Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 (and ActiveSync) is coming, and that means new features for Windows Mobile. Some of them are for IT types, others directly affect you, the end user. Here's what's in store:
On the Server side:
Block/allow/quarantine phones: That's one for the IT side.
OTA update of Outlook Mobile: That's right, a new version of the app can be pushed to your phone. Wouldn't hold your breath in hopes of seeing this outside of a corporate environment, but you never know.
Sync SMS: It'd been rumored for a while. You can send text messages to networked phones from Outlook or OWA access and respond from either, as well as from your phone.
On the phone side:
Threaded messages(!): Instead of cluttering your inbox with each and every message, they're threaded by "conversations." Nothing you're not already used to elsewhere, and a welcome addition to Windows Mobile. There also are options to ignore threads or move them to other folders.
Reply state: See which messages you've replied to or forwarded.
Voice card/transcription: If someone sends you a voicemail through Exchange, it's transcribed(!!!) and you can play it directly in the e-mail. Very cool.
Get free/busy: No, not like that. It's just quick way to see if someone on your network is free or busy.
Again, this all involves Microsoft Exchange 2010, through it'd be great to get some of the Outlook Mobile features for people outside a corporate envrionment. For those of you on the inside, start lobbying your IT department now.
One of the things that has been promised to us for years, and is finally starting to come true on a viable basis, is the full convergence of phone, media player and internet device. Oddly, the segment that is arguably lagging the most on Windows Mobile is the media playback functionality. The biggest reasons that I can see for this are the anemic amount of on-board storage available on most devices, lack of standard audio ports and the shortage of quality free media playback software. The good news is that all this (and more) appear to be coming in Windows Mobile 7. Until then, workarounds abound for these issues, many of which have been featured on this blog.
For those of you blessed enough to sport an on-board 3.5mm audio port (or have already done a workaround). Check out v-moda’s Bass Freq headphones. Available in a variety of colors for those of you that are not stylistically challenged, v-moda offers functional headphones with some additional niceties that I would expect to find in a higher end (read: more expensive) product.
We're getting word from some insiders that HTC will be launching the Tachi (aka Twin) in China exclusively on the Dopod network come July (see right).
The VGA (480 x 640) device will launch with WM6.5, making it one fo the first devices in the world to (legally) launch with the new OS. This is evidently a change from the original plan to launch with WM6.1. It will also have dual CDMA and GSM radios enabled and be exclusive to China/Dopod for sometime.
You can't pick one up in stores and it's not yet being shipped, but you can go ahead and drop $519.99 on the Sprint variant (the S511) of the HTC Snapat Best Buy's Web site. Of course, that's the off-contract price, and it should drop if you're willing to fork over a couple years of your cellular life.
A favorite pastime of us phone nerds is to gather around a phone in a box ... and take it out. And record ourselves doing it for posterity. And after the break, a quick roundup of some HTC Touch Pro 2 unboxings and some hands-on time. (You can read Dieter's hands-on from Mobile World Congress.)
Remember that this is the unbranded, European version of the Touch Pro 2, so design is likely to vary slightly (Verizon and T-Mobile), or greatly (Sprint) when it's released by the U.S. carriers. (And we're still looking for AT&T shots that aren't renders. If you've got 'em, send 'em!)
This is all done instantly in the background with no noticeable performance issues--it just works seamlessly and efficiently which is the best kind of WM app. After a call, in your calendar it will say "Talked to " with the start/end times and call duration. The info shows up as a simple entry in your cal and you can even assign it a custom category.
The app does require .NET compact framework 3.5 and has many configuration options such as log missed calls, all calls, run on startup and even log your text messages (!) Very cool stuff. Get it here.
After reviewing the HTC Touch Diamond 2, taking a look at Verizon's version of the original Touch Diamond felt like a step back in time. Why Verizon waited so long to come to the table with the Touch Diamond is a mystery. But as they say, "better late than never." Right?
The Touch Diamond isn't a new phone and while most will be familiar with it, once it's branded by a service provider a phone can take on a life of its own. It's no secret that the Touch Diamond runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and comes loaded with TouchFLO 3D. But what other changes did Verizon throw onto the Touch Diamond?
There are only three hardware buttons — a rocker for volume, a power button and a home button.
The browser is a "flavor" of Internet Explorer 6, but it won't look or feel like IE. Definitely not a bad thing.
The first flood of Xbox integration will surround video. Music will follow later.
More over at Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, and we've got a brief video shot by Gizmodo after the break. Yes, you'll see a big fat link to "Marketplace" in the Zune HD's UI, but we're betting that's going to be for the Zune Marketplace, not Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Calm down, folks.
Do remember (and we have a feeling we'll be repeating this for a while) that while we expect the Zune and Windows Mobile to share some features in upcoming versions, we don't yet know for sure what they are. That's why we'll be keeping a closer eye on our phone-less cousins from now on.
Update: Cnet's Ina Fried got a less-blurry hands-on. Video of that, too, after the break.
If (for some reason) you turn your nose up at all of the completely respectable (and better than most) Windows phones out there, something chic this way comes.
On June 11, Giorgio Armani, the noted fashion designer; Samsung, the noted phone maker; and Microsoft, the ... um, noted software designer, are having an event June 11 in Milan, Italy. You'll remember that we got wind of a Windows Mobile-powered Armani phone earlier this year, and it looks like it's coming to fruition. Stay tuned for the details.
Palm Sprint wants you to buy a Pre. That's no surprise. But the Pre isn't right for just anybody. And if it's not for you? Try the Windows Mobile-powered Treo Pro, says Palm Sprint.
(Yeah, yeah, what other Palm choice is there? Try to let that go for a minute.)
In the internal docs our PreCentral.net brethren uncovered, we learn that Sprint's Palm's breaking down users into two classes: IT Centric and Non-IT Centric. You can read for yourself the differences in the pic above. But basically, if you're part of a smaller business (fewer than 100 employees) and your IT department doesn't require major control over your phone, then the Pre's for you. Otherwise, hit up Windows Mobile and MSCMDM.
Most people who have bought Sprint Treo Pro's are getting the current 1.04 ROM (see Settings --> System --> About --> Phone --> T850EWW-1.04-SPT). However, many people who are buying on eBay are coming away with T850EWW-1.03-SPT ROMs (for a full back story on this issue, check out Dieter's write-up here).
So is there a difference between 1.03 and 1.04? Outside of 2 more MBs of RAM in the latter, no there seems to be no difference. From forum member zbop:
I compared a 1.03 registry snapshot and a 1.04 snapshot and after eliminating all the device-specific differences, and live-state differences, I can't find anything significant. There are a few minor changes, but nothing that looks like a bugfix.
Looks like HTC has released an update for the AT&T Fuze. According to the HTC Support site, here's what's included:
Microsoft's Windows Mobile Adaptation Kit Update (AKU) 1.4.6
Slide to Answer
Push To Talk Button is now re-assignable
FM Radio Application
Enhanced MS Voice Command
Call waiting indicator is now audible when using Speakerphone
HTC Music player supports Album art/info
Improved TouchFlo3D (TF3D) and User Interface performance
A-GPS Update: Speeds up the time it takes the GPS to get a fix on your location
Quick GPS is still recommended for the optimal operation of GPS based applications and services
Based on the features, it looks like a polished version of the Test ROM that leaked a few months ago. HTC does a good job walking you through the update process and we'll concur with HTC's recommendation that you really need to back up your data before you update the ROM. The update can be found here.
UPDATE: As many have noticed, the ROM download page is no longer available. According to some of the comments over at FuzeMobility, it looks like the S/N requirement was not supposed to have happened and HTC is modifying things. Hopefully the updated ROM will be available soon.
Thinking about picking up a Samsung Jack? We don't blame you - the upate to the BlackJack series seems minor and we suppose it is, but the addition of WiFi and a speedy processor in a newer, smaller form-factor has us pleased.
There's more than a little AT&T-based hassles on this device, but not so many that we'd advise against it. We'll have a full review up for you in the very near future, but in the meantime check out the hands-on video above and a big old set of photos after the break -- including comparisons to BlackJacks of yore, the Morotola Q9h, and the BlackBerry 8900.
Sure enough, it was revealed this morning at D7 that Microsoft's new search engine — excuse us, they're calling it a Decision Engine — previously known by its Kumo code name, is officially to be called "Bing," just like we'd heard. It also gives us another reason to run this killer picture. But Bing's not being touted as just another search engine. It's got goals.
Bing is specifically designed to build on the benefits of today’s search engines but begins to move beyond this experience with a new approach to user experience and intuitive tools to help customers make better decisions, focusing initially on four key vertical areas: making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business.
The question remains: Will we see the Bing brand cross over to Windows Mobile? And is there any more to Sift and Swivel? News at 11. Full presser after the break.