With mixed feelings I decided to replace my PalmOne PDA / Nokia phone combination with an all-in-one device. I had to get something that would synch its data with my Mac and a work PC. I decided to go for a Treo 600. The Treo 600 has recently been superceded as the top dawg in the PalmOne range by the Treo 650, but I wanted a device that had enough history behind it to get the bugs ironed out.PalmOne devices are notorious for having memory related issues that required a service patch post product launch from the RAM issues in the Palm Vx, to the SD/MMC card issues for Tungsten devices. I didn’t mind leaping in with both feet before because if my Palm died I still had the phone and vice versa, but this is having all-your-eggs-in-one-basket time.
The Treo used a different connector to my Tungsten T3 which made my cradles for work and home redundant. PalmOne were cheapskates by throwing in only a synch cable and charger like a entry point PDA rather than a proper cradle. Handily for UK mobile users the device automatically configures itself to use your carriers GPRS service, saving much grief.
In itself is nicer to hold and has better sound quality than I had hoped. As for the camera, its not that good, but then I was more worried about mobile email and having all my contacts together. I had to invest in a new mail application because the one on board the device only looked after POP3 accounts. IMAP4 is a newer and more useful standard that many consumers such as myself are turning to. (You can read more about it here). Thanks to Google and Mitch Kapor’s blog I found a first-rate mail client from New Zealand software company Snapper Fish. SMS texting is made easy via a IM style chat interface that keeps track of SMS conversation threads, very handy for impromptu social calendar planning holding together texts about when and where you would meet.
In common with all touch-screen devices it is worthwhile investing in a cover, I have gone for this shape hugging silicone number and screen protectors.
The look and feel of the device is early Tungsten, not as pleasant as the T3 I had previously, but this is made up for by the seamless integration with phone and PDA components, rather than the Bluetooth-linked shuffle that I had to do before.
I also use MobiPocket as an e-book reader on the tube and MetrO to help me plan my way around London’s public transport system.
No Graffiti – PalmOne devices key advantage was ease-of-use and key to that was the simple handwriting system that users could use for inputting data and controlling the device. They were sued by Xerox, who initially won, licensed Jot (now called Graffiti 2): and crippled it from a usability point of view. Xerox eventually had their case thrown out, but PalmOne has not reinstated the ‘legendary easy-to-use’ Graffiti. In the Treo’s there is no Graffiti pad at all. Instead there is a thumb keyboard, being a seasoned Palm user, I was proficient in Graffiti (when working on the Palm pan European PR account I frequently had to give demonstrations to journalists and other influencers), could get by with the crippled version but have found the thumb keyboard a bit of a retro step. For newbie Palm users it should be fine, its about as hard as a Crackberry.
Using Orange (UK peepz only) – if you are using Orange as your cellular provider you may find the following information of use. All outgoing email from an Orange phone has to go from an Orange SMTP server, they won’t allow you to link to an external one. The address is smtp.orange.net .
There is no user name or password required. They have a helpdesk for data users you can get by dialling 156 from your handset and follow the machine instructions to get put through to the correct team.In conclusion – I have managed to list some negative points, but that is only because I have known and used the Palm platform for a long time like an old friend. I would recommend the Treo from my own experience. If you want to invest in a Treo 650, give them a bit of time to get it right and for the cellular provider handset subsidies to kick in.