It was a much quieter week in the world of Treo. There were no official press releases issued by Palm and hardly any from other companies. Perhaps folks are already gearing up for the long weekend. Or perhaps, like the NBA playoffs on TNT, companies just didnt want to compete against American Idol. Still, there were quite a few interesting stories ranging from things you can do with your Treo, to keeping it protected and charged up. And, while some reviewers were taking a break, it appears that a very tech-savvy dolphin has stepped into the mix.
So without further ado, Lets Talk Treo!
Palms CFO Backs Out of Technology Conference
Palm's Chief Financial Officer Andrew J. Brown was scheduled to present Wednesday at the J.P. Morgan 35th Annual Technology Conference in Boston. However, on Tuesday, he notified the conference organizers that he would be unable to attend because he threw his back out. Per Palms spokeswoman Marlene Somsak, Brown, who has a history of back problems, was advised by his doctor not to make the flight from California to the Morgan conference in Boston.
Taking Over the World
Not this Week
It was a quiet week for Palm with no global expansion press releases issued.
PalmTips Advice from Palms Blog
This week, the sole entry for Palms Blog addressed Palm Backup Beta, the backup solution they released in April. The blog answers some common questions that have popped up. Kevin Wu, the product manager, wrote:
We will continue to improve Palm Backup Beta over time, and we want to make sure it's working well for everyone. Please continue to share your thoughts and let us know if there are topics on Palm Backup that you would like to talk more about.
Palm Releases Security Patch
Palm has just released a patch to fix a small flaw in the password protection software of several of its Garnet OS-based (AKA Palm OS) smartphones.
A story in Brighthand described the flaw as follows:
When the Treo 680/700p/650 smartphone password protection is enabled, the password protection can be partially circumvented by running the Find feature while on the "Make Emergency Call" screen. This would allow a malicious user to view a list of search results from the Treo 680's built-in applications such as Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Memos and Email. The malicious user cannot access or display anything beyond the search results list.
The update which can be downloaded or received Over-the-Air (OTA) is a 142 KB PRC file.
Palm Unveils Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard
Palm just unveiled a new Bluetooth wireless keyboard that can be used with several Palm Treos and handhelds (just not the Treo 755p at this time). This QWERTY keyboard has five rows of full-size keys (including numbers). It has a Pull-out easel that provides adjustable viewing angle and a steady platform for the Treo. And it will provide for five months of keyboard usage from 2 AAA alkaline batteries (which are included). Priced at $99.99, it is within range of other keyboards on the market.
More Thoughts on the Treo 755p
Rob Pegoraro wrote:
If you're new to the smart phone universe, the Treo 755p isn't bad in its own right and can be simpler overall than Windows Mobile phones, which have their own issues. But if you already use a Treo, why bother upgrading? Better to wait for phones running the new Linux-based system that Palm says it's plugging away on and which presumably will solve the Treo's stability flaws when the company finally ships it.
If, however, you'd rather give up and buy another smart phone, nobody --least of all Palm -- can blame you for that.
Christopher Meinck wrote in his 4-part review:
The Treo product line continues to evolve, with the key word being evolve. The Treo 755p is another evolutionary product, a virtual "best of Treo" with features found in Palm smartphones that weve seen before. The Treo 755p is best in class when it comes to Treos with EvDO for broadband-like data connections, excellent software bundle and an improved form factor. Despite the lack of new features, the Treo 755p is a superb smartphone. If you are a first time smartphone buyer considering a Treo, then look no further than the Treo 755p. For those Treo 650/600 owners who weren't compelled by the feature set in the Treo 680, the Treo 755p will prove to be a worthy upgrade.
Jimmie Geddes at Gadgets on the Go has provided a side-by-side comparison of the Treo 755p and the Treo 700p:
I've had the Treo 755p for over 2 weeks now and was wondering if I would upgrade and ditch my Treo 700p. I find that I really like the Treo 755p, it is everything the Treo 700p should have been. I really can't answer the question if I will upgrade until I see how the Treo 700p MR update shapes up (as I write this my Treo 700p just reset in its cradle (lol). What I will tell you is if you're happy with your Treo 700p I see no reason to upgrade. The Treo 755p is not enough of an update to justify the expense. If you have an earlier Treo and want to upgrade to what is hands down the best Palm Treo I highly recommend it. The Treo 755p is in my opinion the best Treo available, Palm OS or Windows Mobile.
Most faithful Palm users have already upgraded to a Treo 700p, and since the 755 does not have any new or even upgraded features, it's unlikely this device is meant for them. Even if it was meant for current Palm users, it's unlikely they would upgrade knowing that Palm will unveil new devices running a new Linux-based OS later this year.
Which means the 755p is probably designed to bring new users to the Palm OS, like the Treo 680p for GSM networks. However, despite the update to a more appealing form factor to attract the mass market, the 755p is still a higher end smartphone both in model number and price. The Palm's simplicity, even when considering the learning curve, could be appealing to new smartphone users. Knowing that the Palm OS is in its twilight months, however, this seems like an odd time for Palm to try to attract new users.
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Review: Speck Techstyle-Classic Leather Case and Holster for Treo 680 - By Jay Gross
Pretty in Plaid: That should be the subtitle for this review of Speck Products form fitted, leather case lined in plaid. Jay remarked:
Specks Techstyle-Classic Leather case ($29.95) offers good, and good-looking, protection for your Treo 680, nesting in a supplied leather-covered metal holster, both of which are lined in a busy plaid that is none too soft.
Review: Krusell Cabriolet Multidapt Case for Treo 755p, 750 - By Douglas Morse
Douglas found a case he liked the form-fitting Krusell Cabriolet Multidapt case. Multidapt, by the way, is a patented attachment system that provides a range of options on how to carry your device. Douglas stated:
The case ($24.95) does the job. Its simple, functional, and offers the flexibility of the multidapt system. Still, as an open case, not the first choice for protection, but a great choice for functionality.
Review: Covertec Luxury Flip Leather Case for Treo 680, 750, 755p - By Jay Gross
Jay tried out Covertecs Luxury Flip Case, which is made of premium nappa leather.
Attractive and beautifully made, Covertecs Smartphone Luxury Leather Case ($34.95) provides great protection for the Treo 680, 750, or 755p in its clutches, while leaving the main ports and controls accessible, including the touch screen. The removable clip system works fine, but needs some more thought, and the pockets for business cards and an extra SD Card are too tight.
Review: Smartphone Experts Sync & Charge Bundle - By Jennifer Chappell
Smartphone Experts (SPE) has put together a handy solution for keeping your Treo powered up. The SPE Sync & Charge Bundle includes the SPE Retractable Sync & Charger Cable, a Treo Wall Charger, and a Car Charger at a special price ($24.95). She wrote:
I'm pleased with the Smartphone Experts Sync & Charge Bundle. I love the retractable design of the sync and charge cable and the slim, space saving design of the wall charger. And I like how the sync and charge cable go hand in hand with the wall charger and car charger.
Review: Mobi Products DoubleTalk - By Jimmie Geddes
Another option for keeping your Treo powered-up is the Mobi Products DoubleTalk, a dual vehicle and travel charger in one compact unit (Also priced at $24.95). Jimmie remarked:
I highly recommend this Treo accessory, its just another one of those multi-tasking accessories we have for our Treos. The only possible way I could be more pleased is if my Treo 700p mulit-tasked, but thats a story for another day. Ive paid more for a single Verizon Treo charger on vacation when I had forgotten both my wall charger and vehicle charger (notice the pattern). So in my opinion youre getting one heck of a deal, and cant beat the price of $24.95 for a vehicle charger, wall charger and peace of mind.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: Smartphone Experts SafeGuard MetalSlider
Cases were popular this week. Over at Treonauts, Andrew provided his thoughts on the Smartphone Experts SafeGuard MetalSlider case. This hybrid design features a sleek and sturdy metal backing and a clear plastic front for maximum visibility and accessibility. Andrew wrote:
Overall, there is much to like about the SafeGuard MetalSlider ($39.95) which makes a very good first attempt at introducing a new type of metal case but I personally feel that the design is not quite right yet. I would like to see a future version being slightly slimmer and more form-fitting, made completely out of aluminum and without the belt clip.
Review: OtterBox 1921
The OtterBox 1921 Palm Treo Case is designed mainly for those who work in harsh environments to protect their Treo smartphones. Heres what the reviewer at Mobile Tech Review had to say about it:
If your job, travel and other occasions require you to have more protection for your Treo smartphone than the general office case, and you still want the beauty and smaller size of a non-ruggedized PDA phone, then consider the Otterbox case. It has the design for most outdoor environments when you need to use a phone, uses sturdy and light material and gives you access to almost everything you need to use the phone. The keyboard and button controls through the case are amazingly useable.
If you are interesting in learning more about the OtterBox and what inspired the creation of it, check out this story which includes a Q&A with Curt Richardson, CEO of OtterBox.
Review: eGrips The Case Alternative
Sion Phillips tried out eGrips, an alternative to using a case or skin to protect your Treo:
If you don't want to put your Treo in a case or skin but want to provide a degree of protection, then eGrips are a fantastic low cost choice.
Review: PAR Personal Audio Recorder
PalmInfocenters Kris Keilhack checked out ToySoft's Personal Audio Recorder Pro program on a Treo 700p and a Palm TX.
Personal Audio Recorder Pro is simply a well-rounded and very capable portable audio recording solution, nothing more and nothing less. It thankfully doesnt attempt to be a jack-of-all-trades multimedia app playing every conceivable A/V format under the sun. I would like to eventually see the program updated to add additional features such as 320x480 screen support and some kind of auto-update checker to utilize the online capabilities of Treos.
While casual users will likely be content with one of the many freeware programs available online, PAR Pro will nicely suit to the enthusiast who wants a high-quality sound recording application for serious professional or hobbyist use.
News: Camera Phones Record History
APs May Wong did a story about the camera phone, which was invented (believe it or not) in 1997 by (believe it or not) Philippe Kahn.
"It's had a massive impact because it's just so convenient," said Philippe Kahn, a tech industry maverick whose other pioneering efforts include the founding of software maker Borland, an early Microsoft Corp. antagonist.
Tip: Camera Phones - Ten Ways to Use Them
Mike Elgan has put together a fun piece describing things you can do with your Treo or other cell phones camera.
Review: The Treo 680s Camera
Tam Hanna provided his thought on the functionality of the Treo 680s camera:
Overall, the Palm Treo 680 still cant replace a digital camera - but thats not what its invented for. Other phones like a Nokia N71 deliver far better images, and my old Siemens SX1 was a bit better, too. Nevertheless, the Treo 680s VGA camera delivers solid(although a bit pixelated) images for on-screen viewing in all lighting conditions - and thats all I need from a mobile phone. The amazing sensitivity more than compensates for the lack of a flash BTW - the 680 works really really well at low lights(much better than SX1).
News: Charge Six Devices at Once
The folks at Slashphone have pointed out that theres a new device called the Chargepod that lets you to charge multiple (up to six) cell phones, PDAs, headsets, and most other mobile electronics with a single power cord. Impressive!
News: KeyguardExt - Treo Keyguard Enhancer
KeyguardExt is a new utility from Megasoft2000 that functions as a Treo keyguard enhancer. It provides a wide range of extra information and customizable functions. For example, instead of just the time and date, KeyguardExt will display a large clock and date display, a battery meter, memory status, signal strength, Bluetooth status, missed calls and messaging information.
News: SplashData Introduces SplashTravel
SplashData a provider of personal productivity software for smartphones, announced an all-new version of its SplashTravel application for wireless Palm OS handhelds and Treo smartphones. The new version, called SplashTravelProfessional Edition, features wireless updates of flight, weather, and currency data, enabling smartphone users to access airline schedules, check for flight delays, obtain gate information, view worldwide weather forecasts, and look up the latest exchange rates for major currencies.
SplashTravel uses a subscription model and runs $49.95/year or $6.95/month.
Clue: Making Office 2007 Work with Your Smartphone
Jamie Lendino at Smart Device Central put together a story explaining what you need to know to have your smart phone play nice with Office 2007, regardless of its operating system.
Game Review: Cake Mania Back to the Bakery
Astrawares Back to the Bakery game is an expansion pack to their popular Cake Mania game. MyTreo.nets John Andrews provided his thoughts on how it played versus the original:
Back to the Bakery shares the same enjoyable features from Cake Mania but unfortunately, it also doesnt add any significant improvements to it. If you already have Cake Mania you might consider playing it a second time from the beginning instead of buying Back to the Bakery. However, if you dont have Cake Mania, it might be worth buying Back to the Bakery because even though it has fewer levels it is also less expensive.
News: NearbyNow Helps Shoppers by Scoping Inventories
Pia Sarkar of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a story about a service called NearbyNow, that lets shoppers to go online or use their cell phones, type in what they're looking for, and find stores that sell the items.
According to the founder, Scott Dunlap, NearbyNow appeals more to the hunters (those who know exactly what they want, right down to color, size and brand), allowing them to specify search terms when they browse a mall's Web site or send a text message.
News: Find that Tune
Speaking of knowing what you want
have you every heard a song, loved it but had no idea the name of it? Verizon Wireless has just announced a new service that can help. By simply holding the phone toward the music, Verizons V CAST Song ID captures a sample of what you are listening to and within seconds it identifies the music, and allow you to purchase a matching full-track song, ringtone or ringback tone -- all right over-the-air from your phone.
Yes this is a Verizon exclusive. With the pending arrival of the iPhone, Verizon and the other carriers are really pulling out all stops to lock in customers.
News: AT&T Lands iPhone 5-Year Exclusive
AT&T is sitting pretty. According to this story from USA Today, they have exclusive U.S. distribution rights of the iPhone for five years an eternity in the go-go cellphone world. Furthermore, Apple is barred for that time from developing a version of the iPhone for CDMA wireless networks. Nice!
Commentary: Gadgets Packed with Features Sell Well, But are Frustrating
The New Yorker just ran an interesting story (FEATURE PRESENTATION
by James Surowiecki) about how feature-packed devices are actually making life more complicated. Looks like K.I.S.S. (as in Keep It Simple Stupid) should probably be the MO (modus operandi), based on the stories being told by frustrated consumers.
There is no easy solution to this. You can try to make simplicity into a selling point, as Philips has done with its Sense and Simplicity campaign, or as Apple has done with the iPod. You can stratify the market, creating different products for different skill levels (as in the market for computer printers), although that may leave consumers bewildered at the sheer number of choices. In theory, the best strategy would be to make the complex simple, packaging all the power and the options consumers think they want into a design that theyll find easy to use. This is clearly what Apple believes it will be offering with the iPhone: a device with a remarkable range of features, coupled with an uncluttered touch-screen interface. It wont be surprising if the iPhone succeeds, but it would be understandable if it failed. The strange truth about feature creep is that even when you give consumers what they want they can still end up hating you for it.
Endnotes & Ponderables:
Introducing the BlackBerry Predators (or is it the Nashville Blackberrys?)
In his free time, when Jim Balsillie, the co-chief executive of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd., isnt working on taking over the world of smartphones, hes all about hockey. According to a story that appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Balsillie has just agreed to buy the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators. Also bidding for the team was a group including Anschutz Entertainment Group, which had hoped to move the team to Kansas City, Mo. The folks in Sunnyvale can only hope that Jims hobby will keep him reasonably distracted.
Flappy the Dolphin Test Drives Smartphones
Flappy the Dolphin provided his thoughts on various smartphones. Did any pass his underwater test? Read on.
Enjoy your holiday weekend!
Thats a wrap!