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Talkin Treo -- v082506

Fri Aug 25, 2006 - 6:42 PM EDT - By Annie Latham

Week ending 25 August 2006

I "otter" tell you why the column was late this week. I just got back from taking a little Otter (my nephew) to join the other otters over at Cal State University Monterey Bay.

He's now settled in and I'm ready to roll—so let's talk Treo!

Treo Competitors Rev Their Engines
In his weekly Personal Technology column Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal talked about Nokia's upcoming entry into the smartphone space, the E62. It has a full keyboard and, in Mossberg's words, "is actually a little computer that is meant to be a serious email device as well as a phone." The E62 has multimedia functionality like the Treo AND it is designed to behave like a BlackBerry (so it can send and receive email using either a corporate BlackBerry server or a consumer BlackBerry service offered by a cell phone carrier). They are pricing it aggressively too. Walt expects it to list for less than the Motorola Q ($199).
In BusinessWeek, the talk was about Research In Motion's upcoming BlackBerry—called Pearl—due in mid-September. It is an ultra-thin, phone-like device carried by T-Mobile, with another version, from Cingular Wireless, due later in the fall.

Pearl is supposed to be the same size as Motorola's popular RAZR phone. It will have a built-in digital camera, Bluetooth wireless capability, and a memory card expansion slot to handle music and video. According to various websites, Pearl will list for $199.

Get it Now...
It just so happens that there has been a price drop on the Treo 700p and Treo 700w fronts. Palm announced
that now, for a limited time, when you buy a Treo 700p or Treo 700w smartphone with new Verizon Wireless service, you can save $100. That brings it to $299, which is a great deal! (But read the fine print, which you always do anyway, right?)..

By the way, according to this piece in InfoSync World, the best QWERTY smartphone for business-minded road warriors is the Treo 700w.

"The Treo 700w is an evolution, not revolution, of the Treo line - save for the OS change. Its biggest new features are lickety-split EV-DO support and a higher-resolution camera which we're lukewarm on. On the software front, Palm's tweaks to the Windows Mobile interface make for an improved one-handed experience yet kinks still exist in the bundled suite of applications. Still, existing Windows Mobile users should find it a very compelling device at a very competitive price, while Treo 650 owners are unlikely to be swayed."

The runner-up was the Treo 700p with its excellent battery life and EV-DO. They comment:

"The Palm Treo 700p certainly isn't perfect: we wish Wi-Fi were supported, some basic calling features could use some shoring up, and the Palm OS is in sore need of a refresh. That said, with its vivid display, wireless modem capabilities, superior e-mail handling, and better-than-expected picture and video features, the 700p easily ranks as the most satisfying Treo to date."

Comparisons Galore!

So the price point for a Treo has now become quite compelling—but you want to be very sure before "pulling the trigger," so to speak. Here are a few comparison stories that popped up this week.

Palm Treo 700p Versus T-Mobile Sidekick II
Christopher Murray over at AssociatedContent.com, took a look at the Palm Treo 700p in Comparison to the T-Mobile Sidekick II. He states:

"If you're someone who wants or needs access to the world at your fingertips, the Palm Treo 700p is an investment worth making."

Palm vs. Palm: A Comparison of the 700w vs. 700p
Brandon Miniman, Editor-in-Chief of PocketNow.com, did a very cool Palm to Palm comparison.

"It seems that the common theme that distinguishes these two devices is ease of use. What takes 2 taps to access on the 700p, takes 2-4 taps to access in Windows Mobile. The Palm's simplicity comes at a cost, though - it's not as advanced, doesn't allow for much customization in the way of settings and how things appear on the screen, and isn't as Microsoft-Product-Friendly as Windows Mobile (surprising, I know). At the end of the day, if you're still torn between these two devices, ask yourself what's important: if it's simplicity, then choose the 700p, if it's more functionality, then choose the 700w."

Those Pesky Rumors...
This was another week where the world of Treo was buzzing about the new Treos on the horizon. I'm not in the business of commenting on rumors—but will tell you where to learn more. Check out Ed Hardy's write-up at Brighthand.

Palm News

BlackBerry Connect Expands reach Downunder
Palm, Vodafone Australia, Research In Motion (RIM) announced the availability of BlackBerry Connect for the Treo 650 on the Vodafone mobile network in Australia. The BlackBerry Connect software enables Vodafone's new and existing Treo 650 users to enjoy push-based wireless email and calendar synchronization with BlackBerry Enterprise Server(TM).

Palm Mobile Page Redesigned

Palm's mobile portal page has a new look and feel. The redesign
also optimized the content for Treos, so now popular sites such as Yahoo, Google, and ESPN, are "one-click" accessible. Check it out and let us know how you like it.

Recent TreoCentral Guides, Reviews & More

First "TreoCast" Produced by TreoCentral Staff!
If you haven't had a chance, you should check out the first podcast (AKA TreoCast) that was posted this week by Dieter Bohn and Mike Overbo. Their game plan is to put up a new one every two weeks. Topics include news, chats about the latest Treo accessories, how-to guides, reviews, and more.

Here's a link to the notes from the first TreoCast.

Monaco Vertical Pouch Case - By Jay Gross
Jay took a look at the Monaco pouch-style vertical case. Made of cowhide leather, the case has a magnetic latch strap that secures the Treo in the pouch and includes, a belt clip. He opines:

"The Monaco Vertical Pouch Case does its job – protecting the Treo – in style. Although it doesn't cover completely, it offers good shelter from hazards that don't involve water, rain, or pomegranate juice. It's stylish, inexpensive, and does a lot. What more could you ask?"

TreoTekniques: PalmVNCing Around - By Xious Sonenberg

Here's something different. It's a story / review about PalmVNC (Virtual Network Computing) -- a client/server pair of programs that you set up your home computer (desktop or laptop) as the host, and your Treo 700p is the client. Why would you want to do this? Per Xious:

"If you're a road-warrior, or just generally on the go, and need to access your home machine, VNC is one stellar app. It's about the only way I know to access JAVA, Flash, or JavaScript heavy sites on your Treo reliably. Initial setup tiptoes into geekiness, but once you've got it all working, it's VERY cool. Just make sure you have a 700p and a solid EVDO connection before attempting any serious work."

"Gettin' Wiki wid It"
Along with producing the first Podcast, TreoCentral also introduced its Wiki this week (wiki.treocentral.com). Along with that, there's also a wiki contest sponsored by the TreoCentral Store. They're giving away nearly $1,000 worth of merchandise. The deadline is right around the corner, (Sept. 7, 2006 by Midnight EST). Check out the story and contest rules here.

News & Reviews from Elsewhere in the Treo Community
My apologies. Due to an alien abduction, this week's will appear in the next edition of Talkin Treo.

Endnotes & Ponderables

A Grisham novel in the making...
The Wall Street Journal (registration required) ran a story on Wednesday's front section, about the BlackBerry/NTP patent settlement ($625 million) —and how a patent attorney ended up with a big chunk of it. Seems like the plot of a John Grisham novel. It's an interesting read, if you have the time. Check it out online (registration required) or track down a copy of Wednesday's paper

Also, one more goodie. Hungry? In NYC, there's a company called Mobo that lets people order take-out food via text messaging. According to this story in Iconoculture.com, the service – short for "MOBile Order" – enables Manhattanites to order and pay for food ahead of time. So far, participating eateries include Subway, Quiznos and a few independent salad and sushi joints. The service is free, but standard text messaging rates apply.

Fast food takes on new meaning, that's for sure.

That's a wrap!

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