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Talkin' Treo - v062907

Fri Jun 29, 2007 - 7:53 AM EDT - By Annie Latham

Week ending 29 June 2007

After months of anticipation, the day has finally arrived and Steve Jobs has to be leaping with joy…

Why? Because Disney/Pixar’s “Ratatouille” is arriving at theaters today with rave reviews. At the San Francisco Chronicle, the “Little Man” was jumping out of his chair. If the movie takes off as expected, Steve Jobs, who has a seat on the board and is the largest shareholder as a result of Disney’s purchase of Pixar, will be a happy, happy man.

What? There’s more? Oh, you mean that iPhone thing? Hey, as they say in Jersey “fugedaboutit.” That’s yesterday’s news… and the day before… and the day before…

Seriously, folks! Whether you believe it or not, there really are other things going on in the world. Honest! Paris Hilton is a free woman. MLB’s All-Star voting just closed. And, oh yeah… two players in the smart phone arena (Palm and Research In Motion) announced earnings.

So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!

Palm News

Palm Reports Q4 and FY 2007 Results

On Thursday, Palm reported that total revenue in its fourth quarter of fiscal year 2007, ended June 1, was $401.3 million (from $403.1 million and compared with analyst estimates of $406.58 million). Smartphone sell-through for the quarter reached a company record high, totaling 750,000 units, up 43 percent year over year. Smartphone revenue was $344.2 million, up 14 percent from the year-ago period.

Revenue for the full fiscal year 2007 was $1.56 billion, down 1 percent from the $1.58 billion reported in fiscal year 2006. Smartphone sell-through for the full year reached a company record high totaling 2.7 million units, up 34 percent year over year. Smartphone revenue was $1.25 billion, up 15 percent from the prior year.

“Our record Treo sell-through reflects strong fundamentals in the core focus areas of our business,” said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer. “In fiscal year 2007, we expanded our international presence, improved our product pipeline and developed strategic platform technologies. I'm confident that in fiscal year 2008 more and more standard handset customers will demand the capabilities and ease of use of Palm smartphones, which aligns us well for future growth and profitability.”

Seems like it was “all good.” Well, The Street pointed this out:

“…fourth-quarter operating profit beat Wall Street estimates, but the company's outlook for its first fiscal quarter was considerably below analysts' expectations.”

And a Reuters story included this quote from Oppenheimer analyst Lawrence Harris:

"We were starting to see a moderation of growth at Palm even before iPhone goes on sale," said Harris. He had expected 800,000 Treo sales in the quarter, compared with Palm's reported 43 percent rise in unit sales to 750,000.

MarketWatch's technology editor, Dan Gallagher, wrote:

“Because Palm relies on consumers and small businesses for a greater percentage of its business, the company is expected to be more vulnerable to competition from Apple's iPhone.”

Meanwhile, up in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion reported a higher first-quarter profit on Thursday, beating expectations, because they added more subscribers for their popular wireless e-mail devices than originally forecasted.

“Outstanding blowout results! What iPhone?" asked Peter Misek, global technology strategist at Canaccord Adams in Toronto, shortly after the earnings report.”

So early opinion suggests that the slings and arrows of the iPhone won’t pierce BlackBerry’s armor. And Palm’s Treo is a different story. Or is it?

Palm has made inroads into corporate. That’s the story that seems to be getting missed here. And there have been plenty of stories about how the iPhone will be banned by IT Departments. The point being, this battle is far from over.

Let’s switch gears now and talk Foleo.

Talkin’ Foleo Applications

Palm issued two more press releases about applications for the Foleo:

On Tuesday, Bluefire, the leading provider of security solutions for smartphones and wireless devices, and Palm announced they are working together to provide Palm Foleo customers security for mobile data-in-transit. The VPN software client easily fits in with existing network infrastructures and configurations, and functions across Wi-Fi, LAN and cellular networks.

In the other announcement, Avvenu, provider of remote access and sharing services for personal digital content, Palm said they have created the Avvenu Access 'n Share service for the Foleo. Access 'n Share enables Foleo users to remotely and easily access and share digital content stored on their work or home PCs, untethered and over-the-air, including documents, photos, music and videos.

To learn more, check out the write-up TreoCentral’s Jennifer Chappell did about these applications.

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Review: TreoMemo – A Friendly Reminder Application - By Jay Gross

Jay tried out TreoMemo, an affordable ($9.95) application that “runs circles around the Palm OS native Memo program. In his conclusion, Jay wrote:

“TreoMemo, by GX-5, inexpensively covers bases left unguarded by the native Memos app for PalmOS Treos. It adds features and functionality with a simple, straightforward interface, and provides an additional method of obtaining reminders – alerts – plus excellent options to export and share information with other devices, even non-Treos.”

Review: The First Mile – Interactive Fiction Games are Back! - By Harv Laser

If you don’t know who Howard Sherman is, you will by the time you finish reading Harv’s review of an interactive fiction game called “The First Mile.” He describes it as “approximately the same size as a full-length novel in content, but instead of being passively entertained by a traditional print novel, you’re the protagonist, deciding when, where, why and how the story will unfold.” He concluded:

“If you're tired of puzzle games, word games, endless variations of Tetris, lining up jewels, or blasting the guts out of bad guys, return to the good old days of Infocom-like Interactive Fiction with Malinche's new wares, and put your brain to work instead of just your reflexes.”

Review: Seidio Vertical Pouch Case - By Douglas Morse

Douglas checked out a case that is roomy enough to hold a “skinned” Treo:

“The Seidio Vertical Pouch Case has so much going for it; it is the best case I've used that holds a skinned Treo. I never much understood why people would want this combination, and although I'm not a convert, I truly see the attraction. The Seidio has great attention to detail with lovely leather, great belt clip, business card slot that works, and solid protection. Highly, and unexpectedly, recommended.”

Clue: Treo Software Update Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell

In what is becoming a weekly feature, Jennifer provides an excellent overview on a bunch of Treo software that has been released/updated recently. Some of the programs discussed include: Opera Mini 4, the Gizmo Project, and the long awaited maintenance release for Sprint 700p Treos.

Talkin’ TreoCast

In this episode, along with the usual news and reviews, the hosts discuss “the iPhone insanity,” the Palm Foleo and new Treo rumors.

Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

Review: Jabra BT5020 Bluetooth Headset

Last week, Andrew at Treonauts looked at the Jabra BT5010 Bluetooth headset. This week, he offered his thoughts on it’s sibling, the recently released, BT5020 Bluetooth headset. He wrote:

“Is the Jabra BT5020 right for you compared to my other four favourite Bluetooth headsets below? If pocketability, call quality and talk time are key criteria then there is no doubt that I would very highly recommend this headset. It offers better call quality than the Motorola H700, the convenience of USB charging that the other over-the-ear SonyEricsson HBH-GV435 lacks and finally a more robust body than the Jabra JX10 whose ear loops have a nasty habit of breaking. Having said this however, thanks to its noise cancellation technology the call quality of the Aliph Jawbone (voted Best Treo Bluetooth Headset and recently reduced from $139.95 to only $99.95) remains far superior even though it is the least pocketable.”

Clue: Listening to Internet Radio on Your Smartphone

Jamie Lendino at Smart Device Central wrote an article discussion the options available for streaming radio on Palm OS, Symbian, and other handsets. For Palm OS, He points to Pocket Tunes Deluxe 4.0:

“Still the go-to application for listening to music on Palm OS-based Treos, Pocket Tunes Deluxe 4.0 includes a catalog of hundreds of Internet radio stations, plus the ability to set presets. The application also lets you listen to AAC and AACplus files. With Apple's recent iTunes Plus launch, you can now buy unprotected tracks for $1.29 each from the iTunes Store and listen to them on your Treo. At $37.95, Pocket Tunes isn't cheap, but you also get a full-fledged music management application in the process.

For those using Sprint, he points out a couple of Sprint Power Vision options to consider: Sprint SIRIUS and Pandora.

Commentary: The timing of this story is interesting since Wednesday was a National Day of Silence for Internet Radio Broadcasters. They were protesting the recent 300 percent royalty rate increase for online music Webcasters:

“The aim of the industry wide daylong blackout is to raise awareness of the threat these new rates pose to the future of Internet radio and rally support for legislation pending in Congress.”

So if there IS Internet Radio to listen to, you have some options for your Treo.

News: SplashData Released SplashID Update

PalmInfoCenter reported that SplashData has released SplashID for Palm OS, version 4.0, the first major update of their best selling password manager program in over three years.

“SplashID safely and securely stores all of your personal identification information including user names, passwords, credit cards, calling cards, bank accounts, PINs, and more. Information is stored in a secure, 256-bit encrypted format and is quickly accessible on a Palm OS handheld or Desktop computer with the included desktop software. New features include a new refreshed interface, unlimited amounts of custom record types and categories, enhanced security features, web auto-fill functionality, an enhanced lookup system and much more.”

News: GoTo Software Unveils RingCare

PalmInfoCenter also reported that GoTreo Software, maker of the popular VolumeCare application, has just released one for ringtone management. RingCare Mobile for Palm OS allows you to use MP3s and MIDI tones for incoming phone calls, text messages and voicemail. Also available is its companion desktop application for Windows called RingCare Desktop. It will create custom ringtones on your PC from your own music library and transfer them to your Treo.

News: Wells Fargo & Visa – Mobile Payment Pilot

Wells Fargo & Company and Visa USA announced the launch of an extensive mobile pilot to test consumer mobile payments and services. The pilot has three phases to help Wells Fargo and Visa better understand how consumers will use mobile payment and service options on mobile devices equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Options to be tested include secure, over-the-air delivery of payment account information to the mobile device; mobile payments in stores and restaurants accepting Visa payWave technology; receiving and redeeming mobile coupons; and account management services.

Shifting Gears – Summertime Fun

Here we are, just days before the 4th of July holiday, and it is clear that thoughts are on “Travels with Treo” (or other handheld devices).

So here are some more suggestions on how to keep your gadgets powered up.

Over at Digital Lifestyles, Mike wrote about essential gadgets he took along on his venture to the Glastonbury Festival.

“Although the battery life is pretty good on the Treo, six days is a long time away when you’re constantly ringing and texting ‘confused’ mates on site, so we also packed a Seido 2400mAh extended battery and an emergency power charger.”

Another charging option is the solar panel jacket. May be tough on a 90-90 (degrees-humidity) day, but it is an interesting concept.

In The New York Times Circuit section, there was a short piece on the PowerMonkey, a lithium-ion battery with a charging circuit that lets it connect to most cellphones and portable devices like iPods and PlayStation Portables.

Also, don’t forget the options mentioned in last week’s column.

Brits Help Us Celebrate the 4th!

A press release with the headline “Celebrate 4th July with Fireworks from Astraware!” crossed my desk, with a dateline of KEELE, Staffordshire, UK, and it made me smile.

Astraware announced the availability of a brand new version of their fun application Fireworks that shows sequences of fireworks flying and exploding into the air on your Treo’s screen. It’ll work with Palm OS and Windows Mobile Treos. And the best part of all is that it is available for FREE.

TreoCentral’s Harv Laser tried it out and remarked, “This is a cool little app.”

Endnotes & Ponderables:

Hard to top the last story, but here goes.

I found this one on PopGadget. The folks that make the OtterBox are doing something pretty cool. They just launched Planet Otterbox --a site where you are encouraged to upload photos and stories from adventures taken with your OtterBox. The submissions are eligible for prizes (see the site for details). It’ll be fun to see how many OtterBox covered Treos show up.

Here’s one more for the road. Of course, it’s not Treo-related, but very cool nonetheless.

The Winky-Dink Refrigerator!

I want one! Currently only available in Brazil, this refrigerator, sold as Risque Rabisque (roughly: Scrawl & Scribble), is covered in a special coating similar to dry erase whiteboards. That’s right… you can write directly on your refrigerator and when you no longer need what you’ve written, it is easily wiped off. How cool is that?

That’s a wrap!

Have a great 4th!

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