Color Treo 270 Now Available
Handspring has just released the Treo 270, the color version of its smartphone. Aside from its 12-bit color screen, the 270 is quite similar to the Treo 180. It includes a built-in keyboard and 16 MB of memory. This isn't the CDMA version of the Treo expected before the end of June; it uses GSM wireless networks. It costs $500 with a service contract, which is $100 less than Handspring originally said it would cost.
The screen has 12-bit color, rather than 16-bit as on most other color Palm OS handhelds. This means it can display over 4,000 colors. It is the same screen as on the just-announced Treo 90. Like the rest of the Treo line, this screen is slightly smaller than the display on most Palm OS handhelds, though it uses the standard 160 by 160 pixels.
The screen is CSTN, or Color Super-Twist Nematic. Though a passive matrix type of screen, the newest CSTN displays have good refresh rates, wide viewing angles, and bright colors that compare well with TFT displays. And they cost about half what TFT screens do.
According to Handspring, the Treo 270's screen was picked because it is usable outdoors, though the colors aren't as good as they are inside.
Because it has a keyboard, it doesn't have a Graffiti area. All the functions normally performed with Graffiti have keyboard equivalents on this model.
The Treo 270 is 4.3 by 2.7 by 0.7 and it weighs 5.5 ounces. It has a non-removable flip cover with a clear window in it that allows the screen to be seen without having to open the cover.
It uses the same keyboard as on the Treo 180. To make it easier to use in the dark, the screen's backlight also shines behind the keyboard.
One of the major changes from the 180 series is Handspring has decided not to make a version without a keyboard, so there won't be a Treo 270g.
It has a jog wheel, which Handspring calls a Rocker Switch, that Handspring has worked to integrate into the functioning of the Treo line as much as possible.
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.
It doesn't come with a cradle. Instead it has a HotSync cable. A travel A/C charger is also included. A cradle will be available separately.
The 270 uses a li-ion rechargeable battery. According to Handspring, when using the wireless functions, it will last about 3 hours of talk time or 150 hours of standby time. When used like a regular handheld with the mobile phone functions turned off, the battery provides about 1 week of normal use. This is actually better battery performance than the Treo 180 provides.
Like the other members of the Treo line, the 270 has 16 MB of RAM. It runs Palm OS 3.5 on the 33 MHz Dragonball VZ processor. It doesn't use flash ROM so its operating system can't be upgraded but Handspring has found ways to work around this for applying patches.
It comes with the latest version of Handspring's Web Browser, Blazer 2.1. It also comes with an SMS app.
In addition to all the standard Palm OS applications, it includes, Date Book+, which is Handspring's enhanced version of the standard Date Book.
Like the Treo 180 and 180g, it is a GSM phone. There will be a 900/1900 MHz version for North America and a 900/1800 MHz version for Europe and Asia.
It does not yet support GPRS, though Handspring says an update is on the way which will allow it to use this much faster wireless standard. Even without this upgrade, it can still handle data, just at a slower speed.
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 270 can also be used as a speakerphone.
It comes with an application that acts as a telephone dialer with large buttons. There is also a phone keypad superimposed on the QWERTY keyboard.
It has other handy functions like 3-way conference calling and Caller ID.
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