Tag Archives | Windows Mobile

Google Syncs to New Heights

Google Calendar logoOver the past couple of weeks, Google has been releasing interesting new stuff at such a furious pace that I’m getting short of breath just trying to keep up. It’s now released a new version of its formerly BlackBerry-centric Google Sync service that syncs calendars and contacts between Google’s Web-based services and an iPhone or Windows Mobile-based phone. It’s both a free alternative a large chunk of Apple’s for-pay MobileMe service and an answer to Microsoft’s My Phone, even though that service hasn’t launched yet.

It’s also leaving me with a serious case of deja vu: Google’s new syncing features are practically identical to Nuevasync, a service I’ve been using recently to juggle information between Google and my iPhone. (Both services do their syncing via Microsoft’s Exchange technology.)  Nuevasync’s a small outfit with a solid service, so I immediately began to worry on their behalf, thinking that the 800-pound Google gorilla had just rendered it superfluous.  The company has an optimistic post up about all this, saying that it plans to offer far more features (including task syncing, a feature I’ve been pining for ever since I discovered Apple hadn’t bothered to implement it in MobileMe).

I’m glad to see Google taking calendar syncing seriously, since its browser-based mobile version of Google Calendar is pretty rudimentary. But I’m sticking with Nuevasync for the moment. I’ve wasted enough hours of my life fiddling with persnickety syncing tools (and sometimes losing data to them) that I don’t wanna mess with a setup that seems to be working just fine.

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Report: Windows Mobile 6.5 to Launch Midyear

Windows Mobile LogoMicrosoft will distribute Windows Mobile 6.5 to its partners after it launches the OS at the Mobile World Congress in February, according to a report by DigiTimes. Microsoft will continue to rely upon current business model of working with phone manufacuters to deliver Windows Mobile based products on the market, the report said.

DigiTimes’ sources told it that Windows Mobile 6.5-based mobile devices will hit the market in the third and fourth quarters of the year. They also threw salt on rumors that Microsoft was preparing to launch its own Zune phone.

In November, I wrote that it was plausible that rumors about Microsoft being close to announcing its answer to the iPhone, a Zune device code-named “Pink,” were true. Other coverage in the media corroborated the rumors, including a CNBC report.

Part of my reasoning was that Microsoft did not acquire Sidekick creator Danger Inc. for nothing, and it did appoint Roz Ho (former head of its Mac business unit) to steer its efforts to absorb Danger into its Entertainment and Devices division. Since that time, my opinion has evolved.

I won’t completely rule out that Microsoft could eventually ship a Zune phone, but a knowledgeable source has since convinced me that Microsoft was more interested in Danger’s services. Customers that purchase Windows Mobile devices will have access to those services, which may be branded under Zune.

With Windows Mobile 7 far on the horizon, tailored services could go a long way toward keeping the platform competitive with the likes of Apple, Google and RIM. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what is announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. Until then, here are some leaked Windows Mobile 6.5 screen shots as posted at WMPowerUser.com.


A Zune Phone? Likely.

It is plausible that rumors about Microsoft being close to announcing its answer to the iPhone are true. Microsoft must maintain parity with Apple, and its acquisition of Sidekick creator Danger Inc. has given it the industrial design known-how to get the job done.

UK-based technology news journal The Inquirer broke the news that Microsoft will supposedly be unveiling the device at the 3GSM conference in February. The Inquirer also reported that Nvidia has been tapped to supply its graphics chip set.

I won’t speak to the veracity of the report, but it does contain very specific information, and that itself is compelling. There is always the potential for a red herring, but there is a solid chance that Redmond has something up its sleeve. It has matched the Apple iPod line up product by product, and has attempted to differentiate itself on price and features.

Microsoft’s lack of an iPhone alternative is a glaring omission, and the company needs a smart phone if it is to remain a viable alternative to Apple. The iPhone is popular among consumers and is gaining a foothold in the enterprise.

CEO Steve Ballmer would argue that the Windows Mobile platform has the potential to gain a preponderance of market share, but thus far it has not, and it lags far behind Symbian. Microsoft has relied on its partners to develop compelling devices, but few — if any — stand out.

It needs to step up the user experience of its Windows Mobile platform. Meaning, it needs to ship Windows Mobile 6.5 and work diligently to get 7.0 out the door.

A source at Microsoft tells me that a new wave of Windows Live services will launch next week. Perhaps those services will provide a glimpse into what its Internet-enabled smart phone could offer.

With all of its stars aligned and by tapping the know-how of Danger Inc, the creators of the famed Sidekick, Microsoft could produce an interesting product. Microsoft did put a heavy hitter (Roz Ho, former head of its Mac business unit) behind its efforts to absorb Danger into its Entertainment and Devices division.

The question is when would it ship? And who knows what Apple and others will have out by then. Microsoft can’t always be playing catchup if it wants to succeed in the phone biz.


Zune Features Headed To Windows Mobile

Okay so it might not be true Zune phone per se, but Microsoft does have designs to put Zune functionality in its Windows Mobile operating system soon. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the comments to British IT magazine CIO when asked why the company had created the music player in the first place.

“We built the Zune hardware with the Zune software – and what you’ll see more and more over time is that the Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc.”

This is the first time that I can remember Ballmer specificially admitting the company had some interest in developing some type of “Zune phone.” All his previous comments, as far back as April of last year, have indicated the company had no interest.

I’d be willing to be the widespread success of the iPhone has changed that, and now with other competitors such as Nokia also moving to compete, not at least attempting to compete may be a bad idea for Microsoft.

Let us be clear here though: Microsoft is not going to develop or manufacture this phone themselves. But if these statements are to be taken at its face value, it sees to indicate Redmond will not stand in the way of any manufacturer who may be interested in launching a Zune phone.,

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