Welcome to the holiday edition of TalkinÂ’ Treo!
Because this is a short week, I thought this would be a great time to talk about trends in the industryÂ—namely things youÂ’ll be able to do with your Treo in the not so distant future. But first, there were a few tidbits of news and reviews that took place this week. So letÂ’s talk Treo!
The Â“680 watchÂ” continues with several sites reporting that Palm is taking orders for it. HereÂ’s a link to one such story by Chris at Engadget. Makes me wonderÂ…has anyone started a pool on when itÂ’ll appear? Just curious.
Opps! Never mind. Looks like as I was putting the finishing touches on this column, Palm made their announcement. Make sure to check the TreoCentral website for the latest as well as a review of the 680.
Meanwhile, a Lehman Brothers analyst helped move PalmÂ’s stock lower this week, when he downgraded it stating Wall Street's 2007 estimates may be too optimistic. According to an AP story picked up by BusinessWeek Online, analyst Jeff Kvaal thinks there will be significant price and margin erosion:
"Discounts at Verizon Wireless stores on the Treo 700 models, and the introduction of new, lower-cost 680 models at Cingular will drive down average sales prices in the fiscal second quarter."
No doubt the folks at Palm will be doing a delicate balancing actÂ—broadening their base of consumers while seeking additional market share in corporations.
And speaking of reaching out to consumers, Business 2.0 writer, Jon Fortt wrote about Palm's new "Passion Brand" campaign in his blog, "The Utility Belt." He reports:
"Palm and some partner companies will spend $25 million on the U.S. portion of a marketing campaign for its Treo smartphone, internally dubbed "Passion Brands." The premise: Palm will introduce potential customers to the idea that they can do things like search Google, bid on eBay, and book flights on Travelocity wirelessly from their Treo phones Â– things they're already passionate about doing online."
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Game Review: Strange Adventures in Infinite Space - By Mike Overbo
Mike reviews Strange Adventures in Infinite Space ($14.95), a game from Astraware, the company responsible for titles such as Bejeweled and Astraware Sudoku. He writes:
"All in all, space opera and science fiction fans are the target for this game, and it's right on the mark. If you like a bit of camp humor, this game will be right up your alley as well. I spent a lot of time playing this game as I avoided writing the review for it, and it's a fair reproduction of other campy adventures like the StarCon series and any game that mocks Star Trek while it steals Star Trek's ideas."
StyleTap - By Douglas Morse
As mentioned in the November 3 issue of Talkin' Treo StyleTap, a new Palm OS emulator, is now available. StyleTap allows users to run thousands of programs originally written for the Palm OS on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC. Douglas recently reviewed it. He concludes:
"There is one final stumbling block to the adoption of StyleTap. This is one expensive program. For $49.95 you could pick up a used Palm device, or for a few dollars more, a new one. Or for convenience, you may be able to find Windows Mobile equivalent programs to the ones you so desperately need. There is a 14 day free trial of the program and IÂ’d strongly suggest you put it to good use. Certainly you should not rely on StyleTap to make the transition to a Windows Mobile device less painless. YouÂ’ll need to either cut the cord or stick with a Palm OS device."
News & Reviews from Elsewhere in the Treo Community
Review: Jabra BT500v - by Joshua Yates
Joshua from Everything Treo checked out the Jabra BT500v:
"I have come to believe that most problems with Bluetooth headsets are caused by the TreoÂ’s Bluetooth capabilities or the lack thereof. Since the Treo has some Bluetooth limitations, only some of the [BT500vÂ’s] features work with the Treo. But I have to say that I love the design of this headset. The fit around the back of the ear and the inner ear speaker does wonders, and sound level is not an issue at all. The BT500v gives me the design I want and not a huge loss of functionality. Overall, I found it to be a great headset."
Review: Neuros MPEG4 Video Recorder 2 PLUS - by Alli Flowers
HereÂ’s another review of the Neuros MPEG4 video recorder (first reviewed by TreoCentralÂ’s Harv Laser back in October.
Alli from MyTreo.net writes:
"Converting DVDs the Â‘old fashionedÂ’ way is free. But it's time consuming and not simple. The Neuros MPEG4 Video Recorder 2, on the other hand, takes absolutely all the guesswork out of converting any video into digital, plus audio is never out of sync after the conversion. It's amazingly easy, portable, and great fun."
Review: Google Maps
Last week, I mentioned Walt Mossberg's write-up of GoogleÂ’s mobile applications (including Google Maps). This week, Andrew of Treonauts provides his thoughts on Google Maps:
"If you havenÂ’t already done so I cannot more highly recommend that you install Google Maps on your Treo and start discovering for yourself just how incredibly useful and fun this free application is."
TalkinÂ’ Trends - More Mobile Applications & Content
Every time I turn around
I'm looking up, you're looking down
Maybe something's wrong with you
That makes you act the way you do
Maybe I am crazy tooÂ…
Maybe weÂ’ll all be crazy tooÂ—as more and more fun mobile content becomes available for the Treo, weÂ’ll all be spending more and more time looking down.
Seems like thereÂ’s a lot of momentum in the mobile applications and content arena, which means Treo owners are going to have a lot more interesting things to do and view on their smartphone in the months ahead.
For example, last week there was an announcement that the 3-Group, a global leader in 3G mobile broadband, was partnering with Skype, Sling Media, Yahoo!, Nokia, Google, eBay, Microsoft, Orb and Sony Ericsson, to "unleash the true power of broadband internet over the mobile."
Customers will be able to make unlimited calls from their mobile using Skype, watch their home television via their mobile using Sling, access their home PC remotely using Orb and have access to the best of internet and messaging services from Yahoo!, Windows Live Messenger and Google.
Simon over at Digital Lifestyles has an excellent take on this:
"3 have taken a number of applications that have been available to the technically aware for some time, but cleverly brought them together into a single package that all consumers should be able to understand."
And the race is on to get video onto mobile devicesÂ—ground that has already been broken by Apple with the iPod and Microsoft with its Zune ("Welcome to the Social"). Next stop, having YouTube videos ported over. I happened to stumble upon this story that really made me thinkÂ—yeah, that would be cool.
ThereÂ’s a site, called TinyTube.net that offers scaled-down versions of the original videos for quicker loading and less strain on the limited resources of mobile devices. When I checked out the Muppets piece suggested by CoolSmartphone.com, I could see the possibilities.
TinyTube isnÂ’t the only company playing in this space. MocoNews ran a story about new software from that lets users choose videos from Web sites such as YouTube and then, via OrbÂ’s Web menu, those videos are made available for viewing on phones. Very cool!
But ThereÂ’s More!
This Â“looking downÂ” trend isnÂ’t just for entertainment. Last week, Cingular announced their intent to offer cell phone banking. According to a story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, this service, accessible via an application (produced by Firethorn Holdings) that users can download to their phone, will be available early next year.
The point is, no matter what Treo you own (or are considering buying) the possibilities of what you can be doing and viewing with it are endless. These are indeed exciting times!
Endnotes & Ponderables
YouÂ’ve probably seen the ad campaign from office supply retailer, Staples that features the Easy button. Do you have any idea how many of those buttons have been sold?
According to this Brandweek story that was repurposed in the Boston Globe, itÂ’s 1.5 million. Okay, so do the math: At $5 a pop, thatÂ’s $7.5 million in revenue(!?!). The story mentions Staples donated the first $1 million dollars earned to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Still, thatÂ’s a nice revenue stream for something thatÂ’s basically "an elegant metaphor for the fact that everyone is frustrated as hell about how hard it is to get things done today," Alan Siegel, CEO of the branding firm Siegel Gale. No doubt!
ThatÂ’s a wrap! Enjoy your holiday!