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The savior of Windows Mobile?

We've reported that Microsoft is taking mobile music more seriously, and that even Steve Ballmer thinks mobile Web browsing needs some improvement.

Enter J Allard, who has been promoted to "Chief Experience Officer" and "Chief Technology Officer" (and who has one of the coolest bio mugs out there).

You may know Allard from his previous work with Microsoft on the Xbox, the Zune, Windows NT and, everybody's favorite, TCP/IP (among another 30 or so products).

Windows Mobile is now under his auspices, which should lead to some promising developments for our beloved, but oft maligned, operating system.

From his updated executive bio:

J Allard is responsible for the technical architecture and user experiences related to products and services of the Entertainment and Devices (E&D) division. Allard works closely with technical leaders across the company to align E&D product teams with Microsoft's overall services strategy and product architecture, and drives the technical and design agenda to deliver Connected Entertainment experiences for consumers.

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AT&T's WinMo roadmap for the rest of the year

Lookie, lookie. Someone's got their hands on the roadmap of upcoming devices for AT&T.

What you can expect later this year, in the fourth quarter:

New Pantech Duo:

  • Windows Mobile SP 6.1
  • Tri-band HSDPA (3.6)/Quad-band EDGE
  • 528 MHz Processor
  • 128MB RAM
  • 256MB ROM
  • USB, Bluetooth 2.0
  • Micro SD
  • 2 MP Camera
  • GPS

The current Pantech Duo will get a WinMo 6.1 upgrade in October.

Samsung Blackjack 2: Upgrade to 6.1 sometime this month.

Motorola Q9H: Upgrade to 6.1 sometime this month.

Samsung Blackjack 3 (the i788):

  • Windows Mobile SP 6.1
  • Tri-band HSDPA (3.6); Quad-band EDGE
  • 528 MHz processor
  • 128MB RAM/ 256MB ROM
  • Camera 3 MP
  • AGPS
  • VSC
  • WiFi

AT&T Tilt: Upgrade to 6.1 sometime this month.

AT&T Tilt 2:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition
  • Tri-band HSDPA (3.6); Quad-band EDGE
  • Qualcomm 528 MHz processor
  • 256MB ROM/ 128MB RAM
  • 3.0 MP camera
  • WiFi; Bluetooth 2.0
  • VSC (at launch)

Also: Another Samsung device in the fourth quarter, possibly the Omnia.

Bad news for Palm fans: The Treo 750 is specifically mentioned as NOT getting an upgrade to WinMo 6.1. No mention yet of the upcoming Treo 850, but that's not too big of a surprise.

Via Boy Genius Report

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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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The wait for Opera Mobile 9.5 is (almost) over

The long-awaited Opera Mobile 9.5 is nearly ready for the public. Opera has announced that an initial beta test is slated for July 15 at, and we'll all be able to get our grubby little hands on it.

Opera also addresses what's taken so long:

Some versions of Opera Mobile 9.5 are already shipping on great phones like the HTC Touch Diamond, and some of you have asked why we wouldn't be able to release it publically yet. As you probably know, releasing a version that works on a large variety of phones is more complex than making it work on one specific phone. You should also expect a few differences between the versions that are pre-installed on phones and the public version of Opera Mobile 9.5.

So, the beta version may contain a few differences than what was seen in a hands-on review back in February.

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One-stop shopping for Google's WinMo apps


The Google Mobile Blog has alerted us to a new umbrella page for its mobile services.

Hit up from your desktop for one-stop shopping for all of Google's mobile device products available on Windows Mobile, including Google Maps, Gmail, Picasa and their bread and butter, Internet search.

Nothing earth-shattering here, but it's all available under one roof, with some how-to videos thrown in as well. No mention of Google Gears, though.

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Meet the new Windows Mobile online

We've done our fair share of hating on Microsoft over Windows Mobile, and some much of it is deserved. But we're not above dishing out some unfettered love from time to time, and that's about what we have for the new Windows Mobile online.

The site is mainly geared for consumers, and does a pretty good job of going through the basics of Windows Mobile.

Join us after the jump for a more friendly Microsoft (yeah, we're going that far), one that takes the time to introduce you to Windows Mobile, your phone, and how to make it yours.

The home page

The page you see above is what you first see when you visit the site. You're greeted by a Verizon HTC Touch, and a scrolling list that helps you "Find the phone that fits." Hovering over a phone will display its name, operating system - odd that 6.1 is nowhere to be found - and what carrier you can find it on in the United States. Samsung, HTC and Motorola are represented, though Palm is conspicuously missing. We'll see if the upcoming Treo 800W or Treo 850, which should both sport WinMo 6.1, are added once they're released later this summer (we hope).

Receiving prominent placement is "TotalAccess," which we'll touch on in a little bit.

For now, let's dive into the nav bar at the top. Featured are:

  • Meet Windows Mobile
  • Choose Your Phone
  • Use Your Phone
  • Make It Yours
  • Total Access

Meet Windows Mobile

Ah ha! There's 6.1! And, Microsoft says, "Your mobile life is about to get much better." Better? Yeah. Much? Maybe. But there are a few items on this page that we'd like to point out.

  1. Compare versions: A chart that compares the features of WM 5.0, 6.0 and 6.1, standard and pro. (Actually, the list is so long it's a little unwieldy, but them's the breaks.)
  2. WinMo 6.1 FAQ: Translated, that's Windows Mobile 6.1 frequently asked questions. 'Nuff said.
  3. See the phones: Here's a rundown of phones currently available in the U.S. that are running WinMo 6.1.
  4. Windows Live: We've covered this pretty extensively, but think search, maps, e-mail.

Choose Your Phone

With the myriad devices on the market today, it can be pretty tough - overwhelming, even - to decide what will work best for you, and what will work best within your budget.

For our part, check out How To: Buy a Windows Mobile Phone. Boy, some of those phones look old now, but the principles behind making a decision still stand.

Here, Microsoft lets you drill down through the features, carriers and brands available. Standard vs. Pro. WiFi. GPS. Physical or on-screen keyboard. It's a very useful tool if you're not sure what's out there, or if you're helping someone else pick out their first smartphone. (Also check out our numerous device reviews and Phone Scoop's Phone Finder.)

Outside the U.S.? No problem. Pick your country from the drop-down list, and you're on your way.

Use Your Phone

This is why you bought the thing in the first place, right? This page is broken down into several basic sections.

  1. Getting started: Because, as the site says, you have to start somewhere.
  2. Personalizing: Make the phone your own, without third-party software.
  3. E-mailing and texting: Pretty self-explanatory, but it does tackle how to manage multiple e-mail accounts.
  4. Synchronizing your phone and PC: Still the bane of most WinMo users, to the point where many people only sync over the air. Maybe this will help.
  5. User forums: Find help from someone like you. Or someone more experienced than you.
  6. Support: How to get in touch with your carrier or device manufacturer.
  7. Notices and upgrades: Such as the Daylight Saving Time fix, for those who still need it, and upgrades to ActiveSync.

Make It Yours

Here's a repository of apps, including the usual Microsoft gang - Office Mobile, Live Search, Outlook Mobile, Internet Explorer Mobile (no longer Pocket IE?), Live, and Media Player Mobile.

The Windows Mobile Catalog features third-party apps, though it really serves as a portal to software retailers Handango and MobiHand.

Total Access - the elephant in the room

Evident on just about every page is a link to Total Access. Sign in with your Windows Live ID, and you'll get ... most of the same things you've gotten through the rest of the site, with a couple of bright spots. The best news is that it's all free.

  1. Ringtones, Extras and Add-ons: Preview and download two dozen ringtones (in WMA format, of course). Snag some wallpapers or download entire themes. The Halo 3 content isn't awful.
  2. Tips and premium help: Links to massive, Microsoft-esque PDFs that nobody will make it through. (Then you get an e-mail thanking you for downloading it.)
  3. Software, Services and More: Links to Live Search, an mobile app, Zumobi and Viigo (which is a fan favorite around here).
  4. Member Benefits: See Nos. 1-3. A page to entice you to sign up.

Conclusion: A good start

It's good to see Microsoft making an earnest effort. Simplicity is key for the average user, and this site should offer some help. There's plenty of room for improvement, but this could prove to be a good step as we await Windows Mobile 7, and hope that such extensive how-to sites aren't even necessary.

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Find your phone with Navizon's Mobfindr

Recently updated in the movement to invade your children's privacy, follow your cheating spouse, ...never lose your phone and locate your friends is Mobfindr from Navizon that will allow you to find the location of nearly any device with a text message.

How it works: The Navizon software utilizes "Virtual GPS", which uses WiFi and triangulation from cell towers to approximate your location. Mobfindr is a service that runs in the background. When an SMS containing a customized passphrase is sent to the Mobfindr-enabled device, it returns its approximate location (within about a mile) via text coordinates.

The Navizon software also features "group" and "buddy" services that allow you and your friends to locate each other.

You can try a free 15-day demo or shell out $24.99 for Navizon Premium. Mobfindr currently only works with the iPhone should be released as a separate application for WinMo and BlackBerry in the near future. A version for S60 devices also is in the works.

Peep video of the Mobfindr service after the break.

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Play Commodore 64 on Windows Mobile

1982-83. A banner time for geeks and gamers the world 'round. Lotus 1-2-3. Reagan's "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative. Pioneer 10 leaves the solar system. Nintendo goes on sale in Japan. Microsoft Word (word!).

And, of course, the Commodore 64.

In this age of dual-core and multitouch, it's sometimes nice to go back to a simpler era, when 8 bits were enough to get you through the day. Now, you can do it on your Windows Mobile device, thanks to Clickgamer's Pocket Commodore 64 Plus Vic 20.

Featured in this upgrade are:

  • A completely re-written new core and interface.
  • Complete user control over CPU frequency, disk frequency, vertical frame rate, border sizes, etc.
  • BIOS roms BUILT-IN! Choose from 7 Kernal ROMs and 2 disk ROMs!
  • Full menus, keyboard and paddle controls in landscape mode.
  • Customizable skins.
  • And much, much more!

Pocket C64 runs on all forms of Windows Mobile, standard and pro, and costs

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Sometimes you just have to shake your head at Microsoft and sigh.

In a recent interview with the Reuters news network, Andy Lees, senior VP of Redmond's Mobile Communications side, said future versions of WinMo will focus on improving the music experience.

"One thing that Apple has leveraged on is the music scenario, and I think that that is something the operators and ourselves are partnering on."
Lees said music in cellphones was a huge business opportunity, since every year consumers bought 10 times as many music-enabled cellphones as iPods.

You can almost see Microsoft execs walking into Tuesday night's Celtics-Lakers thrashing in fourth quarter, sitting down and saying, "Hey, guys. How's it going? Who's winning?"

So, let's recap the recent MS revelations:

Catch the trend? We ... Need ... Better ...

Now the good news: Microsoft really is working on all of the above. Real redesigns - and not just "better" apps - are actually in the works. Let's just hope that it comes soon enough to counter the coming iPhone marketshare onslaught.

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While you were off last week gnashing your teeth over whether to desert Windows Mobile for that other soon-to-be released device, Mozilla released an early demo of what could ultimately become the Firefox Mobile browser.

Aza Raskin, head of User Experience at Mozilla Labs, warns us that the demo features an extremely experimental UI and is likely to change significantly before the Firefox Mobile browser is released. And more change seems likely, if you compare this latest demo to a previous peek. Also, this latest demo only focuses on touchscreen devices, meaning Windows Mobile Standard need not apply, though it does appear in the earlier demo.

Here are a few highlights:

  • "Tabbed" browsing exists as separate browser windows floating in space.
  • Pages feature kinetic scrolling, "Just like on the iPhone," Razkin says.
  • The UI is based on touchscreen, but is not multitouch.
  • Tabs can be dragged throughout the canvas and arranged however you like
  • Forward, back, address bar/search bar and bookmark controls are hidden in the side of the browser window and appear when you drag and pan a page horizontally.
  • At the bottom of each page is a row of extensible buttons that could be used to "digg this page," "send e-mail link," etc.

At this point, just about anything is better than Microsoft's Pocket Internet Explorer. And with the expected release of Opera 9.5 and Skyfire still a popular beta Firefox Mobile could prove to be another strong option when it's finally released.

Check in after the jump to watch Raskin's demo video of Firefox Mobile.


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Apple Inc. on Monday announced the follow-up to it's wildly popular iPhone, the iPhone 3G ...

Sorry, even we get caught up during the silly season. And with that, Taiwan's E-TEN unleashed three new devices on its Glofish line last week at Computex 2008.

There's nothing terribly new here, as Phone Arena first showed us. Uou're unlikely to see any of these during your morning commute as E-TEN doesn't have the best (read: any) track record getting pickup from US carriers. Though we will say this: They rolled out WM6 updates earlier than the U.S. bigs.

But here's the skinny:

  • The X900 is a quad-band GSM follow-up to the X800, with a 480-by-640 screen.
  • The DX900 features dual sim cards, for those who swing that way, hitting up the 850/900/1800/1900 bands on one hand, and 850/1900/2100 on the other. It also sports a 3MP camera.
  • The X610 is another basic update to the X600.
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Microsoft has just published a letter to Windows Mobile partners from Sr. VP Letter from Andy Lees. In the letter, Lees lays out some of the strengths of Windows Mobile that don't necessarily get enough credit. It's worth a read to see what Microsoft is proud of and get a hint of what they're looking to focus on moving forward.

In any case, a lot of folks are reading the letter as “Microsoft trying to Steal the iPhone's thunder,” but that's not quite our take. Instead, look at it this way: there's going to be a ton of press out there for the iPhone next week. When these reporters are looking to finish out their article with a counter-point for “objectivity,” it would be helpful for them to have a quick, easily digestible letter from which they can insert the Microsoft talking point into their article. In other words - Microsoft knows they'll be getting a little bit of press in iPhone articles next week -- this is a good way to control what that message is.

Though we'll say that if you're looking for a paean to Windows Mobile that really lays out why it's a stupendous platform, we recommend our very own Triumphant Return to Windows Mobile from the Smartphone Round Robin. Also, believe it not, like Lees, we still believe that the iPhone can be a help to Windows Mobile overall.

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Diamond to get Opera 9.5

A lot of you in Windows Mobile land have been drooling over the new HTC Diamond, we know we are. One of the aspects we're most excited about that you may have missed in the myriad of spec run-downs: Opera 9.5.

...Actually, it's a customized version of Opera 9.5. Minor adjustments have been made so that the Diamond can function properly with one-handed navigation and proper alignment of web sites. It even goes head to head with the iPhone's accelerometer and does a cartwheel when you turn it on the side for wide screen viewing. Here's some more details on the new stuff.

For most of us, though, the big news here is that Opera Mobile 9.5 should be landing for other devices soon. How soon? ....Not soon enough. If you missed the new Opera 9.5 browser take a look here to see the magic.

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Looks like a little company named HKC (sounds familiar) is upping the anti when it comes to designing new Windows Mobile devices. I just caught wind that they are launching new Windows Mobile Pro handsets that work on the trusty GSM as well as the beloved CDMA. That would be the W1000, which covers GSM on 900 / 1800 / 1900 as well as CDMA. Note: that means no US GSM support. Or sales, likely.

They even whipped up what they claim is the first dual-SIM GSM handset. To me it sounds like a good investment if you

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Google Maps or Live Search

For the longest time Google Maps and Windows Live Search have been clashing for title of best map software. In my experience both have been very useful tools in my everyday life. The funny thing is that after I went through each of them extensively, I concluded that both are needed in order to be productive.

Windows Live excels in category search. With a simple address Live will recommend local bars, clubs, and restaurants in your vicinity. Then once you found your local restaurant or movie theater you can check reviews on it, get directions to it, or send that address to a friend to meet up for the date. Easy access to gas prices in the local area and movie info make it that much more useful. My favorite is showing up to the theaters and using Live Search to check info and ratings before we head in. Then again there are some features such as my location and faster maps that Windows Live Search lacks.

Google maps makes up where Windows Live Search misses. Need faster maps? Googles got it. Need the ability get an approximate location? Googles got it. For me it

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