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Talkin' Treo

Fri Feb 17, 2006 - 1:16 PM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 17 February

Survey Says…

Palm put out an announcement about the results of Frost & Sullivan’s smartphone end-user survey:

  • Palm Treo smartphone is the smartphone of choice for businesses.
  • The mobile professionals surveyed are choosing Treo smartphones for the platform's abundant business-ready applications, high degree of flexibility, choice of operating systems, and power and convenience.
  • The average payback period (return on investment) of Treo smartphones used in a range of businesses is less than two months (conservative estimate).
  • Sales and field agents experienced productivity gains that equaled $11,125 in average savings per agent each year.

    In its press release, Palm also stated that currently 40% of the Fortune 1000 companies use Treo smartphones and an additional 35% are in testing or trials.

    So even though BlackBerry is leading the pack in overall shipments, this seems to indicate that Research in Motion (RIM), BlackBerry’s parent, ought to be looking over its shoulder—for someone IS catching them.

    HP was busy with its own announcement this week. Their handheld business will be a separate unit within the company's Personal Systems Group (PSG), enabling the company to provide greater focus and oversight to the multi-billion dollar converged handheld marketplace. The handheld business was previously combined with notebooks as part of the Mobility Business Unit. HP will have to work hard to catch up to Palm’s Treo.

    Look Who’s Talking BlackBerry

    PalmInfocenter had an interesting story this week, which started with Andrew at Treonauts, about the long awaited BlackBerry Connect software that will enable messages to be pushed to the Treo “BlackBerry style.” It stated that “through RIM's BlackBerry Connect licensing program, Palm will enable its Treo 650 and future Palm OS based Treo smartphones with secure, push-based wireless email via BlackBerry Enterprise Server.”

    While this is an interesting potential development, I wonder if RIM would seriously consider licensing to the “enemy.” Then again, it could end up being a case of, if you can’t continue to beat them, join them.

    Bing, Bing, Binging with Sprint

    Clearly, there is a momentum-shift taking place in the PDA universe, with many beating a path to Palm’s door. I was a Treo 600 user who finally jumped onboard the Treo 650 train just last month. I went with Sprint as my service provider and was quite impressed with how quickly the phone arrived after I placed my order online. So, I was living in bliss until I opened Sunday’s paper to find that Sprint was running a Treo 650 deal for $99.99. Yikes! Buyer’s remorse! I paid much, MUCH more than that less than 30 days ago.

    So I did what any savvy electronics buyer would do—I contacted them regarding price protection. A typical price protection policy allows customers to receive a price adjustment if the product goes on sale up to 30 days later.

    So I called Sprint’s customer service. They bounced me to telesales, who bounced me to the nearby Sprint store, who bounced me back to telesales, who bounced me to customer service. Then I binged back and forth between telesales and customer service for a while before I finally got a supervisor on the phone who told me "we don’t offer price protection". The price is what it is at the moment you buy it. Nice. Not very customer friendly, that’s for sure. If I were grading the whole customer experience, they’d receive a big red “F.”

    Elsewhere in the World of Palm & Treo

    So what else happened in the world of Palm & Treo? Besides the 2-for-1 stock split Palm had some other significant announcements in the healthcare industry.

    At the HIMSS 2006 Annual Conference & Exhibition, the leading healthcare information technology trade show being held in San Diego, Palm and Microsoft showcased the Treo 700w running the award-winning PatientKeeper Platform, which is an integral part of the IT strategies of organizations across the healthcare continuum. With the software from PatientKeeper, physicians can access their patients' electronic records, write prescriptions, enter charges, dictate notes, document encounters, place orders or send security-enhanced messages to other caregivers -- all in a single integrated environment. Click here to read more.

    And in a separate announcement, Palm talked about how organizations in the medical field, ranging from hospitals, clinics and long-term-care facilities to clinical-trials companies and medical schools, are standardizing on Palm handhelds and smartphones, Some of Palm’s healthcare customers include CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, Columbus Children's Hospital, MedStar Health, Good Samaritan Society, Ohio State University Medical Center, and PHT Corp.

    More information on Palm in healthcare can be found at Palm's healthcare site.

    In Brief

    Another Case for the 700w—This week, Sena Cases, a leading designer and manufacturer of slim and functional leather accessory cases, has announced a new line of Sena Cases engineered specifically for the Treo 700w. Constructed of premium European leather, each Sena Case is hand-stitched by leather artisans with an attention to detail. The Palm Treo 700w Sena Case is available in four different models and a variety of colors.

    Palm Certifies Bluetooth Speakerphone—Palm has certified the mVox MV900, a relatively new Bluetooth speakerphone for use with the Treo 650 and 700w smartphones.

    I Want My MobiTV – Part 2—On Sunday, I started my great MobiTV experiment. While my companion was driving us back from Tahoe, I settled into NBC’s Mobile Olympics.
    First of all, being in a car racing down the freeway wasn’t ideal conditions to test in. It was very “flickery.” Reminded me of the old days, when we were first experimenting with streaming. Lots of dropped frames. I know that I should do more testing when I’m stationary, that’s for sure.

    The Mobile Olympics appeared to be pre-packaged clips. I could see skiing, but really had no idea when the event had taken place. It was really obvious that it wasn’t live (especially since after a while, it looped).

    It’s clear I need to spend some more time playing around. And I should seriously investigate headphones other than the ones that came with my Treo.

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