We already saw the Acer DX900 Glofiish rebrand, but what we were really hoping for from these guys was something new. They're somewhat delivering with the F900 and the M900. The F900 (that's it on the left there) is your non-keyboarded device and the M600 is a standard horizontal slider. Specs look pretty darn beefy, though:
Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Tri-Band 3G, Quad-band Edge
G-Sensor, FM Radio, Light Sensor
Samsung S3C 6410 Processor
256 ROM / 128 RAM
480 x 800 WVGA Touchscreen
In addition to all that, the F900 gives you a 3MP camera. The M900 steps it up with a 5MP camera and a fingerprint reader. We were hoping that Acer would make a splash at MWC09 and except for RAM and ROM being a little low, these 900 series devices initially look like cannonballs to us. Will they hold up to a hands-on? Find out after the break.
Microsoft broke ground early by unveiling Recite, a searchable voice notes application for Windows Mobile. The application is being labeled a "technology preview," which is basically a demo of what the application can do. While it lacks a lot of features that we expect the final version to have (e.g. delete messages, sort messages, play messages, etc.) the "technology preview" will let you record a note and search through the recordings. Follow the break for a few screen shots and more information on this new application from Microsoft.
The Samsung Valencia joins its brother, the Samsung BlackJack II, in being a simple, straightforward front-facing QWERTY messaging machine. Well, simple except for mysterious internal storage specs. The look is updated a bit, the processor may be a bit snappier, and the keyboard looks to be a might bit easier to type on. The hardware itself is nothing to write home about, it does the job but isn't an snazzy as the BlackJack II or as svelte as the Q9h. It's straightfoward stuff that we wouldn't be ashamed to put in our pocket. We're also moderately impressed with the custom home screen, but not so impressed that we'd choose it over the default sliding panels.
The fact that it's Tri-Band Edge, however, makes us suspect it's probably meant for pockets outside the US.
Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
3G, Tri-Band Edge
393 MHz ST Micro 8810 Processor
128MB Rom, 128MB RAM, 20GB Storage, or maybe 2GB, or maybe none.
7 hours talk time
320x230 QVGA screen
More photos after the break, plus did you notice the reference to a mystery? Did you notice that reference to internal storage in the spec list? Yeah, odd. (update: Odd enough that we're already updating the post)
We raided the HTC Booth to get a look at the Touch Diamond 2 and sure enough they had it there, riddled with anti-theft gear. Nevertheless you can get a good feel for the hardware from the pictures. The screen really is incredible, touch responsiveness was so good you could be forgiven for mistaking it for capacitive (almost). We're liking the buttons on the bottom and much prefer the zoom bar to the zoom wheel on the previous Touch Diamond. We suppose we'll get used to this "no dpad" thing in time.
As for the software, it's all here (well, all of it except some of the Touch Pro 2's enhancements). You can see some shots of the new contact-message-collation screen and we even managed to find Windows Mobile underneath all that TouchFlo 3D (it was difficult). One notable thing: the Diamond 2 takes a page from WinMo 6.5 and does away with the Start Menu and Program Listing completely. The Start Menu takes you directly to your TF3D list of customizable shortcuts (which, really, is more convenient than those hexagons), from which you can hit "All Programs" to get a text list of your programs.
Bottom line: the Touch Diamond 2 that we handled is impressive. So impressive that we expect HTC shouldn't have a problem hitting their "Early Q2" launch target. Also, truth be told, after the TG01 and a few other devices we've handled here, it was a relief to handle an ambitious WinMo Smartphone that didn't require somebody standing by reminding us "It's still in beta, or maybe alpha, you know, it's not ready yet." The Diamond 2 looks ready.
After all the to-do Monday morning from Microsoft, it looks like the My Phone beta — read our full post on the announcement here — is starting to go live. But it looks like it might be a rolling start. I was able to get the install file for my phone, while Malatesta — infinitely smarter and better looking — could not, at least at the time of this writing.
It took just a couple of minutes to sync my 499 text messages. I'm hooked up to an Exchange server, so that's about all I could sync. Anything running through Exchange is deemed already backed up and won't sync with My Phone.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley brought us some inside info on Microsoft's cloud services expected to launch this year, and now she's talking up future versions of Windows Mobile.
This comes hot on the heels of Motorola's CEO stating that Windows Mobile 7 won't launch until 2010, and Foley's sources are saying the same thing. We also get some expectations on Windows Mobile 6.5. From her blog:
While Windows Mobile officials won’t talk about ship-date targets (hmmm… sounds like Windows client), some folks familiar with Microsoft’s plans are talking. Here’s the latest I’m hearing from my sources:
Windows Mobile 6.5 RTM (release to manufacturing): April 2009
First Windows Mobile 6.5 devices from cell phone makers: September 2009
Windows Mobile 7.0 release to testers: November 2009
First Windows Mobile 7.0 devices from cell phone makers: April 2010
So, we've still a number of months to wait before us mere mortals get our hands on Windows Mobile 6.5, but we're still expecting to get a good look it at Mobile World Congress. And we've got at least another year before Windows Mobile 7 reaches any phones.
For all our gripes about Microsoft's problems when it comes to branding, this one's kind of a no-brainer. It was announced this morning at Mobile World Congress that if a Windows Phone (See? We can stick with it) is going to run Windows Mobile 6.5, it's going to have to have that familiar little Windows "flag" on it to serve as a start menu button. [via] And the flag button will take you to the honeycomb hideout start menu.
Above, you see said flag on the new HTC Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2. And assuming Microsoft holds manufacturers to the "no flag, no 6.5" edict, this should be a pretty clear indication of what phones will get upgrades to 6.5 — HTC's Peter Chou said the Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2 will get free upgrades — and which ones won't. (Phil looks down at his trusty Moto Q9h and sheds a tear.)
Update: OK, OK. We didn't mean that quite as literally as it read. At this point we have no idea what will be updated from 6.1 to 6.5, save for the Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2. The Palm Treo 750 has a little flag start button on it, but it's a pretty safe bet we won't see it updated to 6.5. It's more of a future branding thing, folks, not a litmus test.
With all the 480x800 devices getting announced at MWC09, increasingly it looks like the TG01's differentiation is going to come from the weird UI and the fact that it's sporting that hot new Snapdragon processor. Well, from those two things and from pretty looks. Looks which we share with you now, after the break.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, here's what the TG01 has got
We don't call Dieter Bohn the Hardest-Working Man in Smartphone Showbusiness for nuthin'. Our favorite editor-in-chief has made his way over to BlackBerry end of Mobile World Congress just in time to check out an ... HTC Touch Fuze?
If you're confused, it's only because you missed our recent post on the BlackBerry Application Suite, which brings the BlackBerry operating system to non-BB phones. In this case, the Touch Pro (or Fuze, on AT&T) which, as we all know, normally runs Windows Mobile.
A new CNN panel keeps you constantly updated with the latest news, sport, or weather and a host of CNN content including access to CNN’s popular citizen journalism tool, ‘i-Report’. Browse information by category, personalise your experience or plug in your location and get instant updates for wherever you are in the world.
A unique Skype panel brings quick access to Skype on the X1, telling you at a glance which of your friends are online. Browse easily through your contacts and call or instant message them in just a couple of clicks, or customise your handset using the evening, daylight or event based effects.
For those who just want to have fun, a new Mytopia panel lets you play bingo and poker games with people around the world. With millions of users there is always someone online to play against or you can play by yourself. You can even collect virtual coins and improve your rank by winning live matches.
For those always on the move, the specially developed ‘On the Road’ panel includes large touch icons and a simple layout. Offering direct access to your music playlists and tracks, navigation tools and easy to use call-handling, this panel will makes your driving convenient and entertaining wherever the road takes you.
The new panels will be available in March. Pretty standard stuff, though the "On the Road" panel sounds cool. Larger buttons for when you need to see things very, very briefly. Not that you'd ever play with your phone in the car.
The browser sounds promising and while the application has been in closed Beta testing, the browser is being announced at the Mobile World Congress and is now available for public consumption. Follow the break for our first impressions of this new browser and a few screen shots.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer invited LG exec Skott Ahn up on stage at Mobile World Congress. The two ripped through a couple of showtunes, and then Ahn dropped the bomb — LG's making Windows Mobile it's primary smartphone operating system for the foreseeable future.
We're talking dozens (like, 50 or so) phones over the next three years. They two companies will have joint marketing services, and Ahn joined in on the new company line (which we also heard back at CES): "I'm sure we can take the Windows Phone market to the next level," he said.
We've had the less-than-stellar LG Incite on AT&T now for a while in the states. We're expecting to see at least a few LG Windows Phones (might as well get used to that moniker) here at MWC09.
You'll be forgiven for wondering why LG is bothering with the Eigen, aka the GM730, since its competitor, Samsung, seems to have already been-there-done-that with the original Omnia. Still, we're more than happy to see LG finally jump head-first into the Windows Mobile pool after spending so long dipping their Prada-loving toes in the shallow end. What's that? You want the specs instead of a history of LG's relationship with WM and our thoughts on the future of said relationship? Fine.
Windows Mobile 6.1.4 Professional
WiFi, GPS, FM Radio
5 mp Camera
528MHZ msm7201A from Qualcomm
ETA and price are, of course, completely unknown, though the press release points to the second half of the year. Two more views and the press release after the break. (You can get more at http://mwc.lge.com/. Careful, it was giving Firefox fits.)
Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 6.5 today. The software is still not quite ready for release but will go to manufacturers soon and will start arriving on handsets towards the end of 2009. WM6.5 brings all sorts of new features to Windows Mobile Pro (touchscreen) and a handful to Windows Mobile Standard (non-touchscreen). WM Standard saw its big feature update with 6.1, and with Professional plays some catchup with 6.5. As of this writing, it doesn't appear that any current Windows Mobile smartphones will receive an update to WM6.5. Instead, many of the new devices announced at MWC09 will be upgradeable to 6.5.
Overall, you should know that 6.5 matches up pretty well with many of the leaks we've seen in the previous weeks. The emphasis here is "finger-friendly," and it means that you'll be able to leave your stylus in the silo. We have a brand-new Zune-esque Today Screen, a new Hexagon Start Menu, "embiggened" softkey menus, and an all-new version of Pocket Internet Explorer. There also are plenty of small touches throughout, like a new unlock screen that's better than anything else out there.
Still, at the end of the day, 6.5 is definitely not the radical improvement we've all been waiting for with Windows Mobile. There are plenty of improvements, but it's clearly not a game-changer. So as we run down the new features, we won't pull any punches, but don't let the occasional gripe get you down, 6.5 really does look to be a solid release, it's just that deep down it's still Windows Mobile 6. But do note that everything you see here is from an alpha build. So if something looks a little janky, it just might be.
Enough of the preamble, time to get on to the screenshots and features. Read on!