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Looks like Windows Phones are getting quite the price break lately. First we saw the HTC 7 Pro for £229 and now the Omnia 7, another killer device, is going for 199.95 €.

Offered through T-Mobile Germany, the Omnia 7 is unlocked/no contract (!) features a Super AMOLED screen and 16GB of memory. The price is certainly is a good enough deal that even we're considering picking one up.

Update: Bands supported should be 2G Networks GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900; 3G Networks HSDPA 900 / 2100

You can take a look at the phone and order it right here. (Thanks, Max A., for the heads up!)

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Smartphones, being fairly expensive these days (especially for us Windows Phone users), are required to be looked after for the two year duration of our contracts (should we be tied to one) until we can get that special free/discounted upgrade and receive another device from a carrier. 

Although stability through even the most heaviest of usage is pretty good and handsets seem to last a good for years for some, it's when users begin to dive into the OS and hardware configuration that problems begin to appear. For WP7, this was most apparent with the Chevronwp7.updater situation which left a large number of devices not able to receive official updates from Microsoft.

We've always noted with our homebrew and unlocking coverage that to perform any action or carry out any process that's not officially supported by the big names could leave you stumped with a unusable device at any point. Enter into the room: enabling tethering on your WP7 device.

We've been made aware of some users over at the XDA Developers forum reporting that their devices have become unable to connect to Zune when plugged in and not even a hard reset can correct the issue. No solution has been found and users are left with no alternative but return to their local store and get a replacement device or further help with firmware etc.

While the functionality may be worth it should this hack work successfully, the problems that can arise when something goes wrong can be pretty devastating. Take a look at the thread (linked below) and some of the posts by users. Should you continue to use unofficial hacks and whatnot, always be sure to double check steps, sources and reliability to prevent this happening to you too.

Source: XDA Developers Forum, via WP7.com.pl

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We mentioned the Homebrew Device Manager by Schapman some time ago and that its release was delayed for various reasons including a desire to wait until the first update for Windows Phone 7 hit the airways. It is our understanding now that the software will become available next week.

Seeing that Microsoft has pushed back the release of the Windows Phone 7 update to March, the Schapman updated his Facebook page with,

"As the WP7 update is delayed I will not wait until March to give you WP Device Manager, there will be a private beta on next week and it will be Publicly released soon after if it's alright. Former contributors and beta testers will get access to the private beta, developers HAVING Also node devices are welcome to join."

The Device Manager does sound promising and it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

Source: Plaffo.com Thanks Anthony Ardizzone for the tip!

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We hate writing posts ripping on Samsung because we're generally big fans of their Windows Phones (who isn't)? So it kind of pains us to write how, at least through the Twitter Canadian support channel, they're telling a customer that his Windows Phone's warranty is now void since he carrier unlocked it. Specifically, Colin B. has an AT&T carrier branded Focus that he wants to work on Fido. He has to have data-roaming enabled even though it is carrier unlocked so he asked Samsung about it...hence their response: "Hi Colin. Your warranty is void. Please contact Fido if you have issues with data usage."

We've actually seen this before with the MMS issue. There, Samsung said there phones are meant for specific networks only and do not support reconfiguration. Of course that was sort of nonsense as they had a semi-working app in their App store for that purpose. They then updated it to fix the MMS configuration error.

Carrier unlocking phones is a pretty standard practice these days, especially with places like Europe considering it a consumer right. So it's odd to see Samsung wiping their hands of the matter with a customer who has an issue. What do you folks think--Samsung being fair and within their rights or just poor customer service?

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Colin, for the info

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Julien Schapman, developer of TouchXperience, looks to have pulled off quite the programming feat by developing an all-in-one Windows Phone Device Manager, based off of the Windows 7 Device Manager framework.

It will allow you to easily transfer files, tethered or wirelessly and even unlock your device (similar to ChevronWP7) for sideloading of homebrew apps. From his blog:

Windows Phone Device Manager allows you to manage your Windows Phone 7 device from your PC, you can simply view, install and uninstall "sideloaded" applications, explore device, transfer and sync files,... It is compatible with all Windows Phone 7 devices.

Windows Phone Device Manager detects when the phone is connected or disconnected, if you don't have a registered developer device it can automatically unlock your phone, so you don't need ChevronWP7 anymore.

You can also connect to your phone via Wi-Fi, for example to transfer files from/to your phone using Windows Phone Device Manager or the provided Windows Phone application.

If Windows Phone Device Manager becomes popular I think about creating an open marketplace for non-commercial applications. Developers are welcome to join the project!

Sounds pretty nice to us. Perhaps he should team up with Dave Amenta and his Send to WP7 Desktop project (which is evolving daily). We'll follow up on this when released.

Source: TouchXperience Blog, XDA Forums; via: mobilitydigest

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In a sort of follow up to our earlier story, about how MMS does not work if you switch SIM cards on some unlocked Windows Phones, Samsung responded in a Tweet on their policy.

Evidently, they say their phones are configured to work on a specfic networks and only those networks. So if you buy an unlocked/unsubsidized Samsung phone from some carrier, don't expect it to work on other networks. In other words: buyer beware.

That's a real shame for consumers and we're not sure why they would support being so carrier-locked. Perhaps they can share some more information on their decision and how they expect consumers to respond.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Chris H., for the tip

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This one is a bit complicated but it's real important for our international users or those who travel/swap SIMs a lot. Turns out, on a lot of unlocked/unsubsidized devices with Windows Phone 7 have Automatic Data Configuration (ADC) disabled by default.

ADC is used when you boot up the device or replace the SIM to configure the phone for network provisioning, including MMS.  To make matters worse, there is no manual configuration for MMS on WP7. What all of this means is that a lot of users who use pay-as-you-go or swap SIMs often can't send MMS messages. Normally, users would have to hard-reset the phone (!), insert SIM and let ADC run--but even that is a lousy solution, after all who wants to hard-reset their phone for that? Basically people are buying unlocked phones with crippled MMS functionality.

Now some OEMs, like HTC, have a connection manager in their app store  (HTC Apps --> Connection Setup) which will get around this issue and allow HTC users to configure their phone.  Samsung has their Network Profile app too, but by most accounts it doesn't work very well. LG users can access their MFG (hidden configuration menu) and re-enable ADC themselves.  But it's the Samsung users that don't seem to have a solution right now, even though we have a MFG menu, we haven't found the ADC settings yet.

Microsoft is aware of the problem and it has been escalated.

Source + Read More: Microsoft Answers

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While  we got the first look at the Dell Venue Pro here in the States and were expecting it here before anywhere else, guess we were wrong. Looks like Clove in the UK are set to receive the portrait slider phone on November 8th--SIM free/unlocked, no less. No word on how much internal storage though (8GB or 16GB) as that area under specs is oddly left blank.

Unlocked/SIM free though is not cheap: at £375.00 (£440 including VAT tax), the phone will run around $590 ($692 including VAT). Still, you could presumably order it now and have it sent here if you wanted to be extra cool.

Hmmmm....(looks down at wallet)

Source: Clove; via Tracy & Matt

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Pardon the interruption, just wanted to take a second to let you know that I sat down with Mickey and Joey from The Cell Phone Junkie recently to record an episode of The Cell Phone Junkie Unlocked, the premium version of their podcast. Most of the talk was about the launch of Windows Phone 7 Series, and we had a nice chat about the Android-powered Google Nexus One, too.

You can subscribe and listen now at tcpjunlocked.com.

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Well it only took about 12 months but the Palm Treo Pro  (full review) finally caved in today and had its finicky ext ROM unlocked thanks to cmonex and the first custom ROM by CFay, which just happens to be one of the latest versions of WM6.5.1 (Build 23409). 

CFay has also released a "clean" WM6.1 ROM, stripped of bloatware and tweaked for style and performance.

The Palm Treo Pro, designed by Palm but built by HTC, has much more in common with other HTC devices than previous Treos. However, unlocking the ROM files so new ones can be rebuilt has eluded many developers so far, proving to be as tough as Motorola devices.

And since we've heard nary a peep from anyone about an official ROM update from Palm, this is probably your only chance.

Users should be warned that this is in the very early stages of development and currently *only CDMA Treos* can do this, so let the dust settle before jumping, m'kay

Get all the goodies here:

A big congratulations and thanks goes to cmonex and CFay for their hard work.  Don't forget to show them some support via donations!

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While some of us around here might have called shenanigans on the recent renders of the HTC Leo, it's looking more real as we get another glimpse of the rear of the phone, thanks to a leaked ROM that Pocketnow's been playing with. [via]

That said, our overly suspicious selves will point out that it should be pretty easy to change something like this in a pre-production ROM, but it's still a pretty good indication that we're on the right track.

And speaking of unreleased HTC phones, Digitimes reports that the lower-end HTC Mega should run about $300 unlocked.

Peep the video of the HTC Leo ROM after the break.

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This one's had us scratching our heads all day upon reading about it. You can buy the Palm Treo Pro at Best Buy for $249 if you sign up for a "new 2-year activication" for AT&T service. Next stop: The nearest AT&T store. Nary a Treo Pro to be seen. What's up with that? Here's what AT&T had to say:

Treo Pro is a certified non-stock device. Our national retail partners are free to sell any of our certified devices, and set their own pricing. You would have to ask Best Buy if they are subsidizing or if Palm is discounting.

Odd, indeed. But we're not going to worry too much about it. The important thing is if you're looking for a Treo Pro on the cheap and don't mind digging in for two years, this might be the best way to do it.

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While window shopping online last night, we stumbled upon a new phone over at BestBuy.com. The HTC Touch Cruise is now being offered in the "unlocked" variety on the store's for $549.99. We liked this phone at the 2009 Mobile World Congress and it's nice to see it start to trickle into the U.S. Market. Best Buy is listing the Touch Cruise as back-ordered with expected shipping in 1 to 2 weeks.  Could this be the start of the HTC summer invasion? Is the Touch Diamond 2 next?

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Hey, a $400 unlocked Palm Treo Pro is nothing to sneeze at. But what if we told you it can be had for less than $300, and doing so won't land you in jail?

Dell's got it for a mere $269 (after an instant savings of $130). [Update: Eagle-eyed commenter Davidoff noticed that it's back up to $359. So much for that, but still not a bad deal.] Looks like So if you've been holding off, waiting for the price to drop, do you really have an excuse anymore?

Via Twitter

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If you just got your tax return back, here's a quick way to blow it — and by blow it we mean buy one of the three phones we officially know will be running Windows Mobile 6.5 later this year.

An unlocked HTC Touch Pro 2 is up for auction on eBay. WMPowerUser spied it when it had a "But it now" price of $899, but it looks like it's been relisted and will now see how high the price will go by 11 p.m. EST March 27.

At the time of this writing, the top bid was $475. But before you throw your bid in the ring, do note that while this is an unlocked GSM phone, it only has the 3G radio bands used outside the U.S. So, no AT&T love for this guy. Otherwise, if everything is as advertised, it should work just fine.

So, how much would you pay to be the first on your block with a Touch Pro 2?

Update: And ... the auction's been called off. Can't say that's too surprising.

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Xperia X1 said to hit Best Buy on Dec. 7

That ever-elusive Sony Xperia X1 appears to finally be getting closer to a U.S. release.

The Boy Genius Report has snagged an inventory sheet that has the X1(a) — that's the North American version — hitting Best Buy on Dec. 7. That's an "in-stock" date, which may or may not mean you can swing by and pick one up that day.

Still no official word on when AT&T may release the X1(a) along with the expected subsidy and rebates.

But the price you'll pay for the unlocked goodness? Try $800. Ouch. We're pretty sure we know what's going to be first on your holiday wish list.

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Good news / Bad News time:

Good News: As we said they would, Palm has released the Treo 500, the surprisingly cool and surprisingly successful little Windows Mobile standard device, in an unlocked form. You can pick one up for the £269 and use it any old place you like.

Bad News: It's still a Tri-Band phone, meaning that while you'll get 3G goodness in Europe, you won't get it in the US (and in many place you won't get service at all). More bummage: The 500v's neat carousel interface is most definitely a Vodafone-only option, the standard 500 doesn't offer it.

We know, the Treo 500 isn't anything special (the Blackjack and the Q9h have been one-upping it on several fronts since before it came out), but the hardware on the Treo 500 is surprisingly nice. If Palm could bring that price down just a tad, we'd be able to recommend it a bit more. Assuming, of course, that they bring it over to these shores.

Thanks to paulpenny for the tip!

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