All-in-one smart device with phone, email, messaging, Web, camera, and more1
Palm’s ease of use
Just the right size, with a large screen and an easy-type keyboard
Integrated address book, calendar, memos, and to-do list
MP3 player and streaming audio, such as Internet radio1
3-way conference calling that’s a snap to manage
Speakerphone and speed dial
Supports Word, Excel,® PowerPoint® and PDF files
Palm OS® platform runs over 30,000 applications, from games to productivity tools
64MB user-available memory—add up to 2GB more with an expansion card3
Bluetooth® and infrared wireless technologies
VGA camera/video recorder
Operating System Palm OS® 5.4.9
Processor Intel® PXA270 312 MHz processor
Screen 320×320 pixel TFT touchscreen that displays over 65,000 colors
Wireless GSM™/GPRS/EDGE class 10 radio
Quad band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
Communications Bluetooth® 1.2 wireless technology, Infrared (IR)
Memory 64MB non-volatile flash memory available for user storage
Camera VGA camera with 2x digital zoom and video capture support
Battery Removable, rechargeable lithium ion battery with up to 4.0 hours talk time
and up to 300 hours standby time
Expansion slot Support for MultiMediaCard, SD, and SD I/O cards
Size & weight 4.4” (h) x 2.3” (w) x 0.8” (d); 5.5 ounces
I noticed a Gizmodo guy at Tuesday’s pre-Digital Life press event, as well as the pretty decent video camera he was carrying (better than mine, certainly). What I must have missed was when he pointed that camera over my shoulder, proving that, indeed, there was only one journalist with a notebook actually conducting business at this shindig. My appearance comes about 43 seconds into their video.
You can see Ask Mobile exactly as it would look on a mobile phone by going to m.ask.com from any web browser. To get to it on your phone, you can go to the URL, or just head to ask.com and be automatically redirected. The home page has seven options:
Do a web search, and in many cases you’ll see a picture relevant to your search (especially if you search for a person or place), as well as an excerpt from Wikipedia. Rather than just reformatting search results for a phone, Ask Mobile brings with it one of Ask’s best features, the Zoom feature that expands or narrows your focus. This feature is actually more discoverable and useful on a phone than it is on the web, saving you lots of typing. They also keep track of your recent searches via a cookie, displaying the last few on the search page if you need to get something back.
The directions search does a good job reformatting your searches to fit the proper maps syntax, really helpful when I deliberately omitted portions of an address. Most maps ask you for a correction, but Ask’s understands that time and bandwidth is a factor, and tries to eliminate extra work. It shows you either driving or walking directions, and features a brilliant turn-by-turn feature.
In that feature, once you have your directions, you select “By Turn” and it gives you each step of your journey as a seperate screen, letting you page deliberately through your trip. The turn-by-turn alone makes me want to give them a big smooch. Oh, and they feature the satellite maps in their directions, something very difficult to do with certain other mobile search engines without a Java application. Ask uses straight up normal HTML, so there isn’t a mobile browser out there that can’t handle this. You can also select to send the directions to your phone as a text message, great for saving them for later (and not having to keep the browser open the whole time).
Mother yourself right now. Just because you’re normally a go-go-go type doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some slow-slow-slow. Put on a fluffy bathrobe, grab a good book and unplug the phone. You’re in do-not-disturb mode!
Sounds good to me!
While Ask didn’t invent mobile, it shows some real smarts with its implementation, adding features no one has and keeping in mind at every step how to make life easier for the user. I hope users are taking notice, because there are some exciting things afoot at Ask. I know that Google’s mobile offerings have never worked well for me, so I’m going to give Ask a shot at displacing my usual Microsoft mobile services, and it wouldn’t be crazy for everyone else to try the same.
Palm unveiled at their Digital Life press conference the new (and expected) Treo 680, an update that falls feature-wise betweeen the 650 and 700 that adds mass-market appeal. It comes in four “exciting” colors, including iPod “Arctic” white. It plays MP3s, and supports streaming audio (like internet radio) and streaming video. It comes with a wired car kit, a bundle choice that clearly is trying to appeal to a younger audience and highlight the audio features. There are some simplified UI elements, including customizable tabs and wallpapers, similar to the Windows Mobile Today screen.
A “new” feature lets you add a number that called you to an existing contact. Because, you know, my crap 2002 phone couldn’t do that :-). Of course, it is part of many improvements to the email and contacts, including Exchange ActiveSync of contacts, and smart addressing for contacts you’ve recently emailed but aren’t in your contact list.
The MP3 player is called Pocket Tunes, and can be upgraded to support DRM protected content. Voice memos can be used as a ringtone. It is thinner and lighter than other Treos, partially because of a smaller battery. Pocket Tunes looks very similar to any typical media player, and comes with 30 free days of yahoo music unlimited.
One of their apps tracks text messages in a threaded view, very similar to how gmail tracks conversations. There is also a TypePad blog posting interface. it also includes the new Google Maps application, which includes traffic information as well as the satelite view.
For now, Palm reaches mobile professionals and prosumers, and they admit that the 680 is designed to reach regular consumers, and it is a significantly larger market. They are trying to appeal to them with brands they recognize and trust, like Google and Yahoo. The goal is to be “more releavant to more people around the world”, and it is exactly what I think Palm needs to do to grow as a company and hold back rival companies.
One other thing: After the conference, Palm handed out bags that contained, among other things, a 1-gigabyte SD card. Sweet. I shoulda grabbed two.
If you’re wondering why posting has been sporadic the last day, it’s because I’ve been attending the huge Digital Life show at the Javits Center in New York. I’ve been shooting a lot of video, and will be uploading a lot of stuff in the coming weeks. Here’s something from earlier this week, at a preview show, where UTStarcom showed off some new phones.
The first phone is the G’zOne, which they’ve made for Casio. It’s a rugged, durable phone, with a 2.0 megapixel image/video camera, but the feature that made me excited is that it is water resistant up to 30 minutes. In the video, the rep dials her own cell phone, then tosses the G’zOne in a fish bowl full of water. The call goes through, as you can see. At the show yesterday, I tried the camera underwater, and the picture quality, in the water, is still excellent (better than my phone when dry).
The second is the Slice, a phone for Virgin Mobile’s prepaid service. At 0.4 inches thick, it is the thinnest phone available without a contract, and it costs just $49.99. It is a high quality phone, with a smooth keypad like the RAZR, an the feel of it is too solid and smooth for that low a price. I was really surprised that it was that cheap, because I’ve paid more for phones that were made out of crap compared to this. Really, just quality construction, it feels expensive. A rep told me yesterday that Target has already started selling them.
According to one person, going back through a series of mergers and other things, UTStarcom used to be mostly Audiovox.
Anyway, I was impressed by their lineup, and if I get my promised review units, you are going to see a lot of fun video with the water-resistant phone. Expect some more stuff after the weekend as I process my hours of video from Digital Life.
The big New York consumer electronics show, Digital Life, is coming up in three weeks at the Javits Center. Turns out there’s a way to get free tickets to the entire show floor (normally $12-15). Just go to digitallife.com and enter this in the “Source Code” box: INSIDER. You’ll get up to six free tickets, although there is a link to get even more. Great deal!
I’ll be at Digital Life for my third straight year, covering lots of cool stuff, including Microsoft’s Windows Vista keynote. If history holds up, it should be really exciting. If you’ll be there, let me know.
UPDATE: I just found out that a lot of bloggers are getting paid to link to this by PayPerPost. I did not. I never have been affiliated with PayPerPost, and have no plans to be. I wrote about this because I enjoy the Digital Life show. It kick started this blog and made it popular, and is a ton of fun (and productive) every year. If I am getting paid for something, I will make it extremely clear.
I have no problem with PayPerPost, and with any bloggers who use it. However, it bothers me a little if systems like it make readers trust me even a little less. If I post about something, I want you to know I wrote it because I chose to, not because I got a check for it.
Have you ever wondered how many domain names Google owns? Currently Google owns 520 domain names. Their domain collection has been growing over the last couple years because of all of the companies they started and have bought. Some of these domain names are not in Google’s name, but in the company’s name that they purchased.
“According to the Journal report, the service will be tightly integrated with Google Adwords, the company’s flagship advertising platform. Consumers who search for items like “shoes” or “strollers” on Google’s search site will see contextual search ads that display an icon. This symbol denotes that advertisers that accept GBuy payments. The program is basically click-to-conversion. It skips the usual step of visiting another site and takes consumers straight to the checkout process on Google. “
Websense reported that Google pages has been hacked and is hosting malicious Trojan code for people to download, said ZD|Net. Later on, the statement has been withdrawn and a Google statement has been released to clarify things…
George Ou has been in touch with a Google rep and states the following on his blog:
A Google representative has informed me that Google pages was not hacked. What happened was that some Google pages members deliberately uploaded malicious code on to the Google hosting service. Google’s response is to remove these malicious pages when notified but they are working on a more permanent solution. My apologies to Google for my misunderstanding. […]
In fairness to Google, they are acting as a free web hosting company and it’s the users creating the malicious content. The same thing could happen with any hosting service though it’s less likely since payments had to be made before a site can be hosted and the owner is a little easier to track. A free web hosting service like Google pages may lend itself to this sort of malicious activity so it will be interesting to see what Google will do about this in the long term.
Yeah. There’ll always be nutcases who want to screw a good service and try to ruin it for everyone.
Finally internet users outside of the US may soon be able to access all of Google’s products, many of which are currently available only in limited regions.
According to PC|World, the University of Limerick, in the west of Ireland, has been asked by Google and an executive search firm to help find an experienced localization guru to head up an initiative to internationalize all of Google’s products.
Lately, Google planned to boost development in the Chinese region, launching advertising and other businesses. However, Google is awaiting regulatory approval before launching new businesses in China. Intel & Baidu saw this, and decided to go ahead in an effort to create some distance between the search giant and themselves.
Seeing the big picture
With Google Calendar, you can see your friends’ and family’s schedules right next to your own; quickly add events mentioned in Gmail conversations or saved in other calendar applications; and add other interesting events that you find online.
Sharing events and calendars
You decide who can see your calendar and which details they can view. Planning an event? You can create invitations, send reminders and keep track of RSVPs right inside Google Calendar. Organizations can promote events, too.
Staying on schedule
You can set up automatic event reminders, including SMS notifications, and instantly bring up anything on your calendar with the built-in search tool.
Calendar Sharing: Set up a calendar for your company softball team, and share it with the whole roster. (Your shortstop will never forget about practice again.) Or share with friends and family so you can view each other’s schedules side by side.
Invitations: Create event invitations, send them to friends, and keep track of people’s responses and comments, all in one place. Your friends can receive your invitation and post responses even if they don’t use Google Calendar themselves.
Quick Add: Click anywhere on your calendar where an event belongs (or use the Quick Add link), and start typing. Google Calendar understands whole phrases like “Brunch with mom at Java Cafe 11am on Saturday,” and will pop new events right into your agenda.
Gmail Integration: Add your friend’s Super Bowl party to your calendar without ever leaving your Gmail inbox. Gmail now recognizes events mentioned in emails.
Search: Find the date of the Baxter family BBQ (you knew it was sometime this summer). Or, search public calendars to discover new events you’re interested in and add them to your own calendar.
Mobile Access: Receive event reminders and notifications on your mobile phone.
Event Publishing: Share your organization’s events with the world. Learn more with our Event Publisher Guide.
So, I’m off to choose my birthday present (don’t ask). I have to demo the T-Mobile SDA and MDA smart phones, and decide which one fits my needs better. If anyone has any experience with these devices, I beg of you, post it below! I’ve got a day to make my decision, so I could use any help.
Texutally reports that Sony Ericsson has signed a deal with Google that will mean owners of the Sony Ericsson mobile phones will be able to file to a personal blog on the move as soon as they turn on their new phone.
“The company today announced that it will be integrating Google’s Blogger and Web Search features on all its future mobile phones. Owners of a blogger.com account will be able to file stories via their mobile phone on the move with the included software.”
Google and Sony claim to be the first in the US cell market to provide pre-loaded blogging application with a tight integration to the mobile camera and easy set-up for mobile users who do not already have a Blogger blog. Have we forgotten that Nokia’s Lifeblog integrated with Typepad and comes preinstalled on certain Nokia devices?
Indeed, somewhere in 2005 Nokia came up with Lifeblog, so Google & Sony Ericsson are definitely not the first companies to team up and deliver this kind of service. I do however think that they are a worthy competitor to Nokia and Typepad. Any speculation on the next team that will deliver a combo for mobile & blogs.
To see some items on Google Base that are accepting payments via Google go to base.google.com and search for either ‘xyzzy‘ for a list of items with payments enabled, or ‘magic unicorn beanie‘ for a particular item. The first thing you see is that a price has been set and you can see that the payment method that is accepted is ‘payment through google’. While ordinary users now won’t get an option to purchase these items, we managed to get some screenshots of how the process will look and work.
Google plans to launch social bookmarking, according to an inside source. Sure, it shouldn’t be a surprise (they could just tweak the Search History feature), so the big question is whether it’ll suck.
ValleyWag then points to these links if you want to know more about the rumor of Google Bookmarking & its patent filing:
Now InformationWeek is running a two page article about the same topic, but from another point of view. Thomas Claburn:
[…] the uproar reflects the new reality of IT: Users want the same easy-to-use search experience in the workplace they get outside the office, and IT organizations are unprepared to immediately meet those demands. “Innovation happens in the consumer space much more quickly,” says Dave Girouard, general manager of Google’s enterprise division. “For a lot of reasons, applications that are delivered to users in the consumer space have a much higher degree of focus on the end-user experience.” The No. 1 reason: Consumers, especially on the Web, can quickly go elsewhere.
The advantages are obvious: People can access files from computers at home or at work. The disadvantage: Employees can put sensitive information at risk, violate corporate policy, and even break the law in regulated industries.
Yet at many companies, employees’ needs for better desktop search will be more than IT departments can fend off. Google and Yahoo spend countless hours improving the responsiveness of their search apps by milliseconds, and users get addicted to that kind of performance.
Still, some IT teams think they need to move at a slower pace, even if that frustrates users. “We step carefully and slowly into supporting the adoption of any consumer-oriented packages,” Ron Bonig, deputy CIO of George Washington University, says via E-mail.
So indeed, IT carries a responsability too: users are getting used to being served quickly and just. They have the luxury at home that serves their needs and then arrive at the office, where things suddenly go slow and it becomes frustrating. IT departments in all companies should be able to deliver a smooth service too, although that’s not always possible because of the amount of time and devotion that goes into such an app.
Google has many admirers, but plenty of IT pros remain wary about anything with a consumer orientation. “I used to have a boss who said that three guys in a garage can do any IT project in a weekend,” George Washington’s Bonig says. “But it takes a whole lot more to ensure the product can integrate and play nicely with the other components of the IT architecture, be supportable, upgradeable.” That’s a reputation Google hasn’t yet earned.