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  • BlackBerry getting Slacker Media Player Application

    Posted on September 25th, 2008 Shawn 1 comment

    OK, CrackBerry addicts probably already know about the announcement since it dropped at CTIA 10 days ago.  I’m here to clear up things, and answer questions (as well as jump up and down like a giddy school girl).

    First, BlackBerry has never been known as a media powerhouse (until now).  Full disclosure, I have yet to spend more than 5 minutes with a BlackBerry in my hands.  The world renowned media powerhouse of course is the iPod and iPhone, that’s not going to change.  For me, I’m all about convergence: phone, PDA, media, etc all in one device.  This is why I’m writing this.

    I am a Slacker user, and have been since the day Slacker opened it’s doors.  “What is it?” you ask.  Slacker is a few things.  First, it’s a web site with online free customizable radio stations, been rocking since early 2007.  Slacker is also a desktop client that does the same thing, plus also can manage your personal music (MP3, WMA, AAC, etc).  Third, Slacker (what they have strived for) is a personal media player.  Yes, an iPod competitor…with a big-ass twist.  The personal player stores online radio stations via WiFi on the player that you can take with you (disconnected from the internet) wherever you go.  So, it competes with not only iPods, but also internet radio and satellite radio.  The player also has storage for your personal media files too (MP3, WMA, etc).  If it wasn’t for lack of Bluetooth audio (A2DP) support, I’d have one of the personal players right now.

    For some history on Slacker the company: The people at Slacker are the same people that made the very popular desktop media player MusicMatch Jukebox popular in the late 90’s / early 2000’s.  They sold it off to Yahoo and Yahoo killed it off with some bad builds and rebranding.  The Slacker people have some solid history on the online / PC music player business.

    NOTE: I’m not affiliated with BB or Slacker in any way.  I’m just a Slacker fanboy.

    Now, the announcement has come out that BlackBerry will be getting a Slacker client.  I’m psyched!  I had been asking the Slacker guys to build a client for Palm OS (since that’s how I’ve rolled for the past 4 years).  They never officially announced players other than their desktop, web, and personal player devices, until now.

    In the coming months, you BlackBerry owners (and soon me) will have the ultimate converged device.  I can tell you from almost two years of use, the Slacker apps are great, and the music (selection & quality) is top notch.  To have this app on a BlackBerry is going to be killer!  To have it on the upcoming BlackBerry Storm (if marketed correctly) could be an iPhone killer.  (I doubt it will really make an iPhone dent, but it is possible).

    Slacker for BB, will allow you to download radio stations via WiFi or data plan connection, then play those stations back when you are out of coverage.  Means, it downloads the music compressed to your BB’s internal (or memory card) memory.  So, FREE music (or subscription for unlimited skips / ad free) just like Pandora, with album art / bios / details etc.

    BlackBerry Software Advertisement: Pintones Ringtone Loader For Blackberry.

    I can’t contain my excitement for the Storm and Slacker combination coming in November.  Great move RIM, and I look forward to becoming a customer soon.  And thank you Slacker for teaming up with them.  NOTE:  I’m under the impression that not many people have known about Slacker, and this partnership is a desperation attempt on Slacker’s part for more market share. As a Slacker user, music aficionado, and converged device junky, this is an incredibly good announcement.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Slacker (but are music lovers), I’m telling you, get excited!  For those of you who are familiar with Slacker, leave some comments on your opinion of it.

  • My Treo: Nearly Extinct

    Posted on September 9th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Here’s my latest Treo update.  It’s been a while since I posted, but hear goes….This is the official “beginning of the end” post.

    Just two days after updating my Palm Treo 700p with the latest ROM update (see post: Treo 700p for Verizon 1.11 Update, not smooth), my 700p stopped functioning as a phone, due to my headphone jack breaking.  You see, my headphone jack thinks that I have a wired headset plugged in at all times, even when there’s nothing plugged in.  The downside of it is all sound is sent to the headset (i.e rings, calls, music, voicemail).  Nothing is emitted to the handset or the speakerphone.  Oh, and since the headset jack thinks a wired headset is plugged in, calls do not get routed to a Bluetooth headset either.  Can you say, dead in the water?

    So, that’s a real bummer.

    Fortunately, I gave my three year old son my old Treo 650 as a game device about a year ago.  He uses it on long rides on the car, or waiting for food at restaurants.  It’s a great way to keep him occupied when there is nothing fun for him nearby.

    I convinced him that I’d need to borrow the phone back from him for a short time, and he obliged.  Good kid, his parents must be doing a great job with him.  🙂  So, I reactivated my Treo 650 and deactived my 700p from Verizon.

    Of course, the 650 doesn’t charge due to too many plugs/unplugs from the Athena connector.  So, when I need to recharge the battery, I need to take it out and put the battery in the 700p and recharge.  Not so much fun.  Plus, my Palm Desktop is all setup with the 700p.  So for syncing calender, tasks, and contacts, I need to sync the 700p.  Basically, I’m rocking soft-rocking a 650 and 700p at the same time.  There’s nothing quite like a brick in each pocket!  It’s not exactly the twilight days of my life with Palm and the Treo.
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    To take it one step further, I decided to reduce my phone plan.  I’ve dropped my minutes from 900 to 450, since I don’t use that many minutes these days.  More importantly, I completely dropped my data plan.  I figured, since I no longer use my Treo as a work device, there is really no need to pay $45 a month for personal email and crappy web browsing.

    This is the first time since 2005 that I have not had email in my pocket at all times.  I feel like this guy right  now, desperately in need of a fix.

    I have, at most, 3 months left as a Treo user and a Palm customer.  Many of you know that my new employer plans to pick up my business phone/data plan…as long as it’s on a BlackBerry.  So, as soon as the Bold, Thunder, and/or Storm drop, I will retire both Treo’s and forever as long as I’m forced be a RIM customer.

    I guess the good of it is, once the Treo’s get retired, my son can get “his” 650 back, and my 1 year old daughter can get the 700p.  Now, they won’t have to fight over each others high-tech fake phones.

    This is how it’s winding down.  I’ve got my scopes on AT&T relasing the Bold by end of month, and Verizon releasing the Storm by mid November.  Which one will I get?  Hmmm….Bold with the Treo form factor or Storm with the iPhone form factor.  That is going to be a tough choice.

  • Kinoma Play for Windows Mobile

    Posted on August 25th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    So, some of you may have heard the name Kinoma before….but I suspect only Palm OS folks.  Well, Kinoma Play is a new mobile app for Windows Mobile, which looks to be a solid iPod Touch/iPhone media player competitor.  Kinoma Play is for use with music, video, photos, online services, RSS feeds, internet radio, podcats, Flickr, and on and on.

    I am a Kinoma user on Palm OS, and it’s a decent app for video.  I use it for online video, YouTube, Google Video on my Treo 700p all the time.  Though, this time around, it looks like the guys at Kinoma have really made a solid complete media player for Windows Mobile.  With really nice animation, background playing, this looks to be quite nice for $30.

    Deiter Bohn of WMExperts does a good review.

    I think it will easily replace the default Windows Media Player and going to make Pocket Tunes shake in it’s shoes.

    Check it out for yourself at http://kinoma.com/play/

  • Treo Pro….Are You Ready?

    Posted on August 20th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Are you ready for Palm to make a serious comeback (albeit with a Microsoft Windows Mobile OS)? So, are you ready? I am.

    I have laid low on the rumor mill of this device, since I got bored posting rumors. Now, the Palm folks have come out [of the closet], and announced what we had heard as the Treo 850w. Palm is no longer calling their devices by numbers (i.e. the Centro).

    Here are the Treo Pro’s Specs:

    • 400Mhz CPU , but snappy response
    • 256MB ROM, 128MB RAM! (Other reports show “In use: 43.96mb, Free 57.72mb”)
    • 320*320 screen
    • GPS
    • Full Tri-band 3G, Quad-band GSM
    • 2 Megapixel camera
    • microUSB connector!
    • 3.5mm Earphone connector
    • 1500mah battery (this is looking like it might actually be true?)

    Now, I still need to figure out if work will let me put something other than a BlackBerry on the network.

  • The Greatest Smartphone that Got Hit with the Ugly Stick

    Posted on July 30th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Treo 800wOk, harsh title, I know…. Also, very harsh since I want to get this phone. I’m talking the NEW Palm Treo 800w…that’s right, Palm has something new. It’s been out a couple weeks, so it’s a bit of old news, but the folks are Palm Marketing as not the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree. They decided to release this INCREDIBLE smartphone (albeit not the coolest looking gadget) the same weekend that the iPhone dropped. I digress.

    Ok, why is this the “greatest smartphone”, and why do I call it “ugly”? Let’s get into it.

    Here are the specs and my opinions:

    Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
    Personal preference. I’m not currently a WinMo user, so can’t tell you if this is the best mobile OS or not, but as everyone will tell you, OS is a personal preference.

    EV-DO Rev. A CDMA network support
    Hands down, fastest “out-of-the-box” internet speeds of any phone on any carrier. Period.

    128MB RAM and 256MB flash ROM (about 170MB available to the user)
    Pretty common, no complaints.

    TI OMAP 2430 333 MHz processor
    Small processor, but what’s not advertised is the Palm “special sauce” that was put in to tweak the OS. EVERY review is saying that this phone is smoking fast, faster than iPhone 2, Tilt, etc etc….everything.

    110MB internal dynamic memory
    typical

    1.74 inch square 320×320 high resolution display
    Wonderful. I love high resolution. That’s a big reason why I’ve stuck with Palm OS. Now WinMo has caught up.

    Integrated 802.11 b/g WiFi radio
    In a word, SWEET!!

    Integrated Bluetooth 2.0 radio with A2DP
    In a word, SWEET!! Wired stereo headsets, buh-bye.

    Infrared port (Hmm, another device like the Nokia E71 with IR)
    Does nothing for me anymore, not gonna use it.

    Integrated A-GPS receiver
    In a word, SWEET!!

    1150 mAh Lithium ion battery with reported 4 hours of talk time
    I’ll be buying an extended battery that’s fo’ darn sure. BTW, try buying an extended battery for the iPhone.

    microSD card slot with microSDHC support
    Great, now I can get 8GB or 16GB of storage.

    2 megapixel camera
    No complaints.

    micro USB port for syncing/charging/wired headset
    Nice and simple, and standardized.

    Weight of 5 ounces
    lightweight.

    Size of 4.41 x 2.28 x 0.73 inches
    reasonable.

    Ok, WiFi, Bluetooh 2.0 with A2DP, and aGPS all on a device thinner than the Centro…..DUDE, Awesome. Plain and simple, the specs are freakin’ excellent. Yes, it’s touchscreen too….forgot to post that up top.

    Now, the “ugly” part. Not sure why, but Palm didn’t put in much of the pretty on this one. It looks like an updated Treo, as a Treo user would expect. What it doesn’t have is the “cool” look of the BB Bold, the iPhone, or the HTC Diamond series. The screen isn’t flush, it’s recessed, the color is blah-blue, the casing is typical Treo. Honestly, no complaints…..it just doesn’t say, “hey, I’m hot, check out my backside to see if the word JUICY is printed there.”

    I have been carrying around a Treo 700p brick with extended gigantic battery for over a year. So, I’m not so worried about the cool looking exterior. I need specs, and this baby has it. I really want it, and it’s super cheap (relatively) at $250 for new Sprint customers….which I would be a new Sprint customer (leaving Verizon). The only reason I don’t yet have it is work wants me to be a BlackBerry user, and I’m trying to convince them otherwise. Stay tuned for that saga…

    So, what about you? Are you down with the Treo 800w in all it’s spec’d out red-headed step-child glory, or are you moving on?

  • Part 2: Not many reasons left to stay with Palm Garnet OS

    Posted on December 16th, 2007 Shawn No comments

    I’ve been slow to posting my Palm editorials and handheld news lately, but here’s something to talk about for a bit. Remember my original posting on this topic (http://MyGGGO.com/?p=53) from April 2007? Well, I have to say that the Treo 700p will be the last Palm Garnet OS product that I ever buy. I’ve put a stake in the ground and can say that it is just too outdated for the stuff I want to do.

    Now, there aren’t many better OS options for what I want to do, but as of right now Windows Mobile 6 is going to take my money the next time around. Let’s see, what do I need on my next device: Bluetooth stereo (A2DP), 3G, WiFi, 320×320 resolution (or better), expandable memory, qwerty keyboard.

    That said, the iPhone is out (no keyboard, no 3G, no A2Dp). Nearly every other device is out because lack of WiFi support. To my knowledge, the only OS’s that support A2DP (with or without 3rd party support) is Palm Garnet and Windows Mobile.

    I still love the Treo form factor, and even like the Centro. But, I won’t spend another dime on a device that doesn’t have WiFi and that needs tons of 3rd party apps to make it look like it’s a product from the 21st century.

    So, as of now there is only one device that meets my criteria (HTC Kaiser [aka AT&T Tilt]) and one rumored (Treo 800w) to meet it.

    So, I’m now out of contract and not in a rush to get back into a contract. But, as is looks, the 755p and the Centro are really just a waste of my money at this point, and it’s time to join the masses of Palm OS exodus’.

    I’ll miss you Palm OS…you are going to lose. Palm OS II is now rumored to be available in 2009. I won’t be waiting that long, and will likely have jumped ship way before you ever arrive. Palm, who are you going to sell this new OS too?

  • iPhone Does Not Support Bluetooth Stereo (A2DP)

    Posted on July 3rd, 2007 Shawn No comments

    I was just reading the Everything iPhone forum regarding what people are saying about A2DP, better known as support for stereo Bluetooth headsets. I was shocked beyond belief with what I learned.

    Even though the iPhone comes with Bluetooth 2.0 which supports the cool wireless headsets….Apple has chosen not to implement the A2DP technology ont he iPhone. What the hell were they thinking!?!? As an iPod, with Bluetooth how could they have not implemented this on day 1 of the release? Honestly, I am truly shocked.

    So, I’m retracting the statement I made a few months ago boasting the A2DP capabilities of the iPhone. As of now, no dice.

    All the more reason to stick with a Treo like the 650, 700p (Sprint only), 755p, or the Win Mo 750. All either have native A2DP or you can get it (www.softick.com) for a few bucks.

    Just another reason why the iPhone (although it may be for you and 749,999 other people) it is not for me.

    The Palm Garnet OS and Windows Mobile 6 still are head-to-head as far as I’m concerned.

  • What’s next for me?

    Posted on June 28th, 2007 Shawn No comments

    Well, I am rounding the final turn for my 2-year contract with Verizon…well, actually it’s only the “new every two” part of the contract. Of course, good ol’ Verizon hooked me into a contract till late 2008 because I made a change to my phone plan a while back.

    Anyway, with that said…I am spending my free time (~7 minutes per week), looking for my next device. I know your shocked, since it is so unlike me to waste my free time cell phone shopping.

    If I were to buy anything right now…..I would get nothing and stick with my Treo 650. Yup, you heard it right. Here’s why.
    1) I like the Treo 700p, because it uses all the same accessories as the 650. I wouldn’t have to buy new memory cards, batteries, cases, etc. It has Bluetooth 1.2 and EVDO. The two things the 650 are lacking. BUT, the Verizon version of the 700p is a dog and a year after it’s release, Palm STILL hasn’t release a ROM update for it. Leaving this device useless for us A2DP and multi-application users. They have released the ROM update for the Sprint version of the 700p, but then I’d have to pay a contract break fee to switch carriers.
    2) The Treo 755p…well, there is nothing exciting about this phone. It has the ever-aging Palm Garnet OS, which I still like. It has the newer cooler antenna-less form factor, which is nice…but no big deal to me. The bummer is that it takes miniSD (or microSD with a converter) and has a new battery. So, immediately I’d have to drop about $150 to get the 755p comparable to my 650 in battery life and data storage. PLUS, it’s currently only on Sprint…so, I have to wait until July for this on Verizon.
    3) iPhone or HTC Touch….sorry, I need a keyboard. Nuff said.
    4) Treo 750 (and 700wx) with Windows Mobile 5….240 x 240 screen resolution. No thanks.

    So, that leaves me forward looking at the Summer and Fall months….hoping something will be worthy of replacing the classic Treo 650.

    If Verizon and Palm release the ROM update for the 700p, I will buy one on eBay in minutes! But I’m not budging until they “fix the glitch”.
    I could always pay the fee and switch to Sprint…that might be a good idea since Sprint’s data plans are WAY cheaper and less restrictive…..hmmm, I sorta like that idea.
    Now, let’s talk about the rumor mill. The new Palm Gandolf. Supposedly there’s a Garnet OS and Windows Mobile version of this new smartphone. But, I will keep this short…..no touch screen. No way! Moving on.

    Here’s where I get a boner (did I say that out loud). The rumor of a Windows Mobile 6 Treo 800w on Verizon. 320 x 320 resolution. Native A2DP. Native WiFi. Native GPS. All in the great form factor of the newer Treo’s. To me, this is the ultimate device. Now, if it does come out in September (doubt it), I will jump all over this.

    If I can stay patient and wait until Labor Day, I think the 800w will be my next device…yup, I will leave the beloved Garnet OS but only because Palm has proven that they are no longer innovating this OS, and really haven’t shown us what’s the deal on the future Palm OS. So, Windows Mobile may be where I head too….if I can wait.

  • Not many reasons left to stay with Palm Garnet OS

    Posted on April 27th, 2007 Shawn 5 comments

    Why do I want to stick with Garnet (aka Palm OS)? Why do YOU want to stick with it?

    Do you just love the Treo form factor? If so, doesn’t Windows Mobile 6 BLOW Garnet OS out of the water?

    Let’s compare the upcoming Treo 755 series.
    Garnet OS755p – Garnet OS 5.x.

  • 320 x 320
  • HUGE 8GB SDHC card support
  • No WiFi, not an option
  • Gotta spend $ to get a nice UI
  • Gotta spend $ to get a nice media player
  • Gotta spend $ to get A2DP (stereo Bluetooth)
  • Default browser is blah
  • Windows Mobile 6755w – Windows Mobile 6

  • 320 x 320
  • SD or mini SD support, what size?
  • WiFi with added card
  • Decent UI, nice phone app
  • Decent media player included
  • A2DP included
  • Deepfish browser…looks real nice
  • I only see two reasons to stick with Garnet OS:

    1. expansion card capabilities on Garnet is WAY bigger, I think.
    2. lot’s of time, money, and love spent on Garnet/Palm OS over the years.

    Let’s rule out #2 right away. Palm is definitely not dedicated to staying on top with it’s OS, as proven by the 3 year old dull Garnet OS. Once Windows Mobile can support big expansion cards, then there will be no more reasons to stick with Garnet models.

    So, the 755p comes out for Sprint on May 14, and Verizon soon after. There is no rumored date for the 755w yet, but we know that we are just waiting for Palm and the mobile carriers to finish testing. Give it a month or two.

    Time is really running out for the good ol’ Garnet OS and Palm isn’t moving fast enough on it’s new Linux based OS to keep us all around. To be honest, I think the only dedicated Garnet OS users that will still be around when the new Palm OS comes out, will be the people still stuck in a two year contract with their mobile carrier. Everyone else….will have moved on to Windows Mobile or iPhone. iPhone

  • Treo 680 gets stereo Bluetooth (A2DP)

    Posted on March 4th, 2007 Shawn No comments

    Great news for Treo 680 users. You already know how much I love Softick’s Audio Gateway on the Treo 650. It’s been a while, but the Softick team has started to release beta’s for the 680 users.

    [2007-03-02]
    Softick Audio Gateway 1.10 beta with Palm Treo 680 smartphone support is available.

    Softick Audio Gateway 1.10 beta with Palm Treo 680 smartphone support is available. Please note that this software is in the beta stage and can (and probably will) contain bugs and open issues.

    Get it here

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