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FCC Releases Info on Handspring Treo 300

The FCC has given Handspring permission to offer the Treo 300, the not yet announced smartphone which will use Sprint's 3G wireless network. The FCC has also posted some information about the 300 on its site.

This info confirms much of what was already rumored about the Treo 300, including that it uses the same 12-bit color screen as the Treo 270 and 90. It is expected to be available in the next month or so, at about the same time Sprint rolls out its 3G wireless network.

3G
Of course, the main feature of this model is that it can connect to the new wireless network Sprint is expected to launch nationwide this month or next, providing faster connections and greater bandwidth for data applications.

The Treo will run at a theoretical max speed of 156 kbps, though the actual user speed will usually be something around 70 kbps or so. This is still much higher than the GSM version, which has a max speed of 14.4 kbps, and even faster than a landline modem. However, there is some debate over whether this qualifies is "true" 3G, though Sprint calls it that.

This device uses CDMA2000, though it can use regular CDMA networks, too. It will be offered exclusively through Sprint.

Sprint will integrate its suite of business products into the new version of the Treo, including Sprint PCS Business Connection Personal Edition, which is a service that allows allows subscribers access to their corporate email accounts.

Users will be charged for wireless networking by the amount of data used, not by the amount of time spent online.

Handheld
Aside from the high-speed wireless networking, the Treo 300 is essentially the same as the other wireless Treo models. It will run Palm OS 3.5.2H on a 33 MHz Dragonball VZ processor. It has 16 MB of RAM.

It has a built-in keyboard for text entry. If Handspring is planning to release a version with Graffiti, it hasn't gotten FCC approval for it yet.

Thanks to Marty for the tip. Sorry, I didn't get this out earlier. I've been on vacation and having connection problems. -Ed

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Looks good

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 11:01:36 AM #
Great!
RE: Looks good (for a cellphone)
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 11:10:52 AM #
it looks nice considering its a cellphone too.but as a pda its kinda outdated.
RE: Looks good
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 11:56:35 AM #
This is *so close* to being an ideal convergance device, but it isn't there yet. Why does it lack expansion (the Treo 70 has it) and a hi-res screen?

Also, as a personal preference, a rather costly personal accessory such as this shouldn't be all plastic. A metal case and color options of some sort would make it much more appealing.

RE: Looks good
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 1:58:09 PM #
I think the ideal device would have a Sony-like hi-res+ (320x480) screen with the keyboard embedded in the flip cover. That way, you can both view the screen (scrolling with the jog dial) AND enter text using the keyboard, all while the cover is closed and the screen protected (assuming they have a good quality transparent, smudge- and scratch- resistant window in the cover). When you flip up the screen, you lose the use of the thumb keys, but get a full-sized 320x480 16-bit color screen with virtual graffiti! Combine this with a built-in 320x480 or higher resolution camera and you could take pictures and immediately e-mail them via the 3G-capable built-in cell phone, then call your grandma to tell her she's got photos coming!

Back to reality
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 4:47:07 PM #
First you say that you want a keyboard embedded in the cover, then you say that you want a window in the cover so that you can use the PDA without having to open it up. How big is this going to be? To have a window big enough to see the screen and a keyboard in the cover, you're getting pretty big.

Here's my theory: you're just saying you want the keyboard in the cover because Handspring didn't put it there. You know, the old "Handspring is dead" attitude.

RE: Looks good
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 5:13:31 PM #
As a side note, forthcoming Sprint phones have a digital camera accessory.
RE: Looks good
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 8:42:24 PM #
A metal casing would had a considerable amount fo weight to the unit -- be careful what you wish for. I do not know of any cell phone that has a metal casing.
RE: Looks good
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 1:16:27 AM #
"First you say that you want a keyboard embedded in the cover, then you say that you want a window in the cover so that you can use the PDA without having to open it up. How big is this going to be? To have a window big enough to see the screen and a keyboard in the cover, you're getting pretty big."

Actually, the dimensions of the Treo are fine. Move the Treo's thumb-pad from its current 'inside' location and make it part of the cover (the existing location of the Treo's window will work fine). Then you have room to put back the graffiti area, but why not just make it a virtual graffiti area like on the Sony Clie NR Series? If you think the keyboard electronics make the lid too thick or heavy, you could just put light plastic buttons with rubber stubs that press against the graffiti area when you type (with the appropriate driver software), but I'm pretty sure they can actually make the thumb-board circuitry pretty thin and lightweight...you might have to trade off tactile feel, though (e.g. replace the treo/blackberry style keys for something closer to the Sony Clie NR keys...)

RE: Looks good
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 1:56:47 PM #
You should start a company and make the device that you're talking about, but then you'd be competing against the company that you're championing... Sony.
RE: Looks good
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 6:12:03 PM #
Nokia has done metal phones--among their lightest. I have yet to see a metal flip phone, but there may be one out there and there's no reason why it shouldn't be feasible.

Besides, look at the weights on most Palm OS devices. How many are 4 oz? 3 that I know of. The Palm V, the m500, and the Treo 90. There are a bunch more at 4.9 oz, also mostly with metal casings.

So the metal shell doesn't add significantly to the weight.

Speed wrong and wrong comparison?

digilaw @ 7/9/2002 11:03:58 AM #
I may be way off here (and apologies if I am) but, first off, the GSM "version" of high speed data is currently GPRS which, right now, goes around 56k. This is with the standard 4 channels down and 1 up that current phones support but can be much faster with newer upcomming phones which support more channels. This is not counting EDGE implementation which is not offered anywhere in the US yet. Now, dosen't the FCC cap data over telephony at around 56k per client? Wouldn't this mean that Sprint's network would be restrained to around this speed per client not 70k? (I am asking this as I do not know for sure)In any event, GSM high speed data that is similar to Sprint's (as in "always on", packet based data) goes faster than 14.4. 14.4 is what CSD data does. CSD data would be better compared to the old Sprint method of data as both used a "dial-up" method. It seems that if one is comparing data rates GSM's CSD should be compared to sprints' old "wireless web" which also operated at 14.4.

RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
Ed @ 7/9/2002 11:18:08 AM #
Perhaps I wasn't being clear. The article doesn't say that CDMA2000 is faster than GPRS. It says that the Treo 300 is faster than any other current Treo. The Treo 180 and 270 are currently restricted to GSM and won't be able to use GPRS until Handspring releases an update, which it says it will do sometime before the end of this year.

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News Editor
RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 11:35:28 AM #
The FCC capped data connections to 56K on landlines because higher speeds would cause interference and bleed over on the copper pair. That would cause problems with other people's phone calls. Not sure how they handle wireless data.
RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 11:48:31 AM #
Capped data connections to 56K? Not quite. My old fashioned landline DSL gets 1000K+ down and 128K up.
RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 12:03:28 PM #
Sorry, was talking about standard modems, not DSL since that uses a different signaling system to split voice and data traffic on the copper wires. Standard analog modems are capped at 56K max since it's signal carrier is the same as a voice call.
RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 3:08:46 PM #
The Treo 300 will be faster than the 270 because the network will be faster. Sprint PCS has a presentation on their website that goes over the differences between their (and Verizon's) 3G network and migration path compared with the GSM upgrades to GPRS and Edge and beyond. In the document, they consistantly have the CDMA 3G speeds faster than the GSM counterparts.

RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 5:13:51 PM #
Uh, yeah, but GPRS phones will absolutely destroy Sprint's & Verizon's performance.

Of course, they also don't mention that Cingular is about to purchase AT&T Wireless, making them the most powerful GSM weapon in the universe.

We have AT&T GSM here in Michigan, and it's perfect. If we were able to share Cingular & VoiceStream's GSM towers, (let alone be owned by Cingular), Sprint & Verizon would sweat enough bulletts to raise the water level in Texas above the clouds.

Sprint = suck
Verizon = yawn
Patience = key
Cingular/AT&T Superunion = ACE!

RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 7:38:15 PM #
Treos maybe software upgradeable to GPRS, but the maximum rate of ANY Treo (upgraded) will be 28K because Tre only has 2 down channels and 1 up. This pales in comparison to newer GPRS phones which usually have 4 down, 1 up, sometimes even 2 up.
RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 8:57:14 PM #
Ok, I'll try and sort this all out right here. The 56k "cap" only applies to regular old land-line based modems (i.e. those for dialup internet access, not cable/DSL). So this 56k cap will not apply to the Sprint 3G network since it is wireless. Sprint's and Verizon's network are both capable of speeds of up to 144kbps although the average user will experience around 50-70kbps. Speeds will tend to be a bit faster on Sprint's network than Verizon's since they built their network from the groud nup and use the same technology throughout. This is not the case with Verizon.

The Treo 300 will support Sprint's 3G network and be capable of taking advantage of the fast downlaod speeds. The 56k cap does not apply here. OTOH, the treo 180/270 are only capable of speeds of up to 28.8kbps since that is the type of GPRS those two models support. The GPRS network is currently capable of faster speesds but the Treo 180/270 will not support it. Of course, the 180/270 aren't even capable of 28.8kbps right now since Handspring has not released the GPRS patch for those two models. The Treo 300 will require no such patch.

Finally, GPRS phones will not destroy Sprint/Verizon. Not even close. At previously mentioned, the best GPRS phones out there in the US support up to 56k, as opposed to 144k for Sprint/Verizon. Both types of networks will be always-on. Sprint/Verizon clearly have the edge as far as coverage goes, GSM is not even close in that category in the US. Unless you are a frequent international traveler, CDMA is as good a choice as any for your mobile needs.

GSM has many problems, GPRS is slow
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 10:50:49 PM #
GPRS hasn't come close to reaching its predicted speeds, for example, see this Register article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/24980.html

Note that both Verizon and Sprint are also advertising much lower average rates (70K) than the peak (144K) for Qualcom's cdma2000.

GSM has its problems. It's basically useless in California, with Cingular (formerly PacBell) being the only GSM carrier (AT&T is coming). Service is very is spotty and limited compared to other carriers. My former boss's quote: "My [triband GSM] phone works great, except in California"

Even in Europe, it has problems when you're inside a building. For example, although I could get 3 signals inside my hotel in Bologna, none would last longer than two minutes. If I went outside, it was OK. I saw other people at restaurants getting next to a window to talk.

It can also be entertaining trying to use a pre-paid GSM phone (and the majority of cell phones in Europe are pre-paid) in another country, for either voice or SMS.

RE: Speed wrong and wrong comparison?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 7:12:53 PM #
Ah, why not add some comments here? :)

CDMA2000/1xRTT claims 144kbps... if STATIONARY... and that's probably stationary, not even meaning that you are stationary, but that the conditions don't change around you (i.e. no sudden mass of clouds or thunderstorm, or rain, snow, etc.) It's rated at 40kbps-50kbps when you are considered mobile. This is the reason people are challenging 1xRTT claim to be 3G (as opposed to WCDMA). It is strictly classified as GPRS equivalent (2.5G).

GSM will do better within buildings compared to any CDMA. In CDMA, you will not be able to transmit at higher power because if you increase power too much, you effectively deafen all other users (clogging the network, and no one else can make a call/everyone drop calls). In GSM, when signal is weak, the phone merely increases power to compensate. That is not exactly true with CDMA... and in situation of weak signals (given similar base-station conditions), you will do much better with GSM... ESPECIALLY WITHIN BUILDINGS. This is also the reason I think, that I have had much fewer drop calls (between 1 or 0... one unconfirmed drop) using Voicestream compared to consistent dropped calls using Verizon wireless (despite having moderate signal strength). I'm in Chicago (new networks).

Finally, Cingular and Voicestream are paired up. If you have a nationwide plan on either, you don't pay roaming/long-distance in the regions either of them serve.

(I do not work for Cingular/Voicestream/AT&T. All info reflects only on what I have read and might have errors).

3G costs

joeberk @ 7/9/2002 11:51:26 AM #
From the user manual, it looks like the data plans will be by the MB - not as they are now, data calls that come out of your monthly allotment.

We shall see what the cap is, though, and how reasonable the prices are for the consumer. I have a feeling I won't be able to afford it...

Whoops
joeberk @ 7/9/2002 11:53:57 AM #
Duh - just saw the line in the story that stated

"Users will be charged for wireless networking by the amount of data used, not by the amount of time spent online."

Error between chair & keyboard...

High SAR levels

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 12:01:55 PM #
For those who care about these things, the "Results Summary" document on the FCC site lists the 300's SAR levels: 1.4 head and .877 body. Those are obviously beneath the legal limits of 1.6 but higher than most new phones these days. E.g., my CDMA v60c is 0.42 head.

RE: High SAR levels
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 4:10:22 PM #
my head is thicker than yours, so this means nothing to me.
RE: High SAR levels
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 8:46:39 PM #
And there is always the headset LOL.
RE: High SAR levels
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 12:30:27 AM #
I've heard that the handsfree headset makes it worse... it acts as an antenna, channelling radiation into your brain. On the other hand, I don't think there have been any definitive studies... as I've heard said, mobile phone radiation could well make you smarter :-)

Why no unlimited data plan?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 4:14:03 PM #
An unlimited data plan (like Palm.net and BlackBerry) would be much better. Why not?

RE: Why no unlimited data plan?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 8:48:31 PM #
Well, we will not see unlimited plans for at least another year. The carriers need to recoup the billion they are spending on the new networks. The Blackberry/Palm.net type connections are way inferior to these new high speed networks. Even if there was an unlimited plan, it would be very expensive.. at least $99/mo.

Saturate that 70KB/sec connection @ $43/min

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 4:13:37 PM #
Sure that's Canadian dollars (Telus), but I bet the US won't see a big discount.

$10/MB

70KB/sec connection..

4.28 MB/min download

Please someone tell me this is wrong..

RE: Saturate that 70KB/sec connection @ $43/min
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 2:19:02 PM #
it's gonna be 70 kbps, not 70 KBps. At full throttle, that makes it ~.5 MB/min.... still not cheap.

Please clarify...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 6:18:04 PM #
for those of us who don't memorize these measurements, what's the difference between those?

Not trying to flame, just find out...

RE: Saturate that 70KB/sec connection @ $43/min
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 5:22:26 PM #
If you mean KB and kb, it's Kilobyte and Kilobit, a byte is 8 bits, so it makes a big difference.

On the Telus Web site it says Kb, and I just came back from COMDEX where I spoke to the Telus people and they confirmed it. So I was wrong with my first post.. sorry.

It's still $6/min :)

Oh, and on another note, there was a company on the show floor who I spoke to about the T68i here in Canada.. they've got it now, plus some Euro ericsson about the size of a Zippo.. no kidding.

The big news is they'll have the p800 here in Canada 2 days after it goes GA in Europe August or September.. and SonyEricsson is adding a SD or MS slot to it!

Guy said it blew away all other pda phones he's tried.. The Kyrocera, the upcoming Samsung, and a few others he said we'll be seeing soon..

Bleah

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 7:20:37 PM #
Just what we need, anohter Handspring POS.
RE: Bleah
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2002 11:46:43 PM #
so where is Sony's answer to the treo hmm?

what about the size

drw @ 7/10/2002 12:09:32 AM #
It had been noted on treocentral that the 300 is fatter than the 270. Anyone have the specs on this?

David in Pflugerville, TX
RE: what about the size
Ed @ 7/10/2002 10:31:29 AM #
According to leaked info I have, the Treo 300 is 4.5 by 2.75 by 1 inches at thickest.

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