Monday, November 30, 2009

Nokia N900 now available (but not suitable medical community)

The Nokia N900 is now available, but I'm not sure that you'll want this device if you're a health care professional. Now, if the N900 ran Android, then I would recommend it. However, since it runs Maemo 5 (Nokia's own Linux-based OS), you'll hardly find any medical apps for it. That can be a huge problem if you're trying to use your smartphone as your peripheral brain. No medical calculators. No medical references. No drug guides. No patient tracking software. No EMR/EHR apps. (well, maybe "no" is a strong word, but you'll hardly find anything medical out there for Maemo).

So, although the N900 looks like an incredible Internet Tablet, I would not recommend this device for anyone who wants to use it as a smartphone/PDA. If you want a gadget purely for web browsing, then the N900 makes a great (but expensive) toy. Maybe we should not call it a toy. It's an MID (mobile internet device). No, it's an Internet Tablet. OK, fine. It's just a big kid's toy.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Smartphone as a memory card reader

I was in the hospital the other day because we now have a new addition to our family (see: Picture of new baby Kim).

I had taken some photos and videos using our digital camera, but I left the memory card reader at home. I wanted to transfer the pictures from the microSD card to her Apple MacBook Pro, but she has the older model that lacks an internal SD card reader. So what did I do? Well, I had a USB to mini-USB cable (I always carry one of these since you never know when you have to tether). I pulled out my HTC Touch Pro2 and swapped out the microSD card. Then, I placed the USB connection mode to "Disk Drive" mode. The microSD card in my smartphone appeared as a removable drive on her Mac. Voila!

Here are a few of my tips/suggestions if you use a digital camera:
  • Always carry a USB memory card reader in your camera bag.
  • If your digital camera uses an SD card, consider using a microSD card (with an SD adapter). You'll have more flexibility with that memory card.
  • Always carry a USB connecting cable for your smartphone (and/or camera) in your camera bag.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Epocrates makes a great holiday gift

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? Do you know someone who got a new smartphone recently? Maybe they found a great Black Friday deal. Nothing beats a subscription to medical software like Epocrates.
Buy Epocrates clinical software products for someone else. Purchase a license for any Epocrates mobile or web-based product, and we will instantly email you a unique license code and an attractive certificate to present to your recipient.
To learn more, visit:

Not sure which to get? Compare your options here:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Medical Smartphones!

Happy Thanksgiving? Hope you have a wonderful time with your friends and families. As you gather for parties, make sure to have some conversations about smartphones. Before you know it, you'll have a bunch of tech-lovers pulling out their gadgets and showing off their cases, accessories, favorite apps, etc. Get ready for those Black Friday specials! I'm very thankful for my family and for the support they provide.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Windows Mobile 6.5.3

There are numerous reports of Windows Mobile 6.5.3 out there. What's 6.5.3?

Now this is just too much. Why did they name it 6.5.3? Why not 6.5.2 or 6.5.4? This is absolutely ridiculous, isn't it? Microsoft should just go straight to Windows Mobile 7. The two 6.5.3 builds are supposedly 28002 and 28004 and they add some minor enhancements.

I'm still running Windows Mobile 6.1 on my HTC Touch Pro2. Thanks to the TouchFLO interface by HTC, this device is quite finger friendly. I'm waiting for 6.5, but maybe I'll just skip right to Windows Mobile 7 when it comes out. Or, maybe I'll switch to Android.

Why is webOS limited to Sprint?

Does it seem fair? Currently, Apple's iPhone OS is limited to AT&T. Palm's webOS is limited to Sprint. That doesn't seem like it's the best way to market a product if you ask me. Let's take a look at a few other smartphone operating systems:
  • Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS can be found on all the major carriers.
  • RIM's BlackBerry OS can also be found on all the major carriers.
  • Google's Android OS is now on almost every networks (currently on T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, but not on AT&T yet)
Does it make sense to limit iPhone and webOS to single carriers? From a marketing perspective, the answer clearly seems to be 'no.' We've heard rumors that Palm's webOS devices will begin to appear on Verizon Wireless. The international GSM version of the Palm Pre can be used in the U.S. if you can find it on eBay. We've heard rumors of an Apple iPhone for Verizon as well.

So in 2010, will all the major smartphone operating systems be available on all the major U.S. mobile phone networks?

Amazing smartphone deals on Verizon Wireless

As Verizon Wireless gets ready to liquidate some old smartphones and promote new smartphones, you can find some pretty amazing deals. For instance, the Samsung Omnia (not the Omnia II but the original Omnia) is selling for $15. The Omnia II is coming very soon. The HTC Touch Diamond is $50. Don't care for Windows Mobile? Then try the HTC Droid Eris for $100 (running Google's Android OS). You can even get the original BlackBerry Storm for $50 since the new BlackBerry Storm 2 is selling for $180.

Remember that Verizon now requires you to subscribe to a data plan if you purchase a smartphone. If you try to drop the data plan, you can expect to pay a hefty premium for your smartphone. Also, they charge extra for tethering, so make sure to ask those questions when you shop at Verizon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Friday smartphone sales

This Black Friday, you can expect to see some great smartphone sales. Whether you go to Walmart or Best Buy, you'll find some good deals. You may also catch a good price at Amazon and several other online retailers that are having some pre-Black Friday sales. Do you plan to camp out for some of those killer deals? If you do, I suggest that you wear a football helmet, body pads, and surround yourself with some body guards so that you don't get mauled.

Personally, I'm not planning on doing very much Black Friday shopping. I may buy a new digital camera this year. That may be my only gadget purchase since I already own too many other gadgets.

To find a list of some of the best Black Friday deals out there, I suggest you visit:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Diabetes iPhone app (GoMeals)

The GoMeals iPhone app is to help patients who have diabetes find nutrition information. This application is powered by CalorieKing and was developed by Sanofi-Aventis. Even though this app was developed by a pharma company, the app isn't about drugs. It's about the dietary management of diabetes.

This app has some pretty interesting features such as:
  • Today's Plate
  • Foods
  • Food Log
  • Restaurant Locator
To learn more about GoMeals, visit: or you can find it on iTunes.

Google Maps Navigation now available for Android 1.6

According to the Official Google Mobile Blog, Google Maps Navigation now available for Android 1.6. So, if you happen to have a smartphone running Android 1.6 (Donut) and higher, such as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the G1, then you're in luck! Your devices may not run Android 2.0, but you can still get voice guidance and automatic rerouting features.

When will Google Maps Navigation be available for Windows Mobile?

Epocrates featured on "iPhone in Business"

Apple has a section on its website called "iPhone in Business"

There, you may read about how Memorial Hermann Healthcare System is advancing health care with the iPhone. You'll also see a story about how Dr. Diamond is using the iPhone to improve patient care. That story highlights Epocrates.
Dr. Dan Diamond takes iPhone into the exam room, where he uses it to educate patients — and practice better medicine.
Dr. Diamond is a family physician in Silverdale, Washington and he also has his own consulting company called Powerdyme.

To learn see the story of Dr. Diamond on the Apple website, click here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What would happen if you lost your smartphone?

What would happen if you lost your smartphone? Do you have a backup plan? Would you be totally incapacitated for a few days? Or, would you hardly know that it's gone?

As we become more reliant on our smartphones, some of us are probably realizing that we would be totally lost without our smartphones. We'd have no phone numbers. We would forget everything on our calendar, so we'd end up missing very important appointments.

I use my smartphone daily, but I also try to keep most of my critical information synchronized and backed up in several places. This way, I can check Google Calendar and see my schedule. Or, I can open Outlook and have all my phone numbers. I even keep an old smartphone at home in case I ever need to use it as a backup or spare. This has saved me on several occasions - especially back in the day when I was loading custom ROMs.

While we're on the topic of losing smartphones - remember to always use a strong password so that your information does not get compromised if someone ever steals your device. Information security is so important, especially if you keep any sensitive data on your mobile device.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Samsung Omnia II coming to Verizon in early December

It appears that the Samsung Omnia II will be coming to Verizon in early December. The Omnia II will be similar to the HTC Imagio. No slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Touch screen and Windows Mobile just like many other smartphones. So what will make the Omnia II unique? The AM-OLED display and the TouchWiz user interface.

The Omnia II will be a significant improvement over the original Samsung Omnia. You'll get a larger screen and some really nice feature improvements. Would it justify an upgrade if you're currently using the Omnia? I suppose the answer really depends on your budget and on how you're currently using your smartphone. If you really want Windows Mobile 6.5 on your Omnia, then you can load a custom ROM (as long as you know what you're doing). If you want a larger screen, then you'll need to upgrade to the Omnia II (or an HTC Imagio or Touch Pro2 if you want to stay with Windows Mobile).

It's great to see that Verizon is finally bolstering its smartphone selection.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Smartphone uptake among physicians

How many physicians currently used smartphones in 2009? How will that number change in 2010? I don't think anyone will doubt that the percentage will only increase each year until we reach some type of plateau effect. However, there is still much room for growth in this area.

According to the Manhattan Research, by the year 2012, 81% of U.S. physicians will use smartphones. Currently, about 64% of physicians use PDAs/smartphones. Based on the way smartphones are evolving, the standalone PDA will become extinct fairly soon and almost everyone will be using an Internet-capable smartphone.

Data from "Physicians in 2012: The Outlook for On Demand, Mobile, and Social Digital Media" Manhattan Research

Save 15% on All Skyscape resources

This is the season of discounts and sales. This Thanksgiving, save 15% on All Skyscape resources. This offer ends November 29, 2009! So, if you're looking for a perfect gift for that medical student, resident, or attending physician, then consider purchasing medical software.
Using mobile medical information at the point of care has been proven to reduce errors, save time and improve patient outcomes. With over 500 trusted resources covering more than 35 specialties, Skyscape provides healthcare practitioners with an unlimited selection of titles from the most expansive mobile medical library in the world.
Note: Discounts cannot be combined or applied to past purchases, or used on select references, Sky Platinum membership fee, Constellations, Skyscape Gift Certificates, MedStream, Value Packages or Hardware. Discounts are taken automatically at checkout.

You don't need any special discount codes to take advantage of this offer.

Very impressed by Opera Mobile 10 so far

I haven't spent a lot of time testing the new Opera Mobile 10 (beta), but I'm very impressed by the results so far. I'm testing this beta software on my HTC Touch Pro2 running Windows Mobile 6.1 and it's far better than Opera Mobile 9.5 or 9.7. If it supported Adobe Flash, then it would be a true winner. Over the next several days, I hope to spend more time testing this new mobile browser and comparing it against others such as Skyfire.

Get a new Palm Pre for $79.99

You can get a new Palm Pre for $79.99 from

You'll need to sign up for a new service plan, but $80 for a smartphone like this one is a great deal (the list price is $499.99)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Save 20% on the Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia

Speaking of software discounts, here's another one: Use the coupon code "SAVE20" and you will save 20% when you place your order for the new Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia.

The Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia Deluxe Mobile Edition is priced at $39.95, so you'll only pay $31.76 if you use the coupon code "SAVE20." If you're a traditionalist and you prefer the paperback version, then you can get away with the pocket version for only $15.95. The 2010 version contains new HIV and H1N1 (Swine Flu) drug coverage and dosing requirements.

Video of Opera Mobile 10 (beta)

Here's a short video that highlights some of the innovative features found on the new Opera Mobile 10 (beta):

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Opera Mobile 10 (beta) now available

I love the Opera mobile web browser. Opera is available in 2 different flavors for the smartphone/PDA:
  1. Opera Mobile
  2. Opera Mini
Opera Mobile is now available as version 10 in beta mode. To get it, visit:

I've been running the latest beta of Opera Mobile (which was 9.7), so I'm eager to see how version 10 will perform compared to version 9.5 and 9.7.

Version 10 beta is currently available for Nokia smartphones (Symbian) and Windows Mobile smartphones.
Opera Mobile 10 beta works on Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson smartphones running Symbian/S60, 3rd edition FP1 and FP2 & 5th edition.

Opera Mobile 10 beta works on both Classic and Professional editions of Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Mobile 6.1, Windows Mobile 6.0 and on Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC.

Leverage group discounts on Epocrates products

Discounts are available on Epocrates products for organizations such as hospitals, schools, residency programs, medical groups and government agencies. Discounts start at 10 users for Epocrates Essentials and Essentials Deluxe and 20 users for Epocrates Rx Pro and Epocrates Online Premium.

To learn more, visit:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Will Apple surprise us with a Tablet before the holidays?

Rumors of the Apple Tablet seem to come in waves. Before the launch of the latest iPod nano and iPod touch, we were (almost) certain that we'd also see an Apple tablet. Well, we were wrong. However, maybe Apple is being strategic with their marketing plan. Who knows, right?

At this point, I really don't know what to think. There are floating rumors about a smaller iPhone that will be arriving at Verizon Wireless next year. There are re-emerging rumors about the Apple Tablet. There are rumors that the Apple tablet may simply be a super-sized iPod touch. There are other rumors that the tablet will run Mac OS X.

In any case, the engineers and marketers at Apple are blessed with innovation, creativity, and a lot of talent. Let's hope they use their talent wisely as they prepare to launch this upcoming new device.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 (Google Android)

I love Sony products. Back in the old days of TDMA, I used to have an Ericsson phone. The upcoming Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 will be running Google's Android smartphone operating system and this is going to be a fantastic device for those who can afford it. This device is going to be a "high-end" model with a large display that allows for multi-touch gestures. You can expect great performance on this device since it will run a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

The sad news is that I don't know if we're doing to see this model appear in the U.S. Right now, the U.K. store is estimating a Feb 10 launch date. You can stay current on new product launches by following the Sony Ericsson Product Launch Blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

BlackBerry Bold 9700 (Bold 2) now on T-Mobile

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 (also known as the Bold 2) is now available from T-Mobile. This new device is a little bit smaller than the previous Bold, but it still lacks a touch screen. I'm waiting for RIM to release a BlackBerry model that includes a hardware QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen. What are they waiting for? Why should a touch screen and a hardware keyboard be mutually exclusive?

AT&T will also have its own version of the Bold 2. Maybe the Bold 3 will have a touch screen.

I realize that business users may not recognize the critical importance of a touch screen, but if you're working in the health care industry, then you will quickly recognize that a touch screen is invaluable because of the way many medical apps are designed. You will find that you are much more efficient using a device that has a touch screen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Smartphone discussions on Sermo

Sermo is a U.S. physician-only community. It's an exclusive club, so if you're not a U.S. physician, then I'm afraid you can't join. However, you can pay to conduct a market research survey. There are currently several interesting discussions regarding smartphones, iPhone, BlackBerry, and even Android. You'll even hear physicians discuss and share some ideas about new medical apps (especially for the Apple iPhone) on Sermo.

Palm Pre webOS gets updated to 1.3.1

Palm's webOS is getting updated to 1.3.1 this month. The last update (1.2.1) was released on October 2.

The update to 1.3.1 brings some fixes and also adds some features such as Yahoo calendar and Yahoo address book. If you have a Palm Pre, have you already updated to webOS 1.3.1?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Medical apps for Droid (Google Android)

Updated on Oct, 2010

There are many newer medical apps for Google Android, so I've decided to update this blog post.

People are now looking for medical apps for the Motorola Droid, Droid X, Droid 2, HTC Droid Incredible, Google Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy S, and other Google Android smartphones on Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and other wireless providers. What have you found out there?

There are a growing number of options and new medical apps are popping up all the time. Let's take a look at some of the most popular ones:
  • Epocrates is now available for Android! You can also use your mobile web browser and access drug info at
  • Unbound Medicine has medical references, textbooks, and other resources for Android.
  • Skyscape also has medical references, textbooks, and other resources for Android.
  • MobilePDR is a drug reference app that is available to health care professionals as a free app. Non-clinicians can purchase this app. It's powered through Skyscape.
  • UpToDate can be accessed via any mobile web browser. So, it's available for Android, but not as a standalone app.
  • QuantiaMD (you'll have to try it. it's a great app that provides education and other resources)
Well, this is just the beginning. It won't be long before we see a robust selection of medical apps for Google Android. Stay tuned and make sure to subscribe to stay current as new medical apps get released for Android.

Friday, November 13, 2009

TetherBerry (tether without any extra charges)

Do you tether with your BlackBerry smartphone? Are you paying an extra tethering fee in addition to your data plan? Well, some people out there are bypassing this extra fee by using custom ROMs, hacks, tweaks, or third party software such as PdaNet or TetherBerry.

I admit that I've used PdaNet in the past. I don't use it any longer. If you're a BlackBerry user, you now have another option for your BlackBerry: TetherBerry

PdaNet will also work, so you choose. I'm not endorsing these products or encouraging people to tether using non-conventional methods. I'm simply reporting what's out there.

To learn more about TetherBerry, visit:

Palm Pixi (webOS) at a bargain price

The Palm Pixi is a "budget" smartphone for those who insist on having a smartphone running webOS. If you can't afford the Palm Pre, then you can probably afford the Palm Pixi. Circulating rumors are suggesting that you can purchase the Palm Pixi for only $30. Visit your local Walmart this holiday season and good luck finding one. You'll need to be on the Sprint/Nextel wireless network to use this CDMA smartphone.

The Palm Pixi is like an ultra thin and slim version of the old Palm Treo. Did you own one of those? Many people are actually still using a Palm Treo (either running the original Palm OS or Microsoft Windows Mobile). It's coming to Sprint on November 15 for $99.99, but look for some rebates (or simply go to Walmart) if you're on a tight budget. Ah, those good old medical school days when I used to be on a really tight budget...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recycle your old smartphone into a GPS navigator

I like to keep my old gadgets. I realize that it may not be practical to keep them, but I like to play around with them and reminisce. I'm currently using my old HTC Titan (XV6800) as a standalone GPS navigator. Well, Google Android users who have the old T-Mobile G1 are keeping them and recycling them as GPS navigators. Google's updated Maps software (Navigation) provides turn-by-turn directions. Some people out there are finding ways to get Google Navigation to work on the HTC G1 (this is called hacking by some, and tweaking by others)

So, Google Navigation isn't only for the Motorola Droid if you're a developer or hacker. I don't have a G1, so I won't be trying this at home. If I had a G1, then I'd be really tempted to see what the XDA developers are up to.

Do cell phones really cause brain cancer?

I was having a discussion about cell phones and brain cancer with my wife yesterday. When will we (as a health care community) decide that we have enough evidence to either substantiate or refute whether cell phones cause brain cancer? According to CNN, a report from the World Health Organization on a decade-long investigation called Interphone will show a "significantly increased risk" of some brain tumors "related to use of mobile phones for a period of 10 years or more." I don't think we've ever really looked at 10+ years of data in the past.

Are we simply dealing with issues related to recall bias? Is the root of the issue analog vs. digital? Have modern smartphones increased the risk due to their ability to transmit significantly larger amounts of data? Will we see everyone using speakerphone and ear pieces? How much longer will this topic be considered "controversial?" When will we decide that the evidence is compelling?

Personally, I think that we will eventually see stronger bodies of evidence suggesting that the association is real. What I don't know is: how strong is the association? I always use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone whenever I know that I'm going to have a long phone conversation.

Tethering coming to the Apple iPhone (AT&T)

Yes, this has been a circulating rumor for a long time. Tethering will come to the Apple iPhone. You don't need a jailbroken iPhone to do this. The iPhone 3GS is capable of tethering, but AT&T has now allowed customers to use this feature.

When will it come? How much will it cost? Those are the critical questions.

I've tethered using smartphones running Windows Mobile, Palm OS, and BlackBerry. I don't think I could survive without tethering because I don't carry a dedicated WWAN card. It simply doesn't make sense to pay for a separate card if I already have an Internet-capable smartphone.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

iPhone "mini" to appear on Verizon next year?

When it comes to Apple, I never know which rumors to believe. One of the latest rumors is that the Apple iPhone will come in a "mini" or "nano" version and appear on Verizon Wireless next year.

The current iPhone is a nice size, but I'm sure there are some people out there who wouldn't mind having the option for a smaller iPhone. I say this because we see that the current iPod nano is extremely popular. Sometimes, smaller is better. When you're exercising at the gym, you want a small music player. I see people strapping an iPod touch on their arms, but why do that if you can use a much smaller device?

So, will we really see an Apple smartphone (iPhone or iPhone mini) appear on Verizon next year? I'd have to think that Apple would be foolish not to leverage the broad Verizon network to expand their sales. My prediction is that by the middle of 2010, we should see almost every major smartphone operating system (maybe with the exception of Palm webOS) offered through every major U.S. mobile phone carrier. Google Android, Apple iPhone, RIM BlackBerry, and Microsoft Windows Mobile. You'll actually have the ability to pick and choose your smartphone OS without switching carriers. What a novel idea!

Cough into your mobile phone to get diagnosed instantly

Do you have a cold? The flu? Pneumonia? Viral or bacterial? COPD? Asthma? What if you could simply cough into your mobile phone to get your cough diagnosed instantly? We should ask Suzanne Smith of STAR Analytical Services, a Massachusetts company developing cough-analyzing software for disease diagnosis. According to MSNBC, STAR Analytical Services was awarded a Gates Foundation grant to develop the software for developing countries.

This same software could potentially end up on your mobile phone (more likely a smartphone, but who knows?). Before we know it, our little handheld device will have some other scanners like an infrared thermometer, an oropharynx analyzer, a finger pulse oximeter, a breathalyzer to detect H. pylori and other infections, and much more. Step aside James Bond and get ready for the medical smartphone of the future!

Nokia N900 Internet Tablet

The Nokia N900 is an "Internet Tablet" and a GSM smartphone. However, you'll have a really difficult time finding medical apps for this device since it does not run your "typical" smartphone operating system. You just won't find much medical software that will run on Linux Maemo. However, if you're content researching and accessing all your health content via a mobile web browser, then the N900 may end up working out for you.

I wouldn't recommend the N900 to medical students or residents because you'll be much more productive if you can load medical apps directly on your device to boost your productivity. If you're looking purely for a recreational device, then the N900 is a great little gadget "toy" for your bag or purse.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

100,000 Droid smartphone sold on opening weekend

Wow, it's quite impressive to read that Verizon Wireless sold 100,000 Droid smartphones on opening weekend. Google's Android smartphone operating system is spreading quickly and I'm really starting to think that it may dominate the smartphone marketplace among health care professionals.

BlackBerry Storm 2 reviewed

Have you read all the reviews for the BlackBerry Storm 2?

CNET, CrackBerry, Brighthand, Gizmodo, and PC Magazine seem to come to the top of the Google list. I like the review by Gizmodo because it's actually a summary of multiple reviews (although it seems like they have a typo regarding the CNET review which is 3.5 out of 5 stars or "very good")

So, what do you think about the new BlackBerry Storm 2? Are you impressed? Was it worth the upgrade? If I were a health care professional using the older Storm, I would upgrade mainly because you really need more internal RAM for all those medical apps. If you're a pure business user, then 128 MB of RAM for apps is plenty. The same isn't true for medical students and physicians.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Nokia recalling cell phone chargers

If you're using a mobile phone made by Nokia, you should check to see if your charger needs to be exchanged (for free). Here's why they're being recalled:
We have determined that the plastic covers of the affected chargers could come loose and separate, exposing the charger’s internal components and potentially posing an electric shock hazard if certain internal components are touched while the charger is plugged into a live socket.
Click here for more information about the charger recall

Battle of HTC vs. HTC (Touch Pro2 vs. Imagio)

Isn't it ironic that people are having a difficult time deciding between an HTC smartphone and another HTC smartphone? What's ironic is that they both run Windows Mobile and they both have touch screens. The key difference is the slide-out QWERTY keyboard found on the HTC Touch Pro2 (which makes this device thicker) compared to the thinner HTC Imagio.

I think people would be more drawn to the Touch Pro2 if Apple had an iPhone "Pro" version that had a slide-out hardware keyboard. Unfortunately, Apple only has one version of the iPhone with different memory capacities. On the other hand, HTC has a large variety of smartphones running operating systems like Windows Mobile and Android.

If you're on Verizon Wireless and you're thinking about a new smartphone, which model do you plan to buy? How do you make that decision? Is it based on the software features? Hardware? Operating system? Price? Thickness?

I probably don't type enough on my smartphone to need a hardware keyboard. I would have been fine with an Imagio. However, the Touch Pro2 suits my needs quite well and I've gotten used to the extra bulk. So, if I had to buy a new phone today, I would still choose the Touch Pro2. I'm loyal to Windows Mobile until more medical apps become available for Android.

Epocrates on Windows Mobile 6.5

Unfortunately, as of now (November 2009) Epocrates does not support Windows Mobile 6.5. I'm certain this is going to change, but I don't know when.

Currently, the supported versions of Windows Mobile are 6.1, 6.0, 5.0, Pocket PC 2003 Second Edition (SE), and Pocket PC 2003.

If you need to access the drug database portion of Epocrates on your Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone, use your mobile browser and direct it to:

There is a reported workaround if you have access to a Windows 6.1 ROM for your smartphone. However, I don't know if it's worth the hassle of flashing your ROM back and forth since each time your flash your ROM, you risk "bricking" your phone if you do something incorrectly. I always hold my breath whenever I'm flashing a new ROM, whether it's a custom ROM or a factory ROM.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Distribution of medical apps on the iPhone

What's the most popular medical app on iPhones carried by health care professionals? According to a recent "Graphos" (graphically presenting interesting information) from HCP Live, here's how it breaks down:
  1. Medscape (although it has more 1 star than 5 star ratings)
  2. Epocrates (speed improvements in the latest version)
  3. Diagnose the Disease Game
  4. Diagnosaurus
  5. Skyscape Medical Resources
  6. 3D Head and Neck
  7. Medical Encyclopedia
  8. MedCalc
  9. HCP Live to Go
  10. The ECG Guide
So what's on your iPhone?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Are you getting excited about Droid?

Verizon Wireless is doing quite a bit to promote their upcoming new Google Android-powered smartphones. They're putting almost all the emphasis on the Motorola Droid and practically ignoring the HTC Droid Eris (yes, the name "Droid" will carry through on all the Android smartphones carried by Verizon Wireless). The Eris is really a Hero, but they're calling it an Eris. Confusing, right?

Well, I think it's great to see Google's smartphone operating system finally reaching other major carriers. Maybe we'll see so many loyal Android users that when Verizon finally gets the Apple iPhone, few people will get excited about that.

I love droids. R2-D2 is my favorite droid. I'm happy with my current HTC Touch Pro2 running Windows Mobile, but I think that I may someday become an Android user before I become an iPhone user.

HCPLive To Go for iPhone and iPod touch

HCPLive To Go is now available for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. Have you taken a look at this free medical app? To get it, you can find it on iTunes (search for "HCPLive To Go") or you can visit to download the app.

Here's what you'll get:
• Web Exclusives - breaking news with full editorial coverage not available in print
• Video - posted by our own editorial staff, plus feeds from various media outlets
• Podcast - including specialty coverage, events and debates on topics critical to healthcare professionals as well as audio presentation of our top stories
• Conference 360 - Live updates and daily on-site conference coverage, with recap archives available in all specialties.
So, if you're an iPhone user, you'll probably find this to be a nice, handy free app. If you don't have an iPhone, maybe you have an iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.

The Motorola Droid gets reviewed by Brighthand

Thinking about using a Google Android-powered smartphone? The Motorola Droid has been reviewed by the folks at Brighthand. It's a nice slim slider that reveals a QWERTY keyboard. Yes, it's so slim that you may not think it's a slider. This phone runs Google Android 2.0 which means that you'll get voice-guided turn-by-turn directions when you use the built-in GPS navigation feature on this smartphone.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

BlackBerry Curve 8530

The BlackBerry Curve 8530 will be appearing on Verizon Wireless and Sprint. The best part about this particular smartphone is its price: less than $100. Forget the little trackball. This new model has the optical trackpad. I wonder if that will reduce or increase the incidence of any repetitive motion injuries related to people cranking the trackball or repeatedly pressing buttons on a 4-way navigation D-pad.

The Curve 8530 will come with the BlackBerry operating system version 5.0 and will have your standard BlackBerry screen (not a touch-screen). T-Mobile has a very similar version: the BlackBerry Curve 8520.

I'm a big fan of touch-screen navigation, so you'll never see me carrying one of these. However, if you're looking for an inexpensive BlackBerry that also includes Wi-Fi and GPS, then the Curve 8530 is a nice option.

Over 100,000 apps on iTunes for the iPhone

Can you believe that we now have over 100,000 apps for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch? Some may argue that many of those apps offer no significant functionality or purpose. They're useless. They're only there for fun.

Speaking of useless apps, one of my favorite apps is the Star Wars lightsaber app (Lightsaber Unleashed). Totally useless, right? Not if you're trying to entertain some young kids. You can also get some exercise by swinging your arms while you hold the iPhone or iPod touch in your hand. So, it's not entirely useless. I'm not a Jedi yet, but I'm working on it (don't tell my kids).

Speaking of lightsabers, I actually have a few of these at home (real ones) but I don't let my kids get near them.

What are some of your favorite useless apps?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tarascon Pharmacopoeia® iPhone Edition

The Tarascon Pharmacopoeia® iPhone Edition is now available for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. Back in the "old days," I used to carry this little green (or yellow or blue) book in my white coat pocket. Now, you can have this handy reference on your PDA.

Key features include:
• Convenient and quick portable access on your iPhone or iPod Touch
• Contains expanded drug coverage from the Deluxe Edition of the Print Pocket Pharmacopoeia®
• Continuous drug updates.
• A fully integrated tool for multiple drug interaction checking
• 47 invaluable drug reference tables and 15 dynamic calculators
• Extensive pediatric drug dosing
• Complete privacy. We never sell your personal data or product use patterns.
• 12 month subscription $39.99
This is a subscription-based service, so you should plan to budget $40/year to keep this app running. $40/year really isn't too bad, but if you're considering other software bundles, do your research before you start buying each one. You may find some redundancies if you get several different drug reference guides.

To learn more about this product, visit:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

AT&T is suing Verizon Wireless about those ads

We live in a society where lawsuits occur daily. Physicians worry enough about a lawsuit. Well, today's lawsuit is an interesting one that deals with the “There’s a map for that” commercials.

"AT&T sues Verizon Wireless over 3G ads"

Here's the summary from Reuters:
* Wants to stop use of "misleading" maps in Verizon ads
* Says ads are causing "incalculable" market share loss
* AT&T asks for temporary restraining order
* Verizon Wireless says suit without merit (Adds Verizon Wireless comment, detail from suit, background)
NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc (T.N) is suing Verizon Wireless in an effort to stop its bigger mobile rival from using "misleading" coverage maps in advertisements that AT&T says are causing it to lose "incalculable market share."

To read the entire story, click here.

T-Mobile service is down in the USA

If you follow T-Mobile USA on Twitter (@tmobile_usa), you'll know that they had some service disruptions today. If you don't follow T-Mobile, then you may be wondering why you haven't gotten many phone calls today.

Earlier today, they sent this tweet:
All – We’re aware of the current service disruption. Our rapid response teams have been mobilized to restore service as quickly as possible.
The most recent tweet was:
We’re making good progress restoring voice and messaging service to affected customers...
UPDATE 11/03/2009 6:00 PM PST:

We’re making good progress restoring voice and messaging service to affected customers.
At this time, approximately 5 percent of T-Mobile customers are experiencing service disruptions.

Issues began at approximately 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. Our rapid response team is working continuously to fully resolve this disruption.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused our customers.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X3 (Google Android)

The upcoming Sony Ericsson Xperia X3 will be running Google Android. Before we know it, every major smartphone manufacturer (except Apple and Palm) will have an Android smartphone on the market. We're seeing this from all the major players. How will Apple and Palm keep up with this type of competition?

According to the folks over at Brighthand:
The name "X3" hasn't been 100% confirmed. Some reports say it may have been changed to "X10" or the " Infinity". In any case, the code-name is definitely "Rachael".
Regardless of what this phone is called, the Sony Xperia X3 looks like it's going to be a really nice smartphone. As we see more medical apps for Android emerge, I think we're going to see a massive movement of medical students, residents, and attending physicians using Android-powered smartphones in the clinical setting.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Samsung Moment (Google Android) now at Sprint

The Samsung Moment is now available from Sprint. It's Sprint's second smartphone to run Google's Android smartphone operating system (the HTC Hero was the first). It's great to see a smartphone that has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and an AM-OLED screen.

Although this device comes with Android 1.6, let's hope that it will soon get the upgrade to Android 2.0.

As we see more Android smartphones emerge, let's hope that all those medical application providers are quickly cranking out software that will be compatible for Android. At the end of the day, everything may turn into web-based software services and we may no longer need standalone apps that reside on a handheld. Once that becomes the norm, we won't worry about smartphone operating systems. You'll simply need a mobile web browser to access your medical references, calculators, etc. It will be cloud computing on a mini (or nano) scale: on your smartphone.

Android will overtake Windows Mobile

The predictions by the Deutsche Bank is that Android will overtake Windows Mobile and become the dominant operating system for HTC, a leading smartphone manufacturer. You may not be very familiar with HTC because their phones often get rebranded as Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T phones. However, HTC is one of the largest smartphone makers and they are currently the world's #1 producer of Windows Mobile smartphones.

As I read this story in BusinessWeek magazine, I'm faced with a question inside: when will I make the switch to Android? Maybe the question isn't "when." After all, in my mind, the major question centers on Apple's iPhone. Currently, the iPhone is making some significant inroads in the world of health care. I'd be an iPhone user if I weren't stuck on Verizon. If Verizon offers the iPhone in the near future, I'd be torn between choosing the iPhone vs. Android. I already have an iPod touch, so I'm very familiar with the iPhone operating system. BlackBerry is also catching up, but I think that Android could leapfrog into a leading position if Google positions this smartphone OS strategically. I've used the BlackBerry Storm and I'm impressed by the progress that RIM is making in this space.

I've been a loyal Windows Mobile user since the old days of Windows CE and Pocket PC. I had a grayscale Windows CE PDA and moved my way up Compaq iPaqs and now to an HTC Touch Pro2 smartphone. Unless Windows Mobile 7 ends up being a complete overhaul of the current Windows Mobile operating system, Android will certainly overtake Windows Mobile. BlackBerry still has the edge over corporate users, but that is likely to change as other smartphone operating systems infiltrate the corporate arena.
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