The UK retailer MobileFun is well known for selling all kinds of brand and self-sourced products at competitive prices. Their recent introduction of the StuckBuddy left more than one individual scratching his head…what’s the fuzz all about?

First of all, the usual. MobileFun’s products ship in a padded envelope from the UK:
stuckbuddy 1 MobileFun StuckBuddy review

The blister of the StuckBuddy got a nice beating during the mailing.
stuckbuddy 2 MobileFun StuckBuddy review

Nevertheless, the contents were a-OK:
stuckbuddy 3 MobileFun StuckBuddy review

The whole idea of the device is that you stick it onto the back of a phone or tablet – like our unfortunate Samsung Wave:
stuckbuddy 4 MobileFun StuckBuddy review

Then, the whole thing is turned around for a cradle-like effect:
stuckbuddy 5 MobileFun StuckBuddy review

In my tests, the sticking effect worked well on devices which had a ‘flat’ area on the back where the StuckBuddy can attach. The Samsung Wave is a bad example – if its removable battery cover is partially under the suction cup, the sticking effect ends after approximately two minutes…

This device clearly plays in the useless, but so adorable category. It obviously won’t replace a kick stand or cradle, but hey – its better than nothing. Given the price of 5 GBP (and the money back guarantee), I don’t know much more to write here…

As the holidays approach one may be left looking for a gift for that special gadgetphile in their life. New phone? no. New case? no. New operating system? no. Whatever shall I do?

What about a new car mount? The boys over at USBFever have managed to put together a fine stock of various style car mounts ranging from suction cup mounted, to air vent mounted, to even a mount that goes straight into the lighter, allowing for a constant charge and little clutter!

We at TamsPalm have obtained a version of the first, a suction cup mounted, 2-in-1 car mount. The shipment comes with the actual mount, and two holders, which are universal to all USBFever products.

trans The USBFever 2 in 1 Car Mount

The mount is unique in that each arm is made out of a flexible material (USBFever terms it as goosePipe) allowing you to position it anyway that you see fit.

img 3205 300x225 The USBFever 2 in 1 Car Mount

While the dual armed design may seem a little over the top and unnecessary at first glance, having easy access to two devices at once (ie, my lifeflash, which is playing music while I am driving, and my cellular which has speaker phone enabled) is very handy indeed. The dual arms could also be used to hold a gps device or other standalone gizmo along with your Treo smartphone.

The holders themselves are ingeniously designed, allowing you to use virtually any device in any position imaginable. The devices are held in place by two spring loaded arms on the sides of the holders which, when squeezed together, clamp the device into place.  Releasing the device once you have reached your destination is as simple as pressing a button on the back of the holder.

img 3207 300x225 The USBFever 2 in 1 Car Mountimg 3206 300x225 The USBFever 2 in 1 Car Mount

The holder, when attached to the mount arm, allows you to rotate the device 180 degress in each direction, allowing you to view your device in landscape mode (however, I don’t recommend watching videos while driving!) which is preferable for some PocketTunes skins.

img 3208 300x225 The USBFever 2 in 1 Car Mount

The device also has one of the most thought out suction cups I have seen. Most require you to push and prod until the correct suction is reached, or God forbid, you have to lick the cup to attain proper suction, however USBFever’s mounts use a hingy thinger, to obtain an insane suction with little effort on your part by using a locking hinge to gain leverage and suction . The suction can withstand running over even the hardest speed bumps at full speed (believe me ;-) ) and make for an insanely reliable mount. The suction cup even allows you to attach the mount to a desk, doubling it as an office cradle, should the need come up!

img 3210 300x225 The USBFever 2 in 1 Car Mount

All in all, the Twin Holder car mount is a wonderful deal at only $25.99 at USBFever. (http://usbfever.com/index_eproduct_view.php?products_id=428) To anyone who is ever listening to music while they are driving, has a GPS kit, or would simply like easy access to their speaker phone, USBFever is the place to go!

What do you do if you are on the go and you are running out of power with your mobile devices? Well in the worst case your devices stop working – but you are lucky if you are having the “Universal Slim USB Car Charger” from usbfever. With this little thing you are able to charge any device in your car – but only if it can be charged via USB:
100 2509 Need power on the go?
As you can see the charger has got an USB port and a connection for the cigarette lighter of your car.
Connect your device with the USB Port, put the charger into the cigarette lighter and voilà – your device is charging. It is normal that your device won’t charge in the time as a normal charger does. Some devices can’t be charged through USB. So it is better to test it out before. How you can do it? Well, simply attach it at home to any USB port of your computer/laptop and see if it charges. If it does it will with the car charger, too.
For example I couldn’t charge my Treo 650 through USB but my TX worked fine => same behavior with the car charger.
All in all the charger is a very good addition for those who are frequently on the go with few power outlets in range. For those who are using their mobile as a navigation device the charger could give you some extra hours of operation time.

The charger is available for the reduced price of 0.01 $ (former price 9.99 $) via usbfever.com.
Note: because of this very low price the quantity is limited to 1 pc/customer!

Universal Slim USB Car Charger product page

First of all, this time, there’s no need for any power tools. The Tungsten E2 cradle mod definitely was cool, but this time, the cradle fits the Treo out of the box.

Palm’s latest GSM Treo’s have the same form factor and use the so-called Athena Multiconnector for data exchange – so, a cradle for the Treo 750v should theoretically also work on the Palm Treo 680. Brando gladly provided TamsPalm with a free sample – let’s get reviewing!

Brando’s products ship in envelopes via standard mail. So far, customs always left the envelopes alone, and the contents always arrived in good condition:
0a Brando Treo 750v USB Cradle review   a cradle for the Palm Treo 680

The cradle itself ships in a small white box:
1a Brando Treo 750v USB Cradle review   a cradle for the Palm Treo 680

One of the first things one notices about the docking station is its size – it is much bigger than the docking stations for other handhelds. Here are a few pictures next to a Treo 680 and a Palm TX:
2a Brando Treo 750v USB Cradle review   a cradle for the Palm Treo 680 2b Brando Treo 750v USB Cradle review   a cradle for the Palm Treo 680

A small blue LED is integrated into the otherwise-plain(no hotsync button) front of the docking station. The LED is very bright and always lights up when power is available to the cradle:
3a Brando Treo 750v USB Cradle review   a cradle for the Palm Treo 680

Putting the Treo into the cradle requires a bit of fidgeting – it takes a bit of practice to find the point where the Treo gets charged. Also, the angle of the Treo to the desk is unusually straight – Palm’s own cradles usually stand less upright. However, the docking station didn’t topple over in my tests:
4a Brando Treo 750v USB Cradle review   a cradle for the Palm Treo 680 4b Brando Treo 750v USB Cradle review   a cradle for the Palm Treo 680

Brando finally made the USB cable removable – the back of the cradle now has a mini USB port, where the supplied cable(about 1m long, which is still a bit too short) gets plugged in to establish a connection to the computer. The Treo charges decently fast via USB, altough the cradle also seems to be able to accept a mystery power supply unit that isn’t available anywhere:
5a Brando Treo 750v USB Cradle review   a cradle for the Palm Treo 680

The Treo 680 recognizes Brando’s cradle as a power supply – if no PC is connected, the cradle wasn’t identified by a in-house build of AutoSync that works on a Treo 680 and is available on request.

Overall, Brando created a solid cradle for Palm’s Treo 680 and 750v smartphones. If you can live with the slightly fidgety connection process, the lack of a hotsync button and the bulky size, this 20$ cradle will satisfy your Treo’s cradling needs fully.

The Treo 600 does not ship with a cradle. While I wrote about the weaknesses of the cradle concept more than once, beeing the animal of habit that I am, I wanted a cradle for my Treo 600 – and Brando complied. Brando shipped a really good Palm Z22 cradle and also got a cool one for the Palm Tungsten E2 – lets see what they produced for the Treo 600!

Brando’s products ship from Hong Kong in rather small envelopes via standard mail. Customs seem to leave them alone, and stuff always arrived in good condition so far:
packfront Brando Treo 600 docking station review packside Brando Treo 600 docking station review inpack Brando Treo 600 docking station review
The cradle itself comes in a small white box:
box1 Brando Treo 600 docking station review box2 Brando Treo 600 docking station review
After unpacking, I noted that one of the ‘feet’ was missing – no real problem, as the other ones fell of real fast too:
foot Brando Treo 600 docking station review
It looks like some kind of AC power supply can be attached to the back of the cradle to charge the Treo 600 faster – but as of now, I cant find such a thing on Brando’s web site.
psu Brando Treo 600 docking station review
Inserting the Treo usually works well – once you have figured out how to dock the Treo onto the connector. This is a bit more difficult than it was with the multiconnector, as the peripheral needs to ‘slide’ into the Treo quite a bit:
contacts Brando Treo 600 docking station review
A bright blue LED lights up when power is available. When the Treo is docked, it starts to flicker uncontrollably sometimes – dont ask me what that means, none of my USB ports were fried so far. The Treo stands upright in the cradle. It charges even when powered on – since Treos always charge slowly, the USB connection doesnt seem to have a major impact:
dockfront Brando Treo 600 docking station review dockside Brando Treo 600 docking station review

Overall, Brando has not disappointed me – they delivered a solid cradle with no serious weaknesses for 22$. If you want a docking station for your Treo 600, look at this cradle by all means.

Product Requirements: Palm m500, m505

The case is made of high impact, injection molded ABS plastic(the type used to make crash helmets, according to Proporta). I’ve personally stepped on mine and dropped the case with no ill-effects to either PDA or case. I doubt that it’s very waterproof, lacking rubber gasket seals. The case has a unique interchangeable front and back snap-in color plates feature. If you can’t make up your mind which color insert you like, you can buy their optional colored inserts (now you see why it’s called the “Chameleon”). The review unit I received had blue inserts. These plates can be purchased separately and are also available in Red, Dark Green and Blue. Unfortunately, the plates are difficult to change.
Figure A Chameleon Palm m500 Series ABS Plastic Protective Case review

The Palm m500 PDA is held in the Chameleon with a plastic rail which fits securely in the left stylus slot. Inserting and removing the PDA from this case is not difficult. Luckily, you don’t need to remove your PDA from this case in order to sync with the cradle.
Figure B Chameleon Palm m500 Series ABS Plastic Protective Case review

The inside of the case is lined with padded foam to lessen shock and protect your PDA’s finish. It also has a SD slot on the inside back side of the case. I guess I should say that it is supposed to have an SD card slot… I was not able to get my SD card to fit in this slot. It just didn’t seem wide enough. The case closes securely when your Palm is not in use via a sliding latch.
Figure C Chameleon Palm m500 Series ABS Plastic Protective Case review

All in all, the Chameleon is a great case that is protective and stylish. Now my Palm has a home.
Figure D Chameleon Palm m500 Series ABS Plastic Protective Case review

Addon by Tam Hanna for David Zucker: my Palm m500 dropped out of my car window today and survived without a scratch thanks to the case.
www.proporta.com ~$23.95 to $29.95 US

The Palm Z22 – like most other recent Palm handhelds – shipped without a cradle. Brando, my favourite aftermarket cradle(Tungsten T5 cradle modified for E2 use) manufacturer attempted themselves at the impossible task of creating a cradle for a handheld with the sync port at the top…and they did a good job.

As always, Brandos products ship in yellow envelopes from Hong Kong. Austrian customs left them along so far:
 The Brando Palm Z22 cradle review  The Brando Palm Z22 cradle review  The Brando Palm Z22 cradle review

The cradle itself is contained in a transparent foil:
 The Brando Palm Z22 cradle review
When you look at the cradle, you immediately see the unusual configuration of the Brando Palm Z22 thingy. The long cable connects to the PC, while the short cable connects the apparature to the docked Palm Z22:
 The Brando Palm Z22 cradle review
Brando couldn’t resist the temptation to include a blue LED; however, there is no hotsync button:
 The Brando Palm Z22 cradle review
Getting the rather short mini usb cable attached to the Palm Z22 takes a bit of skill at first – however, once connected, the Palm Z22 sits well. Charging a powered on Palm Z22 is no problem btw:
 The Brando Palm Z22 cradle review  The Brando Palm Z22 cradle review
Overall, Brando tackled the impossible and got it working. Their cradle looks cool and works well – if you like cradles, it’s a must have! The price of 20$ is ok…

Micro hotsync cables are very handy, as they save you a lot of storage space in your jacket pocket,… . Since those cables exist for, um, almost every system, finding them usually is no problem either. However, the world looks different for the WristPDA, as none are available for it..

However, Alexander Panek and I discussed the problem at a Burger King, and suddenly, we had the idea. The WristPDA has a Mini USB port just like the E, so why not plug sth for the E in. And alas, it worked:
 Boxwave MiniSync for WristPDA (aka Tungsten E)
The MiniSync with Charger is very small and can be carried around easily. This image shows it next to a Tungsten E2 and a Tungsten T3:
 Boxwave MiniSync for WristPDA (aka Tungsten E)  Boxwave MiniSync for WristPDA (aka Tungsten E)
It can be expanded in 5 steps. Compacting it again is pretty easy as well, you just need to pull both ends simultaneously and then let them loose. Failure to pull both ends simultaneously ruins the device, so better be warned though! The length steps are:

Docking the WristPDA to it is no problem, the machine starts charging immediately. The charging rate is exactly what you expect from an USB-Only charger-the MiniSync obviously cant perform the voltage peak a WristPDA needs for full speed charging without frying attached TE’s.
 Boxwave MiniSync for WristPDA (aka Tungsten E)
The lack of a hotsync-capable machine made further testing impossible, but the WristPDA was able to “bug” a Windows XP machine so far that it asked for drivers. So, communication should be possible as well.

Overall, this thing comes in handy when you are on the go. The cable that ships with the WristPDA is way to long and bulky to carry it around comfortably with your notebook-the MiniSync is much smaller and can be taken almost everywhere. The mechanics feel very well, it looks as if the MiniSync will survive quite a few cycles. To cut a long story short- a must have if you travel around much!

Today, I received another package from Brando Workshop, just a little over a week since it was ordered. Inside the brown bubble-lined package were three things:
• Main Package
• AC adapter (UK version is standard, but if you live in the US, a US cable is also included)
• Brando Workshop key chain (hmm, never received one of those before…)
 Brando Music Dock review Brando Music Dock review Brando Music Dock review
 Brando Music Dock review Brando Music Dock review
The main box contains the cradle and the cable box. Inside that are the cables (A mini USB, as well as a male to male headphone cable) and the UK power adapter (which strangely doesn’t fit in my US outlet?). The power cable is standard length, I think it’s a little over a meter. The sync and audio cables are just about 1 meter long.
 Brando Music Dock review  Brando Music Dock review  Brando Music Dock review
First Experience
When you plug in this cradle, the first thing you will notice (unless you are blind, of course) is the small blue LED in the middle of the cradle behind that piece of plastic. It is a nice aesthetic touch to a great cradle. Visible in the pictures is the small sync button on the front. Also on top are the speakers. I have verified with TCPMP that it is indeed stereo, though the size of the unit makes the speakers hard to distinguish individually. On the back of the cradle are 3 ports, and a volume adjustment dial. The three ports are for power, line-in, and USB. The line in feature is especially interesting, because it allows you to plug devices besides your Palm, like your MP3 player, into the cradle and play music. You can also just plug your Palm in this way if you don’t mind missing the charging feature. Note that you cannot have a cable plugged into the audio in port when playing audio through the handheld’s connector.
 Brando Music Dock review
Onto something that bothered me just a little. When I put my TX into the cradle the first time, I felt I was going to have to remove the plastic insert (on the cradle) to get it to fit. This is not actually the case, but it is very tight. When you put your PDA into the cradle, it is going to have to be inserted firmly. A loose connection with the cradle made some interesting buzzing noises. One nice thing is that you do not need to remove your screen cover to use the cradle.
 Brando Music Dock review
While writing this review, I have had my TX playing music through the cradle, and I have to say, it is very loud. When you first pick the device up, you would probably think it was a cheap little piece of plastic. Well, if it was cheap, then someone got a good deal; I can hear it well clear across the room I am writing in (with the AC on). That said, it is not high-end audio. It loses some low lows, and high highs, but plays most things great.

No cradle review would be complete without a test of the syncing ability of the cradle, so here you go. Something you may notice when you plug it into your computer is that it doesn’t need the power cable to sync, just for music. In fact, it draws enough power to sync, charge, and even power the little blue light, right from the USB cable!
 Brando Music Dock review  Brando Music Dock review
Why you want this!
You have a new Palm, and realize it doesn’t come with a cradle. Crazy right? Well, wait until you realize that the only cradles available on Palm’s website retail for $50. Their TX cradle comes with a universal power kit (who really uses that?), and an audio out connector (I thought that’s what the headphone jack was for). For $18 less (that’s $32), you get a perfectly good cradle that does all of the normal functions, and also plays music.

Any comments or questions about the cradle?

Palm Inc’s Tungsten E2 handheld does not ship with a cradle. Brando offers a cradle for the T5, but the E2 doesnt fit in mechanically.

Brando ships the cradle in a regular envelope via snail mail. The box was a bit squashed, but the cradle was o.k..
squashedbox The Brando T5 cradle modded for TE2
A day was spent in the workshop and the E2 now fits in:
unmodded The Brando T5 cradle modded for TE2 modded The Brando T5 cradle modded for TE2
The secret is to remove the bar in front of the cradle. I erroneously tried to file off stuff from the back. Anyways, the E2 now fits in well, the cradle does not shake around. The machine stands straighter than in the original PalmOne cradles.
angles The Brando T5 cradle modded for TE2
Power is supplied to the handheld via USB. A TE2 charges even when powered on. However, there is no way to attach an AC power supply:
brightcharge The Brando T5 cradle modded for TE2
A blue LED at the front of the cradle signals power. It light up if power is available, even if no handheld is docked:
charge The Brando T5 cradle modded for TE2 led The Brando T5 cradle modded for TE2
The USB cable is about 90cm long-this is a bit too short for my taste. The cradle lacks a dedicated sync button and is not detected as an USB peripheral by AutoSync,… . BTW, the E2 fits into the cradle even if in Brabdo’s aluminium hardcase:
caseside The Brando T5 cradle modded for TE2
Overall, this cradle is funky. Modding it is not difficult if you know what to remove. The lack of a hotsync button is no problem for me as AutoSync detects the cradle as a power supply if connected to a PC. Automatic synchronisation really helps. The charging speed is fast enough for me-an external AC charger is faster though. However, the short USB cable can be a major nuissance. Also, it is absolutely useless if no PC is close!

Proporta.com recently provided TamsPalm with a few samples of their products. Today, we will finish my part of the proporta reviewing marathon by looking at the roll-up cable for universal connector. People with other handhelds are strongly advised to check the homepage for a version that works with their box. The shipping envelope with all the stuff was pretty stuffed:
envelopefront The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3 envelopeback The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3 envelopecont The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3
Some of the packages were slightly dented, but the contents all were in good state. This is the cable’s shipping package-note that this product actually is manufactured by Proporta:
packfront The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3 packback The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3
This cable essentially replaces an USB docking station without the power cord. Thus, the main advantage is the smaller size and lighter weight. This can come in handy when you need Card Export/Softick PPP on the go.
cablefront The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3 cableback The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3 cableside The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3 sizecomp The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3
My T3 charges pretty fast via USB. It even keeps on charging when powered on-a feat the docking station can only acheive with the external power supply.

The mechanics work well. You extend the cable by pulling simultaneously on both ends-failure to do so will distroy the device according to a “manual”. Expansion can be locked in 5 positions:

Position Length in cm
1 32 cm
2 49.5 cm
3 66 cm
4 81 cm
5 95.2 cm

Compacting the cable is a little tricky. You need to pull both ends out a bit, and then leave the cable alone. It will compact itself while the momentum is big enough. This may sound strange, but works extremely well!

Of course, when I first saw a T3 charging over USB, I feared that it drew more than the specified 500mA(a T3 is rated 1000mA). Lisa Fletcher from Proporta emailed me the following text:

All USB cables have a limitation, allowing them not to draw as much power as a charger that connects via AC power. Therefore the cable will provide charge slightly slower to comply with the standards that are set. This is the same for all USB cables and not just our product. This will not damage the PDA in any way, as the cable is designed to charge the PDA without problems. The only difference you will notice is that it will take slightly longer and will allow you to charge the PDA off of your computer wherever you are.

So, Proporta says that its cable abides to the USB standard. I tested it on a few boxen with two or more ports and had no problems with fuses burning. However, some “compliant” portable hard disks blow the fuses on subnotebooks according to the c’t-so users of these small notebooks could maybe be at risk.
Last but not least, the connection between handheld and cable is extremely strong and the peripheral identifies itself properly(alert via AutoSync)-just look at this and you’ll understand what I mean:
 The proporta roll up cable for the Tungsten T3
Overall, this cable is interesting for people who use their handhelds as external drives and are low on space in their pockets. The mechanics are study and the cable works well. Charging a T3 works faster than with a regular usb-only cradle, but a docking station powered by its mains adaptor is faster AND pemits charging independant of PC’s. You need to decide about its suitability on a per-case-basis, but one can say that it can be extremely useful as an accecoire to the existing charge/sync infrastructure!

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