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Talkin' Treo - v051807

Fri May 18, 2007 - 11:20 AM EDT - By Annie Latham

Week ending 18 May 2007

It seems to me that folks have got entertainment, in the form of movies and user generated content, on the mind this week. We are nearing the end of the May sweeps period, so a lot of popular television shows are running their season-ending finales. The summer blockbuster season is upon us with the release of big-time films (Shrek the Third this weekend, Spidey “the third” two weekends ago). And content owners are cutting deals left and right with wireless service providers. The “third screen” is moving from a novelty to mainstream. Oh, and let’s not forget the device providers. In anticipation of the iPhone’s arrival, this time it was Motorola’s turn to announce new products – an updated Razr and a new version of the Q (AKA Q9). All signs indicate that this will be an interesting summer.

So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo!

Palm News

Palm’s CFO Presents at Deutsche Bank 2007 Technology Conference

On Thursday, Palm's Chief Financial Officer Andrew J. Brown presented at the Deutsche Bank 2007 Technology Conference in San Francisco. The deck from this presentation is already available online. In brief, it appears the story being told is how well Palm is positioned for the battle of the smartphones. One slide, mentioned how Palm has accomplished several consecutive years of strong execution:

  • 14 consecutive profitable quarters
  • Smartphone revenues increased 650% since FY’04
  • Increased carriers from 1 to 81 since FY’03
  • Re-acquired the brand position and platform control
  • Increased cash position 100%
  • Increased shareholder equity 109%

Brown’s next appearance is slated for Wednesday, May 23, when he presents at the JPMorgan 35th Annual Technology Conference in Boston.

Taking Over the World…

Since the deadline for my last column, Palm has issued two more global expansion press releases.

Treo 680 in Uruguay

Palm and CTI Movil announced the availability of the Treo 680 smartphone in Uruguay. CTI Movil has more than half a million clients, with just two years of operation in the Uruguayan market.

Treo 680 in Venezuela

Palm and Digitel announced the availability of the Treo 680 in Venezuela. Digitel is the first to offer GSM in Venezuela and is considered one of the most innovative companies in the country.

Treo 755p is Now Available

The Treo 755p is now available on Sprint's website. Just scroll down to Shop & Browse.

It is also available on Palm’s Site.

More Thoughts on the Treo 755p

The Treo 755p was announced last week and the world of Treo continues to talk about it:


Palm is positioning the device as a "next generation" smartphone, Charles Golvin, an analyst with technology research firm Forrester, said the newest member of the Palm family is only "an incremental step." But with its support for Direct Push e-mail, he noted, "it's also a step toward better integration with the Exchange environment, for both users and I.T. managers."


James Turner wrote:

So, if this is, indeed, the last significant product based on the Palm OS, it goes out with a whimper, not a bang. Palm hasn't released much that has been new or interesting since the Treo 700w, its first Windows Mobile phone, which started shipping more than a year ago. Of course, that will change dramatically when it releases its first Linux devices, which could see the light of day before the end of the year, according to some reports.”


Blake Robinson wrote:

Is that worth upgrading? I really can’t say. To me this seems to be mainly a cosmetic upgrade. So if the external antenna of the 700p is a major drag for you, then by all means go for it. Otherwise you might want to wait for a more distinct upgrade. At any rate, it is a good device with solid performance.


Over at the Mobile Magazine website, T.O. Whenham has posted a video tour of the Treo 755p.


Ryan Kairer remarked:

The Treo 755p offers very little new in terms of technology and design, yet it remains one the most powerful and easy to use smartphones available. The 755p is a nice minor update from the 700p, but as a power user I wish more had been done to improve the software and overall user experience. Nevertheless, the 755p is a good choice for people looking for a productive mobile device, as it continues to offer Palms blend of an excellent user experience with the ease of use and software choice the Palm OS platform provides.

PC Magazine

Sascha Segan wrote:

Don't get me wrong. The Palm Treo 755p is a good handheld. It's easy to use, quick to respond, and has thousands of third-party programs available for it. But the competition is climbing fast. For instance, the new BlackBerry Curve for Cingular equals the Treo on ease of use and outmatches it on some aspects of media savvy. Also, Microsoft Windows Mobile devices come in a wide range of forms and provide an upgrade path that Palm OS may not have.


Vincent Nguyen gave the 755p SlashGear’s Editor’s Choice designation:

In conclusion, the Treo 755p is still one of the best smartphones on the market offering high-speed Internet access, PIM, value added services and applications as well as a great balance of phone functions for casual to business users. I’m awarding the Treo 755p 4.5 out of 5 gears as well as SlashGear’s Editor’s Choice.

Commentary: 755p, Palm Garnet OS & What’s Beyond

This story by Matt Hamblen focuses on future operating systems for Treo devices. He asks the question: Is this the last Palm device to run the Palm Garnet OS now that Palm is embracing Linux?

Interestingly enough, Palm’s CFO addressed this in his slide deck.

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Guide: Treo for Newbies, Pt 3: Looking for Answers, Protecting your Treo - By Jay Gross

This time, Professor Jay focuses on ways to keep your Treo protected. The covers (pun intended) screen protectors and various case options. He also provides some great tips on how to find answers to questions you may have (or perhaps have been pondering subliminally).

Previously in this “Treo for Newbies” series, Jay offered music tips for the Treo.

Review: Mobi Products Battery Cradle - By Douglas Morse

Douglas provides his thoughts on the Mobi Products multi-function cradle that syncs and charges the Treo, plus charges a spare battery.

Talkin’ TreoCast

In this episode, along with the usual news and reviews, the hosts discuss the the new Treo 755p. Plus, they interview Rob Katcher. the 755p’s product manager.

Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

Review: SmartphoneExperts UltraSlim Leather Holster

Andrew at Treonauts tried out the UltraSlim Holster by Smartphone Experts:

“I am very impressed with this new UltraSlim leather holster ($29.95) and easily give it top marks as my preferred model in this category as well as making it one of my favourite Treo cases overall – quite a meaningful position considering that there are over 100 models to choose from.”

Review: Nite Ize Tooth Ferry Headset Carrier

Alex Mathews at Treobits tried the Nite Ize Tooth Ferry wireless headset carrier.

“…the Nite Ize Tooth Ferry Headset Carrier ($11.95) fits my needs pretty well. I have been wanting a solution to having my headset handy while in the car, since I'm not the type of person that likes having the headset permanently attached to my ear. The Tooth Ferry isn't simple to use one handed, which is what would typically happen when using it in a car, but with practice you can probably do it without too much difficulty. Using it on a belt is simple and straightforward. Most headsets should be held securely with this carrier, which I think is what everyone looking for an accessory like this would want. This is an accessory that I would recommend to anyone that's been looking for a better solution to securely carrying your Bluetooth headset.”

For another take on this, check out the review done by TreoCentral’s Jay Gross in April.

Review: Treo 750v – a 3-Parter

Late last week, Mike Slocombe of Digital Lifestyles posted the third installment of his Treo 750v review:

“…if you’re looking for a solid and straightforward smartphone that packs a load of functionality into an easy to use package, the Treo 750 could be worth a closer look. It’s certainly one of the very best Windows smartphones we’ve ever used.”

Review: Treo 680 Software

Tam Hanna checked out how the built-in applications of the Treo 680 handle every day use:

Overall, Palm’s new core software works well, although getting used to it takes a bit of time for a Treo 600 user - after all, a few things did change. While the programs still have the one or the other quirk(recent call list, no Note Pad), I am happy overall.

Clue: Pocket Tunes and Podcasts

On Palm’s official blog, Ben Combee, one of Palm's design engineers, has written about one of the applications that he uses most often – Pocket Tunes (PT).

One of the things I like best about listening to podcasts in PT is that you can use a skin designed for podcasts and audio books that enable skipping around in the files, and you can set bookmarks to remember where you were in the program. Plus, unlike a dedicated music player, if something in the program strikes my interest, I can make notes or do web searches on my Treo wherever I am.

Clue: Business value of Microsoft Windows Mobile

Pete Paxton at SmartphoneThoughts.com posted a story about an interesting “utility” that will calculate your direct benefits, indirect benefits, and your cumulative 3 year benefits from using Windows Mobile for your business.

Trends: Video Revenues to Triple

According to Infonetics Research, in its latest report (“Mobile Video Devices, Services, and Subscribers”), service provider revenue from mobile video services jumped 317% to almost $200 million worldwide from 2005 to 2006, and is expected to triple in 2007.

Having read this, the next few news items totally make sense.

News: Disney-ABC Television Group and Sprint Announce Deal

This week, the Disney-ABC Television Group and Sprint announced that Sprint customers can now access a comprehensive portfolio of news and entertainment video programming from ABC Entertainment, ABC News and Disney Channel. The content is available in two forms: on demand and via three “linear” mobile channels, which stream continuous scheduled programming throughout the day.

Sprint is also the first carrier to provide ABC Mobile, a newly-created linear mobile channel. ABC Mobile features a variety of popular full-length and short-form news and entertainment content, including full-length episodes of “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey's Anatomy,” “Lost” and “Ugly Betty” as well as ABC News' “Good Morning America,” “World News with Charles Gibson,” “Nightline,” “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and other ABC News Specials.

News: ESPN & Verizon Team Up

This week it was announced that ESPN’s MVP sports application will be exclusively available to Verizon Wireless’ V-Cast users, across a range of popular handset models. The application, which has been developed for BREW handsets, provides deep integration with ESPN.COM and offers real-time sports news, scores and information, personalization for favorite teams, scoring alerts, video, and virtual game illustration.

Senior Analyst, Nitesh Patel, notes, “Given the strength of ESPN content, this exclusive deal represents a strong positive for Verizon Wireless, which should be attractive to both casual sports followers and fanatics typically targeted by ESPN Mobile. Provided that ESPN MVP can deliver a user experience that matches its online service, and both companies effectively market the proposition, Mobile ESPN will add significant value and stickiness to the Verizon Wireless V-Cast offering.”

ESPN MVP is initially available on the LG Chocolate, the LG VX8300, LG VX8600, the Motorola RAZR V3c and V3m and MOTOKRZR K1m. Verizon Wireless expects to offer ESPN MVP on additional phones in the coming months.

News: AOL Acquires Third Screen Media

AOL announced that it has acquired Third Screen Media, the leading mobile advertising network and mobile ad-serving and management platform provider. Third Screen Media will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AOL's Advertising.com division.

“AOL is one of only four at-scale advertising businesses on the Internet, and the acquisition of Third Screen Media gives us a very strong position in the fast-growing mobile space,” said Randy Falco, Chairman and CEO of AOL. “It also lets us offer advertisers a more complete set of solutions, from display advertising to search and now a superior set of mobile solutions.

News: Bango Removes Barriers to Selling Mobile Content

On Monday, Bango unveiled a free mobile web service – Bango Starter – that removes the costs of selling digital content on the mobile web. Per the press release, for no cost, this lightweight version of the Bango Service gives businesses, brands and individuals the opportunity to use Bango to experience the benefits of the mobile web to sell their digital content. Anyone with small libraries of content can sell them to consumers world-wide on any network with a full choice of payment options: on phone bill; credit/debit card or PayPal.

News: Ask Mobile GPS

IAC announced the availability of Ask Mobile GPS, a GPS-enabled lifestyle application featuring the best of Ask.com, Citysearch, and Evite.com, along with instant location finder and turn-by-turn navigation powered by the Global Positioning System. The service -- the first ever to combine local content, social networking and GPS navigation -- is now available for download at gps.ask.com.

This isn’t currently available for Treos, however their website claims “more carriers and phones coming soon!”

Trends: Coming Soon – Click to Video

According to a story appearing at Moconews.net, mobile advertising company AdMob and mobile video company mywaves have teamed up for a click-to-video mobile advertising system that will launch this summer. Users who click on an ad will be sent to a landing page where they will have the option to watch a video, save it or pass it along to their friends. Coca Cola has been signed as an inaugural user of the service.

[Commentary: Want to Get Away?: Why We Don’t Publish Rumors]

This week, Apple’s stock took a drop, from $107.89 to $103.42. That’s not earth-shattering news. The cause of the drop and how quickly it dropped is. TechCrunch reported that based on the publication of some incorrect information by Engadget, in a matter of six minutes, Apple’s stock took a drumming (losing 4 billion off of Apple’s market capitalization). The story was refuted and pulled. The stock has already recovered (closed on Thursday at $109.44). Still… that was a lot of unnecessary churn. Talk about a Maalox moment!

Endnotes & Ponderables:

Here’s something I stumbled upon. According to this story published in Brandweek, there have been two million downloads in ringtones, voicetones, graphics and games of… Scarface-related items. Scarface is the gangster movie from 1983, directed by Brian DePalma and starring Al Pacino.

"Who would have expected 24 years ago (that) Scarface soundbites would lead to more than 186,000 voicetone purchases?" asked Paul Leakas of Nielsen Mobile, which is owned by the Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter and Brandweek. "The success of Scarface is a testament to mobile's evolving marketplace."

The story notes that in the mobile arena, the performance of the voicetone featuring the movie's famous line—"Say hello to my little friend"—has surpassed all others on the market, spending 18 weeks topping Nielsen RingScan's weekly voicetone sales rankings, and selling 110,000 tones since its sales began being tracked 31 weeks ago.

Humm… I wonder how many of those ended up on Treos?

Here’s one more for the road. It’s not Treo-related, but it sure is fun.

Check out this video starring Ray Ban sunglasses. It’s fun and highly addictive.

That’s a wrap!

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