Enter nanoGroove, a full-fledged (though not officially endorsed) GrooveShark client that adds some nice bells and whistles. Although it costs a one-time license of $4.99, we think it's a fair price for a nicely polished application such as this.
Here are some of the features which it's free GrooveFish cousin is lacking
Supports multiple resolutions (including 320x320)
GrooveShark Playlist support
Power button disables screen (keeps music playing, saves battery)
We've had no problem running it on our Touch Pro 2 or Treo Pro and of course you can't beat the sound quality of GrooveShark (it kills Pandora in that regard).
If we had any complaints it would be that the UI has a few extra steps than is probably needed (like having to refresh to pull down your playlists) and it is a little confusing to get songs to actually just play (first you search, then you add to the player, then you switch to player, then you hit play).
Going through the .inf file (responsible for identifying the driver, associating the device with USB) he was able to find a few lines of code that, for the first time, specifically reference a phone.
In fact, there are three hardware Product IDs associated with the 'phone' class in addition the the three current Zune players (see above image).
Zheng also contemplates whether this is just part of a larger integration with Windows Mobile and his tentative conclusion is 'no' stating
Whilst it is possible there might be system-wide Zune integration into Windows Mobile 7, this particular driver references specific hardware IDs that are locked to a vendor (Microsoft) and product which under USB body regulations cannot be masked, thus this has to be Microsoft devices.
That's right folks, it looks like we are looking a three-pronged strategy from Microsoft:
Well, it looks like maybe the folks at ShapeServices, who make IM+, are going to do something about it as a "lite" version is floating around. More importantly, it appears to be free.
The main difference between "full" and "lite" is the latter doesn't have that "push" feature for IMs, GPS-MyLocation, Facebook chat or Twitter.
However, it still supports AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo!, MSN, ICQ, Jabber and MySpace (hah!). In addition, there's a green bar on the top that scrolls about the "full version" with an arrow to download it. Overall, not to shabby.
To prevent that from happening in the future, they purposefully leaked another ROM, v2.02, the famous "landscape in Manila" version. They were trying to out the leaker and they knew no one could resist leaking that upgrade, even if it wasn't complete yet.
We were told, from one of our most trusted sources, that
...its a trap, they have a certain Serial and IMEI of the device that it was suppose to be for...
Yup. According to our source, Manila 2.5 with landscape was a 'Canary trap' by HTC (thanks BigDiesel07 for the reference).
HTC is getting aggressive in trying to prevent further leaks, especially ones that are related to high profile devices. Whether they will be successful or not remains to be seen, but they are actively trying to find where these leaks are coming from within the company and they will use subterfuge to do it.
So if we see a reduction in the future of "new builds", you can point to that moment as the turning point. Then again, you sure can't fault HTC for wanting to cut down on the leaks and protect their property. Just part of the biz.
An easy answer for the change could be that's what T-Mobile ordered. But that's no fun, is it? A better guess is that in testing Windows Mobile 7 on it -- remember that we're all assuming it's getting WM7 -- a need for more memory was discovered. Either way, it's not a huge bump up, but we're not the types to turn down free RAM. (Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)
Of all the other smartphones and all the other operating systems we've looked at over the course of the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, none is as similar to Windows Mobile as Android. That's a little odd, as Windows Mobile at its core is rapidly aging, and Android is one of the newest players of the bunch. But it's true.
With Windows Mobile you get a high customizable operating system, with myriad options available to manufacturers, carriers, modders and end-users. We're constantly preaching the benefit of custom ROMs, chopped up from official releases and recompiled into smaller, faster packages. Android? Same thing. It's available on most major carriers, in several form factors (though front-facing QWERTY keyboards haven't really materialized), and with multiple versions of the operating system.
So is Android merely Windows Mobile's brother by another mother? Will its rapidly rising market share (and mind share) swallow up Windows Mobile and everyone else in its way? Let's talk about that a little after the break.
Quietly, amidst the multiple HTC Touch Pro 2 releases, Samsung refreshed its Omnia line with a slew of new Windows Mobile devices. The Samsung Omnia II is a black-slab, touchscreen device hone that sports a 5-megapixel camera and a hefty 8 gigabytes of storage memory. Verizon picked it up late last year.
Our initial impression has been positive. Our main concern was the customization that Samsung has installed on the Omnia II. Not only does the Omnia II have Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, Samsung also also tweaked the interior Windows Mobile screens and menus.
Follow the break to see if this customization makes or breaks the Omnia II.
Here's one that will blow your mind. Evidently, Verizon is or was planning on releasing the Palm Treo Pro.
Yup, that device from last year, featuring Windows Mobile 6.1, WiFi and EvDO Rev A. from what we're told is making its rounds on Verizon (or was).
From the photos above, you can see the following:
Verizon plugin for email
Verizon network plugin
That is newer firmware than the Sprint version (1.11.30F) and we're told it features CE OS 5.2.20765 (Build 207220.127.116.11).
Our thought? Hard to make sense of it. The firmware and photos don't really lie, but since there is no branding anywhere on the device it's hard to judge. Plus, there's that whole 'Why in the world would Verizon get this phone now!?' issue.
Ah, but we will share what we think is the official explanation:
...through my conversations with folks at VZW, it was made clear to me that this unit would not ever be officially released. Verizon has a number of them, and they are for sale (if you know how to get at them), but they will not be seeing any acknowledgment or release
So we'll just leave these here for you to discuss amongst yourselves.
Oh and sorry to 'anonymous' for losing these in our mailbox form a few weeks ago. Blame Phil.
Edit: The more we think about it, the more flashbacks we're having with the Motorola Napoleon--a device branded by Verizon, never officially on sale, but was still sold to a few select customers. Verizon...you truly have some strange policies!
Funny how on the last past podcast we were just lamenting the XBox Live's "point system" for purchasing games, videos, services, etc. It was hardly transparent, made you do conversions and came across ... well ... as slightly dishonest.
How we pay for things in XBox is relevant for Windows phone users because, make no mistake, XBox and Zune integration are coming down the pike in addition to our Marketplace. How we pay for those services across our "three screens" will be quite relevant to the success or failure of such an ecosystem, if we can be so bold.
Luckily, Microsoft has evidently heard the cacophony of complaints regarding this system and appears to be at least re-evaluating the process. Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg said in a recent interview:
We never intended to ever mislead people. I think we want to be transparent about it, and so it is something that we're looking at. How can we be more transparent and let people see it in actual dollars?
Well, perhaps they won't be ditching the points system, but at least they are considering improving it.
Microsoft, do us a favor: just ditch the points and go with dollars. Things are complicated enough already, and there is NO benefit for the consumer with the points system. Not a single one.
IM+ All-in-One Mobile Messenger from Shape Services is one of the top IM applications for Windows Mobile Standard and Pro (and increasingly its competition).
It is also hands-down the most expensive option, coming in at a whooping one-time fee of $39.95. At least that $39.95 is a lifetime license with free upgrades and even a transfer to another device-type (except iPhone). Is it worth it? Depends if you are an instant messaging nut -- if so, yeah as its a darn good app.
Curious about what changes have been brought with their 6.x and now 7.x updates? Read on for my full review.
We'll just summarize them all here since nothing is conclusive yet, but there are lots of interesting tidbits:
Windows Mobile 7 session at MIX 2010 announced: Evidently Microsoft is going to host a session on how to make apps and games for Seven in March at the big MIX '10 conference. Looks like that Mobile World Congress debut is quite likely. (via MobileTechWorld)
Twitter comments are coming from some Microsoft/Danger employees. Mention WinMo7 team, doughnuts, private testing, and milestones. Tweets originate not from a Sidekick client but from Microsoft. Project Pink lives? (via EngadgetMobile)
Part II: List of those tweeting from Danger/Microsoft: Carlos Picoto, Director of program management at Microsoft; Jeff McKean - Senior Product Planner at Microsoft; Bruno Silva - Director of Development at Microsoft Corp., Zune; Daryl Welsh - Director of Test -Premium Mobile Experiences at Microsoft;Michael Ducker - Program Manager, Premium Mobile Experiences at Microsoft; Namrata Bachwani - Release Manager at Microsoft (Thanks azimmerm)
Our leak of the HTC Obsession gets backed up by another anonymous source at WMPU, who says that it is really the Diamond 3, which seems kind of obvious. Also AT&T may grab it too. (via WMPU)
Our own source reveals to us that Seven is backwards compatible with WM6.x applications (contra an earlier rumor), but it is limited to resolution restrictions. A security warning pops up on launch, but the program will work. That info leads naturally to...
Finally, commenter drphysx, mentions this article from a few months back, which we think dovetails nicely with our big post. It seems to fill in the background info on decision making. It's all theory, but we think its well thought out.
We're sure that's just the tip of the iceberg and we're expecting a lot more info to come forward in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!