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windows mobile

While the rest of the world is focused on Windows Phone 7, our pals in Norway haven't forgotten about Windows Mobile.

Today, Opera released an updated version of Opera Mini, bringing the version up to 5.1 and adding some new features including:

  • The ability to set Opera Mini as the default browser
  • Support for devices with high-resolution (high DPI)
  • Improved page layout and font rendering
  • Support for auto-rotation/accelerometer support
  • Advanced configuration support for power users

While its big brother, Opera Mobile, gets a lot of attention, Opera Mini has gone a long way since its days of needing a separate Java client, making the differences between the two less obvious. Having said that, we've always liked Mini a bit more than Mobile just for its sheer speed. And no, Opera has not said anything about Windows Phone 7 support, though we know native browsers are a no-go for at least v1.0 of the new OS.

Anyways, you should be able to grab version 5.1 today by navigating to m.opera.com on your phone. Check out some of the screen shots below and the full press release after the break. Sound off in comments on your thoughts after you tried it!

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For those of you lucky enough to have the T-Mobile HTC HD2, you may have been surprised to see that your Barnes & Noble eReader received a nice and much needed update.

User Jason M was kind enough to send us his report of the update and its new features noting 

I opened up my Barnes and Noble eReader tonight and noticed an alert for a new update. I allowed it to install on my HD2 and noticed new features such as an option for a nice looking grid view of the book covers, access to the Lend Me function, a huge number of addition settings (font changes, background colors, day/night themes, dictionary lookup, etc), and finally bookmarks! Basically, the HD2 version has been brought in line with what is offered on other platforms. This is good news since Amazon is ignoring Windows Mobile completely.

Indeed! The 'Lend Me' feature is one the most coveted updates as it basically allows you to share your eBooks to a friend for a short duration--think controlled DRM. This is something that Amazon is sorely missing, but as Jason points out, Amazon so far as given a cold shoulder to Windows Mobile with no Kindle access for us.

Lets hope Barnes & Noble and Amazon both bring some eReaders to Windows Phone 7. (BTW, small plug: been using the Kindle 3 for the last few days and it's great, but it needs a 'Lend Me' feature ASAP).

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We've heard this complaint a lot from people who travel and while we can't verify its level of annoyance, it seems it is pretty high on the list.

Basically, for some of you power people in the world, you require the ability to "shift" all (or a large chunk) of your appointments and/or tasks to different times or days. Certainly a tedious task by any standard and there is no easy way to do it, regardless of PIM choice.

Long story short, a retired IBM 'er had this recurring problem and asked a programmer to write up a solution. The result? Trines Appointment and Task Mover, available in the Marketplace for $9.99.

While a bit pricey, the solution itself seems elegant enough and hey, if this can shave some frustrating work on such a boring task, it could be money well invested.

The app is demoed in the two videos below, so you can get an idea of how it works and what to expect. More info can be found here. Feel free to share your solutions in comments, if you share a similar problem and we'll see about getting a proper WMExperts review up of this app sometime soon, if you folks want it.

[Thanks, Jochen, for the tip!]

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Heads up FourSquare users: the Windows Mobile client 'WinMoSquare' from Touchality just got a nice bump with new features and bug fixes.

This is technically a 'beta' update, but if you're a big user of the service (we are), you'll want to go ahead and grab the update right here: 

http://www.touchality.com/winmosquare.cab

The software requires .NET CF 3.5 on the device and is free to use. Presumably the official release will be rolled out to the Marketplace once finalized.

The list of all the updates and fixes is after the break since it's so long...

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File this under "duh" but for those who are wondering, Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.x has dipped below 10% in terms of market share in the U.S, according to NPD.

To put that in perspective, a year and half ago it was at 20%.

In a way, it is odd since devices like the ubiquitous HTC Touch Pro 2 and drool worthy HD2 had a lot of headlines and presumably market share, but alas it was not so as many more switched to Android.

Other numbers for those with morbid curiosity:

  • RIM 28% (down from 32%)
  • Android 33%
  • iPhone 22%
  • WebOS 4%

Like we said, not even Android ousting the aging (and increasingly boring) RIM was that shocking (didn't something like 6 gazillion Android devices come out in 2010 so far?). However, this does put into perspective the challenge Microsoft has in terms of branding and recouping consumer awareness.

Hey, at least we're not as bad as HP Palm.

[via SeatllePi]

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Astraware is one of the few companies who put out some solid games for Windows Mobile, including Classic Collection, Casino, Bubble Shuffle, Bejeweled/Bejeweled 2, Sudoku, etc. So it's nice to see them still put out a few games in the twilight months of our beloved OS.

The first game is Police Range ($4.99) and is a police shooting range-type game. Seems kind of fun and the graphics aren't too shabby.

The other is OddBlob ($4.99), a strategy/puzzle game that should be good for those who like the Bejeweled series and goofy graphics.

Both are for touchscreen devices, preferably the 800x480 type.

We'll try to get a review up on both of these sooner than later.

[via Experience Mobility]

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Awhile back, we made a big deal about Microsoft employee Mel Sampat--after all, that cool Star Trek-esque calendar in Windows Phone 7 was his thing, he also did the MS coding train-race and was most recently tied to the updated Twiikin-for-WP7. He seemed hip, geeky cool and well, he was a face besides Loke Uei's that we could identify.

And now he broke our heart. Leaving Microsoft is one thing, but building a dating site dedicated only for Apple users and fans?  Gag us with our HD2's.

Yes, turns out Mel is quite the Apple fan even owning an iPad. (Wait, yours truly owns an iPad too, but that's different). Anyways, we'll begrudgingly wish Mel the best of luck with his dating site and hope he still has plans to bring some of his unquestionable talent back to the Windows Phone 7 side (we need all the help we can get).

Read the full article here.

[Thanks, RobP, for the tip!]

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Jealous of the new KIN UI? No? Well, too bad because now you have the option to run a UI overlay on  your favorite Windows Mobile phone, but without all the limitations.

Turns out someone at Windows Phone Hacker (yeah, new to us too) has come up with a sophisticated looking KIN UI. Seriously, considering what this is it actually looks pretty darn good.

Called 'KinLauncher', it makes available eight tabs on your homescreen, each linking to a core aspect of your phone: messages, email, phone, music, settings, browser, camera and alarm clock.

It might not permanently replace your Sense UI, but hey, it's free and seems like worth a shot if you're bored.  You can grab it right here and after the break, watch a video demonstration of it in action.

[Thanks Saijo, 1800PocketPC]

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Gee, that new iPhone 4 sure is shiny, with its high-resolution, 326-dpi screen. But you know what? It's not the first to cross the 300-dpi threshold. That news comes from from an Android guru, actually. Tim Bray, who joined Google earlier this year and knows a thing or three about this business broke it down today on his blog. The Windows Mobile-powered Toshiba G900 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 (remember them, folks?) both packed in the pixels back in their day. Of course, neither was a big hit in the United States, so we'll forgive you for not counting their pixels. Check out the whole hubub over dots per inch at Tim's blog. [TimBray.org]

Edit: Getting a high DPI is easy when you double the resolution but *don't* increase the size of the screen, which is what Apple did with the iPhone 4. Fact is, 3.5inch for the iPhone is on the small side these days for smartphones as HTC has made 3.2"  small, 3.6" the medium and 4.3" as large. 

Had Apple made a 4.3" screen to compete with the HD2, their DPI would drop to a less impressive 268

Incidently, the AT&T Pure is about 291 DPI, which while lower than the iPhone 4, is still in the ball park despite having a lower resolution. Why? It only has a small 3.2" screen. The Xperia X1 was over 300 DPI because it only had a 3 inch screen.

While a high DPI is nice, having a larger screen can be just as preferable, especially for reading on-the-go.

--Malatesta

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Flip2Mute Released for Windows Mobile

Flip2Mute for Windows Mobile has been released which will allow you to silence your Windows Phone when it is face down.

The application, designed by x86shadow, is similar to the native features on various HTC Windows Phones such as the HD2. Your Windows Phone needs to be running Windows Mobile 6.5.xx, have .NET CF 3.5 installed, an accelerometer, and be a WVGA device.

Along with silencing your phone, you can set Flip2Mute to turn off the screen or set the phone to vibrate. This works out great for those who are constantly in and out of meetings and need a simple way to mute their Windows Phone. Simply turn on Flip2Mute and set your Windows Phone face down on the conference table.  The only bug I experienced in testing Flip2Mute was that occasionally the phone stayed on silent even after being turned face up. 

Flip2Mute is a free application and if your interested in giving it a try, you can download it here.

[read: wmpoweruser.com]

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We'll admit that we're not hip to all those popular Flash games on the internet these days, but evidently one is being ported over to Windows Mobile this month due to its popularity.

"Learn to Fly" is about a hapless penguin who is determined to overcome his flight-challenged biology. Its has bold graphics, silly achievements and it's indeed addicting. In fact we would have written this up sooner but we're playing the online Flash game for the last hour.

We'll keep you posted on the actual release and hopefully it's as smooth as the online one. If you want to waste the rest of your day at work, go here to play the free Flash version. Apologize to your boss in advance for us, thanks!

[Pocket Gamer; thanks, segadc, for the tip!]

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The other side of the coin. While it's not a huge surprise that software development for Windows Mobile has dwindled, especially with the clean break of Windows Phone 7 around the corner, it is a bit shocking at how fast it fell. (See the other study today about number of apps users have by mobile OS).

According to iGR, last year Windows Mobile was "by far the most popular" in terms of number of developers writing apps for it. Flash forward one year later and it's now dead last.

The iPhone of course is number one with 53% of developers writing programs for it. Perhaps more telling is that more than half of those who currently aren't making iPhone apps, plan to do so within in the next year. Yowza. 

Blackberry was number two, ahead of Android which was sort of interesting, though we imagine those two will swap positions very soon as Android has received lots of momentum in the last 4 months. No word about Windows Phone 7 and developer plans, though judging by the attendance at the Microsoft ReMix events, it's looking very good.

Unfortunately, we don't have access to the raw numbers which would tell us more.

[FierceMobileContent via AppScout]

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Nielsen's has some interesting stats just released regarding mobile OS trends, specifically the average number of applications users have installed on their phones.

Broken down by OS, we see Windows Mobile near dead last, just edging out BlackBerry but far behind the iPhone and Android. Not too shocking but it does exemplify the dire straights Microsoft is in when it comes to the mobile world--we just edge out feature phones!

Average number of apps: Smartphone: 22, Feature phone: 10

  • BlackBerry: 10
  • iPhone:37
  • Android: 22
  • Palm: 14
  • Windows Mobile: 13

Also worth noting is that 21% of the cell phone market is now smartphones, up from that 14% cited so often from 2008. Microsoft, time to update your slide again.

What's your number?  Take the poll!

 

How many apps do you have?online surveys
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Verizon today announced the LG Fathom, a 3.2-inch horizontal slider running Windows Mobile 6.5.3. The Fathom will be available at business channels on May 27 and in stores June 3. It will cost $149.99 after the usual two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate. Monthly plans begin at $39.99 for voice and $29.99 for unlimited data.

Other specs of note:

  • 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n.
  • Bluetooth 2.1.
  • MicroSD up to 16GB.
  • 3.2MP camera.

Full presser after the break.

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[Ed. note: This story was originally posted at AndroidCentral.com]

Microsoft issued a news release late late night, announcing it signed a patent agreement with HTC over its entire line of smartphones running the Android operating system.

Specific terms of the deal, including how many patents or what they cover, were not immediately released. Microsoft's statement did say the agreement "provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for HTC 's mobile phones running the Android mobile platform."

“HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property,” Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, said in the official statement. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”

The announcement comes as HTC is facing a lawsuit from Apple Inc., which alleges that HTC infringes on a number of its patents with many of its Android phones, and a few Windows Mobile devices, too. It is unknown for which patents HTC is paying royalties to Microsoft, and whether they overlap any of Apple's claims.

CNET's Ina Fried reports that the disputed patents range from the user interface to the operating system itself, and that this is the first time Microsoft has publicly said that HTC was violating patents. Microsoft for years has alleged that Linux infringes on a number of its patents and has sought licensing deals with manufacturers who use the open-source OS, which also is the framework for Android. This, however, is Microsoft's first licensing deal with the mobile OS.

Full text of Microsoft's press release after the break. 

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Since the announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series, we've seen an LG WP7S phone and heard rumblings of a Samsung phone in development running the new Microsoft OS. However, one of the more popular smartphone manufacturers, HTC, has remained fairly quiet on the WP7S front.

HTC is having success with Android phones and as well with the new T-Mobile HD2 but will we see a HTC WP7S phone?  HTC's Chief Executive Peter Chou shed some light on that subject in a recent Forbe's Magazine interview.

Chou was upbeat when questioned about Windows Mobile 7 Series, describing himself as being "thrilled" with the many changes Microsoft has made. Chou expects HTC to release a WP7S phone by the end of the year.

HTC doesn't plan on abandoning Windows Mobile phones either. Chou commented, "Windows Mobile 6.5 and 7 will coexist", believing that corporate users will likely continue to use the latter. 

It will be interesting to see what HTC will offer with either Microsoft system.  We know that a mystery HTC "Windows Phone" recently passed through the FCC and the HD Mini is lurking in the shadows.  Chou's comments are encouraging and may mean that either could be the first of several HTC Windows Phones to head our way this year.

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We've only seen Windows Mobile 6.5.3 officially on a handful of handsets. Now hows about on a 7-inch tablet? Enter the Mangrove 7 from C-motech, which we spied this week at CTIA in Las Vegas.

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 is Windows Mobile 6.5.3. And if you're used to Titanium (and clearly as you'll see in the video, I've been using Sense), then you'll be used to it here, for better or for worse. The OS looks like it's just slapped atop a larger screen, with no customizations. The photo gallery hardly uses the massive screen real estate, and the on-screen keyboard is -- and we're putting this kindly -- laughable, at best. (We're really not being mean ... Just watch the video.)

As for specs, the 7-inch screen is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor ... which is severely hobbled by the fact that there's only 512MB of ROM and a very meager 256MB of RAM on board. The RAM's a killer.

Anyhoo, it's great to see Windows Mobile 6.5.3 on a tablet of this size, and it was a pleasant surprise at CTIA. It's just a shame that it appears to have been done on the cheap, and it's not like you're going to see this in stores anytime soon. Check out the video after the break.

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With all the talk about Windows Phone 7 Series and where the whole Windows Phone experience is heading, we started reminiscing.  Remember the good old days when Pocket PC was new and innovative? We stumbled upon one of Microsoft's commercial/promotional videos on the mobile operating system that would eventually evolve into Windows Mobile.

The circa 2000 commercial touts innovative technology such as portable email, voice notes, pocket Outlook. State of the art hardware included a blazing fast 130mhz processor, 16-32mb of RAM and 65K color touch screens.

While these specs pale in comparison of the 1ghz Snapdragon processors and on-board memory measured by the gigabytes, this commercial gives you a feel of how far the industry has come in ten years.

Read: windowsphonethoughts.com

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One of the hurdles Microsoft faces in making a success out of Windows Phone 7 Series is winning over the software developers.

Microsoft may be able to establish consistency with regards to the WP7S hardware but if you don't have functional software to put on the phone, it won't survive for long. To do so, Microsoft needs to garner the support of developers, large and small. Microsoft's willingness to tackle the fragmentation that Windows phones has historically possessed is a step in the right direction but there's still plenty of work needed to be done. 

Follow the link to read more.

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