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Spec showdown

Which is the best? Surface Laptop vs. Spectre x360 vs. XPS 13

What to expect when you're expecting

What to expect from Microsoft's hardware event in China this week

The grass is greener

This $500 laptop from Acer is a great alternative to the best Chromebook

Limited Fix

There's now a fix for 'WannaCry,' but it's fairly limited

long-term strategy

Microsoft WILL release a Surface 'phone' — but it could take a while

Keep it secure

Try NordVPN for as little as $3.29 a month

Free Surface is the best kind of Surface

Want to win a Surface Laptop? Here’s how to increase your chances.

Surface Pro Refresh

Microsoft's 'Surface Pro 5' leaks ahead of official announcement

More Goodies

All the changes found in Windows 10 builds 16199 and 16193


4 things Microsoft needs to do to make Xbox Live more social

Big Brother will be watching

Dystopian abuse of Microsoft's powerful AI camera tech is inevitable

A home for Quick Actions

Microsoft is building a new Control Center for Quick Actions in Windows 10

Scaling Optimization

How to use DPI scaling in Windows 10 to fix blurry old apps

PC for normies

Windows 10 S can succeed because 'normal' people aren't Windows geeks

(Surface) pen meets laptop

What's the best way to use the Surface Pen on the Surface Laptop?

Windows 10 tip

Access Control Panel quickly from File Explorer with this nifty trick

More the Merrier

Microsoft purposefully aimed Surface Laptop at a very wide audience

Communication is key

Microsoft must manage expectations of Windows 10 S to avoid PR nightmare

A bright future ... or not?

What did Build tell you about the future of Windows 10 Mobile?

Wipe away the tears

What you need to know about the 'WannaCry' ransomware and Windows

< >

Pre-order: Surface Laptop

windows mobile


MWg Zinc II - Welcome to America

Chalk up another contestant for Malatesta's Black Slab beauty contest, though this is probably as close as you'll get to it.

Introducing the MWg Zinc II (that'd be for Singapore's Mobile & Wireless Group), making its  U.S. debut after spending some time across the pond in Europe.

The specs aren't shabby.

  • UMTS Tri-band, GSM Quad-band
  • HSDPA 3.6 Mbps
  • Samsung 500 Mhz
  • 2.8” TFT QVGA (Touch Screen)
  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Semi-automatic sliding mechanism with qwerty keypad
  • WLAN (802.11 b/g) and BT v 2.0
  • 2MP Camera (rear-facing)
  • GPS : SirF Star III
  • Dimension: 109.5 x 59 x 18 mm

But the price is hefty: Upwards of $700 from your favorite online retailer, as no U.S. carrier is offering (read: subsidizing) this one. However, MWg appears to be hoping to change that.

“MWg has established a full operation in the US focused on developing MWg as a recognized brand in the region. The Zinc II is the first new device to be released in this market and will be sold unlocked through various channels including retailers, e-tailers, corporate resellers and systems integrators.”

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The recent law that several states passed requiring motorists to use hands-free devices (i.e. Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones) is undoubtedly a good thing.

But if you're still on the fence, SpeakerPhone - Auto On is a freeware app that runs in the background and will, as the name suggests, automatically turn on your device's speakerphone when you receive a call.

Be sure to grab the latest version of the app, and follow the installation instructions.


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Blow up your phone

Follow a night full of fireworks filling the sky with a day of fireworks filling your WinMo screen.

Astraware (the geniuses who brought us Bejeweled) unleashed a free Fireworks app for the July 4 holiday, and you can still snag it if you want.

OK, it's not quite the same as sending miniature ICBMs into the sky. But it's free. And you're far less likely to blow off your hand.

Astraware Fireworks [via MSDN]

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HTC 'Neon 400' may be a CDMA Touch Dual

While you were busy spending your Independence Day stuffing yourself with hot dogs and hamburgers, another iteration of HTC's Touch Dual was working its way through the FCC.

As Endgadget Mobile points out, the "Neon" designation points to the Touch family, and the FCC testing shows a CDMA radio.

So, customers of Alltel/Verizon and/or Sprint or may have another Windows Mobile device (and big brother to the keypadless HTC Touch, which all two three carriers are currently selling) to look forward to in the coming months.

And for a look at what may be in store (minus carrier customizations, of course), check out Dieter's recent review of the unlocked GSM Touch Dual.

NEON400 FCC filing

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Toshiba Portege G810: Hello, goodbye ...

We had high so-so hopes for the Toshiba Portege G810, with SPB's Mobile Shell built into the interface from the get-go, and Pocket Plus and Full Screen Keyboard thrown in for good measure.

But Pocket Now has run the device through its paces. And while the guts of the G810 are still nothing to sneeze at (and you gotta love the lights), a lack of tactile feel from physical buttons and beyond sub-par battery life are cited as reasons to pass on this one, especially with a $700 price tag.

Read the full, extensive review here.

Via Engadget Mobile

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Windows Mobile Knows When You Lie

Next time you see a friendly officer with a Windows Mobile device you might want to think twice before you tell him about how you had to speed because you're on the way to the hospital.

Only because they could be using their device to see if you are lying! Starting this month, the Pentagon will be working on a device that will be issued to soldiers in Afghanistan to assist in lie detecting. Being such an advanced technology, it only makes sense that they use Windows Mobile to get the job done. They are hoping the new technology aids in narrowing suspects. In the screen shot you can see the interface in action sporting the good old fashioned Start button. Eat your heart out, polygraph.

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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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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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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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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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