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OK, let's not all lose our stuff there, but that indeed is Windows Mobile 6.5.x (or 6.5.3, if you prefer) running on Toshiba TG01 at CES this year. You know, the same TG01 that's been out for some time now. You can spot the upgraded OS by the round buttons at the bottom, and that the Windows Flag start menu has shifted south as well.

And the TG01 still isn't a slouch when it comes to hardware. It was the first WinMo phone to sport the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, its 4.1-inch (nearly as big as the HD2) touchscreen, while capacitive, is very good. And so long as it's not running that weird neon UI we saw on top of it initially, it's very snappy.

So we know the following: An updated version of Windows Mobile 6.5 is on the way for the TG01. This isn't some hacked ROM. (And for those of you counting at  home, it's Build Windows Mobile 6.5 Build 23091.5.3.0. By comparison, the cooked ROM I'm running (find it here) is Build 28001.5.5.0. That's a whole different branch, and don't read too much into it. But suffice to say this isn't likely isn't the bleeding edge of Windows Mobile that we're seeing here. We've been running this on cooked ROMs for some time now.

That said, we learn the following: Windows mobile 6.5.3 indeed is coming to devices, and the TG01 likely will be one of the first. As for the rest? Start your guessing.

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Swung by the Samsung booth at CES (follow all of our coverage here). Once you're able to navigate the dizzying maze of television screens -- and we're talking hundreds here -- you can finally find some Windows phones. Tucked in the back and a little to the left.

And it was there that we found the European version of the Omnia II, the Omnia Pro, with its Touchwiz interface. While it's hardly fair to judge the quickness of any phone after it's been handled at the likes of CES, the Omnia II seemed a bit sluggish considering it has an 800MHz processor. And I'm still not crazy about the user interface, though it does look gorgeous on that 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen. Anyhoo, find pics of the Omnia II at CES after the break.

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i-mate 810 phone goes for a swim

Maybe it was exhaustion, maybe it was the open bar, but we we found an i-mate 810 taking a swim last night at the Showstoppers event at CES. The 810, as we're sure you all remember, is a "military-grade" device, able to take just about anything you can throw at it. We tried to drown this guy last night, and sure enough Windows Mobile 6.1 kept ticking underwater. Pics after the break.

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Visiting Microsoft at CES

 

Unsurprisingly, there wasn't much at Microsoft's CES booth that we hadn't seen before. The HTC HD2 and yesterday's official announcement that it will be available "this spring" on T-Mobile was on the tip of everyone's tongues. But other than that, there were no new Windows phones announced.

We did take a spin with Ford Sync, which is Microsoft's system that will pair just about any device -- Bluetooth or otherwise -- with a new Ford or Mercury vehicle. Voice commands are the key to the whole thing, so you keep your hands on the wheel.

The Zune guys were more than happy to hear that we're hoping to see Zune software integrated into Windows Mobile in the next year or so. But we could get neither them nor the Windows phone folks to spill the beans as to what might or might not be coming in Windows Mobile 7.

Awkward moment of the morning: Our pal Rene Ritchie from The iPhone Blog hits up the Bing team to ask about the Bing iPhone app. And they'd never heard of it.

Photos of the exploits after the break.

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Since the entire SPE team was here at CES in Las Vegas, it made perfect sense to take some time away from ogling gadgets and chatting up our friends in the blogosphere to record a podcast. We talk up what we've seen so far, including the Nexus One and Motorola Backflip; we also chatted a bit about what we're hoping to see at Palm's event today.

As you might have guessed, the show was recorded and hosted by our pal Mickey Papillon of TCPJ. Give it a listen!

 

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According to Engadget, LG stated at CES press event that Windows Mobile 7 will be on devices this year. Obviously this still isn’t an official announcement from Microsoft, but LG is one of their bigger partners for Windows Phones. Might we hear something official from Steve Ballmer at his CES Keynote tonight? Rumor has it that Robbie Bach, Microsoft’s President of Entertainment & Devices Division, will be joining Steve on stage.

Tune in at 9:30pm Eastern, 6:30pm Pacific for our liveblog from the event.

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On our way to Vegas, baby

 

That's right, it's that time of year when we descend on the desert to check out the latest offering from just about every tech firm in existence. Remember that tonight (9:30 p.m. EST, 6:30 p.m. PST) we'll be liveblogging Microsoft's keynote, with CEO Steve Ballmer and Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division. Does that mean a rumored tablet? Might we finally get some official word of Windows Mobile 7? Only one way to find out.

As for the rest of the week, we'll be bringing you more Microsoft product news just as quickly as we can cover it. If you're the type who prefers the raw feed, follow the entire SPE team on Twitter.

Dieter Bohn | Phil Nickinson | Rene Ritchie | CrackBerry Kevin | Casey Chan | Matt Miller (and don't forget our pal Mickey Papillon from TheCellPhoneJunkie.com!)

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If there's anything we love about trade shows like CES, it's when big surprises are dropped on us. And if The New York Times Bits blog is correct, well, we'll just let them tell it.

On Wednesday, Mr. (Steve) Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, will unveil a novel take on a slate-type computer during his evening keynote at the Consumer Electronics trade show in Las Vegas, according to people familiar with Microsoft’s plans. The slate will be made by Hewlett-Packard and possibly available by mid-year, these people said.

Might this be the fabled Courier tablet, which Ballmer just a few months ago said he'd never seen (all be winking with his answer)? Only one way to find out. We'll be there live.

 

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MSDN Outs Windows Mobile 6.5.3

We’ve known (unofficially) for some time now that Microsoft has been working on various follow-ups to Windows Mobile 6.5. ROMs based off of 6.5.x builds of Windows Mobile have been floating around XDA and other similar sites for months, but we hadn’t seen anything official from Microsoft (or even semi-official) ... until now.

MSDN (the Microsoft Developer Network) Web site is where developers go for documentation on various APIs and methods for creating applications for Microsoft products. The documentation for the Widget Engine in Windows Mobile 6.5 makes reference to the changes that we’ve seen with the softkeys and menus in 6.5.x ROMs. The quote states: “Beginning with the Windows Mobile 6.5.3 release, touchable tiles replace soft keys. For developers, the change from soft keys to touchable tiles is automatic starting with Windows Mobile 6.5.3. All of the following applies to touchable tiles and to soft keys.”

This may not seem like much of a mention, but the timing of this discovery may be significant. With Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer scheduled for the opening Keynote at CES next week, might we get some details on where Windows Mobile is headed? We’ll be there to keep you posted.

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Looks like we might be in store for a new Windows phone marketing push, right about the time of CES. Gizmodo snagged shots from a Crispin Porter ad agency wall (note to any business that splurges on a projector -- that's how it's done!) showing real-time jobs. Listed under Jan. 4 is "Windows Phone Banners - Phase 2 Media." Jan 8 brings "Windows Phone Q3 Media Refresh."

Breaking out our crystal ball, that could mean a few things:

  • Some long-awaited Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrades could be on the way.
  • It could mean the Windows Marketplace for Mobile Phase 2 we'd heard about, though the timing would be off.
  • Third-quarter media refresh? Windows Mobile 7 might still be possible then, or it could be some sort of multimedia/Marketplace thing. Or it could just mean new ads, as in advertising media. We're just throwing things against the wall here.

Regardless, we'll keep our eyes peeled in Las Vegas for anything new. (And we'll keep our eyes peeled for those Burger King funnel cake sticks, too.)

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A quick follow-up to our rumor smash from this morning: The video of the PDC Day 2 keynote is available. Here's exactly what Kurt DelBene said regarding discussion of Windows Mobile 7 at MIX 2010 (look for it at the end, about 2:30:

"We will be talking about Windows Mobile7, you know, kind of talking about Windows Mobile 7 and where that's heading ..."

So, we were right. Nobody used the word "announcement" or anything like that in conjunction with MIX 2010, which takes place March 15-17.

And file this under "duh," but it reasons to stand that Windows Mobile 7 will be announced before that. Mobile World Congress (Feb 15-18 in Barcelona) again is a possibility, though CES (Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas) may be a better bet, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer scheduled to deliver the opening keynote the night before the event starts.

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Sign us up. The first keynote speakers for the 2010 CES show in Las Vegas have been announced, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is on top of the list, scheduled for Jan. 6.

He'll presumably trumpet Windows 7, which will have officially been out a little more than two months at that point. But there's also a shot that we'll get some Windows Mobile 7 news, with many of the rumors pointing toward an announcement on that front late this year or early 2010.

Now all we have to do is pay off some markers, get some injunctions lifted and learn to tell the difference between ... erm, never mind. Let's just say the feet should have given it away.

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