BlackBerry Bold OS 4.7 Leaked

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.

[Via CrackBerry.com…]

BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 for Sprint 8330

I recently purchased a BlackBerry Curve 8330 for Sprint. One of the must-have software packages for me is DataViz Documents To Go; which was recently released for the BlackBerry platform. But you need Device Software 4.5 or later. My Curve has 4.3.0.127.

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.

UPDATE 1:

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!

UPDATE 2:

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.

Orlando Update

A week ago Friday, I returned home after spending a week down in Orlando, Florida to attend the Open Text Content World user conference. As you will recall from my post about getting ready for the trip, I wanted to travel as light as possible.

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.

TimeDrift for Palm OS Smartphones


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!

Features:

  • 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 Updates The Missing Sync for Bold, Storm


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.

“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.”

For more details and Mac and BlackBerry system requirements, visit the MarkSpace website.

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.

Black Friday Sales Round Up

Here are just some of the sales that are going to be in effect for this year’s Black Friday (11/28/08).

Palm.com (Online)
Save $50 on online orders between $150 – $299.99
Save $100 on online orders over $300

Staples (In-store)
SanDisk 4GB microSDHC card $9.99

Apple.com (Online)
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 (Online)
SanDisk has many of their popular memory cards and USB flash drives on sale

Wal-Mart (In-store)
Magnavox Blu-ray DVD player $128

UPDATE 1:
Amazon (Online)
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!!

UPDATE 2:
Palm is offering the Centro cradle for $12.99 (regularly $29.99). Get it here.

Pogue BlackBerry Storm Review

Famed New York Times writter David Pogue has weighed in on the new Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry Storm – and it ain’t pretty. Mr. Pogue writes:

“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

Elevation Responds to Palm Divestiture Rumor

Earlier this week, CNBC’s Jim Goldman wrote an article titled, “Palm Gets a Thumbs Down.” In the article, Goldman states that Pablo Perez-Fernandez, a Global Crown Capital wireless analyst, thinks that Palm’s major investor, Elevation Partners, could be preparing to pull out of the mobile handset company and take their money elsewhere. In his article, Goldman writes:

“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.

Editorial: It’s Time for Something “Nova”

Last week was a rough week for the Palm Nation with the unfavorable economy battering stock prices, delays launching a new Windows Mobile Treo smartphone, and another round of layoffs here in the US and abroad. Long lines at Verizon retail locations for the new touch-screen enabled BlackBerry Storm aren’t helping things either. It is time for Palm to start talking Nova.

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.

Getting Ready for My BlackBerry Curve

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.

Palm Layoffs Confirmed

On Friday morning I saw a post over on PalmInfoCenter.com reporting that Palm was rumored to have started yet another round of lay offs. I was told by my Palm contact that Palm was not releasing any information about the rumored layoffs.

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.