Archive for May, 2007

Google Street View

May 30th, 2007, 7:03pm by Jake

Looks like Google is getting ready to one-up Amazon’s old A9 Maps with their new street view functionality. Only a few cities so far, I did find one site that’s familiar to all of us. Definitely more intuitive than the old A9 Maps, haven’t used it enough to compare it to Microsoft’s Bird’s Eye View. They definitely put a lot of work in making it easy to cruise the streets, of San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Denver & Miami for now.

Thoughts on the Foleo

May 30th, 2007, 5:01pm by Mike

Here’s what I think of the Foleo — I didn’t think this belonged as a comment in the “iPhone killer” thread, since it’s clearly not…
Today Palm introduced the Foleo, the first “Smartphone Companion.” What it looks like is a subnotebook-sized laptop — a folding machine with a 10″ screen and a full-size keyboard. What it purports to do is bring your Treo to a bigger-sized device, so you can type on a larger keyboard and view web pages and photos on a larger screen. What it actually does is — miss the mark in a disastrous way.
From the footnotes scattered throughout the Foleo website, we get a glimpse of what it can and can’t do:

(from the e-mail page): Requires phone with Bluetooth® wireless technology. Email requires data services on the phone from a mobile service provider at an additional cost. ISP and/or VPN may also be required. Within wireless service coverage area only.

This, along with the graphics on the animated tour of the device, strongly imply that the route for e-mail to get into the Foleo is solely through syncing with the e-mail client on the Treo. That is, it can’t actually access the internet directly, even using its built-in wifi. Uh-oh.

(from the web browsing page): A dial up networking plan from your service provider may be required at an incremental cost above and beyond the service provider’s regular smartphone data plans.

Foleo does have wifi, and you can browse the web using the wifi connection (using 802.11b, which, in typical Palm fashion, is two solid generations behind). Outside of an open wifi network, you need a cell phone plan that includes the ability to tether to your computer to your phone’s connection via Bluetooth for web browsing to work. Many data plans (definitely T-Mobile, and Sprint, I’m pretty sure) have that, but some carriers (i.e., Cingular and Verizon) require users to pay more for tethering, if it’s available at all. And even if you do connect via the phone, it’ll be relatively slow on T-Mobile’s EDGE network, bearable on Sprint.
Note that there is no mention anywhere else of wifi being useful on the device — though it seems almost unbelievable, from the two footnotes above, it sounds very much like all you can do with the wifi connection is surf the web. I hope this is an example of Palm’s poor marketing (not making the wifi capabilities clear to me), rather than their poor hardware and software design.

(from the attachments page): Attachment support includes viewing and editing Microsoft® Word and Excel® files and viewing PowerPoint® files with DataViz® Documents To Go®. You can also view PDF documents as well as JPG, GIF, and PNG images.

So it has native support for Docs to Go. Hmm. Kinda cool that it has video out so you can do PowerPoint presentations from it, but it doesn’t sound like you can edit presentations on the device, so no last-minute airplane editing of slides.
Overall, I’m not sure I get it. It’s my Treo with a bigger screen, except it doesn’t make phone calls. And it’s not clear whether it’ll run any other apps, ever (there may not even be any other apps, since Foleo is presumably running Palm’s new Linux-based OS, and it’s not clear who’s developing for it). As for larger-screen portable computing devices, I already have a Mac laptop that can link to the internet through my phone (or wifi, even 802.11g!), with a full keyboard, an e-mail client (my choice of hundreds), and the ability to edit all MS Office documents — using MS Office apps, no less. And it runs every other app I need. All my work documents are on it. It can network with other computers and printers. As for the good things, though, Palm has incorporated two things that Apple is rumored to be working on — a subnotebook sized laptop with flash-based storage. If Apple ever does that, I’d absolutely love it. Palm doing it in a half-baked way doesn’t excite me.
And this is what Palm is up against. They’ve got a half-priced laptop that does less than half of what a laptop does. I can’t see that I could ever leave my laptop behind on a trip and just take the Foleo, and once I have the laptop, I don’t need the Foleo anymore. The Foleo is aimed at a business user, and frankly, every business user already has a laptop. And not many have Treos, honestly.
So, what should they have done? Released a stable, stripped-down Treo to go along with the Foleo. One the size of a Blackberry Pearl (or smaller), with no full-size keyboard, but still the ability to run Palm apps and sync with computers the way Palms do now. Then there might be a compelling need for a device like the Foleo — when you’re doing business, bring the Foleo, but when you’re going out, you have a sleek cell phone instead of the brick I carry around.
In summary, definitely not the iPhone killer we thought it might be trying to be. Not even close. I’m happy to see Palm’s innovation on the hardware front, but it worries me that they see a market for a device like this.
Photo from engadget.

Technorati is cool

May 29th, 2007, 8:29pm by Jake

Just checking Technorati today to see who’s talking about jakerome. My pictures have been blogged dozens of places now. My favorite find ever was today, when I saw someone used my iPod picture in an article about how some cardiology professor is using iPods to teach his kids. I had to run it through the Google translater, but maybe Mike can brush up on his Italian while interpreting the the original item for us.

Doritos Flavor Experiment

May 29th, 2007, 1:36am by Kelvin

This bland-looking Doritos bag contains chips of unknown flavor– You’re supposed to come up with name and submit it to for the chance to become a “Doritos Flavor Master.” You can also enter by texting “X-13D” to 24477. So, I hate to spoil it for anyone. Serena and I both thought the chips tasted VERY familiar…


Can you believe it gets better?

May 28th, 2007, 3:54pm by Jake

Can you believe it gets better?

At Star Wars Celebration IV.

First Review of the iPhone…

May 27th, 2007, 4:36pm by Kelvin

… albeit not “hands-on.” The Onion compares the Treo 680, Blackberry Curve, and the Apple iPhone.

Palm’s iPhone Killer?

May 26th, 2007, 12:41pm by Kelvin

To the extent that the iPhone is going to be a Treo-Killer, here’s hoping that Palm has a nice response in the form of a Treo-killer killer, widely believed to be announced this week at Walt Mossberg’s D conference. Palminfocenter has a good historical primer on what to expect.

Integration of baby + gadgets

May 25th, 2007, 9:21am by Mike

Ah, babies. Click on the picture for the full-size version (via Gizmodo)

iPhone Pay-as-you-go Rumor

May 22nd, 2007, 6:59pm by Kelvin

Check out this unlikely rumor on Boy Genius Report (via engadget mobile). There’s evidence that the iPhone will be available on pre-paid plans, the kind where you are not under any contract. That would mean that one could buy it without any intention of maintaining cell service. Interesting prospect, especially in light of reports that AT&T is not offering a subsidy on the iPhone, instead agreeing to share monthly subscriber revenue with Apple. Oddly, that arrangement give Apple an incentive to charge a premium price for iPhones that are sold without contract…

MTS Machine

May 22nd, 2007, 1:49pm by Jake

Did you guys see the MTS Machine on Engadget? I don’t quite get why they’re posing in front of mechanical testing equipment when the news is about non-destructive evaluation, but whatever.

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