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Handspring NYC Treo 600 Launch Coverage

Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger ImageI made my way up to New York City yesterday for the Treo 600 launch. Handspring held the event for members of the press and analysts in the heart of Manhattan's Financial district. Read on for the event coverage, new carrier information announced at the launch and my first impressions of the Treo 600.

US Carriers
The big news out of the event is the official announcement of four US wireless carriers. Sprint, AT&T, Cingular and T-Mobile have signed on to carry the Treo 600 in the US. Orange was announced last week in Europe. The smartphone should be available in the US in early to mid-October. The specific price will vary by carrier and plan, but is expected to be in the $600 - $449 range.

Handspring held their "Mission: Possible" themed Treo 600 launch party for analysts and members of the press yesterday in New York City. I met up with Gizmodo Editor Peter Rojas, and Mike Cane and headed over to the event. The event was held in the Vine, a old converted bank vault rehabbed into a modern resturant/bar, right across from the New York Stock Exchange. The event was held to mainly give people a chance to learn about the device and check it out in person.

Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger ImageThe event was kicked off with a welcome from Handspring President Ed Colligan, who turned it over to PalmSource. David Limp, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development at PalmSource, gave a overview of the Palm OS platform. He talked about the standard industry leading platform statistics of 30 million Palm Powered devices sold, 14 licensees, and 275,000 developers and partners.

David went on to talk about the wide variety of quality messaging solutions for the platform. He specifically highlighted Good Link system and Seven solutions on the Treo 600. He also talked about the advantages of the Palm OS in the enterprise and vertical business markets. He cited healthcare as an example, with over 800 apps just for healthcare and the fact that 2 out of every 3 doctors uses a Palm OS handheld.

Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger ImageMr. Limp went on to show that the OS is now in the third generation of Palm OS Smartphones. He cited the original PDQ, then the Kyocera 7135 and the new Treo 600 as examples of the Palm OS telephony evolution. He wrapped up his talk by stressing the compatibility and ease of use of the Palm OS platform, and used the AOL Instant Messaging application as an example. He mentioned how he just loaded the app on the Treo 600 and it just simply worked. The app was never programmed for the 600 and didn't need to be tweaked for the new OS or hardware, unlike other platforms.

Then Ed Colligan stepped up to the platform to talk about the Treo 600. Colligan remarked that he hasn't been this exited and enthusiastic about a product since the original Pilot. Colligan was a member of the team that launched the first Pilot 1000. He reaffirmed Handspring's position that the future of computing is mobile computing and how he feels that the Treo 600 is a tool that is going to change the way you work.

He continued to talk about the design goals of the Treo 600. It was designed as a phone first, and he casually joked, that it's a product that won't make you feel geeky when using it in public. The Treo 600 has a very small size for a smartphone, and features an innovative new keyboard design combined with unique hardware and software integration.

The keyboard was made to be as small as possible, while still being useful. The keys are dome shaped for easier contact. Handspring developed and primed error avoidance software that knows what keys you are trying to press. He claimed that studies showed the 600's keyboard is on par with RIM keyboards, and faster than Graffiti.

Other key things that Colligan went over were the proxyless web browser, the wide messaging solutions for the 600, a new threaded SMS system and the much improved six hour battery life. He also stressed how Handspring will offer existing Treo owners an upgrade program.

Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger ImageThe audience was then treated to a demo of the Treo 600 by Rob Haitani, Handspring's Product Design Architect, or as Mike Cane put it, the "Palm OS UI god." Haitani showed a number of the new features on the Treo. He showed how easy the device was to use with one hand, and commented that he can do about 98% of tasks on the 600 without using the stylus. He went on to show the featues of the new contacts app, how easy it is to look up and dial out a number, customizing the screen with wallpaper and using the camera and sending the photo with sound as an MMS message (all the while without using a stylus). He then demonstrated the threaded SMS messaging system. Series of back and forth sms messages with someone are automatically arranged in an instant messaging style layout for conversation continuity.

Then the session broke up and the audience was able to mingle and get hands on time with the Treo 600. Some of Handspring's partners were also in attendance, including reps from all of the US carriers, GoodLink and Infinite Peripherals. Goodlink was showing off their new GoodLink 2.1, that provides synchronization with MS Exchange and Outlook. Infinite Peripherals had their wireless credit card processing system and printer for the Treo on display. Their Palm POS system has a built in card reader and printer and can carry out and authorize transactions wirelessly on the Treo 600.

Treo 600 - First impressions
This was my first time seeing the Treo 600 in person and needless to say, I was very impressed. It is smaller than I expected and has a very bright screen. The 5-way navigator makes the device extremely easy to use with on hand, Handspring has done an incredible job in that aspect. The keyboard was easy to use as well and I had no trouble getting started with it. In fact I quickly typed out a test paragraph and I didn't have a single missed key-press or error. In summary it is a light, small (passed my pocket test) and very full featured smartphone. It is easily a leaps and bounds better user experience than anything else in the current smartphone space.

Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger Image Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger Image Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger Image
Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger Image Handspring Treo 600 NYC Launch coverage ~ Click for Larger Image Treo 600

About the Treo 600
The Treo 600 runs Palm OS 5.2.1 with a 144 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor. It will have a 160x160 pixel CSTN color screen, 32MB of RAM and a SD/MMC/SDIO expansion slot. There is also a five-way navigation dial for one handed operation. The Treo 600 has a built-in digital camera (640 x 480 VGA), so you can take and send pictures or connect a face to a phone number with picture caller ID. It will also feature a dual speaker architecture for high-quality phone and system audio. It will have a large capacity 1800 mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion battery for up to six hours talk time (GSM); or up to five hours talk time (CDMA); and about two weeks organizer use for both versions.

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Just one more feature

edyaw @ 9/26/2003 3:42:10 PM #
Now, if they would just put a talking GPS into it, I'd give my iQue away and but the Treo.

RE: Just one more feature
ray00pal @ 9/26/2003 5:14:27 PM #
What is there problem? Why not have a 320x480 screen? This really pissed me off!

RE: Just one more feature
mikecane @ 9/26/2003 5:23:48 PM #
The screen was questioned at the intro. Handspring had to decide *eighteen months ago* on the screen to include. As it is, it's a damned good screen -- best I've seen on any phone (and, yes, I've looked, even though I loathe cellphones). (I will get the Treo, BTW!) And don't forget that it's instantly compatible with Palm OS apps. Try that with Other Brands...

Colligan hopes to get on a regular 2x/year intro schedule, with new releases of hardware in the Spring and Fall. (I doubt, however, this will start with Spring of 2004, so don't pass up the Treo 600 based on his future plans...)

RE: Just one more feature
Myndwalker @ 9/26/2003 5:34:46 PM #
So it looks like the T3 this fall to be used via BT with my T68i until next fall when the decision will be the new Treo vs the new Palm. Good to have something to look forward to.

RE: Just one more feature
gfunkmagic @ 9/26/2003 8:24:07 PM #
Quote:
"Now, if they would just put a talking GPS into it, I'd give my iQue away and but the Treo."

Sprint is developing its location based services based on Snaptrack's AGPS technology which uses sattelite signals as an adjunct to tower triangulation. There are no definite dates for its launch, but rumors indicate sometime in late 2004 or 2005. Thus, have patience b/c it will eventually happen...

Visit http://goodthatway.com/
-better living through better technology.

The Screen
TTrules @ 9/28/2003 9:55:27 PM #
I love every part of the treo 600 except one thing: the screen! I've heard that it's bright, but it's still only 160x160. If they would improve the resolution, I would buy it.

RE: Just one more feature
sub_tex @ 9/28/2003 9:59:07 PM #
Mike said: "(I will get the Treo, BTW!) "

*insert pic of my eyes flying out of their sockets a-la Jim Carrey in "the Mask".*

This from the man who said he would never own a cell phone! Ha! I knew you would cave, Mike.

Kirvin and the WOYP gang would fill up the inboxes with this news.

-Aaron

RE: Just one more feature
LiveFaith @ 9/29/2003 9:36:45 AM #
ray00pal,
You really meant 32ox320, right. 320x480 would eat into the keyboard real estate or force a longer device. I would buy it w/ 320x320, b/c it's just awesome. But, that 160x160 makes me wait on the new Samsung. Tired of carrying 2 devices.

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com

Treo 600

Myndwalker @ 9/26/2003 3:47:32 PM #
I would HAVE to have one if it were hi-res. Until then, I'll keep my T68i.
RE: Treo 600
hotpaw4 @ 9/26/2003 4:42:31 PM #
90 dpi sounds fairly hires to me (without using a magnifying glass).
RE: Treo 600
orol @ 9/26/2003 5:15:24 PM #
well it's not much hires, I saw some real images and it looked horrible .. I couldn't go back to lowres ..
HS make it hires and you have my money (bluetooth would be nice too)

RE: Treo 600
mikecane @ 9/26/2003 5:17:06 PM #
But can your T68i run Palm OS apps? Eh? Eh?

RE: Treo 600
Myndwalker @ 9/26/2003 5:26:27 PM #
My T68i does work via BlueTooth with my Tungsten T, which DOES run Palm apps. So there.

RE: Treo 600
mikecane @ 9/26/2003 5:40:39 PM #
Good for you. As long as you still use Palm OS.

And not... you know...

Keep in mind what their target is
nrosser @ 9/26/2003 5:40:48 PM #
gotta remember that the target for this device isn't your T3 or T|T, or UX50, or NZ90, or your T68i BT combo - the target is the new Blackberry 7230, and the Sony P800 - those converged devices. Sure we'd all like Hi-Res, but this thing had to be made with some trade-offs to deliver what that CONVERGED market requires: Battery life. That's king in the cell phone world, and probably the one major flaw in the treo300 I have now. Also - don't dismiss this thing out of hand - reserve judgement until you SEE the screen. The one I saw in June had an AWEsome screen; granted, not 420x380 or whatever, but that's NOT where they're aiming this thing. Handspring's goal with this is to expand into the Blackberry world, the 7135 world, and this device is right on the mark for where they want it to be. They're going to have a hi-res ultimately, just give it time. Scope it out now and see what you think.

RE: Treo 600
narnia_77 @ 9/26/2003 5:55:45 PM #
I have to have hi-res on my stand-alone PDA. But for a phone, 160x160 is not that bad...

It's mine as soon as it comes out.

- - - - - - -
"There's always hope, because it's the one thing nobody's figured out how to kill yet." -- Galen, Crusade (B5)

RE: Treo 600
Foo Fighter @ 9/26/2003 6:05:17 PM #
I would much prefer a 320x320 display as well, but 160x160 isn't so bad for a cell phone. Should be quite adequate for running all your favorite PalmOS PIM apps like Agendus or DateBK5. I long for a Treo 600.

-------------------------------
My blog: www.pocketfactory.com
RE: Treo 600
Scott R @ 9/26/2003 6:30:52 PM #
No, apparently the target market here is anyone crazy enough to spend $500-600 on a phone. Price it at $200 after rebates and locking in to a one-year contract, and you've got a winner. $500-600 is insane. This gets me what over a free Nokia 3650? A thumbboard. OK. Is that worth paying $500-600 more for? I sure hope there are some steep rebates they're not telling us about yet.

Scott

http://TapLand.com
- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: Treo 600
Foo Fighter @ 9/26/2003 7:57:07 PM #
Quote: "$500-600 is insane."

For 90% of users, yes it is. That's one contributing factor in the painfully slow growth of Smartphones. Give this technology a chance to mature. We're all early adopters in this area. Or perhaps beta tester would be a more accurate description.

-------------------------------
My blog: www.pocketfactory.com

RE: Treo 600
craigf @ 9/27/2003 10:55:06 AM #
Compared to my Kyocera 7135, the 600 is a *huge* step up. 160x160 is more than adequate for a converged device that you want to be able to keep in your pocket at all times. "Phone people" outnumber PDA people by around 20-to-1, and I think phone people will be very impressed and excited by the 600 regardless of what PDA people think.

RE: Treo 600
Gameboy70 @ 9/27/2003 11:23:58 AM #
"No, apparently the target market here is anyone crazy enough to spend $500-600 on a phone. Price it at $200 after rebates and locking in to a one-year contract, and you've got a winner. $500-600 is insane. This gets me what over a free Nokia 3650? A thumbboard. OK. Is that worth paying $500-600 more for?"

It depends on where you place your values. If you do send more text than the average cell phone user (e.g. through email), then T9 (even with predictive text entry) is slower and less intuitive than a keyboard.

Of course, as many of your posts here and on TC indicate, you have no love for Handspring's keyboards, so I would suggest that for you, that $500-600 more would be a waste of money -- and time spent complaining over.

Samsung SGH-i500 has hi-res screen
ConceptVBS @ 9/28/2003 11:16:51 AM #
If you want to hi-res Palm OS 5.2 smartphone, then look at the Samsung SGH-i500(GSM).

It has a confirmed true 324x352 16-bit LCD, removable batter, and a possible 1 mega pixel camera (this is still a rumor).

RE: Treo 600
blackashade @ 9/28/2003 2:54:04 PM #
Yuo was reading my mind when you mentioned the SGH I500
which has much more features then the treo 600 like higher res screen, 300 mhz processor same VGA camera as the treo. I also read at another web site that it has MP3 capabalities. I heard that palm os 5.2 it self has mp3 capabilities you just have to have them on a memory card. the only thing i see that handspring has it beat on is the key board. which I am a novice in graffiti but palm os 5.2 is graffitti 2 which I have no idea about the difference. I currently have a broken visor phone connected with t-mobile and they said that as long as the sgh I500 (which is only available in Europe)is unlocked all I have to do is slip my sim card in it and it should work.I already found a website selling unlocked phones. Both and comong out in a few weeks but I am leaning much more towards the sgh. the only thing I would like a big screen like the treo 600 but nothing is perfect.
Can any body tell me why should I consider the treo over the sgh. Those 2 phones are the only phones with palm os 5.2 so thats what most , if not all, discussions should be based on.

RE: Treo 600
TooMuch @ 9/28/2003 4:23:43 PM #
THUMBBOARD = one hand use.

signed,
5 yrs graffiti and 7 months thumbboard user

RE: Treo 600
LiveFaith @ 9/29/2003 9:43:13 AM #
Only 1 tiny glitch on the Samsung. It aint available.

"A bird in Handspring is better than 2 in the bush".

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com

RE: Treo 600
mikecane @ 9/29/2003 12:15:55 PM #
Handspring has really customized the hell out of PalmOS for the Treo 600. You really can use it most of the time without taking the stylus out of its silo. I doubt the other phone has been tweaked like this.

RE: Treo 600
narnia_77 @ 9/29/2003 12:18:41 PM #
"apparently the target market here is anyone crazy enough to spend $500-600 on a phone."

Be glad some of us are "crazy enough" to buy this as it is. If these don't sell, I doubt HS/Palm will create another - with the coveted hi-res. I don't need the latest and greatest, so I'm not usually an early adopter, but this combo is mostly what I have waiting for. This time, I'll give up hi-res for the rest of it. For me, it's compromise now, or keep waiting... I'm tired of waiting. Unless there are some unknown problems with the Treo 600 (i.e. lousy reception for my area or just doesn't work as advertised), it's mine.
:)

"Samsung SGH-i500(GSM)"

My carrier is Sprint (CDMA) so this phone wouldn't work for me. [Unlike some others, I'm very happy with them.] To repeat others, the Samsung it not available, while the Treo 600 is practically out the door. I also like the idea of a small keyboard on my phone - I'm starting to use Sprint's VISION services a lot more and entering text on the number pad really sucks.

- - - - - - -
"There's always hope, because it's the one thing nobody's figured out how to kill yet." -- Galen, Crusade (B5)

Muerte a' Verizon!!!

Foo Fighter @ 9/26/2003 4:14:28 PM #
Where is Verizon? All the major carriers have signed on except for America's favorite stick in the mud, wagon wheel architecture wireless vendor. I suppose it will be a year before they commit to this phone, and by then the Treo 700 will be out.

Thanks, Verizon. Can you hear me now? No?!?

-------------------------------
My blog: www.pocketfactory.com

RE: Muerte a' Verizon!!!
Admin @ 9/26/2003 4:18:28 PM #
Foo, someone asked Colligan about this and he stated they are "talking" but nothing definitive.
RE: Muerte a' Verizon!!!
Foo Fighter @ 9/26/2003 4:23:02 PM #
Yep, that sounds like Verizon. It won't go much farther than just "talk". Verizon is an insanely conservative company. New phones go through abnormally long periods of testing and are often reject based on trivial criteria. Have you seen what they are offering right now? What a joke. They don't even carry Nokia phones, just el cheapo pedestrian Audiovox and LG handsets. Trust me, Verizon customers won't see this phone anytime soon. Tragic.

-------------------------------
My blog: www.pocketfactory.com
RE: Muerte a' Verizon!!!
mikecane @ 9/26/2003 5:17:50 PM #
Verizon is also pushing Hot Spots -- at least in NYC, where several hundred public phone stalls (ah, for the days of booths!) will be WiFi APs that are free to use for Verizon DSL/dial-up customers.

See https://www.verizon.net/wifi/faqs/#faq8

They can get *that* right -- why not picking up the Treo 600?

RE: Muerte a' Verizon!!!
Foo Fighter @ 9/26/2003 5:35:55 PM #
Yes, that is a great move by Verizon. Unfortunately that same pioneering spirit hasn't carried over in their selection of mobile phones. Verizon seems to favor the lowest common denominator in handsets. They never offered the original Treo. And right now the only "Smartphones" being offered are the clunky Kyocera Palm Phone, and the Samsung I700 & Audiovox Thera Pocket PC Phones (blech!). I pray Verizon will suppor the Treo 600 very soon, but I won't hold my breath. I doubt they will even carry MS Smartphones (which is probably a blessing in disguise).

-------------------------------
My blog: www.pocketfactory.com
RE: Muerte a' Verizon!!!
gfunkmagic @ 9/26/2003 8:13:14 PM #
Some posters at Treocentral who also attended the "Mission meeting" reported that the main reason Verizon was not included was b/c of heavy pressure exerted by Sprint which wants to exclusively carry the Treo600 for a limited period of time. It's speculated that Verizon may eventually carry the Treo600, but it will take a few months...

Visit http://goodthatway.com/
-better living through better technology.
RE: Muerte a' Verizon!!!
jyellis @ 9/27/2003 1:12:11 AM #
An online petition has begun to request Verizon to support the Treo 600. I don't know how much difference this can make, but it can't hurt. You can sign the petition here:

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?treo600

In addition, it would probably be far more persuasive if a few thousand people emailed Verizon executives requesting support. You can do that here:

https://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/contact/executiveEmail.jsp

With my contract last 'til next September. I surely hope they'll support the Treo 600 soon.


Don't think the petition will work
ConceptVBS @ 9/28/2003 11:25:47 AM #
Except for the 7135, there is no other Palm OS type phone in their line up. With the strategic agreement signed with Microsoft, I doubt you'll see the Treo 600 or any other NON-MICROSFT OS based smartphones in Verizon's product porfolio.

Junk

bleedingedge @ 9/26/2003 5:09:46 PM #
Thumb boards suck so much it is hard to believe.

RE: Junk
hotpaw4 @ 9/26/2003 5:16:05 PM #
That's an expected comment. Some studies have indicated that around half the current users think these tiny keyboards are horrible, and around half the population actually prefer them.
Have you used it?
nrosser @ 9/26/2003 5:35:45 PM #
B-edge -

I can accept your opinion, since it's just that - your own opinion. It's not a fact that thumbboards suck - just what you believe. BUT - have you used one? if so, then fine - cool. If not, then - you're just stating your belief, based on no facts.
I have used Palms since 95, and all the time Graffiti was my god. I got a Treo last year and have never looked back. I'll never go back to graffiti, but I don't think it 'sucks', and don't bash any who like it.
All things for all people man - we all like different things.

RE: Junk
Foo Fighter @ 9/26/2003 5:59:47 PM #
Junk? I take it you don't use SMS messaging? You have no idea how much more convenient it is to use a QWERTY keyboard as apposed to pecking away on a number pad. Yes the keys are a bit tiny, but it's a hell of a lot better than pressing the number 4 key three time to make an "i".

-------------------------------
My blog: www.pocketfactory.com
RE: Junk
bleedingedge @ 9/27/2003 12:42:06 PM #
I do SMS with my m505 using graffitti. No problem. Even better, my T68i has autocompleting text so I'm not hitting keys as much as the system described above.

In regards to the comments about my opinions, it does deserve mention, but keep in mind I'm not retarded. I realize it is my opinion and I wrote it in a silly way because watching these manufacturers cater (mostly) to one version of text entry is more than a bit frustrating. I have tried the thumb boreds in the store. I leave asking myself why anyone would want to give up real estate to that goofy thing over screen space and streamlined construction. Personally, I think that the add-on full-sized keyboard I bought with my m505 is a perfect solution for when I need to enter mass quantities of text (rare).

Anyways, thanks for the finger-wagging lecture. I was naughty and I see that now. I feel shame.

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