Apr 282012
 

Well, the other night I accidentally destroyed my Samsung Focus to the point of no return. I live by my phone, and I’d die without it so I had to replace it A.S.A.P.

As most of you regular readers already know, I’m a die hard Microsoft mobile enthusiast. I’ve been using their devices since before the iPhone even existed… And I’ve been more then happy with all their smartphone operating systems, especially the new Windows Phone 7.

Even though Windows Phone 7 isn’t that popular in Canada (I’m assuming this is because most of the providers don’t really try to sell them) I decided to call up the local Best Buy store to see if they had any new Nokia Lumia 900s in stock. To my surprise they did! They had two!

With less then 20 minutes till close I rushed to the store and picked one up. Got home, plugged it in and it was play time. Unfortunately Rogers Corporate customer care is closed at night so I couldn’t activate the new MicroSIM till the next morning. But that didn’t really matter considering I wanted to play with the phone, not make calls.

Comparing this to some of the 1st Gen phones (in my case the Samsung Focus):
1) I finally have a front facing camera! And it works great! I loaded up Skype, and it works beautifully (both over WiFi and LTE). 40% of the time I’ve been using my new phone I’ve been Skyping people haha. Video calling on Skype has high video quality, no lag (even over LTE), and just works SLICK!
2) Faster processor – the interface on WP7 has always been slick, however certain small things like the keyboard not keeping up with my typing, or application slow load times, or the delay going back and resuming an application from the background has bugged me. These issues don’t exist on the Lumia 900.
3) New phones (the Lumia 900) are bigger, and easier to type for people with big hands and figures like me!

This is somewhat unrelated and a side not, but previously my old Samsung Focus camera button didn’t work and there was also a defect in the touchscreen so i avoided typing, emails, and texting at all costs (i didn’t want to send it in since the devices my provider sends back are always usually in worst shape the the busted one you originally sent them from my experience). With my new Lumia 900, I can’t stop texting, e-mailling, and typing!

Let’s get back to the Nokia Lumia 900. Overall, the phone rocks. Its fast, designed nicely, and has all the features you could need and use. Nokia even has their own WP7 apps, which I had a chance to try and can actually see myself using them.

Now before I leave, I do want to mention I have observed two issues with this phone.
1) When the backlight is on low (either automatic or you manually set it) the screen gets a purple or brown tint to it. Its ugly, makes pictures look horrible, and the keyboard turns full purple. I don’t know what’s causing this but other people are reporting it so I hope its software and not hardware. If it’s software, they should easily be able to issues a software or firmware update.
2) The vibrate function on the phone rattles. Some people report it being certain things such as buttons, I’ve identified mine to being the camera button, and another thing internally which I can’t see. Its annoying, but it’s not a deal breaker.

I leave you with this: If the purple screen issue turns out to be software, I would recommend this phone to everyone and anyone! Its awesome! If it turns out the purple issue is hardware, I’d say hold off.

PS. This phone is so slick, I actually wrote this entire blog post from the WordPress app on my Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone.

 

UPDATE (April 29th, 2012): I reached out to a bunch of different twitter addresses for WindowsPhone, Nokia, etc… and I received a response back from NokiaHelps (@NokiaHelps on Twitter). They told me to take my phone back to the retailer. I went back today, and took the phone in. The people at Best Buy confirmed there was an issue and replaced the phone. Unfortunately on the new unit, once I got home and plugged it in, I got the purple screen right off the bat. So now I sit here, wondering if all Lumia 900s have this issue and if I should return it for a full refund and move away from Windows Phone (considering my provider has no other latest gen Windows Phones).

UPDATE (April 30th, 2012): I told NokiaHelps on twitter that I took the device back to the retailer as they suggested and got a new device which also had the same issue. They responded back and mentioned this issue is under investigation. Hopefully we can get this fixed. I would LOVE to keep this phone, it’s awesome!

UPDATE #2 (April 30th, 2012): I returned the second Lumia 900 to the Best Buy store where I purchased it and received a refund. I decided to go around the city and check every Best Buy and Futureshop to see if the phones they had may have had a later production date (The two phones I had were ” 13 / 2012 “, and I’m just assuming this is the production batch date).

Turns out that every Futureshop and every Best Buy received 2 units when the Lumia 900 launched. I checked every Futureshop and Best Buy in Calgary, Alberta (except 1 of each in the North end of the city) and all told me they haven’t sold any since launch, and I confirmed all boxes had the ” 13/ 2012″ on the sticker at the bottom of the box. Additionally Futureshop REFUSED to sell me the Lumia 900 stating “All new phones that Best Buy and Futureshop carry are only available by going on a contract term with the provider”. I mentioned that I purchased a phone on Friday and I purchased it outright from Best Buy, they told me “that doesn’t sound right” and after pushing they changed their story to: “When it comes to Best Buy, its the stores discretion, but Futureshop isn’t allowed to sell the phones outright”. I find this very hard to believe, and I’m surprised that they make it this hard to buy a phone…

Finally after 5 hours of going to all the Best Buy’s and Futureshop’s, I finally purchased another device. The new device DOES have the purple display issue. At this point I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

On one note though: I’m just absolutely shocked that in a city of more than 1,000,000 (1 million) people, that I’m the only person that has gone to a Best Buy or a Futureshop to buy a Nokia Lumia 900 (according to the information the sales people at the stores have provided me with).

UPDATE (May 1st, 2012): I noticed today with my phone manually set to medium, that the white background of the “Outlook” app is now starting to show a purple tint (it’s whitish/purplish). It’s somewhat hard to see, and you have to be looking at the phone directly. If you tilt the phone the purple-ness disappears.

Also, here’s something interesting… Turn your phone off, or put it to sleep: Go somewhere close to a light, and use your phone’s screen to reflect the light (as if you were looking through a mirror at a light. Notice how there is a purple haze around the light in the reflection on the phone. I’m almost positive this is hardware and it has something to do with a internal coating in the screen.

UPDATE (May 2nd, 2012): I e-mailed my corporate sales rep at Rogers on Monday and asked about this issue and if Rogers is aware of it. It is now Wednesday and I have not received a reply.

UPDATE (May 7th, 2012): No word back from my Corporate rep at Rogers (I’m not surprised…), it’s now been a week. I don’t think this is because they are aware of the issue and don’t know what to say, but rather this is just typical for Rogers (but I’ll get in to my problems with them in another blog post). On the bright side of things, Nokia mentioned today they are releasing a software update soon to resolve the purple hue/tint on the Lumia 900. Let’s hope they aren’t using a software fix to hide a hardware problem!

UPDATE (May 9th, 2012): A few days ago, Nokia finally mentioned they were going to release a software update to resolve the purple hue issues. Even before that was announced I had made the finaly decision to keep the phone just because of how awesome it is. I’ll keep this post up to date with info on how this turns out, but I’ll be posted a full review soon! Stay tuned!

Dec 262011
 

Ever since I updated my Samsung Focus, to Windows Phone 7 (Mango), I’ve been having troubles downloading attachments on the fly from my Exchange account on my server.

Typically I would open an e-mail, click on the attachment, and it would fail stating: Cannot download attachment. A work around I found for this was to hit “Back” hit the sync button, then the attachment would be available. However this was SUPER annoying.

Another feature that didn’t work was to search for items on the Exchange Server.

I did a bunch of research on this and found numerous other people who had the same issue. Their fixes would often temporarily resolve the issue, but typically the issue would come back.

Today; I installed Service Pack 2 for Exchange 2010 on my server. After doing this, I noticed that on the fly attachment downloading is now working, along with searching the Exchange Server.

To resolve this, simply install Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2.

Dec 172010
 

Well, on December 14th Rogers came out with a new policy on unlocking cellular devices…

You can now call Rogers or Fido, and for a fee, get them to unlock your device. There are however some restrictions:

1) You can unlock if you purchased your phone outright (on no-term pricing, ie. the full cost of the phone).

2) Your contract is up.

To unlock your phone, simply call customer care, and explain to them you would like to unlock it. Keep in mind as of today (December 16th, 2010) I had to call numerous times and talk to numerous departments for them to do it, since ALOT of people either don’t know of the new policy, or have no idea who they are supposed to transfer you to, to do it.

Keep in mind there IS a fee. It’s somewhere around $50.00. The person who provides you with the code SHOULD be able to provide you with instructions.

For you Samsung Focus owners out there, to unlock (once you have the code):

1) Go to phone, and dial ##634# then hit call. This opens the Diagnostic menu.

2) Enter *#7465625# to get to the Lock menu. After putting in the last character it will load. Here you can see you Lock status, etc…

3) Select “Network Lock” and then select “Disable”. Enter your code in the NCK box. Then select “Execute”.

4) Feel free to go back to “Lock Status” to make sure it is disabled. Afterwords just hit Back, Back, Back. You are now unlocked!

Dec 152010
 

Wow! What a friggin waste…

I install the WordPress app for my Windows Phone 7 off the marketplace. The app looks CRAZY cool, allows me full control over my blogs, comments, posts, approving, etc…

Anyways, I actually just wrote a SUPER long blog post on the phone and tried to post it. In the post I was going to mention how cool the app was until 1) I found out you couldn’t type in landscape rotated mode (which is a pain in the ass for someone with big fingures like me), and 2) Auto-correction, grammaer, and spelling is disabled for posts, hard to keep up with abbreviation.

So here I am spending some time dealing with these stupid problems, I finish writing a HUGE blog post on my phone, I hit post, and BAM, it posts a BLANK article on my blog. I came on my computer to write what happened to avoid someone from doing the same. I’ll never get those 5 minutes back.

It’s still a cool app though, check it out. Just don’t plan on blog posts actually being posted! lol

Dec 052010
 

A new device that I’ve been extremely excited to do a review on is the new Samsung Focus. We’ve long awaited the new release of the next generation of Microsoft’s mobile operating system platform, Windows Phone 7.

In the past, I’ve been an almost religious user of Windows Mobile Device. First the simplistic yet powerful functionality, the capabilities, and main reason being Exchange Push (Outlook Mobile).

Rogers, had a limited web release earlier this month, and due to the condition of my previous cell phone, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to upgrade. I went ahead and purchased the device. 5 days later I got my hands on it.

First Impression:

When receiving the phone, I liked the way it was boxed, the material that came along with it, and the general style of the phone itself. Simplistic, and thankfully I didn’t get the “I’m missing something” feeling I get when I usually receive new toys.

After popping in the SIM card, battery and plugging it in to charge, the phone turned on.

The initial configuration was very easy and friendly. I activated the phone with my Windows Live account, and Facebook details. I don’t like using cell phone providers proxy’d internet, so I pay for the “VPN” option which provide me a real external IP address on the internet, configuring the apn “internet.com” was simple, and I didn’t have to go fishing through the menu’s.

First configuration:

As soon as the initial configuration was done, WOW. This phone is slick. The menu’s, tiles, and all usage of the phone pretty much glided as smooth as could be. I have NO complaints when it comes to general usage.

First things first, I went into the settings menu, and tried to configure pretty much every setting I could. I did this with absolutely no problems and had the device completely configured to my liking, even with absolutely no experience with the phone.

I actually configured so much, that buy the time I was done; I felt I became an expert with the phone usage. I immediately was comfortable with the phone.

Real Usage:

After I was done configuring the phone, I went ahead and started to play. The phone interface was a pleasure, the “People” interface was a pleasure, and pretty much every single little feature that this phone shipped with was a pleasure. It even added all my Facebook contacts to the phone’s phonebook (I wasn’t so hot about this, but disabled it later).

The camera is amazing. Both picture quality and video quality is AMAZING. Camera app allows you to upload directly to Facebook, even add a caption.

One thing that makes me a little upset is the lack of ability to upload videos to the internet from the phone. You have to sync with Zune, and then upload using computer.

Marketplace:

First thing I wanted to do, was check out this “Marketplace” that everyone has been talking about. I’ve seen numerous other websites and reviews commenting on the applications that you can install, particularly the Facebook client, and Twitter client (I’m big on social media). I went ahead and installed both applications. After setting up my various accounts with them, they worked flawlessly. Both clients support ALL features of the two social media sites (except for Facebook places). The interfaces were easy to use, and I actually enjoyed using them on the phone!

One thing I’m choked about, is that Microsoft Marketplace doesn’t sell music to Canadians, we are stuck with applications, and video.

Wi-Fi:

After a few hours of continuous use, I realized I was probably eating away at my data plan (I installed 20+ applications, a game, and numerous other stuff). I decided to give Wi-Fi a try on the phone. Turning it on and connecting to my secured AP was super simple and super quick to do. I also have to add that there was a visible performance increase in applications getting information off the web faster.

Data speeds:

Both, internet access via the cell network, and Wi-Fi were extremely fast. This is very important when using applications that continuously access, or rely on information from the internet. The experience was so nice, that I had no complaints or problems with loading time of large amounts of information which I would have guessed would have taken a lot longer on the device.

Business/E-Mail Configuration:

The first and only major issue I had with this device was configuration of my Microsoft Exchange account. Since the new Windows Phone 7 operating system doesn’t really have a user-accessible file system, and also doesn’t have the capability to play with files, I had to find a way to install the certificate for my Exchange server on my phone.

There are two ways this can be done, either a) setup a different type of e-mail account (gmail, Hotmail, etc…) and e-mail yourself the certificate and run it to install, or b) upload the certificate to a website, and then navigate to it using the browser on the phone.

I don’t have any other types of e-mail accounts, so I just uploaded the certificate to my site, typed it in on Internet Explorer on the phone, and confirmed I wanted to install it.

After this, I configured my exchange account, and the configuration went very smoothly. It downloaded the messages, and it was all done.

Overall:

Overall, I love the device. I’ve been using it non-stop for the past 3 weeks and have no major complains. People have been complaining about the new way of using memory cards and their limitations, however with the amount of storage already shipping on the phone (I think 8GB); I don’t even really need a memory card.

The battery life is amazing on the device, and actually got better overtime. The general belief is to fully charge/fully discharge a cell phone to maintain the battery. In my opinion, I noticed batteries survive longer if you just charge it whenever you get the chance (whether once a day, or a few times every day). The battery with normal usage, and Exchange Push for e-mails I’ve noticed can last longer than 3 days, however I haven’t fully drained the battery yet. Without Exchange, and lighter usage, I can’t even guess how long it would last!

One thing I don’t like, is how light the device is, accompanied by the fact that the phone feels very plastic. I like heavy phones, the kind that have a metallic case, the kind that doesn’t feel like it’s going to slip out of your hand.

Another thing I would like to address is the complaints of the lack of multi-tasking and copy/paste. First off, this phone is so responsive that the lack of multi-tasking doesn’t really bug me. Applications load fast, information is always available, and even thought it would be nice to have multi-tasking, it’s not on my list of complaints. I can live without copy/paste, however it would be nice.

Overall, I’d buy this phone again if for some reason I lost or broke this one. I’d also recommend this phone to all my friends, INCLUDING clients. This is seriously the first phone I’ve owned that allows me to do both business, and social stuff!

Pros/Cons/Would be nice:

Pros:

-Very fast interface

-Battery life AMAZING

-UI is very intuitive

-Amazing speeds (over cell network, or Wi-fi)

-Supports Microsoft Exchange push

-On-screen keyboard easy to use, accurate.

-Facebook/Twitter run great!

-Applications are actually decent!

-Web browsing works great!

-Youtube works great!

Cons:

-If you type fast, chances are you’ll hit the “French” button on the on-screen keyboard, annoying

-Very light phone, plastic feeling

-Cannot upload videos to any type of site, must use your computer to sync, and then upload

-Skipping/Fast-forwarding support is horrible for music and video

Would be nice (please note these are NOT cons, and just exactly what they are, would be nice):

-File system access

-Copy/Paste

-Multi-Tasking

Aug 202010
 

Well, it was time for me to get a new phone. I needed something that ran Windows Mobile (for Exchange ActiveSync, and other business reasons) so I went ahead and purchased an Xperia X2.

After ordering, I received a unit that looked like it was a repack. Went ahead and sent it back. Here’s where things get interesting. The company where I purchased it from took back the first, ordered a second (from Sony Ericsson), and wouldn’t ship that unit to me saying that it looked like it had been tampered with. Finally a 3rd unit came in which they did send out to me and WAS factory sealed.

Upon receiving this unit, after breaking the factory seal on the box, it looked as if the phone had been tampered with (the internals of the box had been ripped, battery package was crinkled, and the phone packaging was crinkled). Obviously someone at Sony Ericsson had opened the package to do something, and re-sealed it. I’ve come to believe this was probably to perform a firmware update on the device.

After getting everything out, I noticed that the phone felt very cheap. The phone felt mostly like very light plastic and slips on the skin very easily (instantly I had a vision in my mind of me walking down the street and having it slip out of my hand and crack into a million pieces on the ground). This scared me even though I have never damaged a phone as a result of my own doings.

Before I did anything, I downloaded the SE update utility to upgrade it to the latest firmware, there was one update available. After the update was complete, it took around 30 minutes for all the customization to take place.

After this was all complete and it was finally time to use the phone, I noticed how buggy the firmware was. Programs would freeze, they would open and instantly close by themselves, you have to use quite a bit of force on the resistant screen to trigger anything (which often cause accidental triggers when scrolling).

I actually ended up going to “Remove Programs” and removed a lot of the software installed on the phone, along with a lot of the panels which did help, but the device is still in an “ugly” state.

Although I’ve finally gotten the phone to a point where I can use it to send and receive e-mails I still regret purchasing this device.

Pros:

-Larger keyboard than X1

-Very nice display

-One of the few Windows Mobile 6.5 devices that operate on 850Mhz for HSUPA internet.

-HSUPA is FRIGGIN FAST!

-GPS connects VERY quickly to get a fix on your position (using google maps)

Cons:

-EVERYTHING

-Sluggish OS

-Backlight stays on sometimes even after powering off the phone (YES, you turn it off, and the backlight on the screen stays on! WTF???)

-Battery usage is HORRIBLE

-Operating system is glitchy (although I think this is because of the firmware and customizations built in)

-Text Messaging (SMS) timestamps can’t be fixed using WM 6.1 registry key (TrustTimeZoneField)

-Feels cheap

-No Up/Down/Right/Left keys on front of device, they are now on keyboard

-No “Ok” button on keyboard

-Scrolling must be done using optical track pad, or dragging the stylus/finger (often glitchy)

-Microsoft Tag (application) rotates camera view 90 degrees for some reason.

-After installing “Qik” (application), when launching it presents a black screen and then crashes (I’m guessing?)

Ultimately I wish I could return this device, however it’s performing the way it should be therefor it’s not the resellers fault.

I’ve checked all over the internet for bug fixes, user input, etc… on these issues, and it’s amazing how full the internet is of hatred for this device.

They really need to step up to the plate and release a firmware update to resolve all these issues… Why not remove all the fancy stuff and just put a typical clean WM 6.5 install on it? I feel like crying!

Aug 202010
 

If you’ve tried configuring your Windows Mobile device to connect to your exchange server, but have been receiving errors on the lack of a certificate issue, this may help.

Keep in mind it’s always best to contact your local IT department to find out if they have an easier way of doing this, or a better way.

If your desktop computer at work is joined to the domain, chances are you have a certificate installed that authenticates various systems on your network. By extracting this certificate and installing it on your Windows Mobile device, chances are this will solve your issues.

Keep in mind that if your IT department did not generate your Exchange SSL cert from the domain certificate authority this won’t work.

Now let’s get started…

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Press the “Alt” button to expose the menu
  3. Select “Tools” then “Internet Options”
  4. Select the “Content Tab”, and hit the “Certificates” button.
  5. Select the “Trusted Root Certification Authorities”.
  6. Now look through the list and look for something that may contain your Company’s name in it, or the name of one of your network servers.
  7. Once you find this, click once to highlight, and select the “Export” button.
  8. Go through the wizard and leave all defaults. At the very end where it asks you to choose a file, save it on your desktop and call it “cert.cer”.
  9. Copy this file to your Windows Mobile Device (using a Memory Card, or a Sync function).
  10. On your Windows Mobile device, use the File Explorer to browse to the location where you saved your cert.cer file, and select it to run. It should say “You have successfully installed a certificate”.

Now go ahead and configure your Exchange account and chances are it should work!

Keep in mind that some carriers lock down devices to avoid the installation of untrusted certificates. I haven’t run in to this issue, but I have heard about it happening. If this is the case, you will need to do some research on your phone and find a way to bypass this security block.

Aug 182010
 

So, the question I ask myself today is “What happened to Windows Mobile, and where is it going?”

Back earlier this year I got a corporate Rogers account setup for my company. Got a bunch of Xperia X1’s comped under the contract. I’ve had an old Xperia X1 for years (bought it from europe) and loved it back when it was considered one of the newer Windows Mobile phones, but hey, if you can get the same phone free again, why not right?

Anyways, to cut the story short one of the phones on my account got run over, and then mine just mysteriously died out (issues with the ribbon cable). Both were not repairable. Called Rogers, got one replaced under “Out of Warranty” (it’s been weeks since the order was placed, still no sign), then they ran out of stock (for my phone).

So here I am, this was the perfect opportunity for me to go ahead and see what’s new on the market in regards to Windows Mobile devices. I figured I’d just go ahead and buy a new device unlocked straight out (NOT from the local providers).

In my search I’ve come to the following conclusions:

1) All the new sweet phones don’t support the local HSPA frequencies in North America (high speed internet). I’m guessing there’s not enough interest in North America for WM phones.

2) Not too many companies are selling WM phones anymore in North America.

3) Turns out they released WM 7 and it sounded like it was horrible.

4) WM is still super popular in Europe.

5) People are obsessed with the iPhone, and anything that has the word “Google” or “Android” in it. (I bet they couldn’t even explain why they like the products).

Sure the iPhone is great for consumers, and for the simple professionals who don’t rely on their phone to often, but WTF??? And BlackBerry’s are not an option for me. I don’t have the time, patience, or want to setup my own BES server, maintain it, and learn the BB interface and run into limitations I wouldn’t if I was running Windows Mobile.

I’ve been a long term user of Windows Mobile devices. I love the layout, the way they work, the Exchange Push/Sync capabilities. Even the application development possibilities are sweet! But where are the stinking phones? I’m going to have a breakdown if they become extinct!

Anyways, bought an Xperia X2a since it’s one of the newer (actually not so new) phones that you can buy that work HSPA on 850Mhz. I should be receiving it tomorrow. I’ll probably be posting a review, and notes on configuration, etc…

It’s too bad I couldn’t get my hands on a HTC HD2, or a HTC Touch Pro 2.

I’m finishing this off with a question to Microsoft! What happens next? We need to put more dough in to marketing and development, we need to push this product out the ying yang! Outsource to me, I’ll be able to advise on what needs to be done to get a sweet ass device that has a potential to make some HUGE dough in both business markets and consumer markets.

Jul 082010
 

So, here’s a quick rant…

Last week my brother video calls me. My friend butts in to the conversation.

Friend: OMG dude do you have the new iPhone???

Me: No dude, this is an Xperia X1

Friend: Uhh dude, are you sure. Only the iPhone 4 has video calling, I saw it on a video from their public announcement thing.

Me: Uhh not true, I’m pretty sure what phone I have, haha. Video calling has been around for years and years.

Friend: No dude, it JUST came out.

Epic Fail!

The conversation went on and on. Why do people think video calling is a new thing? And why do people think only the iPhone 4 can do it? From what I heard the Video calling on the iPhone requires Wi-Fi and can’t do it over the cell network. All my phones I’ve had in the past 4 years supported video calling.