Farewell, and Thank You For Everything!

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. SeussTwelve years ago today, when I made my very first post on Pocket PC Thoughts, I couldn't possibly predict the journey I was taking the first step on. What an amazing, fulfilling, character-defining dozen years it's been! I'm so deeply indebted to all the people along this journey I've befriended, talked with in our forums, and yes, even gotten into rip-roaring arguments with. It all brought me here. So where is "here" exactly?Back in September of 2011, I shared that I had taken a job with HTC, was moving from Canada to the USA, and was selling the Thoughts Media Network. Over the past year, I've had a truly amazing time working at HTC. It's a wonderful job - it's really amazing the things you learn/realize working on "the other side" of the blogger/OEM equation - but it's also all-consuming. My multiple attempts to sell this network all failed, partially due to my lack of time to really follow through. I won't bore you with the details, but let me give some advice to any business owners: when someone offers you a nice chunk of money for your business, and you're ready to sell, don't drag your feet on the paperwork - you never know when that offer will vanish! Oh, and sell when your revenue and momentum are at their peak; don't hold on too long. Evidently these are lessons I needed to learn the hard way. Lessons to teach my son I guess. :-)So where are things at now? This won't come as a surprise to anyone who has watched what has happened to most of the sites in our network over the past year: all six sites across the Thoughts Media Network will go into a permanent state of hibernation effective tonight. This is the final post you'll see on all of them. I care deeply about all of the amazing content the Thoughts Media Team collectively created over the past dozen years, so my plans are to keep the sites online for as long as possible. One week from now, I'll shut down the forums so no new posts can be made. Right now only comments can be posted if you already have an account that has posted in the past - we've had to lock things down in that way to prevent spamming. If you have a message to share with me but don't have a forum account, please send it to me directly.I'd be remiss if I didn't give one final thank you to the amazing team of people I had the honour of working with over the past twelve years. I don't want to list names, because I'll doubtless forget someone. Suffice it to say though that I've been humbled and blessed by the generosity and effort people put into this community. From the words you've read, the videos you've watched, the spam-free forums you've read through, to the designs of the pages and the code and server loading them when you visit - none of that could have been done without the gifted volunteers who collectively helped me create everything that these sites were. I'm deeply indebted to literally hundreds of people who walked with me on this awesome journey over the past decade. THANK YOU!Also, a big thank you to the community itself. All you who came back here, day after day to read and watch our news and reviews, rants and raves. Thank you for your comments, your clicks, your shares, your views. None of this would be possible without you. Remember too the part you play in the success of any Web site: you matter, so support the sites you love so they can keep doing what you want to see.And so, this is the end. If you'd like to keep in touch with me, please reach out on Twitter (@jasondunn) or check in on my personal blog now and then. What an amazing journey this has been...thank you!

Posted by on 12 October 2012 | 6:59 pm

Dark Once More

In June 2003 I bought a T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition and began frequenting Pocket PC Thoughts. The highly knowledgeable and personable community drew me in, and one of the most satisfying days of my career came in early 2005 when Jason Dunn invited me to join as an editor. In the 7.5 years since I've been proud to serve these communities. While commitments have kept me away from active duty over the past months, these sites have and always will be filled with fond memories and Thoughts. Until we meet again!

Posted by on 12 October 2012 | 4:27 pm

Mobile Devices on a Plane Revisited: Yea or Nay?

http://articles.cnn.com/2012-08-27/...line-passengers"Will the familiar warning for airline passengers to "discontinue the use of all portable electronic devices" become a relic of the past?Perhaps."Every so often the FAA reviews its policies limiting mobile device usage on airplanes. They're at it again, but it must be mentioned that this particular study does not include the use of mobile phones while in flight - that's the FCC's domain. The FAA claims (in a study performed "last year") that they have 75 documented cases of consumer (passenger) electronic devices interfering with on-board systems, and the new study group aims to either confirm or debunk the current conventional wisdom that mobile devices can interfere with instruments, specifically during takeoff and landing. Skeptics point to the fact that tablets and laptops may be used by the crew, during these critical times, but not used by passengers. The study goal is to determine the what, where, when and why for the existing rules and regulations. While I do think that the rules are a bit one-sided in favor of the airlines, I'm not really that inconvenienced by having to turn off my laptop/phone/tablet during takeoff and landing. Safety trumps convenience in my opinion. How about you?

Posted by on 29 August 2012 | 7:00 am

Do Apps Look Better On iOS or Windows Phone?

http://pocketnow.com/2012/06/17/whi...d-windows-phone"A while back, Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak said about Windows Phone that "I'm kinda shocked how every screen is much more beautiful." So we thought it would be fun to look at a few popular iOS apps and how their Windows Phone counterparts compare in the looks department."Here is a delightfully fun little exercise. Hit the Read link and test whether you like the look of a selection of popular apps on an iOS device or Windows Phone better? This is an unscientific test, but as you look at each image ask yourself to consider things like typography, clarity, ease of use, and overall appeal. Do you suspect people tend to like the look of apps on their own device platform simply because they are more familiar with their style, or do you think they actually do think they look a bit better? It's subjective, but I do like to the look of this OpenTable app on Windows Phone.

Posted by on 21 June 2012 | 12:00 pm

HTC Commits To Ship Windows Phone 8 Devices Later This Year

http://www.htc.com/us/media/press-r...l?prid=h3m5vgwz""HTC is committed to Windows Phone more than ever and we are excited to be bringing new Windows Phone 8-enabled smartphones to customers later this year," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation."HTC has announced its commitment to bring Windows Phone 8 devices to market later this year in a press release made available today. No word yet on how many devices or specs.

Posted by on 20 June 2012 | 4:33 pm

EyeEm Photo Sharing App Hits The Marketplace

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/a...57-071fad60ae53"EyeEm is a photo sharing & discovery app that connects you with like-minded people through the photos you take." EyeEm photo sharing app is an Instagram like app that allows users to share photos. Currently the app comes with 11 photo filters and allows updating to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare and Tumblr. Overall the app seems to have pretty good review and the interface seems pretty slick.

Posted by on 15 June 2012 | 6:36 am

Positive Windows Phone News From China?

http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/19/...phone-in-china/"Going by Microsoft's Greater China COO Michel van der Bel, the launch of Windows Phone in China is off to an auspicious start -- enough to give Apple the shakes. He claims that devices like the Nokia Lumia 800c have helped Windows Phone reach seven percent of the Chinese market, or just enough to get past the six points of the iPhone."The tricky part of this news item posted on Engadget, as they point out, is confirming the market share numbers. That being said, it has to be somewhat encouraging for the Microsoft team. Could 2012 turn out to be a stellar year for Windows Phone? Only time will tell.

Posted by on 19 May 2012 | 11:00 am

A Sign Of Improving Times For Windows Phone?

http://www.bgr.com/2012/05/17/windo...re-2012-kantar/"Microsoft's mobile platform has not been the blockbuster success the Redmond, Washington-based technology giant was hoping for thus far. Google's Android OS and Apple's iPhone are still dominating the smartphone space by a huge margin in the United States and abroad, while Microsoft's share of the global smartphone market has continued to decline. According to a new report from market research firm Kantar WorldPanel, however, Windows Phone is finally showing signs of life in several key markets."While Android and/or iOS are continuing to gain market share as reported in most market share analyses we have been reading for the past year or so, we certainly haven't seen much progress from Windows Phone. Until now, it seems. The bottom line is that Kantar's research indicates that since Nokia's Lumia smartphone launches Windows Phone’s market share has doubled to 6% in Germany, and the platform’s share has increased in the U.S., U.K., France and Italy to between 3% and 4%. These numbers are unlikely to scare the market leaders, but they have to be encouraging for Microsoft and its partners as they battle to maintain and expand a market presence. The Read link has additional details.

Posted by on 17 May 2012 | 11:00 am

Illuminating the Lumia -- The Nokia Lumia 900

Product Category: Windows Phone 7 SmartphoneManufacturer: NokiaWhere to Buy: Expansys [affiliate]Price: $765 USD (unlocked, no contract)System Requirements: Comes with Windows Phone 7 Mango+ (8107) installed.Specifications: 1.4Ghz single core CPU, 16Gb internal storage, 512Mb SDRAM; 4.3in WVGA (480 x 800) Super AMOLED screen; Quad band (850/900/1800/1900) GPRS, Tri band UTMS (900/1700/2100), HSPA+, LTE 700, 1700/2100; GPS; 8mp rear colour camera w/autofocus + LED flash, 1mp front-facing camera, 720p HD video recording; BT 2.1 EDR; 802.11b/g/n; 3.5mm stereo audio jack; microUSB 2.0; G-Sensor; 128mm (5.03in) x 69mm (2.7in) x 12mm (0.47in); 160g (5.6oz). Full specs are available at the Nokia site.Pros:Rogers first LTE-capable WP7 phone!Solid construction and feel;Call quality is excellent.Cons:No replaceable battery;Access to the microSIM card is difficult.Wi-Fi doesn't see the 5Ghz band;Summary: There has been a lot of buzz (and sales activity) about Nokia's introduction of their premiere WP7 phone to the US marketplace, the Lumia 900. I was fortunate to pick one up the second day they came available through Rogers here in Canada. Now, after a week or two of working with it on a day-to-day basis, let's see how it stacks up.IntroductionEver since the introduction of Windows Phone 7, I've been using AT&T branded phones that I acquire from various places, then unlock and use here on the Rogers network in Canada. This means I get to play with phones that most people never even see here in Canada, but the downside is that I'm at the mercy of AT&T with regards to updates and I'm on my own as far as technical support. My most recent purchase was a Samsung Focus S which worked great, but I got tired of waiting for AT&T to finally release the 8107 patch. So, when Rogers announced they were going to bring in Nokia's Lumia 900, I jumped at the chance to get back on a 'supported' phone and pre-ordered it as soon as the form became available on the Rogers. They notified me of shipment on April 7th and I picked up the Lumia 900 from a local store on the 14th. What Comes in the PackageThe Nokia Lumia 900 comes in a nice sturdy slide-out box which looks good, but what comes inside is pretty much the standard fare now.Figure 1: Here's what came in the box. From left to right are: The Lumia 900 unit, a white USB to microUSB charge/sync cable; black earbuds with built-in microphone (Apple must have some sort of patent on white earbuds); a tool to access the SIM card drawer (behind); a button wall charger; and documentation, including quick start card, booklet and safety manual.

Posted by on 15 May 2012 | 3:00 am

Nokia's Ready.Set(){Code}Challenge Kicks Off On 5/12

http://nokiadeveloper.eventbrite.com/"Headphones on. Tilt the seat back. Just steady codin' as the keys get tapped. Get ready, because Nokia Developer is about to turn your town into Dev City with its Ready.Set(){Code} Challenge."Nokia's Ready.Set(){Code} Challenge will be kicking off on 5/12/12 in Ohio and continue through 6/15/12. The challenge will be held in 13 cities through out the U.S. and Canada. The event will include hackathons and app creation. You can compete either individually or in a team. The opportunity to win prizes are pretty good since they will be awarded at each of the 13 challenges. Prizes will be awarded for the following categories: - Top 3 created apps - Top student created app - Most Nokia-branded developer App winners will be judged on creativity, usability, technical difficulty and app presentation.The prizes are: - 1st place: $500 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900 - 2nd place: $250 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900 - 3rd place: $100 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900 - Student Winner: $150 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900 - Most Nokia-Branded Dev: $100 gift card & Nokia Lumia 900

Posted by on 9 May 2012 | 3:07 pm

Create Your Own Live Tiles From Any Web Page

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/a...8a-f008eea42d7e"Web Tiles enables you to create live tiles out of any web page. You can select the area of the page that will be shown on your live tile. You can also choose how often your tiles will be updated. This is great for example for weather or stock graphs and image feeds."Here's what appears to be a very effective app for WP7. Do you really like live tiles? I bet you do and now you can create a tile from any web page. You can configure the tiles to update in a number of ways, or force one to update every 15 minutes by tapping on it. A trial version is available, which limits you to three fixed addresses, but that should be enough to win you over. Give it a try!

Posted by on 9 May 2012 | 2:30 am

Smoked By Windows Phone Challenge Current Numbers

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_...nd-new-ads.aspx"When I kicked off Smoked by Windows Phone at CES in January, I did it with one thing in mind - show the world that Windows Phone is simply faster at the everyday stuff that people do on their smartphones."Ben Rudolph has posted some updated numbers for the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge on the Windows Team Blog. A few notable numbers cited include 8,000,000+ views of the videos, 95% like rate on the videos, 36 countries that are currently running Smoked challenges, 50,675 wins with 638 losses and 2 videos that are in YouTube's top 5 most viewed list. In the same blog post, Ben also announced the release of new Smoked by Windows Phone ads. Click through to see the new Android/Windows Phone photo speed challenge.

Posted by on 8 May 2012 | 5:27 pm

Windows Phone Developer Summit Set For June In SF

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft...-for-june/12631"Microsoft has begun sending "Save the Date" invitations for an upcoming developer summit to select Windows Phone programmers."Microsoft's Windows Phone Develop Summit invitations are now going out to select individuals. The Developer Summit is scheduled for June 20 and 21 in San Francisco. Topics will include Windows Phone OS 8 Apollo, XNA and Silverlight support for WP8 among other program developer issues. Details about formal registration for those that do not receive invitations will be available in the coming weeks.

Posted by on 3 May 2012 | 4:15 am

SnapCrowd Provides Effective Cloud Storage

http://www.wp7connect.com/2012/04/1...ic-videos-docs/"SnapCrowd is the most advanced DAM (Digital Asset Management) platform on the market and we plan to keep it that way. Whether we like it or not our lives are now digital in some way or another, so why not keep it simple and secure. At SnapCrowd a user can store photos, video, documents, audio and even contacts, all in their original form protected behind SSL / TLS and HTTPS protocol layers."Cloud storage has hit mainstream, and in the past week or two you may have noticed a number of reviews of Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Dropbox, and Apple iCloud. These services offer a number of unique and competitive features, and are worth checking into. I would definitely add SnapCrowd to your list though. It has a some compelling features and very competitive pricing, and may just facilitate your computing and mobile life in ways you might not expect.The SnapCrowd developers state they allow larger file upload sizes than their competition, like 200 MB for photos, 4 GB for video, audio and documents, and allow RAW files from all the major camera manufactures. Their proprietary user interface allows all user functions even while uploading files. What's more, if for any reason your file gets interrupted in the upload process, you can just log back into your account and queue the file back up and it will continue where it left off.The SnapCrowd WP7 app looks well designed and is very functional (see the demo on the linked page). The user-interface directly guides you to manage specific file types (like documents, music, photos and video). Meta data about your files is clearly presented, and interactions seem very straight-forward. Hit the Read link for additional information and a demo of how the WP7 app works.

Posted by on 29 April 2012 | 12:00 pm

Verizon WP8 Devices To Come Before Holiday Season Per CFO

http://www.neowin.net/news/windows-...med-for-verizon"Shammo also told Reuters that Verizon plans to make its new Windows Phone 8 handsets available later this year, in time for the holiday season, which should see the devices on sale shortly after Microsoft publicly launches the new mobile OS in the fourth quarter."During Verizon's quarterly earnings report, CFO Fran Shammo voiced strong support for the Windows Phone 8 platform and believes it to be the third ecosystem along with iOS and Android. Also stated was that devices will be available from Verizon before the holiday season. Unfortunately this means there will be no WP7.5 device to supplement the HTC Trophy on Verizon's shelves.

Posted by on 21 April 2012 | 4:45 am

Herocraft Yumsters

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/a...c3-a0b4266feba0Yumsters is a casual strategy game involving what I can best describe as guiding the diets of fruit-eating worms. The more they get to eat, the more points you score, and there's even a global leaderboard. Worth a look, especially at the decent price of $1.49.

Posted by on 18 April 2012 | 2:30 pm

Ars Technica: Challenges Getting Windows Phones Updated

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/ne...=1#comments-bar"If these rumors are true, buying a Lumia 900-or any other Windows Phone handset-is a risky proposition. If you buy subsidized, on-contract handsets, you'll typically be eligible for a new subsidized upgrade every two years. A reasonable expectation, then, would be two years of software support in the form of bugfixes and updates. But if current handsets can't run Windows Phone 8, they'll essentially be cut off from future support in about six months. Developers might still target the older handsets to some extent, but many more will be targeting Windows Phone 8's extended capabilities and richer APIs."If you are contemplating buying a Windows Phone it will be of interest to you to understand the update strategy from both Microsoft and the carriers proving the phones. As is outlined in this article, it is clearly an uneven playing field and playing strategy from the participants. Ars Technica goes so far as to warn you that buying a Windows Phone like the Nokia Lumia 900 could lead you down a path where you cannot get your phone software updated, depending on which partners are involved. Note that the Android world also has some of these types of issues. It is an in-depth article, but well worth the read, and only takes one click to get there.

Posted by on 18 April 2012 | 2:30 am

HTC Titan II Camera Samples

http://www.wpcentral.com/playing-ht...nd-maco-samples The HTC Titan II has a few differences when compared to the Lumia 900. Custom HTC software and a larger 4.5 inch screen are two of the big ones. However, the stand out feature for the Titan II has to be the 16MP camera. While many may feel this is overkill for a smartphone camera, you have to appreciate the fact that HTC went all out in hopes of making the phone unique. For most, the quality of the camera will determine whether or not spending $199 (vs. $99 for the Lumia 900) is worth the extra expense. Luckily, WPCentral has stepped up and provided some great low-light and macro shots to help us make a decision. Hit the link for the samples and let us know what you think.

Posted by on 12 April 2012 | 12:00 pm

HTC Titan II

http://www.slashgear.com/htc-titan-...eview-11222465/"Over at AT&T you've got two giant choices for hero phones if you want to run with Windows Phone Mango - the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II."Most of the attention in the Windows Phone world these past few weeks have been on the Nokia Lumia 900 and not on the other WP7.5 phone that was released that same day, the HTC Titan II. If you are still on the fence between the Lumia 900 or Titan II, Slash Gear has an in depth review of the Titan II. They look at the hardware, software, camera and battery life. Not to spoil the review but it seems you really can't go wrong with either phone.

Posted by on 11 April 2012 | 8:00 pm

Fix For Lumia 900 On The Way

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news...data-glitch.ars"Some Nokia Lumia 900 customers have been experiencing a loss of data connectivity-both LTE and 3G-on their new handsets. Nokia has identified the problem and devised a software fix, which will be rolled out on or around April 16th. Customers not wanting to wait can have their phones swapped for updated versions in AT&T stores. The company will also give any AT&T customer buying a Lumia between now and April 21 a $100 credit on their next bill."At the price AT&T are retailing the Lumia for (with contract), that $100 credit means you're effectively getting the Lumia for free. If you aren't afraid of hooking up with AT&T, that's a pretty good deal for what looks like one of the better Windows Phone 7 devices out there. And kudos to Nokia for the fast turnaround.

Posted by on 11 April 2012 | 6:00 pm