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5 years ago

Gadgie, Engadget's New Mascot

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Gadgie, Engadget's New Mascot

The WMExperts Store sponsored another one of those Wii-giveaway contests over at Engadget - as we mentioned back when that contest started. Well the contest is over and I gotta say I like the result - Gadgie, at right. Then again, I like a lot of the runners-up as well.

Head on over and check out their gallery of all the entries - makes you feel all warm and fuzzy to be a gadget lover.

Read: Winners of the Engadget Mascot contest! - Engadget

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5 years ago

"Windows Live" - Which Services Are Those Again?

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The D: All Things Digital Conference may be behind us, but in its wake we have more than just strange "sub-par" laptops to think about - we also have a really nice set of bloggers who are still writing at the D site. Case in point, James Joaquin analyzes Microsoft's utterly insane branding strategy with their Windows Live services.

I've been using a subset of those services - you know, the ones that are built into Windows Mobile 6 - for awhile now and I'm pretty happy with them. Happy enough that I even (briefly) considered ditching my personal gmail account to switch to Hotmail.

Really, though, Microsoft is appending "Live" to pretty much anything they feel like these days. Joaquin is right - Microsoft, you have to stop this. My advice is similar to Joaquin's - "Live" should only apply to consumer web services - that means you can use it for search, hotmail, and probably a few other web 2.0-esque projects.

But Microsoft’s current “Live” branding strategy is the antithesis of good consumer branding, delivering a dizzying array of Microsoft brand and sub-brand combinations that are bound to perplex the average PC user.

Read: Microsoft's Dead Naming Strategy

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5 years ago

The iPhone is Not a Smartphone

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The iPhone is Not a Smartphone

Just finished up with the live Apple Keynote blogstravaganza, mostly over at Engadget, who caught the absolutely stupendous image over at the right. And I'm finding myself suddenly less worried about the iPhone decimating Windows Mobile than I was before. A lot less worried.

Here's the relevant quote from Engaget's coverage, straight from the mouth of his Steveness:

And so you can write amazing Web 2.0 and AJAX apps that look and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone, and these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, check email, look up a location on Gmaps... don't worry about distribution, just put 'em on an internet server. They're easy to update, just update it on your server. They're secure, and they run securely sandboxed on the iPhone. And guess what, there's no SDK you need! You've got everything you need if you can write modern web apps..." Weeeeeaaaak

Weeeeeaaak indeed. Like I said just a few days ago, "a smartphone is a platform, and a platform needs 3rd party apps." Jobs' reply: "There's no SDK you need!" In other words: No Apps For You! Use webpage and online apps instead.

Orly? How about security - sure, a web developer can secure a webapp, but it's easier to just depend on a phone's built-in security on an app that's housed on the phone. Or how about when you don't actually have reliable and useful data signal? Too bad, so sad. Or what about the fact that I like to use my phone a little differently than you use yours - so I can install a custom ToDo app, or a neat little shortcut hack, or whatever. Sorry - with the iPhone you can use any interface you want as long as it's the default.

No support for a real developer community means that Apple is releasing an appliance, not a platform. Without a platform, the iPhone is not a smartphone, Q.E.D. Just so we're perfectly clear here: It's looking like Blackberry has better third party support than the iPhone will.

And that photo... at first glance it is (among other things) yet another joke on Steve Ballmer; but if Apple really intends to lock out all genuine "on the phone" 3rd party development... Well then we'll probably see Ballmer smile like that on his own.

Update: phone different's OMGNOAPPZ series weighs in with a slightly more optimistic (though still troubled) take.

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5 years ago

Treo 800w Details?

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Treo 800w Details?

I thought that I was being pretty optimistic when I posted my expectations for the (apparently) upcoming Treo 800w, which I think is going to be nearly identical to the pictured 755p at right. But I'm not nearly as hopeful as a tipster who sent the following specs to Gizmodo:

Lots and lots of improvements for Sprint users over what they can get right now with the 700wx, including EV-DO REV A., Windows Mobile 6, a 320x320 display (now supported on WM6), 256MB flash, 128MB RAM, a 1.3-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and an expansion slot.

Read: Palm Treo 800w Details Leaked: WM6, Wi-Fi, EV-DO Rev. A - Gizmodo

...Two bits. Bit #1: I still suspect that Verizon will get it first as it appeared on their roadmap and Palm likes to spread the exclusivity love around as much as possible. Bit #2: It would be nice to finally see Palm release a powerhouse device that included GPS and WiFi, but I seriously doubt it. I don't even expect Rev A., to be blunt. Sorry to be blunt, but I just don't believe that the hardware for the 800w will be that significantly different from the PalmOS Treo 755p. If I'm wrong, I'll be the first to combine a hosanna with a mea culpa - but I don't think I'm wrong.

Now, Palm, quit letting all those carriers you work with leak out any more stuff about your upcoming products, I'm tired of writing about you today.

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5 years ago

Palm "Gandolf" - WM6 Standard Edition?

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Palm "Gandolf" - WM6 Standard Edition?

The internets 'asploded over the weekend with leaked pics and rumors of a new Palm device that doesn't appear to be a Treo - or at least not any sort of Treo that we know. First we saw a photo or two that looked pretty photoshopped, or at least pretty strange - these photos showed a PalmOS dialer (that says "Windows Mobile" on the top, scrunched down to fit on what's clearly a 240x320 screen. These were met with more than a little incredulity.

Update: Looks like I didn't squint hard enough at the grainy PalmOS shot - which clearly says "Wireless Mobile" and not "Windows Mobile". My Bad. But I still am pretty skeptical of the PalmOS version.

But then over at the TreoCentral Forums, CGK posted the photo you see at right, which looks quite a bit more legit. Witness: Vodafone logo (Palm released the first Treo 750v on Vodafone), Palm logo, and even a serial # in the upper right that indicates this is indeed some sort of pre-production model. Given that Palm is in love with touchscreens, a device like this is a bit of a surprise from them - would they even call it a Treo?

Would they admit that it's basically a year behind the rest of the pack (Looks like a Dash knock-off to me).

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5 years ago

AIEE! New Qualcomm 3G chips (and the phones that contain them) Banned

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Ok, ok, breathe. It's not as bad as all that.... right? Here's the skinny: the International Trade Commission ruled that Qualcomm's 3G chips (which are to be found a a bunch of phones, especially on Sprint and Verizon) infringe on some Broadcom patents. They banned future imports to the US - but phones that have already been imported or approved are fine. That should mean that roapmaps for upcoming devices shouldn't change in the short term. In the long term, Qualcomm needs to get this little dispute taken care of.

The International Trade Commission said late on Thursday that the Qualcomm chips infringed a patent owned by Broadcom Corp. (BRCM.O: Quote, Profile , Research) and barred U.S. sales of phones containing the chips that are not already being imported.

Read: Qualcomm shares up as ITC ban not as bad as feared

Here's a funny twist, though, the best hope that Qualcomm (and their buddy Verizon) have for fixing this this ASAP? The President of the United States:

Both Qualcomm and Verizon already have said publicly that they plan to ask President Bush to overturn the ITC ruling, and will ask a federal appeals court to grant an emergency stay to prevent the ruling from taking effect until the President rules on the appeal.

Read: 3G Chips Barred from U.S.

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5 years ago

SDK? We got your SDK right here.

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SDK? We got your SDK right here.

All the brouhaha over whether or not the iPhone will allow third party development is slightly amusing and mystifying to me.

Amusing because, like my pal Mike over at phone different I'm looking at the iPhone like a smartphone, and a smartphone is a platform, and a platform needs 3rd party apps, period. You should head over and read the whole article, as it makes it pretty clear that Apple should do this and makes a good guess about how they will.

You have to ensure that there's a rich ecosystem for developers, as the developers are the people that ensure that a platform (platform meaning smartphones, computers, video game consoles, etc) has applications available on it. Applications are the lifeblood of any platform, and Apple knows it.

Read: Phone Different

Mystifying because - and here's the Windows Mobile bit - how on earth does it benefit anybody to have any sort of ambiguity when it comes to your developers and how you're going to support them? Say what you want about Microsoft, but since they don't have a culture of secrecy like Apple's, it's easier for them to be open about what they're doing and why. I mean, can you imagine, in your wildest, crazies dreams, an Apple employee being allowed to write a blog post about prioritizing features like the great one I just read over at the Windows Mobile Team Blog?

Honestly, I wish that Windows Mobile, its creators, its developers, and even its users could magically make the default opinion of "Microsoft the evil empire" go away. Because it's just not true with WM. When it comes to an Operating System, I'd rather have open and honest development rather than a set of mysterious tablets brought down to me from upon high. That paradigm might work well for a religion, but it doesn't work well for fostering developers.

It may have been crude, but Ballmer was exactly right when he chanted "DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!!." Until Apple really and truly applies that sweaty chant to the iPhone, I'm not worried about it gobbling up the Windows Mobile market.

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5 years ago

iPhone Benefits Non-iPhone #1: "Fine Edge"

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iPhone Benefits Non-iPhone #1: "Fine Edge"

I said before that the iPhone might help Windows Mobile at least as much as it hurts it - by helping grow the smartphone smarket more quickly. Here's a more immediate benefit I wasn't expecting - AT&T has been upgrading their EDGE data network to work better with the iPhone, which is EDGE only.

While most Windows Mobile phones these days are coming out with 3G capabilities, some are still stuck back in the stone EDGE age (HTC S710, I'm looking at you). For those folks, the added speed is a nice little spillover benefit from the coming iPhone armageddon.

An AT&T employee who works on Operations tells us that the carrier ordered a last-minute beefing up of its EDGE throughput, latency and coverage in anticipation of the iPhone.

Read: Gizmodo (via phonedifferent)

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5 years ago

Amp'd Declares Bankruptcy

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Amp'd Declares Bankruptcy

Update: Apparently the bankruptcy was triggered because Verizon, which is the carrier that amp'd uses for their service, asked ever so gently that they pay $4.5 million of the $33 million owed within 10 days. Then Verizon threatened to up and shut amp'd down - though it's possible they only did that because their lawyers told them to. It's looking like the future of a major cellular provider is going to be resolved where God meant it to be -- in the courts.

Read: Verizon Threatens To Shut Off Amp'd (Phone Scoop)

MVNO's have a rough time of it, it seems. I'd thought that amp'd mobile was doing alright, but I clearly thought wrong. Here's the "ouch" part of amp'd's (a lot of apostrophes there) business plan:

Apparently, those free-spending youths don't care much for paying their cell-phone bills. A court motion filed on June 4 explains that Amp'd "experienced an unprecedented growth of subscribers" between November, 2006, and February after running ads on MTV (VIA) about the wireless phone company's lineup of mobile music and video content.

Collecting payments from these subscribers proved to be a challenge, however. "Approximately 90% of the debtor's customers were on 18-month service contracts," according to the filing. "The debtor began to find a host of credit and collections problems (that) contributed ultimately to a liquidity crisis." By May, the number of nonpaying customers reached 80,000. That's nearly half of Amp'd's current customer base of 175,000 subscribers.

There's rumor that Verizon might snap them up, but then again, there were rumors that Verizon wanted to snap up Alltel. I'd advise against it, Verizon. 50% of amp'd customers aren't paying their bills? The hip and young demographic may seem appealing, but "hip" and "young" apparently also means "poor."

Read: Press Release via Gadgetorama

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5 years ago

Treo 800w in September? 320x320 FTW!

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Treo 800w in September? 320x320 FTW!

Pictured at right, the PalmOS Treo 755p on Sprint. Shuffle some branding and, er, the Operating System and I strongly suspect you'll be looking at the new Treo 800w on Verizon. Palm has long said that they want to standardize their hardware so they don't have to keep redesigning products in order to put PalmOS or WM on it. The rumored 800w looks to be the fruits of that standardization.

Or so I think, being relatively steeped in Palm lore. So, going with the same assumption that the 800w will share the same hardware as the 755p (much in the same way that the 700w and the 700p are nearly identical), we should expect this new Verizon 800w to have:

  • 320x320 resolution touchscreen (joy!)
  • Antenna-less design
  • EVDO, but likely not Rev A (boo!)
  • A decent 312mhz processor
An unnamed source on HowardForums has posted what is supposedly a timetable of upcoming releases for Verizon. This lists a previously unknown device, the Palm Treo 800w.If this information is correct, this model will launch on September 13, after having been moved back from August 27.

Read: Brighthand: What Is the Treo 800w?

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5 years ago

T-Mobile MDA vs. Wing: Should You Upgrade?

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5 years ago

New Office Mobile for WM5, WM6

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New Office Mobile for WM5, WM6

I didn't really expect anything important to happen at the Computex Conference in Taiwan, but Microsoft's Windows Mobile division is apparently just too prolific to let a conference slide by without giving us something to want. First they came through with the patched WMDC and now this: the unwired is reporting that the next version of Office for WM will be available *for free* in Q3 for all WM5 and WM6 devices.

It will include support for the new XML document format, which means it will only be 6 months behind DocsToGo. The unwired also speculates TIFF support will be included as a part of a new ability to receives faxes on your smartphone.

As expected, the updated Office Mobile version (the name isn't clear yet - some sources say Office Mobile 2006 while others say Office Mobile 2007) will allow Windows Mobile devices to open documents created with the new Office 2007 XML formats.

Read: the::unwired - UPDATE: Office Mobile Update comes to Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6

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5 years ago

Windows Mobile Device Center Patched

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Windows Mobile Device Center Patched

Huzzah! Microsoft promised a WMDC patch in June and they've delivered. The Vista-only ActiveSync fixes that file sync bug but also looks to add some nice features as well. My #1 fav: "Automatic Device Authentication," as in "You can stop having to enter your #$@@#$ PIN every time you plug in your phone to your computer." Joy! WMDC 6.1 works with Windows Mobile 2003 and up.

This new version of the Windows Mobile Device Center contains key improvements and new features to support Windows Mobile 6 devices. The Windows Mobile Device Center 6.1 is only supported on Windows Vista.

Download: Mobile Device Center (via Mobility Today)

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5 years ago

WM6 on a Samsung Blackjack

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WM6 on a Samsung Blackjack

The leaked ROM was taken off of the forum where I found it, which is unsurprising. I imagine that it wouldn't be too difficult to find with a little Googling, but here's the thing, I think I'm going to recommend against doing that. Not just because you'll be in sketchy legal territory, but also because the update process didn't go very smoothly - my Blackjack froze on the screen you see pictured here. I was worried I was going to have a thin little brick. Luckily, though, it came out ok after I removed the battery. There's not a lot of surprises here - it's Windows Mobile 6 on a Blackjack. I don't think it's the final update, though, as the boot time was very long and there were a few little strange spots in the settings (Hardware Rev0.0 -- what!?).

So the verdict is: wait. I hope you won't have to wait long. In the meantime, you can stew by watching this quick little video of a Blackjack running Windows Mobile 6.

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5 years ago

Sprint PPC-6800 Watch: Now June?

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Sprint PPC-6800 Watch: Now June?

First it was May, then it was leaked into the wild, then it was renamed the Mogul and delayed until October so it could ship with WM6. Now the latest rumor is that Sprint heard our wailing and gnashing of teeth about the delay and has moved the release up to just a couple of weeks from now. Now, the natural thing to do would be to head over to HTC's teaser site for the device to see what the real scoop it - but apparently that site now requires a user name and password. Weird.

Anyhow, we like the earlier release, even if it doesn't mean that it will have WM6 or Rev A EVDO right away

The latest projected launch timeframe for the PPC-6800 is now set for mid-June. While we (constantly and continuously) stress that these dates are estimates, and should not be considered as anything other than internal projections, it does appear Sprint has made considerable efforts to ship the PPC-6800 later this month.

Read: Phone News - HTC PPC-6800 for Sprint Bumped Up to June

Update: Looks like a Powerpoint presentation got leaked. Check it out: Sprint HTC Mogul Pics and Specs - Pocket PC Addict Forums

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