Pocket PC

Now Available v3 of Skype for WinMobile

Skype has released the Windows Mobile v3 of its popular VOIP software. Download it  from their site - http://www.skype.com/go/downloading-winmobile - or grab the CAB file directly to your device - http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-winmobile-cab (don't forget to make the CAB file 'read-only'.


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A Conversation with Phil Libin, Evernote CEO

Topics:

note Are you looking for a web application that lets you collect and manage information?  Todd Ogasawara had


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Ultimate Comparison of the iPhone 3G to other Mobile operating systems and devices - Part I

At last, I was able to afford an iPhone 3G without an expensive data / phone plan (meaning a much higher starting price). Of course, I've been playing with the device since then. See my review HERE.


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Misc news (DivX Mobile Player quick review; great Pocket Controller rebate etc)

1. Machines at War (see review of a previous version HERE), probably the best RTS (Real-Time Strategy) for Windows Mobile, has been updated to version 1.2, introducing even some new units. Well worth checking out.

2. the free and excellent (!) Doom clone, DoomGLES, has also been updated, now delivering far better GoForce performance.

3. if you still haven’t purchased Orions (the best turn-based strategy game for Windows Mobile) during the last, 40% rebate, now, you have a chance of getting it for free if you post a reply to THIS thread

4. PDAmill has released Pachinko Go!. The blurb is as follows: "What the heck is Pachinko? Gravity, Skill, and Luck! It's a unique game which is kind of a cross between a vertical pinball game and a slot machine which is extremely popular in Japan (and growing more popular worldwide every day). This simple, yet addicting game contains 3 unique Pachinko games in one package, including many unlockable extras to acquire, extending the gameplay even more!"

5. Still speaking of PDAmill, now, after a year of their completely stopping porting their games to the platform, they’ve made available all of their Palm titles for free (!). You can find them HERE.

6. SOTi’s Pocket Controller, which is without doubt the most powerful PDA remote controller solution (see THIS for more info & comparison to the alternatives), is offered for 10 euros (about $15), incl. VAT for EU residents, only till 05/11/2008. Go get it – it’s really a bargain for this price.

7. There’s a new, free platform game Greedy Penguins HERE for both Windows Mobile Pocket PC’s / Smartphones and Symbian S60 / UIQ3.

8. If you’ve read the latest updates to my iPAQ 210 review, you already know this, but it’s still worth devoting a separate bullet in here too: I’ve thoroughly benchmarked the brand new Marvell Xscale PXA310 platform and found out that, unlike even Samsung’s low-end CPU’s, it has the same (high) power consumption upon high CPU load. It’s certainly bad news. The good news is that it’s certainly faster than the PXA270, particularly at playing back AVC stuff now that CorePlayer 1.2.x has added WMMX optimizations. And, according to the CorePlayer folks, this is just the beginning – a lot more optimizations and performance enhancements will follow! (Also see my related, new chipset reports HERE and HERE)

9. The DivX folks have released a new (0.90) beta of their free (!) DivX / XviD player DivX Mobile Player for Windows Mobile and Symbian (note that while they state there’s no 0.90 for the latter, only 0.89, the internal version number does state it’s too 0.90). Note that you’ll need to register yourself in order to be able to access the app; after this, click the URL that comes in the e-mail, change your password and, then, go HERE to directly access the downloads.

Back in the pre-1.2.0 CorePlayer times, several Symbian people used to state (see for example THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS and THIS) CorePlayer was definitely inferior to this application. This is why I was extremely interested in the results of my tests. CorePlayer 1.2+ (on all the three test devices) has beaten DivX Mobile Player in every respect.

I’ve quickly tested it on several real-world (high-resolution; mostly 576- and 640-wide) DivX- and XviD-encoded videos. It delivered acceptable results on both the two Windows Mobile handsets (HP iPAQ 210 and HTC Universal running Ranyu’s 7.6 of WM6.1) and Symbian (Nokia N95 with firmware version v21) when playing back most DivX videos. There were rarely dropped frames (albeit the playback wasn’t as smooth as under CorePlayer).

Playing back my XviD-encoded test video, however, was painfully stuttering under Windows Mobile and a little stuttering under Symbian. (I REALLY recommend THIS video; pay special attention to the camera moving in the second sketch with the office dialog). The same videos played back flawlessly under the latest versions (1.2.3 for WinMo and 1.2.0 for Symbian) of CorePlayer.

It isn’t able to play back standard ASP videos created in Nero Recode (after renaming them to .AVI’s so that the player finds them); it complains about being incompatible. (The same videos, of course, play back OK under CorePlayer, as has also been explained in my H.264 Bible.) Of course it won’t play back the much more advanced AVC (H.264) videos either.

All in all, you may want to give it a try if you prefer free stuff – but don’t forget: CorePlayer is still much better, more compatible and more efficient. The only drawback of the latter is not being free.

10. New hardware-wise, there is a plethora of new information. See for example THIS (a generic overview), THIS and THIS (HTC Diamond) etc. Of course, these threads / articles will be outdated today with HTC’s official announcements, which will be reported on by many portals; see for example MoDaCo’s related thread HERE and MsMobiles’ HERE).

11. There’s a nice hands-on review of the DVB-T receiving capabilities of the Gigabyte gSmart t600 HERE at MsMobiles. Before I finally publish my Digital TV Bible, it gives you a clear picture of what you can expect of DVB-T-capable handsets, reception capabilities- and battery life-wise.

12. The Xperia X1 will be released in mid-September; see THIS and THIS. According to one of my sources, who received it for beta testing, it does have 3D hardware acceleration, which is certainly very good news. It, however, has a rather bad thumbboard – much worse than those of the HTC Universal or the HTC Kaiser / AT&T Tilt. Now, I only wish it had a digital TV (DVB-T and -H at least for us Europeans; MediaFLO / DVB-H for Americans, T-DMB for Koreans etc.) receiver.... Too bad S-E’s engineers didn’t bother including one or don’t plan to offer a version (even with slightly bigger size) with one.


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MWC Report Part I: Opera Mobile 9.5 pics, i-mate, Nokia, MS Press Conference, MSN Direct news etc.

Let me welcome all my readers to the first part of my Mobile World Congress reports. Note that I’ve started writing this report yesterday evening but, having no Wi-Fi at my hotel and Vodafone Spain’s problems, I couldn’t post it right away. Therefore, in order for the most important news to be presented right at the beginning, I have broken up this article to a brand new conference report (see the first few paragraph) and, then, a more complete description of what has happened yesterday. It’s the last section that elaborates on the Showstopper party yesterday, with a lot of info & screenshots on Opera Mobile 9.5 and several other technologies.

Today, first, I’ve met the great folks from Spb Software House. Vasily demoed the latest Spb Mobile Shell, which I plan to review some time in the future, along with all the other shell enhancers, including those of the XDA-Developers folks.

i-mate news

After this, I had the pleasure the meet top i-mate folks. The first question I asked, of course, was the recent DigiTimes / Pocket PC Thoughts news on i-mate’s switching back to HTC. I told the i-mate folks that, with the major problems with the HTC Qualcomm video drivers and HTC’s refusing to fix the problem, how disappointed the WinMo folks have become with HTC.

The major and indeed REALLY-REALLY welcome news is that i-mate is NOT returning to HTC but keeps on bringing out their own handsets. Great news!

I’ve also asked about cancelling the, compared to the latest Marvell PXA310/320 CPU’s, already-dated PXA270 series in their later models and (even silently, just like for example Dell did with the Dell Axim x5) upgrading to the PXA310/320. They stated they’re investigating all these things and the possible upgrade. This is pretty much promising.

Nokia with WinMo devices? Not now

Third, I’ve met John Starkweather from Microsoft. My first question was, of course, the talks with Nokia reported by several sites. My previous remarks, over at PPCT, on a Nokia-manufactured camera / gaming / GPS / entertainment machine are worth checking out to see why I’d welcome Nokia to re-release the N95 or the N82 with Windows Mobile on them if and only if they provide the same high quality add-on software enhacing these devices on Symbian.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing to report on. That is, in the future, it’s highly unlikely Nokia comes out with WinMo phones. But this doesn’t certainly mean this won’t change in the later future.

However, the Sony-Ericsson folks have just announced a multimedia-friendly WVGA touchscreen device, the XPERIX A1, of which you can read more at, for example, on our blog or at PPCT and at XDA-Devs. I'll post other, related threads too when I have the time.

I’ll definitely pay a visit to the S-E booth here to see whether they have the device in here. If they do, I definitely post some comparative pictures in here.

Microsoft’s press conference

Microsoft’s press conference took place at 3PM local time in Hotel Catalonia Plaza, which, fortunately, is just at the other side of the Espana square, facing the entrance of MWC and is, therefore, easy to get there. In addition, it has a more or less working Wi-Fi network, which isn’t really the case with the press section of MWC, where I’ve wasted at least one hour desperately tryng to access the Internet. (Finally, I had to use a local PC and transfer files to be uploaded by a storage card). Pretty much stone-age, I know.
This event will surely be thoroughly covered by other mags, so, I only very shortly sumarize it. First, the most important announcement was Microsoft’s announcing they would invest far more effort on gaming and entertainment. (For the platform’s gaming capabilities, they’ve used the Amiga Inc. game I’ve reviewed some days ago and also called very cool.) I really hope this indeed materializes – at least via the non-HTC players; most importantly, Sony.

They have also announced having acquired Danger. This, however, won’t mean Microsoft starts producing hardware like the T-Mobile Sidekick.

MSN Direct

The MS press conference has also shown MSN Direct in action. After the conference, I’ve also had an appointment with the MSN Direct folks so I could learn a bit more about it.

It’s like a fully-fledged RSS client with the following goodies:

  1. It uses some kind of a push protocol, which, while being really bandwidth friendly, still promises updates in realtime
  2. It integrates nicely into the MS Smartphone today screen.

Note that, currently, only the MS Smartphone (WM6 Standard) platform is supported and the client is in no way can be installed on a touchscreen Pocket PC. The sole reason for this is the programmatic difference between accessing the Today screen on the Smartphone and the Pocket PC platform. Nevertheless, they promise a Pocket PC version very soon, which I’ll also announce when it becomes available.

Should you have a Smartphone, you might want to check out ne.msndirect.com


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Great rebates: 8GB Class 4 Sandisk MicroSD for 44 pounds; 25% off all titles at mobile2day!

1. As has been announced in excellent Windows Mobile site MoDaCo, you can, if you’re living in the UK, get the class 4 (!) Sandisk 8GB microSDHC with a free high speed Sandisk USB reader for £44.41 shipped. If you’re living outside the UK, the price will be somewhat (about 3 pounds) higher. It’s a very nice price, particularly if you’re situated in the EU, where no additional taxes / customs will be added to the price.


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Massive rebates on mobile2day.de! Don’t miss them! Today (01/23): iLauncher for 5 euros only!

German multiplatform mobile site Mobile2day.de has MASSIVE rebates in the next few days (until 01/26). You shouldn’t miss them – all the selected quality software titles cost 5 (FIVE!) euros only, instead of their original price.

For example, today (01/23), you can get the following Pocket PC titles:

1-2-Remote 1.1.0: a pretty capable multimedia PPC -> PC remote controller.


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German Pocket PC Magazin publishes its “Best of the best 2006” list

(Note that the German Pocket PC Magazin has nothing to do with the American Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine (that is, the one you're just browsing) – the two Best * Awards 2006 contests have nothing to do with each other. As opposed to the Best Software Awards of the latter, Germany-based Pocket PC Magazin prefers collecting users'/readers' votes as opposed to a Board of Experts.


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New Updates to the J9 6.1 article; PocketGamer frontpaged Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 review with some reader feedback

I've added a new, large section to my IBM J9 article on both the Dell Axim x50v/x51v compliance of the excellent Google Maps and the relocatibility reports on J9's files/cache in the main memory.

Leading Pocket PC gamer site PocketGamer.org has frontpaged my


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BrightHand has a new forum engine

The well-known mobility-related site, BrightHand, has just switched to the vBulletin engine. This means the engine will be far more known for many users and far more standardized.

A bit of warning: as has also been explained here, the old links to the forum are not valid any more. This is a major pain for me because I've posted a LOT of information only in BrightHand and, later, linked these threads from other Pocket PC sites / my articles.


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AximSite Implements New Award System

http://www.aximsite.com/boards/awards.php

AximSite, one of my favourite Pocket PC boards, has just implemented a new awarding system. Its main page can be accessed HERE.

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Updates to the IRC Roundup

http://www.smartphonemag.com/blogs/menneisyys/112005IRCClients.asp

The IRC client roundup has been updated with
  1. new compatibility information (along with new screenshots) of WLIrc2
  2. new bug reports (and ways to avoid them) of wmIRC 2.1

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