Posts by Steve Mueller

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    There has been a lot of talk about Microsoft's SkyMarket, a Windows Mobile application store similar to Apple's iPhone store and Google's Android store. I'm not going to discuss what it is, but what could make it a success (the good) or failure (the bad or ugly). (If after reading this, somebody at Microsoft wants me to be the Product Manager, E-mail me.) The Good The best thing, of course, is that having SkyMarket available, especially pre-installed, would make people more aware of the vast array of Windows Mobile software out there. Read More...

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    I was watching the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Shrine" when I saw a familiar sight near the end. The Ancients' life signs detector, shown on the right, looked surprisingly like my iPAQ 5550 (left). So I have discovered irrefutable proof that HP's device (from five years ago, mind you) is based on highly-advanced Alteran technology. How many other PDAs can make that claim? Now if they'd only incorporate a personal shield into a new PDA, that would make adding GPS or an FM radio look primitive.

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    If you're a reader of Smartphone & Pocket PC (SP&PPC) Magazine, I've got some bad news for you -- SP&PPC is suspending publishing and the next issue will be its last. Lack of advertising and circulation were blamed for the decision. Thaddeus Computing, publisher of SP&PPC, will be publishing iPhone Life, though. Current subscribers who still have issues remaining will get iPhone Life by default, but there are other options, so check the announcement linked to above. There is some good news, though. First, the SP&PPC Web site will continue in operation. Second, Thaddeus is leaving the door ...

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    You've probably read a lot recently about the "iPhone ecosystem" and the "Windows Mobile ecosystem". So what does it all mean? Reed and Steve of Microsoft have written an interesting blog post about the Windows Mobile ecosystem. It's geared more toward developers, but I'm going to copy the gist of it here. When you see an announcement like "Windows Mobile 6 was released today" and wonder why it takes 3-6 months before you see a device in the market, it's because a lot of work has to happen to go from platform release to the commercialization of a device. The device might say "Windows ...

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    It seems that some users, like this one at mocoNews, are returning their iPhone 3Gs. Why? Poor battery life seems to be the biggest reason. The other reason is dropped calls from poor cellular reception. Interestingly, PC World reported that the iPhone had fair battery life for a smart phone, beating all of the AT&T Windows Mobile phones. Of course, you can easily replace the battery in Windows Mobile devices. Does the iPhone's function and cool factor justify dealing with the problems? Let us know what you think.

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    According to a story at Ars Technica, Google's Android may not be so open after all. While developers are stuck with the same Software Development Kit (SDK) they've been using since February, finalists in the Android Development Challenge have been getting secret updates of the SDK -- under non-disclosure agreement. I'm wondering if that's like a beta of a beta. Is that how open source is supposed to work? What do you think?

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    While reading Chuong's story about iPhone GPS, I checked out the New Yorks Times Technology pages. I read a story about cell phone termination fees that also mentioned a cool iPhone medical application, the A.D.A.M. Symptom Navigator. I tried going to the site, only to be told that it was only for the iPhone -- and it thoughtfully provided me a link to Apple so that I could buy one. As A.D.A.M. described the application as Web-based, I figured it should work on Windows Mobile and wanted to see. After all, browser-based discrimination goes against the openness of the Web (and isn't much ...

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    What's better than a free Windows Mobile game? Not much, I'd say. (Well, maybe a free Porsche.) Until the end of July, you can get Astraware's Big Box Of Blox free. It's available for both Pocket PCs and Smartphones (and Palm and Symbian S60, too, if you're so inclined). There is a catch, of course. You have to join Club Astraware, but you do get to select what E-mail (if any) you want to get. If you're already a member, you should be able to just log in to your account and go to the product page to see that it's now free. I installed the game on my Motorola Q9m, but haven't played it yet. ...

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    The world's sexiest, coolest Smartphone (er, WM Standard device) may be coming to Verizon Wireless courtesy of Motorola -- the Motorola Q9 Napoleon (presumably named that way because it will conquer the world). Boy Genius Report got his hands on one and reports the following specs: Windows Mobile Standard 6.1 320x240 QVGA landscape screen CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (Yes, it's got high-speed Rev. A) GSM with quad-band EDGE (Yes, it's a world phone, and even includes the U.S. 850MHz/1900MHz bands. It supposedly worked fine with an AT&T SIM card, although whether that will work when released is an ...

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    I have Google News alerts set up for "Pocket PC" and "Windows Mobile". Tonight I started getting some hits on the Pocket PC alert from Newsweek that were fairly old. I thought you might get a kick out of this one from May 1, 2000, discussing the upcoming Pocket PC release. I especially loved references to the BlackBerry pager and comparisons to the Palm. For more fun, here's a group of stories from Newsweek in March 2001 including the original Stinger Smartphone and the Agate Q Drive USB key chain hard disk -- in massive 16-, 32- and 64-MB capacities. What do you think?

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    One of the great advantages of Windows Mobile is its media capabilities, and the Pantech PN-820 is no exception. It includes Windows Media 10, Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP support and a set of earbuds. So how good is it for music? Let's find out. Like every Windows Mobile 5.0 device that I know of, the PN-820 includes Media Player 10. As usual for Microsoft and Windows Mobile, Windows Media 10 takes a few steps forward and a couple of steps backward from Windows Media 9. I won't go into the details here, because I covered most of them in my discussion of Windows Media on the Motorola Q and, except ...

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    Last time, I wrote about using the PN-820 as a phone. It works fine, but the lack of Bluetooth voice dialing is a major downside. One thing I didn't discuss was the PN-820's battery life, but I will now. The PN-820 comes with a 3.7 Volt 950 mAh lithium ion battery. Compare that to the 1130 mAh battery on my Motorola Q. The interesting thing is that the PN-820 gets much better battery life. I seem to get two days of use on the PN-820 under similar usage compared to about one day with the Q. I suspect that's partly due to the PN-820's smaller display. On both phones, I keep Bluetooth on 24/7 ...

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    Now that I've had the PN-820 for almost a month now, what do I think of it as a phone? Well, it works. I haven't had any real issues with the reception or quality. Of course, I didn't expect any on Verizon Wireless, either. The problems I have are with the software. By far the biggest problem is with Microsoft Voice Command. As I mentioned in the Software blog article, it doesn't allow voice dialing over a Bluetooth headset. Worse, the voice dial button doesn't work with the phone closed, so you won't be able to dial by pressing the button if you can't open the phone (like in a pocket or ...

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    Sony has announced it has completed a joint project with Microsoft to produce the first Windows Mobile Jumbotron. Installed at Georgetown's Legg Mason Arena, it measures almost 24 feet by 34 feet (or, in TV speak, just over 41 feet diagonally). People will be able to connect to the Jumbotron using Class 1 Bluetooth to browse the Web, check E-mail, search using Windows Live and so on. Based on Windows Mobile 6, April Fulyu of Sony said, "This is the world's largest PDA. You'll be able to keep working now even while at sporting events." She also said the WM Jumbotron would be deployed at ...

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    In case you didn't see the big news on Friday, Microsoft and Palm have agreed to merge. It was thought that Motorola was going to acquire Palm, but apparently Microsoft outbid Motorola to the tune of $4.1 billion. Steve Ballmer said that Palm would be producing the Windows Mobile Treo as well as Windows Mobile versions of the LifeDrive, Tungsten, TX and even the low-cost Z series. Imagine a Windows Mobile device for under $100! Ballmer also stated that Palm would no longer be producing any Palm OS devices after the acquisition is finalized. The two big questions I have are how Microsoft's ...

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    One of the first things I do when I get a new Windows Mobile device (or cell phone) is check out what's installed on it. I'm guessing that I'm not the only person to do this. So what does the PN-820 have beyond the standard WM 5 Smartphone software? Not much, it turns out. There are only three non-standard programs, but two of them may be big ones for you. Wireless Sync — Like many of Verizon's smart phones, you can synchronize your device over the air. Microsoft Voice Command — This allows you to perform many tasks using speech recognition. Even cooler is that it can read things back to ...

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    Back in February, I wrote a post about Verizon's Pantech PN-820 Smartphone, a budget-priced clamshell Smartphone. Well, I got one sent to me last week and will be blogging about it for the next week or two. As usual for our blogs here, I'll start by showing you what's in the box. In the photo below, moving clockwise from the top left, you have: The box The PN-820 itself The AC adapter The Quick Reference Guide The warning booklet The User Guide CD The ActiveSync/Outlook CD The sync cable A set of earbuds Just from that list and photo, there are some interesting observations, both good and ...

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    Those of you not hiding under a rock probably have heard that the U.S. and Canada have changed when Daylight Saving (not Savings) Time starts and ends. This year, it starts on March 11 and ends on November 4. This means your Pocket PCs and Smartphones (and Windows PCs) need software updates. Fortunately, Microsoft has a DST Update page available for us. The page has two sets of instructions — one for those of us who synchronize with our PCs and one for those who synchronize with an Exchange server (or who don't sync at all). Choose the version you need and do the update before March ...

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    It's been a long time coming, but Verizon Wireless has finally launched another clamshell Smartphone -- the Pantech PN-820. As far as I can tell, this is their first clamshell Smartphone since the Samsung SCH-i600 was released using the original Smartphone OS. It's a pretty basic unit, though, with the following specs: Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone 128 MB RAM 64 MB Flash memory (I suspect Verizon got those two numbers mixed up) 2.2" 240x320 QVA landscape internal display 1.07" external display CDMA 1xEV-DO Rev. 0 Bluetooth MiniSD memory card slot 1.3 megapixel camera with LED "flash" 950 mAh ...

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    The bad news? ActiveSync won't work on Windows Vista (or maybe that's not so bad). The good news? Windows Vista contains the Windows Mobile Device Center, ActiveSync's successor. Microsoft's Jason Langridge gives us a peek inside Windows Mobile Device Center. Being integrated into Vista means nobody has to install it, it will be automatically updated with Windows Update and it can be enabled or disabled by Group Policy. It's not all good news, though. First, WiFi syncing is still gone. Second, Pocket PC 2000 and 2002 (and, I assume, Smartphone 2002) devices won't work with WMDC; only ...

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    Could this be the Holy Grail of the Pocket PC world? I remember people asking if there was a way to run Palm OS applications on a Pocket PC five years ago. At the time, there was one project going that got put on the shelf. Well, there's now a solution. It's called StyleTap and the developers claim it can run most Palm OS applications with just a few limitations: Conduits are not supported. "Hacks" (using the HackMaster API) not supported. Direct manipulation of Motorola 68000 hardware registers is not supported. Therefore programs that control things like sound or serial I/O by directly ...

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    My experience with the Q so far has been mostly positive. However, there's always room for improvement, and Motorola recently released an update to the Q's software. Verizon also seems to approve of it, as I've read reports of people getting new Qs with the update. So what's good and bad about the update? I'm glad you asked. What's hot? AKU 2, including push E-mail (if you have an updated Exchange Server) Internet Explorer supports frames and animated graphics Improved Wireless Manager, not just airline mode Improved Start menu with four icons across and text captions (see the image at the ...

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    Just for you guys, I bought a Gold Lantern Bluetooth stereo headset. I would have preferred another more well-known brand (pocketnow has reviewed several), but these were the only Bluetooth stereo headphones Fry's had. It has a microphone so you can use it with a Bluetooth phone, too, and came with an 3.5 mm audio adapter for non-Bluetooth devices. I probably paid too much at $130, but I figure that I can return it and buy something less expensive if I want. So how does it work? I put the headphones into partnering mode and the Q found them just fine. Even better, the Q recognized that ...

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    It seems like every phone released nowadays has to have a camera, and the Q is no exception. What makes the Q better is that, being a Smartphone, you also get a better photo viewing and editing application and a better video player. The camera is a 1.3 megapixel (1280x1024) version with an included "flash". I put "flash" in quotation marks because, like many phone and PDA cameras, there's no flashing going on; the light either stays on or off. The controls seem pretty flexible for a PDA camera, allowing you to capture in regular, burst or timer mode; to control brightness, resolution, and ...

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