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Talkin' Treo - v111607

Fri Nov 16, 2007 - 11:06 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 16 November 2007

Seems like most of the activity this week happened adjacent to the world of Treo. For example, the iPhone sold briskly in its weekend debut in the UK. In a press release issued on Monday, Peter Erskine, chief executive of Telefonica's 02 Europe, said the mobile operator has sold hundreds of thousands of Apple iPhones since the heavily-hyped multimedia handsets went on sale last Friday evening.

Microsoft tried to create some buzz with the release of “Zune 2.0.” Reviewed in The Mossberg Solution, Microsoft seems to be trying to jump over a bar that is constantly being raised.

“Microsoft has greatly improved the Zune hardware and software this time. But it seems to be competing with Apple’s last efforts, not its newest ones.”

Another story making the rounds had to do with Access releasing Garnet Virtual Machine for Nokia Tablet PCs. I’ll admit I zipped right by it during my news scan until I saw it repeated on several websites, including Brighthand and PalmInfoCenter. And at the Mobile Opportunity Blog, it was pondered “Palm OS on Nokia: Strategy or tactic?” Maybe it got a lot of play because it was such a slowsky news week. Anyway, even though Palm didn’t issue any official announcements and for the first time in a long time, it was quiet on the Centro front, there was activity (news, reviews and clues) in and around the world of Treo.

So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!

Talkin’ 500v

Let’s take a look at who’s been talkin’ Treo 500v recently.

Brighthand First Impressions

“Holvoetn” at Brighthand provided initial impressions of the Vodafone Treo 500v.

“As a die-hard Palm OS übergeek, I was very interested to see how I would handle a Windows Mobile 6 Standard device. Let me tell you I am very pleased, even impressed. For the very first time I was able to experience 100% keyboard and/or 5-way nav navigation. Sure enough, some settings are not in the places I expect them to be, but that's because I haven't played around enough yet.”

Hardware Zone

“As we know, the Treo 500v's ergonomic design, lightweight form factor and innovative carousel interface should please its key demographic. However, the absence of both Wi-Fi and HSDPA connection in the face of its strong support towards multiple web-based applications could be its Achilles' Heel. The Treo 500v was last seen bundled with a 2-year local carrier contract for about S$498 (~US$343), working out to be a decent choice for young professionals or students looking at an entry-level smartphone with all the basic necessities to fulfil their personal organizing needs.”

Talkin’ Android

There continued to be a bit of chatter about Google’s Android this week.

News: Open Handset Alliance Releases Android SDK

This week, the Open Handset Alliance, a group of mobile and technology leaders, announced the availability of the Android Software Development Kit (SDK). Available now as an early look, the Android SDK will enable developers to create innovative and compelling applications for the platform. The early look will also provide developers with the opportunity to participate in the evolution of the Android platform by providing feedback throughout the development process.

Network World – Comments on Positive Early Reviews

A story published by Network World talked about the reaction to the Android SDK:

“It is striking how bare-bones Android SDK is, developers said. Other than adding a few demo applications, Google has mostly left it up to third-party developers to create new applications for the platform.”

A programmer from Montreal was quoted saying, "What you see with platforms like Windows Mobile is that there's more of a concentration on bringing Windows applications to mobile platforms. But it seems that what we're seeing with Android is a ground-up approach to application development. ... It's a pretty decent first effort. I'm going to guess that we'll see a lot more refinement, but it's a good start."


Ed Hardy at Brighthand has done a story about what Android looks like that includes a video the Google and the Open Handset Alliance have released showing prototype Android devices in action.

Digital Lifestyles

Mike Slocombe talked about the “gaggle of videos have been released” and commented, “From what we’ve seen so far, we’re mightily impressed.”

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Rockin’ Robin! – Week 3 of the Smartphone Round Robin

It is the third 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 offered her final thoughts on the BlackBerry Curve on Sunday.

Dieter Bohn, vice president of communities at Smartphone Experts remarked, "Some of the most interesting insights during the Round Robin have actually come from the community. Be sure to check out the Round Robin Forum to read the latest. The best part - every day you post in the forum you are automatically entered to win the smartphone of your choice.”

Details are available here.

Review: Toysoft's "Freedom" - By Harv Laser

TreoCentral’s Audio expert, Harv tried out Toysoft’s Freedom, a utility that redirects where your Treo's audio comes out. It can detect whether or not there is a headset, and plays your sounds through the headset if it's plugged in, or the Treo speaker if there's no headset available. He wrote:

“While Freedom does deliver the ability to force your Treo's audio output to play through a different selected medium, instead of the default, many of its features are broken or undocumented, resulting in an over-all negative experience for the price ($14.95).”

Review: Hold N Store Skin Holster for Treo 755p, 750, 680 - By Jay Gross

Jay tried out the Seidio Skinned Shield Holster for Treo 755p, 750, 680 which is designed to hold a Treo that has a skin, rubberized or crystal case. He wrote:

“The best of both worlds – a minimalist holster plus a close fitting skin case: great protection for your Treo while you’re out on the town. Here’s the holster part of that equation: Seidio’s Hold N StoreSkin Holster is designed to work with a skinned Treo 680, 750, or 755p. If you don’t opt for one of the available bundles, choose a skin case carefully, so it fits the holster snugly.”

Review: Smartphone Experts Top Pouch Case - By Douglas Morse

Douglas checked out the Smartphone Experts TopPouch case that is made of genuine leather and features top loading for easy access with a magnetic closure to keep the Treo secure.

“I was very impressed with the price of this case. At $19.95, it is priced like similar cases, and the strength and design are worth it. I love the color choices, the strength of all the stitching, the strong clip, and the padded, snug and soft felt interior. All in all, an excellent choice.”

Talkin’ TreoCast

In this episode, the hosts discuss Android, the Centro, and the Smartphone Round Robin. They also take a look at what’s going on in the community and the usual “smorgasbord of random yet interesting stuff.”

Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

Review: Seidio's Centro Holster

Andrew at Treonauts had a chance to try out Seidio’s Centro Holster, which is built from strong polycarbonate inside and a soft rubberized material outside, and features a unique spring clip.

“… the Centro Holster fits very comfortably by your side (the smaller size undoubtedly helps) and probably provides one of the fastest and most effective ways to quickly reach for your Centro to make or answer calls.”

Review: Plantronics Voyager 520 Bluetooth Headset

Jamie Lendino at Smart Device Central tried out the Plantronics Voyager 520 Bluetooth headset which he states “doesn't look like an update of the 510—it could actually pass for an entirely new model altogether.” He wrote:

“At $99.95, the Voyager 520 costs $30 less than the Aliph Jawbone, our current Editors' Choice Bluetooth headset. The Voyager 520 is also a bit smaller. Although it lacks the Jawbone's sophisticated noise-cancelling capability, the 520 still has excellent noise rejection, plus it sounds great and has stellar battery life, making it a better choice. Plantronics continues to sell its 510 alongside the 520, though in my view the newer design trumps the old. In fact, faced with a decision between the two, I'd go with the newer model, even at a higher street price. And given my devotion to the 510, that's saying a lot.”

Review: Freedom Mini GPS

At PocketNow, Chuong Nguyen took a look at the Freedom Mini, a GPS receiver that’s about the size of a car alarm (Measuring in at 2 X 1.50 X 0.75 inches).

“In testing, I was surprised at the Freedom's performance. The GPS locked onto satellites quicker than my Globalsat and performed equally as well with its SiRF Star III chipset. Warm and cold start times beat out the Globalsat anywhere from a few seconds to a good ten seconds.”

TreoCentral’s Harv Laser reviewed it last month.

Review: BlueAnt Supertooth II Speakerphone

At WMExperts, HobbesIsReal has written a review of the BlueAnt Supertooth II Speakerphone.

“I have to admit that I love it when I pick up a new product with serious personal reservations only to learn to appreciate it and discover that I have come to depend on it. This is exactly what happened with the BlueAnt Supertooth II Bluetooth Speakerphone. I was fully expecting to be writing this review complaining about its sound quality and being unable to use it effectively in a car, only to find out that I will never leave home without it. It has superior sound quality on both ends while in the car due to its noise canceling technology which detects voice only, eliminating excess background noise. It is easy to use in the car as well as in an office conference situation. The battery life will give me over 15 hours of talk time with up to 33 days of standby time.”

News: In-Stat Reports – Smartphone Growth to Outpace Laptops

Research Firm, In-Stat has reported that Smartphone OS-based phones will grow at more than a 30% compound annual growth rate for the next five years globally, taking an increasing share of the overall phone market that is otherwise growing in single digits. They also noted the unit volume of smartphones globally also exceeds the unit sales for laptops.

Here are some of the findings:

  • All Smartphone OSs (other than the Palm OS) will grow at double digits over the next five years.
  • A smartphone user that travels has twice the ARPU of a typical feature phone user.
  • Smartphone use will grow mostly from use as a laptop replacement, and as a tool to help manufacturers develop feature phones.

Clue: Windows Media Player Mobile Tips & Tricks

Adam at PocketNow has put together a few tips to help make the Windows Mobile Media Player experience a little more friendly. He includes setting up the sync process, album art and other tips.

News: AT&T To Preload Banking App On Handsets

On Tuesday, AT&T unveiled a mobile banking platform allows users to carry out banking transactions from their cell phones. AT&T says that it's planning on preloading the banking application onto new handsets toward the end of the year, and will also allow users to download the application onto more than 30 different handsets currently on the market. The application will allow users to view their account balances, to transfer funds and pay their bills using their mobile phones.

Microsoft Windows Mobile Delivers for Bank of America Customers

At the BAI Retail Delivery Conference & Expo held this week, Microsoft reported that Windows Mobile-based phones are providing consumers with a “feature-rich user interface” when they access the Bank of America's Mobile Banking service, making it the most popular smartphone operating system used by its customers. Bank of America -- the leader in online banking -- rolled out its Mobile Banking service to consumers nationwide in May. The service enables more than 20 million online banking customers to bank directly from their cell phone or smartphone with built-in security features.

News: Microsoft Spinoff, Zumobi Opens Mobile Beta

According to a story appearing in PC World, a Microsoft spinoff plans to release an open beta of a new mobile browsing user interface in mid-December. Zumob, the Seattle spinoff formerly known as ZenZui, is offering a piece of software that works in connection with a back-end server and is designed to make mobile Internet use easier for Windows Mobile phones. The user interface is made up of 16 tiles on which users can easily zoom in and out. Each tile represents a Web page. The service will be free for end users--except for related mobile data network usage--and advertising supported. Advertisers could sponsor specific tiles that might offer information users might want, such as traffic updates. If an operator pre-loads the software onto phones, the operator gets a cut of the advertising revenue.

News: Me Inc. Announces Shout Postcard Certification for the Centro

On Monday, Me Inc., a leading provider of software technology and mobile services, announced availability of the Shout Postcard application for the new Palm Centro. Shout Postcard is a multi-media tool that provides mobile phone users with the ability to capture and share life's moment's on-the-go with pictures, audio and text combined into a template-driven postcard. Shout Postcard can be downloaded free of charge at http://www.shoutpostcard.com/.

News: Voice on the Go's Mobile Phone Application Now Available Through the MobiHand Network

Voice on the Go is now available through the nearly 100 channels within the MobiHand network. With a few simple voice commands, users can access Voice on the Go all by voice - hands-free and eyes-free safely while driving, or any other time. Voice on the Go works on any cell phone, BlackBerry(R) smartphone, Apple(R) iPhone(TM), Microsoft Windows Mobile platform or other smartphone. A phone-based service offered as a monthly subscription with no-download, Voice on the Go is unique in integrating voice enabled listening and composing into high-productivity email, calendar, and contacts. Voice on the Go can be activated quickly with no voice training, special hardware or software to download. It works on any carrier network and supports most popular email services.

News: Treo Mobifest 2007 Announces Film Finalists

Treo Mobifest 2007, Canada's largest festival dedicated to made-for-mobile films, has announced this year's finalists. Thirty-eight short films from around the world, from countries including Spain, Australia, Columbia, Chile, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, have been selected to be screened before an expert panel of judges awards top honors. Created to recognize excellence and innovation in made-for-mobile films, Treo Mobifest is an international competition committed to the development and promotion of mobile filmmaking. Unlike traditional film festivals, Treo Mobifest submissions are kept under 60 seconds and created specifically for the "small screen" - either for mobile phones, smartphones or other handheld devices. Films may be shot on any format, including cell phones, as long as they are made with the mobile audience in mind. A complete list of the Treo Mobifest finalists, as well as Mobifest World Tour films, can be found online at www.mobifest.net.

Clue: PowerStrap!

Judie at GearDiary found this… the WirelessGround USB Leather Hand Strap that doubles as a USB sync & charge cable. This is a cool idea and could make a nice stocking stuffer (at $11.95) for those with cell phones that use a mini-USB for charging purposes.

Clue: Text & Eat Fresh!

Apparently, if you live in New York or Seattle, you can get special offers from Subway eatery by sending them a text message. Simply Text "sub018" to 35562 or visit www.mysubwaymobile.com to participate. Here’s a sample message received from Subway: "Here's your 1st SUBWAY offer! FREE 6" sub w/purchase of 6" sub (of = or < value). Show code XXYYZ. Participating stores thru 11/14/2007"

Clue: Handango’s Free App Friday

It was brought to my attention that Handango is running a promotion called “Free App Friday” where they pick a top mobile application and offer it for “a grand total of $0!” The price is right, for sure.

Clue: GPS Bundle Under $200

Just in time for that trip over the river and through the woods, you can turn your Treo into the ultimate navigating machine with the Palm GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 bundle for under $200. It includes a SiRFstarIII powered GPS receiver with Bluetooth wireless technology, software, memory card, vehicle device cradle with windshield mount and charging system. Make sure to check out the video to see how easy it is to use.

Endnotes & Ponderables:

So maybe the Zune is destined to play catch-up ball. But there is something Zune-related that caught my eye…

I read a story about an animation piece called “Masks,” the latest entry in the Zune Arts collaboration project promoting Microsoft’s portable media player. Navigating on the site is a little tricky. Just mouse over the first set of characters (from Masks) that move through the screen and click to see this animated piece. As described by Creativity Online:

“With two warring factions of armored toy creatures that appear to be descendents of Ewoks, the narrative of the animated short weaves from chaotic battle—featuring bodies purging springs and stuffing instead of viscera, along with a few lost limbs—to a climactic, cathartic moment where the leaders of each army switch masks, revealing a kaleidoscopic wonderland from their respective point-of-views…shifting the story from a battle to a brotherhood.”

The description doesn’t do it justice. The way I see it, if Zune’s contribution to the world is being the catalyst for cool content like this, who knows what’ll happen next? Here’s an ideal… perhaps Microsoft and Palm can join forces to battle Apple?

That’s a wrap!

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