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Jack of Tools Pro, a handy Windows Phone 8 toolbox

Jack of Tools Pro is to your Windows Phone 8 device much like a Swiss Army Knife is to pocket knifes... a lot of tools rolled into one package.

Jack of Tools Pro is a collection of ten tools for your Windows Phone that range from a flashlight app to a decibel meter. The app is simply laid out with a series of tiles that launch each tool and that can be pinned to your Start Screen for easy access.

If you're looking for a nice collection of utility oriented apps for your Windows Phone 8 device wrapped up in one package, Jack of Tools Pro is worth a look.

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A week ago today we posted up this story about the Dell Pharos, confirming longstanding rumors that Dell was finally going to get back into the Windows Mobile game. Then, as Malatesta and I were discussing it during the WMExperts podcast last week, yours truly did a double-take.

See that there Velocity 117 on the left? Looks a might bit like the Velocity 111 on the right that we did a brief hands-on with at CTIA, don't it? Heck, some Engadget commenters suspect that the Pharos 127 is a prettified version of the Velocity 103 (though our money is on it being a prettified Velocity 301).

Either way, it's nice to see Velocity finally get some marketing oomph and it's equally nice to see Dell find a way to jump-start it's entry back into the WinMo landscape. All that being said, these devices don't exactly project the aura of absolute power that used to come with the Axim line.

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Fall CTIA 2008 postmortem

Dieter's dodging Hurricane Ike as he wings his way back from the West Coast and CTIA, so let's recap what all he brought back for the rest of us.

First up was live-blogging the keynote event with the chief executive officers of T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon. Some good nuggets about openness in the industry and Yahoo Go.

Of course, what we all couldn't wait for was for the big D to get down on the floor and get his hands on some devices. And he didn't disappoint, with videos and full photo galleries.

Check in after the break for the entire rundown, in one easy-to-carry package.

Best of Fall CTIA 2008

  • The HP 910C: This is the device that WM Experts reader Eric had to have, and he sent in a full review in July. (Thanks again!) Dieter grabbed the 910C and put it up side by side with the Treo Pro. And it's a pretty fair fight.

  • Sprint Touch Diamond: Easily one of the most anticipated - and blogged about - U.S. releases of the year. (And it should be available any day now!)The red paint job isn't as bad as you might think, and it's not as much as a fingerprint magnet as the GSM version.

  • HTC Touch Pro: We're still looking for this guy anytime now on Sprint and AT&T (as the Fuze). Dieter points out that it's not nearly the brick we made fun of reported on in the past.  And just when we thought he was done with the TP (er, let's not call it that ever again), Dieter hit us again with even more photos and video.

  • Velocity 83: The first of a bevy of Velocity devices. Our interest was piqued at CTIA in April, and now it's time for some new hotness. How about a Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro device with a cool new interface, two microSD card slots and an accelerometer?

  • Techfaith Vista 850: WinMo 6.1 Standard, quad-band EDGE, 2 gigs of ROM, and a poor choice of a name, with Microsoft's maligned OS immediately coming to mind.

  • Toshiba G810: The specs were good, the execution was not so good. That's disappointing, because we had hoped the marriage with SPB Software House in developing a UI would pan out. But alas, no.

  • Motorola Q9h (silver): Some WM Experts writer, we won't say who, wasn't that impressed when the silver version of the venerable Q9h was announced. But Dieter did unearth one moderate gem when he took a closer look - an over-the-air update system separate from the one WinMo doesn't use. Dieter's verdict: It's still a workhorse and good buy, but not worth upgrading to if you're a current Q9h owner.

  • Velocity 83, 103, 111, 301 VOTA, Odyssey: What a finish. A redux of the 83, unboxing and hands-on video of the 103, the Q9 competitor 111, a look at the future 301, and VOTA (Velocity Over The Air), which is what the aforementioned Windows Mobile Update should be.
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Above, an unboxing and first look at the Velocity 103, the Windows Mobile smartphone we just told you will be available in an unlocked from in the very near future. We took a slightly closer look at the Odyssey interface than we did with the Velocity 83. More importantly, though, that interface will likely see some improvements -- heck, the entire device will -- based on the Velocity over the Air (VOTA) service they've drummed up. Expect a full review of the 103 in the coming weeks, but so far we're digging the 640x480 screen, find the overall form factor a bit brick-y, and are rushing to install a 3rd party soft-keyboard.

For now, though, we're going to get into the VOTA stuff a bit more after the break, plus take a gander at the QWERTY Velocity 111 and an upcoming device from the upstart startup. Read on!

Velocity Over the Air (VOTA)

So here's the short version of VOTA: It's what Windows Update ought to be. Your device and the VOTA server speak to each other on a regular basis (which you can customize) and find out whether or not your device has the latest and greatest software updates for various pieces of the OS. If there are updates, Velocity sends them out to you, they get installed, and that's that.

Now, if you do a hard reset and lose all your data (and updates), what happens is VOTA talks to the server, the server notices that you're missing a whole lot of software updates it thought you had, and then it packages them all up in a single download and sends them out to you.

At first we assumed this referred only to the Odyssey interface, but in truth it pretty much can apply to whatever Velocity wants to track on your device -- from a (painful) lack of a custom software keyboard to 3rd party companies they decide to partner with. You will eventually be able to go into the app and decide which custom software updates you're interested in (keyboard) and which you're not.

In all, it's a very elegant solution and one that we'd love to see expanded a bit to include support for all sorts of 3rd party programs. Velocity -- sell this to Microsoft, kay?

Velocity 111

When we first saw the Velocity 111 back in April we were impressed and said as much:

We know that people throw the term “Treo Killer” around a lot, but the Velocity 111 just might do the trick. It's a Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro device with a flush touchscreen at 240x320 screen resolution and all the other trimmings of the 103.

Well, folks, that was then and this is now. The Velocity 111 is solid enough with a flush 240x320 screen, WiFi, GPS, and so on, but the form factor feels awfully boxy and stale next to the Treo Pro. On the other hand, the Velocity 111's keyboard approaches Q9h levels of usability -- it's capacious.

Velocity 83 (redux)

We already showed you a hands-on and a video of the Velocity 83, but there's a bit more to the story here. First up: it rocks two (count 'em) microSD card slots primarily because it's looking to be positioned as a good consumer-level GPS smartphone. It'll ship with GPS software (cross your fingers for CoPilot!) included on the SD card that's located underneath the battery. Clever, that.

Velocity 301

One more Velocity handset, the 301. Well, actually it's just a mock-up of what they're working on, a replacement for the 103 that will sport a higher resolution screen and a slightly thinner form factor. Since the “device” below is just a mockup, we thought it appropriate to leave you with slightly blurry images. Fitting, no?

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Hands on with Velocity 103 and 111

The Velocity 103, ladies and gents, is a sweet device. Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro, Quad-band 3G on GSM, 128 meg RAM, 256 ROM, 4 Hour Talks Time, AGPS, TV-out, WiFi, and a 480x640 Touch screen.

We know that people throw the term “Treo Killer” around a lot, but the Velocity 111 just might do the trick. It's a Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro device with a flush touchscreen at 240x320 screen resolution and all the other trimmings of the 103.

It also sports a decent-enough QWERTY Keyboard that has a design that's ripped off directly inspired by the BlackBerry 8800 keyboard. The BlackBerry “inspiration” doesn't stop there, though, check out the white scroll ball in the center. Tell you what - that scroll ball works darn well on a Windows Mobile Device. We approve.

Velocity doesn't have any carrier deals set up, so if you're hankering for either on of these you'll need to a) wait and b) try to find it unlocked somewheres.

Full Gallery after the break!

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