Treo Shines: Photoblogging with SplashBlog
I don't often come across what I would call 'Treo-optimized' applications and I'm glad to say that SplashBlog is a very welcome exception to the rule. In fact, even though these are still early days in 2005, I would certainly be inclined to place SplashBlog at the top of my shortlist for best new Treo application of the year.
SplashBlog is a photoblogging application that let's you quickly and easily post any picture taken with (or stored on) your Treo to an online photoblog account and so easily share it with family, friends, colleagues or the entire world.
In fact, as SplashBlog claims, the whole process from initial setup to adding and posting individual images is truly as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Once you've installed the SplashBlog application on your Treo you will be prompted to create a free photoblog account which only requires a name and email as well as a blog ID and password (please note that the blog ID is also - a little confusingly - your photoblog name so choose wisely).
Bundled for free in the price of your SplashBlog application is your own dedicated photoblog account which will be accessible online at splashblog.com/yourblogID. If you are already a TypePad blog user, you can also post pictures to any TypePad photoalbum (or create a new one). SplashData has also indicated that it plans to offer support for other photoblogs in the future as well.
Your First Photo Blog Image
Once you've launched SplashBlog on your Treo, all it takes is four steps to post an image on your photoblog (As many of you will already have seen, I had created a Treonauts SplashBlog at www.splashblog.com/treonauts to keep a 'photo story' of the recent 3GSM Congress in Cannes so this is the example that I'll be using below).
1. Select the photoblog that you would like to post to
2. Click on 'Camera'
3. Take your picture and save it (smartly all images are saved to your SD card to save the precious memory on your Treo)
4. The 'SplashBlog Edit' screen will automatically come up next and give you the option to a) select the 'Category' that you would like to file your picture to (here top right 'Unfiled'); b) change the date and time if you want to; c) add your title and caption and finally d) click 'Publish' to immediately post your picture to your photoblog.
Typically the entire process of connecting to your photoblog and publishing the picture is done in less than one minute. Below is a screenshot of the image above which has been sent from my Treo 650 to our Treonauts SplashBlog.
Adding Other Images
One of the other very neat things about SplashBlog is that under Options the 'Blog Prefs' allows you to choose which size you would like to upload your pictures to the photoblog from 320x240 to full size photos. However since the maximum resolution of the Treo is 640x480, I later realised that 'full size photos' could be pictures taken from my Casio Exilim camera (which conveniently also uses SD memory cards).
As a test I took a picture with my Exilim, removed the SD card, inserted it in the Treo, clicked 'Add Image' in SplashBlog which opened the 'Photo Picker', clicked on the image that I had just taken and as before the 'SplashBlog Edit' screen came up. In this case you can see that instead of a 640x480 size I now have 2304x1728 (4 megapixels) which can be uploaded as easily (though not as quickly...) as before.
Similarly you could upload any picture at all on an SD card to your SplashBlog.
Other Cool Stuff
SplashBlog has one particularly cool but not widely publicized function. Namely, you can 'subscribe' to other SplashBlogs. For example, when you have installed the application simply select 'New', put 'Treonauts' in 'Blog Name', in 'Service' select 'SplashBlog', in 'Login' write 'treonauts' again, leave 'Password' and 'Upload' untouched while selecting either 'thumbnails, medium size photos or full size photos' in 'Download' and finally click 'OK'.
You are now subsribed to the Treonauts SplashBlog and after performing your first 'Sync' all the images will be uploaded wirelessly to the SD card on your Treo. Naturally I am curious to see other people's SplashBlogs so please leave your Blog ID in the comments below or send it to me via email.
While there are few things that I can think of improving on the Treo SplashBlog application itself, both the free Splash photoblog and TypePad photo album are relatively basic (for example there is no 'Comments' section) and on this front my head is abuzz with hundreds of ideas about how they could be improved. I am sure that we'll be seeing many updates and new features on this front over the coming months.
A couple of other things that I would like to see in the future are 1) an integration of SplashPhoto and SplashBlog so that I could post to the photoblog directly from within the SplashPhoto PC application and 2) for either of these applications to be developed as a replacement for the standard 'Media' provided on our Treo which I have found painfully slow compared to the Splash apps and 3) the ability to do both photoblogging and moblogging.
I also recently had the opportunity to get a demo of Nokia's Lifeblog photoblogging application and I naturally quickly pitted SplashBlog against it. To make a long story short let me just say that by the time I had finished publishing a picture to the Treonauts SplashBlog my Lifeblog counterpart was still on step 3 of 8... Obviously some people have taken notice and palmOne recently bundled SplashBlog with new sales of the Treo 600 (but not the 650...) and here again I would strongly suggest that all future Treo versions ship with this application as standard.
SplashBlog rocks, period. If you're using your Treo to take pictures or even if you would only like to post a few of your best digital camera snapshots then you are unlikely to find a better application to share your images online.
Treonauts are always looking for Treo-optimized applications...