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Alarming your Treo

There's something that I have been obsessing over for a while.  Namely, finding a simple (no stylus required), quick and yet powerful alarm clock for my Treo - preferably one that could play mp3's and would thus allow me to wake up listening to the charming sound of one of my favourite tunes as opposed to some deafening beep, chime or ring of various kinds typically found on our Treo.

My starting point was the built-in alarm which is (not obviously) placed inside World Clock (when you open the app it's at the top right hand corner).

In World Clock there is only one alarm which is set by clicking the case marked Off, selecting the time (hour + minutes) and pressing OK.  You cannot set repeating alarms for the week as each time you clear it it will reset back to Off.  Meanwhile, the alarm sounds are limited to six none of which I found to be particularly enticing.


My next evaluation took me on to Treo Alarm which proved to be a huge improvement (an understatement).

For starters, Treo Alarm has 8 alarms (you may want to wake up at a different time every day...) and each can be set with a unique name, a particular or multiple day(s) of the week and naturally time.  You can also choose to start your wireless connection with the alarm (if you switch it off in the evenings), automatically receive a free weather update (downloaded from Yahoo Weather or the US/Canadian National Weather Service) and assign a sound from among any of the installed tones on your Treo (about 30 in all and Bach Sonata proved to be my favourite).

While there is much to like about Treo Alarm I was ultimately not happy with the sound limitation and also found the time entry for the alarm to be a bit cumbersome using my thumbs.  Still, in its current (beta) iteration this is without a doubt the best free alarm clock that you're likely to find for your Treo.


Lastly and more recently I came across Bob's Alarm which has rapidly become my preferred application to wake up in the morning.

As I mentioned, one of the principal features that I was looking for was support for mp3 alarms and Bob's Alarm has the benefit of integrating with my Pocket Tunes and using mp3's on my SD card.  However, Bob's Alarm is far superior on many other fronts as well.

Bob's Alarm 'home' screen displays the current time (in nice big bold numbers) and date as well as three simple icons to access the alarm, timer and stopwatch.   Additionally, you also get to see a countdown to your next alarm which I found extremely useful although having the actual time of the alarm displayed would prove helpful as well.


There are two alarms which can be set to repeat once, daily, Mon-Fri, Sat/Sun, by individual day or customized with your own start and end dates.  One of the best functionalities is that to set the alarm time you simply place your thumb above/below the center of the number you want to change and it will cycle upward/downward.  Additionally, you have an extensive choice of Settings where you'll be able to choose a) the sound you want (Wave, mp3, MIDI and Bob's own sounds); b) the various timings related to your alarm; c) a miscellaneous option to select or disable vibrate and d) the option to trigger a timer or application of your choice after you click Snooze, Cancel or another button when the alarm sounds in the morning.

Aside from this there are also two timers and two stopwatches which have similar customization options.  Additionally, select Preferences in the menu for access to even more settings.  One of the only annoying things that I found is that you need to manually input the path to the folder on your SD card that Bob's Alarm will use to play your Wave or mp3's which will prove tedious unless you happen to have all of your individual songs in one folder and not multiple ones like me.

While each of the above three alarms has its merits, my own personal preference for its overall simplicity, flexibility and feature set - including mp3 support - is without a doubt Bob's Alarm - a terrific application to add to your Treo. 

UPDATE: Bob let me know that:

One thing I should mention is that BA only limits you to 2 alarms, timers and SW while it is in 'demo' mode. Registered versions get 255 events, plus you can name each event and apply all kinds of custom settings.

Regarding the wave/mp3 path setting, I've been meaning to allow subfolders for some time now, but just haven't gotten around to it. This will happen, and the more people ask for it the sooner it will happen.

Please help me and also ask Bob to make it happen...

UPDATE2: We liked Bob so much that we've now added his app to our software store!  Buy/Try Bob's Alarm.

Treonauts want to wake up to their tunes...

Posted by Andrew on April 12, 2005 at 11:55 AM

Treo Software | Clocks - Alarms

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by Rich...! | Apr 12, 2005 4:03:35 PM

What about the hobbyistsoftware.com stuff like Butler? Has alarm functionality but quite a bit more too?

by Craig Danuloff | Apr 12, 2005 4:22:34 PM

Anyone got a link to download/buy Bob's Alarm?

by Andrew | Apr 12, 2005 6:38:12 PM


Working with Bob to get his app in our store to buy/try - hopefully by tomorrow.

In the meantime, you can register at his Yahoo Groups and download the app there or I think that you can also download it from Handango.

Cheers, A.

by Bubbler | Apr 12, 2005 7:55:45 PM

A very straightforward way to set alarms with a Treo is using the calendar application -- you can set as many different alarms as you want!


by Taggy | Apr 13, 2005 2:09:57 PM

Good article - thanks. Have you also looked at PalmaryClock (www.palmarysoft.com)? This has the usual multi-alarm, stopwatch, calendar, timers etc. It also has basic almanac stuff (world time, world map, moon phases etc.). And it can use MP3s in conjunction with PocketTunes.

I'd be very interested in your views on this, as a comparison in light of your research so far.

by Chorel | Apr 13, 2005 2:42:06 PM

I also was wondering where PalmaryClock was in the review. I find it is very well thought out and generally very intuitive to use. It unquestionably has the best appearance of any clock/alarm that I have seen to date. I just wish I could find a way to use it as the background in the phone application. I can set alarms, etc... without pulling out the stylus but not as easily as Bob's may allow.
I too am interested in your thoughts.

by Andrew | Apr 13, 2005 3:01:30 PM

Bubbler, LOL

Taggy & Chorel,

Thanks, at the time of my evaluation I was not aware that PalmaryClock had developed support for MP3 alarms and thus it wasn't included. I've now downloaded their latest version and will update the post in the next couple of days with my thoughts.

Cheers, A.

by Edward L | Apr 13, 2005 4:25:27 PM

I inquired about the Treo 650 at a local T-Mobile store and was told that they will phase out the Treo 600 within the next 2 months and then roll-out the 650 thereafter.

by Andrew | Apr 14, 2005 6:25:49 PM

Bob doesn't have a dedicated website for his software so I linked to his Yahoo Groups. However, I'm glad to state that it's now available to buy/try directly from your own Treonauts Software Store at http://www.mobihand.com/treonauts/product.asp?id=715

Cheers, A.

by Keith Evans | Sep 20, 2005 3:32:41 PM

Anybody have a comparison review or know where one is of Bob's Alarm vs PalmaryClock

by Cj johnson | Sep 23, 2005 2:38:01 PM

I find that if one of my event alarms goes off, and I don't dismiss it, that the alarm I've set in World Clock won't play. I find that very undependable. Do you have any suggestions? Does the same thing happen with the alarms you mention in this post?

"Thanx much...Cj

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