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Talkin' Treo - v110907

Fri Nov 9, 2007 - 10:55 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 9 November 2007

It seems weird to me that in the week that the “X-Files: The Ultimate Collection” [61 Discs] was released, Google dominated headlines with something called Android.

What’s so weird about that? Okay, according to a definition posted in Dictionary.com:

android "automaton resembling a human being," 1727, from Mod.L. androides, from Gk. andro- "human" eides "form, shape." Listed as "rare" in OED (1879), popularized from c.1951 by science fiction writers”.

See? There is a Sci-Fi connection. Now that’s not too far a stretch, eh? But I digress. Though we are supposed to be “Talkin’ Treo” here, it seems that silly Android has abducted the news cycle. What kind of impact will it have on the world of Treo? As X-File fans will tell you, "The Truth Is Out There." And to fans of smartphones, the truth may be around the corner or six months away.

Lots more happened this week, so, without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo (and Centro)!

Palm News

News: Palm CFO to Present at Conference on Tuesday

Another week, another financial conference presentation…

Next Tuesday, Palm's Chief Financial Officer Andrew J. Brown is scheduled to present at the UBS Global Technology & Services Conference in New York. It takes place at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Investors are invited to listen to the live webcast at http://investor.palm.com/events.cfm.

Last Tuesday, Brown presented at the JPMorgan SMid Cap Conference in Boston. You can access the webcast and slide deck here.

News: Hawkins to Speak at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

According to this story published by The Business Review, Jeff Hawkins is scheduled to speak next Wednesday at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute about his new tech company, Numenta, and its plans to teach computers how to recognize pictures, understand language or even navigate a messy room. Rensselaer’s Provost, Robert Palazzo was quoted saying:

“In the 1990s, Jeff pioneered the development of personal digital assistants, transforming the way we organize and access information. Today, Numenta is positioned to revolutionize computing once again, potentially enabling ground breaking new applications that could powerfully extend human intelligence."

Treo 550v in Malaysia

Palm and Celcom (Malaysia) Berhad launched Treo 500v smartphone on the Celcom network in Malaysia. Celcom (Malaysia) Berhad is now the country's most experienced and premier mobile cellular telecommunications company with 6.4 million customers. It currently has the widest network coverage covering 97% of the populated areas in the country.

Treo 550v in New Zealand

Palm Australasia announced the availability of the Treo 500v smartphone on the Vodafone network in New Zealand. The new Treo 500v, which runs on the Windows Mobile(R) 6 Standard platform, will be available exclusively through Vodafone for several months.

News: “More Yous” Ad Campaign Debuts

Have you seen the new Sprint ad for the Palm Centro? Created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the commercial attempts to show how people are getting more done because they are using a Centro. This is visually depicted by showing a person surrounded by a bunch of “mini-mes.” For example, in one scene, a man in a suit and tie waiting on a train platform is flanked by smaller versions of himself, mini-men who each take on different tasks. There is an associated website called: www.moreyous.com which espouses the joys of multi-tasking.

By the way, this ad was brought to you by the agency responsible for “Got Milk?” and The Slowskys.

News: Palm Launches New Mobile Portal Page

According to Kris Keilhack at PalmInfoCenter, a new version of Palm’s Mobile Portal for Palm devices (mobile.palm.com) utilizing the Blazer web browser quietly went live over the past weekend.

“Aesthetic-wise, the portal has received a makeover with a wide Palm orange bar running the full width of the screen. The page’s fonts have been slightly enlarged with redundant site names (for example, ending in ',com') having been cleaned up. The Google search box is still present at the top of the screen but its width has been increased to facilitate easier search queries. The overall page is about 1/3 longer than previously, so a bit more scroll will be required.”
“…Overall, the changes are quite eye-catching and the added content is a definite improvement.”

Talkin’ Centro

Now let’s take a look at who’s talkin’ Centro this week.

Comparison: Centro vs. Treo 500v

Ed Hardy at Brighthand has done a quick comparison of Palm’s two consumer-oriented smartphones: the Centro and the Treo 500v. He noted, “These have caused a small amount of confusion because at first glance they are quite similar, but a closer look shows wide differences between them.”

Review/Commentary: Impact of Centro on Future WM Treos

Over at WMExperts, Malatesta recalls that Palm claimed they would share hardware between their PalmOS devices and their Windows Mobile devices. With that in mind, he reviewed the Centro.

“Will this new found hardware improvement carry over to their upcoming WM Treo 800? Too early to tell, but the Centro inspires confidence where it was previously lacking.”

PalmAddicts – PJ Arts

“Palm's new Centro smartphone plays the role of Mini-me to the Treo's Doctor Evil: everything the original has, only smaller. Palm and Sprint claim to be targeting the youthful Razr/ Sidekick users, who have yet to step up to a true smartphone; and, the product they have produced has real potential to do just that.”

Note: Sprint’s ad agency must have had a similar impression of the Centro, thus the origin of the “More Yous” campaign mentioned above (if you’ve seen the commercial, you’ll know what I mean).

Centro Makes Time’s Gadget of the Year List

Special thanks to Alex (“one t”) Mathews at Treobits for pointing this out… In the issue of Time magazine that called out the iPhone as the “Invention of the Year,” the Centro made the list for “Gadget of the Year.”

  • Apple iPhone
  • Nikon Coolpix S51c
  • Netgear SPH200W Wi-Fi Phone
  • Palm Centro
  • Sony Handycam HDR-CX7
  • Samsung P2
  • Toshiba Portégé R500-S5004
  • FlyTech Dragonfly
  • Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive
  • Belkin N1 Vision Wi-Fi Router

Looks like the Centro is in pretty good company.

Palm’s Blog is “Seeing Red”

In honor of the availability of the Ruby Red version of the Centro, Palm’s blog entry for November 4 is Red all over.

Talkin’ Android

“We are not building a GPhone; we are enabling 1,000 people to build a GPhone,” said Andy Rubin, Google’s director of mobile platforms, who led the effort to develop the software. Mr. Rubin said the open-source strategy would encourage rapid innovation and lower the bar to entry in the highly competitive handset market, where software accounts for an increasing share of the cost of making a phone.”

-- From a story appearing in The New York Times

If you want to get up to speed on Android, Dieter Bohn’s write-up at TreoCentral is a good place to start. There were also good stories at Forbes and PC World/InfoWorld.

The following are just a few of the comments that were heard about it.

Brighthand – Ed Hardy

“I give Google credit for thinking outside the box. It could have come out with its own Linux-based smartphone operating system without putting together a group of partners to help develop it. Almost anything is possible when you have access to the kind of money Google does…”
“…As a general rule, more competition is better, especially when the new competitor is coming out of the gate as strong as Android is. And strong competition leads to better products, which is good for us consumers. So you'll benefit even if you never buy a device from the Open Handset Alliance. But this only applies if Android lives up to its potential. Here's hoping it does.”

Treonauts – Andrew

“It’s obvious that with many years of development and hundreds of $millions invested, Palm is not about to drop its own Linux OS in favour of an as yet unproven and untested operating system. Additionally, although appealing to me since I’d like to see a next generation Treo smartphone released ASAP, the option for Palm to develop yet another line of Android smartphones alongside existing PalmOS/LinuxOS and Windows Mobile devices also appears impractical (at least for now).”

InformationWeek - Stephen Wellman

In a story titled, “Five Reasons Palm Should Drop Its OS And Use Google Android,” Stephen Wellman listed the following:

  1. Palm's user experience is out of date.
  2. Palm could use Android to lower the price of the Treo and launch more phones.
  3. Most of Palm's smartphone competitors are skipping this party. For now.
  4. Palm is no longer an OS company.
  5. Palm needs some radical change.

In the article, each reason has a paragraph explaining why. It’s a worthwhile read.

Microsoft - Steve Ballmer said

In this PC World story, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was quoted saying:

"Well of course their efforts are just some words on paper right now, it's hard to do a very clear comparison [with Windows Mobile].”
"…So we have great momentum, we've brought our Windows Mobile 6 software to market, we're driving forward on our future releases and we'll have to see what Google does." "…Right now they have a press release, we have many, many millions of customers, great software, many hardware devices and they're welcome in our world."

Aside: In Thursday’s edition of The New York Times, during his review of the T-Mobile Shadow, David Pogue let his thoughts be known about Windows Mobile 6:

“Unfortunately, after they did such a great job designing the hardware, T-Mobile’s chief executive and his ex-Apple designer punted on the software. They equipped this phone with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6. As it turns out, that decision is just as much an impediment to the Shadow’s greatness as AT&T exclusivity is to the iPhone. Frankly, Windows Mobile 6 is a mess. Common features require an infinitude of taps and clicks, and the ones you need most are buried in menus. Apparently the Windows Mobile 6 team learned absolutely nothing from Windows Mobile 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.”

Seattle PI - Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog

“Because Google is focusing on an open software system, the competitive implications for Microsoft's Windows Mobile business could be more significant than if the search giant had merely come out with a new device, the long-rumored ‘Gphone.’ For the record, the Redmond company isn't among the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance. However, many of its industry partners are, including Motorola and HTC.”

Enough Android talk! Time to get back to our regularly scheduled column.

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Rockin’ Robin! – Week 2 of the Smartphone Round Robin

It is the second week of the Smartphone Round Robin --where the community editors from the SPE community sites —TreoCentral (Treo & Centro), CrackBerry.com (BlackBerry), WMExperts (Windows Mobile) and Phone different (iPhone)— are getting the opportunity to learn what it's like to live "on the other side of the fence" as they have their everyday smartphone swapped out for one of its competitors. To follow along, go to the following website: http://smartphoneexperts.com/roundrobin/.

TreoCentral’s Jennifer Chappell provided her initial thoughts on the BlackBerry Curve.

This time, it was Crackberry Kevin’s turn to play with the Treo 680. However, he ran into a snag.

Note: Don’t forget! There is a contest associated with the Round Robin. Each time you participate in a Smartphone Round Robin official contest thread in the forums of the SPE community sites, you'll be entered into the contest to win prizes that include a smartphone (see site for details).

In a related smartphone comparison story, over at SmartphoneThoughts, Jason Dunn posted a story titled “Chris Pirillo on the iPhone vs. Windows Mobile for Business Use”.

Review: Board Games From Over The Pond - By Harv Laser

Harv had a chance to play around with Astraware Boardgames for Palm OS, which consists of eight classic boardgames in one easy-to-use pack: Chess, Backgammon, Ludo, Checkers, Reversi, Nine Men's Morris, Snakes and Ladders, and Tic Tac Toe. He wrote:

“Astraware's Classic Board Games is another stunning piece of work from this venerable software house.. one that will keep you diverted and challenged for endless hours. The fact that it's graphically beautiful and packed with features and realistic sounds is just more frosting on the cake, and motivation to tap that icon and launch it.”

Review: Smartphone Experts UltraSlim SkinCase - By Jay Gross

Jay tried out the Smartphone Experts UltraSlim SkinCase for Treo 700p, 700w|wx which comes in a variety of colors (Frosted Clear, Future Blue, Lady Pink, and Executive Grey) for an affordable $19.95. He wrote:

“Smartphone Experts’ UltraSlim SkinCase costs little, weighs nearly nothing, and surrounds your Treo with a nice looking splash of frosted color. Or gray. It protects the Treo 700-series from dings and scratches, but does nothing for the screen or the keyboard, while leaving the ports and controls open and freely usable.”

Review: Jabra BT125 Bluetooth Wireless Headset - By Douglas Morse

Douglas gave a listen to Jabra’s lower-end offering, the BT125 Bluetooth headset ($24.95) and remarked that it “is about as minimalist as you can get.” In his conclusion, he wrote:

“This headset does have two things going for it. It is very lightweight and it is reasonably inexpensive. If these are your main criteria, then maybe it’s the right choice.”

Clue: Treo Software Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell

This time, Jennifer found couple dozen programs to talk about (split between Palm OS and Windows Mobile). Some highlights include new products: Aristotle Virtuousness Test, Handhelp, Line Rider Mobile, SIM-Save, Sortout, MxCalc Calculator Suite, NewsCopier Pro, Slotcar Racer, Star Expense Manager Free Desktop Companion and Resco Defender. As for updates, some of note include: the Kinoma Player 4 EX v4.4, Agendus for Palm OS, Butler, Snoozy, TreoWeather, Aces Blackjack, 3D Conctructo Combat and 3D Lawn Darts, Pocket Mechanic Pro and Translator: Online Multi-Translation Tool.

Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

While Google’s Android seemed to dominate the news cycle for the week, there were other stories, news and reviews in (and around) the world of Treo.

Video: LogMeIn - Remote Controlling a Treo 700w

At MyTreo.net, there is a story about LogMeIn and an exclusive video. At CTIA, they met with the company and took a look at how LogMeIn could remotely control Windows Mobile smartphones using an Internet-connected laptop. The demo was done using a Treo 700w.

News: Opera Mini 4 Released

On Wednesday, Opera, the only company that puts the Web on any device, released Opera Mini 4, the newest version of their worldwide mobile browser. It is a complete redesign of its browser with a new desktop overview mode that allows people to browse their favorite web sites, just like they would on a PC. Some of the features added in new version include landscape mode for viewing sites in a widescreen format on compatible devices, a virtual mouse mode for easier scrolling and enhanced small screen rendering. Opera Mini 4 is a free download, over the air, to your phone from http://www.operamini.com/.

Further thoughts on Opera Mini 4 can be found at The Mobile Gadgeteer.

News: Billions & Billions - Juniper Research Predicts Mobile Games Market to Reach $10bn by 2009

According to a press release put out Jupiter Research this week, the increasing popularity of casual gaming, combined with a steadily increasing variety of gaming-friendly handsets offering high quality 3D graphics aimed at core gamers, will help to push end-user generated revenues from mobile games to nearly $10bn by 2009. In total, more than 460m mobile users are expected to download games by 2009, representing more than a double increase on the current number. Much of this growth is expected in emerging markets such as the Indian sub-continent, where the number of users will rise from 10m in 2007 to nearly 40m in 2009.

News: IntelliGolf Does Windows Mobile 6!

According to this story by Anil Sharma, a TMCnet Contributing Editor, there is a new version of IntelliGolf that works with Windows Mobile 6.0-based Smartphones. IntelliGolf, Inc., a company that makes what it calls “sports enhancing software,” has shipped its new IntelliGolf version 8.5 software that adds support for landscape-based screen displays, and includes free access to over 24,000 signature course scorecards for use with IntelliGolf.

News: 4INFO Partners With Maxim Digital For Daily Text Alerts

On Monday, 4INFO, the leader in SMS publishing and advertising, announced that it has partnered with Maxim Digital, the fast-growing family of websites and mobile properties for young men, to deliver free daily text message alerts that provide a link to Maxim's content on the mobile web.

News: Verizon Makes People Late

According to this story, it looks like Verizon jumped the gun and “fell back” on Friday instead of Sunday.

“Apparently Verizon Wireless decided to celebrate the end of Daylight Saving Time a couple of days early. Instead of waiting until Sunday at 2am like most of the United States, Verizon Wireless adjusted some of its customers’ cell phone clocks on Friday morning. Countless tens of people who use their Verizon cell phone as an alarm clock were surprised when they showed up to work an hour late today. Thanks to the geniuses at Verizon Timekeeping Headquarters, some cell phones were adjusted remotely to show 7am when it was really 8am—an hour later!”

Endnotes & Ponderables:

I remember being kind of freaked out when I saw promos for a VH1 show called “Scott Baio is 45 and …Single”. For real? The promotional material stated:

“…staring down the barrel of middle age, Scott has come to the end of his philandering rope. At 45, he finds himself at a mid-life crisis of mythic proportions, wondering why he's still single, alone and still unable to settle down and commit to a substantial, meaningful relationship. With nowhere else to turn, Scott has decided to fully surrender the next eight weeks of his life to a highly-regarded life-coach. This person will guide him on a grueling, soul-searching mission; forcing him to confront a laundry list of old flames in order to hopefully get to the heart of his lonely heart condition.”

I’m not sure how many people actually watched, but perhaps someone at CBS did because this week, it was announced that the network’s mobile division is about to launch an original animated series featuring the voice and likeness of former Partridge Family star (and famed addict) Danny Bonaduce – and he’s a life coach!

According to Mike Shields at MediaWeek, “The series, Danny Bonaduce Life Coach, will feature the star dispensing shaky wisdom on surviving the travails of celebrity. For example, the first episode examines the troubles facing Britney Spears, and whether or not she is benefiting or being hurt by Bonaduce’s advice.”

It will launch on November 12 with a new installment slated every two weeks. Life Coach will be available on the video services of most of the major U.S. mobile carriers, including Sprint and AT&T.

And for those of you who don’t want “Danny Partridge” on your Treo, this series will also be streamable on the Web, both on CBS.com and its partners within the CBS Audience Network - which includes MSN, AOL, Joost and Veoh, among others.

The price is right -- it’s free (supported by ads, of course).

That’s a wrap!

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