Interesting things happened this week. The Centro landed and continued to garner raves. And Steve Jobs got a clue and opened up the iPhone to third party developers. Guess he figured out what Palm has known all along (and what will probably be a factor in driving sales of the Centro) That, to play off Verizons current ad campaign, its the network. Or in Palms case the rich ecosystem of partners (software, hardware and beyond). In a related story, StyleTap made news this week by releasing a version of CrossPlatform that lets you run most Palm OS applications on Symbian UIQ and S60 3rd Edition devices. Even the The Mobile Gadgeteer, Matthew Miller, noted extending functionality into the thousands of apps for the Palm OS is nice to see. Yeah, it was another feel good week for Palm. Lets keep that streak going!
Now, without further ado, Lets Talk Treo (and Centro)!
Palm Offers Support for Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile 2007 on Windows Mobile Treo Smartphones
This week, Palm announced support of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, stating that Palm Treo smartphones running Windows Mobile are ready to take advantage of Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile 2007. Office Communicator Mobile 2007 has a look and feel similar to the desktop version of Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and helps ensure that access to the capabilities provided by Office Communications Server 2007 can continue when people are away from their desks. Per the announcement, this free client to the Office Communications Server 2007 software adds industrial-strength instant messaging and the ability to quickly locate and check the status of others on the network, giving mobile professionals even better means to communicate quickly with colleagues.
Related Story: View from Inside Palm
The Microsoft relationship is important for Palm and ties the company to new and exciting area of unified communications. A post on Palms Blog by Joe Fabris, Sr. Director of Wireless Solutions at Palm, talks about the Microsoft announcement. He remarked:
So if you're and IT Pro, check out the Microsoft announcement today. And if you're a manager or end-user looking to have better communication between people, you check it out, then tell your IT partner to check it out too. Talk to you soon as Palm and Microsoft will have a lot to say over the next year about Business.
Related Story: Microsoft Reorganizes Mobile Division, Focuses On Windows Live Services
Brighthand reported that Microsoft has recently reorganized its mobile technology division, putting a greater degree of emphasis on marketing and exposure for its "Windows Live" online services. Referred to by Microsoft as its "Mobile Communications Business," the new group consists of the mobile unit: Platform, for Windows Mobile and associated software, and Mobile Services, for the Windows Live brand and offerings.
Treo 500v in Australia
This week, Palm announced the availability of the Treo 500v on the Vodafone network in Australia. Vodafone is the world's leading international mobile telecommunications group with equity interests in 27 countries and 33 partners across 5 continents. The company provides quality services to 3.68 million Australian customers and has more than 200 million proportionate customers worldwide. The new Treo 500v smartphone will be available in Australia exclusively through Vodafone for several months.
Talkin Treo 500v
theUnwired Review of Palm Treo 500v
The Palm Treo 500v is an interesting smartphone. It's not Palm's masterpiece everybody expected but it's a good Windows Mobile Standard Smartphone anyway. Feature-wise it's not complete, international travelers will definitely miss quadband GSM and triband UMTS support and the lack of HSDPA, especially where Vodafone is doing so hard to upgrade its networks to HSDPA, is questionable. On the other hand we have the value for money and the price can be expected to be between free and 99 Euro with a 24 months contract. That's a pretty good price for a Windows Mobile UMTS smartphone.
The Palm Treo 500v gives you a good value for money. While it's not the latest and greatest feature equipped smartphone, it's also not tearing a hole into your wallet.
The Palm Centro is now available. The Onyx Black version is starting to show up in all Sprint sales channels, Palm stores, and online at www.sprint.com and www.palm.com/centro to start. The Ruby Red version will be available some time next month through the same sales channels.
Palms Centro Offer!
The Centro has been garnering rave reviews (see below and previous editions of this column). And if that wasnt enough to motivate buyers, Palm has sweetened the pot by adding a free gift (Vehicle Power Charger
$29.99 value, while supplies last, offer ends 10/28/07) when you place your order on Palms website. Just add the Palm Centro to your cart and the FREE Vehicle Power Charger will automatically be added to your cart.
CentroDepot is Open for Business
Timed with the release of the Centro, Smartphone Experts has opened CentroDepot.com, a one-stop shop for Centro accessories. Like its sister stores, CentroDepot will carry a growing line of cases, headsets, chargers and cables, memory cards and more.
Now lets take a look at whos talkin Centro this week.
WSJ The Mossberg Solution
The Palm Centro was the topic of The Mossberg Solution column, where Katherine Boehret offered her thoughts and compared it to the BlackBerry Pearl.
If you're considering the leap from a cellphone to a smart phone but don't want the bigger, geekier look of one of these helpful devices, the Palm Centro is a good option. Its keyboard will take some getting used to, but its touch screen will win you over by providing a simpler way to navigate -- especially for smart-phone novices.
Dieter Bohn at TreoCentral did a very thorough review that not only discusses details of the Centro, but also makes recommendations (i.e. should you upgrade). He wrote:
I wasn't expecting to give the Centro this rosy a review since it doesn't offer any flashy new features. Yet here I am reading the preceding paragraph that lacks only the words "BUY BUY BUY!" The Centro is the perfect "last hurrah" for Garnet/PalmOS: an inexpensive, cute, and accessible smartphone that does everything a new smartphone owner could want and nearly everything a power user could want as well.
SciFi Peer Review: Critics find Palm Centro to have small buttons, declare it cute as a button
This is an excellent roundup of thoughts on the Centro.
AWright from Brighthand said:
Overall, I was impressed with the price and the size of the Centro. The operating system is old, but stable and highly functional. The wireless connection is just fast, but not the latest which allows voice and data at the same time.
If you will, the Centro is a list of compromises, but those compromises increase the size of those who can get into the smartphone game. This is a solid compromise, and possibly the best one that needs to be made in this class of devices.
Alli Flowers at MyTreo.net stated:
I got a red one, and it's glossy and shiny, and just plain beautiful. It feels good in your hand, although it doesn't have the rubbery feeling of the 680.
I want one. As usual, it's a shame that the good prices are being offered only to entice new cellular service plan customers.
Ed Baig wrote:
Whether Palm manages to innovate down the road remains to be seen. How about Wi-Fi and a spiffier display for starters? Still, Centro is a solid if not groundbreaking smart-phone sold at a very attractive price.
Centro Software Enhancements
Andrew at Treonauts put his detective hat on and did some investigating into what kinds of software improvements the Centro has over software improvements over previous Treo smartphones. His write-up talks about: Power Savings Mode, SMS Short Code Translation, Inbound/Outbound SMS Graphics, Quick Launch Favorites from Anywhere and some others.
SlingPlayer Compatibility Confirmed for Palm Centro
In other Centro-related news, John P. Falcone posted a story over at CNET that noted the new Palm Centro can now be added to the list of smartphones that can stream live TV from the Slingbox family of placeshifting devices.
Sling today confirmed what was widely assumed: the Palm OS version of the SlingPlayer Mobile software is fully compatible with Sprint's new bargain smartphone. (The current version of the software may warn Centro users that they're about to install it on a noncompatible device, but that minor glitch should be corrected in the next build, says Sling spokesman Dave Zatz.)
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Review: mTools by MotionApps - By Jay Gross
Jay had a chance to try out mTools, a collection of eight utilities for Palm OS devices. It includes: Volume boost, Battery saver, Backup and Restore, Remote lock, File browser, Start menu, Web search, and a SD card manager (which Jay referred to as one of its sweetest tricks.). He wrote:
MotionApps mTools puts eight convenient applications on an icon-laden menu. The company claims performance benefits, but I doubt that. Some of the apps leave me wondering, why? But several of them are very welcome additions to my arsenal of Treo software.
Review: Seidio Skin Case for Treo 750 and 755p - By Douglas Morse
Douglas took a look at the Skin Case product offering from Seidio.
All in all, if youre looking for a skin case, I would lean towards the Smartphone Experts offering which is also five bucks less. On the other hand, if you are a Seidio loyalist, or like the fact that the buttons are completely individuated, then you should get the Seidio. However, I urge you to be very careful putting the case on or taking it off or peeling it back for a battery change.
The focus of this episode is the new Palm Centro. The hosts also delve into Palm vs. Apple and 3rd party applications. Plus, theres the usual smorgasbord of random yet interesting stuff and they answer some listener mail, and hit up the forums.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: iStyles Treo Privacy Screen Protector
Alex Mathews at TreoBits checked out the iStyles Treo Privacy Screen Protector. This review includes a video that shows the side view of the Treo before and after applying the iStyles Privacy Screen Protector. He wrote:
I can say that for the most part the iStyles Treo Privacy Screen Protector works as advertised. Those people that must have a crystal clear screen protector will not like this one at all. Also, if you can't stand having to tap a bit harder to have the digitizer recognize what you're selecting with the stylus, then definitely steer clear of this screen protector. If you want to have a bit more privacy when working with your Treo on a crowded commute, then you should definitely check it out. It will definitely help you in that regard, and I can definitely recommend it for that usage.
Review: Lubix Stereo Bluetooth on your Treo
Over at MyTreo.net, Alli Flowers gave a listen to the Lubix Stereo Bluetooth headset.
For simply enjoying sound, the Lubix is more than adequate. The stereo is great watching movies on The Core Player, sound is crisp and clear in Kinoma, and watching my Slingbox is a dream come true. Because these are in-ear, rather than over the ear, the sound is strong, and background noise is not an issue. You will never confuse the output on the Lubix with a set of high end stereo headphones, but for Bluetooth, the quality is quite good.
Using the Lubix as a normal Bluetooth headset for making calls is mediocre. While you can hear your caller just fine, you have to speak very loudly for them to hear you. The microphone is weak.
Review: SPB Mobile Shell
At WMExperts, Malatesta provided a review of SPB Mobile Shell, considered by the experts as the default first install suggestion for any Windows Mobile user - especially someone who is new to the OS.
Despite some little issues, which I think only a tiny subset of power-users will be concerned with, SPB Mobile Shell ($29.95) is a great investment and one of my top software picks of 2007. If you are new to the Windows Mobile platform, frustrated with the current UI/Start menu or just want to fit all of those plugins on one screen, giving your device a nice facelift, consider giving a SPB Mobile Shell a 15-day trial run, Im sure youll be impressed.
Review: SPB Pocket Plus
Judie Lipsett at Gear Diary wrote a story about the new 4.0 release of SPBs Pocket Plus which references a review done by Clinton Fitch. Clinton remarked:
Spb Software House spent nearly a year developing Pocket Plus 4.0 and the work is evident from the moment you start the application. This new version brings a whole new level of customization of the Today screen to your Windows Mobile device as well as a more intuitive user experience. Add the enhancements they have made to PIE and you have an application that should be the first application installed on any new device. I have been using this new version for several weeks before the public launch on October 15, 2007 and have yet to find any issues with the application. Everything functions as advertised and I have seen no impact to my device's performance by having it installed. In fact I would say performance has increased with version 4.0 over 3.2.
Review: LobsterTunes for Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphone
Helio Diamant at theUnwired.net checked out LobsterTunes by Electric Pocket.
The greatest feature of LobsterTunes is that it gives you full access to your home computer's entire DRM-free music collection wherever you take your Windows Mobile device. Never again will you be restricted by the amount of storage memory on your mobile device or tethered to your home network when you want to listen to your music.
Review: SpotWave Z1900
Joel Evans of Geek.com looked into the mobile signal boosting capabilities of the SpotWave Z1900:
If youre interested in boosting your mobile signal in your office or home take a look at Spotwaves website. They have a bunch of solutions, though the Z1900 may be all you need. I couldnt be happier with it and its definitely worth the purchase price if youre using your mobile phone on a regular basis and have poor coverage in your home.
Clue/Review: Speedbooster for Windows Mobile
Terry Davis at PocketNow offered thoughts on the Teksoft Speedbooster (v1.3). This handy tool lets you prioritize applications running on your Windows Mobile device so you can give more CPU power to the ones you need. Does it work as advertised?
I love the idea of limited processor power being dynamically allocated when and where I want it. Any move to provide this is a move in the right direction but as much as I wanted to, I simply couldn't see any tangible improvement in performance in my device. However, by allowing users to prioritize processor power for themselves, Teksoft are on the right path to giving us more personally customizable control over the way our device works. I'm sure that we will see improvements in this software in future versions.
News: Verizon Announces 755p
Verizon Wireless just unveiled their roster of new personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smartphones that give customers exciting options for both business and personal connectivity. Named in the press release was the Treo 755p, along with the SCH-i760 from Samsung (available online October 19 and in stores November 2), the Verizon Wireless XV6800 and the SMT5800 smartphone. The announcement stated:
Charismatic as it is functional, aficionados will welcome the Palm Treo 755p. Its slim form factor is packed with tools such as a large color touch- screen and a full QWERTY keyboard for easy messaging, a 1.3 megapixel camera and support for Bluetooth stereo headsets. The built-in 60 MB of dedicated memory allows the use of a robust set of applications, while storage can be enhanced by using the miniSD(TM) slot to add up to 8 GB of additional memory.
News: Verizon Over-the-Air Updates
Verizon Wireless announced that it is introducing new technology that will deliver system software updates over-the-air to new handsets. Using a technology from InnoPath Software, Verizon Wireless customers will be able to update embedded system software, technically called "firmware", on some of the newest handsets using over-the-air technology. Using InnoPaths "Firmware Over-the-Air" solution, Verizon Wireless customers will receive a message on their wireless phone indicating that a new handset update is available. This technology will be introduced in some new phones starting later this year, and throughout 2008.
News: SEE (Sprint Exclusive Entertainment) Launches as Only Network of Original TV Programming on Mobile
Sprint, the only U.S. wireless carrier to produce its own network of original TV programming, just launched SEE (Sprint Exclusive Entertainment). SEE delivers exclusive TV programs on Sprint video-enabled phones at no extra charge to customers with any Power Vision data plan. SEE can be accessed in three easy steps: by simply clicking on the phones media player from the main screen, scrolling to SEE on a channel menu similar to cable TV, and then selecting a program to watch.
News: MovieTickets.com Debuts
MovieTickets.com (www.movietickets.com), the world's most powerful Internet movie ticketing service, has just made buying movie tickets in advance even easier with the launch of two powerful new mobile web applications. These new solutions mean moviegoers can search for a movie by location or title, buy tickets, access a listing of new releases, box office information, read movie news, and even view detailed local area maps to the theater and more. One application works with Internet enabled mobile devices and the other is for iPhones.
News: Apple Opens Up iPhone Takes Clue from Palm
In a big about face, Apple is now going to will allow third-party applications to work directly on the iPhone, Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in a posting on the company's Web site Wednesday.
We are excited about creating a vibrant third-party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users."
This story by APs May Wong noted:
Palm Inc. has always welcomed third-party developers to create applications for its handheld computers, or personal digital assistants. They have created hundreds of programs ranging from medical dictionaries to astrology predictions.
News: Nokias Smartphone Play Also Following Palms Lead?
According to this story by eWeeks Darryl Taft, Nokia is trying to tap the broad world of Web developers to help deliver the next set of "killer" applications for the mobile platform. In a meeting on Oct. 15 during a Nokia Developer Forum preceding the Symbian Smartphone Show, Nokia officials detailed the Helsinki-based company's strategy regarding its Web Runtime for its S60 smart-phone platform. A key feature of the Nokia Web Run-Time experience is the Nokia widget, a mini-application or wizard for mobile devices that personalizes the user experience.
The Nokia widget is also an indication of how Nokia intends to maintain a dominant position in the market despite the arrival of competing products, such as, possibly, a Google phone. "
This story includes details provided by Craig Cumberland, director of technology and applications marketing for Nokia's Software Platforms group.
Clue: Mobile GBlogger
Pete Paxton at SmartphoneThoughts wrote about GBlogger by Pocket Watch that works on smartphones and PDAs running versions 5 and 6 of Windows Mobile. He noted:
If you like to blog then here's your chance to blog away. Pocket Watch now has GBlogger and if you have an Internet connection, you can blog from anywhere right from your device. This is kind of nice to use when your waiting for an appointment or out and about with free time on your hands. The basic free version throws in a line of advertisement and to get rid of that you can purchase an ad free version for a mere $15 per year.
Endnotes & Ponderables:
Its almost Halloween. Since most stores have had candy and merchandise out since Labor Day, it is hard to get worked up about it (sort of dulled my senses). Then came the story I saw in the Thursday edition of The Wall Street Journal (Cranky Consumer - How to Create a Smashing Pumpkin). It mentioned a Website called ExtremePumpkins, which I investigated.
If you go there, check out the video and be prepared for a serious bout of LOL. Its pretty darn hilarious and makes me want to get out my power tools and see what I can come up with.
And on the less extreme, more pricey end of the spectrum check this out...
For real?! I guess if youve got an extra couple of hundred bucks lying around and youre into celebrating Halloween, this could be for you.
Thats a wrap!