Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mobile Apps 360: BlueSwitch Solitaire Alley

Mobile Apps 360 takes a look at great mobile software for your iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry, Palm webOS and Windows Mobile smartphones that will help keep your favorite mobile gear fresh with new software.

I just purchased a copy of BlueSwitch Solitaire Alley for my Palm Pre. Solitaire Alley is a basic no frills solitaire card game written for Palm webOS. To move cards around, you tap on the card or card stack you want to move and then tap on the pile you want to move to.

Solitaire Alley is available now from the Palm App Catalog for $0.99.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Motorola Droid Hits Verizon on November 6

High-speed Web browsing, voice-activated search, customizable large screen, access to thousands of Android applications and hundreds of widgets and the best 3G mobile network in the country: DROID by Motorola arrives on Nov. 6.

Verizon Wireless, the company with the nation’s largest wireless 3G broadband network, and Motorola, a pioneer in the mobile industry, today unveiled DROID by Motorola, the first smartphone powered by Android™ 2.0. DROID by Motorola features the brainpower and breakneck speed of a modern smartphone, designed to outperform where other smartphones fall short.
“We’re proud to work with Verizon Wireless and Google™ on the first smartphone to feature Android 2.0,” said Sanjay Jha, co-chief executive officer of Motorola and chief executive officer of Motorola Mobile Devices. “DROID by Motorola delivers a rich consumer experience with warp-speed Web browsing, a mammoth screen, and Motorola’s expertise in design and voice quality. Combined with Android’s open, flexible graphical user interface and the power of Verizon Wireless’ 3G network, DROID is a smartphone that simply doesn’t compromise.”

“This is an exciting announcement for Verizon Wireless, as the DROID by Motorola is the first device that we are bringing to market under our ground-breaking strategic partnership with Google,” said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. “DROID by Motorola gives customers a lifestyle device with access to more than 12,000 applications that will help them stay in touch, up to date and entertained, using the best 3G network in the country.”

Pricing and Availability

  • DROID by Motorola will be available in the United States exclusively at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online on Friday, Nov. 6, for $199.99 with a new two-year customer agreement after a $100 mail-in rebate.

  • To get the most from DROID by Motorola smartphone, customers will need to subscribe to a Nationwide voice plan and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide voice plans begin at $39.99 for monthly access for 450 minutes and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan is $29.99 for monthly access.
You can read the full press release on the Verizon Wireless website.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Documents To Go Premium for BlackBerry Released

DataViz has announced the availability of Documents To Go® Premium Edition version 2.0 for BlackBerry® smartphones. Included in this latest version is an easy to use desktop application with support for bi-directional file synchronization, a robust update to PDF To Go®, support for password-protected Microsoft® Office 2007 files, and a new file browser for accessing and managing documents.

New Version 2.0 Features

Desktop Application with Bi-Directional File Synchronization Version 2.0 now includes a desktop application that provides Windows customers with the ability to easily transfer files from their computer to their BlackBerry smartphone via USB cable. With this application, users can select individual files or entire folders to synchronize and all updates made on either the computer or the smartphone will be automatically transferred to the other location. This eliminates the need to manually manage files and ensures that documents are always up-to-date. Throughout this process, all original file formatting will be maintained thanks to DataViz’s acclaimed InTact Technology™.
“The introduction of desktop file synchronization is the direct result of the very high number of customer requests we received for this feature,” said Kathleen McAneany, Business Manager, DataViz, Inc. “We believe that providing an easy way for users to transfer their important and frequently used files to and from their BlackBerry smartphones will increase the overall usage of Documents To Go and add greater value to our Premium Edition offer which already includes an extensive list of advanced features such as creating new files, spell check, advanced formatting and much more.”
Enhanced PDF To Go

Offered as a free bonus application for customers who purchase the Premium Edition, PDF To Go provides high-fidelity viewing of native Adobe® PDF files and attachments without any desktop or server conversion needed. With this new version customers will be able to take advantage of many new features including: find and copy text, save as, send file via email, bookmarks and more!

New ‘Documents To Go Files’ Application

A new application called ‘Documents To Go Files’ is also included with this Premium Edition upgrade. This file browser for BlackBerry smartphones provides customers with one centralized location where they can conveniently access and manage (delete, rename, copy and paste) all of their Microsoft Word, Excel®, PowerPoint®, Adobe PDF, and image files without having to navigate between programs.

Pricing and Availability

Documents To Go Premium Edition retails for $69.99 and is available to all BlackBerry smartphone users running Device Software 4.5 or higher, including those that received Documents To Go Standard Edition pre-installed on devices such as the BlackBerry Tour™ 9630, Curve™ 8900, Storm™ 9500/9530 , Bold™ 9000 as well as the upcoming Bold 9700 and Storm2™ 9550. Current Documents To Go Premium Edition customers can upgrade to version 2.0 for $29.99. This offer applies to all customers who own Premium Edition for BlackBerry, Palm OS®, Windows Mobile®, or Symbian OS™. Documents To Go Premium Edition is currently available in English. Support for French, German, Italian and Spanish will be available in the coming weeks. Additional language support will be available later this year. Volume licensing is available for 5 or more users with discounts starting at 10 users.

For more information, visit the DataViz website.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Palm Pixi Sprint Launch Date Announced

Earlier today, Palm announced that their next webOS smartphone, the Palm Pixi, will go on sale at Sprint on November 15, 2009.

In a brief email to customers, Palm wrote:
"The new Palm® Pixi™ phone on the Palm webOS™ platform will be available November 15th, starting at $99.99 (after rebate and service agreement) exclusively on the Sprint network.1 Palm Pixi. Designed to communicate on your terms. Instantly. Intuitively. Personally."
The Sprint edition of the Palm Pixi will cost just $99.99 with a two-year service agreement, after a $50 instant rebate and $100 mail-in rebate. The Pixi will be available at Sprint stores, online at www.sprint.com, through telesales at 1-800-SPRINT1, and at Best Buy, RadioShack and select Wal-Mart stores.
“We are excited to offer the new Palm Pixi to our customers in time for the holiday season, and it’s a great addition to Sprint’s industry-leading device portfolio,” said Kevin Packingham, senior vice president – Product Development, Sprint. “Simply put, this phone is fun and easy to use; with its multi-touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard, it’s a great device for messaging and social networking at a price everyone can enjoy, and delivers so many of the great features people love about Palm Pre™ in a fantastic new form factor, making it a huge hit for consumers.”
Key Features

Palm webOS brings together the user’s most important information from their phone, at work or on the Web into one logical view. In addition to linking information from Google™, Facebook®, Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync® and LinkedIn®, Palm Pixi adds Yahoo!® integration to Palm Synergy™3. Palm Synergy offers:
  • Linked contacts – A single view that links contacts from a variety of sources, so accessing them is easier than ever.

  • Layered calendars – Calendars can be seen on their own or layered together in a single view, combining work, family, friends, sports teams or other interests, and the user can toggle to look at one calendar at a time, or see them all at a glance.

  • Combined messaging – See all the conversations with the same person in a chat-style view, including MMS, even if it started in IM and switched to reply with text messaging.
To learn more about the Palm Pixi, please visit the Palm website.

BlackBerry Storm 2 Coming to Verizon

Verizon Wireless today, along with Research In Motion, has started sending out emails to customers letting them know that the new BlackBerry Storm 2 will be going on sale at retail location, online, and through Verizon business sales channels on Wednesday, October 28, 2009. Starting today, BlackBerry Storm customers will be able to upgrade their handsets to BlackBerry OS 5.0 over the air, via the BlackBerry Desktop Manager, or as a download from the Verizon Wireless website.

The BlackBerry Storm2 with BlackBerry® OS 5.0 evolves the BlackBerry® touchscreen platform with hundreds of hardware and software enhancements – including new SurePress™ “clickable” display technology and built-in Wi-Fi® – delivering the exceptional multimedia experience and communications capabilities customers have come to expect from their BlackBerry smartphones.

Key Features:
  • Smooth design and premium finish with sloped edges, chrome accents, glass lens and stainless steel backplate
  • Large (3.25”), dazzling high-resolution 480 x 360 display
  • Capacitive touchscreen with integrated functions (Send, End, Menu, Escape) and new SurePress technology that makes clicking the display practically effortless
  • 3G and global connectivity support for making phone calls in more than 220 countries and accessing data in more than 185 countries (with more than 80 destinations in 3G)
  • Network Connectivity: EV-DO Revision A; UMTS/HSPA (2100 MHz); and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM networks
  • Supports Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
  • 256 MB of Flash memory
  • 2 GB of onboard media storage and a microSD™/SDHD memory card slot with a 16 GB card included
Pricing and Availability

The BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone is available beginning Oct. 28 for $179.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement on a voice plan with an Email and Web feature or an Email and Web for BlackBerry plan. Customers will receive the mail-in rebate in the form of a debit card. plans for the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone begin at $29.99 when added to any Nationwide voice plan. Existing BlackBerry Storm customers will be able to update their handsets to the new BlackBerry OS 5.0 software via Web software load (www.blackberry.com/update), BlackBerry Desktop Manager, or from Verizon Wireless’ download site (www.verizonwireless.com/storm). The software update is available today.

You can read the full press release on the Verizon Wireless website.

Windows 7 and Windows Mobile Device Center

You have read the hype about Microsoft's newest desktop operating system, Windows 7. You are getting ready to purchase or install the upgrade on your PC. But what about support for your Windows Mobile smartphone or PDA?

Microsoft has you covered. As with Windows Vista, Windows 7 users will need to download and install Windows Mobile Device Center 6.1 (WMDC). WMDC is a free download from the Microsoft website.

On the WMDC download page, Microsoft has some notes that you will want to be aware of before you get started.
  • You can use Windows Mobile Device Center 6.1 only with phones running Windows Mobile 2003 or later.

  • ActiveSync and Windows Mobile Device Center won’t work with Windows Embedded CE 4.2 or 5.0, Pocket PC 2002, or Smartphone 2002 devices.

  • To sync content to any of these devices, you must use a USB or serial cable and your computer’s Internet connection and File Explorer.

  • You must use Microsoft Outlook 2002, Outlook 2003, or Office Outlook 2007 to sync your e-mail, contacts, tasks, and notes from your computer.

  • You must use a USB cable to connect your phone to your computer the first time you use Windows Mobile Device Center to sync.
I've also seen some people mention on Microsoft Windows forums that if you have a partnership between your Windows Mobile phone and your Windows XP or Vista system that you should break the partnership before upgrading to Windows 7. Once the installation or upgrade has been completed, then install WMDC 6.1 and then pair up your phone to your PC.

To learn more about the Windows Mobile Device Center, visit the Microsoft website.

Palm webOS Tip: Restart to Correct Radio Issues

On a recent Friday morning, I noticed that one of my Google Calendars, the one that I use to sync my work schedule with, was not syncing with Synergy on my Palm Pre smartphone. My Google calendar was up to date because I was looking at. But when I glanced over to my Pre, the calendar hadn't updated.

The Calendar application in Palm webOS can be synchronized at any time, regardless of the schedule you have setup, by taping the "Sync Now" button. (Calendar > Preferences & Accounts > Sync Now) In most cases, the on demand sync will catch up any changes that have not yet been synchronized. I had tried the Sync Now command without much success.

Rather than continuing to tap Sync Now the for the rest of the day, I decided to restart my Pre. Unlike previous Palm smartphones and PDAs, there is a specific procedure for restarting your Palm webOS phone.

To restart your phone, launch the Device Info application. It is found on the last (right most) page of the Palm application launcher. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and tap the "Reset Options" button, and then tap the "Restart" button. When you restart your phone in this way, you are assured that the Linux operating system that Palm webOS is built on is restarted correctly and that there is no chance for file corruption to occur.

Thankfully, by the time I walked down the hall to the room where my first meeting was going to by, my Pre has rebooted and Synergy had updated my Calendar.

The restart option should be part of your troubleshooting steps. I've also used the Device Info Restart option to correct Wi-Fi and cellular communication issues. Restarting is a quick and easy way to get things working again on your smartphone.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

SplashID 5.1 for iPhone OS Review

SplashData’s SplashID is an application that enabled you to securely record usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information in an encrypted database. SplashID works on the iPhone and iPod touch (OS 2.1 required, OS 3.0 is supported).

SplashID can be used as a standalone application on your iPhone or iPod touch (collectively referred to as an iPhone from here). You will, however, find SplashID becomes much more effective when you also purchase the desktop version of SplashID for Mac OS X or Windows machines.

SplashID on Your iPhone

When you launch SplashID on your iPhone for the first time, the Quick Start Guide is run. I really like this approach because it gives new users to a good overview of the application and what it can do without making the user read the 16 page user guide (unless they really want to). Sample records provided by SplashData help reinforce the concepts presented in the quick start guide. After spending a few minutes playing with the sample records for a few minutes, most people will probably delete them.

The List View screen, the default view for SplashID, has a pair of toolbars that you will want to familiarize yourself with it. Along the top of the screen, SplashData gives you a toolbar to manage your data: Search, filter by categories, and filter by record category. Along the bottom of the screen, are buttons for configuring SplashID, locking the application, and synchronizing the your iPhone with your computer over a Wi-Fi network.

I found that when I entered a small amount of records into SplashID, flicking my way down the list of records was OK. Later on, as I continued to use SplashID and add more records, I found that searching was a lot faster at finding my data.

When you tap on a record in List View, the data for that record will be displayed on the Record Info screen. By default, SplashID will display the data for your record with the contents of the Password field blocked out with star icons. SplashID also allows you to selectively turn on field content blocking, referred to as masking, for each of the other record detail fields. You would use this feature if you wanted to block out not only the contents of the Password field, but also the contents of the Username or any other field in the record. Tap a masked field to view it contents; tap the field again to mask it again.

Along side field masking in the Record Info screen, SplashID also allows you to apply your own custom field labels and password generation - a really nice feature if you work with a system the requires you to frequently generate secure passwords.

If you chose to purchase a copy of the SplashID desktop application, you will gain the ability to sync your iPhone with your PC. To synchronize your iPhone with SplashID on your computer, you must connect the machine to the same Wi-Fi network that your iPhone is connected to. Then you will be able to start up SlashID on the computer and the iPhone, pair them up, and then perform the sync. The pairing process only takes a few minutes to setup and the data synchronization is zippy. (There is no option to sync your iPhone to your computer with the iPhone data cable.)

Pricing and Availability

SplashID 5.1 for iPhone and iPod touch is available now for $9.99 from the Apple iTunes App Store. SplashID Desktop 5.1, $19.95, is available for direct purchase from the SplashData online store.

In addition to the iPhone edition of SplashID, SplashData also has versions available for BlackBerry, Palm OS, Windows Mobile, and Android smartphones. A version of SplashID is planned for Palm webOS with a free beta version available from the Palm App Catalog. There is also a corporate and government edition of SplashID available. For more information, visit the SplashData website.

[Photo courtesy of MobileAppleMe.net...]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Retail Editions of Windows 7 Go On Sale Today

While the final version of Windows 7 has been available to select Microsoft customers and TechNet subscribers for some time now, October 22, 2009 will be remembered as the day that Windows Vista was finally replaced.

Starting today, Microsoft has started selling four of the six editions of Windows 7 online and at retail locations. (Windows 7 Starter edition and Windows 7 Enterprise edition are required to be purchased under special conditions that we wouldn't normally have access to. Think netbooks and large corporate account holders.)

So what does that mean for smartphone users? Probably not much. Microsoft has worked hard to ensure that any software package that works on Windows Vista will also work on Windows 7. I've been using Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions for the last few months now and I haven't run into any serious show stoppers.

Palm Pre, Pixi - Palm webOS devices

Palm Pre customers (and Palm Pixi customers shortly) won't have any sync problems out of the box because Palm webOS, unlike Palm OS, does not sync directly with a desktop computer. People using webOS phones and third-party sync solutions like Chapura PocketMirror for webOS and Chapura Echo will want to check for any updates that may be made available. At the time of this posting, I did not see any updates mentioned on Chapura's website.

Treo 755p, Centro, Palm OS Handhelds - Palm OS 5 Devices

Customers using Palm's older generation smartphones and PDA handhelds, including the Palm Treo 755p, Centro, and Palm TX handheld PDA, things can get a little bit sketchy. Most of the issues with Palm Desktop versions 4.x and 6.x will likely continue. You will still need to be a member of the Windows Administrators group to install the software and all manors of HotSync voodoo will likely be needed to perform successful HotSync operations. In my limited Palm Desktop 6.22 testing on my Windows 7 Ultimate machine, which was upgraded from Windows Vista Ultimate, I have been able to HotSync my Treo 755p. However, I will caution you that 3-5 HotSync operations is hardly conclusive.

Windows 7 also won't correct the USB driver issue. Neither Palm nor ACCESS (the company that owns the Palm OS 5 and Windows Palm Desktop source code) has released a 64-bit USB driver. In short, that means if you have a 64-bit edition of Windows XP/Vista/7, you can't sync your Palm OS 5 device with USB cable. You will need to turn to a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth solution to sync. I don't expect either company to release a 64-bit compatible Palm OS 5 driver at this late stage in the Palm OS life cycle since Palm OS 5 is no longer being used in new devices from Palm.

RIM BlackBerry Smartphones

I recently installed BlackBerry Device Manager 5.0 on my Windows 7 machine and was able to sync it with my BlackBerry Curve 8330. After installing Device Manager, I learned that there was an OS update for my Berry and I was able to apply the update without issue. The BlackBerry USB mass storage mode also worked without a hitch.

Windows Mobile 5, 6, 6.5

There really isn't much to report here. Microsoft's latest desktop software is expected to sync with their mobile operating systems. While I haven't tried to sync my Treo 750 (Windows Mobile Professional 6.0) with my Windows 7 machine yet, it did sync (mostly) error free with Windows Vista.

What about everything else?

While I don't have an Apple iPhone or Google Android phone, I am not anticipating any serious problems. The iPhones and the iPod touch sync with Apple's iTunes software, which is still listed as being compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista should work fine under Windows 7. If an issue does come up, I'd expect Apple to have a fix out shortly since there are so many people walking around with both devices at this point.

You can learn more about the various Windows 7 editions on the Microsoft website.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Palm Pre Launch Event in Spain

You are kidding, right? I'm happy to hear that Palm fans in Spain can now get their hands on the Palm Pre smartphone, but, I don't know, I think the "Ladies in Black" is a bit over the top.

You can check out this, and other photos from the Palm Pre Spain launch event over at the Palm blog.

PreCentral: It's Time To Fix Calendar

Derek Kessler, over at PreCentral.net, has a good article posted about the improvements he would like to see Palm add to the webOS Calendar application.

The first issue that should be addressed, according to the article, should be the performance of the Calendar application. Mr. Kessler writes:

"What do I mean by too slow? When I swipe to a new day, it can take seconds for the gray loading overlay to disappear. That wouldn’t be so bad if I could still swipe to another day, but I have to wait for that day to load before I can move to the next. When I move to a day that has several events scheduled it takes even longer to load, which leads me to suspect that the calendar is checking for changes of for each event before letting me interact with or move on from that day."

Another issue that is tabled in the article is that the Palm webOS Calendar should have feature parity with Palm OS 5 that is still used today in millions of Palm handheld devices as well as in Treo and Centro smartphones. The Palm OS 5 Calendar application has features such as pop-up description windows when you tap an event in week view and the agenda view. Summerizing the missing features between the Calendar application in Palm OS 5 and webOS 1.2.1, Mr. Kessler writes: "There is little reason for the webOS calendar to lose functionality from the aged Palm OS calendar."

I agree. I was surprised that once I got home from my local Sprint store, after having waited in line for hours to be the first one to get a Pre, to learn that Palm's flagship smartphone, in certain applications, had less features than my Treo 755p! Now I'm a little bit more tolerant of the missing features since the Pre is running a version 1.x operating system. The good news is that Palm has been repsonsive, much more so than in the past, to correcting bugs and adding new features. Buy the time we get to webOS 1.5, and certainly by 2.0, I would expect that Palm would have added many of the PIM application refinements to webOS.

You can read the full article on PreCentral.net...

[Via PreCentral.net]

Monday, October 19, 2009

Acceleroto Air Hockey - My First App Catalog Purchase

I just purchased a copy of Acceleroto's Air Hockey for Palm webOS, which includes the Palm Pre and the upcoming Palm Pixi.

Before I tried to purchase anything from Palm's App Catalog, I chose to enter my credit card information by linking App Catalog with my Palm profile and then entering the card information. Once that was set up, I was ready to purchase my first application. You will be happy to learn that your credit card information is not actually stored on your webOS smartphone. It is stored on a secure server; just like your account information is stored in your Apple iTunes Store account. If you regularly purchase application on your iPhone or iPod touch, you will be at home with purchases from App Catalog on your Pre.

The purchase process was quick and easy and the game was installed on my phone without any trouble. Acceleroto Air Hockey can be purchased from the Palm App Catalog for $1.99. For more information, visit the Acceleroto blog.

Sprint BlackBerry OS 4.5.0.175 for Curve Released

Over the weekend, I activated a second smartphone on my Sprint account, a BlackBerry Curve 8330. (For those keeping score, I was using a Curve 8330 as my primary phone between December, 2008 - June 6, 2009; the day that the Palm Pre was released.) While configuring BlackBerry Device Manager 5.0 on my PC, I noticed that there was an OS upgrade for my new Sprint BlackBerry.

Sprint customers who use the BlackBerry Curve 8330 can upgrade from BlackBerry OS 4.5.0.131 to BlackBerry 4.5.0.175. As far as I can tell, the .175 build of BlackBerry OS 4.5 is largely a maintenance release as all of the BlackBerry applications in the package build are still listed as version 4.5.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Facebook for BlackBerry Updated














In case you missed it, the native Facebook client for BlackBerry smartphones was upgraded to version 1.7 over the weekend. Facebook v1.7 is now available for download as a download from BlackBerry App World or via the Check for Upgrade option found in the Facebook application (BlackBerry key > Options).

Facebook v1.7 for BlackBerry introduces the following new features:
  • News Feed Support - The ability to set the News Feed as the landing page
  • News Feed Filters - The ability to toggle between 'News Feed, Status Updates, Photos & Links'
  • Caching Improvements - The application uses the device memory more efficiently.
  • Feed Pre-fetching - The user will not be required to wait while their Facebook Feeds are updated
  • View Profile Menu Option - Clients may easily view their own profile by selecting 'View my Profile' from the menu. "
[Via Crackberry.com...]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NotifyLink Client for Palm webOS Released

Earlier this week, NotifyCorp released a Palm webOS client for their onsite and hosted NotifyLink wireless email server.
"Notify Technology is proud to announce support for the Palm PreTM using either the NotifyLink On-Premise or On-Demand solutions. Corporate IT wants an effective way to provide their increasingly mobile workforce secure wireless access and management of their email, calendar, contacts and tasks. Most organizations and businesses are seeking a mobility solution that will offer them support for their Palm Pre wireless device on cellular and voice data networks (at this time only on the Sprint and Bell Canada networks) and any 802.11x wireless network.

The NotifyLink On-Premise and On-Demand mobility solution provides secure, real-time synchronization of email, calendar, contacts and tasks to and from the Palm Pre wireless device. With NotifyLink, users have the ability to compose, reply, forward, or delete their email while mobile, as well as open a variety of email attachment formats. Support for accepting or declining meeting invitations and remote access to their Global Address Book is also provided."

NotifyLink is a perfect solution for small and medium sized businesses that want to bring wireless email support to their employees. I have been managing a 30 person onsite NotifyLink server for just about two years now and I have been really happy with NotifyLink. The software runs itself and NotifyLink has become a "set it and forget it" application.

If you are looking to add webOS support to your NotifyLink solution, be ready to upgrade to the latest release of the NotifyLink Enterprise Server as you will need to be on release 4.6 or later to be able to the Palm Pre into the mix.

For more details about the NotifyLink solution, visit the NotifyCorp website. NotifyCorp has also posted a NotfiyLink for Palm webOS datasheet on their site.

Monday, October 12, 2009

4.1 Billion Text Messages A Day

Oh my God, people! Do we really need to send 4.1 billion (yes, that is billion with a "B") text messages a day?! Don't we have more important things we could be doing?

[Via All Things Digital: Digital Daily...]

Microsoft/Danger Data Loss: The Plot Thickens

Following up on the weekend's revelation that Microsoft/Danger had lost T-Mobile SideKick user's data, new sources have surfaced ready to talk and the good folks at AppleInsider where all to willing to listen.
"Additional insiders have stepped forward to shed more light into Microsoft's troubled acquisition of Danger, its beleaguered Pink Project, and what has become one of the most high profile Information Technology disasters in recent memory.

The sources point to longstanding management issues, a culture of "dogfooding" (to eradicate any vestiges of competitor's technologies after an acquisition), and evidence that could suggest the failure was the result of a deliberate act of sabotage."

What is the real reason for the server outage and data loss? We may never really know. Regardless of how you slice it, this situation is a PR nightmare for both T-Mobile and Microsoft. If you enjoy reading a good drug store paperback murder/mystery novel, you will want to read the this article. Who knows, maybe this will be turned into a movie some day.

Read the full AppleInsider article...

Toffa Discontinues Goosync Free Edition

Toffa International, the company behind the popular GooSync service, has announced that they are discontinuing their free service. Replacing the free service will be a $10USD per year service called GooSync Lite. The free GooSync service will be disabled on October 19, 2009.
"It has always been our goal to provide a professional service to all Free and Premium users. Given the exponential demand for GooSync over the last 12 months, it has become increasingly more difficult to continue this high level of service to both Premium and Free users.

It is therefore, with regret, that we are now discontinuing our Free service. For all of you that have come to love and rely on our free offering, we will be migrating the Free GooSync service into a new product “GooSync Lite”. This new lite version of GooSync will have all the same features as the existing free version.

The Free version will become unavailable and synchronization will be suspended on Monday 19th October. To continue benefiting from all the great features of GooSync you will be able to purchase GooSync Lite for a yearly fee of just £5.99 (approx $10). We are confident that this is priced very competitively and will allow us to continue to offer the professional level of service and support you have come to expect."

If you are a GooSync junkie, and I was while I was carrying a BlackBerry Curve 8330, you can also upgrade the GooSync Premium service which includes more features than the free service or GooSync Lite. The GooSync Premium service has a tiered pricing structure of £19.95 per year, £29.95 for a two year subscription or a lifetime option for £39.95.

GooSync is an over-the-air (OTA) service that allows many popular handheld devices, such as a BlackBerry, iPhone, or Windows Mobile smartphone, to sync with your Google account's calendar, tasks, and contacts. You can learn more about the GooSync service, on the GooSync website.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

T-Mobile, Microsoft, Lose Customer Data

T-Mobile and Microsoft are in some hot water with their customers. It seems that during a "service disruption" last week, Microsoft's Danger unit, in partnership with US cellular partner, T-Mobile, have lost customer's data. I'm willing to bet that someone inside Microsoft is in a lot of trouble.
"Dear valued T-Mobile Sidekick customers:

T-Mobile and the Sidekick data services provider, Danger, a subsidiary of Microsoft, are reaching out to express our apologies regarding the recent Sidekick data service disruption.

We appreciate your patience as Microsoft/Danger continues to work on maintaining platform stability, and restoring all services for our Sidekick customers.

Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device - such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos - that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low. As such, we wanted to share this news with you and offer some tips and suggestions to help you rebuild your personal content. You can find these tips in our Sidekick Contacts FAQ. We encourage you to visit the Forums on a regular basis to access the latest updates as well as FAQs regarding this service disruption."

"With yesterday's news of T-Mobile letting Sidekick customers know that all of their data has been lost due to a server failure on Microsoft's/Danger's servers (Microsoft bought Danger, makers of the Sidekick back in February of 2008 for $500 million ). T-Mobile has suspended sales of all Sidekicks listing every model as "temporarily out of stock"."

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net...]

Friday, October 9, 2009

Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.1.2 for iPhone, iPod touch

On Thursday afternoon, Apple released iPhone OS 3.1.2 for all editions of the iPhone and iPod touch handsets. This free update addresses the following three issues:

  • Resolves sporadic issue that may cause iPhone to not wake from sleep
  • Resolves intermittent issue that may interrupt cellular network services until restart
  • Fixes bug that could cause occasional crash during video streaming

The update is available now and must be downloaded and installed via iTunes.

[Via AppleInsider…]

Astraware Solitaire Halloween Makeover for iPhone, iPod touch






Astraware, the Handmark Game Studio, has released version 1.25 of Astraware Solitaire, also known as 12 Solitaire Games, for the iPhone and iPod touch.

In this latest edition, Astraware helps get in the holiday "spirit" by including a range of spooky Halloween card backs and game backgrounds.

Astraware Solitaire costs $0.99 (iTunes link) for new customers and existing customers can upgrade to the latest release for free.

To learn more about Astraware Solitaire, please visit the Astraware/Handmark website.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

MotionApps Classic 2.0 Released

MotionApps has released Classic 2.0 for Palm webOS. Classic is a webOS application that allows you to emulate Palm OS 5.x on devices like the Pre, and the Pixi later this year.

With version 2.0 of Classic, MotionApps has introduced the following new features:

  • HotSync support over network
  • Power consumption reduced considerably when device is idle
  • Correctly set time in Palm OS from Palm webOS
  • Palm OS storage heap memory moved to flash memory
  • Virtual storage card is named "VirtualCard"
  • Total and occupied size on storage card is correctly reported in Palm OS
  • Similarly, storage heap size is reported correctly, maximum reported size 128MB
  • Classic wakes up 45 seconds before Palm OS alarm time
  • Full screen mode
  • Quick keyboard mode switch
  • Improved reset functionality
In addition to the new features listed above, MotionApps has packaged a number of popular freeware and trial software which can be downloaded directly into Classic! To install the Palm OS application bundle, launch Classic on your Pre, pull down the Classic menu (top left of the screen) and and tap the Install Free Apps menu item. And don't forget that you can install your old Palm OS 5 applications on your Pre using the Import application in Classic.

Pricing and Availability

The Classic 2.0 upgrade is free to all previously registered users and customers can use the Palm webOS Updates application to download and install the new software. If you haven't purchased Classic, you can download a free 7-day trial by using the App Catalog application. If you choose to purchase a copy of Classic, be prepared to shell out $29.99 - which I still feel is a little bit on the steep side for an emulator.

For more information about the Classic 2.0 upgrade, visit the MotionApps website.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple Responds to Palm's Reenabling Meda Sync in webOS 1.2.1

I just saw that Jimmie posted this over on GadgetsOnTheGo.net:
After Palm's latest fix to re-enable Palm Pre syncing with iTunes, Apple has issued a statement regarding it.

"As we’ve said before, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with unsupported digital media players.” "Presumably, iTunes 9.0.2 will disable Palm’s latest fix."

Read the full All Things D article...

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net...]

Notes on Palm webOS Updates

Last week Palm spoiled their Palm Pre customers on the Sprint network with not one, but two Palm webOS updates.

Last Tuesday's webOS 1.2.0 update had more enhancements and fixes in it than you could shake a stick at. Saturday's update to webOS 1.2.1 was also welcomed because it not only addressed an annoying sync issues with Microsoft Exchange email servers, but also re-re-enabled native sync support with Apple's iTunes 9 jukebox software.

What I was really looking forward to was the updates to the Bluetooth stack and enhanced compatibility with factory installed Bluetooth car kits. A number of customers, myself included, had reported Bluetooth pairing and connection issues with previous editions of Palm webOS.

The good news is that Palm webOS 1.2.0 (and by extension, 1.2.1) address Bluetooth pairing and usability issues with factory installed car kits. In short, I can now more safely use my Pre while I'm driving in my car. (I'm still looking for a voice dialing solution for webOS.) I've also noticed that after applying the updates, I can now send contacts to my Bluetooth car kit (very nice!), a MMS message, or to an email message.

The one thing that I was hoping would be fixed in either Palm webOS 1.2.0 or 1.2.1 was the static in a Bluetooth audio stream from the Pre to the car's stereo system. While I can make clear phone calls, when I stream music to my car's radio, over Bluetooth, there is still static and pops in the stream. It isn't a big deal, but on those days when I leave my iPod at home, my ride to and from work will be filled with lots of snaps, crackles, and pops.

All-in-all, I like the enhancements and fixes that Palm has provided in last week's updates to Sprint customers. Bell Canada customers, I'm sure, are anxious to get these updates also. (There are carrier testing and certification issues that need to be coordinated for each carrier before a handset vendor like Palm can release a new OS to their customers.) The next big hurtle for Palm's Pre and soon to be Pixi customers, is to get their on-device software store, the Palm App Catalog, out of beta.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Palm Releases webOS 1.2.1 Update

On Friday afternoon, Palm released the Palm webOS 1.2.1 update for the Sprint edition Palm Pre. The following is the list of fixes that 1.2.1 brings. Note that there are no new applications installed by the 1.2.1 updater.

Feature changes to existing applications

Email

Resolved an issue where after installing the 1.2.0 webOS update some customers running Exchange 2007 could no longer synchronize with their Exchange account for Email, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks.

System
  • Resolves an issue preventing media sync from working with latest version of iTunes (9.0.1).
  • Media sync now synchronizes photo albums, maintaining the album structure in the Photos app.
  • Media sync now allows for synchronizing photos without requiring the full-resolution originals. This provides faster display of high-quality full-screen images and enables users to store more photos on the phone.

Web

Resolved an issue where if a user tried to play streaming music or video, the media stream might drop out or have a long delay before starting.

Security

Addresses a security issue encountered by webkit developers. This issue did not impact end users.

You can learn more about the Palm webOS 1.2.1 update on the Palm website.


As a fan of both Palm and Apple, I'm glad to see that Palm has once again given their customers a way to sync naively with Apple's iTunes jukebox software.

The webOS 1.2.1 update is about half the size of the webOS 1.2 update (38MB vs. 79MB) that was released earlier in the week. My upgrade took about 6 minutes to install after downloading and validating the update file.

All-in-all, a nice surprise for a rainy Saturday afternoon! Now I have an excuse to take a spin in my car to make sure the Bluetooth features are working. ;)

UPDATE:
I just tested the Media Sync feature with Apple iTunes 9.0.1 (9) and everything appears to be working normally again!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Documents To Go for iPhone/iPod touch Updated

DataViz has updated Documents To Go for iPhone/iPod touch to version 2.0.

The big enhancement for version 2.0 is the ability to create and edit Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Documents To Go version 2.0 supports the creation and editing of Excel 2007/2008 spreadsheets and can read files going all the way back to Excel 97. (Yes, Excel 97, as in released in 1997!) Version 2.0 also includes typing speed improvements over the previous editions.

Documents To Go (with and without Microsoft Exchange attachment support) is a free upgrade for existing Documents To Go customers. Don't already have Documents To Go? You can purchase Documents To Go (iTunes link) for $9.99 or Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments (iTunes link) for $14.99. Documents To Go v2.0 requires that you have iPhone OS 3.0 or iPhone OS for iPod touch installed on your device.

For more information about Documents To Go for iPhone OS, visit the DataViz website.