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Talkin’ Treo – v010507

Fri Jan 5, 2007 - 11:14 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 5 January 2007

Happy New Year! As I was putting together this weekÂ’s column, I had to smile because some of the predictions for 2007 are soÂ… so predictable.

It’s no surprise that your Treo will end up being used as (A) a camera but with much more potential; (B) a video player – but with much more interesting content; (C) a GPS device – but much more user-friendly; and (D) an advertising medium – but much more engaging and relevant.

The number of smartphone users will increase and the number of folks using Treos for the first time will grow as well. When it comes to service providers, donÂ’t get too attached to a particular brand because the way things are going, whatÂ’s old is new and whatÂ’s new has been absorbed (see Cingular/AT&T reference below), or is soon to be obsolete (think Ben Q).

You should feel confident that the Treo will remain “in the mix,” so to speak. But it is very clear that the competition is ratcheting up—which means at some point, we’ll be due for a shakeout. Who’ll still be standing at this time next year? Hard to say—the wireless providers really have a hand in this and who knows what kinds of deals are being cut behind the scenes.

I canÂ’t help but think of the words to that Bob Seger song that was on the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack:

Shakedown, breakdown, takedown. Everybody wants into the crowded line. Breakdown, Takedown, You're busted. Let down your guard honey, Just about the time you're thinkin' it's alright. Breakdown, Takedown, You're bustedÂ…

Any manufacturer that let’s down its guard (listen up Palm) will be “busted” and lose market share.

Any provider that letÂ’s things get out of hands from a service, support and pricing standpoint will be busted.

And any advertiser that abuses the trust of the Treo user by pushing irrelevant, non-useful content will be busted as well.

So Happy 2007! May we find more useful (and productive) things to be doing with our Treos. And may we always remember that we have choices – and our ability to choose is what will ultimately keep the market from spiraling completely out of control. Viva La Treo!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming—Let’s Talk Treo!

Palm News

As of our deadline, all was quiet this week with no news coming out of Sunnyvale. But CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is taking place starting next week and Palm is scheduled to attend so I imagine there will be some official announcements. Watch for updates on TreoCentral.com.

TalkinÂ’ Treo 750

Gear Diary

Over at GearDiary.com, MitchellO has written an extensive review of the Treo 750v. He wraps it up by stating:

"Overall I am very happy with the Treo 750v. It would be nice if it was thinner, but it is still quite a reasonable size, and its contoured shape feels great in the hand. Its currently only available from Vodafone in Europe and a few other places, so if you want one now you will have to either wait for it to become available with your local carrier or import a Vodafone unit and have it unlocked. If you do, I think you will agree itÂ’s worth the trouble."

TalkinÂ’ Treo 680

The Jersey Journal

Troy Dreier writes:

"Using the 680 is a breeze, thanks to the simplicity of the Palm operating system. It has more storage than previous Treos, so you can save more applications, songs, photos, or games. Still, I was a little underwhelmed by it. The 680 isn't much smaller than previous models, it doesn't offer WiFi, the camera is poor, and you need to buy it "unlocked" for the full price of $399 to get the fun colors. The only carrier that currently offers the 680 at a discount is Cingular, and it only sells the gray model."

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Review: Covertec Horizontal Case - By Jay Gross

Jay takes a look at the Covertec contemporary luxury case that comes in a lot of neat colors (Black, Tan, Red, Snow White, Baby Blue, Baby Pink, Orange, Raspberry, Baby Green and Blue Lagoon). He remarks:

"CovertecÂ’s Horizontal Pouch lets you stow your Treo on your belt or clothing and rest easy for its protection. All the while you can smirk, grin, or gloat about the fashionable color, bold or basic, that youÂ’re sporting."

TeleNav GPS Navigator - By Harv Laser

TeleNav is a GPS navigation solution that operates in a radically different way from other systems – it lacks the “on-board baggage” the others require. According to Harv Laser in his review, “In a nutshell, TeleNav (which is available for both PalmOS and WM Treos) operates by storing all of its maps, navigational data, and crystal-clear voice prompts on the company's own servers and pulls down the data you need through your Treo's wireless data connection, on demand, as you need it.” He concludes:

"When you mull over the fact that you can pay for TeleNav a month at a time, and bail out of it any time you want to (unless you commit to the three-month subscription bundled with the GPS receiver) you have very little to lose and a lot to gain by giving it a test drive. TeleNav GPS Navigator is simply an awesome product."

Extra! IDC names TeleNav Company to Watch

IDC announced their list of “Ten Emerging Mobile Players To Watch in 2007.” In alphabetical order, they are: Dexterra, Firethorn, GoGoMo, GrandCentral Communications, InnoPath, iSkoot, JumpTap, mFormation Technologies, Sonic Branding Solutions, and TeleNav.

OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case - By Jennifer Chappell

Jennifer takes a look at the waterproof OtterBox Rugged Treo Case. She writes:

"I was very impressed with the OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case. The case is rugged and solid, and holds up against water, dust, and being dropped. The case is designed so that you can work just about anywhere and have complete use of your email, phone, internet, music, and camera. I think that the case looks great too!"

Elsewhere in the World of Treo

News: MobiMate Releases WorldMate 2007

This week, MobiMate announced the release of WorldMate 2007 Professional Edition that includes enhanced global weather coverage. This version, “intended specially for the new Palm Treo 680 smartphone,” continues the eight-year tradition of MobiMate working with Palm, Inc., making the WorldMate product franchise one of the longest-standing and best-selling applications for the Treo smartphone and other Palm devices. It lets you access 14 critical travel services for only $74.95.

News: IceMAIL Bundled with Palm Treo 680 and Treo 700wx Smartphones

IceWEB, Inc., a leading provider of subscription based Hosted Microsoft Exchange services, enterprise software and network security infrastructure services, just announced a limited time special offering of its IceMAIL Hosted Exchange service bundled with the Treo 680 or Treo 700wx smartphone. Available through IceWEB and Simply Wireless Inc., the $99.00 offer includes a deeply discounted Treo 680 or Treo 700wx ($299.00) smartphone, the “IceMAIL Small Office Bundle” (5 hosted Microsoft Exchange Email accounts, fully functional copies of Microsoft Outlook 2007, online virus scanning and spam filtering, and live synchronization of all Outlook data to the Treo smartphones, at NO CHARGE for 90 days), a free Palm Bluetooth wireless headset, and services from Simply Wireless and Cingular or Sprint. The offer will be available through January 31st, 2007. For more information, go to IceMAIL’s website www.iceWEB.com, or call 1-888-ICEWEB1.

News: Instant Message Backup for Your Treo

This item crossed my desk and it looked interesting and worth sharing (perhaps I just have MacWorld on the mind).

ThereÂ’s a company called FunkeeMonk Technology that has created an easy, one-touch backup program for Treo owners who also happen to be Mac users. This conduit works with both Palm Desktop and Missing Sync. The company is offering a full-featured trial that includes 10 free syncs. To use it, you need the following:

  • Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later, PPC or Intel
  • Treo 650/680/700p
  • Palm™ Desktop or Missing Sync installed

Note: This weekÂ’s Mossberg Mailbox, that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, included a piece about syncing a Treo 650 with a Mac. He writes:

"There's a Mac program called The Missing Sync that will allow you to synchronize a Treo with Apple's own calendar and address book. It can also synchronize photos, music and folders and files between a Mac and a Treo. It works either wirelessly or via a cable. Information and downloads are at markspace.com. There's also a version of The Missing Sync that allows synchronizing a Mac with a Windows Mobile device, including the Palm Treo 700w and the Motorola Q."

Review: Smartphone Experts SafeGuard Holster Case

Andrew at Treonauts checked out the new Smartphone Experts SafeGuard Holster. He remarks:

"The new Smartphone Experts SafeGuard Holster pictured here meets all of the requirements that a top Treo holster should have including a sturdy top latch, solid holder and a large ratcheting (7 positions) belt clip – features which have undoubtedly helped it to already quickly become the #1 bestselling holster."
Review: No More Tangles: MyTreo.Net Checks out the EarBuddy

MyTreo.netÂ’s John Holland tried out the EarBuddy by SendStation. It is a durable carrying case for earbuds made of ballistic nylon. The inner reel of the EarBuddy is constructed of high density ABS plastic capable of withstanding up to 200lbs of pressure. He remarks, "I found the clamshell design of the EarBuddy very compact and easy to use."

This picture got my attention. Seems like an interesting way to carry earbuds.

Review: The Parrot Rhythm nÂ’Blue Bluetooth Stereo Receiver

This product has a catchy name. In brief, the Parrot Rhythm nÂ’Blue Bluetooth Stereo allows you to make and receive phone calls through your carÂ’s radio or CD player using Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, such as the Treo. HereÂ’s what MyTreo.netÂ’s Derek Simmerman thought about it:

"After using the Parrot Rhythm nÂ’Blue for a few months I am thoroughly enjoying this Bluetooth marvel. With features such as voice tags I feel much safer making calls from my automobile. Being somewhat of a stereo enthusiast, I do feel Parrot could do a better job on the audio by adding a graphic equalizer, but for those with standard factory radios, you wonÂ’t be able to tell the difference. In the end this feature rich receiver will give you a healthy convergence of music entertainment and Bluetooth functionality to make your driving experience much more pleasant."
Trend/Commentary: Picture Gets Clearer for Cellphone Users

Towards the end of last year, LA Times writer, James Granelli did a story about cellphone cameras. Seems that manufacturers are coming around to the idea that the camera has hidden potential. He quotes John Holstrom, director of mobile software applications for handset maker Motorola Inc., "We've gone from the camera as a novelty on the cellphone to a camera enabling social networking."

He continues, “The easier we can make it to transfer photos, the more people will use the cameras." That may seem obvious, but somehow, it hasn’t been an area of focus so far. Perhaps this year, as wireless providers see the revenue potential of moving this type of “data,” they will take the steps necessary to simplify the transfer process.

Extra! Maximizing the Potential of Your TreoÂ’s Camera

After reading the story above, I was reminded of an excellent piece that TreoCentralÂ’s Jay Gross did on how to get the most out of your TreoÂ’s camera. ItÂ’s a worthwhile read. So is this one.

Trend: I Want My Sprint TV

For sure, this is going to be the year of mobile content. Sprint has made its intentions known by stating publically they are working closely with IMG Media, a unit of the giant IMG sports agency, to create about 150 minutes of content a week, featuring a roster of news-oriented entertainment and sports programming, for its Power View mobile network. These programs are available for free for Sprint customers who subscribe to unlimited data access plans. The company has invested "several million dollars" in the venture, according to Alana Muller, director of wireless data marketing for Sprint.

According to the story, the company is putting its own resources into content because “it hasn't found enough stuff out there that fits its needs: Entertainment and sports programming that is regularly updated, sometimes more than once a day, to keep customers engaged and coming back.”

Trend: I Want My Sprint TV – Part 2

In another recent story, the N, MTV Network's teen network, has signed a deal with Sprint to deliver a regular package of video clips from the network's top shows to mobile subscribers. The new The N Mobile platform, which will feature highlights and behind the scenes clips from shows such as Degrassi: The Next Generation, South of Nowhere and Beyond the Break, will be available on the Sprint Vision and Power Vision mobile networks. Content on the platform will be refreshed once a week.

Trend: Mobile Advertising Taking Off?

According to a story that appeared in Adweek, mobile advertising is definitely on the rise in the U.S. (though the amount varies depending on whoÂ’s study you read). Ovum Research said advertisers spent an estimated $150 million on the medium in the U.S. in 2006, up from just $45 million in 2005. But data group eMarketer, which claims a percentage of spending credited to the Web properly belongs under mobile, puts the 2006 number at $420 million, and predicted it would leap to $900 million in 2007. Either way, expect to see mobile ads on your Treo in the not so distant future.

Commentary: Thoughts on the Year Ahead

I found a couple of interesting stories that included predictions for 2007. This first one contains thoughts from Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies:

"Here are my predictions for the tech market in the coming year.

1-Cell phoneÂ’s become the next major technology music platform.

By the end of 2007, the cell phone will become the largest selling music device and be at the center of innovation in media based smart phones. This does not mean that AppleÂ’s iPod market share will go downÂ… The big problem with using a cell phone for things like video and mobile TV is its draw on the battery. Kids told us that they would like to listen to music on their phoneÂ’s but were highly reluctant to watch much video or TV since this would kill the battery life and decrease their ability to talk and IM with their friends. If this plays out properly, the only real new application that this demographic will support on cell phones is music and this will push all the hand set makers in this direction.

2-Smart Phones demand to increase

Smart Phones like PalmÂ’s Treo, MotorolaÂ’s Q and RIMÂ’s Blackberry are poised to become an even larger part of the cell phone market. We define smart phones as ones that have an OS and can support a broad range of applications. While these phones will never become the lion share of the market, they are gaining a lot of ground in not only business but consumer markets as well. PalmÂ’s new $199 Treo with Cingular is aimed strictly at consumers and we believe it will be a big hit. Today, smart phones are less then 5% of the total cell phone market but we expect they will grow to become 18% of all cell phones sold by 2010. We will most likely ship one billion cell phones WW in 2007 and well over 1.5 billion in 2010, so 18% of a 1.5 billion market for smart phones is significant.

The other interesting story came from Dean BubblyÂ’s Disruptive Wireless Blog . This appeared as #7 on his list:

"7) Navigation becomes rather more important on mobiles. Mobile search doesn't.

Although it will take some time, I do see handset-based navigation capabilities becoming more prevalent. Phones will start to ship with built-in GPS in small numbers, and unlike WiFi dual-mode or 3G, this will be seen as "cool". Generally, cool stuff in phones is not the service-oriented stuff - think cameras for local storage, MP3 players with memory cards, snazzy externals.

I have my doubts about operator-centric location based services (except E-911 in the US, and a handful in Asia), as the exponential curve on memory and processing much faster than over-the-air transmission. You could get a detailed map of any country in Europe on less than 0.5GB of flash memory, just downloading updates or alerts when necessary. And it might have been my most controversial post this year, but I still expect that most "Mobile Search" companies will be selling their new 2007 collections principally for the Emperor's wardrobe."

Indeed, 2007 is shaping up to be an interesting year!

Endnotes & Ponderables:

Looks like someone in CingularÂ’s PR department had a little too much time on their hands during the last week of December. Thanks to Rory Thompson at Brandweek for pointing this out. Cingular put out a press release claiming that the company expects to carry more than 500 billion minutes-of-use (MOU) on its network this year. In tiny print, the release states the following:

Other things* you could possibly do in 500 billion minutes:

- Listen to the live version of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" 45 billion times

- Watch nine seasons of Seinfeld without commercials more than 132 million times

- Make about 57 thousand trips to the moon and back

- Attend 2.8 billion baseball games

- Drive round-trip from New York to Los Angeles 92 million times

- Sleep for 950 million consecutive years

- Have a truly unlimited wireless calling plan!

*Estimates based on available information, and uh, best guesses”

For real! Read the release for yourself.

Death to Spidey?

Well not exactly. But it does look like Cingular is going away thanks to AT&T getting final approval for their takeover of Bell South (CingularÂ’s parent).

In my mind, Cingular and Spiderman are forever connected due to that scene in the first Spiderman movie, where he swings joyfully through what appears to be Times Square, and one of the buildings prominently featured in the background had the Cingular logo on it.

What a waste of a branding effort! Oh well.

ThatÂ’s a wrap!

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