Seems to me that Palm has engaged the services of a Rally Elf this week. Taking a cue from the famous Rally Monkey that served as inspiration for the Angels baseball team during the 2002 World Series, Palms Rally Elf has been seen jumping around enthusiastically as the company made some significant announcements (two positive, one negative) this week. Morgan Keegan analyst, Tavis McCourt got into the spirit of things and on Thursday he issued a client note that stated:
We believe that the launch of the Centro, the Treo 500v, and (we suspect) upcoming Windows Mobile 6-based Treo launches gives Palm ample opportunity to continue to benefit from strong industry smart phone growth."
The first week of December was a busy one. So without further ado, Lets Talk Treo!
Palm Announces General Availability of the Treo 750 for Broader U.S. Customer Base
Palm announced the Treo 750 previously available in the United States only on AT&T's 3G network, is now available in an unlocked version via Palm's retail (http://www.palm.com/retail) and online stores (http://store.palm.com). The unlocked GSM Treo 750 smartphone comes with the Windows Mobile 6 operating system, allowing an even broader customer base to enjoy the benefits of increased functionality and HSDPA (High-speed Download Packet Access) capability out of the box. The unlocked price is $529.00 USD.
Windows Mobile 6 Update Now Available for U.S. Palm Treo 750 Customers
Palm also announced an update to Windows Mobile 6 for Treo 750 customers in the United States. Some of the key enhancements include:
- Faster downloads with High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA)
- Update for Loss of System Sounds
- Improved Calendar
- Additional email support
- Windows Vista compatibility
- Better security and IT policies
- Run existing applications
- Internet Connection Sharing
- Email hot keys
- Email Inbox search
- Access Sharepoint
This update is available immediately as a free download for existing Treo 750 customers. To learn more about the features, check out the video here and the write-up here.
Palm Resets Earnings Expectations
On Thursday, Palm warned it would post a fiscal second-quarter loss and revenue short of its target. The company also reduced its estimate for gross profit margins for the quarter to a range of 29.3 percent to 29.8 percent, from its earlier target range of 33.3 percent to 33.8 percent. It said the warning reflected an unforeseen increase in warranty repair expenses and a shift in product mix that included higher-than-expected shipments of its lower-end Centro smartphone as well as the delayed product shipment.
We are disappointed that we did not get a key product certified for delivery in the quarter, but we are focused on realizing the long-term benefits and opportunities that inspired our transaction with Elevation Partners. We are pleased with recent improvements in our product delivery engine, the early success of Palm Centro, and the significant progress we've made on our strategic platform," said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer.
Still Talkin 500v
Over at Brighthand, holvoetn provided thoughts on the Treo 500v:
Personally I was expecting the combination of this processor with WM6 Standard to be a lot more snappy. Sometimes the device was really slow, as if it needed to decide if it would do the action I asked for or not. A soft reset always cleared this behavior, which makes me think this is related to the fact programs are not really closed in WM6. They are simply send to background, which inherently means resources are kept allocated up to the point where the OS sometimes needs to do some (slow) housekeeping to make some room available to handle new requests
Being an avid Palm OS user, I was very pleased to have had the opportunity to review this device. Despite some of the comments I made earlier, this is a very nice device for real novice users; however, I have my personal doubts if existing PDA/Smartphone users are going to appreciate it that much, but then again I do not think they are in the target market area.
Just like the Palm Zire 22 provided an entry step for novice PDA users, this device lowers the possible barrier for getting a first smartphone based on Windows Mobile 6 Standard without having to bust your wallet.
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Rockin Robin! Smartphone Round Robin Continued
The Smartphone Round Robin hit the final stretch this week.
Phone differents Mike Overbo offered his final thoughts on the Treo 680.
It's still a good phone. If I thought Palm OS was dumb or not relevant, I wouldn't do the TreoCentral TreoCast. It boils down to two things with Palm OS: the hardware and the software. The hardware will see updates. There will probably be more Palm OS GSM phones to come out. Better cameras, 3G, smaller form factors, the whole shebang. When it comes out, it will probably be a compelling upgrade for Palm OS users. But I don't think we'll see a significant software update for Palm OS in the next two years. While some may accuse that it's unfair to say "the king is dead" alluding to Palm OS, it's not accurate to say the king is alive, either. But still, there are always these persistent rumors about faked deaths and random sightings...
And last Friday, after my deadline, Jennifer posted her final thoughts on the Tilt.
If you're a power user and really like WM, you'll love the Tilt as it's one heck of a powerhouse. Business users will appreciate the push email out of the box. If you like customizing your smartphone, you'll have fun tweaking the Tilt and filling it up with all kinds of goodies. I might have even enjoyed doing so if I'd had the Tilt for a few months and had time to really fiddle with a bunch of cool apps and settings.
And now she has happily returned to using her Treo 680.
After the Round Robin, I'm still happy with my Treo 680. Yes, I see where there is room for improvement, especially after using three other smartphones in the past month and comparing all four. The 680 isn't the smallest, slimmest, doesn't have the biggest screen, and doesn't have WiFi. But the 680 has what I need. It has a built-in keyboard, a clear and crisp screen, Bluetooth, a web browser (that I plan to upgrade to Opera Mini soon), a decent battery, and a decent processor. But what I appreciate the most from my Treo 680 is of course the simplicity of the Palm OS.
To catch up on what happened, go to the following website: Smartphone Experts Round Robin or directly to the Round Robin Forum.
Dont Forget! You have until Sunday (December 9th) before midnight Pacific time to post a comment in the forum to be entered to win the smartphone of your choice.
The Magical Mystery Excuse - By Harv Laser
Last week, I mentioned how disappointed David Pogue (New York Times columnist) was about the disappearance of PopularityDialer.com. Perhaps someone should point him to this review of FakeCall by Harv Laser, who stated FakeCall by Toysoft does exactly what its name implies: either by creating a calendar event or via a spur of the moment decision, it simulates an incoming call, using details that you specify.
At first glance, FakeCall seems extremely simple, obvious and one-dimensional, but given the diversity of potential uses versus its miniscule registration cost and generous trial period, this is hardly the case. This is easily a program that you'll find to be both practical - to avoid or get out of inconvenient social situations - or amusing, either of which may take on various forms, whether to save you time and aggravation, or to have a little harmless fun.
Regardless of how you decide to use FakeCall, it definitely scores high in both value and flexibility, with occasionally dramatic results. This is a slick little program that just needs a bit of polishing to be perfect.
Review: Brain Hand Games - By Andre Kibbe
Brain Trainer software has been a smashing success on the Nintendo DS platform. Andre checked out a program called Brain Hand Games that works on Palm OS devices.
note from the outset that Brain Hand does not emulate Brain Ages methodology of testing for and harvesting mental performance metrics. Brain Hands games happen to fall under the common theme of brainteasers, or puzzle games, but they lack the systematic training aspect that distinguishes Nintendos series. That might not be a problem, depending on your expectations, but it was for this writer
Read on to see what Andre thought about this compilation of 10 games.
Review: Deluo Bluetooth GPS - By Jay Gross
Jay tried out the Deluo Bluetooth GPS combined with Live Search for Windows Mobile. This high performance, compact wireless GPS receiver is small, light weight, and easy to pair and set up.
On my Treo 700w, the software works like a dream, with many accommodations of the small screen and the mobile computing environment. For example, once youve searched for a point of interest, a café for example, the software displays not just the street address, but the phone number. You can simply tap the number to call for reservations or to find out if the place is open. When a map or an aerial view is being shown, a simple tap-hold-drag on the Treo stylus scrolls the display. Fast, too. This is way sweet.
Review: Motorola H800 Slider Bluetooth Headset - By Douglas Morse
Douglas has played around with his share of Bluetooth headsets, so he welcomed the opportunity to see what the Motorola H800 Slider was all about --especially since this was the first headset to offer slider RapidConnect technology for easy, instant connections.
The Motorola H800 slider certainly is well designed and boasts Motorolas excellent build quality. It is comfortable to wear, with the choice of three different sized ear hooks. The only let down was the sound quality, which although solid, should have been exceptional.
Clue: Treo Software Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell
This time, Jennifer found a good number of programs to talk about (split between Palm OS and Windows Mobile). Some highlights include new products: Astraware Casino, Birthday Plus, Bubble Madness, GameList, HealthFile, Krystaloids, PhoneSwitch, e-Mobile GPS Tracker, fring for Pocket PC, GoodWin, MobiCheckers, and Touch Commander. As for updates, notable ones include: Astraware Solitaire Winter Edition, LSL Blackjack, Pocket DVD Wizard, Propel for Palm OS, RingCare, Sortout, TopStory, TreoHour, Elecont Weather, FreeCell, GPS Tuner, iSS Sudoku, Pocket DVD Wizard, and Spider Solitaire.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: Palm Centro Air Case
Palm recently unveiled its first official Centro case and Andrew at Treonauts gave it a try. He explained, the Palm Centro Air Case provides two layers of thin plastic which are then sandwiched around your device and locked into place with a side latch mechanism that closes with a mild press. In this instance, the mold of the Centro Air Case is so good that it almost looks like it might be the original casing.
I have to admit that I have been mightily impressed by this thin, strong, translucent and ultra-light Centro Air Case as it offers terrific scratch and drop protection, fits perfectly to the contour of your smartphone and looks truly great.
The Palm Air Case ($19.99) is currently only available at Palms store.
In his review, he also mentions that he found the Smartphone Experts P6 Pouch Case to be the perfect companion for the Palm Centro Air Case if youre looking to carry your smartphone by your side at all times.
Review: Palm Wireless Headset Series 3
Kevin at Brighthand has reviewed the new Palm Wireless Bluetooth Headset Series 3.
With a price listed at $69.99 this headset is priced fairly low compared to other high-end units, while offering excellent performance. User comfort was unlike any other headset I have used to date, and the earpiece was secure enough to stay in place under heavy movement. The only real downside to this model is the power adapter not included, meaning you need to share it with your smartphone's adapter. This might cause some headaches as you want to charge both devices overnight at the same time.
Review: Motos new Bluetooth Headset MotoPure H12
Danny Dumas at Wired.com tried out Motorolas new MotoPure H12 Bluetooth headset and seemed impressed with it.
I tested it amid the chaos of holiday shopping and on the sidewalk during rush hour in downtown San Francisco. During both conversations, reception was pure and utterly devoid of background buzz. Alas, there is a downside to the MotoPure H12: the Bluetooth has a limited range of only five or six feet from a paired device. Moving the headset any further than that results in an ear screeching cacophony of static and pops. But hey, we're not opposed to keeping our precious, precious phones close by anyway.
The New York Times did a brief write-up about the MotoPure H12 and noted how Motorola researched the shape of the human ear in designing the H12. Most earpieces are round, but the company claims many peoples ears have oval-shaped openings. The supplied ear cushions take both size and shape into account.
Review: Seidio InnoDock Cradle
Andrew at Treonauts also had a chance to check out the Seidio InnoDock Cradle. This Sync & Charge cradle has plenty of room so a Treo or Centro can be docked without being removed from the case. He wrote:
From a design perspective, the spherical bubble shaped Seidio cradle certainly will not look out of place on even the most modern desks
Alli Flowers spent some time with PhoneSwitch, a must-have utility that allows you to return wherever you want following a phone call. It is one of the first applications written specifically for the new Palm Centro, although it can be used on any Palm OS Treo.
Clue: Windows Mobile - Recording Your Own Ringtone
Amy Mayer at PDA Street has provided a tip on how to create your own personalized ringtone if you have a Windows Mobile-run smartphone.
News: PhoneFavs Debuts as First Social Bookmarking System Optimized for Mobile Phone Users
MobileInfocenter unveiled a new mobile web portal created specifically for smartphones and mobile devices. PhoneFavs (http://phonefavs.com) is the first social bookmarking system completely designed and optimized for mobile phone users. The free service enables users to keep an always-available list of bookmarks for web sites that can be easily viewed on a mobile browser. PhoneFavs is accessible on the web at http://phonefavs.com or via pfavs.com, and is available for any device with a web browser -- smartphones, feature-phones, iPhones, PDA's, tablets and portable computers.
Live365 Now Streams to Windows Mobile Devices
This week, music streaming service Live365, which allows anyone to webcast their own radio stations, announced that all of its channels are now available on-the-go to anyone with Windows Mobile 5/6 in addition to the previous web-based version. You can try the Windows Mobile app for 15-days for free without entering your credit card information, after which it costs $6/month.
Blockbuster & Movies on the Move
At the Reuters Media Summit, Blockbuster Chief Executive James Keyes said that the movie rental company is in talks with all the major mobile phone makers about partnerships aimed at making it easier for consumers to watch movies on the go. Apparently Keyes has been watching movies on his BlackBerry after some help from a technical expert at Blockbuster and from Jim Balsillie, the co-chief executive of Blackberry maker Research in Motion Ltd.
News: JetBlue & WiFi in the Air
According to this story posted by Wayne at GearDiary, JetBlue, Yahoo Inc and Research in Motion plan to offer free, in-flight, Wi-Fi web connections for laptop computers and advanced cell phones starting on Tuesday, December 11. The service will allow passengers to access customized Yahoo mail and Yahoo instant messenger services on their laptops or to access corporate e-mails on Wi-Fi enabled versions of the popular Blackberry device from Research in Motion.
The first flight will be JetBlue Flight 641 from New Yorks Kennedy Airport at 8 a.m. Tuesday. This flight will be bound for San Francisco so there will be plenty of testing time.
News: Phone as Boarding Pass
Matthew Miller, in his Mobile Gadgeteer column mentioned that Continental is now letting passengers use their mobile phone or PDA as their boarding pass in a three-month trial program launched this week. If you are flying out of Houstons Bush Intercontinental Airport on Continental then you can show TSA the code (2-D bar code that has your name and flight info encoded into it) that the airline sent you on your mobile device. If your device battery dies you can still print out a boarding pass at a kiosk or agent desk. One limitation of the trial program is that you have to be traveling alone.
News: Nokia Acquires Avvenu
This week, Nokia and Avvenu announced that they have signed an
agreement under which Nokia will acquire Avvenu, a provider of Internet services that allow anyone to use their mobile devices to securely access, use and share personal computer files, even if their host computer is turned off. By acquiring Avvenu, Nokia plans to further enhance its portfolio of solutions for mobile operators, as well as deliver a secure file access and share service direct to mobile workers.
TreoCentrals Harv Laser reviewed Avvenu in April.
News: Microsoft Buys Web Mobile Services Start-up
According to a story posted at NetworkWorld.com, Microsoft has just purchased start-up WebFives, which provides a Web-based file-sharing service for Internet and mobile video, photos, audio, and blogs. WebFives, previously called Vizrea, was founded by former Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Michael Toutonghi, who helped pioneer the Media Center version of the Windows OS. Many of the features have found their way into Windows Vista.
Trend News: Mobile to Account for 30% of Music Retail Value by 2011
FierceWireless.com reported that music delivered to mobile phones via operators networks (mobile music) is on the rise, currently representing around 13% of global recorded music retail value. A new industry report from Understanding & Solutions forecasts an increase to almost 30% by 2011, amounting to $11Bn and helping to offset some of the decline in packaged music revenues.
News: Wal-Mart & Mobile Entertainment
Wal-Mart has launched its own web-based content store and WAP portal (www.wmtmobile.com) through a partnership with PlayPhone, a leading mobile media company providing cutting edge personalization and entertainment content to mobile consumers anytime, anywhere. This is Wal-Marts first ever foray into the mobile entertainment space.
News: Verizon Updates V-Cast
This week, Verizon Wireless announced it has refreshed its V CAST Today daily video preview and summary of V CAST Video content. GoTV Networks will program and produce the V CAST Today daily segment offered to Verizon Wireless' V CAST customers. V CAST Today is a daily destination showcasing the best of what's on V CAST, highlighting what is available on V CAST, including lifestyle and entertainment segments with ideas such as make-up tips, 'green' ideas for around the house and fitness advice -- all of which is tied to programming on the V CAST menu.
Trend News: Quarter Billion Served
According to the wireless industry's largest trade group, CTIA-The Wireless Association, the number of wireless subscribers in the U.S. recently passed 250 million, a number that has quadrupled in the past 10 years. CTIA's Web site put the total at 250,727,837 subscribers and rising. The quarter-million mark was surpassed in mid-November. The NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y., recently reported that 38 million mobile phones were sold to consumers in the third quarter of this year, with sales reaching $3.2 billion, a 47% increase over the same period in 2006.
News: Cell Phone Firms Work on Image
Wireless carriers were the focus of a story appeared this week in the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the latest survey by Consumer Reports released Monday, the industry is making slow progress addressing a number of issues including call quality, poor coverage, unsatisfactory customer service and contracts. The cellular industry notched a satisfaction score of 67 out of 100, up a point from last year and up two points from 2002, when Consumer Reports began surveying its subscribers.
In the SF Bay Area, Verizon Wireless continued its dominance, earning a score of 68 out of 100. It was followed by T-Mobile (65), AT&T (61) and Sprint (60). Nationally, Verizon was the highest-rated carrier in 17 of the 20 metro areas surveyed.
News: AT&T Gets out of Pay Phone Business
Based on the CTIA numbers mentioned above, Mondays announcement by AT&T should be no surprise
On Monday, AT&T Inc., the nation's largest phone carrier, said that it is getting out of the 129-year-old pay-phone business.
In a country full of BlackBerrys, cell phones and iPhones, it's really not surprising. Most Americans, whether rich or poor, now have wireless handsets, and pay phones have become increasingly scarce.
AT& T said that its pay phones will be phased out over the next year. A company spokeswoman declined to say how much revenue its pay-phone business generated, but the number is small and declining.
The first public pay-telephone station was set up in 1878, just two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the talking device. The first coin-operated pay phone was installed in Hartford, Conn., in 1889. For decades after the pay phone's invention, many Americans relied on them because of the expense and difficulty in obtaining reliable home service. Only after World War II did the telephone become a household necessity.
News: Top Chef Goes Mobile
Per the Mobile Phone Blog, mobile content publisher LimeLife announced the launch of Top Chef Challenge, a new mobile game inspired by cable network Bravo's reality series Top Chef. Set behind-the-scenes of a fictional new restaurant, Top Chef Challenge enables players to customize their own characters--beginning as an entry-level dishwasher, they advance to chef status via a series of mini-games and kitchen drama test reflexes. Bravo will debut the mobile game in conjunction with its Top Chef Holiday Special broadcast.
Endnotes & Ponderables:
Santas Treo Gets Dunked
First it was thick fog (thus the need to hire Rudolph). Then it was the lead in toys that seems to be making this an electronic gaming holiday. So what else is stressing out the normally jolly Santa? Well
according to a story that appeared in Russ Lemmons column in a South Florida paper, George Blythe, 70, who has been playing Santa for more than 25 years, ran into a problem and contacted Russ asking for his help.
Apparently the Treo Santa George uses to keep track of his daily schedule fell into the toilet (yikes!). Since he makes about 45 appearances during the holiday season, he feared hed miss some because he didnt have them all written down or his Treo backed up (double yikes!). Now Santa is the one with a wish
that anyone who has booked him to please call him and confirm.
Now, he's hoping for his own Christmas miracle the retrieval of information on his Treo. "Somehow it's all going to work out," he said.
Seems to me that Santa needs a BackupBuddy. Someone tell Hermey!
Thats a wrap!