All posts by Malcolm.Williams

A clinical psychology student that loves smartphones and the evolution of the smartphone platform since 2003 and the first smartphone I ever owned.

Dell Venue Pro + Mango = September 20?

Good news Dell Venue Pro users! Mango is coming officially on the Dell Venue Pro.

Dell has insisted, much like other Microsoft OEMs, that the Mango OS will be pushed out to current devices on September 20. Usually, Dell has a pretty good track record of releasing updates on Tuesdays (Nodo, firmware, Microsoft Security update). Combined with the other musings about Windows Phone Mango updates coming in mid September , the rumored release date gains some face validity. But to be safe, put the release date in the rumor folder because delays do happen

But if you really want to see a Dell Venue Pro running Mango, one has been spotted at IFA 2011. Take a look at the video provided by Moobilux .

Ready to run Windows Phone Mango update on your Dell Venue Pro officially? Let us know!

Thanks Jesse for the tip!

Mango Spread for HD2 Users Monday!


Mango on HD2 Image Courtesy of DFT 

Wow, mango is a delicious OS (so far) for developers and the media alike that have updated their devices or were given test devices. But the mango sexy doesn’t end with current windows phones 7 because it seems the HTC HD2 super phone has also received Mango from DFT. But there are some warnings and considerations: windows live functions aren’t working and you have to use MS Hotmail Connector to sync with Outlook. A huge bummer is multitouch isn’t working properly, but that’s a hardware limitation. For the users of the T-Mobile US HTC HD2, Mango works, but 512 MB of NAND is used versus the supported 1024. Bold enough to grab Mango for the HD2 to extend its shelf life? Mark Monday on your calendar to get a sweet taste of Mango on a device that may never die.

Dark Forces Team

Dell Venue Pro Update Schedule Confirmed

What a month it’s been for Dell and Dell Venue Pro users! Users have been given an overall preview of the final firmware update and afterward an official word that the DVP update is coming, there aren’t many more questions to be answered.

Except, the date when all users will receive the update.

Currently, Dell is flashing new firmware to new DVPs! Secondly, all users except ATT will have a push update to come on July 13. So for many users that is fantastic news! ATT users will receive the update but sometime in early August. Dell is working pretty hard on the updates. Sit tight ATT users, your day in the sun is coming too. And trust me, you won’t be disappointed with the results. No one will!


Multitasking Xaps For Mango Now!

Windows Phone Mango has a precarious issue for all 10-20 users that have a Mango device – the current programs (xaps) cannot be resumed. In essence that means no multitasking and users burdened with the Resuming…black screen that we want to abandon. So Jaxbot (developer who discovered the instant resume hack) has created a tool that offers instant resumable xaps! For developers, there is an added bonus of how the instant resume is added. It is worth mentioning, however, there are some xaps that don’t work or are pretty strange. For instance:


Of course to install instant resumable xaps, you probably would need Mango and some dev unlocked phone. That’s not a problem, right? But if you don’t have Mango, you can test on Nodo like a boss as long as you are dev unlocked. If you have either, hit up the link to get some multitasking xaps that are current. This is still a test, so expect quirky behavior. Hit the source!

Source: Jaxbot Resumable Xaps: All the details plus a nice tool


The Method Behind the Mango Release Madness

The Mango press release has come and gone with reviews from the media mostly positive. The big question on the minds of users is when are developers getting the same Mango love? As indicated previously (right here) Mango is still coming to developers. But why the media and press first versus developers if Microsoft prides itself on developers developers developers? Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Developer Experience at Microsoft, has a few things to note in his recent interview at Windows Phone Dev Podcast. He reiterates that:

We [Microsoft] are trying to land news on consumer features, so we seed reviewers 1st, just like devs get dev tools 1st.

Devs will get access – trying to make the process works…we learned a lot from setting expectations…from updates not going well…we want…to make sure that developers are going to be treated fairly with the Mango rollout

Despite the candid information, Watson was mum on whether student developers will also receive access to mango and and the time frame when it occurs. So, given the commentary, what do you think? Will all developers (including student developers) get that sweet and sexy Mango goodness? Discuss!

Source: wpdevpodcast episode 22 & Brandon Watson

Mango and Messaging – We Have a Problem

Windows Phone 7 Mango has broken to several members of the press today and each review has been positive. However, one problem I see is that I am not completely sold on one idea that I initially thought I was totally on board with. The article is in response to Eldar Murtazin and mobile-review’s response to Joe Belfiore’s comments about the iMessage system and how iMessage ripped a lot of ideas from Microsofts hot hands. Hit up the link to see the possible solutions and problems I see in Mango messaging that may need to be changed.

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Editorial: The dumb phone wars and Microsft

Why is it that everytime I read something from a different tech page, there is something about the smart phone wars? I don’t see any muskets or bayonettes, and I surely don’t see any dead lives. All I see is a lot of pundits discussing which smart phone will come out on top in an almost Highlander-esque fashion. The results are usually similar: people disagreeing with the article and calling for the author to go back in a basement and die somewhere (that could possibly be the only human “death” in this war). So, why am I writing another post that has to do with the “smart phone” wars? Because most articles miss the huge and critical point. Read on to find out and see how Windows Phone can mount a comeback.

Every single article, every single user, every single pundit has defined that the smart phone war focuses on the big hitter: Apple, Google, RIM, Windows Phone, Palm, Symbian, and of course Meego. Lots of competition when it’s really written down, but the main thing is currently Apple and Google are vying for the “top” dog with Google gaining momentum almost daily. But the current climate is something that many readers are aware of. Let’s take you back to a time where things weren’t so crowded; the year 2006 where the smartphone client was a different game. Smartphones were considered “business-like” with only a few major competitors worldwide: Windows, Palm, RIM, and Symbian. Yes, it looks quite like the current landscape with Apple and Google, but fundamentally, there is a huge difference. That difference is demographic.

I remember when I wanted my second smartphone being about 19 years old. The looks I received from several people were hilarious, not because of my interest in a smart phone, but because of the demographic of users that had smartphones in 2006. They were older businessmen and anyone that deviated from the model got strange looks. Usually, the user was referred to a java dumb phone that actually played MP3s and received internet and text. While frivolous of an anecdote that is, a closer look reveals something quite interesting – smart phones were not for average consumers.

The type of phone that dominated the average consumer was the dumb phone because the battery life was good, it was simple to use and many didn’t really care about the T9 method to text. It worked and it worked well. Not a lot of questions were asked by users and if they were, it was usually a drop in the water or a bad fall. Heck, let’s be honest, those dumb phones were darn durable and easy to use! Best of all, they were relatively cheap.

In June 2007, the iphone came and of course, the smartphone industry changed. Whether many like to admit it or not, the iphone did a lot of revolutionary things. Specifically, the price point of smartphones drove down to affordable on a two year contract, removed the stylus in favor of a capacitive touch screen and made the smartphone app centric. The app centric paradigm, for all the limitations it served, provided users with options with very little searching, very little maneuvering. It was simple, it was efficient,
it was dumb.

In many ways, the iphone slowly began to take a market to average consumers that were dominated by dumb phones leading to increases in Apple marketshare. Fast forward to the current and the smartphone wars are different as now Android has seemingly taken the marketshare for dumb phones because of its fragmentation amongst different hardware requirements. Of course, that further drives down smartphone pricing making it even more affordable and the preferred OS of choice (removing arguments of google brand loyalty and open source arguments leading to its momentum).

If you’re still reading this far, the message is clear; the smart phone war isn’t between different smart phones with varying degrees of hardware, the battle is with who is getting the dumb phone users. A market Windows could not get even with the Verizon Touch Pro 2 and the HD2 dominating sales for Fall 2009 and Spring 2010. And as we all know, Windows has changed itself to a simpler OS full of features, not apps. So users won’t have to look far for apps such as productivity, facebook, MSN integration and a slew of others. Furthermore, the OS is backed up by a cohesive user experience and user interface so the user is accustomed to metro ui and consistency is shown throughout the OS and through its applications.

However, it is the simplicity that makes Windows Phone almost a really good target for the next big thing. Unfortunately, the hardware specifications and OEM vendors leave a lot to be desired. Or does it?. Yes, we all know that the majority of OEM vendors hot dogg’d many of the devices that we are currently using, but taking a look at pricing, windows phones are being practically given away; much like some lower budget android devices running between 528 mhz and 800 mhz with similar screen resolution. The OS is also fast and snappy for the similar pricing (at least in America and a few other areas of the world).

The major reason why Microsoft isn’t poised to be in the lead lies in two reasons: customer service agents and memories. Several other sites have reported that there is a bias against Microsoft phones for sales that is undercutting Microsoft. That is a fact. No matter how many polls are taken, the results will be the same amongst customer service agents: Microsoft bad. The bad, is due to memories of slow machines, resistive touch screens, and in general a sluggish OS by the majority of users. But Windows Phone is a different breed.

Time and time again, one thing I will always say is that Microsoft is poised to win the smart phone wars, because it is stupidly simple. As history has shown, stupidity (or for lack of better words, ease of function and program management) and a tiny bit of popularity can go a long way. It’s worked for Apple and it’s currently working for Google. With Nokia becoming a partner in Windows Phone, the future is pretty darn bright for a variety of reasons. Specifically, Windows Phones can permeate the market at different hardware specs (chassis 1 or 2) and because first gen snapdragon use is aging, the “large” hardware aspect of it drives the price down. In essence, fragmentation is being created for mid range – low range Windows Phones running first gen snapdragon processors that wouldn’t be priced so high versus higher range future generation snapdragon processors. That’s genius! Simply put, the phones becomes more affordable driving down price point of Microsoft phones giving further availability

The only thing left is popularity. And as much as we dislike to admit it, Nokia is popular, so are many of the OEMs that are signed up with Windows Phone. The proverbial seeds are there and Microsoft has planted the seeds quite well. It may not be this year, but I expect Microsoft to be a major OS in the dumb phone wars in two years. And by 2015, Microsoft could very well win the it big; if not sooner.

Dell Venue Pro Users – New F/W Report

Okay, let’s be honest for a second. The Dell Venue Pro, to me, was the nicest looking Windows Phone on the market and the only one that didn’t hotdog anything from previous android/windows mobile devices (as evidenced by my initial thoughts here. However, since then, the DVP has a myriad of issues; specifically the wifi bug and some other issues indicated here. So what’s happened since those two articles on opposite ends of a proverbial spectrum? To the user, not a lot has happened especially since the main critique is how Dell has handled user concerns. But, to Dell, a lot is happening. Keep reading if you want to see what’s changed and how that has impacted you as a venue pro user

Since the previous writeup

Since the writing of the articles, Dell has worked with Microsoft on solving the Venue Pro issue. Many users across the web have demanded an updated device with a new firmware (the .206 firmware). However, much to users’ dismay, the problems still weren’t solved. And, of course, Dell has gone back to start working with Microsoft and a few users have been given the opportunity to beta test the device and put this thing through the proverbial ringer to see what works, what doesn’t, what needs to be improved, so a good user experience can be given before releasing the updated DVP.

What I’m not going to report is the build number because it’s a bit arbitrary. From the time the few beta testers are testing the new firmware to the time it will be released on the market, a lot of things can change. What I can say is that the firmware is still nodo – no sweet mango tasting treat here. Despite the lack of sweet mango goodness, there is still a lot of things venue pro users should be pretty satisfied with.

Huge Change – Wifi Works!

To begin with, the wifi issues have been solved and it looks like the wifi problem is solved on all memory models. Some users with 8 gig venue pros stated that their device worked out of the box with wifi while some 16 gig (and new 32 gig users) have reported wifi is absolutely terrible and freezes the device. I’ve been using an 8 gig beta model and other users have been graced with 16 gig models and we have each come to the conclusion that wifi, no matter what the memory size is, doesn’t crash anymore. That in itself is a huge change considering that wifi has been an issue since the first Dell Venue Pro has been released in November.

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Editorial: Microsoft, Intervene with Dell Now

There’s not really much I can say here that is gleaming with positivity concerning the Dell Venue Pro. When we saw the device by a different name, it shook our core; to the point of waiting patiently for the news that the plastic chrome monster would be released. And then it was in November – albeit for a few days till many found issues with the initial batch of engineering units. Oh but time passes on and we continued to wait and even used illegal measures to order that piece of technology (which was close to 600 dollars after taxes). And then it came on December 17 to my door and several other doors to earnest technogeeks alike. Well, we know others waited and waited and of course the waiting story of the Dell Venue Pro has been on mobile tech sites alike – even our very own wmpu. So to say that people have at least a superficial knowledge of the Dell Venue Pro isn’t a big stretch. But what truly is the stretch is what happened in almost 7 months post its December release. Strap yourself in, this is going to be a long ride to call Big Daddy Microsoft to rear its ugly Dell child in line.

Oh where do I start? The only device that wasn’t hotdogg’d like all of the other Windows Phone devices, the Dell Venue Pro stands out on its own and commands attention from anyone who even glances at the device at happenstance. When I finally received the device, of course, I record it! Who wouldn’t. But then, literally within an hour after use, I noticed some funny bugs. Lockscreen lag (vs the HD7 at the time), issue with waking up, and ultimately the bane that would reach several users. Oh yes, the wifi bug. For the ten of us that doesn’t know what the famed wifi bug is, well, if you connect to wifi, the device freezes. It isn’t just a freeze that will go away after a few seconds like other Windows Phone devices, but the freeze requires a battery pull. If the freeze was attributed to wifi being connected after hours or even days, that many users can understand. But it’s not after hours of constant wifi connection or even days, it’s minutes. The minutes vary, but personally, it was about 5 minutes on my first device from Dell.

Of course this prompts me to call Dell Mobility. Stop me if this sounds familiar to you guys who own a Dell Venue Pro. A refurbished device is sent to you and then the device has the exact same problem. It should sound familiar, that’s the hell that I and several Dell Venue Pro users have experienced. Multiple refurbished units, and months of frustration later, we are given a date for a new firmware update that will fix these issues. The firmware update was to be released with NoDo, that was the initial suggestion that Dell Mobility has given customers, but we all know what happened. Nodo came and went. No firmware update. Well, I think anyone can understand that sometimes a firmware update will be applied separate from Nodo. HTC did it, Samsung did it as well. NoDo was pushed, but days (or weeks, depending on the type of device and carrier) afterward, those companies pushed out firmware updates in a timely manner. And those companies should be applauded for their efforts.

And then, there’s Dell. The story has changed so much for this mythical firmware update, I don’t even have the slightest of where it began. All I know is that Mobility representatives began telling customers that the update would be pushed out with NoDo around March. Then, the update would be separate from NoDo and released in April. And now, the firmware is coming sometime soon, but all refurbished units have been frozen. That is what me, and several other owners of the Dell Venue Pro have been told.

So, let me see if I get this straight. Users were told that an update was coming for almost 3 months, every date that was given has passed and there has been no update. And now, when the wifi bug gets even worse, you expect users not to receive a refurbished unit when Dell made this mistake? To grin and bear it because an update is coming? Really And freeze the refurbished units from being sent out because they have the same problems as the phones we hold in our hands? I know it can’t be just me – but doesn’t that seem a bit wrong to you? If this was an isolated incident on my experiences, would I report this? Absolutely not. But several users are told this and expected to just comply.

At this stage in the proverbial mobile space, a unified product is important to ensure that proper devices are sold. Microsoft, you have made a quality OS that has me looking negatively on other mobile OSes because there isn’t strict unification and unified experiences. You deserve a pat on the back, the kudos the whole nine yards. But then, you have a company like Dell that’s ruining the experience. Oh, they are. Not only was a product sold with several issues since November, quality control of the product is insulting, but users of the product are at a point to where nothing can be done. And yet Dell is continuing to sell these devices to users worldwide; even recently going to AT&T with a new firmware no doubt. I have no idea if there are intermittent issues with wifi from the AT&T branding, but I do know every other Dell Venue Pro sold; even the one with the mythical 7355 OS bundled, has a wifi problem.

But Malcolm, why don’t you switch the microsd card slot out like xyz suggested months ago? Excellent question. Here’s a retort – should I have to? We’ve been told ad nauseum that removing the black tape from the microsd card slot voids the Dell warranty; leaving you SOL when another issue occurs (you know like slow wakeups on hard reset, dust under the curved gorilla glass screen and a plethora of other issues to include the camera). Should a user have to void their warranty to fix a main problem with a device that was launched apart of the new windows phone brand of devices?

Dell is releasing a new Dell Venue Pro model that is running Mango. Before I even begin to discuss the “new” device, let’s consider what Dell has done with other devices. Almost each and every single device released last year (Dell Aero, Dell Streak, Dell Venue Pro) has a large issue. Further, a firmware update is promised to users and it is a painstaking process to actually receive that update. Microsoft, Dell is ruining your image in the mobile space by treating customers in such a manner while selling devices with the Windows Phone brand. Every single other company with a Windows Phone that has an issue solves the issue in a relatively short amount of time (including Samsung). And Dell still hasn’t. Don’t you think it’s time to step in before Dell cuts off a huge user base? You know the ones that prefer devices with a keyboard and also enjoy a slide up keyboard? I know I do!

Microsoft, this situation is looming on ugly levels and the commentary is just a piece of what issues have faced. I haven’t begun to discuss the disconnect between the supervisors at Dell and the Mobility support agents, the vaulted promises given to some users while others suffer, and a plethora of other issues. Microsoft, it is time to seriously intervene before Dell costs the company (and potential Windows Phone users) to go to different OSes, you know like Apple or Android? Please, nip this in the bud before it gets worse. I can assure you, this will get worse. I’ve been a loyal customer with Dell for almost ten years, and I think many that have been users of Dell devices for that long can attest to several issues that Dell (mobility specifically) has undergone in the past few years. Step in and intervene before more money is lost.

Rumor: HD7 Running Android!?

Okay, so our fans hate rumors and unsubstantiated claims. Trust me, there is nothing I hate more than reading news like this or even reporting rumor/unsubstantiated news bits to clog up this website. But this news seems too interesting to pass up.

So, on, I see a google translated article that noted the HD7 is running android with htc sense 3.0. I laughed at the claim, as most would, but then I saw the video. Personally, I can’t honestly tell if this is a trick, or just false. But April’s fools has come and gone and seeing this makes me wonder whether this is reliable and valid. If this is true, the first question is how – considering there is no HSPL on the HD7, no haret, and further no real way to elevate the user into advanced admin commands to even begin running haret on a windows phone 7 device. Nevertheless, the video seems interesting.

So, what do you guys think? Is this real or fake? Let us know in the comments below! Because I can’t honestly tell maybe you guys can!

Source: XDA.CN

Samsung Focus Exposed With Root Tools

Samsung development has been chiefly unique in that development on the device has flown in a boom of development followed by a lull of what appeared to be no developmental progress. Oh sure, users have some registry access on their device and can change the theme color, but when it comes to changing your operator through the registry (without using the debrand program for instance), deeper registry access and file access has been limited to say the least. That is, until now.

Since February, Heathcliff74 has hinted of a project to give users full root access in the registry and through file explorer. Many of you know Heathcliff74 if you are using the HTC Hub on a device that isn’t an HTC device, then you have benefited from his work. Yesterday, he has released a program called WP7 Root Tools. For now, it is only a Samsung exclusive program because Samsung coding is used to give the user elevated access, but the goal is to have Root Tools available to all devices. It is an alpha and currently users only have access to an unrestricted registry editor, but future development does include root file explorer access and certificate management. Sound interesting? Take a look and give it a test drive on your Samsung device. Let us know how it goes!

Thanks to Heathcliff and on behalf of wmpoweruser, we wish you and your family the best of luck during this time. Thanks for developing.

Find the tool at XDA- Developers here.

Homebrew: Touchxperience and Windows Phone Device Center Beta Release

He’s tweeted it, he’s teased us with images of it, and now it’s here! Julien “Schaps” Schapman has given a private beta to not just one but two programs. The first program is touchxperience; a hub launcher (much akin to samsung now or the htc hub) that allows users to see several items at a glance for their device (comm manager, launcher, and actions panels) while maintaining the aesthetic for the metro ui and bringing the uniqueness of touchxperience to a new generation of handsets. While there are no “widgets” and customization options, the ui is smooth and very easy to get into.

Unlike the previous touchxperience, the current iteration serves a major function which preludes to Schaps next program, the windows phone device center. Much like touchxperience, windows phone device center (wpdc) gives users a lot of information at a single glance and several options. However, WPDC won’t work without touchxperience running on your device. But all of these words seem a bit foreign, don’t they? What about we take a little bit of a test drive around WPDC? Don’t worry, a public beta is coming soon. For now, take a look at the program in video after the break.

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Are you being hit by a Contacts list and Phone Crashing Bug?

FE FI FO FUM! I see a bug in windows phone! All joking aside, users have reported some strange things happening to their windows phones. The major issues involve a contact list reset, facebook unlinking, call history being extremely delayed.

Now as we may know, sometimes these issues seem to be isolated to a certain program, or the pesky microsd card. However, the momentum of the issue may seem to indicate that this may be a microsoft server issue at the very least.

More information will be provided as soon as it becomes available, of course, but has any of our users noticed some strange bugs lately in their contacts and phone? Why not reply and share with us? You can also hit up the two links to find out more information about this bug.

XDA-Developers and Microsoft’s Social Forums