Tuesday, December 30, 2008
It has been a little more than a week since I swapped my trusty Palm Treo 755p for a BlackBerry Curve 8330, both for the Sprint EVDO wireless network and it has been an interesting experience so far.
I'd like to start off by talking about some of the hardware differences between my BlackBerry and Treo.
The Curve is about a third thinner than my Treo. Eyeballing them both on my desk, the Curve and the Treo are the same width and height, although the Curve is a tiny bit shorter. As far as weight is concerned, the Curve is also a lighter when I'm holding both in my hands, but that so much that I notice a difference when carrying the BlackBerry in a belt case.
I miss the Treo's ringer switch with the BlackBerry. And I like the Treo's keyboard better. The keyboard on the Curve is usable and I am getting along with it OK, however, the Treo keyboard just felt better and more sturdy. The trackball on the BlackBerry is easy to get use to. I like it as much as the 5-way navigator on the Treo because it allows you to hold the device in either hand and use it. That wasn't the case with older BlackBerry devices that only had a scroll wheel on the right side fo the device.
Probably the biggest thing that I miss on the BlackBerry that I used all the time on my Treo is the touch screen. It was really easy to just reach up with a thumb or pointer finger and tap an object on the screen.
Some other welcomed changes wtih the BlackBerry include a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in (assisted) GPS, a mini USB port for charging and data synchronization (which is now the standard on new Palm devices), and a 2.0MP digital camera with a flash. Palm's Treo 755p ships with a 320x320 display. The Curve has a 320x240 display. The difference in display resolution has turned out to not be as big of a deal as I expected it would. I have found both displays easy to read. That said, the BlackBerry has an auto adjusting screen brightness feature where the screen brigthness goes up in well lit rooms making it even easy to ready in a well lit room in the office or at home.
Voice call quality is good on the BlackBerry and I was able to pair my Bluetooth headset with it. The speaker phone option is loud which is good when your home with the kids, however, my not be so good if you are in your office. You will need to adjust the call volume to meet your needs and environment.
All in all, the BlackBerry Curve offers the same hardware features that I like about my Treo. I prefer a full Qwerty keyboard over on screen keyboards like the one found on the Apple iPhone and the multi-function keypad on devices like the BlackBerry Perl. The track ball is as easy to use as the nav pad on the Treo. Both devices fit nicely in my hands, however, I do miss the soft touch paint that Palm has ben using on the Treo 750, 755p, and the newest Sprint Centro smartphones.
For more information about the BlackBerry Curve 8300 series devices, check out Research In Motion's BlackBerry website.
Monday, December 29, 2008
The latest 1SRC Palm-Powered podcast has been uploaded. In the latest show, I cover:
- Doug Jeffries will join Palm as the new CFO on Jan 7, 2009.
- Palm Q2FY09 conference call summary.
- Palm has launched a web based app store.
- 1SRC Editorial: Palm App Store 2.0.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Check out the full EngadgetMobile article...
"Opera Mini is the outstanding mobile browser from Opera which also works on Palm OS devices. Unfortunately, it doesn't behave like a default browser, URL's can't be transfered from other apps and access to special characters is limited.
OperaFrontEnd is made to change all this: Opera Mini is now your default browser, URL's are enqueued into Opera Mini and the access to the build-in keyboard makes it possible to enter every single character your Palm can display.
OperaFrontEnd v1.1 even allows you to fall back to good-old Blazer whenever you need it for downloads or compatibility issues."
Opera Front End is on sale for $2.95 at MobiHand until December 31, 2008. For more details, visit the MetaViewSoft blog.
Friday, December 26, 2008
BoyGeniusReport.com has a picture of a Research In Motion BlackBerry keyboard patent that shows a drawing of a BlackBerry Pearl-like device with a fold out keyboard.
Interesting that this photo surfaced. Didn't we see an "unidentified" smartphone that transforms to allow you to use a hidden keyboard? I wonder if these transforming phones are all the rage in smartphone OEM developer circles?
“We are delighted to bring customers this ground-breaking mobile technology,” said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Entertainment, Wal-Mart, in the press release. “Our electronics associates have been preparing for many weeks for the arrival of iPhone 3G. We are excited to now help new customers learn more about the features and services that make the iPhone unique.”
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
As you can see from the screen shots below, the App Store icon launches a web page that is the same on a Palm OS Treo or Centro as it is on a Windows Mobile Treo. The web app solution gets Palm around a problem that they had previously had with the myPalm application which was that it was only for Palm OS handhelds and smartphones. (This was because the previous myPalm app store was based on the Bluefish Wireless AddIt application that Palm has included with their PDAs and smartphones since late 2003.) Now all of Palm's customers can join in on the buy-it-on-the-go fun. I wrote about why I think Palm needs an integrated on device application store in the 1SRC.com editorial, "Palm Needs an App Store."
(Tapping the green App Store icon lauches a web URL to the online Palm App Store which contains some 5,000 combined Palm OS and Windows Mobile applications.)
The app store that I envisioned when I wrote that editorial operated more like Appl'e App Store and the older myPalm AddIt application that Latham wrote about on TreoCentral here. I would like to see Palm provide an integrated solution. The web based app store will download and install the Palm OS or Windows Mobile application installer over the air (OTA) to your device and that is really cool and simple for novice users to get apps on to their devices. But what happens when the device gets hard reset? Palm needs to make sure that it is easy for customers to access their unlock codes, serial numbers, and installers. An integrated solution would make this possible. One solution could be similar to the now defunct myPalm.com portal where customers would login to a Palm customer service portal and be able to access their purchased software and find their serial numbers. An alternateive or companion option would be to use some of the features of also defunct Palm Backup application where the software prompts users to login to the Palm portal server and then be able to redownload and install their software. All over the air without the need to sync to a Windows or Mac OS X desktop computer.
This leads me back to a cloud computing portal solution that I suspect that Palm could have been looking at before the economey took a turn for the worse. A Palm solution similar to Apple's Mobile Me offering could offer a spot to sync your PIM data to, manage OTA device backup and restores along site OTA software download and installation. A small desktop application for Windows and Mac OS X could plug-in to the cloud portable to provide a similar destkop experience that we have today only without the hassle of having to deal with wired data synchronization and USB device drivers.
In conclusion, I think that Palm has all the pieces for a new cloud based solution. The question now is when can it be implemented. Palm clearly has all hands on deck to ensure that Palm OS II / Nova is successfully launched on new hardware. Will a new cloud portal solution go live at the the same time that Nova does? What about Windows Mobile? Will the software be developed for Windows Mobile Professional 5 and 6; or will Palm focus on a new integrated on device application of Windows Mobile 7? My guess is that Palm will focus new software devlopment on Nova and Windows Mobile 7 while existing devices can still access the PocketGear web app store that Palm recently rolled out.
Now that integrated, cloud based solution (desktop to device wireless sync, customer service portal, and OTA application installs and backups) is one that I'm looking forward to. It has the potential to reduce the toubleshooting and support issues around USB drivers and data synchronization; it will give customers easy access to new applications for their devices; and all of their information (PIM data, purchased software, and device backups) can be easily accessed from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
Let me know what you think by using the comments link below.
Monday, December 22, 2008
The next step is to get my email accounts configured on the BlackBerry. At this point I'm not sure how I'm going to acomplish that. Looks like I'll be spending some time with the BlackBerry user manual this afternoon.
"The additional capital from Elevation Partners will enable us to put added momentum behind the new product introductions scheduled for 2009 and will provide us with enhanced stability in unsettled economic times," said Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer of Palm, Inc. "Elevation has been a great partner to Palm, and we appreciate their continued confidence and support."
"We believe that Palm is in a position to transform the cell phone industry, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to make this additional investment in the company. Palm has an industry-leading team and an exciting, differentiated product roadmap. We are proud to be associated with the company and look forward to great things from Palm in 2009 and beyond," stated Roger McNamee, co-founder of Elevation Partners.
The transaction is expected to close by January, 31, 2009. Palm also has the option to trigger a sell action by Elevation of up to $49 million dollars before March 31, 2009 to other investors under the same or better prices.
Read the full Palm press release...
There are a few reasons for deciding to turn on the BlackBerry now. The first is that after looking at Palm's new App Store, there is no need for testing on my Treo 755p; my Treo 750 is up to the task.
Secondly, if the rumors about Palm are true, it looks like the company could be on track to release a new device with the Nova operating system before the May/June 2009 time frame. I want to use the BlackBerry in between now and then. If Palm is going to deliver in the next quarter, I need to get going with the BlackBerry.
Sprint is still reporting that they are working with RIM on ironing out the kinks in the BlackBerry OS 4.5 upgrade. That means that I won't be able to use DataViz Documents To Go until the update has been certified by Sprint.
I'll post again once I have the BlackBerry activated for voice and data with the BlackBerry Internet service.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
For those not familiar with the MacWorld shows, they are not run by Apple. The shows are actually put on by the publisher of the MacWorld magazine.
Steve Jobs has always been a my way or the highway kind of guy, so I can see why the company has chosen to leave the show after the January 2009 event. Trade shows and magazines have become marginalized in the last few years. If you have been to a trade show or a user conference in the past, you understand the great educational and networking opportunities that can be had from such events.
As you might expect, the Mac magazine has a few articles posted on their website on the topic. I'll save you the time, the three articles are:
- Apple at Expo: What When Wrong?
- Apple announces its last year at Macworld Expo, no Jobs keynote
- MacWorld Expo Responds to Apple's Exit
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Be sure to check back later for a wrap up of the week's Palm news and analysis.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The short answer is that I'm not. I am a hardcore Palm OS user and if a device can't match the feature set of my Treo 755p, it just can't be my day-to-day device. There are a lot of things that I like about the Curve. They include things like a smaller footprint and weight; a full Qwerty keyboard, and ok PIM applications.
There are things that have kept me from adopting the BlackBerry. For one, the software on the device is BlackBerry OS 4.3, not 4.5 or later. Without BlackBerry OS 4.5, I can't run DataViz Documents To Go - an essential tool in my opinion. I'll also loose the ability to sync with my corporate calendar at the office. That isn't a big problem because I have access to Treo 700p at the office that I can use to sync my calendar to. (I won't need to bring that Treo home, I just want the calendar when I'm not in my office during the week.)
I'd also have to convert my corporate wireless email account from a Palm OS license to a BlackBerry license, but that isn't suppose to be hard process.
The latest word from Sprint is that the BlackBerry OS 4.5 upgrade for the Curve 8330 will be out during or after the week of 12/15/08, which is next week. We'll see. Sprint is had to push back the date a few times already.
I want to play with the BlackBerry, but until I have a plan to ensure I have access to all of my "stuff" I'll stick with my Treo 755p. Maybe I'll convert in January.
Astraware Board Games is now available from the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPod touch users. Astraware Board Games is a collection of eight classic board games including Chess, Backgammon, Ludo, Checkers, Reversi, Nine Men's Morris, Snakes & Ladders and Tic Tac Toe.
For the iPhone/iPod edition of Board Games, Astraware has applied some of the Apple special sauce to the mix to enhance the gaming experience not found on other mobile platforms. For example, players shake their device to shake the dice, touch and slide their piece to move it, and enjoy enhanced graphics that take advantage of the high-quality screen on the devices. In addition, players have the choice of playing against the CPU, against friends using "hotseat" multiplayer on one device, or against a friend on two separate devices using a local Wi-Fi connection.
Astraware Board Games is available now from the Apple App Store and sells for $4.99. For more information about Board Games, or to see a short video of the game in action, head over to the Astraware website.
My kids love playing this game on my Palm Treo 755p. I know that they are going to enjoy it even more when they get to play against Dad on his iPod. I am definitely going to get this game for our upcoming family vacation.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
My Palm OCD meter has just hit the roof! Reports are coming into Smartphone Fanatics that Palm has sent out invitations to a special press event to be held during the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this coming January.
Based on the wording on the emailed invitation, the Palm community is brimming with excitement. The invitation reads, "Come to CES to see all that Palm New-ness you've been waiting for."
That "New-ness" can only be Palm's next-generation operating system that I've been calling Palm OS II for years now; and that Palm has codenamed Nova. As many Smartphone Fanatics readers have pointed out in the past, Nova translates to "New" in some languages.
Palm fans have been waiting for the successor to Palm OS 5 literally for years and after all the waiting, it is clear that Colligan & Co. are about to make good on all their promises.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
Monday, December 8, 2008
"Remember last week’s rumor that Wal-Mart (WMT) is about to start selling Apple (AAPL) iPhones?
Apparently, it’s true. Both Bloomberg and the San Jose Mercury News quote employees at various Wal-Mart stores saying they expect to start selling the phone before the end of the month, likely between Christmas and New Year’s Day - maybe sooner.
According to the Merc, Kim Nguyen, manager of the cell phone department at the Milpitas Wal-Mart, said she was told by an AT&T representative that her store would be getting a 4 GB model. She also said the store was supposed to get some iPhones two days before Christmas."
Via Tech Trader Daily...
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Two weeks ago, in my 1SRC editorial, "It's Time for Something 'Nova'," I suggested that it might be time for Palm OS fans to get some love by way of unofficial info about Palm OS II/Nova and the hardware that it might run on. While this photo is far from evidence, scuttlebutt around the Internet seems to be that no one knows what this device is. According to Jenn K. Lee of Pocketables.com, the photo had a born on date of June 3.
With the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (January) and Mobile World Congress (February) just around the corner, it is anyone guess as to whether this is just one of the many prototype devices that gets built and never makes it to market or a vendor's next big device.
What has gotten attentive web heads, myself included, all worked up, is the stylistic design of the device. The jelly looking keys of this device just screams "Palm". Whether or not this is a Palm prototype device remains to be seen. If we stay focused on the keyboard for just a few minutes. If you zoom in on the keyboard, you can sort of make out the keys. Consider this: how often do keyboard formats differ from model to model? I don't think this is a RIM BlackBerry, nor is it Motorola, a Samsung, or HTC Touch.
What do you think this device might be? Is this a new Palm prototype device? Will it run Palm OS II/Nova? Or is this just another pipe dream that has been discarded in the wake of the iPhone and BlackBerry Storm? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks to the anonymous tipster who sent this in.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The latest 1SRC Podcast has gone up for your listening pleasure. On this week's show, I cover:
- Yes, I bought a BlackBerry. Let's get back to the Palm stuff now.
- Palm reports a very rough Q2FY09 , cuts expenses even more.
- Make sure you check out what happens when " Santa Goes Cento ".
- DataViz Documents To Go 11 Premium gets reviewed.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
"I’ve just received word that RIM has completed a fairly significant relaunch of mobile.blackberry.com, their all-in-one web portal for BlackBerry users. The new mobile.blackberry.com features a much more user-friendly design, requiring fewer clicks to get where you want to go, as well as faster load times."
Screen shots available here...
Monday, December 1, 2008
"We are seeing unprecedented dynamics in the global markets as economic uncertainty hampers demand for consumer products," said Ed Colligan, Palm's president and chief executive officer. "In order to ensure Palm's long-term success during these uncertain times, we're taking several steps to significantly reduce our cost structure. These measures will help us navigate this difficult period while launching our next-generation products as planned."
Today's report also details several efforts that Palm has implemented in attempt to keep operating expenses down; including:
- Reductions to the U.S. work force
- Consolidation of European operations
- Collapsing sales, marketing, & administrative support for the AsiaPac region to the US office
As you will recall, Palm is some 18+ months into a corporate transformation that the company hopes will make it a relevant player in the mobile computing space again. To aid in the transformation, Palm has partnered with private equity firm Elevation Partners.
The current global economic conditions aside, Palm appears to be dealing with issues around delays in the release of their next Windows Mobile-powered smartphone(s), which is rumored to be a CDMA version of the GSM Treo Pro, released earlier this year without a carrier partner, for Sprint and/or Verizon. I have not read any credible rumors that suggest Palm is working to release an AT&T branded edition of the Treo Pro before the end of the year.
Palm is also still working to complete the development of their next generation operating system, Palm OS II/Nova. According to company executives, Palm is on track to complete the core of Palm OS II/Nova by the end of this year and expects to have devices shipping to customers by the middle of 2009.
Palm's stock was down -$0.51 to end the day at $1.88.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
- Added support for devices with high resolution screens (VGA 480x640)
- Fixed a bug which caused "Error after creating the .lnk - file : 3" when installing on non-English devices
- Minor bug fixes
During the upgrade, I did run into some trouble. At about 98% done, the following error message popped up:
Edition Not Found
Error setting up the registry. Please reinstall to try and fix the problem.
DataViz's solution for the error can also be found in the DataViz knowlege base. I checked that I had enough space on my Treo by going to the Memory control panel and taking a look at the Storage Free value. The upgrade should have worked. To get around this problem, I ended up uninstalling Documents To Go 3.0031 and eReader (which I never really used on my Windows Mobile Treo anyway), soft reset my Palm, and then re-ran the Documents To Go installer. To do this, I used the Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows Vista and pointed to:
Programs and Services > More... > Add/Remove Programs
During my search, I stumbled across the Sprint discussion forums, BuzzAboutWireless.com. There I found a thread titled, "Update on 4.5 code upgrade", started by a Sprint forums administrator, SarahKS. In her October 17, 2008 post, the admin writes:
"Sprint would like to make its customers aware that it is currently in testing with the 4.5 code for a number of our BlackBerry devices. We understand that many of you are anxious to receive this upgrade; please note that it is very important that Sprint has time to adequately test and certify the code to ensure a quality experience for you, our customers. Once this process is complete Sprint will make this upgrade available as soon as possible.
We understand and appreciate the enthusiasm shown here at Buzz About Wireless and want you to know that we value your feedback and hope you will continue posting and letting us know what is on your mind. Please continue to watch this site about availability of the BlackBerry 4.5 code and other relevant news for Sprint customers."
Ok, I get it. Sprint is telling us that they are working on the update, but have not committed to a release date. The admin being only a forums admin, has no specific information except what the software development team reports to her.
Another Sprint employee chimes in and writes:
"I just read today on another website that Sprint confirmed the release of OS 4.5 to sometime in November...which would mean we will be the 2nd carrier to release it in the U.S. (following the release at T-Mobile, USA)"
Checking the calendar on my Curve, it looks like the November date was missed.
On November 25, 2008, the forums admin posts another OS 4.5 update that reads:
"First off, yes we are still working to deliver the 4.5 software absolutely as soon as possible. We want to make it absolutely clear that Sprint is not sitting on its laurels here. We are working hard to ensure that the software you get is absolutely tip top and will do what you need (and nothing you don’t!).
Unfortunately the software is not quite ready. Right now Sprint and RIM are working together to make the necessary modifications to ensure you have the best possible experience. The good news is that we believe we are getting close to final software."
The lack of MultiMedia Service (MMS) on Sprint's BlackBerry devices is another hot topic from the looks of things. While browsing through that thread, I found a post by another Sprint employee dated November 29, 2008. It reads:
"The PictureMail update for the blackberries should come with the new OS update, that should also coincide with the release of the 8350i within the next few weeks. Interestingly Sprint seems to be skipping the OS 4.5 update alltogether and going straight to OS 4.6
EDIT: The OS update will be avalable for both the 8330 and the 8130, in addition to shipping with the 8350i."
Well, well, well. Ok, so when will the Sprint BlackBerry 8350i for the iDEN network finally arrive? A quick Google search turned up this page over at Engadget Mobile dated November 17, 2008 that suggests that the new BlackBerry will be arriving the the cheers of iDEN users on, oh-ho, December 1, 2008.
Will Sprint's BlackBerry customers get some love tomorrow and get a new BlackBerry and some new software updates? I don't know, but I really hope so.
Blogger Don Nguyen has posted a leaked BlackBerry Storm 4.7 OS upgrade package. On his site, Mr. Nguyen writes:
"After so many requests and the OK from my source, I am officially leaking the new Blackberry Storm OS."I'm not sure who he has gotten the "OK" from, so if you plan on loading this update on your brand spankin' new Verizon BlackBerry Storm, you do so at your own risk. The directions for applying the update can be found over on CrackBerry.com forums.
There seems to be some confusion about the 4.5 software. It has been officially released for many of the current BlackBerry devices. My research shows that it has been released for some of the Curves, including the CDMA Curve for Verizon. I just can't seem to find the official Sprint edition.
Threads on some discussion forums indicates that any BlackBerry Curve 8330 can be upgraded with the multilingual release. Reading through these threads though, it seems like some of the carrier specific features, like No Force Roaming, aren't in the generic release. Go figure.
So I'll have to do some more poking around to figure out whether or not BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 is officially supported on Sprint's devices.
For the bold and the daring, there is a thread on SprintUsers.com that talks about loading over carriers version of 4.5 on your Sprint BlackBerry Curve 8330. With my BlackBerry kung-fu not as good as my Palm OS kung-fu, I'm not sure I'm ready to pull the trigger on an official unofficial upgrade just yet.
I found this article on BlackBerryCool.com and they are reporting that OS 4.5 is official on Sprint, yet when I run the "Windows Update"-like upgrade checker at BlackBerry.com I get the message that my device is running the latest software; 4.3. Ugh!
After a few hours of poking around on the Internet with Google and on the BlackBerry.com and Sprint.com websites, I have finally come to the conclusion that BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 is not (officially) available for the Sprint BlackBerry Curve 8330.
While searching for an answer, I stumbled across the BlackBerry Device Software v4.5 Availability page on the BlackBerry.com website. When I entered my device's PIN number, I received the following message:
"BlackBerry® Device Software v4.5 is not supported by your wireless service provider.
You will be redirected in 10 seconds to our Product Update form to receive notification when the software is available.
If you are not automatically taken to the form, please click here"
So, it seems that us BlackBerry Curve owners on Sprint who don't want to roll the dice with one of the unofficial upgrades still have to wait this out. I do hope that Sprint gets around to releasing the upgrade soon.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Dell Inspiron 910 (aka: mini 9)
To my surprise, the Dell mini 9 worked really well. I was able to get about 5-6 hours of battery life out of the unit. That number still isn't enough to get me through a full 10-12 hour day; however, it was as good as my heavier Dell Latitide D630 with a 9-cell battery. To get the best possible battery life, you need to be smart about what you are doing.
During the day, I would use the built-in Wi-Fi radio. To conserve battery power, I would turn the radio on and off as needed. The same is true for the screen brightness. While I was using the notebook in a workshop or presentation that had the lights dimmed, I would turn down the brightness on the screen. When I was meeting with someone or using the notebook in the lounge area, I would turn the screen brightness up to a level that was comfortable to read in a room with full lighting.
The weight was fantastic. The mini 9 weighs less than 2.5lbs and you will appreciate not having a throbbing shoulder after traversing two airports. The quilted slip case that I purchased for it is considered "TSA safe" meaning that you can keep the notebook in the slip case while it is run through the x-ray machine.
Being a corporate asset, my team and I converted the base install of Windows XP Home SP3 to Windows XP Professional SP2. I was able to run all of my required corporate applications without any trouble. Applications did seem to run a little bit slower than my full powered Latitude D630, however, I was willing to accept the trade off.
The only thing that I really wasn't crazy about on the mini 9 was the size of the keyboard. I was able to touch type on the keyboard. The main Qwerty keys on the mini 9 where big enough for my fingers. What I didn't like was the keys that surrond the main keys. For example, the shift, tab, and alt keys were about half as big as you would expect them to be. I was forever hitting the wrong keys. I also didn't like having some keys being what I call "tipple stacked." For example, the equals key shifts to the plus key which is normal. However on the Dell mini 9, the equals key also blue Fn shifts to get the back slash key. Being in IT, typing in Windows directory and network paths can be a real pain in the neck. Over time, this will be something that you will get used to.
Palm Treo 755p
My Treo 755p performed as I expected it to: beautifully. I purchased an extended life battery for my Treo and it was able to keep running all day. I have my Treo programmed to check my various email accounts at 30 minute intervals. The Treo did a great job of tackeling email, weather updates, and some light web surfing through out the day. I did use the World Clock application as my alarm clock. If you chose to use your Treo as your alarm clock, just make sure that you set the ringer switch from silent back to ring mode. During the day, I keep my Treo in silent mode and at night I switch it back to ring mode so I can hear the alarm when it is time to start the day.
Apple iPod touch (1st Generation)
The last bit of technology that I took with me was my 16GB iPod touch. The battery in my year old iPod held up well while I was using it in the airport for music and podcasts and on the plane for TV shows and movies. One thing that did trip me up was not doing a list minute review of the iPod before I left the house. As it turned out, I had forgot to select the new TV shows and movies that I loaded on my MacBook (which was saying home). The cost for this mistake was leaving home with only half of the TV shows and only one movie that I had planned to watch on this trip.
All in all, the technology that I took on the trip with me worked well. I'll be taking another trip down to Orlando in another two weeks. (I love the fact that confernces move south when the weather turns cold up in New England.) This time, I plan to make sure I have my iPod chuck full of content.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tam Hanna has released a new application for Palm OS devices, including the popular Palm Centro smartphone. TimeDrift keeps your devices clock accurate after a Palm PDA, Treo, or Centro is reset.
Mr. Hanna writes:
"Ever wondered why your Centro's / Treo's clock becomes inaccurate after a few resets or battery changes? Palm is to blame - but be sure that they saved a few cents by excluding certain key components.
Tamoggemon Software's TimeDrift steps in where Palm left off: our highly customized snooping algorithm makes sure that your smartphone's clock is as accurate as the clocks on other (cheaper) phones.
As we use a local algorithm rather than relying on external time servers, TimeDrift can be used abroad without any roaming chares fior data (which can be extremely expensive)."
Keep your clock accurate - get TimeDrift!
- Fire and forget solution - no "maintenance" required
- Highly reliable - maximal drift of 30 secs/reset
- Small - less than 50KB of memory usage
- Works independant of network - no network charges
Tamoggemon has a 30-day trial version available for people who like to try before they buy; which is always a good idea. The full version retails for $9.95 and is currently available for a limited time at a special promotional price of $7.95.
You can purchase TimeDrift from the TamsShop.
Mark/Space has updated their Missing Sync for BlackBerry software to now include support for the latest RIM BlackBerry devices; the Blold and the Storm. The latest edition of the Missing Sync for BlackBerry is 1.0.3.
For more details and Mac and BlackBerry system requirements, visit the MarkSpace website.
"The Missing Sync for BlackBerry is popular with BlackBerry-to-Mac users because of its reliability and range of sync features, and it is the only Mac synchronization software that works seamlessly with the BlackBerry Bold and the new BlackBerry Storm.The Missing Sync allows for easy syncing of contacts, calendars, tasks, notes and more between the Bold, Storm - or any other BlackBerry handheld - and Mac OS X computers."
Pricing and Availability
The Missing Sync for BlackBerry is available now for $39.95 (software download) or $49.95 (physical CD shipment). Existing customers can upgrade to the latest version of the Missing Sync for BlackBerry for $29.95. Upgrades from other Missing Sync platforms (Palm OS, Windows Mobile, iPhone, Symbian, and Sony PSP) is allowed. For business customers, there are volume license for 5, 10, and 25-packs.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Save $50 on online orders between $150 - $299.99
Save $100 on online orders over $300
SanDisk 4GB microSDHC card $9.99
Check the Apple store on Friday morning for their list of deals
eReader & Fictionwise (Online)
Get triple eReader Rewards points when you purchase any ebook from eReader.com by November 30, 2008.
Get 40% Micropay rebates when you purchase any of Fictionwise's 53,000 ebooks.
BJ's Wholesale Club (Online)
8 different portable GPS units, LCD monitors, and digital picture frames
SanDisk has many of their popular memory cards and USB flash drives on sale
Magnavox Blu-ray DVD player $128
Check out Amazon's Black Friday DVD and Blu-ray deals! Select new DVD and Blu-ray titles are going for under $15. You can also scoop up copies of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 on DVD for $1.99!!
Palm is offering the Centro cradle for $12.99 (regularly $29.99). Get it here.
"Research in Motion (R.I.M.), the company that brought us the BlackBerry, has been on a roll lately. For a couple of years now, it’s delivered a series of gorgeous, functional, supremely reliable smartphones that, to this day, outsell even the much-adored iPhone.
Here’s a great example of the intelligence that drives R.I.M.: The phones all have simple, memorable, logical names instead of incomprehensible model numbers. There’s the BlackBerry Pearl (with a translucent trackball). The BlackBerry Flip (with a folding design). The BlackBerry Bold (with a stunning design and faux-leather back).
Well, there’s a new one, just out ($200 after rebate, with two-year Verizon contract), officially called the BlackBerry Storm.
But I’ve got a better name for it: the BlackBerry Dud.
The first sign of trouble was the concept: a touch-screen BlackBerry. That’s right — in its zeal to cash in on some of that iPhone touch-screen mania, R.I.M. has created a BlackBerry without a physical keyboard.
Hello? Isn’t the thumb keyboard the defining feature of a BlackBerry? A BlackBerry without a keyboard is like an iPod without a scroll wheel. A Prius with terrible mileage. Cracker Jack without a prize inside."
I have to agree with Mr. Pogue's assessment of the missing keyboard. I just recently purchased a BlackBerry Curve, the Bold isn't available on Sprint yet, and the main feature for me was the keyboard. (And the fact that it is smaller and lighter than my Palm Treo 755p.)
Read the full review at NYTimes.com...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
"Perez-Fernandez throws it out there that Elevation might divest, but he offers nothing concrete to support the claim. It's reasonable, he tells me, given the circumstances, though he also tells me hasn't gotten any specific information from Elevation on this front. He says Palm's decision to launch a shelf registration on Nov. 3 because the company is so desperate for cash, will significantly dilute the shares, and the company risks a change in control because of that dilution. Under the rules of the Elevation deal, Palm is required to offer to buy back Elevation's stake at a premium of 1 percent to 5 percent. Elevation, he thinks, would jump at the chance to get out. I sent an email to Elevation's managing partner Roger McNamee this morning seeking some guidance, but I haven't heard back."
Interestingly, Elevation Partners co-founder and member of Palm's board, Roger McNanmee stepped up to the mic yesterday to reaffirm Elevation's commitment to Palm and to reassure investors that Palm is still on track to deliver a new mobile operating system, Palm OS II/Nova, by the end of this year (2008) and to release new devices based on that OS by the middle of next year (2009). Mr. McNanmee stated:
"Elevation Partners is very pleased with the progress Ed Colligan, Jon Rubinstein and the entire Palm team are making. The Company's product pipeline, including a next generation operating system due out soon and a new device targeted for the first half of 2009, excite us enormously. Elevation supports Palm in taking the difficult but necessary steps required to migrate from legacy products. We have a very long-term investment horizon and have no plans to exit our investment in Palm."
May people see Palm OS II/Nova as being Palm's last change to become a relevant player in the mobile computing space. With devices from Apple and Research In Motion continuing to grab headlines, the public opinion is that Palm has been standing still for years and relying on new colors to keep people interested in their low cost, low profit Centro consumer oriented smartphones. Delays in releasing their next business class Windows Mobile Treo is not helping things.
Statements of reassurance from Palm's major investor is nice and all, but the time has come for Palm to stop talking and to start showing people that they have something coming down the pipe that will be worth the long wait for Palm OS II/Nova.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Palm OS II/Nova is Palm’s super secret project to develop the next generation Palm OS mobile operating system. There have been at least two false starts in the last five years; however many in the technology sector see this as Palm’s last chance to restore their tarnished reputation as a mobile technology innovator. From what little we know about Palm OS II/Nova, the core operating system is suppose to be done by the end of this calendar year (2008) and devices running the new operating system should be on sale by the middle of 2009.
The development cycle for Palm OS II/Nova, at least from the outside, appears to have run into some degree of trouble. Even if Palm completes the core feature set of the OS by the end of the year, they still must refine the new user interface and obtain certification from the FCC and their wireless carrier partners before the device can go on sale here in the United States. With the virtual shroud of secrecy surrounding the Palm headquarters, it has been next to impossible to glean any meaningful details about Palm OS II/Nova. In the face of all the bad news that continues come out of Palm, it is time to pull back the curtain around Palm OS II/Nova and give the world a glimpse into what Palm has in store of the Palm OS in 2009.
There are three key timeframes in which I expect to see information about Palm OS II/Nova starting to leak out. The first should be coming up any day now as Palm is suppose to be wrapping up development of the core feature set of the new OS. I would expect that any screen shots that pop-up on the Internet will be of an unfinished Nova that will give you a sense of the new direction Palm is trying to take Palm OS. At this stage, keep an eye out for a screen grab from the new Memos application. It won’t be impressive, but it will show off some of the window dressings of the new UI and application controls.
The second window will probably in the middle of the first quarter of 2009 in between the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the 3GSM World Congress. By this time, Palm had better be shopping new Palm OS II/Nova devices to the carriers and developers who have supported Palm for the last 10 years. This time around, I would expect to see some screen shots of the Phone and Launcher applications and maybe some shots of the new Prefs control panel.
The third, and last round of leaks, will likely come around the middle of the second quarter of 2009 when demo devices are in the hands of beta testers. When this happens all bets will be off and the proverbial cat will be out of the bag. Photos of the new device running Nova will be plastered all over the Internet. In the month leading up to the launch of the first Palm OS II/Nova powered device we will learn about the devices specifications and features. For Palm’s sake, the Excit-O-Meter needle had better be buried on the far right of the dial as it has been for the release of the Apple iPhone 3G, the T-Mobile Google G1, and the BlackBerry Storm.
So how about it Palm? Can you pull back the curtain on Nova ever so slightly as to give your loyal Palm OS customers a glimpse into the future while still maintaining the secrecy around the new software to keep a competitive advantage? It has almost been two years now since we’ve been waiting for Palm OS II/Nova and that means people will be looking to upgrade their phones. Give the customer base a reason to stick with Palm and not migrate to the headline grabbing iPhone 3G or BlackBerry Storm.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've been a long time customer of Palm's PDAs and Treo smartphones. The time has come for me to receive a company issued phone; a Palm Centro.
Rather than carry a personal Treo 755p and a Centro, I have decided to take this opportunity to play around with a new personal day-to-day device. (The Centro will be a business only device.) Later this week I will be switching to a RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330 on Sprint's EVDO network.
I'm not sure what to expect, but I do know that I will be looking forward to learning the finer details of these popular business devices.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
By Saturday morning, Reuters had reported that Palm did in fact layoff a portion of their workforce.
"Struggling smartphone maker Palm Inc said Friday it is cutting its workforce, a move the company takes as it loses market share to rivals Apple Inc and Research in Motion Ltd.
Spokeswoman Lynn Fox said the layoffs began this week, but she declined to say how many jobs would be cut.
Palm, which employs 1,050 workers, makes the Centro and Treo smartphones. The company's market share has been shrinking, with RIM's BlackBerry becoming the device of choice for the business set and Apple's iPhone a consumer phenomenon.
"The goal is to consolidate resources and focus our efforts more effectively," Fox said."
I feel sorry for the people who lost their jobs as we head into the 2008 holiday season. This is not the first time that Palm has had a reduction in headcount in the final months of the year and the current economic situation is not helping anything.
I know Jon Rubinstein is a former disciple of Apple chief Steve Jobs and secrecy is paramount. Since Rubinsein's arrival at Palm, there has been an air-tight seal around the company preventing any leaked information about their it-will-get-here-eventually next generation mobile operating system Palm OS II/Nova. For a long time I supported the company's decision to keep a tight lid on things until they where ready to launch the OS and the first mobile device that would be powered by it.
With the current state of the company being what it is, I think it is time to start leaking details on their new hardware and software sooner rather than later. Assuming that Palm has laid off 200 additional workers, the company is now employing about 850 people worldwide. On Friday, Palm's stock closed at $2.24 after dipping to under $2.00 earlier in the week. And, in a second statement found on TreoCentral.com, Palm indicates that:
"The global economic downturn continues to dampen demand for consumer goods around the world, and the impact on the economic environment is worsened by our maturing Centro line and the length of time it is taking to ramp our new Windows Mobile products."
I love using Palm's products and I really do want to see them succeed with Palm OS II/Nova and their next round of hardware. It would seem that now, more than ever, everything is working against Palm. I'm really concerned that mid-2009, seven months from now, is too long of a wait. It's time to start showing the world what Palm has been working on in their labs.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Astraware has announced that My Little Tank, a casual-style arcade game, has been updated and enhanced for Palm OS and Windows Mobile and has released a three new versions of the game for iPhone/iPod touch, BlackBerry, and Symbian S60-based phones.
My Little Tank is a fun arcade blaster in which players can navigate through the original 60, and now 20 additional, action-packed, increasingly challenging levels as they shoot enemy tanks, defend their base, and destroy enemy radar stations and bases. Lovingly crafted miniature terrains include snow, swamp, plains, and deserts. The game also includes a range of power-ups to aid players in winning each mission.
The new edition of My Little Tank for iPhone/iPod touch, includes a choice of control options including an onscreen virtual d-pad, swipe to move the tank, and accelerometer-based directional tilt.
A demo video of My Little Tank for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch can be found here. My Little Tank can be purchased from the Apple App Store for $4.99.
In addition to the new iPhone/iPod touch edition, Astraware has also released new versions of My Little Tank for BlackBerry and Symbian S60 phones similar to the versions for Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices.
For more details about My Little Tank, check out the Astraware website.
With Documents To Go Premium edition 11.00, DataViz has added:
- View tracked changes in word processing files
- Apply and view Styles in word processing files
- View border and wrapped text in spreadsheets
- Ten starter Templates included for creating Word and Excel files
Pricing & Availability
Documents To Go Premium Edition for Palm OS retails for $49.99 and is available directly from DataViz as well as many retail and online stores including Handango.com, and the network of DataViz resellers and distributors worldwide. Upgrade pricing of $29.99 is available directly from DataViz for previous Documents To Go customers, including those who received Documents To Go as bundled software with a Palm handheld or smartphone.
My long time readers know that Documents To Go is a core requirement for any mobile device that I consider for my personal and business use. The InTact Technology seamlessly keeps the document's formatting regardless of whether the document was last created or modified on a desktop or mobile device, meaning I save not having to re-edit a file when I get back to the office.
For more information and to download a free evaluation, visit www.dataviz.com/palm2008 .
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This trip will be a little bit different than my last business trip in that I won't be bringing my Dell Latitude D630 or my Apple MacBook. This time out, I'm traveling relatively light for me. Tucked away in my carry on bag will be:
- Dell Inspiron 910 (aka "Mini 9")
- Palm Treo 755p
- Apple iPod touch
Compared with some of my other trips, I'm hardly carrying any gear at all! We'll see how this trip goes. I have another one coming up in about a month and I'm looking forward to reducing my tech load.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Palm has released a Bluetooth update for unlocked Treo Pro customers. The brief description of the patch on Palm's website reads:
"If you are in an active call using bluetooth car kit or bluetooth headset and you receive a second incoming call and you let it ring or you ignore the incoming call, the call will be diverted to Voicemail. The first call remains active but you can no longer hear the caller (the caller can still hear you). The audio has been lost. If you answer the call and swap between calls or reject the call, the issue is not seen."
The update can be downloaded and installed from a microSD card or installed over-the-air at:
Since this update is a patch, and not a full ROM software upgrade, the patch will need to be reapplied if the Treo Pro is hard reset.
Monday, November 10, 2008
"An anonymous tipster has sent in some screen shots and impressions of the upcoming Internet Explorer 6 browser that's coming to Windows Mobile in the very near future, the vaunted '6 on 6.' The bad news -- it's not at all clear that Microsoft will make this an independently-available download. We do know for sure that it will be baked-into the ROMs of many future smartphones. That leads us to the good news -- the screenshots we have here are from an upcoming WinMo device. Square Screen, 320x320 resolution, and the black theme are your clues as to what we're looking at."While I'd like to see Microsoft release the next version of Pocket IE 6 as a stand-alone update to existing Windows Mobile 6.0 devices, I'm not at all sure they will. Palm has had a "no-upgrades" policy for a long time. On the desktop side, Microsoft would release a new version of the browser outside of a major OS release, so I'm still hopeful that Microsoft will release the upgrade as a free download from their Windows Mobile software site.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
WMExperts via TechRadar.com is reporting that Microsoft's skipper, Steve Ballmer, has confirmed that the company will be releasing Windows Mobile 6.5 to fill the void between here and Windows Mobile 7.0.
"Ballmer said "With releases we'll make this year - releases we'll make with 6.5 next year, Windows Mobile 7, I think we have a pretty interesting roadmap."
Rumor: Microsoft Working on Windows Mobile 6.5
Microsoft Delays Windows Mobile 7
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Handmark(R) today announced its 'Glyph(R)' puzzle game for iPhone and iPod touch is available on the Apple App Store. Glyph is a puzzle game, developed in partnership by Sandlot Games and Astraware(R) - the Handmark Games Studio, in which players try to save the dying world of Kuros by reassembling ancient glyphs hidden beneath layers of rock and glistening stones. Using the unique iPhone multi-touch interface, players can touch groups of like-colored gemstones to break through ancient layers of rock and reveal the glyphs.
Glyph is available worldwide for the introductory price of $1.99 (regular price $4.99) from Apple’s App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at http://www.itunes.com/appstore.
For more information and to view a demo video, visit http://www.astraware.com/iphone/glyph.
GTS World Racing Updated
Handmark has also updated GTS World Racing to include support for head-to-head racing against a friend over a local Wi-Fi connection. Details can be found on the Astraware website.
Earlier today, DataViz released Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry. The latest version of Documents To Go includes support for the AT&T BlackBerry Bold, which also went on sale today.
Documents To Go is my one "must have" application on my Palm Treo 750 and 755p. I use the software everyday. If you want to turn your phone into a productivity powerhouse, you will want to have this page on your device.
Here is today's press release and some screenshots from the new BlackBerry edition of Documents To Go.
DataViz®, Inc., a leading provider of mobile office compatibility solutions, today announced the availability of Documents To Go® Premium Edition and PDF To Go® for BlackBerry® smartphones. The award winning mobile Office suite Documents To Go enables a full set of features for viewing, editing and creating native Microsoft® Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® files and attachments1 including support for Office 2007, on BlackBerry smartphones. DataViz is also introducing PDF To Go, which allows users to view native PDF files on their BlackBerry smartphones. Documents To Go Premium Edition offers advanced functionality over the Standard Edition, which was selected by Research In Motion (RIM) to be included on BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry® Device Software 4.5 or higher, including the BlackBerry® Bold™, BlackBerry® Pearl™ Flip and BlackBerry® Storm™2 smartphones.
The native PDF viewer, ‘PDF To Go’, will be offered as a free bonus application for customers who purchase Documents To Go Premium Edition. The PDF viewer provides a clear and crisp viewing experience (rendering stays true to the desktop file) and contains multiple zooming, word wrap for easy readability and support for password protected files. PDF To Go together with Documents To Go Premium Edition, enables BlackBerry smartphone users to gain immediate access to Adobe® PDF and Microsoft Office files as it does not require a desktop or server conversion to take place. In addition, users can edit their Office documents with confidence as DataViz’s acclaimed InTact Technology™ will ensure that all original file formatting is retained once a file has been edited on their BlackBerry smartphone and forwarded on.
Documents To Go Premium Edition – Key Features
Below is a partial list of features available with Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry smartphones. For a complete list and to view a comparison chart between Standard Edition and Premium Edition, visit www.dataviz.com/dtgforbb.
- Create new Word, Excel and PowerPoint files
- Spell check
- Advanced formatting for character, font and paragraph
- Advanced track changes including accept/reject changes, track new changes
- Insert and edit comments
- Password protection support
- Table support
- Hyperlink support
- Bookmark support
- Edit and create auto bullets & numbering
Pricing and Availability
Documents To Go Premium Edition is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and can be purchased as a non-expiring license for $69.99 USD or as a one year subscription for $49.99. Previous and new customers who purchase Premium Edition will receive PDF To Go as a free bonus application. Current owners of Documents To Go Premium Edition for Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian Series 80 or Symbian UIQ can cross-grade to a non-expiring license of Documents To Go Premium Edition for $49.99. Volume licensing is available for 5 or more users with discounts starting at 10 users. Customers can purchase directly from DataViz, Handango.com and the network of DataViz resellers and distributors worldwide.
For more information on Documents To Go Premium Edition and to download a free 30 day trial, please visit: www.dataviz.com/dtgforbb.
As promised, the new RIM BlackBery Bold has gone on sale today at AT&T. Of the new corporate-minded device, AT&T writes:
"Get the fastest BlackBerry on the fastest 3G network. The global BlackBerry® Bold™ smartphone is designed to give business professionals both cutting edge functionality and performance under one bold intuitive design. It comes fully-loaded with integrated GPS for AT&T Navigator and Wi-Fi for access at thousands of AT&T hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks. The BlackBerry Bold smartphone has a brilliant color LCD screen for exceptional definition and clarity. Pictures are vibrant and sharp while videos play smoothly and web pages, documents, presentations, and messages come to life with exceptional quality and contrast. Get more speed and more power with the BlackBerry Bold."
The BlackBerry Bold's features include:
- Half-VGA (480 x 320 at 217 ppi) color display
- A newly designed full QWERTY keyboard for exceptionally fast and easy typing
- Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi radios
- 624 MHz mobile processor
- More storage — 1 GB on board and up to 16 GB via its microSD/SDHC expansion slot
- Advanced media player for music, videos and photos
- 2 megapixel camera with built-in flash, zoom and video recording
- optimized Web-browsing experience with desktop-style depiction
- DataViz Documents To Go for editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files
The complete list of the Bold's features and technical specifications can be found on the AT&T website.
The new BlackBerry Bold retails for $549.99 without a contract commitment from AT&T. When you sign up for a 2-year service agreement, the price drops down to $399.99. Additionally, AT&T is offering a $100 mail-in rebate which brings the cost of the device down to $299.99. To take advantage of the mail-in rebate, customers will have to sign up for a $35/month data or messaging plan. That shouldn't be a deal breaker for most customers as a BlackBerry without the data service isn't very useful.
Changes at Palm
Last week PalmInfoCenter was reporting that Palm's SVP of Global Markets, John Hartnett was leaving Palm. This week, Palm's website shows that Jeff Devine has filled the vacancy as Palm's new SVP of Global Operations. (Note the subtle title change.)
According to the Palm website:
"Jeff Devine is responsible for creating and sustaining a competitive advantage for Palm by developing a global supply-chain model that delivers best-in-class performance in areas such as product introduction, quality, total cost, and delivery.
Jeff joined Palm from Nokia, where he served as vice president of Global Customer Logistics, responsible for a diverse global team located in more than 45 countries. He spent 13 years at Nokia in a wide range of roles, including four years heading operations and logistics for the Americas, and a prior role leading Nokia’s Sales and Marketing for AT&T Wireless. Earlier in his career, Jeff helped start up a new Boeing Electronics facility focused on high-performance teams, and was a production manager at Texas Instruments. "
Changes at Apple
Reuters is reporting this morning that Apple's SVP of the iPod division, Tony Fadell, is 'leaving the company citing personal reasons but may remain as a consultant."
According to the Apple website:
"Fadell joined Apple as the first member of its iPod hardware engineering team in 2001 and was promoted to vice president of iPod engineering in 2004. He became senior vice president of the iPod Division in April 2006.
Prior to joining Apple, Fadell was a cofounder, CTO, and director of engineering of the Mobile Computing Group at Philips Electronics where he was responsible for all aspects of business and product development for a variety of products. Tony later became VP of business development for Philips U.S. Strategy & Ventures focused on building the company’s digital media strategy & investment portfolio. Prior to joining Philips, Fadell was a hardware and software architect at General Magic."
At this time, no announcement has been made as to who might replace Mr. Fadell at Apple.