|Fri Feb 29, 2008 - 11:03 AM EST - By Annie Latham
It�s a rare fifth Friday� in February! It is also Leap Day� that rare 29th day in February. According to the Web site www.leapyearday.com, which is run by a group called the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies, there are about 200,000 leap day babies in the United States. I found this fact in an article from the New York Times about Leap Day marketing. Apparently, quite a few businesses have approached Leap Day as an event like the 7/7/07 was last year.
Speaking of leaping� There were several stories this week about old media (i.e. newspapers) leaping onto the �third screen� (i.e. cell phone). Also, there was buzz this week about Palm leaping into providing additional colors for the Centro. The StyleTap video (see below) showing Palm applications running on an iPhone got the world of Treo/Centro buzzing too. So without further ado, Let�s Talk Treo/Centro!
Palm took a bye this week.
Switched�s Take on the AT&T Centro
Evan Shamoon said:
�If you're riding the AT&T train and want a smartphone that doesn't scream �I wear a suit to work� -- and, for whatever reason, you don't want an iPhone (like, say, its $400 price tag, or perhaps the even more difficult touch-pad typing) -- the Centro may very well be your best choice. It's a more open platform option than Apple's product, which means it has loads of developer- and user-created applications available for download. There's plenty of room for improvement with the Centro, but it's a good step up to the world of mobile e-mail and productivity for anyone who's been using a standard cell phone that only makes phone calls, sends text messages, and takes pictures.�
Shaun McGill remarked:
�I have to say that my first impressions are extremely positive and that, from a design point of view, the Centro is a classy little smartphone that outshines most of its rivals.�
News: Pocket Tunes Provides Music Playback on the Palm Centro from AT&T
This week, NormSoft, Inc. announced the availability of its award-winning audio player Pocket Tunes Deluxe on the Palm Centro from AT&T. The handset�s core music playback capabilities are embodied within the Pocket Tunes player.
Using Pocket Tunes, AT&T Centro owners are able to play all of their favorite MP3, WMA, and DRM-free AAC files. This includes both subscription and purchased songs from popular online music services such as Napster and Rhapsody, as well as iTunes Plus tracks from the iTunes store. Its easy to use interface displays album art and can be customized through freely available skins at www.pocket-tunes.com/skins http://www.pocket-tunes.com/skins
Moving right along�
Review: Astraware Solitaire - By Harv Laser
Harv is back� and this week he provides his thoughts on Astraware�s new Solitaire which packs �twelve different variations of the venerable, single-player card games into one fat .prc file, weighing in at 1.8mb, that lives happily on your SD card.�
�Astraware�s Solitaire builds upon their already rich reputation for delivering extremely high-quality and high-value games that look sharp and behave themselves, while using as few system resources as possible, and are jam-packed with help screens and other thoughtful features. This is definitely a gem of a game that will maintain its play vs. pay ratio for a long time to come...�
Review: Prima Premium Leather Flip Style Case for Treo 680 - By Jennifer Chappell
Jennifer is a big fan of leather� genuine leather that is. This week she took a look at Prima�s Premium Leather Flip Style Case for the Treo 680.
�It's a beautiful case. I appreciate that it's so silky smooth feeling and made of premium-grained leather. I love the magnetic snap, cutouts for convenient access to screen, buttons and connectors, and appreciate how lightweight the case is and that it has such a low profile. And of course this case provides great protection for your Treo 680.�
Review: CellKeeper Original - By Jay Gross
Jay checked out the CellKeeper, which should be considered more than a case for your Treo/Centro. In fact, he remarked that it�s really closer a wallet with a cell phone pocket. However you choose to think of it, it is an interesting way to carry essentials (credit cards, driver�s license, etc.) along with your smartphone.
�CellKeeper keeps your phone reasonably protected, while offering handy wallet style storage for other stuff you might need. The case and its contents totes in a pocket or purse or swings from a shoulder and adorns your person. It�s a well-designed, well-made, good-looking case of herringbone cotton and manmade materials. It fits all of the Palm models, but works best for the smaller devices, like my crimson Treo 680 and my (red!) Centro..�
Clue: Modified Enfora Wi-Fi Sled working with Palm Centro - By Jennifer Chappell
One of the things Treo and Centro owners have been clambering for is Wi-Fi. In this article, Jennifer explores one option that isn�t for the faint of heart. She discusses the adventures of �webdave� and how Sammy over at Palm Addicts used a modified Enfora Wi-Fi Sled to access Wi-Fi on a Centro.
�So once again, this just shows that Wi-Fi is indeed important to many Palm smartphones owners. I would think it would be a big deal especially for people who don't have an unlimited data plan who would like to save money by being able to surf available Wi-Fi access points.�
Clue: Treo Software Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell
Some of the interesting new software releases that Jennifer talked about included: Astraware Westward, Dog Gone It!, Mahjong Mania Pro, Tank Ace 1944 for Palm and Pocket PC, Hearts for WM Professional v3.00F, and Rampart Games Super Pack. As for updates, some of note include: Agendus for Palm OS Professional Edition 12.05, IM for Skype v1.2, Personal Audio Recorder PRO v4, Rampart Trivia Pack for Palm OS v2.3, Softick Audio Gateway, CorePlayer Mobile For PocketPC / Windows Mobile v1.2.0, Softick CardExport for Windows Mobile and Touch Commander v3.0.
This episode should probably be named �CentroCast� because it�s all about the Centro. The hosts discuss Palm getting their swagger back (thanks to the Centro), the AT&T Centro, new colors for the Centro and how well the Centro is doing with women (Hint: really well).
Review: Treo 500
Mendelson Tiu at Smart Office News (down under), offered thoughts on the Treo 500.
�There is nothing special about the Palm Treo 500. Most of its main features can be found in other Windows-based smartphones, its keypad is too small for our taste, and it does not have any other programs or connectivity features that could have set it apart from the rest. The price will probably be appealing to potential buyers though, with this Windows Mobile 6 smartphone having a price tag of $649.�
Review: Samsung WEP430 Bluetooth Headset
Andrew at Treonauts gave a listen to the Samsung WEP Bluetooth headset that was designed with physically active folks in mind. He remarked how it offers one of the most original designs that he has come across � pointing out how it features �a unique ergonomic ear-ring that literally wraps around your ear to provide an ideal fit for outdoor activities such as running and is sweat and water resistant (not water proof).�
�Overall, the more I�ve used this new Samsung WEP430 the more I�ve liked it. Although it doesn�t provide quite the same level of superior noise cancellation as my Jawbone the call quality was nonetheless consistently good. The unusual design, sporty look, comfortable fit and great pocketability also helped to win me over. Highly recommended.�
Cool Product: Bluetrek Bluetooth Headset
Kevin at JK on the Run pointed this product out�the Bluetrek Bizz Bluetooth headset. The cool thing about it is its unique charging mechanism � it has a built-in USB interface that plugs into the USB port of a computer. And there�s more�
�Bluetrek folks crammed a microSD reader in there too. Talk about a multifunction headset... my HS810 now looks like a toad in comparison.�
If it pairs easily and handles calls well, the Bluetrek folks could have a winner on their hands.
News: Microsoft Releases Daylight Saving Time Update
Thanks to Brighthand for the head�s up on this� On March 9, we will be prompted to push our clocks ahead one hour as daylight savings time (DST) begins. Microsoft is ready with a new DST update for Windows Mobile-based devices. It apparently changes the time zone data to accommodate DST changes in several countries. It also includes the changes that were part of a DST update released in August 2007.
News: Linkedin Goes Mobile
It looks like LinkedIn has made the leap to the 3rd Screen. This week, it was announced that LinkedIn mobile is now available for any Web enabled wireless phones that use the wireless application protocol (WAP). All you have to do from your mobile device is log into http://m.linkedin.com/.
See for yourself in this video.
News: Opera Makes Google Default Search Option
On Wednesday, Opera announced that they made Google the default search engine in the company�s mobile Web browsers. Now anyone using Opera Mobile or Opera Mini can access Google's powerful mobile search directly from the browser start page, meaning they'll be able to quickly and easily get the information they need, whenever and wherever they need it. Google has been the default search option on Opera's desktop browser for seven years. This new mobile collaboration covers all global territories except Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, and includes all of Opera's standard mobile Web browsers.
News/Clue: Sync that Phone
According to this story from Tech Crunch, companies are starting to figure out that the contact information on your mobile phone may be the most important social network you have - perhaps even better than the email inbox that Yahoo is targeting. This week, Israeli startup NewACT, with $6.5 million in funding over two rounds from Cedar Fund, released a beta version of a new service called SYNCY that lets users migrate contacts, calendars and media from a mobile phone to the web. They described it as part ZYB, part Sharpcast.You can access the beta site here.
News/Clue: StyleTap May Bring Palm OS Applications to the iPhone
This is kind of an interesting story� StyleTap, Inc., the company with the platform that allows you to run applications (and games) originally written for Palm OS handhelds on devices running Windows Mobile, may have an emulator in the works for the iPhone. The article in Brighthand refers to a video that has been released. If you check it out, you�ll see their disclaimer:
�This is an EXPERIMENTAL version � it is NOT a product, nor is its presence here a commitment of any kind, express or implied, that StyleTap Inc. will ever release an official version of StyleTap CrossPlatform for Apple iPhone or iPod Touch.�
Consider yourself warned.
News/Trend: Print Players Call on Mobile � The Leap to the Third Screen
One big question that has been kicking around is whether old medium players (i.e. New York Times, USA Today) can make the leap to the third screen (mobile). According to this Media Week story by Lucia Moses, Matt Jones, the director of mobile strategy and operations at Gannett Digital, Gannett Co.'s online unit, seems to think so. In fact, Jones sees mobile as a natural extension of flagship USA Today, launched for road warriors 25 years ago.
"If you think about consumption habits of newspapers, you see people taking them with them. I think they lend themselves very well to a digital platform."
Related Story: NY Times Bridges Old and New Media
Over at Ad Week, Brian Morrissey talked about some of the experiments that are being conducted to help �reenergize traditional media with interactivity.� One example was an ad for online jewelry retailer Blue Nile that ran in The New York Times last November. At the bottom of it, there was a small bar code. Apparently, by taking a picture of the code with a cell phone camera would trigger the launch of the mobile Web site for Blue Nile, where a coupon was being offered. The idea sounds interesting. The execution of it sounds complicated. Apparently, Microsoft has been doing a lot of this type of experimentation. Brian Monahan, who leads interactive strategy for the Microsoft account at Universal McCann, remarked:
"There's an instant gratification to using mobile with a print ad. Having a URL that someone needs to write down, then bring back to their desk is too much. [Short codes are] an interesting way to harvest more interactions with the ad."
He�s got a point. But making this work smoothly is the key. Once someone has a frustrating experience, chances are that they won�t be willing to try it a second time.
News: The New York Times Company Launches ShifD in Beta
On Monday, The New York Times Company announced the beta launch of ShifD, an application that provides users the capability to seamlessly shift content between their computers and mobile devices. ShifD eliminates the need to separately save certain information to both a computer and a mobile device. Beta launch users can add and save content through ShifD in three categories:
Here�s a first look at it by PC World. Travis Hudson remarked:
�I tried out ShifD and like it. It's a handy utility that doesn't have anything to do with the The New York Times Web site or the newspaper. From what I understand the only thing in common between the NYT and ShifD are the designers. ShifD works with any sites and is worth using by mobile users looking to manage their digital lives.�
Opinion: Mobile Ads Not Intrusive
In an AdWeek opinion piece written by Paul Palmieri, president and CEO of Millennial Media, he addressed the perception that mobile ads are intrusive.
�The bottom line is that millennials (the vast majority of users of mobile non-voice services) use their devices not as their "third screen" but as their first one. This social networking generation has been raised on highly targeted advertising based upon specific content chosen for their personal profile pages. Mobile advertising is the most targetable medium, providing the most relevant ads. They welcome such relevance and use it as the basis for their purchase decisions.
So the next time someone tries to engage you in discussion about mobile ads being intrusive, tell them to first ask a millennial -- and then to acknowledge their own age. Let's put this tired argument to bed.�
News: Nielsen Looks Beyond TV, and Hits Roadblocks
Maybe mobile ads aren�t intrusive, but having someone monitor what ads you view on your mobile (or computer for that matter) is. In an article by Louise Story of the New York Times, Nielsen Media Research is looking to branch out beyond monitoring television viewing. They are looking to �eavesdrop on Web surfing and cellphone use,� but are running into roadblocks. You think?
News/Trend: MobiTV Releases Mobile Television Advertising and Viewership Data
I guess it comes down to how data is collected. For example, on Monday, MobiTV, Inc., the leader in mobile and broadband entertainment services, released what was describes as ground-breaking mobile television advertising and viewership data:
MobiTV reaches more than three million adult viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, who subscribe to more than 50 live TV channels and/or digital music. Key audience demographic and psychographic data points include:
Clue: Ten Apps to Improve your Treo/Centro
Ryan Kairer at Palm Infocenter, has posted a story that talks about ten applications that will improve your Palm Treo/Centro.
��with a few additional applications the Palm OS based smartphones can match, and in many cases vastly outperform the competition. Whether your an old time palmhead or just picked up your first Centro there is bound to be some software you can use to liven up your smartphone. In this article I highlight some of the top notch, must have Palm OS titles for your Treo or Centro.�
Sprint Unveils Simply Everything Plan� & Earnings
Sprint just announced it will launch Simply Everything, a domestic pricing plan giving subscribers unlimited voice, data, text, e-mail, web surfing, Sprint TV, Sprint Music, GPS Navigation, Direct Connect and Group Connect for $99.99 per month. Sprint becomes the first of the four major U.S. operators to include both voice, data and multimedia services together under the same all-you-can-eat plan. Dan Hesse, Sprint�s CEO remarked:
"All major carriers have good voice networks. Our network is about more than voice and more than just being the largest wireless data network. It is about allowing customers to connect with people, information and entertainment. It is about simplicity, usability and real value. The $99.99 Simply Everything plan eliminates overage surprises and provides a worry-free environment."
This was exciting news. Sprint Nextel�s earnings were another story entirely. They posted a $29.5 billion loss and scrapped its dividend after writing down the value of Nextel Communications Inc. and losing 683,000 customers. In fact, Sprint wrote down $29.7 billion of the $36 billion purchase of Nextel and related companies. The expenses reduce its goodwill, the premium paid in an acquisition for reputation, customers and other intangible assets.
Hopefully, better times are ahead�Mossberg weighs in on T-Mobile Home Phone
Last week I wrote about how T-Mobile rolled out an Internet calling plan designed to replace home phone service in two test markets, Seattle and Dallas. In his Personal Technology column (�T-Mobile Service Ties Cellphones to Home, With Some Sacrifices�) on Thursday, Walt Mossberg provided his thoughts about it. For sure, there are some downsides:
��You must be a T-Mobile cellphone customer to buy and use this $10 monthly home service, and your T-Mobile plan must either be an individual plan costing at least $40 a month or a family plan costing at least $50 a month.
�while you can transfer your current landline phone number to this new service, it cannot share your existing T-Mobile cellphone number. So people who are used to calling you on your cellphone will still do so, and you will still have to race for the cellphone or carry it around to receive those calls. You also can�t transfer your cellphone�s address book to the new home phone.�
Make sure to read the full column to see the plus side of his take.
Are you familiar with the cell phone lean? The one where a person�s head is tilted to one side while either cradling a phone against one ear and a shoulder or holding the phone up with one hand. I usually notice it when I�ve been cut off. Nine times out of ten, I�ll look over and sure enough, the person was on the phone and didn�t have a hand free to use the turn signal.
Well in Jersey, that�s a big no-no. Cutting people off? Bad idea but not what I�m addressing here. It�s using a cell phone without some sort of hands-free device (Bluetooth headset, speakerphone, etc.).
The fine folks at Parrot, who just so happen to make hands-free car kits like this one put out a press release this week to tell us all about the New Jersey law that�ll start being enforced this Saturday, March 1.
If caught using cell phones without a hands-free device, drivers will face a fine of $250 for talking on the phone and $100 for text messaging. Supposedly these are the most expensive hands-free fines in the nation.
The state of New Jersey originally adopted hands-free legislation as a secondary offense in July 2004, making the use of cellular phones while driving punishable by fines ranging from $100-$250, but drivers could only be ticketed in conjunction with another traffic violation. Beginning Saturday, however, the law becomes a primary offense, allowing police to pull over drivers solely for using a cell phone will driving.
So, if you have family and friends in Jersey, how about sending them a link to the TreoCentral Store TODAY! Tell them to use coupon code: LEAPDAYSALE for 10% all accessories � that includes Bluetooth headsets and car kits.
And if you live in other states, don�t put off purchasing a hands-free device. It�s just a matter of time before this type of legislation hits you.
That�s a wrap!
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