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Talkin' Treo - v121407

Fri Dec 14, 2007 - 11:17 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 14 December 2007

The holiday season is also the season of hope. Palm’s shareholders hope that when Q2 earnings are announced next week, there’s an indication that the patient has stabilized and is poised for good things in the coming year. Others may be wishing and hoping that a shiny new Centro appears under the tree (The fact that Palm’s Centro is being mentioned along with Apple’s iPhone in many of the lists that appear at the end of the year is a great thing). Sure, it isn’t as great as getting a new Lexus or Mercedes S-Class with a bow on top. But in the long run, the Centro will take you farther for less $$$.

Companies and reviewers kept themselves busy this week, giving me lots to talk about. So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!

Palm News

Palm to Announce Earnings on Tuesday

Reminder. Palm is scheduled to announce earnings for Q2FY08 on Tuesday, December 18 at 1:30 PM PT. To access the webcast, go to: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=105423&eventID=1713028

Ahead of Earnings, Palm Announces Layoffs

Per an AP story by May Wong, Palm laid off about 10 percent of its work force this week to cut expenses. In a statement issued by the company on Thursday, some layoffs (more than 100 jobs) were made as part of a restructuring. There were also some reassignments as part of the company’s ongoing effort to "focus and better align resources behind core initiatives" and "to ensure that our expenses are in line with projected revenues."

The “PodFather” Making a Difference at Palm

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal had a story about Jon Rubinstein, a former top Apple executive who joined Palm this year as executive chairman with a directive from Palm Chief Executive Ed Colligan to shake up the struggling smart-phone maker. He was referred to in the headline as “Apple's Podfather.” For those of you who don’t know much about his background, Rubinstein worked with Steve Jobs at NeXT Computer in the 1990s. When Mr. Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, Rubinstein became Apple's head of hardware engineering. It was under his watch, that Apple created the iMac iBook and the iPod (he was Apple's first head of its iPod division). It’s clear he’s making his mark on Palm:

“When Mr. Rubinstein arrived at Palm in July, he accelerated a restructuring of research-and-development teams, reorganizing them around single projects and appointing product directors to oversee projects from start to finish. Mr. Rubinstein also cleaned house. Within a month, he had identified some key engineers at the company who were promoted, say Palm executives. Some senior executives left, including Michael Farese, a senior vice president of engineering. At the same time, Mr. Rubinstein began recruiting new talent. Some senior positions have been filled. An Adobe Inc. executive, Pam Deziel, joined Palm last month as vice president of software product marketing. Overall, Palm's hiring process has sped up, with candidates now meeting with six to eight people instead of more than a dozen, says Stephane Maes, Palm's vice president of smart-phone product marketing.

Note: If you can’t access the WSJ online, try reading the write-up about it at Brighthand.

Treo 680 Feature Update for AT&T

In Palm’s blog, product manager Greg Agustin talked about the features and new functionality included in the new software update for the AT&T/Cingular Treo 680. He mentions push-to-talk, access to corporate email, instant messaging, power saving enhancements, easy access to additional services - such as TeleNav GPS Navigator and MobiTV for watching live TV, support for larger expansion cards and enhanced ringtone support. It can be downloaded here.

Palm’s Global Expansion Continues…

Treo 750 in Peru

This week, Palm and Movistar launched the Treo 750 in Peru. This is the first Windows Mobile based Treo smartphone to take advantage of Movistar's network in Peru. Movistar Peru is Telefonica Group's leading cellular telephone company in the Peruvian market, where it has over 7.3 million customers, according to figures released during the first semester of 2007. In February 2006 the company launched its GSM technology after deploying the network across the country's 24 departments at record time in the worldwide mobile industry.

Treo 500v in Indonesia

Palm and PT Excelcomindo Pratama Tbk (XL) announced the Treo 500v on the XL network in Indonesia. XL, one of the subsidiaries of Telekom Malaysia (TM), is one of the leading telecommunication companies in Indonesia.

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Rockin’ Robin! – Smartphone Round Robin Concludes…

The Smartphone Round Robin has crossed the finish line and the community editors are now happily back using their “home” device. As for the contest, the winner of the grand prize is RickMG and the winners of the three runner up prizes are: Antoine of MMM, Bla1ze and LFD153. TreoCentral’s community editor, Jennifer Chappell has put together an excellent wrap-up that includes final thoughts from all four editors on the Treo 680.

First Look: Winamp Remote Beta - By Harv Laser

Harv had the chance to play around with a Beta version of Winamp Remote. Winamp Remote is actually a modified, customized version of Orb (whiich enables users to stream anything on their PC - music, videos, photos, even internet content - to any other Internet-connected device) in disguise. Basically, it turns your computer into your own private media server that can be accessed by the Treo, eliminating the need to process, convert, scale, or upload media files.

“Winamp Remote Beta works, and when it's working right, it's about as close to magic as I've ever seen a complicated, convoluted synergy of software and bitstreams get. I sat here the other day, holding my Treo, which was connected to nothing but air, watching it stream a movie off my hard drive a few feet in front of me. That movie was going through Winamp Remote Beta on my laptop, out over the Internet through my router and cable modem, hopping across and through God knows how many different servers, into and out of the Winamp Remote servers, up into space, over to Sprint, (maybe stopping for a Coke and a burger on Jupiter for all I know).. then back down into my Treo where I watched it in Kinoma Player.”

Review: Helix Holster II for Treo 755p, 750, 680 - By Jay Gross

Jay tried out the Helix Holster II, which, like a normal holster, “keeps your Treo ready at the flick of a finger while offering minimalist protection.” But this particular holster has a couple new wrinkles.

“…The nice part is its one-piece construction. There’s no spring to hold the latch, as latching the Treo into place depends on the flexiblity of the Sheer Strength Technology. This plan works admirably. The result is no worry at all about the spring loosening up – there’s no spring!”
“With two clips and slim, one-piece construction, the soft-coated Helix Holster II keeps your Treo 680, 750, or 755p facing away from danger, and readily retrievable at a moment’s notice.”

Talkin’ TreoCast

In this episode, the hosts discuss the arrival of Windows Mobile 6 for the Treo 750 and ponder which Palm device was delayed (causing the revenue shortfall for the quarter). 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…

As mentioned above, the Centro has been showing up on a lot of lists (and in good company). Last week Jennifer Chappell posted a story (“Palm Centro One of Most Innovative Mobile Designs”) noting that according to latest buyer behavior report from the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab, the Palm Centro attracted the most attention from nearly half of the tested US consumers who are planning to purchase a new mobile device in Q4 of 2007. Others have been talkin’ Centro too.

CrunchGear Gift Suggestion: Give (Ask For) a Centro

Matt Hickey at CrunchGear stated:

“As it turns out, the Centro is far and away a better device than the Treo, and at $100, it is the absolute best first-timer smartphone that we can recommend. The Palm OS is still easy to use, there are literally thousands of apps out there that are easy to install, and the ones it comes with make up a great assortment of productivity and fun. But make no mistake, this is a real smartphone. All the goodness you love about the bigboy Treos are included, just in a smaller, though slightly harder-to-type form factor. That being said, this is still my vote for best smartphone of the year, and likely the models coming next year (if ever), will be as hot.”

Jimmie at Gadgets on the Go has pointed out that the Centro took a “very respectful” 4th spot on TIME Magazine's list of Top 10 Gadgets of the Year. It joins the iPhone as the only smart phones on the list.

"…The new Palm Centro provides an opportunity to get all the essential smart-phone features without breaking the bank. This light and bright device supports Web surfing, emailing, instant messaging and text messaging, and sports a 1.3-megapixel camera and a touch screen that works best with a stylus. A mobile version of Google Maps comes preloaded. The QWERTY keypad is seriously small, but the bubble-like tactile design of the individual keys makes them easier targets."

Review: Jabra SP5050 Bluetooth Speakerphone

Andrew at Treonauts tried out the Jabra SP5050 Bluetooth Speakerphone and was impressed with its design (“truly an object of beauty”), performance and sound quality.

“Overall I really love my new Jabra SP5050 and can’t stop raving about it. It’s an impressive Bluetooth speakerphone (understatement) that I have absolutely no difficulty awarding my “Editor’s Choice” – it works flawlessly, is extremely simple to use and the fact that it also looks stunning just happens to be a very nice bonus.”

Review: Jabra BT8040 Bluetooth Headset

Earlier in the week, Andrew took a look at the Jabra BT8040 Bluetooth headset, which impressed him the moment he got it out of the box.

“Overall the Jabra BT8040 is a very beautiful headset, with a terrific kit and excellent audio quality as well as battery performance. Having said this however, it’s still not quite good enough when it comes to audio quality in noisy environments to replace my favourite Jawbone which offers the best noise cancellation of any headset available today.”

Review: Com One Micro Clip Bluetooth Stereo Headset

Kevin at Brighthand posted a review of the Com One Micro Clip Bluetooth Stereo Headset that lets you replace your wired headphone and listen to your music from any Bluetooth stereo (A2DP*) device. The embedded microphone will enable you to make /receive calls from your Bluetooth mobile phone.

“For someone who is quite picky about what gets stuck in or around his ears, the Com One Micro Clip Bluetooth Stereo Headset is really nice since it lets me pick what headphones I want to use. It gives you clear and static free audio for listening to music, movies, or holding a conversation, and is compatible with a wide range of Bluetooth devices. Best of all, you don't have to keep a headphone cord connected to your notebook or smartphone.”

Review: Freedom Keychain GPS Receiver

Here’s another review of the Freedom Keychain GPS Receiver. This one is by Brighthand’s Ed Hardy. He made sure to point out that if you're considering buying the Freedom Keychain GPS Receiver, it doesn't come with navigation software. You will have to get this separately (he suggests Google Maps for Palm OS, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry).

“If you're looking to turn your smartphone, PDA, or even laptop into a navigation tool, then the Freedom Keychain GPS Receiver is a good option. It's very small, accurate, and convenient, and the price isn't bad.”

TreoCentral’s Harv Laser reviewed it back in October.

Review: Lineup by PDA Performance

Brent at Tam’s Palm Blog, posted a review of LineUp by PDA Performance. It is an application for the Palm OS that displays widgets -- a small almost “plugin like” interface that displays online or offline information. LineUp is based on the code of Saguaro, the multitasking interface that PDA Performance is supposed to be coming out with in the future.

“Even though the Con list was longer than the Pro one, this is to be expected as this is a very new Application. I felt that the potential of LineUp is only limited by the amount of Widgets available for it, and overall I liked this product.”

View: A Gutted Centro

Thanks to a post by Ryan at PalmInfoCenter, you can now view what the Centro looks like from the inside (when its been gutted). He tapped into the pictures of the disassembled circuitry of the inside of the Palm Centro where have been posted online courtesy of the FCC.

News: Mobio Simplifies Holiday Menus and Meal-Planning With New Mobile Recipes Application

Mobio Networks just announced it has launched a new Recipes application within the GetMobio lifestyle portal for users across major U.S. carriers. From classic Christmas cookies to creative casserole ideas, Recipes provides instant access to hundreds of thousands of recipes anytime, anywhere. With Recipes you can search for recipes by keyword, occasion or course, save them to your handset for quick access and even create detailed grocery lists for last-minute shopping trips. Visit http://www.getmobio.com to download the Recipes on GetMobio lifestyle portal from the Web or http://getmobio.com/now on your mobile phone. Note: It looks like they support Windows Mobile phones, but not necessarily Palm OS Treos.

News: kwiry Lets People Turn Text Messages into Reminders They Retrieve Online

kwiry, a San Francisco-based startup, just announced the launch of their mobile/web service at kwiry.com. kwiry Text it before you forget it! turns text messages into reminders that users can retrieve online. Anyone can use the service simply by sending a text message to 59479 (K-W-I-RY). Additionally, registered users have their kwirys (text messages) stored for them at kwiry.com. The service quickly integrates with other sites like Facebook, iGoogle and myYahoo.

News: Microsoft starts putting ads on MSN Mobile

According to an AP story that appeared this week, Microsoft has started placing advertisements on the U.S. version of MSN Mobile, a Web portal for cell phone browsers that connects users with Hotmail, instant messaging, search, news and other content. Microsoft already serves up mobile ads in Japan and some European markets. Competitor Yahoo Inc. began selling cell phone ads phones in the U.S. in late 2006 and expanded overseas in February.

News: MySpace Mobile Becomes Ad-Funded

Social networking website MySpace has launched a free ad-funded mobile version. At present, MySpace mobile had been a premium subscription based service and worked on AT&T and Helio. The new service will work on all US mobile carriers and will enable users to send and receive messages and friend requests, comment on pictures, post bulletins, update blogs and find and search for friends. Fox Interactive Media, which oversees News Corp.’s (MySpace’s parent company) Internet properties, said advertisers have become more interested as the quality of the mobile Web experience has improved.

News: Sprint and MySpace Announce Mobile Web Partnership

This week, MySpace announced that Sprint will be the first U.S. wireless carrier to link to the free MySpace Mobile Web site once it officially launches in early 2008, at no additional charge to Sprint data subscribers. This means that Sprint customers with enabled phones will not have to type a URL address to access MySpace Mobile on their phones, but instead will be able to click to access it from the Sprint portal. The new version of MySpace Mobile will feature rich graphical design, a revamped email interface and other new features. The site is currently in beta at http://mobile.myspace.com and has seen over one million unique visitors since its release in September.

News: Survey Says – 13.6% of American Homes Have Only Cellphones

The federal government estimates that one of every eight American homes uses only mobile phones for communications. The data comes from the National Health Interview Survey, which was conducted between January and June of this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The government noted that the number of wireless-only households has been steadily increasing since 2003 and now accounts for 13.6% of households.

“Researchers found that more than 55% of all adults living with unrelated roommates relied solely on cellphones, and noted that this is the ‘highest prevalence rate among the population subgroups examined.’”

Some other interesting numbers include:

  • More than 28% of renters were wireless only, compared with 6.7% of homeowners.
  • Nearly 31% of adults ages 25 to 29 lived in households that used only cellphones, compared with 27.9% of adults ages 18 to 24. Around 13% of adults between the ages of 30 to 44 and 7.1% of adults ages 45-64 own only cellphones. The percentage dropped dramatically for those over age 65—only 2% of those adults lived in wireless-only households.

News: JupiterResearch Finds Creating Better Browser Alternatives Would Stimulate Mobile Internet Adoption

JupiterResearch, a leading authority on the impact of the Internet and emerging consumer technologies on business, has found that although high-speed wireless data networks are available to the majority of all cell phone users, few are migrating “desktop” activities to cell phones. Among the most common activities, e-mail is the most widely used on the cell phone, but regular users are still hard to find, suggesting an alternative to the browser allowing cell phone owners to access information quickly is necessary to promote adoption.

“Overall, 63 percent of cell phone owners are not using cell phones to access such Internet services as search engines or to gather such information as the daily news, which are both popular activities on computers. However, the fact that 37 percent of cell phone owners are accessing some kind of information or services on their cell phone is a clear indicator of demand from cell phone users for more than voice services.”

Clue: Staying Connected with Mobile Apps

Jamie Lendino at Smart Device Central has written about the types of things you can do to stay in touch while on the go (other than texting and e-mail). He offers a roundup of applications that can help you stay connected, such as: Mundu IM, GetMobio, PopCap Games, Mundu Radio, and SoonR.

Clue: Increasing the Battery Life of Your Windows Mobile Smartphone

Over at WMExperts, HobbesIsReal put together some helpful hints for increasing the battery life of your Windows Mobile Smartphone.

“In order to increase your battery life you need to decrease the power used. There are many things you can do to decrease the power used. Some of the steps may be changing the default settings, including possibly tweaking the registry of your phone, while others may include adapting some of your habits while using your phone.”

HobbesIsReal starts by identifying the most common sources of battery drain.

Clue: Making Opening Blister-Packs a Snap

Wayne at Gear Diary has pointed out a brilliant product designed to break through any kind of packaging. It’s called Zibra Open It! and it bears an uncanny resemblance to a pair of garden shears. Check out the photos at Gear Diary’s site. It looks like a great way to alleviate the frustration of getting blister packs, CDs and other annoying packaging open.

Endnotes & Ponderables:

Here’s an interesting take on the traditional Advent calendar. Sausalito, CA-based advertising agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners created an "Ad-vent Calendar," where visitors can wake up each day to a fresh holiday-themed item developed in-house by the BSS&P team.

Some that have appeared so far include everything from a dreidel racing game to a stop-motion short featuring two smooching mice and a bloody massacre of a Santa. You can see for yourself at www.adventorama.com.

That’s a wrap!

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