Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Outlook.com Preview Goes Live

Are you one of those users that is still rocking a Hotmail account from the 90's? There's still plenty of users on the old hotmail system, in fact, Microsoft touts 300 million Hotmail users in their new intro to Outlook.com email.

Outlook.com email is the next step in Windows Phone integration. Already imbedded deep in the platform, the social networks that Windows Phone already adds to your People Tile are now going to have one touch access through your Outlook.com email. It will also provide quicker access to Office Web Apps, Skydrive and Skype. Not only will all these services become instantly accessible, but they will be faster and more beautiful than ever before.

Log in to your Hotmail or MSN account today from Outlook.com to start your trial of the new service.

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Monday, July 30, 2012

First Look: HTC Locations

One of the benefits of changing hardware in the Windows Phone system is the different "exclusive" software fixes that are out for individual manufacturers. One of the drawbacks that I experienced with the Samsung Focus S is the lack of a decent "turn-by-turn" navigation program. This was one of the first Apps that I purchased, but now that I am using the HTC Titan as my daily driver, it has become less useful.

HTC has outdone the simple "Navigation: Turn by Turn" software that I purchased with their custom "Location" App. Not only does it offer location services like where to find the closest cash machine or gas station, but it also includes turn by turn directions to just about anywhere.

As an added bonus, when you first install the program, you can download segments of the map for offline use. This will save quite a bit of data long term while only using a GB of internal storage for a section as large as the Western United States.

HTC Locations is a great addition to your HTC Titan or any HTC device with more than 8GB of memory. Below that, it will probably require a bit more storage than most are willing to give up. Check it out today for a great navigation experience.

Photo shared from: http://www.windowsphoneitaly.com

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Friday, July 27, 2012

First Day With A Titan

I wish I had something more exciting to share with the announcement of my new FREE HTC Titan hanging out in my pocket, but I don't. I was at work all day, then a quick dinner and home. It was a pretty uneventful day. That said, the Titan is a pretty amazing phone, but not without some annoyances.

First, we have our choice of running either the "MSN" features or "MMS" messages. HTC didn't put the ability to adjust multiple APN's on the device. You also can't create more than one, and it is only the cellular network for data. Pretty sad since the device itself is so awesome! The lack of "image stabilization" like the Focus S had is also a bit of a bummer. The images are nicer, but they tend to have a bit more blur.

Now, just for those that are wondering why I made the change, it is simply due to the fact that the phone feels amazing. It is so good, I would even consider going to a cheaper plan on a T-Mobile carrier's 2G network to use it. The screen is amazing. The camera takes great stills and awesome video. Colors are reproduced with great accuracy and the clarity is good for a 4.7" - 480x800 screen.

So, watch for the update as My Life From My Phone Enters a new chapter. It will be a fun one.

Sent from my HTC Titan Windows Phone powered by GetSmartphones.Info

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Making It Through The Day

One of the most impressive feats of the Samsung Focus S is the battery life of the device. Here it is, the end of a long weekend day, and I am sitting at 31% battery left. Now that may not seem impressive, but keep in mind that I've been off charger for 15 hours already.

The combination of the SAMOLED screen and the power conservation of Windows Phone makes all day power a reality, even when you're out at the farm working. The Focus S relies on a very small battery by today's standards, but squeezes the most out of it by saving power in many ways.

When launching the  camera, there is no need to unlock the phone, load an App and wait to take a photo. Just a quick hold of the camera button launches the viewfinder for that next image. When checking emails, only a small portion of the message is downloaded, saving juice on powering that radio for too long. Of course, the lower power SAMOLED screens use less power for blacks that their LED cousins, meaning more watts for something else.

Overall, you can take a few simple steps to save even more battery by trying the following: Set your screen brightness to Low, then engage the Auto mode, Set important email accounts to sync at 15 minutes and everything else to 1 hour, and try to stay on WiFi when possible since it uses less power than the cellular radio.

Sent from my Windows Phone from GetSmartphones.Info

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Better Way To Dial

If there is one frustration to the Windows Phone dialing system, it is the fact that you can't search for contacts by starting to type their name in. It is a shame that Microsoft ignored this simple feature, but there is an answer in 7dialer.

JDBPocketware has delivered a smashing hit in their 7dialer system. Fully customizable, a live tile to replace the stock phone tile and more configuration options than you can imagine makes 7dialer an easy choice for replacing your stock dialing system.

7dialer is available in an ad supported free version and the full version that is currently on sale for $1.99. Search the Marketplace on your device for the 7dialer program and enjoy a better way to dial.

Sent from my Windows Phone from GetSmartphones.Info

Cooking With Windows Phone

Tonight, I was cooking my first leg of lamb on my barbeque. I realized that I didn't have a timer to calculate how long I needed to cook the meat, nor did I know how long per pound to cook it.

So, after a quick Bing search, I found that a quick sear followed by 20 minutes per pound was the target. I downloaded Cooking Timer from the Marketplace, set it for 5 minutes for the sear, and 1 hour increments for the actual cook time.

After 3 hours on the grill at 300 degrees, we have a gorgeous leg of lamb ready to eat. Maybe we will start with some more cooking experiments straight from Windows Phone.

Sent from my Windows Phone from GetSmartphones.Info

Windows Phone Showdown: Focus S vs. Radar 4G

I love being lucky enough to get to test drive a device here and there. I like it even more when I have the chance to use great devices side by side. A while back, while choosing my daily driver for Windows Phone, I was lucky enough to have my hands on the Samsung Focus S and the HTC Radar 4G. While I had my hands on these two 2nd generation Windows Phones, I made sure to take them through their paces.

Construction: The Radar 4G really wins this battle overall. While the Focus S has a larger format, the Radar just felt great in hand. The solid metal backing of the Radar just gave the device a better feel and a more solid construction. The thin cover of the Focus S certainly lightens the weight of the jumbo build, but overall, it does leave the device feeling a bit too light. The only construction flaw I found in the Radar was the "SIM cover" which to this day, I have yet to find a replacement for if it every happened to break.

Screen: This one is personal opinion, but the Focus S has one amazing screen. Once you get past the "bluish" tint that the SAMOLED screens have, it becomes one of the best parts of the Focus series. The HTC screen is a bit more muted, but has a much more true "white" color. Overall, both screens are very nice in their own way, but the edge on this one goes to the Samsung.

Internal Memory: With 16GB the Focus S seems like a clear winner in this department, but the 8MP camera also takes up more space with each photo. The Radar only had 8GB of internal memory, with about 6 left for personal use. If you are on a limited data plan, this is a major drawback. Fortunately, T-Mobile, the carrier that offers the HTC Radar, only offers unlimited plans. Sure, you will drop off 4G coverage by the middle of the month on the lower range plans, but you never lose it completely. That means access to SkyDrive is always there and that's an added 25GB of space. So, chalk one up for the Samsung here as well, but don't think that 8GB isn't enough on T-Mobile's unlimited plans.

Cameras: This was a tough one since both cameras did an amazing job. The focus had a bit more muted colors and very crisp images. The Radar had a bit more saturation and a beautiful softness to them. The Radar really reminded me of a "portrait" style lens, where as the Focus was more of an "action" lens. Side by side, they both did a fantastic job of capturing the moments. The first image is from the Focus S and the second image is from the Radar 4G. You can see the color difference in the capturing of the first image as the Focus is a soft white and the Radar is the saturated pink. The actual colors are almost in-between the two. The detail is even more obvious in the second set as the Focus almost blew out the pinks in the flowers and the Radar was almost dead on.

Finally, my favorite category, overall experience: how did the phones work for me on a daily basis. The Focus S ended up in my pocket. This had nothing to do with the functionality of the Radar, but more so of the T-Mobile network. Had I been lucky enough to snag the Radar's AT&T counterpart, the Titan or even the newer Titan II, we would probably be reading something like the Titanic Voyage of Windows Phone instead of Focus on Windows Phone. The HTC product was better in almost every aspect, except coverage. You can blame the device a bit, but ultimately a great smartphone on a poor network just isn't going to get the job done. To test my theory on this, we were blessed enough to have a Titan show up for my wife to replace her Focus Flash and can now do a side by side with that one next.

So stay tuned and we'll get it up as soon as we can!

Sent from my Samsung Focus S Windows Phone from GetSmartphones.Info

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Putting Ringtones On Your Focus

When I had my Android device, heck, when I had my Motorola Q, I had a ringtone for everyone in my contact list. My bosses had their own tones, so did my friends. My family members all had different songs that came on when they were calling. It was nice. I knew who was calling from across the room and without needing to see the screen.

This continued through to my Android devices, but started to sway a bit when Facebook contacts and Twitter users were added in to my contact list. I still had my old standbys though.

When I jumped to Windows Phone, I read all about customizing ringtones in Zune, uploading them and assigning them and just about chucked the phone out the window. Who wants to go through all that just to get a custom tone? But instead, I lived with it, until I discovered "Sky Music" from the Marketplace.

Sky Music is a simple music finder app that allows you to download small sections of a song as a ringtone or full versions of songs for listening in the player. It's very quick to use, and even easier to set up ringtones after you're done. Here's the quick rundown of operating Sky Music and how to set that tone you just downloaded to your best friend.

First, download Sky Music from the Marketplace. Then open the App. Tap on "find ringtone" and enter the song name. The play button previews the track, the stop button stops the preview and the musical note downloads the track for use. Quick and simple. The confirmation screen will ask if you want to make it your default tone or not. I usually want a default tone that is normal, but if you want something jazzy for your's just download one and check that box.

Once the song is downloaded, hit up your people tile and find the user you want to set the first song to. Open their contact page, select the pencil to edit and scroll down to the + Ringtone listing. Press this, then select the song you want to have as their ringtone. After the song is selected, just press the back arrow to leave the page and do the next contact.

Before long, your entire phone is programmed successfully and all your friends have those custom ringtones back.

Sent from my Windows Phone from GetSmartphones.Info

Friday, July 13, 2012

Windows Phone On Red Pocket Mobile

I have had quite a few questions on how my Focus S works on Red Pocket Mobile. First things first, Red Pocket Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (the resell the network services of) AT&T. They don't own the towers, they only sell you a phone number and coverage. The reason that I chose to go with Red Pocket was the fact that the coverage was fantastic, the $54.99 plan that includes unlimited voice/text and 1GB of data really fits my needs well, and they treated me wonderfully - although hold times are a bit crazy at times - when I had questions and issues.

So, the question that I get asked the most is how do I get MMS working on my Windows Phone and Red Pocket? The answer is pretty simple in that you install an App from the Marketplace that allows you to change the APN or how your phone talks to the network. There's no hacking needed, just a simple change of a few names on the phone and you are set. Below are the settings to get your Focus S (or other WP7 device) running with RPM.

Start with a trip to the Marketplace and find the App that works with your device:

For HTC devices it is Connection Setup - Titan, Titan II, Radar 4G, others.
For 2nd generation Samsung devices it is Wireless Manager - Focus S, Focus Flash, Focus 2, others.
For 1st generation Samsung devices it is Network Setup - Focus, others
For Nokia Lumia devices it is Network Setup - Lumia 610, 710, 800 and 900.

Simply install the App, open it, swipe right, select "edit apn", change the following:

Next, adjust the APN for the internet connection on the phone. This is done by selecting the "internet_line" APN from the list.

APN name: internet_line
Profile category: internet (always on)
APN: att.mvno
Auth type: none

The rest of the fields are blank.

Then, adjust the APN for the MMS messaging on the phone. This is done by selecting the "mms_line" APN from the list.

APN name: mms_line
Profile category: mms
MMSC (Activated): http://mmsc.cingular.com/
APN: att.mvno
Auth type: none
Username: <blank>
Password: <blank>
Proxy address:
Proxy domain: <blank>
Proxy port: 80

Finally, adjust the APN for the "softap_line" on the phone. This is done by selecting the "softap_line" APN from the list.

APN name: softap_line
Profile category: other
APN: broadband
Auth type: none

The rest of the fields are blank.

This should set up your Lumia/Focus/Titan or other device for use with RPM service. For discounted refills visit GetSmartphones.Info online at http://www.getsmartphones.info/prepaid/refill/RedPocketMobile.htm

If you would like a FREE SIM card sent to you email me at smartphonedeals@gmail.com and I will send one your way. You can start with as little as $19.99 a month for service and the $54.99 plan is still one of the best deals around.