I've gotta admit I've never really understood (though I'm sure I'll be corrected in the comments) just why a touchscreen has to be manually aligned after a hard-reset. For as high-tech as our phones are, its accuracy relies on my steady hand? That's no good. I certainly don't have a surgeon's touch, thanks to all the caffeine, nicotine and a few other -ines that got me through law school late nights blogging.
But, like with so many things in life, the folks at XDA Developers have us covered with AutoAlign Screen, which conveniently enough, will automatically align your screen. As XDA member azharsunny puts it, you'll save time, precisely calibrate your screen, and keep you from digging out that stylus.
We caught word just a few days ago about a HTC Diamond ROM update for Sprint and worldwide, but now it look like the Touch Pro is getting ready for one too.
Evidently, Alexandr Skaryd from XDA had a conversation with HTC Europe about the GPS lag problem. The crux of the convo is below:
Dear Mr. Skaryd I just wanted to get back to you in order to see if you have gotten the GPS working better. I would also like to inform you that there will be a ROM upgrade available in the near future (1.19). Please feel free to get back to us at any time if you have any further questions or queries. Kind Regards Dave Montanya HTC Europe
The bigger news is that HTC appears to be aware of this GPS lag and one can hope that this upcoming ROM addresses this problem.
We've been hearing rumblings that AT&T has restructured data plans and believe we have finally deciphered things where it's understandable. If you are currently using a MediaNet plan, they are being discontinued and replaced with an Unlimited Data/Messaging Plan that will run $30 a month. Instead of having a variety of MediaNet flavors to choose from (Basic, the Works, MediaNet 200, MediaNet 1MB), you have one data package. The common line of thinking is that this move was done to compete with Verizon's data plans. It appears that there are some additional incentives for customers on AT&T's Family Plan as well.
There is one word of caution, these plans are intended for use with non-PDA phones (Motorola Razor, Samsung A737, etc.) that have internet and messaging capabilities. For Windows Mobile devices, AT&T requires their PDA Data plan which, coincidentally, also runs $30 a month. We bet that some of you may be paying more than $30 for the AT&T PDA plan (heck, some of us are!). In other words, it might be worth a call (and some savings) to AT&T and see if you are on the current $30 PDA Data plan and if you're not -- get on it.
Well, here's the rub: we were wrong to call it a Windows Mobile device, turns out that it's a Windows CE device. The difference? Windows CE is the OS that underlies Windows Mobile. In essence it's a modular framework -- you can pick a little of this, a little of that, hit "Go" and kapow -- you have something like Windows Mobile, or a set-top DVR, or an embedded system for a smart car. (Ok, it's not that simple, but that's the gist of it). It's also quite a bit more secure than, well, darn near anything else out there on the planet. PCMag has a great write up on it if you're interested.
So that's the first thing. The second thing -- nobody outside the White House knows if this is his new smartphone. That's right -- all the reporting you've seen claiming that "Obama gets to keep his BlackBerry" or that this Edge is his new device is based on assumption. Near as we can tell, a bunch of tech-blogs like us were speculating about the Sectera Edge and it trickled its way out to the political blogosphere and then into the mainstream media and somewhere in that chain the "Maybe" part got stripped out. Turns out that "Maybe" part is, you know, kind of important.
Above, CNN manages to get the story right, showing the relevant part of the press conference where the administration says "He's keeping his BlackBerry" (for shame, btw, because "BlackBerry" is not synonomous with "Smartphone") and that it's secure. CNN then goes so far as to show a short demo of the Sectera Edge, but rightly admits that the White House is staying mum on what exact device Obama will have on his hip.
Here's the short version: He's got something and we don't know for sure that it's the Sectera Edge. Either way, you'll likely never get to have one yourself, no matter how hard you (ahem) hope.
One of the attractions to the new HTC line-up is TouchFlo 3D. There is no argument that graphically, Touchflo 3D is a eye catching application. While it may be pretty to look at, how functional is it? Before Touchflo 3D hit the market, one of the more popular Today Screen alternatives was SPB's Mobile Shell. There are some reservations over Touchflo 3D's usefulness and SPB Mobile Shell might be a viable alternative for those HTC owners who are looking for something different. Could Mobile Shell hold it's own against the animated graphics of Touchflo?
We decided to compare these two applications and as Michael Buffer so aptly put it, "Let's get ready to rumble!" (key techno dance music please). Read on after the break to see how they measure up against each other.
Believe it or not, Microsoft hasn't forgotten that for all of the hardcore work we do with Windows Mobile, it's still the little things that count (and about which we most often gripe).
Andy Lees, senior VP for Microsoft's mobile side, recently sat down with The New York Times for a heart-to-heart.
“Everyone who is a business person is also a human being,” he said. “We want also to do human things like photos, music, communications, IM, texting and social networking.”
We also get a glimpse of things to come, most likely with the birth of SkyMarket/Box/Line, and undoubtedly with Windows Mobile 7 (and Windows 7). And the word Lees is using to describe how everything's going to work: "Automagically."
“What should happen,” he said, “is when you take a picture it should automagically arrive on your PC and be in the cloud. I should be able to fix the red eye on the PC and have it automagically go back and fix the red eye everywhere else.”
Lees also goes on to say that a most of the services Microsoft will be offering should be free. “I don’t think anyone is going to make money on synchronizing data,” he said. “It is simply what people will come to expect.” Huzzah!
Looks likeDa_G, famous for his kitchens, has released his "very beta" port of WM6.5. He say very beta because he expects bugs and even gives a list of known issues already, so this is only for the brave of you who absolutey must have the latest.
Officially, this build is 5.2.21184.108.40.206 for you number counters and you can find the thread/download right here.
It does have the Pro version of "Chrome" which is also known as Sliding Panels found on WM Standard, so that should be fun. We should mention that this build of WM6.5 is built off of one ROM that is X-months old--so we don't know how much of this stuff is new, what has been left out, or what has been added since.
Hopefully once someone gets some actual screen caps, we'll post 'em here.
As you no doubt have heard by now, Microsoft reported that they weren't very happy with their quarterly earnings report. Sure, they managed to haul in $16.6 Billon in revenue and that number is still technically a 2% increase year-over-year, but it's not the kind of growth that they feel will be necessary to keep things looking great durng the economic downturn. Still, they missed estimates and nobody likes that.
To deal, they're laying off 1400 folks immediately and another 3600 over the next year and a half. Steve Ballmer wrote a letter for the company about the unprecendented move.
Now comes there part where we get crass: rumor has it that the bulk of the initial layoffs are coming from the Entertainment & Devices division, which is where Windows Mobile lives. Now we know that more people doesn't always equal faster progress or better product and we don't know exactly which parts of the E&D division are taking the hit, but either way we find this news disappointing. Although this division certainly isn't the core of Microsoft's business, it is a place where a lot of great innovation has happened recently (Xbox & Zune) and where we expect a lot of cool innovation ought to happen in the very near future (Windows Mobile and "Project Pink"). So the crass part of us says "Hey, don't let that stuff we're excited for get derailed by these layoffs, Microsoft!" and the business part of us says "Do you really want to direct cuts at one of your most successful divisions?"
The human part of us, though, hopes these folks will be able to find work and quickly.
We'll preface this post by saying that all security threats should be considered serious, though some are more serious than others. Case in point: The recent realization by Seguridad Mobile [via] that a hole in the Windows Mobile 5 & 6 Bluetooth stack could allow someone to snoop around your phone, download files, or upload malicious files.
In a nutshell, we're talking file sharing. Normally when you share files with someone over Bluetooth (be it a friend or a PC), you're limited to a couple directories by default. But by exploiting this hole, someone could really wreak havoc with your phone. But to do so takes some work — and previous authentication privilages with your phone. In other words, you probably don't have to worry about someone just walking by and stealing your data. But now you know about the threat, and knowing is half the battle.
That said, here are a couple of Bluetooth safety reminders:
If you're not using Bluetooth, turn it off. Your battery will thank you.
If you do use Bluetooth, don't allow other devices to see it at will. (See the unchecked box here.)
As it did the year before, the Smartphone Round Robin needed to go into overtime again this time around -- but we're finished now! If you haven't been following along, here's what you missed: Each of the editors of our five Smartphone Experts sites swapped phones for a week or so, reviewing and leanring what it's like to wear another smarphone user's shoes. The result is the entire series of articles you see linked on this handy page, the Smartphone Round Robin of 2008.
What will you learn there? You'll learn that there was no single smartphone that 'won' the Round Robin -- but that's by design. There's no perfect smartphone out there, but there just might be the perfect smartphone to fit your needs. If you're looking to get a new smartphone soon, think about what you need it do to and then hit up these articles -- you'll find that depending on what each of us care about, we'll give you a useful perspective on whether a given smartphone matches up.
Update:It appears Sprint has now pulled the Treo Pro from their website completely, so our "jump the gun" remark was pretty accurate. Who wants to bet your orders don't ship until at least Monday? Oh, Sprint.
No real suprises: $549 for the phone, -$200 for a contract and minus another $100 for a MIR, which brings it down to $249. One caveat on that MIR: read the fine print to make sure your current plan qualifies.
We are still awaiting more confirmation on this, but it appears the Treo Pro has 96mb RAM and 512mb ROM, meaning Palm has doubled the available storage memory for programs, bringing it to about 336mb. More than enough for photos, data and program storage. On the other hand, RAM may have taken a hit, meaning you may only have ~42mb of RAM after a soft reset. (See page 363 of the user manual --> .pdf). We're working to confirm this last part, so take with a small grain of salt. And yes, it's okay to pray that it's not true.
Other than that, it's running the same old Qualcomm MSM-7501a processor at 528mhz, which IS a nice bump from the 400mhz GSM version, plus a 1500mah battery for a nice 5hrs talk-time.
HTC has announced the next iteration of the Touch Cruise, a keyboardless black slab. And if it looks familiar, it should. We've already seen it is the Iolite and most recently as the XDA Guide. Here are the dirty details:
Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.
Size: 102 x 53.5 x 14.5mm. Weight: 103 grams.
Qualcomm MSM7225 528 MHz processor.
WCDMA/HSPA: 900/2100MHz. HSDPA 7.2 Mbps (the U.S. version also will sport the 850 and 1900 bands).
Display: 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen.
Camera: 3.2 MP, with fixed focus.
512 MB flash ROM, 256 MB RAM.
Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR.
1100 mAh battery.
The (new) Touch Cruise — that's it - we're gonna call it the Touch Cruise 2 — also sports the same "Footprints" feature as the XDA Guide. The official party line on that:
The new HTC Touch Cruise is the first mobile phone to offer HTC Footprints, an application experience that enables people to permanently chronicle their special moments by capturing a digital postcard on their phone. Once captured, Footprints provides the ability to take notes and an audio clip of that favourite restaurant or special place while identifying its specific geographical location. In addition to identifying each postcard with its specific GPS co-ordinates, Footprints also auto-names each postcard with its general location or area.
Flipping back through their photos, HTC Touch Cruise users will be able to retrace their steps to that exact location in just a few touches. Unlike other devices with geo-tagging functionality, HTC Footprints works effectively outdoors and indoors, offering a more accurate record of location for future reference and navigation.
In fewer words: Photo tagging.
Unlike the last/first/original Touch Cruise, it appears there will be an official U.S. release, with an estimated price of $500 to $600. Of couse, that price would drop should any carrier decide to pick it up. But anyone think AT&T's in the market for another keyboardless touchscreen phone just yet?
SPB Software is probably best know for it's Mobile Shell application but they also offer a wide range of Windows Mobile applications. One of which was recently updated, SPB Weather. It has a few more bells and whistles than previous versions and as promised, we have just finished putting SPB Weather 2.0 through the ringer. Check after the break to see what the forecast bears for the latest SPB application.