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September 21, 2005

Treo ecstasy

Lately, I have begun to really appreciate having purchased the Treo 600. Granted I'm using a somewhat dated model, as the Treo 650 is already on the street, but I just wanted to share my delight. Besides, I paid roughly a third of the cost for the unlocked phone, so I got huge savings. You've got to realize that prior to getting this powerful smartphone, I limped along with a Samsung N400. The features on my old phone pale in comparison to the Treo. Before I get into the features, I want to share this little story... I went into Rat Shack err, I mean Radio Shack to pick up an CD adapter (2.5mm to 3.5mm female), so that I can listen to mp3, ogg, files stored on the Treo (more on this later). I was expounding on some of the coolness of the Treo with one of my buddies (he's saddled with a Pocket PC), we go back on forth about which device is better. We're always challenging each other.. It's like can yours do this? You get the idea.

Just then cashier shoots me a look and utters, "I'm not a fan of the Treo." I asked, "Why not ?" She then pulled out her 'clamshell' style cell phone, opened and then closed it. She sneered, "Can yours do this ?" I smiled at her purchased my stuff and left. I thought to myself, "She is pathetic."

Obviously, the Treo doesn't fold. However, I believe that is probably the only feature, (if you choose to call it that) I don't possess.

Anyway, back to the feature comparison:

On my old N400, I really hated when anyone would send me a SMS msg, as I would have to fuddle around to enable the web browser, connect with the Sprint 3G network. What a royal PITA. Hell, by the time I actually got to the message, the urgency of the moment was long gone.

The Treo handles SMS as regular phone call. It simply chimes or vibrates depending on your alert strategy. You then have the option to reply and begin a discussion or simply ignore it. Basically, you don't have to navigate the 3G network for a simple msg.

Data Storage
Secure Digital card storage slot (I have a 1GB San Disk) is really slick. Yeah, I know there are phones that contain memory sticks which allow you to store numbers and a few files, but most of them are proprietary and thus are only useful on phones of the same model. Now, I store audio files to go, so it's great for listening to some of my favorite podcasts. Pocket Tunes and others are great audio players.

I can also backup all of my software apps, contacts, etc. Additionally, you can also play movies on the Treo. Yes, I said movies. Although, I've not tried it, I imagine that all you need is the appropriate decoder or player. Any .mp4 or divx file should play just fine.

Instant Messaging
There are also a fair number of IM clients for the Treo. I use the Agile Messenger, and it works quite well. it supports a plethora of IM clients (AIM, Jabber, Yahoo, etc). So, there is no reason to ever miss an IM.

Yes, Treo does email too. Snapper mail is a fairly good email client. I've not yet had the need to get to my private web-based email, but it also supports Hotmail, G-Mail etc. If you're concerned about syncing with your office email account, Treo also supports this with Goodlink.

If you're super nerd like me. You'll love the fact that you can actually podcast with the Treo. Repeat after me, Ipod what? Who needs em. I grabbed the free SoundRec app which can be used to record audio for podcasting. Future versions will include .mp3 encoding of .wav files.

Palm OS
Treo is equipped with palm 5.0. As most of you know, I'm a fervent advocate of Open platforms. According to the founders of Palm, Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, the platform was always intended to be open, so that developers would be to extend the use of the OS. This would explain why there are a plethora of apps for Palm and a dearth of apps for Pocket PC and Blackberry.

Web browsing
The Sprint 3G network is always available simply by selecting the browse button on the Treo. You can also use the Treo as a wireless modem. I have found this particularly useful when you're in an airport and I've needed 3G network a

Some negatives:

  • The phone does not support bluetooth natively, so you'll need to find a kludge solution. At one time I used the Jabra Freespeak BT200, but it was totally unreliable.

  • It does not have native Wi-Fi support, so you'll need to purchase an adapter that will work with the device. I've been pretty happy using the Sprint 3G network tho.

  • Tiny thumb keys are a problem for a guy who was long fat fingers. However, I use the graffiti everywhere utility to circumvent this annoyance.

Last word:

Perhaps one of the most useful apps is the Call Filter
Despite what some might think, I'm actually a fairly private guy. I don't do a whole lot of talking on the phone, as I'm very busy with school etc. Hence, filtering incoming calls are paramount to my productivity. So, I was amazed to learn the I could actually manage calls before they hit my inbox. This cool app allows you to manage banks of phone numbers and provide default actions for each.

So there you have it.. Treo is a productivity tool for anyone that enjoys swiss army knife approach to wireless communications. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I do not own a land line, so it's important for me to have a very extensible and robust home cellular solution. Eventually, I'll upgrade to the Treo 650, but I'm not really in a rush. The native bluetooth capability is a feature that I would really love.

If you think the Treo would be a good solution for you, make sure you visit Treonauts. The site is chock full of apps and niceness for your smartphones.

All of you Sidekick, BlackBerry and PocketPC users, can your device do any of this???

Posted by AG at September 21, 2005 9:35 AM