Celio REDFLY and Enterprise Mobile Partnership#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

We met with the folks of Celio while they were in town last month and they finally made it official that they have formed a partnership with Enterprise Mobile, (yes Don works there) where Enterprise Mobile will provide sales, marketing, deployment and customer support for enterprise customers using the REDFLY. (We will have a detailed review of it up at the end of the month.)

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The REDFLY Mobile Companion is a ground-breaking new device that extends the smartphone platform to an 8” high resolution display, full function keyboard, and touchpad mouse. Measuring just 1x6x9 inches and weighing only two pounds, the REDFLY offers over eight hours of battery life with instant-on access and the ability to charge smartphones via USB.

The REDFLY and a smartphone create a single mobile platform for easy access to email, attachments, web and business applications.  For the enterprise market, REDFLY ushers in a new market of Mobile Companion products that offer valuable new user functionality, without adding additional management, backup, and security to the existing smartphone solution.

Effective immediately, Enterprise Mobile will provide support for Celio’s aggressive launch of REDFLY into the enterprise marketplace. Under the agreement, Enterprise Mobile will provide sales, marketing, deployment, and customer support for enterprise customers of REDFLY.

The REDFLY Mobile Companion is compatible with selected Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC and Smartphone editions and Windows Mobile 6 Professional and Standard Editions.  A list of tested smartphones is available at www.celiocorp.com/smartphone.  The REDFLY Software will be available for other operating systems in the future.  The REDFLY Mobile Companion from Celio Corp. will be available in late April 2008 for $499 MSRP.

“Enterprise Mobile’s expertise with the Windows Mobile platform and their vast integration experience is a great value to Celio, particularly into the enterprise market,” said Kirt Bailey, president and CEO of Celio Corp. “We feel we are perfectly aligned with Enterprise Mobile as the company supports our creation of an entirely new level of mobile computing solution. Enterprise Mobile is an ideal partner for us.”

“REDFLY provides enterprises with an innovative mobile computing solution that goes beyond traditional smartphone capabilities,” said Mort Rosenthal, Enterprise Mobile chairman and CEO. “A primary driver for the adoption of mobility in the enterprise is access to line of business applications that enable employees to perform business functions on mobile devices just as they would in an office environment. Enterprise Mobile looks forward to providing support for REDFLY as Celio launches this important new Windows Mobile-based product for the enterprise mobility market.”

03/31/2008 19:44:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

VeVeo vTap#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

I received a few emails on the application we demoed at the last meeting allowing you to access YouTube and other online videos and wanted to share it with those that weren't able to attend. The application is from Andover, MA based VeVeo called vTap. It is currently in beta, but for a beta it works pretty well. It recently received Microsoft's Designed for
Windows Mobile”Certification
and is now available on Microsoft's Mobile2Market Catalog.

vtap1

To install all you have to do is go to www.vtap.com and it automatically find your phone and tell you what version to download.

vtap1 (6) vtap1 (5) sshot004 vtap1 sshot000 sshot001

You just type in what you are looking for it brings up a list. As you move down the list it will display a brief description. Clicking on the info button will bring even more details about the video.Then you select to download. When it is ready to play(the entire file isn't needed) the play button will turn yellow and you can start viewing it.

 

sshot002 sshot003 

The video format will play in full screen. If you click on you directional button, you can pause the video and gain more information on it.

 

 sshot005 sshot006 sshot007  

You can even learn something and use it to search Wikipedia.

It does a pretty good job of searching its archive of videos, which is basically a direct interface to their website.

vtap

For more information on the mobile version head here and they do support other phones.

vtap umpc

They even have a UMPC version (as seen above) here.

Their blurb:

There are hundreds of millions of videos available on the Web today, and millions more are added every week. But try searching, browsing or viewing them on your TV, your mobile, or even your brand new iPhone™. It’s frustrating, if not impossible, simply because most Web video services are desktop based and not designed for the mobile or TV user. And those that do focus on the mobile or TV limit the Web video universe to only a small sliver of what exists.
That’s why we at Veveo™ created vTap—the quick and easy Web video solution that lets you search, browse and pinpoint the exact Web video you’re looking for—from sources all over the Internet—and play it on any supported device! With vTap's unique character-based incremental search—where results are returned with every character entered—you can perform searches using just a few characters instead of whole keywords. It’s so easy, you’ll think it’s reading your mind.

Check it is pretty cool, who knows how long it will last and how long it will be free, but it is definitely worth checking out.

03/30/2008 12:22:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

HP Ipaq 200 Series#
Post By Louis Senecal

Well, the new Ipaq 200 series is not new news really, but it is to me, and I could not hold off on my excitement about it anymore!  I have been using my trusty windows mobile 2003 Dell Axim X5 since 2004. Sure I have been tempted by several devices since then, but this new 200 series from Ipaq really did something to me. By now you have already seen the specs on it. If you have not, you can check out the Ipaq series 200.

I was originally looking at an Ipaq 2495 with windows mobile 2005. My upgrade interests included built in wifi/BT, office mobile, and persistent storage. I also wanted the compact flash expandability. The problem that I was facing was that the 2495 series was almost the same price as the series 200, which at the time of this post is listed as $399.99 from HP.com. I was doing all kinds of research from Aximsite.com and YouTube.com. I saw on Aximsite that a user bought the new Ipaq from a site called techonweb.com. They were the cheapest, and offered free shipping. For less than $10.00 more than the Ipaq 2495, I ordered the Ipaq 210 Wednesday afternoon and received it before 11 am the next day. Now that's service.

Now I am in the process of setting up my new gear. Because of the expandability, I can use most of my accessories (CF GPSr, existing memory cards, USB/Mini USB power adaptors). I am in the process of looking for a nice case now and most of my software that I used on the dell installed with no issues to the Ipaq.  I just need to upgrade to the newer version of Sprite backup.

Here is a size comparison of the Ipaq and Axim. It is longer than the axim, but a bit lighter and thinner. The VGA screen is incredible.

The price of the Ipaq is listed as $449.99 on HP.com. No doubt this is a lot of money. I had a hard time justifying the cost because my X5 ran well. I decided to take advantage of the price I got it at, at the time because the pro's as compared to my device were pretty high. This was my basic comparison I did:

Ipaq-Built in wifi and Bluetooth, 624 MHz, WM2006 (expandable) HP product life cycle of at least 3 years, SD/CF slots, 128/256 internal memory, SD slots supports high capacity SD cards and is SDIO, removable battery, office mobile (includes powerpoint) and HP included Adobe reader, 4 "VGA, persistent memory, USB connector

X5-wifi/BT ad on via CF adaptors needed, 400 MHz, wm2003 (no upgrades past this), CF/SD slots, 48/64 mb internal memory, SD slot supported up to 1 GB (although some people got more from various posts), not SDIO, removable battery, Adobe and powerpoint 3rd part software needed, QVGA, no persistent memory

I am looking forward to putting this baby to work and see what new things I can do. Installing Skype is also on my shortlist. I am sad to see my X5 be taken out of service. It has served me well and is still a powerhouse in general. As I said in the beginning, I could not hold off my excitement and had to shout it out to the world.  There's a new sheriff in town.

03/28/2008 11:12:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Astraware releases Hexic and Mozaki For Windows Mobile#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Hexic is a very popular game in our household next to Zuma. My entire family play it on the Xbox 360, their computer via MSN games and now it is available on both the Smarthone platform aka Windows Mobile Standard and Pocket PC aka Windows Mobile Professional and Classic from Astraware for Microsoft. The game plays like other versions using the directional pad to move around the screen and rotate your gems in search of the elusive Black Pearl which is done by creating a flower to earn a starflower piece, then you use starflower pieces to make another flower and earn the elusive black pearl when you make a cluster or flower out of black pearls you win the game.

hexic_screenshot_640x480_01 hexic_screenshot_640x480_02

(pictures above are from the PPC version)

hexic_screenshot_320x240_03 hexic_screenshot_320x240_04

(pictures above are from the Smartphone version)

If you are not familiar with Hexic, it is a fantastic twist on the match-three genre by famed Tetris designer, Alexey Pajitnov. Hexic is deceptively simple to begin with - just rotate any trio of hexes in order to form a cluster of three or more same-color pieces - but a real brain-boggling challenge to master. Featuring Marathon, Timed, and Survival game modes, players are sure to enjoy many hours turning hexes into stars, stars into pearls, and pearls into victory!

mozaki_screenshot_640x480_01 mozaki_screenshot_640x480_03

(Pictures above are from PPC version)

mozaki_screenshot_320x240_02 mozaki_screenshot_320x240_03

(Pictures above are from SP version)

Astraware also has released Mozaki, a classic brain-teasing strategy puzzler, also by Alexey Pajitnov. Players grab a piece from the stack and place it on the board, connect pieces of the same color to make an unbroken line from the colored edge to the centre of the screen, and connect the required number of lines and win the level. Marathon Mode is deceptively simple, but more colours and mismatched blocks increase the difficulty. Players who prefer to play against the clock can check out Timed Mode for an extra challenge.

Both games have been developed by Astraware for Microsoft's Carbonated Games studio and can be purchased at Astraware for $9.99 each. To try and learn more about Hexic head here. To try and learn more about Mozaki head here.

If you don't have a Windows Mobile phone (you know you should!) you can check here to see if both games will play on your phone direct via your carrier all you need to do is enter your phone number and you will be charged $6.99 for the game and it will be sent to you. Head here for HexicMobile and here for Mozaki Mobile.

03/28/2008 11:10:33 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

SlingMedia Announces SlingPlayer Mobile for UIQ on Symbian OS#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

The folks at SlingMedia have done it again and have brought the SlingMobile client to another platform and I am sure this won't be the last one! :) In addition to the currently supported Nokia S60 handsets and SlingPlayer Mobile for Symbian, UIQ will be launching this summer (models listed below):

•    Sony Ericsson P1i
•    Sony Ericsson P990i
•    Sony Ericsson W960i
•    Sony Ericsson W950i
•    Sony Ericsson M600i
•    Motorola MOTORIZR Z8

N95_8GB_portrait SE_P1_Portrait SE_W960_Portrait

SE_W960_Fullscreen

The Nokia N95 8GB is also planned with an updated SlingPlayer Mobile for Symbian S60. There will also be some Windows Mobile client updates coming soon (The beta client works well and Windows Mobile Standard users will be happy!) and the SlingMedia folks are also hard at work at bringing you BlackBerry support later this year (the same one demoed at CES this year)

Sling Media, Inc., a digital lifestyle products company, today announced SlingPlayer™ Mobile for UIQ on Symbian OS™, bringing the best mobile TV experience to this popular smartphone platform. The company will showcase its new software at the Symbian booth (# 4855, Hall N4) at the CTIA Wireless Show in Las Vegas, NV April 1 – 3 2008. Separately, Sling Media is announcing that its existing SlingPlayer Mobile for S60 on Symbian OS will soon support Nokia’s popular N95 8GB, which will also be demonstrated at CTIA.

With today’s announcements, Sling Media adds to the already robust smartphone support it offers its customers and gives Slingbox owners the ability to watch and control their home TV using even more of the most popular smartphones available in the U.S. and in Europe. Sling Media expects to release SlingPlayer Mobile for UIQ worldwide this summer and expects the new version of SlingPlayer Mobile for S60 to be available this spring.
"We are excited to expand our support for Symbian smartphones, providing customers with the best possible mobile TV experience. With over two-and-a-half billion global 3G and WiFi connections the market potential for mobile TV is huge," said Blake Krikorian, co-founder and CEO of Sling Media. “In order to meet this growing desire for mobile TV, we will continue to expand the availability of SlingPlayer Mobile to as many platforms and devices as possible. Adding SlingPlayer Mobile to such a cutting edge platform as UIQ on Symbian OS is a great step forward in expanding user accessibility to their home TV set-up.”
The personalized mobile TV experience for smartphones is enabled by the award-winning Slingbox, which allows customers to watch and control their home TV on an Internet-connected Mac or PC as well as a range of mobile phone platforms including Symbian OS, Windows Mobile, Palm OS and coming soon, BlackBerry.
Sling Media expects to support the following UIQ handsets at launch and will continue to expand handset support thereafter.

A full list of compatible smartphones for all SlingPlayer Mobile-supported platforms can also be found at http://www.slingmedia.com/go/spm-requirements.
“SlingPlayer Mobile for Symbian smartphones extends the reach of home TV viewing to a user’s phone with the same diverse line-up of viewable content. We’re excited to have the SlingPlayer experience delivered to UIQ -- it’s fast, it’s fun, and it offers an enjoyable user experience,” said Jerry Panagrossi, Vice President and General Manager of North American Operations, Symbian.

SlingPlayer Mobile gives Slingbox customers their entire home TV experience, including local channels, local sports teams, video on demand, pay per view, etc. Any program that you can watch on your sofa back home, you can now watch via a PC or Mac, as well as UIQ, Symbian S60, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile-based smartphones anywhere you can get an Internet connection (3G Cellular or WiFi). In addition, SlingPlayer Mobile users can also control their home digital video recorder (DVR) to watch recorded shows, pause, rewind, and fast forward live TV and even program and watch new recordings while away from home.

SlingPlayer Mobile does not require a monthly fee or other recurring charges. Slingbox customers simply need to purchase SlingPlayer Mobile for a one-time charge of $29.99 US, $34.99 Canadian dollars or £19.99 Inc VAT British pounds. All versions of SlingPlayer Mobile include a 30-day free trial and can be purchased at www.slingmedia.com.

03/27/2008 16:43:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Windows Mobile User/Developer Group Meeting: Wednesday, March 19, 2008#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

Where does the time go? It seems like we our last meeting just occurred, and yet the time has come once again to get together, so...

The next meeting of the Windows Mobile User/Developer Group will happen this Wednesday (March 19th, 2008) starting at 6:30 PM at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA (201 Jones Road, 6th Floor).

Map image

Our 2 featured topics for this meeting are:

  • Windows Mobile "State of the Media" Update: The variety of ways of bringing media to your Windows Mobile device seems to constantly be on the rise. It's time once again to visit the options available to you for music, video, podcasts, audio books and more.
  • Pimp My Homescreen!: Whether for function or form, for style or substance, taking advantage of the extensibility of the Windows Mobile Homescreen or Today Screen can be both useful and fun. We will look at "out-of-the-box" capabilities and third-party tools that can can transform your homescreen into a work of art.

As always, we will have lots of really great giveaways for attendees.

See you there!

03/16/2008 09:55:24 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Sprint Releases New Mogul Update With EvDO REV A#
Post By Eric Hicks

Today Sprint released the much awaited ROM update for the Mogul (PPC6800).  This update enables users to access Sprint's EvDO Rev A data network.  EvDO Rev A is a technology that allows for lower data latency, faster upload and download speeds.  Included in this update is access to the GPS One chipset.  This allows you to use the new Sprint navigation software (included in the ROM update), Windows Live Search Mobile, Google maps, etc..it will turn your device into an all-in-one navigation system.  Here is the full list of what this update encompasses. 

1. Adds EV-DO Rev.A functionality for faster download and upload speeds when transmitting data wherever EV-DO Rev. A coverage is available.

2. Adds advanced GPS functionality including the software for Sprint Navigation.

3. Adds a Task Manager to the Today screen for easier access and management of Running Programs.

4. Improves Bluetooth performance including usage with Phone As Modem and wireless stereo headsets.

5. Corrects an issue where Windows Live Messenger content may be erased when the device power cycles

 

The Update can be found Here

 Also don't forget to sync and backup your device prior to doing the update.

03/10/2008 22:47:44 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

iPhone Goes 2.0, Releases SDK, Supports Exchange#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Well the big new announcement from the Apple Town Hall meeting given by Steve Jobs which was covered by many media outlets, best covered by the folks at Engadget filled my inbox with many questions on interoperability with several Microsoft products, how the SDK affects the mobile market and questions if it is a true fit for enterprise.

iphone roadmap

Enterprise

The new update given by Steven Jobs in his announcement to iPhone 2.0 adds support for the Enterprise mainly via Microsoft's Exchange Activesync license. This allows for the following:

  • Push email
  • Push contacts
  • Push calendar
  • Global Address List
  • Certificates and Identities
  • WPA2/802.1x
  • Enforced security policies
  • More VPN protocols
  • Device configuration
  • Remote wipe

iphone exchange setup iphone contact

 iphone calendar2 iphone email

So if you are currently a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or 2007 user and your IT department allows for it, upgrading to the iPhone 2.0 software will allow you have the same capabilities as Windows Mobile, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Sony Ericsson, Symbian and other devices that support push email, live updates of calendar events, and contacts over Wi-Fi (via wireless Activesync) or EDGE cellular networks on your iPhone. There is no synching of Tasks or Notes since the iPhone doesn't have an app compatibilty (yet).  So this will support the same remote wipe functionality found in Windows Mobile, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Sony Ericsson, Symbian and other devices. To read more on this Microsoft has a Press release on it here. For people who don't have their own IT department they will be able to take advantage of services from Hosted Exchange providers like 4Smartphone and Mailstreet.

The update will also includes some security updates like Cisco IPsec VPN, enterprise class WiFi (WPA2 / 802.1x), security policies, and enterprise configuration tools.

Will it be compatible with Microsoft's SCMDM(System Center Mobile Device Manager)? One can only assume yes, since it is using the license for Microsoft Exchange Activesync and Apple also has the option to enable features that allow businesses to manage the iPhone through security policies in Exchange Server 2007. Will it be available when SCMDM goes live? One can only hope so.

There was no mention of the ability to encrypt the device or lock it down besides the basic PIN, which will not pass some enterprise security policies unless a third party application can do this. This same thing happened on the Windows Mobile side of things with encryption on the storage card and more secure passwords to fit enterprise security profiles and policies. I am sure Apple will make the necessary changes in 2.0 since not much has been revealed about it yet.

There was also no mention of increasing the security in Safari, but I am sure an update is coming due to the mention from Paypal. Safari lacks two clear anti-phishing measures. There is no filter to block or warn users of fake websites that may use a PayPal-like website address to scam users. Safari also lacks a recent development known as an Extended Validation (EV) certificate. To be fair other mobile browsers also lack EV support as well, including IE Mobile and handsets can use Paypal via Paypal Mobile.

The SDK and Developer Program

 iphone OS iphone SDK2

The SDK is free to download from here. It includes the Xcode IDE, Instruments, iPhone simulator, frameworks and samples, compilers, Shark analysis tool, and more. Note in order to download the iPhone SDK a free sign up as a Registered iPhone Developer is required as well hardware requirements, which is of no surprise an Intel processor-based Mac running Mac OS X Leopard.

iphone games iphone dev game

The SDK is completely open to everything on the iPhone including the accelerometers, Multi-Touch screen, and camera. So some cool games will be coming soon for the platform, some major developers already have a head start and will be releasing titles when 2.0 and the App Store go live, Apple wants others there too. Apple had a few on display like Spore from EA, Super Monkey Ball from Sega and Touch Fighter from Apple that looks a lot like Interstellar Flames from Xengames.

To be part of the the Developer Program and receive its benefits there are two paid levels:

The Standard Program at $99 is for developers who are creating free and commercial applications for iPhone and iPod touch.

The Enterprise Program at $299 is for developers who are creating proprietary, in-house applications for iPhone and iPod touch.

The iPhone Developer Program will initially be available to a limited number of developers in the U.S. and will expand to other countries in the coming months.

The benefits of the developer program include:

  • complete set of resources in the iPhone Dev Center
  • testing of code on the iPhone and iPod Touch
  • code-level technical by Apple engineers
  • ability to reach iPhone customers via the App Store

iphone sfa iphone sfa2

Caveats are that applications have to be distributed via the App store to the iPhone, which limits development of in house applications unless it is approved by Apple. Also iPhone enterprise customers will be able to create a private page on the App store accessible by their employees only so this will be the mechanism to distribute inhouse applications.

iphone app store iphone app store2

iphone app store3 iphone app store4

Here the terms of the App Store:

  • price is determined by the developer
  • you only get 70% of the revenue, yes Apple takes some of your hard earned work, but it's cheaper than some other mobile software distributors.
  • revenue is delivered in monthly checks
  • good thing is there is no charge for free applications (if it is approved by Apple)
  • no credit card fees that comes out of the 30% revenue sharing/service fee
  • no marketing fees that too comes out of the 30% revenue sharing/service fee
  • no hosting fees that also comes out of the 30% revenue sharing/service fee
  • applications can be browsed,purchased and downloaded on the device or via iTunes

iphone 2

There was no mention of support for Copy, Cut, and Paste, which would be nice for applications and is especially needed for those doing something in enterprise applications and even using the built-in applications on the iPhone like email and notes. Hopefully this will also be included in 2.0 when it is released in June, for free for the iPhone and a nominal charge for the iPod Touch(TBA).

That's it in a nutshell.

03/06/2008 18:42:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

IE8 Beta Looks Good!#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

ie8 beta

I just downloaded the latest IE8 beta that is available to the public and I am impressed with some of the new features especially the Automatic Crash Recovery, which is something I have wanted since IE6 was out and it seemed to happen more with IE7. Here is the wording from the Beta Feature page:

Automatic Crash Recovery (ACR) is a feature of Windows®Internet Explorer® 8 that can help to prevent the loss of work and productivity in the unlikely event of the browser crashing or hanging. The ACR feature takes advantage of the Loosely-Coupled Internet Explorer feature to provide new crash recovery capabilities, such as tab recovery, which will minimize interruptions to users’ browsing sessions.

ScreenCrashRecovery

They even have a whitepaper on it here.

Here are some of the other features to expect listed here:

Activities
WebSlices
Favorites Bar
Automatic Crash Recovery
Improved Phishing Filter

You can get the latest bits of the IE8 beta here.

There are release notes here, as well as testing tools and resources here like whitepapers, Hands On Labs, Internet Explorer VPCs,

Just in time for MIX08, which starts today.

Enjoy!

03/05/2008 17:11:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

UltimatePC.com new place for Ultimate Extras#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

UltimatePC.com was launched by Microsoft as a beta to show what can be done with Windows Vista Ultimate PCs by hosting Blueprints, Profiles and Showcases of the best PCs available to show Ultimate Experiences of people using Windows Vista Ultimate to push the envelope in tasks like photography, gaming, and digital media experiences.

ultimate pc

The website will also be the new landing page for Windows Ultimate Extras since Windowsultimate.com will be redirected to UltimatePC.com webpage.

ultimate exlusives

Also available to approved Windows Vista Ultimate owners are "Ultimate exclusives" that are not replacing Ultimate Extras, but are exclusive deals just for those that have purchased the Windows Vista Ultimate SKU such as discounts on hardware and software. The validation is done by the Windows Genuine Advantage similar to the OEM reseller offers available to consumers through OEM distributors.

The current offerings are discounts on EVGA NVIDIA based graphics cards with the popular Crysis video game (which is designed to adapt to upgraded hardware) with a $50 discount off of retail pricing, Pinnacle's USB based Ultimate HD Tuner supports clear QAM for $89 as well as their Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 11 video editing software (who are division of Avid), and Stardocks Muliplicity for $29. Each offer has a ratings on it so you can provide feedback to Microsoft if these offers are appealing to you or not.

EVGA offer

Here is the EVGA offer which isn't too bad if you are looking for a new EVGA 8800GTS 512MB or 8800GT 512MB graphics card and Crysis, which retails for $45.

It looks like the new site will provide a place for the ultimate team to communicate to the community on its current and future plans on Windows Ultimate Extras and I am sure we will be seeing more from them in the near future.

If you paid for Windows Ultimate it is definitely worth checking out since some of these offers are limited by date or quantity.

03/04/2008 17:31:47 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Review of Spb Mobile Shell 2.0#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Spb Mobile Shell is one of my favorite applications on the Windows Mobile 6 Professional platform combined with Spb Pocket Plus it makes the UI and usage of the phone much easier. Allowing me to see and access the information on my phone that is important to me at a glance. Well the folks at Spb Software House have improved on the product even more with their latest version Spb Mobile Shell 2.0.

spbmobile shell

There are three main Panels in Spb Mobile shell as well as a Today screen plugin. The three main panels are the Now Screen, Spb Menu, and Speed Dial Panel. There is also a new way to interact with the panels and call them up as well that makes this program a joy to use.

Now Screen

Spb Mobile Shell 2.0 makes some improvements on the the previous version by making some updates to how the "Now Screen" operates. The Now Screen if you are not familiar with the product is the first screen you see when you turn on the device.

ms now1 ms now2

The Now screen is customizable in that you can change the color and from two different looks - Professional (on the left) and Classic(on the right). The layout of each is a bit different with the most notable being that the Professional has a digital clock and the has an analog clock, but the UI is also different. My personal favorite is the Professional, since it displays the information I need, yours may be different. Its good to have a choice!

ms professional settings ms classic settings

Each of the screen has customizable settings to tailor its look and functions of the Now Screen  under settings.

ms now4 

The Professional screen comes with the very top bar with a battery indicator, signal indicator, and cellular provider information. Beneath that is a larger iconed bar that displays the local weather, phone functions of new messages, text messages, missed calls, and also has a volume indicator. Tapping on each of these icons displays detailed information and controls of each.

ms classic2

The Classic has similar icons with a larger icon for battery and weather and depending on your preferred setup options the placement will vary with how you have configured the display of your upcoming appointments.

ms weather ms weather settings

Tapping the weather icon brings up a new detailed Now screen with the weather for that day with the times of weather and temperatures for that day with a 5 day forecast for the week. Tapping on the subsequent day icons will bring up the detailed information. Selecting the settings gear allows you to set your local city.

ms phone profiles

Selecting the Volume icon will bring up a Profile screen to set the volume of your device, which is great when you entering a meeting or place where you need to quickly silence your phone.

ms time

The next bar on the Professional screen is the local time in nice easy to read numbers with the current date. Tapping on this icon brings up an even larger time, great for those over 40 who have macular degeneration or thickening of the cornea and need to extend the device away from their body in order to see it clearly will really appreciate this. This Time screen also shows your next alarms as well as time zones in three customizable cities.

ms now 3

The next bar is your next three appointments from your calendar or calendar for the current month. Depending on the number of appointments you have or how you configure it the amount of calendar you see will vary, so if you have no upcoming appointments you will see 3 weeks of the current month. Notice the picture is different from the one above.

The last row is new to Spb Mobile Shell 2.0 panel bar that has quick jump icons to jump between the different panels. One for launching applications called Spb Menu, One for quick dial by Picture ID  from your contacts called the Speed Dial Panel, and Close. Some cool things I found when using the software is the ability to toggle between the three different panels via the soft keys on your device for quick on handed use. Pressing the left soft key advances the panels to the left and pressing the right soft key advances the panels to the right. You can also access the same Now screens by using the new kinetic interface by dragging your finger across the screen from left to right will bring you to the Picture ID contact screen, from right to left will bring you to the application launcher and if you keep going in either direction it will keep rotating through the screens. The way the screens and UI work are very similar to the HTC’s TouchFLO interface.

ms animate

You can customize the kinetic animations in the settings menu under the Animation tab.

ms panel ms panel 2

You can also access the Panels of Spb Mobile shell by making a gesture from the top of the Taskbar down with your finger or Stylus. This too is activated in the Settings of Spb Mobile Shell and is called taskbar smart gestures. Once the panels are on screen moving left or right will allow you to select and launch the panel if your remove your finger from the screen you will cancel the operation.

Spb Menu Panel

spb menu

Spb Menu is a great program in itself and showcases some cool animation when launching the larger iconed buttons.

ms menu pin

The smaller icons at the top are similar to the icons that appear on the Today screen with both pinned applications (you can pin an application in a position by tap and holding it- see picture above) and recently opened applications.

ms brightness

One of the icons is the screen brightness icons that is always there and it allows you change your screen brightness on the fly.

ms customize windowms customize menu

The larger icons bring up a large iconed list that allows you to easily launch programs in that category.These are customizable in the Spb Mobile Shell Settings->Advanced Tab->Menu Button. Here you can add remove items.

ms settings Menu options

You can also choose the layout in either One by one list, Grid view (if you have alot of items), and choose whether to have the most used items first.

ms organizer

There is one for Spb Organizer that launches Spb Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, and allows you to beam your contact information. Each item has a sub menu to allow you more granularity, but quickly and easily with out having to grab a stylus.

ms spb contact

Here is the Spb Contacts that allows you to search your contacts by phone number or by name by using the touch screen keypad it searches both numbers and names (first or last).

ms calendar

The Calendar allows you to add a New Appointment, view Today, Tomorrow, This Week and This Month with a press of the screen or selection of the directional pad.

ms tasks

The same goes for Tasks that allows you create a New Task, view All Tasks, and view Active Tasks.

ms note

Notes allows you create a New Text Note, New Ink Note and to Show Notes.

ms beam ms beam 2 beam 3

Beam My Contact provides a simple way to beam your contact information to another user. It brings up my Contact and you select from Spb Contact what you want to set as your default contact or to select which contact you wish to beam. It then brings up Windows Mobile Beaming which turns on your IR and Bluetooth ports(if you have them) and proceeds to scan for devices to beam to and you just beam them the contact.

ms internet

The large Internet icon allows you to launch your Favorites, History, Internet Explorer and Live Messenger.(This will vary depending on what you have installed on your device)

ms multimedia ms multimedia2

The large Multimedia icon allows you to launch Media Player, Camera, and Pictures. I added a few that I use regularly.

 ms tools ms themes

The Tools icon seems to integrate well with the Spb Pocket Plus I have installed that allows me to use the Task Manager, Soft Reset, Rotate Screen, and Theme picker from Spb Pocket Plus.

 

ms theme

If you don't have Spb Pocket Plus you can change the theme in the settings of Spb Mobile Shell under the theme tab there is a drop down list of theme colors.

ms browse files

You also have a nice menu to Browse Files as well with quick links to My Device, My Documents, Storage Card and previous visited directories.

 

Speed Dial Panel

ms contact

The Speed Dial Panel allows you to add up to sixteen photo contacts of your choice mine was auto-populated with Contacts from calls I made that were in my Call History.

ms contact3

Selecting the contact will bring up their contact information with their phone numbers and allows you to send off a quick sms text message or open their contact information for a more detailed view or to access another phone number if its isn't listed.

ms contact 2

To edit the list a simple tap and hold on the contact will allow to remove, add, edit contacts as well as add a quick launch icon shortcut for Spb Contacts.

Spb Mobile Shell Today Screen Plugin

The Today Screen plugin consists up to six tabs that can be displayed on the Today screen from a predefined list of options. A nice feature is that you can hide the tab so it won't steal screen real estate when it isn't in use . When you press on tab it will open up the Today screen application and any quick launch short cuts to applications you add to it. Here are few that I placed in mine.

ms today home

The Home Tab indicated by the battery % indicator brings up the same programs found in the top of Spb Menu of your pinned items and recently opened items.

ms today time

The Alarm/Time Tab lets you see the 3 different time zones you selected and upcoming alarms. Here you can also add items to the bottom of the tab and change your preferred cities.

ms today contacts

The Contact Picture ID allows you to place 5 of your most frequently called numbers and with this new version you can have more tabs of contacts than just the five. If press and hold on the contact you get a list of their numbers which you wish to call or set as the default indicated by a check mark by the number. I also added some icons to launch connection manager, phone, contacts and Internet Connection Sharing.

ms today windows live

I added a Windows Live tab that utilizes the today screen plugin from Windows Live that allows me to toggle between Live Messenger, Live Mail, connect to Live Messenger and sync mail. I also added some items to the bottom of applications similar in nature that I use frequently.

ms today media

I added a Windows Media Player tab from a Today screen plug in that allows me to control Windows Media player and view what is playing from the today screen as well as launch my media applications and applications that use it. I was also able to place some buttons on the tab to increase, decrease, and mute the volume.

ms today weather ms today weather2

The last tab is the weather tab, that allows you to quickly glance at weather on your today screen as well as see a four day forecast. You can also customize this tab. I was thinking of adding the Weather Channel and some satellite feed links to the bottom tab. To add items to any of the tabs, all you need to do is tap and hold and it will allow you to arrange items in the tabs as well as add items, files and folders.

ms today ms tabs

You can customize the today screen tabs and soft keys in Settings to fit your personal needs. I had upgraded from Version 1 and found that none of my tabs are there in the Tab setting even if I added the tabs I already have. The only one that was there was Device Lock which I don't have in my tabs. Hopefully this will be fixed in an upcoming version.

 

Spb Mobile Shell 2.0 Features
  • NEW! All functionality in one tabbed window
  • NEW! Full screen dialogs for Weather and Time
  • NEW! Animated transitions
  • NEW! Contact cards
  • NEW! Navigation with gestures
  • NEW! Quick panel selection with taskbar gestures
  • Now Screen: the most important information at one screen
  • Spb Menu: phone style menu
  • World time
  • Weather forecast
  • Photo speed dial
  • Launcher
  • Color based themes
  • Spb Contacts: smart contact search

If you can't tell this program is great, hopefully the will come out with a Windows Standard version that allows you to customize Smartphones like SBSH's Facade. This is a one of those must have programs for Windows Mobile 6 Professional owners paired with Spb's Pocket Plus it makes for a great user experience that I wish was inherent in the UI of Windows Mobile and now I have it!

I think its amazing that the folks at Spb were able to add functionality as well as reducing the memory consumption of the first version by about a half. If you have the previous version you can upgrade at 50% off the retail price.  If you purchased a 1.x version within the last 90 days, you are eligible for a free upgrade. If you are new to purchasing you have 30 days no questions asked refund of your money if you aren't satisfied with the product.There is currently a special offer for Spb Mobile Shell for $6 off at Handango here so you get it for $23.95.

For more information and for other reviews by others in the community head here. Also check out Matt Coddington of Pocket PC Louisville's video review of it here as well as Arne Hess of unwired's review here.

03/04/2008 12:03:33 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

CES 2008 - Jabra#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

GN Netcom always has lots of new interesting headsets on display at CES and gain they didn't fail with their latest Jabra products.

 CES 2008 Day 0 142 CES 2008 Day 0 143

They won a few CES awards and had some vinyl stickers to customize the look of some of their headsets. Hmm personally black or silver are fine for me, but I guess they are wanting to appeal to the younger crowd or at least that's what they told me. However my oldest daughter (10) didn't think they looked all that great and called them flatly dumb when I was writing up this post.

 CES 2008 Day 0 146

They also had the new Jabra JX20 Pura – Titanium Edition based on the internal components of the popular JX10 design. The headset weighs less than half an ounce and turns on and off by rotating the ear-piece to minimize the buttons and provide a sleek look to the headset. It also charges off of a standard USB port. We hope to see it ship some time in Q2 of 2008 as promised.

CES 2008 Day 0 147 CES 2008 Day 0 145

Here is the desktop docking/charging station of the new Jabra JX10. Jabra also has a A7010 Bluetooth Hub which is designed for users who work both in and out of the office and need wireless freedom no matter where they are, the new JX10 + A7010 bundle means users can receive calls from both mobile and desk phones.

CES 2008 Day 0 150 CES 2008 Day 0 149

They also had a set of folding headphones when opened worked as speakers called the Jabra BT8030 featuring Zirene POWER BASS software for great audio sound. The speaker magnets seemed pretty heavy duty, but the cloth material while it appeared comfortable looked like it would start a sweat-fest on the top of one's head. They seemed a bit expensive at $310, but who knows they may be better than other high end headsets and this one's got Bluetooth.

03/01/2008 12:33:48 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

CES 2008 - Joby#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

 CES 2008 Day 0 073 CES 2008 Day 0 077

The folks at Joby had a really cool new device at CES last year called the Gorilla Pod which allowed you take pictures by attaching a quick release mechanism that connects to the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera anywhere by attaching the tripods legs to objects in the area and using the timer feature on your camera. I will be posting up a review of the SLR model here soon. Their big thing this year is their new Bluetooth headset called Zivio.

CES 2008 Day 0 074 CES 2008 Day 0 078

The Joby Zivio is an elegant, high performance Bluetooth Headset featuring an extendable, flexible microphone boom that ensures users can communicate in noisy environments that have been traditionally challenging. By utilizing an ultra-sensitive, retractable microphone the Zivio eliminates background noise, providing users with crystal clear sound quality.

CES 2008 Day 0 076 CES 2008 Day 0 075

The Zivio features sets of interchangeable earpieces and soft gel caps to provide all-day comfort, as well as an optional ear loop for a custom fit. Its a sleek and lightweight headset, that can be worn on the left or right ear and will be available in a variety of colors.

ZIVIO PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS:

· Talk Time: 10 hours

· Standby Time: 200 hours

· Charges: via USB connection

· LDS: indicates headset status

· Weight: 13 grams

· Dimensions (mic retracted): 53.5 mm x 15mm x 7.2mm

· Wireless Range: standard 10m (33 feet)

· Bluetooth Chip: CSR BlueCore 4

They said it will be available Spring of 2008 so we should see it soon it looks like a very interesting device similar to what Star Trek's Communication Specialist Lt. now Capt. Uhura wore.

For more information on other Joby products head here.

03/01/2008 07:27:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

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