Engadget is reporting that on the release date of the iPhone the speed of EDGE data connections in the US is increasing significantly. This does not surprise me, as Apple is definitely committed to making their products look good on release. Also, some of you may know that the iPhone will have a feature called visual voicemail, where all a users voicemails will be listed on the screen, allowing the user to select the ones they want to listen to. This means AT&T has already shown they are willing to change aspects of their network just for Apple. Have any US based Tamspalm readers seen an increase in EDGE connection speed today?
Thats right, today is the day…June 29th. There are already people waiting in line to get them at many Apple stores, and no doubt they will all sell out within a couple of hours. I however, will not be getting an iPhone. Here are a few simple reasons why the iPhone is not the phone for me. Ill start with some background.
Currently, my cell phone is a Samsung D807. It is a small slider phone with a relatively large screen and a 1.3 megapixel camera. It is a good cell phone and I enjoy alot of its capabilities such as:
- EDGE network capability (although its slow, it is faster than GPRS)
- Bluetooth connectivity (I use it for handsfree in the car)
- MicroSD expansion
However, more importantly, my phone has its drawbacks, which would prevent me from recommending it to others. The EDGE network is slow, even with the excellent Opera Mini browser installed. It has proprietary connectors, which means I would need an adapter to play music through my regular headphones. Most importantly, although it uses the Java platform, the actual OS of the device is proprietary. That means it only uses Java, and can run no native apps. This means I cant replace the interface or add a new launcher, or even move categories on the phones menus around.
This is the absolute biggest problem with the iPhone. Its running FauxSX. They claim its OSX, but it cant run OSX apps. Now, I believe that at some point either hackers will figure out a way to run native apps on the device, or Apple will open it up to developers, but for now, if you get an iPhone, you are stuck with what you got. Here are my top 5 reasons why I am not getting an iPhone:
- Lack of 3rd party application support
- No 3G network, just EDGE (this is supposed to be a revolutionary device, EDGE doesnt cut it)
- Only 8GB of space in the premium version? (that wouldnt hold my entire music collection (About 9GB), not to mention my collection is all in WMA)
- $599, you have to be kidding me. What are the chances it will even last me two years (no gadgets of this type last me longer than 2 years).
- No stereo BT headphone support (was apple just being lazy or stupid here, it must be one of those two options)
There you have it, those are my reasons. If you want a truly good converged device, you are going to have to look further. If you are like me, and you want to be able to customize your devices, the iPhone is not for you. I will likely either be getting a Treo or a WM based device for my next phone. I am not sure which yet, but I can tell you one thing. It will not be an iPhone. What do you look for in a phone, and is anyone considering the iPhone?
PS: For reason number 4 above, you must understand that even if the iPhone does not fall apart after two years, there are other drawbacks to keeping it. By then, we will likely be seeing the second or third iteration of the iPhone, which will have either 3 or 4G network capability. Even if your iPhone works in two years, you will probably want to get a new phone.
You can find the details at PDA Performance’s website, but im posting a blurry screenshot for you to view. You can download the preview app from their website, and it will run on most newer Palm devices. The preview app simply shows the desktop with the CNN and Weather widgets running. Although there is not much that you can see, there is full multi-layer alpha blending on the widgets (think Konfabulator), and it is very cool to see.
I was watching 24 last night when I saw a familiar sight on a PPC (too bad it was not a Palm). There it was, in the top left corner, “TCPMP”. Anyways, here is a blurry photo of it. I have a bad cable connection in my dorm room, this was recorded and paused on a VHS tape, and the photo was taken with my cell phone in bad light. They werent actually using it for anything, it was just on the screen for a second before they switched to a new program. Must have been watching movies on the job (which is pretty bad when you are trying to save the world). Enjoy!
When Tam asked me to do a review on the wireless component of the new Kinoma Player 4 EX, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Earlier versions of Kinoma Player were less than exceptional, and to be honest, were very limited in their capabilities. Not this one. While I’m only reviewing the wireless features of the new player, the wireless changes in this version are so significant that they would seem to deserve a review of their own. So, I’ll get to it.
There are really two ways I would like to look at the wireless capabilities of this player. I will divide the review into a focus of the Kinoma Media Guide features and wireless features outside of the Kinoma Media Guide. The Kinoma Media Guide is a new and innovative way to take a media player to another level. It takes Kinoma Player from being simply a player to a media gateway for your entertainment.
As I have said, Kinoma Media Guide is a new concept. It is not a static playlist of files that can be streamed, in fact, it is a dynamic guide to all types of media that can be experienced with the Kinoma Player. The main page of the media guide (seen below)
offers a long list of types of media to choose from. The choices are seemingly endless. This leads to one criticism that I can make regarding the media guide. It is a little cluttered and confusing to use. There are 20 channels on the main page, and some seem a little redundant. For example, there is a news channel, but also business, weather, and sports:
It might take some time for a new user to become acquainted with what they can find in each channel. If that is not confusing enough, the channels have sub channels, and the hierarchical structure is never immediately evident. I would suggest in future versions that they organize it like a file viewer, and allow us to expand different channels to see what is in them without going back and forth between screens. Complaints aside, there is a whole lot of content in the media guide. If you are into radio, I would suggest the Radio Stations >> World Radio by TUNED.mobi >> and then you can chose one of the sets of streams for your locale. I was able to find many of my local stations here in North Carolina, and once I knew where to look, they were very easy to get to. Of course there are so many other radio choices, this is just a little direction to help you along.
Those of you who are not interested in internet radio might be more interested in internet video. Now, there are many types of streaming video in the current era. Some videos use Windows Media format, some MPEG, but there is one format which Kinoma includes which puts these all to shame, as far as I am concerned. The new Kinoma player includes flash video playback (flv). This means, simply, that Kinoma Player 4 EX can play Google Videos, YouTube videos, and a couple other formats. The media guide gives you quick access to some of the best videos from both of these sites, but unfortunately, you are limited to the ones on the media guide. A search feature, or a better portal would be nice – maybe the next version. There are Blazer accessible portals that you can use to search for videos, at http://www.mgvids.com/videosearch.php and http://www.mobetube.com/home.php. Nevertheless, there are enough videos to hold me off until these features come. One thing you need to know is that you need to have a good connection to your access point or network. Two bars will probably cut it, but anything less is shaky, and Kinoma acts like it doesn’t know how to pre-load video (it gives an error message but buffers it anyways).
There is one last feature somewhat related to streaming that I would like to cover. Kinoma has the ability to allow external programs to plugin to it to play streaming videos. Included with the review version of the program were copies of Smartvideo and The Weather Channel plugins. Smartvideo is a subscription service that allows you to watch different types of content, and the TWC plugin gives many types of weather information, updating over the network. When you click on a video in the plugin, Kinoma opens, and the video is played, and if you hit the “back” key in Kinoma, you go back to the previous program, be it Smartvideo or TWC.
All in all, the streaming capabilities are first rate in this program. It can handle playlists if they are downloaded into a recognized folder, and I believe it registers as the default player for some of these types, but it may be conflicting with other media players on my device. Regardless, I don’t think downloaded playlists are necessary for something like Shoutcast, since you can access most radio stations from the media guide. Sure, you can play asx streams, and many other types, but I am having the most fun with Youtube and Google Video, as well as the streaming radio. So, if you have a device with any type of wireless connection, and you want to get the most out of it, Kinoma is definitely a great choice to fill that void.
Tune in soon for Jonas Sell’s review of Kinoma as a classic media player!
I know this is primarily a Palm site, so you might ask why I am doing a review of a Windows program? Well, this is the preview version of a program that is going to be out with a Palm/WM/Symbian preview in the next couple days (the Palm side of which I will review). You can take this how you like it, either as a review of a cool Windows program, or as the first part of a comparison between the desktop and mobile versions of the program.
First, I need to give some background. In the beginning, there was Betaplayer, which was the invention of an incredibly talented programmer by the name of Gabor Kovacs (goes by Picard on the forums). This program was insanely popular in the Windows Mobile realm, but one day he announced the intention of porting it to the Palm OS. Shortly after this was done, he linked up with the Corecodec network, headed by Dan Marlin, a former DivX executive. The player was renamed into TCPMP, or The Core Pocket Media Player. This program has been going through successive beta releases for some time now. The reason this program is set apart from the rest is solely the work of Picard. He wrote all the codecs for the player (except the FFMPeg codecs), and they are so efficient that they enabled media playback on devices that would have otherwise been relegated to the task of task management. Realizing the potential of both the (mostly) untapped mobile market for media (video+audio) players, they (a steadily growing team of software engineers) decided that this player was not going to simply be just a mobile player (its that good). Along the line, Dan announced the naming change to Coreplayer, and that it would be released on pretty much every platform (this includes the Xbox360 and PS3, though they will not be supported anytime near Coreplayer’s launch). On Monday I received a preview Windows version of the player. Lets get on with it!
So, the player installs very quickly. I would say in less than a minute. It simply stores its codecs in the proper folders, and thats pretty much it. Loading up the player is instantaneous in all cases. It makes iTunes and WMP looks like they are trying to crawl out of frozen quicksand and molasses. Even loading large videos (I have a couple 1080p reference videos I am using) it opens in about 1/4 of a second. The current UI is very simplistic, with a Play/Pause, Forward, Reverse, Playlist, Info, and Playlist Selection buttons. Some parts of the UI here may change in future versions, and it will be skinnable at release.The real strength in this player though is its codecs. Besides being written by Picard (and maybe the help of a couple other Corecodec programmers) there is just a huge number of available codecs. YOU CAN PRETTY MUCH PLAY ANYTHING. Divx, Xvid, WMV, MOV, AVC, anything MPEG are all supported. In the realm of audio you have MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, OGG, Speex, WAVPACK, FLAC, MPC, TTA, AMR, ADPCM, ALaw, MuLaw, Midi (stripped from the readme). When was the last time you played AAC, AVC, WMA, and WMV in the same player, all licensed? I could tell you again how amazing the codecs are, or tell you that I am able to play 1080p videos on my 2.0Ghz Core Duo system. Now, this may be a feat in itself for a desktop player, but these specs for a player are unheard of in the mobile realm. Show me the mobile player (on PalmOS) that does WMV?
The Things I Like:
- Fast installation
- Fast loading and playback (no more waiting just to play a file you want to hear quick)
- Even when released in its full glory, it will have a simple UI
- It has what is probably the fastest AVC decoder available (even without hardware decoding, which will be available with their pro codec)
- Plays everything, on all platforms. Remember you heard it here first that Xbox360 and PS3 are in the long term plan
- Skinnable, and screen can be easily resized
Things I Do Not Like So Much:
- No real easy way to organize all of your media, though I think this is related to the CoreTheque database, which will handle this function.
- No easy on screen way to fast forward, just to skip
(If I think of another one ill add it)
So, if anyone has any questions, ask away!
PS: Here is another picture for your enjoyment…
Dont get too excited though, as you probably cant get it yet. They are going to release the preview (not full version mind you), in invite style by some means. I am hoping to get an invite and if this occurs I will do a full review of the preview version of the program (of course taking into account the limitations of a preview program).
You can get more information on CorePlayer Mobile, as well as Coreplayer for other platforms at Corecodec.com
According to Ed Colligan, future Treo smartphones will have built in WiFi.
If this turns out to be true, it will mean a couple things. Built in WiFi will not only allow connections to WiFi hotspots at faster speeds, but more importantly, it will allow connections onto home networks. Some of you may not realize the importance of this capability. Well, it means WiFi device syncing and file transfer on your home network. This will bring more ease of use to the end user, especially those who dont enjoy being stuck to a cradle all of the time.
See the Brighthand article here.
Today I will be reviewing a familiar product from a well-known company. The company, obviously, is Boxwave, and the product is their Armor Case for the Palm TX. Shortly after the order went out I received the package via USPS in a bubble-lined envelope.
The contents of the package are very minimal:
- Armor Case in a plastic holder
- Belt Clip
After removing the case from the plastic, the first impression I received was that it was very light, and fairly small.
The case itself is well made. It has cutouts for everything that you may need quick access to, including the stylus, power button, headphone jack, SD slot, all the bottom connectors, the speaker, and the reset hole. On the left there is a small hinge that sticks out 3-4mm from the case, which does not cause any problems. On the right, it has the catch which holds the case shut, and right underneath is a small nub, presumably there to assist in opening the case. I find generally that it is easier to reach up to the stylus cutout to open the case rather than using the small nub. There are no really sharp edges or corners on this case anywhere, which I do think is very important for something that will be handled daily. On the back of the case are four little bumps about a half an inch off of the corners that are there to support the case when laid on a hard surface. There is a 5th nub where the belt clip attaches, and this causes the case to sit a little awkward, but it probably won’t bother you too much.
The inside of the case looks as nice as the outside, which is certainly a good thing.
Both the left and right sides are covered in a thin (and they do say this on their website) layer of foam padding. In my opinion, there is not a problem with the small amount of foam. It looks like enough to get the job done, and it allows the case to have that thin profile. On the left side there is also a dual SD card holder. I have tried it, and although it may not appear this way, I do not think there is much potential for the cards to come in contact with the screen when stored.
Most of the newer Palm handhelds have a rail to allow you to attach a screen cover easily. The Armor Case uses this rail to securely attach the TX to the inside of the case. This means that when you open the case there is no chance of your handheld falling out, or really moving in any undesirable way. The rail is attached to the center hinge, and so when the case is open you can move the TX from resting against the back of the case (the best position in my opinion) to the front, like turning a page in a book.
This brings me to the only worry I have about the case. This attaching rail is plastic, and so theoretically it has the possibility of breaking. The rail really has to be made out of plastic so that it will slide securely, so you cannot fault Boxwave for this. It does not look like it will break at the moment, and I have not heard any reports of this rail breaking.
The Belt Clip
If you have ever used a belt clip, this is nothing new to you. It is a standard plastic clip that attached to a belt, though it can probably work fine without a belt. On the case there is a small removable screw that clips into the plastic clip. You will want to give it a little more than a hand tightening, but the whole setup seems to be very sturdy. I was unable to get it to pop off in any way it shouldn’t, so I am satisfied it will do its job.
Why You Need This
You have a nice PDA, probably a screen protector on it, and you take good care of it. Well, if you are prone to dropping things, this may be for you. If you do not think you are prone to dropping things, take a look at your cell phone and think about that again. Although it’s doubtful that you are going to be as brutal to your PDA as you are to your cell phone (unless you have a Treo, of course), a case like this will protect your PDA from you. If you tend to throw your small electronics at people, this could also help you to protect your investment. Considering that, and the fact that the case is very thin (it is not a bother to carry in your pocket; if you have jeans, I make no promises), this may be the best way to help you protect your PDA and keep your paranoia at bay.
It has been about nine years since the beginning of the whole dispute, which by the way was the cause for the move to Graffiti 2. Xerox decided that graffiti was too close to their own technology, and sued Palm. Now, it is all over finally, and although Graffiti 1 may not be replacing G2 right now, we could possibly see it as an option on new Palms, since Palm now has a valid license for it. Read more in Palm’s press release.
Note: We arent the first to report this, and I am not crediting anyone else with it solely because I do not know who did first. Almost everyone has reported it. Of course, if you are tunneled into nothing but TamsPalm, you may have heard it here first anyway.
This may sound like somewhat of a non-issue for most, but because Microsoft has just released Vista Beta 2 for the general public to use, eventually people are going to start relying on this as their main OS (despite Microsofts warnings against this). For a Palm user, this is going to mean migrating Palm Desktop onto Vista also (Until Vista goes into full production, we may not see a version of Palm Desktop for it). I would like to report on what I have so far found about using a Palm with Vista.
Obviously, the first thing you have to do is install Palm Desktop. Just like XP has compatability modes for older OSes, Vista has compatability for XP SP2. You can access this by right clicking on the program and hitting properties. I suggest you install Palm Desktop with this compatability mode, it may not work otherwise. Once it is installed, you have to make sure that the program files for Palm Desktop and the Hotsync application are set in XP SP2 compatability mode. There you go, thats the hard part. Now you just have to complete a hotsync.
Now, since you are running in a compatability mode, everything is not going to work perfectly. So far, I have only been able to get cradle/cable, BT, and occasionally Network going. Unfortunately, I also have not been able to get installation working in any form, though all PIMs sync, and it does create a backup. If you have BlueTooth, you can send files to your device that way.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
You may have read about some of the things patented lately by companies such as Apple. Well, their latest “invention” is equally un-unique. They patented the idea for a system that lets you tag songs, ringtones, or any type of media you like in a phone based browser, and download it on the computer later. There are a couple problems with this. Firstly, it is pretty much addit with music, though the songs play on the host system, not on the handheld device. My biggest problem with this is that this is way behind the times. Within the next five years, most phones will have full multimedia capabilities, and most already have access to high speed data networks. For this reason the patent is fairly useless in my opinion. If you want to remember a song to buy later, most phones (and all PDAs obviously) let you take memos. What do you think?
Take a look: Apples Patent
This is just a slight correction on my review of the Brando Workshop Music Dock. It can, in fact, play music through the dock when ONLY powered through a USB cable, or when only connected with the power cable. I would assume that this is only the case for powered USB ports (not all computers have these). If this is incorrect, any readers may feel free to comment.
Sorry for the error. At Tamspalm, we do strive to bring you quality reporting and reviews, but occasionally something slips by, and of course in these cases we will do our best to quickly bring updated information to our readers.
Thanks for reading,
Brad – Tamspalm Staff
From MobileStream, the ones who brought us the Landscape and Portrait rotation apps, comes a great deal! Now, if you buy their Meteor “Breakout” game from Palmgear from now until May 1st, you can get any other Mobile Stream app for free. I have played Meteor, and I can tell you it is probably the highest quality “Breakout” type game available for PalmOS. PDAMill also has one, but it only comes as part of their GameBox Classics pack. Anyways, I just bought the game, and am going to request a copy of CardReader to go along with it. Remember, you need to buy it off of PalmGear to be eligible for the free app. There are further instructions on the PalmGear page. Take a look!
Here is a list of the programs available from Mobile Stream:
- Jackpot Casino
- Mobile Jigsaw
- Card Reader
- Treo USB Modem