For a holiday-shortened week, there certainly were quite a few announcements. Seriously, as I was crunching through my taxes on Monday (a great way to celebrate Presidents Day, by the way), I was surprised to see the XM-Sirius deal cross the wire. A $13 billion merger of equals that hinges on how regulators decide to define the market (i.e. whether to include iPods, Treos with FM transmitter (see review below), Internet radio and traditional "free" radio, into the mix). I figured the precedent set here would definitely impact the smartphone world as it moves rapidly towards the shakeout phase.
But I didnt get much time to ponder the possibilities. Seems like Palms PR folks kicked it into overdrive this week with five announcements in a 3-day period (2 of the 3 days). And the activity level on reviews picked up too.
Meanwhile, in New Orleans, at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, Palm showcased Windows Mobile and Palm OS based Treo 700 series smartphones, as well as Palm OS based Treo 680 smartphones, running healthcare applications.
They also announced they were accepting applications for the "Designed for Palm Products" developer program. Solutions that successfully meet "Palms high standards of excellence," become eligible for premium product promotion and sale through various Palm stores.
Treo 750 in Australia
Last Friday, well past my deadline, Palm announced the availability of the Treo 750 in Australia. It is the first Treo smartphone to take advantage of Telstra's Next G network.
CFO Says Palms Focus is on Market Share
At Bank of America technology conference in New York, Palm CFO Andrew Brown made a presentation and spoke to the media. According to a story by Reuters, Brown said Palm is willing to put up with lower prices and narrower gross margins as it works to boost its share of the smart phone market.
"Clearly, we'd like to target double-digit operating margins. That's not going to happen over the next 12 months. We're not fooling ourselves."
Per the story, when asked if he was aiming to increase Palm's gross margins or keep them around the mid-30 percent range, Brown said he would "like to do that" but the company is currently more focused on gaining market share.
Palm Issues Daylight Savings Time Fix
least I forget. The other big story this week was the moving up of Daylight Savings Time (DST).
In a sort of Y2K-like scramble, companies were making announcements about their preparedness for dealing with "springing forward" on March 11 instead of the first Sunday in April.
Being on top of the situation, Palm just released a DST update
for its handhelds and smartphones dating back several years (for both Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices).
Whew! I told you it was a busy week for Palm. Lets move on to some product reviews.
Talkin Treo 750
PC World Gives it a 72 (and you can dance to it!)
The Treo 750 was rated 72 on a 0-to-100 scale that represents PC Worlds overall assessment of its cost, performance, features, and design.
Liane Cassavoy writes:
"Overall, the Treo 750 is a good-looking device with impressive business features--and it will be even better once it includes support for the HSDPA network. But you'd better to keep your battery charger nearby, because you'll need to use it often."
Gear Diary (as seen on PocketPC Thoughts)
Per the post by Jon Westfall:
"The Treo 750 is an awesome device; but then again, so is every WM Treo (except for the 700w, with all of its memory issues). The biggest draw for potential Cingular/ATT 750 users is the implementation of 3G and the loss of the stub antenna. The implementation of simultaneous data and voice calls insures that no matter where you are, no matter what youre doing, as long as you have a signal, youre going to get all of your mail, whether youre on a call or not, thanks to MS Direct Push. The rubberized coating makes the device easy to hold, and easy to work with. While the stylus could use a bit of work, and the keyboard is STILL a bit cramped, as an e-mail device the Treo is hard to beat, especially with the 3G implementation."
Unbeatable Overview of the 750
Thoughts Media/Chris Pirillo Show
This is a video clip of an interview conducted with the product manager for the Treo 750, Andy Clipsham, by Jason Dunn of Thoughts Media. Threaded SMS is mentioned as one of the cool features of the 750.
Treo 750 Side by Side by Side
If you want to see how the Treo 750 stands up (quite literally) to the competition, then check out this story.
Talkin Treo 680
Review: Computeractives Look at the Treo 680
Computeractives (a UK Site) David Phelan wasnt thrilled about the camera but otherwise seemed pleased with the Treo 680. He writes, "
it's still an exceptionally good phone and such a joy to use that all its failings can be forgiven. Unless you're a keen photographer."
Talkin Windows Mobile 6
CNET Gives it a 7 out of 10:
"Though it doesn't offer earth-shattering new features and interface issues remain, Windows Mobile 6 brings a collection of noteworthy improvements that makes its mobile devices easier to use and equips mobile professionals with more robust productivity tools."
Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More
Review: TreoCiel Weather Forecast Program
- By Harv Laser
In a very timely review, Harv takes a look at a weather forecasting program.
"TréoCiel is one solid, little program. It delivers exactly what it promises at a bargain price. I never once saw TréoCiel lock-up or crash through hundreds of weather update cycles, and it performed perfectly on both my Treo 650 and 700p.
There's certainly no shortage of ways you can get current weather info or forecasts on your Treo, and TréoCiel is a slick, budget-priced program to add to your arsenal of weather tools.."
Review: Jabra Earbud - By Jay Gross
The price is certainly right on this corded headset that will work with all Treos. Jay offers his thoughts on the sound quality:
"For its tiny size and tiny price ($4.95), Jabras EarBud provides excellent sound quality, both incoming and outgoing. Im particularly impressed with the volume of its incoming sound. In noisy environments coffee houses, sidewalks, airports, bawdy houses that extra sound oomph is most welcome."
Review: Digital Focis Memory Card Travel Case - By Harv Laser
Harv checks out this tiny aluminum brief case for your SD memory cards:
"The Digital Foci Memory Card Travel Case is a classy little product made of quality materials at a reasonable price reasonable enough that you might want to pick up a couple of them if you travel a lot and your life revolves around that precious data on your memory cards.
This isn't the only multi-card case out there, but it holds more kinds of cards and more of them than any other I've seen. As long as your cards conform to one of the formats it's designed to hold, this case could be just the accessory you've been looking for. It'd also make a cool gift for anyone you know who owns a lot of devices that use the formats of cards it's designed to hold and protect.."
Highlights of this weeks TreoCast include a roundup what took place at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona (including Microsofts Windows Mobile 6 announcement), more Treo 680 color hi-jinks, and some other bits of news. Managing memory on PalmOS Treos is the topic of the TreoGuide section.
Elsewhere in the World of Treo
Review: SPE ExtraPower USB Tips Bundle
The Smartphone Experts (SPE) ExtraPower USB Tips bundle includes the SPE retractable USB cable and five different charging and HotSync tips. Andrew at Treonauts talks about the functionality and convenience this bundle offers:
"As always, what makes these retractable USB solutions so incredibly practical for me is the combination of their small size, no messy cables, ability to power/sync from my laptop and light weight theyre absolutlely ideal for taking anywhere. The SPE ExtraPower 5in1 USB Tips Bundle is without a doubt one of the best additions to my Treo accessories kit in a while."
Review: Seidio FM Transmitter Kit
MyTreo.nets Sion Phillips tried out Seidios transmitting sound output from the Treo to any FM radio receiver, such as your car radio or home stereo.
"If you want to listen to the MP3s from your Treo on your car stereo this a great option, it provides a good strong signal to give very good sound quality and a decent range. However, the lack of a battery means I really can't recommend this if you want a versatile, use anywhere FM transmitter."
Review: Plantronics Discovery 665
Smart Device Centrals Sascha Segan checked out Plantronics' new Discovery 665 mobile phone headset that now features "AudioIQ" technology that dynamically helps it adapt to outside noise:
"AudioIQ is a neat new technology, but it doesn't overcome the microphone problems the Plantronics Discovery 665 inherited from its predecessor, the Plantronics 655. Therefore, Plantronics' Voyager 510 remains my favorite headset, and I hope to see AudioIQ coming to that platform as well."
Review: SPE SliderCase Now in Black!
About a month ago, Andrew over at Treonauts took a look at the Smartphone Experts SliderCase for 700p and 700w|wx Treos. In this update, he talks about the new rubberized black version.
"Overall I cant say enough good things about the SliderCase its a case that is undoubtedly one of my favorites for its looks, protection and very unique design."
Coming Attractions: Spreading the Neews!
Tam Hanna writes, "If you enjoy looking at RSS feeds, you will love Resco Neeews!
Excellent HTML rendering makes looking at feeds comfortable, dynamic rendering makes the whole experience fast. I cant really find out anything negative about Neeews!"
Tip: Getting Gmail on your Treo
Jamie Lendino provides some a valuable guide to getting Gmail access from your Palm OS, Windows Mobile or other "smart" and "not-so-smart" phone.
Endnotes & Ponderables:
Youve probably heard of "kitchen sink soup." You know, the one that has everything in it except the kitchen sink. When I came upon this story, I knew I had found the first "kitchen sink phone."
It has a printer, scanner, copier, fax, and cell phone all rolled up into one unit that measures 11.4 x 5.9 x 2-inches. Not exactly something that fits in a shirt pocket, thats for sure.
Everybody Dance Now
This story (registration required) from the NY Times made me smile.
Called FUNKit, when you plug an iPod into this device, it becomes the head and upper body of the D.J. that rocks to the music. This is just one of the many aftermarket products developed for the iPod.
Perhaps if the battle for market share goes well, there may be a funky Treo 680 in our future.
Let Go of My LEGO
Okay, heres something that should be carried in the TreoCentral store.
Yes, it is what you think it is a LEGO Treo holder. How cool is that?
Thats a wrap!