Werner Ruotsalainen's blog

TUTORIAL: Mass-deleting PIM (calendar / contact / task) data

Now that I’ve published my quick tutorial on mass-deleting / marking (un)read mail items in all mobile operating systems I’ve just been asked by my blog reader natestera on how the same can be done under WM5+ to PIM ("Personal Information Manager") data like calendar (appointment) info, contacts and tasks.

I’ve already elaborated on this subject in some forum posts and articles some two or three years ago. As, in the meantime,

  1. WM5 has changed the way contacts can be mass-deleted in its built-in Contacts client (read: it no longer offers mass-selection/deletion capabilities; note that it didn’t change the way tasks and appointments are handled, though. That is, it didn’t introduce mass-selection / deletion capabilities to appointments and it didn’t take away the mass (incl. Ctl + A) /block selection capabilities of Tasks);
  2. SKTools, the, in my opinion, best all-in-one system tool, received mass deletion capabilities; so did the brand new and, what is more, free PIM Backup;
  3. some third-party PIM handler applications also received (some) mass-deletion capabilities and
  4. my previous tutorials didn’t elaborate on the touchscreen-less MS Smartphone platform, only Pocket PC’s,

I found it necessary to publish a brand new, all-in-one tutorial on all these questions.

Note that this tutorial both elaborates on Pocket PC’s (with a touchscreen) and touchscreen-less MS Smartphones. Section 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 all apply to both operating systems. It’s only Chapter 2 (see Section 2.1 and 2.2) that separately discusses third-party PIM replacement applications for the two platforms.

1.1 Built-in Windows Mobile PIM apps

First, let's take a look at how the built-in Windows Mobile applications show PIM data and whether they allow for mass selection:

1.1.1 Pocket PC’s

Appointments:

(Tools / Options doesn’t have anything like this either: 1 2)


----

Quick tip: selecting more than one mail for deletion / marking (un)read

I, being the author of the Windows Mobile Mailer Bible, probably the best source of everything mailing-related, always receive several mailing-related questions. One of the most often asked one concerns mass selection operations to be able to quickly delete or mark (un)read several (or all) messages. The main reason for this is, for example, resetting the “new / unread mail†counter on your main home (on Pocket PC’s, “Todayâ€) screen by quickly deleting or making read mail you know you won’t ever need – without the need to open and/or delete them one by one.

First, let’s take a look at how this is to be done in the two major flavors of Windows Mobile:

1.1 Pocket PC (WM6 Professional / Classic; devices with touch screens)

It’s very easy to mass-select your mails in Pocket PC’s. All you need to do is either:

  1. mass-select the mails you want to mark / delete with the stylus and/or
  2. if you have a built-in thumbboard, press Shift and the up/down arrow keys (its effect is the same as that of the stylus when mass selecting messages) and/or
  3. if you want to mass-select all messages (not just some of them), bring up the on-screen keyboard and press Ctl and, then, A

After this, all mass operations will work as supposed to.

1.2 MS Smartphone (WM6 Standard; devices without touch screens)

Unfortunately, the touchscreen-less MS Smartphone platform works in a pretty much different way. First, let’s start with the built-in messaging:

1.2.1 Messaging

As with the “big brotherâ€, the Pocket PC, there aren’t any menu-based mass selection capabilities built-in in the MS Smartphone version of Messaging either. This can be seen in the following menu shot:

As there’s no touch screen and/or on-screen keyboards either, you couldn’t use Ctrl-A without third party tools (more on them later).

1.2.1.1 A quick tip for easier one-by-one deletion

If you want to quickly delete messages (with a single press of the left softkey – warning, the left softkey is only assigned the “Delete†functionality in WM6 and above, NOT in WM5!), do the following: go to Tools / Options / Other / uncheck Warn when deleting messages in the message list:

This makes it far easier to delete mails. This, however, doesn’t help in making a mail read. The latter will always require two button presses per mail (as opposed to – again, only under WM6+ - one, when you delete mail) (Menu / Mark as read).

1.2.2 FlexMail

With the alternative, excellent mailer client, FlexMail, the situation is better as of the current version (FlexMail 4 beta; 03/11/2008).

1.2.2.1 (Un)read flag toggling

In the top-level Folder view, if you just press Action on the folder, you can quickly toggle the read flag of all mail inside:

You can also do the same in the folder itself (Menu / Mark):


----

CorePlayer 1.2.1 (w/ YouTube support!) & Pocket Player 3.6 out; massive price cuts at Conduits

1. The latest, 1.2.1 version of CorePlayer has JUST been released, with the long-promised Mobile YouTube support. It also has Configurable YouTube quality control; let me cite their post on this: “But the BIGGEST reason why YouTube is better in CorePlayer then on YouTube.com or any other third party application? CorePlayer is the first media player to feature Configurable YouTube quality control.... You control the bandwidth and quality that your platform can handle. From Low, Medium, to High quality (H.264) streams.


----

Sun to develop MIDlet manager for Apple's iPhone?

NOTE: this isn't strictly a Windows Mobile news item (albeit it also contains Windows Mobile references; see for example the Sun MIDlet Manager on some new HP’s).


----

Gaming news (03/08/2008): PDAMill’s Wild Gears; Resco Table Soccer for free; GF5500 support in DoomGLES

Topics:

1. PDAmill has released Wild Gears, a Micro Machines clone

Famous game developer company PDAmill has just released Wild Gears, a pretty decent top-down racing game certainly worth a try. Features include:

• Gorgeous Cartoon Art
• Four different cars
• Intuitive controls that make full use of Windows Mobile touch screen
• 15 awesome tracks to race on
• Rockin' Soundtrack with over 20 minutes of music
• Four different Cups to compete in!
• Records Menu keeps track of all your best track and lap times
• Auto-save

Your first question will surely be (if you’re into gaming, that is): How does it compare to K-Rally, the King of all top-down racing games on all mobile platforms, including Windows Mobile (see review HERE)? Well, it has both cons and pros.

Compared to K-Rally...

It’s worth pointing out that the PDAMill folks pay special attention to their titles’ flawless running on low-end Pocket PC’s plagued with the infamous touchscreen bug I’ve elaborated on, for example, HERE. I’ve thoroughly tested the game on my non-overclocked HTC Wizard and found it extremely well done and the graphics not stuttering at all even with the stylus resting on the screen. This certainly wasn’t the case with K-Rally. On the other hand, I’ve found the game slightly slower on my VGA Dell Axim x51v than on my (even low-end!) QVGA devices. In this regard, K-Rally might (still) be a better choice.

Pros:
- runs definitely better on low-end Pocket PC’s with touchscreen CPU usage issues
- the control scheme may turn out be better for many (see below)


----

HW news: XPERIA X1, HP iPAQ 210, Samsung i780, Asus P750, i-mate etc.

There is a lot of hardware news. As they’re pretty much interdependent, I devote a single article to all of them.

a. First, let’s start with the, in my opinion, most important news item: as you may have heard (see related PPCT thread HERE), Sony may only release the XPERIA X1, without doubt the most revolutionary Windows Mobile phone to be released this year, only next year in February. This, in the meantime, has been refined: the device is officially stated to be released H2 this year. The reason for the 2009 release date given in the official product page is as follows: “The only reason for the mysterious “10th of February release†is the fact that Sony Ericsson (or should I say Microsoft) has yet to decide on when to publicly announce the operating system and technical specifications of the X1, and thereby also a precise release dateâ€

Indeed it’d be pretty much suicidal for Sony-Ericsson to wait almost a year with the release. It’s NOW that there aren’t any decent high-resolution (W)VGA devices on the market, not a year later, when

  1. there would be at least E-TEN (now: Acer) to offer the V900 and Gigabyte the MS808, which both have a digital TV tuner compatible with both handheld and standard terrestrial broadcasts and also have really decent specs. Also, BlackBerry and the Symbian / feature phone folks should not be underestimated either: S60 Touch is promised for this year (the just-announced Nokia N96 may pale in comparison to it if it's true what Nokia predicts - that is, at least something like that of Nvidia's really-really excellent GUI) and there are rumors of a touchscreen BlackBerry too. Other manufacturers may also come up with Android and LiMo-based, “killer†devices and, speaking of Linux, there’re rumors of a new Nokia Internet Tablet, this time incorporating WiMax support (one of the biggest and most frequently uttered buzzwords of this year’s MWC).
  2. the current hardware (particularly the Qualcomm MSM7200A chipset), assuming it isn’t changed / updated, becomes outdated in a year. Not only because of the Samsung S3C6410, which MAY be shipping then or the also way better and more powerful TI OMAP 3, which is available even now, but also because of Qualcomm’s own, new announcements (most importantly, the QST1105), which may also become available (and even shipped with some new models!) this year for industry-wide deployment.

b. Let’s go on with the HP iPAQ 210. I have some good news for you.


----

MWC: new devices: Samsung SGH-i780, HP iPAQ 21x, MDA Compact IV, Toshi G910, HTC Shift etc.

After my thorough and, for example, PPCT frontpaged elaboration on the current i-mate lineup, let me speak about my experiences with the new, highly anticipated models either announced or showcased at MWC (or just recently released): the Samsung SGH-i780, the HP iPAQ 21x, the new Toshiba models, the E-Ten V900, The Gigabyte MS808 etc. (And, I’ll quickly mention the T-Mobile-only (!), high-end, VGA MDA Compact IV too.)

Samsung SGH-i780

First, I REALLY recommend Mobile-Review’s two-part review of this VERY nice device. In here, I generally don’t repeat what has already been explained there (except for a quick summary); I only elaborate on what I don’t agree with in the review and deem it necessary to add.

This is a pretty promising and high-spec’ed, still, very light (120g – somewhat more than the 112g, original [and, capability-wise, much-much inferior] HTC Touch, the same as the Nokia N95 and the T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus (HTC Nike 200); somewhat less than the HTC Touch Cruise P3650 (HTC Polaris 100) and MUCH less than the Kaiser) Pocket PC with a BlackBerry-alike thumbboard, a square 320*320 (yes, you've read it right: NOT those awful, incompatible-with-most-titles 240*240 screens!) screen, the latest-and-(almost the) greatest Marvel Xscale PXA310 CPU (as opposed to the old Intel Xscale PXA270 series still used in most current and forthcoming, Xscale-based devices – see for example the i-mate 6150 / 8150) and an optical touchpad (as opposed to traditional D-pads).


(From top left to right: the HTC Universal (i-mate JasJar), HTC s310 / Oxygen (SPV C100), the SGH-i780 (from bottom left to right): T-Mobile Shadow (HTC Kii 100), Samsung SGH-i640, BlackBerry 8800 and Nokia N95)


(From left to right: the HTC Universal (i-mate JasJar) with an extended battery, HTC s310 / Oxygen (SPV C100), T-Mobile Shadow, Samsung SGH-i640, BlackBerry 8800, Nokia N95 and the the SGH-i780)


(The same as before at the bottom; on the top, the new Benq, the HP iPAQ 610 (more on it later) and the HTC s730)

I've played a lot with the latter (the touchpad) at Barcelona and, frankly, didn’t quite like it. Of course, I need to admit I’ve already been spoiled by the touchpad of the HP iPAQ hx4700, which I hated. Frankly, I’ve found the “optical touchpad†of the Samsung a bit worse:

  1. it’s definitely smaller than that of the iPAQ. It should have been made much bigger, even on the expense of the neighboring, huge buttons.
  2. I’ve found it harder to operate. With the hx4700, you can both just touch the touchpad and press it hard: both will work. With the Samsung, only light touching works.

The fact that, unlike with the iPAQ, it can be pressed down (“Actionâ€), is a plus, however, when compared to the hx4700.

All in all, if I REALLY need to use something being able to position quicker, I would still prefer to see something like the trackball in recent BlackBerry models (everything newer than the 8700). It has its own problems (for example, it needs to be cleaned now and then – fortunately, it’s comparatively easy on the BlackBerry), but is a FAR faster, FAR more precise and FAR more gaming / e-book reading-friendly pointing method than such a small touchpad. I know this as I’m also a BlackBerry 8800 user (as has also been mentioned HERE). Windows Mobile manufacturers, are you listening? It’s better to forget this touchpad thing altogether (again, remember the hx4700’s fate!) and use trackballs instead.


----

MWC: Chipset Vendors & New Chipsets - Part II

The underlying chipset in a handheld device or phone has probably the biggest impact on major properties of the device like battery life, the (in)ability to use 3G and overall performance, particularly when it comes to graphics. Even users that don’t know much of of the hardware of these devices know that, for example, at least in the Windows Mobile world (as opposed to Symbian devices), TI OMAP almost exclusively means very good battery life but reduced performance and lack of hardware acceleration of, for example, 3D or video decoding. In this installment of my MWC series, I explain and evaluate most of the remaining, announced new chipsets.

In Part I of my CPU/chipset-related MWC series, I’ve elaborated on the brand new and really-really cool MWC announcement of Samsung. I’ve also introduced the latest technology from Imagination Technologies and have also touched on Qualcomm. Let’s start with the latter.

Qualcomm

In the previous article, I’ve promised I would fill you in on their latest chipset, the QST1x0x (QST1000, QST1100 and QST1105). I’ve already linked to the official announcement in a later, generic article. Now, let me elaborate on the new chipsets a bit more thoroughly.

The new chipset, as you can check it online too, has three submodels: the cheapest and non-connected QST1000, which promises some additional niceties compared to the current MSM7200(A) chipset many Windows Mobile devices are currently based on; for example,


----

Think In Lines & two Java productivity apps for free at mobile2day.de – today only!

You most probably will want to quickly grab Mobisation’s pretty nice game Think In Lines for your Pocket PC.


----

HTC Vox (s710), Orange SPV e650 etc. ROM update released

Should you not follow MoDaCo (related thread HERE) or the Vox forum of XDA-Devs, you may have missed the Vox upgrade released exactly a month ago.

My fellow Vox users have compiled the following (not necessarily full) list of advantages / updates of the new firmware version:

1. New version of Windows Live
2. Office Mobile 6.1
3. Smaller text in sms editor.
4.


----

MWC: i-mate’s new devices

Now, let’s see what new i-mate devices there are.

First and foremost: much as you may already have read it in my first MWC report, but it’s still worth repeating: i-mate is NOT returning to HTC but keeps on bringing out their own handsets, as opposed to the previous rumors. This is, in my opinion, VERY good news, considering that HTC’s current product lineup is pretty much unimaginative and straight boring (read: no VGA, no multimedia, no gaming).


(i-mate’s booth at MWC)

Now, let’s take a closer look at the four new devices they’ve brought out: the Xscale-based, high-end 8150 and the 6150 (the latter, having a VGA screen, also being high-end) and the Qualcomm-based, high-end 9502 and the lower-spec’ed (QVGA) 8502.

Dale Coffing and the VGA output demo

Windows Mobile (Pocket PC / WindowsCE) longtimers surely remember Dale Coffing and his PocketPCPassion, which, back in 2000...2002, was one of the most lively Pocket PC discussion board. During MWC, he mostly ran a demo of the built-in digital (as opposed to analogue) XGA (1024*768) output capabilities of the i-mate 8150 / 6150, thanks to the GoForce 5500 graphics chip inside. Dale has indeed been really energetic – he kept attracting a lot of people to watch his show.

(in his demo, he presented logging into a Vista laptop via the, in the 6150/8150, built-in Remote Desktop Client [see the Remote Desktop Control Bible for more info on it], displaying the remote desktop on an external screen and controlling it via a Bluetooth (ThinkOutside) keyboard and mouse)

He has emphasized these two models are the first phones with a built-in XGA output. He’s right – for example, HTC (unlike i-mate) didn’t really bother enabling the (analogue, VGA) TV output on the Kaiser (aka AT&T Tilt), even though the Qualcomm chipset does support it (more on the (vast) differences of the analogue VGA and the digital XGA output later). The two other phones with the GoForce 5500 built-in, the O2 XDA Flame and the Toshiba Portégé G900, didn’t have XGA output either. (The Flame only supports VGA-resolution, analogue TV output but not XGA digital. In this respect, it’s way worse than i-mate’s new 6150 and 8150).

Of course, you can still make other models display their contents on an external screen - for example, via Spectec’s new SDV-842 microSD card, which will also be elaborated on in Dale Daniels' article Can a Smartphone Replace a Laptop? in the forthcoming (April 2008) Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine article (also see THIS for a generic overview of all similar solutions). But that’s an external, additional solution, with all its problems:

  1. the SDV-842 isn’t particularly cheap (albeit still much cheaper than the old and no longer supported iGo Pitch Duo -Presentation Device): at Expansys-USA, it costs some $125
  2. it doesn’t contain built-in memory, which may become a major pain in the back, particularly if you only have a device with 128M ROM.
  3. it can’t be used with the (now, very few and low-end) phones that have their memory card under the battery (for example, the HTC Oxygen / s310).
  4. storage card-based solutions are inherently more fragile than solutions based on built-in sockets

----

Great Worms clone Nanobotz for half the price! Go get it!

Topics:

Nanobotz (see related info HERE; I particularly recommend Ben's review) is offered at half the price at ClickGamer.


----

Misc news: MWC, GREAT rebates, new devices, new games/emulators/CorePlayer version

1. App news / rebates:

a. (still a preview, but still much more advanced than version 1.1.3 released a month ago) CorePlayer 1.2, finally, released for Windows Mobile. See THIS for more info. The Symbian version, as opposed to what was announced a month ago (then, the CoreCodec folks only promised a Windows Mobile release for February), seems to hit the shelves very soon too - see THIS thread. It, among other things, promises hardware acceleration. I'm really looking forward to the dramatic speed / efficiency increase this could mean on current high-end Nokias like the N95 using the latest TI OMAP & PowerVR-based chipsets.

b. ALL of VITO Technology's products are available for $7 (!!) only: go purchase them while the offer lasts! (I'm pretty unlucky, it seems: it was just before MWC that I purchased their AudioNotes for Symbian S60v3 for some $25... should I have known this GREAT rebate beforehand... :) )

2. Gaming & emulation news:

a. Creatonia made free!

Insenic, who, in the past, have already made two of their previously commercial titles free, decided to do the same to their pretty nice RPG title Creatonia. While the biggest problems (for example, the lack of in-game music, the dull graphics etc.) are still present, it's really worth getting for free. See THIS for a review (frontpaged on several sites).

b. a new version of Commodore 64 emulator for both the MS Smartphone (WM6 Standard) and Pocket PC (WM6 Pro / Classic) platform, PocketHobbit, is released, with a lot of niceties like native QVGA support (remember? It was me who wrote an extended, QVGA-enabled Smartphone version of the original) and frame rate settings. See THIS for a generic overview of emulating the Commodore 64 under Windows Mobile. It's available HERE (NOT on the old links).

c. Astraware has released a fully-fledged, very interesting strategy game Westward, which is certainly worth checking out. There is a great Just Another Mobile Moday review HERE. It runs on both Pocket PC's and Smartphones (and even Palm OS devices).

d. Beijing Huike Technology, the developers of Dark Street reviewed HERE, have released four additional games for both the Pocket PC and MS Smartphone:


----

MWC: The Browser War Continues: NetFront 3.5; WebKit-based Iris; server-side content rendering

This is the promised continuation of my previous MWC article, "MWC: Web browsing: WebKit, Thunderhawk news; a dedicated Web browser handheld"

Iris - another WebKit port from Torch Mobile

In the previous Web browsing-related MWC article, I’ve elaborated on Wake3’s WebKit port, which is, as opposed to what some say, is in no way waporware.

The developer, Torch Mobile, already has a more or less working and testable, albeit VERY (as of version 1.0.4) unstable, public version of the browser. It’s available for download HERE. Note that it’s WM6 and Pocket PC only – pre-WM6 and/or touchscreen-less MS Smartphone (WM6 Standard) devices won’t work.


(VGA Pocket PC; note that, just like with Wake3’s (current) version, it requires extensive horizontal scrolling with most pages on QVGA devices as it has no “Fit to screen†or “One column†mode)

It’s VERY slow and some links just aren’t clickable. (For example, I was unable to execute the Acid2 test because the link was just not clickable on the homepage; it was only the pre-rendered reference shot that I could click).

Other (menu) screenshots:
Navigate menu
Page / Tools
Page / Zoom
Page / Tabs

All in all, the current version is pretty much useless. Let’s hope future versions will be better, though.

Access’ Netfront 3.5 (current Technical Preview)

I’ve also very thoroughly spoken to the Access folks on the fate of version 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5. Most importantly, I asked them what happened to 3.4; how come they haven’t ever released 3.4 for the masses as a purchasable product, and how come they have already released a Technical Preview of 3.5, even without 3.4 having been released.

After some serious communication problems (the Access guy I spoke to at first didn’t seem to really understand English; after my having repeated the question at least ten times and he’s still not answering it but starting to speak about something completely different (it was a very technical question, which I couldn’t have explained straight in Japanese)), fortunately, we received help.


----

MWC: New, revolutionary chipsets & related info: Samsung, Imagination, Qualcomm

Topics:

Samsung

Architecture-wise, it’s without doubt Samsung’s MWC announcement of a brand new, high-end chipset (also having a CPU), the S3C6410 (and its budget version, the S3C6430), that may be the most interesting to Windows Mobile users.

As you may already know, Samsung’s SC3244x (for example, the SC32442 used in the HTC P6300 (HTC Panda), E-Ten’s late 2007/early 2008 models like the X650 and the M800 etc – see the complete list HERE and HERE for the SC32442 and the SC32440, respectively), the chipset used in several current(!) Windows Mobile devices, is REALLY outdated. I’ve shown numerous examples and proofs of this (see for example THIS) - for example, the very bad CPU usage of A2DP (about 50% at 400 MHz) and the complete lack of advanced multimedia (MP3 / AAC) en/decoding support (this is why you can’t, for example, use the high-quality Resco audio codec pack with (old) Samsung CPU’s, as has also been pointed out HERE). These two tasks are all far better handled by any other, current CPU’s like Intel XScales (even the “old†PXA-2XX ones) and TI OMAP’s (again, even the oldest ones used in Windows Mobile 5+ devices). The only real advantage of the SC3244x is the CPU usage-independent power consumption – the other two, above-mentioned architectures can’t boast with this. (See the bottom section of THIS article for a proof.)

Before MWC, as far as their newer chipsets are concerned, only the S3C6400 was known. For example, E-Ten’s brand new, high-end, feature-packed V900 (to be released in April) will have this chipset. (Currently, there’re no other existing/announced devices (see THIS) with this CPU.)

This chipset is the base (the direct predecessor, parent) of the new S3C6410/ S3C6430 models. In this respect, it’s pretty much comparable to the Marvell XScale PXA270 as opposed to the PXA310, let alone the even more feature-rich PXA320.

The just-announced S3C6410, which is an even more advanced version of the S3C6400 , is even better; for example, it supports hardware 3D acceleration. Again, it’s like the PXA310 or the PXA320 compared to the PXA270. Unfortunately, currently, no future devices are known to have it.


(the 3D performance demo of the brand new S3C6410; you can see the S3C6410 flier I’ve also made some shots of here)


(multimedia demo on the older S3C6400)


(HD AX audio decoding demo on the older S3C6400)


(this is how an imaginary device could house the S3C6400)

Note that, currently, the only available online information is the above-linked one. While it does explain the advantages of the new S3C6410 platform over the “old†S3C6400 one, it’s definitely worth checking out their offline brochure I’ve taken a shot of (with my Nokia N95 – man, it DOES have a very nice camera. Hear that, Windows Mobile ODM’s? We want something similar on WM too!) Also note that Samsung’s portal doesn’t have any information on the S3C6430 at all. Finally, note that none of the other portals reporting on MWC have anything else on the new CPU than the above-linked press release (see for example MobileBurn, electronista.com, techon - these are the sites mentioning S3C6410 I could find via Google). That is, it’s in by me that you get a full rundown of the differences between the new CPU’s and the “old†S3C6400.



(again, click the pictures to get a full-resolution, readable one!)

As can clearly be seen, the S3C6410 is a much more advanced version of the S3C6400: it uses 65 nm technology instead of the 90 nm one (most probably resulting in major power and size savings), it has advanced 2D capabilities (for example, H.264 hardware decoding – as is also explained in the online version) and even 3D hardware acceleration. The “budget†S3C6430 seems to be exactly the same as the S3C6410; the only difference seems to be the complete lack of 3D hardware acceleration. Hope we’ll still see the latter (that is, the S3C6410) with proper (!) 3D drivers.


----

MWC Audio Encoding News Roundup; Skype cracked!

OK, let’s see what novelties and new announcements MWC had for us, music / radio streaming buffs. You may already know I’m pretty much into audio encoding; see for example my HE-AAC v2-related remarks in my Radio Stream Transcoding Bible.

Fraunhofer Society

The, for the MP3 format, well-known Fraunhofer Society demoed HD-AAC, their latest-and-greatest losless format, which is compatible with any AAC-LC players; that is, even old(er) iPod’s (and, of course, Pocket PC’s with an AAC-LC-compliant player). The new format has been announced (and, first, was demoed) this year at CES.

While some people predict (see for example THIS) the new format will quickly die or won’t be implemented by anyone (like the fate of MP3 Pro), I think the new format has a lot of potential. After all,

1. a LOT of Windows Mobile (or, for that matter, generic mobile - for example, Symbian or iPhone) users listen to other kinds of losless music (most importantly, FLAC). That is, a full implementation for Windows Mobile (Symbian, mobile incarnations of Linux, Blackberry etc.) can make a lot of people switch to the new format from, say, using FLAC.

2. it is fully (!!!) backwards compatible with 128 kbps AAC-LC – that is, the native format of iPods, iTunes etc. This means a HD-AAC tune can be played back on any AAC-LC player – without the quality enhancements, of course. But, at least, you won’t encounter any quality problem. Unlike with, say, only HE-AAC- but not HE-AAC v2-compliant players playing back HE-AAC v2 contents, resulting in severely reduced audio quality and mono sound. The only problem you’ll face with playing back HD-AAC clips on a mobile device are the (in cases, far) bigger storage requirements. However, the fact that you can use exactly the same sound file on your desktop and (even simple, old) mobiles for playback can be a lifesaver in many cases. That is, you don’t need to create a separate FLAC and a separate AAC-LC version of your CD if you prefer having the original in as good quality as possible, without using any lossy codec. Again, it’s only the differece in the file size that may cause you problems on a memory-constrained mobile device (and, probably, the higher CPU / power usage – I’m not sure about this.)

The new format is based on the MPEG-4 SLS (Scalable to Lossless) standard.

Also see for example THIS (in addition to the above-linked Wiki pages) for more info.

SRS (Sound Retrieval System)

The SRS Labs folks also demoed their SRS.


----

HereticGLES released with 2700G (and, later, GoForce 5500) 3D HW support!

Topics:

The 3D hardware accelerated Heretic port, HereticGLES, has just been released by the author of DoomGLES / PPC, a finalist (!) in last year's Best Software Awards, in the Games / First Person Shooter category.

See the homepage of the game HERE.


----

MWC: Breaking Sony-Ericsson XPERIA X1 news & pics!

THIS article, along with the comments, is definitely worth checking out. It emphasizes the device will have WM 6.1 (unlike what Mobile-Review stated some days ago) and will be based on the Qualcomm MSM7200A chipset running at 528 MHz.


----

MWC: Web browsing: WebKit, Thunderhawk news; a dedicated Web browser handheld

(Note that you'll find the Opera Mobile 9.5-related report HERE; in this article, I only report on some other stuff. Also note that I'll still publish some other MWC articles on Web browsing; for example, on the Russian InfoGrin.)

WebKit

WebKit (Wiki page HERE) is a well-known framework two major mobile browsers (that of Nokia’s s60v3 and Applet’s iPhone) are based on. It’s hugely successful and, by many, generally considered one of the best mobile browsers. You may already have head that it’s being ported to Windows Mobile.





(The WinMo port of WebKit rendering our blogs; as usual, click the images for a much bigger version)

I was pretty lucky with the Wake3 folks (the people behind the Windows Mobile port of WebKit) because we’ve run into each other right on Sunday morning (one day before the MWC officially started) on the bus heading to Espanja Square. As they didn’t have a booth, I would have, otherwise, missed this great chance to quickly test the current version of their port and also ask them about their plans for future.

First, don’t expect a full review in here – it would just be unfair because the port, currently, doesn’t even have a menu (only an address bar) or, on a low-resolution handheld device, pretty much important "fit into screen" or "one column" modes. Therefore, I just played a bit with it to see how, for example, our blogs are rendered. I haven’t run the Acid2 / my standard Ajax tests either to find out more about web standards compliance. According to the developers, I already supports full JavaScript, HTML and CSS(2). They have also stated that, speed-wise, it should be comparable to Nokia’s S60v3 FP1+ Web browser – or, even better, iPhone. Finally, I haven’t made any speed tests or checked the memory usage / optimization either (a major stumbling block with, for example version 0.2 of Minimo); they stated the WebKit blog has (and will have) some related announcements.

A public pre-beta phase follows some months later. They will (at least try to) implement hardware button quick access / controllability (one of the greatest things in Opera Mini, Mobile and Internet Explorer Mobile with the right plug-in supporting this; for example, PIEPlus or MultiIE).

As far as the above-mentioned lack of an one-column or "fit to screen" mode is concerned, they plan to do something like Safari on the iPhone, with the same nice scrolling and zooming in/out – that is, something that needs to be scrolled / zoomed in exactly the same way. It’s only later (if at all) that they might implement any fit-to-screen modes. I, however, REALLY hope that they do implement a text rendering mode like that if Opera Mini / Mobile – that is, the text, repaginate when necessary, dynamically reflows so that it first nicely in the screen, without any need to scroll horizontally.


----

MWC: the competition: BlackBerry (RIM) and Nokia

I’ve also thoroughly checked out the booths of the two major competitors of Windows Mobile, RIM (Research in Motion; a.k.a. the BlackBerry folks) and Nokia.

BlackBerry

Before visiting the RIM booth, I had hoped for at least a glimpse of the forthcoming 4.5 version of the BlackBerry operating system delivering some long-awaited niceties like A2DP (stereo Bluetooth) support and HTML e-mail (the latter meaning no more need for BBSmart, the well-known additional HTML rendering program for the operating system). Unfortunately, there haven’t been any sign or any information on the new OS at all. Actually, as far as A2DP is concerned, they have only released an external device, the Remote Stereo Gateway, providing similar functionality. As it’s just an external dongle, I didn’t even bother to thoroughly test it. (Assuming it’s available at MWC at all – at least I haven’t seen it in person.)

(Also see THIS CrackBerry article if interested.)

Moving from the question of the new OS to other subjects, there isn’t much to report on new hard- or software either. Most of their new (press) releases / announcements are “only” mobile operator-related; for example, deepening their strategic relationship with Vodafone. Probably the only real announcement they’ve made, which might be of interest to BB users, is the launch of Blackberry Unite, which is a free download and is supposed to have for example remote access to desktop files and communicating with other Blackberry Unite users. I don’t know whether it allows for talking to non- Blackberry Unite users (read: MSN / Google Talk etc.); it seems it doesn’t. No problem, though – I’m pretty much happy with IM+ on my BB 8800. (Albeit, it was surely pretty expensive.)

There has also been another announcement customers of BB may be interested in much more than just plain relationship deepening reports: that of nuTsie. It’s a music transcoding / streaming service like the highly recommended (see my related articles) ORB on Windows Mobile – but, it seems, without the capabilities of transcoding streaming audio/video (I may be wrong though). (Also see THIS CrackBerry article / post if interested.)

There have been several third-party BlackBerry developers in the BB booth. Of them, I’ve paid a visit to Gameloft, the well-known Java MIDlet game developer for all MIDlet-compatible platforms, to see what (BB-compatible) games they have and how they run on BB hardware. After having realized they didn’t have the famous jump'n'run RayMan on the test BB Pearl, I’ve asked for a quick test of Nitro Street Racing (a well-known and famous title on other platforms - a pleasure to play on particularly the 3D hardware accelerated Nokia high-end N-series phones).

To tell the truth, I didn’t enjoy the game at all. The graphics / animation was pretty slow, even on the (comparatively) low-resolution screen of the Pearl (which means the higher-resolution 8800 / Curve series may be even more sluggish). It’s indeed pretty much certain that the BB platform isn’t the best suited for computing power-intensive applications like games – or, for that matter, even for running Opera Mini if you absolutely need the best performance. (For example, bringing up the long list of my Opera Mini favorites is done much faster on the Nokia N95 or any of my Windows Mobile devices running Jbed than on my BB 8800). I don’t know whether it’s just because the MIDlet manager of the device (which runs all these third-party apps) is just unoptimized or the hardware itself is plain slow, but it really doesn’t matter when the net result is concerned – the entire thing is slow.

Nokia

There is more to report on Nokia – but not so much as I had previously hoped for.

First, the new hardware. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any revolutional devices from them – just the N96 and the N78. They’re slightly better than their predecessors (except for the lack of the camera protection and the 3D hardware acceleration on the former; it also lacks the Xenon flash of the N82 but this is pretty much understandable, given that you need a comparatively large capacitor for flash) but in no way revolutionary – except for the native support for DVB-H if you’re into watching TV (and your country already has DVB-H TV broadcasts.)


----

Syndicate content