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Talkin' Treo - v021607

Fri Feb 16, 2007 - 10:32 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 16 February 2007

I hear that Barcelona, Spain is fine this time of year. So fine, that of the news impacting the wonderful world of Treo was datelined Barcelona.

This week was the big 3GSM World Congress, where industry leaders gathered to talk about hot trends in the mobile/wireless industry. Marguerite Reardon of CNET News.com took this picture. And CNET did a great job covering what went on.

From what I can tell, this seemed like an extension of all the ballyhoo that happened at CES last month. The only difference is we now have Windows Mobile 6 in the mix and several new devices were announced that were trying to be iPhone-like and definitely Treo-like. As for trends, that’s the déjà vu part. Mobile content was king (yet again) and so was mobile search and mobile advertising. Buckle up, folks! We’re in for a bumpy ride!

Humm… maybe yes and maybe no. One thing’s for sure, Mr. Ed and the gang at Palm are not sitting still. As you’ll read below, he spoke about some of the challenges being faced by Palm as it tries to expand into Europe. And there was quite a bit of buzz about a Windows Mobile 6 Treo.

So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!

Palm News

Let’s start our Palm world tour in Barcelona. According to Amstel from PalmInsider, the Treo was everywhere. He writes:

"I have been covering the 3GSM show for Engadget and I have been amazed about the marketing Palm is doing to promote the Treo 750v: all the airports are full of huge posters of the device and even in the Barcelona airport, there is a stand where you can try and play with it."

It’s nice to know that Palm provided some “air cover” for the Treo, because it was definitely being attacked on all sides by announcements being made at 3GSM.

CNET’s Jo Best filed this story about the challenges Palm is facing in Europe.

"In the U.S., the Palm OS is so well established Symbian never got any traction. Here, operators are more supportive of Symbian," Palm's chief executive, Ed Colligan, told Silicon.com here at the 3GSM World Congress. Despite this setback, Palm still hopes to make some impact in the consumer sphere in which Nokia-backed Symbian is so prominent. "Every time, we try and convince (European operators) to carry a broader portfolio," Colligan said.

The article mentions how the introduction of Windows Mobile-based Treos has helped Palm make some inroads in Europe. However, the competition remains fierce.

Meanwhile back in the States…

Earlier in the week, Palm had an announcement that came out of Redmond, Washington where they demonstrated a new Bluetooth Common Access Card (CAC) solution to more than 450 Army IT decision-makers from around the world. Compatible with Windows Mobile 5.0-based Treos, the wireless CAC solution combines Palm's best-in-class mobility with hardware and software from industry-leading Biometric Associates, Inc. (BAI) and Trust Digital, to create a secure mobile solution that meets the government’s IT requirements for data security.

I found this article from PalmInfocenter provided a pretty good explanation of what this announcement was all about.

Besides, Barcelona, where in the world was Palm this week?

Treo 680 in Guatemala

Palm and Claro announced the availability of the Treo 680 smartphone in Guatemala.

Talkin’ Treo 680

Copper 680 Goes Missing (AGAIN!)

Last week I kidded about getting the X-Files team of Scully and Mulder involved in the case of the missing Copper-colored Treo 680. Maybe they should be on someone’s speed dial, because according to this report filed by Jennifer at TreoCentral, it has disappeared again. Go fig! To keep posted on the whereabouts of the Copper 680, I recommend that you check in with TreoCentral early and often.

Review: Gadgeteer looks at the Treo 680

This week, it was Julie at the Gadgeteer’s turn to put the Treo 680 through its paces. She has done a very thorough review with tons of pictures (including this one).

Julie writes, "Even with the battery problems (when will Palm offer an 1800 MAH?) the 680 is a dream machine. Extra memory and fast processor are worth the price."

Talkin’ Treo 700p

You know, it is kind of fun to read a new take on a product that is hitting the mainstream. Here’s a look at the Treo 700p.

The Palm Discovery writer May C states:

"The Treo 700p is a decent all-in-one smartphone device that can offer a lot for someone who has not owned something similar… The form factor is very similar to the very popular Treo 650 with a lot of the features and some enhancements to that device. One of the things I find I really like about the 700p aside from more RAM is the "squarish"” QWERTY keys. To most, it may not seem like a big deal, but being quite familiar with the Treo 650 keys, I've found that angular keys on the 700p really make a big difference in terms of typing. I've found that it's much easier to type (probably because there's more space on the key) and feels good on the hand."

Talkin’ Barcelona

There was so much news coming out of Barcelona that I could easily dedicate a column just to 3GSM. Instead, I’m going to focus on a few highlights to whet your whistle.

Windows Mobile 6 Announced

Members of the Treo community were quick to provide their impressions about it.

Treonauts First Look

Mobile Gadgeteer – ScreenShots

MobilitySite :

"For Treo users, the WM6 announcement brings two great pieces of news. First, Windows Mobile 6 supports full 320x320 screen resolution, meaning we can likely expect future Windows Mobile Treos to stop using the much-lambasted 240x240 screen resolution. Secondly, in this Webcast hosted by Pieter Knook, senior vice president, Microsoft Mobile and Embedded Devices division, we hear a great little tidbit of information: Palm will announce an upgrade for the Treo 750 to Windows Mobile 6 (Skip to 28:15 to hear it). As Palm has not yet made the announcement officially, it's unclear which versions of the 750 will see the update."

And if you are super curious, you can download the fact sheet from Microsoft’s website.

A Windows Mobile 6 Treo?

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Engadget has pictures of at Treo running Windows Mobile 6.

Other announcements in Barcelona included:

Mobile TV: AT&T/Cingular’s Deal with Qualcomm

SanDisk’s new Multi-SD Kits

Pay-Buy Mobile Initiative

And there were quite a few phone announcements, like RIM’s Blackberry 8800 . InfoWorld’s Mike Barton writes:

"It's no iPhone on style, but it takes some notes. But my Palm Treo 700p may be looking old school but it's sporting EV-DO; not found on this GSM/EDGE device, to be sold by AT&T (formerly Cingular). And the iPhone is not out for months and it too does not harness Cingular's HSDPA high-speed cellular network. What gives, RIM and Apple? Looks ain't all that if you're stuck on a poky EDGE network."

Side-by-Side Comparison with the Treo

Paul Kedrosky states:

"As a longtime Treo user, Research in Motion's (RIMM) new Blackberry 8800's physical appearance is awfully familiar: Stubby Treo antenna aside, the 8800 is a near keyboard clone of Palm's (PALM) Treo 700. The non-iPhone smartphone market is apparently converging on something approaching a standard layout, which is interesting or threatening, depending on whether you're a market ecologist, or a Palm exec."

Now back to our regularly scheduled column features…

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Review: Seidio Spring Clip Swivel Holster - By Jay Gross

Jay writes:

"For mostly uninhibited accessibility, nothing beats a holster to keep your Treo at the ready. Seidio’s Spring Clip Swivel Holster clips onto your belt or clothing and keeps your Treo’s screen protected while the durability of the phone’s back cover fends off harm. When you pop the phone out, careful of that wide latch on top. It can eject the SD Card."

Review: RoKy2 Fabric Keyboard - By Tim Hillebrand

This is an interesting concept – a roll-up keyboard. Tim states:

"If you are a road warrior or attend many meetings and want to lighten the load, you can dump the obligatory laptop in favor of a Fabric Keyboard in conjunction with whatever flavor of pocket pal you pack. Imagine the WOW factor when you pull out this powerful, portable package and unroll it on the conference table. I guarantee you will have everyone’s immediate attention. You will, however, have to adjust to its nuances, for it is a different touch and response experience than using a normal keyboard. But, I have no doubt that with a little practice, you will be tapping away with abandon as the characters dance on your tiny stage."

Review: Pocket Tunes Deluxe 4.0 - By Jimmie Geddes

Note: Jimmie is a new addition to the TreoCentral review team.

"Pocket Tunes Deluxe is always one of the first applications that gets installed on a new Treo or handheld. I’ve been using Pocket Tunes Deluxe 4 for a few weeks now and really like what Normsoft has done with this latest version. There are tons of improved and new features, but my favorite has to be the Internet radio stations. I love letting someone else be the DJ and supply me with new music (try that iPod!). I think Pocket Tunes Deluxe is worth buying for this feature alone. I’m glad that Normsoft has taken great strides in addressing the skipping issue that has plagued the Treo 700p, and making it play skip free as long as email fetching is disabled. I want to make it clear that the skipping issue is not a Pocket Tunes problem as the Treo 680 does not suffer any of these issues.

Normsoft has taken an already top notch application and made it even better. I highly recommend Pocket Tunes Deluxe 4 for it’s great new features."

Review: Palm Extra Replacement Battery for Treo 680 and 750 - By Douglas Morse

Doug writes:

"The bottom line is this. If you need an extra battery, then just bite the bullet and get one sooner rather than later. I’d recommend spending the extra money for the Palm battery with the higher mA rating. We rely on our Smartphones for all manner of business and personal application and running out of charge while we are out and about can simply be annoying or costly. An extra charger, or extended life battery may be a better option for some."

Elsewhere in the World of Treo

Review: Seidio’s 3200mAh Ultra Extended Battery For Treo 650

And while batteries are top of mind, check out what Andrew over at Treonauts had to say about the Seidio 3200mAh:

"The Ultra Extended Battery delivers a terrific 10 hours of talk time and 22 days of standby time – some 77% more than the standard Treo battery. Additionally, even though the battery cover adds 3mm of thickness you will still be able to use most of the bestselling Treo 650 cases such as the P6 Pouch Case, SPE SafeGuard Holster and Palm Leather Holster but unfortunately not skin cases."

Review: Threaded SMS for Windows Treos

The PDABlast! Staff posted this piece about threaded SMS functionality that is missing in the Windows Mobile-based Treos. They note, "There were some users who hacked the Treo 750 and posted a cab file that allowed threaded SMS messages on the Treo 700w, but the web sites hosting the files were asked to remove them by Palm."

They propose a program called TxtMan by Ben Hirashima. Might be worth a try. Looks like the price is right.

News: Agendus for Windows Mobile Now Available

James Miller writes:

"iambic's Agendus, one of the most popular personal information managers (PIM) for the Palm OS, is now available for Pocket PCs. With many users of the formally dominant wireless Palm platform making the move to Windows Mobile, in addition to Palm, Inc. now in the Microsoft-based Treo business, the developer the time for a Windows Mobile version has come."

Game Review: Playing Sudoku Without Pen and Paper

On Wednesday, "The Mossberg Solution" column written by Katherine Boehret, covered playing Sudoku on electronic devices.

She states:

"The Treos (700p & 700w), running a version of Sudoku from a company called Real Dice Inc., worked best overall, thanks to touch screens and built-in numeric keypads that saved steps. And the Treo game's optional online competition made an otherwise solitary game social."

I asked TreoCentral’s own Sudoku master, Jay Gross for his thoughts:

"I've reviewed two of them (so far), Zen Sudoku and Astraware Sudoku, and both were simple to operate - simpler than paper, for goodness sakes, since paper doesn't beep on incorrect answers (and you can even turn that nicety off if you want). I haven't seen the Real Dice version, however. Of the two I've reviewed, the Astraware one implements a puzzle of the day, in which you can download the current puzzle and post your solution time against all others. The competition is fierce."

There you have it. The master has spoken.

News: Cartoon Network’s Calltoons According to this story from FireceMobileContent, Cartoon Network New Media announced it has created CallToons, a new mobile application that integrates smart technology with entertainment, essentially allowing Cartoon Network characters to take over a mobile phone.

"CallToons does more than set a character’s voice to a ringtone. CallToons allows a character’s personality to take over the mobile phone’s functionality so that they actually interact with the user and incoming callers in a unique way," said Ross Cox, Senior Director of Entertainment Products, Cartoon Network New Media.

Just think of the possibilities!

CallToons should be available to consumers in Q4 2007.

Game News: Arcade Reality Treo-based Camera Game

This story at PalmInfocenter caught my eye. There’s a game called Arcade Reality by Toyspring for Palm OS-based Treos that uses the built-in camera.

I can’t properly explain it. Here’s what PalmInfocenter had to say:

"It features a pretty original motion and camera based gameplay scheme, where game objects are overlaid on the current Treo camera view. You have to move around and aim your Treo at various monsters and ships that appear around you. As you move around, your motion is calculated based on what is seen by the camera and the game view gets updated accordingly."

Say what?! Check out the video on Toyspring’s site to learn more.

Endnotes & Ponderables:

So after that Toyspring piece, I suppose you’re wondering what I’ll do for an encore.

In case you didn’t notice, Monday is President’s Day. You have a long weekend to go skiing or surfing or perhaps lease a car. Say what again?!

Check out this fine ad for Honda dealers in NYC

This is one ad I won’t mind having on my Treo.

That’s a wrap!

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