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Predictions for Treo in 2004

Sat Jan 3, 2004 - 6:38 PM EST - By Michael Ducker

Treo Hardware

I strongly believe that we will see an upgraded Treo model in late spring of this year. It will use the same form factor, (reducing the cost of production for palm) and software of the current Treo 600. This new model will have built in Bluetooth, a higher resolution screen, and perhaps more memory/faster processor/better camera. Brian Jaquet was quoted a while ago to the effect that Handspring purposefully left room on the Treo circuit board for a Bluetooth chip. However, this feature may only be on a GSM version; we may never see a Sprint Treo 600 with Bluetooth. Sprint PCS has been very touchy on the subject, due to the possibility that unlimited vision will be used on laptops through the Bluetooth connection. This has been shown by their extreme reluctance to sell the Sony Ericsson t608. Of course, there are many great uses of Bluetooth, aside from sharing the internet connection.

When the Treo 600 was being developed, a higher resolution LCD panel in the small size of the Treo screen (2.7 inches?) did not exist. The cost of Handspring paying for the development of a custom LCD panel was in the millions, and therefore prohibitive - not to mention the battery life loss. Now such LCD panels exist, and I expect that this upgraded model would use one. (320x320 resolution in the same 2.7 inch screen size). I put more memory/faster processor/better camera as optional things that they could tack on to an upgraded Treo because all of them are cheap and easy to do. The key features of this upgraded Treo would be the screen and Bluetooth, not the faster processor or more memory. Of course, adding these features will have a negative effect on battery life, so users will have to choose between a shorter (say 4? hours of talk time) Treo with high-resolution screen, or a longer (5-6 hours talk time) Treo with low resolution screen.

In the sense of upgrading hardware, the aforementioned update to the Treo is simply dropping in new components to replace the current ones. However, Jeff Hawkin’s mind is always turning, and I have a feeling that in fall we will see the launch of a third generation Treo. This Treo will become the new base model, and will use a new form factor. This new form factor, whatever it is, will not be too far off from the current design, unlike the change between the Treo 300 to the Treo 600. As for the first generation Treo’s, they will finally be discontinued at this time. The specifications of this new base model Treo will probably mirror that of the Treo released in spring.

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