The good news: The Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 has passed the FCC. The bad news: This is the European variety, which lacks the U.S. 3G bands. But, it does mean you can import the X2, if you're so inclined. Whether you'll be willing to spend that kind of cash for great hardware and a sometimes-frustrating software experience is a completely different question. (Peep Dieter's hands-on if you need a reminder why.)
Maybe I'm a little jaded after waiting so long for the Xperia X1 only to have it land, look impressive, but fail to make a big impact on the Windows Mobile world. Don't get me wrong - the Xperia X2 is very nice: the build quality is amongst the best of the couple dozen devices I've handled here at CTIA. From the slider to the feel of the keyboard to the subtle curve on the lower-rear of the phone, everything is top-notch.
Not so top-notch, the latest iteration of Sony's Panel's interface. It's awfully pretty and definitely the sort of things you can use to wow your friends and shame your enemies, but only if you're careful to stick with one panel and not switch between your different options, as the lag starting them up is a little disappointing. Perhaps it's time Sony moved beyond the standard 256RAM/512ROM 528MHz Qualcomm processor and into the big time if they're going to try to power interfaces that are this dynamic.
Still, the 480x800 screen and 8mp camera can't help but impress. I can definitely see Sony fans coveting this and I can't blame them for it, the X2 is a very futuristic-looking rig, I just wish the internals we are futuristic as its looks.
The Beta tag has been removed from the mobile browser Bolt and is reported to be faster and more reliable than the Beta versions.
Bolt 1.5 includes such features as the ability to stream videos of any length, a dedicated search bar, a download manager that downloads files directly from Bolt, improved navigation and a caching feature that enables browsing back to a previously visited page without waiting to reload.
We took a look at the Beta version of Bolt some time ago and had mixed feelings. While download speeds were fast, the layout of the browser was a little lacking. Menus were small and hard to read and touch navigation was choppy.
To see if the production version of Bolt is an improvement over the Beta, follow the break.
Since it seems like ol' Microsoft is never going to get around to giving us even the slightest bit if Xbox integration with our Windows phones, at least not until presumably WM7, it'll be up to intrepid developers to fill in the gap.
Now the program is still early in development, so all you can do now is view a single Xbox gamertag along with some game stats albeit render beautifully in VGA graphics (seriously, it's very nice). You can search for any gamer and it checks with a 3rd party server to pull down the info. Not amazing but cool.
Future option include auto-updates, more resolution support and adding/maintaining friends. Grab it here.
See Microsoft, it's not too hard to throw us a bone.
All right, folks. We're gonna leave this one totally up to you guys. We're two weeks into the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. At the time of this writing, there are 273 apps available, the majority of which are not free.
So, how's your Marketplace experience been? Hit up the poll below and give us your take in the comments. Oh, and while we're thinking about it, take the time to add your own review of an app in the Marketplace, and use the start rating system. It'll help us all when it comes to time decide whether to purchase.
We don't usually cover the ins and outs of ROM-cooking community for several reasons. No. 1, it's huge. No. 2, cooked ROMs are updated seemingly daily, especially for HTC phones. And No. 3, it's a little nefarious, and Microsoft should be commended for giving it a nod and a wink.
All that said, let's talk cooked ROMs for a minute.
The first official releases of Windows Mobile 6.5 in the United States have come on the AT&T Pure and Tilt 2, and the Samsung Intrepid on Sprint. As we discussed in our review of Windows Mobile 6.5, the builds we're seeing largely have the same look and feel of what was first announced nearly eight months ago. Meanwhile, we've seen newer and newer builds leak out, dubbed Windows Mobile 6.5.1.
Now, stock ROMs hardly ever are a fun time. Carriers load them up with their own customizations and programs that you might or might not use. (We call that bloatware or crapware.)
I picked up an AT&T Tilt 2 on Sunday. The stock ROM lasted exactly six hours. Now, I'm running what is considered a Windows Mobile 6.5.1 ROM (Build 23071.5.3.0, from NRGZ28 of XDA Developers fame). Whatever ROM you use, remember that a cook is only as good as his or her ingredients, and so kudos to Microsoft for improving Windows Mobile 6.5 even as it was being released.
But, like we said, we're not going to dive into the ins and outs of custom ROMs. However, we will say this: You want Windows Mobile 6.5.1 (or whatever it ends up being called). And for you HTC users out there, you'll want the newer versions of TouchFLO 3D and the Sense UI. And HTC, Microsoft and the carriers should (and in all likelihood will) bring them to us in an official capacity as soon as possible.
Will it change your life? Nope. But it'll make your experience with Windows Mobile 6.5 much more enjoyable as we all hold our breath for Windows Mobile 7.
I don't mind admitting that when we announced we were giving away an original HTC Verizon Touch Pro, I was a little worried about what kind of reaction we'd get. But, boy howdy, did you guys and gals deliver. And so, without further ado, the winner is ...
For our Mac-wielding friends out there, Microsoft has updated Live Mesh so that it now works with Snow Leopard (you know, that 10.6 release of the Mac OS that broke everything). For you number-crunchers out there, the Live Mesh Mac client is now at Version 0.9.4501.0 and can be downloaded from www.mesh.com. [Live Mesh blog]
Nite Ize cases typically are moderately sized, multipocket, non-leather cases capable of carrying just about everything from credit cards to cash to the Windows phone itself. Breaking new ground lately, Nite Ize is offering a slim, leather series of cases.
Not much to say here except that the Samsung Code is now available on Metro PCS for $299.99 with the usual caveats. For that much jing, you get a middle-of-the-road front-facing QWERTY with Windows Mobile 6.1, a 2MP camera and the usual trimmings that will get you through the day but not do much to impress your friends.