My window to the world

Help shape Sprite Backup 7.0 for Windows Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Apr-2009 09:36

I got an e-mail from Sprite Software, a New Zealand-based company that produces mobile software such as Sprite Backup for Windows Mobile.

The company is planning a complete redesign of Sprite Backup from the ground up. It will be completely reengineered to make the most of the features offered in Microsoft’s new Windows Mobile 7 (and most likely 6.5).

What they need at the moment is user input and to make it a sweet there's something in there for anyone willing to help.



Basically they are holding a Backup 7 Feature Hunt, with some great prizes:

1st prize (2 winners, each receives a HTC Touch HD)
2nd prize (5 winners each receives a Bluetooth GPS Unit)
3rd prize (30 winners each receives an 8GB MicroSD Card)

You can read more about at www.spritesoftware.com/Backup-7-Competition.
 



The AT&T Matrix Pro Home Screen

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2009 14:12

A couple of weeks ago the Pantech Matrix Pro smartphone landed on my desk. Based on Windows Mobile Standard 6.1, this smartphone is quite a pleasure to use. I have been playing with for a while,and finally got it unlocked so I could test it with a live network connection locally.

AT&T sent me the handset with one of its SIM cards, which I will be using while over in the U.S. next week, but since roaming wasn't activated, the easiest solution was to just get a local SIM and try it on the phone.

Note that while the phone is a 850MHz device, the new Telecom New Zealand 850MHz WCDMA network is not live for customers yet, so I am using the Vodafone 2100MHz network with a prepay SIM - hence the "G" in these screen captures, since their HSDPA coverage in this area is quite poor (having said that, it was a solid HSDPA until a few months ago, and I suspect they moved some panels in their cell sites around here causing this drop in signal quality).

Back to the matter... The AT&T Matrix Pro so far has impressed me. Nice build, quite chunky, but with a dual slider keypad/keyboard it is expected. It is actually smaller than my current Samsung i325 (Ace). The screen is extremely crisp and bright. The keyboard is responsive, and it feels much faster than my other device.

Below is a short capture of the AT&T Home Screen - the main differences are the colours and the new AT&T item on the mai page:



And below is an overview of each of the items on the standard Windows Mobile Home Screen. Note how the right software key changes functions depending on context:



I also installed Google Maps and Windows Live Search and they both instantly worked with the built-in GPS, without any extra configuration needed. The GPS got a fix in a matter of seconds - fromĀ cold start in another side of the globe this is impressive. More on the Pantech Matrix Proto come later.







Pantech Matrix Pro in the house

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Mar-2009 16:00

Very exciting... I've just received an AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro Windows Mobile Smartphone here. Exciting because this is a very new model, with a sliding keypad and a sliding keyboard as you can see in the pictures below:







The AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro is a WCDMA 850/2100 MHz device meaning it will be perfect for connecting to the new Telecom New Zealand network and for my upcoming trips to Australia and the US.

I have just opened the box and I am now synchronising the phone with my Exchange server, installing important programs and more... Full review later.



Strange Windows Mobile fault: Phone application shows wrong name... Or not?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Nov-2008 19:20

I had a very interesting phone call today - not because of the call itself, but because it unearthed a very strange fault in the Windows Mobile Phone application.

I have a friend in Wellington, New Zealand, let's call her L.E. with phone number +64 4 555-1234. I have a commercial contact in Auckland, let's call her R.M. with phone number +64 9 555-1234. Yes, same country code and phone number, just different area codes.

An interesting coincidence.

Today R.M. called me. I answer saying "Hello L.E."... But of course it wasn't L.E calling me, but that's what the Phone application tells me.

It seems the Windows Mobile Phone application searches only the phone number (not including the area code). It also seems the index use is probably something like (Phone + Name), therefore a search with Phone = 555-1234 brings L.E.'s record first - and stops there without checking area code to make sure it's really who the caller is.

Freaky how this happened. How big a coincidence to have two people you know with the same phone number just different area codes? I would say it is harder to happen in the USA, but in a small country like New Zealand...



Samsung Omnia Windows Mobile UI

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Nov-2008 17:54

I just got a Samsung Omnia for review here, and before I post the full article I want to let you see what cool user interface Samsung created for this device.

Thy have replaced the standard Windows Mobile Today screen with a "desktop". You have a scrollable sidebar on the left side and you can move it up and down with your finger. You can also move widgets from this bar to the desktop - and back.

Watch the video capture to see how it works (and when you see the widgets moving imagine it's my finger):



Geekzone Software Store reopening - and a sofware discount code

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Sep-2008 09:55

A few months ago we entered into an agreement with Mobihand to power a new Geekzone Software Store, which came live a couple of weeks ago, under a new subdomain (store.geekzone.co.nz) - but it still can be accessed from the old www.geekzone.co.nz/store address.

Their platform offers a very complete range of mobile software for Windows Mobile Professional, Windows Mobile Standard, Symbian and Palm OS.

That worked quite well because their platform offers an incredible flexibility for me to configure campaigns, discounts, bundles, specials and most importantly to get reports out of the system - now I know exactly what is selling and what is interesting for users of all these mobile platforms.

We started with a 20% discount code that expired today. This code was well used, so I decided to create a new discount code - "Geekzone" - that will give buyers 15% discount in all products.

I've created a couple of best-seller modules and inserted in our Software page. There you can see all the best-seller software for each platform. Really cool information. Note that this page is only a selection - for the full catalogue you have to visit Geekzone Software Store.

And remember to use the discount codes.



Update Windows Live Mobile or not?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 13:51

This week we got the news Microsoft has released an update for Windows Live Mobile. No, don't go updating your Windows Mobile Pocket PC yet. Read on.

First the good news: this update enhances Windows Live on your Windows Mobile. Great. But if you have Windows Live Messenger on your device (installed by an OEM), don't install this update yet. Read more.

Windows Live Mobile is really cool - it enables push e-mail for your Windows Live accounts (this includes Hotmail and even the Geekzonemail accounts).

Here is the bad news: Microsoft stopped providing Windows Live Messenger with Windows Live Mobile - a departure from earlier versions. And if you have an old Windows Live Mobile version with Windows Live Messenger, installing this new version will disable the Messenger component.



The Windows Live Messenger files are still in the system, but the program won't start at all. Uninstalling the "update" will automatically revert to the previous version and enable Windows Live Messenger again.



What is really annoying is that Microsoft makes Windows Live Messenger available for RIM BlackBerry users, but leave Windows Mobile users in the cold, waiting for operators to release their software (which we all know ain't gonna happen any time soon).

If you don't have Windows Live Mobile on your device (some OEMs don't include it), then you can download it now - and use a third party software for communicating with friends on Windows Live Messenger. Try one of the following:

- Fring (free, multiple IM systems, Skype, SIP, Twitter)
- Pocket MSN
- MSN Messenger Force



Ilium Software: eleven years

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-May-2008 11:30

I started using handheld devices when US Robotics created the Pilot organiser - the one that later turned into Palm Pilot, and so on.

The first software I ever bought for my handheld was Ilium eWallet - it stores information cards in a secure file, synchronises with a desktop, and more. And even after I moved to Windows Mobile years later, this is still the first software I install on any new handheld I get - Pocket PC or Smartphone.

Ilium is now celebrating its 11th anniversary with a week of promotions with prizes including Amazon gift cards, software and more. So check the Ilium Software blog from Monday (2nd June) through Friday (6th June) to find out how to enter.

They are also running a software sale during this period with 55% discount over their regular price. The link will be live on Monday as well.

Enjoy - I have enjoyed for over ten years!



Windows Live for Windows Mobile update

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-May-2008 17:55

So Microsoft has released an update for Windows Live for Windows Mobile. There's one bad thing though: if you install this over any previous copy you might have on your device you lose the Messenger functionality.

That's correct. It seems Microsoft leaves to the OEM or mobile operator to include Messenger on your Windows Mobile device.

This is wrong in so many ways. If I want Messenger on your PC - Windows or Mac - you can just download it from the web. My ISP doesn't tell me that I am not allowed to use Firefox on my computer to access an Internet service (http). Why should the operators have any say on this?

You can always use the web-based Windows Live Messenger Mobile on your mobile device but it is not the same as having the full client.



Windows Mobile update distribution is broken

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-May-2008 20:12

I really like Windows Mobile. And I enjoy using it. But the update distribution model is simply broken. Microsoft gave too much control to operators.

The software requires operator certification and testing for network compliance every time it is updated, which delays things. The whole design should be more modular.

There's a "Windows Update" feature introduced with Windows Mobile 6, but Microsoft lost the opportunity to make it an effective way to distribute updates.
 
An example? The whole Daylight Saving Time problem, with the U.S, Australia, New Zealand changing the dates this year.

A lot of people didn't know there was a manual update available for these devices, and at the begin and the end of the DST period I've heard a lot of complains about appointments with wrong time on the devices.

This is something that shouldn't requre manual intervention to be installed and should require operator approval either. Automatic Update would be the answer. Even if limited to when connected via ActiveSync, to limit mobile data usage.

Then there's the whole OS update thing. The Okta Touch for example. It's the HTC Touch, CDMA version. FCC ID is NM8VOGU100. Sprint sells it. Other CDMA operators sell it. It's just a different branding. The ROM is customised, but it is the same device.





But when contacted, Telecom New Zealand says this is not the same device. And says there's no update available for it.

People want CDMA EVDO Rev A. And people want the built-in GPS.

Sprint is even getting an update to Windows Mobile 6.1. They have already updated the device for CDMA Rev A.

What's Telecom doing?



freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

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