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Cyber Monday -- Get 10% off!

sponsored post

We invite you to come visit the TreoCentral Store for the best selection of accessories (cases, headsets, chargers, memory cards, etc.) for Windows Mobile Phones at great, EVERYDAY LOW prices, year-round!.

Typically people think of Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the year, but that applies more to brick and mortar than it does on the web. Here, we have Cyber Monday! To celebrate, the TreoCentral Store has created a very special 10% Off coupon valid until midnight PST on Monday, for accessories in the store only.

Simply enter the coupon code TCMONDAY at checkout, under billing info, to have the 10% discount applied to your entire cart of accessories.

(Cannot be combined with any other offer and does not apply to handling charges or taxes or software.)

10% Off until Midnight Pacific on Monday, December 1st.

Don't forget! The TreoCentral store charges a flat fee of just $5.95 for UPS Ground shipments.UPS Next Day Air and Next Day Air A.M. shipping options are also available. Once you added an item to your cart, you can see a real-time quote for all the available services, delivery dates, and shipping costs to your destination.

Centro for Santa... Causes Change to Claüs

This just in... According to a post by Palm blogger, Jon Zilber, Santa has undergone a sort of a makeover that all started when he was given a Palm Centro. Inspired by the possibilities this fine device introduced to his world, he has turned his life around. He is now in great shape (you won't recognize him), is sporting new threads, and even has a new nickname (the euro-hip "Cla�s"). The Centro has gotten Cla�s to embrace Web 2.0 too. He has his own Facebook page and has switched his preferred communication method to texting over snail mail. Per the blog post, the new Cla�s will be making appearances in some eye-catching ads too.

You might want to visit him early and often this holiday season on his Facebook page which will feature videos and downloads (now available, the "Share the joy of the Cla�s Remix CD").

If the Centro can cause this much of change in Santa, imagine what it can do for you!

Treo Software Roundup - v112808
This week we're looking at TimeDrift, Virtual Finance, High & Low and more in new Palm OS. Some updated Palm OS apps are DVD Catalyst, Cookiz and more. New in WM software is SmartCaddie Pro with GPS, trakAxMobile Multimedia Mixer and more. Some updated WM apps are Winterface, Agendus for Windows Mobile Pocket PC and more...

Let Your Centro Drive Your TiVo!
Annie tells us how to use your Centro with Tivo Mobile...

Round Robin: TiPb Treo Pro Video Preview
Rene Ritchie over at our sister site The iPhone blog now has his hands on the Palm Treo Pro, and he's posted his video preview...

Round Robin: TreoCentral on the BlackBerry Bold
I'm on my second smartphone in the Round Robin. This time I've got hold of the Bold....

Palm EOL's Treo 680 and Various Accessories

Dieter reported back in September that the Palm Treo 680 was going to be officially discontinued on AT&T's network.

Today Palm Infocenter is reporting that this month's Palm Channelsource newsletter for its reseller partners has a large list of Palm peripherals now classified as having reached end-of-life status. The newsletter makes the Treo 680 EOL status official.

Looks like Palm's GPS Navigator by Garmin kit has also joined the EOL ranks. According to PIC, the Garmin powered Palm GPS Navigator Kit was Palm's only branded GPS solution that is officially listed as compatible with the Centro.

Below is the full list of Palm EOL announcements:

  • 1048NA Palm Treo 680 Smartphone (Generic)
  • P10950U Palm Care for Handhelds
  • 3291WW Palm Vehicle Power Adapter for Treo 800w
  • 3262WW Palm GPS Navigator Car Kit for Treo 680 and Treo 700p
  • 3380NA Palm GPS Navigator featuring Garmin
  • 3264WW Sudoku Deluxe CD
  • 3358WW 1 GB MicroSD Expansion Card with SD adaptor
  • 3359WW 2GB MicroSD Expansion Card with SD adaptor
  • 3360WW 4GB MicroSD Expansion Card with SD adaptor
  • 3294WW Advanced Brain Trainer

Hmmm, also among the EOL'd is the Palml Care extended warranty kit, which PIC says is an extension of the retail warranty on a Palm handheld alongside a one-time screen replacement. Does this signal an imminent EOL notice of Palm's remaining handheld models?

Elevation Releases Statement on Palm's Progress

Dieter recently wrote that Palm is laying off as many as 200 people worldwide. We reported today that CNBC's Jim Goldman had given Palm a thumbs down after hearing that Elevation Partners, Palm's huge financial backer, might be looking to unload its stake in Palm.

Palm Infocenter is reporting that as a result of that analyst report, Elevation Partners co-founder and Palm Board member Roger McNanmee, has released a statement reasserting their position. Mr. McNanmee stated that Elevation remains very excited about Palm's progress and next generation operating system and they have no plans to back out of their Palm investment. Below is the statement in full:

Elevation Partners is very pleased with the progress Ed Colligan, Jon Rubinstein and the entire Palm team are making. The Company's product pipeline, including a next generation operating system due out soon and a new device targeted for the first half of 2009, excite us enormously. Elevation supports Palm in taking the difficult but necessary steps required to migrate from legacy products. We have a very long-term investment horizon and have no plans to exit our investment in Palm.

Well, that sure is good to hear! I'm happy to know that Elevation Partners has that confidence in Palm. A company would have to have a lot of confidence in any company in which it invests $325 million anyway. I still have confidence in Palm and I can't wait to see what they bring to us in the first half of 2009.

Treo Pro Now Available in Latin America

Palm Inc. today announced the Treo Pro smartphone is now available in Latin America from carriers in seven countries:

  • Argentina (Personal, Movistar, and Claro/America Movil)
  • Chile (Entel)
  • Costa Rica (ICE)
  • Guatemala (Claro and Tigo)
  • Mexico (Movistar and Telcel/America Movil)
  • Panama (Movistar)
  • Puerto Rico (Claro/America Movil)

Looks like a lot more people will now be able to enjoy the Palm Treo Pro, which is an easy-to-use smartphone for businesses that want to simplify their IT infrastrctures and lower costs. The average smartphone user can also enjoy the Treo Pro. The Treo Pro runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

Of course you can get the Treo Pro here in the states, but you'll have to buy it unlocked at the moment as there aren't any carriers yet. We are hearing rumors that Sprint will be getting the Treo Pro in January, and we don't have very long to see if those rumors pan out.

CNBC's Jim Goldman Gives Palm a Big Thumbs Down

We heard on Friday that Palm was laying off as many of 200 people Worldwide and that Palm may be closing some international offices in Europe and Asia as well. Last Wednesday, Palm Infocenter had reported that Palm's stock price dropped another 21% that day to close a 1.76. Ugh, that's really low.

Jim Goldman of CNBC has written an article and says that those following Palm's problems weren't very surprised when they heard on Friday about the layoffs coming at Palm, especially since there have been layoffs in other Silicon Valley businesses in the past few weeks.

Goldman said that investors might actually notice the fact that Global Crown Capital's Pablo Perez-Frernadez not only downgraded Palm shares to a "Sell", but he also suggested that Palm's single biggest investor, Elevation Partners, might be looking to unload its stake in Palm. Goldman said that if true, that could be the end of Palm.

According to the article, Perez-Fernandez chides Palm's strategy to pay a one-time, $900 million dividend to engineer Elevation's 25% stake for $325 million, saying that it made no sense then and still doesn't today, given Palm's current financial situation.

You can read the full article here.

I've still got my fingers crossed that Palm's new platform will breathe new life into their finances.

What Would You Do to Lower Your Wireless Bill?

We all know that signing up for that 2-year wireless service contract will get us a price break on a spanking new Centro, Treo Pro or other mobile phone. But what about those monthly fees that seem to be approaching cable bill like amounts?

MarketingVox.com reported on the results of a survey commissioned by Transverse and conducted by iGR, that stated two-thirds (61%) of mobile users would be willing to view advertising on their mobile phone in return for a discount on their monthly bill. Not surprising is the amount of reduction � 50%.

The sample for the survey consisted of 810 wireless subscribers age 18-65. Details can be found here.

Fact or Fiction: Replacing my 700p with a Centro will solve all of my smartphone problems - by Bob Caruso
If you've owned or own a Treo 700p, you'll surely remember the whole 700p maintenance release saga. Well, Bob Caruso, AKA Bob-C from our TreoCentral forums, is the guy who wrote the open letter to Palm's CEO Ed Colligan in regard to all the bugs plaguing the 700p. Bob has recently migrated to the Palm Centro, and has kindly written up his experiences and thoughts in the following article...

UPS - Seasonal Recruitment Goes Mobile
According to a MediaPost story, UPS is leveraging mobile to line up seasonal employees (driver assistants and shippers) that allows prospects to apply via cell phone when they see any print or outdoor ad. The prospects are asked to text "UPSJobs" to #95495. The acknowledgement from UPS includes a link to the company�s application site. There are two phases to this campaign. In phase one, which focused on hiring drivers, there was a 96% click-through rate for those who send text messages indicating they wanted to learn more about the jobs available. Anyone with a Centro, Treo or other Web-enabled phone can apply on the spot via their phone. When UPS did this to recruit drivers, there was over eight thousand opt-ins, with 96% clicking through. The forecast for this seasonal recruiting effort is that 30,000 people will opt-in after being exposed to UPS ads in traditional print, radio or TV. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend in 2009 - call it Recruitment 2.0.

CrackBerry.com on the Treo Pro
Our Round Robin Continues -- CrackBerry.com reviews the Treo Pro

Palm Lays Off More Employees
Palm is Laying off a significant portion of their workforce, we've confirmed with the company.

Round Robin: AT&T Fuze Final Review
My time is up with the Fuze in the Round Robin. I've written my final review of this very impressive smartphone...

Treo Software Roundup - v112108
We've got another roundup of new and updated software, including NetWalk for Palm OS, My Little Tank for Palm OS, Bubble Pop, F75 luxury clock for WM, txtForward for WM, Spb Wireless Monitor, and more...

Spb Wireless Monitor 3.0 for WM Treos

Hey folks, are you like me and wonder just WHERE did you spend ALL that money on when it comes to data charges? Wow!

Well, Spb has just the answer you need! With their Wireless Monitor 3.0, Spb gives subscribers control over their mobile data spending by measuring data traffic, calculating the network charges, warning of costly data usage, and reporting which application exactly generates what kind of data traffic!

In 2002, Spb GPRS Monitor accounted for the lack of a built-in data tracking tool in Windows Mobile devices. A four-time prize winner in the Smartphone and Pocket PC magazine's Best Software Awards, shipped in over a dozen devices by ASUS, HTC, O2, Samsung, and T-Mobile, the Spb Wireless Monitor has over 3,000,000 loyal customers worldwide. Now known as Wireless Monitor 3.0, it comes with massive enhancements in features and abilities.

Read on for the full article

Dial-A-Frame Shows Off Phone Pictures

T-Mobile is peddling a digital picture frame that connects to a wireless carrier network for photos to be uploaded. Manufactured by Parrot, of Paris, the frame has its own dedicated T-Mobile phone number and e-mail address.

The $99.99 picture frame works with any mobile phone that can send picture messages - regardless of what network they're connected to. It can receive and display photos sent from a mobile phone using MMS (same thing as SMS, but with photos) or e-mail. For good measure, the frame also features a USB connection and micro-SD card slot. The "Cameo" automatically rotates and resizes the photos it receives, and it can stand vertically or horizontally, as well as hang on the wall.

T-Mobile assesses a $9.99 monthly service charge for unlimited messaging to the frame. For more information check out www.t-mobile.com.

I have my quibbles with T-Mobile, of which I'm no longer a customer since tangling with their out-and-out rude customer service people, but here's a list of the features, courtesy of Parrot:

  • Leather, seven-inch frame stands vertically or horizontally - automatically rotates and resizes all photos
  • Receives real-time pictures directly to the frame via MMS and e-mail from a camera phone
  • Non-T-Mobile customers can send photos to the frame (yayyy!)
  • Memory: 64 MB
  • 720 x 480 pixel display

Weekly Tips and How-To's: MSS Converter
This week Brian tells us about a Free and handy app for your WM Treo that will help you make conversions such as metric and English...

iPhones Cracked Too

The Treo Pro isn't the only high-profile smartphone with cracks in its case. Apple is being sued over hairline cracks in iPhone 3G's casings.

"Although Apple was and is aware that the iPhones were and are defective, and that consumers have experienced repeated instances of cracked housing, Apple has nevertheless allowed the defectively designed iPhones to be sold to the public," the suit says, among other complaints.

There isn't much people won't sue about these days, and I generally translate "class action lawsuit" as "lawyer fee motivated enterprise unrelated to actual consumer concern." But there you have it. I don't have a Treo Pro to complain about, so I'm talking out of turn. I was sure steamed about Palm's failure to support my Treo 700p, but I lucked out and the mega-tardy Maintenance Release for Sprint didn't "brick" my device and actually fixed the biggest bugs. I'd sure be mad if I spotted cracks, though, hairline or otherwise.

Customers shouldn't have to sue to get attention, or to get replacements for defective products. Problems occur, often unpredictably, and an honorable company should address them quickly and honestly. Okay, I'm old-fashioned. Also, pigs should sprout wings, and the check is definitely in the mail.

Sprint Getting Treo Pro in January?

Phil Nickson over at WMExperts reports that Sprint Treo Pro is reportedly dropping in January as reported here. One would assume this is all just speculation, but who knows what may have been leaked?

Also, it seems that after much speculation, the projected date is set to Janurary 11, 2009, according to BGR. Sprint customers will surely be delighted if the Treo Pro is offered, but those of us with Verizon or AT&T will surely be jealous!

Back in mid October, our own Jennifer Chappell also reported that Malatesta over at our sister site WMExperts had come upon something very interesting in his search at Sprint's website. While looking for a download for his Treo 800w, he was looking at Sprint's device selector and saw the Treo Pro listed.

With all the speculation and the reliability of the sources for the above information, I don't doubt that the Treo Pro is coming to Sprint! Only time will tell, but I'm betting Sprint customers are keeping their fingers crossed!

Treo Pro Body Cracks
Some Treo Pro owners are discovering cracks on their devices, and the number seems to be growing...

Smartphone Outlet

Did you ever wonder what happens to the items that were returned to a store after the box was opened? Big savings is what happens!

The TreoCentral Store would like to introduce you to a new sister store, "Smartphone Outlet". Our opened returns go through a rigorous check to assure that our customers are getting what they pay for.

All products sold through the Smartphone Outlet are Open Box products, which were returned for one reason or another from a customer or overstock from a manufacturer. All items are tested, sanitized, and repackaged for sale.

For example, you can get a sporty red Jawbone headset for $49.95. If you're looking for some Treo or Centro accessories at the lowest prices, head over to the Smartphone Outlet and see what we've got!

Amazon Offers Text Alerts for Daily Deals

In today's economy, finding new ways to get the most bang for your buck has practically become a new sport. So why not leverage your Centro/Treo or other text messaging enabled mobile phone to get alerts for items going on sale?

Last week Amazon launched a new service that will alert consumers by text message about low-priced items of the day. The mobile promotion, available at www.amazon.com/gp/anywhere/sms/goldbox for full details.

Amazon isn't the only retailer trying to help people shop smarter. Wal-Mart has also announced a mobile messaging service called, "Walmart Holiday Mobile Alerts," where you can sign up to receive up to three alerts per week. For example, on Saturday, I was notified on my Centro that Wal-Mart was selling fresh turkey for $1.18 per pound. I was also given a link where I could view other specials in the categories of Electronics, Apparel, Home, Entertaining and Rollbacks.

Looks like direct marketing has kicked it up a notch this holiday season.

Round Robin: CrackBerry Kevin's Treo Pro Video Review
Kevin over at CrackBerry.com has his Treo Pro video review up

American Airlines Intros Mobile Boarding Passes

Last week, American Airlines announced that passengers traveling from selected airports (Chicago's O'Hare, Los Angeles International and John Wayne Orange County) will be able to receive their boarding passes electronically on their mobile phones or PDAs, saving the time it takes to print out and present a paper boarding pass at the airport. The mobile boarding passes use a two-dimensional (2-D) barcode, which must be entirely visible (the backlight needs to be in the brightest mode possible) when going through the security checkpoint. If the scanner cannot read your barcode, you will be directed to a kiosk where a paper-boarding pass can be printed.

The process for obtaining a mobile boarding pass is straightforward: When travelers check in for their flight using American's Web site, AA.com � either the desktop or mobile versions � they have the option to receive their boarding passes on their cell phones or PDAs. If this option is selected, they will get an e-mail with an Internet link to their boarding pass. Anyone with bags to check can also use this new option by scanning the boarding pass on their cell phone or PDA screen at American Airlines self-service machines, ticket counters, or curbside check-in facilities.

There doesn't appear to be a fee for the mobile boarding pass. This could be a time saver and very convenient if the scanning equipment works. Just think, no more fumbling with an 8 x 11 piece of paper!

Smartphone Round Robin: AT&T Fuze Video Review
Our 2nd Annual Smartphone Round Robin has begun! First up on TreoCentral, I look at the AT&T Fuze...

Change Comes to Parking

The Cell Phone Age is making it easier to park your car, at least in downtown Decatur, Georgia. Look for the technology to take hold in other places, too, before you can shake a stick at a no-armed bandit.

The newest thrill in those bandits, also known as parking meters, has been installed on 50 of Decatur's none-too-plentiful parking spaces so far. Parking goes high-tech. Dial the number that's printed on the meter and buy time. Simple! It�s one of the country's first pay-by-phone parking systems, but the aim is not so much to obviate mad dashes and chewing gum purchases in search of quarters. The system is really designed to encourage more parking place turnover and, of course, to rake in more money for the Atlanta burb's coffers.

Decatur also uses an automated system that detects whether a car has moved, preventing drivers from feeding the meter when the time's up. It also radios the city's meter maids ("parking attendants" is the current euphemism) when meters expire and points them toward drivers who park without paying. Mean!

With the pay-by-cell system, inaugurated this month, drivers call a local phone number and enter the parking space number. On the first call, the system sends them a text message inviting them to a Web site, from which I lifted the accompanying picture, to create an account (credit card required). After that, drivers can just call the number each time and draw against their balance to keep the meter maids at bay. The service costs the users a quarter extra - "transaction fee."

The meters cost the city about $200 apiece. Each one has a radio that transmits data and sensors that detect parked cars. The things also accept old-tech coins.

Announcing the Smartphone Round Robin!
The Smartphone Round Robin is back! Read on for more on the Smartphone Round Robin and for details on how you can win one of five Smartphone Prize Packs!

Fictionwise: The NYT Bestseller Sale - $9.95 Each
Fictionwise is having a sale on all New York Times bestsellers for a limited time...

Treo Software Roundup - v111408
This week we look at Gift Reminder, Bluetooth GPS Tool for Palm Treo and more new for Palm OS. Some updated Palm OS apps are Butler and Bookworm and more. iambic released a major new version of Agendus for WM and Pocket PC Professional Editon. Some updated WM apps are Spb Keyboard, Elecont Dialer and more...

iQcontacts Released
Using iQcontacts, you'll find your contacts faster on your Palm OS Treo or Centro.

TreoCentral TreoCast Episode 56
This week Mike and Dieter fight through debilitating illness to discuss what might have been had Apple purchased Palm back in 1997, talk about some other industry news, and hit on the latest patches.

Palm Backup Beta To Be Shut Down
Palm is giving up on their grand Backup plan, and the service will be discontinued at the end of 2008 - but there are other options

Facebook's Mobile Users Triple

According to a post by Wayne Chang, an engineer on Facebook�s mobile team, usage of Facebook's mobile products has grown from 5 million to 15 million active users since the beginning of the year.

This growth is being attributed to the convenience of being able to post status updates while on the go from Centros and other mobile phones. He stated, "Now you can converse with your friends on Facebook by commenting on their updates no matter where you are."

The Facebook app is a staple of the Treo and Centro. You can download it directly to your Treo 680, Treo 755p or Centro (if, for some reason, you don't have it), by typing mobile.palm.com/facebook into your smartphone's web browser.

Along with doing status updates, the Facebook app will let you: send and receive Facebook messages, and respond to friend requests; view and post photos; browse friends' profiles, post messages to their wall, and send friend requests or search for old friends through Facebook; and, open Contacts and dial your friends with just one touch.

Weekly Tips and How-To's: TeksFiles
This week Brian tells us how you can use your Palm OS Treo or Centro as a wireless storage device with TeksFiles...

Treo Cut in Half for Contest
Ouch! It hurt to watch a guy cut his Treo in half to win a BlackBerry Storm on our sister site CrackBerry.com.

Sprint Loses Money and Customers in Third Quarter; Clearwire merger okayed
Sprint's latest quarterly report shows the company losing another $328 million and another 1.3 million customers, but the Clearwire merger deal is a go.

Palm Releases BT Bug Fix for Treo Pro
Palm has released a Bluetooth patch for the Treo Pro

Microsoft Quietly Patches Serious WM 6.1 E-mail Bug
Microsoft has released a patch for WM 6.1 phones for an email bug that can cause messages in your outbox to stay there for good

VITO Technology Weather 1.2 Revamped

We told you last month about VITO Technology's Free Weather app. Weather is a Windows Mobile software for getting the weather forecast right on your device. It has an intuitive and finger-friendly interface. In Winterface, the weather icon shows either the degrees of the first city in the list or the image that shows whether it is cloudy, snowy, windy, etc.

We learned today that a new version of free Weather has been released. Weather 1.2 has been revamped with an updated cities database that includes 100% of USA cities and all major world cities.

VITO Technology says that with its finger-friendly and stylish interface, Weather is the WINNER among Windows Mobile weather applications. And it's 100% Free.

Weather can display the forecast for up to 10 cities. Users make a swiping gesture on the screen for smooth sliding to the next page with a forecast for another city. Users can also decide the order in which the cities appear in Weather by dragging and dropping a city with their finger in the list of added cities.

Weather also integrates into VITO Technology's next generation mobile shell Winterface. When users add the Weather icon in Winterface, it can display either temperature or the weather status icon.

You can get Weather here for Free. I think I'll try it out on my Treo Pro!

Find a Date via Your Cell Phone With BluePont
Look for friends or dates in your immediate area by using your mobile phone...

SquareTrade Research: Treo Not as Reliable as iPhone in 1st Year
SquareTrade has just released a study on warranty reliability reports and found that iPhones had fewer failures than BlackBerry and Treo phones within the first year of ownership.

Iris Browser for Windows Mobile - Beta 2 Released

Remember back in August when we told you about the Iris Browser for Windows Mobile? To refresh your memory, the Iris Browser is an iPhone like browser and has the revolutionary technology that allows you to access the full Web on resource-constrained devices and get the same functionality as you would on a PC. Sounds pretty good when you think about the ho-hum browsing we have to endure on our WM Treos.

I just read over at the::unwired that Torch Mobile has released its Beta 2 of Iris Browser for Windows Mobile.

According to the::unwired, the new version contains over 100 fixes and improvements and is said to be incredibly fast and stable now.

The Torch Mobile Blog states that the focus on Beta 2 was entirely on:

  1. Performance
  2. Smaller footprint - we're 10% smaller than beta 1!
  3. User interaction improvement
  4. Stability
  5. Page rendering improvement

From the Torch Mobile Blog:

Surfing your favorite pages will feel much more responsive, and the dreaded �memory pressure� warnings are very hard to find on devices with 128MB of memory. Even devices with less memory are capable of browsing much larger pages now, and our use of memory on these pages is reduced in almost every case.

You can download the Iris Browswer Beta 2 here for Free.

AT&T to Buy Centennial Communications

Engadget Mobile is reporting via The New York Times that AT&T is buying Centennial Communications for $944 million in cash. The New York Times says that the price is more than double Centennial's stock market value.

Darren Murph over at Engadget Mobile says that the transaction will beef up AT&T's coverage for customers who live in rural areas of the Midwest and Southeast United States, plus Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Hey, maybe it'll beef up my coverage since I live in the rural Southeast.

From AT&T's press release:

"Mobility is a vital investment area for AT&T and our company's biggest growth driver," said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "This transaction enhances network coverage for our consumer and business customers and is expected to create long-term value for AT&T's stockholders.

According to The New York Times, AT&T is locked in a fierce battle with Verizon Wireless to dominate the nation's cellphone service business. When Verizon acquired Alltel in June, they surged past AT&T as the dominant presence in the field.

The acquisition must first pass regulatory approval, approval of Centennial's stockholders and other customary closing conditions. AT&T's press release states that Centennial's largest stockholder, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, has agreed to vote in support of this transaction.

You can read the full press release here.

YouMail Puts Phone Tag on Notice
Annie tells us about YouMail, a cool voicemail-to-text service...

Around SPE - 9 Nov 2008

Last week both CrackBerry.com and WMExperts found themselves on the cusp of major releases -- the BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Bold on AT&T, the HTC Fuze on AT&T, not to mention a few others on the Windows Mobile side. So while everybody has been anticipating new devices, all of the editors at SPE are anticipating something else that will be starting on November 17th. The hint is in the full story!

Read on for the full skinny on what's been happening around SPE!

Weekly Tips and How-To's: Keeping in Touch
This week Brian talks about the ways we can keep in touch with our family and friends via our Palm smartphones...

Official Bluetooth Compatibility Information Is Now Online

Shopping for yourself or others has become more difficult with the recent extinction of that elusive creature, the "highly trained in-store sales professional." This problem can be particularly frustrating when you're looking for something exotic, like Bluetooth-enabled contraptions such as headsets, speaker phones, and screwdrivers. Okay, not the screwdrivers, yet, but it won't be long.

Where to turn? Don't bother with the "official" website. It's way incomplete. The Bluetooth SIG � that's the group behind the standard � set up the website that it claims will clear up obfuscations that confound the buying public. Actually, it's even worse than a gum-chewing nonentity clerk, and not as nice. The website proposes to "help consumers match their current Bluetooth enabled devices to companion products." The cold hard reality is that the SIG's system knows almost nothing about Palm products, a very misleading situation, especially considering the way the site presents its misinformation.

Read on for the full article

Text Messaging Traffic Surges Election Night

The numbers are in, and it looks like the use of text messaging was a clear-cut winner on Tuesday night. Per Sybase 365, the global leader in mobile messaging services, there was an unprecedented surge in SMS traffic during the 10 minutes immediately following the official announcement that Barrack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States of America. Between 8.00pm and 8.10pm PST, the volume of messages surged over 3 times the "normal" volume for that time of day. The hour between 8.00pm and 9.00pm PST was 9% greater than the same hour on the previous day.

Sybase 365 reported that as polling stations closed across the country and specifically between 4:00pm and 9.00pm PST, more than 1.2 billion SMS messages were sent across the country. Throughout Tuesday, the total number of text messages sent was 10 percent higher than the previous day.

Just to put that into perspective, last May AT&T reported that a text messaging record of 78 million messages dedicated to the 2008 season of American Idol.

1.2 billion vs. a mere 78 million? No doubt this is further proof that this election season, voters embraced technology and social networking.

Editor eBook Pick of the Week: Remembering Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton, one of my favorite authors has passed away. Let's remember this talented writer by looking at some of his books in eBook format...

Treo Software Roundup - v110708
New for Palm OS this week is Hexagon, Zeus Quest and more. Some updated Palm OS apps are WeekUp Alarm Clock, Currency Converter and Croquis. New for WM is Zeus Quest, Spb Clone and more. And some updated WM apps are Spb Traveler 2.0, Snake Deluxe, and more...

Palm Launches Treo Pro on Vodafone in New Zealand

Palm announced today the Treo Pro on the Vodafone New Zealand network. With its streamlined design and Palm's ease-of-use innovations layered on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, Treo Pro is a unique combination of sleek simplicity and robust productivity -- including email, Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities) -- that meets the needs of businesses and end users alike.

I'm sure that Vodafone customers in New Zealand are excited to be able to get their hands on the Palm Treo Pro.

From the press release:

"Vodafone New Zealand's business customers need mobile access to business productivity tools in a well-designed device that's easy to use," said Alan Leigh, general manager of Business Marketing, Vodafone New Zealand. "Treo Pro broadens our business product portfolio with a Windows Mobile smartphone that can increase productivity as it lowers infrastructure and support costs."

You can read the full press release here.

Sprint does Football... tonight!

Those of you with Sprint Centros

For the first time Thursday, a National Football League game -- the Cleveland Browns vs. the Denver Broncos -- will be broadcast on Sprint mobile phones as part of the wireless company's exclusive partnership with the league. That partnership deal is valued at about $500 million over five years. Over the next seven weeks, Sprint will phone-cast the eight games that are televised solely on the NFL Network, the league's cable channel. For the past three seasons, the NFL has struggled to persuade major cable operators to include its channel in their basic programming packages.

Sprint will be the only wireless carrier to offer the NFL Network game telecasts via its exclusive NFL Mobile Live application and on Sprint TV, free of charge to Sprint data subscribers. The first televised game features the Cleveland Browns hosting the Denver Broncos on NFL Network's Thursday Night Football broadcast. NFL Network's six subsequent Thursday night telecasts will be available to Sprint subscribers as well as the final NFL Network game on Saturday, Dec. 20.

Only from Sprint

Get Sprint's NFL Mobile Live and watch live broadcasts of NFL Network games and listen to live audio of all regular season games.A Plus, real-time Red Zone alerts, Game Center & more. FREE with any data plan. Features vary by device.

I have the Sprint Power Vision Access package and will be giving it a try.

Smartphone Use Increasing

Consumers finally gravitating to smartphones and using the mobile Internet, according to a new study by the Kelsey Group. Titled "Mobile Market View," the study found that 18.9 percent of consumers surveyed had a smartphone, and 49.2 percent planned to buy one within the next two years.

Smartphones are not new. This level of acceptance is. Maybe the increase has something to do with the difficulty of texting with a 10-key candybar phone. Or not. The study also found that these smartphone users had a marked increase in the level of mobile search activity. About 18 percent downloaded or looked at map directions on the handset, an increase from 10.8 percent in 2007. There were also significant increases in the number of mobile subscribers who searched for products, movie and entertainment information. Mobile social networking also went up.

Read on for the full article

Sprint's Holiday Centros Now Available & Original Centros on Sale

Palm Infocenter is reporting that Palm's holiday Sprint Centros, the refreshed Olive Green and Rose Centros, are now available for purchase on Sprint's and Palm's online stores.

If you recall, the refreshed holiday Centros have twice the storage at 128MB, the ability to add up to 4GB more with a microSD card, soft-touch paint, Facebook for Palm, and Google Maps with the My Location feature. PIC notes that the new Centros also have a slightly revised "gel" keyboard. I wasn't aware of that. Interesting.

You can get the new Centros for $79.99 after $100 mail-in rebate and a 2 year contract. And don't forget that you have a chance to win a Vibrant Rose Centro from Palm and InStyle.com through November. You have until November 30 to enter the contest. One entry per person.

Read on for the full article

Yes They Did... Analysts Downgrade PALM

Last week, Palm's stock took a beating ("Did Fools Rush In") but managed to recover. An informed reader (Thanks Phil!) let me know that the volatility was actually due to hedge fund liquidations. Today Palm (PALM) shares are being impacted due to downgrades made by analysts at Avian Securities and Morgan Keegan. Per a story in Barron's by Eric Savitz, Avian analyst Matthew Thornton cut his rating on the stock to Neutral from Positive. Based on discussions he had with management and a survey of U.S. retailers, he believes that smartphone sales will come in below expectations for the next several quarters.

In the same story, Savitz mentions that Morgan Keegan's Tavis McCourt downgraded the shares to Market Perform from Outperform. However McCourt's concerns were different. He believes that Palm's cash position will significantly erode ($248 million at the end of the latest quarter to $75 million over the next year) which leaves "little room for error."

A lot seems to be riding on the new products due to launch in 2009, and McCourt stated that "until we become more certain that Palm can execute this turnaround without additional capital, we believe it is prudent to downgrade our rating."

To round out analyst activity, Lawrence Harris from C.L. King wrote about potential new product offerings (Treo Pro by AT&T and Treo 800w by Verizon) in time for the holiday shopping season, which may serve as a sort of counterbalance to slowing Centro sales at Sprint. He feels the Centro will feel more competitive pressure from newer entry-level text messaging oriented devices offered by all the major carriers.

Let's see... The margins will probably be better on the Treo Pro and Treo 800w, so if they can get some traction, Palm should get a boost. The other thing to note is that the downgrade by Avian's Thornton put the target price on PALM in the $5 from $9 range. To put that in perspective, today the stock is bouncing around between $3.19 and $3.70 so far. What's that saying about clouds having silver linings?

Sprint Drops Price of Child Locator Service
Sprint has lowered the cost of its GPS-enabled locator service which works on Centro and Treo smartphones without any extra hardware or software.

Spb Traveler 2.0 Released
Spb Traveler looks like a very handy app to have on your WM Treo if you travel frequently. Version 2.0 has some nice updates...

More Centro/Treo Sightings
I found some more television characters using Palm smartphones

AT&T To Begin Femtocell Trial Later This Year

Yes! I'm so happy to have just read over at Brighthand that AT&T will be jumping aboard the femtocell bandwagon later this year, following Sprint and Verizon. Sprint was the first United States carrier to start using femtocells with their AIRAVE. We've reported several times on Sprint's AIRAVE and recently on Verizon's Ubicell, that could launch early next year. What's a femtocell? If you haven't read the previous articles, Wikipedia defines a femtocell as:

A femtocell�originally known as an Access Point Base Station�is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments. It connects to the service provider�s network via broadband (such as DSL or cable); current designs typically support 2 to 5 mobile phones in a residential setting.

I recently reported on Engadget Mobile's review of the Sprint AIRAVE, and the device works pretty good and really does improve signal strength.

Read on for the full article

Apple Wanted to Buy Palm in 1997

I read last week over at Palm Addicts via Mike Cane's Blog that Apple wanted to purchase Palm back in the summer of 1997.

Cane posted a link to an article entitled "Android: First Impressions" by Jean-Louis Gass�e over at Monday Note. In the article, Jean-Louis Gass�e noted:

A perhaps little known fact: in the Summer of 1997, Steve Jobs called Eric Benhamou, 3Com's CEO (the company owned Palm). "Give me the Palm and come and join my Board of Directors. Only Apple can make Palm a true consumer brand." Nothing happened. Apple's foray into the product segment had to wait ten more years.

Read on for the full article

Palm Releases Verizon Centro ROM Update - Specific Details Now Named
Update: Details of the Verizon Centro ROM Update named...

Sprint Termination Fees Reduced, Starting Now

Sprint has begun prorating early termination fees, as of Nov. 2. The new plan reduces the carrier's $200 fee by $10 a month, beginning in the sixth month of the contract. So, if you live out 15 months of the contract, the cost to cancel is down to $100. Sprint calls that an industry-low. I call it $100 too high, but at least it's a start.

The carrier's a year or more behind its competitors in changing the policy, spurred by an ongoing lawsuit in California that so far has not gone as the company's would like, to put it mildly. Verizon Wireless began prorating the fees in November 2006. AT&T Mobility wised up in October 2007, and T-Mobile USA joined them in November of last year.

I've reported on this issue on TreoCentral, and there's official information from Sprint's website here.

Around SPE - 2 Nov 08
What's the big news in the Smartphone world this week? It's a mix, really. Android's looking like a viable platform to more and more people, there are a ton of Windows Mobile devices on the way, and both CrackBerry.com and the iPhone Blog are running contests that ought to spark your interest. Read on!


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