Week ending 13 October 2006
According to two analyst firms, the world is indeed getting smarter. A recently published Gartner study found that worldwide shipments of smartphones and PDAs were up 57 percent in the first six months of 2006 compared to the same time period last year. The total number of smartphone units worldwide reached 34.7 million, with Japan leading the way.
Per a story in The Wall Street Journal, rival firm, IDC reported Palm retains a hefty share of the U.S. smartphone market, at 29%, ranking them second behind BlackBerry parent, Research in Motion's 51.3% share and ahead of Motorola's 10.5% and Nokia's 3.7%.
And, by the year 2010 (a mere four years from now), they predict smartphone shipments in the U.S. to grow to 33.9 million units, from 8.3 million units this year.
That's a whole lot-o-smart, if you ask me.
By all indications, Palm is well positioned to play a big role in the "smartification" of America and beyond. That same Wall Street Journal story notes Palm sold 569,000 Treo units in its fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 31, the highest in company history.
This week, at the Digital Life conference, Palm made several announcements. It's pretty clear that the one confirming the arrival of a consumer-oriented smartphone (Treo 680) has both the Motorola Q and the rumored Apple iPhone in its sights.
So without further ado, let's talk Treo!
"With our latest smartphone -- the Treo 680 -- we'll reach out to a new, larger customer set of people who today own feature phones and are ready to experience a mobile phone that is also a mobile computer.
These customers will be able to experience the difference a Treo smartphone makes, feel the power of web and email information at their fingertips and the ease of data input with our award-winning QWERTY keyboard."
-- Ed Colligan, president & CEO of Palm, Inc.
On Thursday, Palm let the world know the Treo 680 was on the way. This Palm OS based, GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad-band world phone, will be available in what the press release refers to as "hip shades of red, orange, white and silver."
Hmm... Looks like they're stealing a page from Apple's playbook, starting with the colors and then adding in a music bundle (from Yahoo) which gives users access to more than 1 million songs to take with them anywhere.
A lot has already been posted about the Treo 680:
CNET has put up their own video.
The TreoCentral Team provided their impressions.
So did Treonauts. Scroll down past their story and read the comments. To say the posted reactions to the 680 are mixed is an understatement.
Show Me The Way -- Google Maps for Treo
As previously mentioned, Thursday was a big announcement day for Palm. In a separate press release
Palm said it will be delivering the popular interactive mapping experience of Google Maps to millions of PalmOS-based Treo users. Google Maps for mobile is a free downloadable PalmOS application that offers directions, local search, moveable/scalable maps, location satellite imagery and traffic updates while on the go. To learn more, read the report by TreoCentral's Michael Ducker. This looks like a fantastic app for PalmOS Treo owners, but it appears it could still use some tweaks, like integrating it with your Contacts or a GPS receiver. Check out the interactive demo on your computer.
Palm Expands Global Reach
To complete the trifecta of announcements, Palm let the world know it expects to bring online 20 carriers for its fourth new smartphone platform announced this calendar year. The four platforms enable a significant expansion of Palm's customer base and geographic reach. The smartphone platforms -- two using Palm OS and two using Windows Mobile -- are distinguished by operating system, industrial design, radio technology or combination of those elements. All of the platforms are either shipping now or ready for shipment once carriers complete their certifications.
Palm Expands Campus Reach
In case you missed it, on Monday, Palm announced it is promoting mobile computing on college campuses through an alliance with the Microsoft Student Partner Program (slated to reach three million students at 114 campuses nationwide). According to the announcement, students will use the Treo 700wx, Sprint's first Windows Mobile-based Treo smartphone on the Sprint Power Vision(SM) Network, to promote the benefits of mobility and create greater awareness of the Palm Connected Campus, an initiative where mobile computing connects students, faculty, IT, administrators and staff to each other, the campus network and personal information.
Before we conclude the Palm News portion of this column, this item of note:
Palm NOT For Sale
In a Reuters report
posted on Thursday, Palm CEO, Ed Colligan stated the company is not for sale.
Answering speculation that Palm was a takeover target, Colligan said that chatter likely comes because the company's stock price and cash position have created a perception that it is a "good value."
"The company is not for sale," he said on the sidelines of the Digital Life press conference in New York. "We have not been out pursuing (a deal). Our strategy is to execute against our plan."
Talkin' Treo Reviews
There were three noteworthy reviews of Treo devices posted this week.
The first one is from Chris Shipley, the executive producer of the renowned DEMO conferences. She talks about how the Treo 700w solves her smart phone woes.
PDA Street compares the Sprint Treo 700wx with the Verizon 700w.
At TreoCentral, Douglas Morse wrote a lengthy review of the new
Treo 750v. He remarks:
"This is a great device and a huge step up from Palm OS devices. A few less clicks here and there are insignificant compared to the much more powerful suite of software, fast multitasking, and better user experience. ActiveSync and the ability to manipulate files from your computer are just two examples of how Windows Mobile is better suited to my needs."
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
ItzKitz SportsBand Case - By Jay Gross
It's workout time! Jay takes a look at the ItzKitz SportsBand Case:
"For running, walking, bike riding or working out, ItzKitz' SportsBand case provides excellent protection while leaving the Treo's screen visible and its controls usable."
Note: Another workout option is TreoCentral's special PowerWalk/PowerTalk bundle where you get the new Smartphone Experts Workout Case plus the Jabra EarBoom corded headset for just $19.95!
This bundle is available for a limited time only, so act now.
Review: Yahoo! Go - By Dieter Bohn
This week, Dieter took a look at Yahoo! Go, an application that integrates many of Yahoo's various web services into your phone. He was impressed with how well it works with the default applications of the Treo 700w|x. Dieter remarks:
"All in all, Y!Go is a great app...The question for me, though, is whether this app is cool enough to make me a Yahoo user. All these synchronization tools are pretty neat, but they're only as good as Yahoo itself...I'm betting that Y!Go won't stay on my device permanently unless Yahoo makes their other services as good as Y!Go itself is."
News & Reviews from Elsewhere in the Treo Community
First stop, a couple of Bluetooth headset reviews.
Review: Jabra JX10 Ð Best Bluetooth Headset Ever?
As far as ZDNet's Jason O'Grady is concerned, the JX10 earned high marks:
"The main benefit for me is that the JX10 is plenty loud with my Treo - bravo!"
For another opinion, you might want to check out this review that appeared on TreoCentral early this year.
Review: Motorola H700 by MyTreo.net
Over at MyTreo.net, Derek took a look at the Motorola H700, the fifth generation of Moto's popular folding microphone design. He writes:
"The Motorola H700
has proven itself in my book, and would make a great headset for anyone with a Treo 700p looking to get into the Bluetooth game. With its rapid connection time, impressive talk time of 6hrs, and sleek and comfortable design I don't think it will disappoint anyone who decides to make it their new choice of BT headset."
Watch for TreoCentral's review, coming soon to a screen near you.
Review: Seidio CrystalCase by Treonauts
According to Andrew over at Treonauts, the new Seidio Crystal Case, designed exclusively for the Treo 700, presents "the latest best solution" in the hard cases category with a clear smooth back and very strong latch mechanism to avoid any 'accidental' openings. He remarks:
"Overall I believe that the Seidio Crystal Case has earned the right to be considered the best new clear case for the Treo 700 thanks to its strong clips, smooth back, smart reset hole and thin construction. The only thing that brings it down remains the raised profile around the keyboard area as well as (for some) the lack of additional screen protection."
Review: CoPilot 6 GPS for the Treo 700w
ALK Technologies recently released a Treo 700w|x edition of their popular CoPilot Live GPS product. Kevin from Everything Treo took it on the road with his Palm Treo 700w to see how it performed.
"With CoPilot Live 6 (Treo 700w Edition), ALK delivers a well conceived package that far surpassed our expectations. The application ran smoothly on our testing device and didn't once crash or cause any major lags in functionality. It also accurately reported our current traveling speed with amazing accuracy. The Treo 700w is already an amazingly powerful device -- but now thanks to ALK, it just got a power boost!"
An Offer You Can't Refuse
Last week, we talked about the cool new Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 Plus reviewed by Harv Laser. TreoCentral has just created a wonderful "jumpstart" package
with a roomy 2GB SD card bundled in for just $169.95 (a $15 savings).
Endnotes & Ponderables
In a week where outside the world of Treo, the big news was Google's $1.6 billion acquisition of YouTube, this tidbit crossed my desk: NBC is producing 20, 90-second original programs developed for mobile phones based on "Pale Force" the animated sketch of the same name featured on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." The mobile stream will be exclusive to Sprint Nextel subscribers for a week before it shows up on NBC's website for others to download.
Looks like an interesting experiment. No doubt Goog-Tube is watching this closely.
That's a wrap!