September 2006 - Posts
I’ve really got to hand it to HP on this one. I used the first unit they tried this with, the 6315. Great device for iPaq lovers, but the snap on keyboard made the device way to large. I tried the 6515, but it had some issues, particularly when the device used both memory slots. I also had to give up my high-speed wi-fi access because they took wi-fi out. They put wi-fi back in the device. Not certain why they took it out, but it’s back. I can now switch to wi-fi connections when they are available. I’ve been using the 6915 for over a week, and I’ve been extremely impressed. It has everything built in, including integrated GPS. The GPS works much better than the 6515 (it had a tendency to lose the satellites at highway speeds).
One of the first thing I noticed was the speed. Thank you HP for putting the faster processor in the unit. It’s a 416 MHz processor, much faster than the 300 MHz processor in the predecessor device, and much faster than 100 MHz processors in several HTC devices I’ve used. One of my annoyances in other devices is watching the color wheel spin while it “thinks”, either moving to other apps, or just changing view. This device is extremely fast in redrawing screens. I haven’t actually benchmarked it yet, but I put it next to my Verizon Wireless XV6700 (with a similar 400 MHz processor) that I’m testing, and it redraws the screen much faster, and moves between apps much faster. Again, cudo’s to HP.
They’ve added a great iPaq wireless indicator that lets you see all of your connections (GPS, Phone, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) all in one screen. You can turn everything but GPS off and on at the touch of a button. The Today Panel is also still there that lets you get to memory (including storage card), battery power, and backlight, again all with the touch of the screen. They’ve refined the keyboard slightly and made the menu button and the OK button much more easily accessible. I very rarely need to lift the plastic cover to touch the screen. I can do almost everything from the keyboard at the bottom of the screen, without needing the stylus. That was my biggest issue with the HTC phones (like the Cingular 8125). Those aren’t really designed for one-handed operation. With the 6945, it’s been a great one-handed device. Dialing phone numbers is also great. The number pad is on the right of the keyboard, and its numbers by default on the phone screens.
One downer though is the lack of hardware buttons. You can either launch the camera, or hold it in to do voice recordings. Granted, it hasn’t been much of a downer, but it would be nice to get to other things quickly through the use of hardware buttons so again you don’t have to use the screen.
Audio quality has been extremely improved. There are times when I’m using the phone that I can’t tell I’m on a cell phone (audio quality coming through the phone is great), and those I’m talking to can’t tell. When I used a Palm Treo 650, or the previous version of this phone (6515), I heard a lot that they would want me to “repeat” what I said because I was breaking up on them. That’s happened a few times, but only because I was moving up a highway rather than standing in one place.
Pocket Streets is also included out of the box. There are a few maps you can download for free, but you’ll need Pocket Streets, or MapPoint, to get the maps you need on to the device. The built-in GPS works great with Pocket Streets, and has really come in handy several times already. I will say however that while it may be cool to watch your dot move around on the maps, its not cool while your moving at high speeds. I caught myself in that oops moment because I was busy looking down the screen watching myself move on the map. Again, very cool, but I need to get a mount for my car quickly. I’ve made a couple of road trips in the last week, and it works extremely well.
Overall, I’m extremely impressed. HP actually listened to end user feedback, and made some great modifications to the device. Yes, the battery drains quickly when its in full power mode (particularly when the wi-fi connection is open, or GPS is on), but I can sacrifice that piece. I will say however that it doesn’t drain nearly as quick as I thought it would. I’m not certain how they will price this with Cingular (unlocked version is around $600 at hp.com), but it will be interesting to see how well this thing sells. It’s now my choice of device.
Ed Colligan reported poor retail sales on Treo’s for the first quarter. Ed blamed a lower than expected sales volume on Treo’s due not to business to business sales, but to competition in the retail space.
He emphasized in his conference call that businesses usually do a more thorough analysis of their needs from a smartphone than retail customers who “are more easily influenced by price, fashion, or aggressive marketing”.
Hmm…retail customers are more easily influenced by price, fashion, or aggressive marketing, than business customers. I guess this means that if they did a more thorough analysis from a needs perspective, they’d be willing to pay more, creating more sales for Treo’s. Is he sure?
Let’s take Cingular as an example, or T-Mobile. Hmm, I’m looking and T-Mobile doesn’t even sell Palm Treo’s. So, guess I’m out of luck if I’m a T-Mobile customer. Cingular? Let’s see. I see a refurbished Treo 650 for $150 (with a two year service agreement), or a brand new Treo 650 for $300. That’s right, a brand spanking new Treo 650 for $300. Wait, how long has that been out? I don’t see any new model Palm Treo units on Cingular’s site. Guess I’m out of luck if I’m a Cingular customer too. Wait, I can get a brand new Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC phone with more memory and more out of the box functionality for $250 from Cingular. On over to Sprint PCS, let’s see. A Treo 700wx for $500, or a Treo 700p for $500. Wait, I could get a Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC phone not made by Palm with more memory and more out of the box functionality for $450. On over to the last major wireless carrier in the US, Verizon Wireless. Let’s see. Oops, Palm Treo 650’s are out of stock, but if they were in stock, I could get one for $250. Palm Treo 700w’s are $400. Palm Treo 700p’s are $400. Wait, I can get a Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC phone not made by Palm for $300 with more memory and more out of the box functionality. So, from a needs perspective, looks like I can get more out of the box functionality at a lower price by choosing a non-Palm device. Looks like I’m out of luck from a Palm perspective if I need GSM/GPRS coverage, or I pay $100 more for the other carriers to carry a Palm device.
No, I think what he meant to say was that his sales force is more aggressively attacking the business customers because they won’t mind paying more. Relationships are more solid, business partnerships developed. Retail customers spending their own hard-earned money are more conscious about cost. Yes, I agree, retail customers are more easily influenced by cost, and they should be.
Well, my current bill from Time Warner showed up yesterday. To my surprise, I’m still being billed for the full bundled service from Time Warner. Phone service, Road Runner, and Digital Cable. Keep in mind, I called on August 31 to cancel everything, and only keep Road Runner service. August 31. It’s now September 30, they’ve billed me for their bundled service until 10/22. Now, how hard is it to figure out they don’t have my phone number anymore? Isn’t their billing system integrated to determine whether or not they’re billing folks for phone numbers not even on their system? How many other customers are paying for service that they don’t have? How can that be? Can’t they tell what signal they’re sending over the wire? Are they still sending a full digital cable signal to my house when I don’t have any boxes to receive the signal? Can’t they tell that? Why would they bill customers for full digital cable when there is no box on the other end to receive it? Again, I asked them for basic service and Road Runner, which leads me to part 2.
Once the customer service rep removed all of the services (the same thing I was told on August 31), he tried to explain what happened. The woman I spoke with on August 31 scheduled a pick up for all of my equipment, and the equipment pickup was never scheduled. It was an “open appointment”. Go back and read what I blogged a month ago. The woman I spoke to said it wasn’t an option and that I had to take it all in myself. The rep I spoke to yesterday said it wasn’t true. They can schedule a technician just for pickup of the equipment. Say what? She told me it wasn’t an option, but put it on my account that they needed to schedule a pickup? How long do appointments stay open without sending notification to someone? I can have an open appointment for 30 days and they don’t know it?
Next, I was only supposed to be paying for basic service, plus Road Runner. The rep I talked to yesterday said that was no longer necessary. They can give you Road Runner without cable service. Why did the rep tell me a month ago that it wasn’t an option? Next, he told me they don’t offer Road Runner Premium anymore, and that I’m paying more for service than I should be. They call it Road Runner Turbo. Apparently I have an outdated code on my account, and I’ve been paying more than I need to. He asked how long I’d had Road Runner. It’s been years, can’t even recall when I switched. He said they hadn’t used the code I had on my account for awhile, that it was an obsolete code. So, when I called a month ago and asked to have everything changed, how was the code put back on if the code was obsolete? Did it just become obsolete? It’s about $15 less per month than I was paying previously, but I wasn’t told.
Granted, I believe everything is fixed now, and the rep I talked to yesterday did appear to be correcting everything, but wow, why should it be this hard to get great service? I guess I’ll wait a month until I get my next bill to verify, but I’ve now been told I have a rather large credit on my account, a credit that will carry me in to next year without having to pay for service for Road Runner for awhile. We’ll see.
I took the plunge and installed Activesync 4.5 beta. What a disaster. Keep in mind, my device being “right” is critical, as it is with most that I know that use PDA’s. You need activesync to keep the device current, install apps, etc. Yes, using direct exchange activesync keeps contacts, email, calendar and tasks current over the air, but I have hundreds of notes that I’m changing all the time. I have to sync (not sure why other products like Good Mobile Messaging has figured out syncing all of the Outlook data over the air but Microsoft still hasn’t) to keep my notes current. I also have to sync to keep windows media files loaded.
Well, the first thing I noticed was that it REMOVED all of my installed programs, requiring me to reinstall applications to be able to reload. I hard reset the devices I test all the time, reinstall applications, etc. Being able to go to Add/Remove programs in Activesync makes this a simple task to do on the fly without having to rerun setup for each of them. I installed Activesync 4.5, all the programs I had installed on the device were gone. So, off I went to run setup for the 10–12 programs I install on each device.
Second, all of my partnerships were deleted. I’m currently syncing three PDA’s and all the partnerships are gone. When I tried to sync, I was presented a message saying I was already syncing with a computer, and to sync with this computer, I had to create a new partnership. Again, what a mess that caused. I looked at activesync on the devices, there was a partnership for my Exchange server, and two entries for the SAME computer. That’s right, the SAME computer.
Third, out of the week or so I had it installed, I’ve been able to actually complete a full sync once. The other times, it connects, says its looking for changes, and after several minutes of whatever it is attempting to do, gives me an error message that it was unable to complete.
What a disaster. How much testing has this thing undergone before release? Did they actually get users to test this or did they just post it? This was a really frustrating experience. I uninstalled it, and reinstalled 4.2, then reinstalled all of the apps I had preloaded, then had to set up partnerships and resync all of my devices. The least they could have done is post a note that it would delete existing partnerships and clear out all of your installed programs. I know it’s beta, but this is ridiculous.
Have you been looking for a way to take add Push E-mail support to your Windows Mobile 2003 SE device?
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RoadSync provides support for the most popular Exchange Server 2003 SP2 mobility features to users of Windows Mobile 2003 SE devices (similar to MSFP for Windows Mobile 5). With RoadSync, you can maximize your existing device investment and take advantage of the following enhancements:
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- Remote Wipe Security
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For those in Europe, The Palm Treo 750v Windows Mobile Smartphone has been posted to Microsoft’s website.
||Windows Mobile 5.0 |
||300 MHz |
||128MB (60MB user accessible) non-volatile |
||240 x 240 |
||111mm(H) x 58mm(W) x 22mm(T) mm |
||154 g |
||Talk time: up to 4.5 hours. Standby time: up to 10 days. , Type: 1250 mAh Lithium-Ion |
||Included: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS 850/900/1800/1900 MHz; infrared; Bluetooth |
||Available Separately: N/A |
Pictures are beginning to surface for the Cingular versions of the Palm OS and Windows Mobile versions of the updated Treo’s. One apparently showed up on Palmgear but was subsequently pulled (I’m sure it was posted by “accident”). The Palm OS version appears to be tagged the Palm Treo 680 (rather than a 700p), and the Windows Mobile version of the Treo appears to be tagged the Palm Treo 750 (rather than a 700w). I wonder who at Cingular is paid to come up with device names. They were obviously instructed to NOT use existing phone names.
Must be getting closer to launch, but how many are waiting on these phones?
Register today for your chance to win one of six Alpine Blackbird handheld GPS devices. Winners will be selected during the LIVE keynote, broadcast on November 1, 2006 at 8:00am PST.
Shift your device development into high gear with Windows Embedded CE 6.0. This 6th generation product provides a componentized, real-time operating system and powerful tools that help you to design, build and test innovative devices faster than ever before. The Virtual Launch Event offers a comprehensive introduction to CE 6.0, bringing you up to speed on the CE 6.0 technology portfolio of tools and OS components right from your PC. There's no travel, no registration fees, and no downtime required - just sign up today, and experience CE 6.0 from your office, living room, or any remote location.
Microsoft ActiveSync 4.5 is the latest sync software release for Windows Mobile-powered devices. ActiveSync provides a great synchronization experience with Windows®-powered PCs and Microsoft Outlook right out of the box. ActiveSync acts as the gateway between your Windows-powered PC and Windows Mobile-powered device, enabling the transfer of Outlook information, Office documents, pictures, music, videos and applications to and from your device. In addition to synchronizing with a desktop PC, ActiveSync can synchronize directly with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 so that you can keep your e-mail, calendar data, tasks and contact information updated wirelessly when you’re away from your PC.
Changes in ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2 help resolve issues related to setup, partnerships, and connectivity with the PC and Microsoft Exchange. In addition, it includes a troubleshooter utility that scans your computer and device to identify problems and offers information and corrective actions to solve them.
ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2 supports PC sync via USB cable, Bluetooth, or infrared connection.
• Faster file transfer speed and photo sync via Outlook are only available for Windows Mobile 5.0 powered devices.
• Remote PC Sync (via WiFi or LAN) has been removed due to Enterprise customer feedback around security issues.
• Customers using Microsoft Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 with devices running the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 will benefit from the following feature enhancements included in ActiveSync 4.5: Direct Push Technology, local device wipe, and certificate powered authentication to Microsoft Exchange.
• Microsoft® Outlook® 2000 is not supported by ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2. It is highly recommended that users upgrade to Microsoft® Outlook® 2003 messaging and collaboration client.
• Conversion of database files for use on a mobile device is not supported by ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2. On previous versions, this feature was limited to devices running Windows Mobile software for Pocket PC 2003 and earlier.
• Conversion of font files for use on a mobile device is not supported by ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2. On previous versions, this feature was limited to devices running Windows Mobile software for Pocket PC 2003 and earlier.
*Connectivity and synchronization may require separately purchased equipment and/or wireless products (e.g., WiFi card, network software, server hardware, and/or redirector software). Service plans are required for Internet, WiFi and phone access. Features and performance may vary by service provider and are subject to network limitations. See device manufacturer, service provider and/or corporate IT department for details.
Get it here, but keep in mind it IS beta.
Well, HP came through and finally delivered the hw6945 Mobile Messenger. I’ll be putting together my out of box experience soon. I’ve been extremely pleased with the performance of the device over the last two days, particularly the integrated GPS (and Pocket Streets installed by default). More later…
Is Google getting a little carried away or is it just me (ok, it MAY be me)? Ever read the Google Research Blog (http://googleresearch.blogspot.com). It’s a blog that basically lets you keep up with the things that they’re working on. Just came across it and was scanning archives, and this one caught my eye:
Now, you may be saying what’s the big deal with Interactive TV? Here’s the part that is a little scary:
We also presented our work at the conference. Our paper [pdf] (which received the best paper award :) focused on using broadcast viewing to automatically present relevant information on a web browser. We showed how to sample the ambient sound emitted from a TV and automatically determine what is being watched from a small signature of the sound -- all with complete privacy and minuscule effort. The system could keep up with users while they channel surf, presenting them with a real-time forum about a live political debate one minute and an ad-hoc chat room for a sporting event in the next. And, all of this would be done without users ever having to type or to even know the name of the program or channel being viewed. Taking this further, we could collect snippets from the web describing the actors appearing in a movie or present maps of locales within the movie as it takes place (no matter if users are watching it as a live broadcast or as a recoded broadcast).
Did you catch it? If not, read it again. “We showed how to sample ambient sound emitted from a TV and automatically determine what is being watched…”. Now how in the world did a company like Google demonstrate how to sample ambient sound from a TV? All with complete privacy? Again, how? Could it be they are figuring out ways to tap computer microphones to “listen” to the rooms noise? Have they figured out ways to eavesdrop for those of us who leave their computers on all the time? Are they also taping in to webcams? What’s the deal here? I haven’t read the pdf file yet but the fact that they “demonstrated” how to do this, hmmm. All with complete privacy? Complete privacy for who? Beware if your computer is in your bedroom…
What will they think of next. Checking out some utilities and apps put out by Toysoft Development, Inc. Two programs caught my eye. Too bad they are for the Palm Treo.
Fake Call is a program that is intended to give Treo owners a way to escape impromptu office meetings and unwanted social interactions using the Treo -- by simulating incoming phone calls! With your phone in your pocket, press and hold a hard key or setup an appointment in the Contacts application and voila! A call will materialize from anyone you want, your phone will light up like a Christmas tree, your favorite ringtone will sound and, when you accept your fake call, an active call screen identical to a real one will display and a voice will be heard on the other end of the line! This program is a true escape from any unwanted situation!
I can think of a lot of interesting times that may come in handy.
Have you ever wanted to block annoying callers, marketers, unknown callers, your boss, friends or even family members? Ever wanted to be left alone and enjoy the peace and quiet times? Now you can with BuzzOff™. BuzzOff™ will monitor all incoming calls and SMS and will apply the filters that you have setup to use. If you choose, a logfile will be created for blocked calls.
You can block callers by their phone number, any digit in the phone number, area code, a from and to time to filter the caller, the day of the week from Sunday to Saturday to filter the caller.
BuzzOff™ is simple to use and yet powerful and flexible to keep you in control of who can call you and when.
Time to do some googling to see if I can find similar programs for the Pocket PC.
Appears that users of the Blackberry Pearl are already complaining of hardware issues. Seems that whoever designed the Pearl built a feature in to the center trackball the ability to mute the ringer. Apparently it doesn’t take much to press that center trackball, so when it’s in a pocket, the trackball gets pressed muting the ringer causing the users to miss calls. Several on a message board said they took the phones back already because they kept missing phonecalls.
Word is that T-Mobile/RIM will be offering an update. Wow, an update already…
Word is that T-Mobile will be releasing a version of the HTC Excalibur, called the T-Mobile Dash. Looks like the T-Mobile version of the Motorola Q.
Windows Mobile Team Blog posted a blog about Virtual Earth Mobile being updated to version 1.67.
Recently there was a change to the Virtual Earth server that required a change to Virtual Earth Mobile in order for "Find Business" to work. Attached to this blog entry is the updated version that fixes this.
In this version, I've also added support for colored traffic overlays. If you choose "Map Type/ Traffic" you'll see major roads highlighted in red, yellow, or green, indicating how fast the traffic is moving. (Red = 0-25 mph; Yellow = 25-45mph; Green = 45 mph or faster) For now, I expire the traffic data when you exit the app. Eventually I plan to have a smarter, timed expiration. Traffic data is provided by Traffic.com and is available in selected major metropolitan areas in the United States.
- Jason Fuller
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