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International CES 2005 Coverage

Fri Jan 7, 2005 - 4:18 PM EST - By Marcus Adolfsson

We are in Vegas, trying to track down Treo related news at this gigantic (think 1.5 million square foot of booth space) convention. So far, it has been pretty dry.

ROM Update, Bluetooth fixes, and cradle news

We got a chance to chat with Michelle White, Product Manager of the Treo 650, for a few minutes. palmOne is aware of the many Bluetooth headset issues, including the "Mute" trick and the problems with redialing. She could not confirm that these issues would be resolved in the next firmware update.

It is also unclear if the next firmware upgrade will just address the voice quality issues, or if they are waiting to roll it out until the memory issues are resolved as well.

According the Michelle the firmware upgrade for the memory issues is still under development (no specific details yet) and will likely not be included on the initial GSM release of the phone. Which would indicate that the GSM release is imminent (see below).

We also chatted a bit about car kits, and palmOne will continuously roll out Bluetooth car kit updates as they work with the manufacturers and certify each solution.

According to Jim Scwabe of palmOne’s accessory solution, the long awaited cradle will be available by then end of the January. Our sources indicates that palmOne has about 20,000 backorders for the cradle, just through the palmOne store.

Treo 650 GSM

As expected, palmOne and its GSM carrier partners did not use the show to announce a GSM release of the 650. We are not quite sure why, but barring any unforeseen developments sources tells us we should see the Treo 650 for Cingular within 60 days or so. We are going to try to track down a release date for the unlocked unbranded version today.

WiFi Sled for 600 and 650

A company called enfora was demonstrating a non-functional Wifi Sled for the Treo 600 and Treo 650. The sled connects to the serial port, and comes with drivers that allows for full TCP/IP connectivity on the Treo.

The sled has its own internal battery, allowing for longer usage times. Battery life is stated as 5 days standby, 24 hrs usage.

Since the sleds at the show were not functional, we were not able to determine the throughput. The serial connection will probably be a limiting factor.

List price is $149, and the 600 version will ship in February, the 650 version in March.

Correction: Changed price to $149.

Orb palmOs client

Orb, which offers a software solution that let’s you stream all types of media content to your mobile device from a home server, are developing a palmOS client. No release date yet.

Replacement Leather Battery Covers

Trexta, which manufactures the Leather Latch case for palmOne, is working on replacement leather battery covers for the 650. Using a unique overmould manufacturing method, they make the replacement plastic cover a little thinner than the original piece, and adds a layer of high-grade leather to it. The result: a perfect matching leather cover. The purpose: Looks cool (can be customized in different colors and textures) and makes the phone less slippery. No date or price.

iGolf SDIO GPS for Treo 650

iGolf will next week release the iGolf SDIO GPS for the Treo 650. The TreoCentral Store will be the initial retailer of this product, offering it for $249.95.

Bundled in the package is a tiny SDIO GPS receiver, device drivers, and the iGolf software. Mapopolis navigation software is fully compatible with the receiver, and can be purchased separately.

Treo Killer BenQ P50?

Not quite, but we got a chance to use a BenQ P50 and it is a nice device. It is running the dated Windows Mobile 2003 SE, so one hand usage is horrible.

BenQ certainly got the feature set right: WiFi, Bluetooth, Quad-Band GSM, 1.3 MP Camera, 240x320 TFT screen. It will be released in Taiwan this quarter, but no US release date has been set.

Unlocked price around $800. BenQ indicated that the next generation may have a square screen (reducing the height), since Windows Mobile 2004 now supports it.

We will have an in-depth look at the BenQ P50 and how it compares to the Treo 650 on Saturday.

Infamous Sibling

Back in August, TreoCentral reader weebitobsessed posted the first ever "spy" photos of an actual Treo 650 device on our discussion boards.

The images are no longer on the boards, but Engadget still has them. Anyways, while browsing the CES show I came across a similar looking Treo in the booth of the exhibitor whose employee leaked the photos back in August.

At first I though that this most be the infamous Treo, but we checked the imprinted serial number against the serial in original August photos (which had been edited out), and they don’t match. So we call this one the infamous sibling.

More to come...

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