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Talkin' Treo -- v042106

Fri Apr 21, 2006 - 1:42 PM EDT - By Annie Latham

Week ending 21 April 2006

Treo Users Want to Have Fun AND Get Things Done
The cool thing about the Treo being the Sony PlayStation of smartphones is that there's always something new and exciting being introduced or reviewed. And the Treo "sightings" are interesting too. One week, it's mobile entertainment and the next it's healthcare. The Treo community is always abuzz with activity. So let's talk Treo.

Palm News

VIP World Health Care Congress Attendees Get Smart
Healthcare is a business area of focus for Palm so it shouldn't be surprising that the Treo 700w ended up getting into a lot of hands during the
3rd Annual World Health Care Congress (WHCC) that took place this week. In attendance were more than 1500 CEOs, senior executives, and government officials from the nation's largest employers, hospitals, health systems, health plans, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and leading government agencies.

Palm announced they teamed up with VisionTree Software, a leader in web-based, user-friendly decision support systems designed for patients, physicians and healthcare organizations, to provide 200 VIP attendees with Treo 700w smartphones to wirelessly collect, analyze and report data while at the conference. That's great visibility for the 700w. What the announcement didn't say is whether these lucky VIPs got to keep their smartphones.

Elsewhere in the World of Treo

Verizon Releases Microsoft's Push Email System for Treo 700w
This week, Ed Hardy at Brighthand.com posted a follow-up story on Palm's CTIA announcement.
"Following up on a previous announcement, Palm, Inc. and Verizon Wireless are now offering the Microsoft Service Feature Pack (MSFP) client for the Treo 700w. With MSFP, companies are able to deliver 'push' email to their employees using Treo 700w smartphones wirelessly connected to their Exchange 2003 servers without the need for third-party software, hardware, or service fees.

Traditional email is pull email, in which a device periodically checks a server for any new messages. In push email, as soon as an incoming email arrives on the server, it is pushed out to the device, and the user is immediately notified of it."
I guess the point here is that they said it, and now it's really happening.

SplashID and SplashPhoto Are Now Available for Treo 700w
This week, SplashData, Inc., the leading developer of security and productivity applications for smartphones, announced that SplashID and SplashPhoto, two of the company's most popular products, now support Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0, the operating system behind popular new smartphones and handheld devices such as the Palm Treo 700w.

SplashID safely and securely stores all kinds of personal identification information, including usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, calling card numbers, bank account data, PINs, medical insurance information, and more. Information is stored in a secure, encrypted format and is quickly accessible on Windows Mobile powered Smartphones as well as desktop computers.

SplashPhoto helps Windows Mobile users to manage and synchronize their photo libraries with a desktop PC. SplashPhoto offers a fast, easy-to-use way to manage digital photos and show them to friends and family. Its one-of-a-kind desktop application enables users to organize image collections into personalized categories and, upon synchronization, the images are arranged accordingly on the Smartphone or handheld.

Wag the Treo: Mobileplay Delivers Valleywag to the Small Screen
Mobile content delivery pioneer Mobileplay just announced the addition of Valleywag to its growing list of Gawker Media mobile sites. Valleywag gives readers the inside scoop on technology industry notables.

With Mobileplay, Gawker fans enjoy easy access to pure, unfiltered gossip from five of Gawker Media's wildly popular blogs: Defamer, Gawker, Gizmodo, Wonkette and now Valleywag, from their handheld device. Plus, Mobileplay's mobile application enables fans to forward "tantalizing tidbits" to friends via their handheld device. The mobile application for all five Gawker Media sites is available at www.mobileplay.com.

Earthcomber Upgrades its Mobile Navigation Service for Smartphones
This week, Earthcomber announced an upgrade to its free mobile service for Palm OS and Windows Mobile-powered handhelds that locates places serving the top needs of travelers, including WiFi "hotspots," coffee stores, ATMs, office supplies, and business printing and data services.
"The enrichment to Earthcomber's free personal navigation service (reviewed by TreoCentral's Harv Laser in March) responds to the increasing demand business travelers place on being able to find an instant ‘lay of the land"' for specific personal favorites and professional needs."

Maker of TripBoss Launches Mobile-Friendly Travel Portal
Creative Algorithms, developer of award-winning Trip Boss™ travel manager for Palm OS®, announced the launch of Mobile Travel Aide, a free mobile-friendly travel web portal, accessible by any browser-enabled smartphone, such as the Palm Treo.

Mobile Travel Aide, or www.mtrvl.com, is designed to provide easy access to important information for the mobile traveler. The site provides links to mobile-friendly travel information such as flight status, ground transportation, weather radar, currency rates, restaurant and sights info, and maps and directions.

Wireless MICHELIN® Guides Now Available for Your Treo
Just in time for your summer holiday to Europe, Handmark, a global leader in mobile media, and ViaMichelin, the European expert in digital mapping and travel assistance services, just announced a three-year partnership agreement. Under this new agreement, Handmark will issue and distribute digital maps, route planning and the two world famous guides, The MICHELIN® Guide and The MICHELIN® Green Guide, for mobile phones and Smartphones in Europe.

For over 100 years, The MICHELIN Guide has provided trusted recommendations for hotels and restaurants throughout Europe. The wireless version of The MICHELIN Guide puts the best choices in restaurants and hotels at your fingertips no matter where you travel and the ViaMichelin maps and driving directions ensure you get there with ease.

MobiTV Numbers, Ad Rates and Bud
MocoNews.net, a news site focused on the mobile content sector, reported that Jack Hallahan, VP of Advertising for MobiTV provided some interesting numbers on his company's mobile video service during his participation on a panel at the Integrate LA conference.
  • He said that the users generally watch for about 7-15 minutes each session and about 2-3 times a day...not unlike radio, he mentioned.
  • On advertising on MobiTV, he mentioned that Jeep had a special (advertising) channel on MobiTV, and that it was among the top viewed (outranking iFilm, Weather Channel, and others during the campaign period).
  • At any time, they have four main advertisers on the service. The pricing for such ads: a Jeep-like campaign would last about 3 months for roughly about $100K a month.

Speaking of advertisers, In a related MobiTV story, Anheuser-Busch has teamed up with MobiTV to supplement the service provider's mobile television service with nearly 13,000 30-second ads per month, or 18 ads per hour of programming over MobiTV's 30 channels. While that sounds like an overwhelming number of ads from a single brand, if they're distributed evenly across the 30 channels, it's only one ad every two hours. MobiTV recently announced it had more than 1 million worldwide subscribers to its mobile TV services.

In case you were wondering, the majority of the ads from Anheuser-Busch will feature Bud Light commercial spots like the ones that ran during the Super Bowl, including the popular "Secret Fridge" campaign.

Recent TreoCentral Guides & Reviews

mPod Audio Player - By Xious Sonenberg

"mPod is going in exactly the direction that other companies are overlooking for the Treo community. I hope other developers take note of the concept and seize the initiative to make superb, sexy applications like this one. It's not perfect, it seriously needs an equalizer, but it's a shining example of companies who takes a world-class interface idea and bring it to the Treo. Next time you're sitting at a restaurant table and your friend whips out his iPod, you can whip out your Treo running mPod and say ‘Check this out. Can yours make phone calls? Browse the Web? Send email? I didn't think so.'"

Altec Lansing inMotion iMT1 Mobile Audio - By Jay Gross

"For CDMA networks, the Altec Lansing's inMotion iMT1 makes a great speakerphone, charger, sync cradle, and a very good music station. One beautiful little box – four functions. It delivers exactly what you need for conferencing around it during a meeting - namely, plentiful volume at excellent sound quality. For music, its audio quality is amazing for its size, but limited by its size. The optional subwoofer would surely help put more Hi (well actually more low) in its Fi."

Jabra BT350 Headset - By James Hromadka

"The Jabra BT350 does not exactly offer a ringing endorsement for vibrating alert headsets. I still feel that vibrating alert is too much of a gimmick to be practical, but at least you can disable it if you like. The headset has stellar audio quality and would make an excellent choice to use at the office. Sit at your desk with the headset on the table, then when it starts walking across the table you pick it up and answer the call."

Reviews from Elsewhere in the Treo Community

Mike Slocomb at Digital Lifestyles on the ThinkOutside Stowaway Infra-red Keyboard:

"With its lightweight 5.75 oz (179 grams) design, compact, clever folding build and comfortable keyboard layout, we can thoroughly recommend the Stowaway keyboard for writers on the move. It's not particularly cheap ($70, £45), but its rugged construction should give years of use and it sure beats trying to write a long report on a phone's keypad! Rating: 87%"

Andrew at Treonauts took a look at Sharklinks:

"For a very long time now I have been looking for an application that would allow me to create standalone URL shortcuts as .prc files on my Treo which I could launch as easily as any other standard program with just one click. I'm glad to write that I finally found a simple and free application called SharkLinks which can do this."

Columbia University Ph.D Candidate Reviews the Treo 700w
This review caught my eye because of how thorough (and long) it was (over 13,000 words!). When I scrolled to the bottom to see that the reviewer, Janak Parekh was a doctoral candidate at Columbia, I wasn't surprised. The review appears in two parts.

Part 1 covers intro, background and hardware.
Part 2 covers software, performance and conclusion.

He writes:
"I hope you found the detail I put into the review useful, and that your boss isn't screaming at you for having wasted your whole workday reading it.

Palm has introduced an interesting compromise device, one that may not be for all, but truly tries to be a Pocket PC-based Smartphone. If you're looking for a Pocket PC Phone that shines in the phone and wireless data environments, while trading away some multimedia features, the 700w is worth a serious look. On the other hand, if you need a bigger thumb board, screen, memory, or WiFi, you may want to check out one of the many HTC devices on the market today."

This could have been his dry run for his final dissertation.

Safe Cell Phone for Drivers
One of the commercials in rotation is VW's new "Safe Happens" campaign which shows some violent crashes in a Jetta—with the vehicle's occupants walking away unscathed.

For most of us who don't have Jettas, this story may be of interest.

After getting hit twice in one year by drivers gabbing on their cellphones (only once as a pedestrian), an understandably-peeved Demetrius Thompson decided to develop a system for warning chatters that they're about to approach an intersection. It uses location data from GPS-enabled cell phones combined with information on the coordinates of local traffic lights to audibly alert the driver with a cuckoo clock-like chirp when they need to pay more attention to the road.

Thompson's company, Global Mobile Alert, is in discussions with several cellular carriers about building a nationwide network of servers and adding the alert system to wireless customer's existing data services -- for a monthly fee. There has also been interest in it from insurance companies.

Read more about it here.

That's a wrap!

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