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Setting the Treo Record Straight

The Treonauts blog has an interesting new editorial entitled "Setting the Treo Record Straight” that summarizes how Palm’s current lineup of Treo and Centro smartphones stack up against competing devices from various manufacturers.

While a obviously taking a sympathetic view to the various problems facing the beleaguered Palm today, Andrew nevertheless presents a compelling reminder of the elegance and ease of use found in the dated Palm OS. In many instances, the article reminds us, the competition has still yet to match Palm's "special sauce". Andrew offers up the full slew of current and forthcoming Palm smartphones (500, 680, 700w/wx/p, 750, 755p, Centro) running both Windows Mobile and Palm OS against various devices from other manufacturers equipped with varying hardware specifications and OSes.

Treo 500vThe editorial goes on to break down the current smartphone market into six basic formfactor types and five mobile operating systems. The upcoming Palm Centro, Palm’s first smartphone product clearly targeted at the “youth” market, is predicted to be a sure-fire success if its build quality is comparable to the Treo 500 and the Centro’s price tag remains at the expected $99 level.

Andrew clearly mentions the pros and cons of the traditional Treo 600-derived formfactor and claims of the traditional design: “Treo delivers the simplest, fastest and most intuitive smartphone experience”.  Following this quote is a quick list of “must have” features to be incorporated into a future Linux-based variant of Palm OS. He also proposes that since Palm currently fields offerings in three of the current six categories of smartphone formfactors, three additional Palm devices are forthcoming and should feature sliding or mini/T9 keyboards in addition to keyboard-free designs similar to the iPhone. Two novel mockup designs are depicted further down the page of theoretical Treo “980” and “980s” devices incorporating recent styling cues found in the Treo 500.

The piece concludes with a well-deserved lambasting of Verizon Wireless’ lackluster Palm offerings of late, as the CDMA giant has not only fared worse than CDMA partner Sprint in the 700p Maintenance Release follies but has not launched a new Palm device of either OS since February 2007’s mildly updated Treo 700wx.

This piece provides an easily digestible overview of the current smartphone market and makes for a good read for new or prospective PDA phone owners. At the very least, this latest Treonauts editorial is certain to rekindle the heated debate amongst the legions of users as to which device offers the most compelling set of positive attributes and offers the user a pleasurable, intuitive mobile computing experience.

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Yeah right

Gazpacho @ 9/21/2007 1:44:31 PM # Q
This Andrew Fanboy from Treonauts would rather sell his soul than to say a bad thing about Palm or PalmOS. Everything that has Palm stamped on it, receives critical acclaim from him. The Treo 500v, which software has only been tweaked by Microsoft and Vodafone, gets 'Palm-esque' praise from him. Not because Palm had ANYTHING to do with the software, but because the device has the Palm brand name.

Treonauts my *ss. He just wants to sell accessories from his online store.

http://foleocentral.blogspot.com

FoleoCentral is the news, opinions & review blog about the Palm Foleo Mobile Companion

RE: Yeah right
atrizzah @ 9/21/2007 2:40:09 PM # Q
I'll second that. I don't trust that guy a bit. He obviously has a vested interest in giving out glowing reviews.

Case in point: I bought a piece of crap Seido retractable earbud headset for like $30 from his site, which had received a great review, only to realize upon its arrival how flawed it was, in several ways. If I can write an honest critical review on a piece of hardware in 10 minutes, he should be able to, as well. It is, after all, his frickin job.

Peace Out
Alan

RE: Yeah right
hkklife @ 9/21/2007 3:17:52 PM # Q
The funniest thing I found about the piece was how Andrew calls the current 320x320 Treos (650, 680, 700p, 755p etc) "Large screened".

HAS it come to this already? I do not consider, no matter how bright the backlight is or how tight the pixel density is, a 320x320 small square screen "large" by any stretch of the imagination. And this is just exacerbated by the wacky ways in which differnt Palm OS developers code their programs and scale their fonts.

For example, I have 20/20 vision and it irritates me to no end to see a half-arsed Palm OS port of a game utilizing just a fraction of the 320x320 screen and with fonts so small they are nigh illegible. At least Astraware can usually be counted on in this regard.

I HIGHLY doubt we'll ever see these fresh new formfactor Treos produced by Palm (at least under its current management and ownership). All they want to do is churn out endless permutations of the same Treo 600 design, rebrand similar looking "me too" WM decvices and adding and subtracting reshuffling features throughout the lineup.

On another note:

I went to the local Apple store yesterday evening and spent some solid time playing around with an iPod Touch. I still prefer the iPhone of course, but there's no doubting that the Touch excels in so many areas where Palm has fallen flat on its face. Of course, there are some areas about Palm OS & Palm's products that I find incredibly and inexplicably missing on Apple's products. Apple's "design zen" reminds me a lot of the "Zen of Palm'. Apple has sterling build quality, styling, sleekness, and UI but then makes their mobile devices overly dumbed-down by placing form over function. For example, the Touch's inability to add new calendar appointments on the device is impossibly mind-bogglingly dumb. And the photo viewer app feels so dumbed down in comparison to a 4-year old version of SplashPhoto or AcidImage on Palm OS that it makes me want to weep.

So my ideal device still doesn't exist but would be some bizarre hybrid of a Palm TX and an iPhone (but with EVDO).

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Yeah right
Poopie @ 9/21/2007 3:57:41 PM # Q
Look at his mad photoshop Skillz. All it takes for Palm to turn around is to listen to his suggestions!

... why didn't *we* ever think about offering Palm advice?

USR Palm Pilot 1000 --> Palm Pilot Professional --> TRG SuperPilot --> Palm IIIc --> Palm V --> Palm M505 --> Palm M515 --> Tungsten T|2 --> Treo 600 --> LifeDrive --> iPhone

RE: Yeah right
mstein1 @ 9/21/2007 4:41:42 PM # Q
@gazpatcho & atrizza

I felt compelled to write something as I think some of the critisms of Treonauts are unfair particularly since, if you read the blog regularly, Andrew has been quite a critic of Palm, more so recently especially with the ill fated and perhaps dumbest product ever, the Foleo.

As for his product reviews I agree that a lot are positive, for the most part those products are probably well deserving (i've only got four or five accessories for my Treo and his opinions of those are fairly accurate) - he rarely reviews terrible products as it's clear to me his reviews are very thorough, comparitive, detailed and take more than 10 minutes to write - if I was him I wouldn't put the time and effort into reviewing products that are terrible.

If not a question of whether you can write a review in 10 minutes. It's a question of whther the review is useful to a reader. Otherwise you might as well read the CNET reviews which seem to be written in 10 minutes also.

I actually find the pictures most useful especially the comparitive ones he does.

So I think your comments are unfair.

Mstein


RE: Yeah right
TooMuch @ 9/22/2007 9:50:33 AM # Q
Outside of the criticism of the "LARGE DISPLAY" category (which I admit is a laughable stretch), I don't hear much substantive talk about his overall point - Treo was so far ahead of everyone that their current fleet looks older and out of touch than it really is.

I have to agree to some measure. (Granted I AM FRUSTRATED OVER PALM'S LACK OF NEW LINUX "PALM OS II" DEVELOPMENT.) I had an iPhone for 13 days (has to be returned within 14 to get a full refund). It just couldn't replace my Treo 680:
1. The text input was frustratingly slow & requires two hands all the time.
2. Lack of basic office apps!!!
3. No corporate email other than Safari
4. Speaking of Safari...It is sweet, but you cannot use it to replace corporate email because you have to constantly adjust the size of the screen (pinching).
5. "Multi-touch" lives up to its name in several ways. You will be "touching" the screen multiple times to do Treo "single-touch" tasks. For example, it has "multi-touch" dialing (no "one-touch" dialing).

(BTW. I am one of those despised but proud Apple enthusiasts...but iPhone can't replace my 680.)

RE: Yeah right
freakout @ 9/22/2007 6:44:24 PM # Q
RE the so-called "large screen" - it really depends on what you're comparing it with. Sit it next to a PDA or an iPhone and yeah, it's small. Sit it next to your standard dumbphone, though, and it's huge. It's not that much of a stretch to call it "large-screened".

Anyway, he's right. Sure, he has a vested interest in selling stuff from his Treo store, but the fact remains that you can't find many (or any) phones as simple or user-friendly as the Treo with the same touchscreen+exposed QWERTY spec.

RE: Yeah right
jca666us @ 9/23/2007 12:11:13 PM # Q
RE: Yeah right
freakout @ 9/23/2007 5:14:54 PM # Q
^^ Troll,

None of those have an exposed keyboard. http://tinyurl.com/2hy2lj

RE: Yeah right
jca666us @ 9/24/2007 12:07:22 PM # Q
Freak you clown, why the name calling? ;)

The link I attached related to smartphone usability. Attached keyboard or not - Palm OS isn't as smart or as usable as it once was.

Just trying to remind you it's 2007, not 2004.


jca!

RE: Yeah right
twrock @ 9/24/2007 10:24:52 PM # Q
Palm OS isn't as smart or as usable as it once was.

Maybe you meant it quite differently than I am reading it, but I don't see how this is true. For this to be true, Palm would have to have made the OS "dumber" and removed some of the previous usability. That is not my experience when comparing the current OS to previous ones. Are you saying that the current OS (5.x) is less smart and less usable than OS3 or OS4? Or are you saying that in comparison to other current mobile OS's, Palm isn't as smart or usable? Just what are you saying?


Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt
Want an alternative? Try this: http://www.ubuntu.com/ or http://www.mepis.org/
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I mean, yeah...

nybble @ 9/21/2007 6:18:07 PM # Q
I think he has the classic Palm lovers problem. On paper the Treo's are great. They were so revolutionary and so far ahead of their time that they are really only getting dated now, but make no mistake - they're dated.

The hardware specs and interface look wonderful. It delivers a ton of functionality with it's historically (if not currently) robust developer base.

The problem is that it is increasingly slow, unusable and unstable. I thought Blazer was a good browser for years - but literally dreaded using it. My wife would ask me to look up something and I'd call 411 and pay the fee instead. Same thing with a lot of the features - they're slow and my 650 crashed several times a week - and all I did was email on it, wasn't even using any other apps. It would crash while I wasn't doing anything - I'd pull it out of my pocket, find that it had not only crashed and rebooted but rebooted with the radio off. Awesome.

You need to factor that into the equation and right now Palm is really losing out on that front.

<http://comments.deasil.com/> that is my tech blog. There are many like it, but that one is mine.

RE: I mean, yeah...
joad @ 9/21/2007 9:45:30 PM # Q
In other words... Handspring brought the Treo to life, and Palm has been "busy" stunting the Treo's potential to live ever since.

Even out of the shadow of 3Com years ago, Palm still acts as though they have the iron corporate jaws upon their throat and they can't innovate, just move things around to look busy. Here's the only "phone" that Palm put out before buying up Handspring and the Treo: http://www.infosyncworld.com/reviews/n/3323.html (Tungsten W). It's a cell phone and didn't even have a frikkin built-in microphone!

Time will tell if Palm will get their act together, or instead put their resources into car radios (with a Treo companion cable of course) or some other ridiculous distraction now that the Fooleo got 86'd. In 2003 the Treo 600 was revolutionary. Coming up on 2008 its successors are basically nostalgic throwbacks, with less battery power, lousier flash cards, and an aging operating system. Time to get cracking, Palm.

|
**Another vote for a >100MB RAM Treo**

Reply to this comment

Verizon 700p 1.10 ROM update re-release is out

hkklife @ 9/21/2007 6:28:44 PM # Q
http://www.palm.com/us/support/downloads/treo700pupdate/verizon.html

News item coming soon!



Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Verizon 700p 1.10 ROM update re-release is out
joad @ 9/21/2007 9:51:46 PM # Q
It's a sad state of affairs that anyone should get excited about a re-release of an overdue bugfix for serious problems on an EOL device that sat unpatched for over a year without any attention from Palm. For a six-hundred-dollar device, the Treo 700p's inability to stay paired with a bluetooth headset really exuded "value."

'Guess they had all their engineers busy with that company savior called the Fooleo?

|
**Another vote for a >100MB RAM Treo**

Reply to this comment

great photoshop work

rpa @ 9/21/2007 8:17:06 PM # Q
Hey, just email the photoshopped images to Taiwan and ask them to make it!

rpa
Palm Pilot >> Palm Tungsten E user
Reply to this comment

zzzzz

sgiga @ 9/23/2007 2:32:56 AM # Q
The only slightly appealing device palm has delivered since the pda age is the centro. WM is not a bad replacement for the ancient palm os, and with a price below 100 $ this actually smells good. The 750 WM was excellent and received excellent reviews throughout, but the price were much too high.

All in all, after the abortion of the Foleo, Palm has become more zzzzz than ever, marginalized to the point of becoming completely irrelevant (except the centro).

Regarding the article, the fact that he has not mentioned the SE P1i and it's revolutionary keyboard say it all.

RE: zzzzz
SeldomVisitor @ 9/23/2007 7:11:40 AM # Q
> ...with a price below 100 $ this actually smells good...

I guess PALM is pretty much stuck with sub-$100 price now, huh - NOWHERE has it been rumored the price is HIGHER!

Gotta luv them rumors!


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