Monday, March 31, 2008

Palm Sells One-Millionth Centro


Palm announced today that they have shipped their one-millionth Centro consumer-oriented smartphone.

"SUNNYVALE, Calif., Mar 31, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq:PALM) today announced that it has sold its one-millionth Palm(R) Centro(TM) smartphone, demonstrating the $99 product's mass appeal to customers ready to get all the power of a smartphone at the price of a traditional mobile phone.(1) Palm is now shipping Centro in 10 countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, Singapore, India, the UK, Germany, Spain, Ireland, France and Italy, and its already-rapid momentum is set to grow as Palm debuts the product in additional countries around the globe.

"The Palm Centro is flying off the shelves because users who want to step up to a smartphone see it as the perfect first choice," said Brodie Keast, senior vice president of marketing for Palm, Inc. "It has everything a person needs to stay organized and connected with everyone who is important to them. We're very excited about the Centro's near-instant popularity in the U.S. and think it's going to be a huge hit as it continues to make its way across the globe."

"Smartphones are certainly not new to business professionals; however, now more than ever we are seeing consumers migrate toward these types of devices as form factors have become more appealing and price points are now competing with traditional mobile phones," said Ryan Reith, senior research analyst with IDC. "Palm's Centro plays right into the hands of the consumer looking for a more robust experience on their mobile phone. We definitely expect to see this trend continue worldwide.""

By comparison, Palm sold their one-millionth Treo smartphone back in April of 2005, (the Treo 600, under the Handspring brand, began shipping in 2003) according to CNN Money.com.

Read the complete Palm press release...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rumor: Treo 800w and Verizon Centro (Updated)

After this week's 1SRC editorial, I really wasn't expecting to hear about two new Palm rumors. Never the less, two new rumors have appeared.

Treo 800w Coming to Sprint

A member of the SprintUser's website forums has posted what appears to be a leaked slide from a Sprint product roadmap cor PDA Device Launches. The last device on the slide shows that Palm's Treo 800w will be launching this July.

The image of the device that appears on the slide is very much like the one that was seen in January during CES. Adding further validation to a new Windows Mobile device launching this summer are recent comments from Palm CEO Ed Colligan during the Q3FY08 conference call held earlier this month.

Read more at WMExperts...

Centro Coming to Verizon

A member of the Palm Community Help Forums (Note: Alan is a moderator on that discussion forum) has posted the following information in regards to the as yet announced Verizon Centro:
"hi i work for a verizon agent and we just got the new rebate form for 03/30/08 to 06/15/08 and there is a $50 rebate on the new Verizon Centro so we will be seeing it in the next 3 months."
While far from solid evidence, it is widely expected that Verizon will carry the Centro along with Sprint, and AT&T. Previously on the Palm Self-Paced Learning site, a midnight blue Centro was displayed, and after the picture started making the rounds on the Internet, Palm's site was quickly changed. I wonder if the midnight blue Centro is coming to Verizon. If the rebate data is correct, I'd start looking for the Verizon Centro to start showing up anytime between now and Tuesday. If the rumor is true.

Update:

Engadget has run an article on Verizon indicating that they have received word about upcoming device launches.
"Centro fans will be happy to hear that the diminutive Garnet phone will finally hit Verizon following Sprint and AT&T launches in the tail end of May or the beginning of June, followed shortly by the Nokia 6205, which apparently isn't either the 2505 or 7205 unless one of those flips have been renumbered."
If Engadget's information is correct, Verizon customers are still in for a bit of a wait for the Centro to arrive on their wireless network.

Read the entire Engadget article...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Operation: Top Secret

I have posted this week's 1SRC editorial, Operation: Top Secret.
"Back in November 2007, several tarp-covered tractor-trailer semi trucks rumbled down the streets of Sunnyvale in the pre-dawn light. The convoy’s destination, we now know, was 950 West Maude Avenue; Palm’s corporate headquarters. Over the last several months I have been working to discover exactly what the clandestine delivery was all about. After reviewing entries in the Palm purchasing system, I discovered an entry simply noted as “CoS.” Anyone who is versed in classic TV knows the CoS can only be Cone of Silence as seen in Get Smart. Apparently, Palm is putting their new acquisitions to good use.

While the though of Palm CEO Ed Colligan and Executive Chairman Jon Rubinstein buying surplus Cones of Silence seems comical, whatever these two Palm executives are going to plug leaks it is working."

Keep reading...

Palm to Present at Bank of America Conference

Just a quick reminder that Palm's CFO, Andy Brown, will be speaking at tomorrow's (Thursday, 3/27/08) Bank of America conference in Boston. Palm has listed the following details on their website:
"SUNNYVALE, Calif., Mar 25, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq:PALM) today announced that Palm's Chief Financial Officer Andrew J. Brown is scheduled to present at the Bank of America 2008 Smid Cap Conference in Boston on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:40 a.m. Eastern Time.

The company invites investors to listen to the live webcast at http://investor.palm.com/events.cfm."

SplashID 4 for Mac OS X









SplashData has released a Universal Binary version of SplashID 4 for Mac OS X. The announcement on the SplashData blog reads:

"We are very proud to be finally releasing the SplashID 4 upgrade for Mac OS. Thanks to all those Mac users who were patient and waited for this release - it was well worth it I think.

Here is a list of enhancements:

  • New desktop views - Panel View and Tree View
  • Tree View on the handheld application
  • Enhanced security - auto lock-out after 10 failed attempts, password strength meter, and password hint option
  • Web Auto-Fill - one click to open a website in Safari and login automatically
  • Synchronize multiple SplashID databases (with other version 4 database files only)
  • Enhanced Lookup feature instantly displays relevant results as you type
  • Email securely encrypted SplashID files to other users (from the handheld application too!)
  • Add additional standalone desktop users
  • Change the database and auto-backup file locations
  • Toolbars give you button features where they are needed the most
  • Updated icon set with enhanced high resolution graphics
  • Fully Leopard compatible
  • Universal Binary
  • Note: Requires 10.4 or later"

If you are running the beta version of SplashID 4, you will need to do some clean up work before you install the release version. Directions for removing the beta can be found on the SplashData blog.

SplashID 4 for Mac OS X costs $19.95 for new customers. Existing SplashID users can upgrade to the new version for $9.95. For more details, and how to purchase an full or upgrade license, visit the SplashData website.

Brighthand: Asus Eee PC with Touchscreens

This morning I was an interesting article on Brighthand that suggests that Asus will be including touchscreens in up coming Eee PC subnotebooks.
"According to an unconfirmed report, Asus will release an Eee PC with a touchscreen before the middle of this year.

Sources at touchscreen makers told DigiTimes that Asus is going to make a resistive touchscreen a part of its low-cost subnotebook in the near future."
Subnotebooks, in particular, devices from Asus, have started to become a reoccurring theme here on Foleo Fanatics now that the future of Palm's Foleo is in limbo.


Read the full Brighthand article...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Asus Eee PC 2GB Up Close

On a recent trip to the local discount warehouse shopping club, my junior podcaster Meghan and I ran across a real Asus Eee PC 2GB sub-notebook in the electronics section. (I did have to fight the strong buy impulse. If there was a 4GB version in the store for less than $100 more, I probably would have purchased that unit on the spot. Don't let anyone tell you price isn't a factor. Availability, or unavailability in this case, was a bigger factor.)















This was the first time I've seen an Eee PC in the "wild" and was rather shocked by it. I was caught of guard by how small the device really was. I know that 7-inches isn't much smaller than 10-inches, but the Eee PC looked small. As you can see from the photo, if I had both hands on the keyboard, things were going to get a bit cramped. The other thing that I noticed right off the bat was how cheaply made the keys felt. You have to keep in mind that there has to be some trade offs with a $299 sub-notebook. (I must admit that I don't know if this was a real unit or just a display unit.) I was really hoping to see and play with the Linux OS that was installed on this device. Regrettably, the unit was not charged up or plugged into a power source.
















One of the things that I really do like about these ultra portables sub-notebooks is that they are considerably smaller than regular notebook computers. In meetings, I don't like to use my 15-inch Dell Latitude because I feel that it creates a barrier between myself and the other attendees. With sub-notebook machines, you can still get the utility of a notebook computer for taking notes and minutes in the meeting without creating an "us and them" atmosphere.
















I've pretty much have come to the conclusion that IR and Bluetooth keyboards used in conjunction with my Palm Treo 755p just isn't working for me any longer. Alignment and connection issues with the keyboards and Palm OS devices make the solution too time consuming to be useful in a meeting with my peers and customers. An elegant instant on and get down to work device fits my current work style much better.

Last summer I was really spoiled by what I saw in a pre-release version of the Palm Foleo mobile companion. These new crop of sub-notebook computers, of which the Asus Eee PC is one, have really come close to capturing what I though was so special about the Foleo (size, design, ease of use, options, and battery life). I will be interested in seeing a live 9-inch Eee PC when they arrive here in the United States later this year. I'm also interested in seeing how well the rumored HP Compaq 3122 to my memory of the Foleo and the Eee PC.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Astraware Updates Bejeweled 2

KEELE, Staffordshire, UK & Seattle, WA, USA - March 19th, 2008 Astraware(R) and PopCap Games(R) are very excited to announce a major update to PopCap's best-selling, flagship game, Bejeweled(R) 2.

In version 1.30, Bejeweled 2 adds much-requested support for 240x240 square screen Windows Mobile(R) devices such as Palm(R) TreoTM smartphones and includes support for 320x320 Windows Mobile Professional and Classic devices such as Samsung's SGH-i780 smartphone.

This update also sees the very first release on Windows Mobile(R) Standard devices. Bejeweled 2, version 1.30, supports 240x320 and 320x240 resolution non-touchscreen devices including the HTC S710, HTC StrTrk, Samsung Blackjack & Blackjack II, and Motorola Q and Q9.

The game has been brought fully up-to-date on Astraware's current games framework and controls have been optimized for play with either 5-way or stylus. Bejeweled 2 is recognised by both public and media as the must-have puzzle game for your Palm OS(R) or Windows Mobile(R) device, and this update supports an even wider range of devices than ever before!

Bejeweled 2, version 1.30, is a completely FREE update for registered users. Players who haven't yet experienced this award-winning classic can purchase a copy, priced $19.95, from the Astraware website: http://www.astraware.com/bejeweled2.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Astraware Westward Review


I have posted a review of the latest Astraware and Sandlot Games colaborative project, Westward over at 1SRC.com.

Astraware Westward is an adoption of the game of the same name from Sandlot Games. Westward is a family oriented strategy game for mobile devices. The object of Westward to is shepherd a small band of settlers with a few covered wagons into a bustling town full of colorful citizens while bringing the swindling “Mad Russian” to justice.

Go West Young Man

Learning to play Westward is easy. The first time you start up the game, Tutorial Teacher helps you along as you find your way through the first few game levels. There is also a built-in help system that describes the various game control elements if you are in need of a review when the Tutorial Teacher isn’t around. Learning the rules and game control elements only takes a few minutes. In the mobile edition of Westward, Astraware gives your preference to control the action with either the device’s directional pad (d-pad) or the stylus. While playing Westward, I found that the d-pad was acceptable for most tasks, but when I wanted to select a group of things, like the Sheriff Jenkins and his deputies, the stylus was easier to use.

Continue reading...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Astraware Casino Updated




Astraware has added Texas Hold 'Em no Limit Poker to their popular casino game for Palm OS and Windows Mobile. This is the second time that Astraware has answered the call from their customers to add new casino games to the mix.

Update to Astraware Casino adds Texas Hold 'Em No Limit Poker

KEELE, Staffordshire, UK - March 12th 2008 - Astraware(R) is excited to announce a new update to Astraware Casino.

In response to customer requests, Astraware Casino version 1.20, now includes Texas Hold 'Em No Limit Poker, which allows players to bet the pot or even go all-in when they have that winning hand! Unlike a real casino, if you do bet the lot and lose, Astraware Casino will allow you to visit the Bank and carry on playing. There's even a fun 'Souvenir' trophy for a big loss!

Alongside Texas Hold 'Em No Limit Poker, Astraware Casino also includes Slots, Blackjack, Video Derby, Craps, Roulette, Texas Hold 'Em Limit Poker, Baccarat, Video Poker, Video Keno, and Three Card Poker. The game gives players $1000 in their virtual wallet to begin playing with, and includes a fun trophy system with the 'Souvenir Suitcase', which marks achievements in each of the games.

Astraware Casino 1.20 is a completely FREE upgrade to registered users. The game is available for Palm OS(R) smartphones and PDAs running OS5 and above, and for Windows Mobile(R) Classic, Professional and Standard devices running Windows Mobile(R) 2003 and later.

For more details on Astraware Casino...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seidio 755p OEM Sized Extended Life Battery

















I have really come to rely on my Treo to make it through the day. I use my Treo 755p from the time I get up in the morning until the time I go to bed at night. I use my Treo for everything. From email to scheduling my day, from contacts to web browsing, for news and information, and even an occasional game from Astraware.

The only draw back about my Treo 755p that I don't like (having come from a Treo 700p) is that I just can't get a full day's use out of the 755p. To help feed my mobile computing appetite, I've just purchased the OEM-sized extended life battery from Seidio. The Seidio battery provides 2200mAh of battery power to the Treo, which is an additional 600mAh over the stock 1600mAh battery.

The thing that I like about this particular battery over others is that it is an extended life battery with the same footprint as the stock Palm battery. I really dislike extended life batteries that are double the stock battery size and require you to use a new back plate and that add heft to the device. It is also a nice touch that Seidio also includes a replacement battery cover for the off chance that the replacement battery turns out to be a really tight fit for the stock Treo back plate.

The 22oomAh OEM sized extended life battery for use with the Palm Treo 755p sells for $60 at the Seidio Online store.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Adios, Motricity


I've posted this week's 1SRC editorial; "Adios, Motricity."

"After making a mess of one of the best mobile software portals, Motricity retreats to the west coast and dumps consumers for content and service providers.

Motrcity has decided to leave their direct to consumer businesses behind as they move to the west coast and engage in business with content providers, mobile operators, and businesses willing to contract with the company to deliver mobile “portals, storefronts, managed web and search,…[and] messaging gateway services”. (Read the press release)

In addition to ruining 2008 for the 250 employees who are getting laid off, Motricity decided that it would be a great idea to ruin the best online Palm software store, PalmGear.com, by rolling it up into the “revamped” PocketGear.com as a going away present. To add insult to injury, Motricity is looking to sell the PocketGear.com unit. I’m left wondering if it was even worth rolling the two sites together at all.

Looking back in hindsight, it makes perfect sense for Motricity to have consolidated their direct to consumer software online stores, PalmGear and PocketGear. Knowing that they were going to sell off the “non-profitable and non-core businesses”, rolling Palm and PocketGear into a single online store would make it more attractive to any company interested in buying the property. Unfortunately for whoever the new owner is, they will see that their work has been cut out for them. The repackaging of PocketGear.com has hurt the online retailer.

The roll up effort to migrate PalmGear.com into PockerGear wasn’t executed well. Much of the freeware and shareware applications had disappeared for some weeks. During that transition period, I was really turned off by entire user experience. In addition to not being able to find the software that I was looking for, as a Mac OS X user, I found the new site deign difficult to use. To this day, the drop down menus for device or mobile operating system selection still don’t work with FireFox 2.x. (During the transition, to Morticity’s credit, I never lost access to the software and registration codes I purchased from the PalmGear site.) Several months after the change over, the Palm OS software library is being represented on the site. Alexander Pruss’ FontSmoother is featured on the main page of the site. Great shareware applications like Tyler Faux’s LudusP are also once again available. And the popular freeware Palm OS file manager, FileZ, from NoSleep Software is available along with some 200+ freeware titles. However, are these efforts by Motricity to try and clean up PocketGear a bit too late?"


Keep reading on 1SRC.com...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Brighthand: Asus Eee PC 900


Earlier this week, Brighthand's Ed Hardy published a story on Asus' announcement of the new Eee PC 900.

There are a few things that I find appealing about this device. First is the 9-inch (OK, the 8.9-inch ) display. And like the ill-fated Palm Foleo, the Eee PC 900 will run that display at a 1024x600 screen resolution. The current model Eee PCs have a 7-inch display and run at a lower screen resolution.

Another nice improvement is in the memory category. According to the Brighthand article, the Eee PC 900 will be configurable with up to 1GB of memory and up to 12GB of storage space. The article makes no mention of what type of storage the 12GB will be, however my guess is it will be flash memory, rather than a micro hard drive which have larger storage capacities.

The bad news, according to the article, is that there was no mention as to when customers in the United States might be able to get their hands on the larger unit or how much it will cost for the privilege of owning one.

As I mentioned recently on FoleoFanatics and 1SRC, without a new Foleo on horizon, I may have to break down and get a solution from another vendor. The Eee PC is attractive because of the low cost of the existing solutions. However, the HP Compaq 2133 has the name recognition behind it that could take the unit mainstream. From a design standpoint, I like the look of the Compaq better than the Eee PC, but I'm willing to admit that photos on the Internet are no substitute for actually playing with the device to see how it feels.

I'll have to keep an eye on the future developments in the sub-notebook segment an vote with my dollars later this year as to which device will get to play second fiddle to my Treo.

[Via Brighthand.com...]