One of several new Windows Mobile phones announced at the Mobile World Congress was the Pantech Matrix Pro. The successor to the Pantech Duo has recently hit the shelves of your local AT&T Store, and Pantech sent us a test unit to put through the ringer. While the Matrix continues the tradition of dual sliders (bottom and side) of the Duo, AT&T customers are collectively holding their breath in hopes that the Matrix improves upon it's predecessor's shortcomings. We found the Duo an inexpensive, nice Windows Mobile Standard device that struggled to get the little things right. Follow the break to see how well Pantech has improved things with the Matrix Pro.
It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in a way it shouldn't be a big surprise. On Jan. 22, XDA Developers Member Da_G ported and posted a Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM for the HTC Fuze/Touch Pro. This was a popular cooked ROM that developed a healthy following. If you were one of the many who flashed this ROM, consider yourself amongst the lucky ones. Now, after receiving a "legal complaint" from Microsoft, XDA pulled the links for the cooked ROM as well as other ROMs based on Windows Mobile 6.5.
It also looks like Microsoft is monitoring mirror sites that provide downloads for unlicensed (read: cooked) of Windows Mobile 6.5 as well as Windows Mobile 6.1. Hosting sites have received e-mails sent out by James Young, Internet Investigator on behalf of Microsoft.
The e-mails identify the site as distributing unlicensed material and state,
"We hereby give notice of these activities to you and request that you take expeditious action to remove or disable access to the material described above, and thereby prevent the illegal reproduction and distribution of this copyright work(s) via your company's network."
While Windows 6.1 was mentioned in the email, it appears that the developers of WM 6.5 ROMs were the target of the investigation. Several Windows Mobile 6.1 based ROMs still are available over at XDA.
We will admit to being of two minds on the issue: it's more than reasonable to argue that distributing unreleased and even cooked ROMs is piracy, so Microsoft is well within its rights to shut that stuff down. Add in the likely possibility that 6.5 won't run that well on current hardware and will therefore give a bad impression to users, and it's no surprise that Microsoft put the hammer down. On the other hand, ROM cooking is one of the more exciting (and loyalty-inducing) things going on in the Windows Mobile world (and especially in HTC circles) right now, so it's a bit of a shame to see it tamped down.
There's no telling how all this will play out. It may simply drive the development and distribution of cooked ROMs more underground. Two things are for certain: XDA-Developers.com has definitely seen an increase in traffic, and there are a lot of unhappy chefs in the kitchen.
Windows Mobile 7 will change the way you view your phone. We aren’t just building a me-too iPhone or RIM competitor; we’re changing the way customers use and experience their device. In the OS Platform team we are responsible for the OS, file systems, security, hardware platforms and drivers, networking & connectivity, location framework and updateability. In other words, we build the foundation upon which the rest of Windows Mobile is built.
So it definitely looks like they're going ground-up on Windows Mobile 7, and they may well still be in the relatively early stages. And note the use of the word "updateability" above, and recall in the latest WMExperts podcast how Dieter explained that updates eventually will come from Microsoft itself, and (hopefully) not pass through (and be delayed by) carriers.
Businesses likely will stick around during the interim. Question is, will the rest of us?
There's hint that Verizon may be bringing one of the new HTC phones that appeared in the 2009 device lineup that leak a few weeks ago. Pocketnow is reporting that a Verizon HTC phone has been mentioned over at the GSM Global Certification Forum. The model XV6175 is mentioned as supporting quad-band GSM, qualifying it as world phone compliant. The connection goes something like this: Verizon traditionally brands its devices with a XV prefix and has been known to carry phones capable of global roaming, which ties the international service to Verizon's partners.
While it remains a mystery which device the XV6175 may actually be, three leading candidates seem to have emerged: the Cedar, Whitestone and Twin. The Cedar and Whitestone have been rumored to be headed to Verizon, so they're the stronger candidates. The Twin is world phone-capable, but there are no rumors having this phone headed to Verizon. At this point, everything is conjecture beyond the fact that an HTC device, model XV6175 will be a world phone. And tomorrow that may even change. We'll keep our ear to the ground and as things develop, we'll keep ya' posted.
With all the hub-bub about CTIA, we let this one slip under our radar: Verizon and Palm let loose the WM6 update for the very long-in-the-tooth (but reliable as heck) Treo 700wx. (nay on the 700w, though check out Ebag's custom ROM for that one).
The update can be found here and is the usual ActiveSync installation.
Users in our forum are reporting that their devices are actually zippier than before, while a few say slightly more sluggish, so YMMV.
Improvements in WM6 include:
Calendar functionality - See the big picture at a glance. A Topline bar in the agenda view shows when you're free or busy, and when you have scheduling conflicts. Drill down to view meeting attendees, contact information, acceptance status, and reply-to or forward meeting requests.
Email support- Send and receive HTML emails with tables, bullets, and colored text intact1,2,The "smart filter" for contact search is available so you can search for emails stored on your company's Exchange Server2. Send an automated "out-of-office" message from your device2.
Office 2007 support - Open and edit Microsoft Office Word and Microsoft Office Excel® documents, and view Microsoft Office PowerPoint® documents. Backward compatible with Office 2003.
Windows Vista® compatibility - Easily sync your smartphone to your Windows Vista PC, via the Windows Mobile Device Centre (WMDC).
Powerful security and IT policies2 - Remotely wipe devices and SD cards clean in case of loss or theft. Plus, IT can create and enforce tougher security policies, such as password protection to better manage the entire device fleet.
Email hot keys - Work in the fast lane with single-key access to your most frequently used email functions. Press "r" to reply, "a" to reply all, or "m" to move to one of your folders.
Email Inbox search - Find that important document or email. Automatically search for attachments, senders, or keywords by simply typing a few letters while you're in your email inbox.
Access Sharepoint - Get what you need then get going. Access documents stored on your company's SharePoint servers via links in HTML emails1,2.
Voice Command via Bluetooth® wireless technology - Get more done while you stay hands-free3, Dial by voice, or hear your upcoming appointments with your Bluetooth headset.
Our excitement for the HTC Maple has been steadily growing, and it appears that HTC is serious about bringing it to the United States.
Digitimes is reporting that it's expected to make an appearance at the CTIA convention in a few weeks. Moreover, it cites a Chinese Economic Daily News report stating that the Maple is in active talks with several carriers.
HTC has been in talks with four service operators in the US for joint marketing of the BlackBerry-like HTC Maple, the paper quoted sources at HTC as indicating.
Hopefully we'll find out more at CTIA. And pimping your wares to four U.S. carriers doesn't necessarily tells us that much, seeing as how there are four major carriers out there. Could mean GSM and CDMA versions, or it might not. Just have to see who (if anyone) picks it up.
Electronista throws a couple more details into the ring: A 2-megapixel camera and a 2.4-inch display. It then says that 3G isn't a done deal, but we're hoping that's just rabble rousing. Seriously, unless this thing has a tiny battery combined with the best Windows Mobile Standard ROM ever seen in the history of man, a lack of 3G is almost a deal-breaker now.
CEO Dan Hesse, who for the past several months also has become the public face of Sprint, reportedly is getting out of the spotlight.
Oh, he'll still be running the company, we just won't be seeing him in TV commercials any more.
Mr. Hesse says the ads that feature him have been effective, especially in terms of brand recall. People remember the black-and-white spots with him walking through downtown Manhattan while classical music plays and he talks about the “revolution” of flat-rate data pricing.
But he says there’s only so much of him viewers can take. “I’ll wear out — they’ll get tired of seeing that guy,” he says.
For geeks like myself, there is only one thing better than free software – open-source software. The reason for this is fairly obvious. In addition to being free, the source code is available for you to view and modify or reuse. The open-source movement has led to some of the most popular software in use today. The Firefox Web browser is a result of the open-source Mozilla browser, and Mac OSX is based on the open-source family of UNIX Operating Systems.
Over the next couple of weeks we're going to look at some of the open-source software available for Windows Mobile. If you have an open-source app you'd like us to cover, let us know in the comments.
Pocket Sudoku, developed by Emil Andersson, is an application that I’ve used for a number of years. Currently in Version 1.0, it allows you to play several Sudoku style games within one interface.
Palm and Sprint had their little online get-together today for the Pre and Apple tried to one-up that with invitations to the iPhone 3.0 event, so we'll forgive you if you missed this little gem from Microsoft that's making the rounds.
Yeah, it's more of a commercial showing what Windows phones can do, and not so much of a Windows phone actually doing anything. But it's snazzy, and it's new, and it's only a couple minutes out of your life.
Our hope for Motorola has been waning of late. But the same can't be said for an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co., who says Moto plans to launch 10 smartphones in the second half of the year.
OK, so this is from a stocks analyst and not an actual announcement from Motorola, so we'll be taking this with a grain of salt. But we thought we saw at least one WinMo phone in those renderings late last year, so Moto might still have something else up its sleeve.
But if Moto's going to crank out 10 smartphones this year, the question remains, will they be Windows Mobile? Android? Or something else?
Don't want to wait on Windows Mobile 6.5 but don't want to mess with hacked ROMs, either? XDA Developers (who else!) has got you covered.
If you have a QVGA phone and SPB Mobile Shell Verson 2.1.5, you can download a theme that will skin your phone like WinMo 6.5. Pretty slick. But, yeah, the problem is it's only available for QVGA phones right now. Let's hope that gets scaled up real soon.
But if you're in the market, head on over to XDA Developers and try out mtstmp's creation.
The other day we published a review of the LG Incite and made note that along with Internet Explorer, it had Access's NetFront browser installed. Concentrating more on the phone's performance and features, NetFront was given little attention. A reader asked what we thought of NetFront and to be fair to our response, we found a copy of Netfront v3.5, the Concept Version, and took it for a test spin around the mobile web. Follow the break to see what we thought of NetFront.
Yet another cool app has been unceremoniously yanked from the unreleased Touch Pro 2 (aka Rhodium).
Up till now, HTC has been content with modifying more of the superficial aspects of WinMo. But now it's tackling notifications ... making 'em all purty-like.
Over at XDA (via ppcgeeks), dharvey4651 has pulled up this app and .cab'd it up for your convenience. Users are advised to have build 21000 or higher before installation. There also is a little bug that requires you to dismiss the notification manually, which causes an extra step.
But if you just can't wait for that new HTC goodness, by all means hop on over and give it a shot!