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Talkin’ Treo

Fri Nov 17, 2006 - 9:34 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 17 November 2006

In a week that began with MicrosoftÂ’s Zune announcement and ended with the release (FINALLY!) of the Sony Playstation 3, it seemed appropriate that there are more Treo-related game reviews than usual. As the saying goes, all work and no playÂ… You get the point. Now letÂ’s talk Treo!

Palm News

This week, there was one Palm announcement of note: Sherwin-Williams Deploys Its First Mobile-Computing Solution with 2,000 Palm Treo Smartphones.

Sherwin-Williams – a global leader in manufacturing, distribution and sales of coatings and related products – announced that its entire sales force in the United States, Caribbean and Canada will be using more than 2,000 PalmOS-based Treo smartphones. The Treo will enable their sales representatives to gain immediate access to valuable company resources that improve customer service, centralize information, and enhance their daily business operations. Combining Palm’s open-platform system with a customized application built in-house, employees will be using the Treo as their mobile office (managing email and phone calls while at customer locations).

The official release from Palm made you work hard to figure out that these were PalmOS-based Treos—which is actually a big deal. On the enterprise-side, it’s been the Windows Mobile-based 700w leading the way. In this case, Sherwin-Williams teamed with AppForge, a member of Palm’s new Select Developer Program, to create a customized Palm OS application that allows its sales force to record daily sales calls, calendar updates and customer contact information immediately after visiting with a customer, regardless of whether they have cell coverage. The data then automatically synchronizes with the corporate network once it returns to cellular coverage. Employees also can use the application to view sales-call history prior to calling a customer. PalmOS… it’s not just for consumers any more.

TalkinÂ’ Treo 750v

Review: Palm 750v

Daniel Robinson of IT Week in the UK took a look at the Treo 750v from a business user perspective:

"The Treo 750v is small enough to be used as a phone, and just large enough for a practical QWERTY keyboard to ease data input. PalmÂ’s careful attention to detail makes this one of the better Windows Mobile devices we have seen."

Review: Shiny Media's One-Minute Review of the 750v

This links you to a video on YouTube about the Treo 750v. Production quality is a bit off, as is the wallpaper in the background. But you might glean something of value, so enjoy!

TalkinÂ’ Treo 680

This news story is interesting because it is touting whatÂ’s on the inside of the Treo 680. Good for cocktail conversationsÂ…

News: Broadcom Announces Treo 680 Uses M-Stream Technology

This week, Broadcom Corporation has announced that the new Palm Treo 680 smartphone is the first commercial cell phone to implement its new M-Stream technology. M-Stream technology provides significant improvements in handset reception and voice quality over legacy cell phones without the need for an upgrade or modifications to an existing network infrastructure.

This next piece was included to provide some perspective into the pros and cons of the Treo 680.

Commentary: Is the 680 Two Years Too Late?

News: Amazon Taking Pre-Orders for the 680

No doubt, you may have seen this story earlier this week, on our Website and others. Well, as the saying goes, “now you see it, now you don’t.” If you go up to Amazon today and search for Treo 680, you’ll get the “Now You Know Treo 680 Smartphone” book by Patrick Ames.

WhatÂ’s up with that? Glad you asked. According to this CrunchGear story, due to "a manufacturing screw-up, the 144,000 Treo 680s that had been shipped out and had to be sent back because some genius forgot to connect the internal microphones. The manufacturer (who isnÂ’t HTC) had to take back all 144,00 680s and fix them all."


Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Game Review: Zen Sudoku - By Jay Gross

Jay has become TreoCentralÂ’s Sudoku master. He comments:

"Zen Sudoku‘s graphics are none too easy on the eye, un-Zen-like I accuse, and the background music is futile (Zen, for sure). For the puzzles themselves, however, its grading system is good, and its help system is fabulous. I reviewed Astraware’s Sudoku for Palm OS Review in June, and it’s still my pick for readability of graphics, even the tiny pencil marks, plus the possibility of competition with others over the associated website. Oh, but competition is so un-Zen."

Review: EMTAC Navigator Palm OS Bundle - By Harv Laser

Harv takes a look at this option for finding your way around using your Treo. He writes:

"The ability to load maps state-by-state and have all the maps come on one DVD is a huge plus. Routing to addresses and POIÂ’s is a breeze, but the address book routing feature was, sadly, frustrating and almost useless. While the attractive software is quirky, the EMTAC S3-BTGPS receiver with its SiRF Star III chipset is damn impressive. An AC adapter should be included in a package at this price, but the internal battery and the car charger should be more than sufficient for most people. A car mount is not included, but there are plenty of inexpensive windshield and dash mount for Treos out there. Aside from the flakey address book integration and the lack of an AC adapter, the EMTAC Navigator PalmOS Bundle is another worthy GPS navigation option for PalmOS Treos. Its biggest letdown is some software flakiness. Its high point is the incredibly powerful and capable GPS receiver."

By the way, if you are in the market for a navigator solution, another option (mentioned in HarvÂ’s review) is the TeleNav GPS Navigator which was recently reviewed by Andrew over at Treonauts. He says it is "one of the first commercial OTA (over-the-air) GPS solutions that I have come across and one which Palm and Cingular plan to promote heavily with the forthcoming Treo 680."

Review: ItzKitz Combo Case - By Jay Gross

ItÂ’s a sleeve! ItÂ’s a pouch! ItÂ’s both! Jay takes a look at this unique approach to keeping your Treo covered:

"Although ItzKitzÂ’ Combo Case could use a stronger magnet, its inner sleeve is well fitted to the Treo, and the nested combination offers excellent protection from everything except major splashes. ItÂ’s a well thought out, reasonably well made product."

More TalkinÂ’ Treo

This week, the 7th TreoCast took place. Along with the usual news and reviews, our hosts provide 10 tips for using the Treo in your social life.

News & Reviews from Elsewhere in the Treo Community

Review: Smartphone Experts ClearCase Review - By Jeff Velten

Jeff writes:

"The overall design of the fairly well-designed ClearCase is promising. And it’s true that when my Treo fell to the ground it did suffer only a few scuff marks. But with improvements, I could wear — and recommend this case — with much more assurance. The case is certainly an attractive way to display your Treo, and if you prefer a case that’s less cumbersome than others that provide more heft and protection (… and you’re a little less abusive to your Treo than I am), this may be the case for you."
Review: Seidio 2-in-1 Retractable Stereo Adapter

John from MyTreo.Net has taken a look at the Seidio 2-in-1 Retractable Stereo Adapter that converts any standard headset into a hybrid headset. With the Seidio 2 in 1 Retractable Stereo Adapter you can listen to MP3Â’s and make and receive calls with your favorite headset. He remarks, "I would recommend this adapter to anyone who already owns a high-end headset. For those who donÂ’t already have a good set of earbuds I suggest checking out SeidioÂ’s 2-in-1 Stereo headset."

Review: SonyEricsson HBH-PV705: Longest Talk Time

Andrew at Treonauts takes a look at this new SonyEricsson Bluetooth Headset. He writes:

"Overall if youÂ’re looking for an affordable, high quality Bluetooth headset for your Treo that benefits from incredible battery life then I can assure you that you will be extremely pleased with the new SonyEricsson HBH-PV705."

As usual, Andrew has provided a great comparison chart—showing how the PV705 stacks up against the Palm Wireless Headset, the Motorola H700 and the Jabra JX10.

Side Note: Bluetooth – 1 Billion Served

This just in, according to a story posted on SlashPhone.com, Bluetooth enabled products are now in the hands of one billion consumers worldwide . Citing shipment information from ABI Research, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced that the installed base of Bluetooth devices reached one billion in early November. Weekly shipments of the wireless devices continue at a pace of 12 million per week. "To put this number in perspective, one billion is greater than the number of PC users in the world and equal to the number of mobile phones shipped this year," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director, Bluetooth SIG. Go Blue!

Game Review: Big Box of Blox for Palm OS

MyTreo.NetÂ’s John Andrews checked out this game thatÂ’s similar to Tetris, but not.

"After I got used to playing Big Box of Blox, I concluded that it was a pretty decent game and I really appreciate the attention to the visuals and sounds the developers put into it. However, even though I've become better at playing the game, I'm still not that great at it. This may just be due to my limited game playing skills, but in my opinion, Big Box of Box doesn't provide the same level of instant gratification and addiction that I have had with other Astraware games. I've heard that some people that never really liked Tetris are big fans of Big Box of Blox, so whether you liked Tetris or not, I would recommend you download the demo version and give it a try. You may be like me and struggle with Big Box of Blox as you overcome your Tetris habits, or you may find that you pick up the game very quickly. It is definitely worth a look if only for the interesting graphics and sounds."
Game Review: Poker-Aces Texas Hold'em - No Limit

Mike at DigitalLifestyles took a look at Aces Texas Hold'em-No Limit poker game, testing it on a Palm Treo 650. He noted that it was easy to play the game one-handed, with all options available via the 5-way controller. In his conclusion, he states:

"For the asking price of $20, this a great little game for passing away spare hours on the train (or perhaps wasting time at the office) and for poker fans it could prove a nifty way to hone your bluffing skills. Despite our lamentable skills, we found it to be an entertaining, addictive and fun game and - dare we say it - we actually seemed to be getting better after a few hours play."
Game News: Blue Diamond and More

"Blue Diamond" by SimToGo, takes place in a Swiss bank vault. The player assumes the role of a thief who has been apprehended by the bank's security director and must match wits with him in a high-stakes game of chance, skill, and timing. Looks interesting.

Review: NV Backup

Andy Leviss writes about new open source backup program released by Alex Pruss, called NVBackup. He notes, "What's unique about NVBackup is that it uses a different method to read and store the data than most other programs, and manages to work around the cache issues that tend to screw up other backup programs."

Some of its key features include: Daily (or nightly) scheduling of backups, Backs data up directly from the internal non-volatile memory, which should prevent crashes that may happen with other backup programs. It does not require a hard or warm reset before restoring data.

The price is right (freeware) and hereÂ’s one of the places you can download it online: www.freewarepalm.com

Review: Google Maps

Wall Street Journal tech columnist, Walt Mossberg took a look at GoogleÂ’s mobile applications this week:

"Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by Google Maps for mobile, Gmail for mobile, and Google SMS (Short Messaging Service), a system that uses text messaging to find answers about certain topics. The programs are visually attractive on smaller screens, and didn't require much practice, catering to people who want quick assistance without much fuss."

Note: I played around with Google Maps on my Treo. Very impressive indeed!

Endnotes & Ponderables

Vote for Treo! Time magazine is gathering votes for "Gadget of the Year." The Treo 700w is in good company (other candidates include Nike/iPod Sport Kit, Nintendo DS Lite, Apple MacBook Pro and the Garmin StreetPilot). Show your support!

ThatÂ’s a wrap!

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