Tag Archives | Phones

The Treo Pro: Finally Offically Official

“With the Treo Pro, Palm Inc…shows it, too, can innovate.” That’s how a Dow Jones story on Palm’s new smartphone starts off…and it’s a jarring, unfair note on which to begin it. Yes, Palm has seen more than its fair share of woes in recent years, many of them self-inflicted. But this is a company with a rich history of innovation–if you were to list the most important and influential mobile gadgets of all time, both the PalmPilot and the original Treo would rank high. Palm surely wants to prove that it can innovate again, but history is not going to look back at this company as an also-ran.

The Treo Pro, which Palm announced today after a couple of false starts, is entirely evolutionary. Pace Dow Jones, but I’m not sure if there’s anything truly innovative at all about it–what it is is a much-needed and overdue refresh of the basic Treo design, which had changed amazingly little since the release of the Treo 600 back in 2003. But a phone doesn’t have to be particularly innovative to be sexy, and the Treo Pro is the first Treo since the 650 that can reasonably be described as sexy…

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The iPod Nano is Hot, Hot, Hot!

It’s been months since I’ve seen a good story about the battery inside a gadget spontaneously bursting into flames. So today’s news of Nanos overheating (again!) manages to make the top of the T-List.
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iPhone 3G and AT&T: Imperfect Together?

CNET’s Tom Krazit and Marguerite Reardon have publishing a lengthy and interesting story reporting on widespread gripes about the iPhone 3G losing its connection. The article provides no definitive conclusions on what the root of the problems might be–or even just how pervasive they are–but theorizes that the iPhone may do a poor job of switching between AT&T’s 3G network and its older and slower EDGE network on the fly. It’s important that a phone be able to do that as seamlessly as possible, since AT&T 3G is so far from universal.

It’s always dangerous to come to any conclusions about a technology product or service based solely on one’s own experience with it, but my own experience with my own iPhone 3G hasn’t seemed any glitchier than the time I spent with an A&T Tilt, the phone I used immediately prior to buying the iPhone. Almost of all my first month with the iPhone was spent in the Bay Area; there were plenty of times when I could only get an EDGE connection, but I don’t recall any instances of phone calls or data connections conking out on me.

On the other hand, I just got back from a weekend in Las Vegas, and there I did have AT&T issues there. The very first call I made as I walked through McCarran Airport got cut off, and even though my iPhone consistently told me I was on AT&T’s 3G network, the connection was often excruciatingly, unusably slow. On Saturday, I happened to be in the Fashion Show mall on the Strip, and was amazed to see that the Apple Store there still had a lengthy line of folks waiting to buy iPhones; I felt like asking for their attention and telling them that my experience with an iPhone in Vegas had been less than satisfactory…


This is My Last “I Am Rich” Post–I Swear!

…or, at least, the last one until further developments demand additional coverage.

I don’t know anything about the application‘s developer, Armin Heinrich. But it’s intriguing that his name includes the phrase “I Am Rich,” with the letters slightly rearranged.

Oh, and “Armin Heinrich” is also an anagram of “A Rich Inner Him.” With I Am Rich gone from Apple’s App Store, though, Heinrich’s wealth may be destined to be spiritual rather than in the form of great wads of cash derived from iPhone application sales…


I Am Rich…and Missing!

Armin Heinrich’s I Am Rich iPhone application, which put a pretty red jewel onto your iPhone screen for $999.99, is no longer available on Apple’s App Store. No word on whether Apple or Heinrich removed it, but it ignited a firestorm and the consensus in the blogosphere seemed to be that it made both Apple and Heinrich look bad, so its departure is logical enough.

For what it’s worth, Technologizer visitors seem to have healthy senses of humor, or at least mischievous ones: Of the nearly one thousand people who have participated in my little poll so far, the majority think that I Am Rich was a hoot and didn’t want Apple to yank it. Here are full results to date:

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The First $1000 iPhone Application

iPhone developer Armin Heinrich has released an application for the iPhone with two noteworthy characteristics:

1) Its primary function is to display a handsome glowing red jewel on your iPhone’s screen:

2) It sells on Apple’s App Store for $999.99, thereby explaining its name: I Am Rich:

(Okay, it does have one other feature: If you touch the “i” in the lower right-hand corner, you get “a secret mantra…[which] may help you to stay rich, healthy, and successful.” Unless Heinrich decides to hand out reviewer’s copies of I Am Rich, I may never learn what that mantra is.)

Heinrich, incidentally, also sells an iPhone calculator app which, at $4.99, most likely appeals to a wider, less well-heeled audience.

Apple’s policy for approving or rejecting iPhone apps has been a bit fuzzy: It keeps approving and unapproving Nullriver’s NetShare tethering utility, and pulled the seemingly innocuous Box Office movie info app. It seems possible that whatever person or automated system put I Am Rich on the App Store was asleep at the proverbial wheel. But if I it stays up–and I have to confess that the jokester in me kinda-sorta hopes it does–one thing’s clear: Practical jokes are acceptable.

At first, all this reminded me of the days when lots of wiseacres put stuff on eBay ranging from babies to kidneys to pieces of space station Mir to their own souls. The auctions sometimes got bids in the thousands, tens of thousands, or millions of dollars; eBay tended to look askance at such hijinks, and shut down the sales as quickly as it could. But those auctions differed from Heinrich’s offering in at least two crucial ways: The items in question were usually illegal or impossible to sell, and  “bids” were clearly pranks that eBay would never have enforced.

Heinrich’s app. on the other hand, is real and seemingly clearly explained, and the App Store presumably automatically charges your credit card once you agree to buy it. Wonder if anyone who isn’t rich has been silly and/or bold enough to make the purchase?

(Via Daring Fireball’s John Gruber on Twitter.)

Further thought: Other than me, most of the people who are blogging about this seem to think it’s an obnoxious travesty, and possibly insulting to iPhone developers who are trying to sell real apps. The non-jokester in me see the point. Betcha it gets pulled down–if nothing else, the hassle of dealing with anyone who “accidentally” buys it isn’t worth the pain for Apple…and neither is the distraction from all the useful, worth-the-money iPhone apps out there.

Further further thought @ 8:19pm: Hey, let’s conduct a poll!

Further further thought @ 4:26pm on 8/6: I Am Rich is now missing from the App Store. Big surprise!


An “iPhone Nano?” Maybe, But Surely Not This One

There are Apple rumors that ring true. There are ones that sound like they might be true. And then there are the ones that have a whiff of fantasy about them. I’d put Simon Fluendy’s report in the UK’s Daily Mail of an iPhone Nano scheduled for Christmas release in that last category.

It’s not that a simpler and cheaper iPhone is unthinkable. Actually, it would be unthinkable if one doesn’t show up eventually, and I have no reason to think that Steve Jobs and company aren’t preparing one for the holidays. (I do kinda wonder if they might want to give the current, highly profitable iPhone a bit more time as the only iPhone before they introduce a more downscale version, but who knows?)

The thing about the Mail’s report is that it’s skimpy and skimpily sourced, with the info coming from “an industry source” and “one expert.” It says that Britain’s O2 will sell the phones for “up to £150,” and there’s nothing obviously unlikely about that, I guess. But it also describes the phone as supposedly having “a touch wheel on the back and display on the front so that numbers would be dialled from behind.”

That sounds just plain weird and nonsensical; how could such a design be anything but bizarrely unusable? How would you dial numbers with a touch wheel at all?

I can’t imagine that any company would release such a phone, and particularly not Apple. And one lesson with Apple rumors is that the ones that involve alleged products which incorporate features from existing products (like the touch wheel) in ways that sound improbably clunky never pan out.

(I’m reminded of many of the rumors about the iPhone before it actually appeared–many of them involved a phone that looked and worked a lot like an iPod…but when the iPhone arrived, it had little in common with an iPod from a hardware standpoint. Apple was far more imaginative than most of the people who speculated on what an iPhone might be, and far more committed to stretching the definition of what an iPod could be.)

Designing and manufacturing a more basic, inexpensive iPhone that makes sense won’t be easy–especially since the current model delivers so much power at the relatively low price of $199. An “iPhone Nano” would probably have to be significantly cheaper to find a market, and it would be interesting to see if it could incorporate multi-touch and other features that–today at least–make an iPhone and iPhone. Of, if it didn’t have much in common with today’s iPhones, whether consumers would accept it as one.

Of course, the evolution of the iPod from one model to an array of versions with widely differing features and price points shows that Apple can turn one product into a product line, and be wildly successful at doing it. So I repeat: The company will do the same thing with the iPhone. But if it does it in the way the Mail is reporting, I’ll be amazed.


NetShare: Hello, Goodbye, Hello, Goodbye

Okay, now this is just plain weird. Nullriver’s NetShare utility for tethering iPhones to computers as a wireless modem appeared on Apple’s App Store, then disappeared–and then resurfaced. That was odd enough. But now…it’s gone again.

Nullriver says that Apple pulled it again, without explanation. I suppose it’s possible that it’ll mysteriously return again, but at this point I think it’s more likely that it’ll remain an application non grata until and unless AT&T formalizes tethering as a legitimate iPhone use. Which, as I keep saying, I hope they’ll do–and it doesn’t seem unthinkable that they will, since other AT&T phones get that option.

Meanwhile, judging from the copy of NetShare that I managed to buy during one of its windows of availability, I’m not heartbroken that this particular iPhone tethering app keeps coming and going…