And finally we have the top of the device featuring the silence switch. I’ll point out to my iPhone using friends (and, yes, my own alter ego) that this is a proper ringer switch, not the bollocks that you’ll find on the iPhone. When you enable the ringer switch on a Treo, the external speaker is silent, period, whether you’re getting an SMS or playing a game or having an alarm go off. That’s how it’s supposed to be, folks, and that’s how it works on the 800w.
Bearxor (a frequent poster at PPCGeeks) is contending that the ringer switch on the Treo is “dumb” and the switch on the iPhone is “smart” because, well, if you're playing music, you want to hear music, regardless of the ringer switch. Ditto alarms -- if you set an alarm, you darn well want to have it wake you up, ringer switch be damned.
Reasonable people can disagree, of course, and Bearxor is right when he writes that “There’s just no such thing as a ‘proper ringer switch’ though.” Fair enough, I shouldn't have called the iPhone's “bollocks.” On the other hand, I still prefer the Treo's ringer switch behavior to the iPhone's. I don't think it's “dumb” at all. I just think it's better for pocket usage. When I reach into my pocket and set the ringer switch to vibrate, I want an iron-clad guarantee that it's never going to make noise. If I want to watch movies or listen to music through the external speaker, I don't mind switching the ringer back to “on.”
How 'bout you, though? Which do you prefer: the Treo's “Silence all” behavior or the iPhone's “Silence the stuff we figure you want to silence and leave the rest on” behavior?
We never thought the Shadow's battery was all that bad. Although it clocks in at a very small 920mAh, it's always managed to get through a day of average use for us. It's crazy-small, but it's not joker-crazy-small. Apparently we haven't really been putting our Shadow through its paces hard enough, though, as T-Mobile has decided to start packaging an extended battery (and battery door) with all new Shadows. The new battery is 1350mAh, which means it should last about 50% longer -- it better, given that it adds a new hump to the back of the phone. Click on through to see the hump -- it's noticeable but not, ahem, crazy thick.
A nice bit for current owners: you should be able to call up T-Mobile and ask them to send you one, free of charge.
So, c'mon, Samsung. C'mon, AT&T. Let's get this sucker released here and unleash the American masses upon it, and find out if really is the best Windows Mobile device this side of the X1 with a shot at taking down the apple of, er, Apple's eye.
Well, it looks like the HTC Touch Pro/Raphael has popped up at the FCC! You can take a gander at the FCC documents here, though a quick perusal doesn't appear to show anything out of the ordinary: the standard sort of “here's where we'll put the label” and “here's proof it won't melt your brain” sort of thing. The really juicy details aren't available because HTC's confidentiality request to the FCC asked that they keep the rest under wraps until November 30th, 2008. Ain't that a nice little date to mark on your calendar?
Still, though, nice to see the RAPH100 show its face, makes it a little more likely we'll be able to use it to impress our friends and bludgeon our enemies. That bludgeoning might be cathartic, too, as there doesn't appear to be 3G testing results in these documents. TmoNews speculates this means it's bound to (3G-less) T-Mobile, but we're still hopeful that those tests just haven't arrived. Of course, “hopefulness” is just on the other side of the coin from “denial,” so your guess is as good as ours.
Two steps forward, one step back is today's theme on the 800w.
Awhile ago some crafty people were lurking around their device and found out that going to "Dial Pad" and typing in ##EVDO# (aka ##3836#) brought them to one of those secret programming menus.
The first thing you see is a big ol' checkbox that says "Rev A" unchecked. Of course people flew into a tither but in reality, a lot of did not see any increase in our download speeds (via Mobile BBR)--in fact, a few people have experienced some odd behavior with it checked (mostly because they didn't choose "Automatic").
Step in kaptainchump who decided to check upload speeds and sure enough...that's the difference.
Without the "Rev A" box checked, upload speeds cap at around 120kbps. When enabled, you easily and consistently hit up in the mid 300kbps range (that'd be doubling your upload speeds in case you didn't notice).
Now, why is this not checked to begin with? Forum member Ebag333 speculates it might actually have to do with Sprint's programming, while others may think it's currently unstable.
Who knows at this point, but if you're feeling a little risky, take this trick for a spin.
Well, chalk this one up to fast turn around...in fact one of the fastest we've ever seen from Palm.
First some background: when the Sprint Treo 800w was in it's final stages of release, one of the more anticipated features was the ability to use Microsoft's Voice Command 1.6 over Bluetooth (after all, that brilliant apps comes built into the device's ROM). This would allow you to hear the program's responses and reminders over your headset and just as importantly, bark your commands via the headset.
In our forums there has been lots of discussion over this because once the phone was released it turns out this feature was missing--leaving lots of people quite upset (the phrase "deal breaker" is mentioned a lot).
We've been wall-to-wall Microsoft services lately and for good reason -- Microsoft's Live offerings are really maturing lately. One hassle, though, is that most people's desktop PIM manager is Outlook and Outlook hasn't (until now) fully synced calendars with Live Mail. No more, as Paul Thurrott points out: Microsoft has released a beta of Microsoft Office Outlook Connector 12.1. It's good stuff, adding calendar sync capabilities to the already existing contacts and email sync, though there is one tiny caveat that some users may need to know about:
Note to Premium Subscribers:The Outlook Connector will automatically upgrade your MSN Calendar to the new Windows Live Calendar beta. Once upgraded to Windows Live Calendar, you will be able to synchronize multiple calendars, including shared calendars to Outlook! You will no longer be able to access MSN Calendar.
...It's still not a full fledged solution for mobile (unless you're an old-school, cable-based ActiveSyncer, in which case we presume those synced calendars can be synced over USB just fine), but it's a sign that Microsoft is heading in the right direction. Those “right direction” signs are all over the place these days, now we just need some unification.
2 Key Search for Pocket PC - this is like T9 for search
Contacts rewritten so that it now is very fast
Improved Events view with groupings and more options
Improved Journal view with groupings and better view
Improved Touch mode
Major improvements to Smartphone all over the place
SmartPhone now supports Linking
Better one-handed usage
Default Number (SmartNum) now editable in the editor
A number of Template improvements
The upgrade is free if you already have Pocket Informant 8, or if you purchased Pocket Informant 2007 after Sept. 1, 2007. If you bought it before that date or got a copy as part of a promotion, the upgrade will cost $16.95. Full retail of Pocket Informant 8 is $29.95.
Pocket Informant is available on Windows Mobile Professional (touchscreen) and Standard (no touchscreen) devices. Find it directly at www.pocketinformant.com, and we've got it in the WM Experts Store.
We all know the new Windows Live app is out and has been giving us what we need. Push! In order to get your real push up and running you will first need to set up an account with Live mail. Then once set up you can download the app, input your info, and start to sync. Another cool option is the ability to sync contacts with your Live mail account. I had the option checked to merge contacts with outlook contacts but I still ended up with duplicates. That's a persistent issue with the Windows Live client, but a little contact cleanup is a small price to pay for instant email. Check out the video in action and let us know if you're switching to a @live email address.
Apparently we weren't the only ones who found Microsoft's services strategy utterly confusing and slapdash -- Microsoft did too. To that end, as reported by All About Microsoft, they're splitting up their Platforms and Services unit into two different units as well as giving the previous president of that division a retirement to go work for Juniper networks.
The two new divisions will be “Windows/Windows Live” and “Online Services Business.” The W/WL will have three folks in charge and the OSB will get a new guy. Steve Ballmer sent out a letter to the company about the changes with some interesting tidbits about their feelings on Google, Apple, and Yahoo. Short version: We're working on search and Apple's done better with the “end-to-end” experience.
There's plenty to parse here, including the possibility of a Zune phone, so read on!
I'll stay neutral on the Zune Phone -- ok no I won't: I'm not opposed, but I'd prefer to see Zune features included in all Windows Mobile Phones, okay? I still like Microsoft's strategy of working with hardware partners to make Windows Mobile quite a bit, I just wish there'd be some more consistency (and hotness) across the different handsets. If Microsoft were to throw their own hat into the hardware market, I hope they can find a way to do it that doesn't undercut the entire ecosystem by introducing yet another non-standard Windows Mobile interface into the mix. So Microsoft: go ahead and make your Zune Phone, but offer the innovations therein to your partners, ok?
Back to the Windows Live branding debacle. I'd like to think that this new split is going to help things along. I'd like to think that, but I don't. Windows Mobile is precisely the sort of platform that needs to straddle the gap between traditional business space services that will fall under the “Online Services Business” and consumer-focused services that are part of “Windows Live.”
It's all very frustrating, because the truth of the matter is that Microsoft's offering is much better than anything anybody else has put out there except for RIM. There are some quirks and bugs with Windows Live on Windows Mobile, sure, but they're nothing compared to the Mobile Me mess right now. Toss in Live Mesh and Live Search and you have yourself an excellent suite of great online, cloud-based apps. That's not even counting what we see coming, consumer-wise, after the Danger acquisition.
In poker terms, Microsoft has a straight right now, they just haven't noticed yet because they can't seem to put the cards in the right order. With any luck, they'll be smart enough to keep betting, stay in the game, and take a shot at the big money.
On other fronts, though, the ROM apparently rocks. TouchFLO 3D is reportedly much faster! The other nice thing is that the weird “we're turning the screen off whether you like it or not during a call” behavior now defaults to friendlier settings based on your global power preferences (after the initial default power-down. Yes, it's confusing, but if you have one you know what we're talking about).
CommMgrPro, developed Daniel Herrero Rey with all sorts of input from the good folks at XDA is seeing an official version 2.1 release today. We've had some questions about profiles management in our Podcast before and this here software just might be the the bazooka to kill your profiles bug. It does it all -- managing ringers, radios, data connections, auto-sending of SMS, screen light levels, and more. All of which can be based on a ridiculously powerful set of customizable criteria.
Want silence when you walk into a certain (GSM) cell tower's range? Done. Want super-loud-ringer + dim screen when your calendar appointment has the word “discotheque” in it? Done (and we won't judge you for the fact that a. you use the word “discotheque” regularly and b. find it necessary to schedule it on your smartphone).
The software's 15 Euro and available for Windows Mobile Pro devices.
From Shape Services, the makers of the popular IM+, comes Persistent.im, basically an always-on private conference that allows you to use your current IM client.
Each conference shows up and behaves as a contact in the IM contacts' list. Conference participants may use accounts in AIM®/iChat, MSN®/Windows Live™ Messenger, Yahoo!®, ICQ®, Jabber®, Google Talk™ and MySpaceIM and keep using their preferred instant messenger client.
You can use multiple IM clients and load your contacts from your favorite IM service, and there are a few bot commands to make conferencing command line-like friendly.
The free service works across desktop and mobile devices - wherever you choose to IM from.
Fire sale? Sprint is selling off a ton of its cell towers to a private equity firm, TowerCo, for an infusion of $670 million in cash. They'll then lease the towers back from the company. The reason? “Significantly, this transaction provides Sprint Nextel with additional liquidity which gives us greater flexibility in managing our company.” Yeah, that extra liquidity is probably something Sprint could use, but a less optimistic observer might suggest that getting rid of physical assets makes it easier for another company to buy them up. Of note -- this is very similar to the arrangement Sprint has set up for their WiMAX network: let somebody else handle the physical towers, Sprint just leases them.
Sprint is selling around 3,300 towers, give or take, which the Wall Street Journal says is “nearly all” of them, though that seems like a lowish number to us since Steel in the Air estimated they had 25,000 of them back in 2005.
The arguments over the effects of cell phone radiation go on, but the head of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute is taking no chances.
Dr. Ronald B. Herberman has warned his 3,000 faculty and staff members to limit cell phone use, and he says children should only use them in emergencies because their brains are still developing.
"These waves have been shown to have the ability to penetrate into the brain," said Herberman, who based his advisory on international studies from countries such as France, Germany and India. "This provides a plausible basis for concern that it might be contributing to an increased incidence in brain tumors."