Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pre webOS 1.4.0 Battery Test: Part 2

My Palm Pre battery test continues. It's about 6:30pm and my Pre is reporting that the battery is now at 84% with little use since about 2:00pm today.

So far, I have been losing 4% charge an hour. I haven't made any phone calls or used the phone to play games or surf the web. The only thing that has been going on with the phone is scheduled sync check with my single Gmail account.

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Pre webOS 1.4.0 Battery Test

Improved battery life is one of the reported enhancements in Palm webOS 1.4.0. I've decided to put the battery improvements to the test.

It's just after 2:00pm and my Pre has 100% charge. Wi-Fi is off, as is Bluetooth. I have one Gmail account (email, calendar, and contacts) configured to sync items as they arrive. We'll see how things are going in a few hours.

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Android 2.1 Update Coming to All US Android Phones

Taylor Wimber, the skipper over at Android And Me, has posted and article stating that Google is working with carriers to release the Android Eclair 2.1 update to all of today's existing Android powered smartphones.
"After talking with several inside sources familiar with the matter, I would like to report that every Android phone currently released in the United States will be receiving an upgrade to Android 2.1."
Now for the bad news. Mr. Wimber writes:
"Now let me cut to the bad news. Select Android phones will require a wipe when they are upgraded to Android 2.1. I actually only know of phones that will require a wipe, so it could include all of them (minus the Droid which is already on Android 2.0.1)."
Mr. Wimber goes on to state that he believes that the update will be rolled out to Android customers in late Q2, 2010. (Translation = Could be as late as the end of June or July)

Ok, so is a hard reset really that bad? I'm guessing that if your an Android gear head that you would rather have the official update on your phone and a reset won't be the end of the world.

I'm playing with a work issued Verizon HTC Droid Eris running Android 1.6 (Donut) and would like to have the newer OS so that I don't have to worry about compatibility issues with new application software over the next 24 months.

So how about it, Android fans? Are you ready for some "Google Goodness?"

[Via AndroidAndMe.com...]

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Palm webOS 1.4.0 Update Arrives

The Palm webOS 1.4 update has finally showed up as being available for install on my Sprint Palm Pre this morning.

Palm's management had said that the update would be rolled out in February during their CES press event last month. The update weighs in at 39MB.

Update
As of right now, the 1.4.0 update is only available for webOS Pre and Pixi phones from Sprint, O2 UK, O2 DE, O2 Ireland, and Movistar networks. If you have a Palm webOS phone on Verizon, Bell, or other carrier, you are going to have to wait a little longer for the certification testing to be completed.


The webOS 1.4.0 update does not include any new applications, however, it does include some 70+ documented updates to Palm's mobile operating system. This update includes the following fixes and enhancements:

Calendar
  • You can customize calendar notification sounds in Preferences & Accounts. The options include Mute, System Sound, Ringtone, and Vibrate. The Ringtone option includes new notification sounds to give you more customization choices.

  • If you create an event and enters a phone number as the event name, location, or description, you can tap the phone number on the event details screen to dial it.

  • A new Sync Now application menu item gives you a second way to manually synchronize your calendar accounts (in addition to the Sync Now button in Preferences & Accounts).

  • This release improves Calendar synchronization performance in poor network coverage areas to optimize battery life. It also increases the default interval for synchronizing with online calendar accounts other than Exchange accounts.

  • This release contains improvements to the visual calendar display, including a clearer indicator of AM and PM and improved current time display.
Camera
  • You can record video whenever and wherever inspiration strikes with the new camcorder feature in Camera. After recording a video, you can edit the clip in Videos, upload the video directly to YouTube or Facebook, or send the video by email or multimedia message.
Contacts
  • If you import a Mac Address Book contact, all contact fields display correctly in the Contacts application.

  • This release improves Contacts synchronization performance in poor network coverage areas to optimize battery life. It also increases the default interval for synchronizing with online contacts accounts other than Exchange accounts.
Device Info
  • You now have two partial erase options: Erase Apps & Data, which erases all installed applications and associated data, and Erase USB Drive, which erases files stored on the USB drive.

  • This release includes a new Secure Full Erase option. A secure full erase takes considerably longer than a regular full erase.
Email
  • You can customize calendar notification sounds in Preferences & Accounts. The options include Mute, System Sound, Ringtone, and Vibrate. The Ringtone option includes new notification sounds to give you more customization choices.

  • If the message body contains a phone number and you tap and hold the number, a menu appears displaying options to Call, Text, or Add To Contacts (if the number is not already saved in a contact).

  • This release includes multiple performance improvements in Email, including improved handling of message replies and forwarded messages and quicker response times to gestures.
Location Services (GPS-enabled features)
  • If you turn off the Use GPS and Use Google Services options under the Locate Me Using application menu item, the Locate Me Using menu item remains available.
Messaging
  • You can attach a video to an outgoing multimedia message.
Phone
  • You can tap the contact photo or icon in a call history entry to display options for that entry, including dialing an alternate number, sending a text message, opening a contact, or adding the number as a contact. The expanded display also includes call details such as call length and phone number type.
Screen & Lock
  • New blink notifications (a blinking light in the gesture area) alert you when email, text message, or other notifications arrive. You clear the blink notification by turning the screen on and off or unlocking the screen. The blink notification preference is on by default; you can turn it off in Screen & Lock > Blink Notifications.
Sounds & Ringtones
  • This release adds new user-selectable notification sounds under Ringtone.
System (overall enhancements to webOS)
  • This release offers better overall performance, including faster loading time for apps and increased battery life across a wider range of user scenarios.

  • If you are playing a game and a phone or calendar notification arrives, the game pauses while the notification is coming up.

  • You can quickly unlock the screen by dragging up from the gesture area across the onscreen lock icon.

  • This release improves the speed of downloading applications and files.
Videos
  • You can upload a recorded video to YouTube or Facebook on the web.

  • You can edit recorded video. You can also delete recorded video, video copied from a computer, or video received as an attachment to an email message.

  • If you tap the option to share an uploaded video, you have the option to send the link via email, text message, or Facebook.
Wi-Fi
  • A new Sleep Settings application menu item allows you to change a setting so that if Wi-Fi is on and the phone screen turns off, the Wi-Fi feature turns off. By default, if Wi-Fi is on and the screen turns off, the Wi-Fi feature stays on.

The full change log for the webOS 1.4.0 update can be found on the Palm webOS update website.

Installing the Update

Sprint customers can install the Palm webOS 1.4.0 update right now by using the Updates application on their phone. Customers can also wait for their Pre or Pixi to download the update in the background automatically and then install the update when the download is complete.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series

Earlier today, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer showed off the next generation of Microsoft's mobile operating system: Windows Phone 7 Series.

BARCELONA, Spain — Feb. 15, 2010 — Today at Mobile World Congress 2010, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the next generation of Windows® Phones, Windows Phone 7 Series. With this new platform, Microsoft offers a fresh approach to phone software, distinguished by smart design and truly integrated experiences that bring to the surface the content people care about from the Web and applications. For the first time ever, Microsoft will bring together Xbox LIVE games and the Zune music and video experience on a mobile phone, exclusively on Windows Phone 7 Series. Partners have already started building phones; customers will be able to purchase the first phones in stores by holiday 2010.
“Today, I’m proud to introduce Windows Phone 7 Series, the next generation of Windows Phones,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience. Windows Phone 7 Series marks a turning point toward phones that truly reflect the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people and all kinds of seamless experiences.”
Designed for Life in Motion

With Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft takes a fundamentally different approach to phone software. Smart design begins with a new, holistic design system that informs every aspect of the phone, from its visually appealing layout and motion to its function and hardware integration. On the Start screen, dynamically updated “live tiles” show users real-time content directly, breaking the mold of static icons that serve as an intermediate step on the way to an application. Create a tile of a friend, and the user gains a readable, up-to-date view of a friend’s latest pictures and posts, just by glancing at Start.

Every Windows Phone 7 Series phone will come with a dedicated hardware button for Bing, providing one-click access to search from anywhere on the phone, while a special implementation of Bing search provides intent-specific results, delivering the most relevant Web or local results, depending on the type of query.

Windows Phone 7 Series creates an unrivaled set of integrated experiences on a phone through Windows Phone hubs. Hubs bring together related content from the Web, applications and services into a single view to simplify common tasks. Windows Phone 7 Series includes six hubs built on specific themes reflecting activities that matter most to people:

  • People. This hub delivers an engaging social experience by bringing together relevant content based on the person, including his or her live feeds from social networks and photos. It also provides a central place from which to post updates to Facebook and Windows Live in one step.

  • Pictures. This hub makes it easy to share pictures and video to a social network in one step. Windows Phone 7 Series also brings together a user’s photos by integrating with the Web and PC, making the phone the ideal place to view a person’s entire picture and video collection.

  • Games. This hub delivers the first and only official Xbox LIVE experience on a phone, including Xbox LIVE games, Spotlight feed and the ability to see a gamer’s avatar, Achievements and gamer profile. With more than 23 million active members around the world, Xbox LIVE unlocks a world of friends, games and entertainment on Xbox 360, and now also on Windows Phone 7 Series.

  • Music + Video. This hub creates an incredible media experience that brings the best of Zune, including content from a user’s PC, online music services and even a built-in FM radio into one simple place that is all about music and video. Users can turn their media experience into a social one with Zune Social on a PC and share their media recommendations with like-minded music lovers. The playback experience is rich and easy to navigate, and immerses the listener in the content.

  • Marketplace. This hub allows the user to easily discover and load the phone with certified applications and games.

  • Office. This hub brings the familiar experience of the world’s leading productivity software to the Windows Phone. With access to Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace all in one place, users can easily read, edit and share documents. With the additional power of Outlook Mobile, users stay productive and up to date while on the go.
Availability

Partners from around the world have committed to include Windows Phone 7 Series in their portfolio plans. They include mobile operators AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, and manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc. The first phones will be available by holiday 2010. Customers who would like to receive additional information about Windows Phone 7 Series and be notified when it is available can register at http://www.windowsphone7series.com.

To watch the full replay of Steve Ballmer’s press conference at Mobile World Congress, and to experience Windows Phone 7 Series through an online product demo, readers can visit http://www.microsoft.com/news/windowsphone.

Today's Microsoft press release was posted on the Microsoft website.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Palm Pixi Hands On Review

The Palm Pixi is the Palm's low-cost, consumer friendly Palm Centro replacement. I have been test driving the Sprint Palm Pixi for the last two weeks. The following are my impressions of Palm's new webOS powered smartphone.

[Editor’s Note: Starting today, January 25, 2010, Verizon Wireless will begin selling the new Palm Pixi Plus. The Sprint Pixi and the Verizon Pixi Plus are identical phones with the exception that the Verizon edition hardware includes a Wi-Fi 802.11b/g radio.]

The Hardware

I was really impressed by the size and weight of the Pixi when compared with other phones from Palm. The difference is noticeable as soon as you pick it up. The Pixi seemed much lighter than my Palm Treo 755p. I was also impressed by the thickness of the Pixi. Compared with my 2G Apple iPhone, the Pixi was the same high and thickness. The Pixi is slightly more narrow than the iPhone. The physical keyboard on the Pixi is completely usable, however, I found the Palm Pre’s keyboard to be more roomy and also felt more sturdy. The Pixi keyboard’s tactile feedback was good, and you know that you pressed a key, which is something you don’t get from an on screen virtual keyboard. If you plan on sending a lot of email or text messages, you will appreciate the Pixi’s hardware keyboard.

The Pixi’s 320x400 pixel screen measures 2.63-inches. I found the screen to deliver a sharp, crisp image and I had no trouble reading the screen. Viewing photos, watching video, or even surfing the web was easy on the eyes.

Starting with the Pixi, Palm has chosen to remove the center button that appeared on the Sprint edition Palm Pre. If you have never used a Palm Pre before, you will never miss the center button. To zoom out of the current application card on the Pixi, simply flick your finger upward from the gesture area to the screen. To zoom back in, tap the card you want to bring to the foreground.

For the Pixi, Palm included an EVDO Rev A CDMA cellular radio, a GPS receiver, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and A2DP support, 8GB of storage space (about 7GB is available for use), and a 2MP camera with LED flash. The You won’t however, find Wi-Fi or an microSD card slot in the Pixi.

The Palm Pixi has an 115mAh removable battery. During my test period, I was able to use the Pixi for about about 14-16 hours before I started to think about where I could plug in the phone to charge up. I had the Pixi checking 5 different email accounts on varying schedules, I referred to my personal and business calendars frequently, snuck in the Smartphone Fanatics Facebook page and Twitter accounts, and surfed the web. During my day, I don’t spend much time talking on the phone. Milage will vary with your usage pattern. In my opinion, if you like to talk, send a lot of text or email messages, or surf the web constantly, you will want to carry a charging cable or a spare battery with you. (I recommend the same thing for Pre owners.) I did like the rubber microUSB port cover. I am always concerned that I am about to break the door off my Palm Pre each time I connect my Pre to my MacBook to access the USB storage partition. Thanks to the Pixi’s rubber door, I wasn’t worried that I would break the phone.

The Software

The Palm Pixi is the second smartphone from Palm to run their new Palm webOS operating system. My demo Pixi was delivered to me running Palm webOS 1.3.5.1, the same version of webOS that I am running on my Palm Pre.

Palm webOS is a modern mobile operating system that retains all of the ease of use that made Palm OS devices so easy to use. Synergy, the data synchronization technology built into webOS, keeps all of your data organized and in sync on your phone. You will be able to easily access your corporate Microsoft Exchange account, Google Gmail account, Yahoo account, as well as your Facebook account and standard POP/IMAP email accounts.

Universal Search is another major improvement over the search feature in Palm OS. Universal Search will not only sift through your contacts, but also searches your email, the applications on your phone and offers to continue the search on Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia, or Twitter if the search term can’t be located on your phone. Universal Search is a powerful feature that I use every day to quickly locate information on my phone or to launch applications.

For those folks who like to have all of their stuff with them all the time, the Pixi comes preloaded with useful applications for taking pictures, playing music and audio files, accessing Facebook, and viewing Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat documents. Today you can only view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on the Pixi, however I understand that DataViz is working on a full version of Documents To Go for Palm webOS. Palm has done a good job writing the Synergy interface with Facebook. When you login to your Facebook account after downloading the client from the Palm App Catalog (think Apple’s App Store), Synergy downloads your contact information in the Pixi’s local contacts database. I’m hopeful that a more feature rich version of the Facebook application will be released by Palm soon. While the Facebook contacts integration does work well, and the status feed is OK, there are many other features of Facebook that you simply can not access from the webOS client. Heavy Facebook users will want to access the mobile Facebook site, x.facebook.com, if they want to do more than just update their status or comment on their friend’s status.

Conclusion

After spending a few weeks with the Sprint Palm Pixi, I am convinced that it is a good low cost, consumer smartphone that can do double duty as a business phone. The Pixi’s small candy bar form factor means that you will carry it with you all the time. The lack of Wi-Fi on the Sprint edition Palm Pixi shouldn’t be a deal breaker for most people as the Sprint EVDO network is fast enough in most cases. Depending on how you use your phone, battery life could be an issue.

Pricing and Availability

The Sprint Palm Pixi is available now for $99.99 when you purchase it directly from Sprint after a $200 instant savings and a $100 mail in rebate when you also sign up for a qualifying 2-year service agreement. The Sprint Palm Pixi costs $399.99 when you purchase it without a service plan. You can save yourself some extra money if you shop around for the best deal on a new Pixi. For example, Amazon is selling the Pixi for $24.99 when you sign up for a 2-year service plan.

For more information about the Palm Pixi for Sprint, visit the Palm website.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

CPR for the Palm Pre

I just had a problematic 30 minutes to deal with. My Pre, my every day cell phone, for whatever reason, stopped responding to input. The last two pieces of software I added to the phone was the Palm webOS 1.3.5.1 update (to address the Calendar and Exchange ActiveSync issue) and the new 3D game, Monopoly by Electronic Arts mobile.

So what gives? The phone just stopped working. I wanted to shut the Pre down correctly so I held the Power button down for 2 seconds, but then I couldn't tap the on screen Power button to reboot the phone. So I pulled the battery out. Not exactly the graceful shutdown of webOS that I was hoping for.

I waited a few seconds, popped the battery in and the Pre seemed to just hang at the Palm logo screen. Ugh! Out comes the battery again.

I really didn't want to have to re-flash my phone to reload a fresh copy of Palm webOS and then have to reload my data from a back. (Make sure you are using the Backup application to back your data up to your Palm profile!!)

To resolve the issue, I pulled the battery out, let the phone sit for about 30 minutes, and then popped the battery back into the phone. I then waited another 5 minutes or so (it felt like 3 hours) for webOS to boot itself up and get itself going. Another 5 minutes later, everything was back to normal.

Talk about a wild ride. I'm not sure what I would have done all weekend without my cell phone. If the Pre had really died, I wouldn't have been able to swap it out until Monday afternoon with my BlackBerry Curve 8330. What a hassle that would have been! At this point, I'm glad I'm ok.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Up Next for Review: Sprint Palm Pixi

Upon my return home from work today I was greeted by a small package from Palm. Contained inside was my loaner Sprint Palm Pixi (not the new Palm Pixi Plus announced today at CES). Keep an eye out for my review of the tiny sibling to the Sprint Palm Pre smartphone next week. Until then, here is photo of the unboxed Pixi.

For more details on the Palm Pixi for the Sprint network, please visit the Palm website.

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Palm CES Coverage

The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show is under way in Las Vegas this week and Palm has used the event to make a big splash with the media and their customers. Here's a run down of what Palm has been up to!


Palm 2010 CES Presentation Video and Highlights

PreCentral has posted Palm chairman and chief executive officer Jon Rubinstein's CES presentation for your viewing pleasure if you are like me and somehow managed to not make it out to Las Vegas this year. The highlights of the presentation include:
  • Palm makes the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus official, Verizon only, and with tethering
  • Pre coming to SFR in France
  • webOS 1.4 coming in February with built-in Flash 10.1, Video recording
  • Palm reveals open web distribution of webOS apps
To check the video, head over to the PreCentral website.

New Phones, Wireless Carriers Announced

Many people will be happy to hear that Palm and Verizon Wireless will finally be bringing Palm webOS phones to market. Starting on January 25, Big Red customers will have their choice of the newly reformulated Palm Pre and Pixi smartphones known as the Palm Pre Plus and the Palm Pixi Plus. Why "Plus?" The Plus refers to the refinements over the older versions of the Pre and Pixi smartphones already available on the Sprint network.

The Palm Pre Plus will sport 16GB of RAM and a more streamlined form factor. As far as I can tell at this point, that simply means that the center has been removed from the front fo the Palm Pre Plus. Rather than use the Center button to zoom in/out from card view, you can simply flick up from the gesture area to zoom out of a card and then tap on the card you want to zoom back into full screen. The removal of the Center button is just one less thing that can break on the Pre form factor body and I welcome the change. And unlike the Sprint edition, the Verizon Wireless Palm Pre Plus ditches the glossy back plate battery door for the slick matte finished Touchstone charging battery door. Even if you don't plan on getting the super cool Touchstone charging dock, in my opinion, the matte finish of the Touchstone battery door is much easier to hold than the slippery gloss finish door.

The new Palm Pixi Plus uses the same body form factor as the older Sprint edition, however, the Verizon Pixi Plus will include an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi radio. (Shame on you Sprint for not allowing Wi-Fi in your Pixi!)

Verizon customers will also have access to a new App Catalog application called Mobile Hotspot that will allow the Pre Plus or Pixi Plus to act as a cellular Wi-Fi router allowing other near by Wi-Fi enabled device, like a netbook, to gain access to the Internet over the Pre or Pixi's EVDO cellular connection. Up until now, this was a trick reserved for devices like the Verizon Mi-Fi card. Kudos for Verizon for allowing their customers to share their data connections this way.

Palm will also continue to grow their presence overseas in the second quarter of the year when they bring Palm webOS phones to France on the SFR wireless network.

The last remaining question for US customers is when will Palm webOS devices be launched on AT&T? For right now, there is no official word from Palm on when webOS phones will appear on AT&T, however, Engadget has posted an article stating that AT&T's President and CEO, Ralph de la Vega, has gone on the record claiming that by the middle of the year, they will be carrying two unnamed Palm webOS devices. You'll have to stay tuned for the next few months until more details emerge on the AT&T front.

For more details on Palm's newest smartphones, visit the Palm blog.

Here Come the 3D Games!

Today Palm also unveiled 7 3D games specifically written to take advantage of the special graphics processor, called a GPU, inside the Palm Pre and Pre Plus smartphones. Combining the GPU, the new software development kit, released in beta form, and the software under pinning that are in the recently released Palm webOS 3.5.1 update, Pre customers can now play games on their smartphones that look just and play just as good as the games on Apple's iPhone.

Starting today, and via the Palm App Catalog, you can purchase and download the following 3D games:
  • "Need for Speed Undercover" (EA Mobile)
  • "The Sims 3" (EA Mobile)
  • "MONOPOLY" (EA Mobile)
  • "Asphalt 5: Elite Racing" (Gameloft)
  • "Let's Golf!" (Gameloft)
  • "Glyder 2" (Glu Mobile)
  • "X-Plane" (Laminar Research)
I'm excited about Palm's enabling of the GPU found in the Palm Pre and Pre Plus as it means that Pre customers no longer have to feel like second class citizens in the world of mobile gaming. While I looking forward to playing some of these games (I already purchased a copy of Monopoly this evening), I am still looking forward to playing games like Bejeweled and all of the great card and board games from Astraware, the games division of Handmark.

To learn more about today's announcement of the new 3D games for the Palm Pre and Pre Plus smartphones, visit the Palm website.

Ready! Set! Develop!

Lastly, Palm announced that the Palm Developer Center is now out of beta status and open to any application developer who wishes to write applications for the Palm webOS platform. Palm also announced that developers will have a choice of selling their applications through the Palm App Catalog or promote their applications by themselves, yet, they can still leverage the Palm over the air (OTA) distribution and installation service.

This is great news for the legions of web developers out there who know how to write HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code because, as I'm told, those three languages make up the bulk of the application development foundation for webOS applications.

For developers who are looking to write games and other applications that take advantage of the 3D rendering hardware and software found in webOS devices, like the Pre and Pre Plus, Palm is making the Palm webOS Plug-In Development Kit (PDK) available for use with the standard webOS Software Development Kit (SDK). According to Palm's press release, "[w]ith the PDK, developers can seamlessly integrate C and C++ code into their webOS apps, enabling new functionality such as 3D games."

Developers who wish to further explore the possibilities of the Palm webOS platform should visit the Palm Developer Center website.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Palm webOS 1.3.5.1 Update Released

Following just 7 days behind the webOS 1.3.5 update, Palm has released the Palm webOS 1.3.5.1 update. This update, according to Palm, is attended to address a very specific bug in the Calendar application when data is synchronized with a Microsoft Exchange Server.

The release notes for the latest webOS update states:
"This release fixes an issue in which the Calendar app displayed no events for any account after a user synchronized Calendar with an Exchange account. With this update, Calendar events now appear correctly after an Exchange sync."

According to a KB article published by Palm on Jan. 3, the nature of the problem is "that the turn of the year [to] 2010 has surfaced an issue that affects customers who use Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) to synchronize their calendars. Data remains intact on the device; however, this issue prevents the data from being displayed correctly in the Calendar application. It impacts all versions of webOS."

The Palm webOS 1.3.5.1 update is available for immediate download by using the Updates application on Sprint branded Palm Pre and Palm Pixi smartphones and will take about 10-15 minutes to install. Aside from resolving the issue with the Calendar application, there are no new changes between 1.3.5.1 and Palm webOS 1.3.5 which was released on December 28, 2009.

You can read the Palm webOS 1.3.5.1 release notes on the Palm webOS updates page. You can read the full Palm KB article on the Palm support website.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

BGR: BlackBerry Tour 2 Hands On

The folks over at BGR have gotten there hands on another BlackBerry. This time we get to eyeball the upcoming BlackBerry Tour 2 9650, which is a CDMA phone from RIM that will likely replace the BlackBerry Tour on Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

The big changes for the Tour 2 seem to be a track pad and a speed bump. I really like the look of the Tour 2, however, I like the keyboard layout of the BlackBerry Curve 8530 better. Still, the Tour 2 is a nice upgrade for CrackBerry owners who haven't upgraded to the Tour platform yet.

Get all the details over at the BGR website.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

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Research In Motion: YANO - Yet Another Network Outage

In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, CrackBerry users where all in a tussle because there devices temporarily transformed into door stops. Turns out that there was some more trouble at the BlackBerry network operations center (NOC), the massive data center where most BlackBerry Internet traffic is routed from.

CrackBerry.com provided a running commentary of what was going on:

"* Update 1: OK, preliminary word coming in is that it's a partial outage affecting North American carriers: BlackBerry Messenger and things like the web browser and apps that use a data connection.

* Update 2: BlackBerry data is no more. No emails, no web browsing, no BlackBerry messenger for it's North American users. Estimated time for a fix to come through is 3 hrs to a day, yes..a day."

At about 6:30pm last night, I had four "dead" BlackBerry phones in my house and four BlackBerry addicts roaming around the house in a daze. We where seeing the data outage on the Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks. Based on what CrackBerry.com was reporting, no carrier was spared in North America. The good news was that my Palm Pre was still working!

You can read the full article on CrackBerry.com.

[Via CrackBerry.com...]

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

BlackBerry Curve 8530 Arrives on Sprint

BGR is reporting that the BlackBerry Curve 8530 has arrived at Sprint.
"Sprint has just added a new device to its BlackBerry family — the Curve 8530. Though this is on the low-end for BlackBerry devices, that doesn’t mean it skimps out on any features. Best of all, for those of you who want a smartphone but are on a budget, the Curve 8530 is only $49.99 after two-year contract and [mail in rebate]."

The good news is if you are looking to stick with Sprint, but don't want to have to re-up for another two years, the good news is that you can buy the BlackBerry Curve 8530 out right for $349.99. That is much better than the $500+ you have to pay for a BlackBerry Tour or Palm Pre without a service contract extension.

I have had my Palm Pre for six months now. Maybe it's time for a new phone. After all, I tend to be a bit fanatical about my phones.

You can check out the full Curve 8500 series specs over on the BlackBerry website. If you are ready to order, you should head over to the Sprint online store to get your CrackBerry addiction on.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sprint: Android 2.0 Coming Hero, Moment in 2010

Sprint recently posted on their Twitter page that the Sprint Hero and Moment smartphones will be getting updates to Google Android 2.0 operating system sometime before the middle of 2010.

Sprint writes:
"Happy to announce Android 2.0 is coming to Sprint’s Hero & Moment. Date TBD, but roughly 1H 2010."
6 - 7 months is a long time to wait for and update, but owners of the Hero and Moment should be still be excited. At least it isn't a full year like Microsoft fans will have to wait for Windows Mobile 7.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

BlackBerry Tour Hands On Review

As with the Motorola Droid that I recently reviewed, I had the opportunity to take Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Tour 9630 out for a few days for a test spin. The following is my hands on review of the Tour.

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is a CDMA/GSM “world phone” that works on popular wireless networks both in the United States (CDMA and EVDO Rev A) and aboard on 3G networks (GSM/GPRS/EDGE). The Tour is currently available on the Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks. My demo unit is from Verizon and has been loaded with a Verizon/Vodafone SIM card. As far as I can tell, the Verizon and Sprint handsets are the same, however, the service terms will likely vary. There is also a version of the Tour available for sale without a digital camera.

The Hardware

The BlackBerry Tour is a candy bar styled smartphone similar to the BlackBerry Curve. The Tour’s dimensions are: 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.6-inches and weighs in at 4.58 ounces. To put that in perspective, it is slightly thinner, taller, and wider than the popular BlackBerry Curve 8330. The Tour has a half VGA+ 480x360 pixel display; which I found very easy to read; and is powered by a removable 1400 mAh battery.

All of the familiar BlackBerry hardware buttons can be found on the Tour. Just below the screen, is the button bar that is home to the call send/end buttons, the BlackBerry button, and the escape button. Nestled in the middle of the device is the trackball. After spending a few days using the trackball on the Tour, I thought it felt much sturdier than the one on my Curve. That said, I have heard reports from a local cellular retailer that their store has had a number of returns of the Tour early on in its distribution run due to faulty trackballs. The review unit that I used had no such trouble with the trackball. Below the button bar is the hardware Qwerty keyboard. Since this BlackBerry is slightly narrower than the one I’m used to using, I found the keys to be tight initially. The keys on the Tour, for all intents and purposes, have no space between them. After using it for about a day, I had gotten my keyboard bearings and was happily emailing away.

Walking around the smartphone, you will find the camera convenience key and the volume up/down buttons, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the microUSB charging port. On the top of the Tour, is the ringer silence and screen lock button. On the left of the Tour is the voice command activation button and the speaker. On the back of the phone you will find the 3.2MP, auto focusing digital camera lens and flash. The phone’s mic is located on the bottom left of the phone.

Inside the Tour is 256MB of RAM, a microUSB card slot, a Bluetooth v2.0 radio supporting A2DP, and a GPS receiver supporting assisted, autonomous, and simultaneous modes. The GPS module also supports e911 and digital camera image geo-tagging.

Interestingly, unlike the Apple iPhone and Motorola Droid, the BlackBerry Tour does not feature a capacitive touch screen or a Wi-Fi radio. This could be a deal breaker for some, however, in my opinion, you get much better battery performance without those two features.

The Software

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 runs RIM’s Java based BlackBerry OS 4.7.1.61 (Platform 4.1.0.81). If you have used a previous BlackBerry running OS 4.3 or 4.5 you will have little trouble using OS 4.7, however, for this edition of the OS, there is a wire frame style to all of the icons. They are easy enough to figure out and the icon’s name appears at the bottom of the screen when you use the trackball to highlight and icon. Personally, I liked the old style icons better. The good news is that there are literally tons of themes for BlackBerry available for download from the Internet.



I was able to quickly and easily connect all of my Google Gmail accounts with the Tour. I was also able to use Notify Corp’s NotifyLink 4.5 client without trouble on this BlackBerry. If you want to sync the BlackBerry’s calendar with anything other than Microsoft Outlook, or a corporate messaging system like Microsoft Exchange using a BlackBerry Enterprise Server or Notify Corp’s NotifyLink Enterprise Server, you will need to get a third-party tool like GooSync for your Google calendar. Mac OS X users will need to download the BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac or purchase Mark/Space the Missing Sync for BlackBerry.

Research In Motion has also opted to bundle DataViz Documents To Go Standard Edition on the Tour. Unlike the view only editions that come bundled with the Palm Pre or the Motorola Droid, the BlackBerry Standard Edition allows you to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. You can also transfer files to and from the smartphone using the BlackBerry Desktop Software. I was able to read and update the same files that I used during my Motorola Droid test.

If you plan on using Documents To Go on your BlackBerry, you will want to install the free maintenance release from version 1.006 to 2.0. Heavy users will want to consider purchasing the Documents To Go Premium upgrade to gain access to the stand alone Documents To Go desktop synchronization application, native Adobe Acrobat viewing, the ability to create new Microsoft Office documents directly on the Tour, the ability to spell check Word documents, and additional document formatting features. One thing that I did find annoying about the upgrade process to version 2.0 of Documents To Go was the requirement to uninstall the bundled version and reboot the phone prior to the upgrade. While it isn’t the end of the world, it bugged me to have to leave the browser, uninstall the phone, and then return to the upgrade web page. (You did remember to bookmark the upgrade page before uninstalling Documents To Go, right? See how annoying that is!) Documents To Go 2.0 Premium for BlackBerry retails for $69.99, and is on sale for $29.99 until December 20, 2009. For more information about DataViz Documents To Go for BlackBerry, visit the DataViz website.

Just for the Fun of It

All work and no play is boring. So I also played with some of the fun aspects of the BlackBerry Tour. Social media junkies will be happy to hear that the Tour comes included with a Facebook and My Space clients. (Facebook users will want to upgrade to the latest mobile client version right away.) The camera took nice pictures at a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. The music player application worked well and I was able to watch Iron Man which I converted from DVD to an Mpeg-4 file.

I also installed some other free applications from the BlackBerry App World, including USA Today Mobile, The New York Times Global Edition, Google Maps, TweetCaster, UberTwitter, The Weather Channel, and Fictionwise eReader. (Fictionwise eReader can be downloaded from the eReader.com website.)

Conclusion

The BlackBerry Tour is a great upgrade for previous BlackBerry owners. If you are looking to upgrade from another smartphone platform to the BlackBerry, you will want to sync your old phone to Microsoft Outlook before making the jump to BlackBerry to ensure that all of your data makes it over. The BlackBerry Tour, like most other BlackBerry phones does not have a touch screen. That detail, and the lack of Wi-Fi may be a deal breaker for some, however, you will be repaid with longer battery life. If I don’t charge my Palm Pre, or the Motorola Droid I was testing every night, I would wake to find two phones with dead batteries in them while the Tour was still ready to work with about 45-50% battery life left in it.

The BlackBerry Tour is a solid business smartphone, however, if you are using a Microsoft Exchange email server, you will need to install a BlackBerry Enterprise Server or other third-party middleware server such as Notify Corp’s NotifyLink Enterprise Server since the BlackBerry does not support the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol as do most of today’s other smartphones.

Pricing and Availability

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is available now from both Verizon Wireless and Sprint for $149 with a qualifying 2-year service agreement. For more information about the BlackBerry Tour, visit the BlackBerry website.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BlackBerry Tour On Deck


Following closely behind the Verizon Motorola Droid, I have gotten my hands on a BlackBerry Tour 9630!

The BlackBerry Tour is currently available from both Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Unlike the other CDMA/EVDO smarphones in their line ups, the Tour is considered a "World phone" because it also has a GSM radio and SIM card slot. The demo unit that I have from Verizon was shipped out with a Vodafone SIM card in it.

Just like the Moto Droid, I'll be testing this phone out as a replacement phone for my company's fleet of Palm Treo 700p and 755p smartphones. I'll have a short review of the BlackBerry Tour 9630 ready at the end of my demo period.

If you are interested in digging into all the details about the Tour 9630 now, you will want to check out the BlackBerry website.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Watching Wife, Sister-In-Laws Playing with BlackBerry SMS

I find this really comical since my wife hated technology until she "discovered" Facebook. Now, just a few minutes ago, my wife and her sisters where swapping BlackBerry PIN numbers and where having "fun" trying to set it up.

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Black Friday Technology Deals

Black Friday has become a crazy, insane, shopping frenzy that jump starts the holiday gift buying season and puts many retailer's balance sheets "in the black." Here are some deals that have caught me eye and might be of interest to you today as you build your plan of attack for tomorrow morning.

Amazon
Apple
Best Buy
  • Sprint Palm Pre (requires 2-year service agreement), $79.99
Staples
  • Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 3000 Keyboard & Mouse, $24.99 (online, phone only)
  • SanDisk 8GB Cruzer Micro Skin USB Flash Drive, $14.99 (online, phone only)
  • Jabra BT4010 Bluetooth Headset, $14.99 (online, phone only)
Target
  • Western Digital Elements 500GB Portable Hard Drive, $59.98 (in store only)
  • Western Digital Elements 1TB Desktop Hard Drive, $58.98 (in store only)
Verizon Wireless
  • BlackBerry Curve 8530, Buy One Get One (2-yr service contract, online, in store)

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sprint, Bell Pre Customers Get Palm WebOS 1.3.1 Update

On Friday evening, Palm released the Palm webOS 1.3.1 update for Sprint and Bell Canada Pre customers. The update arrives a few days earlier than expected. How every cool! Yahoo! users will be happy to learn that webOS 1.3.1 brings Synergy support for Yahoo! calendar and email.

Palm webOS 1.3.1 has the follow nuggets of goodness baked in:


Backup
  • Backup now includes browser cookies

  • Backup no longer saves online account passwords
Calendar
  • Yahoo! now appears as a Calendar synchronization account. Open Calendar > application menu > Preferences & Accounts > Add An Account > Yahoo!

  • All-day events that span more than one day now appear correctly in all Calendar views.

  • If you create a Google calendar event on the phone and the event location contains an apostrophe, the event now correctly synchronizes with Google online.
Camera
  • After taking a picture, if you tap the picture thumbnail in the lower-left corner of the camera screen, the picture now opens in full-screen view, not Thumbnails view. Making the back gesture returns you to the camera.
Contacts
  • Yahoo! now appears as a Contacts synchronization account. You can download contacts from Yahoo! online to the phone by opening Contacts > application menu > Preferences & Accounts > Add An Account > Yahoo!

  • Automatic contact linking based on name matches occurs only if the first and last name fields are populated with the same names. If either field is blank, the Contacts app no longer links the contacts. In addition, the Contacts app no longer automatically links contacts with the same name but with different suffixes (such as Jr. and Sr.).

  • If you set up Contacts to synchronize with a Google account, the account synchronizes only entries in Google's My Contacts, not all contacts.
Device Info
  • If you copy a music file to the phone and then delete it, Device Info now shows the correct amount of available memory after the deletion.
Email
  • Forwarded and replied-to messages include improved formatting, such as the original sender's email address in forwarded messages and correct inline image display in replies.

  • The list of mail types available in manual setup now includes Google Apps (Hosted Google Domains) and Yahoo! Small Business Domain email accounts. Selecting one of these types automatically enters the correct settings for these accounts.
Messaging
  • Yahoo! IM is available as an instant messaging account.

  • You can select a unique ringtone for new message alerts: Open Messaging > application menu > Preferences & Accounts > Sound > Ringtone.

  • You can forward a text or multimedia message by tapping the message > Forward.

  • You can copy the text of a text or multimedia message by tapping the message > Copy Text.

Phone
  • If the you are on a call, calendar notifications no longer partially cover the End Call icon.

Screen & Lock
  • A new Secure Unlock preference allows you to set the time interval the phone is idle before the phone locks, requiring you to enter the PIN/password to unlock the phone. This can be the same as or different from the interval after which the screen turns off. To set the preference: Open Screen & Lock > Lock After.
Web
  • Backup now includes browser cookies, so that after a restart, for example, if you stored your username and password on a web-based email site, you can continue to access the site without needing to log in.

  • If you tap to play a YouTube video embedded on a web page, the YouTube application launches and the video plays in the app.

There are some other interesting changes in the Palm webOS operating system. The first is that you can now press and hold the Orange key and tap an application icon to pull up information about the application. Pressing and holding down the Power button now gives you more control over what the device does: turn Airplane mode on or off or Restart or Shutdown/Swap Battery.

To read the complete list of feature updates included in Palm webOS 1.3.1, visit the Palm website. The 1.3.1 update is reported to become available for Europen GSM Pre customers by the end of November.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Palm Pixi Sprint Launch Date Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Sprint BlackBerry OS 4.5.0.175 for Curve Released

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

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

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Notes on Palm webOS Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Palm Releases webOS 1.2.1 Update

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

Feature changes to existing applications

Email

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

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

Web

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

Security

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

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


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

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

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

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

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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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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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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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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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Friday, September 4, 2009

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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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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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rumor: Palm Working on New Smartphones for Verizon, Sprint

I'm still catching up on the week's news after having spent most of last week on vacation. PreCentral.net has two screen shots posted that indicate that Palm is working on new devices headed for Verizon and Sprint.

Speculation is that Verizon and Palm could be working on bringing both the Pre and the Eos (aka: Pixie).

"What’s important to you is that there are two Palm devices listed in this inventory system. Yes, two: the Palm P101VZW and Palm P121VZW. Considering that we know the Sprint Pre to be the P100, it seems reasonable to assume that the P101 is the Pre for Verizon, though we have no clue if the number bump means that the hardware has been changed. And P121? There’s only one other upcoming Palm device that we’ve heard of, and that’s the Eos, presumably the P121 indeed will be the smaller slate-style webOS phone."


On the Sprint front, the screen shot shows three devices: the P100 (the currently shipping Pre), the P120, and the C40. Popular opinion is that P120 is either a hardware refresh of the current Pre (more memory anyone?) or is the Eos candy bar webOS device that will take hardware queues from the Centro and the Treo Pro.

What the C40 might be is anyone's guess. It could be a new Windows Mobile phone. It could be a new webOS phone. Or, dare I even mention it, the C40 could be something else entirely with an EVDO radio built in to it. (cough Foleo II cough netbook cough)

One thing is for sure; we will have our answers one way or another in due time.

[Via PreCentral.net...]

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