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Talkin' Treo - v011808

Fri Jan 18, 2008 - 10:28 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 18 January 2008

I know this is going to sound kind of harsh, but to me, it felt like another “Bye Week” for Palm. In fact, with the exception of the “27 Dresses” screening, the arrival of the Pink (in time for Valentine’s Day) Centro, and some maintenance releases, Palm has pretty much strung together a series of Bye Weeks that commenced at the start of the holidays. I get that a lot of mobile device providers sat out CES, but still… What’s it going to be guys? Are you going to shake off the cobwebs and start embracing 2008? Or, are you determined to emulate what the Dallas Cowboys did against the New York Giants? Clue: It wasn’t pretty and they didn’t advance in the playoffs.

Moving right along… On Tuesday, the world held its collective breath while Steve Jobs gave his “State of the iWorld” address. Known to spout off stats, he made it clear that the iPhone rocked the smartphone world:

“I've got some great news. Today happens to be exactly the 200th day since the iPhone went on sale. It's been shipping exactly 200 days. I'm extraordinarily pleased to report that we've sold 4m to date." Daaamn, Steve! Applause. "That's 20k iPhones per day, on avg. We're really pleased with this."
"What's this mean in terms of the overall market?" Chart time! It's first Q shipping it garnered 19% market share, Palm 9.8%, RIM 39%, other 20%, Nokia 7%...”

Back up on my soapbox: Hello, Sunnyvale! You gonna let Apple waltz right in and take away the market that you created? You gonna let them school you?? Wake up!!!

As for the rest of the world of Treo (and Centro), it seems that this week was a time to digest that “all you can eat” gizmo and gadget buffet that was served in Las Vegas at CES. On the news and reviews side, things were relatively quiet as “clues” stepped into the spotlight.

So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!

Palm News

News: Pretty in Pink: Centro Adds New Color

We broke the story about the arrival of Pink Palm Centros two weeks ago. And now it’s official. You can go either to Palm’s website or stop by your local Sprint retail store and purchase a Pink version of the Centro for the same $99 pricing (After Rebates and with New 2-Year Service Agreement) as the other versions.

PalmBlog: Centro Goes Hollywood

The Golden Globes may have been cancelled, but Hollywood hasn’t shut down completely. If you hop over to Palm’s blog, you’ll find an entry from Paul Loeffler who describes what it was like in the Access Hollywood suite in LA where he had been handing out Treo and Centro smartphones to celebrities.

News: Bermie Award Goes to Palm Centro

Being that it is awards season, I came upon this entry from Michael Berman, the technology writer for Scripps News. He announced his “Bermie” awards and “The Smarter Smartphone Award” went to Palm and Sprint for the Centro, which he noted “is actually a small version of Palm's popular Treo Smartphone. This new phone offers all of the features of the Treo in a much smaller, easier to handle format and at a fifth of the price.”

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Review: Smartphone Experts Skin Case for Palm Centro - By Jay Gross

Jay tried out the Smartphone Experts Skin Case to see what kind of protection it offered his fine red Centro.

“Overall, Smartphone Experts’ Skin Case for Palm Centro implements a good combination of simplicity, protection, and accessibility, while making a fashion statement. Or not. The case is an inexpensive, easy solution that can clip to a belt or clothing, or snap onto the strap of a book bag. The included wrist and neck lanyards make this case quite a sweet deal.

Review: Com One Micro Clip Bluetooth Stereo Headset for Treo 750, 700wx - By Douglas Morse

Douglas tried out the Micro Clip Bluetooth Stereo Headset by Com One which lets you replace your wired headphone and be able to both make /receive calls from your Bluetooth mobile phone and listen to music from any Bluetooth stereo (A2DP*) device. Did it live up to his expectations? Read on to find out.

Review/Clue: Advanced Brain Trainer Edition 1 - By Andre Kibbe

Andre is back with another piece of software from the “brain training” genre. This time it is In-Fusio’s Advanced Brain Trainer, a series currently comprised of two editions, available for Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Symbian/Series 60 and Palm OS. He looked at the Palm OS version.

“Like Brain Age, or games in its tiny genre of cerebral fitness, Advanced Brain Trainer’s focus is on user performance, not entertainment per se. It’s not as thrilling as conventional games designed expressly for fun. For its namesake purpose, it focuses on calculation and short-term memory more than other mental faculties, like pattern recognition, lateral thinking and logical deduction. So there’s room for improvement. That said, this edition does deliver the goods fabulously for the aspects of mental conditioning that it does cover.”

Clue: Centro Intro: pt 3: Dealing with Dialing - By Jay Gross

In part three of the “Centro Intro” series, Jay addressed calling or texting, starting with how to get your contacts into your Centro. He also showed how to add a special ringtone to a contact.

Clue: Treo Software Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell

As we enter 2008, things actually slowed down a bit on the software side. Some of the interesting software releases/updates that Jennifer talked about included: Earth Day, incubus, MissedCall, TreoPack 2008, Traffic Jam 2, Combine4 Mobile 2008, and MSPhrase Oxford American English-French Phrasebank. As for updates, some of note include: ChordLab, Lightwav, Mozart, SMSPager, Agenda One v2, DVD Catalyst, FunContact, and Pocket Informant 8.

Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

Review: Treo 755p

Alan at Gadgets on the Go, wrote a review of the Treo 755p from Verizon.

“The Treo 755p is a solid device for both business and consumer oriented users alike. Unlike the Sprint edition, the Verizon Treo 755p is only available in an azure green (it looks better in person than it does on the web.) Palm has made some positive changes in the areas of hardware and software. The refined body of the Treo 755p makes it easy to work with through out the day. The software improvements have added a welcome level of functionality and stability to the product.”

Review: Plantronics Voyager 855 Stereo Bluetooth Headset

Andrew over at Treonauts test drove the new Plantronics Voyager 855 which he described as “the most comfortable, lightest and innovative A2DP stereo Bluetooth headset that I have had the opportunity to test to date.” He wrote:

“In terms of performance, I found inbound and outbound audio quality to be very good thanks no doubt to Plantronics’ AudioIQ technology which digitally enhances sound quality on both sides of a call. There’s also the fact that you can seamlessly switch between making calls and listening to music (when you receive a call the music pauses and the phone rings in your headset then the music resumes when you end the call).”

Review: New Centro Cases from Seidio

Andrew also spent some time this week talking about three new cases that Seidio has released for the Centro: Centro Super Slim Rubberized Hard Case, Centro Super Slim Hybrid Hard Case and Centro Super Slim Crystal Case.

“As its name implies, the Rubberized model offers a hard case fully coated on the outside with a thin layer of black rubber paint which has the benefit of added grip. The Crystal model for its part offers a completely translucent hard case that will show all of the body details of your Centro while protecting it from scratches. Finally the Hybrid model (my favourite) combines a rubberized back with a crystal front.

Make sure to read the complete review to see how they stack up.

News: What’s New in Bluetooth? CES Discoveries

On Tuesday, Mobile Burn’s Michelle Ruhfass posted a story about some of the new Bluetooth products that were showcased at CES.

For example, one from her list was Jabra's newly announced JX20 Pura, the successor to the popular JX10.

“This new headset boasts a titanium outer shell for protection and a cool looking charging station with external LED lights that help users keep track of battery life.”

Another mentioned was the Jabra 8040 headset, featuring DSP technology.

Review: Google Maps

Business Week’s Arik Hesseldah offered up thoughts on Google Maps, which was described as “fine if you're on foot, but not if you're behind the wheel.”

“While I'd use it for basic navigation on foot, I don't think I'd rely on it for turn-by-turn directions in my car. I'd rather use either a traditional navigation system on my dashboard or a GPS-based phone application such as VZNavigator on Verizon Wireless phones or TeleNav (BusinessWeek.com, 10/10/07) on Sprint (S) and AT&T (T) handsets. The wireless service providers offer monthly subscriptions for unlimited use of these services and pay-as-you-go plans for occasional use.
The next step for Google will undoubtedly be a mobile map application that takes full advantage of the GPS chips that will in time be embedded in all wireless phones. GPS signals are already free, and Google has a history of giving away useful tools without charge. When that happens, will anyone need anything more than their cell phone and Google Maps to keep from getting lost? For that reason, don't expect wireless service providers to allow such an application to work on all their phones, at least not right away. Still, I look forward to Google Maps for mobile 3.0. Wireless service providers and GPS device makers probably don't.”
Review: Zagat To Go

Over at CNET, I spotted a review of the Windows Mobile version of Zagat To Go (actually it was reviewed side-by-side with the BlackBerry version).

“The Windows Mobile version of Zagat To Go looks like a distant cousin with its ratings tiles, notes section, and tabbed windows. Like the BlackBerry version, you can plot your selection on the map, get directions, and add it to your contacts list or calendar. However, click-to-call is completely absent, and there's no Web site listed, let alone hyperlinked. In both products, Zagat is passing up two opportunities. The first is mobile Web usability in the form of hyperlinks; the second, a chance to revamp its pricing structure and offer a free-to-use product that scoops revenue from ads and coupons rather than from a subscription fee. Zagat To Go would be an appropriate outlet for targeted advertising, and a way to reward existing subscribers to Zagat.com with an upgrade to an ad-free version of the app.”

News: Photobucket Launches Mobile Web Site

Photobucket, the massive image-sharing site that was acquired by News Corp. last year, announced on Tuesday the debut of its mobile Web site. Members of the photo-sharing site can now browse their own photos as well as public images, upload photos to the site from their mobile devices, and have access to a limited home page. In the future, the company has said, Photobucket Mobile will expand to allow video functionality as well as options to embed photos in social-networking profiles.

Clue/Preview: Opera: Next Version to Crush Internet Explorer

According to a story that appeared late last week in PC Magazine, Opera chief executive Jon S. von Tetzchner claimed that the next version (Opera 9.5) could be about ten times faster than Internet Explorer.

The company is looking to hop onto the current trend of moving more software functionality onto the Web, von Tetzchner said. The company has spent a lot of time optimizing the browser to accommodate Web-based software—for example, by working with HTML 5 to create more compact and more accessible code. Doing so will allow more intelligent Web forms, he said. Opera also offers over 1,100 widgets and gives users the ability to create their own.

The company plans to release a beta version of Opera 9.5 in the next two months. The final version should be available by this summer.

News: Gemstar-TV Guide Signs Patent License Agreement with MobiTV for Mobile Interactive Program Guides

This week, Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMST), a leading media, entertainment and technology company, announced they have signed a patent license agreement with MobiTV, Inc., the leader in mobile and broadband related to interactive program guides (IPGs) for mobile video programming, made available through the MobiTV service, both directly by MobiTV and via MobiTV on behalf of leading mobile and broadband service providers.

In the announcement, Charlie Nooney, chief executive officer and chairman of MobiTV stated, "Now, through our relationship with Gemstar-TV Guide, MobiTV can further enhance the entertainment experience for the millions of mobile and broadband users who enjoy our services.”

Clue: How to Keep Your Battery Charged…

This link leads to some helpful clues for extending your battery’s life:

“The wikiHow Web site covers several ways to extend your cell phone battery's life, from the obvious (turn it off when not in use, keep calls short) to the more helpful "oh I should do that's" (reduce backlight time, disable unneeded services like Bluetooth detection). Apparently a cell phone's vibrate function eats up more juice than a regular ring, so opt to put the tone on the softest setting instead. Lastly, re-calibrate your Li-Ion battery to reset its life-o-meter, which can get out of whack over several charge cycles.”

News: Affordable International Calling App For Smartphones Launched

According to a story appearing in Information Week on Monday, IVR Technologies, a software developer specializing in IP services, rolled out new applications for making affordable long distance calls on Windows Mobile 6-based smartphones. The applications -- Smartphone Calling Card and Callback -- are add-on modules for Talking SIP, IVR's application, media, and billing server. They can be integrated into smartphones running Windows Mobile 6 to facilitate cheaper mobile international long distance rates.

News: CallWave Announces Virtual Voicemail

CallWave, Inc. just announced the nationwide availability of CallWave Virtual Voicemail, a suite of premium mobile communications services on the CallWave Mobile Platform. CallWave is offering three packages, all of which include the popular “Vtxt” voicemail-to-text feature and work with users’ existing mobile phone, number, and wireless service provider. To subscribe or try it for free, visit www.callwave.com.

Clue: Check your Seatback…

I found this story about an unfortunate occurrence that happened to the author upon returning home from CES. It serves as a reminder to all of us of what can happen if we bolt off a plane without double-checking the seat back.

“So, what's the moral of the story? Make sure to check that seat-back pocket (or back seat of the cab, or the drawers in your hotel room) for loose gadgets before you go on your way. If you've already walked off the plane and realize you've left a gadget behind, you'll have better luck if you're still in the security area, the Times notes; once you go past the security checkpoint, good luck getting back in. If you've definitely lost your phone, call your carrier and ask them to shut off your phone's voice and Internet service, pronto. And if you haven't lost your smartphone yet, engage the password lock (look under your security settings); that way, if you lose your phone, your private info will be (somewhat) protected.”

Contest: Win a SCOTTEVEST TEC Hat!

Jason Dunn over at Smartphone Thoughts is giving away a SCOTTEVEST TEC hat. If you’ve read any of Jennifer’s reviews here at TreoCentral, you know how cool SCOTTEVEST products are. But you have to act quickly. He said:

“Here's all you have to do to enter this contest: jump over to the product page, and pick one or more features that you like about this product. Or, tell me what type of stuff you'd put in the pockets. Post your message as a comment in this discussion thread and Friday at 4pm Mountain Time I'll pick one random winner who will receive this hat. That's all!”

Endnotes & Ponderables:

I was flipping through Business Week (the January 14 issue) and came upon a story about a cell phone application called mobGAS that tracks one’s own carbon footprint.

“mobGAS©® is a new mobile phone application available in 21 European languages that allows users to see how their daily choices are impacting on climate change. This smart technology is fun to use, offers practical tips and demonstrates to users that climate change is not just a distant issue for others to tackle, but something that they too can really influence.”

The explanation on the website goes into how the calculation works (an individual's emissions consist of the three main greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide CO2, methane CH4, and nitrous oxide N2O). Normally, that Discovery Channel stuff lulls me to sleep. But since the company claims that it is “fun to use,” I might just cut to the chase, download it and give it a try.

That’s a wrap!

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