look, which is waiting on the other side of the break.
Provides Push Email without needing Exchange. Supports Messenger chat. Free.
Not enough support for Windows Live services. Bland appearance.
We're almost there, folks. It's the penultimate week of the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, and this week Android Central's Casey Chan teaches me a thing or three about the little green robot. I've said it many a time, but Windows Mobile and Android share a lot in common, and we're definitely going to get down to the bottom of it.
Okay everyone, time to put on your rumor helmets (they're like beer helmets, but filled with vodka). Here's what we are hearing about Windows Mobile 7 from various sources (none of which has been announced by Microsoft).
We'll spill the beans on what we're hearing about supposed various versions of Seven, two WM7 devices including full specs (the LG "Apollo" and HTC "Obsession") time-frames and even features.
An e-mail powerhouse with an aging operating system whose shelf life may or may not be slowly ticking down. Slightly iterative hardware every six months or so. Adored by business users. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
But, no, we're not talking about Windows Mobile. It's BlackBerry week in the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, and CrackBerry Kevin brought us two of his platform's best -- the Bold 9700 (CrackBerry review) and the Storm 2 (CrackBerry review). The former, a front-facing QWERTY device with a new navigation feature. The latter, a follow-up to Research in Motion's much-maligned first touchscreen device, and the first without a physical keyboard.
So join us as we jump into the world of the CrackBerry. A suit-and-tie device for people who are more than suit-and-tie people. Who knows ... we might even surprise ourselves.
And remember, we have a forum thread running at CrackBerry.com, and a post could be worth a free smartphone of your choice (up to $1,000).
The Windows Mobile 6.5 update for the T-Mobile Touch Pro 2, which leaked out a while ago, is now available through official channels, if you're into that sort of thing. (Looks like that rumored Jan. 20 date got blown, eh?) You're going to need your IMEI number (look under the battery), and then head here to get it. [via TmoNews]
Oh, Eldar, just what are we going to do with you? The Russian behind Mobile-Review.com apparently got his hands on a very early version of Windows Mobile 7 and talked about it on (where else) Twitter. He mentions that "Zune HD is more simple UI) and that "for WM users it will be a great step ahead. For market it's a copycat of Android 3.1/3.2 [ed. note: Android's currently at Version 2.1] or iPhone" with "a lot of horizontal movements, a lot of additional info by clicks etc."
And the kicker, which you see above, is that it might well not be compatible with current Windows Mobile applications. That's something we've been hearing for a while now -- a clean break from kernels of days (and years) past. And while that's not necessarily a bad thing -- fresh start and all that -- if it's true, it'll be sure to upset a portion of the current cadre of developers. Or, maybe they'll appreciate a clean start, too. Glass half-full and all that. Stay tuned, folks.
Hot on the heals of Verizon's recent rate changes, AT&T has announced matching rate changes. Effective Jan. 18, smartphone users can enjoy a new $99.99 unlimited voice and data plan. The new plan doesn't include texting, which will still cost an additional $20 a month for unlimited SMS.
A Family Unlimited Talk plan will also be available for $179.99 (for the first two phones) per month with unlimited voice and data. The cost of additional phones was not mentioned and we can only assume it will stay at $9.99 per line. Adding unlimited texting will run you $30 per month on the Family plan.
AT&T will also offer unlimited talk plans for Feature Phones ($69.99 individual/$119.99 family) and Quick Messaging Devices ($89.99 individual/$149.99 family). As with smartphones, texting plans will run $20 for unlimited individual plans and $30 for unlimited family plans.
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Somehow, I don't see Luke Wilson spinning it that way in the commercials that are sure to follow this announcement.
Evidently though, today is the day to grab the "official" fix for the dreaded future-SMS bug, whereby SMS messages were coming dated from the year 2016, coinciding with the New Year (see our epic earlier coverage for full context).
This fix updates rilphone.dll, which is the key component that interacts with Sprint's SMS server. In that sense, it is different from the "ziggy" patch, which simply enabled a function that time-dated received messages using your device's clock.
If you are happy with the current "ziggy" patch, there is no immediate necessity to download this patch. Then again, some prefer to have their SMS messages dated by the server, not their device, so this update makes sense.
What about Verizon, U.S. Cellular and others? No word yet, but we'll keep an eye out. Also, no word on the Sprint Snap either.
Remember NetFront? Made by Access, they were the original must-have browser on Windows Mobile, going back years ago when Mobile Internet Explorer was even worse (and called PIE). (See the v3.5 review as a refresher).
While Opera Mobile and Skyfire have mainly taken the lead, it seems Access is making an attempt to woo us back, releasing NetFront 4.0 "Concept Version". We imagine the concept part makes this a beta, so not everything will be peachy.
Our initial opinion of 4.0? Meh.
Read their full press release and info here. Go through the download process here.
And look for a full review from George, coming up next week. In the meantime, why not comment on your experience with 4.0?
If you're hip and cool, you'll use your MS Tag app to just download directly to your phone, see below.
It looks like Verizon is preparing to make some significant rate and feature changes to their wireless services effective January 18th. The Boy Genius Report has learned that Verizon is dropping the all-inclusive Premium Plan and re-branding the current Basic Plan to Nationwide Talk and the Select Plan to Nationwide Text and Talk. A 30% drop in pricing on the unlimited minutes options for each of these plans is expected as well.
Unlimited voice plans with Verizon will run $69.99 with a $89.99 option to include unlimited texting. Family plans will run $119.99 a month for the first two lines and $49.99 per additional line.
There will also be some changes to Verizon's data packages. A new $9.99 plan will be available with 25mb of data and mobile email. Overcharges for this plan will drop from $.50 to $.20 per MB. You will also have a $29.99 unlimited data plan with mobile email. All of Verizon's 3G multimedia phones will require at least the $9.99 data plan. Verizon's smartphones will require at minimum the $29.99 data plan.
According to slides obtained by BGR, Verizon states, "These new plans are designed to attract and retain high value customers in the marketplace and recognize the growing popularity of devices with more capabilities than ever before." We've seen claims of who has the biggest map, fastest coverage and most reliable networks. One has to wonder if Verizon's pricing changes will spark a pricing battle as well.
Follow the break for graphics comparing the new Verizon rates with the competition.
One of the games that has defined cross platform gaming is Sid Meier’s Civilization. I remember back in the late 90s when Linux was starting to get more widespread, many of the Linux flavors shipped with Civilization. Because of this, it was no surprise to me when I saw it listed in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
Hit the jump to see what this game is capable of, and if it’s worth the $4.99 that it will cost you.
Looking for more juice out of your HTC Touch Pro 2 but don't want the unsightly bulge from an extended battery? Check out the Seidio Innocell 1750mAh extended battery. It has 16 percent more power over the standard Touch Pro 2 battery but take up an extra space and doesn't require a new battery cover. Available now for $49.95 in the WMExperts Store.
To recap, Windows Mobile 6.5.x has been in development since last summer. Yes, even before Windows Mobile 6.5 was released, builds of this version were floating around. It recently started to appear on official devices like the TG01. It will feature
The company is purportedly so disappointed with Windows Mobile 6.5 sales since launch that the company is rolling out a 6.6 update in February
... makes our head spin. What is the logic here? Microsoft in, what, December decided sales were so awful that they're going to release another OS milestone within 2 months? An OS upgrade that isn't actually intended for a lot of current devices?
We're to believe the same company that cannot get Seven out on time (aka WM7), can now spit out major OS upgrades with a snap of their finger? So they are both crazy fast and crazy slow for OS upgrades. How convenient!
Or perhaps, just perhaps, Microsoft had always planned on releasing WM6.5.x, regardless of sales. That WM6.5.x will be developed even into the Seven life-cycle because Microsoft plans to continue selling that OS on lower-cost devices.
That latter one seems to make the most sense, since it adheres to, you know, basic logic and facts. Why else would Microsoft spend nine months of development on 6.5.x if they never planned to actually release it?
The other rumor is saying Microsoft will be showing 6.5.x off in Barcelona next month instead of Seven. We're going to side with Mary-Jo Foley here of ZDNet and say no, Seven will still be at least discussed, if not flat out shown off and that 6.5.x will have a subtle, quiet roll out instead.
Either way, we'll be in Barcelona to cover the event, so place your bets now on what you think will happen.