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Talkin' Treo - v112107

Wed Nov 21, 2007 - 10:45 AM EST - By Annie Latham

Week ending 21 November 2007

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, it seems like all thoughts have shifted to Black Friday/Cyber Monday launch of the shopping season.

While both these days are significant, perhaps we should step back a minute and think about some of the things those of us in the world of Treo should be thankful for. Okay, that’s a potentially huge topic. In fact, too huge for this pre-holiday edition of Talkin’ Treo. So I’ll just throw out some ideas and help stimulate discussion.

  1. The Treo 680 – with it’s many color options, helped make the Treo more cool.
  2. The Centro – Getting great reviews and available at an awesome price point, it makes Palm relevant to a whole new demographic.
  3. Going Antenna-less – It’s a concept long overdue.
  4. Good bye to the Foleo – Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
  5. Hello to Elevation Partners – The addition of Jon Rubinstein, former senior vice president of hardware engineering and head of the iPod division at Apple, as the executive chairman of the board is a good thing.
  6. Hello to Android – Hey, Palm, Microsoft, Apple! Pay attention. Google is looking to treat their developers right.

If you’ve got others you’d like to add, let me know and I’ll compile a list for my year-end wrap-up column.

Okay, shifting gears… Let’s talk a bit about that 8,000-pound gorilla called “Black Friday.” You’ve probably seen a lot of articles on the subject, so I’ll just touch upon some interesting tidbits.

According to MasterCard, total retail sales on Black Friday (which occurs the day after Thanksgiving) are expected to reach $20 billion. This is an increase of 4.7% over last year. Here’s an interesting stat – with the early morning starts for a lot of these deals (Yes, you heard right – there is a 4am start for some stores), MasterCard says that more than a third of the transactions using their card take place before 10am CST.

Since this is an early Black Friday, the official holiday shopping season is longer this year (32 days). That means retailers will be challenged to find ways to keep shoppers shopping. If you want to read up on what deals will be available, check out this article from the San Francisco Chronicle that includes a list of “spoiler” sites.

Time to shift gears again, and return to our regularly scheduled column. So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!

Short week. No news from Palm and nothing major on the Centro or Treo 500v fronts. So we’ll just skip ahead…


Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Rockin’ Robin! – Week 4 of the Smartphone Round Robin

It’s a short week for the participants of the Smartphone Round Robin --where the community editors from the SPE community sites —TreoCentral (Treo & Centro), CrackBerry.com (BlackBerry), WMExperts (Windows Mobile) and Phone different (iPhone)— are getting the opportunity to learn what it's like to live "on the other side of the fence" as they have their everyday smartphone swapped out for one of its competitors. To follow along, go to the following website: http://smartphoneexperts.com/roundrobin/.

CrackBerry Kevin provided his final thoughts on the Treo 680:

“It did take some time and effort to turn the Treo 680 into my “main brain” per the Rules of the Smartphone Round Robin, but I made it happen and managed to survive yet another week without my BlackBerry. I never did quite reach a level of total comfort with the Treo – the email was always a bit whacky for me and without BlackBerry Messenger I still feel lost and cutoff from my world (a fault shared by any non-BlackBerry device), but by installing a whack load of 3rd party apps I got the 680 doing everything a BlackBerry could do and even a bit more. A BIG Thanks to all of the TreoCentral members and individuals who commented to my Treo First Impressions article with tips and suggestions – you made the week much easier.”
Click here to read his complete thoughts.

TreoCentral’s Jennifer Chappell got Tilted:

"The Tilt is one heck of a powerful device. It is really feature packed. I've hardly touched the surface in what little time I've had it. I'll get into 3rd party apps next time around when I put up my final thoughts, which will be later this week or early next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. I really like the Tilt but I don't think I need something so powerful. I'm just not a power user. The Tilt could be a toy, a business device, or a mobile gamer's device. The Tilt has a lot of email and media capabilities going for it. And like Dieter said, it can be tweaked to your heart's content."

Be sure to check out the Round Robin Forum to read the latest.

Review: LightNzip - ZIPpity Do Dads - By Harv Laser

Harv checked out LightNZip, a ZIP archive and file management utility from ToySoft.

“Not only is ToySoft's LightNZip a simple to use and powerful archiving tool, it packs enough punch to use as a file management platform and data importer, so as far as bang for your back goes, LNZ is a real winner. Its GUI is visually pleasing, simple and practical, though it needs better directory management. If it had fileZ’s abilities to copy and move data, or if it could actually open and let you run applications from WITHIN a Zip file, I’d probably use it as my main shell.”

Clue: Treo Software Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell

This time, Jennifer found a couple dozen programs to talk about (split between Palm OS and Windows Mobile). Some highlights include new products: Advanced Brain Trainer Edition 2, Documents to Go, Plantastic, SIM-Save, Solitaire CLASSIC, Sortout, Voice on the Go, 3D Super-G Stunt for Pocket PC, Avot mV, La Belle Lucie, Rabbit Wars, Touch Commander, and Vegas Pool Sharks for Pocket PC. As for updates, some of note include: EarMan, Destaller Pro, KeyguardExt, mSafe, Music Bundle, PrettyMap, Reset Doctor, RingCare, SMS Count, WLink, Jackpot Casino, Jack or 100 Ways to Barbecue,Pocket Customizer Bundle, Resco Sokoban, TomeRaider Pocket PC, and VITO AudioPlayer.



Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

Review: Pacific Rim Swivel Case

Andrew at Treonauts took a look at the Pacific Rim Swivel case. It is basically a metal case with a patented “swivel system” which completely folds the front cover of the case backwards to allow you to use the touchscreen one-handed and without interference. He wrote:

“…overall I really like the Pacific Rim Swivel Case – it’s modern, compact, well built, extremely robust and now offers the most convenient metal case solution to access your touchscreen thanks to its swivel cover mechanism.”

Notes: He did have some reservations/concerns about this case, so make sure you read the entire review.

Review: Bose In-Ear Headphones

Over at GearDiary, Wayne Schulz gave a listen to the Bose In-Ear Headphones

“Although the headphones felt like they were going to fall out - they never did. Instead they’d push out of my ear and rest on the outside of my ear. When this happened I’d notice the sound quality and the amount of bass in that side of my headphone would remarkably decrease. This happened to me almost every time I used the headphone, so I’m sure it was not just a case of putting them in wrong one time…”
“…The headphone quality is good but nothing special. I judge the fit into my ear as poor even when I tried the included other sized earpieces. While doing light workouts I was always concerned about having them fall out - though as note they never did. When the headphone moves out of position in your ear, the sound quality diminishes greatly.”

Review: Freedom Keychain GPS

If you are interested in yet another opinion on the Freedom Keychain GPS, check out what Andrew from Treonauts had to say:

“Overall I haven’t found a single thing not to like about the Freedom Keychain GPS – it’s ultracompact and ultralight, extremely well designed, delivers excellent performance and includes a great charging kit. Until Palm decide to build a GPS receiver directly in my Treo or Centro there is no doubt that the Freedom GPS currently makes for the best alternative to always have a Treo GPS in your pocket and ensure that you always find the fastest path to your destination.”

TreoCentral’s Harv Laser reviewed it last month.


Clue: Alternate Means for Carrying Your Treo

Alli Flowers at MyTreo.Net has written an interesting story about an alternative way for some folks to carry their Treo. Called literally “The Strap,” it looks like what the pilots used to take notes during WWII.

News: The NPD Group Reports Smartphone Sales Up 163%

On Tuesday, the NPD Group said that 38 million cell phones were sold during the third quarter of 2007, with Motorola leading the way, followed by LG Electronics, Samsung and Nokia. They also noted that the number of smart phones sold during the period rose 163 percent year over year, making up 11 percent of total sales in the quarter.

News: Google Maps for Windows Mobile

Doug Aamoth at Crunchgear reported Google maps is now available as a standalone, non-java program for Windows Mobile devices.

“It’s faster and easier to use than Live Search, in my opinion (although with fewer bells and whistles like movie times, etc.) and features real-time traffic, favorites, GPS locating, map or satellite imagery, contact lookup, and more.”

It takes up a little under a megabyte of space and can be downloaded by going to www.google.com/gmm from your Windows Mobile device.


News: MapQuest Brings Mobile Turn-by-Turn Navigation Directly to Mobile Handsets for $4.99 a Month

On Monday, MapQuest, in partnership with Telmap, announced the newest version of its voice-guided, GPS-enabled wireless application, MapQuest Navigator 5.0, is now widely available to consumers through a new direct-to-consumer storefront on MapQuest.com. Customers, including the 50 million monthly MapQuest.com users, who sign up for new version 5.0 at mapquest.com between now and December 31, 2007 can download the application directly to their handset and purchase the service for the promotional price of $4.99 per month for the life of the subscription.

More information, including a list of compatible mobile devices and supporting carriers, is available at http://navigator.mapquest.com.


News: Handango Releases 2007 Third Quarter Yardstick Data Revealing Smartphone Content Industry Trends

On Monday, Handango, the world's leading provider of smartphone content, released the 2007 Third Quarter edition of the Handango Yardstick, a quarterly report on the state of the mobile content industry.

Notable trends:

The BlackBerry 8830 jumped to the number one position as the device driving the most software revenue and units sold, pushing ahead of the top two leading devices from the last two quarters -- the BlackBerry Pearl and the Motorola(R) Q.

Spb Software House continued to stand out in the Pocket PC best sellers list with five best-selling phone-optimizing applications this quarter including: Spb Mobile Shell, Spb Pocket Plus, Spb Phone Suite, Spb Time and Spb Backup.

Top 5 Palm OS Programs

  1. SplashID
  2. Agendus Professional Edition
  3. PocketMirror Standard Edition
  4. SplashWallet Suite
  5. Agendus Premier Edition

Top 5 Windows Mobile Pocket PC Programs

  1. MobiTV
  2. Spb Mobile Shell
  3. MemMaid
  4. Spb Pocket Plus
  5. Spb Phone Suite

A full version of the Handango Yardstick for Q3 2007 is available at http://www.handango.com/marketing/Yardstick/Q32007Yardstick.pdf.

News: Bango Button lets users push digital content to mobile phones from their social site, media site or blog

Late last week, Bango, creator of the world's first global exchange for the mobile web, launched the “Get On My Mobile” Bango Button so that anyone using a social website, media sharing site, forum or blog can make their content available to mobile phone users world-wide at the push of a button. The Bango Button bridges the gap between the PC and mobile worlds by using the simplicity of the Internet, opening up the world of content to mobile users. Bango Buttons are perfect for popular sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Bebo, Friendster, LinkedIn, Blogger, Orkut and WordPress. Bango conducted a small pilot and already there are small independent bands and entertainers using it on their My Space pages. Check out www.myspace.com/moonlife.

News: id Software Goes Mobile: Teaming Up with Fountainhead Entertainment to Form id Mobile

Emmy® Award-winning developer id Software and Fountainhead Entertainment announced that the two developers have joined forces to create a new division of id Software, id Mobile which will develop games for cell phones, the Nintendo DS and PSP (PlayStation® Portable). id Software, in tandem with Fountainhead Entertainment, have developed award-winning mobile games, including the popular action-fantasy saga, Orcs and Elves, Orcs and Elves II and DOOM RPG. id Mobile is currently developing Wolfenstein for the mobile platform along with a follow-up to the hugely successful DOOM RPG.



Ponderable:

According to this CSP News story out of El Paso, Texas, a recent promotion at Sam’s Club’s gas stations has ended up rekindling an old debate about whether cell phones cause fires at gas pumps.

Apparently there were signs at the gas pumps that encouraged customers to text message some numbers to get information on special offers. When a customer pulled out her phone to try it, she was stopped by an attendant who told her that using a cell phone while pumping gasoline may cause a fire. Within 24 hours, the signs had been removed from all the Sam’s Club gas pumps. Robert Renkes, executive vice president of the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) was contacted regarding this and he reiterated the association's longstanding position, that "there is no evidence that cell phones cause fires at refueling sites."

"We've been looking at this since 2000; there are 11 billion fuelings a year in the United States, so in the last seven years, that means 77 billion fuelings, and I still have not gotten [evidence of] one accident attributable to a cell phone causing a fire at a refueling site. I'm waiting for the first one."
This seems to be of those things where you don’t want to be the first one to find out this “urban myth” is, in fact true. That would be quite the “want to get away” moment, for sure! – AL

Pardonable:

In case you missed it, two turkeys (one named May and the other named Flower) were pardoned by President Bush the other day.

A couple of things about this story got my attention. There was a contest to name the two turkeys that were being pardoned. The vice president apparently suggested the names be Lunch and Dinner. Nice!

Then there was this…

Hey, May and Flower! You just got pardoned by President Bush. Now what are you going to do?
“We’re going to Disney World,” they replied.

This isn’t a joke. They are really flying first class to Florida where they will be escorted to Disney World, to live in the backyard of Mickey Mouse's Country House at the Magic Kingdom. And there’s more! Those turkeys will be grand marshals of Disney's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Those birds are living right.

That’s a wrap! Enjoy your holiday!





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