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Talkin' Treo - v101207

Fri Oct 12, 2007 - 10:37 AM EDT - By Annie Latham

Week ending 12 October 2007

From the looks of things, Palm Centro CARE packages arrived this week and reviewers, like Judie Lipsett, at Gear Diary, seem to be having fun unboxing it and giving it a tryout. There’s definitely a “feel good” atmosphere this week, which is a nice change. Let’s just forget about the iPhone, the gPhone and whatever Research in Motion is doing to continue to grow market share. This is a good time to celebrate what one reviewer referred to as “a happy little Palm device.”

So without further ado, Let’s Talk Treo (and Centro)!

Palm News

Palm issued two global expansion press releases this week:

Treo 680 in Venezuela

This week, Treo announced the Treo 680 is being added to the wide range of innovative smartphones offered by Movistar in Venezuela. Movistar, a subsidiary of Telefonica, leads the cellular phone market in Venezuela with a base of over 9.7 million customers at the close of the first quarter of 2007 and a leading position in the launch of the most innovative products and services.

Treo 500v in Singapore

Palm also announced the availability of the Treo 500v on the MobileOne (M1) network in Singapore.

“The Treo 500v, with the new and exclusive Vodafone user interface on Windows Mobile 6 Standard edition -- a first in Asia -- delivers unparalleled usability and ease of navigation to customers who want to keep on top of their work and social lives while on the go.”

M1 is a leading mobile communications provider in Singapore, with more than one million customers. It provides a full range of mobile voice and data communications services over its 2G/3G/3.5G network.

Palm Files 10-Q Quarterly Report

In the Overview and Executive Summary of this SEC filing, the company stated:

“We expect to experience annual revenue growth of our smartphone product line. The smartphone market is emerging and people are beginning to understand the personal and professional benefits of being able to access email or browse the web on a smartphone. We expect this market to expand and we expect to capitalize on this expansion.”

It’s clear Palm is counting on the Centro to help lead this expansion.

Talkin’ Centro Reaction

As mentioned, reviewer units of the new Palm Centro have arrived. David Pogue of the New York Times featured it in his column (“STATE OF THE ART (Mostly) Good Things in a Small Package”). He wrote:

“Palm hoped that by trimming the Treo’s size and price, it would create a totally different product, a new crossover phone for people who have never before owned phones with alphabet keys. (By Palm’s reckoning, that’s 95 percent of cellphone buyers.) But here’s the funny thing: the strategy works.”
“…Still, you’ve rarely seen so much utility in such a small package, and you’ve never been able to buy one for so little money. Palm may have created Centro by shaving down the Treo’s size and price — but in this case, tiny tweaks make all the difference.”

Pogue has created a short video where he discusses the Centro. You can get to it via the article link above or by going to http://video.on.nytimes.com/.

Speaking of video, TreoCentral’s Dieter Bohn has put together a five minute video that “unboxes” the Centro and then compared it to other devices in the category of consumer-oriented smartphones: Treo 680, Samsung BlackJack, T-Mobile Dash and the newest Razr. He made note of the Centro’s sharp looking screen and the functionality of the keyboard.

And if you are into comparing and contrasting video techniques, here are a few more “unboxing” videos:

EverythingTreo - Christopher Meinck

InfoSync - Philip Berne

Philip also reviewed it:

“The Palm Centro is the right device for Palm right now. It's a happy little Palm device, priced very competitively, that will bring a new audience to business smartphones and perhaps even reinvigorate the brand just a bit. The phone offers enough features for the price to foster good will, perhaps as long as half way until the next Palm OS update is due. Then, we'll swear we'll start to get tired of the Palm OS. We'll need something new, and this time, there isn't an antenna to cut off. Until then, anyone in the market for a Treo should seriously consider the Centro. If your fingers can handle the smaller keys, it's definitely the one to choose.”

Gizmodo’s Centro Sizemodo

Wilson Rothman has offered a comparison of the Palm Centro vs. the Treo 700 vs the iPhone vs the BlackBerry Curve.


Andrew had a chance to play around with a review unit and wrote the following:

“Overall the Palm Centro will prove to be a terrific smartphone for existing Treonauts wishing to greatly reduce the size and weight of the device that they carry in their pockets every day without having to make any significant compromises. Newly minted Centronauts for their part will find a device not much larger than their current standard 12–key phone – one that now offers them all the amazing benefits of owning a Treo smartphone.”

A Financial Take from Seeking Alpha

“The Centro is a clear shift from Palm’s current smartphone strategy, but seems to be well aligned with the interests of the Centro’s target demographic. Looking at the current portfolio of smartphones on the market today, Palm may be seen as taking a big risk with the Centro. But if it pays off, Palm could be soon leading the way for others to begin catering to this segment (Apple deserves some credit for this as well) and could cement themselves as a consumer-focused, not just business-focused, smartphone player.”

That same story notes some smartphone trends.

A company named Complete surveyed 235 smartphone owners about how they use their smartphone with regards to their work and personal lives. Their analysis of the results seems to indicate “that releasing the Centro may be a very positive step for Palm as consumers are definitely interested in smartphones for personal use.”

Talkin Treo 500v

It wasn’t exclusively a Centro week. The Treo 500v found some love too.

The Unwired

To supplement the “Unboxing” video he did, Arne at TheUnwired.net has now posted a bunch of photos of the Treo 500v.

TamsPalm-the Palm OS Blog

Tam Hanna wrote:

“Overall, the 500v definitely feels cheaper than its predecessors - it definitely cannot replace a Treo 680/650/7xx. But that is not what the 500v should do - like the hp 514, it is not a mobile workstation but rather a light texting tool.”

Palm’s Mobile Device Recycling Program

Got one too many old cell phone or mobile device kicking around? No worries, just leave the disposing to Palm. Per an entry in the Palm company blog, Ephi Banaynal, the person responsible for Palm's Environmental Stewardship program, talked about the company’s free recycling program and has provided helpful links.

“You simply place your handhelds, mobile phones and related accessories (chargers, headsets, memory cards) into a box large enough for you to safely send in all your retired mobile devices, apply the postage-paid mailing label, and put it in a mailbox or bring it to the post office. It's free!! Please note that you are responsible for removing all personal information before submitting devices to the Palm recycling program.”

Check out www.palm.com/recycle for more information, bulk recycling details and instructions to erase personal information from old phones.

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

Review: theBoom "E" - UmeVoice's ultimate design? - By Harv Laser

Harv took a look at UmeVoice's new theBoom "E" - a wired headset that’s not for everyone. He talks about “Wired versus Bluetooth,” explains the logic behind the look of the E, and even has a Q&A with UmeVoice’s “head honcho.”

“UmeVoice delivers again. Well what did you expect? This small company has big ideas and really delivers on their motto: ‘Whisper and be heard.’ In this writer's opinion, their noise-canceling mic is the best there is. If it's good enough for the requirements of the military and Wall Street, it should be good enough for Joe Consumer.”

Review: Stolen in 60 Seconds - By Jay Gross

This week it was Jay’s turn to see what it was like to be a criminal mastermind when he played around with Herocraft’s Stolen in 60 Seconds.

“Snatch the loot and feel guilty about it later. Putting aside your upstanding upbringing and transcending for the moment any empathy you might be able to muster for crime’s many victims, Stolen in Sixty Seconds makes it fun to test your skills as a thug. Just don’t get carried away. It’s a game, not a master class.”

Review: Case-Mate Signature Case-Holster Combo - By Andre Kibbe

Andre tried out the Case-Mate Signature Case-Holster Combo for Treo 755p, 750, 680. Basically, it consists of an impact resistant, molded shell that is wrapped in a fine grade of Italian leather that creates a form-fitting cradle/holster that holds the Treo while it is protected inside Case-Mate’s fine leather Pebblestone case.

“The Case-Mate is quite an attractive and robust combination. Wearing the case and holster on my belt, I felt that the Treo was in good hands more than I have with most cases and holsters I’ve tried. There’s absolutely no movement to the clip once adjusted to the preferred angle, and the leather exteriors over the case’s and holster’s molded shells look organic while feeling solid and impact resistant. The cutouts leave the touchscreen, keys and ports completely accessible. But the pebblestone is prone to wear due to the components’ tight fit, so give the units a few squeezes or stretches before use.”

Clue: Treo Software Roundup - By Jennifer Chappell

This time, Jennifer found nearly three-dozen programs to talk about (split between Palm OS and Windows Mobile). Some highlights include: FindMe, Hidden Expedition: Titanic, High Rollers, My Periodic Tavle, My Passowrds, QuickRemind, Real Wallpaper for Treo, Robo, SplashNews, Sudoku DeluxeWare, TreoOfflineViewer, UltimatePhone, Universal Converter for Palm, CrazySoft Psarakia, iSkoot, Opera Mobile, PointViewer, and Project Professional.

Elsewhere in the World of Treo…

Review: Macally USB Power Wall & Car Adapter

Andrew at Treonauts checked out the Macally USB Power Wall & Car Adapter that has interchangeable plugs for use in the USA, UK, Europe, Asia, over 150 countries. He wrote:

“I’m not easily impressed but I have to admit that the new Macally USB Power Wall & Car Adapter is the best designed and nicest looking USB charging kit that I have come across to date.”

Review: AQUAPAC Aqua-110 Waterproof Treo Case

John Andrews at MyTreo.net had a chance to test drive the AQUAPAC Aqua-100 Waterproof case that is guaranteed up to a depth of 15 feet.

“The AQUAPAC is a relatively inexpensive case that will let you take your Treo to the beach, in the ocean or out on the lake while making sure it is safe from the elements. The case is made out of durable plastic and forms a waterproof seal that will not only protect your Treo from the water but will also keep it afloat if you drop it overboard.”

News: ARC Wireless Solutions, Inc. Announces CompUSA to Offer National Distribution of the Freedom Antenna

This week, ARC Wireless Solutions, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: ARCW) Wireless Communications Solutions Division ("ARC") announced that national retailer, CompUSA, will offer ARC's Freedom Antenna in all 103 stores across the United States beginning in October 2007. The Freedom Antenna is a passive antenna designed to plug into cell phone and other wireless devices' antenna ports to enhance the wireless signal thus improving performance when used in vehicles, offices, and homes. It uses ARC's patented technology that works at all cell phone frequencies, including Wi-Fi, covering the broad bandwidth from 800 MHz up to 3 GHz. CompUSA will offer an adapter pack for the Treo (compatible with the Treo 650, 700p, 700w|wx, 750, along with the new 755p).

News: MangoMOBILE Fuels Nissan's Shift Into Mobile Marketing

MangoMOBILE, a leader in advanced mobile marketing solutions, just announced the launch of an innovative, “first-of-its-kind” mobile marketing campaign to support the launch of the Nissan Rogue crossover vehicle. The Nissan Rogue mobile game features challenging game play, accelerating difficulty levels and a community leaderboard in tandem with Nissan Rogue branding and key market positioning. Additionally, the Rogue Mobile game breaks new ground with respect to performance tracking and measurability, delivering an unprecedented level of data and consumer insights back to Nissan.

News: Burger King Goes Mobile

Mobile game and content provider Mobliss has been hired by Burger King to create cell phone games featuring the chain’s products, the company’s latest effort to leverage games to market its brand. Mobliss, based in Seattle and owned by Japan’s Index Corp., is already developing the new mobile games, which will be available via download to mobile devices early next year. As has been the case with Burger King’s prior forays into game advertising and marketing, at least some of the new cell phone titles will feature the company’s ubiquitous (and somewhat strange) icon, The King.

News: Astraware Bundles Board Games for Palm OS, Windows Mobile

Astraware has just announced the release of Astraware Boardgames, a bundle of eight popular games, each with user-customizable rules and a range of difficulty levels. It includes: Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, Ludo, Reversi, Snakes and Ladders, Nine Men's Morris and Tic Tac Toe. An interesting thing to note is that gameplay and graphics are designed to evoke the feel of classic board games, played on wooden boards, with traditional playing pieces and satisfying piece movement. But in this case, no worries about losing pieces.

News: Walt Disney Internet Group Debuts Disney Site for Mobile

The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) has launched a free, ad-supported mobile phone version of Disney.com that allows users to access the world of Disney on their cell phones. The new mobile site leverages Disney.com, the number one online family destination, as well as features developed specifically for mobile, and further extends Disney’s world class entertainment from movies, television, music, live events, theme parks and more to the wireless arena. The site can be reached by texting the keyword “Disney” to 347639 (Disney) or by entering the Disney.com address into a cell phone’s web browser.

News/Coming Soon: Firefox for Mobile?!

In PC World's Techlog, Harry McCracken wrote that it looks like Mozilla is getting serious about bringing the Firefox experience to mobile devices. He noted Mike Schroepfer, the company's VP of engineering, has the details in a post on his blog.

“The announcement is mostly big-picturey stuff--it's not even clear yet what platforms mobile Firefox will run on, or when it'll be available.”

McCracken believes that rather than trying to rewrite the browser from scratch, Mozilla will focus on building “a browser that can easily be ported to next-generation phones which have a fair amount of memory--which, while it sounds like a smart strategy, is also one that might prevent it from running on most current phones and push the browser's release even further into the future.”

Clue: Making a Treo Sing With Opera

While on the topic of mobile browsing, this week, J. D. Biersdorfer of the New York Times answered the question “How hard is it to get the Opera browser on my Treo? Is it worth it?”

“Opera Mini works on a number of Treo models. Whether you can use it, though, may depend on your wireless carrier.”

Make sure to check out the full response.

News: Yahoo! oneSearch Gets More Knowledgeable

According to the Yahoo! Search Blog, Yahoo! is integrating Yahoo! Answers content into the company’s mobile search service, oneSearch, and launching it globally in over 18 countries.

“Yahoo! oneSearch and Yahoo! Answers both offer platforms for searching -- oneSearch with instant results to your queries from your mobile phone and Answers with the content of 350 million answers from over 95 million users worldwide. We wanted to integrate these two methods of searching because we know that sometimes you need to tap people who are ‘in the know’ when you're trying to find a quick answer on the go.”

News: Google buys Jaiku

This week, Google said that it has acquired Jaiku Ltd., which offers a product called Jaiku Mobile, a software application for mobile phones that enables users to post and browse short messages called "jaikus." Jaiku users can also share their activities via the Web or instant messaging system. For more information on this, check out the helpful Q&A posted on Jaiku’s website. The ComputerWorld story notes, “The acquisition is one in a series of moves by Google to give users more services through mobile phones.”

News: EA Acquires Bioware/Pandemic from Elevation Partners

Elevation Partners, an investor in Palm, has just sold VG Holdings, the parent company of video game companies BioWare and Pandemic Studios, to Electronic Arts for $860 million. One of Elevation's founding partners, John Riccitiello, had been president and CEO of EA from 1997 to 2004 before he left to form the private equity group and oversaw the acquisitions of the two video game manufacturers. Riccitiello was re-appointed CEO of EA in April. Riccitiello was not part of the financial negotiations pertaining to the EA-VG Holdings acquisition as a result. This deal represents a significant return on investment for Elevation, which invested more than $300 in the game venture two years ago.

Trend: Mobile Ad Spend

Research firm, eMarketer projects that the global budget devoted to mobile brand advertising will rise from $123 million in 2006 to $3.5 billion in 2011. Many of the pieces are in place for mobile brand advertising to start scaling up, said John du Pre Gauntt, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, Mobile Brand Advertising.

Trend: Mobile Social Networks Hit Mass Market

Another eMarketer study indicaties that mobile-only social communities are an undisputed consumer phenomenon.

“It is the mass market consumer that is driving the use of mobile content. When the right services are marketed correctly to a mass audience and can bring them together in one place on their mobile phone to chat, share photos and videos, search and check profiles, consumers will be engaged on their mobile phones—some for more than an hour each day.”

For anyone following the industry, the results found in both of these reports aren’t surprising.

Endnotes & Ponderables:

We be Jammin’…

A blog entry at Wired.com talked about a story that was told regarding a wild cab ride in NYC. Apparently, Phil Torrone of Make Magazine found himself in the back seat of a crazy cab driver who was swerving and weaving all over the place while “screaming at someone on his smartphone.” The guy even started texting while driving like an idiot. So Phil pulled from his bag of tricks, his “wave bubble” --a low power, low range radio frequency jammer-- and took matters into his own hands. With one press of the button the call ended, the driver slowed down and all was right with the world (okay I added that last part).

Helpful lessons from this story include:

  • Don’t drive angry (especially while talking on the phone).
  • Don’t text and drive.
  • Don’t forget to pack a “wave bubble” the next time you travel!

Humm… I wonder what the reach is for that puppy? That’s a wrap!

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