palm

After yesterday's news that HP is discontinuing all webOS mobile devices, many members of the very passionate and loyal webOS community, including myself, have been shocked into wondering what we are supposed to do next. While I'm not saying that I've already jumped ship to Windows Phone 7 from webOS already (I still love my devices and the community behind them), it's not uncommon to see that many of you are already planning your trip to the store to pick up a new smartphone to replace the soon-to-be-antiquated HP Veer, Pre 2 or even the original Sprint Palm Pre (what we back at PreCentral call the Pre-Minus). Let's get this straight, because I know how loyal you guys are to your platform, switching to a WP7 device is not abandoning the webOS platform - but HP has made it very clear that they're not making phones anymore, so what else are you supposed to do? 

I've been using WP7 on my Dell Venue Pro for a little while now, and even though it's not a shiny new HP Pre 3 running webOS 3.0, it does have a whole lot going for it. If I absolutely had to make the decision tomorrow (which I don't and I'm not... yet), it would be very easy for me to make Windows Phone 7, and WPCentral.com, my new home in the smartphone universe. Let me put it to you this way: If you're thinking about switching to another platform from webOS, WP7 is one of the best options, if not the best, out there for you to choose today.

It's easy to say all of that, though without backing it up; but that's why I've come to WPCentral today to help ease the pain and make things a little more comfortable for those of you joining this community. The webOS platform had a whole lot going for it as an operating system built on mobile devices. Synergy, Just Type, Multitasking, Touchstone Charging, Exhibition Mode, non-interrupt notifications system and other great features (just to name a few) made webOS wholly unique and intuitive - but to say that WP7 isn't already pushing forward with many of these concepts (and even jumping ahead in a few) is to be ignorant of the facts.

To be quite frank - WP7 over any other platform is probably the most similar to webOS as being intuitive and market-changing, and even though many of you might choose this platform simply because it isn't iOS, Android of Blackberry, you should also be choosing it simply because it's a great operating system to use.

Here, by popular request, is a guide to help your transition from whatever webOS smartphone you might be using over to a Windows Phone 7 device. Written by someone who has loved webOS since the day it was announced and will stick with it until the day that it is finally put to rest. 

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9

HP still committed to Windows Phone 7

While it's a slow news day on the Windows Phone front, I don't think you can say the same for our friends at PreCentral.net, which covers the Palm side of the smart-phone industry.

HP has agreed to purchase Palm for $1.2 billion, paying $5.70 a share or about 23 percent more than what the stock is currently priced at. Palm will operate as a business unit within HP.

One of the many questions tossed out surrounding this acquisition is where does this put the Windows Phone? HP was listed as an initial hardware partner for Windows Phone 7 devicesm but will WebOS pull center stage with HP?

According to Brian Humphries, HP's VP of Strategy and Corporate Development, "We intend to continue to be a strategic partner for Microsoft. They're a huge piece of our business today and will continue to be so."

Other companies such as HTC has had success in producing smart-phones under different operating systems.  It will be interesting to see how HP does now that they own Palm. [via: Precentral.net]

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Here's one that will blow your mind.  Evidently, Verizon is or was planning on releasing the Palm Treo Pro.

Yup, that device from last year, featuring Windows Mobile 6.1, WiFi and EvDO Rev A. from what we're told is making its rounds on Verizon (or was).

From the photos above, you can see the following:

  • Software: T850EWW-1.00-VZW
  • Firmware: 1.12.40v
  • Verizon plugin for email
  • Verizon network plugin

That is newer firmware than the Sprint version (1.11.30F) and we're told it features CE OS 5.2.20765 (Build 20765.1.4.4).

Our thought? Hard to make sense of it.  The firmware and photos don't really lie, but since there is no branding anywhere on the device it's hard to judge.  Plus, there's that whole 'Why in the world would Verizon get this phone now!?' issue.

Ah, but we will share what we think is the official explanation:  

...through my conversations with folks at VZW, it was made clear to me that this unit would not ever be officially released. Verizon has a number of them, and they are for sale (if you know how to get at them), but they will not be seeing any acknowledgment or release

So we'll just leave these here for you to discuss amongst yourselves.

Oh and sorry to 'anonymous' for losing these in our mailbox form a few weeks ago. Blame Phil.

Edit: The more we think about it, the more flashbacks we're having with the Motorola Napoleon--a device branded by Verizon, never officially on sale, but was still sold to a few select customers.  Verizon...you truly have some strange policies!

 

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OK, that's singularly the weirdest headline I've every written. But it's true. Our fearless leader is championing Palm's webOS in the third annual Smartphone Round Robin, and its our job (you guys think I'm doing this by myself?) to teach him a thing or three about the latest in Windows Mobile.

You saw our sit-down during which Dieter took a look at the Touch Pro 2 and HD2, right? And you've been to the forums to answer some of his questions about the latest and greatest, right? And you know that anytime you do so you're entered to win a WinMo smartphone of your choice (up to $1,000), right?

C'mon. Let's show the boss the error of his webOS-lovin' ways, shall we?

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2

Palm Treo Pro goes sub-$200

Need a Windows Phone? Got $179? Then Dell may have a deal right up your alley. Dell is currently offering the Palm Treo Pro for the low, low, low price of $179. Yes, it's a Windows Mobile 6.1 phone. Yes, it's not slated for upgrade to WM 6.5 and beyond. But it is an outstanding Windows Phone in its own right.

Also keep in mind that chef's over at XDA Developers started cooking ROMs for the Treo Pro. Even though the Treo Pro isn't "officially" on the Windows Mobile 6.5 guest list, you can get some home cooking that will sneak you in the back door.

The Treo Pro is listed at Dell as the "Dell Daily Deal" so we don't know how long this steal of a deal will last. Thanks goes out to Micky over at thecellphonejunkie.com for passing on this tip.

Update: It appears the $179 "Dell Daily Deal" on the Treo Pro has sold out.  You can still get it through Dell here and at $199 (plus free shipping) it remains sub-$200 and a heck of a deal.

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Myriad metaphors come to mind when thinking about Palm and Microsoft. David and Goliath. A young upstart fighter who took a couple of punches, versus an aging but still powerful opponent. A young executive overtaking the old man in the corner office. Take your pick.

In the past year, Palm announced and delivered on a new (and some say revolutionary) operating system and a pair of new phones. Microsoft announced and delivered another iteration of its operating system, which has found itself on a number of new devices. Their stories parallel each other, though many say the companies and their platforms are traveling in opposite directions.

After the break, we go in-depth with Palm's webOS from a Windows Mobile perspective, Smartphone Round Robin-style.

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And so it begins. We kick off the third annual Smartphone Round Robin today by going head-to-head with Palm's webOS, the Pre and the Pixi — and one Dieter Bohn, esq., of PreCentral.net.

We've all seen webOS before, so it's the bells and whistles I was really interested in. Does it stand up with long-term multi-tasking? Will the Pre really skip across a pond? Things like that. And I have some of the same knocks as longtime users of webOS. The Pre is great, that's for sure. But will webOS hold up over time? Are the trade-offs made by the Pixi -- speed and WiFi -- really worth it?

So, I've started a thread in the PreCentral.net forums to help sort some of this out. And for our part, we've got video after the break of Dieter learnin' me a thing or three about this newfangled platform. (Note: No Pixis -- or Pixies -- were harmed by the monstrous HTC HD2 in the making of this video). So check it all out after the break, and get ready for more Round Robin coverage to come.

Let's get it on!

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7

GSM Treo Pro now unlocked!

The CDMA (Sprint) version of the Palm Treo Pro has been unlocked for a while now, meaning you can load custom ROMs and, especially, Windows Mobile 6.5.

Uber-hacker cmnoex has released a version of her hardSPL tool for the GSM version of the phone. A slight word of warning, however, from cmonex herself:

OK right now I don't have time for the final tests (am still without a device) but I suppose it works. let me know if it does.

Grab the unlocker at ppcgeeks. Any brave souls out there willing to give it a go? Let us know (and let cmonex know) in the comments. (And don't forget to donate to your favorite chef!)

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14

Palm finished with Windows Mobile

We hate to see it happen, but it's really not that much of a surprise:

After pumping out a half-dozen Windows Mobile devices, Palm officially is finished with the operating system and will focus solely on webOS. Our pals at PreCentral.net just broke the news from John Rubenstein himself during a financial conference call:

Due to importance of webOS to our overall strategy, we've made the decision to dedicate all future develoment resources to the evolution of webOS. Which means that going forward, our roadmap will include only Palm webOS-based devices

That's definitely a bummer for all you Windows Mobile Treo fans (and we certainly have our share around here). But strategically, it makes sense. Palm will be able to throw all of its resources into webOS, as it really needs to be doing.

The good news, at least for those of you lugging around Treo Pros, is that you'll still be able to partake in the Windows Mobile 6.5 fun, thanks to custom ROMs.

Fare thee well, Palm. Thanks for many years of solid Windows Mobile devices. You'll be missed.

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Well it only took about 12 months but the Palm Treo Pro  (full review) finally caved in today and had its finicky ext ROM unlocked thanks to cmonex and the first custom ROM by CFay, which just happens to be one of the latest versions of WM6.5.1 (Build 23409). 

CFay has also released a "clean" WM6.1 ROM, stripped of bloatware and tweaked for style and performance.

The Palm Treo Pro, designed by Palm but built by HTC, has much more in common with other HTC devices than previous Treos. However, unlocking the ROM files so new ones can be rebuilt has eluded many developers so far, proving to be as tough as Motorola devices.

And since we've heard nary a peep from anyone about an official ROM update from Palm, this is probably your only chance.

Users should be warned that this is in the very early stages of development and currently *only CDMA Treos* can do this, so let the dust settle before jumping, m'kay

Get all the goodies here:

A big congratulations and thanks goes to cmonex and CFay for their hard work.  Don't forget to show them some support via donations!

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4

Treo Pro Price Reduction at Best Buy

While it's not necessarily new news that Best Buy is offering the Treo Pro, it is news that their price has finally come down to earth. Don't know when it happened but today when we were surfing the internet, the price had fallen to $399.99.

This is in-line with Palm.com's offering as well as other online retailers. While most are watching and waiting for the HTC Touch Pro 2, the Treo Pro remains a very good choice if you're looking for a Windows Mobile phone and prefer a front facing keyboard.

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There have been a few stories floating around lately positing that Microsoft should gobble up Palm. And we couldn't agree with our man Dieter Bohn more when he says no. Hail no. And Dieter's gone and summed things up over at Precentral.net. Were we going to boil it down to two sentences, we'd choose these:

I'm still optimistic that Microsoft will be resurgent in the mobile space next year, but they're going to do it their way. Trying to do it Palm's way is a flat-out bad idea.

Give it a read. Then head back over here and let us know what you think in the comments.

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Now take this with a big ol' grain of salt, but Verizon reportedly may get the latest and greatest er the second-most recently launched um the Palm Treo 800w ... wait for it ... in February 2010.

That's according to a PhoneArena tipster called "SnapDude," and even PA admits that this is far from official. Now don't get us wrong, the Treo 800w was a favorite around here for a while. But Palm has followed it with the Windows Mobile-powered Treo Pro and, of course, the Pre. Heck, we were talking nearly a year ago about Verizon bringing the 800w and still haven't seen it.

On the other hand, we can't help but chuckle when thinking about Verizon blabbing just days before the Palm Pre launched on Sprint that it would be getting the Pre. And then to not get the 800w out the door until February 2010? Well, karma's a fickle mother sometimes.

The other WinMo phone release rumored in the PA post is the Samsung Omnia II. We know Verizon and Sammy play well together, but is it realistic to think that the Omnia II could be released by Christmas? We'll see.

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Thanks to some eagle-eyed (and tenacious!) forum members, it looks like Verizon has slapped a big ol' "While Supplies Last!" badge on the venerable Palm Treo 700wx (as if the exclamation mark is really necessary).

Usually that's a good sign that the device's run is coming to a quiet end.

Coincidentally, forum member Scott who has been relentlessly hounding Verizon on the status of the Treo 800w, has nailed those guys down to a specific date for release: October 12th.

(see our earlier coverage here)

Sometimes, the stars just align perfectly and everything comes together. Stay tuned...

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If you're in the market for a new Windows Mobile Phone, the Palm Treo Pro just became a little harder to ignore. Palm has dropped the price of an unlocked model from $549 to $399. 

With Windows Mobile Standard alternatives such as the Samsung Jack available in the neighborhood of $350 and carrier-branded HTC devices pushing $500 out of contract the Treo Pro becomes very attractive to those looking for a WM Pro phone.

No telling if this is a permanent price drop or a limited time only savings.  Oh and as an added bonus, it looks like Palm is including a free travel charger and shipping on top of a very good price on a very good phone.

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5

Chief WMExpert hits up CNN

We'll have to forgive the boss for not getting a Windows Mobile phone into the conversation (note to HTC, Samsung et al: It's past time to get something new and cool out in the U.S.), but it's still great to see one of our own getting a few minutes of face time on CNN.

Dieter talked smartphones with CNN International's "Quest Means Business," giving some love to the Palm Pre and, yes, the iPhone. We have just one question for el jefe: You couldn't sneak in a shot of the watch?

Hit the pic above to check out the interview. Oh, and Dieter isn't the only one making the media rounds. The iPhone Blog's Rene Ritchie landed a spot on National Public Radio.

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No phone is perfect, and the Sprint Treo Pro has some hiccups as well. One that has been documented by many is an issue with the ringer where essentially the settings get corrupted in the registry, resulting in "silent" incoming calls:

The root cause of the Treo Pro No Ringer issue is related to a rare corruption of the Treo Pro’s registry key. This can lead to the smart phone not ringing and causing the user to miss an incoming call.

If you see a Software Version that is T850EWW-1.04-SPT you should install this update.

Interestingly this "update" looks to be an old fix for the Treo 750 found here and brought to Palm's attention here, though a complete tear-down of the official .cab fix needs to be done to confirm.

This also does not address the other missed-call problem associated with fringe reception (documented and addressed here), that is the one where you get no notification at all about a missed call as opposed to just a silent ringer.

Get the official patch/update from Palm here.  For those on the go, here is the OTA update link. And remember that you'll have to re-apply the fix if you hard-reset your phone.

 

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2

Oooooo ... This Treo Pro is shiny

Hey, there's nothing wrong with the glossy black Treo Pro that we've come to know and love. But there's just something about chrome that gets us going. And so when we saw this shot from the official repair manual, we needed a minute. Of course, this could be a region-specific thing, or from a prototype or repair unit, so don't expect to get one anytime soon. But it's still pretty slick.

Head on over to PPCGeeks to download the repair manual and check out more blood and guts of the Treo Pro.

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