ItÂ’s that Â“dead weekÂ” in the two-week run-up to the Super Bowl. But it certainly wasnÂ’t dead in the world of Treo. Palm definitely kicked it into gear with a number of press releases being issued. ACCESS, the new owner of Palm OS has renamed it something completely unmemorable (see story below). While there was quite a bit of activity on the Treo 750 front (review-wise), the big story on the 680 side wasnÂ’t the software update issued by Palm or the Treo 680 cradle/sync problem. Rather, it was the case of the missing color (AKA Copper is no more).
So without further ado, LetÂ’s Talk Treo!
Several releases had to do with PalmÂ’s global (and domestic) expansion.
Palm and Orange Announce Treo 680 Smartphone in Switzerland
On Monday, Palm and Orange (which is owned by France Telecom, Europe's second-largest telecoms group) announced the Treo 680 is now available to OrangeÂ’s customers in Switzerland. Sebastian Petit, product manager, Orange, stated, "We believe the Treo 680 smartphone, combined with the Orange Business Mail offering, will serve our customers' needs and help expand our customer base."
Palm and Globe Telecom Bring the New Slim, Sleek Treo 680 Smartphone to the Philippines
In a similar type of announcement, last Friday, Palm and Globe Telecom let the world know that the Treo 680 had now landed in the Philippines. Jesus C. Romero, head of the Enterprise Business Group of Globe Telecom, stated, "The Treo 680 is the right step toward helping our corporate subscribers move to a richer and more full-featured mobile experience that helps them work efficiently while on the move. This is the kind of innovation that Globe is committed to bring to the wireless voice and data market."
Alltel Wireless Now Offering Palm Treo 700p Smartphone
Back in the States, it looks like the Treo 700p is now available from a wireless provider not named Verizon or Sprint. Mid-tier U.S. carrier, Alltel Wireless, is offering it.
"The Treo 700p adds another Palm OS Treo smartphone to our product portfolio, and joins the Windows Mobile based Treo 700wx," said Wade McGill, senior vice president of product management for Alltel Wireless. "With its robust feature set and ease-of-use functionality, the Treo 700p will meet the demands of Alltel's business customers who need to remain connected and productive while on the go."
Palm Brings Microsoft's Direct Push Technology to Palm OS Based Treo Smartphones
ThursdayÂ’s announcement should be welcomed by anyone that has a Treo 700p, 650 or 680 and wants to connect to their companyÂ’s Microsoft Exchange Server. With the release of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Update for Palm OS devices, the VersaMail email client will now be able to receive fast, automatic wireless updates of email, calendar and contact information (via Microsoft's Direct Push Technology).
InfoWorldÂ’s Ephraim Schwartz writes:
"After many months, even years, of promising an e-mail push technology equivalent to what the RIM Blackberry service offers, it looks like Palm has finally done it"
According to his story, the benefits of push technology are in battery life and real-time immediacy of e-mail.
Copper No Mas?
When the TreoCentral community editor, Jennifer Chappell wrote about wanting a Treo 680 in Copper but having to settle for Graphite, I thought nothing of it. That is, until I read this story on the Engadget site.
Copper is "no longer available" according to Palm's site. No reason was provided.
Ed Hardy at Brighthand reports "the Treo 680 is still available in Graphite (silver), Crimson (red), and Actic (white). However, at least in the U.S., the only way to get red or white is to purchase the unlocked version directly from Palm."
Lastly, as mentioned above,
Palm OS has been renamed!
Everything Treo has reported that ACCESS has renamed Palm OS Â– now calling it Garnet OS (?!). HereÂ’s some background to help put this in context. In October of 2006, ACCESS announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, PalmSource, Inc., had begun the process of changing its name to ACCESS. As part of that process, ACCESS planned on renaming all products that originally had Palm-based names. So first up, Palm OS, which is now known as Garnet OS.
Wait a minute. Are you telling me that we need to call devices Garnet OS-based instead of Palm OS-based? Too weird!
Â… Then again, still call the ballpark where Barry Bonds plays, PacBell Park...
TalkinÂ’ Treo 750
LetÂ’s shift gears and talk about the Treo 750.
Mobile Tech Review
Lisa Gade, editor-in-chief of Mobile Tech Review, provided her thoughts on the Treo 750:
"No, it's not an earth-shattering Treo, but it's by no means a re-warmed Treo 700wx either. The Treo 750 offers very good performance with a new CPU, an improved camera, enhanced video playback, a more solid Bluetooth implementation in a lighter, slimmer, antenna-less casing. And best of all for Cingular customers, a Windows Mobile Treo is finally available for GSM! While we found some Treo models too quiet (i.e.: the Treo 650) and only average on call quality, the Treo 750 is both loud and land line clear. And being a Treo, it feels absolutely great in hand. All in all, Palm's usability customizations and great hardware design make the Treo 750 an obvious choice for those on the go who crave one-handed operation and ease of use along with the power of Windows Mobile."
PocketNowÂ’s Series on the Treo 750
Brandon Miniman of PocketNow has done a series of stories (blog entries) on the Treo 750. As of our press time, he was at Day 3. Follow these links for Day 2
and Day 1.
Separated at Birth?
No doubt thatÂ’s the truth when you look at the Treo 750 and 680 side-by-side.
Thanks to Brandon for pointing this out in another of his stories.
Over at The New York Times, John Biggs had a story (registration required) titled
"How E.T. Might Phone Home, if Home Had a G.S.M. Network." He points to the Treo 750.
I suppose that would be the case if E.T. were a big fan of Windows Mobile. Otherwise, heÂ’d probably opt for the Treo 680 running Palm OS (oops! I mean Garnet OS), which also runs on GSM (as long as he didnÂ’t have his heart set on the Copper colored one).
LetÂ’s just point E.T. to the page where he can see all his Treo options.
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Review: UTS Blood Pressure - By Harv Laser
Harv takes a look at UTS Blood Pressure, a program for your Palm OS-based Treo that helps you track and to monitor your blood pressure. He writes:
"Although it's a couple years old, UTSBP is my choice for the best PalmOS blood pressure tracking program out there. I demoed it for my doctor and he agreed it's an excellent tool for keeping track of blood pressure numbers, and making sure the medication he prescribed is doing its job."
Review: AxisPad (MIDI & the Treo) - By Jay Gross
AxisPad, from MiniMusic, makes your Treo into a stylus-driven music synthesizer.
"Alone, or bundled into one of MiniMusicÂ’s suites of music software, AxisPad takes great advantage of the TreoÂ’s computing power to bring musical fun to your Treo. The program has applications for serious musicians, too. Look out, garage band."
Review: Jabra BT 500v - By Douglas Morse
"The only barrier here is price. At 84.95 this is one expensive headset. After struggling with many mediocre headsets, perhaps the premium is worth it since this is something youÂ’ll use every day. After all, miscommunication can cost real money. You are also paying for the vibrating alert. If you are on a tight budget, take a look at alternative options, including JabraÂ’s own BT 500 sans Â‘vÂ’. If the vibrating alert, well thought out controls, comfort and solid sound quality are what youÂ’re looking for, then the Jabra BT500v is a great choice."
TreoCast Â– Two Guys and a Microphone
Sometimes IÂ’m so busy Â“readinÂ’ about Treo,Â” that I forget that TreoCentralÂ’s staff has two guys who are broadcastinÂ’ TreoCasts.
This week, in Episode 11, Dieter and Michael discuss CES, the iPhone, some new products and activity in the forums.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: Sena Cases LeatherSkin Case for Treo 680
HereÂ’s another opinion on the new Sena Cases LeatherSkin Case. YouÂ’ll recall that last week, TreoCentralÂ’s Douglas Morse provided his thoughts.
In the "Gadgeteer Hands On Review," Mike Whitley writes:
"I have had my Sena Case about a week now, and I have to say that I love it. It works well, keeps the Treo protected and looks very stylish. The added bonus of being able to order one without a belt clip helps to maintain the Treo 680Â’s thin form factor and makes sliding the whole package into your pocket a breeze. Overall, I think this case is a good choice for a conscientious Treo owner who wants a case that leans more towards style and ease of use vs. ultimate protection."
I liked the case so much, I ended up ordering two leather pouches from SenaCases for my Samsung I320 and Pentax Optio Digital Camera. Both arrived recently and are of similar quality to the Treo case. It should be noted that the new Treo 750v uses the same form factor as the 680, so the Sena Case should work for it too."
Review: Sena Cases Tan Croco MagnetFlipper Case
Looks like products from Sena Cases are quite popular (or perhaps the PR folks are just being extra proactive). Anyway, hereÂ’s a look at a flip-style case for 700-series Treos. The reviewer at Mobile Gadget News gave it 4.5 stars:
"Sena Cases continue to offer stylish leather cases to protect our toys without breaking the bank. The various options available for the MagnetFlipper cases offer customization and options. As with everything, it isn't perfect. There are some minor issues, but they are more of an annoyance than a deal breaker. At $59.99**, the Croco case offers ultimate style to encase your 700 series Treo."
** Note: The TreoCentral Store has it for $49.95.
Review: SeidioÂ’s New Holsters
If holsters are your thing, this review by Andrew at Treonauts should be of interest. He remarks:
"Overall, the new Seidio holsters for the Treo 680 and Treo 750 are both extremely well built and I particularly like the rubberized feel as well as the relatively small body which provides a very good fit.
Having said this, specifically because many past Treo holsters have had the unfortunate habit of scratching (sometimes badly) TreonautsÂ’ smartphones after monts of regular use, I would still more highly recommend the SPE SafeGuard Holster as I believe that it offers superior scratch protection thanks to its fully rubber-lined interior and latch design."
Review: Dial by Photo
Alli Flowers at MyTreo.net posted this review of a program that lets you Â“replace your phone screen with something fun without losing practicality.Â” She writes:
"All in all, Dial by Photo (DBP) is a fun application that brings a lot of versatility to your dialing experience. My native phone screen has been permanently retired!"
Review: Magic Button & PocketTunes
This title sounds more like a sequel to Fantasia than a software program. But I digress. AlliÂ’s colleague at MyTreo.net, John Holland, has done a review of MagicButton by Toysoft. This program utilizes the TreoÂ’s headset button to control Pocket Tunes, dial contacts and launch applications. MagicButton also has several options for controlling the phone functions of the Treo. John writes:
"While MagicButton Launches applications and controls phone features very well, it truly shines when paired with Pocket Tunes. I strongly recommend MagicButton for music lovers and anyone who uses a wired headset."
News: GpsGate.com Puts Your Buddies in Their Place
This week, Franson Technology launched GpsGate.com, a GPS mapping portal designed to enable people to share their locations from their Windows laptop or Windows Mobile-based Pocket PC device with anyone they have personally approved to "spot" them online. They are touting it as "a great new way for a group of friends or colleagues to synchronize their lives for work or fun."
Endnotes & Ponderables:
I guess it was this weekÂ’s Oscar nominations and watching "American Idol" the other night that got me into an Â“entertainmentÂ” state-of-mind.
First, The Seattle Times did a piece on the back-end wireless system being used by American Idol to handle the "vote-by-text" element of the show.
For years, a Seattle-based company called Mobliss was in charge of the back-end wireless systems that made it possible for "American Idol" fans who are also Cingular Wireless subscribers to vote for their favorite performers by text message. According to this story, the method was so popular that more than 13.5 million text messages were sent during the third season. But last week, Mobliss confirmed it was no longer one of the key technology providers to Cingular and FremantleMedia, which owns and produces the show with 19 Entertainment. Apparently Mobliss has moved on, by choice, to producing mobile gaming. The thought of processing so many votes is kind of mind boggling to me. And a quick Web search indicates that there has been controversy. ItÂ’ll be interesting to see who ends up with the contract now.
I thought the post-Thanksgiving, celebrity-voiced, wake-up calls that Target was doing was innovative. But this surely tops it: Celebrity Text Messaging
According to MocoNews, there is a new service available, called "The In Crowd," which sends text messages from celebrities to subscribers for $9.99 per month (3 messages a week). This "service" also sends along promotional text messages. ThatÂ’s rightÂ—you are paying for advertising. Nice!
So which celebrities are signed up? LetÂ’s see-- Rap singer Snoop Dogg, Hip hop star Xzibit, Andy Milonakis of MTV and John Salley of "The Best Damn Sports Show Period". The website is short on details about what kind of messages youÂ’ll be receiving, but it is very long on legal mumbo-jumbo. Makes my brain hurt.
ThatÂ’s a wrap!