This was certainly a "Happy Feet" week for Palm. The Linux announcement seemed to have a lot of folks "dancing in the streets." The Investor Day went fairly well with quite a few positive stories appearing as a result. Lets see
oh yeah, Palm started blogging this week. And they unveiled an over-the-air (OTA) backup program that automatically saves a copy of your data to a secure server every day, from anywhere you have wireless data coverage. Very cool! My personal favorite is Treos outstanding showing in ComputerWorlds smartphone shootout (beating the Blackberry 8800 and the Motorola Q). And theres more! So without further ado, Lets Talk Treo!
Investor Day Highlights
Not for Sale: Once again, Palms CEO, Ed Colligan, found himself addressing the speculation that the company was for sale. He told Bloomberg News that he is ignoring calls to sell:
"I can't sit here and worry about that
I can only worry about how the business is performing and what can we do as a team to do better, to get our products out faster, to drive for higher reliability, to grab more market share."
Global Expansion: According to a CNET story, Palm said it sees growth fueled by stronger sales of its Treo mobile phone devices in Europe and Asia.
Accelerating Time to Market: A PalmInfocenter story mentions Palm's plans to standardize its Treo production, in order to accelerate the development of new devices and cut costs.
"Potentially, says Colligan, this could slash development times from two years to nine months. He says new devices built using this method will appear this year, almost certainly referring to the rumoured Treo 755p."
The Linux "Bone": Over at Forbes ("Palm Doesnt Play Its Hand"), the writer, Rachel Rosmarin referred to Colligans announcement that the company will release new devices based on the Linux operating system, as "a bone." No doubt, she was looking for more.
He likes it!: According to an AP story, ThinkEquity Partners analyst, Jonathan Hoopes said he likes the direction the company is heading. "Through its investments in research and engineering, Palm is capable of riding -- if not driving -- the expansion of Internet devices across the world."
Hes not impressed: In that same AP story, Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg was not nearly as impressed. "In a research note, he said Palm offered nothing new to dissuade his belief that the company suffers from a narrow product range."
Here we go again: glass is half empty or half full. Oh well
Moving right along, there were a bunch of folks Talkin Linux this week.
"Speaking of PDAs, Palm, one time king of the PDA hill, has finally announced that it will release a homegrown, Linux-based OS for its next generation of handhelds. The OS will ship with Opera and will utilize Chattermail (which Palm recently acquired) for messaging. Such an OS has been rumored for quite some time and is essentially a no-brainer for the company: Palm has always won customers over on the strength of its distinctive operating system. However, increased competition from the likes of Windows Mobile (which Palm now offers on some of its products and will continue to sell, even after launching the new OS) has made the Palm OS a tougher sell. Too little, too late? We'll have to wait and see, though the fate of Palm may rest on the company's ability to develop a killer OS. The new OS is set to ship by the end of the year."
The Mobile Gadgeteer
Matthew Miller writes:
"With two solid applications already talked about as being a part of the new Linux OS, I think Palm has a good base to work with and look forward to checking out a device later this year or in early 2008. Hopefully, we'll see a bit slimmer Treo device running this OS since the Treo is quite chunky in comparison to the latest and greatest devices."
"Palms many efforts clearly demonstrate that the company has not been sitting idle and that it is fully committed to further grow and exploit the smartphone space that it has so well defined."
Alan Grassia at 1src.com wrote about Palm 2.0:
"Over the last two years, Palm executives have been quietly executing a plan that will revitalize the company. With a new Linux-based, backward compatible, multitasking operating system, Palm will be able to deliver features that are simply not possible on todays devices. New software applications that will be pre-loaded into the device will mean that customers will be able to do more right out of the box without having to worry about finding, downloading, and installing software
The more we learn about Palm, Inc 2.0 the more we see that the innovative spirit that gave us the Pilot, the Palm V, and the Treo 600 is a live and well."
I dont know about you, but I feel pretty good about what Ed and the gang in Sunnyvale are up to.
Taking Over the World
Palm issued one global expansion press release this week.
Treo 750 in Italy
Palm and 3 Italia, the Italian UMTS market leader with more than 7.2 million customers, launched the Treo 750 smartphone, which enables 3's customers to benefit from the Palm experience on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system with High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) capability.
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Review: Motorola H550 Bluetooth Headset - By Jay Gross
Jay took a look at Motorolas H550 Bluetooth headset which he described as a small unit, though not the smallest by any means, and plenty stylish and functional. He also noted its one big square button controls your incoming calls nicely, and its volume up/down buttons can be remapped if youd rather have the up on top or bottom. He concludes:
"The Motorola H550 Bluetooth headset brings a nice set of features, well thought out design, and good incoming sound volume and quality, but its outgoing sound leaves something to be desired, and it offers no noise cancellation or car charger for a price ($49.95) that seems like it ought to include both."
Review: LandWare's Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2007 - By Harv Laser
According to Harv, LandWare's Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, 2007 Edition ("LMMG") is the hand-held equivalent of movie nirvana. It is a portable version of Maltins most recent movie guidebook that runs on PalmOS and Windows Mobile (PocketPC and Smartphone) platforms.
"LMMG is close to the perfect hand-held program for movie lovers, whether youre just a casual viewer, a movie addict, a trivia freak, or an industry insider
"LandWares Leonard Maltins 2007 Movie Guide is simply a joy. Its so feature-packed, fast, and easy to use, at its price ($19.95), its a steal. If you're a movie buff, thanks to the free trial, you've got nothing to lose by giving it a test drive. Thumbs up to LandWare for this beautiful program."
Review: DialByPhoto - By Jimmie Geddes
Jimmie let us know that DialByPhoto for PalmOS Treos (650, 680, 700p) is not just a photo dialer. You also get a "Today Screen" that is completely customizable, allowing you to choose what looks best to you. He writes:
"Ive got to say that I am very impressed with all the features DialByPhoto offers. Like I said in my title, dont let the name fool ya. You get the coolness of dialing your contacts via their photo, a Today Screen, an easy way to go to web pages, or look up information from your main screen. DialByPhoto also gives your Treo a nice and much needed facelift. I highly recommend DialByPhoto, and the price ($14.95) is too low to pass up."
Review: Smartphone Experts Leather Hard Case for Treo 750 and 680 - By Douglas Morse
Douglas found himself pleasantly surprised by the Smartphone Experts Leather Hard Case which works with the Treo 680 and Treo 750. It is one of the first cases of its type that does not have a cross bar of any sort between the screen and lower buttons, nor does it need it. He remarks:
"This is a well thought-out and very welcome addition to the case types. This is the first leather hard case in a clamshell design that Ive ever tried and I like it. The only quibbles are with the belt clip and the potential for the case itself to stretch out of shape if you remove the Treo too often and need to pry open the top. However, since there is access to everything, you shouldnt need to continuously remove the Treo from the case except to change out the battery."
Note: This Leather Hard Case was reviewed in March by Andrew at Treonauts.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Smart Phone Shootout: ComputerWorld Looks at Usability
This week, ComputerWorld featured a shootout between the Motorola Q, Nokia E62, Research in Motions Blackberry 8800 and the Treo 700wx. They tapped the services of Tom Thornton, a senior research scientist at Perceptive Sciences Corp., an Austin-based market research and usability testing firm.
The Treo held its own. At a rating of 3.5, it was better than the Blackberry 8800 and Motorola Q (both rated 3.0) and equal to the Nokia E62.
Global navigation: 3
Usability/information architecture: 3
Look and feel: 3
"Overall, the Treo earned overall better scores than the Q for two reasons, Thornton said. First, it is more customizable than the Q. Second, and perhaps more important, it enables use of a stylus, a capability that many longtime Palm users are accustomed to but that isn't available on Motorola's smart phone."
It got pounded in the Ergonomics category because "It's retro and [comparatively] clunky and big," Thornton said. "That put it at the low end in terms of ergonomics, but the stylus and customization were nice."
Review: Treo 680 The Best Palm Ever?
Rosemary Haworth at PC Advisor provides her thoughts on the Treo 680:
"The 680 is the best Treo yet, combining business functions with connectivity and a leaner footprint. It's simple to use, the feature set is extensive and text is easily legible on the big screen. The only concern is whether you'd want to use the Treo as a phone an issue that doesn't arise with some of the sleeker Windows Mobile-based smartphones."
Review: Palm Portable Battery Charger
Andrew from Treonauts checked out the first portable Treo Battery Charger to have been designed by Palm. It is extremely light and has a folding protective cover that transforms it into a convenient carrying case. Plus it works with all current Treo batteries. He writes:
"If you are looking for an everyday battery charger to have at home or at the office then this latest Palm Treo battery charger will undoubtedly prove ideal."
Review: Batteries by GearDiary
Judie at GearDiary has put together a helpful comparison of battery options for the Treo 700p.
Review: Mundu Instant Messenger
Treonauts Alli Flowers offers a take on the Mundu instant messaging program:
"Mundu has improved a lot, and is a great little IM client. Its benefits far exceed its negatives. This is a fairly strong and dependable IM application that will make sure your instant messages all get to you instantly."
Review: PhatWare's CalliGrapher
CalliGrapher is an award winning natural handwriting recognition software that supports all handwriting styles - cursive, PRINT or MIXed. The Gadgeteers Kent Lanum writes:
"I highly recommend CalliGrapher for those that take notes on their PDA, which is really where the PDA excels or where it really is impractical to use the keyboard whether on the device or on the screen. You just cannot get any better handwriting recognition software on the market today than PhatWare's CalliGrapher!"
News: Landware Wine Enthusiast Updated for 2007
PalmInfocenter reports that Version 2.2 of Landwares Wine Enthusiast has just been released. Consider this the wine equivalent of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide that Harv reviewed (see above). Some Key features in this release: It now includes over 37,000 wines and reviews (3,000 more than last year), and the Vintage Chart has been updated (and now includes 2004 vintages).
News: Symantec offers PC-like security to Windows Mobile devices
Symantec Corp. has just launched Symantec Mobile Security Suite 5.0. It features anti-virus, a firewall, anti-spam for the SMS channel as well as network access control, host intrusion protection and a VPN. In addition, Symantec is also offering loss mitigation technologies in the same suite that encrypts data on the device and features an audit log for data activity should a device get lost or stolen.
News: Mobile TV Slow and Steady Growth
In a press release issued in conjunction with their recently completed research report ("Mobile TV Broadcasts: Coming Soon to a Cell Phone Near You!), In-Stat states the worldwide mobile TV broadcast market is expanding, as the number of commercially launched mobile TV broadcast networks will grow from 9 in 2006 to 13 in 2007. However, this growth appears to be at a very measured pace.
"Over the next 10 years, as more spectrum is made available, in many cases when analog TV signals are shut off, more mobile TV broadcast services will launch. Another issue limiting the market today is the small number of mobile TV broadcast enabled handsets available in many markets."
Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
- Mobile TV broadcast subscribers will reach 125 million worldwide in 2011.
- Asia continued to have the greatest number of mobile TV broadcast subscribers through 2006.
- Mobile TV broadcast standards are proliferating, with the most recent being those suggested for the ATSC standard.
This report is everything you ever wanted to know about Mobile TV, but were afraid to ask, for a price ($3,495).
Clue: Bluetooth 101
The Smartphone Today Staff has put together a nice overview of Bluetoothfocusing on how to pair and then wirelessly connect a Bluetooth accessory with a smartphone.
Though their focus is on Palm's Windows Mobile-based Treos, this should apply equally well to other devices built on Microsoft's operating system for wireless devices.
News: Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang Go Mobile
Mobile Streams, the global mobile media specialist, has signed a distribution agreement with United Media for the popular cartoon brand, PEANUTS. In addition to image content, Mobile Streams will be the first distribution partner to offer mobilized video content to network operators from the PEANUTS animated TV series. The agreement provides Mobile Streams with the exclusive distribution rights for the content throughout Germany, Switzerland and Austria (GSA).
From Joe Cool to Joe Pool.
Free Game Windows Mobile Pool
According to a post that appeared the CoolSmartphone.com site, PocketPool for Windows Mobile devices is available for FREE until the end of April. It features realistic physics, intuitive controls and addictive gameplay. Heres the catch: It is currently under development and is offered as a free Beta download. So if the word beta doesnt scare you, this could be kind of fun!
Endnotes & Ponderables:
Heres a ponderable that appeared in the New Ideas section of a South African website. What do you think about a Personal digital assistant (PDA) with a detachable mobile?
Its an interesting concept:
"Once detached, the small handheld mobile phone is powered by its own internal battery and contains the basic function buttons to, for example answer calls, type text messages and scroll through telephone numbers stored in its memory. Once docked into the PDA, the mobile's battery is charged by that of the PDA or an external charger, which is plugged into the power mains."
This has the potential to be a helluva iPhone killer.
iDog Goes Spidey!
Is this cute or what? Even though it is a Spide-fied iDog, Treo owners can get in on the fun. All you have to do is purchase one of these fine Smartphone Experts Stereo Adapters
Thats a wrap!