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All posts tagged "Windows Mobile"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rampant Rumour: The Microsoft Phone, Powered by Nvidia?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 09:53 PM

"What do you get if you take an iPhone, remove the clean UI, user friendliness, nice industrial design, battery life, cachet, functional OS, and in general everything else that makes it worthwhile? The new Microsoft phone, powered by Nvidia. Yeah, you heard it right, MS is going to make its own branded phone, after all, everyone kicking the company around the block has one, so it should too! If you were wondering why Nvidia never mentions the phrase Linux when talking Tegra, even though it is the most appropriate OS for the chip, now you know. NV appears to have sold Linux out to get the MS flagship deal, how nice of them"

This is easily the snarkiest, most acid-dripping hack job I've seen in months - and I was shocked until I saw that it's syndicated content from The Inquirer...then it all made sense to me. Putting aside the ridiculous excuse for journalism - it's really an editorial, not a news story - there are some interesting rumours. Is this the fabled Zune phone? Or some other phone-based project? I refuse to believe that Microsoft would sacrifice all their gains with Windows Mobile partners all over the world by releasing their own Windows Mobile phone - that's just not going to happen, despite some people believing that it's the only way we're going to get the "ultimate" Windows Mobile phone. Is this a Zune phone then? Possibly. When you consider that the third-generation Zune hardware is identical to the second-generation hardware other than a capacity bump, the Zune team has had to be working on something. If Microsoft did release a Zune phone, they'd cause major rifts with their Windows Mobile partners, and those partnerships are worth a lot more to Microsoft than the MP3 player partners they alienated when they released the Zune.

2009 is going to be a very interesting year, that's for sure!

UPDATE: CNBC says this phone is code-named "Pink", but doesn't have much else to say about it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

European Pricing and Release Dates for New HTC Touch Devices

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 03:18 PM

"Lately Windows Mobile Italy has scored a few scoops, thanks to its own exclusive and confidential sources, providing the Italian website with some very valuable unpublished details concerning the latest breed of Windows Mobile smartphones just announced by HTC and respectively named HTC Touch HD, HTC Touch Viva and HTC Touch 3G. After having been the first to reveal the HTC Opal's real name [Automatic Translation], during the current week the Italian web portal has scored some more scoops by revealing the (not yet officially announced) pricing and availability schedule for Italy as well as a few more exclusive details concerning the available colors of all three devices."

The article goes on to say that the HTC Touch HD, everyone's favourite object of lust lately, will be released in Europe in Q4, and will sell for 849 Euro (in Italy at least). The HTC Touch Viva will go on sale later this month (October) and will sell for 279 Euro. Lastly the HTC Touch 3G will run you 499 Euro and will also be released sometime in October. Those prices don't give us much insight into the North American market, because HTC sure isn't going to sell many HTC Touch HDs if they're selling for $1200 USD.

Best Software Awards 2008 Winners Announced

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Events" @ 02:29 PM

"The Winners in Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine's Eighth Annual Best Software Awards for Windows Mobile software have been announced at Eighty members of the Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine Board of Experts judged 936 Windows Mobile products in 194 Pocket PC and Smartphone categories. Winners are also listed in the Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine 2009 Resource Guide first seen late November."

The awards are in, so if you want to see which applications the judges selected as the best of the best, go have a peek. Did any of your favourite applications win awards? Any apps that you thing just plain rock but didn't even get nominated?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Zune Experience Coming to Windows Mobile

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 02:28 PM

"CIO: Why has Microsoft developed Zune?

Ballmer: At the end of the day, one of the big trends is that all content is going digital. And if we don't have the software and services that are useful, helpful and valuable for the consumption of music and video, we are sort of not really a player. Now, we built the Zune hardware with the Zune software - and what you'll see more and more over time is that the Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc."

What can I say other than IT'S ABOUT FREAKING TIME. I feel like I've told this story 1000 times by now, but here it is again: about four years ago I was at a Mobius or MVP event (I can't remember which) and a Microsoft person came up to me and asked me if I thought they should scrap Windows Media Player Mobile on the device and instead implement the Portable Media Center interface as the way end users would access their photos, videos, and music. I said "Yes, absolutely" before he was even finished talking. The first generation PMC hardware might have been pretty suck-tacular, but the UI was easy to use. The Zune is an evolution of that UI, and while the Zune still needs improvement on a number of levels, the Zune UI is very easy to use - easier to use an an iPod in my opinion. If Microsoft really cared about the consumer market, they would have implemented that media UI years ago and we'd be having a different discussion today. They didn't because they're focused on the enterprise market first and foremost, but that's slowly (oh so slowly) changing.

Putting the Zune software onto Windows Mobile gives Microsoft a bunch of advantages: first, it lets them stop developing Windows Media Player Mobile, a piece of software that has sadly languished for years, hardly getting any updates or improvements. Secondly, it gives end users a great UI for media consumption, and assuming they go all the way with this, it gives users a media management solution (the Zune desktop software) that enables them to easily manage music and podcasts, and somewhat more easily manage photos and videos.

I see this as a win-win all around if implemented properly. I can't see a single down-side to this - what do you think about it?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Deepfish Now Sleeping With The Fishes

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC News" @ 03:41 PM

"When Live Labs began working on Deepfish, we didn't set out to create a new mobile browser. What we set out to do was to prove our theory that there was an unmet demand for a better mobile browsing experience than what was available at the time we started the project in 2006, and that a novel and simple new user experience was the best way to achieve that. The positive reception and incredible demand for the Deepfish technical preview went a long way towards proving that. And now, thanks in part to Deepfish, many better alternatives are emerging."

Microsoft Research projects are always a bit hard to figure out - Microsoft puts a huge amount of money into R&D, but I'm often left scratching my head when it comes to what they actually get out of it. This article has some insights, but Deepfish seems like a project that didn't seem to go anywhere. We originally posted about Deepfish back in March of 2007, and certainly by then there was many browser initiatives underway - not the least of which was the iPhone which would launch to much fanfare some three months later. So what did Deepfish give us? I'm not sure - it was a proxy-based solution, which in the long-haul doesn't really scale well to a large user-base. If you're RIM and you're selling a server solution it does, but fundamentally any server-based service needs a revenue model and I didn't see Deepfish providing a solution in that regard. Were any of you still actively using Deepfish? Will you be sad to see it go, or have you already moved on to other browser solutions?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pre-Order the HTC Touch HD from Expansys

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 02:26 PM

The super-wow-factor HTC Touch HD, with it's 3.8 inch 800 x 480 resolution screen, is the kind of device some of us have been waiting for. I just got a heads up from our affiliate partner Expansys that they're now accepting pre-orders for this device. There's no price yet, but your pre-order isn't binding in any way - you're just getting in line to get one of the first units that they receive. Come on, you know you want it... ;-)

HTC Releasing Touch Diamond in White

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 11:42 AM

Yesterday HTC quietly released a new HTC Touch Diamond into the mix: it seems it's identical in every way to the current Diamonds on the market now, it's just got a new look. I like the white quite a bit, largely because it would help hide the ridiculously smudge-prone surface that HTC wrapped the diamond in. Want to see an even bigger version? Here's the full resolution image.

Monday, September 15, 2008

HTC Touch 3G and HTC Touch Viva Made Official

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 09:33 AM

Today is a big day for HTC: they've officially announced three new products. These two don't quite measure up to the raw coolness of the HTC Touch HD, but it's great to see HTC continuing to broaden their product line and drive for new price points in the market. According to HTC, both of these devices will be available in early October.

Above we have the HTC Touch 3G. Dimension-wise, it's 102 x 53.6 x 14.5 mm and weighs in at 96 grams. Quad-band GSM/EDGE, and Euro/Asia 3G frequencies with full HSDPA 7.2 Mbps. It's got a 2.8 inch QVGA screen, a 3.2 megapixel camera, 256 MB ROM and 192 MB RAM. A microSD card provides expansion, and the package is rounded out with 802.11 b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, a Qualcomm CPU at 528 Mhz, GPS/AGPS, and an 1100 mAh battery. Nothing terribly exciting there, but I expect this to be offered for quite a bit less than the HTC Touch Diamond, so it will get broader market penetration. Oh, and it will come in four colours, as described by HTC: sophisticated black, noble gold, sparkle blue and modern brown.

Pictured above is the HTC Touch Viva. It looks a lot like the original HTC Touch, doesn't it? Size-wise, it's going to be 104.5 x 59 x 15.75 mm and weigh in at 96 grams. Unlike the HTC Touch 3G above, this is a quad-band GSM/EDGE phone only, there's no 3G. It has a 2.8 inch QVGA screen, a 2 megapixel camera, 256 MB ROM, 128 MB RAM, a microSD card slot for memory expansion, 802.11 b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS/AGPS, a 201 mhz TI OMAP processor, and an 1100 mAh battery. The HTC Touch Viva will come in one colour: "storm grey". Is the Viva under-powered? Pretty much - but I'd also expect it to sell unlocked for $299 USD or less, and with carrier rebate this might end up free. This is HTC's "value play" in the touch-phone market, and while most people here might not be interested in it, getting the price point down is an important part of breaking into new markets.

The full press release for both new products is after the break. Read more...

HTC Touch HD: Now Here's Some Sexy Hardware!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 09:08 AM

At the moment I'm typing this up, HTC has pulled the product page from their site, so I suspect this wasn't meant to be launched quite yet, but I suspect it will be back soon. Pretty much all the rumours we heard about the Touch HD have proved to be true: a huge 3.8 inch screen with amazing 480 x 800 resolution. That's a stunning 246 ppi, which means incredibly crisp text, images, and user interface. What I'm curious about is how did HTC manage to drive that many pixels on the screen and still have it be snappy and responsive? My fear is that it won't be - let's hope I'm wrong. There's no indication of any 3D hardware acceleration, and the Qualcomm MSM7201a CPU at 528 MHz, while fast, isn't anything we haven't seen before - unless of course HTC managed to tap into the 3D acceleration that I've been told that Qualcomm chips offer.

At any rate, the rest of the specs look great: 5 megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack (YES!), 512 MB ROM, 288 MB RAM, quad-band GSM/GRPS, and 3G in Europe/Asia (us North Americans will have to wait for our version). On yeah, 802.11 b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS, a 1350 mAh battery, and a microSD card slot for expansion. The Touch HD is an impressive 12mm thick - and for those keeping score, that's 0.3mm thinner than the iPhone 3G. HTC has really created something interesting here - and I bet with the larger size, the on-screen keyboard will be much easier to use. This is the first touch-screen device that has really tempted me to switch from a QWERTY device. I can't wait to get my hands on one! The full press release and a couple of images after the break. Read more...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Broken Ecosystem for Windows Mobile Updates

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 01:30 PM

Another interesting discussion came up on the private Mobius discussion list, and my response was a bit long so I thought it was worth sharing here. One of the Mobius group members made a comment about how it was time for something to be done to separate the firmware from the customizations that operators made - allowing for easy OS and application updates. My response, slightly expanded for public consumption...

We were at that point back in 2001 when some of the first generation Pocket PCs were denied upgrades to the new OS. This has been a sore point for Windows Mobile from the start.

iPhone = Two phones + one OS + one company = easy updates

Zune = Three devices + one OS + one company = easy updates

Windows Mobile = Dozens (hundreds?) of phones + two OS' + dozens of companies = nightmare update scenario

This issue has come up time and time again: because of all the different phone hardware, and the low-level software customization required for drivers and whatnot, OS updates and even simple patches are much more complicated than they could be if the underlying system was simpler. Every time there's a new version of Windows Mobile, we hear that updates are going to be made easier, but it never seems to translate into actual updates for users. Someone smarter than me can probably explain this, but on desktop PCs (at least with Windows) you have a hardware abstraction layer (HAL) that takes care of certain important things related to hardware and software talking to each other. Here's part of the Wikipedia definition:

"A hardware abstraction layer (HAL) is an abstraction layer, implemented in software, between the physical hardware of a computer and the software that runs on that computer. Its function is to hide differences in hardware from most of the operating system kernel, so that most of the kernel-mode code does not need to be changed to run on systems with different hardware. On a PC, HAL can basically be considered to be the driver for the motherboard and allows instructions from higher level computer languages to communicate with lower level components, such as directly with hardware." Read more...

MWg Zinc II Windows Mobile Professional Smartphone Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 10:30 AM

This is a review video of the MWg Zinc II, a GSM-based Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 smartphone. It has a 500 mhz Samsung CPU, 64 MB of RAM, a 2.8 inch 320 x 240 resolution touch screen, GPS, and a QWERTY slide-out keyboard. It's a quad-band GSM (850/ 900/1800/1900 Mhz) and tri-band HSDPA 3G phone (850/ 1900/ 2100 Mhz). The Zinc II is available for purchase from our affiliate partner, Expansys, for $599 USD (the price was originally $749 USD).

[click through to YouTube to see it in higher quality]

One of the negative points that I mentioned in the video was the price point - at $749, I questioned the value proposition of the device in comparison to other choices on the market (namely from HTC). The new $599 price point is much more reasonable for the hardware that you get, and the value for the dollar is much higher at that price point. Would I still like to see a VGA screen and 128 MB of RAM? Sure - but as the price gets lower, my expectations of the hardware also lessen. I should also note that I'm a bit concerned about the microSD card slot not having a cover of any sort - that seems like it might be trouble if you don't have a microSD card in there protecting the microSD slot from getting gunked up.

All in all, this is a pretty strong contender for the price if you're OK with the QVGA screen and don't mind customizing it with your own software to get an improved experience.

If you have a YouTube account, please rate the video, comment, and subscribe to our channel. Thanks for your support!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

MWg Zinc II Unboxing & First Impressions Video

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 12:16 PM

This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the MWg Zinc II, a GSM-based Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 smartphone. It has a 500 mhz Samsung CPU, 64 MB of RAM, a 2.8 inch 320 x 240 resolution touch screen, GPS, and a slide-out keyboard. It's a quad-band GSM (850/ 900/1800/1900 Mhz) and tri-band HSDPA 3G phone (850/ 1900/ 2100 Mhz). The Zinc II is available for purchase from our affiliate partner, Expansys, for $749 USD.

[click through to YouTube to see it in higher quality]

If you have a YouTube account, please rate the video, comment, and subscribe to our channel. Thanks for your support!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Is Windows Mobile Turning Into Palm OS From a Development Standpoint?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 11:00 AM

"A few years ago Palm was at the top of its game and had thousands of applications. But quickly developers started leaving and going to the more stable Windows Mobile. It had little to do with the operating system or zen of Palm or whatever. It had to do with the fact that the OS was becoming fragmented and becoming difficult to deal with as each device that came out broke this or that. You no longer were writing software for the Palm, but instead for the Palm Zire, or the III or whatnot. Each device had a custom PalmOS that required some custom coding for. Mostly due to HTC, Windows Mobile is slowly going that same way. In the past we could write to the Windows Mobile spec and mostly everything worked on any device. Now HTC is doing so much custom stuff and breaking so many things its ridiculous."

Alex Kac, head guru over at WebIS, raises some interesting points about the dangerous cliff that Windows Mobile is heading towards - or perhaps has already gone over if you ask Alex. Looking back to the first generation of Windows Mobile devices, you had three devices with 320 x 240 screens, no physical keyboards, and similar RAM/CPU configurations (although there was that whole MIPS/SH3/ARM thing). From a development standpoint, that's a about as easy as it gets. Remember though that Microsoft was criticized for being too strict in their requirements for the hardware, and many of us wanted to see more variation in the designs we were seeing. Boy did we get it! Fast-forward eight years, and we have a staggering array of devices with huge variations amongst screen resolutions, CPUs, RAM, and input methods. That's enough to give any developer a headache.

Has Windows Mobile gotten out of control in this regard? A platform isn't really much of a platform if, from a development perspective, you have to code for every variation of device. We don't really want to go back to the world of having only one choice of devices, do we? What should Microsoft do about this?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

APRIL FOOLS: RIM Announces Support for Microsoft's Windows Mobile Platform

Posted by Mike Temporale in "Smartphone News" @ 04:00 AM

"As CTIA kicks off in Las Vegas today, Research In Motion announced that they will be shipping a new version of the infamous BlackBerry. This new version will essentially be the same as the Pearl, but running Microsoft's popular Windows Mobile. Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer at RIM said "We expect this device to ship in RIM’s portfolio of award-winning products by mid-summer enalbing thousands of organizations around the world and include the BlackBerry® with Windows Mobile wireless platform to their employees."

I'm not that up to speed on the Pearl and its features, but it sure looks like a nice phone. I image there has to be a pretty powerful processor in that device, and it's pretty thick for a non-touchscreen device. It will be interesting to see what RIM can do in the way of battery life. If everything else is equal, I wonder how the battery life will change between the two versions? I don't know about you guys, but this could be my first Blackberry!

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