April 2007


A Blackberry in Your Windows Mobile Device

The Microsoft Windows Mobile interface and applications just don’t get any respect. When Palm decided to create a Windows Mobile version of the Treo, it made it contingent on Microsoft letting them allowing a custom interface to be used in place of Microsoft’s default one. Why? Palm’s is arguably faster and more intuitive to use. Now, RIMM (of Blackberry fame and network outage infamy) announced that they are working with AT&T Wireless to bring the Blackberry push-email capability to select Windows Mobile 6 devices. And, yep, they are bringing their own custom interface to swap with the Windows Mobile one.

RIM Announces New BlackBerry Application Suite for Windows Mobile based Devices

One interesting aspect of RIM’s press release is the inclusion of a quote from at AT&T Wireless Executive Director. I wonder if any of the network feature modifications AT&T made for the Apple iPhone will be used with the Blackberry app for Windows Mobile?

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Recovering Windows Mobile Outlook Data?

Reader D.K. asks: not sure who to ask on this one, but on an htc device (imate sp5) – do you know if there’s a way to recover contacts on there if the device had them wiped off by outlook via activesync over usb? i have not done anythign to the device since it was wiped, im hoping that the data is still on there, but needs to be reassociated with its metadata.

First, ouch! I’m not even sure how something like that can happen. But, I won’t ask. I’ll assume some unfortunate accidental user error was the cause. Second, the data may or may not be there. But, I don’t know of any utility off-hand to recover from that sort of error. Third, this is a good time to get on the soapbox for a general message to my fellow users of Windows Mobile Devices…

Two weeks ago when writing about the recently released Windows Mobile 6 Reference Model, I noted that none of the four user categories noted in the manual included a consumer end-user group. Microsoft designed Windows Mobile for enterprise use, not for individual consumers. The by-product of this design focus means that there is an implicit assumption that the Windows Mobile user is part of an enterprise that uses Microsoft Exchange Server and has an IT staff that performs tasks like configuration, backup, and restore. If you, like me, bought one as an individual consumer without enterprise support, you need to be prepared to do things like think about issues like disaster recovery and business continuance as an individual without supporting staff. I plan to discuss how I’ve tried to plan for my own DR/BC in a post or two later this week.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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ActiveSync vs. Zone Alarm Revisited

Reader H.D. wrote: Just wanted to thank you for this post: ActiveSync 4.1 for Microsoft Windows Mobile 5 devices released. It might be old – but its just solved my Xda sync problem instantly. The MS site implied I was going to have to upgrade Zone Alarm.

Microsoft Windows seemingly unending exploits requiring firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware, spam filters, and other security bandaids causes all kinds of problems for its users. My old (November 21, 2005) advice for getting ActiveSync to work with PCs running the Zone Alarm firewall seems to still have some useful information. If ActiveSync stops working, take a look at your various security options to see if one of them might be interfering with ActiveSync’s network access.

I’ve found that after establishing a partnership between a PC and a Windows Mobile device, syncing wirelessly using Bluetooth seems to be more stable than syncing over USB for some devices (my i-Mate K-JAM locks ActiveSync when its syncs over USB but not over Bluetooth).

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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A Few Thoughts on the Nokia Web Run-Time for S60

S60 Web RuntimeI saw a demo of the Nokia Web Run-Time for S60 (aka Widgets) this past Monday. It is an interesting development technology for the Nokia Series 60 (S60) based phones of the future (current S60 models will not support it). The idea is to leverage web developer skills to create applications for S60 phones. Applications are developed using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. The source code is compiled, placed into a Zip file, and copied over to the phone for installation there.

It seems like a sure-fire way to encourage quick generation of new applications for the next S60 models. There are a couple of interesting issues though. First, given the inherent insecurity of most browser based applications, will the Web Run-Time create security issues for the S60 phones? Second, the apps are installed unsigned. This would seem to eliminate the possibility for those with restrictive mobile phone service providers from participating in the presumed burst of S60 applications. Finally, how will all those owners of current generation S60 phones feel about seeing cool new web applets appear that they can’t use?

That said, I’m looking forward to seeing the S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 based phones appear with Web Run-Time. It might give Windows Mobile 6 and even the Apple iPhone a run for the money.

Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones

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Blackberry Network Down in Western Hemisphere

Wow! I just heard on the morning news that RIMM’s Blackberry network went down sometime Tuesday night and is not restored as I write this (0631 PDT). It will be interesting to learn the cause of the network failure, why it is taking so long to restore, and the general consumer sentiment towards RIMM after it is restored. Stay tuned.

Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones

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Tellme By Mobile

Microsoft bought the telephony company Tellme.com (best known for its VoiceXML work and early telephone speech recognition work). Tellme announced Tellme By Mobile during a keynote demonstration at the Web 2.0 Expo this morning. This client side software provides some added features when using it with Tellme’s backend voice server.

Couple of observations though. First, the service is only available to AT&T Wireless and Sprint PCS customers. The second observation is even more interesting for a Microsoft owned company though. Not being an AT&T or Sprint customer turned out to not be the main roadblock for me to try out this application. The problem is that I use devices based on Microsoft Windows Mobile which is not supported by the Microsoft owned Tellme application. In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, “Doh!” So, if you are fortunate enough to own a supported phone (including models from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG, and RIMM (as in Blackberry)), check out the Tellme application. It looked pretty impressive during the demo this morning.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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