As Im writing this, ZZ Top is performing the halftime show at the Orange Bowl
Jaw hitting the ground.
Sorry. This has nothing to do with Palm or the Treo unless you are the type of person who believes in omens. After all, ZZ Top has been around a long, LONG time. So maybe thats a good sign for Palm. But I digress.
It seems that the Iowa Caucuses dominated the news cycle this week. The process is kind of intriguing:
Participants indicate their support for a particular candidate by standing in a designated area of the caucus site (forming a preference group). An area may also be designated for undecided participants. Then, for roughly 30 minutes, participants try to convince their neighbors to support their candidates
I guess it got me thinking about what would happen if there were a smartphone caucus. Can you imagine a room with Treo/Centro supporters in one area, BlackBerry supporters in another area and iPhone supporters in another area all trying to convince consumers to choose their platform? I guess that would be a different spin on the recently concluded Smartphone Round Robin. Now Ive really digressed.
Palm has had a quiet two weeks. But with many folks returning to the office on Monday and the start of CES, things should pick up.
while Palm and many others were away, the world of Treo (and Centro) kept on going and going. There are reviews and all kinds of clues to start your year off. And predictions. We cant escape the oh-eight predictions.
Now without further ado, Lets Talk Treo!
First Impressions of the Treo 755p
The Treo 755p, announced just before the holiday, has found itself in the hands of quite a few reviewers. Here are some of the thoughts that have been posted:
Ive been using the 755p for a little bit, and honestly, while the device is a good, solid device, there are some contributing factors here that you need to be aware of. Carrier issues aside (I think Verizons rate plans, and other wireless services products are over-priced and, in some cases, outrageously expensive); many previous Palm users may be looking at this device and wondering what the 755p gets them, over say, the 700p or any other Palm Powered Treo Smartphone
The phone? Sure. Its a good phone. Solid, dependable, easy to use
but then again, thats basically a given and nothing (again) to get excited about. Unfortunately, the 755p is using an outdated OS and outdated application software. Im not certain its worth $349.99, either. AT&T has the Treo 750 for $199 (after a $150 mail in rebate), so thats your call.
The Treo 755p won't be a surprise to anyone who knows Palm phones. We've seen the software and hardware on other devices, this just happens to be the first with this particular combination. Running Palm OS the Treo 755p is a powerful smart phone with excellent messaging and organizer features. Palm OS is as quick and easy to use as ever, making the Treo 755p a good choice for those who want the power of a smart phone without the learning curve that comes with Windows Mobile or Symbian devices.
At $249.99 with a two-year contract the Sprint version of the Treo 755p is more competitively priced than its Verizon counterpart, but we wonder why you wouldn't just go with the $100 Centro.
Washington Post: Treo 755p Cell Phone Review
As we mentioned in the first paragraph, there really isn't much about the Treo 755p we haven't seen before. It has a slightly more up-to-date-looking form factor, but the software and capabilities are pretty much the same as the last iteration of the phone. Of course, the phone could come from far worse lineages. The Palm OS, while old, is still a very solid bassi to build a phone on. We would recommend you pick up the 755p if your old Treo is worn out and you want to stick with the platform. We'd also recommend it as a viable alternative to a BlackBerry in most cases.
Talkin Centro Notable
The Centro was one of the most exciting things Palm did in 2007. Centro ads have been appearing on TV and in print (This picture is from B1, the front
of the Marketplace section of The Wall Street Journal). And lots of folks
are talkin Centro.
For example, Matthew Miller, the Mobile Gadgeteer, said that the Centro was the best Palm OS device of the year in his listing of Bests for 2007.
And Consumer Reports featured the Centro on the cover of its January 2008 issue. However, looks can deceive because they actually rated the Centro at number 17 out of the 20 smartphones among "Best Choices for Compacts. Oh well. For the record, the Treo 755p came in at number 2 out of the 20 smartphones rated in the article. The 755p is listed among the "Best Choices for Office-Type Uses."
This week, there was quite a bit of buzz about a soon to be released Pink Centro
Looks like a Pink version of the Centro is on its way to a Sprint store or Palm store near you.
Note: Pic courtesy of high-tech.com. Sorry about the photo doctoring. ;-)
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Review: MMPlayer - Yet another way to play and stream media - By Harv Laser
Harv took a look at MMPlayer, a mobile media player that supports a wide variety of codecs, formats and protocols (but can't handle as many video formats as CorePlayer). He noted it does offer some seductive features not found in many of its competitors, and it DOES play videos without the need to convert them into some alien format as many other A/V programs do. In his conclusion, he wrote:
As a multimedia player, MMP tries to cover a lot of ground, but it does so at the expense of the robustness of better coded players. At least its try-before-you-buy-ware, and you can demo it at no cost, which I advise you do before you plunk down your cash for an unlock code.
Problems aside, MMP is the least expensive of the multimedia players for your Treo and has lots of interesting GUI configurations, which make it stand apart in the aesthetics department
Review: Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones - By Douglas Morse
Douglas gave a listen to the pendant-style, Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones for Treo 750 700wx.
This is one great headset. I am so impressed with the controls. Each has an excellent feel and location. The slider for track forward or back is a lovely touch. The ability to pair with both a phone and a separate music device, and a dedicated switch to change multipoint connections with various Bluetooth devices is great. The LED display handles caller ID with aplomb, shows battery status, and volume level. I love the earpieces themselves as they are extremely comfortable and do well with the music.
Clue: Centro Intro: pt 2: The Shopping Experience - By Jay Gross
In part two of the Centro Intro series, Jay steps readers through the experience of actually obtaining a Centro. He covers the shopping experience and talks about goodies (AKA accessories).
Clue: Treo Software Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell
Even though many companies had shut down for the holidays, Jennifer found quite a few software releases/updates to talk about. Some highlights include new products: CrazySoft Smart Educational Games, inCubus v1.00, Revival by HeroCraft, ScaleMaster v1.0, Talking PONS Advanced dictionary English, Auburn University Theme and Icon Set, Babylon Mobile for Smartphone v1.0, FunContact, Mastersoft Chess and Pocket Investor by Acquasys. As for updates, some of note include: CrazySoft Mega Personality Pack, IM for Skype, Mobiola Video Studio Pro, Resco Explorer 2007, Elecont Weather, LSL Game Pack, and RDM: Remote Desktop for Windows Pocket PC.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: Palm Air Case for Centro
Alli at MyTreo.net pondered if the new Palm Air Case made the Centro look fat.
Although it's crystal clear, in my opinion the case adds meaningful bulk to an otherwise small device. Yes, the strong polycarbonate provides excellent protection for a Centro. But it's really quite thick.
Andrew at Treonauts reviewed this case in early December.
Review: Seidio Centro Skinned Holster
Andrew over at Treonauts tried out the Centro Skinned Holster from Seidio that will protect and fit a skinned or cased Palm Centro (specifically accommodate cases such as the Smartphone Experts Skin Case, the Palm Centro Air Case and Seidios new Super Slim Rubberized Hard Case).
As with previous models I have found this Seidio Skinned Holster to be a robust and elegant solution to carry the Centro by my side with the convenience of quickly having access to it for making or receiving calls.
Review: Motorola MOTOPURE H12
Andrew also took a look at what he describes as one of the best looking new Bluetooth headsets to have been released in quite a while for your Treo or Centro. The Motorola MOTOPURE H12 is the first headset to feature CrystalTalk using dual microphones to cancel background noise, enhance your voice and channel pure, clear audio directly into your ear.
Overall there is a great deal to like about the Motorola MOTOPURE H12 as it looks stunning, is ultra light and comfortable to wear, offers very good talk time, excellent call quality as well as a truly superior accessory kit. Having said this, considering its current price ($129.95), I believe that the Jawbone offers much better value or you might consider the Jabra BT8040 as a strong alternative as well.
Review: Palm Wireless Headset Series 3 with Bluetooth Wireless Technology
Chris at Everything Treo had a chance to play with the new Palm Wireless Headset Series 3 with Bluetooth Wireless Technology which comes with a choice of three sizes of soft gel ear tips and features convenient controls for adjusting the volume, receiving and ending calls, and muting the line. He wrote:
Priced at $69.95, the Palm Wireless Headset Series 3 offers great sound quality and works with the entire family of Palm smartphones including the Treo and Centro. I found it to be extremely lightweight and the included ear gels fit perfectly.
Review: Seidio 1300mAh and 1600mAh Extended Batteries for Treo 750
Over at WMExperts, Merlyn3D provided thoughts on some of the battery options offered by Seidio for the Treo 750:
So do I recommend buying an Seidio Extended battery for your 750? Well, it depends. Personally, I don't feel the 1300mAh Seidio battery offers any tangible benefit to your Treo's battery life, but it usually runs about $10-15 more which doesn't seem like a smart buy for me. If you're going to spend the money, and you're looking for longer battery life without extra bulk consider the Seidio 1600mAh OEM-sized battery ($49.95). The only choice you have to make is if the convenience of having a larger battery is worth the $49.95 the 1600mAh battery will cost you over the $19.95 of the 1200mAh Palm OEM battery.
Review: Simulscribe - Read Your Voice Mail
Gerry at PDA Street tried out Simulscribe, one of a couple of speech-to-text transcription services designed primarily to let mobile phone users receive their voice mails as text in e-mails. So how did Simulscribe fare?
The messages in which I spoke in my normal voice were translated almost perfectly. Telephone numbers were transcribed correctly and the text was intelligible with, for the most part, only minor errors. Question marks appeared beside some words - usually proper names - indicating that Simulscribe was spelling them out phonetically
Bottom line: If speech-to-text transcription of voice mail sounds like something that would be useful to you, and it does to me, you only have to ask yourself whether it's worth the price of admission. As noted, though, Simulscribe is not the only service provider. So shop around.
Review/Comparison: Opera Mini vs. Internet Explorer
A story at the Cool Smartphone website asks the question: How would Opera Mini 4 compare to the pre-installed Internet Explorer browser on your phone?
IE loads pages without compression and, if you haven't cached the page previously, it'll grab absolutely everything direct from the originating server.
Opera Mini 4 uses a proxy system to have your requested pages compressed. It then pushes this down to your phone to save time and money on your phone bill.
Check out the video embedded in this Cool Smartphone article to see for yourself how long it takes to load a page using either browser.
Review: UltimatePhone by GX5
pdaBlast! posted a review of GX5s UltimatePhone a phone application with call logs and photo speed dials, application launcher, SMS sender and more.
The current Palm OS experience is old and boring. UltimatePhone brings a refreshing new experience that makes using your Palm OS smartphone a pleasure. UltimatePhone's powerful interface produces rich and vibrant graphics, screen transitions and transparency effects. Don't even think about it. For $19.95 this software is a deal.
Note: This application was reviewed by TreoCentrals Harv Laser back in October.
Review: Photos HQ For Palm
Mike at Digital Lifestyles has discovered a natty little application for folks frustrated with the limited resolution of the cameras built into their Palm OS devices. Its called Photos HQ (Treoware) and it lets you snap photographs at a higher quality than the default camera settings.
Although Photos HQ wont compensate for the shortcomings of the basic cameras installed on earlier Palm models, wed say that its well worth shelling out the diminutive asking price of just two quid.
News: New Rules for Carrying Spare Batteries on Flights
The New Year brings new rules
Starting this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation instituted new rules for carrying spare batteries on an airplane. In brief, you cant have spare lithium batteries in your checked baggage.
The DOT is concerned that batteries will short-circuit and start a fire in the hold of the plane. A similar fire in the passenger cabin will be noticed earlier and is more easily extinguished.
News/Trend: Cell Phone Users Tie Up Traffic
From the category of Ya think? comes this story (actually, its from Reuters). According to researchers at Utahs Traffic Lab, people who use cell phones while behind the wheel impede the flow of traffic, clog highways and extend commute times.
"What they found is that when the drivers were distracted by a phone conversation, they made fewer lane changes, drove slower and took longer to get where they are going.
Prior studies have equated the risk of driving while talking on a cell phone with driving while drunk.
Clue: Pretty Up Windows Mobile with Pointui
Per a story that appeared at Palm InfoCenter, theres a new user interface environment for Windows Mobile devices called Pointui Home that is finger and touchscreen optimized. It functions as a smartphone home screen/agenda center with many finger designed controls and widgets. It features both touch and D-pad controls and iPhone like scrolling capabilities, providing one touch access to some of the most common phone and device functions. The current version of Pointui Home is being made available for free. It is compatible with Windows Mobile 5 & 6 Professional with Pocket PC 2003 support planned soon.
Trend: Consumers Want GPS on Handsets
According to a survey conducted by Leo J. Shapiro and Associates, US mobile phone users ranked their desire for GPS navigation on their devices higher than Internet access.
In the survey, 24% of respondents wanted their next mobile phone to be GPS-capable, and only 19% wanted Internet access.
Mobile phones today occupy a small share of the GPS market.
Only 6% of GPS-device owners had a GPS-enabled phone, compared with 51% who had portable GPS devices and 39% who had GPS devices in their cars.
Clue: Cell Phone GPS Navigation Hits the Mainstream
An article posted at Smart Device Central website offers a brief overview of the various GPS services that are available, including: TeleNav GPS Navigator ($10/month), MapQuest Navigator 5.0 ($5/month through Dec 31), Verizon VZ Navigator ($9.99/month) and Ask Mobile GPS ($9.99/month).
Clue: Ask.com Mobile Directions
Ask.com has just introduced free voice-activated capabilities to its Ask.com Mobile Directions service, the first of its kind from a search engine. Called "Click to Speak," the new feature lets people simply speak their location and desired destination to receive directions on their web-enabled mobile devices. Easy to use, it eliminates typing addresses, which can be slow, error-prone and, in some cases, unsafe. Available immediately, "Click to Speak" incorporates unique technology from Dial Directions, the leading provider of voice-activated location-based services.
Kevin at jkontherun has posted a story about this that includes a link to a video of how it works.
Review: Directory Assistant Freeware
Shane at MyTreo.net offered his thoughts on the recently updated Directory Assistant program. Also know as TryDA, this freeware app is designed to connect you to the businesses, people, products and services you want, whenever and wherever you want.
Directory Assistant is one of the best and handiest apps for the on the go Treo/Centro traveler to quickly get directions, phone numbers, and maps with just a few clicks. DA is much easier then logging onto the web and using any search engine. I would give the newest version of DA 5 out of 5 stars based on its exceptionally easy user interface as well as its speed of getting the information requested! Directory Assistant definitely deserves a spot in every Treo/Centro users list of must have applications!!
Clue: Windows Mobile - Live Search: A Concierge for the Palm of Your Hand
This tip posted at PDAStreet.com, talks about a Google alternative to finding your way around a new town -you can use Live Search for Windows Mobile to find a restaurant, get directions to it and even send those directions on to the friends who will be meeting you there.
Clue: Guide to Window Mobile TCO
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a phrase thats bandied about up in Redmond. In this story that appeared in the Mobile Gadgeteer blog, Matthew Miller talks about a tool that was built by Alinean, Inc. for Microsoft and offers you a way to step through an online sheet to compare the TCO of a Windows Mobile solution compared to other messaging solution, including a RIM BlackBerry Enterprise Server, hosted BES, other messaging solution or other hosted messaging solution. The tool doesnt just compare data and device costs, but shows you estimated costs for the following:
- Infrastructure acquisition
- Infrastructure setup
- IT support
- Data center server administration
- Help desk
- Infrastructure software maintenance
- User phone/data plans
- Technical support
More on the Year Ahead
Heres a sampling of oh-eight predictions from some noted pundits.
Dean Bubley: Mobile and Wireless Predictions for the New Year
There is a notable shift towards non-operator unlocked 'vanilla' handsets. Globally, about 50% of phones are sold through operator channels - although it is much higher in operator-controlled markets like the US and Japan, as well as those with an addiction to subsidy, like the UK. Various trends are emerging that will start to reduce this in 2008, although change will be slow in markets where operators retain stiff control over retail outlets
He lists 9 other predictions.
PC Magazine: Tech issues and trends for 2008 by Tim Bajarin
Tim Bajarin is one of the leading analysts working in the technology industry today. He is president of Creative Strategies (www.creativestrategies.com), said:
1. Smartphones Get Smarter and Gain Market Share.
This is not a new prediction, as I have mentioned it in one form or another for the last two years. However, there are two key changes in 2008's prediction. First, we now believe smartphones will get even smarter, thanks to increased processing power, mobile operating systems that gain more functionality (including full Web browsers), and connections to faster wireless networks. Apple has already shown us that you can put the Internet in your pocket via something as small as a smartphone, and the competition is going to school on Applebig time. In fact, when we look back at 2008, I believe one of the major industry themes will be how the creation of mobile devices that deliver the Internet in your pocket caused a paradigm shift in mobility and drove major changes in the way even mainstream consumers view personal mobility.
The second key change is that even mainstream cell phones will gain more intelligence and help expand the market share of smartphones. Thanks to Google's Android platform, as well as vendors like Palm, RIM, Motorola, and others making their mainstream cell phones more intelligent, we believe that by the end of 2008 smartphones will represent as much as 15 percent of the overall 1.2 billion cell phones sold worldwide in the course of the year, up from a market penetration of around 8 percent today. And by the end of 2009, we now believe smartphones will make up as much as 25 percent of all cell phones sold.
He also noted that he believed smartphones will become targets for viruses and identity theft.
Endnotes & Ponderables:
Goodbye to oh-seven! And I ask you
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
I can see Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally) discussing the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne
Another way-back machine flashback.
Zooming to this week, did you know that figuring out how many people who showed up in Times Square is subject to interpretation? Right
this is yet another one from the Ya think? category. Anyway, according to this article, there are several different techniques used to measure crowd size.
And I found this at Gear Diary a bit too late. Basically, you could have a New Years message printed on confetti that would be dropped at New Years Eve in Times Square. Cool idea though. Need to put it in the holiday file for next year.
To close out this weeks column, according to a press release issued by Verizon this New Year's Eve, Verizon Wireless
expected its customers to send and receive more than 300 million messages in the 16 hours between 12 p.m. on New Years eve and 4 a.m. ET New Year's Day. Mike Lanman, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, said:
During holidays such as New Year's Eve, text, picture and video messages allow our customers to personalize their communications with friends and family. Last New Year's Eve, our customers sent and received more than 284 million text messages and nearly 4.75 million multimedia messages, so we fully expect to surpass the 300 million mark tonight."
Wonder how many Centro owners (Sprint customers) texted in the New Year?
Thats a wrap!