Sunday, November 30, 2008

Upgrading Docs To Go on WM Professional

I finally got around to upgrading DataViz Documents To Go 3.0 Premium on my Palm Treo 750 smartphone. The Documents To Go 3.0032 is a minor upgrade that was released back on September 23, 2008. The update addresses the following issues:
  • Added support for devices with high resolution screens (VGA 480x640)
  • Fixed a bug which caused "Error after creating the .lnk - file : 3" when installing on non-English devices
  • Minor bug fixes
The complete Document To Go for Windows Mobile Professional version history can be found in the DataViz knowledge base.

During the upgrade, I did run into some trouble. At about 98% done, the following error message popped up:

Edition Not Found
\Windows\gb-nrv-s.dat

Error setting up the registry. Please reinstall to try and fix the problem.

DataViz's solution for the error can also be found in the DataViz knowlege base. I checked that I had enough space on my Treo by going to the Memory control panel and taking a look at the Storage Free value. The upgrade should have worked. To get around this problem, I ended up uninstalling Documents To Go 3.0031 and eReader (which I never really used on my Windows Mobile Treo anyway), soft reset my Palm, and then re-ran the Documents To Go installer. To do this, I used the Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows Vista and pointed to:

Programs and Services > More... > Add/Remove Programs

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On the Trail of BlackBerry OS 4.5

Not wanting to let it go, I've continued my search for answers about when Sprint might actually get around to certifying and releasing the BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 for the Sprint BlackBerry Curve 8330.

During my search, I stumbled across the Sprint discussion forums, BuzzAboutWireless.com. There I found a thread titled, "Update on 4.5 code upgrade", started by a Sprint forums administrator, SarahKS. In her October 17, 2008 post, the admin writes:
"Sprint would like to make its customers aware that it is currently in testing with the 4.5 code for a number of our BlackBerry devices. We understand that many of you are anxious to receive this upgrade; please note that it is very important that Sprint has time to adequately test and certify the code to ensure a quality experience for you, our customers. Once this process is complete Sprint will make this upgrade available as soon as possible.

We understand and appreciate the enthusiasm shown here at Buzz About Wireless and want you to know that we value your feedback and hope you will continue posting and letting us know what is on your mind. Please continue to watch this site about availability of the BlackBerry 4.5 code and other relevant news for Sprint customers."

Ok, I get it. Sprint is telling us that they are working on the update, but have not committed to a release date. The admin being only a forums admin, has no specific information except what the software development team reports to her.

Another Sprint employee chimes in and writes:
"I just read today on another website that Sprint confirmed the release of OS 4.5 to sometime in November...which would mean we will be the 2nd carrier to release it in the U.S. (following the release at T-Mobile, USA)"

Checking the calendar on my Curve, it looks like the November date was missed.

On November 25, 2008, the forums admin posts another OS 4.5 update that reads:
"First off, yes we are still working to deliver the 4.5 software absolutely as soon as possible. We want to make it absolutely clear that Sprint is not sitting on its laurels here. We are working hard to ensure that the software you get is absolutely tip top and will do what you need (and nothing you don’t!).

Unfortunately the software is not quite ready. Right now Sprint and RIM are working together to make the necessary modifications to ensure you have the best possible experience. The good news is that we believe we are getting close to final software."

The lack of MultiMedia Service (MMS) on Sprint's BlackBerry devices is another hot topic from the looks of things. While browsing through that thread, I found a post by another Sprint employee dated November 29, 2008. It reads:
"The PictureMail update for the blackberries should come with the new OS update, that should also coincide with the release of the 8350i within the next few weeks. Interestingly Sprint seems to be skipping the OS 4.5 update alltogether and going straight to OS 4.6

EDIT: The OS update will be avalable for both the 8330 and the 8130, in addition to shipping with the 8350i."

Well, well, well. Ok, so when will the Sprint BlackBerry 8350i for the iDEN network finally arrive? A quick Google search turned up this page over at Engadget Mobile dated November 17, 2008 that suggests that the new BlackBerry will be arriving the the cheers of iDEN users on, oh-ho, December 1, 2008.

Will Sprint's BlackBerry customers get some love tomorrow and get a new BlackBerry and some new software updates? I don't know, but I really hope so.

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BlackBerry Bold OS 4.7 Leaked















Blogger Don Nguyen has posted a leaked BlackBerry Storm 4.7 OS upgrade package. On his site, Mr. Nguyen writes:
"After so many requests and the OK from my source, I am officially leaking the new Blackberry Storm OS."
I'm not sure who he has gotten the "OK" from, so if you plan on loading this update on your brand spankin' new Verizon BlackBerry Storm, you do so at your own risk. The directions for applying the update can be found over on CrackBerry.com forums.

[Via CrackBerry.com...]

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BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 for Sprint 8330

I recently purchased a BlackBerry Curve 8330 for Sprint. One of the must-have software packages for me is DataViz Documents To Go; which was recently released for the BlackBerry platform. But you need Device Software 4.5 or later. My Curve has 4.3.0.127.

There seems to be some confusion about the 4.5 software. It has been officially released for many of the current BlackBerry devices. My research shows that it has been released for some of the Curves, including the CDMA Curve for Verizon. I just can't seem to find the official Sprint edition.

Threads on some discussion forums indicates that any BlackBerry Curve 8330 can be upgraded with the multilingual release. Reading through these threads though, it seems like some of the carrier specific features, like No Force Roaming, aren't in the generic release. Go figure.

So I'll have to do some more poking around to figure out whether or not BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 is officially supported on Sprint's devices.

For the bold and the daring, there is a thread on SprintUsers.com that talks about loading over carriers version of 4.5 on your Sprint BlackBerry Curve 8330. With my BlackBerry kung-fu not as good as my Palm OS kung-fu, I'm not sure I'm ready to pull the trigger on an official unofficial upgrade just yet.

UPDATE 1:

I found this article on BlackBerryCool.com and they are reporting that OS 4.5 is official on Sprint, yet when I run the "Windows Update"-like upgrade checker at BlackBerry.com I get the message that my device is running the latest software; 4.3. Ugh!

UPDATE 2:

After a few hours of poking around on the Internet with Google and on the BlackBerry.com and Sprint.com websites, I have finally come to the conclusion that BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 is not (officially) available for the Sprint BlackBerry Curve 8330.

While searching for an answer, I stumbled across the BlackBerry Device Software v4.5 Availability page on the BlackBerry.com website. When I entered my device's PIN number, I received the following message:
"BlackBerry® Device Software v4.5 is not supported by your wireless service provider.

You will be redirected in 10 seconds to our Product Update form to receive notification when the software is available.

If you are not automatically taken to the form, please click here"

So, it seems that us BlackBerry Curve owners on Sprint who don't want to roll the dice with one of the unofficial upgrades still have to wait this out. I do hope that Sprint gets around to releasing the upgrade soon.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Orlando Update

A week ago Friday, I returned home after spending a week down in Orlando, Florida to attend the Open Text Content World user conference. As you will recall from my post about getting ready for the trip, I wanted to travel as light as possible.

Dell Inspiron 910 (aka: mini 9)

To my surprise, the Dell mini 9 worked really well. I was able to get about 5-6 hours of battery life out of the unit. That number still isn't enough to get me through a full 10-12 hour day; however, it was as good as my heavier Dell Latitide D630 with a 9-cell battery. To get the best possible battery life, you need to be smart about what you are doing.

During the day, I would use the built-in Wi-Fi radio. To conserve battery power, I would turn the radio on and off as needed. The same is true for the screen brightness. While I was using the notebook in a workshop or presentation that had the lights dimmed, I would turn down the brightness on the screen. When I was meeting with someone or using the notebook in the lounge area, I would turn the screen brightness up to a level that was comfortable to read in a room with full lighting.

The weight was fantastic. The mini 9 weighs less than 2.5lbs and you will appreciate not having a throbbing shoulder after traversing two airports. The quilted slip case that I purchased for it is considered "TSA safe" meaning that you can keep the notebook in the slip case while it is run through the x-ray machine.

Being a corporate asset, my team and I converted the base install of Windows XP Home SP3 to Windows XP Professional SP2. I was able to run all of my required corporate applications without any trouble. Applications did seem to run a little bit slower than my full powered Latitude D630, however, I was willing to accept the trade off.

The only thing that I really wasn't crazy about on the mini 9 was the size of the keyboard. I was able to touch type on the keyboard. The main Qwerty keys on the mini 9 where big enough for my fingers. What I didn't like was the keys that surrond the main keys. For example, the shift, tab, and alt keys were about half as big as you would expect them to be. I was forever hitting the wrong keys. I also didn't like having some keys being what I call "tipple stacked." For example, the equals key shifts to the plus key which is normal. However on the Dell mini 9, the equals key also blue Fn shifts to get the back slash key. Being in IT, typing in Windows directory and network paths can be a real pain in the neck. Over time, this will be something that you will get used to.

Palm Treo 755p

My Treo 755p performed as I expected it to: beautifully. I purchased an extended life battery for my Treo and it was able to keep running all day. I have my Treo programmed to check my various email accounts at 30 minute intervals. The Treo did a great job of tackeling email, weather updates, and some light web surfing through out the day. I did use the World Clock application as my alarm clock. If you chose to use your Treo as your alarm clock, just make sure that you set the ringer switch from silent back to ring mode. During the day, I keep my Treo in silent mode and at night I switch it back to ring mode so I can hear the alarm when it is time to start the day.

Apple iPod touch (1st Generation)

The last bit of technology that I took with me was my 16GB iPod touch. The battery in my year old iPod held up well while I was using it in the airport for music and podcasts and on the plane for TV shows and movies. One thing that did trip me up was not doing a list minute review of the iPod before I left the house. As it turned out, I had forgot to select the new TV shows and movies that I loaded on my MacBook (which was saying home). The cost for this mistake was leaving home with only half of the TV shows and only one movie that I had planned to watch on this trip.

All in all, the technology that I took on the trip with me worked well. I'll be taking another trip down to Orlando in another two weeks. (I love the fact that confernces move south when the weather turns cold up in New England.) This time, I plan to make sure I have my iPod chuck full of content.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

TimeDrift for Palm OS Smartphones








Tam Hanna has released a new application for Palm OS devices, including the popular Palm Centro smartphone. TimeDrift keeps your devices clock accurate after a Palm PDA, Treo, or Centro is reset.

Mr. Hanna writes:

"Ever wondered why your Centro's / Treo's clock becomes inaccurate after a few resets or battery changes? Palm is to blame - but be sure that they saved a few cents by excluding certain key components.

Tamoggemon Software's TimeDrift steps in where Palm left off: our highly customized snooping algorithm makes sure that your smartphone's clock is as accurate as the clocks on other (cheaper) phones.

As we use a local algorithm rather than relying on external time servers, TimeDrift can be used abroad without any roaming chares fior data (which can be extremely expensive)."

Keep your clock accurate - get TimeDrift!

Features:

  • Fire and forget solution - no "maintenance" required
  • Highly reliable - maximal drift of 30 secs/reset
  • Small - less than 50KB of memory usage
  • Works independant of network - no network charges

Tamoggemon has a 30-day trial version available for people who like to try before they buy; which is always a good idea. The full version retails for $9.95 and is currently available for a limited time at a special promotional price of $7.95.

You can purchase TimeDrift from the TamsShop.

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Mark/Space Updates The Missing Sync for Bold, Storm


Mark/Space has updated their Missing Sync for BlackBerry software to now include support for the latest RIM BlackBerry devices; the Blold and the Storm. The latest edition of the Missing Sync for BlackBerry is 1.0.3.

"The Missing Sync for BlackBerry is popular with BlackBerry-to-Mac users because of its reliability and range of sync features, and it is the only Mac synchronization software that works seamlessly with the BlackBerry Bold and the new BlackBerry Storm.

The Missing Sync allows for easy syncing of contacts, calendars, tasks, notes and more between the Bold, Storm - or any other BlackBerry handheld - and Mac OS X computers."
For more details and Mac and BlackBerry system requirements, visit the MarkSpace website.

Pricing and Availability

The Missing Sync for BlackBerry is available now for $39.95 (software download) or $49.95 (physical CD shipment). Existing customers can upgrade to the latest version of the Missing Sync for BlackBerry for $29.95. Upgrades from other Missing Sync platforms (Palm OS, Windows Mobile, iPhone, Symbian, and Sony PSP) is allowed. For business customers, there are volume license for 5, 10, and 25-packs.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Sales Round Up

Here are just some of the sales that are going to be in effect for this year's Black Friday (11/28/08).

Palm.com (Online)
Save $50 on online orders between $150 - $299.99
Save $100 on online orders over $300

Staples (In-store)
SanDisk 4GB microSDHC card $9.99

Apple.com (Online)
Check the Apple store on Friday morning for their list of deals

eReader & Fictionwise (Online)
Get triple eReader Rewards points when you purchase any ebook from eReader.com by November 30, 2008.

Get 40% Micropay rebates when you purchase any of Fictionwise's 53,000 ebooks.

BJ's Wholesale Club (Online)
8 different portable GPS units, LCD monitors, and digital picture frames

SanDisk (Online)
SanDisk has many of their popular memory cards and USB flash drives on sale

Wal-Mart (In-store)
Magnavox Blu-ray DVD player $128

UPDATE 1:
Amazon (Online)
Check out Amazon's Black Friday DVD and Blu-ray deals! Select new DVD and Blu-ray titles are going for under $15. You can also scoop up copies of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 on DVD for $1.99!!

UPDATE 2:
Palm is offering the Centro cradle for $12.99 (regularly $29.99). Get it here.

Happy Thanksgiving!


















Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Pogue BlackBerry Storm Review

Famed New York Times writter David Pogue has weighed in on the new Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry Storm - and it ain't pretty. Mr. Pogue writes:
"Research in Motion (R.I.M.), the company that brought us the BlackBerry, has been on a roll lately. For a couple of years now, it’s delivered a series of gorgeous, functional, supremely reliable smartphones that, to this day, outsell even the much-adored iPhone.

Here’s a great example of the intelligence that drives R.I.M.: The phones all have simple, memorable, logical names instead of incomprehensible model numbers. There’s the BlackBerry Pearl (with a translucent trackball). The BlackBerry Flip (with a folding design). The BlackBerry Bold (with a stunning design and faux-leather back).

Well, there’s a new one, just out ($200 after rebate, with two-year Verizon contract), officially called the BlackBerry Storm.

But I’ve got a better name for it: the BlackBerry Dud.

The first sign of trouble was the concept: a touch-screen BlackBerry. That’s right — in its zeal to cash in on some of that iPhone touch-screen mania, R.I.M. has created a BlackBerry without a physical keyboard.

Hello? Isn’t the thumb keyboard the defining feature of a BlackBerry? A BlackBerry without a keyboard is like an iPod without a scroll wheel. A Prius with terrible mileage. Cracker Jack without a prize inside."

I have to agree with Mr. Pogue's assessment of the missing keyboard. I just recently purchased a BlackBerry Curve, the Bold isn't available on Sprint yet, and the main feature for me was the keyboard. (And the fact that it is smaller and lighter than my Palm Treo 755p.)

Read the full review at NYTimes.com...

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Elevation Responds to Palm Divestiture Rumor

Earlier this week, CNBC's Jim Goldman wrote an article titled, "Palm Gets a Thumbs Down." In the article, Goldman states that Pablo Perez-Fernandez, a Global Crown Capital wireless analyst, thinks that Palm's major investor, Elevation Partners, could be preparing to pull out of the mobile handset company and take their money elsewhere. In his article, Goldman writes:
"Perez-Fernandez throws it out there that Elevation might divest, but he offers nothing concrete to support the claim. It's reasonable, he tells me, given the circumstances, though he also tells me hasn't gotten any specific information from Elevation on this front. He says Palm's decision to launch a shelf registration on Nov. 3 because the company is so desperate for cash, will significantly dilute the shares, and the company risks a change in control because of that dilution. Under the rules of the Elevation deal, Palm is required to offer to buy back Elevation's stake at a premium of 1 percent to 5 percent. Elevation, he thinks, would jump at the chance to get out. I sent an email to Elevation's managing partner Roger McNamee this morning seeking some guidance, but I haven't heard back."

Interestingly, Elevation Partners co-founder and member of Palm's board, Roger McNanmee stepped up to the mic yesterday to reaffirm Elevation's commitment to Palm and to reassure investors that Palm is still on track to deliver a new mobile operating system, Palm OS II/Nova, by the end of this year (2008) and to release new devices based on that OS by the middle of next year (2009). Mr. McNanmee stated:
"Elevation Partners is very pleased with the progress Ed Colligan, Jon Rubinstein and the entire Palm team are making. The Company's product pipeline, including a next generation operating system due out soon and a new device targeted for the first half of 2009, excite us enormously. Elevation supports Palm in taking the difficult but necessary steps required to migrate from legacy products. We have a very long-term investment horizon and have no plans to exit our investment in Palm."

May people see Palm OS II/Nova as being Palm's last change to become a relevant player in the mobile computing space. With devices from Apple and Research In Motion continuing to grab headlines, the public opinion is that Palm has been standing still for years and relying on new colors to keep people interested in their low cost, low profit Centro consumer oriented smartphones. Delays in releasing their next business class Windows Mobile Treo is not helping things.

Statements of reassurance from Palm's major investor is nice and all, but the time has come for Palm to stop talking and to start showing people that they have something coming down the pipe that will be worth the long wait for Palm OS II/Nova.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Editorial: It’s Time for Something “Nova”

Last week was a rough week for the Palm Nation with the unfavorable economy battering stock prices, delays launching a new Windows Mobile Treo smartphone, and another round of layoffs here in the US and abroad. Long lines at Verizon retail locations for the new touch-screen enabled BlackBerry Storm aren’t helping things either. It is time for Palm to start talking Nova.

Palm OS II/Nova is Palm’s super secret project to develop the next generation Palm OS mobile operating system. There have been at least two false starts in the last five years; however many in the technology sector see this as Palm’s last chance to restore their tarnished reputation as a mobile technology innovator. From what little we know about Palm OS II/Nova, the core operating system is suppose to be done by the end of this calendar year (2008) and devices running the new operating system should be on sale by the middle of 2009.

The development cycle for Palm OS II/Nova, at least from the outside, appears to have run into some degree of trouble. Even if Palm completes the core feature set of the OS by the end of the year, they still must refine the new user interface and obtain certification from the FCC and their wireless carrier partners before the device can go on sale here in the United States. With the virtual shroud of secrecy surrounding the Palm headquarters, it has been next to impossible to glean any meaningful details about Palm OS II/Nova. In the face of all the bad news that continues come out of Palm, it is time to pull back the curtain around Palm OS II/Nova and give the world a glimpse into what Palm has in store of the Palm OS in 2009.

There are three key timeframes in which I expect to see information about Palm OS II/Nova starting to leak out. The first should be coming up any day now as Palm is suppose to be wrapping up development of the core feature set of the new OS. I would expect that any screen shots that pop-up on the Internet will be of an unfinished Nova that will give you a sense of the new direction Palm is trying to take Palm OS. At this stage, keep an eye out for a screen grab from the new Memos application. It won’t be impressive, but it will show off some of the window dressings of the new UI and application controls.

The second window will probably in the middle of the first quarter of 2009 in between the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the 3GSM World Congress. By this time, Palm had better be shopping new Palm OS II/Nova devices to the carriers and developers who have supported Palm for the last 10 years. This time around, I would expect to see some screen shots of the Phone and Launcher applications and maybe some shots of the new Prefs control panel.

The third, and last round of leaks, will likely come around the middle of the second quarter of 2009 when demo devices are in the hands of beta testers. When this happens all bets will be off and the proverbial cat will be out of the bag. Photos of the new device running Nova will be plastered all over the Internet. In the month leading up to the launch of the first Palm OS II/Nova powered device we will learn about the devices specifications and features. For Palm’s sake, the Excit-O-Meter needle had better be buried on the far right of the dial as it has been for the release of the Apple iPhone 3G, the T-Mobile Google G1, and the BlackBerry Storm.

So how about it Palm? Can you pull back the curtain on Nova ever so slightly as to give your loyal Palm OS customers a glimpse into the future while still maintaining the secrecy around the new software to keep a competitive advantage? It has almost been two years now since we’ve been waiting for Palm OS II/Nova and that means people will be looking to upgrade their phones. Give the customer base a reason to stick with Palm and not migrate to the headline grabbing iPhone 3G or BlackBerry Storm.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting Ready for My BlackBerry Curve


















I've been a long time customer of Palm's PDAs and Treo smartphones. The time has come for me to receive a company issued phone; a Palm Centro.

Rather than carry a personal Treo 755p and a Centro, I have decided to take this opportunity to play around with a new personal day-to-day device. (The Centro will be a business only device.) Later this week I will be switching to a RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330 on Sprint's EVDO network.

I'm not sure what to expect, but I do know that I will be looking forward to learning the finer details of these popular business devices.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Palm Layoffs Confirmed

On Friday morning I saw a post over on PalmInfoCenter.com reporting that Palm was rumored to have started yet another round of lay offs. I was told by my Palm contact that Palm was not releasing any information about the rumored layoffs.

By Saturday morning, Reuters had reported that Palm did in fact layoff a portion of their workforce.
"Struggling smartphone maker Palm Inc said Friday it is cutting its workforce, a move the company takes as it loses market share to rivals Apple Inc and Research in Motion Ltd.

Spokeswoman Lynn Fox said the layoffs began this week, but she declined to say how many jobs would be cut.

Palm, which employs 1,050 workers, makes the Centro and Treo smartphones. The company's market share has been shrinking, with RIM's BlackBerry becoming the device of choice for the business set and Apple's iPhone a consumer phenomenon.

"The goal is to consolidate resources and focus our efforts more effectively," Fox said."

I feel sorry for the people who lost their jobs as we head into the 2008 holiday season. This is not the first time that Palm has had a reduction in headcount in the final months of the year and the current economic situation is not helping anything.

I know Jon Rubinstein is a former disciple of Apple chief Steve Jobs and secrecy is paramount. Since Rubinsein's arrival at Palm, there has been an air-tight seal around the company preventing any leaked information about their it-will-get-here-eventually next generation mobile operating system Palm OS II/Nova. For a long time I supported the company's decision to keep a tight lid on things until they where ready to launch the OS and the first mobile device that would be powered by it.

With the current state of the company being what it is, I think it is time to start leaking details on their new hardware and software sooner rather than later. Assuming that Palm has laid off 200 additional workers, the company is now employing about 850 people worldwide. On Friday, Palm's stock closed at $2.24 after dipping to under $2.00 earlier in the week. And, in a second statement found on TreoCentral.com, Palm indicates that:

"The global economic downturn continues to dampen demand for consumer goods around the world, and the impact on the economic environment is worsened by our maturing Centro line and the length of time it is taking to ramp our new Windows Mobile products."

I love using Palm's products and I really do want to see them succeed with Palm OS II/Nova and their next round of hardware. It would seem that now, more than ever, everything is working against Palm. I'm really concerned that mid-2009, seven months from now, is too long of a wait. It's time to start showing the world what Palm has been working on in their labs.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Astraware My Little Tank for iPhone/iPod Touch, Updates














Astraware has announced that My Little Tank, a casual-style arcade game, has been updated and enhanced for Palm OS and Windows Mobile and has released a three new versions of the game for iPhone/iPod touch, BlackBerry, and Symbian S60-based phones.

My Little Tank is a fun arcade blaster in which players can navigate through the original 60, and now 20 additional, action-packed, increasingly challenging levels as they shoot enemy tanks, defend their base, and destroy enemy radar stations and bases. Lovingly crafted miniature terrains include snow, swamp, plains, and deserts. The game also includes a range of power-ups to aid players in winning each mission.















The new edition of My Little Tank for iPhone/iPod touch, includes a choice of control options including an onscreen virtual d-pad, swipe to move the tank, and accelerometer-based directional tilt.

A demo video of My Little Tank for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch can be found here. My Little Tank can be purchased from the Apple App Store for $4.99.

In addition to the new iPhone/iPod touch edition, Astraware has also released new versions of My Little Tank for BlackBerry and Symbian S60 phones similar to the versions for Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices.

For more details about My Little Tank, check out the Astraware website.

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Documents To Go 11 for Palm OS Now Available

Yesterday, DataViz released the latest edition of Documents To Go for Palm devices running Palm OS.

With Documents To Go Premium edition 11.00, DataViz has added:
  • View tracked changes in word processing files
  • Apply and view Styles in word processing files
  • View border and wrapped text in spreadsheets
  • Ten starter Templates included for creating Word and Excel files
In addition to these new features, customers can view, create, and modify Microsoft Office documents on their Palm OS Centro, Treo, or handheld PDA. (PDA users are encouraged to check to see if their device is on the compatibility list found on the DataViz website.)

Pricing & Availability

Documents To Go Premium Edition for Palm OS retails for $49.99 and is available directly from DataViz as well as many retail and online stores including Handango.com, and the network of DataViz resellers and distributors worldwide. Upgrade pricing of $29.99 is available directly from DataViz for previous Documents To Go customers, including those who received Documents To Go as bundled software with a Palm handheld or smartphone.


My long time readers know that Documents To Go is a core requirement for any mobile device that I consider for my personal and business use. The InTact Technology seamlessly keeps the document's formatting regardless of whether the document was last created or modified on a desktop or mobile device, meaning I save not having to re-edit a file when I get back to the office.

For more information and to download a free evaluation, visit www.dataviz.com/palm2008 .

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Off to Orlando

In about 10 hours I'll be boarding a plane bound for Orlando, Florida. I'll be attending this year's Open Text Content World user conference.

This trip will be a little bit different than my last business trip in that I won't be bringing my Dell Latitude D630 or my Apple MacBook. This time out, I'm traveling relatively light for me. Tucked away in my carry on bag will be:
  • Dell Inspiron 910 (aka "Mini 9")
  • Palm Treo 755p
  • Apple iPod touch
As for accessories, I'll only be taking along the power adapter for the Mini 9, a 1GB USB flash drive, a wireless notebook travel mouse, and a JAVOedge Portable Battery Charger with tips for my Treo and iPod.

Compared with some of my other trips, I'm hardly carrying any gear at all! We'll see how this trip goes. I have another one coming up in about a month and I'm looking forward to reducing my tech load.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Palm Treo Pro Bluetooth Update


Palm has released a Bluetooth update for unlocked Treo Pro customers. The brief description of the patch on Palm's website reads:
"If you are in an active call using bluetooth car kit or bluetooth headset and you receive a second incoming call and you let it ring or you ignore the incoming call, the call will be diverted to Voicemail. The first call remains active but you can no longer hear the caller (the caller can still hear you). The audio has been lost. If you answer the call and swap between calls or reject the call, the issue is not seen."










The update can be downloaded and installed from a microSD card or installed over-the-air at:

www.palm.com/850u-bluetooth-ota

Since this update is a patch, and not a full ROM software upgrade, the patch will need to be reapplied if the Treo Pro is hard reset.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Rumor: Pocket IE 6 Update

WMExperts has an interesting little article posted today about the next version of Pocket IE 6 for devices powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile Professional.
"An anonymous tipster has sent in some screen shots and impressions of the upcoming Internet Explorer 6 browser that's coming to Windows Mobile in the very near future, the vaunted '6 on 6.' The bad news -- it's not at all clear that Microsoft will make this an independently-available download. We do know for sure that it will be baked-into the ROMs of many future smartphones. That leads us to the good news -- the screenshots we have here are from an upcoming WinMo device. Square Screen, 320x320 resolution, and the black theme are your clues as to what we're looking at."
While I'd like to see Microsoft release the next version of Pocket IE 6 as a stand-alone update to existing Windows Mobile 6.0 devices, I'm not at all sure they will. Palm has had a "no-upgrades" policy for a long time. On the desktop side, Microsoft would release a new version of the browser outside of a major OS release, so I'm still hopeful that Microsoft will release the upgrade as a free download from their Windows Mobile software site.

[Via WMExperts...]

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Microsoft Confirms Windows Mobile 6.5




WMExperts via TechRadar.com is reporting that Microsoft's skipper, Steve Ballmer, has confirmed that the company will be releasing Windows Mobile 6.5 to fill the void between here and Windows Mobile 7.0.

"Ballmer said "With releases we'll make this year - releases we'll make with 6.5 next year, Windows Mobile 7, I think we have a pretty interesting roadmap."

[Via TechRadar.com...]

Related Articles:

Rumor: Microsoft Working on Windows Mobile 6.5
Microsoft Delays Windows Mobile 7

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Astraware Releases New iPhone, iPod touch Games













Handmark(R) today announced its 'Glyph(R)' puzzle game for iPhone and iPod touch is available on the Apple App Store. Glyph is a puzzle game, developed in partnership by Sandlot Games and Astraware(R) - the Handmark Games Studio, in which players try to save the dying world of Kuros by reassembling ancient glyphs hidden beneath layers of rock and glistening stones. Using the unique iPhone multi-touch interface, players can touch groups of like-colored gemstones to break through ancient layers of rock and reveal the glyphs.

Glyph is available worldwide for the introductory price of $1.99 (regular price $4.99) from Apple’s App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at http://www.itunes.com/appstore.

For more information and to view a demo video, visit http://www.astraware.com/iphone/glyph.

GTS World Racing Updated













Handmark has also updated GTS World Racing to include support for head-to-head racing against a friend over a local Wi-Fi connection. Details can be found on the Astraware website.

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DataViz Releases Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry






Earlier today, DataViz released Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry. The latest version of Documents To Go includes support for the AT&T BlackBerry Bold, which also went on sale today.

Documents To Go is my one "must have" application on my Palm Treo 750 and 755p. I use the software everyday. If you want to turn your phone into a productivity powerhouse, you will want to have this page on your device.

Here is today's press release and some screenshots from the new BlackBerry edition of Documents To Go.

DataViz®, Inc., a leading provider of mobile office compatibility solutions, today announced the availability of Documents To Go® Premium Edition and PDF To Go® for BlackBerry® smartphones. The award winning mobile Office suite Documents To Go enables a full set of features for viewing, editing and creating native Microsoft® Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® files and attachments1 including support for Office 2007, on BlackBerry smartphones. DataViz is also introducing PDF To Go, which allows users to view native PDF files on their BlackBerry smartphones. Documents To Go Premium Edition offers advanced functionality over the Standard Edition, which was selected by Research In Motion (RIM) to be included on BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry® Device Software 4.5 or higher, including the BlackBerry® Bold™, BlackBerry® Pearl™ Flip and BlackBerry® Storm™2 smartphones.

The native PDF viewer, ‘PDF To Go’, will be offered as a free bonus application for customers who purchase Documents To Go Premium Edition. The PDF viewer provides a clear and crisp viewing experience (rendering stays true to the desktop file) and contains multiple zooming, word wrap for easy readability and support for password protected files. PDF To Go together with Documents To Go Premium Edition, enables BlackBerry smartphone users to gain immediate access to Adobe® PDF and Microsoft Office files as it does not require a desktop or server conversion to take place. In addition, users can edit their Office documents with confidence as DataViz’s acclaimed InTact Technology™ will ensure that all original file formatting is retained once a file has been edited on their BlackBerry smartphone and forwarded on.





























Documents To Go Premium Edition – Key Features

Below is a partial list of features available with Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry smartphones. For a complete list and to view a comparison chart between Standard Edition and Premium Edition, visit www.dataviz.com/dtgforbb.
  • Create new Word, Excel and PowerPoint files
  • Spell check
  • Advanced formatting for character, font and paragraph
  • Advanced track changes including accept/reject changes, track new changes
  • Insert and edit comments
  • Password protection support
  • Charting
  • Table support
  • Hyperlink support
  • Bookmark support
  • Edit and create auto bullets & numbering

Pricing and Availability

Documents To Go Premium Edition is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and can be purchased as a non-expiring license for $69.99 USD or as a one year subscription for $49.99. Previous and new customers who purchase Premium Edition will receive PDF To Go as a free bonus application. Current owners of Documents To Go Premium Edition for Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian Series 80 or Symbian UIQ can cross-grade to a non-expiring license of Documents To Go Premium Edition for $49.99. Volume licensing is available for 5 or more users with discounts starting at 10 users. Customers can purchase directly from DataViz, Handango.com and the network of DataViz resellers and distributors worldwide.

For more information on Documents To Go Premium Edition and to download a free 30 day trial, please visit: www.dataviz.com/dtgforbb.

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BlackBerry Bold Goes on Sale at AT&T



















As promised, the new RIM BlackBery Bold has gone on sale today at AT&T. Of the new corporate-minded device, AT&T writes:
"Get the fastest BlackBerry on the fastest 3G network. The global BlackBerry® Bold™ smartphone is designed to give business professionals both cutting edge functionality and performance under one bold intuitive design. It comes fully-loaded with integrated GPS for AT&T Navigator and Wi-Fi for access at thousands of AT&T hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks. The BlackBerry Bold smartphone has a brilliant color LCD screen for exceptional definition and clarity. Pictures are vibrant and sharp while videos play smoothly and web pages, documents, presentations, and messages come to life with exceptional quality and contrast. Get more speed and more power with the BlackBerry Bold."

The BlackBerry Bold's features include:

  • Half-VGA (480 x 320 at 217 ppi) color display
  • A newly designed full QWERTY keyboard for exceptionally fast and easy typing
  • Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi radios
  • 624 MHz mobile processor
  • More storage — 1 GB on board and up to 16 GB via its microSD/SDHC expansion slot
  • Advanced media player for music, videos and photos
  • 2 megapixel camera with built-in flash, zoom and video recording
  • optimized Web-browsing experience with desktop-style depiction
  • DataViz Documents To Go for editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files

The complete list of the Bold's features and technical specifications can be found on the AT&T website.

Pricing

The new BlackBerry Bold retails for $549.99 without a contract commitment from AT&T. When you sign up for a 2-year service agreement, the price drops down to $399.99. Additionally, AT&T is offering a $100 mail-in rebate which brings the cost of the device down to $299.99. To take advantage of the mail-in rebate, customers will have to sign up for a $35/month data or messaging plan. That shouldn't be a deal breaker for most customers as a BlackBerry without the data service isn't very useful.

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Management Changes at Palm, Apple

Palm and Apple have both recently announced changes to their senior management line-up.

Changes at Palm

Last week PalmInfoCenter was reporting that Palm's SVP of Global Markets, John Hartnett was leaving Palm. This week, Palm's website shows that Jeff Devine has filled the vacancy as Palm's new SVP of Global Operations. (Note the subtle title change.)

According to the Palm website:
"Jeff Devine is responsible for creating and sustaining a competitive advantage for Palm by developing a global supply-chain model that delivers best-in-class performance in areas such as product introduction, quality, total cost, and delivery.

Jeff joined Palm from Nokia, where he served as vice president of Global Customer Logistics, responsible for a diverse global team located in more than 45 countries. He spent 13 years at Nokia in a wide range of roles, including four years heading operations and logistics for the Americas, and a prior role leading Nokia’s Sales and Marketing for AT&T Wireless. Earlier in his career, Jeff helped start up a new Boeing Electronics facility focused on high-performance teams, and was a production manager at Texas Instruments. "

Changes at Apple

Reuters is reporting this morning that Apple's SVP of the iPod division, Tony Fadell, is 'leaving the company citing personal reasons but may remain as a consultant."

According to the Apple website:
"Fadell joined Apple as the first member of its iPod hardware engineering team in 2001 and was promoted to vice president of iPod engineering in 2004. He became senior vice president of the iPod Division in April 2006.

Prior to joining Apple, Fadell was a cofounder, CTO, and director of engineering of the Mobile Computing Group at Philips Electronics where he was responsible for all aspects of business and product development for a variety of products. Tony later became VP of business development for Philips U.S. Strategy & Ventures focused on building the company’s digital media strategy & investment portfolio. Prior to joining Philips, Fadell was a hardware and software architect at General Magic."

At this time, no announcement has been made as to who might replace Mr. Fadell at Apple.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Briefly Noted: Palm Smartphone Changes

Kris Keilhack over at PalmInfoCenter.com is reporting two Palm product chances.

Treo 750 Nearing End of Life?


The first is that it appears that Palm and AT&T are moving to end-of-life (EOL) the Palm Treo 750. Of the Treo 750, Mr. Keilhack writes:
"Aside from the evergreen Treo 700wx on Verizon, the 750 remains Palm's oldest current smartphone. Replacing the 750 with the new Treo Pro would appear to be a logical move but to date nothing more than rumors have indicated that Palm's flagship device will be appearing in subsidized form on any domestic GSM carrier.

Originally launched in September 2006 with Windows Mobile 5.2, the Treo 750 is now well over two years old. So despite the presence of the WM6 update released last fall, it is beginning to look a bit long in the tooth relative to not only competing handsets but even its newer Windows Mobile-powered Treo sister devices, the Treo 800w and Treo Pro."

Verizon Centro ROM Upgrade


Palm and Verizon have made a free ROM maintenace upgrade available to customers using Verizon-branded Centro smartphones. Writing for PalmInfoCenter, Mr. Keilhack writes:
"Palm is being rather vague on the specific improvements in this update, claiming only: "This software update is a minor tune-up that may improve device usability in certain situations."

Palm customers who are using Verizon branded Centros can learn more about and download the latest ROM update here. Sprint customers received a similar update back in July.

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Did Apple Almost Buy Palm?






I just saw this over at GadgetsOnTheGo.net with a link over to MediaBistro:
"According to Jean-Louis Gasse it almost happened in 1997.

In the Summer of 1997, Steve Jobs called Eric Benhamou, 3Com's CEO (the company owned Palm). Give me the Palm and come and join my Board of Directors. Only Apple can make Palm a true consumer brand. Nothing happened. Apple's foray into the product segment had to wait ten more years.

Now that would have been interesting. Palm devices from the 90s with an Apple twist. Of course with Jon Rubenstein now running the show at Palm, we might find out just what things might have looked like if Apple did acquire Palm."

Wow, I don't know what to make of that. I don't know if I'd say that Palm became a consumer brand, but it did become a household term. Palm, or the "Palm Pilot" became the "Scotch tape" and "Kleenex" of PDAs and later smartphones. At any rate, this is all water under the bridge.

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Celio Extends Redfly Promotion














Celio, makers of the Redfly, have extended their special 50% discount promotion until Monday, November 17, 2008.
"We’re extending our $199 promotional pricing for REDFLY until Monday, November 17th, 2008.

The promotion has been so successful at introducing REDFLY to new markets, users and applications that we decided to keep it up for a few more weeks.

In addition to the many casual and power Windows Mobile users out there who are buying REDFLY for themselves, the reception has been tremendous into vertical markets like healthcare, government, sales force, and service force applications.

REDFLY is just the beginning of a series of planned products based around the enablement of the smartphone as both a mobile computer or netbook and access point to remote virtual systems and cloud computing."

More information about the Redfly can be found here, and if you are ready to buy one for $199 (50% off), you can do so here.


What I find interesting about the Redfly is that unlike the ill-fated Palm Foleo or the Asus Eee PC netbook, the Redfly is not a stand-alone computer. It is, simply put, a dumb terminal for your Windows Mobile smartphone. All of your data is on your phone and there is not need to sync your phone to another device.

After November 17, the Redfly will return to it's regular price, $399.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Worldwide Newton Confernece?!




I was reading the December 2008 MacWorld Magazine and I was shocked to discover that a group of devoted owners of the long since canceled Apple Newton Message Pad will be holding a user's conference in 2009.

"Worldwide Newton Conference 2009! Since the Newton is still going strong, as is the NTLK list, and since there are some interesting developments still underway for the Newton platform, a WWNC for 2009 is in order. It will be a 3 day event, and will be held from Friday, 31 July, 2009 - Sunday, 2 August, 2009 in downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada. The Sunday following the event, from 9 am - afternoon, is reserved for open discussion in relation to the topics previously discussed. The location is close to an Apple Store. The event is sponsored by European Fritz, purveyors of Poutine.


What will be covered during the event? After some discussion with NTLK list members, and since time continues to press on, this event will revolve around a “moving forward” theme: how to keep the Newton active and relevant as time continues to press forward."
OK, I like the Newton as much as the next guy, heck, I even own a Message Pad 2000, but a worldwide user's conference? If you're a Newton user who is willing to part with the coin to travel up to Vancouver, BC, Canada this coming July, check out the link below for more details.

WWNC 2009 Home
...

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

UPDATE: Microsoft Fixes Live Mesh Mobile Client





From the Live Mesh blog...

"Thank you for using the Live Mesh for Mobile client! For users who saw a failure to add their mobile phone to their mesh, we have deployed an updated build of Live Mesh for Mobile. You will need to download the Mobile Installer from http://m.mesh.com/install/wm6/LiveMesh.cab again. Once you have the new installer on your phone, run it and the installed client will be upgraded to the new version. The new Mobile Live Mesh Client is version number 0.9.3424.6 (check this through Menu -> About). Now you can start Live Mesh, sign in, and you should be good to go."

Get you client installer OTA:
http://m.mesh.com/install/wm6/LiveMesh.cab

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Editorial: What I Want in My Next Smartphone


This week's 1SRC.com editorial, What I Want in My Next Smartphone, has been posted.

Palm should be in the process of finalizing their next generation mobile hardware and software. Here is what I will be looking for in my next smartphone.

Hardware

While I like the current Treo form factor, it has become a tired design that needs to be refreshed. My next smartphone needs to have a nice clean design that provides easy access to hardware buttons while slimming down the body of the phone. For many shoppers, looks trump function and Palm’s devices need to look good and work well. The new Palm Treo Pro is an example of what new hardware from Palm needs to look like. To help with the miniaturization of the Treo, Palm has already embraced changes already implemented by other smartphone vendors. Palm has adopted microSDHC cards as the new storage card format. Palm has also begun to replace the large Multi-Connector found on the Centro with a miniUSB port that has been implemented on the Treo Pro and BlackBerry Curve. Making the display flush with the rest of the face of the phone is another tool for slimming down the device.

What I would like to see in future smartphones is more internal memory, standardization on 802.llg Wi-Fi, a digital camera with a flash, and the implementation of Sprint’s Wi-Max. Palm also needs to work on correcting motherboard-manufacturing defects that plague the headphone jack and microphone.

Software

Cool looking hardware is important. Software that works the first time, every time is essential. The software that will power Palm’s next generation hardware, Palm OS II/Nova, will either make or break the company. The direction that Palm is taking their Palm OS products is going to be for consumers and small business owners who don’t want the complexity of Windows Mobile. Palm will be required to step up their game to complete in this market space.

In their new OS, Palm needs to overhaul the software that customers will listen to music and watch video. These features have been around on Palm devices for a long time, however, it has been far too difficult for customers to get content into their phones. I would like to see Palm work with the developer community to enhance the multimedia software offering. Palm should be exploring partnerships with Amazon, Sling, TiVo, and Netflix to simplify the process or loading or steaming entertainment content to smartphones.

Palm’s Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Memos applications, collectively know as personal information management (PIM) applications, are well regarded by customers. Synchronizing that data to a Palm OS smartphone needs to be redesigned. A trip into any of the popular discussion forums, 1SRc.com, Brighthand.com, TreoCentroal.com, and event Palm’s own Community Help Forums, will reveal no end of trouble with the HotSync Manager.

The lack of a wired 64-bit Windows USB sync driver has plagued Windows Vista users for well over a year now. Setting up a Bluetooth serial connection is too complicated for novice users. The Palm Desktop software lacks some of the fields available on the device (Anniversary, Middle Name, Name Suffix), and OLERR data sync errors are too common and difficult to troubleshoot. Wireless data synchronization is one way to reduce the amount of difficulty customer’s experience. The cloud based solution that I have talked about previously in the editorial "Up In the Air" would by pass driver issues on Macintosh and Windows PCs, eliminate the configuration issues with Bluetooth serial ports, leverage the wireless capabilities of the smartphone, and provide data access from any Internet connected computer.

I would also like to see Palm enhance their third-party software delivery system. In “Palm Needs an App Store”, I talked about how Palm has not maximized their partnerships with Bluefish Wireless and PocketGear. The current process of finding, downloading, and installing software is not well understood by many customers. The model that Apple has put forward is the new standard of how the Zen of Palm should be applied to installing software. And did I mention new application delivery should be done over the air? Wires are so last century.

Lastly, any new mobile operating system needs to continue to promote the easy of use and flexibility that has become part of the Palm corporate DNA. People love the Palm OS because of its ease of use. Palm OS II/Nova should build on that user experience with a new customizable, modern look and feel. The user interface (UI) should also be modular. By using a modular UI, Palm could reuse the core operating system in other new products, such as a mobile Internet device (MID), and only have to spend time and money developing a new UI. Apple is doing something similar with Mac OS X on their system software on their Macs and the iPhone and iPod touch.

Conclusion

Palm has been a player in the mobile computing space for a long time. A number of bad business decisions in the late 1990’s have caused the company to lose their leadership position. The changes at Palm that have been made over the last 18 months as part of their People, Design, and Platform have been encouraging. The Centro has been a huge success with consumers and first-time smartphone owners.

Palm needs to continue to press their advances with a new operating system, devices (smartphones and mobile Internet devices), and new, innovating software that continues the tradition of the Zen of Palm.

[Via 1SRC.com...]

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