Palm OS – Throw Back Thursday

In honor of “Throw Back Thursdays”, here’s a Palm OS device family photo I took recently.

In that top row, we have the original Palm Pre, an H/Palm TouchPad, and the elusive Palm Foleo.  The second row includes an early USRobotics Pilot and a 3Com Palm Pilot (both running Palm OS 2.0).  You’ll also notice that a Fossil smartwatch on the far left of the fourth row.  Lastly, you’ll notice that I do have a Palm Treo 750 (Windows Mobile 6.0).

Happy Throw Back Thursday!

HP Sells the Palm Brand to Alcatel Onetouch (UPDATED)

According to a recent post over on WebOSNation website, HP has sold the Palm brand to the Chinese firm Alcatel Onetouch.

“We’ve been wondering for a while what is up with Palm.com domain, and it’s looking more and more certain that HP sold the brand and trademarks to Alcatel Onetouch. The first hints of this came from the teaser when the website started redirecting to mynewpalm.com, with a looping video of the Palm logo with the text “coming soon” and “smart move” beneath. “Smart move,” as it would be, is the slogan of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Alcatel Onetouch (a brand of Chinese electronics firm TCL). That’s not exactly a lot to go off of though, but it was enough to raise suspicions.”

The “coming soon” and “smart move” text and logo is actually a looping video file called “palm_animated5.mp4”.  Oddly, the video didn’t play on my iPhone 6 when I used it to surf to the mynewpalm.com website.  (It did work on my Mac with Safari 8.)

As a long, long time Palm fan boy I’m hoping that something good will come of the Palm brand.

UPDATE:

Upon further consideration, there are a few things that are still up in the air for Palm webOS fans.

1. I almost forgot that LG has purchased WebOS to power their line of Smart+ television sets.

2. I wonder what impact the sale of the Palm brand on LG, the Open WebOS project, and Gram (which is still online at gram.com) might be, if any.

3. What is to become of the HP/Palm webOS App Catalog store?  According to the WebOS Wikipedia page, the App Catalog site will go offline in 15 days on Jan. 15, 2015.

[Via WebOSNation.com…]

Frugal, or Just Plain Cheap?

It’s fair to call me a technology junkie.  As in addict.  I can’t get enough when it comes to some of my favorite computers, tech companies, gadgets and toys.

I’ve lost track of how many Palm OS PDAs I have.  I have a Newton Message Pad and a Palm Foleo.  Throw in some iPods, BlackBerries, Treos (Windows Mobile and Palm OS), and an iPhone for good measure.

So, why I am I still using the ancient (read: 4 years old) Palm GPS Navigator kit and a Treo 755p for driving directions?

Like most cars today, when I purchased my car, I could have also purchased the in dash navigation kit; but it cost an extra $2,500.  I said I can buy a good window mount GPS kit from TomTom or Garmin for $200.  But I haven’t.  I’m still using the Treo and the Palm GPS puck.

Part of the reason why I haven’t upgraded is because it’s functional.  I like the interface, the 3D maps, and “Mandy”, my female digital co-pilot, and the GPS puck doesn’t rely on any cell towers for triangulating location – it talks with the satellites in space.  (I’m still amazed that such a small device that fits in my pocket can talk to a satellite orbiting the Earth.)

Sure, I can’t upgrade the maps on the bundled 1GB SD card.  I can’t download new voices, a feature that I do think I would use.

Am I being cheap?  Frugal?  I’d like to think I’m being frugal because the GPS kit still works.  But I think that the real reason that I have not upgraded to a new window mounted GPS kit is because, as much as I like to admit I’m a technology addict, GPS units are on the outskirts of my addiction.

[Photos via PalmInfoCenter.com…]

HotSync Guidelines for Windows 7, Windows Vista

Since getting back to (almost) daily Palm support forms moderation duty, I’ve been reading a lot of posts from people asking how to sync their Palm OS PDA, Centro, or Treo with Windows Vista or Windows 7.

The answer largely depends on what version of Windows you have installed on your PC.  If you are still running the insanely popular Windows XP, you can safely stay put with Palm Desktop 4.1.x or 4.2.

If you are running Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you really should be using Palm Desktop 6.2.2 by ACCESS.  This version is compatible with Vista and unofficially compatible with Windows 7.  (Neither Palm nor ACCESS have gone back and retested Palm Desktop 6.2.2 under Windows 7, but it does work.)

You can download Palm Desktop 6.2.2 from the Palm support website.  Be sure to read the release notes fully before installing the software on your Windows PC.  (By the way, Palm Desktop 6.2.2 does work with Windows XP.)

The tricky part comes in when you are running a 64-bit version of Windows XP, Windows Media Center, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.  There are no 64-bit compatible USB HotSync drivers available, so you have to jump through some hoops to make your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or IR enabled Palm OS device sync with your 64-bit Windows PC.

The good folks over on the Palm Support Community forums have written up a good primer on how to make your old Palm OS handheld or handset work with Microsoft’s newest desktop operating systems.

For more details on how to setup your Palm TX, T5, LifeDrive, Zire, Treo, or Centro syncing with Windows 7 or Windows Vista, check out the Palm Support Community forums thread: Windows 7 and Vista HotSync Instructions.  You’ll be glad you did.

Is Your Palm Pre a “Treo”?

Why is it a year later that I am still calling my Palm “Pre” a “Treo”? I guess some old habits die hard. Maybe it’s because I still subconsciously haven’t accepted “Pre” as a cool name for my phone?

It is interesting because I don’t have the same problem with “Palm OS” and “Palm webOS”.

Returning to BlackBerry Nation

Today I was issued a company phone. I had the choice of selecting either a Motorola Droid or a BlackBerry Storm2. I chose the Storm2.

I had the chance to work with both phones late last year as I worked with a team of people to select the phone, or in this case, the phones, that would replace our aging fleet of Treo 755p smartphones for mobile email and calendaring access. At the end of the day, our team decided to support both BlackBerry OS and Google Android because we use Notify Technology’s NotifyLink middleware server. NotifyLink is a robust platform that quickly allows small and mid-size businesses to connect just about any current smartphone with just about any standards based email and calendaring platform.

You can read my BlackBerry Storm2 and Motorola Droid reviews here on Smartphone Fanatics.

What’s Up with Palm on AT&T?

I was just looking at the AT&T website, and I noticed that there are no Centro or Treo 750 smartphones available for sale. I’ll admit that both devices, the Palm OS 5 Centro and the Windows Mobile Treo 750 aren’t new devices by any definition, but you would expect that AT&T would still have some units in stock.

I have read some Internet rumors that said that the Palm webOS powered Eos smartphone would be arriving on the AT&T network sometime around the end of the year, but nothing specific. I have also not read anythign that would indicate that Palm is halted the sale of the AT&T smartphones.

Windows Mobile customers can still get the Palm Treo Pro as an unlocked device and use their existing AT&T 3G SIM cards with the device if they wish.

I’ll have to keep an eye on this one.

People Love Their Pre Smartphones

We tend to get a little fanatical about mobile technology around a site like Smartphone Fanatics. That said, people really love their new Pre smartphones! One example is a review from Jenny Levin, a librarian in Chicago, IL.

Ms. Levin has posted a review of the Pre on her blog, The Shifted Librarian, which has been written from the point of view of a Palm Treo or Centro owner who is considering the jump from Palm OS 5 to webOS.

“When I picked up my new Palm Pre smartphone last week, one of the store employees said, “You must have been waiting for this phone for a long time.” He could tell I was excited about it. I told him I’d been waiting for this phone for nine years, six of them on Palm Treos and a Centro, waiting for the next leap.

And now that I finally have it, I can say that while it’s quite clearly a first generation device, I love it. This post will explain why, but it won’t be a comparison of the iPhone versus the Pre. I’ve only played with an iPhone a couple of times, so it wouldn’t be fair, plus everyone knows I’m not a fan of Apple, so I can’t really be objective about this. So instead, this will be a review of the Pre from the perspective of a Treo/Centro owner wondering if she should upgrade, because that’s the question I’m getting asked the most. Back in 2003, I started a popular page called What’s on My Treo 600 that listed all of the apps I used and as a result, I heard from Palm owners for years (and occasionally still do), so this is an area I know well.

In fact, a lot of my issues with the Pre come from features the Treos/Centros did better, but I’ll also describe what’s new, both the good and the bad. As a result, this will be a long review, so skip this post if you’re not interested in smartphones or the Pre.”

Keep reading

Ms. Levin and I share many of the same views about the Pre. Long time Treo users will find that some of the nice little refinements from Palm OS 5.4.9 didn’t make it into webOS 1.0.2; however, the big wins like multitasking and Synergy really make it all worth while. And yes, there have been issues with webOS 1.0.2 and the Pre including the erratic signal strength issue, weirdness with the Touchstone charging base, and Exchange and Gmail syncing issues. The good news is that Palm is aware of all of these issues and is working to resolve them. (There are some perks to be a Palm discussion forums moderator.)

You can read the full review over at The Shifted Librarian website.

Thanks to Geri for this tip.

Palm Pre First Impressions

What a day June 6, 2009 has been! Today is the day that the totally new Palm Pre smartphone began shipping. The Pre is truly an amazing phone and it’s heart and soul is Palm webOS.

The Good

I’m not the first to say it and I won’t be the last. Throw everything you know about Palm the company, Palm OS, and the the old non-Windows Mobile Treo smartphones out the window. This is not your father’s Palm, Inc. There is an entirely new management team at Palm and it comes shining through with the Pre and Palm webOS.

The Pre is smaller than the Treo 750/755p, though the most recent Windows Mobile phone from Palm, the Treo Pro, is thinner and taller. The Pre feels great in your hand. I found it much easier to hold than my Apple iPod touch. When compared with my recently deactivated BlackBerry Curve 8330, the Pre is almost the same size when the keyboard is closed. (When the Pre keyboard is open, the Pre is about an inch to an inch and half taller than the Curve 8330.)

I was completely and totally blown away by the phenomenal screen on the Pre. When I picked up the demo unit this morning at the Sprint store I thought that it was one of those plastic display shells…until the Quick Launch bar moved! Even now, some 12 hours later, I’m still amazed by how bright and vivid the screen is! My Saturdays are often filled with lots of family activities and today I found myself outside for most of the afternoon. Direct sun light shouldn’t be a problem for most people. During a t-ball game, I was able to work with my recently imported Google contacts, read email, and review some Word document attachments. All in all, the screen is just fantastic and is every bit as good as the screen found on the iPhone and iPod touch.

The Pre, like some of it’s distant cousins the Tungsten T, T2, and T3, has a slider that reveals a full, hardware, Qwerty keyboard. The keys are very similar to those used on the Treo Pro and Centro smartphones. I found the keys on the Pre to be about equal size across the BlackBerry Curve 8330, Treo 750/755p, and the Treo Pro. I like the Pre’s keyboard because the keys are big enough for me to type on and they jelly-like keys keep your fingers or nails from sliding off the key caps. Some of the early reviews warned of a problem pressing the keys on the outside of the keyboard because of the ridge around the keyboard. I can see why some people have written that about the Pre. After typing out text messages, emails, and updating my address book, I can say that I’m not going to have a big problem with it. Results will vary, obviously. As for the sliders itself, I’m OK with it for now. The jury is going to be out on the slider easily for 6-12 months. The slider is firm and snaps open and closed. But the thirty or so times I opened and closed the slider is no indication on how it will work over the long haul of daily usage. For now, I’m satisfied with the slider and this is coming from someone who is not a fan of sliders.

The 3.0MP camera and speaker phone work well, however, I only played with them for a few minutes. Since I find myself spending at least a quarter of my work week in meetings, I’m glad to see that Palm has kept the ringer switch that has been so popular on the Treo and Centro on the Pre. Folks who like to use their phones as media players should also be happy to learn that the Pre uses a standard 3.5mm headphone jack which is located at the top of the device.

Palm webOS looks great! The graphical elements embody the user interface that Palm OS fans have been demanding for years. The fonts used in Palm webOS are stunning! The fonts are as crisp as you would expect on the printed page. Palm’s web browser is just as good as Safari on the iPhone/iPod touch.

People who have used the iPhone and iPod touch will be able to use the gestures built into Palm webOS with a minimal learning curve. The gestures that you are familiar with in Safari for the most part work the same way in webOS. Transitions from portrait to landscape mode is fluid and responds well.

Palm has paid tribute to Palm OS in webOS. One such way is the inclusion of the Quick Launch bar that I mentioned briefly already. People familiar with Palm’s older Palm OS handhelds and Treo smartphones will quickly realize that the the Quick Launch bar is the digital version of the old hardware keys. Since the Pre only has the center button on the face of the device, Palm felt it was important to customers to have a speedy way to access their most used applications. Like the old hardware buttons, the digital buttons are also customizable by dragging icons out of and into the Quick Launch bar. You are limited to four buttons; the fifth button, the Launcher button, can not be changed out.

There are lots of other cool features in webOS that I haven’t yet really played with including the Backup application, Bluetooth devices, Media Sync with iTunes support, and Palm Desktop data migration. (There is a one-time, one-way migration option for Palm Desktop and Outlook users to push data into their Pre phones. Stay tuned for more on that later on.)

The Not So Good

The Pre is Palm’s most eagerly awaited smartphone. But it is not without things that I find really annoying. First up is the case itself. This is probably the worst Palm phone of all time (at least of all the Palm devices that I’ve owned or used; and that is over 30) for collecting finger prints and other smudges. You will want to find a nice soft cloth to keep at home or in your office so you can clean down the phone’s display area. I’m going to seriously consider getting a screen protector for the Pre when they become available from third-party accessory makers.

The door on the microUSB port used to charge and connect the Pre to your computer as a USB mass storage device is really hard to get open the first few times. Once you do get it open, you will have a hard time getting the door to lay perfectly flush with the right edge of the phone. Pre comes with 8GB of on-board memory, After loading some data and a few apps from Palm’s App Catalog, I have 7.2GB of usable storage space left. There are no memory expansion slots on the Pre. I would have liked to seen the Pre ship either with more built-in memory, say 16GB, or have a microSDHC card slot. Now that we know that Pre will sync with iTunes in a similar manner as the iPhone or iPod, 8GB seems a bit cramped. I can easily fill up my iPod touch’s 16GB of storage space when I’m traveling for work with music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and applications. I think that for the demanding Palm user, 8GB of non-expandable memory is going to be a problem. To get around this, Pre owners should consider streaming their music or videos if possible. (This is an area of the Pre that I haven’t really delved into yet; syncing with iTunes and streaming media to the Pre.)

In Conclusion

To sum up the Pre, I think many Palm fans are going to be happy with it. Yes, Palm webOS is completely different from Palm OS 5 and the Palm Desktop and HotSync Manager software no longer work. I think that once you migrate your data to the Pre, those applications won’t be missed except to the die hard Palm Desktop users.

The Pre’s hardware is organic and modern. It looks and feels great in your hand. Personally, I would have liked it if Palm continued to use the soft touch paint that was used on the Treo 750/755p and the “enhanced” Sprint Centros. I liked the “gripability” of the soft touch paint and it would have helped cut down on the collection of fingerprints and smudges along the side and back of the device.

All-in-all, I think you will be happy with the Pre. If you have never used a smartphone before, you will definitely want to take advantage of Sprint’s in-store training on the device. Seriously, new Palm customers should take the 15 minute class. It is free and well worth your time if you want to get the most out of your new phone.

The Pre is available now from Sprint retail locations and select authorized resellers, including Best Buy. With a new or extended 2-year service agreement with Sprint, the new Palm Pre sells for $299 with a $100 mail-in rebate.

For more information, visit the Palm website.

Palm Treo Pro Is On the Way

I have received word that Palm has shipped out a Sprint edition Treo Pro to me to take out for a test drive. Stay tuned for a review in the near future. I’m looking forward to playing with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional that has the brand spankin’ new Pocket Internet Explorer 6.1 baked in.