Pogue BlackBerry Storm Review

Famed New York Times writter David Pogue has weighed in on the new Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry Storm – and it ain’t pretty. Mr. Pogue writes:

“Research in Motion (R.I.M.), the company that brought us the BlackBerry, has been on a roll lately. For a couple of years now, it’s delivered a series of gorgeous, functional, supremely reliable smartphones that, to this day, outsell even the much-adored iPhone.

Here’s a great example of the intelligence that drives R.I.M.: The phones all have simple, memorable, logical names instead of incomprehensible model numbers. There’s the BlackBerry Pearl (with a translucent trackball). The BlackBerry Flip (with a folding design). The BlackBerry Bold (with a stunning design and faux-leather back).

Well, there’s a new one, just out ($200 after rebate, with two-year Verizon contract), officially called the BlackBerry Storm.

But I’ve got a better name for it: the BlackBerry Dud.

The first sign of trouble was the concept: a touch-screen BlackBerry. That’s right — in its zeal to cash in on some of that iPhone touch-screen mania, R.I.M. has created a BlackBerry without a physical keyboard.

Hello? Isn’t the thumb keyboard the defining feature of a BlackBerry? A BlackBerry without a keyboard is like an iPod without a scroll wheel. A Prius with terrible mileage. Cracker Jack without a prize inside.”

I have to agree with Mr. Pogue’s assessment of the missing keyboard. I just recently purchased a BlackBerry Curve, the Bold isn’t available on Sprint yet, and the main feature for me was the keyboard. (And the fact that it is smaller and lighter than my Palm Treo 755p.)

Read the full review at


Elevation Responds to Palm Divestiture Rumor

Earlier this week, CNBC’s Jim Goldman wrote an article titled, “Palm Gets a Thumbs Down.” In the article, Goldman states that Pablo Perez-Fernandez, a Global Crown Capital wireless analyst, thinks that Palm’s major investor, Elevation Partners, could be preparing to pull out of the mobile handset company and take their money elsewhere. In his article, Goldman writes:

“Perez-Fernandez throws it out there that Elevation might divest, but he offers nothing concrete to support the claim. It’s reasonable, he tells me, given the circumstances, though he also tells me hasn’t gotten any specific information from Elevation on this front. He says Palm’s decision to launch a shelf registration on Nov. 3 because the company is so desperate for cash, will significantly dilute the shares, and the company risks a change in control because of that dilution. Under the rules of the Elevation deal, Palm is required to offer to buy back Elevation’s stake at a premium of 1 percent to 5 percent. Elevation, he thinks, would jump at the chance to get out. I sent an email to Elevation’s managing partner Roger McNamee this morning seeking some guidance, but I haven’t heard back.”

Interestingly, Elevation Partners co-founder and member of Palm’s board, Roger McNanmee stepped up to the mic yesterday to reaffirm Elevation’s commitment to Palm and to reassure investors that Palm is still on track to deliver a new mobile operating system, Palm OS II/Nova, by the end of this year (2008) and to release new devices based on that OS by the middle of next year (2009). Mr. McNanmee stated:

“Elevation Partners is very pleased with the progress Ed Colligan, Jon Rubinstein and the entire Palm team are making. The Company’s product pipeline, including a next generation operating system due out soon and a new device targeted for the first half of 2009, excite us enormously. Elevation supports Palm in taking the difficult but necessary steps required to migrate from legacy products. We have a very long-term investment horizon and have no plans to exit our investment in Palm.”

May people see Palm OS II/Nova as being Palm’s last change to become a relevant player in the mobile computing space. With devices from Apple and Research In Motion continuing to grab headlines, the public opinion is that Palm has been standing still for years and relying on new colors to keep people interested in their low cost, low profit Centro consumer oriented smartphones. Delays in releasing their next business class Windows Mobile Treo is not helping things.

Statements of reassurance from Palm’s major investor is nice and all, but the time has come for Palm to stop talking and to start showing people that they have something coming down the pipe that will be worth the long wait for Palm OS II/Nova.

1src · editorial · palm os

Editorial: It’s Time for Something “Nova”

Last week was a rough week for the Palm Nation with the unfavorable economy battering stock prices, delays launching a new Windows Mobile Treo smartphone, and another round of layoffs here in the US and abroad. Long lines at Verizon retail locations for the new touch-screen enabled BlackBerry Storm aren’t helping things either. It is time for Palm to start talking Nova.

Palm OS II/Nova is Palm’s super secret project to develop the next generation Palm OS mobile operating system. There have been at least two false starts in the last five years; however many in the technology sector see this as Palm’s last chance to restore their tarnished reputation as a mobile technology innovator. From what little we know about Palm OS II/Nova, the core operating system is suppose to be done by the end of this calendar year (2008) and devices running the new operating system should be on sale by the middle of 2009.

The development cycle for Palm OS II/Nova, at least from the outside, appears to have run into some degree of trouble. Even if Palm completes the core feature set of the OS by the end of the year, they still must refine the new user interface and obtain certification from the FCC and their wireless carrier partners before the device can go on sale here in the United States. With the virtual shroud of secrecy surrounding the Palm headquarters, it has been next to impossible to glean any meaningful details about Palm OS II/Nova. In the face of all the bad news that continues come out of Palm, it is time to pull back the curtain around Palm OS II/Nova and give the world a glimpse into what Palm has in store of the Palm OS in 2009.

There are three key timeframes in which I expect to see information about Palm OS II/Nova starting to leak out. The first should be coming up any day now as Palm is suppose to be wrapping up development of the core feature set of the new OS. I would expect that any screen shots that pop-up on the Internet will be of an unfinished Nova that will give you a sense of the new direction Palm is trying to take Palm OS. At this stage, keep an eye out for a screen grab from the new Memos application. It won’t be impressive, but it will show off some of the window dressings of the new UI and application controls.

The second window will probably in the middle of the first quarter of 2009 in between the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the 3GSM World Congress. By this time, Palm had better be shopping new Palm OS II/Nova devices to the carriers and developers who have supported Palm for the last 10 years. This time around, I would expect to see some screen shots of the Phone and Launcher applications and maybe some shots of the new Prefs control panel.

The third, and last round of leaks, will likely come around the middle of the second quarter of 2009 when demo devices are in the hands of beta testers. When this happens all bets will be off and the proverbial cat will be out of the bag. Photos of the new device running Nova will be plastered all over the Internet. In the month leading up to the launch of the first Palm OS II/Nova powered device we will learn about the devices specifications and features. For Palm’s sake, the Excit-O-Meter needle had better be buried on the far right of the dial as it has been for the release of the Apple iPhone 3G, the T-Mobile Google G1, and the BlackBerry Storm.

So how about it Palm? Can you pull back the curtain on Nova ever so slightly as to give your loyal Palm OS customers a glimpse into the future while still maintaining the secrecy around the new software to keep a competitive advantage? It has almost been two years now since we’ve been waiting for Palm OS II/Nova and that means people will be looking to upgrade their phones. Give the customer base a reason to stick with Palm and not migrate to the headline grabbing iPhone 3G or BlackBerry Storm.

blackberry · rim

Getting Ready for My BlackBerry Curve

I’ve been a long time customer of Palm’s PDAs and Treo smartphones. The time has come for me to receive a company issued phone; a Palm Centro.

Rather than carry a personal Treo 755p and a Centro, I have decided to take this opportunity to play around with a new personal day-to-day device. (The Centro will be a business only device.) Later this week I will be switching to a RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330 on Sprint’s EVDO network.

I’m not sure what to expect, but I do know that I will be looking forward to learning the finer details of these popular business devices.


Palm Layoffs Confirmed

On Friday morning I saw a post over on reporting that Palm was rumored to have started yet another round of lay offs. I was told by my Palm contact that Palm was not releasing any information about the rumored layoffs.

By Saturday morning, Reuters had reported that Palm did in fact layoff a portion of their workforce.

“Struggling smartphone maker Palm Inc said Friday it is cutting its workforce, a move the company takes as it loses market share to rivals Apple Inc and Research in Motion Ltd.

Spokeswoman Lynn Fox said the layoffs began this week, but she declined to say how many jobs would be cut.

Palm, which employs 1,050 workers, makes the Centro and Treo smartphones. The company’s market share has been shrinking, with RIM’s BlackBerry becoming the device of choice for the business set and Apple’s iPhone a consumer phenomenon.

“The goal is to consolidate resources and focus our efforts more effectively,” Fox said.”

I feel sorry for the people who lost their jobs as we head into the 2008 holiday season. This is not the first time that Palm has had a reduction in headcount in the final months of the year and the current economic situation is not helping anything.

I know Jon Rubinstein is a former disciple of Apple chief Steve Jobs and secrecy is paramount. Since Rubinsein’s arrival at Palm, there has been an air-tight seal around the company preventing any leaked information about their it-will-get-here-eventually next generation mobile operating system Palm OS II/Nova. For a long time I supported the company’s decision to keep a tight lid on things until they where ready to launch the OS and the first mobile device that would be powered by it.

With the current state of the company being what it is, I think it is time to start leaking details on their new hardware and software sooner rather than later. Assuming that Palm has laid off 200 additional workers, the company is now employing about 850 people worldwide. On Friday, Palm’s stock closed at $2.24 after dipping to under $2.00 earlier in the week. And, in a second statement found on, Palm indicates that:

“The global economic downturn continues to dampen demand for consumer goods around the world, and the impact on the economic environment is worsened by our maturing Centro line and the length of time it is taking to ramp our new Windows Mobile products.”

I love using Palm’s products and I really do want to see them succeed with Palm OS II/Nova and their next round of hardware. It would seem that now, more than ever, everything is working against Palm. I’m really concerned that mid-2009, seven months from now, is too long of a wait. It’s time to start showing the world what Palm has been working on in their labs.

astraware · blackberry · iphone · windows mobile

Astraware My Little Tank for iPhone/iPod Touch, Updates

Astraware has announced that My Little Tank, a casual-style arcade game, has been updated and enhanced for Palm OS and Windows Mobile and has released a three new versions of the game for iPhone/iPod touch, BlackBerry, and Symbian S60-based phones.

My Little Tank is a fun arcade blaster in which players can navigate through the original 60, and now 20 additional, action-packed, increasingly challenging levels as they shoot enemy tanks, defend their base, and destroy enemy radar stations and bases. Lovingly crafted miniature terrains include snow, swamp, plains, and deserts. The game also includes a range of power-ups to aid players in winning each mission.

The new edition of My Little Tank for iPhone/iPod touch, includes a choice of control options including an onscreen virtual d-pad, swipe to move the tank, and accelerometer-based directional tilt.

A demo video of My Little Tank for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch can be found here. My Little Tank can be purchased from the Apple App Store for $4.99.

In addition to the new iPhone/iPod touch edition, Astraware has also released new versions of My Little Tank for BlackBerry and Symbian S60 phones similar to the versions for Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices.

For more details about My Little Tank, check out the Astraware website.

centro · dataviz · treo

Documents To Go 11 for Palm OS Now Available

Yesterday, DataViz released the latest edition of Documents To Go for Palm devices running Palm OS.

With Documents To Go Premium edition 11.00, DataViz has added:

  • View tracked changes in word processing files
  • Apply and view Styles in word processing files
  • View border and wrapped text in spreadsheets
  • Ten starter Templates included for creating Word and Excel files

In addition to these new features, customers can view, create, and modify Microsoft Office documents on their Palm OS Centro, Treo, or handheld PDA. (PDA users are encouraged to check to see if their device is on the compatibility list found on the DataViz website.)

Pricing & Availability

Documents To Go Premium Edition for Palm OS retails for $49.99 and is available directly from DataViz as well as many retail and online stores including, and the network of DataViz resellers and distributors worldwide. Upgrade pricing of $29.99 is available directly from DataViz for previous Documents To Go customers, including those who received Documents To Go as bundled software with a Palm handheld or smartphone.

My long time readers know that Documents To Go is a core requirement for any mobile device that I consider for my personal and business use. The InTact Technology seamlessly keeps the document’s formatting regardless of whether the document was last created or modified on a desktop or mobile device, meaning I save not having to re-edit a file when I get back to the office.

For more information and to download a free evaluation, visit .