Thursday, May 29, 2008

Colligan Talks Palm OS II, Foleo II

APC.com, the digital extension of APC Magazine, published an article online yesterday about Palm, their upcoming Linux operating system, and a glimmer of hope for another run at the Foleo.

Of the new Linux-based successor to the current version of Palm OS, APC writes:

"...Colligan calls it “Palm OS” and later “Palm 2.0”, both times his fingers drawing quotation marks in the air as he speaks. Palm 2.0, as in Web 2.0, although he makes it clear that “I’m not coming up with the branding right now – whether it’s Palm OS 2.0 or Next Generation, we’re not coming up with the branding right now. But this is something different to this” he says, pointing to the Centro.

Colligan speaks of this as being a “next-generation operating system with much more capabilities, driven around the Internet and Web-based applications”. It reminds us of a very modern take on the original OS, as well as a revisiting of the strategy which saw Palm create everything from the OS to the handhelds. It worked fine for Palm in the early days, and it’s working pretty well for Apple too.

“We’re focused on executing our own system, mostly because we really believe that to create the most compelling solution it should be an integrated package much like we started with the Palm OS and doing the original Palm Pilots: we did the operating system, we did the hardware and we did the whole synching architecture and the desktop tie-in, which is equivalent to the Web these days. One of the things we wanted to do is to make sure that we had an end-to-end solution we really controlled and could deliver the end-user experience we want to deliver. We think it’s going to be stunning and breakthrough in its execution, and we’re working on some very exciting new devices to go with it”.

But APC wasn't just going to ask Mr. Colligan about Palm OS II. They also asked about the possibility of a future Foleo product that Colligan alluded to some months ago in his notice to the Palm user community that the original Foleo project was being canceled. APC writes:

Not all of those [Palm OS 2.0] devices will be smartphones. While Colligan axed the much-maligned Foleo ‘mobile companion’ notebook, he admits the concept (if not the brand) could make a comeback.

“I still believe the idea will be vindicated some day. But the core decision behind that product cancellation was really driven by that we were developing this whole new operating system that is going to bring a new user experience, (but the Foleo) had been started under a different design centre, a different thought process and a different set of system software. I really want there to be one Palm user experience, and so we’ll come back around to that idea when we’re done delivering that experience”.

Indeed, when Colligan canned the Foleo just short of the product’s debut in September 2007, he said noted that he was cancelling “the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration” and reiterated that “the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential. When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category.”


These are encouraging remarks from Palm's skipper. I am, as many of you are also, looking forward to new devices built around Palm's new Palm OS II operating system.

Read the full APC.com article here...

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GTS World Racing Now Available

Staffordshire, UK - May 28th 2008 - Astraware(R) and Pazzazz Games are excited to announce the release of GTS World Racing for Palm OS(R) and Windows Mobile(R) smartphones and PDAs.

GTS World Racing is the must-have sequel to the highly acclaimed GTS Racing Challenge, and has been created by Pazzazz and published by Astraware.

Fans of classic coin-operated arcade racing games will love the retro style graphics and exhilarating sound effects. Experience the roar of engines as you select your car, race your opponents, set the fastest laptimes, score points for most race wins and burn rubber to gain championship victory!

GTS World Racing offers 64 track layouts across 16 worldwide locations - from snowscapes to dusty deserts; 3 car types to choose from each with their own handling characteristics; and 4 difficulty levels from Easy to Extreme!

The game offers 4 play modes to satisfy every level of expertise:
  • Single Race - check out the tracks and practice your skills before heading for the main event;
  • Challenge Cup - race at each of the 16 locations and achieve the required finishing position for your chosen difficulty;
  • Grand Tour - complete all 64 tracks in all 16 locations and achieve the required finishing position in each; and
  • Championship - complete the full 16 race season and score the most points to win the championship.
GTS World Racing is available for a wide range of smartphones and PDAs running Palm OS(R) 5 and later, and Windows Mobile(R) Professional, Classic and Standard 2003 and later.

For more details and a the demo download, visit the Astraware website.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Alan is "Bizarro"



















I've been accused of being exactly like this comic. Apologies to Dan Piraro, creator of the Bizarro comic strip. To read more Bizarro comics online, check out the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rumor: Palm Treo 850 Specs

Tam over at TamsPPC has posted the supposed product specifications for the unannounced Treo 850 smartphone. Tam claims to have received the specs for the upcoming Treo from a source at Palm.

In the article posted on TamsPPC, the source writes:

"This is not the PalmOS version of the Centro.

It can be regarded as the evolution of the 750 line of devices. The unit is a little wider, but much slimmer than the Centro, it’s 175 MB for user), 32 MB SDRAM and Windows Mobile Pro 6.1.

The Codename for this unit was 'Skywriter' "

Tam goes on to list the specs for the Palm Treo 850 as the following:

  • 14 mm in thickness, width 60 mm and length 113 mm
  • GSM, EDGE and UMTS HSDPA 3.6
  • assisted-GPS receiver
  • Wi-FI b/g
  • 320*320 screen, touch panel
  • micro-SD slot under the battery
  • 2 MP camera
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • a micro-USB connector for both power and sync
  • bluetooth 2.0 EDR + A2DP, 256 MB NAND-Flash (> 175 MB for user), 32 MB SDRAM
  • Windows Mobile Pro 6.1
Love 'em or hate 'em, there are some changes from the current Treo smartphone line up. First is the inclusion of Wi-Fi 802.11b and 802.11g as a built-in feature. Also, the addition of a 320x320 display in a Windows Mobile device is also new. Most power users will be happy with the 2.0MP camera and will probably bemoan the fact that there is no built-in flash. (Come on people, must you have everything?!) However, before you rush out and purchase that new Treo, just keep in mind that the Athena sync port is being replaced with a micro-USB cable, which means that you may need to purchase some extra cables if you sync or charge your Palm at multiple locations.

All-in-all, this looks like it is going to be a solid device that will make many of Palm's customers happily fork over the cash to upgrade from older Treo products.

Photo from The Boy Genius Report.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Silicon Alley Insider on JPMorgan Tech Conference

Blogger Dan Frommer has posted some of his notes and impressions from this past Monday's Palm presentation delivered by Palm VP & CFO Andy Brown. Of Palm's presentation, Mr. Frommer writes:
"Palm's (PALM) finance chief Andy Brown knows plenty about his company's forthcoming Linux-based operating system, which has been under development for about two years and is set to be finished around the end of this year. (Yes, this is the miracle next-gen OS steered by former Apple engineering guru Jon Rubinstein.)

What does he want us to know about it? Nothing! In a fireside chat at JPMorgan's annual tech conference, Brown refused to answer (with substance, at least) any questions about the OS, other than telling us it will be awesome and that it will be a platform for a bunch of devices, not just one."

But my favorite few lines from the Silicon Alley Insider posting is this:
"- Next-gen OS is a platform for a range of products -- not just one. "Clearly more of a platform for a range of products. One of the reasons we canceled a fairly significant product about a year ago was because we felt as though having a one, unified user experience for Palm products was important, that could be extensible beyond one product.""
Here's to hoping that we see a Foleo II in 2009!

You can read the full post here
...

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Palm Centro Coming to Telstra

SYDNEY, Australia, May 20, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- After recently announcing the sale of its one-millionth Palm(R) Centro(TM), Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq:PALM) today confirmed its popular Palm(R) Centro(TM) smartphone will be available to Telstra Pre-Paid customers in Australia beginning May 26.

"Palm Centro is the perfect choice for those thinking about stepping up to a smartphone," said Brodie Keast, senior vice president of marketing for Palm, Inc. "The combination of keyboard, touch screen and Palm's trademark ease of use makes Centro ideal for staying in touch."

Centro is Palm's smallest and lightest smartphone. Designed for individuals and traditional mobile phone users looking for a better way to manage their professional and social lives, it has a modern, stylish look that feels comfortable in the hand, and discreetly fits in a pocket or clutch. Centro helps users manage email and text messaging, keep track of their schedules, stay up-to-date on the latest news, capture and share pictures, and get online map directions -- all in one small phone. Its full keyboard also makes it easy to quickly type text messages and emails with complete thoughts and ideas.

Ross Fielding, executive director, Telstra Product Management, said, "As the first provider of this unique smartphone in Australia, Telstra is demonstrating its commitment to giving customers the best choice of Pre-Paid products and services."

Tim Copper, executive director, Telstra Consumer and Marketing, said, "Pre-Paid mobile phone users now have access to a number of features not available on standard mobile handsets with the addition of the Palm Centro to the Telstra Pre-Paid range. The Palm Centro will allow customers to stay on top of email and text messages, as well as access the Internet, manage appointments, view documents or make use of a multitude of other productivity-boosting and entertaining features."

Read the full Palm press release here
...

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Windows Mobile Journal: Word Mobile 6.1

I just discovered a really annoying trait of Word Mobile 6.1: You can't save documents in the Microsoft Office 2003/XP (2002) file format. Huh?! The screen shot below is from the File > Save As... screen.














As you can clearly see, Microsoft has eliminated the ability to save files in the previous two versions of Microsoft Office. This is the kind of stuff that really annoys me about using Microsoft's software. Is is really that hard to include another file format in Word Mobile that will allow it to work with Word 2000 and later? This is clearly a tactic to get people to upgrade their copy of Microsoft Office on their desktop computers.

At home I use Office 2003 and at work we have Office XP (2002) deployed. There are no differences in the file formats. There is for Office 2007. Microsoft will claim that they do have support for the older versions of Word by providing the ability to save files in the Rich Text Format and Plain Text format. But we all know that is only a partial solution as not all of Word's formating is saved in a .RTF file and virtually no formatting is saved in a .TXT file.

So what is the answer? If you need to use the latest and greatest Microsoft software, you probably have already upgraded to Windows Vista and Office 2007, or Office 2008 for Mac OS X. For what I do, I have no desire to shell out $250 for an Office upgrade, of which I only use Word, and occasionally use Excel and Outlook on my personal computer. The better solution for me would be to find a Windows Mobile 6.0 application that still supports the Office 2003/XP file formats. Once again, I will turn to my old mobile productivity software standby: DataViz Documents To Go.

Documents To Go is the defacto Office suite on the Palm OS platform, and DataViz has been aggressively working to make sure that their outstanding software is available for all of the popular mobile computing platforms, including Windows Mobile Smartphone Edition. Documents To Go is also coming to RIM's BlackBerry platform. (Which should make BlackBerry users very happy. The current BlackBerry Office suite software is expensive and hard to use when I last tested it out about a year ago.)

Now Documents To Go for Windows Mobile Smartphone is designed only for non-touch screen devices. That means devices like my Treo 750, which run Windows Mobile Professional, aren't technically supported. We'll just see about that. A $30 upgrade gets the software installed on my device.

For more information about DataViz Documents To Go for Windows Mobile Smartphone Edition, visit the DataViz website.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rumor: PIC has a Treo 800w pic



PalmInfoCenter.com (PIC) has posted what they believe to be a picture of the device rumored to be Palm's new Windows Mobile device, the Treo 800w.

Check out PalmInfoCenter.com for details...

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1SRC Podcast 181


I just posted this week's 1SRC Podcast. On the latest show, I cover the following:



1. Recap of Palm's presentation from the Merrill Lynch tech conference.
2. USB analyst gives Palm stock a "sell" rating and why I think this guy is wrong.
3. Ringo has been updated with a free SMS sound pack.
4. Astraware Platypus gets reviewed this week.
5. Windows Mobile Minute: Oh where, oh where has my World Clock gone?

And, maybe, just maybe, there is a Foleo rant in there somewhere.

Listen to 1SRC Podcast 181...

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Palm to Present at JPMorgan Tech Conference

Earlier today, Palm has sent out a press release stating that Palm's Chief Financial Officer Andy Brown will be presenting at this year's JPMorgan Technology Conference.

The conference will take place on Monday, May 19, 2008 at 3:40pm Eastern time in Boston, Massachusetts.

Details can be found on Palm's investor relations website.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Astraware Platypus Review

Platypus is the latest game from the creative minds at Astraware and Idigicon. In this side-scrolling shooter you take to the skies in your F-27 “Platypus” fighter to defend the peaceful Mungola from the invading Collosotropolan Battle Fleet.

Game Play

Platypus is an adaptation of the popular game of the same name from Idigicon for Windows to the Palm OS and Windows Mobile platforms. Astraware has created a faithful representation of Platypus for the small screen providing you with pulse pounding excitement anywhere you happen to be. The game has three levels of difficulty (easy, medium, and hard). First timers will want to begin game play on the easy game mode until they get the hang of the game.

You control your Platypus with the stylus by default. If your handheld PDA or smartphone has a 5-way nav pad, you can optionally use it to control your ship. The game also has two modes for firing at your enemies: autofire on and off. I tried playing the game with and without the default settings, and I found that game play was easer with the default settings. Trying to move your fighter around the screen and shooting at the same time with a 5-way nav pad like those found on devices from Palm turned out to be just a bit too difficult. When dog fighting in the skies over Mungola, you will be able to destroy most enemy aircraft with a single shot. Keep a watchful eye out for larger enemy ships as they will require multiple hits to destroy them.

Platypus is made up of over 20 playable levels or missions that are broken up into 4 worlds, referred to in the game as stages. Once you have completed a stage, the next time you play the game, you are allowed to jump over previously played stages if you chose. You score points by shooting down enemy aircraft and demolishing ground vehicles. Extra points are awarded for destroying other targets of opportunity like buildings and airborne obstacles. Destroying enemy ships often releases bonuses and power ups. Falling fruit (cherries, grapes, and bananas) will give you extra points and floating stars will add power-ups to your ship. Power-ups only last for a few seconds, however you can do a lot of damage with rapid fire mode, scatter shot mode, and my personal favorite, the heat seeking missiles power-ups. Just fly your Platypus over the fruit or stars while they are on screen to pick up the goodies they offer. Just be careful when the shooting starts. If you are not paying close attention, you might try to pick up a cherry only to realize at the last second that it is really a bullet from an enemy fighter.

I tested Platypus on a Palm TX, Palm Treo 755p, and Treo 750. In all cases the game played well with no noticeable differences in game play.


Graphics & Sounds


One of the unique elements of Platypus is that the game’s graphical design elements have been created out of modeling clay that was later colorized on a computer. The use of clay models gives the game a very organic feel to it. When ships, vehicles, or objects are destroyed, they don’t just blow up, they burst in a squishy, splattering explosion! With all of the messy shoot-em-up action taking place in the foreground, it is almost too easy to miss the graphics in the background that make up the game’s landscape. Trees, buildings, hills, and the sky are also beautifully crafted. You will want to crash you Platypus a few time just so you can look at all of the other graphical objects on the screen.

The sound effects in Platypus are also well done. Laser bolts sound like laser bolts and enemy craft erupt with a satisfying plop while ground transports explode with a resounding ba-boom! The background music that is used in Platypus is a retro throw back to the mid-1980s, when side scrolling action games dominated computer screens of the day. While playing, I found the default music level to be too loud. Lowering it to the first level (out of three) was better. If I’m playing in an area where there are a lot of people around, I just turn the music off and set the sound effects volume to a lower setting.

Conclusion

Platypus is a perfect mix of modern action game with deep roots in the classic slide-scrolling shooters from yesteryear. The game is easily picked up by both casual gamers and fans of action games. The replay value of the game is high because of the messy fun when things go “splat!” as they explode. In short, Platypus is an entertaining game that will keep players glued to their handhelds for hours! If you enjoyed Astraware Zap 2000, then you will want to add Platypus to your software library. Not since Bejeweled have I spent this much time playing a game on my Palm Treo.

Buying Information

Platypus is available today directly from the Astraware website for $19.95 and runs on recent Palm OS and Windows Mobile smartphones and PDAs. Astraware is working on releasing future versions of Platypus for the Symbian S60 and UIQ platforms.

For more details, visit the Astraware website at http://www.astraware.com/platypus.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Club Astraware offers for May 2008





The Club Astraware Member-only discount offer for May 2008 is Golden Skull for just $9.95, that's a huge saving of $10 off the regular price!

Golden Skull is a puzzle adventure game that will take you on an unforgettable journey through undiscovered Mayan pyramids and long forgotten ruins.

Featuring amazing graphics, and an entertaining story mode, Golden Skull delivers challenging gameplay with unbelievable production value. It's a puzzle adventure game the whole family will enjoy.

There are 3 double points offers in Club Astraware this month, so members can build up their points even quicker and get even bigger discounts on games in the future! The games offering double points this month are Text Twist, Platypus, and Astraware Boardgames. Simply buy any of these games at full price and get twice the regular number of points! For example: buy a game for $19.95 and you'll get almost $4 worth of points to use against your next purchase!

These offers are only available in Club Astraware until the end of May 2008. To get your hands on them simply join or login to Club Astraware at http://www.astraware.com/club. It's quick to join and completely free too!


Readers of Foleo Fanatics and listeners of my weekly 1SRC.com podcast know that I'm a huge fan of Astraware's games. Joining Club Astraware is a great way to pick up some outstanding games for your favorite Palm OS or Windows Mobile smartphone or PDA handheld.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Office Mobile 2007 Upgrade

I just ran across a link on the Microsoft Windows Mobile website for the Office Mobile 2007 upgrade.

Depending on the build of Windows Mobile 5.0 installed on your smart devices the upgrade will be free for some users while others will have to pay $49.95 for the upgrade kit. (Yikes!) Before purchasing the upgrade, I strongly suggest that you check with your smart device vendor to see if they have any Windows Mobile upgrades available. You might be able to upgrade your install of Windows Mobile and then qualify for the free Office Mobile upgrade.

On the Microsoft Office Mobile Upgrade or Purchase page, there is a simple series of questions that helps you determine if your device qualifies for a free upgrade or not. Microsoft was nice enough to publish a Office Mobile 6.1 FAQ so you can learn about what is included in the latest version of Office for Windows Mobile devices before pluncking down the cash for the upgrade. Upgrades can be purchased from Handango, and volume licenses are available if you have a fleet of Windows Mobile 5 devices to upgrade.

I see this upgrade being important for users who find themselves with a Windows Mobile 5 device with no vendor provided upgrade to Windows Mobile 6, and who need support for Microsoft Office 2007 files. If you are a non-corporate user who doesn't need the latest and the greatest, I would skip the upgrade until you need to purchase it. $50 is a lot of money to gain support for Office 2007. DataViz Documents To Go 10, which added support for Office 2007 on the Palm OS platform, only ran customers $29.95.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Palm to Present at Merrill Lynch Conference

Palm has sent out a notice earlier today that Senior Vice President & CFO Andy Brown will be presenting at the Merrill Lynch Technology Conference this Thursday in New York City.

The presentation will be held at 9:45am (Eastern time) and a live audio feed will be available. Interested parties can listen in on the event by logging into the Merrill Lynch website.

Palm regularly makes presentations throughout the year at conferences similar to the technology conference being hosted this week by Merrill Lynch. I do not expect any new product announcements at this event.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

MissingSync 6 for Palm OS Updated

The following is from Mark/Space Newsletter 45:
"The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.3 update provides several enhancements, including better synchronization with Bare Bones Yojimbo 1.5, improved handling of recurring tasks, and enhanced support for custom field synchronization with Entourage. Also, the Call Log application now allows for deletion of individual or selected calls from the call log archive on your Mac. Similarly, the SMS Log application lets you delete all incoming and outgoing text messages for a single contact.

This update is free for all owners of The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0. Qualified owners of older versions of The Missing Sync for Palm OS can upgrade to version 6.0.3 for $24.95. Version 6.0 introduced many new features, including: the ability to encode video for viewing on a Treo smartphone, access to Treo Call Log and SMS Log on the Mac, Notes synchronization, and more."
I have reviewed the Missing Sync for Palm OS for my weekly 1SRC.com podcast, and I have to say that if you are a Mac OS X user, you need to be using this software. The Missing Sync is light-years ahead of Palm Dekstop 4.2 on the Mac platform.

For more details, visit the Mark/Space website.

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