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Adobe to Demo Flash Player 10 on WM

We already know that the next version of Internet Explorer, “6 on 6,” is pretty ho-hum except for this little tidbit: Flash Lite support. That means many flash videos will work just fine and that pleases us. Doesn't make Adobe happy enough, though, as they're planning on demoing Flash Player 10 on Windows Mobile today. That's the full flash there, kiddos. Of course, Adobe may also feel that their hand is forced -- they can't let Silverlight get the jump on 'em.

It's a testament to the power, flexibility, and openness of Windows Mobile that Adobe is able just go ahead and do this thing. That ought to be something you could take for granted, but of course if we're talking about Flash and Mobile the ongoing iPhone drama is always in the background. According to Adobe, “it is really up to Apple” to allow them to ship a Flash Player for the platform.

We'll be talking a bit more about this open vs. closed issue when it's our turn with the iPhone for the Smartphone Round Robin

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Around SPE - 9 Nov 2008

This week's Around SPE is sponsored by the the TiPb iPhone Accessory Store, which has long been your best source for iPhone accessories. A lot of iPhone 3G upgraders were left out in the cold when their car chargers turned out to not be compatible, but they've got plenty that are, not to mention plenty of headphones that are a step up compared to the standard white buds

Last week both CrackBerry.com and WMExperts found themselves on the cusp of major releases -- the BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Bold on AT&T, the HTC Fuze on AT&T, not to mention a few others on the Windows Mobile side. So while everybody has been anticipating new devices, all of the editors at SPE are anticipating something else that will be starting on November 17th. The hint is right up there in the picture!

Read on for the full skinny on what's been happening around SPE!

WMExperts

WMExperts made a big splash Friday afternoon with the 'net's first and only video of the HTC Fuze for AT&T! Be sure to check back Monday morning because we're also cooking up a full review of this latest and greatest Windows Mobile smartphone. It looks like the Fuze release date has finally been pinned down, too.

WMExperts also tends to cover some more general industry news, so all the action at the FCC last week definitely caught our eye. Lastly, we're more than a little proud of our writer George Ponder, who used a Treo Pro to help manage the election in his district.

CrackBerry.com

Over at CrackBerry.com, thousands of BlackBerry enthusiasts rejoiced as AT&T stayed true to their promised November 4th release date and launched the Bold. Picking election day turned out to be a smart move for AT&T and RIM, as stations like CNN played the new AT&T BlackBerry Bold commercial all day long.

The BlackBerry Storm, RIM's first touchscreen BlackBerry, continues to build on the hype leading up to its launch. Vodafone has dropped word of a November 14th release, and the Vodafone BlackBerry Storm bus has been traveling London which has turned out a bunch of Storm preview videos. While Verizon has not given official on the availability of their Storm, the educated rumor points to the week of the 23rd.

You'll want to keep it locked to CrackBerry.com this week. The What Would You Do for a BlackBerry Storm? Contest has come to an end and the top ten finalists have been selected. In order to win their new BlackBerry, the winners have to carry out their “To Dos” which will be published on CrackBerry.com as they come in. The first one hits on Monday!

The iPhone Blog

According to JD Power, the iPhone is absolutely destroying the Blackberry in *business* satisfaction due to it's drop dead ease of use and killer UI, but does Apple just not “get” the Four Pillars of PIM, something Palm nailed way back in 1997? Probably not, as the latest iPhone OS 2.2 leaks focus on over-the-air podcast downloads (admittedly super sweet!) and yet more App Store tweaks.

Speaking of the App Store, turns out Opera Mini was NOT denied (but probably would be), WeightBot's developers aren't done innovating on the iPhone just yet, and Shazam wants a piece of Midomi in our App vs. App battle royal for music mastery. (Leave a comment and you just might win an iTunes gift certificate). Of course, if you want to win a whole slew stuff -- an Ultimate iPhone Accessory Pack no less -- check out the Phone Different to find out this week's way to enter (hint: requires @theiphoneblog and rhymes with “sweet”.)

TreoCentral

Over at TreoCentral, we learned via a Barron's article that analysts at Avian Securities and Morgan Keegan downgraded PALM due to the belief that Palm's cash position will significantly erode ($248 million at the end of the latest quarter to $75 million over the next year) which leaves “little room for error.” The downgrade was also due to a U.S. retailer survey resulting in the belief that smartphone sales will come in below expectations for the next several quarters.

We also found out in that same Barron's article that we might not (corrected, thanks Scott!) be seeing the Treo Pro on AT&T and the Treo 800w on Verizon in time for the holiday shopping season.

Plus we learned that Apple almost bought Palm back in the summer of 1997. Jean-Louis Gassée noted in an article over at Monday Note:

A perhaps little known fact: in the Summer of 1997, Steve Jobs called Eric Benhamou, 3Com's CEO (the company owned Palm). “Give me the Palm and come and join my Board of Directors. Only Apple can make Palm a true consumer brand.” Nothing happened. Apple's foray into the product segment had to wait ten more years.

Android Central

We've settled in over at Android Central, now that the G1 seems to be out there and getting used by a surprisingly large number of people. Just check out these download statistics for the Android Market to see what we mean, or check out some the backstory behind Android Apps.

Our favorite new app: the Android Gameboy emulator! A close 2nd favorite use for the G1 might be the newly discovered tethering method, though. Meanwhile, we're keeping our eye on the just-discovered Android Jailbreak and security risks that have popped up.

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Introducing 'Around SPE'

You may not realize it, but the site you're reading right now is a part of one of the premier networks of smartphone news and review sites. We call it the 'Smartphone Experts Network' and if you haven't heard, we've recently added a new member to our family, Android Central. That brings the number of our smartphone communities up to five sites. You can find links to these sites and to their latest stories either in the sidebar or footer of every SPE site.

I thought now would be a good time to introduce a new weekly blog post I'll be putting up at each of our sites called 'Around SPE,' which will give you a very quick roundup of the biggest stories at each of our sites. Now, 'big stories' are just a tiny part of what we offer, as each of our sites also feature vibrant communities, engaging podcasts, and also accessory stores if you're looking to make your smartphone a little better.

In addition to our new sister site, there's also some other SPE Network news to share, so follow me after the break to learn more!

Let's start with a quick note about Smartphone Experts:

Beyond the launch of Android Central, there's also a couple other things that may interest you. First and foremost, we're going to be launching the 2nd Annual Smartphone Round Robin on November 17th! If you're unfamiliar with the Round Robin, here's how it works. An editor from each of our five sites must, for one full week, give up their smartphone of choice and use a competing smartphone. During the course of that week, each editor will be publishing a review of that new smartphone from their unique perspective. It's a great way to gain insight into how all these different smartphones work.

We have chosen our devices for this year (it was tough!) and everybody's getting ready to give up their own favorite phones to try their hand with the others. We're going to mix things up a bit this year with some multimedia coverage and maybe another surprise or two -- so stay tuned! If you want to get caught up, you can check out all the articles from the 1st Annual Smartphone Round Robin here.

One other quick note -- I'm an RSS fiend and I figure maybe some of you are too. I've created a Combined RSS Feed for the SPE Network that mixes all of our daily postings in a single feed. Heck -- you can even Subscribe to SPE Network by Email. I'm going to go ahead can call the combined feed a “Beta” for now, there are a few kinks to work out in our system. The good news is the URL will always stay the same.

Alright, enough of that, let's get to the news of the week!

-Dieter Bohn, Editor in Chief, Smartphone Experts

The biggest news of the past week in the entire smartphone world is -- without question -- the release of the T-Mobile G1. At Android Central, we've been covering the news from every angle. The most important angle has to be our full reviews of the device.

If you're unfamiliar with Android, our video overview of the platform is a great primer. If you're interested to hear how this first ever 'Google Phone' is from a hardware perspective, our hardware review of the T-Mobile G1 has you covered. Finally, we've also published a full review of Android on the G1. Grab yourself a tasty beverage and dig in. If you have any questions about the G1 or about Android in general, be sure to stop by the new Android Forums.

Over at CrackBerry.com, you'll find there was a lot of news out of the first-ever BlackBerry Developer Conference. While the BlackBerry App Center/App Store news was big, perhaps the most exciting takeaway wasn't made in the form of an announcement at all, but rather that RIM is becoming a much more sociable company as they focus their energy on the consumer market. Day 1 and Day 2 highlights give a good impression of what went down at DevCon.

Who are we kidding? The biggest news of the week was that Kevin has posted his full hands-on review the BlackBerry Storm!

One of the best things about Windows Mobile is the multiplicity of devices available for the platform. This week at WMExperts.com has been a pretty good example of that. We gave one of the first reviews of the Samsung Epix on the web, looked forward to the AT&T Fuze, and celebrated the official launch of the Touch Pro on Sprint.

A story that may have flew under your radar is a roundup of rumors coming from what appears to be an insider at HTC. If you're of a more technical bent -- or just want to see what sorts of crazy hacks are possible on Windows Mobile, check out Registry Edits I Have Loved.

The iPhone Blog has been focusing on how The iPhone made huge financial numbers this week for both Apple and AT&T, with almost 7 million iPhones sold -- (temporarily?) eclipsing both Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Just imagine what an iPhone HD could do! At 5500 Apps and 200,000,000 downloads to date (some of which you can win right now in TiPb's AT WORK contest!), however, questions remain as to whether or not developers for the iPhone's market defining App Store will likewise enjoy the “long tail” of success.

Over at TreoCentral, we read that Access recently unveiled their new version of the Access Linux Platform (ALP). Although not strictly-Treo-related, it is an interesting look at what might-have-been for the Treo. Access is the company that ultimately purchased the rights of Palm's original next generation platform, then called Cobalt, before scuttling it. It will be interesting to see if ALP picks up any traction against Android or Palm's upcoming OS.

We also learned that Sprint is finally joining their competitors in trimming the outrageous fees they charge for early termination of cell phone service contracts. In an interview with the Associated Press this week, Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse, said Sprint could start lowering the fees as soon as December, pending updates to its billing software.

That's it for this week, folks! Stay tuned for more details on the Smartphone Round Robin and be sure to say hello over at Android Central!

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Yep. We were pretty sure that after the Norwegian shenanigans showing Windows Mobile supposedly running on an iPhone that there'd be plenty more crawling out of the woodwork.

Exhibit B: Edward over at msmobiles has posted a video that supposedly is a demonstration of Office Mobile and Word Mobile running on his "fruit phone."

The quality of the video is so poor (think Blair Witch project, only darker), that it's tough to render judgment as to its authenticity. But we're dubious for (at least) the following reasons:

  1. As a commenter points out, Windows Mobile indeed does NOT support the 320x480 resolution on the iPhone.
  2. Check out the logo at the top left of the video, and the spinning wheel as the app's loading. Again, the quality's pretty poor, but it sure looks to be a little off. Compare it to this one, from an Office Mobile story we did last spring.

Let us know in our comments what you think. MS? Or BS? And if you have any links to videos of Windows Mobile running on, say, an old TI Speak & Spell, we'll be more than happy to take a look at them, too.

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Norwegian hacker Erik Kristiansen (why the focus on Norwegian-ness?) has managed to load Windows Mobile on an iPhone -- you simply boot up the phone and then pick your OS. There's not much more to show here -- although it does appear to boot up pretty darn quickly. Kriastiansen was interviewed at the myPhone2008 event in Las Vegas.

Supposedly the software will be released early next year. Count us among the people interested in installing this -- it would be pretty interesting to see how Windows Mobile worked on the iPhone's hardware. So interesting, in fact, that we'd be willing to take a little ribbing over it about spending all winter playing around with it. (watch the end of the video to see what we mean).

via BGR

**Update**: Engadget Mobile calls fake, we can't say we disagree with them. Look real to you?

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Battle of the Black Slabs: Round 1

What do you get when you combine pictures of the upcoming Samsung Omnia, iPhone 3g (eww..) and the HTC Touch Diamond?

A whole lotta deja vu, that's what. (Or yawns if you're a cynic like myself)

PortalPPC managed to get their hands on all three and literally stacked them up against each other for some comparisons. You certainly get an idea of screen resolution, brightness and size between all three.

Too bad the writing is all in some bizarre alien language.

Oh wait, I'm being told by our crack team of linguists it's Portuguese. Never heard of it, but if you can read it by all means sharesies! (We imagine it will involve discussing how awesome "black slab" is for a phone).

Click the link to see their full gallery!

Thanks dim!

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Not wanting to be swallowed amid a sea of Apple hype, Microsoft's Scott Rockfeld sat down with ComputerWorld to remind us all that the iPhone is far from dominating the cell phone world, and enterprise in particular.

In Eric Lai's article, Rockfeld mentions:

  • 325 enterprises bought at least 500 WinMo phones in the last fiscal year. (That's 162,500 devices).
  • Seven of the 10 biggest companies in the world bought WinMo devices, and one unnamed company purchased 100,000 on its own. (CW's thinking that could be Wal-Mart. But AT&T's on the list at No. 10, and we've seen numbers fudged worse.)
  • 20 million WinMo licenses sold in the last fiscal year.
  • 500 iPhone apps at the 3G launch, versus the more than 18,000 apps available for WinMo.

And, yeah, BlackBerry's still mentioned as No. 1 for business. There's no denying that. But it appears, at least to Rockfeld in this article, that Apple is still just nipping at the heels of the big dogs.

Read Microsoft: Forget iPhone; we're still No. 2 in business

[Via]

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WMExperts is, strictly speaking, a Windows Mobile site. But we recognize good wireless industry prose when we see it, and we see it in Daniel Roth's piece in Wired magazine, "Google's Open Source Android Phone Will Free the Wireless Web."

Roth details the birth of Android - the brain child of Andy Rubin, seen above - and the Open Handset Alliance, created to directly compete against WinMo and Apple's iPhone, as well as to challenge the status quo among device makers, carriers and software/OS developers.

"But WMExperts," you say, "you were quick to post on a reported Android delay, and we could see the smirk on your face as you chalked up another point in the Windows Mobile column."

OK, we've been skeptical. But the story provides an interesting look at some of the behind-the-scenes problems with developers and carriers that Microsoft currently has to deal with, that Apple largely has bypassed, and that Google is learning to live with.

And besides. We're trying to be a little less evil.

An excerpt:

Microsoft's system, however, was the ugly stepsister of what Rubin was proposing: Redmond executives cared less about opening up the Net to mobile users than about tying the mobile operating system into its desktop dominance. A decade ago, Microsoft had underestimated the growth of the Web and then lost control of it to Google. Now it looked like it was Google's turn to be caught flat-footed.

Read "Google's Open Source Android Phone Will Free the Wireless Web"

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HTC Not Poking the Apple Bear

After the announcement of the iPhone 3G this week, you'd think Windows Mobile heavyweight HTC would fire back with at least some sort of Touch Diamond or Touch Pro salvo.

But in talking to Digitimes on Wednesday, CEO Peter Chou lobbed what amounts to underpowered spit wads, putting the $199 HTC Touch in the ring with Steve Jobs' latest.

The bundled prices of HTC Touch handsets in most markets in Europe as well as Japan and the US are set below US$199 in part due to subsidiaries offered by telecom carriers, said Chou, noting that mobile operator Orange offers the HTC Touch free of charge on some contracts.

Hey, the Touch - or its recently released cousin Touch Dual - is no slouch, especially at that price point (at least it was until Monday). But if you're going toe to toe with Mike Tyson, you'd want your best fighter lacing up his gloves, right?

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MultiTouch coming to WM? Yup.

Looks like Flick Software has made a program that successfully emulates the iPhone's patented "MultiTouch".

For those curious, even devices like the HTC Touch line (including the Diamond) all use resistive touch screens i.e. less cool than capacitive like in the iPhone.

The two programs, iSwish and iZoom, are still in testing and unfortunately looks like Flick Soft's website is down: www.flicksoftware.com

We'll keep you posted on any new info.

Via: Electricpig

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Oh when will the HTC Diamond hype stop? Luckily it's a slow news day so this will fill the gap nicely. As Dieter last week called the Diamond properly an "iPhone killer", it's only fair that some snaps of it next to said phone should appear.

This is all well and good, but what happens on that fateful day in June when that new 3g iPhone drops? Oh well, this will keep the fanboys on both sides happy a bit. Head over to Engadget Chinese for some more shots.

In more tangible news, a nice shot of the Diamond's charger base/dock (extra, not included) has popped up. Sure it's nothing great--USB sync plus headphones, but you have to admit it makes one slick package and would look awesome next to your lava lamp. Expected price is a pretty high $49--guess they really are competing with Apple.

Actually, if you want really cool...check out the quick vid of the Diamond's fantabulous LED notification system. Now that is something some of us have been wanting for a long time. Nice HTC, nice.

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After all the HTC and Treo 800w craziness last week, it might be difficult to believe that there are, you know, other platforms out there. Inferior platforms, of course, but out there nonetheless. So while we here at WMExperts were busy scooping Treo 800w news left and right, our sister site CrackBerry.com had what, we have to admit, was a full week of the top smartphone scoopage anywhere on the internet. They had a pre-release unit of what turned out to be the BlackBerry Bold, aka the BlackBerry 9000.

The 9000, as we ruefully admitted last week, is hawt. A 480x320 screen, a very fast (for a BlackBerry, at least) processor, GPS, WiFi, 3G, the works. It even has a Gig of on-board storage.

This week is also going to be a big one for CrackBerry.com as they cover WES2008, a big ol' BlackBerry convention with a special focus on the Corporate crowd. Yours-truly will actually be helping out at the convention, so posting might come in short bursts and odd times here on WMExperts, just FYI.

Meanwhile, one of our other sister sites had a big announcement of its own: The iPhone Blog Merges with Phone Different.

The merger means a new design and new features for those crazy iPhone folks. It also means a little less of their trash-talk in our own forums, but that's ok because we can still take it to them directly: head on over to The iPhone Blog and tell 'em you'd rather have an HTC Diamond.

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You may have heard the news. Here's our live color commentary of the iPhone SDK event. There's a lot of information to parse out with regards to how this will shake out with Windows Mobile -- including how the applications on the iPhone looked stunning compared to most WM apps. More on that later. For now, let's talk about this: Apple licensed Exchange Active Sync.

What's it mean? Read on!

So the iPhone will gain push email, contacts, and calendar. That's big news for Microsoft - they'll pick up a lot of new users for their server products. In a lot of ways it's a bigger attack on RIM than it is on Windows Mobile. First - Apple denigrated the NOC during their presentation - just like Palm did - saying that a 3rd party in the middle is a Bad Idea. It's also a big attack on RIM because now two platforms do their push email via Exchange - Windows Mobile and the iPhone. Together the two might actually have a bigger marketshare than RIM for enterprise in very short order.

But now that the iPhone will support Exchange, will we see an exodus from WM to the iPhone? We'll definitely see some movement in that direction, yes. On the other hand, I am fairly confident in two things.

First, Exchange Active Sync Features on Windows Mobile will always be more advanced.notice, for example, that Apple seems to be writing their own management program instead of using Microsoft's RIM-Server-Killing Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager. So lock down, provisioning, and other management features will be more advanced with Windows Mobile. Yet that's the smaller point.

The second point is the bigger point: Apple's licensing of Active Sync is very likely to grow the overall Exchange pie at a much faster rate than their slice of it will steal from Windows Mobile. Which is to say, yes, some WM users will defect, but there will be even more new Windows Mobile users by dint of the ever-growing standardization on Exchange for mobile push email for enterprise.

...Or so it seems to me. Microsoft has until the release of the Apps in June to come up with something that looks like a response to the new features that will appear on the iPhone. Will they be able to deliver?

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Vito Threaded SMS: Now Available

Well, looky here. With the first screen shots of WM 6.1 and the subsequent Mogul ROM, lots of WM users are finally gearing up for native-based threaded SMS, long the hallmark of PalmOS and the Treo 750.

And who has come to steal their thunder? Maybe Vito Technology and their http://iwindowsmobile.com/ suite. Read on for a first look at Vito's new SMS-Chat app for WM Professional!

A couple months back, Vito launched their iwindowsmobile website, dedicated to their growing selection of (cough) iPhone-inspired software. One app that has been curiously under the "coming soon" banner for too long was "SMS-Chat" and now it's finally available.

Nate Adcock over at PPC Mag got his hands on a few promo screen-shots of Vito's long awaited chat-style app. Our verdict? Looks mighty tasty, in fact just from the visual aspect, it seems to smoke Redmond's conspicuously, yet not unappreciated attempt.

Features Include:

  • Threaded messaging
  • Send multiple SMS
  • Forward, resend or delete messages
  • Quick contacts look-up

Eh, whatever your choice at least you'll have more of them in a couple of months.

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I had a chance to get a demo of the upcoming SkyFire browser (over Skype) last week and I gotta tell you - it's hot. Here's the skinny - it's currently in private beta (sign up here) with a public beta planned for later this quarter. It works on Windows Mobile Pro and Standard (and Symbian, hush), and it's really, really awesome. As in, “my envy for the iPhone's browser may soon be coming to an end” kind of awesome.

Here's how it works - it's a server-side solution (more on that inside) based on Gecko (same bits behind Firefox's rendering). Basically everything gets rendered on the server and then sent out to your phone. That solves some of the processor / speed issues, but it also adds more benefits, like full AJAX, Flash, Javascript, you name it. I watched the browser instantly load an embedded YouTube video (from a random page on our site) and start playing with nary a jag and nary a lag -- this over a UMTS connection, mind you.

The SkyFire teams told me “Our goal is that if Firefox can render it, then your Windows Mobile phone will render it the exact same way.”

There more, including a screenshot gallery, after the break!

For the first time ever, smartphone
users can experience the “real Web” to access and interact with any Web
site built with any Web technology, including dynamic Flash, advanced Ajax,
Java and more - at the same speeds they are accustomed to on their PC -

Screenshots

Server Side is Awesome / Not Awesome

So the benefit of having 90% of the work on a server is you get snappy rendering, full support for basically any web standard, and fast downloads. You get the desktop browser pushed out to your phone.

The downside - that server best stay up, hey? It also best keep your data secure and private (SkyFire says that's been their #1 priority, even in their early betas). Lastly, though, server's ain't free. SkyFire hasn't settled on a pricing model yet, but they're leaning towards ads before subscriptions to keep the service free. The company was keen to show me their portal - which pulls from multiple search engines - so that's probably going to be part of the model.

The Software Itself

One .cab file for the browser, that's all you install to get full Flash, AJAX (the thing can handle the craziest of Google Maps/Apps AJAX), etc. Since it's all handled server-side

The SkyFire browser has all the necessary zoom and bookmark features you'd expect from a browser of this sort. It also has a “fit to screen” feature -- but with a neat difference. Instead of re-rendering the entire webpage to fit your screen, it actually just renders the different sections of text to fit your screen in place. So you still get the basic layout of the site, but when you zoom into a piece of text to read it you know it will be set to the right width for comfortable reading at your mobile's resolution.

...It's about time we had a browser that's not only competitive with the iPhones, but that beats it in several categories. The fact that it's all server-side is the real story here, though, as that's SkyFire's greatest strength and weakness.

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Gmail IMAP Works for Windows Mobile!

When Google offered up free IMAP for their Gmail service, there was much rejoicing. When we discovered that it send Windows Mobile blank emails instead of HTML emails, there was much lamentation. We we discovered that the iPhone handled Gmail IMAP with aplomb, there was gnashing of teeth and tearing-out of hair.

We're back to rejoicing now, as per XDA (via JAMM), Gmail's IMAP service doesn't seem to be sending out blank emails anymore. Huzzah!

We're testing it out now, we heartily invite y'all to do the same. How goes it, are you back in the blessed IMAP land?

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