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9 years ago

Will Pre's Battery Life Be Disappointing?

Will Pre's Battery Life Be Disappointing?

by Jennifer Chappell Thu, 29 Jan 2009 12:38 pm EST

Jon Stokes from Ars Technica has an interesting article up entitled "The Palm Pre's possible Achilles heel: battery life".  The title of course let's you know what the subject is about; what kind of battery life the Pre will have. And will the battery life be a  major weak point in an otherwise awesome smartphone?

Many have been wondering about that since the Pre was announced at CES a few weeks ago. The Pre is one of the most exciting smartphones to be announced since the iPhone two years ago. It's like a dream come true for Palm smartphone users. We know that the Pre's processor, the OMAP3430 is pretty darn fast, boots in as little as 4 seconds, has up to 4x graphical performance, etc.

According to the Ars Technica article, the 65nm TI OMAP3430 that powers the Pre is the type of stout media SoC (system on chip) you'd expect to see in a portable media player (it's used in the Archos 5), where you can pair it with a larger battery. I don't know about some of you, but I had no idea what a SoC was so I looked it up. Here's Wikipedia's definition: System on chip refers to integrating all components of a computer or other electronic system into a single integrated circuit (chip). It may contain digital, analog, mixed-signal, and often radio-frequency functions – all on one chip. A typical application is in the area of embedded systems.

Also, in the Wikipedia article: The contrast with microcontroller is one of degree. Microcontrollers typically have under 100K of RAM (often only bytes), whereas the term SoC is typically used for processors capable of running software such as Windows or Linux.

Ars Technica goes on to explain that there is an ARM Cortex A8 core at the heart of the 3430. The Cortex A8 is ARM's most powerful in-order processor, and from a very high level, its microarchitecture is similar to that of the original Pentium, and compares even better to Intel's Atom processor.  That sure sounds mighty impressive to me.  The Atom is what's in my Dell Inspiron Mini 9, which I dearly love.

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9 years ago

TreoCentral TreoCast Hits the Pre again

TreoCentral TreoCast Hits the Pre again

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 28 Jan 2009 6:04 pm EST

The TreoCentral TreoCast will soon be no more -- to be replaced by the same two guys still talking Palm -- we just need a new name for the sucker.  Have an idea, sound off in the comments.

This episode: More Palm Pre, Sprint Treo Pro, but best of all: your voicemails!

How to listen

Go on and grab your show notes at TreoCentral.com

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9 years ago

More on Potential Palm Pre Patent Pugilism

More on Potential Palm Pre Patent Pugilism

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 28 Jan 2009 12:39 pm EST

Engadget has a post up on the Potential Pre Patent Pugilism Puzzle that you simply must go read.  The upshot is this, as we told you, Apple's patents are less (and in a couple cases possibly more) than they appear and Palm's Patent Portfolio is pretty darn massive.  Both companies definitely have some patent punches they can throw at each other, but the real question is this: who actually wants to punch first?  Engadget's conclusion matches the conventional wisdom, that Apple is likely to be the first one to do something about the situation.  It does seem fairly likely that both the Pre and the iPhone contain infringing technology, but it's never a slam-dunk case with the law.

For us, the real question is this: Do Apple and Palm (which is increasingly Apple-esque after their recent hires) have the kind of corporate attitude necessary to just swallow their pride and accept that there's space at the top of the hill for two smartphones, each licensing their patents to each other?  If you take a look at the sorts of statements that Roger McNamee made in this Kara Swisher interview, you'll see that the answer for Palm is clearly yes.  They've said for a long time that they expect that there will be plenty of space for everybody in the smartphone market, nobody needs to fail for them to succeed.  Will Apple be able to play nice too?

Thanks for the tip, Dan!  Do you have a tip for us? Click Here

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9 years ago

Pre-licious Rumors Still Circulating

Pre-licious Rumors Still Circulating

by Jennifer Chappell Wed, 28 Jan 2009 10:06 am EST

Don't ya just love "silly season"? I sure do!  The rumor mills continue to spin regarding the Palm Pre's launch date.  TreoCentral forum member Vyruz Reaper posted early this morning that he got some more info on the Pre.

Vyruz Reaper tells us a couple of things.  First, he says that per his source:

So it seems that 2/15 is still the date they WANT to release the phone. From other sources it looks like best buy will have them 2/15 before sprint, but i dont think that is correct, but who knows?

And secondly, he heard that the 8GB Pre will eventually be $150-200 (maybe even at launch) and palm will introduce bigger storage devices like Apple did with the iPhone.  Seems that a 16GB Pre model is already in the works, and the bigger storage models will be priced significantly higher. 

Vyruz Reaper adds:

This isn't set in stone, but palm is considering following this model which makes sense given the omission of the miscrSD slot to make people pay more if they want more space.

I've been reading similar rumors regarding the possibility of larger storage model Pre's and also grumbling about this because people feel that Palm is just trying to make more money by making people upgrade to the larger storage models.  And you know that there will be those of us who will certainly want to upgrade to a Pre with more storage.  I bought my first iPhone when it was first released, a 4GB model, and of course an 8GB model was released soon afterwards.  I held on to my 4GB though and then eventually gave it to my Mom.  Then I got a 16GB iPhone 3G.

Now, back to that launch date rumor stuff.  There was an interesting comment posted under our "Palm Confident That Pre Will Launch On Time" article:

I was on the phone with Sprint support last night activating a replacement Centro I received in the mail (insurance claim for a cracked screen). When we finished up getting it activated, the guy mentioned my eligibility to get $150 off a new phone if I was interested. I told him I was waiting for the Pre and he said, quite offhandedly, "yes that will be available February 15th.." and rattled on with the rest of his script about have I taken care of all your concerns today on this call, blah blah.. I said, "whoaaaa partner, back up there.. Pre WILL be available February 15th?" His reply was affirmative.
I hope these guys are right.

Heck, I hope these guys are right too!  That would be sooooo great if the Pre really was available on February 15th!  I'd better get ready to head over to a Sprint store and get signed up to be a new customer. ;-) 

Of course these are all "Rumors", but we sure do hope that they pan out.

 

 

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9 years ago

Palm Confident That Pre Will Launch On Time

Palm Confident That Pre Will Launch On Time

by Jennifer Chappell Wed, 28 Jan 2009 3:46 am EST

In light of the news that Apple got the multi-touch patents, many wonder if Palm is biting their nails.  I was very happy to have just read an article over at Laptop Magazine that Palm is confident that the Pre will launch on time.  Mark Spoonauer spoke with Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox on the phone, and Fox reiterated that "the company is on more than solid ground should the legal fists start flying."

We reported recently that Lynn Fox had spoken out regarding a possible patent lawsuit:

"Palm has a long history of innovation, obviously reflected in our own products and our own robust apps portfolio," she said. "We have long been recognized for our fundamental patents in the mobile space. If we're faced with legal action, we're confident that we have the tools to defend ourselves."

Laptop Magazine  pressed Fox a bit further about the possibility that the lawsuit might impact Palm’s upcoming launch of the Pre.  According to the article, Fox stated:

“We have no reason to think that our launch plans for the webOS and Palm Pre won’t come to full fruition. We have no plans to change the launch time.”

Now that was music to my ears!  I don't know when the Pre is actually supposed to launch as we've heard recently that it could coincide with the launch of the Sprint Treo Pro.  But.... WMExperts posted in an article yesterday that the Sprint Treo Pro is now delayed until the end of February.

We have a long discussion going on at the moment in our TreoCentral Pre forums about the rumored February 15th Pre launch date.  Some forum members seem to think that Palm will have a Super Bowl ad for the Pre.  That would be wild, huh? I'd sure love to see a Pre ad during the Super Bowl. I won't be holding my breath of course, but seeing an ad would be awesome.  But more importantly, I just want to see the Pre be released as soon as possible. 

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9 years ago

Roger McNamee is our Hero

Roger McNamee is our Hero

by Dieter Bohn Tue, 27 Jan 2009 5:21 pm EST

Ignore interviewer Kara Swisher (if you can), because otherwise the above video of Roger McNamee at CES is good fun for those of us anticipating the Pre.  Unlike his previous appearance, McNamee doesn't drop any significant new features, but he does throw a few zingers out there.  He points out that he thinks the Pre will be popular with a female because it "doesn't insult yout intelligence," that it's not a desktop OS crammed into a Smartphone's body (et tu, Windows Mobile?), and one last interesting bit: he believes that porting applications from both the iPhone and Android over to the Pre should be pretty easy.

More investors like this, please, because that Bono guy hasn't done bupkiss for the Pre.

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9 years ago

Apple Gets Multitouch Patents

Apple Gets Multitouch Patents

by Dieter Bohn Tue, 27 Jan 2009 11:02 am EST

A brief history: Apple threw the patent lawsuit gauntlet down in front of Palm.  Well, technically, Apple threw a gauntlet down in Palm's general vicinity, and so Palm felt compelled to respond.  The latest salvo in the little drama of whether or not Palm has infringed on Apple's patents and whether or not Apple will sue them over it and whether or not Palm has enough of their own patents to sue back (mind you -- this is the simplest kind of patent dispute and already it refuses to be bound inside a single reasonable sentence) has landed.  We're going to call this whole drama Potential Pre Patent Pugilism and let's get right to it: Apple has finally received the patents for some of the multitouch technology.

Now the patent is titled "Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics," which is actually important.  What's being patented here isn't necessarily the concept of multitouch on a handheld but a specific implementation.  That implementaiton appears to be tied up in these so-called "heuristics."  So we actually have to bring out some of the many questions involved here back to the forefront.  Our not-so-informed guesses in parentheses.

  • has Palm actually infringed on an Apple Patent?  (maybe)
  • Is the entire "concept" of handheld multitouch actually included in this patent and is that even patentable? (possible, but not likely)
  • If "handheld multitouch" is part of this patent, couldn't that eventually get revoked because of prior art or other fancy anti-patent arguments? (likely)
  • If Palm does infringe on Apple's patents, would they have the cash to take the fight along far enough to actually get Apple's patents revoked? (doubtful)
  • Would Palm and Apple be able to come to an amicable agreement wherein Palm licences Apple's technology? (Seriously, have you ever heard of Steve Jobs?)
  • Does Palm have enough of their own patents to either cow Apple into not suing or to use in countersuits against Apple that draw this patent fight out for a long, long time (Ding! we have a winner!)

In other words, the mere issuance of a patent doesn't mean as much as it appears these days when it comes to these sorts of inter-corporate patent fights, it's just another piece of the (oh god, stop us) Potential Pre Patent Pugilism Puzzle.

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9 years ago

Palm Pre Feb 15 Launch Rumor Persists

Palm Pre Feb 15 Launch Rumor Persists

by Dieter Bohn Mon, 26 Jan 2009 5:57 pm EST

We've pretty much taken the accepted wisdom out there as accurate, that the rumored Palm Pre February 15th launch is simply too good to be true.  This despite the fact that we've received reports that Sprint employees (the ones who are left, anyway) are already receiving training on the device.  The reason we and most others don't have a lot of faith in the rumor -- February 15th is the date that the Palm Treo Pro is set to finally launch on Sprint's network, and Pro and Pre sound awfully familiar.  Add to that the fact that Februrary 15th falls within the Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona and you get another confluence of problems for the date: all the journalists and bloggers who would want to rush out to review it will be off in Europe hunting down Windows Mobile, Nokia, and Android news (plus whatever they can find out from Palm's own appearance at MWC09).

Yet we have to admit, the Feb 15 rumor won't die.  We're continuing to receive reports from a handful of sources who claim that not only is the 15th accurate, but is in fact designed from the get-go as a combined Treo Pro/Palm Pre launch.  They insist that there isn't a conflation of Pre and Pro going on here.

We're of course hopeful that the Pre will launch sooner rather than later, but even in our wildest dreams we don't really expect the smartphone to launch earlier than mid-March.  We'd love to be wrong, though, and if these reports are true, we just might be.

Thanks, Anonymous Tipsters!

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9 years ago

Sprint to Lay Off 8000 by March 31st

Sprint to Lay Off 8000 by March 31st

by Jennifer Chappell Mon, 26 Jan 2009 11:34 am EST

Oh my, WMExperts is reporting that Sprint has just announced that they are going to save $1.2 Billion in labor costs. Sadly, the money saved will be at the expense of people's jobs. And not just a few hundred jobs either. Nope, Sprint plans to eliminate approximately 8,000 positions. According to the press release, the positions to be eliminated will impact all levels of the company, and the impact on geographical locations will vary.

From the press release:

"Labor reductions are always the most difficult action to take, but many companies are finding it necessary in this environment," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. "We continue to improve the customer experience and these improvements are reflected in much higher levels of satisfaction in customer surveys and in independent performance tests. Our commitment to quality will not change."

Sprint notes in the press release that they've seen a notable reduction in calls per subscriber to customer care and increased customer satisfaction resulting from customer service improvements. Well, that's good to know because I've read countless complaints about Sprint's customer service in the TreoCentral forums over the years.

We know that Sprint is to be the carrier for the Palm Pre. Hmmm, everybody has been wondering if Sprint was the right network to go with, and now we see this. Some people are happy about that and some aren't.

I just read an article this morning over at Bloomberg.com entitled "Palm Investor Bets Money-Losing Sprint Is Perfect Pre Partner". Vivek Shankar talks about 53-year-old retiree Kevn McNiff, who plans to buy a Palm Pre. McNiff likes that the Pre is media friendly and that it has a keyboard. However, McNiff isn't happy that the Pre is going to be on Sprint. McNiff, like many others, is worried about switching to Sprint because of it losses and big, fat $20 billion debt. I'm sure McNiff would be even more concerned upon hearing about Sprint's announcement this morning of its plans to cut 8,000 jobs by March 31st.

Of course Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners feels that Sprint is an ideal partner because of it high-speed network. Plus Sprint doesn't have a huge phone like the iPhone that is exclusive to AT&T in the states.

From the Bloomberg article:

“Sprint has gone three years without a ‘hero’ phone in the smart-phone business,” McNamee said in an interview this month in Menlo Park, California. “From our point of view, this is the perfect carrier to work with.”

So, what do you think? Is Sprint the right network to go with? Goodness knows that Sprint needs the Pre.  Maybe just as badly as Palm needed the Pre.

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9 years ago

Sprint Employees Reportedly Already Training on the Pre, Feb 15 Launch not so Crazy?

Sprint Employees Reportedly Already Training on the Pre, Feb 15 Launch not so Crazy?

by Dieter Bohn Sat, 24 Jan 2009 10:16 am EST


Two separate reports have come in claiming that Sprint employees are already training up on the Palm Pre.  The first from Sarah Lacy (the reporter who managed to pull the new Pre features out of McNamee) claims via Twitter that Sprint employees "are training on them, but they don't come out until June."  There's a similar report over at SprintUsers from Awake:

Good news, several Sprint stores in my area have received brochures and literature on the Pre today. The store advocate said they should get a demo and live model within weeks, they expect the Pre will launch in 3 weeks!

Awake double-checked that these employees were talking about the Pre and not the Treo Pro, but don't take it as gospel that the unlikely February 15th launch we reported on is now a bit more likely.  Why not?  Well, at sister site WMExperts we find confirmation that Palm's Treo Pro on Sprint has been delayed until, guess what, February 15th.  So either Febuary 15th will be a day of miracles for Sprint and Palm or there are a few wires getting crossed somewhere.

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