Palm and Sprint finally let the Treo out of the bag, so to speak, when the long rumored Treo 755p was officially announced. As you will see below, the response has been mixed. No doubt, as we get closer to the D5: All Things Digital conference at the end of the month (May 29 to 31), the buzz will kick up again in anticipation of what Jeff Hawkins will say (and possibly unveil). Meanwhile, the world of Treo keeps spinning round and round.
In brief, Palm unveiled the first Palm OS-based Treo with built-in Microsoft Direct Push technology for email and integrated Google Maps for mobile. The CDMA Treo 755p features an integrated antenna, slimmer form factor and mini-SD slot. Sprint is slated to be the first carrier selling this next-generation Treo 755p -- which will be available starting mid-May in what Palms press release refers to as two fashionable colors - midnight blue and burgundy.
While the 680 seems to be geared towards those who are just getting into the mobile lifestyle, the 755p seems to be for those who are in it and already know how they want to use their device. The multimedia abilities and handy form factor lend to the 755p being usable for more than just a casual Web romp or music session. It can be pushed and then respond quite well.
So is it worth an upgrade over the 700p or 650? I think so. Most of those who have the 650/700p models who handle the 680/750 remark on how a device that isn't (by the numbers) a lot smaller feels a lot smaller.
CNET editors gave it a 7.3 out of 10 (Very good) rating. They noted:
The bottom line: Though it's not a major overhaul of the smart phone, the Palm Treo 755p offers a nice collection of enhancements and solid performance to make it an attractive upgrade.
The bottom line is that if you already have a Treo 700p, you definitely shouldn't have any buyer's remorse -- that is unless you really, really hate that antenna -- there aren't enough improvements here to make it worth the money you'd spend. If you're still holding on to that 650 or (gasp!) 600, and you're ready to upgrade, you may as well take the plunge and get the 755p.
Palm's new Treo 755p may not represent a major advance over existing Treo models, but with its slightly slimmed-down chassis and handful of interesting new applications, the device adds some punch to Sprint's Treo family, bringing it more in line with Palm's GSM-based offerings.
Forbes Rachel Rosmarin remarked:
Palms new Treo 755, announced Wednesday, is particularly disappointing on first glance. Egged on by hints from executives, Palm-watchers have been expecting the company to unveil an innovative, original product design. The 755 isnt it.
But while it's too late for Palm to get a worthy smart phone to market before Apple does, theres still time for the company to grab back its missing market share. Yankee Group says smart phone sales will grow from 11% of the market in 2006 to 20% in 2010, while IDC says the number of units sold in the U.S. during that time will increase by nearly 700% to 54 million units.
This entire review could be written in a sentence: the Treo 755p is the Treo 700p in a 680 body. That's it. No new bells and whistles, no new specifications to hype. I'm disappointed because I would have loved a new high end device. But I'm relieved because I won't have to spend $300 to upgrade. My existing device will suffice.
Along with his review, Andrew at Treonauts has provided an excellent comparison chart that shows how the Treo 755p matches up with its siblings.
Contest: Win a Treo 755p
Gx5, the creators of DialByPhoto, and MyTreo.net have teamed together on a promotion where two Treo 755p smartphone devices will be given away. Click on the link above for details.
Taking Over the World
Since the deadline for my last column, Palm has issued two global expansion press releases.
Treo 750 in Singapore and Philippines
Palm announced the availability of the Treo 750 smartphone on the StarHub and SingTel networks in Singapore and the Globe network in the Philippines. StarHub Limited is the second largest mobile operator and the sole cable television operator in Singapore. SingTel is Asia's leading communications group with operations and investments in more than 20 countries and territories around the world. Globe Telecom, commonly known as Globe, is the second-largest telecommunications company in the Philippines.
Treo 680 Smartphone in Dominican Republic
Palm and Orange Dominicana announced the availability of the Treo 680 smartphone in the Dominican Republic. Orange Dominicana is a subsidiary of Orange Group, which broke into the Dominican Republic market in November 2000. They have 1.5 million active customers and a coverage reaching 95% of the Dominican population.
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Review: Monaco Flip Case for Treo 750, 680 - By Jay Gross
According to Jay, Monacos leather flip case for the Treo 750 and 680 does what every case should protect the Treo and it does it beautifully.
Monacos quality, Hand-Made Leather Case brings great looks and good protection to your Treo 750 or 680, while leaving the essential controls easily accessible. With a flair and a flip, it lets you make your fashion statement in red, brown, or pink, but hide the rotating, removable clip if you dont need it.
Clue: MyPalm Service for Treo Owners
Jennifer checked out the beta version MyPalm, a service designed to help you get more from your Treo.
I like what I've seen so far. I really like the Support that Palm is offering Treo owners through this program. 24/7 assistance is pretty nice. The Live Chat looks like it would be very helpful as well even though it's only available at certain times. I hope I never need the support but it's great knowing that it's available. I like being able to download wirelessly on my Treo also. And of course I like the very useful tutorials on the "How To" page. I'm sure I'll be looking at that part of MyPalm pretty often.
Clue: How to Use Agendus - By Harv Laser
Last month, Harv reviewed Agendus version 11.0, a productivity enhancement solution that runs on Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices. This week, Harv provides some helpful clues on how to use Agendus.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: SonyEricsson HBH-GV435
Andrew at Treonauts tried out the HBH-GV435 wireless headset by SonyEricsson.
Overall, I personally found the top feature of the Sony Ericsson HBH-GV435 to be about its wearing comfort you can easily be on a call for hours barely noticing that the headset is over your ear. The long talk time, solid build, very good call quality and extremely pocketable design are naturally all also a big plus.
Review: Piel Frama Leather Flip Case for the Treo 680 & 750
Sion Phillips at MyTreo.net check out the Piel Frama leather flip case thats available in six colors.
This is a very well made, high quality case that will provide years of protection for your Treo. The colorful nature of the cases parallels the colorful nature of the Treo 680 and makes a welcome change from the mass of dull black cases on the market.
Review: Covertec Luxury Leather Treo Case
Jennifer at Everything Treo looked at Covertecs contemporary luxury case that is available in a wide variety of colors (including red and baby blue).
If youre tired of belonging to the league of bulky black-and-brown Treo cases, Covertecs Luxury Leather Case, in common hues of red (and black and tan), and more fashionable ones like "Snow White", "Baby Green," and "Raspberry", lets you stand out while still protecting your smartphone in softness and strength.
Review: Smartphone Experts SnapCase
Andrew at Treonauts offers his thoughts on a non-leather option for protecting your Treo 750 and the new 755p the Smartphone Experts SnapCase.
Overall, the SPE SnapCase is without a doubt one of the best hard Treo cases that I have come across one that offers great protection and a much improved closure mechanism. Hopefully it wont be too long before the Treo 680 version becomes available.
Review: Palm GPS Navigator Car Kit
Bonnie Cha at CNET reviewed the Palm GPS Navigator Car Kit and gave it a rating of 7.0 Very good.
For Treo 680 and Treo 700p owners who want a navigation and hands-free solution, the Palm GPS Navigator Car Kit offers ease of use and accurate directions, but once again, we wish it were less expensive.
Tam Hanna tried out Dial-By-Photo by Gx5.
Overall, DialByPhoto is an interesting take on the ever-constant business phone app market. DialByPhoto isnt the most efficient app on the market - but thats not what it should be. Instead, it is a cool-looking and customizable app that is fun to use and look at! If you like a cool-looking phone app, definitely make use of the free trial period!
Review: iambic Propel Launcher Application
PDALive compared iambics Propel, an application launcher for Palm OS, with Zlauncher and Launcher X:
Being a Zlauncher and Launcher X user for a very long time, I think Propel is the best launcher out there
iambic has really given us a great simple launcher that can aid in maximizing the use of the PDA especially the Treo smartphones.
Clue: PalmVista Simple Installer -- Load Apps on your Treo or PDA
PalmVista Simple Installer allows you to install files / applications to your Palm device when you are running Vista (something you apparently cant do with Palms standard quick installer).
Trend: Hollywood Loves the Tiny Screen. Advertisers Dont.
It seems like every week theres a story about the viability of the cell phone for the delivery of TV, video clips, etc. This NY Times article talked about some experimental multi-episode series that have been created for the cell phone and how reluctant advertisers are to support this emerging media outlet.
Sprints Alana Muller, director of wireless data marketing, said companies are reluctant to sponsor ads because demand for video is still new. The article mentions some statistics from the Yankee Group:
The number of mobile video viewers in the United States is about 5 million, 10 times more than in 2004 but still a small fraction of the 195 million mobile phone subscribers nationwide.
The barrier seems to be a disconnect between what mobile users are willing to spend for video services and what wireless companies charge.
News: Twitter Goes Mobile
Twitter just released a version of its website for mobile phones. The mobile site is basically a stripped-down version of Twitter's full website with all the same functionality for following friends and browsing archived posts.
News: Comic Creator for Verizon
This week, Verizon Wireless announced the availability of Comic Creator, developed by Advanced Mobile Applications' partner Longtail Studios. It is a Get It Now application that allows customers to create their own personalized comics and send them to other mobile phones and e-mail addresses. It uses state-of-the-art messaging technology which allows for a seamless experience, enabling Verizon Wireless customers to access friends phone numbers directly from the application. Plus, Comic Creator is continuously updated with new backgrounds and characters, providing Verizon Wireless customers with fresh ways to communicate and show off their creative sides.
News: 4INFO Goes to Bat for Mobile Baseball Alerts
Last week, 4INFO, a pioneer in SMS/text publishing and advertising, announced the return of its popular text alert service for Major League Baseball scores and player statistics. The free service allows baseball fans to get a variety of event-triggered text alerts, including both pitching and offensive stats, sent to their mobile phones. Per Ted Burns, 4INFO director of product development:
"For true baseball fans, watching the game is only half the fun. Knowing exactly how every play affects a player's stats can be more exciting than a final game score, especially to those in fantasy leagues.
Sign up for 4INFO's MLB Player Stat Alerts by texting your favorite player name and the word "alert" (ex: "Barry Zito alert") to 4INFO (44636), or by visiting 4INFO to customize your player alert.
Endnotes & Ponderables:
Get Yer Tickets Here
Recognizing a theme here? There just happened to be a bit of baseball news this week. Another example is the announcement issued by the Oakland As baseball team letting fans know that they can use their cell phones in lieu of an actual ticket, to pass through the turnstiles at McAfee Coliseum.
The team has created a ticket delivery program that allows you to get an electronic copy of your ticket sent to a phone via picture messaging. All you do is wave the image of your electronic ticket on your phone by a bar code scanner to gain admission to the ballpark. The A's were the first to trial the Tickets@Phone technology last year and are one of three teams using the service this year.
Start Slinging the News
According to a story posted at CNETs News.com, a San Francisco news station is using a Slingbox to cheaply and easily deliver live news, traffic and weather updates wirelessly back to its studio from remote locations around the city. In brief, the Slingbox setup devised by the news operations director at CBS 5, Don Sharp, replaces the traditional setup using microwave technology to relay video back to the station.
The price differential is phenomenal:
Traditional: $25,000 for cameras to monitor traffic and weather, in addition to the cost of maintaining the units and renting the space for them.
Slinging the News: Just $500 for a smaller camera, $300 for a Slingbox and $60 per month for each data card.
Very smart! Perhaps the next step is to Sling breaking feeds to Treos carried by the stations producers (via SlingPlayer Mobile).
Thats a wrap!