Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The President Gets to Keep His Berry

In the grand scheme of things, there are more important things going on both here in the United States and abroad, but being a technologist, I'm excited that our new President, Barack Obama, will get to keep his beloved BlackBerry. Cool!

I like the article that appeared on
"Want Obama wants, Obama gets. Scoring the first major victory of his nascent term, the White House announced today that President Barack Obama will indeed keep his BlackBerry (eat it, Sectera Edge). President Obama will use the BlackBerry to keep in touch with “senior staff and a small group of personal friends.” As we’ve mentioned previously, Obama’s decision will have significant effects on the transparency of his communications.

Gibbs said the presumption from the White House counsel’s office is that e-mails will be subject to the Presidential Records Act, the law that requires the National Archives to preserve presidential records. But he also said that some exemptions in the law allow for “strictly personal communications.” He did not say how that classification would be determined but made clear that the device could be used for both business and personal communication.

How did Obama get the deal done? By turning the NSA loose on his BlackBerry:

On Monday, a government agency said that the Obama administration — but that is probably the National Security Agency — added to a standard BlackBerry a super-encryption package…. and Obama WILL be able to use it … still for routine and personal messages."
Rock on, Mr. President!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rumor: Palm Pre Unlocked GSM Specs

Looks like Sprint isn't the only one jumping the gun and prematurely posting details about Palm's upcoming hardware. This time the mobile electronics retailer Elite-Electronix has posted what appears to be a pre-order page with the full product specs for Palm's not-exactly-announced-but-we-knew-it-is-coming unlocked GSM Pre smartphone. The site also lists the unlocked GSM Pre as having a $599.95 USD price tag with an expected ship date as June 2009.

[Thanks to Mark for the tip.]

Monday, January 26, 2009

HTC Announces the New Touch Cruise

HTC, the company best known for their stylish smartphone design kung-fu, has announced their latest smartphone, the HTC Touch Cruise.

The Touch Cruise is a Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 powered smartphone that features another stunning industrial design. The Touch Cruise just looks great!

Included in HTC's latest smartphone is a built-in GPS that not only integrates with an optional vehicle cradle to provide turn-by-turn navigation, but also integrates with HTC's new Footprints software. With the GPS enabled Touch Cruise and Footprints, customers are able to take photos and an audio recording while tagging the photo with co-ordinates provided by from the GPS receiver.
"The new HTC Touch Cruise is the first mobile phone to offer HTC Footprints, an application experience that enables people to permanently chronicle their special moments by capturing a digital postcard on their phone. Once captured, Footprints provides the ability to take notes and an audio clip of that favourite restaurant or special place while identifying its specific geographical location. In addition to identifying each postcard with its specific GPS co-ordinates, Footprints also auto-names each postcard with its general location or area.

Flipping back through their photos, HTC Touch Cruise users will be able to retrace their steps to that exact location in just a few touches. Unlike other devices with geo-tagging functionality, HTC Footprints works effectively outdoors and indoors, offering a more accurate record of location for future reference and navigation.

“Just as we have seen GPS technology transform how people navigate to new places, we are now seeing location-based applications like HTC Footprints changing how we interact and carry our memories,” said Peter Chou, President and CEO, HTC Corporation."

The published specifications for the HTC Touch Cruise are:

  • Size: 102 x 53.5 x 14.5mm
  • Weight: 103 grams
  • WCDMA/HSPA: 900/2100MHz. HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
  • Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
  • 2.8-inch TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen with QVGA resolution
  • HTC TouchFLO™, 4-Way navigation wheel with Enter and HTC Footprints™ buttons
  • 3.2 MP camera, with fixed focus
  • Internal memory: 512 MB flash ROM, 256 MB RAM
  • microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g wireless
  • Interface: HTC ExtUSB (mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one)
  • Battery: 1100 mAh
  • Talk time: GSM: up to 400 minutes
  • Standby time: GSM: up to two weeks
  • Chipset: Qualcomm® MSM7225™, 528 MHz
HTC is expected to begin shipping the Touch Cruise later this spring. For more details, check out the HTC Touch Cruise website.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rumor: Best Buy to Sell the Palm Pre

It looks like Sprint is angling to iron out a deal with electronics retailer Best Buy to be retail sales location for Palm's newest smartphone, the Pre, when it goes live later this year. Information news website writes:
"Sprint Nextel Corp., the money-losing U.S. wireless carrier, is in talks with Best Buy Co. to sell Palm Inc.’s Pre once the phone makes its debut this year, potentially putting the device in more than 1,000 stores.

“I’m really excited that they’re back in the game,” Score said of Palm in an interview. “We’re working with Sprint on that, but no official announcement as of yet.”

Palm plans to introduce the Pre, which uses its new WebOS operating software, in the first half of 2009. Sprint spokeswoman Michelle Mermelstein said the company hasn’t confirmed any decisions about its retail partners and declined to give further details on pricing or the date of the release. Palm spokeswoman Leslie Letts didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. "

In a separate rumor, it is said that Palm's latest Windows Mobile smartphone, the Treo Pro, could be coming to Sprint as soon as February 15.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

BGR: Sprint Treo Pro Appears, Then Vanishes

The Boy Genius Report is reporting today that the Palm Treo Pro make a brief cameo appearance on the Sprint online store today and then just as quickly disappeared.

There have been a lot of rumors around the Internet about Palm's next Windows Mobile device on the Sprint network, including photos of the retail packaging of the Sprint Treo Pro edition. Earlier this week, PalmInfoCenter was reporting that the new CDMA edition of the Treo Pro will get a bit of a boost from the rumored hardware tweaks over it's unlocked GSM cousin.

The good news is that the Pro is coming to Sprint and the cost of the device with a qualifying 2-year contract agreement will be $249 after rebates are applied.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Sprint BlackBerry OS 4.5 for Curve 8330 Leaked

I'm not sure how I missed this last week. My guess is that I've spent too much time at work and not enough time at home obsessing about my BlackBerry. But it would appear that a CDMA version of the BlackBerry OS 4.5 for Sprint's Curve 8330 is making the rounds on the Internet. The build number of the leaked software is

Remember, this is a leaked version of the BlackBerry OS. Install it on your production units at your own risk! If you brick your Berry, Sprint won't help you out with this one.

Check out the thread...
Check out the thread...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

1SRC Podcast 204

This week on the 1SRC Podcast, I cover the recently announced Pre smart(er)phone powered by Palm webOS. I talk about what is really cool about the new hardware and software as well as some of the things that I don't. (I'm not a big fan of sliders. Maybe the Pre's slide out keyboard will be better than the sliders on the Tungsten T, T2, and T3.) I also cover some of the things that I really want to know more about, like how Synergy works, how will the Pre sync with a Mac or PC without going out to the cloud, and whether or not there will be tools to sync over a wired connection.

Listen to 1SRC Podcast 204...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Palm webOS Developers Highlighted

During Palm's CES announcement of the new Palm Pre smartphone which will be powered by their next generation mobile operating system, webOS, a number of software developer partners were mentioned. Just in case you haven't watched Palm's video from the press event yet, Palm has been working with:
  • Sprint
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Pandora
  • Yahoo!
  • MobiTV
  • PivotalLabs
  • DataViz
  • Fandango
  • SplashData
  • Ameraica Online
  • Telenav
  • Chapura
I'm really happy to see long-time Palm OS application partners DataViz, SplashData, and Chapura making the jump to webOS. Together, all three bring some of the best applications and utilities to the Palm user community. I'm really looking forward to learning more about their webOS products in the coming weeks.


I was just reading the DataViz blog, MobileOffice, and saw this note that was posted on Thursday afternoon.
"As a partner of Palm’s for over 10 years we’re thrilled and impressed with the work they’ve done. It’s a competitive market these days, but it looks like they may have a winner here. We wish them the best of luck!

We’ll surely be talking more about the pre in the coming weeks so stay tuned."
I sure will!


RingMP3 for Palm OS

Tamoggemon Software has released a new utility for converting audio files you already own into Centro and Palm OS Treo smartphone ringtones. RingMP3 helps you transform MP3/MID/WAV files into ringtones for your Palm - no Internet connection required!

RingMP3 is super easy to use: pick a file on your memory card, and follow the steps outlined by its extremely simple assistant. After that, prepare to enjoy your new ringtone.

A free trial of RingMP3 (limited to three conversion processes) can be
downloaded from! The full version of the product costs $5.99 and can be purchased directly from MobiHand. Heavy ringtone users will find that the product pays for itself literally after converting three files assuming that a standard ringtone costs $2 each.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Palm Post Video From Pre CES Event

Palm has posted a streaming QuickTime video that was taken during their Pre product announcement from this week's CES event. You will need the Apple QuickTime player to view the video stream.

Watch Palm's Pre product announcement from CES 2009...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Palm investors celebrating too soon?

Reuters has an interesting article posted this evening about Palm's new Pre smartphone.
"Palm Inc stole the limelight at the Consumer Electronics Show by unveiling a new touch-screen phone and mobile operating system that doubled its share price overnight.

But investors may be celebrating too soon.

Analysts gave a thumbs-up to the new Palm Pre smartphone and webOS operating system, but said it was too early to conclude that the long-awaited new products can rescue Palm, which has lost both market share and cachet to Apple Inc's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry.

They said important questions remain unanswered, including price, how quickly Palm can bring the device to market, and how long the phone would be exclusive to subscribers of Sprint Nextel Corp, the weakest of the top three U.S. mobile services.

"Palm remains a 'show-me' story in our view, with its turnaround dependent upon execution and financial performance beyond webOS and Pre's initial debut," said Mike Abramsky, RBC analyst who reiterated his "sector perform." "

Keep reading...

Yes, Palm Still Sells PDAs

With all of Palm's focus on the Palm Pre and webOS, and rightly so in my opinion, it is easy to forget the Palm still has a handheld business.

If you are one of Palm's customers who prefer a traditional PDA to that of a smartphone, you will be happy to know that you can still buy a handheld, the TX, Z22, or the Tungsten E2, directly from Palm.

I do want to warn everyone that Palm's CEO Ed Colligan did say that the company was no longer developing new PDAs, so if you have been holding out a new PDA to upgrade to, it looks like you are out of luck. That said, I own a Palm TX and it is a full featured PDA that will be up to whatever task you need to throw at it.

For more information about the current PDA line up, visit Palm's online store...

webOS is the New Palm OS

With today's exciting announcement of the Palm Pre, we have to say goodbye to our old friends, "Palm OS II" and "Nova." The next generation Palm device will be powered by the successor to Palm OS 5, a new operating system called Palm webOS.

Palm webOS, or just "webOS", is a completely new direction for Palm. The first thing that strikes you about webOS is that it has a clean multi-touch based user interface (UI). There are only minimal on screen buttons when you are in an application and you can forget about the cheap feeling plastic stylus than comes with the Centro. Pre, the first device powered by webOS, uses your finger for navigation and control of the device. If you are a complusive texter or send a lot of email, webOS also supports the slide out keyboard found on the Pre.

I'm also excited to report that many of the long standing issues with Palm OS have been addressed in webOS. webOS brings multitasking to the table along with things like support for multiple radios. In the past, it was impossible to have a Palm OS device that had Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a cellular radio. webOS not only makes it possible to have all three radios active, Palm's Pre will have all three wireless technologies and GPS built-in.

For all of the "new-ness" that is webOS, there are still some questions that I would like to see answered. I did no read about a Palm OS emulation (POSE) mode in webOS. Without a POSE layer in webOS, it will be impossible to run applications from the vast Palm OS library on the Pre. webOS also brings back "drive mode" which allows you to connect a device, like the Pre, to your computer and use it like a USB mass storage device. Many people, myself included, think that is great, but where is the microUSB card slot?

During their product demonstration for the Pre, Palm talked about Synergy, a new data colleciton engine that brings all of your separate bits of information into a single location; a webOS powered device. The quesions I have are: Will Synergy replace the HotSync Manager? And if so, how does data from Palm Desktop get into your webOS powered device? Will there be a replacement application for Palm Desktop? Will Palm serve up their own cloud solution or will customers be forced to migrate their PIM data from Palm Desktop and move into web portables from Google, Yahoo, and America Online? Inquiring minds want to know. Questions like these aside, webOS is a powerful mobile OS that allows you to focus on what is important to you.

webOS is such a breath of fresh air, it is incredible. I have waited a long time for this day to come. Palm has packed so many new things into webOS that it is a radical departure from what we knew this morning; and yet, there is still enough of Palm OS' heritage in webOS that it somehow still seems familiar. After having used Palm OS devices everyday now for over nine years, not much has changed with how people interact with Palm OS. Someone who has used the original Palm Pilot with Palm OS 1.0 can pickup a Centro with Palm OS 5.4.9 and get back to work in just a few minutes.

webOS is the shot in the arm that Palm really needed to help drive new hardware designs with an intuitive way to work. webOS captures the essance of "The Zen of Palm" and brings it to a whole new level. I am really looking forward to taking the new Palm Pre and webOS out for a test drive. It is going to blow you away.

Photo courtesy of TreoCentral.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sprint's Palm Pre Teaser Page is reporting that Sprint has posted a Palm Pre teaser page with a link to sign up to be notified when the Pre goes on sale later this year.

"Wasting no time after the announcement of Palm's next-gen hardware and software, Sprint has posted a teaser page showing the Palm Pre in all of its keyboard-exposed glory. While the device is still undergoing certification and final testing, as stated by Ed Colligan earlier today at Palm's event, they claim to be doing everything in their power to bring this highly-anticipated device to market "as soon as possible" within the first half of 2009."

Read the full article...

Barron's Lands Colligan Interview

Eric Savitz, of Barron's Tech Trader Daily, managed to get some clarifications about the Pre smartphone earlier today from Palm's CEO Ed Colligan.
  • Pricing: It’s up to Sprint to set the street price, and you don’t want to do it until closer to launch, given the competitive environment.

  • Exclusivity for Sprint: “It’s a launch exclusive. Not forever.”

  • Non-U.S. markets: The big opportunity is not in other CDMA markets, but in UMTS markets; he says they will have a UMTS version, which is on the same development cycle as the CDMA version. The CDMA version will launch first, but the other version will follow soon after. He says the Pre will launch in markets outside the U.S. before the end of the year.

  • Will they license the platform to other hardware vendors? Not yet. “We’ve looked at the pros and cons,” he says. “I would not rule it out absolutely. It makes no sense until you have a critical mass of products running on the platform, and it has an established position. Today it would be the wrong thing to do.”

  • An enterprise product, or a consumer product? He says they have targeted “the fat middle.” It works with Exchange out of the box. “We’re really targeting busy people on the go. We’re hopeful the design will appeal to a lot of people.”

  • Big marketing campaign coming? Oh, yeah. And today was really the start of it.

  • What about the other Palm phones? Colligan notes that the just launched the Treo Pro, which he says is the best Windows Mobile product on the market, for enterprise customers. And they continue to sell the Centro for teens and young adults.

  • Who actually makes the phone? A major Asian ODM. But not HTC.

  • Is there any removable storage in the phone? No.

  • On the timing of launching during a recession: “I feel pretty good about this category, relative to 90% of the other businesses in the world,” he says. “People are pretty dedicated to their handsets. It’s a reasonably protected area, although who knows?”

Alan's Comments

I think of all that I have seen and read about the Palm Pre, the lack of removable storage, a lack of a microSD card slot, is like jumping into a pool of ice cold water. By all accounts, the Pre looks like it is everything Palm needs it to be. But considering how quickly I can fill up my 16GB iPod touch, I have to wonder if 8GB of non-expandible memory is going to be enough space once the Pre gets out into the wild.

[Via Barron's Tech Trader Daily...]

Elevation's Roger McNamee Talks Palm Pre

A very excited Roger McNamee, of Elevation Partners, talks about the new Palm Pre smartphone with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. Click the picture to watch the video.

[Thanks to Spencer for sending this tip in.]

Palm Pre Product Specs

Palm has posted what appears to be the complete list of product specifications. There is a lot of tech packed in this 3.9 x 2.3 x 0.67-inch 4.76 ounce mobile wonder.

Operating system
  • Palm® webOS™
Network specs
  • 3G EVDO Rev A
  • 3.1-inch touch screen
  • 24-bit color
  • 320x480 resolution HVGA display
  • Physical QWERTY keyboard (slide out)
  • Microsoft Outlook® email with Microsoft® Direct Push Technology
  • POP3/IMAP (Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc)
  • Integrated IM, SMS, and MMS
  • Built-in GPS
Digital camera
  • 3 megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field
  • Ambient light
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity
  • Audio Formats: MP3, AAC, AAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
  • Video Formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
  • Image Formats: GIF, Animated GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP
Wireless connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with WPA, WPA2, 801.1x authentication
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
  • 8GB of user storage (~7.4GB user available)
  • USB mass storage support
Phone as laptop modem
  • Bluetooth tethering
  • MicroUSB connector with Hi-Speed USB 2.0
  • 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
  • Palm® Touchstone™ charging dock
  • Width: 59.5mm (2.3 inches)
  • Height: 100.5mm (3.9 inches)
  • Thickness: 16.95mm (0.67 inches)
  • Weight: 135 grams (4.76 ounces)

The Palm Pre Smart(er)phone

Meet the new Palm Pre. A smarter smartphone is coming to you soon.

Palm at CES Today

For many Palm OS fans, today is a big day. It is widely expected that Palm will unveil their next generation mobile operating system, the successor to Palm OS 5, codenamed "Nova." Palm will be holding an invitation only press event at 2pm ET/11am PT to talk about all the "new-ness" they have been working on.

This will not be the first time that we have talked about the successor to Palm OS. Before 'Palm OS II" and "Nova" we had "Palm OS 6.0", "Palm OS Cobalt", "Palm OS for Linux", and most recently, "ALP." Today has been a long day coming for the Palm OS user community, and I hope that what Palm shows off today will have been well worth the wait.

I have not read whether or not Palm will have a live or recorded video of today's event, however, Palm has said that during the event, the company's blog will receive live updates.

I'll have a wrap up of the day's news later today.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A New Look for Palm Website

Did anyone else notice that Palm's website received a face life today? Did anyone also notice that the Centro is the only Palm OS device that is listed on the main splash page and on the interior support page? All of the PDAs and Palm OS Treo smartphones are now in the "View All Devices" section of the support page.

I'm glad to see that the marketing department has woken up from their long Rip Van Winkle slumber.

Are the winds of change really blowing at Palm? Be sure to check the Palm site again on January 8th.

Editorial: Palm's At Bat

This week, contributing writer, Richard Cartwright shares with us some of his thoughts about Palm as we get ready for their CES press event on Thursday.

Palm's At Bat

The blogosphere is buzzing with Palm’s upcoming CES announcement regarding the new Nova OS and new hardware. I for one am just glad that Palm bit the bullet and is announcing at CES. The timing could not have been much better as it was during a slow tech news time and has generated a lot of buzz for Palm. Most of it is of the “last chance” sports metaphor variety but buzz is buzz and frankly, it’s the truth. This is Palm’s last chance to get back into the mobile smart phone game. The bases are loaded, bottom of the 9th, two outs and Palm is three runs behind, the “runs” being iPhone, RIM and Android.

Palm, like a lot of other vendors, never saw the iPhone coming, as evidenced by Collagen’s infamous quote about how hard it is to put a smart phone together. I strongly suspect that a large part of the Nova OS delay was based on a realization that the bar had been raised by the iPhone and Nova had to clear the higher bar. Nova has to have a better ease of use than the iPhone. Nova has to have a full set of apps working out of the box, especially PIM apps, multimedia and a browser. Nova also has to be open to third party developers with a clear process as to what it takes to get to play on Nova and a willingness to allow those apps to directly compete with the Palm produced apps. Finally, Nova has to have cut and paste. If Palm does this, they will address both many of the sore points iPhone users have and the things people like about the iPhone.

Palm has to provide a rich multimedia experience that is not tied to a proprietary standard. I am betting that Palm is going to use Active Sync in a big way for the Windows side and probably Missing Sync on the Mac side. This would let Palm tie into existing Windows and Mac programs such as Media Player or third party solutions using existing standards rather than shoehorning into a proprietary solution. If Palm felt the need to partner with somebody, Amazon is sitting out there with its cheap DRM -free music and videos. At this stage, I frankly doubt it, given the Amazon/Android relationship, but one never knows. Supporting the experience needs to be a iphone-sized touch screen, removable storage, and A2DP Bluetooth support, along with a standard headphone jack that does not take a dongle to use.

Palm could also turn Apple’s PIMphobia to its advantage by offering a strong PIM solution out of the box, another source of discomfort with the iPhone. The solution needs to be fully Outlook and Google compatible and fully capable of importing legacy data from prior versions of the Palm OS. Additionally there needs to be a strong email program. Visual voice mail and the dedicated ringer switch would be winners as well. The browser experience has to be at least equal to the iPhone with flash support. The new phone must support GPS and a Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Speaking of keyboards, Palm could go far with the idea of a swivel touch screen that exposes a Treo standard keypad that would both allow for screen real estate and capitalize on the one handed ease of use and two thumb typing that many Treo and RIM users are comfortable with.

A lot of the issues Palm needs to address with the iPhone users will also seduce at least a few Blackberry users. Decent push email, multimedia and a browser worth having should lure those who went to RIM because they needed good email and a keyboard and were willing to overlook the abysmal browser experience and lack of third party apps. It goes without saying that the Nova hardware will have to have Wi-Fi and a 3-5 megapixel camera along with this usual 3g phone suspects. WiMax and LTE support would be nice, but I do not see it in the product yet, particularly as I suspect the hardware spec was frozen before the WiMax deal was firmed up. However, I am almost certain that Nova will be able to support multiple radio standards or Palm learned nothing from Garnet and its inability to support 3g GSM standards. Palm is also positioned to capitalize on the RIM problems with the Storm and the lack of Wi-Fi.

Android is the current darling of the mobile technoratti but even its strongest supporters freely admit that it’s not ready for prime time. In addition to being open source, Android has the backing of Goggle, a somewhat larger company than Palm. That said, if Palm can deliver a rock solid program with a good out of box experience, Android could become the victim of its own flexibility. Why? To paraphrase a Nokia corporate leader, Palm in the end has four customers in the US: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. For better or worse, the North American mobile phone market runs on subsidized contracts. For Palm to make the revenue it needs, it has to get love from at least two and ideally all four carriers. The iPhone has plowed the field for Wi-Fi and some openness. While the carriers are not fans of third-party applications, I suspect that if Nova is a hit, the carriers might well prefer it to the open and easily hacked Android system. Embracing Palm would give the carriers a closed OS in the sense it could not be easily hacked for VoIP, for example, but open to useful programs. Further, it would give the carriers something to counterbalance Apple on one end and RIM on the other.

Palm needs to have outstanding syncing capability both to the cloud and the desktop. As stated before, I suspect Palm will use existing Windows and Apple systems as much as possible both to minimize conflicts and to stick with standards. Finally, the question everyone probably has: how do you power this prodigy? I predict a removable battery for starters coupled with some outstanding power management. Again, as long as Palm battery life is at least as good as the current iPhone, that should be enough, particularly since the Android phone by all reports can’t get through a single day without recharging. I would say an OLED screen could address power consumption, but that brings us to cost. Palm has to undercut the iPhone cost yet still have decent profit margins. I would do this via removable storage. The Palm phone could have 4 or even 8GB on board and removable storage to the user’s content. This not only reduces cost but gives the user the freedom to increase storage as much as the media allows.

As Palm goes to bat, it has to have rock steady useful software and hardware that addresses the dissatisfaction of iPhone, Blackberry and Android users if it’s going to hit to the “fat middle”. Here is hoping the users in Palm’s outfield stands get a chance to catch the home run ball.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rumor: Is This the First Nova Device?

Crunch has what they claim to be an exclusive mock up of what will be Palm's new Nova smartphone. This is Gear's exclusive, so I won't be a fly in their soup.

Make the jump to

Photo courtesy of Crunch Gear.

Rumor: BlackBerry Compatible Palm Products?

I was just reading an article on the New York Post's website titled, "A Peek At This Year's Hottest New 'Toys'" and they mention Palm. Author Damon Brown writes:
"And there is so much more: portable digital TVs, wireless headphones, new BlackBerry-compatible products from Palm, more iPod accessories and even a waterproof TV."
I'm not sure what "BlackBerry compatible products" means, except maybe a new version of the BlackBerry Connect software that was used to connect some older Palm OS Treo smartphones to a corporate BlackBerry Enterprise server. We'll have to wait and see what becomes of this. Personally, I'm not sold on this one, so I'll file it under "rumors" for now.

[Thanks to James for the tip.]

Palm CES Predictions

With Palm's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) invitation-only press event less than a week away, I figured it was time to make some predictions about what the Centro maker might unveil.

Palm OS "Nova"

I fully expect Palm CEO Ed Colligan to unveil their next generation mobile operating system, codename "Nova." Company officials have stated that the next generation products will be "game changing" and now it is time to see if the proof is in the pudding. The road from Palm OS 5 to what we've called "Palm OS II" for so many years is finally coming to an end.

Nova will have, thanks to its Linux origins, the modern foundation upon which new applications can be built. Nova will have the ability to run multiple applications at once, address more memory than previous Palm OS devices, and will be able to support and use multiple radio technologies including: Bluetooth and A2DP, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, GPS, and the HSDPA and EVDO cellular radio standards. The real question is whether or not Nova will include support for the fledgling WiMAX network being rolled out by Sprint and Clearwire. I also expect that Nova will be able to support more screen resolutions than the standard Palm OS 160x160 and 320x320 formats. Additionally, I expect that Nova will also be able to run legacy Palm OS 3/4/5 applications in their own memory space to preserve customer's software investments.

The technical specifications for Nova, by themselves, won't be able to carry Palm back to a mobile computing leadership position. For Palm to be successful, Nova has to mesh with the next generation of hardware that Palm will be releasing in 2009. I don't believe that Palm will introduce any new smartphones this week. Rather, I expect Palm will focus almost exclusively on the software. We'll learn about Nova's new user interface, it's multitasking capabilities, and the core applications that will ship pre-installed on new devices. I expect Palm to show off their revamped PIM applications, web browser and email client. An intuitive interface with Palm's easy to use applications will help drive adoption of their new platform.

I also expect that Palm will release a preview software development kit (SDK) and software simulator to professional and hobbyist developers so they can begin to develop new software for Nova and update existing software so that it can run natively under Nova.

Information Synchronization

Keeping with the software theme, I expect Palm to announce the replacements for Palm Desktop and the HotSync Manager. As I have stated in past 1SRC editorials and podcasts, I believe that USB drivers for data synchronization will be replaced by an Internet cloud solution. Your data will live on your computer and your Palm device and the data will be synchronized through the Internet. The seamless integration between desktop, mobile device, and Palm's data center should reduce the complaints about not having 64-bit Windows Vista drivers, Transport monitor errors on the Mac, and other common problems that people have when trying to synchronize their phones.

Launch Partners

Lastly, I expect that Palm will have some of their Nova device launch partners on hand to talk about what third-party software will be ready to go live when Nova devices start shipping.

At the end of the day, it will be of utmost importance that Palm not only deliver on the promise of People, Design, and Platform, but to deliver on an entire Palm ecosystem. Software a lone is not enough to lift Palm out of their current rut. Palm needs to demonstrate that they have innovative software that differentiates them from everyone else. Palm also needs to have sleek and functional hardware choices that appeal to consumers and "prosumers" as well as corporate customers. And, finally, Palm needs to ensure that they have a strong developer community to help write applications for Nova. This includes a robust development environment, useful documentation, and a certification and support network to help ensure that applications run smoothly on the new operating system.

There will be a lot of people hanging on every word that is said at Palm's CES press event this year. The media, investment analysts, and the Palm user community will be looking to Palm to produce the next big thing and prove that the company that brought us the Palm Pilot and Treo can still be a leader in the mobile computing space.

What do you think Palm will be showing the world on January 8th? Let us know by clicking the Comments link below.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

CES on the Web

The 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off in Las Vegas in just 7 days (Jan 8-11, 2009). If you can't make this year's show, you can still get the inside scoop on all the electronics goodness when you surf to CES on the web.

I'm really looking forward to this year's show as Palm is expected to give us our first glimpse at Palm's next generation operating system, Nova.