>Going Retro

February 7, 2009

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A colleague of mine uses the T-Mobile 8700. I work for a firm that encourages Blackberries so it was surprising for me to see this particular model when everyone here carries 8830s, Curves and increasingly the Bold.

I love all things retro (I sport a Zune), but felt compelled to tell her about the upcoming 8900. T-Mobile customers don’t often get bragging rights, but in a few short weeks, they’ll have first dibs on what some may consider the coolest Blackberry device.

>Verizon Wireless XV6800 and Celio Redfly Pairing

January 25, 2009

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In December I bought a Verizon XV6800 Windows Mobile smartphone. I decided to try on trial the Celio Redfly which is a mobile companion designed to be used with Windows Mobile phones.
The XV6800 is about a year old, and already feels dated compared to newer offerings such as the HTC Touch Pro, and Diamond. It is a powerful device taken on its own with a 320×240 screen, and reasonable specifications. I have written in blog posts last year about my affection for this phone. It isn’t a beautiful phone, but there was something defiant about its design which appealed to me. It is a true geek phone, and meant to be tweaked, flashed, and customized which brings me to the Celio Redfly (http://www.celiocorp.com/).
The Celio Redfly extends the capability of a Windows Mobile device by providing a beautiful seven inch 800×460 pixel resolution display, and a fuller Qwerty keyboard for selected Windows Mobile phones. The Redfly provides an almost netbook like experience for Windows Mobile users. The Redfly has no operating system of its own. It is powered by the Windows Mobile operating system and computing power of your smartphone via either a USB or bluetooth connection.
With all the extra screen real estate of a 7 inch 800×460 screen resolution it becomes possible to work on an Excel spreadsheet, or to do real word processing using the Windows Mobile Office suite that comes pre-installed on most Windows Mobile smartphones. I liked the idea of extending the functionality of my XV6800, and pushing it to its limit. Unfortunately, you can’t push too hard. Some applications work great like Excel and Word. Powerpoint slides look awesome, but you have very little editing capability. Opera Mobile browser works well, but I wasn’t able to get a fully rendered NYTimes page. It always defaulted to a mobile version which frustrated me.
I downloaded Skyfire, which works amazingly well on the XV6800. It doesn’t work on the Redfly though. On my XV6800 I get fully rendered webpages with embedded flash video. ESPN’s website looks great. But, it didn’t work on my Redfly.
I thought I would carry my Redfly everywhere with me. I had visions of connecting to the internet anywhere via my EVDO Rev A connection, and typing my articles seated at a Starbucks. However, I found I left my Redfly home more than I brought it out with me. The editor of PocketNow might have said it best, “..my Windows Mobile phone IS my mobile companion.” He also wrote that if he needed more computing power out on the road that netbooks work better for him, and seeing the prices and relative computing power I am prone to agree with him.
The Redfly can be purchased inexpensively for about $230. However, with the competitive prices of netbooks, I can’t justify keeping a device because I like the idea of the Redfly. I’m probably going to send it back, and save for a netbook.

>Microsoft, what are you doing?

January 24, 2009

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I am pissed with Microsoft. How can they treat Cesar Menendez – the voice of the Zune community this way? So you didn’t make your quarterly estimates. You still made $16.63 billion in Q2. Why would you splinter your Zune community by treating one of your faithfuls in this manner? One of the reasons why I love the Zune is because I felt I was part of a small dedicated and loyal community. Now one of our own – one of our best is adrift, and that makes me very angry. Microsoft, you were becoming a company I was rooting for because you were the underdog in this space, but now you’ve shown your stripes as the large, profit margin clinging behemoth that you are. Cesar better get one hell of a severance package.

>Zune

January 1, 2009

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I am sticking with the Zune. Happy New Year!

>Reflections of a Crackberry

November 23, 2008

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The new Blackberry Storm came out yesterday. People lined up around the block to try to get their hands on the new Blackberry Touchscreen Storm. I was feeling nostalgic, and decided to look up pictures of Blackberry devices from several years back. Look at this picture. It’s one of the early Blackberries. Who would have thought that the Blackberry would go mainstream, and become, well…cool.

I bought my first Blackberry device earlier this year – the Blackberry Curve. It is a great device. I rarely access my emails on my desktop anymore. I am completely mobile, and read my emails on the train, on the bus, in the office, at the coffee shop…you get the idea. I carry my Blackberry everywhere with me, and can’t imagine being without it, yet I don’t truly feel a part of the Blackberry Nation. As a relatively new Blackberry user, I feel I’ve missed out. I didn’t have a chance to use the older Blackberry devices – the Blackberries without the fancy touchscreen, or multi-media capability. I wonder what original Blackberry users that have stuck with the device (since 2000!) feel about the Storm and the Bold. Do they lament RIM’s current consumerist focus? Don’t get me wrong, the Bold and the Storm are solid devices, but somehow, 2000, which wasn’t that long ago, seems innocent… pure; I wish I could have been a Blackberry user then.

>More Zune News

October 25, 2008

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I was at a Zune party last night at a trendy Lower East Side bar in New York City. Zune was in town as one of the primary sponsor for a music festival call CMJ.

I spoke at length with Rob Greenlee who heads up Zune’s podcasting initiative. I queried about future iterations of the Zune, and found his thoughts illuminating. Zune seems content to do its own thing, and while it realizes it is a David to Apple’s Goliath in the mp3 space, it is trying to set itself apart differently from Apple. Microsoft is first and foremost a software company, and it is to those roots that Zune appears to be focusing on. Zune wants to build itself more as a software platform rather than a device platform. It envisions itself converged, much like Apple is doing now, on Windows XP/Vista, Xbox 360, and Windows Mobile. Zune will be about music discovery, and its Social, which although in its infancy has a lot of potential. I also found the target demographic for the Zune to be interesting. Zune is targeting the urban young. Zune is actually a top 20 recognized brand in the Latino community.

>The Blackberry goes Adult

October 25, 2008

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Are you kidding? That’s the last thing I want to see; businessmen viewing porn on their Blackberry devices.

Pinota is looking for beta testers and will offer free subscriptions to videos, pictures and sex blogs for interested BB users.

>First Impressions of Sprint’s HTC Diamond

October 19, 2008

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I spent some time with the HTC Diamond from Sprint last week. Here are my initial impressions.

The phone is everything bloggers and critics say it is – it is small and powerful. What really astounds the first time you see the phone, especially if you’ve accustomed yourself to a 320×240 display on last year’s HTC phones (Touch, Mogul, XV6800, etc), is the sharpness of the display. The colors are incredibly rich and crisp. I maneuvered to the device’s YouTube app and opened a random video and was amazed at how great the video looked.

I actually had a chance to play with an unlocked GSM version of the HTC Diamond before seeing Sprint’s version. One difference between the GSM and Sprint’s CDMA version is the back cover. The original GSM version of the Diamond has this faceted back meant to simulate the surface of a diamond. Sure, it was a fingerprint magnet, but I liked it. The Sprint CDMA version has a smooth soft-touch burgundy back. Some might like the new back, but I favor the original back better. The Sprint’s HTC Diamond phone is rounded and just a tad thicker. The phone is still tiny, but not as small as the original GSM version. It’s all a matter of preference but I find the original GSM version of the Diamond to be slicker; all black design, etc.

The new 3D-Touch Flo works fine. The unlocked Diamond had some lag issues as reported by CNET, but Sprint seems to have taken care of these problems. One should remember that underneath all the glitziness of the new GUI is still Windows Mobile 6.1.

I recommend the Sprint HTC Diamond for heavy multimedia users. Without a full qwerty keyboard, business users may want to wait for the Touch Pro, although MoDaCo reported in one podcast that the HTC Diamond’s touchscreen keyboard isn’t bad and works reasonably well (for an all touchscreen device). That being said, CPG is more a fan of sliders, and waits patiently for the HTC Touch Pro.

>Storm Leaks

October 7, 2008

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There’s been a ton of leaked news about Verizon’s newest phone on all the cellphone blogs.
On the train ride home I listened to a British podcast about cellphones call “MoDaCo”. The podcaster was surprised he wasn’t more thrilled about the HTC Touch Pro, which is the slide-out version of the HTC Diamond. He made the comment that maybe “slide-out” purists will stick to that form factor, but he liked having a smaller device, and found typing on the next generation of touch-screen phones to be acceptable. I wondered how the Storm will be accepted. Will it be a largely consumer group that buys this, or will business power-users forgo a tactile qwerty keyboard for a touch keyboard ala the Apple iPhone?

>Push email for Windows Mobile

October 6, 2008

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If you own a Windows Mobile Device you might envy the email capabilities of Blackberry smartphones. There are solutions that allow push-email functionality on your WinMo device.

There are two solutions for push-email for Windows Mobile users. The first is to get a hotmail email account from hotmail, and use Windows Live for push email. The second is to use an online host service.

There are almost no free hosted exchange services left. However, the cost for most host exchanges are reasonable considering the benefits and convenience of push-email. Here is a list of some of the best services (source: WMExperts):
http://community.seven.com/forum/main.php
http://www.reliablehosts.org/
http://www.4smartphone.net/
http://www.mailtoweb.co.uk/
http://www.qorefunctions.com/