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The Future is Treo

Fri Mar 29, 2002 - 12:38 AM EST - By James Hromadka

It's the hardware, stupid!

After using the Treo 180 for several weeks, I have found it invaluable. I now have hundreds of phone numbers that can be dialed with the press of a few buttons, can download my AvantGo channels while I wait somewhat patiently for the company to release a Mac OS X conduit, and am in love with the surprising compactness of the unit.

The Treo is the realization of a paradigm shift in handheld computers. It is the first smartphone that is intelligently designed. As I use the Treo, I think about ways that all Palm OS applications can be made to benefit the Treo. What follows are some of my ideas on how Palm OS applications can better utilize the Treo. Hopefully we'll see some of these ideas come to fruition at some point...

The jog rocker, almost standard on Pocket PCs, is a welcome addition to Palm-based devices. However, it needs to do more in applications than just replace the scroll buttons. I want an application launcher that lets me select and run an application using only the jog rocker. Dialog boxes need to be designed so that I can select and activate on-screen buttons without using the stylus.

Keyboard shortcuts should also be made available that utilize the Treo's keyboard when possible. Applications that don't require textual input can be quickly navigated with the Treo. For example, in MyBible, type the letter F to bring up the Find screen. Type a number to jump to that chapter.

Since the Graffiti command stroke is almost impossible to use on the Treo, using letter shortcuts could really make a difference. Every time I use AvantGo, I want to press the backspace button to go back a page. Handspring has wisely makde this possible in Blazer, but I want to take this a step further. Let me press R to refresh the screen, F to find on the page, O to open a URL, and best of all, let me highlight a selection of text and press C to copy, select a text box and press V to paste the text. We have a keyboard, now let us use it!

SMS - It's not just for text anymore >>

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