Monday, September 28, 2009

Palm webOS Update 1.2.0 Released

Earlier this afternoon Palm released the Palm webOS 1.2.0 update for Sprint branded Pre smartphones. webOS 1.2.0 is an 80MB update that delivers 69 software enhancements or fixes.

The following are just some of the updates that Palm webOS 1.2.0 delivers to Sprint customers:

App Catalog
  • In preparation for e-commerce in the App Catalog, to purchase apps, you can enter credit card information by selecting Preferences & Accounts from the application menu in App Catalog. Credit card information is stored with the Palm profile, not on the phone. You can choose whether you need to enter their Palm profile password each time you make a purchase, or for the first purchase in any four-hour window.

  • If you want to reinstall a purchased application you previously deleted, you can open App Catalog, search for the application, tap the app name, and tap Download again for free. You do not need to pay for the application again.

  • A new Share button enables you to send a link to the app page in an email or text message.You can select whether to enter comments anonymously, using your first and last name, or using your first initial and last name.
Backup
  • Web browser bookmarks are now backed up to your Palm profile. After a restart or partial/full erase, the bookmark is restored in Web when you go to the web page.
Bluetooth
  • The types of car kits to which contacts can be transferred has been increased. You can transfer contacts to Toyota and Lexus car kits.
Contacts
  • On a contact details screen, a Send Contact option is available on the application menu, with options to send the contact to a car kit or send it as a vCard attachment to an email or multimedia message.

  • LinkedIn is now available as an online account in Contacts. As with Facebook, a LinkedIn account set up on the phone enables you to download contacts from that account. LinkedIn contacts cannot be created or edited in Contacts.

  • If a contact contains an instant messaging (IM) address, the contact is linked to the IM account buddy entry
Email
  • You can search for messages in any email folder simply by opening the folder and typing. Search returns any matches found in the subject, From, To, or CC field.
Phone
  • You can now turn carrier data services on or off in the Phone application by opening the application menu > Preferences > Data Usage > tap on/off.

  • Default ringtone volume has been increased.

  • Adjusting the volume of a call now works even if the screen is off. Reducing the volume level to zero sets the call volume to zero.

  • Contact entries in the call log now show both the phone number and type.

The full list of enhancements and fixed, 69 in all, provided with the Palm webOS 1.2.0 update can be found on the Palm Pre support website. The Palm webOS 1.2.0 update can be installed on Sprint edition Palm Pre smartphones by using the Update application found on the "utilities" launcher page.

While I did have trouble downloading webOS 1.2.0 late in the afternoon, I was finally able to download and install the update at around 6:30pm (Eastern time) and the upgrade process to about 10 minutes to install.

iTunes and Media Sync

For some folks the Media Sync option is a burning question with iTunes 9.0. After applying the Palm webOS 1.2.0 update and then trying to sync with iTunes 9, I noticed that the Pre did not mount in the iTunes source list. When I attempted to use the Media Sync feature a second time, the option was removed from the list of USB options. (See screen capture.)

At this point, Pre owners, we have a few options. We can use DoubleTwist (free) or use Mark/Space The Missing Sync for Palm Pre ($39.99). Or just not upgrade past iTunes 8.2.1, which should still work - however, that is a really hard pill to swallow as I am almost as big a fan of Apple's products as I am of Palm's. Almost. The bottom line, for me anyway, is that I would rather have the new features of iTunes on my Mac, iPod touch, and Apple TV, so it was a no brainer to upgrade to iTunes 9 for me. I'll be copying my media over to the Pre manually if Media Sync does not return in a later Palm webOS update.

Bluetooth Hands Free Car Kit Support

Since I installed the webOS 1.2.0 update so late in the day, I haven't had a chance to test out whether or not Palm has addressed the Bluetooth issues with recent Acura model vehicles. Actually, Bluetooth support with factory installed car kits go well beyond Honda and Acura car kits. We'll have to keep an eye on how well Palm webOS 1.2.0 works with hands free Bluetooth car kits over the next few weeks as more people apply the update to their phones.

Have you installed the update yet? Let us know how the update is working for you by clicking the Comments link below.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

OS 5.0.0.216 Leaked for Storm 9500

Hey BlackBerry Storm 9500 addicts, CrackBerry.com has apparently gotten their hands on the latest OS upgrade for the BlackBerry Storm, OS 5.0.0.216.

If you are the type who absolutely must have the latest and greatest software, consequences be damned, then here is your chance to get the new Berry software. If you are the more cautious type, like me, then you may want to skip leaked OS upgrades until a generic upgrade is made available from Research In Motion or one specifically customized for your device by your wireless carrier.

Ready to take the plunge now? Head over to CrackBerry.com for the download link and install directions. Proceed at your own risk!

[Via CrackBerry.com...]

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yes. No. Maybe. VZW Says The Pre is Coming in Early 2010

Remember back when the Pre was launched on Sprint back in June? There was a war of words between Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon about who would be getting the Pre and when. Then, TheStreet.com broke a story stating that they heard a rumor that Verzion was going to pass up on the new Palm Pre all together. Fear not Palm fans, a Verizon official has stated that the Palm Pre is coming to Verizon in January.

E-Commerce News seems to have a new angle on the story.
"Verizon denied rumors that it had decided not to carry the Pre. Jim Gerace, executive director of media relations at Verizon, told the E-Commerce Times that the wireless provider will offer the smartphone in January as planned."

Palm did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Negotiations between carriers and device makers often hinge on how much the carrier should subsidize a handset and what it can expect in return.

The two may be locking horns over app stores, Allen Nogee, a principal analyst at In-Stat, told the E-Commerce Times. "Verizon has been talking about its VCast Store, and Palm is setting up its own app store, so that could be the problem," he said. "It's possible that Verizon wants to keep the number of app stores available to subscribers to a minimum."

I would like to see Palm and Verizon whatever issues they have on the table ironed out and dealt with. The Pre, or any other webOS that may be on the way, would be a win-win for Palm, Verizon, and their customers.

Read the full E-Commerce News article...

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Correctly Install MMS on iPhone 3G, 3GS

A number of people have contacted me to let me know that the MMS update is not installing on their iPhone 3G or 3GS.

After installing the MMS update on your iPhone, you must reboot your phone to complete the installation process! Apple has posted the directions for correctly installing the MMS update on your iPhone 3G and 3GS on the web. The last stop of the process reads:

"After iPhone restarts, verify MMS is active by creating a new text message. You should see the camera icon to the left of the text field:"





So how about it, US iPhone 3G and 3GS users, have you been able to successfully install and send an MMS message? Let us know by clicking the Comments link below.

Thanks to Gary R. for the tip!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

MMS Going Live on iPhone 3G, 3GS Today

The good news: iPhone 3G and 3GS owners will finally get access to MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, today.

The bad news: To load the software update on your iPhone, you will need to download the update via iTunes and sync your iPhone to your computer.

The really bad news: As we reported last month, original iPhone owners will be left out in the cold! (Sorry Shirley!)

EngadgetMobile's Chris Ziegler writes:
"We've just heard from AT&T that new carrier settings for the iPhone 3G and 3GS will be available "late morning" Pacific Time (which would be early afternoon Eastern) this Friday, September 25, which will finally enable MMS support. Owners will have to tether up to iTunes to grab those settings, so fish out your cable (as if you don't have it permanently attached to your machine already) and make sure you've got some solid time in front of the computer[...]."

[Via EngadgetMobile.com...]

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Palm Pre Coming To Europe 10/16/09 on O2







Get ready Europe! The Palm Pre is headed your way on October 16th from O2!

O2 today confirms that the Palm Pre phone will be available in the UK on 16 October exclusively on the O2 network. Customers can purchase the new device directly from O2, the Carphone Warehouse, Phones4U and Business partners who are part of O2’s specific partner programme. It will also be available for purchase online from the O2 shop at: www.o2.co.uk/shop.
Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefonica O2 UK said “Today’s announcement reinforces O2’s position as the home of the smartphone. With the addition of the excellent Palm Pre to our already extensive portfolio, we will continue to offer our customers the widest range of the very best devices on the market today.”

“There’s a lot of excitement about Palm Pre in Europe as we continue to expand Palm webOS products across new carriers and countries,” said Jon Rubinstein chairman and chief executive officer, Palm, Inc. “We look forward to launching Palm Pre with O2 so people in the UK can see firsthand how Palm webOS offers a new and better smartphone experience.”

For more details about the GSM Palm Pre on 02, including pricing plans, visit the O2 website.

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RoadSync, Documents To Go Coming Bundled with "Pulse"

Earlier today, DataViz announced that they will be bundling RoadSync and Documents To Go on the European T-Mobile Pulse in October.

DataViz, Inc., a leading provider of mobile office compatibility solutions today announced that their Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync client, RoadSync, and award-winning mobile Office suite, Documents To Go are included on the new T-Mobile Pulse (Huawei U8220.) The free full functioning license of RoadSync is optimized for Android-based devices and provides customers with built-in secure, wireless and direct push synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Server. Documents To Go further enhances the productivity value by adding support for viewing Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe PDF files and attachments.
“As the Android OS continues to gain momentum in the smartphone market, we are excited to partner with Huawei and T-Mobile in an effort to help business professionals mobilize their Office life,” said Dick Fontana, President and CEO of DataViz, Inc. “The combination of top-notch devices, a reliable network and a comprehensive suite of enterprise-grade applications enables customers from around the world to get real work done when on the go.”
Availability
The preinstalled versions of RoadSync and Documents To Go will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, traditional and simplified Chinese when the T-Mobile Pulse (Huawei U8220) ships in October. Additional languages will be available in the coming weeks. For more information: www.dataviz.com/GetAndroid

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Pre Tip: Turn Off Location Services

We all know that we should do it, but we don't - turning off unused services on our smartphones. On the upside, we gain quick access to all the nifty features of our phones like location services, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.

But there is a price to be paid for having every last feature turned on and that is greatly diminished battery life!

This morning before leaving the house, I did a simple little test to see the impact on battery life turning off Location Services, the GPS feature on the Pre, would have. The results where shocking! Usually by this time of day, my battery is running in the mid-20's after starting the day at 6am on a full 100% charge. As I compose this post, my stock Palm Pre battery is at 45%; for me, that is a savings of at least 20%!

Let's put this battery savings into dollars and cents. There have been more than a few times where I have been out with my Pre where I have gotten the 10% battery life warning. If I'm working late at the office it isn't the end of the world; I can easily begin charging my phone. But it is more of an inconvenience when I'm traveling. Over this past weekend, I was contemplating purchasing either a second stock Palm Pre battery ($49.99) or a Seidio Innocell 1350mAh extended life battery ($45.95). After today's test, I have learned that cost savings in battery life of turning off the Pre's location services is between $40-50. Not too bad considering today's economy.

I also keep the Pre's Wi-Fi radio turned off unless I need it and I keep the Bluetooth radio on all the time. Individual mileage will vary, no doubt, however I encourage you to do some experimentation of your own before you go and race out to purchase a second battery for your Pre.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

webOS Tip: Use Universal Search

After having used Palm OS 5 day in and day out for many year, the arrival of the Palm Pre and webOS was like a breath of fresh air. For the most part, all of the Pre owners that I have talked to have had an easy transition to the new operating system. Want to take your game to the next level? Master using the Universal Search feature.

Universal Search is an easy way to find a contact or application on your Pre. To use Universal Search, simply switch to Card View mode (press the Center button to reveal your open cards) and then start typing your search string. Palm webOS will begin searching your Contacts database and the names of the installed applications for a match. Search results are shown in real-time and the results set narrows as you continue to type more specific information. When you see the contact or application you want to use all you need to do is tap the object on the screen.



When you are searching for a piece of information that is in a contact record, when that page appears, you can tap on a phone number to initiate a phone call; tap the SMS balloon icon to initiate an instant message; or an email address to start an email.

But what happens when what I'm looking for isn't available on your device? If Universal Search can't find what you are looking for on the Pre, it offers to search online resources. So for example, if I type in "Sh" on my Pre, I will see all of the contact records for all of the people whose name starts with the letters "Sh" and the homebrew application "Shopping List". When I change my search term to "apple pie" (it is September after all) Universal Search offers to search for "apple pie" on Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia, and Twitter.

If I happen to be in an application, let's say Memos for example, if I started typing "apple pie" while in the list view (cork board and sticky notes view) and I just happened to have a memo called "Apple Pie Recipe", Universal Search will filter the list and show my just that memo.

Universal Search could stand some improvements. For example, it can't search my calendar or email messages meaning that there is no quick way to use the search term "sales meeting" to find out when the next meeting is being held or the email that had the Excel spreadsheet attachment that I might need to review before going to the meeting. As time goes by, Palm will no doubt refine and enhance the Universal Search engine in webOS, knowing today's limitations will prevent hours of aggravation later on.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

iPod touch: What Are You Going to Do?

I was looking forward to Apple's iPod event last week with the hopes that there would be some cool new features added to the iPod touch. I was looking for an excuse to upgrade from my G1 touch since my headphone jack is acting flaky and I was hoping to get more storage space for the same price, or less, than I had paid for my 16GB unit. Plus the Internet was abuzz with rumors that there would be a digital camera in the new unit. And let's not forget that newer versions of the touch also have the hardware buttons for volume control - something I miss from my 5th Gen iPod.

The Apple event came and went with little more than a memory upgrade for the mid-tier iPod touch. Should I stick with what I've got? Should I buy a refurbished 16 or 32GB 2G iPod touch? Should I pick up a 32GB 3G iPod touch? Or should I keep waiting for the camera I was hoping would have been in the new iPod later down the road?

The day before the Apple event, there was a rumor on the Internet that stated that a run of bad parts (the cameras) would delay the launch of the new 3G iPod touch. Turns out that Apple wasn't going to hold up the new features that they could deliver.

iFixit.com recently posted take apart directions for the 3G iPod touch that reveals that the motherboard does in fact have space for a 5th Gen iPod Nano style camera in it. iFitix also revealed that the Wi-Fi chip inside the new touch is capable of 802.11n, provided that Apple release the driver to take full advantage of the chip.

So, iPod fans, what are we going to do? Since the 32 and 64GB iPod touch models are exactly "cheap", I think I'll be sticking with my 1G iPod touch until my headphone jack stops working or Apple finally gives the iPod touch the features it's price tag demands.

Click the Comments link below and let us know what you are planning to do.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Charlie Rose Interview with Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse

I just had a chance to watch the Charlie Rose interview with Dan Hesse, Sprint's CEO. If you haven't watched this interview yet, you should. It provides an interesting look into Mr. Hesse's background, the wireless telecomm industry, and the foundation to Sprint's customer satisfaction strategy.

You can watch the full interview here...

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The Real Cost of SMS Messaging

Time Magazine has an interesting article on their website this week. The article, titled "Guess What Texting Costs Your Wireless Provider?" dumps a bucket of cold water on wireless subscribers.

According to the article, American teens have a combined average of 2,899 messages (sends and receives) a month; which I find a mind numbing number. SMS messaging, works over a cellular carrier's voice network, not the data networks that provide Internet access to smartphones like Apple's iPhone or Palm's Pre. Yankee Group analyst Christopher Collins states that because of the limiting nature of SMS messages, 160 characters at a maximum, the carriers have been able to route the traffic over the existing voice network infrastructure. "They cost the mobile carriers so little that you could argue that they're free," says Collins.

Time's article also sites the work of University of Waterloo in Ontario professor Srinivasan Keshav.
"He showed that the wireless channels contribute about a tenth of a cent to a carrier's cost, that accounting charges might be twice that and that other costs basically round to zero because texting requires so little of a mobile network's infrastructure. Summing up, Keshav found that a text message doesn't cost providers more than 0.3 cent."
If SMS messaging costs carriers less than a penny to process, why are wireless customers paying on average $0.15 - 0.20 per message sent or received? That's what Wisconsin Democratic Senator Herbert Khol wants to know. Senator Kohl, "chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, [and will be holding] hearings on the matter in June."

You can read the full article on the Time Magazine website.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Impressions of the Motorola Cliq

I wanted to get a better understanding of just what the new Motorola Cliq was all about. We know that is an Android phone, but there is a growing number of Android phones out there. What would make the Cliq unique in the rapidly expanding smartphone universe? To find out, I started reading what the newspapers had to say.

In a Washington Post article about the Cliq, Motorola's co-CEO and head of mobile devices,Sanjay Jha, said:
"I see this as a first step in a long journey where we develop the kind of products which are really relevant for consumers." "I think for Motorola to retain its tech edge and reputation for engineering, it really has to hit a home run - not necessary with this particular phone, but with its phones in the coming year, including this one."

A noble goal to be sure, and one that provides Google Android fans with another major device manufacturer in the mobile phone market. But what does it really do; besides making phone calls that is? How will the Cliq be different from T-Mobile's other Android phone, the HTC Dream known as the G1? For the answer to that question, I turned to an article in the New York Times.
"[The Cliq] is meant for young people obsessed with social networks. Instead of the traditional menu of features, the Cliq’s home screen is an ever-changing mosaic of e-mail, Twitter tweets and status updates, superimposed over photos of the people sending those messages."

The key to all the magic of this phone is Motorola's Motoblur (video). Motoblur is essentially a technology that pulls data into your phone from multiple online sources such as your personal and corporate email account, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and more. It is Motorola's answer to Palm's Synergy technology that first appeared earlier this year in the Palm Pre's webOS operating system.

So now it makes sense. The Cliq is Motorola's and T-Mobile's social networking smartphone for teens and 20-somethings. While T-Mobile hasn't announced the price of the Cliq with a new subscription yet, the feeling from around the web is that the Cliq will run about $100. There is also talk of a more expensive version of the Cliq that is headed to Verizon Wireless later this year that will include additional features. That phone is expected to be available "for the holiday season."

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

HTC Touch Pro2 Available on Verizon

Earlier today, Verizon Wireless issued a press release stating that together with HTC, the Touch Pro2 Windows Mobile powered smartphone will go on sale starting tomorrow.

When we add Verizon to the mix, Apple, Palm, T-Mobile, and Big Red all announced or will begin selling new hardware this week!

Verizon Wireless and HTC Corporation introduce the HTC Touch Pro2™, a global-capable smartphone designed for the busiest professionals and world travelers. The HTC Touch Pro2 features an extra-large 3.6-inch touch screen that tilts to an optimal viewing angle, an ergonomic slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and an advanced speakerphone with asymmetric speakers and advanced noise suppression to deliver customers a robust productivity experience. Created with the intuitive TouchFLO 3D user interface, data on the HTC Touch Pro2 can be easily accessed with just the touch of a finger.

The Touch Pro2 will include the following key features:
  • High-speed connectivity over Verizon Wireless’ Mobile Broadband network (1x/EV-DO Revision A 800/1900 MHz)
  • Global connectivity to allow customers to access e-mail and data and use the phone for voice calling in more than 220 destinations (GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz WCDMA/HSPA 2100 MHz)
  • Wi-Fi capabilities (802.11 b/g)
  • 3.6 inch WVGA resolution (480 x 800) tilting touch screen
  • Advanced speakerphone with noise-cancelling technology
  • 3.2 megapixel auto-focus camera with video capture
  • Touch-sensitive zoom bar
  • Seamless connectivity with Microsoft® Exchange, Outlook and Office applications with Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 with EDR and A2DP stereo
  • Processor: Qualcomm MSM 7600A, 528 MHz
  • Memory: 512 MB ROM, 288 MB RAM
  • Dimensions: 4.57” x 2.33” x .68” (length x width x height)
  • Weight: 6.3 ounces (with standard battery)
  • Extended 1500 mAh battery for longer operation times
  • Up to 5.3 hours of talk time (CDMA) or up to 13.5 days of standby time (CDMA)
Pricing and Availability

Beginning Friday the HTC Touch Pro2 will be available for $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement on a voice plan with an e-mail feature or e-mail plan. Customers will receive the rebate in the form of a debit card. Customers can order the HTC Touch Pro2 online at www.verizonwireless.com, in business sales channels and in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores.

The full press release for the HTC Touch Pro2 can be read on the Verizon Wireless website.

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Motorola CLIQ for T-Mobile Announced

Not wanting to be left out of the "new product announcement party", Motorola joins Apple and Palm this week with the unveiling of T-Mobile's next Google Android powered smartphone.

T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced the upcoming availability of the Motorola CLIQ™ with MOTOBLUR™, the first Android-powered device from Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and the first device to feature the innovative MOTOBLUR solution. The CLIQ will be available exclusively in the U.S. from T-Mobile later this fall.

Developed by Motorola, MOTOBLUR is an innovative solution that manages and integrates communications – from work e-mail to social networking activity – on your CLIQ. Updates to contacts, posts, messages, photos and more are streamed together and synced from sources including Facebook®, Twitter™, MySpace®, Gmail™, and work and personal e-mail. MOTOBLUR automatically delivers these updates to the home screen in easy-to-view streams so there is no need to open and close different mobile applications to keep up with the latest content. A 3G-capable smartphone featuring a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a full touch-screen display, the CLIQ is designed to keep the conversation moving, enabling fast messaging on the fly and easy navigation through MOTOBLUR’s streams and widgets.

Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer with T-Mobile USA, jointly unveiled CLIQ with MOTOBLUR today with Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of Motorola Mobile Devices, at GigaOM’s Mobilize 09 conference. 

“T-Mobile’s highly social and always-connected customers have a natural affinity for mobile social networking, and we’re excited to feature the Motorola CLIQ with MOTOBLUR prominently in what’s shaping up to be our most innovative holiday product lineup ever,” Brodman said. “The CLIQ lives up to Motorola’s tradition of great design and quality, and to our history of working together to create products that enhance the lives and the relationships of our customers.”

Availability

Motorola CLIQ with MOTOBLUR will be available exclusively to T-Mobile customers later this fall in two colors — Titanium and Winter White. Pricing will be announced at a later date. Customers can visit http://www.t-mobile.com/cliq for more information.

You can read today's full press release on the Motorola website.

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Apple iTunes 9.0 vs. Palm webOS Media Sync

Yesterday, the world got it first look at Apple's new jukebox software, iTunes 9.0. Yesterday Pre owners also learned that the Apple/Palm cat and mouse game with iTunes and Media Sync is still very much alive and well.

So, Pre owners, what are you going to do? Are you going to stick with iTunes 8.2.1 and Media Sync or are you going to make the jump to iTunes 9.0?

After watching Apple's keynote presentation last night, and yes, Steve Jobs did take the stage, I've decided to make the jump to iTunes 9.0 and iPhone OS 3.1 for iPod touch. In my opinion, there where just too many cool new features in Apple's new software that I wasn't going to hold back.

Take for example, the new sync features for iPod touch and iPhone. I welcome the expanded sync controls over what content lives on my Mac and on my iPod. It becomes super easy to make sure that I have some of my favorite movies (Iron Man) and TV shows (Looney Tunes, Mythbusters, Law & Order) always with me without having to keep marking them as new.

I also like the new control of your applications for the iPod touch. I have some 60-70 apps on my touch and the newly redesigned applications tab will greatly help my quickly add new apps and reorganize the ones I already have.

And let's not forget the new Home Sharing feature in iTunes 9.0. If you have more than one computer in your home, this is going to be a great feature to have. I'll be able to quickly keep my MacBook and Mac Pro iTunes libraries in sync so I always have all of my music with me when I'm at home or traveling for work and play.

With brings me back to my Palm Pre and the Media Sync feature. I was really surprised when Palm announced the Media Sync feature and I quickly started syncing content to my Pre from iTunes. With iTunes 9.0, Apple has chosen to close the door to the webOS Media Sync feature. I'm sure Palm or someone from the webOS homebrew app community will figure out a way to re-enable native syncing with iTunes. The bottom line for me is that my iPod touch, combined with iTunes, still represents the best over all user experience for purchasing content, loading it on my device, and interacting with it on the go.

So for now, the iPod wins, and iTunes 9.0 is on my MacBook. The good news is that I can still sync the Pre with my Mac Pro which I've left back at iTunes 8.2.1. Sure, I can't use the Home Sharing feature, but at least I can get my iTunes Plus tracks synced down to my Pre easily.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Palm Pixi webOS Smartphone Coming to Sprint


Today, Palm announced their next webOS-powered smartphone, the Palm Pixi, for the Sprint wireless network.

Palm, Inc. (NASDAQ: PALM) today introduced the Palm® Pixi™ phone for faster, more intuitive and personal communication in a compact and customizable design. With the instinctively useable Palm webOS™ platform, strikingly thin design, a visible full keyboard and fashionable personalization options, Palm Pixi lets you express yourself in amazingly useful ways. It’s scheduled to be available exclusively from Sprint in time for the holidays.

“With Palm webOS, we’re creating a new, more intuitive smartphone experience defined by unmatched simplicity and usefulness,” said Jon Rubinstein, Palm chairman and chief executive officer. “Palm Pixi brings this unique experience to a broader range of people who want enhanced messaging and social networking in a design that lets them express their personal style.”

“Palm Pixi continues Sprint’s leadership in providing useful and innovative devices on America’s most dependable 3G network,”(7) said Dan Hesse, chief executive officer at Sprint. “We are pleased to be the first carrier to bring this device to market and offer both devices in the growing Palm webOS family. Sprint’s Everything Data plans, which provide unrestricted access to the Internet, mobile content and applications, and our Ready Now retail experience make for a perfect combination with these new Palm products.”

Palm Pixi Features
  • High-speed connectivity (EVDO Rev. A)
  • 2.63-inch multi-touch screen with a vibrant 18-bit color 320x400 resolution TFT display
  • Gesture area, which enables simple, intuitive gestures for navigation
  • Exposed QWERTY keyboard for fast messaging
  • Robust messaging support (IM, SMS and MMS capabilities), including Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo! IM
  • High-performance, desktop-class web browser
  • Integrated GPS
  • Multimedia options, including pictures, video playback and music, and featuring a 2-megapixel fixed-focus camera with LED flash, and a standard 3.5mm headset jack
  • Email, including Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) (for access to corporate Microsoft Exchange servers), as well as personal email support (Google push, Yahoo! push, POP3, IMAP)(9)
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
  • 8GB of internal user storage (~7GB user available)
  • USB mass storage mode
  • MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • The first handset to launch with Qualcomm’s high-performance MSM7627™ chipset
  • Proximity sensor, which automatically disables the touch screen and turns off the display whenever you put the phone up to your ear
  • Light sensor, which dims the display if the ambient light is dark, such as at night or in a movie theater, to reduce power usage
  • Accelerometer, which automatically orients web pages and photos to your perspective
  • Ringer switch, which easily silences the device with one touch
  • Removable, rechargeable 1150 mAh battery
  • Dimensions: 55mm (W) x 111mm (L) x 10.85mm (D) [2.17 in. (W) x 4.37 in. (L) x 0.43 in. (D)]
  • Weight: 99.5 grams (3.51 ounces)
  • Sprint services, including Sprint TV® and Sprint Radio, Sprint Navigation, Sprint’s exclusive NFL Mobile Live and NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile Live
Pricing and Availability

The Palm Pixi phone is scheduled to be available from Sprint in time for the holidays. Pricing for the phone, as well as the limited-edition Palm Pixi Artist Series covers, will be announced closer to availability. Customers who would like to register to receive additional information about Palm Pixi and be notified when it’s available can register at www.palm.com/pixi.

Additionally, starting today, Palm and Sprint will be lowering the cost of the Palm Pre from $199 with a new two-year service agreement by $50 to $149 after an instant $150 rebate and a $100 mail-in rebate.

The full Palm Pixi press release can be read on the Palm website.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Spring Jumps the Gun on Palm webOS 1.2 Release Notes

If there was any doubt that Palm is on the cusp of releasing webOS 1.2 for the Sprint Pre, PreThinking.com has posted Sprint's release notes for webOS 1.2.

Based on the full release notes that PreThinking.com has on their website, if correct, Palm webOS 1.2 is shaping up to be a very feature rich update to further refine webOS and to fix some really annoying issues, like the Bluetooth car kit support.

At the time of this writing, the webOS 1.2 update is still not available via the Pre's Updates application.

Check out the full list of features, fixes, and enhancements on PreThinking.com.

[Via PreThinking.com...]

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Rumor: iPod touch Shipments Delayed

Bad news, iPod fans! If a recent article on AppleInsider is correct, new iPods could be delayed due to bad cameras - a feature long rumored to be in the next generation of Apple's music players.
"A person with a strong track record in predicting Apple's upcoming product launches recently told AppleInsider that the iPod maker has experienced technical problems (bad parts) with the cameras modules. The person said that it was uncertain whether the new hardware, which has been widely expected to debut at Wednesday's "Only rock and roll" media-centric event, would make the cut for early September retail distribution."

I doubt that this news will derail the Apple event scheduled to take place tomorrow. It can, however, put a damper on things. If Apple does unveil a new iPods with digital cameras, don't expect wide availability of the new devices for a few weeks.

We'll have more from the Apple front after tomorrow's keynote.

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Fennec Alpha 3 for Windows Mobile Released

While reading the Mozilla blog, I learned that the Fennec Alpha 3 build has been released for Windows Mobile devices.

"We’re very happy to announce the availability of Fennec Alpha 3 for Windows Mobile. There are lots of great features and fixes included in this release. You can find the release notes here and a cab installer here. Personally, I’m turning off my iPhone to switch to a Windows Mobile device with Fennec."

Since the last release of Fennec for Windows Mobile, the Mozilla team has been working on improving the start up time for the mobile browser, they have improved panning, and they "now support a wider range of screen resolutions through the use of CSS media queries."

Just keep in mind that this is still an alpha version of the software and it will have some rough edges.

If you are not familiar with the Fennec project, you can learn more about it on the Mozilla website. If you are not familiar with fennec foxes (Fennec is the little brother of Firefox after all!), you can learn more about them from Wikipedia.

Download Fennec Alpha 3 for Windows Mobile now...

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rumor: Palm Pre Going On Sale for $149

The Palm Pre Labor Day, or should I say "Leak Day", weekend continues. This time, PreCentral.net is reporting that they have received word that Palm will be cutting the price of the Pre from $199 to $149 for qualifying buys when you purchase a Pre from an indirect Sprint retailer.
"From September 8 to October 31, 2009, "indirect partners" will be able to sell the Pre for $149.99 after mail-in rebate. This information applies only to these indirect Sprint retail channels, though it seems reasonable that identical price cuts will take place via Sprint’s own channels (retail stores, telesales, and Sprint.com). And as usual, the price of admission comes with an Everything Data or Simply Everything plan attached."

At this point in time we can only speculate that this price cut is partly in response to the Android-powered HTC Hero coming to Sprint on October 11, 2009.

[Via PreCentral.net...]

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Palm webOS 1.2 Video Surfaces

Not wanting to give up on all of the as-yet-released-Palm-webOS-1.2 update fun, a video of webOS 1.2 has been uploaded to YouTube.



The only question that I have at this point is when is Palm going to release the 1.2 update for webOS?

[Via PalmInfoCenter.com...]

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Accidents 23% More Likely When Texting While Driving

I was reading the latest issue of MacWorld magazine (October, 2009 cover date) which had an interesting statistic on page 26: accidents are 23% more likely when you are driving. It was an interesting statistic to be sure; however, the statistic was not documented.

A few minutes and Google searches later, I discovered that the statistic was taken from a July 27, 2009 paper from the VirginiaTech Transportation Institute.
"Several large‐scale, naturalistic driving studies (using sophisticated cameras and instrumentation in participants’ personal vehicles) conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), provide a clear picture of driver distraction and cell phone use under real‐world driving conditions. Combined, these studies continuously observed drivers for more than 6 million miles of driving."

In the provided table was the statistic that was reported in MacWorld: Text messaging - 23.2 times as high as non‐distracted driving.

The bottom line on this one: DON'T DO IT!!

You can read the report that I found on the VTTI website (includes a PDF download link) or you can read an article that was published in the New York Times.

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More Info Revealed About webOS 1.2

The folks at PalmInfoCenter.com have done some more sleuthing around the recently leaked Palm webOS 1.2 update for the Palm Pre.

PalmInfoCenter.com is reporting the discovery of two new features: blinking notifications and remote application removal.

"Good news first: LED notifications are on the way! The much-requested feature has been discovered within the "securityconfig-scene.html" file, which contains the following info-text: The gesture area blinks when new notifications arrive."

"And now the other, not-so-good thing: apparently webOS 1.2 will give Palm the ability to remotely remove apps from your device, and you won't have much of a say in the matter. In the file "usr\lib\luna\system\luna-systemui\app\controllers\apprevokedalert_scene.html", we can see this info-text: 'Palm had to delete this application from the App Catalog and your device. If you paid for this app, your money will be refunded.'"
I'm not so sure that the app removal function is completely a bad thing. Apple has implemented it. Palm appears to be ready to implement it. I'm sure Microsoft, Google, and Research In Motion have the feature in their phones as well. And with the recent George Orwell 1984 Amazon Kindle disaster, people are more than little bit sensitive over the issue. It is kind of ironic that Amazon deleted the digital version of 1984 from people's Kindles.

There are some benefits to having the app removal feature on the Pre. Consider what would happen if a really poorly functioning application gets into the App Catalog and starts causing Pre's to crash to the point of not being able to be used. It would be kind of hard to use the Pre as a "business tool" if the phone can't connect to a corporate Microsoft Exchange server. What happens if a virus or other web-bases malware gets injected into webOS. Not good.

If the app removal feature is used for the greater good, not to the benefit of Palm or one of their carrier partners, it can be a good thing. The same is true for Apple and Amazon.

[Via PalmInfoCenter.com...]

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Friday, September 4, 2009

AT&T Tries to Reach Out to iPhone Owners

As a follow up to yesterday's story that AT&T will finally bring MMS support to the iPhone as an update from Apple which will be made available from their iTunes software, AT&T has posted a video on YouTube to try and reassure their iPhone customers that the company is working hard to address the complaints that people have been leveling against the company.

Of the video, AppleInsider.com writes:
"Standing in front of a picture of the iPhone, the AT&T spokesman says, "we're proud that we've enabled the smartphone revolution." At the end of the segment, he adds the assurance, "we have heard you, we are on it, and we will use this hard won experience to lead the industry into the future."




[Via AppleInsider.com...]

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Astraware Solitaire Updated for iPhone, iPod touch

Handmark's game division, Astraware, has released a new update to Astraware Solitaire for the iPhone and iPod touch.

The maintenance update includes some stylistic enhancements and bug fixes; including:
  • New shiny card backs and backgrounds
  • Swishing sound when card piles are moved around
  • Four bug fixes
  • Graphical tweaks
The Astraware Solitaire for iPhone and iPod touch update is free to previous owners of the game and can be downloaded from the desktop or directly on your device. You can learn more about Solitaire for the iPhone and iPod touch on the Astraware website.

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Palm webOS 1.2 Leaks Out to Pre Smartphones

PreCentral.net is reporting that at least two people managed to download and install the Palm webOS 1.2 update on their Pre smartphones.

The leak apparently came by way of the last resort reset option for a Pre that is not working correctly, called the "webOS Doctor". When the customer ran the Palm utility that reloads the OS on the phone, surprise surprise, Palm webOS 1.2 was loaded!

Looks like some webOS 1.2 goodness is on it's way to us soon. Let's just hope that Palm has taken the time to address the numerous Bluetooth issues with hands free links in many popular vehicles.

Check out some screen shots over on PreCentral.net.

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Consumer Reports: Palm Pre vs. Apple iPhone




The September 2009 edition of the Consumer Reports magazine has a 1/3 page "mini review" of the Palm Pre as it compares against the Apple iPhone 3G S. There is even a video review of the two phones on the Consumer Reports website.

As readers of this blog know, the iPhone and the Palm Pre have a lot in common and the decision as to which one is right for you will end up coming down to personal style and preference. I like the ease of use of the iPhone, however, the primary use for my smartphone is email, and for that I want a physical keyboard and so the Pre wins.

The article in Consumer Reports is short, you can read it while in the check out line, you'll want to pick this issue up at your favorite newsstand because the issue also contains a good review of portable GPS units and reviews of the best drugs for allergies, colds, and the flu - a must for anyone who has kids heading back to school.

For more details, check out the Consumer Reports website.

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Android Powered HTC Hero Coming to Sprint, 10/11/09

Sprint has announced that it will be launching their first Google Android device, the HTC Hero on October 11, 2009.
“The arrival of HTC Hero and the Android platform to Sprint’s network is an important milestone for our customers and the U.S. wireless industry,” said Kevin Packingham, senior vice president of product development for Sprint. “With the dependability and coverage of Sprint’s 3G network, HTC Hero users will appreciate a much better experience than is possible now with any other Android phone operating in the United States. They will enjoy the robust potential to personalize their wireless experience as well as the best value in wireless with a Simply Everything plan from Sprint.”

“Sprint and HTC are helping to drive openness and innovation in the mobile industry with the introduction of the Android-powered HTC Hero,” said Andy Rubin, vice president, mobile platforms at Google. “As the world’s first truly open mobile platform built with the Internet in mind, Android provides to consumers the same Internet services they have become accustomed to on their desktop PC. Offering access to thousands of applications, a suite of Google services, and unique personalization features, the HTC Hero offers a compelling mobile experience.”

The HTC Hero will be an EVDO Rev. A device and will feature built-in synchronization support of Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube as well access to additional applications that are available from the Android Market.

Beginning on Oct. 11, customers will be able to purchase HTC Hero through all Sprint retail channels including Web (www.sprint.com), Telesales (1-800-SPRINT1) and our national retail partner Best Buy for $179.99 (excluding taxes) after a $50 instant savings and a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year service agreement. Pre-registration begins today at www.sprint.com/hero.


I've always liked the looks of HTC's hardware, and the press photos of the Hero make it look like another cool looking phone. I'm interested to see if the Hero will come bundled with DataViz Documents To Go, my "gotta-have-it" application for smartphones. I'm also wondering how the launch of the Hero will impact sales of the Palm Pre. Echoing the comments about the Pre vs. Hero consumer showdown, I think that Palm best be getting read to get the Pre shipping on more carrier networks besides Sprint and Bell Canada (Big Red, anyone? AT&T?) sooner than later. I personally expect that the Hero and the Pre will be considered by the same group of customers who don't want an iPhone or a BlackBerry. Worse yet, after rebates, the phones will be similarly priced and have access to many of the same Google features.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo...]

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

MMS Coming to iPhone 3G, 3GS - 9/25/09

It's official! AppleInsider.com is reporting that AT&T will be bringing MMS - multimedia messaging - to the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS on September 25, 2009.

"It was important to give our customers a positive experience from day one," AT&T said. "We support more iPhone customers than any other carrier in the world so we took the time necessary to make sure our network is ready to handle what we expect will be a record volume of MMS traffic. We truly appreciate our customers’ patience and hope they'll understand our desire to get it right from the start."

According to AppleInsider.com, the new feature will come in the form of iTunes downloadable update for 3G and 3GS owners. Unfortunately, owners of the original iPhone will be left out in the cold as they will be locked out from getting the update. I guess that is a subtle hint from AT&T that you need to upgrade.

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

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New Apps in Palm App Catalog

I noticed that there where a handful of new applications in Palm's App Catalog today. The new applications that you will find in the App Catalog are:
  • DirectTV NFL Mobile
  • Tip 'em!
  • Translator
  • The Globe And Mail
  • TMaps - DC
  • Express Horoscopes
  • wikiHow
  • Dumb Waiter
  • Zilch Lite
  • PhotoDialer
  • UberPass
  • Lemonade
  • CoinFlip
I'm glad to see this large batch of apps appearing in the "official" software catalog for the Pre. I've downloaded and Zilch Lite (a dice game) and CoinFlip (yes, it does what you think - some might even call it an executive decision support tool). I'm planning on taking a look at PhotoDialer and UberPass (Hey, DataViz! Where are Documents To Go and Passwords Plus?!)

To get your apps on, head over to the App Catalog on your Pre.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Metaviewsoftware Twitter Client for Palm OS

Clemens Schuchert, the host of the PUGcast - Sync Your Ears podcast, has a new article posted about a new Twitter client for Palm OS-based PDA handhelds and smartphones that is under development. Kind of timely since Smartphone Fanatics has recently started a Twitter feed as @spf360.

Mr. Schuchert writes:
"Metaviewsoft is currently working on a full featured twitter client for the PalmOS platform. For less than a week the Berlin based software brewery has implemented the twitter core functions and is doing some tricky API usage to display your tweets and those of your your subscriptions nicely on the PalmOS screen. I say PalmOS screen rather than Treo's or Centro's Screen, because reducing it to smartphones would not be fully true. Due to the fact that the new twitter client "2TwitMe" do support screen rotation it will surely become the first choice for all the PalmTX' out there very soon, because of the built-in WLAN functionality, it's bigger screen, a gorgeous on-screen-thumbboard replacement, etc."

Keep reading...

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MotionApps Demos HotSync Support for Classic

MotionApps, the company behind the Palm OS 5 emulation software for webOS, has posted a new video to YouTube to demonstrate the upcoming support for HotSync.

In the video, Motion shows how you will be able to HotSync the Classic software to Palm Desktop on your computer using a Wi-Fi connection. In the video, the person leading the demonstration appears to be using Palm Desktop 6.2 by ACCESS, not the older, Palm Desktop 4.1.4 or 4.2 that shipped with some of Palm's most popular PDA handhelds and Centro smartphone.

I've purchased a copy of Classic because I've come to rely on DataViz Passwords Plus for keeping my personal data secure and available to me all the time. When the Wi-Fi HotSync feature comes to Classic I'll be looking to resume using the Passwords Plus desktop application to help manage my personal data.

Check out the MotionsApps Classic HotSync demo on YouTube or click the video below.

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Apple iPod Event - Will Jobs Make an Appearance?

After weeks of rumors and wild speculation by almost everyone, it is clear that on September 9 Apple will be talking about new iPods, iTunes 9, and possibly a hardware or software update to Apple TV.

Interestingly, what has taken on a life of its own is whether or not Apple's CEO Steve Jobs will take the helm and deliver the presentation and product demos or will Apple chose to bring out SVP of Product Marketing Phil Schiller or COO Tim Cook who took on the role of acting CEO while Mr. Jobs was on his medical leave earlier this year.

Personally, I think there is a 50/50 chance that Mr. Jobs will make an appearance at the event to kick off and wrap up the presentation. If Mr. Jobs doesn't run the presentation, I would expect to see Mr. Schiller take on the presentation chores as he has done in the past.

The bottom line is that I like watching Steve Jobs hock is 'wares, but what I'm more interested in is seeing what new features will added to the iPod touch and the Apple TV.

On the top of my list for the iPod touch is the addition of a 3.0MP digital camera and the inclusion of a GPS radio. On the Apple TV front, I'd like to see Apple add a TiVo-like TV show recording feature that will record the show to the local hard disk and then transfer down to iTunes on a Mac or PC. It would be really cool if the exiting Apple TV hardware could do that (since I have one), but I suspect that for a TiV0-like feature to become available on Apple TV, it will require a hardware change to add a line-in connection.

What would you like to see Apple add to the iPod and Apple TV? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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T-Mobile Raising Overage Rates

BoyGeniusReport.com has a new post indicating that T-Mobile is raising their rates when you go over your monthly allotments of voice minutes.

BGR writes:
"As of [9/1/09], T-Mobile is raising its overage rates to 45¢ per minute on individual plans under $59.99 and family plans under $89.99, and 40¢ per minute for plans above those price points. Since this rate increase is carrier-invoked and it constitutes a “materially adverse change of contract,” subscribers will be able to flee without the need to pay a hefty Early Termination Fee."

The good news is that you will be able to get out of your contract without having to deal with that annoying early contract termination fee. The bad news is that you're going to have to work hard to get out of your contract.

Read the full article on BoyGeniusReport.com...

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SPF is Now on Twitter

Do you like to digest your mobile tech news in 140 characters or less? If you do, we have great news for you - Smartphone Fanatics is now on Twitter as @spf360!

You can visit our Twitter page at:

http://www.twitter.com/spf360