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5 years ago

Review: Extreme Agenda for PPC

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5 years ago

XPERIA X1 To Use MicroSD After All

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5 years ago

BlackJack II: Use Any MP3 as a Ringtone

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BlackJack II: Use Any MP3 as a Ringtone

Alright, we have Registry Edits on the brain ever since our How To article went up. Here's a combo How To with a side of optional registry edit:

In our forums, coppertop asks about how to set up an MP3 as a ringtone on a BlackJack II. Here's a hint: the way you do it is annoying and not intuitive at all. Save your mp3 wherever you like. Now here's the wonky part. The BlackJack II has two file browsers - the default one from Windows Mobile and another one called “My Stuff.” Use “My Stuff” and navigate to your mp3. When it's highlighted, one of your menu options is to set it as a ringtone. It will prompt you to move the file to your /My Documents/My Sounds folder -- but it really means “copy,” FYI. Done!

Now for the registry edit. By default, the BlackJack II doesn't allow for MP3 ringtones over 300kb. That's awfully small - so the fix is, you guessed it, changing that setting in the registry. Per CycleNC:

Go into HKEY_Current User → ControlPanel → Sounds
Delete the key of FileSizeLimit

Done. Now, you've applied the GPS Hack too, right? Your BlackJack II is on its way to custom heaven.

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5 years ago

Great Reg Hack: Add Bluetooth Headset Button to Your Settings

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If you haven't yet, go read HobbesIsReal's great How To: Edit the Registry. He ends the article with some suggestions as to where to find some useful registry hacks. Here's one I've never heard of that's super cool: you can set up your bluetooth headset button to launch whatever voice recognition application you prefer -- or heck, set it up to launch anything at all:

For users of bluetooth headsets, you might face either or both these problems:

When you press the button for voice command on your headset, the default program (Voice Commander) comes out but you want to change it to something else.
Pressing the same button, nothing happens.
If this sounds like you, then there’s a very easy solution for you in the form of a registry hack

Head on over to Eten Blog for the full details on how to make the registry edits - there's even a “.reg” file that you can use to add the keys to your phone and “import” them into your registry (if that's your thing).

That's what's cool about the registry, the neat hackable things buried in there never seem to end. Yeah, a registry is sometimes not the best option for computing -- on a desktop, for example, I much prefer the Mac method of discrete text-based pref files to the Windows Registry. Windows Mobile, on the other hand, has less complexity than XP or Vista so a single database of settings makes a lot of sense.

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5 years ago

Tip of the Week: Change your System Font!

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5 years ago

How To: Edit the Registry

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How To: Edit the Registry

Registry Edits (or as some call them hacks or tweaks) are often times one of the great mysteries of the WM world that can either totally baffle or flat out scare the bejeezus out of first time WM phone owners, or even sometimes veteran users for that matter. But with a little direction and a few proactive and preventive steps, these fears are more often than not largely exaggerated. Registry edits are cool, useful, helpful, can fine tune / optimize / personalize your phone, or sometimes might simply be important to know how to do in order to fix your phone. Editing the Registry is easy, can be safe, and fun to explore and that is what this article is geared to do.

A lot of registry editing tutorials are really short, expecting the reader to have some experience or knowledge with it already, and assume you already know basically what they are talking about. This article is assuming you have never heard of the registry, let alone what you can do with it. I will show you how to safely backup, explore, and edit your phone's registry. The goal here is to clear up all the urban legends about physically and literally blowing up your phone in a ball of flame, resulting in burning down your house and loosing all of your worldly possessions just by tweaking the wrong thing in your WM phone's Registry... and then to open up a whole new world for you with your WM phone.

First thing's first: What the Heck is the Registry??

First of all, please note that due to how complex the registry is under the hood, that I have taken some liberties in simplifying some of the terms and definitions. In other words, from a programmer's point of view, I am not going to be completely accurate or comprehensive. But from a user's point of view who simply wants to edit their WM phone's registry to stop their Bluetooth LED light from blinking and annoying the heck out of them, it is perfectly accurate info.

WikiPedia has a pretty good definition of what the Registry is:

The Windows registry is a directory which stores settings and options for the operating system for Microsoft ....Windows Mobile. It contains information and settings for all the hardware, operating system software, most non-operating system software, users, preferences of the (Mobile Phone), etc. Whenever a user makes changes to Control Panel settings, file associations, system policies, or most installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the registry.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry

For a real geeky detail explanation of what the registry is go here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/256986

Now that you still don't have a clue what the registry is, let me try to explain it. Think of the registry as a single file that holds nearly every possible setting for your phone, the WM OS, any software or game installed on the phone, etc. Think of it as a single file that basically tells the phone who it is, what it has on it, and how to do everything you want it to do. Think of it as just one big file with all the settings for your phone (the hardware), the Operating System, and the software installed. So for example, if you wanted to keep the keyboard backlight to stay lit for 60 seconds instead of only the highest option available of 30 seconds in the settings, you can go into the registry and change it to 60 seconds yourself.

So no matter what you call it, registry edit, tweak, or a hack, you are simply just changing a setting on your phone. That's it. Nothing more.

Editing the registry is officially and traditionally considered a task saved for power users only. But with the instructions and tools in this article this wonderful tool can be opened up to anyone with a WM device.

Safely editing your registry

Not to scare you off from having fun with the cool suggestions in this article, but now before we get started is the perfect time to address the fears of blowing up your phone with editing your registry... look at the reality of any possible risks, and how to restore your phone to its previous state no matter what you do. The two main fears that new users have when starting to look into the registry is:

1) Fatally killing your phone forever
2) Losing all of your personal information without ever being able to get it all back

Both of these are valid... but only to a point. As you will see below, you can stop your phone from working by editing the registry, but this can usually and easily be fixed by a doing a hard reset. The second is not a major concern either, as long as you have a current backup, which is easy to do.

The Reality of your possible risks

It is important to know that if you are editing the registry and it is done carelessly or without a few simple precautions, you can easily stop your phone from working and lose all of your personal data. In a case like this, you have more than likely not "bricked" your phone, but have caused an error where it cannot run "as is" with the changes you made, but it will run again as soon as you do a hard reset. A hard reset changes it back to as if it just left the factory. In other words, the phone will work just fine again, but none of your personal information or software you installed will be on the phone any longer.

The bottom line is that when playing with the registry, you should always be able to hard reset the phone to wipe out any bad errors you may have caused, but in the process wipe out your personal information as well. So in reality, for the most part, the only thing at risk is your personal information, settings you have changed, and software you personally installed, which is really easy to backup and restore so you can have it all back again.

I guess for liability sake, I have to say to "proceed at your own risk" as Murphy's Law often times proves, anything can happen no matter if it is likely or not. Beyond urban legend reports of someone posting that they heard from their best friend's wife's manicurist's dog walker's cousin's mom, who is a totally reliable source that works at a Sprint's independently owned mall outlet in Backwater, WY that they saw a phone another Sprint rep was working on that was totally bricked because the customer edited the wrong key in the registry... I have personally not seen a situation where a hard reset cannot fix a registry edit (and I know someone somewhere is going to point out where and why I am wrong about this). Basically put, you should be able to recover from nearly any published and verified registry edit with no real worries beyond having to do a hard reset and restore you latest backup.

So again, if you do make a change in the registry that stops your phone from working, then there are two simple steps to get it working again:

  1. Do a hard rest on your phone (see the manual for your phone to see which buttons you need to push while you use the stylus to hit the reset button)
  2. Restore your latest backup with all of your personal information and settings

That's it. These two steps are the worst that you should face. No balls of flames... no eternal paperweights.

Safe steps to take when editing the Registry

There are two points of advice I will always give to anyone when tweaking their registry.

The first is to not just go around in the registry and start changing settings willynilly just to see what happens, as you will get unexpected and sometimes fatal results, but instead to stick only with published tweaks that have been posted in articles, proven to work in forums, or found in books. There is always a percentage that will stand out as exceptions, but with most of these published and verified tweaks, even if you accidentally enter in the wrong setting, you can still just go back in and correct it. No harm, no foul.

My second point of advice is a strong one... no one, no matter how experienced, should ever touch their registry without doing this step first! That is to do a complete backup each time before you edit your registry to make sure that all of your latest settings and personal info are saved and ready to restore at anytime for any reason. Sprite Backup or SPB Backup are the two backup programs I personally recommend.

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5 years ago

Unlimited Plans on Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile Too (Updated)

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Sprint led the way (though apparently only in 4 markets) with full-on, really really, unlimited everything packages. For $119.99 a month you get it all - calling, data, texting. Of course, it doesn't include tethering for your phone (not that we haven't all found a way around that from time to time), nor can it apply to modem plans. Still - a clean, simple $120 (plus fees) per month is awfully darn good.

Now it looks like Verizon is following suit [via engadget mobile], but with somewhat more complicated plans. By “somewhat,” we mean “too much” - witness BGR's accurate breakdown

  • $99 - Nationwide Unlimited (voice)
  • $119 - Nationwide Select Unlimited (voice, SMS, MMS)
  • $139 - Nationwide Premium (voice, SMS, MMS, VZNav, VCAST, email)
  • $149 - Nationwide Email and Messaging (voice, SMS, MMS, and data)
  • $169 - Nationwide Global Email and Messaging (voice, SMS, MMS, and international data)

Sprint has always wow'ed us with inexpensive plans compared to the competition (makes up for their poor customer service and rapidly declining subscriber base), and it looks like that trend is going to continue. AT&T and T-Mobile: You're next. This is your future:

  1. Single Price Unlimited Plan
  2. People get used to just paying a set fee for all mobile services.
  3. Carriers become “dumb pipes who keep out of our way”
  4. ????????
  5. Profit?

We actually couldn't care less about steps 4 and 5, we just want step 3 postehaste.

Update: Add AT&T to the list [via]. Do you get the feeling all of these carriers had these plans just waiting in the wings, wondering who would be the first to draw? AT&T's Plan is $99 per month for unlimited voice, then you get to choose amongst their dizzying array of text and data choices to add on top of that. In other words, it's “Unlimited lite”

The winner of the first round of “We'll just give you a pipe” is Sprint. What's up, T-Mobile?

Update 2: Yep, T-Mobile too. $99.99 for voice and text, look like data will be extra on top of that -- just like AT&T's plan. As per our comments, Helio has this (and our memory whispers that they were actually the first to do it?), so now... Alltel?

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5 years ago

HTC To Deliver Video Improvements After All?

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HTC To Deliver Video Improvements After All?

You know about the so-called “missing driver” controversy on HTC devices utilizing Qualcomm chips, you've read our exclusive Insider Q&A and learned that the situation is not as clear as you might have thought, and now you're a regular visitor to http://HTCClassAction.org, whose updates page tells us this:

A response from Peter Chou himself (CEO of HTC) has surfaced saying they hope to release a driver at the end of March. [...] According to Fudzilla, Dr. Florian Seiche, vice president of HTC Europe, stated “Video acceleration drivers for HTC devices will see the light of the day”

...Then you dared to dream, just a little bit, that HTC's official “sorry folks” response might have just been a smoke screen, a white lie to buy some time for HTC to deliver unto us video drivers that would turn our devices into God Machines, tiny extensions of SkyNet in the palms of our hands, displaying Omnimax quality at 240x320.

If so, then we have three things to say to you. 1. Time to start taking your meds again. 2. Yes, it's true, a fix might be coming, but 3. According to Engadget Mobile, it's not technically going to be a video driver. Instead, look forward to enhancements to the already existing software stacks that should hopefully speeds things up a bit.

That's really not too surprising given the fractious issues brought up in the Q&A: Video drivers are difficult to develop and just as difficult to implement -- if HTC can get us a quick fix and then move on to doing the next device right, that might have to be good enough. Better that than spend 6 months spending too many resources on current generation tech.

Or are we going too easy on HTC? What say you?

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5 years ago

WebMessenger IM: Now Free / Mini-review

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5 years ago

Moto and RIM File Dueling Lawsuits

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Moto and RIM File Dueling Lawsuits

Oh JOY! More lawsuit-fun-time in the fountain of patent wars that is the smartphone industry. This time around it's RIM vs. Motorola, both saying that the other is infringing on their smartphone patents. RIM started the excitement on the 16th, claiming that Motorola violated 9 patents and that Motorola has been charging “exorbitant royalties” for licenses on patents that Moto has.

One of the patents RIM holds and is suing over: “a mobile device 'with a keyboard optimized for use with the thumbs.'” You read that right, they hold a patent on putting a QWERTY keyboard on a phone. The same patent they successfully forced Handspring (who made the original Treo) to settle on.

The basic skinny here is that both companies hold patents on very basic smartphone functions and they've been working together as best they can to license these patents to each other. Looks like the relationship is getting a might bit frosty, though. Maybe Motorola is, as RIM contends, getting a little greedy. Or maybe RIM just smells Motorola's blood in the water.

Not to be outdone, Moto has countersued, claiming that, Nuh-uh, it's RIM who's the dirty patent stealer, infringing on 7 Motorola patents. The intellectual property Moto is defending is as ridiculously simple and obvious as RIM's:

a method of storing contact information in wireless e-mails, a way of recognizing incoming phone numbers, a way of controlling access to new applications on a wireless-messaging device and ways to improve functions on the menu-driven interface of a phone handset

The fun doesn't stop there, though. This is all going down in Texas (RIM's suit is in Dallas, Moto's is in East Texas). East Texas is home to the “rocket docket,” where IP suits get moved through the system lickety-split and often favor the plantiff. Suddenly RIM's decision to place their US headquarters in Dallas instead of someplace closer to Canada is starting to make a little more sense. Lawsuits over basic cellphone functionality are getting so commonplace these days, RIM needs to be close to the action, whichever side of it they may be on.

(Note how we kindly didn't bring up the recent BlackBerry outage. Oops! Just did.)

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5 years ago

Sprint Releases Samsung Ace World Phone

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Sprint Releases Samsung Ace World Phone

We told you it was was coming soon and we didn't lie. The Samsung Ace is available now on Sprint. It's $449 before contract, $199. It's a little spendier than we'd hoped, but we sorta forgot about the Ace's key feature: It's a world phone. That's right, in addition to the CDMA bands, the puppy also sports GSM 1800/800 Bands (as in, no 3G on GSM that we know of). You can hit Fn + S to switch between radios (slick!)

The battery is also a full 1300mAH, which is slightly better than average these days for a YAQKWMS

Go check it out at Sprint

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5 years ago

Sony XPERIA X1 Runs WM 6.1

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Sony XPERIA X1 Runs WM 6.1

We mentioned in our podcast that the folks at the Sony booth at MWC wouldn't let people really get a full hands-on with the new XPERIA X1, and now we know why. The X1 is running Windows Mobile 6.1, as confirmed by adonis demon1.

We also have confirmation of the specs: 800x480 screen resolution (apologies for the mix up in our former post - stupid us for trusting Sony's own press release. 528MHz(!) processor, 128mb RAM, 256 ROM, 1500mAH battery. This thing is loaded for bear.

We only have 3 gripes (and another thought about Windows Mobile 6.1) - both after the break.


Them gripes:

  1. It's not here yet.
  2. It uses Sony's ridiculous Memory Stick format instead of some form of SD. (Seriously, Sony, you won the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray format war, can't you just be happy with that and give up on this stupid memory format?)
  3. The keyboard, though we can't be sure until we've used it, has some weird button choices. The Enter key is huge, there's a big, wasteful Tab button, and it looks to us like it's going to be a royal pain hunting down all the different alt-punction bits we're going to want.

Back to the headline. Many expected that Microsoft would announce Windows Mobile 6.1 at MWC. Certainly the cat is out of the bag on this one (and has been for awhile). The only bright side to it is that the next big conference is going to be CTIA on April 1st in Las Vegas -- so we might have a chance to see it unveiled live there. One of the keynotes is from our boy Robbie Bach. As we said after the recent management shakeup, it's about time he let the XBox and Zune coast for awhile and pay attention to WinMo. A keynote seems like a good time to do that, eh?

1: Wait, isn't that Angel? No, he's just a vampire. Still, though, hot and slightly evil - close enough.

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5 years ago

AT&T Tilt ROM Update Tomorrow (Update: It's Here!)

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AT&T Tilt ROM Update Tomorrow (Update: It's Here!)

Update: The update is out now, you can go get it from HTC's site - looks like we should have been clearer when we said “AT&T will be releasing” the update, it's technically coming to you direct from HTC. Which is something we should have figured, since HTC seems to prefer providing their updates directly (ala the Mogul update) rather than mucking about having the carriers provide it. (Tip of the hat to Tilt Site for pointing out the distinction!)

Thanks to nbarksdale in the comments for telling us it's here. :D

We have it from reliable sources that AT&T will be releasing a ROM update tomorrow, February 15th. The update isn't going to add any significant new features -- unless “working properly” counts as a feature. It's not Windows Mobile 6.1 or a magical driver to speed up the display, either. Instead, expect a bunch of bugfixes, mostly related to speed and Bluetooth issues.

Here are the things you'll no longer suffer through on your Tilt once you apply the “software version 1.62.502.0”:

  • Device freezing during unlock process when a password is enabled on the device.
  • Pocket Outlook unresponsive when launched while on an active voice call.
  • Fast Forward and Rewind not working with Bluetooth headset and the Tilt.
  • DTMF tones for the slide out QWERTY keyboard not working.
  • Intermittent unresponsiveness from Touch Screen (aka Start Button Issue).
  • Excessive background noise while using a BT headset.

The update comes out tomorrow, but you might want to head to our How To article on Customizing your Tilt today so you can be prepared. A new ROM means that AT&T will be throwing a lot of crapware “bonus applications” onto the device, and the tips in the comments are something you'll want on hand when you apply the update.

Thanks anonymous tipster!

Update: We lied [about there being no new features available: WOW, can't believe I let that be so ambiguous!!] -- looks like there'll also be a new version of BlackBerry Connect tomorrow as well - though that might be available for any Windows Mobile device that uses BlackBerry Connect. It won't be built-into the ROM, but you can download the new version via the standard stub-app included on the Tilt.

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5 years ago

Palm Gets their Swagger Back, Windows Mobile-Style

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You may have heard that there was a serious BlackBerry outage this week, millions of people were unable to get email or browse the web [corrected] on their CrackBerrys for several hours, causing some consternation amongst the addicts:

For Blackberry users, Monday left us feeling like a toddler with no Spongebob. Thought of “Why! Why?” and “What in the world is going on!” flowed through our heads. We cried to each other, and to those who could have cared less, and waited it out (as we had no other choice) and hoped for the best.

The worst part was twofold - as the above article claims, RIM wasn't immediately forthcoming about the problem. When they did let us in on what happened, it was the same thing that happened last April, a software upgrade gone wrong, a problem they promise would never happen again.

Of course, I did a little personal crowing about the entire situation. Turns out that I'm not the only one who had that thought, as Palm has launched what can only be called a multimedia, Simpsons-character-Nelson-style “HA HA!” directed at RIM. Though it rings a little tinny to CrackBerry fans, I find it hilarious.

First up - a new front page graphic at Palm.com and a New York Times full page ad to go with it. “Palm Smartphones include voice, email, text, Web, calendar and contacts ...And most importantly, uptime.” Take a close look at this picture of their NYT ad: “Has anyone heard from out West Coast team? Anyone? Anyone?” ...It must have taken a firm resolve not to add “Bueller?” at the end of that.

Now the hilarious graphic at top, from Palm's new “No Middleware” information page on the benefits on an Exchange Server.

Now, there are a few benefits to having a Network Operations Center handle everything - namely it takes some work off of the shoulders of IT folks and end users. It's a philosophy I don't ascribe to, however. Were my Exchange server to go down (it happens), I could call up the person in charge of it and ream him out directly, not wait for a faceless giant to clue me in. It ties in very directly with my thoughts on the BlackBerry during the Smartphone Round Robin (First Look and Final Thoughts), where I hijacked Umberto Eco's comparison of Macs and PCs for the purpose of comparing Windows Mobile to BlackBerrys:

In this case, the Catholic smartphone is the BlackBerry, the Protestant Smartphone is Windows Mobile. Basically, the BlackBerry takes all the work of setting email up and moves onto the priests of BlackBerry - the BIS servers.

The benefit of having a 3rd party company handle your email pushing is, as I said, getting work off your shoulders. Here's the thing, though, that work is getting much much easier for both IT pros and for end users. Microsoft is very close to perfecting their auto setup for Pocket Outlook and on the IT side, when then release Microsoft System Center, Mobile Device Manager 2008, they will have all the important management features of the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and match its ease of use for people standardized on Microsoft tech. RIM will keep innovating, though, so there may always be an “this is easier on us” advantage to their NOC, but the ease-of-use margin is getting thinner, thin enough that a little something like a nationwide service outage might be enough to push some folks over.

At that point, there are only reasons I could see using BES:

  1. Lock in - you're already on BES and changing over to a full Exchange solution is a hassle
  2. You're not on Microsoft tech for your server and email solutions.

Microsoft really needs to address the 2nd reason someday -- offer a push email and management solution that's not dependent on Exchange servers. They never will, though, so we'll be depending on companies like Seven, Good, and, yes, RIM to fill that hole. As for the first reason, well, jump on in, kids, the water's fine. ;)

...Back to Palm - check out the chutzpah, right? Company's had all sorts of bad press lately, but despite all that they're unapologetic about the Treo and its capabilities. Sure, they've been all about the Centro as a low-end consumer device lately, but their Enterprise/power user Windows Mobile Treos are still pretty darn good, too, and they don't want us to forget it. Sure, they're not top-of-the-line (yet: the Treo 800w and the Drucker can't come fast enough), but they're solid devices. I still think that the Treo 750 has the best one-handed usability of any device out there by dint of its great keyboard and the ability to use a touchscreen when needed.

I'm not going to convince BlackBerry users of that, of course (check out the comments on our sister site, CrackBerry.com - where they posted about Palm's teasing), but that's alright. Next time (and there will be a next time) your Crackberrys are all cashed out I'll be standing over on the street corner with a WinMo device in my pocket. When you come over, shaking and needing a fix, I'll tell you the truth: Windows Mobile is a much more powerful hit.

So Bravo, Palm, for having the brains to add Windows Mobile to your Treo offerings way back when and for not being shy about its qualities now. Some haters are going to tell you that you should be one to talk after all the problems you've had in the past year or so. Don't listen to them, just put your energy into righting that ship and delivering unto us the Treo 800w and the Drucker postehaste.

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5 years ago

Viigo - A Great Windows Mobile RSS Reader

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Viigo - A Great Windows Mobile RSS Reader

If you're not already using an RSS reader on your Windows Mobile phone, you're really missing out. Even with the best browser out there, you're still visiting each page individually, hunting around the page for the content you're actually looking for. RSS is much more efficient - you just pick the sites you want to follow, subscribe to their RSS feeds (here's ours!), and the headlines and stories get synced to your device. Just the content you want, none of the extra fluff.

To get started learning about RSS, check out our How To article:

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