Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Documents To Go v10 Now Supports Vista



Earlier today, DataViz announced Documents To Go v10.001, which adds support for Microsoft Windows Vista and Palm Desktop v6.2 Beta 1.

Registered users of Documents To Go v10.000 and download the 10.001 update for free. Customers running previous versions of Documents To Go can upgrade to the latest version for $29.99. For more details, please refer to the DataViz Documents To Go and Windows Vista technical support article.

Documents To Go v10 adds support to view Microsoft Office 2007 Word and Excel files on your Palm OS device. The following Palm OS devices are compatible with Documents To Go v10:
  • Treo 755p, Treo 700p
  • Treo 680, Treo 650, Treo 600
  • LifeDrive Mobile Manager
  • T|X, Tungsten C, Tungsten T5, Tungsten T3, Tungsten E2, Tungsten E
  • Zire 72, Z22
  • Zodiac 2
For more information about Documents To Go, please visit the DataViz website.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Foleo Software Round Up

Last week (while I was on vacation) Palm and their Foleo solution partners announced a handful of new software titles for the upcoming Foleo Mobile Companion.

Six Apart Blogging Solutions for Palm's Foleo

To start things off Palm and San Francisco-based Six Apart Ltd announced that Six Apart's blogging services, which includes the popular TypePad service, will be compatible with Palm's Foleo Mobile Companion.

"It's vitally important for our business and individual customers to have access to their blogs and journals," said Aaron Emigh, executive vice president and general manager of core technology for Six Apart. "Our work with Palm allows our customers to keep their content fresh and current with the latest in mobile technology."

"Today's customers are doing much more with their mobile devices, including staying in touch with online communities," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. "Six Apart's blogging applications take advantage of Foleo's large screen and easy-to-use interface, making it simple for customers to take photos with their Treo(TM) smartphone, upload them to their blogs, then use the Foleo to edit and add text."

You can read more about Six Apart's solutions on their website. You can read the full Palm press release on the Palm website.

TealPoint To Bring Applications to Palm Foleo

Palm and San Rafael-based TealPoint Software have announced that TealPoint will be bringing some of their popular Palm OS software to the new Foleo Mobile Companion.

"With quality software support, the Foleo has the capability of revolutionizing the world of mobile computing," said Holly Egan, director of business operations for TealPoint Software. "As a leading developer of mobile applications, we can leverage our experience to best take advantage of the Foleo's open platform. Combining Palm's easy-to-use tools and our own unique proprietary software technology, we've been able to bring five full applications to the Foleo in only a few weeks. Moving forward, we plan to bring more applications to the Foleo -- new original titles as well as enhanced versions of our existing award-winning 28 applications for Palm OS(R)."

"TealPoint Software has a longstanding relationship with the Palm OS community and has brought dozens of applications to market for Palm devices," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. "They're now taking that success and bringing it over to the Foleo to give customers a rich experience, whether editing a picture, solving a puzzle or keeping organized."

TealPoint will initially bring the following software titles to the Foleo:
  • TealSafe
  • TealPaint
  • TealDiet
  • SudokuAddict
  • ShortCircuit
More details about TealPoint's applications for the Foleo can be found on the TealPoint website. You can read the full Palm press release on the Palm website.

NormSoft Pocket Tunes Foleo Preview

At next week's LinuxWorld conference and expo (August 6-9), NormSoft will be demonstrating Pocket Tunes (pTunes) running on Palm's new Foleo. You can read the NormSoft's preview announcement on the NormSoft blog. Continue to check the Foleo Fanatics website for more details about pTunes for the Foleo as they become available.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, Palm has been doing a good job of fostering support for their new Foleo platform by bringing a number well know developers to the table. According to Palm, a publicly available software development kit (SDK) will also be available for download the same day the Foleo launches.

[Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct dates for LinuxWorld.]

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Palm Desktop for Vista Beta Released


Palm has released a beta version of Palm Desktop intended for use with Microsoft Windows Vista only. The new version of Palm Desktop is version 6.2 and includes HotSync Manager 7.0.

Palm Desktop v6.2 is a beta release, which means that the software may still have bugs in it. Palm is releasing the software early so that customers using Windows Vista have a way to HotSync their Palm with their computer. Palm Desktop v6.2 supports the following Palm devices:

  • Treo 755p, 700p, 680, 650
  • Tungsten E2 (aka "E2")
  • Z22, TX
All other Palm OS devices, including the Tungsten T5, Tungsten T3, Zire 71, Tapwave Zodiac, Garmin iQue, and Sony Clie are not supported.

Palm Desktop v6.2, like all previous versions of Palm Desktop is a free download from the Palm website.

I strongly encourage you to read the documentation before you attempt to install Palm Desktop v6.2 on your Windows Vista computer. You should also backup your Palm with an application like NVBackup before attempting the upgrade. Windows XP users should not install this update, and should continue to use Palm Desktop v4.2 or v4.1.4/4.1.4e.

Download Palm Desktop v6.2 for Windows Vista...

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Palm Foleo: A Hands On Review

Palm hosted four Foleo Sneak Peek events last week. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Manhattan event held at the Rockefeller Center retail store in New York City. What follows are my first impressions of my hands on time with Palm’s latest product offering.

Palm has positioned the Foleo to be an accessory to your mobile phone. When it is launched later this summer, the Foleo will ship with support for the company’s Treo smartphones; however, Palm has expressed interest in expanding support to other mobile phones. (Foleo Fanatics will cover third-party phone support when it is announced. The remainder of this article will deal specifically with the Treo.)


Who and Why

The Foleo is aimed squarely at mobile professionals and executives who spend a lot of time reading and composing email and working with email attachments. When paired with a Treo, email and attachments (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Acrobat, and images) are displayed on a crisp 10-inch display. Typing up a longer email is easy with Foleo’s full-sized keyboard. For this first Mobile Companion product, the Palm designers have decided to stay focused on the core customer and the applications that are used. When developing the Foleo the designers looked at what applications worked best with a large screen. Email and document editing came to the forefront. The PIM applications work equally as well on the Treo’s screen or the Foleo’s screen and would have less of an impact on the customer experience. Palm is working with their solution partners to ensure Foleo customers will have additional applications to use with the Treo and the Foleo when the product does launch.

Hands On with Foleo

The first thing that I noticed about the Foleo was its large 1024x600 display. The display was crisp and easy to read. Since it was raining this particular afternoon, I wasn’t able to view the screen in direct sunlight, but the screen’s brightness did pass the sunglasses test.

As it turned out, the Opera browser was the foreground application and I wanted to test out web page rendering. The first thing that I tried was viewing the Foleo Fanatics website. It looked just as good on the Foleo as it does on my Mac or PC. I also tried out blog posting to Blogger with the Foleo and it worked as expected. The Foleo was up to the task and within minutes I had a new post up. The demonstration Foleo that I used was configured to use Wi-Fi. I was not able to try to connect the Foleo to the Internet with a Bluetooth connection with a Treo 755p. I can say that over a Wi-Fi connection, the Opera browser seemed just as fast as the wireless connection from my MacBook.

Switching to a new application is easy. Just press the App key on the keyboard and the Application Menu drops down from the top left of the display. If you are of the keyboard-oriented sort, you can use the keyboard shortcuts to launch a new application. To start the web browser, press the App and B keys. To switch to the email application, press the App key with the E key. Any one worried that the application-launching lag that may have crossed over from the Treo 700p to the Foleo will be happy to hear that, under Linux, application launching was snappy. In my time with the Foleo I did not experience any lag while applications launched.

The keyboard was roomy and comfortable, but that is not the only way to interact with the Foleo. Palm has included a track stick located between the G, H, and B keys just as they are on PC notebook computers. The really cool feature is the scroll wheel. To navigate the screen, you use your index finger and your thumb to scroll the screen up or down. To activate an object on your screen you can use the left or right mouse button. One nice feature that I learned about from attending the event was the “zing.” A quick flick, or “zing,” of the scroll wheel up or down will move the screen up or down a page at a time rather than a line at a time.

Another feature that I believe will be popular with business customers is the VGA video out port. Included in the Foleo box will be a VGA adapter that will allow you to connect the Foleo to an external video device like a table top projector. When the Foleo is connected to an external display, the screen resolution is changes from 1024x600 to 1024x768. Once connected the Foleo becomes a vehicle for PowerPoint presentation delivery. This capability has been available on Palm handheld PDAs and Treo smartphones for a while, however the solutions always required special drivers or hardware to make it work. Since I have to give several presentations a month, I will be looking forward to testing this new feature out in the real world once the Foleo ships.


Additional Information

During the Sneak Peek event I did manage to get some additional details about the Foleo. The first is that there is a USB port on the Foleo and that there is a USB host driver in the operating system. The USB host driver will allow you to connect things like flash drives, keyboards, and mice to the Foleo. I was not able to determine if the Foleo would support a desktop USB microphone as suggested by fellow attendee Martin Jablow.

According to the Palm staff running the demonstrations, the battery should provide about five hours of continuous use with both the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11b radios enabled. With moderate use, the Foleo’s batter should be able to provide a day and a half to two days of use. The 802.11b radio was a compromise include Wi-Fi and to extend battery life. As I mentioned earlier, web pages were loading quickly enough that I don’t think that this will be a serious problem. Given the choice of longer battery life or an 802.11g Wi-Fi radio, I’d take the extra battery life. The Foleo’s battery will be user replaceable, however, for the event, the batter compartment was sealed. Palm has yet to release the specifications of the battery being used. I did confirm that the Foleo does not use the same AC adapter as the Treo, which means that if you are going to on the road for more than 2 days you should pack the chargers for the Treo and the Foleo.

The Foleo will ship with 128MB of non-volatile memory. Customers who need more storage space can add Compact Flash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) cards to boost storage capacity. When a CF card is inserted, the Foleo uses the CF card as the primary customer data storage space. Presumably, the included file manager will allow customers to move previously stored data from the built-in memory area to the newly inserted card. When you insert a SD card in the SD card slot, the Foleo presents it to the operating system as just another storage volume. For the time being, Palm is recommending that SD cards and email are easy ways to move data between the Foleo and the Treo. While this arrangement will work, I can see customers looking for a way to browse the contents of the Treo’s inserted SD card using the Bluetooth connection and eliminate the need to shuffle SD cards around. I can also confirm that a PNY 4GB SDHC card did work with the Foleo. I was able to create a new Word document on the Treo, saving it to the card, and then read and update the same file on the same SDHC card on the Foleo, save it, and then view it back on the Treo.

The Foleo also sports a headphone jack along the right side of the device. The headphone jack is a regular 3.5mm jack (the Treo uses the cellular carrier specified 2.5mm jack) and it is a stereo jack. The speaker built-in to the Foleo is a mono speaker. The existence of that jack makes me wonder if a certain popular audio player for the Treo will be making an appearance on the Foleo before the year’s end. If the old saying “If you build it, they will come,” is true, I expect to see third-parties porting audio and video players to the Foleo once the software development kit (SDK) is released later this summer.

Despite my best efforts, I was unable to obtain any substantial information about the processor inside the Foleo. The only information that I was able to glean from a coy Palm representative was that the Foleo is faster than the TX. If we interpret this information literally, the Foleo uses a processor that is faster than the Palm TX’s 312 MHz Intel ARM processor. Palm has been using the 312 MHz processor in the Treo line, but long time Palm customers will recall that the Tungsten T5 handheld used the faster 416 MHz processor. All of this information is speculation on my part, and the full product specifications will be released close to or on the Foleo launch day.

In conclusion

The first Foleo Mobile Companion has clearly been designed with the mobile business professional in mind. From my brief time with the Foleo I was impressed by what I saw. The Foleo is a light-weight sturdy device that can easily be integrated into my regular business day.

The Foleo can be used as a stand alone computing platform; however, it becomes more useful when it is paired up with a Treo smartphone. The software that is bundled with the device will allow customers to get setup and working with little or no intervention from their company’s Information Technology department. And Palm is working with third-party solution providers to ensure that additional software will be available for the product launch and beyond, expanding the features and capabilities of the Foleo.

According to Palm, the Foleo is on track to meet an undisclosed release date later this summer. (The last day of summer is September 22.) When the Foleo goes on sale, it will retail for $599 and will be initially available at Palm retail locations and from the Palm online store. During an introductory period, there will be a $100 mail-in rebate on the Foleo bringing the total cost down to $499. It is expected that big box retail locations, such as Best Buy, will begin carrying the Foleo before the end of the year. (I don’t have any launch information for regions outside of North America.)

For more information about the Foleo, please visit the Palm website.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Foleo Fotos - Pictures from the Manhattan Sneak Peek

As you already know, I was able to attend last night's Foleo Sneak Peek at the Palm Retail Store in Rockefeller Center. The following are some pictures I took at the event.















The Rockefeller Center retail store front.















The Palm Goodie Bags - Don't Touch!
















The Orange Accessory Wall




















Foleo free standing ad



Foleo application launcher - The "App Menu"



Foleo application version screen



Foleo and Apple MacBook 15" size comparison



Foleo and Treo 700p size comparison



The Palm Goodies


Thanks Palm for hosting this event! A great time was had by all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'm Here and It's Cool! (Updated)

I'm at the Manhattan Palm Store and the Foleo is totally awesome. Thanks to Ben Combee and Audrey Muller for letting me demo the Foleo this evening. Stay tuned for more details.


Update

I was able to spend some time throughout the Foleo Sneak Peek event playing with the Foleo. The more I worked with Foleo the more I liked it. The keyboard, mouse "stick", mouse buttons, and scroll wheel are very easy to use. I had no trouble reading the screen, and application switching was fast.

Look for my full review early next week.

iambic Tipper Promotion


iambic is running a special 99-cent promotion on their Tipper application for Palm OS, Windows Mobile/Pocket PC, and Windows Mobile Smartphone platforms. At that price, I'll probably buy one copy of each just so I have my bases covered.

Promotion information...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

More Foleo Questions Answered

TreoCentral has a new thread running of questions to ask at this week's Palm Foleo sneak peek events. (I will be attending the New York event.)

You can read the entire thread here. If you are one of those people that likes to read the last chapter of a mystery novel first, you can cut to chase and read this post (post #3). The following is just a short excerpt from the TreoCentral thread.

How do I transfer a file from Foleo to Treo? SD card? BT?

At the moment, SD card and USB thumb drives are the best bet. However, our third party Avvenue has a nice service that lets you get access to files on your PC or Mac over the web. The Bluetooth connection is currently only used to talk to your paired phone.

Security features? Physical lock slot? Password protection?

No lock slot. There is optional password protection at turn-on time, and you can set the password to be disabled if your paired smartphone is nearby and within Bluetooth range.

Does mailto: URL in browser integrate with mail app?

Yes.

Battery life on standby? Indefinite?

It lasts a very long time. We designed it so if we ship it from the factory with a full charge, it should still have enough juice to be setup when you get it from the Palm store. I've left a unit alone for a month and still been able to turn it on and use it. Of course, this all can vary depending on individual battery quality, the amount of use the device has had, and user settings.
Read the entire thread...

Thanks to the folks who emailed me this tip.

Gearlog Foleo Hands-On

GearLog.com has posted a review of the upcoming Palm Foleo Mobile Companion.

Palm showed off their Linux-powered mini-laptop, the Foleo, at the press preview for our Digital Life trade show today, and we got a few minutes to manhandle the little thing. Good news for Palm: if they can get over their silly obsession with calling it "not a laptop," they have a potentially impressive product on their hands.

The Foleo has a bit of heft at just over 2 pounds, but it didn't feel all that heavy - it definitely would have taken a weight off my back if it replaced my IBM Thinkpad T40. The customized, Linux-based interface is very simple and very responsive. There's actually no application launcher or "home screen," just an application menu that you pop down by using a dedicated "Apps" key; you navigate around using a little eraser-head-like touchpoint device in the middle of the keyboard. Click near the top of the screen, and application menus appear. It's all the laptop experience you like, with none of the annoying slowdowns you hate. If Palm plays their cards right, yes, they could replace laptops in a lot of situations.
The author does sniff out some clarification of specifications if not talk about any hard new product specs.

We managed to scope out a few unpublished specs in our meeting, though they're nothing too surprising: the Foleo has 128 MB of RAM (though you can expand that with both SD -- but not SDHC -- and CompactFlash cards) and an Intel (isn't it Marvell now?) XScale ARM-based processor. We couldn't find the processor speed. Palm is also coy about the variant of Linux they're using; all we squeezed out of the terminal was "ARM-unknown-linux-gnu," but I'm no Linux geek.

Keep reading...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rumor: Palm's Foleo Coming August 22?

According to an article published on Brighthand earlier today, Palm's Foleo Mobile Companion is scheduled to go on sale starting on August 22.

"When Palm announced the Foleo in May, it didn't give a definite release date for this device, just that it would be available at some point this summer. According to an anonymous source, though, the first model in Palm's new Mobile Companion class of products will debut on August 22."

I have been unable to substantiate this rumor, however, the date would be in line with what Palm has previously stated about the Foleo going on sale "later this summer". The staged launch with the Foleo becoming available from the online Palm store and at Palm retail outlets first and then other retailers later on is also consistent with statements made by Palm's Senior Vice President, Marketing Brodie Keast.

Read the entire Brighthand article...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Verizon Corporate Customers Gain Access 700p MR

I saw the following on PalmInfoCenter earlier today:

"Over a year after the phone's launch, the long-awaited ROM Maintenance Release for the Verizon version of the Treo 700p is finally being rolled out to certain Verizon Wireless corporate stores. In an odd twist deviating from Palm's usual support practices, Verizon has sent the 700p 1.10 ROM out on SD cards to select corporate stores for Verizon service technician use only. At this point in time, no user-installable version of this update is available nor has a download been leaked."
I wonder what the hold up is for the general availability release of the Verizon 700p MR on the Palm website. I haven't had any trouble applying the 700p MR using the SD card on my Sprint Treo. Hopefully my fellow Verizon Treo 700p customers will be able got get the many bug fixes included in this update.

Read the full article...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Foleo Sneak Peek Events Scheduled

Palm has added four new Foleo Sneak Peek events to the schedule. On Tuesday July 17, Palm is holding two events; one in the Washington, DC Union Station Retail Store and the other in the Los Angeles Grove Retail Store.

Then again, on July 19, Palm runs two more shows. The first is at the Palm Retail Store at the Westfield San Francisco Centre and the other is at the Palm Retail Store in Rockefeller Center, New York City.

Foleo Fanatics hoping to get an up close look at the Foleo before it begins shipping can check out the Palm Foleo Sneak Peek website to register for one of the events.

I have registered for the New York event on July 19th. If there are any other Foleo Fanatics who are going and want to meet up, you should send an email to: alan (at) grassnet (dot) net.

Brighthand - Foleo First Thoughts

Brighthand's Editor-in-Chief, Ed Hardy, has posted this first impressions of the upcoming Palm Foleo Mobile Companion on Brighthand.com. Ed writes:

"Late this spring, Palm, Inc. took the wraps off the Foleo, the first device in its new third product category. When it debuts in the next few months, this won't be a handheld or smartphone, instead it will something Palm is calling a mobile companion.
Palm Foleo

I recently spent some time with a prototype unit, and I'd like to share my first impressions.

Hardware

One of the most important features of the Foleo is obvious at first glance: it's really quite small. For something shaped like a laptop, I mean. Naturally I didn't get a chance to carry one around for a few days to get a real idea of how convenient it's going to be, but it's certainly going to be easier than lugging around my full-size laptop."
Keep reading...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Thinking Foleo – Software Is Key

Over the past few weeks Palm has been spoon-feeding us little bit sized morsels of information about some of the details regarding the Palm Foleo. Many people see that Foleo as simply as yet another technology company trying to release yet another sub-notebook computer.

I believe that the Foleo can be more than that. The Foleo is a companion product to a smartphone. As far as we know, for now at least, the Foleo should work with all of the current Treo smartphones. Palm has indicated that going forward the Foleo will work with other boardband capable phones. The Foleo is, in essence, a full size keyboard and 10-inch display for smartphones. You use it for those times when you can’t or won’t use the features of your smartphone. Probably the best example we have so far of when you would use the Foleo rather than say the MacBook on which I’m writing this is for composing long email messages.

The most interesting part of the Foleo, for me and I’m guessing you also, is what else the Foleo will be able to do. Jeff Hawkins, creator of the Palm Pilot, the Treo, and now the Foleo, has stated that this is the first device in a new category of devices. We’ve heard that same kind of talk before about Palm’s LifeDrive Mobile Manager. The Mobile Manager was a great device concept with a number of bad design flaws. The Foleo, I believe, will be different.

Much like the original Pilot, the Foleo is free from wireless carrier restrictions. Palm will be free to design the Foleo platform as they want to without having to give concessions to the carriers. By being in the full control of the Foleo hardware and software Palm will be free to deliver innovative solutions to solve problems that their customers have. The Foleo will be the device at the cross roads of the open Linux operating system, the ingenuity of the original Pilot and flexible feature set.

When the Foleo ships later this year, it will ship with the software essentials to give business professionals the same flexibility they rely on their smartphones for in a larger packages that is continuously synchronized with the data on the phone.

Palm has included a number of useful software features into the Foleo right out of the box. First, and most important, is a data synchronization engine. The Foleo will keep your contacts and email synchronized at all times. Also built in to the Foleo will be the DataViz Documents To Go office suite that has shipped with Palm OS devices for years. The Documents To Go office suite will allow mobile professionals to use access files that are attached to email messages. Web browsing on a smartphone can often be an aggravating experience and so Palm has included the Opera web browser to allow Foleo users a better web experience on a larger screen.

In today’s mobile devices, office productivity software is all expected. To round out the features that are not included in the Foleo’s box will be a virtual private network (VPN) client from Bluefire; the mDayscape full personal information manager (PIM) suite from MotionApps; Solitaire and Sudoku games from Astraware; and the Access ‘n Share remote PC data access client software from Avvenu.

The addition of these third-party applications will mean that on launch day, the Foleo will be even more useful than we where first told during the product announcement presentation. However there is one more software package that has been only talked about in brief passing conversations: the Foleo software development kit (SDK).

The SDK is the software the Palm has promised to make available when the Foleo ships. SDKs are used to write software for the Foleo by application developers. Once the Foleo SDK has been released anyone who wants to write applications for the Foleo will be able to do so. OK, you will likely need to know now to program in the C or C++ languages first, but after that, you could use the SDK to write software for the Foleo.

Palm understands that fostering third-party application development is essential for the continued longevity of the Foleo platform. Third-party applications will be just as critical to the Foleo as they where to the Pilot and Treo product families. Despite being a first generation device, the Foleo has a feature rich hardware platform on which to develop applications including multiple storage options (Compact Flash and Secure Digital cards), video and audio out capabilities, and the ability to instantly turn the device on and off. And because the Foleo is running a version of the Linux operating system it should be possible for Linux application developers to jump on the Foleo bandwagon.

The hardest thing for me to do now is sit back and wait for Palm to complete the Foleo and begin selling it. The hardest for Palm will to get the Foleo out the door with as few bugs as possible and to hit the ground running with third-party application support. If Palm can do that the first Foleo will be successful enough to make the Mobile Companion platform more than a one trick pony.