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Treo 700wx: What Rules, What Drools

Tue Dec 12, 2006 - 9:38 AM EST - By Tim Hillebrand


From an old Pocket PC and Smartphone aficionado’s point of view, the Treo 700wx is, in the final analysis, an under-powered Pocket PC with a small, square screen with low resolution. While Palm may tout it as a Smartphone, it’s not at all a Smartphone. If you think it’s a Smartphone, try running Smartphone software on it. Only Pocket PC software works on the Treo 700wx.

To show you how silly the Smartphone, smartphone, Smart Phone, smart phone, Smart-Phone, smart-phone appellation is, people who use it don’t even know how to spell it. It’s just used as marketing hype and doesn’t mean a thing. Basically, a so-called smartphone is a phone that does some other function in addition to making phone calls. Big deal. What does that mean? Nothing. It’s meaningless, and it only serves to confuse consumers.

Smartphone and Pocket PC magazine uses the convention that if it runs on the MS Smartphone platform, it a Smartphone spelled with a capital “S.” Anything else claiming to be a smartphone is spelled with a lowercase “s.” Phones of any ilk should be assessed by their IQ on a scale to determine how smart they really are, and most are not very smart at all in terms of their overall functionality and computing power.

It is significant that throughout the 700wx user manual, you will never once see the term “smartphone.” Instead Sprint/Palm use the term “Smart Device,” which is perspicacious of them.

My question is, why would you want a Smartphone when you could have a Pocket PC Phone? And, that’s where the Treo 700wx shines brightly. I think Palm focused more attention on making it a great phone than it did trying to make it a great Pocket PC, and I think they succeeded.

The fundamental distinction between smartphones of all flavors is that they do not have touch sensitive screens. The Treo 700wx has a touch sensitive screen. That immediately tells us that it is a Pocket PC Phone, not a Smartphone.

The Treo 700wx is a lot smarter than a so-called Smartphone. It has a bigger screen, more memory, a faster processor, runs MS Office software, and has a lot of nice features not available on any smartphone. Its QWERTY keyboard makes it imminently more intelligent that any smartphone with a ridiculous phone keypad for inputting. It may not be as small as a cell phone, but it fits nicely in your hand, and it’s a lot more intelligent for its size.

So, in the final, final analysis, the 700wx may be a mediocre Pocket PC, but it is smarter than a Smartphone, and one heck of a nice Pocket PC Phone--even if it doesn’t have Wi-Fi built-in. If you want to know the truth, I have made the Treo 700wx my primary phone and no longer carry my Smartphone regularly.

It is gratifying to see Palm’s commitment to the Pocket PC Phone platform as evidenced by the recent release of yet another WM5 Treo, the 750v in Europe (without the pesky antenna, by the way).

Long live the Treo Windows Mobile phone! May it enjoy a long evolution with an increasing robustness of features. It is certainly off to a good start, and I would highly recommend the Treo 700wx as a convergent device worthy of your consideration. This is especially true if you want to avoid packing a PDA and a phone. The Treo 700wx does an excellent job of combining these functionalities into one compact unit smaller than a normal Pocket PC but slightly larger and a lot smarter than a smartphone. Perhaps the biggest motivation for Palm to embrace the WM5 platform is for compatibility for corporate users.

Palm has also done a good job in making the 700wx one hand user-friendly, for you can perform almost any function with buttons if you wish and avoid touching the screen with a stylus.

There’s way more cool than DROOL for the Treo 700wx, but there is clearly room for improvement before it can truly RULE. Palm has already demonstrated this evolution in the Treo 750v, which unfortunately is not available in the United States. See, we always get the good stuff last, and I blame it on our telcos.

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