Making a decision on a next-gen Windows Mobile Browser just got tougher again, friends. SkyFire has been updated to 0.8.5 and the new version brings a few new features. Namely: support for larger screens (hi Touch Pro!) and the best feature of all: an immediate download of the open beta. Just head to http://get.skyfire.com/ to get the SMS punched out to your phone (US and Canada seems to be the focus here, though). Since Skyfire is proxy-based, it is able to render fairly quickly server-side and them push the page out for your zooming pleasure. It's also the best browser for multimedia since it's able to handle most Flash video and media embeds on that proxy server and then send it out.
If you're looking for a simpler proxy-based solution and you have an inexplicable yet abiding love for Java Virtual Machine, you might also be interested to know that Opera Mini is tapping in at 4.2 now with skins, performance enhancements, and some minor syncing abilities with Desktop Opera. Early support for video is here as well, but only for those dirty Symbian users.
The Omnia's announced, everybody, at long last. It'll be online tomorrow and in business channels around the same time, in physical stores on December 8th. Counting legacy devices, the Omnia is the 7th phone currently available on Verizon's network. That's nothing to sneeze at. Neither are the Omnia specs, which match what have been rumored:
Windows Mobile 6.1
624 MHz Processor
128 RAM (sigh), but 8gb onboard storage
Opera 9.5 Browser
WiFi, Bluetooth, EVDO
Samsung's sticking with the optical mouse and the lack of a 3.5mm headset jack. What they're not sticking is 'it-to-you' with the price, which is a reasonable (for these features and specs) $249 after rebates.
We'd heard back in August that “Windows Live” would be getting a rebrand. We've suggested many-a-time here that “Live” is confusing between search, desktop products, mobile products, cloud services, consumer services, Office, and more. Yes, all those things need to be tied together, but there's striations between the products where Live does and doesn't apply, to the point where “Live” is to “defining term” what “Clippy” is to “Help tool.” Which is to say -- not a bad way to brand stuff on paper, but in practice hopelessly annoying.
We're about to plunge into yet another tearful tirade about how Microsoft's cloud services are actually really awesome, better than MobileMe and BlackBerry Internet Service even, but nobody knows about it because they have to hunt down Windows Live for Windows Mobile, Live Search for Windows Mobile, Live Mesh for Windows Mobile, and then patch them all together. We're about to do that, but it looks like Microsoft may have settled on one of the names conjectured in that August post: Kumo, which can mean either “cloud” or “spider” in Japanese depending on which Kanji characters you use. Seems like the perfect term to apply to a set of cloud services with a side of search.
LiveSide reports that Microsoft took control of Kumo.com. TechCrunch believes that Kumo will apply to search and Live will be cloud services and social networking. CNet joins both in emphasizing that no decision appears to be fully set in stone yet.
Us, we're going to go stare in a mirror and repeat “Live Services” three times and see what comes out.
Indeed it is, sir, the Verizon Touch Pro is live at Verizon's site for $420 with a 2 year contract and a $70 mail-in rebate, bringing the final price down to $350. We're still baffled (and we mean baffled) as to why it's different from the Sprint, Alltel, Bell, and Telus version of the Touch Pro, but who are we to argue against any device that offers:
EVDO Rev A
WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
3.2 mp Camera
512mb / 128 RAM
...Ok, we're going to hedge on that last bit, doesn't seem like quite enough for a TouchFlo 3D device. Then again, maybe that's why Verizon doesn't show it in their marketing image, above, eh?