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5 years ago

Treo 750 Windows Mobile 6 Impressions

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Treo 750 Windows Mobile 6 Impressions

Over at TreoCentral we just posted our 25th podcast, which I mention here because it contains in audio form a couple things I've been meaning to discuss here in text form: my impressions of Windows Mobile 6 on the Treo 750 and the Google Phone / Google Spectrum stuff. Check it out here: TreoCentral TreoCast Episode 25.

The short version: Windows Mobile 6 on the 750 (actually the 750v in my case) is a dream. Fully impressed. Google's moves lately - I'm sort of confused by it all, but cautiously optimistic. Basically Mike and I agree with Cringely on this one.

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5 years ago

Microsoft Hearts Open Source (plus Silverlight)

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Just had to follow up on yesterday afternoon's post about Microsoft and Linux developers. I came across this mystifying site this morning: Open Source at Microsoft (via Wedong)

By embracing diverse application development approaches and partner business models, Microsoft participates in a world of choice in which individuals and organizations can pursue their goals based on what uniquely inspires them, including open source.

Now the title and the graphics make you think "Microsoft's going open source? LIES." And you're right, there is something a little "off" about the copy. Some reading around, though, and it becomes clear that the site is about helping *other* open source projects play nice on Windows products. So it makes perfect sense that Microsoft would go to a Linux conference dedicated to talking about things like Linux Smartphones. Microsoft wants those open source app developers to know that if they want their app to be *used* on devices people in the US actually *buy*, Windows Mobile won't reject open source code like a failed kidney transplant.

...On another "Linux and Windows Love" note, remember Silverlight, the "Flash Killer" that also might just serve (this is just me riffing here, so don't read too much into this) as a great basis for Photon's UI? Well back in May some developers got it working on Linux in one weekend of coding. So Silverlight, when it's finally released, will work on Windows XP, Vista, Windows Mobile, Mac OSX, and Linux. "Flash killer" indeed.

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5 years ago

Verizon's Awesome August Part 2: The Vox

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Verizon's Awesome August Part 2: The Vox

So we just found out that Verizon is launching the MotoQ9M, the Samsung i760, and the UTStarcom XV6800. Add one more to the list, the UTStarcom XV5800. The what? You know -- The Vox.

When I first saw the Vox, I was giddy as a schoolgirl. When I opened the Vox, I tittered. When I used Windows Mobile 6 and HTC's Audio Manager app, I was impressed. When I reviewed the Vox, well, I was disappointed. Will the Verizon version make it any better?

It might. The processor is faster, as is the data speed (EVDO Rev A). Given the general reaction to my review, I was the only one who complained about battery life, so maybe the faster processor and data won't really be an issue. They keyboard is slightly different, too, so maybe even that won't be such a hassle.

Quite a month for you, eh Verizon? Sorta takes the sting away from turning down the iPhone.

Read: Verizon preps for launch of UTS XV5800? - Engadget Mobile

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5 years ago

Review: T-Mobile Wing

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Review: T-Mobile Wing

Read on for our full review of the T-Mobile Wing. If you’re on T-Mobile, this is your best bet for a PocketPC device, but is it good enough to draw people over to the carrier?

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5 years ago

Windows Mobile Team to Court Linux Developers

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I've done my best thus far to avoid making jokes about Microsoft being the Borg, or an Evil Empire, or whatever. I'm only human, of course -- once I posted a sweaty photo of Steve Ballmer. Normally, though, I find cheap shots like "Micro$haft," well, cheap.

However, this story over at Linux For Devices demands the the cheap shot encapsulated in the above photo. The Windows Mobile Team is apparently planning on setting up camp outside LinuxWord next week. That's fine, everybody likes to visit the competition and see what's going on. But Microsoft's folks will be giving away free chicken wings and beer. If I know anything about Linux Developers, I know this: the only thing more tempting than a "free as in beer" joke is free beer. It's totally below the belt, Microsoft.... bravo.

So come on, Linux Developers, come to the Dark Side. We have free beer here. Also, as Mike Hall notes, they'll give you the "Windows CE kernel source code and development tools for FREE." Free source code. You know you want it. You don't understand the power of the dark side, but with some wings and a couple drinks in you, you probably could.

Read: Microsoft offers treats to Linux hackers

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5 years ago

Missing Sync 4 out of Beta, Adds WM6 support

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I think it's safe to say this: with The Missing Sync, Version 4, Windows Mobile has better Mac syncing than it does with either XP or Vista. ...There's a caveat with that, of course, in that the Missing Sync is forced to use Apple's horrendous Sync Services (so there's some weird bugs sometimes) and device support is sometimes a little tricky since Microsoft and their many manufactures don't exactly document all their custom changes. Mark/Space does a great job overcoming those hurdles, though, and I've been pretty happy with the Missing Sync overall.

I mean, really, look at some of the new features:

  • Support for devices running Windows Mobile 6
  • Sort, search, annotate, export call log history on the Mac
  • View/search SMS message history on the Mac
  • Address Book integration for call log and SMS data
  • Encodes and downloads video for mobile viewing
  • Imports video from device separately from photos
  • SyncMinder™ device management
  • Interface improvements

That's in addition to the standard PIM data sync and the already good iTunes and iPhoto integration. The Text message support is really neat, but Treo users, who have their own fancypants threaded text, should note that Missing Sync can't grab those.

Read: The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile

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5 years ago

Verizon's Awesome August: 3 Windows Mobile Devices

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Verizon's Awesome August: 3 Windows Mobile Devices

Engadget Mobile gets the goods in the form of a fuzzy image purporting to show Verizon's product releases for, well, for this month. Take a look at the righthand column there to see a whole lot of shiny: The Moto Q9M, the Samsung i760, and the UTStarcom XV6800.

That last bit surprises me, I wonder what UTStarcom has over Verizon that they're able to keep themselves between Verizon and HTC? "UTStarcom xv6800" is so much lamer than the Sprint branding for the 6800: HTC Mogul. Seriously, try this: say "UTStarcom XV6800." Did you feel your index finger creeping upward to push up your glasses? Was you voice a little more nasal than usual? Did a pocket protector magically beam itself into your pocket? The answer for all of the above, I suspect, is "just a little, yeah."

But I digress. All three are worthy devices. Of course, all three are going to be overshadowed by the Kaiser when it finally hits, integrated GPS will do that.

Read: Verizon's product pipeline in the wild - Engadget Mobile

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5 years ago

You Got Comments in my Forums! You Got Forums in my Comments!

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Let's have some site news, because there's site news to be had:

  1. A little reminder to look to the right of this post, see that, that's a contest where we are giving away 25 bucks a day in the form of a WMExperts Store coupon to some lucky winner.

  2. Thanks to Herculean efforts by Marcus, we're ditching our Blog's built-in comments in favor of integrating the forums into the blog. This means that you don't have to wait for your comment to be approved and it also means that I don't have to wade through pages of spam to find your comments. We'll probably do some further integration (i.e. putting a posting field directly on the article page) later, so if you see some mess today, please pardon it.

  3. If you haven't yet, you'll need to register in our forums in order to comment. If you're already registered at TreoCentral or Phone different, relax - we're all friends here and you're therefore already registered.

  4. Aw, heck, one more. If you are like me, you're a former PalmOS Treo guy, so maybe you want your Windows Mobile forum but you still miss your old friends back at the TreoCentral forum. No problem, kid. We now have an überforum set up, which combines WMExperts, TreoCentral, and Phone different. Don't worry too much about those dirty iPhone users, they don't bite. Find the combined forums at http://forum.smartphoneexperts.com.
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5 years ago

Amp'd Deathwatch: The End is Nigh

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Amp'd Deathwatch: The End is Nigh

It's all over tonight, folks, say goodnight to the little MVNO that almost could. Some interesting tidbits:

  • Here's a PDF of what they're auctioning off as part of their bankruptcy hearings (via Wired). Fun bits: More office equipment and computers than you can shake a stick at, a heapin' helpin' of intellectual property (mostly that neat content they created plus trademarks), and a popcorn machine.
  • Surprisingly, it doesn't look like current Amp'd customers will be moved to Verizon, but to Prexar Mobile. Who? what? where? ...basically all of the standard questions apply here. I guess the best place to get started is their webpage: http://prexarmobile.com/. They're promising a "seamless transition," anyhow.
  • Ousted CEO Peter Adderton gave an interview, where he was actually nice to "Pay us now" Verizon and also said that it wasn't so much that his customers were poor deadbeats but that they just weren't getting billed in the first place (oops):
In 17 weeks, we got 100K subscribers, and little problems in billing and collections suddenly became bigger problems. It wasn’t just customers with bad credit, but it was customers with high credit who just weren’t being billed at all. [...] I think Verizon Wireless got a bad rap out of this for no reason. Verizon did a lot to help us through the hard times. I do believe Verizon got the bad end of the stick on this.

Read: Audio Interview: Peter Adderton, Former CEO, Amp’d Mobile

Embedded below: one of my favorite Amp'd commercials. Not embedded below - this absolutely Not-Safe-For-Work-but-hilarious-nevertheless commercial. Their whole "Try Not To Die, Amp'd Mobile is Coming" is looking a little bittersweet these days.

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5 years ago

Motorola Q9 to Come to AT&T August 24th?

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Motorola Q9 to Come to AT&T August 24th?

Boy Genius is reporting that the Motorola Q9 (er, technically the Q9h, since this would be the HSDPA version) may hit the streets on August 24th. The sooner the better, Motorola, because the Q isn't all that hot anymore and you've been getting nothing but bad press lately.

The rumor falls in line with previous rumors nicely, so it's looking good.

Read: Motorola RAZR 2, Motorola Q9, BlackBerry 8820…AT&T launch dates? | The Boy Genius Report

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5 years ago

It's the Software, Stupid.

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It's the Software, Stupid.

So the New York Times just did a write up on Bill Gates' impending (semi)retirement and what it means for Microsoft. Of course the message is that all is well, nobody's worried, everything's fine, move along, nothing to see here, etc etc. On page two, though, we get some nice bits about how Microsoft feels about the oft-rumored Google Phone. Let's take a look:

“How many products, of all the Google products that have been introduced, how many of them are profit-making products?” he asked. “They’ve introduced about 30 different products; they have one profit-making product. So, you’re now making a prediction without ever seeing the software that they’re going to have the world’s best phone and it’s going to be free?”

Zing!

I have a few thoughts on this quote and a bit of editorial after the break. Because Apple's entrance into this space and Google's rumbling have finally made this the conventional wisdom about smartphones: It's the software, Stupid!

  1. There are so many ways to skim revenue off a smartphone it boggles the mind. Money for services, paid either via the carrier or directly, is relatively easy to come by. So the idea that Google won't figure out a way to monetize a phone is a little silly. Nevertheless, that's a nice little jab right there.
  2. Despite #1 there, figuring out a way to make money off online services, especially the mobile variety, is going to be a tough nut to crack. Microsoft themselves just posted a big loss in that division - mostly because of how much they've been investing. So going after Google because they haven't gleaned a clear way to profit off anything beyond ad'n'search is a little disingenuous. Monetizing online services is everybody's problem.
  3. Long overdue here at WMExperts is an analysis of the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction as well as the various sniping from Google, CTIA, and the FCC about it. Let's just say, for now, that if it turns out there's pie to be had in that potential wireless industry shakeup, Microsoft will be getting a piece of it.

The quote continues:

Again, the ability to create compelling software will determine the winners. “The phone is becoming way more software intensive,” he said. “And to be able to say that there’s some challenge for us in the phone market when its becoming software intensive, I don’t see that.”

Read: Microsoft’s Gates Plans Leave Amid Great Change - New York Times via google-phone

Yes and ....huh? Perhaps I'm missing some context here. Presumably he's saying that Google doesn't have the chops to challenge Microsoft when it comes to "the software magic" on smartphones. That's what I think he means, and I think that's probably pretty astute. However, I also happen to recall a certain CEO of Palm named Ed Colligan saying that Apple wouldn't be able to just swoop in and get the software right, that Palm had years of experience and that's what it takes. Well, ok. The iPhone did not get it right the first time, but they got darn close. So maybe Mr. Gates shouldn't throw down like that with Google...

Anyhow, the point is that Gates (and Apple, and Palm too, by the way) all get it, with smartphones today and in the future, it's about the software. The "specs" of phones are all getting really good really fast, they're converging on a fairly uniform set that's good. Processor, storage, screen size, just exactly how many kbits per second your wireless connection can suck down... all of these will get better and there will always be some phone with an advantage here or there, but that's not what matters anymore. What matters now is how powerful, flexible, and elegant the software is.

...or that's what will matter. One of the ancillary benefits of the ginormous iPhone media splash is, I hope, the fact that people are going to realize that it's about the software. The RAZR will go down in history, amongst Cell Phone Historians (good gravy, I wonder if I could get a PhD in that?) as the last mobile phone where the form of the device drove people wild. I see a bright and glorious future coming very soon, on in which we can safely assume that the form factor is going to be pretty darn good in whatever device we covet next. The form will be a given. The function, that's where the action is now.

And I have a lot of faith in the Windows Mobile team and the Windows Mobile developer community when it comes to function. Which brings us back around again, to Google. Google presents an interesting challenge (yes, Billy G, a "challenge") to Microsoft: Can you take the simple, intuitive, and direct spirit of the original Google homepage and apply it to a smartphone? Can you continue to increase the power while also making it more intuitive to use?

Ladies and Gentlemen: Let the countdown to Photon begin. The stakes, they are quickly becoming very, very high.

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5 years ago

Understanding the Cab File

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Understanding the Cab File

If you've ever accidentally tried to open a file you meant to install on your Windows Mobile device form your desktop, you have probably figured out that the ".cab" file extension isn't just a way to know it goes on a mobile device. It's actually a file archive, like a Zip file:

What's neat about that little factoid is that you can "unzip" that cab file on your desktop with WinZip and poke around inside. You can find the files that actually get copied over to your device. What's better is that, at least since Windows Mobile 5 landed on the stage, every cab file has something called "_setup.xml" inside it. _setup.xml is a set of instructions for your Windows Mobile phone - "Send this file to the start menu, make this change to the registry," etc.

It could potentially be very useful if you have installed a program that didn't seem to uninstall gracefully. Just re-download the cab for that nasty little app, take a peek at the _setup.xml file, then go into your device and manually clean up all the garbage it has left behind.

This archive file format has been re-purposed for application installation on Windows CE devices, by specifying a file with a special name that outlines the tasks required to install a given software package. This list of tasks will typically include decompressing and copying various files onto the PDA, but may also contain instructions to configure registry settings, or install shortcuts into the start menu etc.

Read: Windows Mobile Development

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5 years ago

Yahoo Go for Windows Mobile: Finally for us all!

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Why all the Yahoo go attention here at WMExperts? Because it's a great app, or at least it was the last time I actually got to use the thing, which was a long time ago. Two weeks ago Yahoo released the app for landscape-style phones, but today I see that it's available for all Windows Mobile phones.

That's good news, because it means that Windows Mobile now has push email solutions in two free flavors (for Windows Moblie 6, anyway) - Hotmail and Yahoo. Throw in an Exchange server for your work email and suddenly your smartphone isn't pinging the server every hour on its own. Seriously, folks, it's 2007, I shouldn't have to do that.

Read: Yahoo Go for Windows Mobile

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5 years ago

Treo 750 WM6 ROM Leaked

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Treo 750 WM6 ROM Leaked

The circle of leaked ROMs for AT&T's Windows Mobile devices is now complete. We had the early one - for the Blackjack, Then a little later came WM6 for the 8525, and now we have the last of the promised updates: Windows Mobile 6 for the Treo 750, as leaked on XDA. Details are rolling in, partially from PalmInfoCenter:

AT&T Mail, AT&T Music, Games, MS Office Mobile, Active Sync, Calculator, Camera, Cellular Video, File Explorer, Get Telenav, GetGood, Get MobiTV, Internet Sharing, Notes, PDF Viewer (Picsel), Proxy Manager (ATA&T Proxy), Quick Tour, Remote Desktop Mobile, Search, SIM Manager, Sounds, Tasks, Windows Media. Voice Command 1.6 is included.

...In other words, nothing shocking. Still unknown is whether or not it includes the mysterious Video Share Settings found on the Blackjack's leaked ROM. You could go a-huntin' for the leaked Treo 750 ROM, but all these leaks make it pretty clear that Windows Mobile 6 is finally ready to makes its big splash on AT&T - just a little patience.

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5 years ago

FCC Approves Kaiser. Be Still My Heart

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FCC Approves Kaiser. Be Still My Heart

More evidence that the Kaiser is definitely coming to AT&T: FCC approval. Now FCC approval in and of itself isn't necessarily a guarantee that AT&T will pick up the device, but in this case I feel pretty confident. Why? Because HTC actually got three versions of this wunderphone approved:

  • The Kaiser 100 is a camera-less version (think business use)
  • The Kaiser 110 has one 3mp camera
  • The Kaiser 120 has two cameras - the big one in the back and the little one for video conferencing on the front.

The 110 is the one to pay attention to here. Just as with the Blackjack, AT&T (well, it was Cingular back then) took in the single-camera version, as having two cameras sort of makes it a little too obvious that their network isn't all it could be. Why would HTC bother making a less-powerful, short-a-camera version of the Kaiser if not for AT&T to snap it up? That pitter-patter sound you hear is my heart.

The Kaiser is a full-fledged Windows Mobile 6 Pro slider (flip-up, no less) with 3G, built-in WiFi, and built-in GPS. Please hurry. I'm getting tired of Sprint's Mogul being the hottest thing on the block. The rumor used to be "late July", but we're just about fresh-out of July, so I'm thinking mid September (i.e. after the Sept. 8th FCC confidentiality agreement expires). Which is funny, because I'm also thinking AT&T will finally bequeath Windows Mobile 6 unto the Blackjack, 8525, and the Treo 750 around that time. Heck, AT&T, you may as well do it all on the same day - and as long as you're at it, throw in a free pony.

Read: WirelessInfo.com via Boy Genius

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