In this never ending quest to find the ultimate mobile device that meets all of our needs while still being portable enough to still be considered a mobile device, one feature that is constantly mentioned as a weak link is the size (or complete lack) of the hardware keyboard. While many people (myself included) hate on the lack of hardware keyboards in different devices, the truth is that it is purely a matter of preference. Obviously though, no software keyboard (or mobile phone based hardware keyboard) can duplicate the usability of a full sized keyboard.
We’ve played with a number of Freedom’s products on this site. Though everything from Keychain GPS receivers to portable Battery Chargers are available from Freedom, their line of Bluetooth Keyboards is their primary niche. The Freedom Pro Bluetooth Keyboard could be considered Freedom’s flagship product. The keyboard folds in half to make it as portable as possible while still giving you as much keyboard real estate as possible.
Microsoft’s partnership with Facebook keeps getting stronger. Everything from Microsoft’s development tools to Windows Phone 7 Series includes some form of integration with the popular social networking application. Windows Phone users have several different methods of getting to their Facebook accounts from their phones. In addition to their mobile site and SMS integration, the Facebook application for Windows Phones is one of the applications that Microsoft has been pushing hard as a demonstration of what is capable with Windows Mobile 6 based devices.
Facebook 1.2 is now available from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. If you haven’t played with it before, Facebook for Windows Phones allows you to perform most of the tasks that you are familiar with. Updating your status, sending and receiving messages, and managing and viewing pictures and videos are all simple to do within the application. Also new in the 1.2 update are the ability to comment and "like" posts.
If you haven’t given Facebook for Windows Phones a try, head over to the Marketplace for Mobile and have a look-see.
Accessories for Windows Phones can be very generic or device specific. Bluetooth Headsets are one of those things that you can pretty much guarantee will work just as well no matter what device you’re using. Desktop Cradles on the other hand are one category of accessories that are device specific by necessity. I’ve already reviewed the Innodock Jr. from Seidio, but there are other options that may be a better option for your needs; such as Mobi Products’ Desktop Cradle for the AT&T Tilt2.
Hit the jump for the full review.
Charges phone and spare battery. Features USB and standard power.
We're back from Mobile World Congress 2010 battered but excited for the upcoming year in smartphones. We had coverage from the show at all six sites. If the above isn't enough to whet your appetite for Mobile World Congress news, we've helpfully collated a list of all our coverage up to this point after the break. There are still a few more posts to come as we empty our memory cards and ponder what we held in out hands out in Barcelona - so stay tuned!
Since the introduction of Windows Phone 7 Series, there have probably been more questions than answers, especially around the notion of multitasking, notifications, application development, etc. Microsoft has stated that the majority of that will be addressed next month at MIX10, a conference dedicated to development on Microsoft's various platforms (which are becoming more and more interlinked).
To steal some of that thunder are a few documents that reportedly show exactly what developers can expect, and what they can and can't do.
First up is confirmation of preemptive multi-tasking, which is a very good thing. But now the catch: not all applications and programs will have access to that feature. From what it appears, developers will have to get their applications approved for use of multi-tasking features: the public will have access to managed API's and upon approval, access to native APIs.
Think of it as a compromise between the current "no multitasking" on the iPhone versus the wild west approach of the past Windows Mobile platform. Of course the success or failure of such an approach depends on how fair Microsoft is in granting such permissions.
The other thing to note is what WP7 is built on: XNA, Silverlight and .NET CF. XNA UI is for event-driven XAML based application developtment, whereas XNA is better suited for gaming (see XBox programming).
Overall, it looks to be a great strategy, offering developers low-cost access to well know development tools that have been tried and tested in the past and at the same time, setting rigid, but on request flexible, guidelines to guarantee a certain level of performance and adherence to the "3 screens" (Computer, TV, PC) vision Microsoft is putting forth.
If you haven’t noticed, one of the biggest things that I look for in a new game for my phone is how well it translates to the mobile platform. There are good reasons that my favorite game genre (First Person Shooters) haven’t made a big splash in the Windows Mobile arena; that is because there are certain controls that lend themselves to that type of game. Card games traditionally require a minimal amount of effort from the user to accomplish what they are trying to do, making them a good candidate for a mobile platform.
One developer that has made an effort to offer a number of different card games for reasonable prices is Panoramic Software. In addition to their card games such as Panoramic FreeCell and the subject of this review, BlackJack; Panoramic also offers other applications such as their Twitter client, moTweets.
To see if Panoramic BlackJack lives up to the standards that we have come to expect from Panoramic Software, hit the jump.
Clean interface. Tutorials. Supports various card counting techniques.
By Dieter Bohn, Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm EST
We are outie-5000 from Mobile World Congress, folks. There are a couple straggler posts we'll catch up on, but in the meantime listen in for our thoughts on some BlackBerry news, yeah, but also HTC's big announcements. Listen in!
Acer has announced two new Windows Phones that will be running Windows Mobile 6.5.3.
The Acer Neotouch P300 is a sliding-keyboard designed Windows Phone that will sport a 3.2" WQVGA touch screen. The Acer NeoTouch P400 is a "black slab" Windows Phone that is powered by the Qualcomm 7227 600mhz processor.
The P300 is listed as being available in March of 2010 while the P400 is expected to hit the market in May of 2010. Both will likely hit the European market first, with the potential of eventually finding the U.S. market.
Dieter and Phil hope to get some hands-on time with these two Windows Phones but in the meantime, for more on the available specs and pictures of these Acer phones, ease on past the break.
For you fans of SPB Mobile Shell out there, we're pleased to report that good things are coming in Version 5.0. They're not quite ready for you yet, but they're coming this year. The 3D animations are as smooth as butter, and the video doesn't do justice to how nice it looks on a screen as large as the HTC HD2. Peep the video after the break.
Toshiba still has some of the biggest and most elusive (at least in the U.S.) phones around. Case in point: The TG02. This 4.1-inch monster sports the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB of ROM/256MB of RAM and SPB Mobile Shell running atop Windows Mobile 6.5.3.
Nothing too crazy about that (and we couldn't get them to answer on the whole "waterproof" thing we saw in early leaks. But this is one of the lightest phones you'll ever see -- especially for something with a 4.1-inch screen. It's crazy light. If you were to drop it, it'd probably just float back to Earth. It's that light. It's also pretty darn snappy, thanks to, well, Snapdragon. See for yourself after the break.
We had a much more quiet look at Windows Phone 7 Series today at Mobile World Congress, and it really brings the upcoming Microsoft operating system into a new light. (See our previous hands-on.) Yes, it still looks like it's based on the Zune software, but it's really so much more. And we heard a few of you still calling it a Zune phone, and we're calling you out as soon as we get back.
Check out our latest hands-on from Barcelona after the break.
Let's just get this out in the open: The Sony Ericsson Aspen left us wanting. Maybe we were blinded by our desire to see a new front-facing QWERTY Windows phone with a touchscreen, just like mama (erm, Palm and others) used to make. Instead what we got was a so-so keyboard with a touchscreen-optimized operating system on a 2.4-inch diagonal screen. Even those of you with small hands would find hitting the tiny icons on the screen a little ridiculous.
Still, the name of the game with Sony Ericsson this week has been "Think small" -- at least in the physical size of its phones. And that definitely was achieved here. See what we mean after the break.
We actually got to handle the Toshiba K01 a lot more than you'll get to see in this hands-on, and it's an interesting little (erm, huge, actually) phone. It has a 4.1-inch screen, 1GHz Snapdragon processor and a full four-row QWERTY keyboard. But darned if it's not light as a feather and pretty speedy to boot, even in its unfinshed, "No, you can't video it it yet" form.
Like the TG01 and its follow-up, the TG02, it's unlikely we'll see it in the United States. But we've got you covered with more after the break.