A lot has happened since my last column. The groundhog saw his shadow, which was troubling to some because it meant six more weeks of winter. Google saw Microsofts shadow with the announced $44.5 billion bid for Yahoo! (to form MicroHoo) and was not pleased. Instead of watching the Super Bowl, where the Giants slayed a giant (the undefeated Patriots), Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, spent his time writing a blog post stating Microsoft's move raises "troubling questions." And dont get me started on Super Tuesday results, where every victory was accompanied by pundits telling us how good or troubling it was. Lets not top that off with economic numbers. That would be a troubling overload. Rather, lets settle into everyones favorite trouble, an episode of Star Trek (""The Trouble with Tribbles").
Turning the table on trouble, the Mobile World Congress is taking place next week. Expect to hear good things from companies out to shake up the industry. Pre-announcements seem to indicate that there will be a lot going on. Quite a bit went on in and around the world of Treo this week. So without further ado, Lets Talk Treo!
What was down, now goes up
Palm Stock News
Things started looking up this week for Palm as a result of a rating upgrade from J.P. Morgans Paul Coster. He raised his rating on the stock to Overweight from Underweight, noting how Centro sales may be exceeding expectations. He believes there is upside to EPS estimates, especially with some of the new products on the horizon.
Centro is a Great Phone
In this short video, Gary Krakow from The Street, looked at trends in smartphone sales and had some nice things to say about the Centro.
GSM Centro Arriving in Europe Next Week
According to a post by Dieter on the TreoCentral site, the Palm Centro will be available on GSM networks on February 14. He stated:
This appears to be for Europe only, although it's a fully unlocked, Quad-Band GSM phone so it will work on any GSM network including AT&T and T-Mobile. Initially, at least, the GSM Centro will be available only in Black. This is in contrast to persistent sightings and rumors of a white GSM Centro.
Also mentioned by Andrew in his write-up at Treonauts.
I am a little bit disappointed that Palms European GSM Centro launch is not (for now at least) supported by a large carrier such as Vodafone or Orange but at the same time delighted to see that an Unlocked version is already available one that will hopefully also make it over to the US.
Update for the Treo 755p
In a post on Palms Blog by Rob K., there is a software update that is available for the Sprint Treo 755p. It is a tune-up that improves audio, stability, software quality and device usability.
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
TreoCentral Centro Cupid Contest
You may have noticed (whether you wanted to or not), that Valentines Day is coming up. TreoCentral is doing something fun
giving away a new Palm Centro, color of your choice on Valentines Day (February 14). Learn more here.
Review: AcroWiki a Hypertext notes and memo system for PalmOS - By Harv Laser
This week, Harv enlightened us about an application that improves on the good ol memo pad, but doesnt bog you down with a boatload of unessential features. It is called AcroWiki from AcroCat Software.
As a balance between a plain-text Editor and a word processor, it does a relatively decent, clean job, so its worth downloading the demo, and taking it out for a spin if youre so inclined. The trial version is good for 10 days, during which you can judge its usefulness and decide, if for your purposes, AcroWiki is Wicked, or just icky.
Review: Golla Funk Pouch - By Jay Gross
Jay had some fun checking out Gollas Funk pouch for Centro and all Treo models which comes in a choice of two colors (guess which one he opted for?). He noted, My Centro would make a fire truck jealous.
With great looks, super workmanship, and excellent protection, the Golla Funk Pouch offers a welcome variety of options for carrying your Centro or Treo safely and with a sweet splash of designer pizzazz.
Red on to learn more.
Review: LineUp - By Andre Kibbe
Andre tried LineUp, a solution from PDA Performance that bundles their Saguaro mobile widget engine with a couple of dozen widgets. In this context, think of them as content channels.
If PDA Performance can outfit LineUp with more utility widgets down the road, then it will become a powerful platform. As a news updater, I prefer it to mobile RSS feed and websitesbut having to read a full story in Blazer rather than directly in LineUp is disappointing, especially for a $30 app. But LineUp is still a more effective front end for surveying news and information, and Id definitely recommend at least test driving the trial version.
Review: BookBag Plus - By Jennifer Chappell
Jennifer found an application called BookBag Plus that helps you to keep track of all your books, plus any library books that you have checked out.
BookBag Plus has really been a great help to me in sorting through all my books. I'm only about half way done but at least I have many books listed and categorized now. I love being able to easily look up my books by Title, Author, Category, etc. The "Find Button" makes it especially easy since I only have to type in a couple of letters on my Treo.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: Freedom Keychain GPS 2000 Case
Andrew over at Treonauts had a chance to play around with the new and improved Freedom Keychain GPS 2000, which retains the title of the worlds smallest, lightest and most compact GPS receiver while also benefiting from a few significant changes.
The GPS 2000 is nearly 30% of the weight of its predecessor, the Freedom Keychain GPS.
Overall theres hardly anything not to like about the new Freedom Keychain GPS 2000 as its even more compact, light and better designed than its older sibling and now delivers even faster performance with an enhanced chipset theres no doubt that the Freedom GPS offers the best solution if youre looking to always have a Treo or Centro GPS in your pocket.
Review from Down Under: Treo 500v
Heres a review of the Treo 500v by Mike of Stuff.co.nz (New Zealand), who pointed out that this device is not targeted towards the business market but more towards conventional cell phone users who feel like they need that bit more.
Overall I found this a very good device. It looks the part and has the power and applications to do the job on the road, only downsides are the location of the MicroSD slot and the battery life.
News: Unlocked Treo 500 Now Available in Australia
Tim at Palm InfoCenter has posted that Australians eager to get their paws on Palm's Treo 500 but not-so-eager to sign up with Vodafone have cause to smile: Palm Australia have announced the availability of an unlocked model.
Retailing at $649 (incl. GST), the Treo 500 will be available from "select retail stores" and has been approved for use on the Optus network.
Video Review: Treo 500v
Steve Litchfield has included a video review of the Treo 500v as part of his Smartphones Show (#52).
More Video: A Guided Tour of Opera Mobile 9.5
Jimmie of Gadgets on the Go, has let us know that Opera has posted an impressive tour of Opera Mobile 9.5 - the latest version of its award-winning Web browser for sophisticated feature phones and smartphones.
More Opera News: Opera and MINI Spain Plot "The Catalan Job" at Mobile World Congres
It was announced this week that Opera and MINI Spain are plotting "The Catalan Job" at Mobile World Congress. The streets of Barcelona will be red with MINIs throughout this year's Mobile World Congress (formally known as 3GSM). Opera Software and MINI Spain have teamed up to showcase their speedy name-sharing products: Opera Mini, the world's smallest and fastest Web browser for mobile phones and the brand new MINI Clubman, a MINI with similar punch under the hood as the original MINI Cooper but with more legroom.
The all-red Opera Mini MINIs will travel in pack formation around Barcelona reminiscent of the famous MINI car scene in the film The Italian Job.
News: Apple No. 2 in Smartphone Sales in U.S. & No. 3 Worldwide
It should probably come as no surprise that the iPhone is now the No. 3 smartphone in the world based on fourth quarter 2007 sales. Apple moved 2.3 million iPhones during the quarter. This is according to a report by Canalys, which said that Apple earned 6.5 percent of the worldwide converged device market, behind runaway leader Nokia (52.9 percent) and second place Research in Motion (11.4 percent) and just ahead of Motorola (6.5 percent).
In the U.S., the iPhone took home 28 percent of the market in Q4 2007, trailing RIM with 41 percent but ahead of Palm with just 9 percent. This puts it ahead of all Windows Mobile devices (21 percent) in the U.S., said Canalys. The findings for the U.S. seem to mirror Q3 2007 statistics for smartphones, which indicated the iPhone had 27 percent of the U.S. market. Pete Cunningham, Canalys senior analyst, remarked:
"When you consider that it launched part way through the year, with limited operator and country coverage, and essentially just one product, Apple has shown very clearly that it can make a difference and has sent a wakeup call to the market leaders."
PC Magazine: Microsoft-Yahoo: Great for Mobile Users?
Sascha Segan stated:
Merging the two giants' services and integrating them into Windows Mobile could produce an experience that Blackberries, feature phones, and even the iPhone haven't been able to match so far.
Forbes: Microsoft Crafts New Mobile Strategy With Yahoo!
This story by Elizabeth Woyke is chock full of thoughts and analyst quotes about the potential buyout of Yahoo! by Microsoft
including the fact that mobile is the next frontier. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at JupiterResearch, said:
"Mobile is clearly a critical part of this deal going forward. It shows Microsoft's recognition that, in the future, the desktop will not be as important as some mobile initiatives."
The article discusses how the combination of Microsoft & Yahoo! would send a clear message to Apple and Google.
Acquisition Ponderable: Top Reasons Nokia Should Bid on Yahoo!
As mentioned in my intro, the whole MicroHoo thing has got Silicon Valley, Redmond and parts of the world in a tizzy. There has been talk about alternative suitors, such as News Corp., Comcast and NBC Universal, but they all dropped out. However, Matthew Miller, the Mobile Gadgeteer, posted this thoughtwhat about Nokia? Okay, actually the full discussion of Nokia started over at Information Week, where Stephen Wellman wrote a story titled, The Top 5 Reasons Nokia Should Bid On Yahoo.
Stephens five reasons are:
- Nokia needs a stronger desktop presence
- Nokia could dominate in the mobile location-based area
- Nokia needs to grow in the U.S. (Amen brother!)
- Nokia needs to grow its online advertising
- Nokia cannot afford to let Microsoft or Google gain more online market share
I think his reasoning makes a lot of sense and is highly dependent on figuring out what Nokias future plans really are with their mobile services
Trend: Modular Unit Could Revolutionize Cell Phones
According to Ryan Kim, the future of mobile phones might look like an oversized domino. That's the hope of an Israeli startup with backing from SanDisk that is trying to reshape how people interact with their handsets. Instead of one phone that customers will use for two years and then toss, Modu has created a 1.5-ounce, 2.8-inch-long mobile phone module that can be inserted into different cell phone shells or jackets. Daniel Amir, an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets remarked:
This is definitely what we call a game changer. The biggest problem in the cell phone industry today is people have the same cell phone for two years. With the Modu jackets, this enables them to have someone come into the store every couple of months and change a jacket to a fashion jacket or a music or gaming jacket. This also enables consumer electronics makers to play in the cell phone market without making a cell phone."
Heres a link to Brighthands write-up of Modu which includes a teaser video.
News: Bango Analytics meets industry demand for mobile web stats
This week, Bango launched Bango Analytics, a new product that delivers mobile focused web stats essential to understanding how people interact with mobile websites and which marketing campaigns are most effective. Bango Analytics is available for free for up to 10,000 page hits per month to enable anyone to see who is interacting with their site and where from. After that there is a low monthly charge depending on activity levels.
News: Wall Street Journal Launches Mobile App
The Wall Street Journal Digital Network has launched a free, downloadable application for Windows Mobile phones that provides consumers with mobile access to WSJ.com, MarketWatch.com, and Barrons.com. The service, developed in partnership with Action Engine (News - Alert)® Corporation, a leading mobile application platform provider, lets consumers read news while on-the-go, manage their personal stock portfolio, track the market, watch videos and listen to streaming podcasts all with one easy-to-use mobile application. The application will launch initially on phones running Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform. Windows Mobile is also the launch advertiser for the new service.
For a list of supported mobile devices, or to download The Wall Street Journal Digital Network mobile application, please visit: www.wsj.com/mobiledownload.
News: In CBS Test, Mobile Ads Find Users
This week, CBS announced that it is trying one of the first serious experiments with cellphone advertising that is customized for a persons location. Its CBS Mobile unit is teaming up with the social networking service Loopt, which allows its subscribers to track participating friends and family on their mobile phones. The ads will appear on two Web sites that are tailored for mobile devices, CBS Mobile News and CBS Mobile Sports.
The effort employs localization technology, such as GPS, to reach consumers while they are on the go, allowing advertisers to create highly targeted campaigns. (The location-based advertising will be available across several U.S. wireless carriers.)
News: Kodaks New Hi-Res CMOS Image Sensor Revolutionizes Image Capture
Kodak will be demonstrating their new, high-resolution CMOS image sensor, the KODAK KAC-05020 at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain next week. The company has combined its recently announced Color Filter Pattern technology with a new CMOS pixel to create the worlds first 1.4 micron, 5 megapixel device that was designed for mass-consumer camera applications such as mobile phones. Chris McNiffe, general manager of Kodaks Image Sensor Solutions business, stated in the announcement:
Camera phones and other small-pixel consumer imaging devices often suffer from poor performance, especially under low light conditions. To manufacture sensors that utilize these very small pixels we needed to challenge everything we knew about pixel and sensor design. By completely rethinking the design of the CMOS pixel and leveraging our work with high sensitivity color filter patterns and algorithms, Kodak was able to develop this remarkable new sensor that will enable a level of imaging performance previously unavailable from CMOS devices.
The new sensor expands Kodaks portfolio of CMOS and CCD image sensors for consumer and applied imaging applications, and positions the company to take advantage of the growing demand for high-quality image capture in a variety of devices, regardless of size.
News: Robert Redford to Headline at GSMAS Mobile World Congress
This week, the GSM Association (GSMA) announced that film actor, director and Sundance Institute Founder & President, Robert Redford will headline at Mobile Backstage, a special one day Mobile Entertainment conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Redford will participate in a keynote interview,which among other topics will explore the potential of mobile - the 4th screen - as a medium for independent filmmakers to reach new audiences on a global basis.
News: Google and Twitter Team Up for Super Tuesday
On Super Tuesday, Google and Twitter, two of the companies trying to blaze trails with new Internet services, let voters send short messages from their mobile phones as they waited in election lines. With an integration between Twitter's short text message service and Google's Super Tuesday Map, users can send text messages of up to 140 characters, a sentence or two, telling the those following the election about their experiences in voting lines.
To participate, people twittered as they normally do, with the addition of a reference to Super Tuesday in their post, and the updates show up on the interactive map.
Looks kind of cool
but totally explains why the Web has been bogging down the last couple of days (it was slow
and/or not fast).
Endnotes & Ponderables:
Jawbone Viral Videos Address Perception of Headset Users
According to a story appearing in BrandWeek, Jawbone has put together a series of videos on YouTube that showcase their Bluetooth headset in a humorous way. Each of the four online shorts (created by Anomaly, New York) begin with loud, obnoxious characters and demonstrate how Jawbones Noise Shield technology help people wearing the headsets miss all of the commotion. Elizabeth Bastiaanse, vice president of marketing at Aliph (manufacturer of Jawbone Bluetooth Headset), San Francisco stated:
Were trying to draw awareness and change peoples perception of a category. We wanted to do something that was different than what we usually see in this category. Heres a direct linked to the Rugby one. Theres something all wrong, but a lot right with these videos. Thats a wrap!