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LG HQ brings some low-end messaging

OK, it's been a couple of hours, so it's time for another AT&T Windows Mobile leak from Engadget. Now we've got a lower-end messenger, the LG HQ, which we got a look at back at Mobile World Congress.

There's the usual tri-band 3G and quad-band EDGE, Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard with a 2.4-inch 320x240 screen. The battery's a mere 1,100 mAh powering a Qualcomm 7225 processor. It's got a 2.0MP camera, sports Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, AGPS and has a MicroSD card. No WiFi on this puppy. July 6 is noted as a target availability, but we'll see how that holds up.

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Recapping Mobile World Congress 2009

It was the hope of many Windows Mobile users that Mobile World Congress 2009 would make up for the lackluster showing at the CES in January. While some may think different, Barcelona was a cornucopia of announcements, displays and rumors of what the rest of the year holds for Windows Mobile. Coverage of the event by our own EIC Dieter Bohn was logged not in yards but in miles, and it's time to wrap up all the stories he tracked down.

Read on for a breakdown of all that went down in Barcelona.

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The Great MWC09 Heist

While it may not be the famous Pink Panther diamond, the HTC prototypes unveiled at Mobile World Congress were considered by many to be gems of an electronic nature. Then somebody decided to play the role of the Phantom and relieved Telstra Chief Executive Sol Trujillo of one of the new HTC devices (either a Touch Diamond 2 or Touch Pro 2) that Microsoft had loaned him. The reports are sketchy and the Australian Communications Company Exec is discounting the reports as not being true.

There is no confirmation as to what was loaded on the HTC phone, but reports are confirming that Microsoft indeed had loaned the phone to Trujillo and it was running the new Windows Mobile 6.5. We also know that Dieter was seen at the buffet line around the time of the heist trying to see how many shrimp he could stack on his plate. I wonder if we'll see a listing on eBay or Craig's List for a slightly used, Windows Mobile 6.5 phone in the near future?


Update: Now it appears the data and operating system on the stolen device were remotely wiped clean once the heist was reported. A Microsoft staffer told APC Mag that all sensitive data was wiped from the stolen device.

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Around SPE for 22 Feb, 2009

It's been quite a week for SPE, we wrapped up a bootload of live coverage of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. With details on Windows Mobile 6.5, the new HTC Magic Android phone, the new Ovi Application Store at Nokia Experts, and even a sneak preview of a GPS App for the iPhone, we were chock full of breaking mobile news.

This week we'll be bringing you more of the same, of course. Be sure you are paying special attention to, as this will be a HUGE week for CrackBerry Nation. This coming Thursday, February 26th, the site officially turns 2 years old!! And when turns another year older, it doesn't mean a day of celebrating, it means a week birthday festivities! Whether you're a BlackBerry owner or not you'll want to stay glued to the site for great contests, deals and giveaways each and every day. If you're not a daily visitor but want to follow the action, you can always subscribe to the CrackBerry RSS feeds or follow the site on Twitter at @crackberry.

Speaking of giveaways, time is running out for your chances to win a Nokia N85 or E71 at Nokia Experts, so be sure to head over and learn how to enter this week.

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We grabbed some hands-on time with the first Windows Mobile phone of the Garmin-Asus alliance, the nuvifone M20. We gotta say, we're darn impressed. The styling is helped out by a multitude of color options, but in essence think "small," "wee," or "cute" — but in a good way.

The little guy has GPS down in its guts in exactly the way you'd expect from Garmin — maps are included in the 4 gigs of onboard storage, GPS location is added to photos, e-mails, texts, basically anything you'd like to add it, too. There's a special Garmin Car Mount that it ships with that will pass-through charge and holds the device in landscape. Better yet: When you get a call when the device is in the mount, it will automatically turn off your GPS direction audio (visual directions say) and go into speakerphone. Park the car and grab the phone to continue the conversation and the phone switches out of speaker automatically. Garmin-Asus also threw on a custom skin, which does the job but doesn't wow.

We're looking at dual-band 3G and tri-band GSM, so we may not see this thing in the states when it comes out "first half of 2009," and that would be a shame. The stats:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Dual Band HSPA, Tri-Band GSM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, Accelerometer
  • GPS (duh)
  • 2.8" 640x480 Touchscreen
  • 3MP camera
  • 4 or 8 GB of internal storage
  • 95.3 x 52.5 12.8 mm
  • 99g (including battery)
  • 528MHz Qualcomm 7200A
  • 920 mAh battery (yes, that is small)

More photos and some of the official press stuff after the break.

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LG HQ is Pearl-riffic

Now, we're not ones to complain about any Windows Mobile Standard device that comes out these days -- they're getting so few and far between that we don't want to further scare carriers away from asking for them.  So instead of kvetching about how the LG HQ looks and smells like a HP Voice Messenger, we'll note how the LG HQ also looks to put the BlackBerry Pearl in its place.  If LG puts some marketing weight behind it, it might actually manage to draw some of those Pearl users away, because the specs are nothing to sniff at:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
  • 3G, Quad Band Edge
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • 2MP camera
  • miniSD HD
  • 256 ROM/128 RAM
  • 240x320 QVGA screen

By the way, if you were wondering, our dream of seeing a Windows Mobile standard device with a resolution greater than 240x320 is on its last legs.  

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We've never been too shy about expressing our unabashed rage disappointment that the HTC Touch HD never made its way to the United States, at least officially and with U.S. 3G bands on board. So one of the more exciting hardware announcements at Mobile World Congress was HTC and the Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2, which have the sex appeal of the Touch HD.

Join us inside as we take a side-by-side look at what's under the hood.

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Verizon to launch 4G test this year?

Let the LTE/4G race begin! We've reported that AT&T is planning to have LTE service by 2011, but it looks like Verizon may get there first. Verizon Wireless Chief Technical Officer Dick Lynch, in a presentation at Mobile World Congress, announced that Verizon is committed to equipping two U.S. cities with Long Term Evolution (LTE) data networks by the end of 2009. Characterized as "pre-commercial deployments," the LTE networks would be a precursor to full commercial deployment slated for 2010 that would include 25-30 cities. It's anybody's guess which two U.S. cities will be the test sites, but LTE tests have been performed by Verizon in several cities including Minneapolis, Columbus (Ohio), and New Jersey. 

No word if AT&T has adjusted its projections in response to Verizon's announcement. If Verizon is successful in deploying the 4G service later this year, it may give them an advantage over AT&T. Then again, the timetable for devices capable of handling 4G is a lot more sketchy than the timetable for having the service available. Some projections don't see the 4G devices hitting the market until 2011. If this is the case, AT&T's timeline mirrors device development. Verizon may be leading a race for a data network very few, if any, consumers will be able to use.

[Read: ARS Technica]

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Standardizing chargers and connectors


Standardization long has been needed in the mobile phone industry. I hate switching phone manufacturers simply because that means buying a new travel charger and spare charger for the office. I'm probably not alone in that I have a drawer full of Motorola, Samsung, and Treo chargers whose corresponding phones have been banished to the recycling bin.

Luckily, this may be about to change. An initiative backed by mobile phone manufacturers as well as operators will result in a universal charger based on the micro-USB interface for new mobile phones. Read on after the break to see what industry leaders have signed off on this initiative, who led the way to standardization two years ago — and who's unlikely to to join in.

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Hands On: Touch Pro 2


Every time I see the Touch Pro 2, it seems to get better and better. I finally got my hands on it for real yesterday and, well, it's a solid, incredible piece of hardware. Every time HTC iterates their slider design I always think to myself "Well, they've pretty much perfected this form factor" and every time a new one comes out I realize they're better at design than I am.  Ahem.

The Touch Pro 2 feels great in the hand and though it's a tad hefty, it's a good kind of heft. The tilting slider hinge is back and feels solid. You may not actually want to tilt it all the way up during normal use as it does block the number row (yes, a full number row) of the keyboard.

More thoughts and -- of course -- more photos after the break!

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We didn't really give the Pantech Duo the attention it deserved.  It was (and is) a neat little dual-slider that, sure, felt a little plasticky and looked a little cheap, but nevertheless was a totally legitimate Windows Mobile Standard device.  Well, it looks like Pantech themselves must've thought even less of the Duo that we did, because for their update to the device they're dropping the "Duo" altogether in favor of calling it the "Pantech Matrix Pro."  

The Matrix, you may recall, was a simple feature phone from Pantech, so that's the brand they're continuing by adding "Pro" at the end of it.  Likely the Matrix sold pretty well for them, so this wasn't a bad move. On the other hand, we're still feeling guilty for giving the Duo short shrift -- seeing Pantech do the same adds a pang.

Anyhow, the Matrix Pro hangs onto the dual-sliding action and improves the look a bit and the specs just a tiny bit more

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
  • 3G HSDPA, Quad-Band EDGE
  • AGPS, Bluetooth (No WiFi)
  • 2 MP Camera
  • 528 MHZ Qualcomm MSM7201a Processor
  • 256 ROM / 128 RAM
  • 3 hours talktime
  • 320x240 QVGA Screen

Price and availability unknown --  more's the pity, because we totally owe it to Pantech to give this Matrix Pro a spin. [via Engadget Mobile]

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Hands On: Touch Cruise 2


HTC may want to just call it the Touch Cruise, but new's new and so we'll call is the Touch Cruise 2.  What we have here is a surprisingly good phone: today's low-end is definitely yeterday's high end.  The phone itself is lighter than you might expect, but the body doesn't feel cheap and the OS is very responsive -- probably because this is the "light" edition of TouchFlo 3D and at the end of the day, HTC has it specced as a QVGA (read: 320x240) device.  It sure is the best QVGA screen we've ever seen, after handing the device we double-checked to make sure HTC's site really did have it at QVGA.  The device could stand to be a little smaller, but judged on its own merits as a simple GPS phone, we've got no complaints. The Touch Cruise 2 is a significant step up over the original Touch Cruise, which felt a little boxy.

We also played with Footprints a bit, HTC's custom-built GPS-tagging system for photos.  It's more than just throwing coordinates inside the EXIF data, you can jump right to maps (or even directions) for any photo with a tap.  The Touch Cruise may not be one of HTC's flagship devices, but it definitely holds its own in their line up.

We'll rehash the specs after the break as well as present you with, what else? More photos.

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Microsoft may not have gobs of  Windows Mobile 6.5 demo units out at MWC09, but that doesn't mean your intrepid friends at WMExperts weren't scouring the floor trying to find one.  Find one we did, at Texas Instruments' booth.  It's running on a development platform (the OMAP34x-II) they've created to help manufacturers use their new OMAP3430 processor.  We'll cover both our thoughts from our brief time with Windows Mobile 6.5 as well as some tidbits about this processor that ought to have Qualcomm and Broadcom a little nervous.

Go on and click the link for more.  Or else you could click the thumbnail above for the full size image of that beautiful, creepy, awesome Grey Crowned Crane.  It's mesmerizing, innit?

Oh, while you're staring: think about this.  That's a capacitive touchscreen you're staring at.  We know, we know, WM6.5 doesn't support it and you'll likely never see such a thing actually sold to consumers and frankly, there were times we couldn't hit the button we were aiming for (the fact that it was a huge 4" screen helped).  But it's there: Windows Mobile 6.5 on a capacitive touchscreen.

But you should read on now and pay attention, we're going to bring up HDMI.

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Couldn't come up with the scratch to make it to Barcelona, Spain, for Mobile World Congress? It's cool. Microsoft and your friends at WMExperts have you covered.

Join us after the break at 9 a.m. EST (that's 3 p.m. Barcelona time) right now for a live feed (courtesy of the boys and girls in Redmond) of Steve Ballmer, Andy Lees and friends as we hope to get our first official glimpse of Windows Mobile 6.5, My Phone, and maybe a monkey dance for old times' sake. (Note: You'll likely need Silverlight to see the feed. Get it here.)

Update: Yeah, the live show's over. Sorry if you missed it (these European times are killer). We'll try to find a recorded version.

Update 2: Here's the whole thing for ya. Enjoy.

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Update: SPB Mobile Shell 3

A few weeks ago we mentioned the pending release of SPB Mobile Shell 3. And while the application hasn't gone live yet, it does have it's own Web site, and a video presentation has surfaced on You Tube. Still no hard a release date (Aprilish maybe?) but the updated version is being billed as having such features as multi-home pages (hello, Xperia X1 panels?), widgets, kinetic scrolling, 3D screen switcher, hardware acceleration support, Facebook integration and support for Windows Mobile 6.5.

Barcelona Bureau Chief Dieter Bohn was able to get his hands on the application at Mobile World Congress. Check in after the break for his impressions and a few more pictures.

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Obviously Windows Mobile 6.5 dominated the bulk of Microsoft's announcements at the start of Mobile World Congress, but we've also seen My Phone and, to a much lesser extent, Marketplace.

But the Windows Mobile Team blog chimed in today, pimping some of the bennies for developers:

  • An easily discovered on-device application that is installed on every Windows Mobile 6.5 device, and includes prominent placement on the Start menu.
  • Global marketplace distribution (30 countries) with flexible payment options for end users through both credit card and mobile operator payment methods.
  • Single source developer-focused web site for sign-up, publishing, and management of applications in the marketplace.
  • Transparent set of policies that clearly articulate the types of applications allowed in the store.
  • Streamlined, yet flexible workflow for getting applications published to the marketplace.
  • Leverage existing Microsoft developer tools, such as Visual Studio, for faster time to market.

Otherwise? Not a whole lot yet. Try to make do with Windows Mobile and My Phone for now, m'kay?

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Acer encore: The DX900

And, finally, from the Acer booth we have the DX900, which we know as a rebranded, dual-sim E-TEN Glofiish. The specs:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Dual-sim
  • 128MB RAM/256MB ROM
  • 480x640 VGA touchscreen
  • Samsung S36410 processor
  • 3MP camera
  • GPS, Bluetooth

The DX900 Dieter saw didn't have the custom user interface on it, instead opting for a custom version of SPB Mobile Shell.

After the jump, the pics.

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