Comments on: Cingular Announces Treo 680 Availability

Treo 680Cingular has announced the Treo 680 will be available in its stores and online beginning Friday, Nov. 24. The Palm Treo 680 will be sold for as low as $199 with a two year contract agreement and an unlimited data plan.
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Unlocked cheaper than locked?

SeldomVisitor @ 11/22/2006 6:32:16 AM # Q
== "...It will also be available for $279 with a one year
== agreement and $449 with no contract..."

Yet you can buy a colored unlocked one direct from PALM for $399?

I'm sure Cingular likes that.


Reply to this comment

Married? I'm Singular Like Wireless Baby

matt_laughs @ 11/22/2006 8:49:10 AM # Q
yeah, this reminds me of the time i got a cingular wireless edge card. when it was new for 80 a month for unlimited, 1 year contract, then 6 monthes later i got a bill for 6 thousand dollars...... yeah they changed it back to normal. just very strange. but i find this pricing for the 680 more strange.

also, does cingular still only have customer phone service from like 8-5 mon-fri? that SUCKED


502-938-5135 was my card number (now deactivated)


thats what she said!

Reply to this comment

Definition of 'Low End'

jfme @ 11/22/2006 9:05:05 AM # Q
$199 Down, $80+/month

Nowadays you can get a brand new "Low End" car for less than that.

RE: Definition of 'Low End'
cervezas @ 11/22/2006 1:35:52 PM # Q
The nice thing about Cingular is that the unlimited data plans don't cost you $80/mo like on Verizon. They mention a $45 plan in the article and I believe there's a SmartPhone Connect plan with unlimited data for $20. That's in addition to your voice plan, but still comparatively reasonable.

EVDO really isn't worth an extra $720 a year for me. I find EDGE data speeds to be plenty snappy for business applications that I cares about, which is one reason why I stick with Cingular as the carrier for my primary phone. I suspect that that logic will apply pretty well to quite a few enterprise customers of the Treo 680 as well.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Definition of 'Low End'
freakout @ 11/22/2006 7:17:17 PM # Q
^^ I suspect it will work for consumers, too.
RE: Definition of 'Low End'
AdamaDBrown @ 11/23/2006 5:02:21 PM # Q
Actually Verizon's smartphone data plans are $45 per month, as are Cingular's. The Cingular $20 plan is not supposed to be allowed for use on Treos or PPC phones, though in practice it's not hard to get.

Reply to this comment

Without data?

Colormeweb @ 11/22/2006 9:20:43 AM # Q
Does anyone know what the cost will be if you dont want the data plan? There have got to be others like me that carry a palm and a phone and would like to converge but dont need the data plan.

RE: Without data?
richm @ 11/30/2006 10:35:10 AM # Q
I have been using my Palm 650 since it came out and I don't have a data plan with Cingular and was never required to have one. And you should not be required to have one with the 680 either. Works great still... I am thinking of getting the 680

Reply to this comment

hmmmm

matt_laughs @ 11/22/2006 9:12:38 AM # Q
$449.99 from Cingular, with no contract (there is a month trial of Yahoo!'s music service and a free 1GB SD card, for a limited time only)-according to treocentral.

i need these things for work, thats why i get to the price of adjust my taxable gross income by tax deducting the price.

their service was unreliable as far as the connection went, i got kicked off once an hour or once every 30 megabytes. whichever came first, on average.

i had that, and a 3 foot 70$ wilson attenna and a sony ericson adapter....many phones have adapters for increased signal, but they are not in manuals, and unadvertised, yet wilson sells adapters to their external attenna ports, and they make modded adapters to work with ones that dont have the port. for people in rural areas, these are nice.

that didnt help my connection, did increase one bar to two of signal, but i did get better speeds sometimes, in big cities. i later tried the original tracker attenna....it looks like an xm cone attenna, and it worked better in both respects.

thats what she said!

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Attracting new users to smartphones

palmdiva @ 11/22/2006 1:20:39 PM # Q
From whatI understood part of Palms rationale with the 680 was to attract those who in the past haven't used smartphones by making them more appealing through lower prices and the like. Well what idiot, be it Cingular or Palm then decided, let's make them in colors but at Cingular, they'll only be available in graphite, despite the fact that women and the younger users may be attracted to colors and wait, lets price it more than the new nokia E62 and other available smartphones, and finally if you accept that 200.00 with a 2 year contract isn't the worse pricing, let's make that monthly data plan almost 50.00 a month.
Yeah that will really draw Joe and Josephine "not early adopter "in to buy one.

I'm going to guess, that Palm doesen't embrace the use of focus groups and then pass along the data to the carriers.

At some point, I might upgrade someones phone, since we are a cingular family plan customer (3 650's and an e62) with data plans. however we weren't the target market in the first place.

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/22/2006 2:27:45 PM # Q
The E62 is available free now - no dataplan required (though I would suppose one would want one...maybe). And the Q is $99 - not sure why people Keep On Mentioning an $80 monthly plan, though, when that has never been a requirement - perhaps just FUD out of PALM marketing like the "enormous Q return rate"?

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/22/2006 5:35:54 PM # Q
I'm guessing the 680 won't be $199 forever. Give it a few months and it'll be down to current Q pricing. (although by then, the Q will probably be free...)
RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/23/2006 12:25:35 PM # Q
SeldomVisitor wrote:
The E62 is available free now - no dataplan required (though I would suppose one would want one...maybe). And the Q is $99 - not sure why people Keep On Mentioning an $80 monthly plan, though, when that has never been a requirement - perhaps just FUD out of PALM marketing like the "enormous Q return rate"?

The E62 is not free: it's $99 after the rebate and a 2 yr plan. http://www.cingular.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phones/pda-phones-smartphones.jsp

And sure, you can get Q without a data plan, but what would be the point of that? The point I've been making is you can get data plans for the 680 for as little as $8/mo, $20 for all-you-can-eat.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/23/2006 6:55:26 PM # Q
Silly person - do you REALLY think I would post a hard statement like "The E62 is free now" without being absolutely sure of the fact that it is free?

Sheesh.

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
matt_laughs @ 11/23/2006 7:37:52 PM # Q
so where is your proof?

thats what she said!
RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/23/2006 7:42:11 PM # Q
Ya know, I should leave it as an exercise for the reader...

In fact, I think I will.

Enjoy yer search!

[offer good til 28th or so so don't take yer time!]

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/23/2006 9:12:00 PM # Q
RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/23/2006 11:12:06 PM # Q
There's no free lunch in my experience with those third party dealers. Read the fine print (if you can even find it before it's too late) and beware. They typically require you to get a pricier calling plan than you need, penalize you if you change your plan later, often put arcane restrictions on how or whether you get your rebate, and don't tell you that you waive your ability to return the phone to the carrier if you have a problem with it. I dare you to try to process a return, get a replacement phone, or extract any kind of warranty service from one of those third party dealers.

You get what you pay for. And I stand by my original statement that the E62 is *not* free in any sense of the word that matters--not from Cingular, and not from "LetsTalk" or "Wirefly."

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

Are Treos 2 expensive 2 sell in 2006 - 2007?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 11/24/2006 2:20:20 AM # Q
Beersy, your ability to pretend to not see any points that invalidate your position is quite endearing. Let me simplify things for you:

Palm's smartphone offerings are being undercut on price by the competition. In a price-sensitive world, that is A Bad Thing.


TVoR

RE: Will the 680 fly off the shelves in 2006-2007?
freakout @ 11/24/2006 5:08:25 AM # Q
Palm has managed to sell millions of expensive smartphones for years. In a price-sensitive world, this is an Amazing Thing. Obviously they're doing something right or they wouldn't still be in business.

Palm have addressed every major complaint* against the Treo with the 680, excepting thin-ness and wifi. The external antenna is gone, there's plenty of memory, the phone rececption is (apparently) improved and the price is much easier to digest. What's not to like? It's going to be a hit.


*although they've created some new ones: i.e. WTF is with No Reset Button? And of course the smaller battery, but I suppose that's the price we have to pay for more curves and a lighter weight...

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/24/2006 10:26:17 AM # Q
TVoR wrote:
Palm's smartphone offerings are being undercut on price by the competition. In a price-sensitive world, that is A Bad Thing.

So go buy the cheaper competition! Nothing bad about that. I'm sure you'll love the E62. And you'll make a wonderful addition to the AllAboutSymbian forums! :D

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/24/2006 10:36:45 AM # Q
The reset-by-removing-and-replacing-the-battery maneuver is actually pretty quick and easy. Just as importantly, it's something that a new user will try intuitively if the screen get's frozen in the "on" position. I thought it was weird at first, too, but after using it for a while I think maybe it's actually a good idea.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog
RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
Gekko @ 11/24/2006 10:55:41 AM # Q

this reset tool works good too assuming that the phone is not completely frozen.

http://software.palminfocenter.com/product.asp?id=883

basic features are free - i.e. reset and auto phone radio turn-on.

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
Gekko @ 11/24/2006 10:57:48 AM # Q

verizon and cingular's data pricing is borderline criminal.

sprint is cearly now the way to go. great coverage, great service, great pricing.

http://sprint.p.delivery.net/m/p/sprint/epc/epclanding.asp



RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/24/2006 11:28:33 AM # Q
The Q is now $75 at Amazon.

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/24/2006 11:29:32 AM # Q
And the E62 is $25 at Amazon.

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/24/2006 12:49:20 PM # Q
Does Amazon still use InPhonic as its dealer? If so, absolutely watch out because they're one of the worst. InPhonic will promise you rebates that they do not pay and refunds on returns that never materialize. I've known three specific cases of people being ripped off for between $250 and $500 by InPhonic.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog
RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/24/2006 3:06:35 PM # Q
You seem to be going sufficiently far out of your way to attempt to denigrate the idea that The Competition really is coming in better and cheaper than PALM that it suggests more than mere opinion is invested here.

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/24/2006 4:50:21 PM # Q
^^ Just sounds like a fair warning about a dodgy third-party carrier to me...
RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/24/2006 7:20:51 PM # Q
SeldomVisitor wrote:
You seem to be going sufficiently far out of your way to attempt to denigrate the idea that The Competition really is coming in better and cheaper than PALM that it suggests more than mere opinion is invested here.

I don't know how you got the idea that I was saying the Treo was better than the cheaper competition. I think for a lot of folks the 680 will be a great choice thanks to the touchscreen and Palm's refinements, so I expect them to do well with it. But I'm personally also very impressed with the Nokia E61 with the built-in WiFi. And I'm fond of the ugly duckling Nokia 9300, which isn't cheaper than the Treo but is an awesome high-end PDA phone. I'm not so stupid as to suggest that the new crop of Treo knock-offs aren't going to be competing fiercely for Palm's customers.

I like the Palm OS, but as most readers here know I've never been a huge fan of the Treo. The 680 has grown on me over the last few weeks, which is the longest time I've ever used a Treo, but my vision of a truly great smartphone isn't something that ANY vendor has come very close to hitting yet, so no, I'm absolutely not "invested," as you say.



David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/24/2006 9:00:14 PM # Q
but my vision of a truly great smartphone isn't something that ANY vendor has come very close to hitting yet

What is that vision?

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/25/2006 11:15:41 AM # Q
freakout wrote:
What is that vision?

That's a little too long to go into here. I'll write it up soon (probably on my blog) and post a link for anyone who is interested.


David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

Debunking Beersy (Part 27)
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 11/25/2006 12:21:14 PM # Q
TVoR wrote:
Palm's smartphone offerings are being undercut on price by the competition. In a price-sensitive world, that is A Bad Thing.

So go buy the cheaper competition! Nothing bad about that. I'm sure you'll love the E62. And you'll make a wonderful addition to the AllAboutSymbian forums! :D

Since I was BANNED from the (long since dead) site, All About Palm for simply asking PalmSource's Michael Mace questions that everyone at Palm/PalmSource would prefer left unasked, I doubt I would ever join any other "All About XYZ" forum.

As you know, I've been one of Palm's most vocal advocates (and critics) since the company began and have also heavily invested in PalmOS hardware, so despite your wishes, TVoR won't be going anywhere. As I now have the biggest stash of new Samsung i500, European (Bluetooth + Wi-Fi) Sony CLIE TH55 and CLIE UX50 on the planet, I suspect I'll be using PalmOS devices well after pretenders like you have moved on to Linux devices, Beersy. These Voices Don't Run.

The reset-by-removing-and-replacing-the-battery maneuver is actually pretty quick and easy. Just as importantly, it's something that a new user will try intuitively if the screen get's frozen in the "on" position. I thought it was weird at first, too, but after using it for a while I think maybe it's actually a good idea.

Your ability to rationalize Palm's stupidity knows no bounds, Beersy. I suppose next you'll be saying the smaller capacity battery is also A Good Thing, since it limits how much time you can use your device, freeing up precious time to spend with your family, right? Don't embarass yourself sprouting pure nonsense, Beersy.


The Q is now $75 at Amazon.

And the E62 is $25 at Amazon.

2 reasons why Palm will post heavy losses this quarter (unless they again "borrow" sales from the future, which I hope Colligan is not stupid enough to try to pull off - unless they know the buyout is imminent).

You seem to be going sufficiently far out of your way to attempt to denigrate the idea that The Competition really is coming in better and cheaper than PALM that it suggests more than mere opinion is invested here.

hengeem, Beersy is one of the biggest Palm Apologists on the planet outside Sunnyvale. Even though he sounds like a Palm-sponsored Astroturfer, his ridiculously "optimistic" posts stem more from his uncontrollable need to ingratiate himself with Palm/PalmSource employees than any more sleazy reasons.

...the new crop of Treo knock-offs...

Your feeble attempt to trivialize the design abilities of companies like Nokia, HTC, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, etc by claiming their smartphones are merely "Treo knock-offs" is quite telling, Beersy. It's obvious that youu're Colligan's biotch.

freakout wrote:
What is that vision?

That's a little too long to go into here. I'll write it up soon (probably on my blog) and post a link for anyone who is interested.

Be a man for a change, Beersy. Post your "brilliant" vision here at Palminfocenter for all to see (and respond to) rather than posting to your obscure little blog site that attracts few visitors.


TVoR wants to see 4 major smartphone categories:

1) Treo 600/Nokia E61 form factor, but lighter (5 oz), thinner, better (more tactile feedback but less resistance) buttons, no external antenna, slightly bigger (OLED) screen.

2) Samsung i550 form factor, but thinner, no external antenna.

3) HTC TyTN or Nokia 9300 form factor, but lighter, thinner and with slightly bigger screen.

4) Ultra-simplistic Sony Ericsson K750 (or similar) form factor. http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson-phones-19.php


I realize that Palm lacks the ability to advance the smartphone design beyond what Handspring did with the Treo 600, so it will be up to traditional cellphone manufacturers to take things to the next level.

TVoR

Palm can't afford to keep crippling its products
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 11/25/2006 1:34:39 PM # Q
Palm has managed to sell millions of expensive smartphones for years. In a price-sensitive world, this is an Amazing Thing. Obviously they're doing something right or they wouldn't still be in business.

Wrong. It's not hard to succeed if you have no competition.

Palm have addressed every major complaint* against the Treo with the 680, excepting thin-ness and wifi. The external antenna is gone, there's plenty of memory, the phone rececption is (apparently) improved and the price is much easier to digest. What's not to like? It's going to be a hit.

Bull. What about weight, size, Wi-Fi, battery life, price and voice quality. How about build quality and reliability? All it would take is fo a new Motorola Q to become the trendy fashion statement du jour for business professionals (much like the Palm V did 7 years ago) and the Treo market may dry up, literally overnight. Palm seems incapable of understanding 2 crucial facts in the cellphone business:

1) Style sells and lack of style remains an albatross around Palm's neck.

2) Companies that stand still are soon DEAD. Just because you were first to market a solid product in a new niche means NOTHING to consumers a few years later. "What have you done for me lately?" should be tattoed into the foreheads of every Palm employee ASAP. I Have Tattoo Needles And Will Travel... Call me, Ed.

*although they've created some new ones: i.e. WTF is with No Reset Button? And of course the smaller battery, but I suppose that's the price we have to pay for more curves and a lighter weight...

Again, Palm continues the tradition of buggering up its designs by design. Pathetic. That way of stratifying its products may have worked 5 years ago in the PDA sphere, but it sure as He11 won't work in 2007 in the cellphone market.


TVoR

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/25/2006 4:26:36 PM # Q
Bull. What about weight, size, Wi-Fi, battery life, price and voice quality. How about build quality and reliability?


The 680 is lighter (okay, only an ounce, but it's still lighter.) It's cheaper and the price will only go down further from here. None of the reviews I've read yet have cited voice quality as an issue. The build quality of the Treo hasn't really been an issue since the 650 - almost 2 years now of very rough treatment and the only problem I've encountered with mine is a slightly wobbly SIM tray. Reliability is just fine in my eyes.

I'm disappointed in the smaller battery, but its all a tradeoff. It's not like we didn't get anything in return: we got a lighter, curvier phone. As for wifi, you're right. No excuses for that.

It's also worth noting that the Treo still has one hardware to lord over other smartphones: the touchscreen. It's so very convenient, I'm not sure I could ever go back to using a gadget without one.

All it would take is for a new Motorola Q to become the trendy fashion statement du jour for business professionals (much like the Palm V did 7 years ago) and the Treo market may dry up, literally overnight.

Well, if the Q was Moto's best shot, forgive me if I die laughing. :P

Again, Palm continues the tradition of buggering up its designs by design.

Yep, I'm completely mystified by taking away the reset button. It's not like it would have added any extra cost, and leaving it in wouldn't have prevented first-time users from instinctively using the battery remove-and-replace maneuver. Bizarre, but not a dealbreaker.

That way of stratifying its products may have worked 5 years ago in the PDA sphere, but it sure as He11 won't work in 2007 in the cellphone market.

It's going to be an interesting year, isn't it?

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/25/2006 5:01:27 PM # Q
TVoR:
1) Treo 600/Nokia E61 form factor, but lighter (5 oz), thinner, better (more tactile feedback but less resistance) buttons, no external antenna, slightly bigger (OLED) screen.

2) Samsung i550 form factor, but thinner, no external antenna.

3) HTC TyTN or Nokia 9300 form factor, but lighter, thinner and with slightly bigger screen.

4) Ultra-simplistic Sony Ericsson K750 (or similar) form factor. http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson-phones-19.php

(1) - a slightly bigger screen would be nice but you then wind up with something too big for a phone but too small for a tablet. I think the E61 is actually a bit too wide already; even though that screen is gorgeous, it just feels weird when you're using it as a phone. (I was able to play with one at the Optus store the other day.)

(2) Why don't we just petition Samsung to release an updated i550? ;)

Agreed with 3 and 4. I'd also add:

(5) Small clamshell, a la the LG CU400: http://tinyurl.com/y45ox6

cervezas
That's a little too long to go into here. I'll write it up soon (probably on my blog) and post a link for anyone who is interested.

Oh, go on. Give us a preview. ;)

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
twrock @ 11/26/2006 4:52:42 AM # Q
It's also worth noting that the Treo still has one hardware to lord over other smartphones: the touchscreen. It's so very convenient, I'm not sure I could ever go back to using a gadget without one.

Shhhh! Not so loud. Palm is in a habit of removing really useful features. Don't start them reconsidering this one too.

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.

My idea of a great smartphone
cervezas @ 11/27/2006 11:58:50 AM # Q
Ok, Tim, here's an article where I describe a Treo that I would consider to be a truly great smartphone: http://www.pikesoft.com/blog/index.php?itemid=120 I even included pictures so TVoR and Gekko can follow along! ;-)

Basic design principles:

1. Modularize so users can "build their own" phone. If there's one thing we know from fan sites like PalmInfocenter it's that everyone has a different concept of the ideal feature set. So let them plug in the hardware features they want like you could with the old Handspring Visor.

2. Don't compromise on the physical interface. QWERTY keyboards are great for entering text but they suck when you're using the handset for its primary function: placing and receiving calls. A great smartphone should offer one keypad optimized for voice operation and another QWERTY keyboard for everything else. Nokia got it right with the 9000 series communicators--they just didn't get the size down enough and they left off the touchscreen.

3. You don't need a fragile touchscreen on the outside of the device if you've got a big one on the inside. Big enough to drive demand for premium data plans and persuade the carriers to subsidize it generously.

After that it's just the same game everyone is playing: get the outside dimensions as small as you can. I don't think we're far away from being able to realize the design I describe in a sleek, pocketable enclosure.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
Gekko @ 11/27/2006 3:22:58 PM # Q
>1. Modularize so users can "build their own" phone. If there's one thing we know from fan sites like PalmInfocenter it's that everyone has a different concept of the ideal feature set. So let them plug in the hardware features they want like you could with the old Handspring Visor.

Beersie's "preferred" hardware add-on:

http://www.b3tards.com/uploads/dildo-joystick.jpg


RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/27/2006 7:04:43 PM # Q
^^ Would have been funnier if you TinyURL'd that. The link gives it away ;)

From the Pikesoft blog:

Given that we are adding a module system and a touchscreen digitizer to the interior screen, I may actually be pushing beyond the envelope of what can feasibly (or economically) be done in the way of miniaturization. Clearly, small size is a big factor in smartphone adoption, especially among new users. But how long can it be before a "convertible" design like this can be realized with the slim profile that so many consumers expect today?

That's the million-dollar question, isn't it? One of my mates had the Nokia 9300 you made reference to and it was laughably brick-like, even more so than the Treo. (He very quickly dumped it for something a bit less likely to induce a hernia) I think a lot of it hinges on batteries; it sucks that they're probably one of the slowest-moving areas of mobile tech. (How long has it been since we've seen a powerful, innovative new battery design for phones?)

The problem with modularisation is that the relentless advance of technology will eventually make your modules obsolete. GPS chips, for instance, are shrinking rapidly: http://tinyurl.com/yx2ddb. Of course, the argument can be made that by putting everything into modules, you make the base unit dirt-cheap and people can just buy the bits they want.

Nice ideas.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/28/2006 9:56:43 AM # Q
Absolutely right about batteries spoiling the Moore's law party these days. That's one reason why Palm should take a page from Samsung's book and design the battery to form an integrated part of the enclosure instead of having to fit behind a door: the user can decide for themself if they want to install a big, long-running one or a thin, stylish one that just gets you through the day. Why not give users the choice about the tradeoff between style and utility instead of forcing them to accept the designer's choice? They could make good money selling different size batteries along with all the rest of the modules.

I disagree that "the problem with modularisation is that the relentless advance of technology will eventually make your modules obsolete." That's the beauty of modularization: instead of your whole $400 phone being obsoleted you only have to replace a $80 module to get the latest technology (for whatever that module does). Don't modularize the cellular radio, of course: the carriers would not take kindly to that.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/28/2006 10:32:44 AM # Q
There ya go again - hinting about The Next Great Thing...

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/28/2006 11:41:49 AM # Q
BTW, that's actually a good article you posted on GPS chipset advances, Tim: http://tinyurl.com/yx2ddb (without the period on the end that "broke" the link). I agree with the author that location-based services become a huge opportunity once GPS receivers are light enough on batteries. And it sounds like we may be at the tipping point. So many cool possibilities beyond the navigation applications that we are seeing today.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog
RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/28/2006 12:16:58 PM # Q
Yeah, but do you REALLY want to receive 479 text messages from companies along the highway as you pass them - or worse?

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/28/2006 1:16:58 PM # Q
SeldomVisitor wrote:
do you REALLY want to receive 479 text messages from companies along the highway as you pass them - or worse?

No, you don't, and companies that are foolish enough to try will quickly realize that that's an even stupider way to market themselves than unsolicited email.

The kind of thing I have in mind:

* Social networking applications that tell you when someone who shares an interest with you is nearby and enables you to message them if they are accepting. Or view their web page. Equally great for business conferences, singles bars, and kids hanging out after school.

* Forget directions: tell me how long will it take me to drive from my position to the airport given current traffic conditions?

* How long before I have to go out to the curb to meet the cab I just called (#438, which has an in-car GPS and wireless) given his current position, course and traffic conditions?

* Where are the nearest WiFi hotspots (free or commercial) and what can I get with my WiFi (coffee, a burger, a book, a comfortable chair)?

* What's the closest theater that has a 7:30ish showing of Casino Royale? And bill two tickets to my wireless account while you're at it, so I don't have to stand in line.

* Snap a picture of the McDonald's billboard as you pass it on the highway, a server recognizes the Golden Arches logo you phone just uploaded, and then sends you a text message (or web page) with turn-by-turn directions to the nearest McDonalds. Don't make me waste precious storage on umpty seven megabytes of maps, just so I can get the one I need at this moment.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
twrock @ 11/28/2006 8:33:56 PM # Q
No, you don't, and companies that are foolish enough to try will quickly realize that that's an even stupider way to market themselves than unsolicited email.

So the unbelievable amounts of spam that I get every day in my inbox would be a good indicator that companies recognize it is a stupid idea to market themselves via unsolicited methods? Right.

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/28/2006 10:55:16 PM # Q
OK, I didn't say that correctly. Unsolicited email does make money or it wouldn't continue. One reason it does is because it's a pure Internet business model in which the seller reaps the benefit of a tiny number of customers who actually respond and pays essentially no cost for the annoyance caused to the millions who don't.

Location-based SMS messaging is not an Internet business model, it's a brick-and-mortar business model. The people you are spamming are mostly local and you are actually making them pay on their phone bill for the privilege of receiving your unsolicited message. My guess is that local businesses engaging in SMS spam would lose five potential customers for every one they gained.

What you might have emerge is a kind of permission marketing, though: the user initiates the contact with the company (like the McDonalds billboard example I gave above) and the company pays the wireless carrier to process "clicks" on it's billboard, much as they pay websites when visitors click on an ad with their mouse. You click a picture of the McDonalds sign, get an offer and directions to the nearest McDonalds in a text message along with a unique code. When you show up at the McDonalds and give them your code you get a free large fries or maybe 15 free minutes added to your wireless account. That kind of LBS marketing is something that can make money. Precisely because it's not unsolicited.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/29/2006 3:37:27 AM # Q
cervezas:
Don't modularize the cellular radio, of course: the carriers would not take kindly to that.

Understatement Of The Year. ;)

My real beef with modularisation is that you could very quickly wind up with a pocket or bag full of modules, and you may find yourself in the position of having to swap out one module for another when it would really be much more convenient to have it built into the device. It may work for a PDA but for a smartphone I think it would quickly become a nuisance.

My point about obsolescence was based on the Springboards we saw for the Visor; pretty much everything that was offered as an add-on module then is now built into the Treo, with the exception of GPS and wifi. And the Massager, of course. Plus, there's a degree of modularity built into devices already via SDIO - the problem is that it's normally in an awkward position. (A module slot underneath the device as you envision would be a whole lot more convenient, though.)

SV:
Yeah, but do you REALLY want to receive 479 text messages from companies along the highway as you pass them - or worse?

My hope with LBS, once they come of age, is that you'll be able to turn off the reporting of your current location, or at least only make it available to a whitelist you specify. Otherwise scary possibilities for in-your-face advertising and even stalking emerge...

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
SeldomVisitor @ 11/29/2006 6:51:19 AM # Q
It should be ntoed, of course, that if there is money to be made by a carrier via unsolicited text messaging, or worse, then the carriers necessarily will pursue that manoey.

Right now we pay (er...do we?) to receive text messages - I =easily= could envision a carrier implementing different types of text messaging (or worse) where the recipient does NOT pay (*).

==========

(*) Actually, I know they already have this since my old TDMA phone used to get ad messages from AT&T and I certainly never paid for them! Maybe Cingular, too.

But TEXT messages would be the least intrusive ad methods the carriers could implement...(of course, my GPS device could have ads pop up visually, etc - I think that's already done ala Goggle Maps style).


RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 11/29/2006 10:08:03 AM # Q
freakout wrote:

My real beef with modularisation is that you could very quickly wind up with a pocket or bag full of modules, and you may find yourself in the position of having to swap out one module for another when it would really be much more convenient to have it built into the device. It may work for a PDA but for a smartphone I think it would quickly become a nuisance.

Point noted. Of course nothing would stop Palm or a third party from releasing multipurpose modules (GPS + accelerometer is an obvious one for athletic training or hiking, WiFi + camera or Bluetooth + camera would be good general purpose combo modules). Many modules would have a small battery and/or extra memory included. One thing about the design I drew is that you really have two expansion slots--it's just that one is normally occupied by a battery. You could double up the battery with WiFi and then use the other slot for something else you want. Lots of possibilities.

My point about obsolescence was based on the Springboards we saw for the Visor; pretty much everything that was offered as an add-on module then is now built into the Treo, with the exception of GPS and wifi.

First of all, the GPS and WiFi along are probably the two most wanted features for the Treo. Secondly, the fact that the Treo has to have everything but the kitchen sink in it to sell to a broad enough audience is why it's too expensive to sell to that broad audience. I don't want a camera and I don't care much about Bluetooth, so don't make me pay for them. Let me put something I need into the phone instead. Finally, you're forgetting all the Visor modules that were oddball to 90% of us but totally made the deal for the rest: the barcode scanner, the credit card mag-stripe reader, are good examples. And what about the option to graduate to a real digital camera or a real mass-storage audio player?

Plus, there's a degree of modularity built into devices already via SDIO - the problem is that it's normally in an awkward position.

Yes, and it's ugly and you can't hang something substantial off that slot.

My hope with LBS, once they come of age, is that you'll be able to turn off the reporting of your current location, or at least only make it available to a whitelist you specify. Otherwise scary possibilities for in-your-face advertising and even stalking emerge...

There are several kinds of LBS. There are pesky legal issues with privacy and quite a bit of public uproar already about phones that report on your position to snoopy bosses or stalkers. I've developed some software like that for companies that want to track their drivers and even if you get all the drivers to sign off on it (which is hard) there are still legal concerns. Suffice it to say, I don't think many people are going to have that forced down their throat for these reasons and the ones you mention. The kind of LBS that makes money is where you initiate the request or where you agree to report your position to select services in exchange for something. Like free airtime. I foresee a day not too far away when people who are willing to accept some advertising from local businesses will not have to pay for wireless at all. Wireless will become like television: you can get it broadcast for free or you can pay to skip the commercials.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
freakout @ 11/30/2006 4:24:03 AM # Q
First of all, the GPS and WiFi along are probably the two most wanted features for the Treo. Secondly, the fact that the Treo has to have everything but the kitchen sink in it to sell to a broad enough audience is why it's too expensive to sell to that broad audience. I don't want a camera and I don't care much about Bluetooth, so don't make me pay for them. Let me put something I need into the phone instead. Finally, you're forgetting all the Visor modules that were oddball to 90% of us but totally made the deal for the rest: the barcode scanner, the credit card mag-stripe reader, are good examples. And what about the option to graduate to a real digital camera or a real mass-storage audio player?


(pause)
Okay, you win, it would be awesome. ;)

Although... an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach is getting cheaper all the time e.g. in that Treonauts item I posted, the cost for inbuilt GPS solutions is getting close to under $10 a unit. I can't imagine wifi is far off that price point either (if it's not there already); the stumbling block to getting it integrated is probably Garnet's inability to handle both a cellular connection and a wifi connection simultaneously, as we seemed to learn from the Shadowmite wifi hack.

Another point: if modules were what people wanted, shouldn't the Visor have been a smashing success and Handspring still around today?

I think this device would make for an excellent PDA/personal media player - and I'd probably buy one - but as a phone I'm not convinced. Still, maybe you should raise some capital, make one yourself and turn Pikesoft into the new Nokia. ;)

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650

Gettin' cheaper fast
SeldomVisitor @ 12/1/2006 6:31:07 AM # Q
The T-Mobile Blackberry Pearl is now available from LetsTalk even cheaper - they'll give you a penny to take it.

Oh...yeah...it's also available from Cingular today, too.


What!? No one cares!?
SeldomVisitor @ 12/7/2006 2:04:42 PM # Q
I'm somewhat surprised ... er ... too hard a word ... uh ... how about "perplexed"? ... that few are commenting on the fact that Cingular TREO 680s are now available for $50 in a number of places and FREE elsewhere (via contorted rebates, of course).

Interesting.

RE: Attracting new users to smartphones
cervezas @ 12/7/2006 2:42:35 PM # Q
We don't care because all got ours for free from Ryan: http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/9135/#127845
;-)

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog
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