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Predictions for Treo in 2004

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

The Industry

Talking about Microsoft, I have an article in the wings to go over a smartphone conference I went to, but the market that their smartphone’s are going after is COMPLETLEY different from PalmOne's. Microsoft and PalmOne are viewing the smartphone wireless market very differently, with Microsoft making devices that just make a phone more useable and useful (i.e. syncability), which in the end is a greater market than what PalmOne is going after - making a new category. The Microsoft smartphone is a phone that syncs your data, while the Treo is a REAL smartphone. I don't take Microsoft as a threat this year, but hey, it's Microsoft, they've dominated so many other markets, why not try for this one?

This is more of a hope than a prediction, but this year I think that there will be a formation of some sort of standards for SDIO cards to make it easier for them to work on many devices with all the little differences, be plug and play, and for developers to write software for them. The frustrations that SanDisk has shown, and many other companies have shown, show the big problem with the SDIO technology, and more importantly perhaps why the market has not taken off at all compared to springboards; even though there are millions more compatible devices than there ever were visors. It is important to note that PocketPC’s have through a company called Bsquare started a program called SDIOnow!. Most new PocketPC’s to my knowledge support this. If PalmSource could adapt this exact specification, or make its own, the market, and myself would be grateful.

I’m going to say that this next innovation will happen in the next two years, as it relies on a lot more than just PalmOne. Once the Treo gains WiFi access (through an SDIO card), a VoIP application will be released. At first it will be rough, but eventually the Treo will be able to auto-mitigate networks, switching from VoIP to cellular depending on where you are. VoIP itself is a growing technology, so the availability of VoIP on the Treo also relies on the demand in the market for it. The architecture of the Treo however, allows for such a radical change in how one makes phone calls. The Treo could become your office handset without incurring extra minutes, and without changing devices could be your cell phone too. I strongly believe that all companies around have yet to realize, and implement, the full potential of the Treo platform.

I think that covers 2004. It looks to be a great year, with the economy ramping up, and the increased growth in the smartphone/pda markets. While I admit, I do have some far flung ideas in this article, many of the more reasonable ones will happen, and will help improve the Treo’s success. TreoCentral will continue to cover as much as we can; Marcus is now full time on the site/store, and I hope to make this my full time job over the summer. To all of our readers, thank you for your support, and Happy New Year!

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