Google, Mobile Payment Wars, Custom ROMs, Mango, And More

BYTE Wireless Radio digs into the week in mobile news.
Finkenbiner, who is providing deeptech content on rooting phones and installing custom ROMs in phones for the upcoming in BYTE, only hopes HTC makes sure that installing a new custom ROM for bootloading won't void the warranty.
Another teamBYTE member, BYTE Technologist Todd Townsend in New York, concurred with that when I asked him. He also thought the HTC announcement was huge.

"I still have an original Motrola Droid, which Verizon stopped updating at 2.2 last summer. I just put on 2.3 and a custom kernel, which slightly overclocks while also using less power due to lower voltage settings. It now feels almost as fast as the fastest modern, single-core phones. The whole process took me about 30 minutes, including backups," he told me.

Also on the show, we hotly debated the value of Mango, the upgrade to Windows Phone 7 unveiled in New York earlier this week.

Craig and Fritz got into it on whether Microsoft's update is too little, too late. Windows Phone 7 has been long behind the competition. Its new features (500 in all) bring it into the present.

In my opinion, Microsoft has a history of being behind, watching and lurking, and then conquering the market in a third or fourth revision. Remember Windows 3.11? Back in 1989, Apple and PC-based systems like Quarterdeck's Desqview were far more advanced. I wonder if anyone even remembers Desqview anymore.

Everyone on teamBYTE--including Craig and Fritz on the show--agreed the big news here was two-fold: HTML 5 support in Mango and its hardware acceleration feature.

We didn't expect Microsoft to support HTML 5. And the hardware acceleration, at least as shown in the demo, blew competing phones away. Microsoft said Mango will be available on phones later this year--but of course, slipping the date is a Microsoft habit akin to a woman's prerogative. Which I reserve.

Finally, we talked about teamBYTE--the 80-plus strong combo of techpros and journalists who are putting BYTE edit together now. I have a personal blog called BYTE Unplugged where you can get behind the scenes and meet these folks. It's an amazing team.

For instance, I hosted the SF Appshow this week, where 10 mobile app vendors showed their new wares. While I was on stage, the team live blogged and posted info on all the apps here.

BYTE Unplugged I should clarify, is a blog and only a blog. I don't sell ads and I profit from it in no way. It is not a UBM Techweb property.

It is just designed to give people like you a behind-the-scenes look at the relaunch of the most venerated tech journalism brand of all time. On the blog, which will go down when BYTE launches, you can get down and dirty with teamBYTE.

Check it out. I'll post your favorites here on InformationWeek in a slideshow soon. Just cast your vote at [email protected] BYTE Wireless Radio is the first of many short podcasts BYTE is starting before its launch in mid-July. It is a 22-minute show where you can hear serious and sometimes humorous analysis (as long as Fritz is there!) on what's going on in mobile. Join us.

For InformationWeek, Techweb and the new BYTE, I'm Gina Smith.

Gina Smith is launch editor of BYTE, coming in July. Follow her on Twitter @ginasmith888 and BYTE @BYTE.

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