After a brief engagement, Verizon and Alltel have set a date to finalize the $5.9 billion purchase; January 9, 2009. Seventy-Eight Million subscribers will be the guests at the blessed event putting Verizon about 3 million customers ahead of AT&T, thier closest rival. The deal doesn't come without baggage though, Verizon will assume Alltel's $22.9 billion in debt. Verizon reports that they have recieved commitments from eight financial institutions to provide $17 billion in financing for the deal making this a very expensive ceremony.
Pocketables has put together a list of tips and tricks if you're new to the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, ranging from the expected (how to download more panels) to some very useful items, such as how to patch Skype's output to the earpiece (instead of through the speaker). Also included is an app to quickly switch the X1's resolution from WVGA (480x800) down to VGA (480x640) to help with older programs that can't quite handle so many pixels.
Some of this standard XDA Developers hackery, but Pocketables has done well to compile it all.
Now that I’ve got my AT&T Fuze, I’ve been searching the web for various tweaks, tools, and toys that will add a little zip to the Fuze. I ran across hTorch over at WMPoweruser.com and Fuze Mobility, which sparked my interest.
You can find the application over at XDA Developers which essentially turns the light on your Fuze’s (HTC Touch Pro as well) camera into flashlight. The application allows you to set the intensity of the light as well as turning off the display to avoid backlighting. It’s an interesting application that gives you a convenient light source when all you have is your Fuze. The one caution in using hTorch is that when you turn the flashlight on, it stays on until you turn it off. There is no timeout feature.
If you can't find the application once you install it, look in the "Accessories" folder in the "Programs" menu. The convenient way to use the application is to add it to the Programs Tab in TouchFlo. hTorch definitely puts the Fuze and Touch Pro in a different light (get it?).
Adding about 0.75mb in weight, Skype for WM is now nearly 8mb in size on your device--which is pretty hefty. Still, this new version does run smoother and has better graphics, so it seems to be a good thing. Included is the handy Today plugin is well, where you can launch the app and check/set status.
Finally, for the Treo 800w users, Zbop has finalized the long awaited "HideCarrier" plugin (click for pics & more info). What this little freebie does is "hide" that Sprint carrier line with those lil' icons to give you more screen real estate. Run in conjunction with TreoAlerts and you have a real winner combo.
Here's something that is sort of under the radar: evidently a company called Mobileyes has teamed up with various local news networks to release customized live Traffic cam apps.
Available for for WM ProandStandard devices, you can download the app for your region and then select via various sub-menus locality and specific highways.
Word of caution: no 320x320 support, so while it works, we get that blocky look. We'll be dropping them a note in their feedback box. Not sure about those crazy VGA devices you folks are sporting these days. It appears that this uses some type of .NET programming as the app itself is tiny and seems pretty generic. One other criticism: we're not really sure how to find all the separate downloads as Mobileyes' website is a bit odd to navigate. We'll list a few of the major ones below.
What is neat though is although I downloaded the NY version, you can go under Settings and select "Travel Mode" which basically un-hides all the other major U.S. cities, so you are not technically restricted to your region. Overall the quality is pretty nice and the selection of cameras is impressive. All for free.
Thanks goes out to Doug and DavidK over at Fuze Mobility who seem to have had a little spare time over the holiday break and compiled a list of what they refer to as all the known tips and tricks for the AT&T Fuze/HTC Touch Pro. The compilation is very extensive and the tips/tricks are broken down into three categories; those for the new users, ones for those who don't mind adding applications but won't mess with the registry, and those for users who have no fear of messing with anything under the hood. The content of the tips range from using your Fuze as a business card scanner to remapping the PTT button.
There's no telling if this is a list of all the 'known' tricks for the Touch Pro/Fuze but it definitely is a long list. Did Doug and David leave anything out? Feel free to share your tip/trick to our comment section.
Having to make do with "old" technology is a bitter pill to swallow. Witness the recent move by AT&T, which according to OFB is relegating its EDGE service to the 1900MHz band from the 850MHz band and giving its 3G service some 850MHz exclusivity.
Why should you care? If you're in a 3G service area, you're going to get a better signal with the 850 band than you would with 1900. And that should equate to better battery life. But if you're in a 3G area and are running on EDGE because you're forcing your phone to connect to 2G, you're going to suffer a little, both in signal quality and battery life.
And our friends at the The iPhone Blog, who certainly have a vested interest (see iPhone 2G), raise an interesting point: What's that mean for customers in an EDGE-only area? Are they going to get screwed over in the name of progress? Is this just a move to indirectly force customers to upgrade their phones? And is there really anything wrong with that?
AT&T's definitely growing its 3G network, but there are still plenty of people without it.
The bad news, from a blurrycam shot from TmoNews of the Shadow II: GPRS/EDGE only.
The semi-interesting news: We get another (albeit blurry) shot of how the color scheme's gonna play out, again confirming the red and silver paint jobs we've already seen. Also note the release date of Jan. 28, which also matches up with what's been reported.
So at this point our previous question still stands: If the Shadow II truely has a 1700MHz 3G radio as the FCC testing implied, will we ever see it implemented? And the other burning question: Is UMA and WinMo 6.1 enough of an upgrade to the Shadow line to make you want one?
Update: In more "meh" news, the Boy Genius reports that the Shadow II will be called ... wait for it ... Shadow 2009.
Flexilis is offering what they're pitching as a comprehensive security solution for our Windows Mobile devices. According to John Hering, Flexilis CEO, the application is "the easy way to keep your phone safe." The application includes various modules such as anti-virus, hacker protection, data backup, lost/stolen protection, and SMS anti-spam. The loss/stolen protection sounds interesting where you are capable of remotely accessing your WM Device and locate your device or wipe it clean.
What you'll find on your average Windows Mobile device can range from Aunt Helen's family recipes to bank account information. While I don't think fighting SMS Spam ranks real high, protecting that data if the device is lost does. We're still more than a little dubious about the necessity of anti-virus on Windows Mobile, but if you feel like you need it, the additional features being tossed here do make for a nice package.
The application is still in the BETA stages and if you're interested in being a test subject, Flexilis is looking for 100 Windows Mobile users to test the application out. If you're feeling adventurous, you can sign up here.
A few Twitter-related things have cropped up recently that have swirled up into a perfect-micro-blogging storm for yours truly. The first is that Mike Temporale at Mobile Jaw recommended pocketwit, an excellent Twitter client for Windows Mobile. By the end of this article, I hope you've downloaded the software and installed it, because it's my go-to Twitter client and rivaled only by desktop clients in speed, UI, and convenience. Sincerely, pocketwit is great. (Minor Update: I tend to prefer ceTwit on Windows Mobile Standard devices)
The second is that Engadget Mobile pointed us to this NYTimes article that confirms what I've often ranted about on the Podcast: there's no good reason for text message rates to keep going up as they are, because the more text messages that get sent (and they're getting sent in record numbers), the less each particular text message costs the carriers. In fact, it's even more egregious than your typical economy of scale, because the technology behind SMS is so wildly scalable that they basically cost next to nothing for carriers to transmit -- it uses a “control channel” that has to be open anyway. So basically the only cost to carriers is making sure the buggers get sent correctly and while I don't want to say that's nothing, it's definitely not something that needs to increase in cost as the number of text messages rise.
The third, well, was that I was back home for the holidays and found Twitter to be an excellent replacement for SMS amongst the people that use Twitter.
So read on to see why I think Twitter is better than SMS and what you can do to start using it.
One thing I like about Windows Mobile devices is the ability to customize the appearance to match your personality and tastes through themes. The one thing that I can live without is the gray color scheme of the AT&T Fuze. To call it drab is an understatement. Fortunately, with the introduction of the Touchflo 3D interface it was only a matter of time before someone figured out a way to easily customize Touchflo’s appearance and add a little spice to the Fuze’s appearance.
Enter MobileMatt.net where you can find Touchflo 2D, 3D, Touch Command and Windows Mobile themes. Touchflo 3D users take particular note of the Touchflo 3D skin. MobileMatt just posted the 3D Skin (Fuzeberry) v3.0.2 in our forums and adds a few extras to Touchflo including a Calendar, Call History, and Comm Manager Tab. The Skin will accept any wallpaper for the background to add more customization. The Skin does require .NET CF which is downloadable from the website. It's a theme that's similar to the BlackBerry wireframe themes, which we point out here in the spirit of the Smartphone Round Robin -- maybe it will make Kevin like TouchFlo a bit more.
We're back a little later than we'd like, but we'll nail this puppy down eventually. This week I'm talking a bit about the Sprint Touch - specifically how Sprint managed to ruin TouchFLO by adding their own applications that feel like they're little more than attempts to pull more money out of you. Fortunately, there are ways to customize the TouchFLO cube on the Sprint Touch. They come to us courtesy of PPCGeeks. Links after the break!
In this week's podcast, Dieter takes another look a the BlackJack II - part of his ongoing love it / hate it / love it saga with the device -- this time with with the added bonus of a bum unit that needs replacing.