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Talkin' Treo - v062207

Fri Jun 22, 2007 - 11:16 AM EDT - By Annie Latham

Week ending 22 June 2007

iKnow! iKnow! Enough already with the iPhone. Hey, if it were up to me, I’d find a way to fast forward to July 1 (I can hear my TiVo doing its signature “ba bup” sound). Sure, I’ll talk Treo (you know I will), but I can’t ignore this 800-pound gorilla. I got an idea… let’s throw that gorilla some cookies to keep him occupied for a while.

That’s better! For sure, the world of Treo is getting interesting. Palm was active this week with a couple of Foleo-related announcements. Reviews of accessories have continued at a steady pace. But the thing I believe will drive Treo (and the mobile market) activity going forward is what you can do with it. Not only were there quite a few third party software announcements this week, but the amount of activity in the mobile content sector in general has really ratcheted up. After all, the promise of the iPhone isn’t just “it’s cool looking.” It’s what you can do with the device. And the funny thing is – what you can do is something we’ve been doing on the Treo for years.

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Palm did the same thing?

Note: Click on pic to open full size.

Okay, time to switch gears. So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!

Palm News

Palm Announces Conference Call Details for Q4 and FY07 Financial Results

Next Thursday, Palm will be announcing its fourth quarter and fiscal year-end 2007 financial results. There will be a conference call for the public at 4:30 p.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. Pacific), hosted by Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer, and Andy Brown, chief financial officer. Investors and other interested parties are encouraged to listen to the call by logging on to the conference call webcast prior to the start of the conference call at Palm's Investor Relations website. Participants will be able to simultaneously view the slides during the call.

Taking Over the World… Not this Week

There were no global expansion press releases issued this week.

Talkin’ Foleo

Palm’s Blog has a podcast interview with Jeff Hawkins where he answered Foleo questions. His responses included things like “it’s not a laptop,” but it is ideal for folks not wanting to carry one. Also, he explained that the Foleo extends the amount of time people can be away from their “home” computer. Again, he stated the Foleo would change people’s work habits. None of this was too surprising. For fun, you might want to read the comments posted about this podcast. It definitely got folks talking.

Talkin’ Foleo Applications

Palm issued two press releases about applications for the Foleo:

On Monday, MotionApps and Palm announced that mDayscape Personal Information Manager will be available for the new Palm Foleo mobile companion. mDayscape lets customers manage calendar, contacts and tasks on the Foleo and synchronizes with a Treo smartphone to access personal information on the go.

The second announcement had to do with two games being available for the Foleo: Astraware’s Sudoku and Astraware Solitaire with additional titles from Astraware to follow. Astraware Sudoku is a logical puzzle game suitable for players of all abilities. Features include six levels of difficulty, pencilmarks in a choice of styles, optional completion and tracking of pencilmarks plus an advanced hint system. In addition, it comes with a selection of built-in puzzles and, after registration, allows the addition of pre-built puzzle packs available free from sudokuoftheday.com. Astraware Solitaire features 12 of the most well-known and best-loved single-player card games including Klondike, Spider, Freecell and Pyramid. Each game has a wide range of custom gameplay options so users can enjoy the games with their favorite variations on the standard rules. It has been optimized for the high-resolution display on the Foleo mobile companion and for use with the trackpoint controller.

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Review: Mobi Products 1050mAh Battery for Treo 750, 680! - By Jay Gross

First, a lesson in amps… Professor Jay explains what the “mAh” means all and how the Mobi Products 1050mAh battery matches up to the original. In his conclusion, he wrote:

“Mobi Products’ low cost, 1050 mAh spare battery for the Treo 680 is handy to have around in a pinch. If its lower capacity is a problem, opt for the Palm branded replacement, and if you’re a real power user, consider one of the extended batteries – at the cost of an enlarged back panel. Whichever way you go, it’s wise to keep a spare.”

Review: Vaja i-volution Caddie case for the Treo 700p/w/wx - By Harv Laser

Harv tried out one of Vaja’s “Rolls Royce of leather cases” for personal electronics – the I-volution Caddie. At a base price (with no options) of $155.00, after you tack on shipping, he stated, “this is one of the most expensive Treo cases out there.” He concluded:

“To me, Vaja's new i-volution Caddie case is both utilitarian, AND a work of art. I've been lucky enough to own a few Vaja cases, and I think no one can top their quality, design, or class. The fit and finish are flawless. Yeah, it makes your Treo quite a bit fatter, due to its thick leather-over-plastic shell design. Yeah, the whole top of the phone is exposed, but the case is very snug, all the cut-outs are perfect and the aroma of that wonderful genuine cowhide leather is just magnificent. The Rolls Royce of Treo cases? I vote yes.”

Review: VoicePlayIt for PalmOS - By Jay Gross

Jay checked out VoicePlayIt, a new PalmOS program from VoiceIt Technologies. According to the company’s press release issued last month, VoicePlayIt is the “FIRST and ONLY voice command and control software for Pocket Tunes. You can now control Pocket Tunes hands free with simple voice commands.”

Jay wrote:

“To run pTunes with no hands, VoicePlayIt does a great job simply and easily. Peruse the user manual first for an easier time, but the program is admirably intuitive, and its handy wizard helps you set it up. The company, which sells other voice recognition programs for the Treo, licenses the underlying engine to software developers, so maybe we will see some other interesting Treo applications.”

Clue: Tutorial on Iconoclastic Art - By Harv Laser

Harv offers an excellent tutorial on icons – those “little graphics with which you interact with your data in a visual way.” IcoEdit and Icons Plus are two programs he mentioned for creating and editing purposes (think LiteBrite ).

“Whatever the case, remember that overall you are designing for you and the icons should be appealing and eye-catching to match your own personal tastes, not to impress the guy down the hall. If they happen to impress him anyway, bonus!”

Clue: Treo Software Update Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell

Jennifer provides an excellent overview on a bunch of Treo software that has been released/updated recently. Some of the programs include: SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm OS, Initiate, Astraware’s Solitaire, SplashNotes, SplashNews, and Budget Diary.

Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

Review: Treo 755p - A Step Up From Treo 700p

Joe Moran at PDA Street had this to say about the Treo 755p in his review that posted this week:

“Ultimately, the 755p isn't the great leap forward many Palm devotees are waiting for because it doesn't deliver any earth-shattering new features over it's predecessor. Nevertheless, while the 755p probably won't compel many upgrades from the 700p, it's still a worthy successor to it.”

Review: Jabra BT5010 Bluetooth Headset

Andrew over at Treonauts tried out the recently released, BT5010 Bluetooth headset by Jabra. He pointed out the impressive talk time (10 hours) and standby time (up to 300 hours), as well as the vibrate mode that works “extremely well.”

“Everyone will use slightly different criteria to choose their preferred Bluetooth headset – price, talk-time, weight, design, etc. – and in the case of the Jabra BT5010 ($69.95), I personally would recommend it to those who are looking for extensive talk-time performance as well as voice quality which is excellent. Having said this, with the recent price drop of the Aliph Jawbone from $139.95 to only $99.95 you should perhaps seriously consider getting this headset which offers by far the best voice quality and noise cancellation across the board.”

Note: His review also included a handy comparison chart.

Review: Sony Ericsson HBH-610a Bluetooth Headset

Alli Flowers at MyTreo.net wasn’t too impressed with the Sony Ericsson HBH-610a Bluetooth headset:

“The SonyEricsson HBH-610a is both the best and the worst Bluetooth headset that I've ever tried. The sound quality is exceptional. The fit, on the other hand, was designed for some species other than man.”

Review: Opera Mini v4

A Beta version of Opera Mini 4.0, a Web browser for mobile devices, is now available. In brief, the Opera Mini Web browser uses a remote server to pre-process Web pages before sending them to your phone. Web content is compressed to reduce the size of data transferred, enabling handling on simpler phones and creating fast browsing at low costs.

Matthew Miller, in his Mobile Gadgeteer column, provided his thoughts in the context of an iPhone Web browsing alternative:

“The Opera Mini 4 features page shows you 10 reasons to love Opera Mini and after using it on the (T-Mobile) Wing for about 25 minutes I have to say that I found a new browser for Windows Mobile. I am able to access my bank account and was never able to do this with Internet Explorer Mobile. Opera Mini 4 brings a lot of what I have on the S60 3rd Edition browser like the ability to view the full Internet (except for Flash) and zoom in on areas of the page to view and a mouse that snaps to links (does the iPhone do this?). You can turn on automatic scrolling or use a button to zoom in and out. I like having the ability to zoom in and out myself and am glad they give you both options. Opera Mini 4 also has the ability to power scroll with select buttons, context menu functionality for quick navigation and image optimization, and automatic start locations.

More on Opera Mini 4 Beta:

Dieter at WMExperts.com did a brief write-up of Opera Mini.

“The big points to me are the PC/Zoom mode that's so popular with the kids these days (ex. from the Wii and the iPhone's browsers) and the full support for standard CSS. A mouse pointer is a neat idea, but I'm not really sold on it. There are plenty of other new features to the beta, so it's worth the download.”

Review: Helix Treo Holster

Another review worth checking out is the one on the Helix Treo Holster that Andrew at Treonauts wrote:

“Overall it’s easy to understand why the Helix Treo Holster has become so popular – it offers a strong and secure fit, provides added scratch protection thanks to its rubberized coating, includes two belt clips and has an elegant thin profile.”

News: Stuffit Wireless Windows Mobile Edition Now Available

Smith Micro Software, a leading developer and marketer of innovative software solutions and services for the wireless market, announced the availability of its new StuffIt Wireless Windows Mobile Edition, an essential compression utility for all Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6.0 powered Smart Phones and PDAs. In addition to providing full support for the Zip file format, StuffIt Wireless for Windows Mobile includes the StuffIt X file format which allows users to compress files more efficiently, and also allows the compression of file types, such as JPEG images, that Zip is unable to compress. StuffIt Wireless Windows Mobile Edition includes our patent-pending JPEG compression technology that compresses files by up to 30% without compromising image quality.

News: Gizmo Project’s Instant Messaging Software for Palm Treo Connects Users with AIM, MSN Messenger

This week, SIPphone announced Palm Treo users can now instant message with all major IM networks using Gizmo Project. Users will have the ability to add buddies, see who's online and send/receive messages with users from AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk, iChat and dozens more networks. The program allows for importing all existing contacts with just a few mouse clicks, allowing immediate use with minimal setup time.

Per their announcement, the software is available completely free and functionality is not limited by a trial period or other restrictions. Click here to learn more.

News: Transplant GPS announces EMTAC Navigator 4.0

Transplant GPS, the worldwide distributor of the EMTAC branded products, just announced the release of the EMTAC Navigator 4.0 GPS Navigation software for the Palm OS. With the latest 2007 NAVTEQ map data, EMTAC Navigator 4.0 is a full featured navigation solution for your Bluetooth enabled Palm OS Treo or PDA. Improvements in routing, map rendering, and increased functionality give EMTAC Navigator 4.0 the ability to provide customers with a reliable, low cost GPS solution.

News: SlingPlayer Supports Windows Mobile 6

Sling Media, a digital lifestyle products company, just announced that its award-winning SlingPlayer™ Mobile software client is now compatible with Microsoft’s new Windows Mobile 6 operating system. SlingPlayer Mobile gives Slingbox owners the ability to watch and control their home TV from a network-enabled Windows Mobile powered device. With this announcement, SlingPlayer Mobile is now compatible with devices that run Windows Mobile 6 Standard and Professional editions, Windows Mobile 5.0, and Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition.

News: Verizon to Offer Mobile Payments with Obopay

This week, Verizon Wireless said that it will let customers use their cell phones to send each other money using a service from privately held Obopay. The Obopay service will eventually let customers conduct transactions by waving their phone at a retail checkout or an automated bank cash machine.

Talkin’ Mobile Content

There were a lot of stories having to do with the types of content you’ll be able to view while on-the-go.

News: MTV Announces First Ever Mobile Feature Film

This week, MTV: Music Television announced innovative distribution plans for "Super Sweet 16: The Movie," including the first-ever mobile feature-length film premiere on the FLO TV service from MediaFLO USA, Inc.'s mobile television entertainment service. FLO TV is available through the Verizon Wireless V CAST Mobile TV service.

News: Microsoft Updates MSN Mobile Portal

Microsoft Corp. just officially launched the new MSN® Mobile, a completely redesigned and reengineered portal offering “an exceptional experience” when accessing the Internet and Web services on mobile phones. Now available in the United States at mobile.msn.com from mobile phone browsers, MSN Mobile provides customers with one-stop access to e-mail, news, sports, entertainment, local movie listings, maps and directions, as well as Windows Live™ services such as Windows Live Hotmail®, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Spaces, and Live Search. MSN Mobile gives consumers a quick and easy way to find the content and services they need while on the go and features new technologies that customize the experience for each consumer’s device. [Source: Microsoft]

News: AT&T Launches Groundbreaking Wireless Video Share Service

AT&T has just announced the launch of AT&T Video Share, the first-ever service in the U.S. that allows users to share live video over their wireless devices while participating in a voice call. AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson highlighted the service during the opening keynote of the NXTcomm industry event. Per the press release:

“Video Share allows users to communicate special or everyday experiences in ways never before possible. Consumers can now share moments with family and friends while the moments are happening — everything from weddings and a baby's first steps to a Little League at-bat or a clearance-sale find. The service also enables a range of innovative, time-saving business applications, from viewing real estate or retail displays to facilitating insurance claims or troubleshooting efforts.”

Commentary: Push Video to Drive Demand Says Zander

“The increasing speed in which mobile devices can connect to networks will change the way consumers view, share and interact with video content in the future, said Motorola Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Zander.
Zander, speaking at a keynote address at the NXTcomm telecommunications industry trade show on Wednesday, said the goal for the industry over the next several years will be to bring media onto the mobile device in a seamless way. Video is among the potential catalysts for growth in the wireless industry. Carriers such as Sprint Nextel Corp. push video downloads, while Verizon Wireless has a live TV offering on its cell phones.”

Zander also noted that "personacasts" —videos sent by a friend— will drive demand.

Trend – Big Plans for the Tiny Screen

A story published in last Sunday’s New York Times went into details on the content creation plans for cellphones that several companies have up their sleeves.

“’People talk about it being the third screen,’ says John Zehr, senior vice president for digital video and mobile products at ESPN. ‘I talk about it being the first screen because it’s the closest to you.’ “

Some of the companies mentioned include: ESPN, CBS, MTV, as well as news organizations like The Associated Press and magazine concerns like the Hearst Corporation.

Trend – Mobile Content: YouTube To Go – Sort of

Dan Frommer wrote, “Go nuts, YouTube fans--your favorite goofy-video site is now available anywhere, via cellphone data connection. Sort of.”

Apparently, a limited library of YouTube videos are being made available via a new mobile Web portal, m.youtube.com. Per Frommer’s story, this preliminary launch (the video library is a work in progress) appears to mark the end of an exclusive deal between parent company Google and Verizon Wireless, which has been streaming some YouTube clips since last year for customers willing to pay $15 per month or $3 per day for a wireless data subscription.

Clue: Converting Video for Your Smart Phone

Speaking of content, Jamie Lendino at Smart Device Central has written a piece explaining how to watch almost anything on your smart device.

iCan’t Help it – Talkin’ iPhone

I really wanted to keep the iPhone out of this column, but it is the talk of the town… so I’ll keep it brief.

Here’s a piece that compares it to a Treo.

PC World wrote that Aliph’s Jawbone Bluetooth headset will be sold alongside the iPhone at all Apple's 157 U.S. retail stores and its online store when iPhone ships in the U.S. at 6 p.m. on June 29.

The story notes how the Jawbone “has won a series of prestigious awards, including the International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award and the prestigious iF Product Design Award. It is also currently on exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.”

Guess what readers? You don’t have to fight the crowds to pay the listed price of $119.99 for this headset. You can buy it now from the TreoCentral Store for $99.95! Note: Gray is the new black, right?

Over at Engadget Mobile, there is a short piece pondering what a family of iPhones might look like.

Here’s my take:

Endnotes & Ponderables:

Things you never thought you’d see: texting on Broadway, a wind charger for your cellphone and wii-less lawn darts.

On Monday, there was an article in the New York Times about how texting is being used in innovative ways to engage audiences of Broadway shows. It describes how at one show, there was a flyer inserted into the Playbill which encouraged theatergoers to send the text message “bdway spring” to a five-digit number before the end of intermission in order to win a chance to go backstage.

“There’s a tendency for Broadway not to be an early adopter, but that’s changing,” said Jordan Roth, vice president of Jujamcyn, which owns five theaters in New York, including the Eugene O’Neill Theater, where “Spring Awakening” is being staged. “Most producers now are really looking for new ways to communicate with our audience.”

It’ll be interesting to see if this promotional idea takes off.

Powered by the Wind…

Mobile operator, Orange plans to demonstrate a wind-powered mobile phone charger at the Glastonbury festival next week. Developed in conjunction with the University of Texas, the unit weighs in at 150g, and can easily be mounted on a tent. It’s designed to generate and store power during the day, so you can “charge your mobile at night.”

It’s an interesting concept. I’d like to think I could leave my electronic devices behind when visiting the great outdoors. However, for emergency purposes, or to have the ability to “check in,” it is good to know there’s a way to plug into nature. Another way would be to use the Solio Solar charger.

Who Needs a Wii When…

CoolSmartPhone.com pointed this one out. Apparently there is an amazing new motion-sensing 3D lawn dart game available that operates on any Windows Mobile device. It's all done with your camera, which is used to analyze a simple sweeping motion on your handset, so you'll see your dart fly through a meadow, on the moon, or where ever you choose to play. I guess the trick is to find some sort of harness to keep your Window Mobile Treo attached to your wrist. You certainly wouldn’t want that flying around!

And lastly, I leave you with this from those fine folks at The Onion:

That’s a wrap!

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