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Talkin' Treo - v071307

Fri Jul 13, 2007 - 10:42 AM EDT - By Annie Latham

Week ending 13 July 2007

Here we go! There’s nothing quite like moving from super lucky to superstitious in a matter of a week’s time. Well, in the world of Treo, it’s always something, right?

Now that iPhone Mania is on the wane (at least the ginormous amount of iPhone-focused news has diminished), guess it’s time for Foleo Fever to kick in. It IS coming soon. And it IS poised to change how you work… Will it be a ginormous change? Stay tuned.

Okay, you’re probably wondering what’s up with my fascination with the “g-word.” This was a big week for the word ginormous. It has been officially recognized by the folks at Merriam-Webster.

That’s right, the adjective that combines "gigantic" and "enormous" has become a part of our language. John Morse, Merriam-Webster's president noted, “It's used by professional writers in mainstream publications. It clearly has staying power."

Will we be saying similar things about the Foleo a year from now (of course referring to “mainstream” and “staying power”? Only time will tell, right?

Time to move on. So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!



Palm News

Palm Clears Hurdle: Regulators OK Private Equity Stake

On Thursday, Federal antitrust regulators approved private equity firm Elevation Partners LP's $325 million purchase of a 25 percent stake in Palm, without imposing any conditions.

The Federal Trade Commission included the Elevation-Palm deal on a list of transactions Thursday that received an "early termination" of their antitrust review (which means the review was completed before the end of a 30-day waiting period specified under antitrust law).


Taking Over the World

Treo 700wx in Israel

Back to spreading the Treo “love” throughout the world, this week Palm Europe and Pelephone Communications, an Israel-based, leading cellular communications provider, announced the availability of the Treo 700wx for Pelephone’s CDMA/EV-DO network. Pelephone, as Israel’s first operator, pioneered the country’s cellular communications revolution, resulting in one of the world’s highest market penetrations of mobile phones.


Talkin’ Foleo

On Palm’s blog, there are links to two videos of Jeff Hawkins talking about the Foleo. In the first, he discusses when he came up with the idea for the Foleo (Hint: It was back in the Handspring days). In the other one, he mentions how liberating the Foleo is because it is ready to go instantaneously. He states that it’ll change the way you work.

Note: Next week, I will be attending one of those Foleo “hands-on” events that was mentioned in last week’s column. I look forward to seeing for myself just how liberating the Foleo can be. —AL

Just Say When…

We all would love to know exactly when we can officially play with a Foleo… perhaps so we can do our own version of Foleo Fever. Brighthand is reporting sometime before the end of summer. Hey, that could work…


Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Review: UltraSlim Executive PocketPouch - By Jay Gross

Jay provided his thoughts on the Smartphone Experts UltraSlim Executive PocketPouch ($29.95) that works with all Treos:

“Smartphone Experts Executive PocketPouch comes in colors to match the Treo 680 models, plus black and brown, and takes care of the Treo in style. It’s super lightweight, quite thin, and well made of sheepskin leather with a felt lining. The case hugs its treasure closely, adding less than three quarters of an ounce – a mere 20 grams -- to your pocket, purse, or book bag. It’s a bit too loose for a Treo 680 without the extended battery, but with the extra hump door, it works beautifully.”

Review: TreoWeather - By Jennifer Chappell

Jennifer played around with TreoWeather by Gx5 on her Treo 680 and found that she really liked it:

“I'm impressed with TreoWeather and have enjoyed using it on my Treo 680. It's a simple program that doesn't take up a lot of room on your device. I like being able to check the weather wherever I am. As long as I have a cell signal, I can get the weather on my Treo with TreoWeather. The Treo is all about mobility and I appreciate being able to get weather updates on the go with the click of a button.

Review: Moto Bluetooth H670 Headset - By Douglas Morse

Douglas tried out Motorola’s H670 Bluetooth headset. He wrote:

“You can’t go wrong with the H670. The sound quality is excellent, the design comfortable, and it’s easy to use. The dedicated on/off switch is a nice, though not essential, touch. If you hate the blinking LEDs (I do) and plan to turn them off, then the slider switch is actually an excellent addition.”

Clue: Treo Software Update Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell

This week, Jennifer covered over a dozen applications for the Treo, including: 1-Calc, 4Cast, Agendus for Windows Mobile, Backup Pro, Butler, Crazy Alarms, Krome, mVoice, Pocket Controller Pro and a new version Palm OS version of Google Maps.



Talkin’ TreoCast

In this episode, along with the usual news and reviews, the hosts discuss Palm’s earnings, software for the Palm Foleo, and that 800-lb gorilla – the iPhone.



Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

Clue: Mossberg Compares Blackberry and Treo

This week, in the Mossberg Mailbag, a reader wrote in asking about what kind of PDA to get his wife. Walt responded:

“…if she wants a phone-and-email device that is also a very good PDA, the Treo beats the BlackBerry hands down. The latter is first and foremost an email device and now has a decent phone. But its calendar, address book and other PDA functions are weak. The Treo, which evolved from the Palm PDAs, is much better at these tasks, in my opinion, especially for personal, as opposed to corporate, use.”

Clue: Smartphones for World Travel

The Treo 750 was included in a roundup article by SmartDeviceCentral’s Jamie Lendino about smartphone options to consider when traveling abroad.

Review: SplashTravel Pro

Over at Computerworld, Bert Latamore offered his thoughts about SplashTravel Pro by Splashdata.

“This is an excellent toolkit for travelers, especially business travelers who are often on the go and who carry a Treo or a Palm PDA (SplashTravel is currently unavailable for Windows Mobile).
Overall, this is a very nice application and certainly totally competitive in the market. Any traveler with a Palm OS device should have this.”

Review: Prima Treo Leather Cases

Brighthand posted a review of two styles of cases from Prima: Open and Flip-style. The reviewer (holvoetn) concluded:

“From a personal point of view, I liked the Flip Style Case a lot more since it protects the device far better. It also allowed me to disable Keyguard since no keys can be pressed inadvertently.”
…Both cases are quality products, but if you are a frequent keyboard user I certainly do not recommend the Open Face Case due to the accessibility problems of the bottom row (which contains quite important keys as Shift, Space, ALT, Menu).”

Review: Blueant Supertooth Light Speakerphone

Andrew over at Treonauts checked out Bluant’s Supertooth Light speakerphone. He wrote:

“Overall, the stylish Blueant Supertooth Light will prove ideal for people preferring not to use a headset in their car or for those wishing to use it as a conference speakerphone at the office or while on the go. Having said this, in most instances my personal preference while driving remains simply to use my Jawbone or other Bluetooth headset.”

Note: Last week, we gave you Mobile Burn’s take on the Supertooth Light.

Review: AcidImage Pro

MyTreo.net’s Alli Flowers took a look at AcidImage Pro, a program designed to bring advanced image viewing technology to Palm OS handhelds and smartphones.

“The bottom line for me was that AcidImage Pro opens my photos quickly, and renders them beautifully. It doesn't hurt that you have to tap the x to exit a photo either – this means that there's no chance of closing a photo when I hand my Treo to a friend to look at, and he accidentally touches the screen in the process!”

News: SpeakSMS Offers Talking Text Messages

Toysoft has a new program, SpeakSMS that is supposed to read your incoming SMS text messages to you using a synthesized computer voice. This talented program can also interpret and properly decode many of the text messaging shortcut abbreviations in use today.



Best Software 2007: Nominations Go Live!

SmartphoneThoughts has pointed out that “the ball has started to roll on the 2007 Best Software Awards. Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine has compiled an extensive list of applications and they have asked for readers to help make sure it's as accurate as possible. So you might want to check it out and see if your favorite application has made the list.

News: Vringo and Universal Music Group Announce Agreement

Vringo, the pioneer in video ringtone sharing, pulled off something that’s up in the air for Apple. The company just announced that it has entered into a trial licensing agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s largest music company. Under this agreement, Vringo subscribers will be able to personalize their own video ringtones, or “Vringos,” using clips from some of the most popular videos in UMG’s collection.


Trend: Most Consumers Use Mobile for Calls, Text

According to this story in Adweek, new research by Interpublic Group's Initiative shows that surprisingly few consumers are using their phones for more than basic voice and text communications.

“…just 5 percent of mobile device owners use their handhelds to view video clips. And only 18 percent of those surveyed use them to check e-mail, access the Internet or download games. Those numbers are up just slightly from a year ago, when a similar Initiative study showed that 16 percent had downloaded a game and 15 percent browsed the Internet or checked e-mail.”

No doubt there’s a bunch of companies counting on these numbers to change in a big way. Note the stories below. --AL

News: Lexus Goes Mobile

Last week, Cars.com announced Lexus as the first sponsor of its new mobile channel. The luxury automaker will run a campaign in July aimed at connecting mobile shoppers with local Lexus dealers. The sponsorship will connect to Lexus' WAP site where shoppers can find a Lexus dealer.

"Lexus recognizes the importance of simplifying the car-buying process and reaching our customers where they shop," said Andrea Lim, media manager for Lexus. "Working with Cars.com allows us to reach our tech-savvy customers with an on-demand service they want and expect.”

News: Borders Goes Mobile

According to this story, Borders is about to become the world's first bookseller to distribute content to mobile phones. The retailer will send sample chapters to customers' phones free of charge before books are released and then the book can be purchased in-store for a discount of up to 20% by using a barcode.

News: ABC-Owned Stations Launch Mobile Video

ABC-owned TV stations are now offering free video content for mobile phones. The network’s owned-and-operated stations have launched free mobile-video services in all 10 of their markets, offering advertiser-supported streaming news clips. The 10 ABC-owned TV stations offering this new advertiser-supported news service are: WABC-TV in New York; KABC-TV in Los Angeles; WLS-TV in Chicago; WPVI-TV in Philadelphia; KGO-TV in San Francisco; KTRK-TV in Houston; WTVD in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; KFSN-TV in Fresno, Calif.; WJRT-TV in Flint, Mich.; and WTVG in Toledo, Ohio.

Trend – Mobile TV: It’s like Sushi

According to a report issued by Vienna-based Institut der WU, consumers will not be able to resist mobile TV:

“According to the study, mobile TV is a trend, which - like sushi - is first met with resistance and skepticism, but once accepted very addictive.”

Interesting way to state it. Will they be as addicted to mobile ads?


Trend – Mobile Ad Preferences

According to this story that appeared in Adweek, “The reality is that when people are confronted with the idea of advertising on the mobile phone in the abstract, they don't like it," said Greg Sterling, principal of Sterling Market Intelligence. "When presented with relevant advertising when they're looking for something, they're much more accepting in practice."

And a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive found “More than four in five US adults own a mobile phone, yet only 30% of mobile phone owners recall seeing or hearing a mobile ad in the past year.” Furthermore, eMarketer wrote:

“…mobile users also had definite preferences about what types of ads they found acceptable. Sponsored text links had the most favorable responses, followed by audio ads that played instead of the usual ringing when waiting for someone to answer a call.”

Trends - Cash 2.0: Contactless Payments

Infoworld had an interesting story last week about how, in the coming years, even the smallest cash transactions could be handled with just the wave of a credit card or mobile phone. The Federal Reserve is now taking a closer look at the technology, trying to determine whether the new payment systems are secure.

In fact, the bulk of this article focused on security.

“A survey of around 4,000 16-to-43-year-olds by Market Platform Dynamics in 2006 found that the [RF] cards were being used for only around two percent of purchases under $25, according to information presented by Karen Webster of Market Platform Dynamics.
But as readers become more plentiful (CVS, for example, has installed 40,000 RF-enabled, signature capture Payment Terminals in 5,400 stores) and "killer apps" like payments through mobile devices take off, the payments industry will have to be poised to respond to increased interest from hackers and fraudsters.”

News: PayPal Launches Mobile Checkout

PayPal has announced a new service that enables consumers to visit a merchant’s Web site and purchase items by clicking on the PayPal button, all from their mobile device.

“We see that more people are using the mobile Web,” said Jamie Patricio, public relations manager for PayPal, about the decision to launch the new service. “We think that in 2007 and 2008 more people will be adopting and using this sort of commerce,” she continued.

The mobile Web service joins a text-message-based payment service that PayPal introduced in April 2006, which allows consumers to buy, donate or send money using a text-message-based service from their mobile devices.

News: Credit Cards Use Text Messages to Help Cardholders

Itz time 4 U 2 stop spending

This week, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported that credit card companies are now sending text messages that they say will help customers avoid hefty late fees and higher rates. Apparently, Chase customers can even receive a $10 credit when they sign up for three such tools – free alerts, automatic payments and online statements. Per the story, these gimmicks are in response to increased heat from members of Congress who are calling for tougher restrictions on credit card practices.

Clue: Getting your Colors Right – Experts & Your Mobile Phone

Those folks over at HP Labs (Remember “Invent!”) are brilliant! They have come up with a technology that uses sophisticated imaging algorithms and mobile networking to match colors that complement one another, including makeup specific to skin coloring. What does that mean? In a nutshell, this new color matching technology can potentially change the way people shop for products that require color coordination, such as cosmetics.

“Instead of sitting down with a consultant at a beauty counter, a shopper photographs herself using a mobile phone camera and while holding a specially designed color chart. The person then sends the photo as an MMS (multimedia message) to an advisory service. That system locates the person’s face within the image and color corrects the image for camera and lighting discrepancies.
Skin pixels are extracted from the color corrected image of the person’s face, and then compared to an existing database of previously captured and analyzed images of skin tones of real people. In a matter of seconds, people using the service receive a text message response with a recommendation on the shades of makeup that are best suited to their complexion.”

Sounds complicated. In fact, the easiest part of the whole thing is that this technology will work with any mobile phone with camera (like a Treo) and any mobile operator (as long as the MMS service is enabled). Way cool!


Commentary: Who needs an iPhone?

I tip my cap to Jason Jaegers. He has undertaken a project to bring some of the friendliness of the iPhone interface to Windows Mobile users. He described his purposes as follows:

“…the intent of this project IS NOT TO DUPLICATE THE IPHONE INTERFACE... we just want to take some of the principles of that interface and bring them to Windows Mobile users! One of the big keys here is operating the phone with just your finger... I have always hated having to pull out the stylus to do certain things... bigger buttons and more scrolling without scroll bars and stuff like that...

Please go over to www.whoneedsaniphone.com and see for yourself. This looks like a lot of fun.



Endnotes & Ponderables:

You’re probably “over” the iPhone. I know I am. So when I came upon this video, I found myself sort of mesmerized. For real? See for yourself. Then be glad someone hasn’t done the same thing to a Treo. Looks kind of painful.

Okay, switching gears. You know, last week we were all about the “Lucky 7s.” And this week, it’s Friday the 13th. Before you get yourself all wound up in a “very superstitious writing's on the wall” sort of way, check out this promotion:

If you’ve got a Chick-Fil-A eatery near you, and you aren’t “too chicken” to don a full cow costume on Friday the 13th, you could win a free meal. This Friday just so happens to be their third annual Cow Appreciation Day.

And before you close the window on this column, please note that last year's Cow Appreciation Day celebration attracted over 4,000 customers nationwide dressed in cow-themed costumes, complete with black-and-white spots, furry ears, cow bells, and homemade sandwich boards. If anything, you can grab your Treo and head on over and take some pictures, using the fine tips provided by Professor Jay.

That’s a wrap!





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