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Handspring Treo 180, 180g, 270 Coming in 2002

Handspring has posted the full information on the new Treo lines of smartphones on its website. The information that was previously available about these wasn't exactly correct. The names were off and they don't look precisely like the images that were filed with the FCC. There was also facts about them not included in the FCC filing.

The first two models of the series will be the Treo 180 and the Treo 180g. The 180 will have a built-in keyboard while the 180g will use Graffiti for text input. Both of these will have monochrome screens, cost $400 with a service contract, and be available in early 2002.

In mid-2002 there will be a new addition. The Treo 270 will have a color screen and a built-in keyboard. Handspring currently plans to charge $600 for it.

Update: Handspring has announced that the monochrome models will be available to U.S. buyers online in limited quantities during February but they won't be available in large enough quantities for retail stores until March. European customers should begin to see it in stores well before that.

PDA
Both versions of the 180 have 16 MB of RAM. They run the 33 MHz Dragonball VZ processor that is in just about all Palm OS handhelds these days and use Palm OS 3.5. They are capable of running all Palm OS applications that run under OS 3.5.

Like the Visor models, the Treo smartphones come with Date Book+, which is Handspring's enhanced version of the standard Palm Date Book.

These are not the "Visor Treo". The Treo line is separate from Handspring's Visor line. As such, they do not have Springboard slots. They also can't use Visor peripherals, like external keyboards.

Physically, both versions of the 180 are 4.3 by 2.7 by 0.7 inches and weighs 5.4 ounces. This makes them among the very smallest Palm OS handhelds available.

They have a jog wheel, which Handspring is calling a Jog Rocker. This is the first Handspring model to feature one. The company has worked to integrate the Jog Rocker into the functioning of the Treo line as much as possible.

Neither version comes with a cradle. Instead they have HotSync cable. It is a single USB cable that splits with one strand for data and another that plugs into a wall socket for power. A cradle will be sold separately.

They use li-ion rechargeable batteries. The batteries are good for two hours of talk time and more than 60 hours on standby. The manual says the batteries can be fully charged in only an hour.

On the top is the power button, an infrared port, the antenna, a switch to turn the ringer off, and a single LED used to indicate both battery status and whether the device is in range of a transmitter.

Mobile Phone
The speaker on the Treo is inside the flip cover. The user can talk by placing the inside of the flip cover to their ear and speaking into the microphone built into the front.

It also comes with a tiny headset for those that don't like to put the handheld up to their face. This has a button on it that allows the user to answer the phone. The 180 and 180g can also be used as a speakerphone.

It has other handy functions like 3-way conference calling and Caller ID.

It is a GSM phone and there will be a 900/1900 MHz for North America and a 900/1800 MHz version for Europe and Asia. SIM cards from other phones can be plugged into them.

These devices will require only a software upgrade to be ready for GPRS. Handspring expects to have the software upgrade ready during the second quarter of next year, which is when they expect GPRS to begin to be widely available.

They have already lined up an impressive collection of wireless service providers. In the U.S., this includes Cingular and VoiceStream They also have agreements with companies in Canada and no less than eleven wireless providers in Europe.

Handspring had added an application to let the Treo models be used as mobile phones. This app is launched with the Phone Book button, which replaces the Address Book button on the front of the unit.

It has four main screens. The first is a contacts list which essentially just displays names and phone numbers. The first picture with this article shows this screen. This can be scrolled through and numbers dialed with the Jog Rocker. Tapping on an entry opens full address info.

For users with large numbers of stored phone numbers, entries can be looked up by entering the first letter of the first name then the first two letters of the last name.

The other main screens are the Dial Pad, which looks the buttons on a regular phone, Speed Dial, and Call History.

Data
Both allow Web surfing via a new version of Handspring's Blazer. This allows up to 100 sites to be bookmarked. This list can be moved through and sites can be opened with the Jog Rocker. In fact, Handspring has designed this version of Blazer to allow the user to surf almost exclusively with the Jog Rocker.

They also come with an SMS application that allows messages to be sent to and received from GSM phone numbers and can also send messages to email addresses. The keyboard on the Treo 180 has been designed to make this as easy as possible and includes special purpose buttons like 'Send' and 'New".

There will also be a POP3 client included on CD that will allow full email functionality. This is JPMobile's One-Touch Mail. Initially, this will require the user to manually check to see if there is any email waiting. Handspring is working on a push email system in which the Treo will be able to download email automatically. This won't be available until the middle of 2002 and will only require a software upgrade to work.

Treo 270
As mentioned earlier, Handspring plans to introduce the Treo 270 by mid-2002. Not surprisingly for a handheld about nine months away from being released, they don't have a lot of details. However, Handspring is saying it will be offer "great" visibility both indoors and out and the device will have the same battery life as the monochrome versions.

They are committed to releasing a keyboard version but they might also make one that uses Graffiti, depending on customer demand. They will be using sales of the two versions of the 180 as their guide. At this point, many people at Handspring believe that the keyboard version will do better than the graffiti one.

Like the 180, there will be two versions of the 270, one for the U.S. and the other for Europe and Asia.

Target Market
There will almost certainly be some complaint that the Treo models won't be out for holiday shopping season. Brian Jaquet, a Handspring spokesperson said that they had never planned to release these this year and that they don't think mobile phones are typical gifts because they are expensive and involve signing up for service plans.

According to Mr. Jaquet, they are planning on marketing the Treo line to both typical Palm OS users who would like to stop having to carry around a handheld and a phone and to mobile phone users who are looking to upgrade to a smartphone. They will also be marketing them to corporations.

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The two grayscale models look intresting, but

Davy @ 10/15/2001 12:00:44 AM #
How about the color one? That's pretty cool, if the screen is nice, and the price is right. I have a m505 with a Omnisky Wireless Modem, and I have no complaints (my wallet does), but I might take a look at that in 9 months. You never know. I think this is the best product showing Handspring's had in quite some time. Maybe they can return to the innovators they once were.

-Davy

RE: Omnisky
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 8:26:36 AM #
You mentioned Os with a 505. I presume that you bought the modem separately and switched your existing account by having them reset your EID# (process found on Os' discussion forum). Is that correct or did you actually find a way to get them to support/supply for a 500-series?

RE: The two grayscale models look intresting, but
Davy @ 10/15/2001 11:30:08 AM #
I actually still have both modems, so I couldn't switch over the account. You do have to buy the modem seperatley (for a pricey $350), and get a seperate service plan. You can transfer your plan from your Vx modem, by telling Omnisky you had to reset your palm, and giving them the new numbers. Just be sure to never tell them your doing this with a m50x. They'll hang up on you. Nice, eh?

I got a plan with At+t Wirless for Unlimited Access for $30 a month. Pretty nice, and it's pretty fast.

-Davy

RE: The two grayscale models look intresting, but
Geo @ 10/15/2001 4:34:54 PM #
The monochrome screens look crisper than most Visor screens I've seen (even publicity shots). I'd be curious if they've at least improved the clarity/contract of the display ... or if I'm just wishfully hallucinating. :)

Although I'm switching belatedly to a Prism shortly, I'd always felt I could stay with monochrome if they'd improved it a little.

RE: The two grayscale models look intresting, but
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 10:59:35 PM #
The text can be pretty sharp when you shrink down the screen. - i.e the first Sony Clie (S300?), compared to the other Palm OS PDA's at the time.

The loss of marketing

GrouchoMarx @ 10/15/2001 12:07:49 AM #
It's a sad day for marketers everywhere. Handspring was the only PalmOS company that could come up with decent names for their devices. (Deluxe, Platinum, Prism, etc.) Now with their new line, they're going Sony on us. What's with the numbers? Give us decent product names!

In other news...

16 MB RAM is great. Software upgradeable to GPRS is way cool. But OS 3.5? They'll be released nearly a year after OS 4 became available, so why use the old OS? It doesn't take THAT long to port modifications to a new version, if you know what you're doing. True, OS 4 is not a panacia compared to 3.5, but it does include some decent improvements, and you don't want to lock out developers who may want to use one or two OS 4 features to make their lives easier. That's shooting yourself in the foot, especially with 16 MB of RAM to fill up.

We'll also have to see how the keyboard model sells. After getting used to graffiti, I prefer it, but I can see where a lot of new Palm users will be attracted by the keyboard.

The lack of always-on connectivity off the bat is also a drawback. The leader in this area right now is RIM. They're big advantage is always-on push. If the Treo isn't always-on, then they can't compete with it. We'll have to wait for the i705 and hope that it can take on RIM. :-)

In all, though, good stuff.

RE: The loss of marketing
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 8:41:58 AM #
I don't have a marketing degree, but personally, I prefer the numbered models.
First of all, Platinum and Prism have no clear meaning and second, Deluxe, which implies top-of-the-line is really their bottom-of-the-line model.



RE: The loss of marketing
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 9:15:18 AM #
I have to agree, Handspring should wait and introduce this models when always-on is functional.
And as a Clie owner I get nervous when I hear the statement 'All I'm going to need is a software upgrade'

RE: The loss of marketing
Token @ 10/15/2001 12:14:14 PM #
The availability of "always on" is not a function of Handspring, but the carrier networks they are using (Voicestream, Cingular, and I assume Fido in Canada). GPRS has only limited TRIAL deployment in the US market (sorry Europe, I guess you are SOL again until the US catches up).

The fact the unit can be upgraded to GPRS via a software update is very cool ... provided that Handspring do not go down the Clie route and charge another $50 for something you should have been able to do from the start.

RE: The loss of marketing
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/10/2002 11:55:03 AM #
Handspring OS 3.5x and Handera OS 3.5x are approximately equivalent to Palm OS 4.0x, feature-wise.

Batteries

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 12:15:43 AM #
Are they replaceable or builtin?

RE: Batteries
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 2:47:12 AM #
Built-in (Lithium-Ion)

RE: Batteries
ahecht @ 10/15/2001 3:27:51 AM #
I'm not sure they're built in. There appears to be a battery door on the back of the unit.

RE: Batteries
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 9:18:35 AM #
I read the user manual back when it was on the FCC site
and it showed that was where you put a SIM card in. Its
not for batteries.

RE: Batteries
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/5/2002 5:03:01 AM #
Yest there is no acces to battery ? I have just bought on and wonder about the battery lifetime ? How many charges/decharges does it support ?
phc@starobject.com

RE: Batteries
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/20/2002 10:53:50 AM #
the slot on the back panel is for the sim card. ther is no access to change battery. also to send sms in dark area is impossible the knob are not lighted.

My comments

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 12:25:37 AM #
1. Not tri-band? 900, 1800, 1900 GSM - why? (cost)?
2. No always on / push email?
3. $399 with activation - how much without? In any case, these combo-phone/pda's are going to be out of reach for most mass market consumers. Is the enterprise the target for this device???

I think the product to beat right now is the device demo'd at the Pocket PC 2002 launch. The combo phone/pda by Taiwanese manufacturer HTC:
http://www.microsoft.com/mobile/pocketpc/keynote.asp

Go to minute 50. For some reason, the full demo is not shown and you get "static" towards the end.

I'm impressed that Palminfocenter.com got the news up so quickly!

Price
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 12:39:15 AM #
I don't think we are going to see a good smartphone for alot less than $400 for a long time. Handspring would like to sell these for $99 but not when that won't half cover their costs. If that's out of the range of the average consumer, that's the way the world works. Its tough to say what the averge consumer will buy. I'd say the average consumer can't afford a $3 cup of coffee but millions buy them every day at Starbucks. If people think they need them, they'll buy them.

>> Is the enterprise the target for this device???
Read the end of the article.

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 12:59:48 AM #
Man these are cool! I don't know about anyone else but I am sold. Finally a smart design for a PALM OS PDA-Cell phone. These things will sell like hotcakes. Oh and by the way it's a list price of $400. I am sure they will give you something like $50 off for signing up to a phone package.

Peace!

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 1:25:02 AM #
The always-on functionality would have to be with the GPRS system; GSM by itself doesn't support always-on.

RE: MY comments
jeremyf @ 10/15/2001 1:39:08 AM #
This thing is NICE! I probably won't get one, since I don't want to give up some features, but if this cost less I could imagine getting a Treo in the future..

It's $549 without activation (so the color one will prolly be $749)... bit pricey! Also GPRS will be available through a software patch when it is "commercially available".. nice!

It also claims to be the "smallest Palm OS organizer yet"... it's 4.3" x 2.7" x 0.7" compared to the m125's 4.82" x 3.1" x 0.87".. that is pretty small!

I wish it had a Springboard slot (but I guess it's too small).. if it did, it would be unbeatable..

There's also going to be a trade-in offer for Visorphone users.. another NICE!

Plus a CDMA version is coming soon...

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 1:52:23 AM #
I was wrong it's $399 with the phone connection. They will plan to add the alway-on stuff later via a software upgrade. Check out the web site. There is an AMAZING amount of info and pictures on Handsprings site right now. I still say this is just too cool. I will be trading in my Sony Clie 320 and cell phone for this, that's for sure.

Peace!

Pocket PC SmartPhone...
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 5:49:08 AM #
If there were a PocketPC SmartPhone, you could imagine you talk to your friend for an hour and found out that the batteries were dead...

PC Smart Phone
Romanov @ 10/15/2001 8:41:23 AM #
There are two PPC smartphones on the UK market. The Trium Mondo and one from Motorola. The Trium, which has been on the market longest, is a 16Mb PPC and claims 100hr standby charge.

Its advertised as 450 (about $650) with connection.

Anyone had any experience of this PDA?

Nic Hughes

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 9:21:48 AM #
> I was wrong it's $399 with the phone connection. They will
> plan to add the alway-on stuff later via a software upgrade.

Facts you announce with excitement at finding on HandSpring's site are in this article. Did you read it? No offence, but maybe you'd make your life easier by reading it again more carefully.

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 9:29:02 AM #
Quote:
"Man these are cool! I don't know about anyone else but I am sold. Finally a smart design for a PALM OS PDA-Cell phone. These things will sell like hotcakes."

As P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute." However, you appear to think we're ALL suckers. You're entitled to find it cool, and if you want one, go for it. But "these things will sell like hotcakes?" Please!

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 10:40:31 AM #
You might not be pleased but Wall Street is. Handspring stock is up 40% today.

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 11:23:53 AM #
> Finally a smart design for a PALM OS PDA-Cell phone.

Samsung already has one out and it's in color too:

http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=2183

And at least this one has memory expansion via SD/MMC.

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 12:07:18 PM #
I realize Samsung has one out too and in color, but I said "smart" design. The Samsung unit is a brick and it looks like very little RD went into it. This Treo is a work of art next to it. If you really NEED color then wait till mid next year and get the 270.

-Peace!

RE: My comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 5:01:04 PM #

I don't know what Palm is talking about, if yya ask me, The Treo with the keyboard looks like a Blackberry killer.

I'd say these gadgets are the best from Handspring yet.

They just down right look cool...

RE: My comments
mtg101 @ 10/16/2001 12:06:59 PM #
> Finally a smart design for a PALM OS PDA-Cell phone.
>Samsung already has one out and it's in color too:
>http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=2183
>And at least this one has memory expansion via SD/MMC.

Dear oh dear - that samsung device is CDMA - only works in one or two countries in the world - and even then the coverage is sparadic!

The Treo range are the first true test of the combined PDA / hone.

Cheers
Russell

---
russ@russb.fsnet.co.uk
---
Diga ao Falante pelos Mortos
---

16 MB and OS 3.5

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 3:14:02 AM #
What's the maximum RAM possible with OS 3.5?
I always thought it was 8.

Just curious, because I've recently upgraded my trust worthy V from 2 to 8 MB. However, I still fing myself running out of memory.

RE: 16 MB and OS 3.5
ahecht @ 10/15/2001 3:23:04 AM #
The 8mb limit is imposed on the Vx by the processor, not the OS.

RE: 16 MB and OS 3.5
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 1:56:52 PM #
Its the EZ processor that creates the limit not the OS

$549 and it doesn't even come with a cradle!?!?!?!?

ahecht @ 10/15/2001 3:23:41 AM #
n/t

RE: $549 and it doesn't even come with a cradle!?!?!?!?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 10:11:45 AM #
its only $549 without a wireless service plan. that would make it much less useful than no cradle. otherwise $399.

RE: $549 and it doesn't even come with a cradle!?!?!?!?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/2/2002 4:20:04 PM #
Will old cradles from the visor PDA's work with this new Treo phone/PDA?

impressive collection of wireless service providers??????

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 4:13:14 AM #
"They have already lined up an impressive collection of wireless service providers. In the U.S., this includes Cingular and VoiceStream"
Wait a minute. I was very interested in a new mobile phone/pager by motorola, some imac blue whatchacallit, but they are only serviced by voicestream. I don't consider voicesteam to included in any list of "impressive collection of wireless service providers". I was going to buy Motorola's new device, okay okay, I'll get the real name, hold on....it's the V series model 100. I didn't buy it because of voicestream. They are not a major service provider if they don't have Coverage in CA (WHERE I LIVE!!!) since Cali probably is one of the biggest markets. This may not be a good move by handspring. Thanks a lot Jeff and Donna. This is what I get for buying your stock.

RE: impressive collection of wireless service providers?????
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 9:26:15 AM #
>> They also have agreements with companies in Canada and no less than eleven wireless providers in Europe. <<

So get service from a provider who does business in Canada. I think your compalint is silly. So they don't offer service in Canada. Canada has plenty of other providers. Every company can't offer service everywhere. There would have to be a cell phone tower every 50 feet over the entire North America. Build a bridge and get over it.

RE: impressive collection of wireless service providers??????
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/15/2001 9:51:45 AM #
Erm...CA is the USPS abbreviation for California, not Canada, and has been for 20 years or so. Deal with THAT.


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